California Scooter Company

Discussion in 'Vendors' started by gatling, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. gatling

    gatling Long timer

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    How about this? A new manufacturer (California Scooter Company; www.CaliforniaScooterCo.com) is opening a factory in southern California to produce a scooter with styling reminiscent of the 1940s/1950s Mustang. Deliveries start in March of this year. I've just started working with this company, so if you have questions, ask away!

    The old...
    [​IMG]

    The new...
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. redhandmoto

    redhandmoto Been here awhile

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    Cool. Very hardtail. "Scooter"? Expensive? Is the same, er, look, achievable at a lower price by bobbing a bigger-engined cycle?

    Just sayin'; still cool.
    #2
  3. approachbears

    approachbears 250cc is 50cc too many

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    $4995?!!?? That's a lot of cash to have something to make the Kikker 5150 riders jealous.

    Are these actually going to be made in the US or just somehow assembled (ie. uncrated) here? Their web page just says "timeless American design" but nothing about American made. Kinda like my crappy Schwinn bicycle having a "designed in the USA" sticker.
    #3
  4. redhandmoto

    redhandmoto Been here awhile

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    (from the company website, fwiw)

    "Each and every California Scooter is built here at our factory in La Verne, California and is personally inspected by one of our own master builders before leaving our facility."

    Built = assembled of offshore pieces?
    #4
  5. Bandit240

    Bandit240 Been here awhile

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    Its more of a mini chopper than a scooter. The engine looks to be a chinese clone of a honda engine. The forks look alot like the forks on my TC90. Now i have an idea to build a mini chopper with a 90cc 2 stroke suzuki engine.

    Its cool looking, and if you can weld, you could make one. Not something i would drop $5k on.
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  6. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    My uncle had a Mustang when I was a kid. Those of us who remember the Mustang are getting up there in years so there may be some who will buy for nostalgia reasons. Still, for half of that price you can get a full size, full suspension, Chinese made cruiser bike.

    Q
    #6
  7. JEDI 2.0

    JEDI 2.0 Not From Star Wars

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    Shame, because that thing is pretty cool. . ..but by NO STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION would I pay $5k for that :huh
    #7
  8. approachbears

    approachbears 250cc is 50cc too many

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    I guess I didn't dig deep enough on the website to find that.

    For about $5K you can get a fully restored Cushman or Mustang if you're really nostalgia crazy. For $2K you can get a Kikker for just the looks but not the cachet.

    It seems like this thing is being built more along the lines and hefty price tags of custom choppers than the typical scooter. You can buy a fine Honda or stock Harley for way less than a Big Dog, Texas Cycle, West Coast Chopper, OCC, Sucker Punch Sally, etc... But you buy one of those choppers for the feel and sometimes the intangibles.

    I doubt this different idea of scooter production will take the country by storm or even match the sales of the Kikker. But who knows. Maybe this is the price tag to run a fully functional, healthy niche business. At least it doesn't appear to be a Chinese product dump concept.
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  9. Bandit240

    Bandit240 Been here awhile

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    I went to the website and looked at the pictures a little better. The engine and forks look just like the ones that were on a buddies chinese 200cc sportbike. Even the controls look the same too. Even if its put together in the USA, its from china.

    This might end up being like the stella, everyone i talk to about them says they are made in Chicago. Even the local Stella dealer will swear that they are made there.
    #9
  10. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    :poser

    It strikes me as funny that people would not know the "Stella" history, long before Genuine started bringing them over. Hell, that's half the fun of owning the little LML beast. :raabia
    #10
  11. pennintj

    pennintj Down & Dirty Mechanic

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    Sorry, but IMHO $5k seems to be a lot of money to spend on essentially an updated Pagsta, no matter where it's assembled. Yah, you may have the frames built here (I doubt it) but that's your standard linhai 200cc wrapped with a ton of stick on QJ DOT equipment.

    Good luck with that.

    Tom
    #11
  12. KaceCoyote

    KaceCoyote Pass the queer more beer

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    They're sorta cool.


    Like 1500 bux cool maybe?


    Who makes the motors, where is the frame built?
    #12
  13. gatling

    gatling Long timer

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    Thanks, I think they are cool, too. The questions about component sources and price in your post and the others above seem to go away after folks have had a chance to see the scooters. That sure was the case with me.

    Some of the components (including the ones you ask about above) are sourced from foreign suppliers, and some of the production occurs in the United States. All of the make/buy and sourcing decisions are based on quality, cost, safety, style, and other business factors, with quality being the dominant factor. The assembly, integration, and test operations occur in the California production facility, primarily because the company is focused on providing a quality product and creating jobs in the United States.

    Seeing the scooters in person elicits a pretty strong positive reaction from most folks, including (obviously) me. I was skeptical when a friend first told me about them and asked me to get involved with the California Scooter Company, but the first time I saw one (the Classic) it was pretty hard not to get excited about it. Maybe it's because I had a '79 Electra Glide Classic, but I think mostly it was the fit and finish, style, the near complete lack of any plastic, and overall coolness of the scooter. Don't think of this as a scooter like a Vespa or one of the Chinese things. Think of the word "scooter" as it was used to describe a motorcycle in the '50s and '60s. You gotta see these in person to really understand what they are all about. I've been a pretty serious Triumph rider for a long, long time, I put a lot of miles on Harleys, and I smiled like a kid on Christmas morning the first time I saw one of these. It didn't take me long to start thinking about what it would be like to take one of these all the way down to Cabo in Baja and write a trip report about it. It's that cool.

    The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive at the IMS shows (if you're on Facebook, check out the California Scooter Company page, which has a lot of photos of what's been happening at the shows). My advice is to check out the scooters personally, and make your own decision about quality and price after seeing them in person. The IMS show schedule is at http://californiascooterco.com/company/events.html. There will be a list of dealers out soon where you can see the scooters (production deliveries will start in the near future). If you'd like a brochure, please PM me and I'll get one to you. And if you're out in southern California, let me know and I'll get you hooked up to see one.
    #13
  14. redhandmoto

    redhandmoto Been here awhile

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    Cool, yes. Accepting that all this is true, at that price point, the glam may be insufficient to make five thousand dollars go away.

    For most buyers, times are too hard-nosed to make "(t)he questions about component sources and price ...go away..." It'll be an uphill battle. Best of luck.

    Unfortunately, in this country, the cost of making such a thing are very high. Once decent components have been sourced and assembled, the net profit on five grand probably isn't great.
    #14
  15. approachbears

    approachbears 250cc is 50cc too many

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    I disagree with you. Its not expensive to make things in this country.

    Statements like yours seem to imply that wages for workers are somehow too high or that making things is somehow untenable when companies are required to follow standards of worker and consumer safety and environmental protection. In reality the costs of making things like vehicles in this country are high only in relative comparison to places where the costs are abusively low with the mentality that profits needs to be astronomical and the impacts or consumers be damned. Afterall, lots of companies do quite well making vehicles in the US. Sure the current economic climate is harsh, but that's across the board.

    What do you mean when you estimate profits not being "great"? If salaries are being paid and the company is profitable, then more is probably pure greed.
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  16. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    Some direct and simple questions:

    What company makes the engine? Is it Chinese?

    What company makes the frame? Is it Chinese?

    What company makes the forks? Are they Chinese?

    What company make the wheels? Are they Chinese?

    What company makes the headlight, taillight, etc.? Are they Chinese?

    What company makes the seat and springs? Are they Chinese?

    What company makes the gas tank? Is it Chinese?

    What parts are actually made in the US as opposed to just being assembled in the US?

    Thanks for direct answers to these simple questions.

    Q
    #16
  17. approachbears

    approachbears 250cc is 50cc too many

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    Are new scooters required to have a parts content rating like new cars?
    #17
  18. redhandmoto

    redhandmoto Been here awhile

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    Good morning, 'bears.

    Why, uh, nossir, you don't disagree with me. And I don't disagree with you.

    You have succinctly given the 'long' version of what I was saying - that given our standards for a decent and living wage and benefits, environmental and safety protections, it it the "wage slavery' nations where industrial manufacturing takes places anymore.

    And, ah, well, tsk - for the strawman of "...seem to imply that wages are too high..." Oh, no no no no no no no - our industrial worker's wages aren't too high - the slave-states workers wages are too low. And as you say, greed is the reason they have the industrial work and we don't.

    And there's another component to the greed thing - strictly domestic, too: the space in which these bikes and all other things in this country are made, sold, assembled, stored, etc., etc., is irrationally expensive, expensive like it were condos in Monaco. And the cost of insuring one's business, no matter what sub-sector, is criminal. And the cost of health coverage for one's employee's is a fucking crime. And the suckola mind-set that has created this milieu is psychotic, and its practitioners should go, every-other-one, to the Wall, pour encourager les autres.

    No, My Man, we are quite consonant on the matter. Think, m'Lords, what this fun little bike would cost if every one of the sourced components were truly made here.

    It's a disgusting situation; it kills innovation, our markets, the livelihood of skilled workers, and our culture.

    I doubt, 'bears, that we could agree more. I was in business in this nightmare climate -emphasis on the "was"...
    #18
  19. Bar None

    Bar None Long timer

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    Nice looking mini bike and would be tempting at half that price. Might sell a few at $5k.
    #19
  20. approachbears

    approachbears 250cc is 50cc too many

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    Sorry if I used a strawman argument that you weren't trying to make. Its just that I have talked to many people who, often in anti-union/anti-worker contexts, do explicitly claim that wages are too high.

    Well, I do indeed disagree with you about this point. I know several people who have worked in light industrial manufacturing (stamping, welding, plastics) in places like Nebraska, were I live in New Mexico, and central Texas. The land is certainly not Monaco priced, which is why they set up shop there instead of places with relatively high cost per square foot facilities in other areas. And many got pretty hefty tax breaks to set up shop.

    But you are completely correct about the insanity of health care. I really don't understand, beyond the demagoguery of socialist boogeymen, why every single employer in the US isn't lining up behind a single payer plan. Think off all the paper work alone that this would free up businesses from ever having to deal with if, like most other industrialized nations, we separated insurance from employment. Health insurance claims would never cross an employer's desk...they would simply never have to worry about it. That would change productivity no matter what else it might impact. The fact that my employer has to review different health plans and options each and every year is a pure waste of effort. A single payer plan like Canada's (which is really different that a government run health care system like Britain's) would level the playing field between businesses.

    That gets us back to actually talking about these California Scooters. If they are just assembling scoots from off the shelf parts, then they are going to be expensive no matter where those parts come from. And that's what people on this thread seem to be asking questions about when they point out that the engine and even smaller parts seem straight from a Chinese catalog that, now the internet exists, is available to anyone with cash in hand.
    #20