A scooter feature on SLUK?

It’s been a long time since we’ve carried any custom scooter features on SLUK. In the eyes of many custom builders there’s a prestige to paper – particularly a magazine cover – that can’t be rivalled and I understand that.

Equally, there are scooters that offer a lot more detail under the skin than photos alone can reveal. If the owner is comfortable spilling the beans, why not let them talk about their bike on a SLUK video?

Martin Leech from Colchester District Vespa and Lambretta Club (DVLC) is a well-known figure on the scooter scene. Not only is he from the club behind the ever-popular Mersea Island scooter rally, but he’s also a regular scribe for the LCGB club magazine Jetset. He writes under the nickname ‘Knowledge’ and with one watch of the video you’ll know why they call him that…


283cc Lambretta!


We caught up with Martin at Diablo Moto where he’d taken his GP for a jetting check. While the carburetion was very close the clutch was fried and slipped so it’s not fair to show a graph.

The motor is one of Harry Barlow’s – of Pro Porting fame – conversions which is like an oversized TS1 cylinder with a larger spigot and different stud positions. This runs onto a 150 casing, thanks to a massive aluminium base plate that Harry welds on.

Martin chose this conversion as it was much cheaper than many of the other exotic engine conversions and he could build it himself. His objective was never to compete on peak power, but more to have an engine that rode nicely at low revs with tall gearing.

Instead, Martin has concentrated on features that he thought important on a machine built to cover long-distance events in the UK and beyond. As you’ll see from the video, he’s left few stones unturned.

Self-made parts

Martin is an inventive character. He’s the first person I knew to create a complete one-piece fibreglass Lambretta rear end.

For this scooter, he’s produced many parts himself including a custom headset top; a special fuel tank with room for an air filter, as well as an anti-dive brake and even his own luggage system.

Lab rating: 8

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Video, photos and text: Sticky