New Lambretta V Special Vendetta – what’s inside? | NEWS
Face facts – whatever the new Lambretta is, it won’t be a new-from-scratch vehicle built in a new Italian Lambretta factory.
In a global market that simply isn’t economically viable. Scooters are now built wherever it is affordable. When SLUK tested the Piaggio Medley vs the Honda PCX we pitted an ‘Italian’ scooter made in Vietnam against a ‘Japanese’ scooter made in Thailand. And you know what; they were both very good.
Comments on social media about Asian-built scooters, calling them “Chinese crap”, always makes me laugh. Where exactly do these commentators think the phone or PC they’re using was manufactured? Where do they think the components for many ‘European’ scooters originate?
The most cost-effective way to build a new scooter is to base it around the cycle parts and engines of an established model. That way any mechanical teething troubles should have been fixed and you have a reliable scooter to sell from day one.
Even if the firms long-term intention is to eventually design and build their own scooters, starting this way gives Lambretta a foot in the market with a lower financial risk.
Let’s assume that Lambretta Consortium decided to build their Vendetta scooter in that way. Who would they work with and what scooter would they base it on?
They dropped several clues in the outline shape of their teaser image and the capacity of the engines on offer. With a little SLUK sleuthing we came up with this possibility…
Above is an interesting Photoshop experiment we conducted to compare the new Kiska-designed Lambretta Vendetta due for display at EICMA 2016 and the SYM Fiddle III. We overlaid the Lambretta Consortium’s Vendetta with the SYM and tried to match up the silhouette of the wheels to see what similarities there might be with the underlying scooter. The results were interesting to say the least.
- Wheel diameter, wheelbase and handlebar position are very similar.
- Telescopic forks look to follow the same angle.
- The Vendetta has a similar floor angle.
- The Vendetta front mudguard is higher and probably fixed to the chassis rather than turning.
- The main difference appears to be the rear shock position.
What this experiment suggests is that both scooters share many similarities, with disc brakes front and rear where previous machines that were badged Lambretta (like the LN125) used a rear drum.
Another indicator that the Fiddle may be the base scooter for the Vendetta comes from the engine configurations offered: 50/125/180. Coincidentally the Fiddle III is offered in 50/125 and 200 variants; though if you look at the specs the 11.8hp air-cooled 200 is actually 169cc. Calling it a 180 would actually be closer to the truth…
So, if we assumed that the new Lambretta scooters were based on SYM-built motors and frames covered in freshly restyled Kiska bodywork, what would that actually mean?
- Quality: Taiwanese brand SYM have a good reputation and offer scooters with a massive 5 year warranty. Not much there to worry about.
- 50 Performance: SYM’s 50cc Fiddle 3 is a 4-stroke making 3.5hp.
- 125 Performance: The air-cooled 125 version makes 9.5bhp.
- 200 Performance: The air-cooled, fuel-injected 169cc makes 11.8hp and has a US quoted top speed of 62mph with 89mpg fuel economy.
- Price: The SYM Fiddle III is pretty affordable (£2,300 for a 200i version) but don’t expect a Vendetta to be that cheap. Smaller volume production, higher material specs and the ‘Lambretta’ badge will probably put the price into Vespa territory.
- Size: If the Vendetta is based around the Fiddle III chassis then that is a fairly small scooter aimed at city use. It’s certainly closer in size to a Vespa ET4/LX than to a GTS.
Rumours circulating about the Vendetta suggest steel bodywork and panels matched to a cast aluminium headset like Innocenti’s Lambrettas, both of which will ramp-up production costs considerably. There is talk of optional replaceable panels in carbon-fibre with customisable trim options so beloved of motorcycle brands. Such techniques allow them to add higher profit levels for dealers via in-store bolt-on customising.
Whatever the answer, classic Lambretta fans probably won’t like it. Then again, we aren’t the target market.
Scomadi have proven that there is an appetite for a retro automatic scooter based on classic lines, but the location of this market may surprise you. Scomadis are currently selling like hot cakes, not only in Europe, but all over south-east Asia. Markets like Vietnam bought 7,800 2-wheelers per day last year, so a slice of that pie could prove very profitable. Indonesia and Malaysia are similarly massive if your scooter has the right image and brand. Lambretta is still a powerful name. One look at lambretta.com will confirm that the new owners are keen to foster every association between their products and the achievements of Innocenti.
Anyone expecting new Lambretta to be a flash-in-the-pan like the LN125 is underestimating those involved. Just recently the massive KSR Group in Austria set up Lambretta GmBH; presumably to distribute the Vendetta, and we know of other highly-competent importers elsewhere who are also on board. KSR have a wide European distribution network for various imported scooters including KSR Moto (formerly Generic) and LML.
Our friend Crocodile Jock made suggestions of a water-cooled version to follow the air-cooled initial range, and even tuning options. At that point things start to get slightly more interesting because if the Lambretta brand is revived (again) as a scooter, it deserves better than to be attached only to an air-cooled runabout.
With SYM power-units there would at least be a potential development path, because the Taiwanese firm currently make a water-cooled 4-valve 171cc engine with 15.3hp and a 72mph top speed, which would be marginally more interesting. However they also have an 80mph 21hp 300 (actually 263cc) in their line-up which offers performance closer to the GTS300 and Scomadi 200. Independently, we’ve heard suggestions that a Lambretta 300 is on the cards for future production.
SLUK will watch with interest to see what Kiska and the Lambretta Consortium brings to EICMA later this year. Incidentally, we hear rumours that Lambretta electric push-bikes will be landing even before the scooters do.
Remember that you read this first on SLUK!
We also compared the Vendetta with the LN125 (previously sold as a Lambretta by the Motom Group) penned by Alessandro Tartarini.
- The Vendetta front mudguard is much higher and probably fixed to the chassis.
- The LN has a drum rear brake while the Vendetta appears to have a disc brake.
In all fairness, and ignoring the name, the LN125 was not a terrible retro scooter. Nor was it remarkable in any technical way; apart from its partly-metal body and high price tag. Below the bodywork was a frame made specifically to allow a flat floor, but also a host of components from the SYM parts list.
Could the Vendetta be built using SYM running gear and engines?
We’ll find out at EICMA in Milan later this year…