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.

IMG_9059

Find out more on the Buzz website.

Via OffTheClothBoff and Modculture.

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Miss Saigon

Malaguti SaigonYasin, the guy who correctly identified the mystery scooter as a KTM Ponny, has got an interesting scooter himself… well, actually he’s got a few – a Lambretta J50,  Vespa 50 N, and a “Malaguti Saigon”. And it was the Saigon that piqued my interest. Another 50cc scooter… at a quick glance it could be mistaken for a Lambretta… nice clean lines, more elegant maybe than a J-Range Lammie.

SONY DSCMalaguti Saigon (green) DSC03447 SONY DSC Malaguti is another marque with a proud Italian heritage. Founded in 1930 in San Lazzaro di Savena,in the province of Bologna. Starting out making bike frames, Malaguti soon diversified into mopeds and the small, lightweight, single cylinder motorcycles the Italians were so good at. So when the scooter boom started in the 50’s, the company were well placed to take advantage of this. Rather than purely focus on the domestic market, Malaguti exported the majority of it’s scooters… with over 70% of the factories production going to Vietnam… including the scooter shown… which soon gained the nickname “Saigon” …although this was never an official company name.

So, that’s the brief history of these little lightweight scoots… one of many Italian marques that diversified into scooters, but in my opinion one of the prettiest, and one that deserves a little more recognition.

Yasin kindly sent me some pics of his Saigon (below) , and I admit, I’m a little jealous of his elegant little scoot. It looks in excellent original condition… original paint and even a dealer sticker on the front mudguard. Lovely. It’s clearly not complete… but not too far off… missing the sidepanels and rear light, a front fork cover, and some horncasing trim by the look of it… so if you’ve got access to a cache of Malaguti parts, let me know and I’ll pass the details on to Yasin. It looks pretty good without the panels imho… although you’d be hard pushed to get much more than a couple of litres in that tiny fuel tank… which would limit your range a little!

Yasins Malaguti Saigon IMG_6137 IMG_6141 IMG_6142 IMG_6143 IMG_6144

Malaguti are still in business today, and still a family owned company, and, although they ceased vehicle production in 2011, they still deal with spare parts, accessories and after sales service. Unfortunately for Yasin, I think his “Siagon” may be a little too long out of production for any spare parts to still be knocking round the factory!

One final thought, I know I’ve got readers in Vietnam, and Lambrettas and Vespas are immensely popular out there… but is anyone riding a Siagon in Vietnam? Even perhaps in Siagon? And if your are, have you got any spare panels for Yasin?Malaguti logo

Malaguti Website

Thanks to Riccardo at Malaguti for the updated information.

EBretta – An update

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Right, I’ve found out a little bit more about the EBretta, the Electric powered Lambretta straight out of Ho Chi Minh City (See my previous post) . It is a fully operational prototype that has been developed and tested, so it IS real world, real technology, and it actually works. Even more exciting than that, a Mk 2 production version is currently under development.

The power is supplied by a brushless 13″ motor which generates 3kW. This will generate a torque of 180 Nm, which translates to a top speed of over 60 kmph (roughly 40 mph). While this might, at first seem less than impressive it would be fine for around town and commuting, with the engine having enough torque to accelerate uphill and carry a ‘larger person’ – I think I might qualify for that last category!

The Mk1 Version has a total of 16 , Lithium Iron Phosphate battery cells.  Lithium Iron Phosphate battery cells are lighter and hold more charge than traditional lead acid or silicone batteries, and are safer than lithium ion batteries. The batteries are protected by a top of the range controller unit and a Battery Management System that monitors battery levels and prevents over charging. The charge time is approx. 3 hours, and the run time, which will vary due to driving conditions, “easily exceeds” 40 km.

The figures above are all for the Mk1 EBretta, and, as I said,  there is a Mk2 under development. The technology is moving fast in the world of electric vehicles, and the Mk 2 will use tech that wasn’t even around 12 months ago, including Sevcon digital displays and battery management systems that are built in to the batteries rather than separate units. Smaller, higher performance battery units are in the pipeline, although at the moment the cost of these is prohibitive, as the technologies mature this should come down.

They’re even looking at adding accessories that will charge your laptop, tablet or phone as you drive. I wonder what’s next… an iPad integrated into your toolbox door?

So, what’s the verdict?

I think the guys at Saigon Scooter Centre have given us a glimpse of the future. I expect building a modern, electric engine into a classic scooter frame has presented them with more than few issues, but the finished result looks amazing. Performance wise, this is never going to be a machine for speed merchants, or one to take on a long distance rally… But that’s not what it’s been built for. For a daily commuter, or a round town runabout this would be ideal. And with most of the running problems of a ‘traditional’ Lambretta coming down to fuel or electrics, it takes one of those items out of the equation. And I’ve got this far without even mentioning the fuel saving benefits… imagine getting home from work and just plugging your Lambretta* in for three hours. Never buy another litre of petrol or 2stroke oil again!

Would I have one? Hell yeah. Although I would probably have to fit an MP3 player and speakers to blast out the traditional Lambretta exhaust note, and carry a small aerosol of “eau de 2stroke” to spray into the air occasionally. I’d love to know what YOU think though… let me know in the comments (I’m afraid you have to register for a Posterous account, but hey, that’s FREE, and they don’t bother you with loads of emails… and you might even want to start your own blog!)

Look out for reviews and reports in the scooter press soon. If you’ve got any questions let me know and I’ll try and find out, or you can contact the Siagon Scooter Centre directly.

Find out more at the Saigon Scooter Centre website or Facebook page.

They’re taking orders now!

*SSC is marketing the EBretta as a “Lambretta replica” no doubt so there are no licensing issues with the owners of the Lambretta trademark.

EBretta – An update

Right, I’ve found out a little bit more about the EBretta. It is a fully operational prototype that has been developed and tested, so it IS real world, real technology, and it actually works. Even more exciting than that, a Mk 2 production version is currently under development.

The power is supplied by a brushless 13″ motor which generates 3kW. This will generate a torque of 180 Nm, which translates to a top speed of over 60 kmph (roughly 40 mph). While this might, at first seem less than impressive it would be fine for around town and commuting, with the engine having enough torque to accelerate uphill and carry a ‘larger person’ – I think I might qualify for that last category!

The Mk1 Version has a total of 16 , Lithium Iron Phosphate battery cells.  Lithium Iron Phosphate battery cells are lighter and hold more charge than traditional lead acid or silicone batteries, and are safer than lithium ion batteries. The batteries are protected by a top of the range controller unit and a Battery Management System that monitors battery levels and prevents over charging. The charge time is approx. 3 hours, and the run time, which will vary due to driving conditions, “easily exceeds” 40 km.

The figures above are all for the Mk1 EBretta, and, as I said,  there is a Mk2 under development. The technology is moving fast in the world of electric vehicles, and the Mk 2 will use tech that wasn’t even around 12 months ago, including Sevcon digital displays and battery management systems that are built in to the batteries rather than separate units. Smaller, higher performance battery units are in the pipeline, although at the moment the cost of these is prohibitive, as the technologies mature this should come down.

So, what’s the verdict?

I think the guys at Saigon Scooter Centre have given us a glimpse of the future. I expect building a modern, electric engine into a classic scooter frame has presented them with more than few issues, but the finished result looks amazing. Performance wise, this is never going to be a machine for speed merchants, or one to take on a long distance rally… But that’s not what it’s been built for. For a daily commuter, or a round town runabout this would be ideal. And with most of the running problems of a ‘traditional’ Lambretta coming down to fuel or electrics, it takes one of those items out of the equation.Would I have one? Hell yeah. Although I would probably have to fit an MP3 player and speakers to blast out the traditional Lambretta exhaust note, and carry a small aerosol of “eau de 2stroke” to spray into the air occasionally.

Find out more at the Saigon Scooter Centre website or Facebook page

Lambretta’s and Vespa’s in Vietnam

It’s been a while since I posted, ant to be honest, a couple of weeks since I’ve ridden my scoot. Spanners out at the weekend, fitting a new kickstart assembly. Wish me luck.

Here’s a nice little feature from a Vietnamese TV show on the scootering/restoration scene. Unless you can speak Vietnamese, forget the commentary, and just enjoy the movie. It kicks off with some film of Saigon back in the day, a very cosmopolitan and sophisticated place by the look of it. It then goes on to feature the work of the Saigon Scooter Centre, and some very nice Lammies. A very nice S2 at 7:18!

After about 8 mins there’s some nice footage of VW bug and bus restos, stick with it if your a fan of the Vespa Ape, as the program finishes on that. Nice.

Via The Scooterist blog.