A Suffragette… on a scooter!

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I came across this image of early woman’s right campaigner Florence, Lady Norman (nee McLaren, 1884 – 1964), travelling on her motor scooter her office, circa 1916. The scooter (a birthday present from her husband), was an Autoped, was an early example of a motorised kick (or toy) scooter. There’s cleary a direct line between the Autoped and the folding paratrooper scooter that were said to have inspired the first Lambretta.

So could Florence actually be described as the first Scooter Girl? Probably!

Incidentally, I toyed with several alternative headlines for this post… “Go with the Flo” and “SuffraJet200” were two of my rejects…

(Photo by Paul Thompson/FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

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Lohner Legal…

750750p1697EDNmainLohner Einladung Lea_Web_Seite_2Anybody remember that post I did about the Lohner Lea, a while back? At the time it was just at a ‘concept’ stage… albeit an advanced one. Now they are apparently ready to start manufacturing. “The Lea is elegant and calm of its distinctive design, the driving behavior, safely and silently. …for the urban man who wants to enjoy cruising in city traffic properly.”

It’s an ‘interesting’ looking scooter, although design wise it does rather remind me of a ball of Edam. But I am rather cheese obsessed, so that might be just me.

If you want to see one for yourself, there is a “pop-up store” (does anybody else hate the term “pop-up as much as me? Pop-up should refer to books. Not shops. Or restaurants. Or whatever.) In Vienna, on Thursday 8th October, between 5pm and 8pm.

The address is Lohner Pop up Store, 1010 Wien, Neuer Markt 8.

Updated with the Lohner Website details here or go to the Facebook page here.

LamSport 125 – “New Lambretta” with NO Lambretta DNA.

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The “New Lambretta” saga rumbles on. Most readers of this site, I suspect, will not be particularly interested, having not taken the 2011 Lambretta LN to their hearts. Which is a shame, because, IMHO, although clearly not a classic Lambretta, it paid homage to the lines and spirit of the marque, and had a little Lambretta DNA in it’s blood. Now we have a “New Lambretta” The LamSport.

The new machine, despite being designed by the same Alessandro Tartarini behind the LN design, and who’s radical designs for the range of Caterham Motorcycles I was a big fan of, disappoints me on every level. It’s just an ok looking modern sports style scooter.  With a Lambretta badge on it.
The LN was a decent stab at reinventing a classic machine for the twenty-first century. This is badge engineering at it’s worst. The old Lambretta Motorcycles website from Motom is now down, and I suspect that that is the end of Lambretta LN, which will become an interesting side note to Lambretta history. UPDATE: Further research has found that the LN is still linked to on the Vinh Phat Group website here – so it appears to be in production alongside the the LamSport. And in twenty or thirty years time, when the LamSport is all but forgotten about there will be one or two LN’s left, commanding big prices amongst the  Lambretta collectors and completists. A real shame.6_esterno
The LamSport is being assembled and distributed by the Vinh Phat Group in Vietnam, who launched the new model in Hanoi last week. I’m sure it will do very well in the home market, at least. As far as I’m concerned, if you want a ‘modern Lambretta’ and you are in Hanoi, you would be better off with an Ebretta.EbrettaI’m sorry, I’m not going to write about this any more. This upsets me. If you want to find out more, The excellent ScooterNova blog is a good source. But don’t expect to find any more posts on the LamSport on this blog.

UPDATE: My sources tell me that it may not quite be the end of the road for the Lambretta LN, which is good news. I find myself, as a rider of an Innocenti 1960 LI150 Series 2, in the unlikely position of flag waver for the LN, but it is, from all accounts, a good, reliable and stylish modern scooter, and it definitely has my old S2 in it’s family tree. Stay tuned, for more Lambretta LN info, and nothing more about the LamSport!

Rumi Formichino

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The Moto Rumi Formichino is a really nice little scooter that I have posted about before*. A true original, when many manufacturers were trying to copy Lambretta and Vespa, and on the whole, making a pretty poor fist of it, or trying to shoe-horn their motorcycle technology into a scooter chassis, Rumi went their own way. I think it’s a really clever, elegant design too. It attracted a loyal band of owners, especially of the sporting fraternity, and is still an admired and sought after scooter today. The current Moto Rumi club has over 100 members from around the world.

*I’m certain I wrote a piece about Moto Rumi’s before, but I buggered if I can find it in the blog archives. If I do, I’ll repost.

eTropolis Reload, Q electric scooter and other oddities from EICMA

Spoiler alert. There’s NO Lambrettas in this post. Even the “new Lambrettas” are conspicuous by their absence from this years EICMA Motorcycle Showcase. And I don’t like modern scooters. With some very few exceptions. Sounding like a grumpy old man watching Top of the Pops (that ages me), where “It all sounds the same” They all pretty much look the same to me. All angles and plastic. Nah. I’ll stick to something classic and geared. But every now and then something comes along and makes me look twice. Last time it happened it was the Vespa 946. A stunner. Before that it was the back to basics charm of the Honda Zoomer, or Ruckus as the colonials would have it. And this years EICMA has thrown up a couple of interesting little oddities.

First is the all electric etropolis Reload… now metropolis (and the lower case “e” is deliberate btw), are a German company that make some distinctly average looking electric scooters. Which is probably not a bad thing for etropolis, or people that like modern scooters. Just for old farts like me that like proper scooters.ETROPOLIS-RELOAD-Laterale

But their new Reload takes the biscuit… and dunks it. It looks like someone has taken a modern scooter and hacksawed the arse off it… and then sawn any other extraneous bits of plastic off too. And as a result it looks, we’ll… rather good actually. In an awkward, ugly kind of way.

It’s electric, so the performance and range are going to be pretty appalling, but at least it looks, well, different. I like it. Until of course Etropolis go and load it up with more carriers and shopping baskets than a Tescos carpark. Oh well.RELOAD-BAULETTO-PORTA-MERCI-Laterale

Worse, for me than a generic modern scooter is a modern scooter trying to pass itself off as a retro classic. Vespa have managed to pull it off, just about (he says through gritted teeth), and are even improving. The new 946 and Primavera are very pretty scooters. The recent reinvented “Lambretta” LN, LJ and LT made a decent enough fist of it, capturing some of the spirit of the original Lambrettas… but unfortunately, despite good reviews, it appears they haven’t been able to challenge the likes of Piaggio. Peugeot Django peugeot-django-2014-20-8764-1383648863

Likely to be more successful, unfortunately, are these ‘neo-retro’ monstrosities  from Peugeot… just horrible, bloated and obese looking machines. In my opinion of course. Which is a shame, because they made some decent looking scooters back in the day… well the arse end looks ok, don’t think much of that fugly fender…Peugeot S57

Jumping back to electric scooters, and another honourable mention goes to another back to basics design the “Q” , a dutch design that is all about the frame. It kind of reminds me of the FIDO concept, I posted on my original “CrocodileJock” blog, way back.  Q Electric scooter

But what really caught my eye at EICMA this year wasn’t a scooter at all. It was a brace of bikes from someone who traditionally doesn’t even make bikes. British Car firm (and there’s not too many of those about) Caterham, (yes THAT Caterham) have launched their first ever motorcycles. And they are stunning. Really eye-catching radical designs… with three very different models, the beefy Brutus 750, (which can operate as a street bike, off road machine or even a SNOWMOBILE!!!) the “Classic E bike” an electric bike that harks back to the earliest days of motorcycling for it’s design inspiration, and the “Carbon E bike” another e-bike, but rather than looking like it’s come from some reimagined steampunk past, this one is straight from a science fiction future. Find out more, here. And there is a Lambretta link, of sorts… the designer behind the brute that is the Brutus is Alessandro Tatarini. If that name rings a bell, it may be because you recognise it from the Lambretta LN launch… yes, he was the designer behind that, too.  caterham-brutus-750caterham-classic-e-bike-03caterham-carbon-e-bike-01

I think they are absolutley stunning designs…  and while there not going to be everybody’s cup of Tetley, that’s kind of the point of them. An alternative two wheeler for people who “Think Different” and the stars of the show for me. That and the Scomadi’s of course.

Capri Sun!

Agrati CapriRemember that shot I posted of an Agrati Capri and a London Doubledecker? Yeah, you do… this one. Well, Dave, who shot it got in touch (ages ago, actually… but I’ve been busy!) to let me know he had another shot of the same scoot. As I alluded to earlier… a lovely little scooter the Capri, beautiful lines, and you can often pick them up for peanuts (well peanuts compared to what you’d pay for a Lambretta) on eBay. Parts are obviously not as easy to get hold of as a Lammie, but the internet has made that a bit easier too…

Anyway, thanks Dave… check out more of his pics on Flickr here. Check out the “Abandoned scooter, two cats and a barbecue” shot!

KTM Electric Scooter

ImageImageI’m not usually one to post about modern scooters, with a few notable exceptions (Honda Zoomer/Ruckus some ItalJets, and *gasp* the forthcoming Vespa 946 ) I’m generally not a fan. They’re either pretty generic… or poor retro style rip offs of classic lines of Lambrettas and Vespas. But here’s something that looks like it’s come straight from the futre… and being electric, it probably does herald the future for scooters. Unlike (most) other electric vehicles, this one seems to have the performance to back up it’s looks too… Performance comparable with a 125cc Petrol Scoot.

Though not for me, I like my scooters a bit more traditional… but if I were a young ‘un… maybe this is the sort of thing that would turn my head.

Find out more at Scooterfile.

If, like me, you like you’re scooters with classic italian lines, check out these previous posts:

EcoLa: An electric powered Model D

Ebretta: Classic Lambretta looks with an electric powertrain

Fancy something a little different?

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Right. First off, this clearly comes under the “That’s not a Lambretta” header. But until I get round to writing a proper piece about Lambro’s, this’ll have to do you. I’m not sure it even comes under the category of scooter. It’s actually a BSA Ariel 3.

Being a proper moped (notice the pedals you have to use to start it) It wouldn’t be quick. I can’t imaging that once you loaded up the ‘luggage area’ (that would take lttle more than your average topbox) you’d be breaking many speed limits. Even going downhill, with a tailwind in a 30mph zone. In fact, it would be one of the few vehicles on the road I would stand any chance of overtaking.

As with most items in those halycon days before the PC brigade had any say, the advertising shots featured a girl in a bikini. Although, to be brutally honest, I can’t remember a time I saw a vehicle with less sex appeal!

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And it’s for sale. So why not get yourself a piece of British motorcyle history? The downside, The Ariel 3 is ugly, slow and impractacle. The upside, it’s rare, and actually it’s SO ugly, it’s strangely attractive… and it’s proper 1970’s… right down to the baby-poo and white colour scheme. Biggest upside though is it’s cheap. It’s on sale on the Car&Classic website for a mere £450. So if your a hipster with a thing for the seventies… like three wheel but can’t quite scrape together the cash for a Bond Bug, you may be able to bag yourself a bargain.