What’s the Buzz?

IMG_9050What’s the Buzz? The Buzz is the future. It’s electric. And it’s Vespa shaped. Aiming to do for the scooter market what Tesla have done for cars, Buzz is recreating yesterdays scooter style with tomorrows technology.

Based in Vietnam, where there’s a lot of love for vintage scoots, Buzz are ‘British Engineered’. My guess is it’s the guys at the Saigon Scooter Centre who are behind this initiative, but I may be wrong!

IMG_9056The images shown are prototypes – the final design promising to morph into a ‘more modern take on this classic shop’ – well, I for one hope they don’t change too much. You know what side of the fence I sit on in the Vespa vs. Lambretta debate… but Vespas are the second most beautiful scooters ever made – so this retro styling looks pretty good!

Of course, it comes down to more that just good looks. These vehicles have got to perform. But with claimed top speeds of 120 kph and a 0-100 kph of under 4 seconds (for the 5000W Buzz1 model) it’s not something to worry about. Even the more modest 2000W models top end of 80kph is fine for commuting and city riding.

IMG_9065The two big ‘pain points’ with electric vehicles are range and charging. The Buzz scooters have a range of 240km – nearly 150 miles in old money. Pretty impressive. And improvements in battery tech could boost that to 400km. If your riding any more than that between charges, your doing some serious level scootering.IMG_3909

Charging should be just as pain free. Plug in overnight for a slow charge (6 hours), or, if you’re in a rush, fast charge to 80% capacity in just 12 minutes.

IMG_9084There’s even an option with a removable roof system – featuring built in solar panels – the goal being you ‘ride for free’ and never have to plug your scoot into the grid. To be honest, I’d rather plug my scooter in once a day than ride around with a roof, but I think this would work well for delivery vehicles. Delivery vehicles in sunny places!

Being 2017, all Buzz bikes will have connectivity to your phone. A RFID system means that you’ll never worry about losing your keys again. You’ll also be able to locate your bike, and check your battery status on your phone.

So, sounds pretty good right? If only it was Lambretta shaped! Well… rumours reach Lambrettista towers that (as well as some other exciting news) an electric Lambretta Vendetta is in the pipeline. Watch this space.

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Find out more on the Buzz website.

Via OffTheClothBoff and Modculture.

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The World’s Most Exclusive Scooter?

MaseratiM2-HEROThere are many scooters labelled as ‘rare’. (especially on eBay!) Among the rarer Lambretta models are the Eibar Winter Models, GP Electronics, TV200’s (especially Spanish ones) which have a  justifiable claim to the tag ‘rare’.

MaseratiM2-HERO-1Of course, it’s not just Lambretta models… the Vespa SS90 springs to mind from the Piaggio stable. And if we move away from the ‘big two’ the rarity value may step up a notch… with all the motorcycle (and car) manufacturers who tried to jump onto the ‘scooter boom’ of the fifties… Triumph, BSA, Peugeot even Harley Davidson and Ducati tried to get a piece of the action. But I honestly think I found the most exclusive scooter ever. It’s Italian (always a good thing when it comes to scooters), and is one of the most iconic marques in automotive history… Maserati.

The story of the Alférez – the ONLY Maserati scooter in existence, starts when Maserati began a collaboration Iso Rivolta. Iso are probably best known today for developing the Isetta bubble car, but also had a history of producing  sports cars, motorcycles and scooters.

Together, Maserati and Iso Rivolta produced two concept / prototype scooters in 1957, the M1 (now unfortunately lost in history, but probably a 125cc) and the M2 – the 150cc Alférez.

Although a ‘prototypes’ you can tell from the pictures that this scooter was not far from being a finished production machine. Stylistically it’s not a million miles away from a Series 2 Lambretta, with more than a hint of Vespa around the front wheel set-up. The only thing that jars a little with me is the headlight, which is not quite as elegant as that of a Lambretta Series 2…  but then again this model was out two years before the Series 2.

The frame and engine numbers are simple “M2”, and the Maserati logo on the crankcase are worth taking a second look at. The horncast Maserati badge is unique too… with a red racing car alluding to their Grand Prix heritage, and the name Alférez… a link to the Maserati founders name (Alfieri), but tellingly translated in Spanish… a hint to their ambitions in Latin America, where scooters were popular, but prehaps the Lambretta and Vespa names were not so embedded as Europe or the USA. But a promotional trip to Mexico ended badly, Maserati abandoned the scooter market. The M2 prototype remained too, finally ending up in Texas, where it resides today.

Iso continued making scooters, and while being less commercially successful than Innocenti and Piaggio, are one the few manufacturers a run for their money in styling – in my humble opinion of course.

Find out more about Maserati M2 here, where it’s for sale, if you have deep pockets. To quote from the website “The value of the scooter, a unique part of the history of the ‘Made in Italy’ is for serious collectors to personally judge, the reason why I leave the scooter price open to fair / reasonable offers. As this is a unique collector’s item, I will not answer openly low offers.”

If you want to put in a (serious) offer in here’s the website again  Update: the original site has now disappeared, I guess the scooter has been sold! If anybody knows of it’s current whereabouts / ownership, I’d love to know. If you’re the new owner, I bet you’ve got some other lovely scoots too (or perhaps a Maserati collection?) care to share some pics on the blog?


ME Electric Scooter

ME - profilo dxAfter yesterday’s electric Mogan three-wheeler, and with continuing dire warnings of an impending 2Stroke ban, I thought I’d continue the theme with this funky little electric scooter.

scooterelettrico1Electric scooters are now pretty commonplace, but most are blandly generic, cheap and Chinese. It’s innovation that sets the ME electric scooter apart. Designed by a group of Italian engineers – it’s back to basic aesthetics are reminiscent of the early open-frame Lambrettas. Rather like the FIDO I featured a on my previous blog, and the Dutch Q scooter that was at EICMA in 2013. Constructed out of Sheet Moulding Compound, a sturdy composite material that offers structural support, the ME is a cost-effective, lightweight alternative to its metal counterparts.

the-me-italian-electric-scooter-gessato-9The ME is fitted with a lithium-ion battery, with a range of 80 km, fine for a daily commute (especially if you can plug it in when you get to work!) Its electric motor takes the scooter from zero to 45 km/h in six seconds.

Support the project by visiting the ME electric scooter’s crowdfunding page.

With the promise of ” A New Lambretta” in May… and all we know is the model name “L70” could we expect an electric Lambretta? To be honest, I doubt it. I think we’ll get a reworking of the LN, with a four-stroke engine in 125, 150 and maybe 200cc’s. But I’m only guessing, I haven’t heard anything!

DonGo Bare Bones Scoot

dongo_01I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m not really a “modern scooter” person. But, and again, I’ve mentioned this before, there are some exceptions. The most notable is probably the Honda Ruckus, or Zoomer as it is known in he UK. In the same vein, The DonGo is a back to basics, stripped down scoot that is easy to build, customise, maintain and repair.dongo_06 dongo_05 dongo_02 dongo_04 dongo_03 The idea is that you buy it “flat pack” like Ikea furniture, and put it together yourself. You can spec either a petrol or electric engine. At the moment, I it’s just a concept, at prototype stage… in need of investment to turn into a scoot you can actually buy. If I was a “Dragon” I’d be saying “I’m in” to designer Otto Polefko. I’d love to see this on sale.dongo_10 via YankoDesign. More on the Otto’s Behance page, here.

Minky business… The Lambretta Bubblecar(s)

1012826_673766576009250_100253005_n 1607062_673789286006979_1068466953_n 1525577_696661540364494_261322690_nRight. I like Lambrettas. I like bubble cars. What could be better than a Lambretta Bubble Car? Well, there was one (or more than one)… or there nearly was one; The Lambretta Mink. Above are pics of a one-off prototype, developed in the 60’s. Details are lost in the murk of history, but we do know it’s powered by a SX200 engine, and is capable of 60mph. The current owner is now looking to sell, so if you’ve got £20k knocking around, contact Ian Frankland (of Taffspeed fame) and he’ll forward you the details (Like those warnings on the +1 channels and iPlayer …if your reading this “in the future” this post was written in January 2014 – don’t pester Mr Frankland).Lawil_s4_berlina_250ccAlthough a complete ‘one off’ the Mink is not totally alone in the Lambretta microcar stakes. There is the previously featured Lambretta Willam… (above) a boxy little car, but with a certain childlike charm about it… it looks like it was designed by a seven year old, in a good way. There’s even a video if you follow the link.

Avolette-1 Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum / RM AuctionsAlso from France, and slightly smoother Lambretta like curves, more along the lines of the Mink is the Avolette. A proper “bubble car” almost of bumper car proportions and appearance. There were several incarnations of this little beauty, with power units from Sachs and Maico. One of the key features of this little gem was the single “cyclops” headlight. The “New Avolette” was a Lambretta engined variant shown at the Cycle-Salon in 1957, but never making it as far as production. The pics come from the Glumso Smart Drivers blog, which has much more info here.

There are of course, the successful Lambro range of commercial vehicles from Lambretta, but these fall into a slightly different category of “micro-commercial” in my book.

Original Innocenti Twin SX200 prototype being restored by the RLC

Innocenti Twin 7Twin cylinder Lambretta’s are something most Lambrettisti have at least heard of, if not seen in the flesh. The most well known being the 250cc Targa Twin engines. What some people maybe don’t realise is this engine is based on a Innocenti original… and prototype twin cylindered SX200’s were developed and built in Milan.

Innocenti Twin 4Two of these ultra rare beasts are owned by Lambretta maestro Vittorio Tessera, (head of Casa Lambretta, author of many Lambretta books), one of which is on display in his Lambretta Museum. The other? It had the engine removed years ago, and hasn’t run since it left Innocenti. But all that is going to change.

Innocenti Twin 3Impressed with the painstaking “conserved restoration” The Rimini Lambretta Centre carried out on the original 1960 Roma Olympics Series 2, (see my previous post about these beauties), Sig. Tessera commisioned  Dean and the team at the RLC to do a similar job on the twin. As pretty much a “one off” – it differs significantly in configuration from it’s contemporaneous partner – it presents an immense challenge; but one that the RLC are more than a match for. This is one to watch. I can’t wait to see, and hear, this historic machine running.

BIG thanks to Dean from the RLC, for helping me put this post together, and proofing my ramblings.

Find out more on the Rimini Lambretta Site.

Latest Lambretta shots from Milan show

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A couple of images from the EICMA show in Milan… these red ones look like the “LS” model previously announced (I’ve heard that maybe LS stands for “Little Sister” although this migh just be a nickname), all one colour, and also a variant with the headlight on the horncast, as in the original LC’s, LD’s and LI Series 1’s. Seems a bit odd to be incorporating a design feature Lambretta abandoned in 1959, but that’s fashion for you… and there are plenty of modern scooters with the headlight in this position. True, it removes the problem of that big ugly headlight on the LN, but I don’t think it’s wholey successful design wise. 

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The final shot, below is back to ‘big brother’ the LN… but this time finished in silver and blue. I think this colourway might be for the 150cc model only, which is rumoured to be “for Italy only”. If the LN is going to be popular in the UK, I can see us wanting 150’s, 200’s, 250’s and even 300’s over here to thank you!

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Vespa 46

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I know, I know, this is a Lambretta blog, but sometimes you just can’t ignore what the ‘old enemy’ are up to. And there’s no arguing with the success of a company that have sold over 17 million scooters in their 65 year history. And at their best, I’ll make no apologies for saying they’ve made a couple of the best looking scooters ever. Even the most ardent Lambrettista would find it hard to pick fault with the beautiful organic lines of a GS 160. Well, I think there’s another classic in the pipeline, in the shape of this lovely “Vespa 46” or (and it sounds SO much better in Italian) The Quarantasei has been unveiled at the EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan, and is due to be on sale in 125 and 150cc versions before the end of 2012.

From EICMA.it Via ScooterDiva.