Pocket Rockets and Motochimps…

pocket_rocket_1I spotted* a couple of cool new electric bikes – and thought they were more than worthy of an airing on the blog. Though each is a quirky, original design in it’s own right, I’m old enough to know the adage “There’s nothing new under the Sun” has an element of truth to it – and both these bikes reminded me of older designs.

Pocket Rocket

The first is the “Pocket Rocket” it’s unusual form earning it a German Design Award. Designed by Manuel Messmer and engineered by SOL Motors, the Pocket Rocket is clean and compact. The thick tubular column on the top becomes a perfect surface to sit on, once you’ve got a saddle in place, and right at both ends, you’ve got the headlight and taillight. The product is currently in its conceptual stages and the specifications haven’t been made public yet. If and when they do, I’ll let you know.

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While a beautifully simple and original concept, it reminded me of a little known Lambretta from years ago – The Rosella, pictured below, and featured on the blog here.

Find out more about it on the SOL Motors website.

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Motochimp

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 17.50.12The second featured bike is equally – if not more so – quirky. It’s called the Motochimp – a cheeky name, for a really cheeky looking bike. This bike has so much personality, it looks like it’s a character from a Pixar film.

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 17.50.01This quote from their website (motochimp.com) gives you an idea of the ethos of Motochimp…

“Motochimp celebrates the indie spirit of spontaneous urban mobility. Freeing urban transport from boredom, replacing it with spontaneity and personality. Join us and we’ll defy boredom and faceless urban transport. Let’s embark on joy rides that catch a twinkle or two… Let’s Ride on the Lighter Side of Life”.

The video on FullyCharged sums up the bike features nicely. Favourite feature? Well, I’m torn between the way the battery just slides out – and those funky, minimalist bar-end indicators.

As Johnny Smith notes in the video, the Motochimp is very reminiscent of Honda’s Motocompo portable minibike from the ’80s – now a very collectable little bike in its own right – and one probably deserving of a Lambrettista blog post.

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Which gives me the excuse to share this Madness Honda City/Motocompo ad…

 

*Well, my mate Luke spotted them to be fair. And sent me the links. Credit where it’s due!

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Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle – The Review

39375c67f1f0b9b391c7039ea18620cf1f540ff9On the strength of my post about the video publicising his book, Martin “Sticky” Round sent me a copy to review. Which was nice. This is a first for me, as it’s the first “freebie” I’ve got through the blog. To be fair to my loyal readers though, I’m determined to give this a fair review, and be as honest and forthright as I can… and not just do a “puff piece”.

This was a tricky review to write. I could sum the whole post up in four words… but that wouldn’t do justice to the book. And I could ramble on for ages pouring more and more praise onto it, because this is simply a great book, but I suspect that my review would come across as a little dull if I did.

And this book is anything but dull. As readers of his work in Scootering will know, Sticky has a fine command of the English language… and he’s had the opportunity to give it full flight in this book. I read a lot. I’ve often got two or three books on the go at once, and I devour everything from biographies to science fiction, and pretty much everything in between. Once in a while, I enjoy a book so much that I rave on about it to friends and family and pass it on, saying “you must read this!” (The last book I did that with was CJ Sansom’s Dominion, btw. Highly recommended). Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle is up there. Right up there. I honestly haven’t enjoyed reading a book more this year.

Sticky tells his road trip tale in a highly entertaining fashion. The “scootery bits” aren’t so technical that a non-scooterist would be turned off, and just give an overview of what it’s like to own, ride and be part of the classic scooter scene without assuming any prior knowledge. A opening couple of chapters about building the scooters to take them on the journey could be as dull as ditchwater – but handled with Sticky’s light humorous tone (and the liberal use of the word “bollocks”) it’s like a very entertaining bloke down the pub sharing a great story with you.

In fact, the whole book is like that. Only they interesting bloke down the pub usually gets a bit boring after a couple of pints. Sticky’s book never wanes. While sharing his adventure of crossing Europe, from the Adriatic Coast to Turkey (and back), the entertainment factor never lets up. Sticky didn’t do the trip alone, he took his 11 year old son, Sam, and wife along. His wife, Tracy was riding perhaps the most Frankenstein of the Frankesnstein scooters, a Maicoletta with a 400cc Suzuki engine shoehorned into the old scooter bodywork. They met up with another name well known to the Lambretta scene, Dean Orton from the Rimini Lambretta Centre. Dean was riding the least modded bike… (and ultimately the most reliable of the scooters) a moderately upgraded Indian GP. And he brought his daughter, Kimberly along for the ride too.

Undertaking a challenging journey on highly modified vintage scooters is not a thing to do lightly. Let alone when you’ve got the wife and kids along. Sticky’s attitude is prepare well, and hope for the best. Things will generally work out and when they don’t, well, that’s character building. Seems to have worked for him. Still, with the author of the Lambretta repair and maintenance bible The Complete Spanner’s Manual: Lambretta Scooters and the owner of the RLC, an accomplished Lambretta mechanic in his own right, both veterans of many rallies and road trips… they were going to be alright if anything did go wrong with the scoots.

To get back to that bloke down the pub, that you initailly find the life and soul, and who you then discover is just someone who likes the sound of their own voice and has found a whole new audience in you… Well, you often find their worldview is a little blinkered too. They say travel broadens the mind, and to an extent I think that’s true, but I think you’ve got to be pretty broadminded to begin with. I found myself nodding along and agreeing with most of what Sticky said in the book… and, being Sticky he always has an interesting way of saying it. His “Dickhead Theory” I found particularly insigtful.

The trip, through Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey (and back via Greece and Albania) give Sticky ample opportunity to expound on everything from his theories on parenting to his attitudes to other cultures… with a handful of remincenses about previous scootering adventures, and a soupcon of local history along the way. His summing up of the Gallipoli campaign made interesting reading in light of all the recent celebrations surrounding the 70th anniverary of D-Day.

The book ends with Sticky being a bit down as the trip reaches it’s conclusion… and that’s how I felt as I reached the end of the book. I was enjoying reading it so much I just wanted more… Finally, there is some advice on how to plan your own adventure… and if you don’t feel inspired to at least start planning something, even if it never gets past the plannng stage, I suspect there’s something wrong with you.

Anyway… I’m not going to witter on and spoil the book for you. Suffice it to say it’s a damn good read. One that, in my humble opinion, deserves to break out from the scootering world into a general readership… You don’t have to be a scooter fan to enjoy a book this good. After all “Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” (basically a roadtrip book with a bunch of noodly half baked philosphising thrown in) became a classic… and it’s a far less entertaining read.

If I had summed the whole review up in four words they would have been “Excellent read. Buy it”. Actually buy two, give one to a friend. It’s that good.

It’s out on Kindle now, at a unfeasibly reasonable £2.95, a price that almost makes it worthwhile buying a Kindle. The paperback is also available from Scooterproducts, Amazon, and eBay. The perfect last minute gift for Fathers Day!

Bonus points if you can find the other video featuring (a very young) Sticky on this site. If you do post your answer in the comments.

Mad Bixby Moto’s Deathdealer II Scootercycle with Sidecar

No, it’s not a Lammie. But it looks a lot of fun. The result of a “build-off” competition run by Dues Customs, and made from a Honda Z50 found in a skip, and a junked engine from a Chinese scooter, along with a bunch of other scrap (total budget $158), produced this wonderfully original little machine. The “hilarious” video (you may want to substitute the word “hilarious” with the word “annoying”) shows the scoots capabilities off pretty well. Although I preferred to watch it with the sound off after about 30 seconds, although I may just be experiencing a temporary sense of humour failure.BixbyMoto1 BixbyMoto2Bixby Moto specialise in monkey bikes, customs and racers… check out their website here. There’s some lovely little beasties on there.

Via Scooterfile,

What all this Ruckus?

Honda Zoomer-Ruckus-Pics htup_1006_24_o 2009_honda_ruckus headlihgt_shot htup_1006_29_o 2009_honda_ruckus front_view htup_1101_02_o 2004_honda_ruckus rear_right_side_view htup_1101_03_o 2004_honda_ruckus exhaust htup_1101_09_o 2004_honda_ruckus front_tire htup_2101_05_o 2004_honda_ruckus right_side_viewI’ve expressed my admiration for Honda’s Zoomer (or the Ruckus as it’s known stateside) before now…  I think, design wise, it stands head and shoulders above most of the modern scooters on the market. But what has it got to do with the Lambretta? Not a lot to be honest. There’s a kind of back-to-basics early Lambretta aesthetic (Models A-F) about it I suppose. And, from day one, there has been a bit of a scene upgrading and customising the Zoomer. That’s pretty much where it ends. But that’s enough of an excuse for me to post these pics from Honda Tuning Magazine.

I’ve got to admit, my knowledge of todays scoots isn’t that great. What else is out there, modern scooter wise, that deserves a mention? Let me know. If I like it, I’ll post it!