Austin to The Old Dominion on a 155cc Scooter

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by The Virginian, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. The Virginian

    The Virginian YouTube n00b Supporter

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    I've booked a flight for Tuesday 04/18/17 from Richmond to Austin, TX to pick the scoot of my dreams and ride it home. Yeah, yeah I know, y'all think I'm nuts. Take a number, I've been hearing that whole life. ;)

    The scoot of my dreams... 2014 Vespa 946 "Bellissma", translated is "Gorgeous."
    [​IMG]
    (yes, that is a pic of my actual scoot I'm picking up)

    In 1944, Piaggio engineers Renzo Spolti and Vittorio Casini designed a motorcycle with bodywork fully enclosing the drivetrain and forming a tall splash guard at the front. In addition to the bodywork, the design included handlebar-mounted controls, forced air cooling, wheels of small diameter, and a tall central section that had to be straddled. Officially known as the MP5 ("Moto Piaggio no. 5"), the prototype was nicknamed "Paperino" (either "duckling" or "Donald Duck" in Italian). Piaggio was displeased with the MP5, especially the tall central section. He contracted aeronautical engineer Corradino D'Ascanio, to redesign the scooter. D'Ascanio, who had earlier been consulted by Ferdinando Innocenti about scooter design and manufacture, made it immediately known that he hated motorcycles, believing them to be bulky, dirty, and unreliable.

    D'Ascanio's MP6 prototype had its engine mounted beside the rear wheel. The wheel was driven directly from the transmission, eliminating the drive chain and the oil and dirt associated with it. The prototype had a unit spar frame with stress-bearing steel outer panels. These changes allowed the MP6 to have a step-through design without a centre section like that of the MP5 Paperino. The MP6 design also included a single sided front suspension, interchangeable front and rear wheels mounted on stub axles, and a spare wheel. Other features of the MP6 were similar to those on the Paperino, including the handlebar-mounted controls and the enclosed bodywork with the tall front splash guard.

    Upon seeing the MP6 for the first time, Enrico Piaggio exclaimed: "Sembra una vespa!" ("It resembles a wasp!") Piaggio effectively named his new scooter on the spot.
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    In April 1946, this amazing new, functional and innovative mode of transport was presented to the general public for the first time in a Golf Club in Rome. The shield was embossed with a new logo which replaced the previous Piaggio Aircraft emblem. Vespa was an immediate success and gained extensive media interest as well as public curiosity, surprise and even skepticism. The first sales of Vespa were managed through a small dealer network and the price of the standard model was 55,000 lire, while the deluxe version was sold for 66,000 lire.

    Spin forward to 2013 Piaggio was bold enough to release a handmade Scooter as a tribute to the release of the very first Vespa "Wasp" 70 years ago. The 946’s styling is sourced from Vespa’s original MP6 prototype developed in 1946, hence the 946 in the name. The “Ricordo Italiano!”, translated is "I remember Italian!"

    As I understand it, only 100 946's were imported into the United Stated each model year. The price of admission is $10,000 U.S. plus applicably fees, freight, prep, etc. officially making it the most expensive scooter ever massed produced. Done, too much for me so I wrote it off...

    Piaggio presently owns Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio Scooters, Derbi, Gilera, Vespa and Piaggio commercial vehicles. So as most U.S. folks know the dealer support in North America is weak sauce at best. Vespa and MG dealers have been folding up shop right and left nationwide for the last 10 years. As a result some of the larger dealerships in the country get to buy other dealers inventory at a reduced rate.

    Which brings me to flying out to AF1 in Austin. They started out small with just Aprilia and now are one of if not the biggest Italian m/c dealer in the nation. AF1 is a really good dealership and they know everything and then some about the Italian brands. They had one at a very handsome price OTD that was just about as cheap if not cheaper then a new Sprint 150! Sold! I'm on my way.

    I would like to give a shout out to Ed Cook, one of the owner's of AF1 and Colin Shanafelt my salesperson, They both have bent over backwards to accommodate my purchase to the point that Colin is going to pick me up at the airport in Austin. Many thanks! http://af1racingaustin.com/

    The specs:
    - Single cylinder 4 stroke, with catalytic converter and electronic fuel injection, Single overhead camshaft - 3 valve (2 intake, 1 exhaust)
    - Cylinder capacity 155 cc
    - Max speed 57 mph (93 km/h)
    - Tank capacity 2.2 gallons (8.5 liters)
    - MPG up to 117 mpg (up to 50 km / l)
    - Ignition Electric
    - Transmission Automatic “twist and go” CVT
    - Front suspension Single link arm with coil spring and dual-action hydraulic shock absorber
    - Rear suspension Coil spring with adjustable preload, mono shock with progressive lever system
    - Front brake Disk, 220 mm + ABS - ASR
    - Rear brake Disk, 220 mm + ABS - ASR
    - Seat height 31.6 in (805 mm)
    - Emissions approval EPA and CARB
    - Warranty All 2014 and newer Vespa scooters include a 2-year unlimited mileage warranty. *Limits are outlined in the warranty booklet. See dealer for details.
    - Roadside Assistance 1 Free year of Roadside Assistance provided by Road America and Road Canada ***Discontinued 01/01/17***

    Why is this scoot so expensive? Good question!

    “Luxury scooter” is kind of oxymoronic, no? Jumbo shrimp!

    - Hand made
    - ASR electronic traction control – the first on a Vespa
    - Two-channel ABS
    - LED lighting all the way around (except the DOT U.S. version gets crappy winkers instead of the Frenched in LEDs the rest of the world gets)
    - 320 welds
    - Body is hand made out of metal (for the most part)
    - Damn sexy!

    Negatives:

    - Zero storage
    - Price
    - 155cc
    - Air Cooled

    The route!
    Austin to New Orleans, LA and get my first service done at The Transportation Revolution (Vespa Dealer) https://ttrno.com/ Stay the night in NOLA and hit it hard early the next morning working my way to the the entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'll travel the entire BRP and hang a right to get home.
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    I've just uploaded my routes on my GPS subject to change with the weather.
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    I have no idea how long this trip will take, if a brand new hand made scooter from Italy can make it without breaking down or if the weather will beat my ass the whole trip. What I do know is I have a lot of heart and determination. I'll just report the news as it unfolds, any of you that have read my other reports probably know this.

    I'll start packing in about a week and and will reveal what gear I used and why as I go. How well it did or how it failed.

    One things for sure, it will be a journey.

    Parting thought
    [​IMG]

    (More to come in about two weeks)
    #1
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  2. cabanza

    cabanza Smooth is Fast

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    This is gonna be fun! I can't wait for April 18!
    #2
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  3. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am. Supporter

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    Holy crap Eric!

    This should be grand, like most things we've watched you do here on ADV.

    Fantastic history lesson on the Vespa story!!:thumb


    Safe travels my friend. :lurk
    #3
  4. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    I am jealous of the ride on so utterly impractical and foolish a luxury scooter... and you will die alone and in the gutter, and the air cooled motor will blow up etc...etc...
    If you don't post millions of pictures you will burn in hell forever and your luxury scooter will be a monument to your ineptitude.
    Oh dear. Jealousy is a dreadful mistress. How shall I sleep for thinking of you?
    #4
  5. The Virginian

    The Virginian YouTube n00b Supporter

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    Meet me in New Orleans and come ride the BRP! Welcome to stay at the lake and tour the area! ;)
    #5
  6. The Virginian

    The Virginian YouTube n00b Supporter

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    Thanks! There will be tons of pics as best I can on this trip!
    #6
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  7. The Virginian

    The Virginian YouTube n00b Supporter

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    I should mention that cabanza was kind enough to answer some of my question in pm. Many thanks again for helping a fellow rider out!
    #7
  8. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    Oh lord...oh for the time off. What a story.
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  9. Scot

    Scot Been here awhile

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    you're just the man to do it!
    #9
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  10. The Virginian

    The Virginian YouTube n00b Supporter

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    Vespa offers a multi media kit that replaces the kick panel and plugs into the left side for $300. For this color it has been discontinued which is fine with me as it was too expensive to me anyways and from what I read the multi media is gimmicky anyway.

    [​IMG]

    That said I need to get power to my cell phone and GPS to get home. After speaking with the salesperson Colin, I opted to just order the OEM USB and grommet and just have it poke out from behind the kick panel. I figured I'd just break out the Dremmel and altar the stock kick panel.

    I got an email yesterday:

    Keith was able to go above and beyond on your USB connector. I have attached pictures. Also, the name plate pictured is kind of important for this model. I think we are still waiting on the windscreen.

    Colin Shanafelt

    Nice! I have never ever been treated so well on a purchase! Looking good and exactly what I was going to do.

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    [​IMG]

    The side medallion is a work of art and specific to your scoot with the VIN number etched in it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. JonnyH913

    JonnyH913 Been here awhile Supporter

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    :lurk
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  12. Eigerhiker

    Eigerhiker "This is an Adventure"

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    If it's not too far off you're route I would suggest the Natchez Trace Parkway. It runs from Natchez, MS to just south of Nashville, TN. from there you can take any number of secondary roads over to Gatlinburg, TN to the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
    #12
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  13. The Virginian

    The Virginian YouTube n00b Supporter

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    Thanks, I'll take a second look at it and may revise. I'm also rethinking when I leave Austin about going around Houston, I was told it can be very problematic trying to go through it and can take up to 3 hours. That would suck to start my journey.
    #13
  14. Eigerhiker

    Eigerhiker "This is an Adventure"

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    Stay away from Houston. Heavy traffic, aggressive drivers and a lot of construction zones. From Austin, I would ride out 71 E towards Bastrop. At La Grange Take Highway 159 N toward Round Top (that's where Chip & Joanne from Fixer Upper Shop for antiques) cute little town. Continue towards 290 E to Brenham.

    From Brenham take 105 towards Navasota. Continue on 105 E all the way till it ends at 96 go south towards I-10 E. this will allow you to completely bypass Houston and experience some nice country roads along the way. Gas stops are not a problem and plenty of good food to choose from.

    If you want to save time and not start the Natchez Trace from the beginning, you can pick it up from just north of Jackson, MS. Not too far from the interstate.
    #14
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  15. BigKev72

    BigKev72 ANZAC

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    Eiger has you on a pretty good route out of Texas. I would concur that Houston is a good place to miss.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  16. The Virginian

    The Virginian YouTube n00b Supporter

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    Huge help! Thank you!

    Eric
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  17. The Virginian

    The Virginian YouTube n00b Supporter

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    Thank you! I cannot repay you guys for the agony you have saved me.

    Eric
    #17
  18. LidoCA

    LidoCA Been here awhile

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    I used to work in Texas a lot, several years ago. I did the Houston, Angleton, Austin triangle many times. Elder is right. Avoid any road near a "loop". Houston traffic is second to L.A.
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  19. The Virginian

    The Virginian YouTube n00b Supporter

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    Thank you, very helpful!
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  20. calmconviction

    calmconviction Been here awhile

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    Eric-

    Thank you for the backstory of the model and I'm looking forward to the ride reports. You should have a beautiful ride along the BRP.

    Alex (BV350)
    #20
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