Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vintage Scooters and Mopeds - Pune Mirror

Make way for the Lambrettas, Vespas, Javas, Yezdis, Aerials and Nortons.

These vintage bikes and scooters are back in demand in Bangalore following a huge demand for them in the West. Such two-wheelers, which until recently only had scrap value, are now being sold for anything from Rs 40,000 to Rs 75,000. Ads for these vehicles are flooding the internet.

Sudhakar, a 32-year-old resident of Ulsoor and a collector of these vintage bikes, explains that the demand for these vintage two-wheelers is something new and exciting for Bangaloreans.

Now, with some of these vehicles being valued close to Rs 1 lakh, Sudhakar’s excitement is quite understandable. His fascination for these vehicles dates back to his college days. He used to get these old scooters painted attractively and turn heads in college to counter the rich guys who would ride the latest bikes.

 After buying a Lambretta scooter for Rs 30,000, Sudhakar spent close to Rs 15,000 for painting and spares. He now plans to sell it for Rs 60,000. Except for tyres, nothing is Indian in his scooter. “Though it is bulky to push and pull, once you kick off, it is almost like flying in the air,” he adds. He says the company has reopened in the West and is buying all the models. Sudhakar plans to sell his 1972 Lambretta Roller, made in England.

Sudhakar is not the only one. Nazeer Ahmed is also among those Bangaloreans cashing in on this new-found love for vintage bikes and scooters. This resident of Kodandaramanagar near Pulikeshinagar (Frazer Town) recently sold his Norton 500 cc to a German automobile showroom. He is now ready to sell his 40-year-old 48 cc Italian made Lambretta Moped. “I bought it (moped) for Rs 2,000 nearly 28 years ago. The first bike I got was when I was 12 years old. As we ran our own workshop and iron fabrication industry, my inclination towards these bikes was natural. A few months ago, I was told that there has been a great demand in Germany for these mopeds, which were so widely used during World War II.

Some showroom owners bought it and today they have displayed it in their showroom. Nobody but me touched that bike,” claims Nazeer. He uses his single-seater 1960 Lambretta Moped occasionally. Even today, its mileage is 45-50 km per litre and it can reach a top speed of 70 kmph. It can be compared to the present day Hero Puch. Unlike Puch, it does not have a kick start but can be started by pedalling.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Michael Jackson vs Mr. Bean

Micheal Jackson -versus- Mr. Bean on a Vespa

Scooters for girls - Harriet Ridley

Scooters for girls

While there are plenty of Vespas built for anyone who wants to ride one, man or woman (the Vespa GTS 125 and 300 Super caught my eye in Milan), the Vespa Rosa introduced to the UK last Spring, to name just one of them, is clearly designed for girls with its very pink colour scheme. A man would, as I wrote, have to be seriously in touch with his feminine side to ride one of these. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

But apparently, I'm propagating a sexist myth here in the UK that all scooters, and Vespas in particular, are girls' bikes. I don't believe that for a second. Open any scooter brochure and it's still mostly male models riding the bikes, Vespas included - although perhaps not the Rosa. And overall in the UK, there are still far fewer women than men riding scooters.
However, the best thing about scooters is the lack of male-domination that still pervades the motorcycling world. In fact the UK's scooter boom that kicked off around 1997 has been responsible for a huge surge in girls getting on two wheels.
Scooters are so unisex that manufacturers are going as far as bringing out 'his and her' colour schemes of the same model, as the array of new bikes at this year's EICMA Milan show demonstrates.
Kymco for instance displayed the Many 50 and 100 in two colour schemes: white and incrusted with (no doubt fake) diamonds for her, and a sportier red paintjob for him.
Meanwhile on one of its models, Motom brought out the Lambretta 'Rubacuori' (that's Italian for heartbreaker) complete with pink paintjob littered in hearts and a cupid with bow and arrow for her, while a manlier pirate-style paintjob features on the 'Black' for him. Both versions are available as 50cc, 125cc or 150cc.
I guess it's unfair for the boys that the girls can ride, for instance, the red Many without attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. Meanwhile, blokes risk getting laughed at by their beered-up mates should they venture down the pub on the sparkly girly version.
But that's life. Girls wear trousers all the time; blokes only wear skirts if they're Scottish or David Beckham. Or seriously in touch with their feminine side.
There are also the less in-your-face, more tasteful colour schemes still obviously targeted to women. For instance Suzuki's white Sixteen 150 with its stylish flowery detailing. Or the Suzuki Burgman 200 with its soft curves and pearlescent colour scheme (oh I'm sorry, is this not meant to be girly?).
Don't get me wrong. Not all girls want to ride a sickly sweet pink scooter with hearts, diamonds or even the more subtle flowery detailing. Give me a sporty job such as the Aprilia Sport City, Gilera Runner or even better, the GP800 any day. Or even a cushty Suzuki Burgman 650 - have you seen the 2010 version? It looks unbelievably comfortable with its heated armchair-style seat and grips.
Even the new Burgman 400 with its fancy ABS is commuter heaven enough for me. But there's nothing wrong with women flouting their girliness should they wish to. And the option for them to do so is there.
However, the manufacturers say many of the overtly girly colour options, for instance the Piaggio Liberty Elle with its matching pink and flowery open-faced helmet and top box, won't be imported to the UK because there isn't enough demand.
I reckon this has more to do with us British girls having good taste in scooters than there not being enough of us. Still, no matter how dreadful some of these colour schemes truly are - the Scarabeo's bubble-gum pink paintjob is not really my thing (who am I kidding, I love it!) - it's encouraging to see manufacturers sit up and take note of us girls on bikes.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Bajaj Chetak Nostalgia - Pune Mirror,Pune Mirror

It’s interesting that all this nostalgia is spilling now, a few years after the Chetak was discontinued, simply because Rajiv Bajaj chose to make a big deal about the demise of the uninspired Kristal. It almost seems like the whole brouhaha was calculated to spite his father. No one will really miss the Kristal, but the decision is important on a symbolic level, and it seems strange to absolutely rule out future scooter production. Which makes me even more positive that a retro Chetak is imminent, ha. Then again, LML has that market pretty well covered now. - 2strokebuzz

Son rise , News - Latest - Pune Mirror,Pune Mirror

Finally, the generation gap has caught up with Rahul Bajaj! The two-wheeler giant Bajaj Auto will now stop making scooters, and the old man is not happy with his son and Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj’s decision to exit production of scooters.

It is the end of an era and the demise of a philosophy: that two-wheelers were meant to move from point A to B. Today, it is the age of the fast bikes. And our inhouse expert agrees with the company’s new ideology.

Group chairman and Rajiv’s father, Rahul Bajaj has made his feelings clear about the scooters’ forthcoming demise. “I feel bad, I feel hurt.

I can’t say harm the company and its shareholders by doing something you should not do... But I am still not convinced. He [Rajiv] has tried to explain it to me,” were his exact words.

However, the young MD rebuffed the emotional outburst by saying: “I care less for the solution from emotions, I believe more in the magic of logic.

Brands that are more sharply positioned are brands that are more profitable... It [scooter] is not a really profitable market.”

For an expert’s opinion on this situation, Pune Mirror talked to Adil Jal Darukhanawala, editor of zigwheels. com. He said: “Rajiv Bajaj’s decision to stop production of scooters is a sound businessman’s move.

The type of scooters Bajaj used to make have become a relic of the old times; one hardly sees them on the road anyway.

Motorcycles are the hot wheels of today and the future.” He added, “"Nostalgia is one thing and the hard reality is something else.

Agreed, the company was formed to manufacture scooters. Its first scooter model Chetak was launched in 1972 and remained its flagship model right until the mid-90s.

Bajaj stopped manufacturing Chetak four years ago. The 100-cc gearless Kristal will be phased out by the current fiscal. But all said and done, a company has to focus on the global trends and move with the times.”

“The Pulsar was conceived to offer a much-needed sporty alternative and that did the trick for Bajaj both from a motorcycle point of view as well as a financial stand point,” Darukhanawala said.

He added, “India is the second largest 2-wheeler market with about 7 million bikes being produced annually, with China topping the list with an output of 12 million.

Out of India's 7-million annual output of two-wheelers, 5.5 million comprises motorbikes and the rest of the 1.5 million is made up of scooters, scooterettes and mopeds.

So, it only makes some solid sense to look at the bigger game rather than being a petty hunter. The way the company is structuring its business by having the largest, most robust R&D in the country, says a lot about the direction it’s taking," Darukhanawala signed off.

All that is best summed up in Rajiv Bajaj’s words, “Bharat has changed, Buland has changed, Bajaj has changed.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bajaj Scooters - The End of a Era.....

End of the road for Bajaj scooters - Times of India

For Bajaj Auto, it’s a case of looking to the future rather than the past. But consumers who remember India before liberalization will probably feel pangs of nostalgia at the announcement that Bajaj Auto is set to stop making scooters. ( Watch Video )

Many can still recall the days when waiting lists for Bajaj scooters stretched into years, with people willing to pay a premium equal to the original cost to get hold of one. The sturdy vehicles were much sought after as wedding gifts; strings were often pulled and quotas invoked to speed up the allotment. Once the world’s biggest player in scooters, selling over a lakh units monthly in its heyday, Bajaj’s long-running advertising campaign described ‘hamara Bajaj’ as the symbol of a resurgent India.

But rather than look into the rearview mirror, Bajaj Auto is focusing on the road ahead. Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj announced on Wednesday that the company was all set to bid adieu to the segment as it concentrates on motorcycles, in line with its ambitions of emerging as the world’s biggest bikemaker ahead of Honda. ‘‘We have an opportunity to shoot for something... to be the largest motorcycle maker in the world,’’ Bajaj said as he announced growth plans for the motorcycle segment.

While the greater potential in the motorcycle segment may be one of the reasons prompting Bajaj to exit the scooter market, the company’s listless performance in scooters would certainly be among the other compelling reasons behind the withdrawal, expected by the end of this fiscal.

Bajaj has seen its scooter volumes drop to barely a couple of hundreds per month. The company, which dominated the scooter market with geared brands like Chetak and Super, suffered in the 1990s with the coming of motorcycles in the market that were not only more stylish and appealing but they also offered greater mileage.

“We want to become a motorcycle specialist and do not want to distract ourselves by scooters and mopeds... we cannot get greedy and try to do everything,” Bajaj said. “We are not developing scooters. We have no scooter on the drawing board.” 

Bajaj Auto to stop production of Scooters....

The iconic Bajaj scooter will soon be history with the company deciding to stop its production to focus exclusively on the motorcycle market. The two-wheeler giant will exit the scooter segment by the end of 2009-10 financial year, Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
According to Rajiv Bajaj the company is aiming to become a "motorcycle specialist" and cannot make scooters. He made the announcement and launching a new motorcycle - Pulsar 135 LS. The company currently produces three million motorcycles per annum as against just about 12,000 scooters per year, most of which is exported. ''The scooters did not sell according to our expectations...Now our focus is on motorcycles,'' he said.
The company, at present, sells just one scooter that is the 100-cc gearless Crystal.
Source - IBN Live