News and photos about Royalloy have been plastered all over social media this week and we’ve been digging a little deeper into the goings-on with Scomadi, Hanway and Royalloy.
Before we start digging any deeper, here’s a timeline.
- 2009 – Scomadi Turismo Leggera 250 limited edition launched. This is a hand-built scooter in Frank Sanderson’s purpose-made frame with carbon fibre bodywork.
- 2013 – Scomadi’s plans to put the TL300 into production are dashed when Piaggio withdraw the offer of engine supply.
- 2014 – Scomadi team up with Hanway in China to produce the TL125 air-cooled model.
- 2015 – Scomadi produce a prototype water-cooled TL200 using the Aprilia-Rotax based engine.
- 2016 – Scomadi add TL200 to the model line-up.
- 2016 – Scomadi announce the purchase of the 400cc Morini engine tooling in order to make a forthcoming Scomadi 400.
- 2016 – The relationship between Scomadi and Hanway breaks down.
- 2017 – MotoGB announces the release of Royalloy scooters to begin in April 2017.
- 2017 – Scomadi announces that production will resume with a new Thai partner factory in April 2017 producing Euro-4 spec scooters.
Make no mistake. Scomadi originated as a classically-styled British scooter with an Italian engine.
All the innovation behind Scomadi started in a shed near Preston. From the first Piaggio-powered ‘Series 5’ autos from Lambretta Innovations, through to the geared 250cc prototype displayed at EICMA in Milan 2015.
What went on with Hanway?
Frank Sanderson and Paul Melici – the men behind Scomadi – have been understandably cautious about what they’ll tell us due to ongoing legal action. Our last article on the new company gave a few details.
More recently, we gleaned extra info from an interview Frank gave to the Bangkok Post.
Included in that interview are the following details:
- Scomadi will be assembled at a new joint-venture, factory will be in Samut Prakan, Thailand.
- The new manufacturing company will be Marin Engineering Ltd owned 80% by Thai investors Pimol Srivikorn and his sister Taya Teepsuwan and 20% by Scomadi Worldwide Ltd.
- The factory is gearing-up to produce 20,000 scooters per year.
Perhaps the most interesting section of the interview is where Frank reveals that Scomadi terminated their contract with Hanway after the Chinese partner violated intellectual property rights. That breach was when they started producing their own Scomadi clone scooter under the Royalloy brand. It also states in the article that Scomadi is running a lawsuit in Thailand against Hanway.
However, we suspect that the relationship with Hanway had already broken down earlier in 2016 and Hanway may have first initiated cessation of the collaboration. Supply of scooters to the UK had already stopped and dealers were being supplied with Scomadi stock obtained from elsewhere in Europe.
Royalloy production to start
We broke the news about the new Scomadi spin-off brand Royalloy in early January and since then things have progressed quite quickly. Not surprising really seeing as the scooters are produced in the same Chinese Hanway factory as the original Scomadi and many of the updates were already part of Scomadis planned progression.
We spoke to Steve Oliver, General Manager for MotoGB – the appointed UK importer for the Royalloy brand (as well as LML, Sym, Royal Enfield, Benelli, Keeway, Hyosung and Hanway) earlier today to get news direct from the horse’s mouth. Firstly let’s have a look at what many of you will have seen on Royalloy’s social media this week.
MotoGB are continuing to tease the release of the Royalloy brand. They are working with Hanway to make them look even more retro and to raid the 1960s Lambretta model range for both model names and styling cues.
Latest images show a mock up of the pre-production version of the Euro 4 125, complete with Lambretta SX style panel flashes and octagonal SX shaped headset. The headset has also been cast in alloy (the clue is in the brand name) rather than plastic. The scooter also sports a pair of whitewall tyres and Royalloy branding on the panels, horncast and legshields. Colours shown so far are white, red, black and orange, all with 60s-style mudguard and panel flashes reminiscent of the Lambretta LN. Dual colours are an optional extra. The images shown are mock-ups of how the styling will look on final production versions. The GP200 horncast badge mocked-up for a future 200 model will no doubt infuriate Lambretta fans but also note the high-spec LED headlight.
Scooter riders love to personalise their machines and there are already an abundance of racks, protection, screens (including of course our own exclusive Scomadi SLUK screen). Royalloy have shown a new style larger rear ‘Model B’ rack, which will no doubt appeal to rally-going scooter riders. The SX150-style panels will also be available to buy (they will fit existing Scomadis as well) and more accessories are in development.
According to Steve the 125cc air-cooled model has been brought up to Euro 4 spec with the introduction of fuel injection and CBS linked braking. It also has a newly developed stainless exhaust. The larger capacity models will also benefit from Bosch ABS and fuel injection.
Since we last brought you news about Royalloy the logo has also been changed, it’s now a monochrome shield featuring the Union Flag and a simple ‘RA,’ which is a definite upgrade to the original horse and carriage design.
There will be three versions of the 125cc
GT 125: Plastic panels, air-cooled – £2499
GT 125: Metal bodywork, air-cooled – £2999
GT 125: Metal bodywork, air-cooled (dual colour) – £3099
200cc: Metal bodywork, liquid-cooled – £3999
300cc: 2018 model
Steve Oliver was waiting for a connecting flight back from the factory in China when we spoke to him. He told us production of the 125 starts next week (February 27th) but unfortunately the first batch of scooters will be going to Spain rather than England. Although MotoGB will be air-freighting ten scooters into the UK within the next two weeks for testing and press bikes. We will be getting a shipment from the second batch so realistically you’re looking at May before we see them in dealers.
He also told us that Royalloy plan to launch a 300cc model at EICMA in November. When pressed about the engine we were told it’s a modern liquid-cooled, twin cam engine, with a 4-valve head and ceramic bore. He also said it’s not one we’re familiar with.
When asked about reports of lawsuits against Hanway/Royalloy, as reported in a Thai newspaper this week, Steve’s thoughts are that “The only people likely to benefit from a court case would be lawyers and a man in a wooly hat.”
He also remarked that he “didn’t think there was anything to hang a coat on” when it comes to intellectual property rights.
How will this affect punters?
The reality is that neither of these brands (Scomadi & Royalloy) are old enough to carry the brand loyalty of a name like Lambretta, so punters are very likely to vote with their wallets and buy whichever they like the style of and they can afford.
How will this affect dealers?
Scomadi have quite a small network in the UK because they wanted to give a decent sales area to each dealer.
MotoGB have a much bigger dealer network including many classic scooter dealers who would have liked to sell Scomadi but didn’t previously have the opportunity.
I can see many of them gleefully rubbing their hands together at the chance to sell Royalloy without giving a second thought to the rights or wrongs of the intellectual property situation.
How does this affect Lambretta?
Let’s not forget that in the background to all this, Walter Scheffrahn’s Lambretta Consortium is continuing with its plans to release their SYM-powered Vendetta scooter at EuroLambretta in Adria in June. We published our predictions about the Vendetta here.
Now having two rival automatic scooters that are styled like Lambretta – rather than just Scomadi – just adds to the confusion in the market.
With all the worldwide legal fighting over trademarks, designs and intellectual property there is one answer for those who win with nothing to lose… Lawyers…
Sticky & Iggy