scooterlife - photog's blog

Motorcycles. Scooters. Wheelchairs. Tape. Whatever rolls.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Stella Rant

I really want a Stella. Matter of fact, there could easily be two Stellas in this household. But the local Stella dealership folded up, the Charlotte Vespa/Stella Dealership doesn't even acknowlege Stella on their website, and the Asheville company that allows you to rent/buy scoots and has Stellas in their fleet won't answer emails or phone calls.

The Super 9 has very little in common with the Stella other than 2 wheels. It's cheaper, but not so significantly so that it puts the Stella out of the running. But I can predict a Super 9 in my future before a Stella--even though I'd rather have the Sttella--because there's a dealership here. Someone to call if I get frustrated when it doesnt' start and I don't have the time or patience to troubleshoot it--"just come and get it and call me when it runs." I also like the idea of having a place to visit for goodies and to meet other scooter owners--and while the local KTM dealer that's carrying Kymco's isn't that kind of place, it beats no dealership at all.

The Super 9 is well-built and quick. It meets my demands for a scoot that will cruise at 45mph, stop on a dime, and corner hard. It doesn't have the timeless aesthetic of the Stella, but it does have its design roots in the competitive european market where these machines are built to commute daily, and race on weekends. That kind of competence puts it in competition with the Stella on my list.

I think Genuine Scooter Company, who owns the Stella--a PX series Vespa at heart manufactured in India by LML--has one of the best two-wheeled bikes on the planet. It combines the cultural icon of the classic Vespa shape with updated features like a front disk brake and Bitubo shocks. Aftermarket parts are cheap and plentiful. How anyone--scooterist or otherwise--could resist that bike, especially with gas prices at $2 and above for the forseeable future--is beyond me. But I do see where a potential buyer could make a lunge for one and get frustrated by the smallish dealer network. Granted, I think Genuine Scooter is doing a good job of managing their growth. However, I think they need to fill this local void FAST. Raleigh is a big town in an affluent area that has plenty of colleges and universities as well--it's a perfect scooter town. Stella needs to replace the failed dealership quickly.