Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Indian Gears

All over the world, anti-pollution legislation is killing off the two-stroke engine. This was one of the reasons given when Piaggio retired the geared Vespa - the much-loved PX - from their range of scooters.

"But what about a geared four-stroke model?" we wailed.

"Can't fit a 4T motor in the PX frame" came the retort.

"Oh yeah?" said India's LML.

Now the world's only producer of manual gearbox scooters, LML's version of the PX was originally built under licence from Piaggio. The two companies had a fallout in 1999 and went their own ways. The legal outcome is unclear (to me, anyway) but LML still produce PX clones. These are sold under the moniker of Star or Via Toscana in the UK and Australasia, and Stella in the US. Some heretics even claim they're better made than their latter-end Italian cousins.

So here's LML's four stroke Star. The frame had to be adapted to fit the engine, which looks like a cross between an extractor fan and the Terminator's digestive system. According to LML their new scooter is good for a quite staggering 179MPG. Every Vespisti is familiar with their steed being referred to as a sewing machine - and here's a scooter that really does sound like one.


Affer said...

Isn't it odd: as various peop[le begin to seriously revise the view of two-strokes - as a new ecological, super efficient engine - others are popping in 4-strokes! Still, as long as we never land up with the dreadful diesel......

TIW said...

There IS a rumour of a diesel scooter being developed by Bajaj.