Kickstarting a Lambretta isn’t always quite as straightforward as it should be, especially if you’re trying to get it fired up outside a place teeming with other scooterists. That’s the time you’ll end up kicking it about 50 times and you’ll be left feeling like a sweaty, embarrassment as your pride and joy fails to fire up. It’s a shame there’s not a commercially available electric start kit…
Well, fear not, because Supertune spent most of last year working out how to build one, based loosely on an old incomplete and quite rare electric start Spanish Lambretta casing. Scooter collector, businessman and entrepreneur, Gary Seale owned the casing and wanted to see if it could be made to work.
Are you starting something?
The old casing got Gary thinking about how good it would be to get it up and running but the starter motor was missing and it needed some other work doing to it. Gary isn’t easily deterred though and he began asking around and searching for the missing parts. By chance, he stumbled across Troy at Serious Scootering in Preston. After a quick phone call, Troy revealed that he had the original parts Gary was looking for. Troy’s a fabricator, scooter hoarder and all-around clever chap. He was originally involved in the early Lambretta Series 5 and Scomadi development amongst other things.
Gary had his casings loaded into the car and was heading up to Preston before he’d even put the phone down. Troy and Gary hit it off immediately and after rigging the motor up and connecting it to a battery it turned the engine over, just as the Spaniards had intended all those years ago.
This got Gary thinking about turning it into something that could be remade using quality new parts and retrofitted. And that is exactly what they’ve done, they’ve had new mag housings cast, starter motors made, Troy worked out a way to adapt the standard Lambretta ignition switch so it could be used to start the scooter. Anthony Tambs has built a special Scootronics electric start stator plate for them. Troy and Gary have made the gearing, bought the flywheels, made an elongated standard looking flywheel cover and built an under-panel battery compartment that also houses the relays and quick-release cables.
Last autumn we met up with Gary to see this new-fangled gadget up and running on a specially built Lambretta GT 240 sporting the familiar Supertune logo on its panels. That particular logo has had a few owners over the years, from Ron Moss to Stuart Owen and it now belongs to Gary Seale. Since we shot the video in November the battery storage box has been redesigned and remade, it now looks much neater and will also be sold separately for use as an oil carrier (expect a few nice bits and pieces from Supertune).
To be honest, like many of you out there the thought of having an electric start on my Lambretta isn’t something I’ve even considered. After all, it’s quite manly to kick-start your scooter (although there have been times when I’d love one when the stubborn mule refuses to start). It made me wonder why anybody would even need an electric start until Gary reminded me about the average age of scooterists creeping ever higher, in fact, our Google demographics for 2017 show that 60% of SLUK readers are aged between 45 and 64. That’s a lot of riders with increasing health and mobility problems who maybe struggle with some aspects of scooter ownership but don’t want to stop riding. It’s also the perfect age group to have more disposable income for the latest gadgets.
Struggling to physically kick-start a scooter is just one of the reasons why an electric start option could be beneficial, of course, another reason is its pose value. Walk up to your Lambretta and simply twist the standard looking ignition key and it fires quickly and effortlessly into life whilst spectators watch in wonder. Motorcycles don’t even work in that way, you have to turn the ignition on and press a button as well. The Supertune ES system works more like a car ignition, just turn the key.
Supertune ES Specials
Although Supertune has had various incarnations in the past it’s fair to say that there’s every chance this new enterprise will succeed. When some people boast of building 30 Lambrettas from scratch, in various states of spec and tune you might take it with a pinch of salt. When Gary is involved you kind of sit up and take notice. That’s exactly what Supertune are doing, they’re building 30 Supertune ES Specials. They can be supplied with your choice of engine from standard to tuned. You can also choose from any of the commercially available new casings, (Gran Turismo, Casa). You also get to choose your paintwork and any other extras. All will come ready to ride away as a freshly built electric start scooter, quite literally a turn-key package.
Supertune ES GT 240 Demonstrator
The first Supertune machine is their GT 240 demonstrator, some of you may have seen it at Bridlington last October, many of you probably walked past it without really paying attention to what it was. To be honest, you really have to look very, very closely to see what it is. After all, it’s based on a standard looking Lambretta. The only outwardly noticeable difference is the flywheel cowling, it’s slightly elongated to hide the gubbins.
The choice of engine for this demonstrator was quite deliberate, they wanted to use something with a bit of power and compression to show that this electric start can work on any engine (it can start the scooter up to 30 times in succession). Since then Supertune have also got an electric start Targa Twin, they’re doing a CasaCase engine and are also having a Quattrini 210 built. It’s a versatile product. Of course, it’ll work just as well on your standard Li 150, 200 or TS1.
At the minute Supertune are concentrating on getting their specials built. The prices will reflect the spec you choose, (as you’d expect) but a complete scooter will start at just £5,000. Remember these are hand built from the frame up, a scooter built to the same spec as the demonstrator with ES 240 GT engine, decent brakes, suspension and a fancy paint job will cost £15,000 plus.
The electric start will also be available as a kit for £1250, which can be fitted for you in Preston or sold as a DIY kit for you to fit at home.
If you want to give those old legs a rest, have the latest gadget for your Lambretta, or want to have your own Supertune ES Special built exactly as you want it give Supertune a ring on 07815 716593, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at: Supertune
New products always in development…