Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the RLC crew – and their Casa Performance brand – release a new shark into the scooter performance pool. It’s been four years since the last RLC open day, and typically the guys don’t like to disappoint. Rather than concentrate on the past, this time they concentrated on the future.
Novelties on show included the following:
- Brand new 250 Elite cylinder kit and exhaust for the CasaCase developed in conjunction with kart engine guru DEA.
- New exhaust and definitive version of the Lambretta SST265 developed in conjunction with Jolly Moto.
- New parts to complete upgrade of the Luna and J-range transmissions and ignition systems for use with the CP One35 kits.
Let’s go through these in reverse order…
LUNA AND J-RANGE
The latest developments of the CP One35 project are the Ducati Firefly ignition and the ‘Vega5’ 5-speed gearbox.
For Casa Performance, the latest project is mobilising the minnows of the Lambretta world with their new CP One35 kit for the Luna line and J-ranges. We covered their epic ride over the Alps to Scooterist Meltdown as part of the development process for the kit. What was new this time, for those who wanted to grab a test ride on either Marco or Dean’s Vegas, was a new ‘Vega5’ 5-speed gearbox and also a freshly-developed 5-plate clutch; upgrading from the 2-plate or 3-plate items previously used.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to test Marco’s 5-speed Luna in the days prior to the open day. As with their Cyclone 5 for the large-frame Lambrettas, the gearbox aids both acceleration and relaxed riding because you now have a gear for every hill. That said, the CP One35 is such a low-revving and torquey kit in standard form that I wouldn’t say it was essential if you already have a 4-speed gearbox.
Plug ‘n’ play 5-plate cassette clutch for a smallframe Lambretta? Go on then…
Similarly, the boys have proved that you can get by with spring/plate upgrades to the standard J/Luna clutch but this makes for a heavier clutch action and requires very precise cable adjustment to prevent slipping and drag. The new 5-plate clutch makes for a nicer ride because the extra plates mean you need less spring pressure to deal with the high compression and power of the motor, so it’s easier on your hand. The first prototype of this new clutch was literally fitted the day before, so I’m sure the definitive version will improve things further.
The first of these items to actually become available is the Firefly ignition – a 12-volt electronic ignition developed together with Ducati Energia specifically for the J-range and Luna offering easy starting and bright lights from very low revs.
Over the course of the weekend many people tried the little Luis and Vegas and all returned with a smile on their faces. The only negative comments were that the starting compression felt a little high but this is already being rectified by Casa Performance. This kit has the potential to turn the small Lammies into reliable rally-going bikes and as a result, prices of Bertone’s baby have recently shot-up. The production CP One35 kit and the cranks are expected late summer.
Despite Casa Performance seeming to release a never-ending stream of new products, the fact remains that almost all the Casa Performance products of the past three years have been developed primarily by just two guys – Micky and Lorenzo. As they’ve discovered, there are limits to how many products you can possibly work on at one time.
The Casa SST265 kit – the touring version of the (too much for most people) SSR265 kit – is a case in point. It is intended as a complete touring motor solution based on the CasaCase, but so far they’ve only managed to sort a specification using a 34mm carb when, if I was paying for fuel, I’d want something a lot smaller. I’m sure a 30mm carb version will follow but it just takes time.
On the latest version of the kit they have dealt with the problem of overly high starting compression in the same way as some classic Motocross engines. By adding a small downward drilling above the exhaust port, less gas is trapped so it is easier to kick over, but once running, the hole has so small a volume as to not really affect the way the engine behaves. It’s a simple solution and works a treat.
SST box exhaust
They’ve been working on a box-exhaust to suit the kit which has an under-slung muffler to keep the noise down below the point where your neighbours start pushing dog-shit through your letterbox. I had a chance to get a quick go on Geoff Smith’s GP which was one of the first built with the box pipe. Typically the box exhausts offer good ground clearance and bottom-end power at the sacrifice of power at higher revs. Geoff’s scooter pulled cleanly from ridiculously low revs – I could open it up at 1,800 rpm in 5th gear and it would accelerate around to 7,000 without a single cough or flat spot. It feels like a standard engine with three times as much power. As such it should be perfect for touring, but after you’ve ridden an SSR, or any other tuned kitted motor, then you may still crave that traditional 2-stroke kick in the pants.
Dr Jolly and Mr Moto
At this point, enter Jolly Moto, who Casa Performance loaned an SST engine to for development of a specific expansion chamber. It was pretty much the last project the former Grand Prix exhaust company completed before the owner of Jolly Moto decided to retire and close his business. Casa Performance commissioned and bought the project and will now transfer the design to another producer. In the meantime, the only Jolly Moto SST expansion chamber in existence was fitted to Dean’s silver Serveta and prospective customers were allowed to take that for a blast.
My word, what a hoot that is! The Jolly Moto still allows the engine to pull from low revs – clean pulling of 5th gear from 2,000 rpm – but the SST touring motor is now transformed into an eager animal with a definite kick around 6,000rpm – before a massive mid-range and revving around to 10,000 revs. It’s not hard to ride but it is really good fun.
Two engines for the price of one?
This tells me two things about the SST. Firstly that there is a mass of power available from that engine; much more than is demonstrated only by the box-pipe version. In effect, you can have two engines in one just by swapping from one exhaust to another.
The second point is simply that nobody is yet building the ideal exhaust for the SST, because what I’d be looking for is something in-between the two current offerings. With a quiet expansion chamber that maintained excellent ground clearance for riding 2-up and offered maybe a little less kick than the Jolly Moto. I reckon that would be an engine that anyone would be happy with. With the lads at Casa Performance flat-out I suspect it’ll take a 3rd-party exhaust producer to develop such a product…
NEW ‘250 ELITE’ ENGINE
On the Friday of the open weekend, Micky and Lorenzo took it upon themselves to build up a whole new CasaCase motor – from start to finish – in front of everyone with all the components laid out for all to inspect.
What few knew in advance was that the engine they were going to build was based around an all-new, ultra-high-end kit that’s been developed with them by Italian 2-stroke tuning guru DEA. The 250 Elite is a forthcoming CasaCase motor based on DEA’s world Championship winning Superkart port layout. Like the SST it uses a main exhaust port with 2 sub-ports rather than the bridged layout of the SSR.
VIDEO | box fresh - 56BHP Casa Performance Elite dyno run
The two lads built the complete motor in just two hours in front of customers, so everyone got to see how easy they are to assemble. They then ran it on the dyno. The result – with a straight version of DEA’s exhaust design – was 56hp out of the box. DEA reckons that a tuned one should produce getting on for 70hp.
On the day graphs of the new DEA-designed 250 Elite Lambretta engine. There’s more to come for sure…
Dean was keen to point out that this is intended to be a complete motor package. It might be based on the CasaCase but it uses a different stud layout and transfer port cutaways along with a specific crankshaft. Due to the development cost this will be a very expensive limited-edition series, as befits the 250 Elite name.
More news on this to follow on SLUK as the project develops beyond the prototype stage.
What this weekend did serve to remind me was that prospective buyers really do need to be realistic about their riding skill levels because the most powerful engines are not to be underestimated. Over 40hp on 10” wheels is an order of magnitude above what many people are used to.
Crash test dummies
As if to confirm that point was a very scratched green shop demonstrator. It had been binned on Thursday by a British lad who’d been caught out by the fierce power delivery and grabbed a handful of double front disc brake in panic. This is after the RLC crew had just rebuilt the bike after a German lad did the very same thing a month or so ago. The novelty of completely rebuilding the demonstrator has thoroughly worn off now.
Big, fierce engines are not for everyone, which is why I reckon the SST motor is the pick of the bunch for most people. You can start off with 30hp and a box pipe and progress from there as you get used to it.
As for the 250 Elite engine – well, that will be one for mad-heads and the big cock club only. What you will notice from the dyno curve is that there are no nasty steps in the dyno curve where power doubles over the course of a few hundred rpm like you get with some other motors. As such, I expect the 250 Elite to be perfectly rideable on the street at sensible revs. Rideable as long as you are prepared for what it can do when you let it off the leash…
Additional photos by Kimberly Orton
New Lui/Vega screens available here
If you’re looking for a classy screen for your Lui have a look at our latest SLUK PLastics listing here.
If you’re upgrading to the latest Casa Performance smallframe goodies you’ll be needing one.
Rimini Lambretta Centre open day gallery
New products always in development…