2strokeBuzz News, November 2000

by Bryan Noise, except where noted.

Comments, news items, and follow-ups are welcome.

We would also love to post info about your event, or a link to your page-include email address, phone numbers and web address if applicable.

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Thursday, November 16, 2000

First Vespa Boutique opens in Los Angeles…Finally!

Our friend Michael Marsten, who recently moved from Chicago to San Francisco, forwarded the following email from Piaggio USA:

Dear Valued Vespa® Customer,

Thank you for your interest in the Vespa motor scooter. After much anticipation, we are pleased to announce that our official US launch will take place on November 15 and will include the opening of our Los Angeles boutique. More Vespa Boutiques will follow in San Francisco, Columbia, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Houston, Chicago, and Miami. A list of these and other Vespa Boutiques and Vespa Assistenza Points along with their opening dates will soon be available on www.piaggiousa.com.

Please note that due to overwhelming demand, our first boutiques will have a limited number of Vespas. To secure your place in line, please reply to this email with your name and telephone number or call us toll-free at 866-4-PIAGGIO (866-474-2444).

Kindest Regards,

Customer Care
Piaggio USA

So that's it…Vespas are officially being sold in the USA for the first time since 1985. I would imagine if they've been cleared for sale in emissions-conscious California — the state that forced them to leave in the eighties — they're probably cleared nationwide. As you probably kow by now, their plan is to open "Boutiques" in several major cities in prominent, upscale shopping areas where they will display the scooters, take orders, and sell "Vespa Lifestyle Items." The scooters would then be delivered to customers and serviced at a separate location, in Chicago's case, a Volkswagen/Saab dealer in the suburbs. Now, only a few questions remain:

Will there be enough demand for them to stay?

If there is demand, can their production capacity keep up with it?

Will their sick marketing-to-rich-urban-snobs strategy mean the end of scootering as we know it? And how many brand-new ET4s will be totalled within minutes on Roosevelt Road between River Road and the Gold Coast?

If anyone was there for the L.A. opening, or has visited the boutique, please send 2SB a report. When the Chicago store opens, I'll be there. If they let me in.

Las Vegas rally Update: I had the dates wrong, it's February 16-18, 2001. The official hotel is the Sahara, which is allegedly as old-school as they come, and on the wrong end of the strip, which sounds good to me. Some rooms have been reserved at a rate of $99/night, but you might want to check on package deals. Lasvegas.com has a link through Travelscape, with an automatic fare finder and they seem to have good package deals. Getting your scooter there is the hard part…

Monday, November 13, 2000

Phil (the bastard) writes:

I just read the Soccer guidelines on 2strokeBuzz and they are pure genius! If I may add just one thing...Choosing teams: Tattoos vs. No Tattoos (I was never so alone in my life). Attached you will find the team uniforms from that fateful day.

Oh, Sweet Jesus… that's a photo from way back at Slaughterhouse 4—the Sunday soccer game at Lane Tech that inspired the article. Yes, my shorts are hiked up as a joke. Norm's overly-ventilated shorts resulted in dozens of unwelcome testicle sightings that day. Boy, do we look glamorous!

Mykrrr now has a webpage with more info on his Mini for sale:

Scoot to the Moon!
Los Gatos, CA, Saturday, November 25, 2000, All day
A leisurely ride along the coast of Northern California, from Los Gatos to Cameron's Pub in Half Moon Bay. Campground (overnight camping welcome), games, fun events including a slow race, possible Gymkhana, etc. Classic/custom scooter judging for all bikes on the ride. Great selection of beers on tap and pool/darts in the pub. Click here for more information

Tuesday, November 7, 2000:

I got the new Subside Sport catalog today—It's a great source for soccer jerseys from around the world, they can add names and numbers in the official styles, and they ship to the US faster than some american shops I've dealt with. They also have good sale prices on jerseys from past seasons, so it's not to late to get a Newcastle jersey with the Brown Ale logo or a 100th anniversary Barça jersey.

I also received my copy of Motorcycle Electronics Without Pain. It ain't pretty to look at, but it's definitely already helped me understand things better. I'll post a full review after I try out some of my newly-acquired electonics wizardry.

Team2strokeBuzz/M.A.S.S. superstar Mykrrr is selling his Mini Cooper. Email him if you're interested and have a few grand to throw 'round.

One reader emailed me to let me know that he was unable to open the .pdf files after downloading them...has anyone else had problems? Please let me know.
It sounds like he ended up with pdf.sit (StuffIt) files, which shouldn't be happening. I never had that problem on any of the machines (admittedly mostly Mac and newer PCs) I've tested it on.

Monday, November 6, 2000:

Honda Silverwing 600cc scooter unveiled in Japan:

Phil (Pride of Cleveland SC) posted the following on Two Stroke Smoke:

"Honda has unveiled it's new 600cc luxury touring scooter...That's right, I said 600cc!!!! The worst part is the name, 'The Silverwing,' just plain pathetic—leave that and the Sabre where they belong, in Honda History 101. It is basically the same as the Reflex 250 that will be offered here… Leave it to Honda to come out on top in the "bigger is better" war. [The Silverwing is] brought to you by the same folks who just introduced the new 1832cc Goldwing for 2001. That is officially the largest displacement motorcycle motor in the world."

"Obvious differences [between the Silverwing and the Reflex] will be suspension, brakes, displacement, and trim (gee, is that all?). The price on the Silverwing would be in the $6K range. The sad fact is for that same money next year you will be able to go out and buy a Honda Shadow 750 or any number of other mid-sized motorcycles. Face it, Scooters just don't sell in the U.S. we are spoiled and gas is cheap."

"Can we race it in M.A.S.S.? Stock Class, of course. Here I come, baby!!!"

Actually Phil, according to M.A.S.S. rules, you can race anything in stock class.

From Chris, Incriminators SC, Chapel Hill, NC:
3 clips from a documentary about the Incriminators on a local TV show:

Zoomculture 7426
Zoomculture 7433
Zoomculture 7423

Tom, the guy painting the Primavera, had a fatal heart attack on the job, a few hours after Mr. Vroom dropped off some parts. 2strokeBuzz passes along our best wishes to the family. Rumor has it Tom's brother is taking over the project, but we'll give him some time to mourn before we bother him. Man, that's just such a shock.

Also, I finally found ET3 decals at Scooter Centre Köln.

Daniel from Sportique Scooters in Denver reccommended the book Motorcyle Electronics Without Pain, by Mike Arman, to help me solve the mysteries of Vina's Sprint Veloce electrical system. Judging from the review on amazon.com, it looks to be just what I need.

The new Bajaj engine is on hold until I determine whether it will work with
VBB wheels. Hodge claims I can still use the VBB hub and brakes if I use
a Super backplate...now I just need to find a Super backplate. Others
say I'll need to use the hub, wheel, brakes, and backplate from a Super,
and I don't want to go there. I'd need two different spare wheels! Any ideas or suggestions from someone with experience upgrading a VBB or Allstate frame with a VBC or Bajaj 4-speed motor with 8"wheels would be greatly appreciated.

The Chicago Toys for Tots Run is Sunday, December 3. The run starts at 9:30 am, (a new time) at Western Avenue and 83rd St., and ends at the Marine Center at Foster & Troy streets. They claim to be the world's biggest Motorcycle Parade, and with 20,000 or more bikes every year, it's really something to see. Oh, yeah ,and that "good cause" bit, too.

There's a rally in Las Vegas February 14-16, 2001. We'll post more info as we get it, but we'll be there, scooters or no scooters.

The December 6th Second To Last Scooter Club meeting will take place at Mykrr's house. Email if you are a Chicago scooterist interested in coming to the meeting.

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Submissions, comments and questions: Contact illnoise@2strokeBuzz