Sunday, April 28, 2013

Scooter nirvana -- a visit to Vespa Motorsport

At about 10 Saturday morning, I visited Vespa Motorsport -- better known to us in Hawaii as This post is for my Honolulu "scooter buddies," as spouse Mary refers to y'all, since the Scooterwest web site has evolved into the parts lifeline that keeps our Vespas alive and running.
High-Speed Wobble will get back on the road after this, but I know my fellow Vespa owners will enjoy seeing what and who is at the other end of the website and phone when we're looking for parts, accessories and advice.
The Wee looked anything but wee next to the used scoots parked at the curb outside Vespa Motorsport.
The dealership is on Pacific Highway north of the city and the airport in an area not unlike Honolulu's Nimitz Highway in Kalihi.
Although the used scooters parked outside are a mix of Stellas, Kymcos, Genuine Buddys and Vespas, the space inside the showroom is mostly brand new Vespas.

I hoped to see Max, the owner and contributor who has visited us on Oahu, but he doesn't work weekends anymore. Instead, I introduced myself to T.C. Millan, the sales manager, who was running the showroom. T.C. offered to give me a tour and we spent at least a half hour talking story and exploring 17,000 square feet of Vespa paradise.

T.C. Millan first showed me where the sales department takes phone orders. Motorsport is now the largest supplier of Vespa parts in the country, he said.
Tires? They have tires. Lots and lots of tires.
The parts department is crammed and mufflers ended up hanging over a doorway. "I'm always worried one of them will fall on my head," T.C. said.
Obviously a sales guy, T.C. Mugs for the camera in the service department, where a vintage shifty was getting spruced up.
The classic vintage air-cooled, two-stroke power plant is elegantly simple. It also makes the scooter lean to the right, since it's not centrally mounted. Smell that blue smoke?
The poster-size version of Motorsport's Vespa racer logo.
Despite the dealership's 17,000 square feet of space, Vespas are packed in everywhere -- even up in the rafters.
The immaculate service department.
Kevin answers service and parts questions.
This is the lair of Scott William Jones, Esq., the Web monkey who keeps updated and online.
T.C. says he's been selling more and more Vespas in Hawaii. His markup is less than the local dealer's and Motorsport can ship a scooter from San Diego to Oahu for $549. The biggest hassle was working out the title and registration issues with our beloved DMV.
Lots of 300 Supers, with a Piaggio Beverly down at the end of the lineup.
The showroom, looking the other way. It's easy to believe Motorsport is the country's largest Vespa dealership.
Of course, they also stock lots of Vespa apparel and accessories, such as this nifty t-shirt.
The classic hoodie.
A stylish leather jacket and Vespa helmet combo. Motorsport sells the stick-on chrome Vespa logos -- if you like the look you can glue one on the lid you already have.
This looks cool, but I'll bet wrestling a 650 Burgman with a sidecar around the twisties is a challenge.
This Bonneville is T.C.'s personal ride. Clearly, he's a man of good taste.
Finally, T.C. reminded me that the big, annual Amerivespa rally will be in San Diego this year in June. Got some miles saved up? Try book your ticket now while seats are available.

Heading back to Chula Vista after a day touring the city, harbor, Point Loma and Coronado Island, I passed a new, white 300 Super on I-5. The rider, dressed immaculately in black-and-white leather and helicopter pilot helmet was hunched over the bars and doing about 55 mph while cars zoomed by at 70. He certainly could have gone faster, but he looked like an accident waiting to happen.

As much as I love my Vespa GT200 and as good as it is on two-lane roads and city streets, if you have to use the slab, the V-Strom is a better way to go.


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