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Vespa Surrey - New Vespa dealer (BC)

Vespa Surrey is the newest authorized dealer of Vespa, Piaggio, Aprilia,and Derbi scooters in the lower mainland of British Columbia.

Not only scooters they feature great accessory brands such as Corazzo, Nexx Helmets, Zearl Optics, THH Helmets, and Thibault. They've got factory trained technicians in the shop too, original Vespa parts and quick turn-arounds on repairs.

Be sure to check out their women's only scooter nights and events, as well as group rides, vendor shows and other unique events.

Check out their website here.

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Costco teams up with Vespa Canada for big savings

Well, it looks like your Costco membership just became more useful - and you thought only having to buy toilet paper once a year was good! Vespa Canada and Costco have teamed up with a special offer.

* click the picture for a larger version.

Costco members are now entitled to receive "Exclusive Savings" worth up to $700 with the purchase of any new Vespa or Piaggio scooter.

Here's the basics of the offer -

You've got to be a Costco member and you need to make the purchase between May 1 and June 30, 2009. That gets you:

- A two year extended warranty with a minimum retail price of $400
- Up to $200 towards the purchase of a helmet
- Up to $50 towards the purchase of a pair of gloves
- A $50 Costco Cash card (to be issued by Costco and sent by mail within 2 weeks of the date of purchase).

Visit your local Vespa dealership for full terms and conditions.

Find your local dealership on the Vespa Canada website here.

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Consumer Reports - Scooter and motorcycle testing

The huge spike in gas prices last summer got many people thinking about motorcycles and scooters as a means to improve fuel economy and reduce their transportation costs.

This apparently got the people at Consumer Reports to do some motorcycle testing for the first time since 1981. Consumer Reports has long been considered a trusted reviewer of just about everything - from digital cameras to cars. So, having them report on motorcycles and scooters will likley help some folks in making the purchase decision.

The group of machines tested wasn't really that large - just 8 in total. They concentrated on small-displacement models that featured excellent fuel economy. Three 50cc scooters, three scooters in the 125cc to 150cc range, and two 250cc entry-level motorcycles were selected for testing.

The Vespa LX scooter managed to take top honors in the smallest 50cc class but performed well against the slightly larger 150cc competitors too where it tied with the KYMCO People for the win.

In the 250cc class, the Kawasaki Ninja won out over the Honda Rebel to earn the recommendation.

Full results can be seen online now if you're a subscriber and the article will be published in the March 2009 issue of Consumer Reports.

Press Release follows:

PRESS RELEASE:

CONSUMER REPORTS TESTS scooters and motorcycles FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1981

Rising consumer interest in transportation alternatives spurred CR's Auto Test Center to test two-wheelers

YONKERS, NY ― Fueled by painfully high gasoline prices, 2008 saw many consumers looking for new alternatives to big-bucks fill-ups at the pump. With rising interest in lower-priced two-wheelers that sip rather than guzzle gas and thousands of new riders on the road, Consumer Reports has tested small motor scooters and motorcycles for the first time since 1981.

Consumer Reports tested a total of eight fuel sipping, small-displacement models: three 50cc scooters, three scooters in the 125cc to 150cc range, and two 250cc entry-level motorcycles, all priced between about $1,000 to $4,400 and delivering as much as 60 to 100 mpg fuel economy, at a steady cruise. Among the scooters, models from Italy's Vespa and Taiwan's Kymco achieved the highest overall ratings, with the Vespa LX 50 leading the 50cc category, and the Vespa LX 150 and Kymco People 150 sharing best overall ratings in the bigger engine class. Among the motorcycles, the Kawasaki Ninja 250, an entry-level sports bike, achieved a higher score than the Honda Rebel.

"When fuel prices crossed the $4.00 per gallon mark, some consumers shifted gears and two wheels became a cost-saving alternative," said Rik Paul, automotive editor, Consumer Reports. "And, despite current low gas costs, interest in scooters and motorcycles may continue to increase, especially in urban areas where parking space is at a premium.

The full report on motorcycles and scooters is available in the March 2009 issue of Consumer Reports, on sale February 3 and online at www.ConsumerReports.org

With their 35 to 40 mph top speed, 50cc scooters may suffice for short trips in suburban and city riding. Of the three models tested, the Vespa LX 50's smooth four-stroke engine, good ergonomics, controlled ride quality, and solid fit and finish made it the favorite choice, but it is very slow. Testers found that "you get what you pay for," with the inexpensive $995 Motorino Allegra getting the worst marks for vibration, harsh ride, and subpar fit.

In the 125cc to 150 cc category, the tested models' top speed range of 55 mph to 57 mph made them much better suited for keeping up with traffic but still not recommended for freeway or interstate use. The 150cc Kymco People and Vespa LX both proved well-rounded, easy-to-ride machines, with responsive handling and easy maneuverability. With its big 16-inch wheels, the Kymco offered superior stability and off-the-line acceleration while the Vespa excelled in ride quality, roominess, under-seat storage, and build quality. The third model tested, the Yamaha Vino 125 could not match the other two models' ride experience. While offering the lowest price point at $2,899, the Yamaha's harsh ride and sluggish engine detracted from its cost benefit.

Of the two 250cc motorcycles tested, the Kawasaki Ninja 250 was the clear winner, outperforming the Honda Rebel 250 in most categories. With its agile handling, and slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission, this entry-level motorcycle is an excellent choice for individuals who want to combine low cost of ownership with a more performance-focused ride experience. Agile, stable, and refined yet brisk, the Ninja also had the best braking performance of any model tested. Compared with scooters, which have easy-shifting automatic transmissions, step-through designs, and handy under-seat storage capacity, motorcycles, however, are less practical and their manual transmissions and higher performance require more skill to handle well.

Like Consumer Reports in-depth auto testing process, scooters and motorcycles were subjected to an extensive sequence of standardized tests to determine their performance in categories such as acceleration, braking, fuel economy, noise/vibration, top speed and comfort. To evaluate ride, handling and everyday liveability features, the staff designed a new 5.2 mile testing route, including stops and starts on hills and a variety of tight turns, utilizing the Auto Test Center's multi-surface, multi-grade facility. New testing procedures were also added to accurately evaluate the machines' response to common urban riding situations, such as the ability to quickly and safely accelerate through an intersection.

"Scooters and motorcycles can be a fun, fuel-sipping alternative for everyday commuting and they are certainly an enjoyable recreational choice, but consumers also need to consider their limitations," said Paul. "Proper protective gear is essential, especially in inclement weather. Even a moderate 40-degrees F temperature can feel like sub-freezing wind chill to a rider." And, says Paul, professional instruction to finetune defensive riding skills, such as a course offered through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, is a must for new riders as risk of serious injury is significantly higher than in a car or truck.

With more than 7 million print and online subscribers, Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Web site; the magazine's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To become a subscriber, consumers can call 1-800-234-1645. Information and articles from the magazine can be accessed online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

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World's biggest motorcycle exhibition - November 4th

World's biggest motorcycle exhibition will open its doors on November 4th at Milan, Italy to an ever increasing public.

This year at Milan's EICMA exhibition, we should see several new motorcycles and scooters - probably not as many as last year when it seemed everybody had something new.

But like at Intermot show in Germany, there will no doubt be a lot of Asian manufactured electric motorcycles and scooters showcased.

The main conference day is Tuesday, with 2 conferences called on Monday and one on Wednesday.

Several companies have announced that they're be doing a press conference at the show. Which would generally indicate that they have something interesting they want to make public - but time will tell. Here's the list of companies:

Yamaha - Yamaha have organized a conference the day before the show opens (Monday), and it's held off-site.

Ducati - They're having their press conference the day before the show opens. Fighter model perhaps?

Honda - Honda starts off the press conference heavy Tuesday

New Max - New Max have several brands of clothing and helmets. Haven't heard of these folks.

BMW - Having already announced three new K series models at Intermot it's hard to say what they'll have to say.

Husqvarna - These guys immediately follow BMW (they're a subsidiary of BMW) and both are scheduled for 30 minutes a piece.

Leo Vince - Might be a good guess that the Italian Leo Vince will probably be presenting new exhausts.

KTM - KTM have two conference, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday (together with Zadi - an Italian parts manufacturer). Rumors are that they may show an electric motorcycle.

Aprilia - The Piaggio group's Aprilia have 15 minutes so not too much time for big announcements here.

Moto Guzzi - Piaggio group's Guzzi have 10 minutes

Gilera - Piaggio group's Gilera have 15 minutes

Vespa - Piaggio group's Vespa have 15 minutes

Piaggio - Piaggio themselves took 15 minutes

Scarabeo - Piaggio group's Scarabeo have 10 minutes

Derbi - Piaggio group's Derbi have 10 minutes

Kymco - Scooter manufacturer Kymko rarely call for conferences so there will likely be something new out of this Taiwanese company.

Nipponia - Never heard of these guys.

Suzuki - Suzuki have 30 minutes but announced new bikes at Intermot so we're not sure what to expect here.

Metzeler - Tire manufacturer Metzeler are closing the day with a press conference

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