What’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!
The 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.
The 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.
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.
There’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.
Find out more on the Buzz website.
The Simson Schwalbe (German for Swallow – the bird you smutty minded lot) was, for those that don’t know, a classic East German scooter/moped. It followed the ‘enclosed motorcycle’ model with larger 16″ wheels than classic Italian scooter. Extremely popular in the DDR back in the day, it’s now the latest classic scooter to be re-invented as an electric ‘e-scooter’ – joining the likes of Cezeta and Lohner.
It’s been hard to come across hard and fast info about the new electric version of the Simson Schwalbe… but here’s what I’ve gleaned from various sources. Any errors are mine, due to my inability to read any language other than english, and the limitations of Google Translate. So, here’s what I know.
- It’s been in development since 2011.
- The guys behind it are Govecs – a German electric powered scooter manufacturer.
- There will be two models, roughly corresponding in power to 50 and 125cc 2-stroke engines.
- The expected cost is in the €4,000 range.
We should know more when the promised production model is revealed at the end of the month.
As yet, there’s no further information on a electric Lambretta, the electric Scomadi that was showcased at EICMA a few years ago, or an electric version of the forthcoming Lambretta Vendetta. But who knows what the future will bring.
UPDATE: Reader Fabian has done some reading for me, and there’s a little more history of the e-Schwalbe in the comments… Worth a read! (It’s the last yellow tag at the bottom of the post with “replies” in it if you can’t find the comments).
Retro Style custom scooter style build
from Deus Ex Machina
I’ve followed the Deus Ex Machina guys for a while, loving their café racer style motorcycle builds. To my knowledge, this is the first time they’ve done a scooter.
Ostensibly as a bike support vehicle, but a pretty cool build in its own right.
It’s based on the retro-styled Peugeot Django, and influenced by the Peugeot’s S57 from the fifties*, and, I would suggest, a large dose of classic Lambretta styling. They’ve (wisely in my opinion) ignored the rather er, ‘functional’ (ok, ugly) front end of the S57 and gone for something more traditionally scooter like. And they’ve come up with something rather wonderful. Read more on the Deus site.
When choosing a scoot, I’d always go for a classic geared Lammie, but as modern scooters go, I think this (and I know is not a fair comparison, a custom build against a production scooter) gives Scomadi a run for it’s money.
*Funnily enough, as these things work out, there’s a Peugeot S57 for sale (it bits) over on eBay at the moment, if you fancy a bit of a challenge. Here's the link.
Cool german electric scooter from the 1970’s. Found on The Marquis, an equally cool blog about vintage motoring, and motorcycle, culture.
The film title says Hong Kong Teddy Boys… but they’re not quite Teds as I remember them. Seriously cool scooters, whatever they are… can anybody Id them (the scooters, not the actors!)?
Form HK Rockers on Vimeo
That’s right folks. I never saw this one coming! Cushman’s are being made again in the US, by K-Jack Motors in California. And they look pretty good too. Those that know their Lambretta history will know the original Lambretta’s owed more than a little to the Cushman, who were around since the early 1900’s… and their “Airborne” model scooter, dropped with US paratroops in Italy during WW2. When Innocenti (and Piaggio) had to re-engineer their factories from making military vehicles and armaments, many regard the lightweight Cushman scooters as a spark of inspiration for both these companies.
The rest is history. The two italian firms went on to dominate scooter production in the 50’s and 60’s, firstly in Italy, then Europe, and finally worldwide. Without the styling elan of the Italian models, the Cushman became regarded as a bit of an oddball… at least in Europe. Even in the US, Italian scooters were seen as sophisticated and cosmopolitan.
But the world has changed… and in an era of generic, plastic scooters these re-engineered Cushmans have more than a little elan of their own. They are certainly stylish, and certainly look much more like the original Cushman than the new Lambretta’s… look to their predecessors.
There are two models, (see EDIT / UPDATE) the Highlander and the Step Thru. Equipped with modern engines – up to 400cc, disk brakes front and rear, and an all steel frame, they are nippy, and sturdy too. The styling that I used to regard as laughably clunky and boxy now looks (to my eye, anyway) funkily utilitarian, and retro chic. The day of the Cushman may finally have arrived!
EDIT / UPDATE: Jack Chalabian of K-Jack has been in touch to tell me there are actually FOUR models of the Cushman II in the pipeline… the Highlander, Step-Thru, Eagle, and Trailster. They will have a 9 or 14 horsepower overhead cam engine with electric start in all the models. While trying (and succeeding, I reckon) to keep the original look with modern DOT requirements; they are compliant throughout the United States… including California.