Archive for 2 stroke scoots

1977 Mopeds Racing – Episode 93


2009 PoliniUSA Cup – 2 stroke racing just stepped its game up…. from Harold Smith on Vimeo.

I got an email this past week from Graham, talking about how he and a friend were streaming moped and scooter racing on the on the internet. Anything with a tech bent always catches my eye so I started to look into what they were doing. They were using Mogulus a very reliable video streaming and archiving service that adds chat to the stream. It is one of the streaming platforms, like Stickam that seems to always get good reviews. But when I saw the high qualify moped racing video that Graham and Harold had put up on Vimeo, I was convinced. I needed to talk with these guys.

There are a few die-hard moped riders here in Richmond and even though I have a 50cc bike myself, I have always thought of them as under powered. The PoliniUSA Cup races feature mopeds and other bikes including scooters that have been modified, mostly with Polini aftermarket parts. These things scream! Listen to the podcast with Harold, then look for the streaming video at mopedracing or poliniusa the first weekend of each month starting in May. Don’t miss the kitted pocket bike races featuring little spitfires packing 4bhp. They do the knee-sliding like the superbikes do.

Moped links to explore

Music for this show is by Olio and The Redline

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The Vespa 180ss and Going Back to Denver – Episode 89



Spring is fast approaching here in the capital city of the south. This has meant working hard to get all my scooters running. My favorite scoot is the 1965 Ferrari red Vespa 180ss, but for most of the winter it has had suffered from the sniffles and congestion along with a loss of power when ever I leaned into the throttle. The other problem was it wouldn’t run without being choked into unconsciousness. What do you think? bad petrol, clogged jets, bad points, an air leak…the possibilities just get worse from there. I took it to ScootRichmond and Dave asked about my tinkering history with the little beauty. I had removed the carburetor, cleaner the fuel screen, replaced the carb/case gasket, pulled and cleaned the jets, flushed the air cleaner and adjusted the air/fuel mixture. But what I hadn’t done is completely disassemble the carburetor. When I pick up my scoot, Dave showed me the float and bowl which was still covered with grime and rust, a remnant from the old rusted gas tank. Once again, a great example of a job halve done.



I am headed out west this weekend to attend the WordCamp Denver. The conference is created for enthusiasts, users, developers, designers, and fans of WordPress, an open source software platform that functions as the backbone of many websites like SCTRCST.  WordCamp will cover a lot of technical stuff, but also offers a track on blogging and content development. Hopefully a full day of geeking out with other bloggers will inspire and teach me a few things about writing and communicating with readers.


Thanks to Erik, Steve and all the other Denver fans who have been emailing invitations to get together. The members of the Misfit Toys Scooter Club even offered to hound Sportique Scooters into put me on a scooter for their Sunday ride. Unfortunately, I get to Denver mid-day Friday, I’m in Camp all day Saturday and then up early Sunday to catch a 7 o’clock flight back to the east coast. If you are not already doing so, follow me on twitter we might be able to do an impromptu tweet-up. If it doesn’t happen, I am planning to be back a month or two in time for the spring thaw.

Music for this show features Ben Hammond and is from the Pod safe Music Network.


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Ducati Moped Restoration Update

Yes it looks pretty good, but it won’t start. You might remember that I began this restoration over a year ago. Tonight I went back and looked at the pictures I took before starting and I wondered how I ever thought it would be possible to bring this thing back to life. I am a persistent twit and haven’t given up and I won’t. The spark is weak, so my next move will be trying to locate a new stator. My repair of the old one was a little dodgy, as it looked salvageable, but may not have been. Enjoy the all the before and after pictures here and in the photo album. I will let you know more about bring it alive as soon as I track down some new electrics.

Episode 65 – Iphone Envy and a New Lambretta Scooter Bible

SHOW NOTES: I am sitting here with a beautiful hand crafted premium leather case for my new 3g iphone. It’s that soft Italian leather, you know, the kind that feels like a well worn shoe, already broken in and it has a wonderful new car leather smell to it. I am talking so much about this case, because my stupid AT&T store ran out of iphones and I had to order one “to be delivered in the next few days.” Now as much as I like smelling the leather case, I find myself a little pissed that all I have is a case. How can I show-off? Maybe what also gets me is that I ordered the case last week, thinking, I bet if I do this I won’t be able to get the phone. As I pressed the buy button, I thought “this will be a self fulfilling prophecy”. So now I check the AT&T website everyday to see the if the phone has shipped. So far all I get is, “your phone is on back-order.” Damn that Steve Jobs, he sucker me in again.

So as our English friends might say, lets get to this week’s scooter shite. Pete Davies is one of those English fellows, like Nigel Cox whose name is synonymous with scooter history in Europe. Pete was around way back in the late 70’s and heyday of the huge Scarborough rallies in England and has stayed true to the Lambretta badge since. Today he remains immersed in Lambrettas running the British Lambretta archives.

Being an admitted Lambretta neophyte, I am no expert, but I will go out on a limb and say that both the beginner and experienced Lambretta fans are going to love Pete’s new book, The Lambretta Bible. The book outlines in great detail the production run of every Lambretta model from 1948 until 1971 and the book also includes extra details on non production scooters including those modified by English dealers. This is one of those books that sucks you into the brand, even if you have had only a passing interest in the Lambretta scooters. Of course, now I find myself wondering if I am missing out not having a Series 2 Li in my stable. Pete has included model by model frame numbers, paint schemes, Lambretta’s Central Office notes on model by model changes with carburetor specs and gear ratios for every Lambretta model made.

The Lambretta Bible is published by Veloce Publishing in England, but as you might expect, it is available from all the major book outlets. For a direct link to the Veloce website click here. With all the detail and hundreds of glossy color pictures, of some of the best Lambrettas ever made, you won’t be disappointed.

Music for this show is from native New Yorker, long time studio musician and session guitarist Chris Juergensen and Todd Sharpeville both on the podsafe music network.

Episode 49 – Protective Riding Gear


SHOWNOTES:You may remember that a while back I took the plunge and bought some real riding gear. I have been riding for years and had never upgraded my outerwear for either safety or fashion. For some reason I started thinking about how it would be safer if I took the possibility of crashing more seriously and I ended up going for a Firstgear Meshtex Jacket and a HJC full face helmet. The helmet has been the best purchase I have made in a long time. Although it blocks out a lot of sound, I like the way that it it keeps my whole face protected from the wind and bugs. Before, I had just become a custom to the sting a bug makes when it hits your face, thinking that it was a part of the riding experience. Let me tell you, it is not. Many riding jackets have armor built in. Mine seems to shift around, mostly inside the elbows of the jacket and never seems to fit right. I like is the mesh design, which keeps me warm but also lets in just enough air to keep me cool as the seasons change. Don’t think I am planning on pitching the jacket, but several weeks ago Steve on the Scooter Scoop showed a riding armor alternative which I think is worth considering. Its called Icon Field Armor. Instead of being built into your riding gear, it is armor that straps on under your clothing and allows you to make your usual fashion statement without sacrificing your safety. It seems to offer all the same protection points, chest, shoulders, back, elbows, knees and legs. For me it will mean I will be able to build my riding wardrobe around the essential sweatshirt/jeans combination and not have to worry so much about the consequence of bouncing off a hard road surface.

All this talk about new safety gear is not just some whimsical review of new clothing options. I noticed several weeks ago that there were a number of blogger and forum posts talking about recent crashes or close calls. Each seemed to document the sheer stupidity of people driving big over-sized SUVs, proving the old riding adage that just when you think you have thought of everything, the unexpected happens. For many years I have been a rather cautious rider, some might even say pessimistic or paranoid, But like other things in life, you have to ask your self, “does it work?” For me the answer is yes.


Since blowing up my Vespa Sprint, I now face the prospect of getting back a hopped up version of the old girl. With great excitement and anticipation, I am looking at a brand new 150 LML engine mounted in a bike that is pounds lighter the Genuine Stella it is usually pushing. From everything I hear and read on the interwebs it seems that this is quite the little power plant. I am going with the no oil injection, 5-port, 150cc motor. It has electronic ignition and reed valve induction and Dave the mechanic tells me he will switch out some of the scooter’s wiring harness to get the lights working with the new 12 volt system. It should mean better reliability and more power and of course, give me a good reason to invest in some new armor protection to match the prospect of all the increased horse power. I am not planning on changing my riding style, I just have the option to go faster and we all know what that will means.

Scooter Blog Posts and News

Music for this show is from the Podsafe Music Network

Episode 48 – Scooter Meltdown, But There Is Hope


Show notes: If you have been listening to the show for any length of time, you have heard me talk about my three Vespa beauties. My first is a 1981 P200e with a sidecar. It is still my main ride and is always a eye catcher because it has a California sidecar. Another is my classic 1965 Vespa 180ss, a Red Italian beauty that I pamper, that sleeps under a blanket, the one that gets a gentle soapy sponge bath, never the direct spray of the hose. An then there is my little ’67 150 Sprint, which I finally will say, “yes I ride the ….. out it”. I’m sure you know the riding technique, crank it wide open and see if you can get just a few more miles per hour out of her. Although I have mentioned it in passing a few times, I have tried not to bring too much attention to the fact that my Sprint is one of those…yes you know what I mean, dare I even say it? A Vietnamese import. She came to this country as a refugee almost 10 years ago, just when the first bikes were making their way from overseas. It wasn’t easy to get her through customs, but she made her way to Denver and lived for a time in Texas with me, until I brought her to the east coast. She is a long way from home.

I was a bit stunned this past week, when on one of the scooter forums a member wrote about wanting to buy such an Asian scooter. There was more that one response, but the first was most telling, it said “YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE”. I thought, oh my god, that could be me, am I going to have to remain hidden, live with the secret and shame that at one point in my life, I too was an uninformed neophyte? But then again, not everyone is so judgmental. I have delayed the show for a couple of days so I could report to you on the findings of diagnostic Dave, my local scooter mechanic. He and Chelsea at ScootRichmond have always been supporters of the show and even in my current state of scooter embarrassment for having over taxed the little girl, they have never made me feel stupid. Thanks to both of them. Check the podcast for a report on the current state of my bike. I think you will enjoy the phone call and the good natured ribbing Chelsea gives me and I give myself for living on the edge, with this illegal alien scooter.

Scooter Blog Posts

Music for this show is from the Podsafe Music Network

Episode 43 – Performace Scooters and My Leap of Faith



SHOWNOTES: I guess that most of you have seen the Vespa that I use for my Podcast logo. It is a red 1967 Vespa 180ss that I got back in 1998, when I was relatively new to scooting. In late 1990 I started looking for a new scoot and the 180ss or the GS kept coming up, but as I read more I was attracted to the style of the 180, the large frame and unusual trapezoid headlight. I also found out that it was a very difficult scooter to find and was cautioned that if I did fine one it better be complete, because parts, especially side panels were hard to some by. Read more

Episode 38 – Scooterfilm’s Christian Bauer

SHOWNOTES: What a great week. Here in the US it is thanksgiving weekend. That means Marcel has been here in Richmond and I have had four days off from work. There has been plenty of time for hanging out, visiting friends and puttering around in the garage and I want to tell you about what I have been doing with my Vespa Sprint. Those of you who have been following my blog, know that I have been trying to become more social, not always one of my personal strengths. So I have joined Facebook and Myspace and have been shooting out invitations left and right to anyone who posts themselves with their scooter in their profile. In doing this I happen to stumble upon Christian Bauer at He responded almost immediately by sending an email, inviting me to take a look at his latest film Scooterist, a way of life. It is an hour and a half packed full of rallies, racing, wrenching and the scooter lifestyle in England and Germany, and is just fantastic.

I am always amazed at the way people become inspired and how they build those things that they have passion for into their lives. Christian Bauer is one of those remarkable individuals who has taken his passion for scootering and turned it into art, in this case a film about scooting life in England and Germany called “Scooterists, a way of life”. He now lives and works in London, which is where I caught up with him for this interview.


Through December 10th you can get a copy of Scooterists for 20% off, just click here.

I mentioned earlier I have been working on my Vespa Sprint. This is a bike I got about ten years ago from Randall over at ScootRS. I was one of those people who took a chance with Randall very earlier on in his Vespa restoration business and I must say that for the most part I have been pleased. After watching Christian’s DVD I was inspired to pull the carb, something I have been meaning to do for a long time. It has been sticking and hasn’t been easy to set the idle. I am lucky to have ScootRichmond in my backyard and picked up a new Spaco reproduction carb to mount back on the bike. Boy what a difference. I can already feel how much more responsive it is and hopefully will be less prone to get out of whack

Music for this show is from the Podsafe Music Network
The Kind with Whats your Deal
The Gangsters with Dance til you Drop
Dan Elson with Terrifying Lee