70bhp smallframes! Egig – taking Vespa tuning to the limit | FEATURE
70hp from a 250cc scooter motor? That’s out-of-this-world performance. I’m in the Italian town of Chiusa to meet Erich – or Egig as he is better known – and to see how this young man is shaking up the Vespa tuning world. Sadly it’s late evening and the rain in the mountains is beginning to turn to snow. This is not the time to test a 50hp Vespa smallframe; much to my annoyance. I curse my lateness and the weather.
HOW DO YOU GET 50HP OUT OF A SMALLFRAME?
Good question and a simple answer. If you are Egig you make it a 250 by using Quattrini’s M200 casings, boring them to the limit and then fitting your own long-stroke crankshaft, exhaust and air-cooled cylinder kit.
In order to fit his barrel kit and keep the ports unobstructed, Egig came up with the idea of using short studs that are permanently fitted to the barrel and fastening them below the lugs provided on the Quattrini casing using flanged nuts.
“I think I’m the only one to fit a barrel in this way and also the only one to make dowel-holes in the barrel and casing so it aligns perfectly every time.”
It rapidly becomes obvious that all of Erich’s developments are earned the hard way; through testing and breaking many engines since he was 11. Learning by doing.
That empirical process continues with his road scooter, which is a ‘touring’ 50hp Vespa 50 Special. It’s totally legal in Italy; which in theory should be impossible with their strict laws about vehicle modifications. Legitimising it for the street is a complex process of registering the scooter in Germany as an import, going through the strict and expensive TuV process, and then re-registering the scooter back in Italy using the German documents as evidence that ‘all ze papers are in order’. Effectively it costs around €1,500 to make a 250cc Vespa 50 legal in Italy, but it’s worth it.
I wonder what it’s like to ride. Can you even control a 50hp smallframe on the road?
“With the 250 Touring engine peak power is 8,500-9000 and finishes at 10,500. You can ride around the street at 4,000 rpm and it really begins to push at 5,500. I made a specific exhaust to have this wide spread so you can use it on the street.”
“With part throttle in first and second gear you can reach 110km/h (68mph). With a heavy fork and a legshield toolbox then with the 50hp engine you can give full gas in 3rd gear.”
“I try to use my orange 250 Vespa every day. I do 4-5 hours in the workshop and I use it to clear my head by going for a ride for one hour before I restart work. With my 250 I made 8,000km in 2 years and I still don’t have problems with it.”
VIDEO| Egig’s ‘touring’ 250 being run on the SIP Scootershop dyno
250 RACING KIT
Yes, I mentioned the 50hp 250 was the ‘touring’ version. So that suggests a madder version, right?
Yes, why not?
Egig’s high-end customer 250 kit has more port timing and a specific exhaust offering up to 55hp, but he explains that it’s so vicious as to be pretty much unrideable on the street even with a legshield toolbox and heavier forks than standard.
As if to evidence this, Erich explains about an Austrian customer who managed to flip his 250 race Vespa at around 93mph. Luckily he was wearing leathers at the time. Apparently, there was a video of this briefly online before the rider’s girlfriend pointed out that it was perhaps a stupid thing to show the world.
A 70hp 250 engine?
If the Egig Race motor isn’t mad enough for you, how about Erich’s attempt to squeeze the absolute maximum out of his current engine configuration for the purposes of dyno competitions?
I’ll be frank. Once you get to the point where it is impossible to ride an engine then I don’t see the point of further tuning, but the Germans and Austrians get all excited about this sort of stuff. It’s basically a pissing up the wall competition without the piss.
Egig’s 69.5hp dyno run
Erich has put literally thousands of dyno runs on his engines. Development of the 70hp engine began by adding more and more timing to the 250 Race kit and fitting a massive 42mm DEA carburettor on a straight inlet rubber along with thin reed petals that only last a few runs. For the purposes of reducing power losses the motor is run without a fan but a leaf-blower is used to cool the barrel on the dyno. That engine uses a straight-through expansion chamber that looks suspiciously like a young boa constrictor which has eaten a piglet.
In terms of road use it’s nonsense, but in terms of winning a dyno competition it worked a treat. He’s had over 70hp at home and 69.5hp in public at a recent competition in Austria from a single-cylinder air-cooled 250.
Hats off – that is bananas.
Forthcoming 310cc smallframe engines
So the Quattrini cases are at their limit at 250cc (actually 244cc with 60mm stroke cranks and 72mm pistons). Where next?
The solution comes from fellow Italian collaborator Fabbri; the man who makes the special clutches and crankshafts for the Egig engines. Fabbri has recently developed his own smallframe engine casing for use with water-cooled kart cylinders, but at Erich’s request, he has also made them adaptable to future Egig air-cooled cylinders.
With a capacity to take 64 or 65mm stroke cranks and 78 or even 80mm bore then there is a potential for Egig to produce smallframe engines of 300 to 310cc. He currently has a prototype ready for test before releasing anything this daft out into the wild.
What’s inside an Egig motor?
Starting with the top-end, these are alloy cylinder-reedvalve kits produced in conjunction with kart-tuning guru DEA (who is also responsible for the Casa Performance Elite kit). DEA is a good friend and mentor to Egig and showed him how to assemble the sand cores and moulds needed to cast perfectly smooth and uniformly accurate cylinders.
For the 250 Egig uses Wössner pistons for the KTM EXC 300 and a Honda CR reedvalve, but most importantly the inlet manifold and special ‘stuffer’ to smooth flow into the valve are unique to this kit.
For the transmission, Egig uses a specially-made 4-speed gearbox by Faio with a long 4th gear for street use. All the teeth are strengthened and the ‘Christmas tree’ features a special triangular shaft fitment into the clutch. The clutches used are specially produced by Fabbri. The Faio gearbox uses a special layshaft and gear selector with six legs instead of four.
Fabbri makes all of the crankshafts for Egig. Each crank is balanced for the 250 kit with 12 tungsten weights and uses a billet con-rod from Primatist. The crank uses special shouldered roller bearings that permit 0.3mm of lateral play to ensure perfect crankshaft and piston alignment in the dowelled barrel.
Ironically Egig uses a few original Vespa parts such as kickstart shafts, XL2-type clutch covers and back hubs because he thinks that none of the modern genuine or pattern parts available today are up to scratch. I’m not sure the Piaggio designers expected their Vespa 50 back hubs to cope with 70hp, but they seem to manage fine!
What’s it cost?
Anyone wanting to get their hands on a 50hp Egig 250 motor needs to have at least €5,500 spare and enough engine-building experience to build the motor and set the squish clearance. None of this should be beyond a competent engine builder.
Alternatively, Egig is able to fully-build engines for customers with about €7,000 to spend and wanting something plug-and-play including a pre-jetted carburettor.
Words and photos: Sticky
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