What happens when you give the designers of the Fogarty Petronas motorcycle a blank sheet of paper to create a super-scooter? The answer is John Piper’s J1 – a mix of very classic scooter styling but powered by a KTM 690 Duke engine.



Who is John Piper?


He’s a name that crops up throughout the recent history of British motor innovation.


John has:

  • Worked for Williams designing Group B rally cars and F1 parts.
  • Been race engineer to Nigel Mansell.
  • Worked for Benetton F1, Pro-drive and many others.
  • Designed Sports Cars for Jaguar and Panoz.
  • Worked as consultant designer for the Foggy Petronas motorcycle.
  • Worked as chief designer of the 350mph JCB land speed car.


In 2013 John founded PiperMoto to both design and build motorcycle and scooter projects. The idea, having risen through the ranks of motorsports engineering to management level, was to return to his roots and actually start making things again.



The J1 is born from that desire…


With 67hp on tap this is expected to have a top speed in the order of 120mph.


At 160kg the weight is very low for a maxi-scooter (most weigh over 200kg) so this promises excellent acceleration. John expects the J1 to be able to reach 62mph in around four seconds!


So much for scooters being slow and boring…

John pictured on the first J1, before chrome trims and finishing touches are added.
John pictured on the first J1, before chrome trims and finishing touches are added.

What is the J1?


This is a scooter that uses a complete KTM Duke 690 as a donor for the engine, wheels, brakes and master cylinders. Everything else is fabricated in Britain exclusively for the J1.


The chassis is a steel trellis design, built around the 690cc LC4 engine at the rear and the KTM’s full-length telescopic upside-down forks at the front.


The 17” rear wheel sits in a CNC machined billet swinging arm with the shock mounted above the engine, and operated by a rising-rate linkage system.


From the outset this Super-scooter has been designed with performance in mind. The bodywork has been set high to offer great lean angles. Meanwhile 50-50 weight distribution matches other fine-handling maxi-scooters like the Yamaha TMAX.


Radiators for the J1 project are purpose-built and take air from the tunnel behind the front wheel. The alloy fuel tank sits low like a belly pan and includes the KTM pump for the fuel injection system.


With brakes and wheels lifted direct from the donor KTM, the J1 should ride just like the bike, but with one exception. The gears are no longer foot-shift, but actuated via solenoid from buttons on the handlebars. In theory you should only need to use the clutch for pulling away. After that the shifting can be done without clutch just by hitting the button.


Lambretta on steroids


John has self-funded this project with the idea of building the kind of scooter he’d like to ride. As a former Lambretta rider in his youth, he describes this as a ‘Lambretta on steroids’.


Bodywork is fibreglass with styling that seems to take inspiration from rival scooters of the ‘50s and ‘60s.


The objective is to enter low-volume bespoke production of the J1 next year, with each scooter going through Single Vehicle Approval




The current estimate is the cost of a KTM Duke to use as a donor vehicle, plus £22,000 to £24,000.


That’s a chunky figure, but when you consider that this is very likely to be the highest performance production scooter ever made, with many components coming from F1 suppliers (like the exhaust, CNC swinging arm, radiators and alloy fuel tanks) then maybe it isn’t so astronomic.


John is hoping to have his prototype J1 road legal for the UK by spring, and is ready to take deposits for bespoke production versions next year.


ScooterLab have been invited to test the prototype in the New Year. I’m sat here writing this with my helmet on because I’m that excited…



If you have an interesting scooter that you’d like seen first on SLUK, please get in touch


Piper Moto J Series specifications

Engine details: 690cc, KTM LC4 Duke


Power output: 67.05hp


Top speed: 120mph


Performance: 0-60mph 4.0 seconds 


Dry weight: 160kg


Weight distribution: 50-50


Max lean angle: 52º


Frame: Chrome molybdenum tubular steel space frame, TIG welded


Bodywork: Carbon/epoxy woven composite pressure cured

Gearbox: 6 speed electronically shifted by GCU software and handlebar mounted paddle switch


Exhaust: Stainless steel with catalyser


Wheels: Multi spoked, front 120/70-117″, rear 160/60-17″ 


Brakes: Front Brembo 4-piston radial calliper with 320mm disc, rear 240mm disc


Suspension: Concentric spring and ExeTC remote 2-way damper 


Fuel capacity: 14 litres 


Price: Estimated at £25,000 – plus new KTM Duke 690 


Contact: Piper Moto 

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