Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Longfellow, Minneapolis
So I'm now in Barcelona for a week, and though there's far less scooters in Barcelona than in Paris (and far less everything - it's much smaller), it's much more exciting for those who like manual-shift scooters. I'd say (and I'm pulling this number out of my ass) that in Paris maybe 1 in 100 scooters is a shifter, and of those, all but a few are P-series. That means that, in an average day, you probably see 1000 scooters, 10 of which are shifters, 9 of which are Ps, and about one a day is more interesting.
By contrast, in Barcelona probably 1 in 20 scooters is a shifter - maybe even 1 in 15 - and they're all old. I haven't seen a single shiny new shifter scooter in Barcelona (in Paris almost all the Ps you see are new), but I've seen a wide variety of old beat-up Vespas and lambrettas. That's right, Lambrettas! I've seen three Lambrettas (probably Servetas, but I don't really know) in the last two days. And I've seen piles of smallframes! In three days I've probably seen two dozen smallframes. I don't really know enough to know what they are except that they're Vespas, they're *not* largeframes, and they're not handlebar bikes, so by deduction, they must be smallframes. The don't have removable cowls like the largeframes; but they don't have the little door like smallframes I know; I wonder if maybe they're late Primaveras or early PKs. Anyway, I'll try to get and post some good pictures of them, as they're the most common Vespas on the roads here and I don't know anything about them. I'd say they're about the same vintage as the very first Ps.
There's also a really solid Sprint parked in front of my hotel - in bad cosmetic shape, but a candidate for a real easy makeover! I've taken a few pictures of it and will try to put it up. I'm tempted to offer the owner some dollars for it... I've also seen a Rally and a handful of older largeframes. And there are lots of Ps - from the very first up to the early 90s; but very few from recent years, and very few twist-n-go Vespas. I've seen just a few ETs and no GTs. Also, I've seen no non-Vespa Piaggios here. The Barcelona twist-n-gos are almost all Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, MZ, Aprilia, and odd Chinese brands. I've seen only one of the BMW C1 that's so popular in Paris.
Generally, sccoters seem to be extremely popular and fashionable among all people in Paris, and new and simple seem to be the two biggest criteria there. In Barcelona, almost all the bikes look pretty worn out; they're popular among those who can't afford a motorcycle or (gasp) car. That means there aren't many of the cool, fancy new bikes here; but it also means that the reliable older bikes are still in use, and though almost all of them need a facelift, there's some real diamonds-in-the-rough here. In a given day you're likely to see 200 or so scooters; of those, probably 10-15 are old shifters, of which about half are smallframes; the rest are mostly Ps with a few interesting exceptions.
Here I tell people I have a PX150 (it's not worth explaining what the hell a Stella is), and pretty much the universal response is "Yeah, I had one of those and I really loved it." The natural progression here seems to be from smallframe to P to dual-purpose motorcycle - they like to shift and just simply work their way up the size and power scale.
I hope to post my pictures soon - I have a few good ones!
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