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Lemme explain:
When the P200 and scooters pre-1985 ruled the american scooter scene everyone couldn't believe that Piaggio wouldn't bring the ET4 and the PX150-catalyzed into the USA. Everyone I spoke with said "I would totally buy a new one so I didn't have to put up with so-so parts support and/or shops being so few and far between. So in 1999 Piaggio scooters hit US shores, I saw them!
Everyone thought it would be a "ground roots" approach to selling new scooters. The small shops that kept the name alive over here would be selling the new Vespas and they would be cheap.
Well, everyone (I know everyone is a broad generalization, but it will suit our purposes) was somewhat disappointed when Piaggio went with the boutique high-end route. Why wouldn't they? they are the scooters upon which all others are based and judged.
Then they all said piaggio forgot those who loved them and kept them alive some went so far as to say that Piaggio actually "hates" scooterists. Which is the same as saying GM hates car owners.
Then all the others [scooter manufacturers] started entering into the states and flooding the market with a bunch of cheap crap. Then store owners and other folks started saying that Piaggio was the Evil Corporate Scooter Company and the companies they represent somehow aren't about profits.
Having owned my own shop, and worked at a few others, it bothers me when I hear people saying that Vespas are shoddy or have inherent flaws that Piaggio built into them or whatever. I know otherwise. Piaggio, like everyother company on the planet puts out the best product they can, hopes that people enjoy it and would like to see those people return to purchase more of their stuff.
I have put up with a lot, being a 10-14 rally a year, scooterboy, working for Vespa, riding an ET4 (seems like everyone forgets about my 23 other scooters), maybe I'm a little sensitive.

Cheers,
Larry
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Petty Tyrant
0:7 And counting
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Petty Tyrant
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UTC quote
Re: Why I am the way I am...
demonlarry wrote:
Then they all said piaggio forgot those who loved them and kept them alive some went so far as to say that Piaggio actually "hates" scooterists. Which is the same as saying GM hates car owners.
It's my observation (and just my opinion) that it's the other way around. The vintage scooterists seem to hold Piaggio and their newer products in contempt. The notion that an automatic transmission invalidates any connection to previous Vespa products seems silly to me, but that's what I keep hearing from the vintage crowd.

As for GM, that might be the only explanation for their behavior over the last 30 years.
@beale avatar
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None! I sold it :(
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@beale avatar
None! I sold it :(
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UTC quote
I read on one site, " If you don't shift you are a wuss", I thought it was funny. Like shifting really means you are a "he-man"?
Just ride and enjoy, Beale.
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Actually, I think you're blessed with the unique position of being both an owner/enthusiast and dealer who has a mechanical aptitude, a direct line of communication with the manufacturer and parts distributor, and long time riding experience. That, I think, gives you what I'd describe as a "confidence advantage" -- you don't wonder when something goes wrong and you resolve it by your many channels, whether that's by your own two hands or some Vespa U.S.A. rep's phone number. You are always in control of the situation when it come to your Vespa, unlike many of of us.

Don't get me wrong, I love my LX150 and it does make me smile, but when something does go wrong, -- or rather when something did -- because of the distance of the dealership and what I'd assume was an overworked tech who had no extra hands and too many bikes to work on, it was not the best customer experience I've ever had with a vehicle I've owned to get something repaired.

I addressed this in my recent post about scooters in Paris. They are EVERYWHERE, and Piaggio bikes are in abundance if not the small majority just based on observation. My guess is the situation in Paris when it comes to getting service or repair on a scooter is as simple as is in the States, where you can drag your Toyota or Pontiac to the local Pep Boys for a tire change or new battery, or bring it Jiffy Lube for a simple oil change.

I might be exaggerating a bit, but just the visible numbers of scooters alone on the street (and a simple Google search for scooter and moto mechanics in Paris) would make one assume that there is a support industry of mecahnics and shops to back it up. It just isn't as simple here when it comes to Vespas, or scooters in general.

Again, I chose Vespa over other brands for many reasons, and it wasn't a difficult choice for me. I respect and envy your enthusiasm for the company and the product, but some of us just aren't as "deep in" as you are. For the rest of us, or at least me, we're often left to the disposal of others when it comes to having issues resolved.
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The only times I would question Piaggio's commitment to customers is with the change in Derbi distribution. Cutting off all of your dealers and not having a plan to fill their shoes right away has to be aggravating to customers. Hopefully that's all taken care of now.

I'm not surprised they went with the boutique strategy. Vespas aren't as inexpensive and basic as they once were. Obviously they decided that almost anybody could do inexpensive and basic and they would need to differentiate themselves. In that situation there is nowhere to go but upmarket.

I can see why the scooter faithful were disappointed though. They had expectations that Vespa coming back wouldn't really change their "scene" in the ways that it had. Ironically, the Stella probably offers the scooter faithful much more of the buying experience they were hoping for with Vespa.
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...
If any of you have troubles, you can post 'em up here, and if I can help I will. I know greasy feels the same way. If its something small and you are worried about feeling embarrassed or you feel it is a dumb question [we all know that the only dumb question is the one that goes unasked] you can PM me or I am sure you could PM greasy125.

that being said, i am in a "be careful what you wish for" type of situation. Being here [working in scootershops and dealerships] has changed my rally going experience. I used to go to relax, now it seems as though I am working at rallies.

Don't get me wrong I think I have one of the best jobs on the planet.


-larry
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Quote:
Don't get me wrong I think I have one of the best jobs on the planet.
You're a wise and lucky man.
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I have a few scooters....
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UTC quote
<soapbox>
I am a small business owner and scooter enthusiast. I understand the passion but also understand the economics of the situation. I own 3 vintage scooters because I like them, like to tinker with them and think they're cool. I also own a GT200 because I think it's cool too and it starts every time I push the button. It seems that the vintage crowd forgets that inexpensive Vespas came to the states when Italy was recovering from WWII and the mighty dollar was king. In our global economy, things are now very different. Italy is no longer down and out. The exchange rate causes Italian and most European products for that matter to be expensive. That doesn't even take into account the shipping costs. When I was very young, "Made in Japan" meant junk. But they were the least cost producer of many products and people would buy them. China has now become the least cost producer of many products: not just scooters. China is starting to raise the quality of their exports. It will happen slowly and as it does prices will go up. All purchases ultimately come down to economics. People buy as much quality as they can (or are willing to) afford.

It seems to me that many in our country forget that we are a capitalist country. The primary objective of businesses is generate a profit. It can't operate if it's expenses are greater than it's income. But somehow that's become evil in our society. It's the same as your household, though. You hope to have some money left over at the end of the month. I know I do. If there is no profit, there is no R&D, no new products, no new scooter colors...you get the picture. If income and expenses are equal, it's called a "not for profit" organization or charity.
</soapbox>
UTC

Addicted
PX200 for aeons, Lambrettas in "60's",My wife's GTS250 when I'm good.
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Addicted
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UTC quote
Good post subject
Interestin stuff particularily as I have never had broken continuity of supply such as in the States.
i think the vintage guys kept their machines going as a love affair on the smell of an oily rag for spares etc.they deserve lotsa credit for that. They now may be giving a bit of stick to the Stella riders who effectively have a new vintage scoot. Also they may be miffed at not having new shop franchises and so slag off at autos.
Why? Piaggio have one shot and they have to get it right this is THE key new market , Europe is fine and loves them anyway.
I personally think the stella is ok and will bring new old style scoots to those who have lusted after them .They may even get California acceptance which will open a floodgate maybe, personally I again hope that they succeed.Just change the main bearings when you hop them up , ok?!
I dont want to ride a GTS. Because I will HAVE to buy one for my wife you understand. I think black shrinks its size and makes it a stealth machine. For my wife you understand.
Totally concur re the rally repair bit Larry.Same as having a trailer you wind up as the rescue man for guys that havent done basic maintenance and dont even care.newbies you dont mind helping.
Anyway scooting is on the brink of exploding in popularity in your country and good luck to you all, just all live together in relative harmony it makes everything more fun.
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...
where is the "ditto" key.
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Molto Verboso
2005 vespa px125 (sold) + 1998 Yamaha XJ600N
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Molto Verboso
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UTC quote
A strong euro is not good if you want to import into the US, your export however can only benefit from it.

Actually vespa's are expensive, even here in Europe.
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Consume Less & Share More
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UTC quote
So, that's your excuse Larry? Laughing emoticon And what's this about you being sensitive? I will say, you're a good sport though.
OP
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...
thats all i got...
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