Choosing to spend a year riding to every National Scooter Rally on a bog standard Vespa PX 125 (other than SIP Road 2 exhaust, tubeless rims and SIP Performer tyres) may seem like madness. Especially when you have more suitable choices, but that was Scarborough Col’s mission for 2017. As he clocks up another 700 miles attending the penultimate National at Woolacombe, Col goes all geeky on us…
When I started this blog earlier in the year I thought I would be describing all the mishaps and troubles on journeys to and from the rallies. Thankfully, however, there hasn’t been any at all to report. You can only say so many times that a standard PX 125 is slow and underpowered but bulletproof reliable and fun to ride. Even the long journeys haven’t been anything like the chore I was expecting.
Well oil be damned
One thing that has surprised me though is the two stroke oil consumption, or lack of it. Or so I thought, but hang on, wait a minute, it’s using more than Vespa recommend! Confused? Yeah me too…
Iggy nicknaming me scooterings ‘Rainman’ is quite fair to be honest. My OCD quirks get the better of me at times and this season I’ve kept a very meticulous record (as Col has for every year since he started scootering) of my travels and scooter capabilities, which will be revealed in the final blogs. But the whole 50 to 1 ‘good old 2% two stroke oil mix’ doesn’t add up on this scooter. Basically I filled the autolube oil tank to the brim at the start of my season’s riding, and then I have just topped up the oil tank at every petrol stop. Unnecessary really because the scooter will go a good few tank fulls of petrol before the oil tank gets low, but I don’t like to get out of the habit of oiling at each stop, just in case I’m on one of my non autolube scooters and forget.
805 miles to the litre
The 125 covered just over 800 miles on the first litre of oil. I was impressed. Three more full litres of oil later and I had 3220 miles on the clock. That’s an average of 805 miles per litre of oil – something to bring a tear to the eye of the Malossi or TS1 riders. But here’s the nerdy bit: this scooter is averaging 101mpg or 22.4 miles on a litre of fuel. So, at that rate, for this scooter to cover 805 miles it will use 1 litre of oil and 36 litres of fuel? 36 to 1 isnt 2 % – it’s far nearer a 3% oil mix. Over the lifetime of the scooter, that’s half as much oil again as I would be using if I premixed it at Piaggio’s recommended doseage. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very cheap motoring which ever way you look at it, but if you’re the type of person to disconnect the autolube and mix it yourself, you might be about to lubricate your motor for less…
Buying a dozen bottles of SIP Formula Green oil at the start of this year was maybe overkill because at this rate I wont be ordering anymore until early 2019. Some of my good friends in the LCGB take a dozen bottles or more to get to one Euro Lambretta rally. The thought of that amuses me lots and lots!
700 mile round trip
Llandudno and the I.O.W rallies were both good tests for Project PX, and it handled them with ease. But the other weekend’s trip to Woolacombe was a grueler to be honest – a fair bit over 700 miles round trip is a big ask for a small capacity scooter. But guess what, it never missed a beat!
Cheats never prosper
At all of the eight Nationals so far this year, I’ve had readers of this blog offer help, spares, big bore kits – even the lone of complete bigger capacity engines to make my journey easier! These offers have come from kind and genuine friends who have either missed the point of my 125cc challenge, or simply wanted me to cheat!
For as long as I own scooters and attend rallies I will never be a wealthy man, but in friendship terms I feel like a millionaire. The commaradarie within scootering is like nothing I’ve ever encountered anywhere else.
Finally, thanks go to my pal Mike Palethorpe, who travelled down to the Woolacombe rally with me. We both left Scarborough early Thursday and didn’t arrive back until very late on the Sunday. At any time, Mike’s GTV Vespa had probably 20mph more top speed than my PX. Not only did he follow my scooter at all times in both directions, but he chose to spend the weekend at the opposite end of the country, in a chalet on a National Rally, with mutual scooterist friends from Bridlington and Rotherham – when he really should have been at home with the wife celebrating their wedding anniversary…
Ride safe Slukers
New SLUK t-shirts available to order now