Electric Swallow

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 Lohner12895280-wyglada-jak-klasyczny-simson-schulbe-jednak-zamiast-silnika-spalinowego-napedza-go-prad-96s-1200

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.

  1. It’s been in development since 2011.
  2. The guys behind it are Govecs – a German electric powered scooter manufacturer.
  3. There will be two models, roughly corresponding in power to 50 and 125cc 2-stroke engines.
  4. 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.

If you’re interested in electric scooters, check out these posts on the Fido and the DonGo Bare Bones too.

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).

 

 

Deus Derny

Retro Style custom scooter style build
from Deus Ex Machina

LEDERNY_STUDIO-17I’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.

LEDERNY_STUDIO-14When 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.

1960’s Nogoodniks from Hong Kong…

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

After the return of the Lambretta… iconic US Cushman scooter makes a comeback

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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.

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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.

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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.

via Visordown

Find out more at the K-Jack Website, or Facebook page.

Gang Girls video

Great vid by Vintage Hair Lounge shot on the streets of Southampton, featuring local scooter clubs, classic cars and burlesque performers! The song is a rather good version of Bang Bang by Miss Annie. Found Via Zeno’s Scooters website… a recently established up Lambretta and Vespa specialist also down Southampton way. 

Before there was SatNav

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LONG before GPS actually… Motorcyclist riding long distances either for work, leisure or (originally) military purposes used a system called a “Road Book”  which allowed you to ride without continually stopping to check maps. Basically a long scroll of paper that is manually, (or in the more sophisticated versions, mechanically – connected to the odometer) wound to show the distances between established reference points, I reckon this would be a pretty useful, if not a completely accurate/reliable tool. I like the wrist worn version too.

Any old sporting scooterists out there seen anything similar mounted to a scoot?
From French site LeBlogMoto via RideTheMachine.

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