Lee’s 41bhp JB Tuning Series 1 | CUSTOM
Nowadays mad scooter boffins are popping new casings out faster than Sharon pops out illegitimate kids down the local estate. A task that would never have got further than a crazy thought a decade ago (developing new scooter casings, rather than bringing fatherless children into the world). Leaps forward in technology, 3D printing, rapid prototyping and an older, wealthier customer base have all played a part in turning two-stroke dreams into middle-aged reality. Dreams like the CasaCase powering this beautiful Series 1. belonging to Lee, a regular customer of JB Tuning in Southend.
It’s not the norm to see a Series 1 Lambretta in race style paintwork, they’re usually either restored or left as original paint rustorations. Of course, there are a few around, both with full-custom paintwork and street racer style but I doubt there are many making as much horsepower as this one.
How many horses?
This particular Series 1, or ‘number 1’ as it says on the panels is running one of the first CasaCase engines in the country, albeit with a JB tuned SS 225 top end as opposed to SSR (the SSR wasn’t available at the time the project was commisioned). Even so it makes almost 42 bhp and 21.8ft lb at 9755 rpm. Those kind of figures weren’t imaginable in a road going Lambretta until recently and race scooters of that kind of power were few and far between. To put it into perspective, we’re talking about a scooter that makes twice the power of a TS1 225.
Aside from having one of the quickest road-going scooter engines I’ve ever ridden, Lee’s Series 1 is also stunning to look at and has all the right parts you need to make full use of the power on tap.
We’ll give you the full engine spec and ride it later on…
If you’re a regular reader you’ll have seen our on-board footage and write up from Rimini Lambretta Centre’s SSR 250 from just before Christmas. We mentioned in that about how well planted it felt thanks to the suspension developed especially for Casa Performance by Italian suspension specialists, Mupo. Lee’s S1 is also running Mupo suspension, both front and rear. The difference this makes is like night and day when compared to whacking a great fat Yamaha R1 shock on with preload set to max (like many Lambretta owners). The difference this suspension makes to weight saving is also impressive, it lightens your wallet significantly. Sometimes though you have to pay for the best, especially when you’re taking things to this level. What’s another £1200 between friends?
On a scooter of this magnitude, dripping in the latest ‘must have’ performance scooter bling it’s not surprising to find it fitted with a Casa front disc, although ‘only’ the single it still has lots of feel at the lever and plenty of stopping power. The rear Casa hydraulic disc is still in development so Lee opted to fit an external Oiltek hydraulic rear disc to help slow the thing down. I’m not really a fan of rear outboard hydraulic discs (purely from an aesthetic and awkward wheel changing perspective) but when you’re pushing 42bhp you need all the help you can get.
Simple but effective
JB Tuning use a local good friend to carry out the paintwork for their own, race and customers scooters. The standard of the paintwork is exceptional. Even though most JB paint jobs are characteristically simple by design they are still very well finished and effective. Clean lines, bold colours, subtle graphics and great attention to detail. A philosophy that is carried through into the build itself. A nut and bolt rebuild is all about attention to detail. Whether it’s a restoration or custom, a skilled builder will help to turn something relatively simple into an eye-catching masterpiece. Making a scooter stand out from the crowd.
Devil is in the detail
Aside from the obvious chunk of well-engineered aluminium powering this scooter, there are plenty of other areas where it excels. The use of black detailing is one of them. Black forks, hubs, rims, rubbers, beading, panel handles and even the Lambretta badges, legshield beading and rubbers. It doesn’t stop there, the SIP speedo surround has also been given the black treatment and the low-down black mirror bolted to the runner end caps is a nice and practical finishing touch. Any parts that missed the black treatment are either anodised exotica or stainless steel. Put them all together and the result is stunning.
On the road
I’d hate to think how much this scooter has cost to put together, I can count up around £12,000 without the cost of the paint, tuning, or the scooter itself. Being asked to take the machine out for a blast when it belongs to a shop is one thing, being asked to take a customers scooter out in winter is another thing altogether. Damp roads, cold new tyres, mud from the local roadworks. As Mikey warmed it up for me I was still trying to add up how much it would cost to rebuild this thing if I dropped it
The engine on this one isn’t the same spec as a full-on SSR. This motor has been built using a tuned Casa SS225 top end with 64/120 crank, giving a capacity of 246cc. The owner is also running a full-spec Casa 265 Scuderia in his latest build, a JB Tuning street racer Spanish Series 2, you can see that scooter on the ramp in the JB video below.
This Series 1 is also running a JB modified Protti exhaust, lightened flywheel and plenty of other goodies. Plus the engine has been tuned by the fair hand of John Balcomb. It’s freshly built and still over jetted, with an engine like this it’s best to be a little on the rich side whilst running in. Even so, it goes very well. Once you get into plus 40 bhp two-stroke territory on an old shopping scooter you certainly know you’re riding it. You’re also glad of the ability to get around a corner whilst squirting the gas and of course being able to slow down on demand.
You can see in the video that Lee’s scooter goes very well, even though it’s running richer than a Lambretta parts manufacturer doing a marathon. It pulls like a train, yet is still controllable and rideable at slower speeds. Give it a handful and it feels a little bit tamer than the SSR 250 I rode a few weeks ago. It’s still very quick though and good fun. I cut my test ride down and took the scooter back safely in one piece but if you want to sample a full-blown Casa 265 Scuderia for yourself JB Tuning are just finishing off the shop demonstrator. We suggest you get yourself booked in…
Words, photos, video: Iggy
Action video edit: Charles Rabréaud
Who are JB Tuning?
JB Tuning is run by Essex boys, John Balcomb and Mikey Bonett from a unit right next door to Southend Airport. They’re the appointed UK Casa Performance Centre, they also have a good history in racing, tuning and many more things besides.
The shop has an in-house Dyno, MOT station, busy workshop and recently revamped shop area. They supply everything from day-to-day spares, right up to a complete plug and play Casa SSR 265 Scuderia engine. They also have a shop Casa SSR demonstrator available for you to try. They build race bikes, custom bikes, standard bikes and also carry out full restorations.
They can be found at: JB Tuning or call them on 01702 545952.
Owners name: Lee
Scooter name: JB Tuning Number 1
Model: Lambretta Series 1
Engine details: JB Tuning tuned Casa SS 246 on CasaCase casings, 64/120mm Casa crank, Casa sidecasing with Casa Powermaster clutch, JB Tuning V-Force reed conversion, 38mm carb, Casatronic ignition, lightened flywheel, Casa muli-splined rear hub, JB Protti exhaust, Casatronic ignition, 62 x 116 crank, 7-plate clutch, batch 8 Cyclone 5-speed gearbox, JB one-off pipe,
Top speed: Should be into three figures when run in
Power output: 41.82 bhp, 21.81 ft-lb of torque
Paintwork: By Joe
One-off parts: Oiltek tank, Oiltek rear hydraulic disc
Built and tuned by: John and Mikey at JB Tuning, Southend
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