Backroads Scooter Club
The term "scooter" as commonly used in the newsgroup (NG) alt.scooter refers more properly to a "motorscooter", which are a subclass of motorcycles utilizing a distinctive structural design. These are generally two-wheeled vehicles originally based on motorized versions of children's push scooters, although some three-wheeled scooters are considered to exist. Motorscooters (or simply "scooters") have been around almost as long as motorcycles and the distinction between the two has often been blurred (see 1.4). The most commonly accepted definition of scooters requires two-wheeled vehicles (or two-wheeled vehicles modified to have a rear axle) that have wheels between 8 and 14 inches in diameter (smaller than motorcycles), step-thru frames and typically engines that are low and close to the rear wheel [see The New Encyclopedia Britannica (1997), vol. 8, pg. 367]. However, it should be noted that this definition is not universally accepted, as some have argued (Dregni & Dregni, for example) that scooters need only have 2 out of 3 of these attributes. Scooters also often incorporate full bodywork, including legshields and generally are designed to be easier to operate than standard motorcycles. It should be noted that scooters may be of any engine size, though historically they typically have ranged from 50cc to 250cc. Likewise, there is no limitation to possible top speed inherent in scooter design -- many scooters regularly exceed 100mph. Incidentally, the term "scooter" is also commonly used for "medical scooters", which are typically 3 or 4 wheeled vehicles for people with mobility problems, but are quite unlike "motorscooters". There are also scooters with very small engines (under 40cc) commonly called "go-peds" (a prominent brand), which look like motorized children's push scooters.
Since its first appearance 50 yeas ago, over 15 million Vespas have been sold. They continue to sell well today all over the world. The name Vespa means "wasp" in Italian and refers to the original body shape of the well-known scooter line. Though the Vespa is not the first scooter, it is certainly the best known all over the world. Vespa is a prodigy of the Piaggio Company in Genoa, Italy the company that designs and manufactures these unique vehicles. Other names may appear on Vespa scooters as well since licensing agreements all over the world have allowed this. The Piaggio scooters are produced by the name company; however, these scooters incorporate a newer, modern design.
The first Vespa was produced in 1946 and became an instant success. This early body design is still largely produced; Vespa's timeless design is what has made it such a popularity around the world. Many model variations have been produced with small but noticeable differences. Engine sizes have ranged from 50-300cc.
Ever since its introduction to the market, the Vespa body has been made of steel. The body is a pressed steel monocoque chassis that has always set the Vespa apart from other mass-produced scooter. This manufacturing tradition not only makes the line stand out, but it provides structural rigidity and performance. Today, Vespa's steel frame tradition continues in its Pontedera facility in Italy. This is perpetuated with the most advanced and innovative manufacturing methods. Vespa's are designed and manufactured to perform and last for years to come!
Early on, companies began to compete against the Piaggio Company and its Vespa scooter line. One of the earliest and most effective competitors against Vespa was another Italian company Innocenti. Innocenti developed their own scooter line called the Lambrettas. At the time, Vespas were already dominant among the public who rode scooter in Italy. As a result, Innocenti focused their attention and focus marketing to those who wanted something that had both more style and more performance than the Vespa line. Because of these two factors, the love for Lambretta scooters have endured despite the manufacturers struggle in the market.
The First Lambretta was introduced to the public in 1947 one year after the first Vespa. The rivalry between the two models had led the two manufacturers to come up with better and increasingly innovative models. However, Innocenti ran into a number of financial difficulties and eventually had to stop production of the Lambretta line in 1970.
The original Lambretta plant was later sold off to Scooters India, Limited (SIL). The plant moved to India, where it still exists. While the plant equipment and overhead were being transported and reassembled in India, the Serveta Company of Eibar, Spain picked up a license from Innocenti to produce a line of Lambretta scooters that had slight variations from the standard Innocenti designs. In 1979, SIL began manufacturing the older Innocenti designs. However, it struggled as a government owned operation. The last handful of Lambretta GP200 scooters was produced in 1997; there are rumors that the plan is in the process of relocation to Turkey. Manufacture may resume there during the new millennium under new ownership. Despite the companies problems, the love for the Lambretta scooter continues to live on around the world.
Honda had been producing classic scooters since the 50s and 60s in Japan. However, because its competitors (Fuji and Mitsubishi) were both far better at it, Honda decided to give up in the mid-60s. It redirected its attention on their Cub moped line instead. The irony however was that the wild success of Honda¡¯s Cub actually ended up driving Fuji and Mitsubishi out of the two-wheeled market forever.
It wasn't until 1980 that Honda decided to re-enter the Japanese scooter market. It later began exporting their new modern scooters to the United States, Europe and Asia, which turned out to be very successful. These scooters have been licensed to other companies and Honda has grown to the same position of Vespa's Piaggio Company. Honda continues its quest to increase market share. It has set up plants around the world to produce scooters. This includes production in Italy, where Honda scooters sell quite well.
Motor scooters have wheels between 8 and 12 inches in diameter. Scooter engines range anywhere from the standard 49cc - 50cc scooter to the larger Honda Silver Wing Featuring a powerful, liquid-cooled 582cc DOHC engine, fully automatic CVT transmission. Vintage Vespas and most vintage scooters have a manual transmission with a clutch on the handlebar and a foot operated gear shift.
Scooter engines usually have a single cylinder or a 2 cylinder motor. Generally speaking, 50 cc or less scooters are classified in most states as a moped and have reduced safety restrictions and licensing fees. Scooters above 50 cc are for most part legally considered motorcycles. Scooters generally have a front leg shield and a scooter body that conceals most of the mechanics. The classic scooter design has a flat floorboard and storage space usually located under the scooter seat.
Modern motor scooters come equipped with air cooled 2-stroke cycle engines with automatic two-stroke oil injection and some Honda scooters and Yamaha scooters are water cooled. Most High-end scooter models have cast aluminum frames, counter-balancing, cross-linked brake systems and some modern scooters have comfort features such as windshields, full instrumentation, and even heated hand grips.
Tracing scooter ancestry to the USA, where Salsbury Scooters and Cushman Scooters created some of the first motorized scooters. Salsbury scooters was the first to produced an automatic scooter with continuously variable transmission CVT. Used by the United States military as ground vehicles were Cushman scooters. They were a light compact rugged scooters used during World War II. Vespa scooters originally manufactured by Piaggio in post-WWII Italy, made popular motor scooters where inexpensive transportation was in need. Vespa scooters dominance of the scooter market were challenged by Lambretta scooters that rivaled those of Vespa scooters product line.
Welcome to the Backroads Scooter Club Website, and Forum.
Our goal is to use our Forum as a focal point to organize local rides, and to talk about scooter related topics. Anyone can join our Forum and post here,(even if they are not a member of the Backroads Scooter Club, and do not own a scooter). It's not hard to join our club, the only real requirements are that you go on rides with us. Our motto is "Take the long way home". We like to take long rides, and take the back roads. Our members come from Rockland County, Bergen County, Orange County, Westchester County, New York City, and More. In most cases, our rides require a 150cc scooter or higher, but we welcome all motor scooter riders.
Our members ride all makes and models of scooters, Modern and Vintage.
Just to name a few types(in no particular order):
Please follow the link to our forum, it's easy to join.
We would love to hear about you, and your scooter.