When you’re officially one of the fastest men to ever ride a full-bodied Lambretta up a sprint track there’s not much chance you’ll just pootle around town on a standard GP. We nipped up to sunny Scunthorpe to find out what 127mph sprinter, Eric Cope chooses as his road bike. Then we nicked his keys to take it for a little blast.
Eric had just come back from the Elvington records weekend where he notched up an impressive 113mph (down 14mph on his best effort) in blustery conditions. His road-going GP is a slightly different kettle of fish to his sprinter but still has some decent horsepower and looks fast even when it’s stood still, as all good street racers should.
The owner talks us through the engine in the video below…
VIDEO : Eric tells us about his scooter
Giz a go mister
Like his sprint bike, this GP also sports an engine from Doncaster tuning guru, Darrell Taylor. Although Eric built this one up himself to Darrell’s specs. On the face of things, it’s nothing too out of the ordinary, an RB 250 top end on new Uni casings, five-speed gearbox, Taylor Tuning TType clubman exhaust, SIP Vape ignition, and a 39mm carb run through an airbox – Eric claims to have seen 60mpg with this setup. The production version uses a smaller 35mm Mikuni. The thing with this engine is that it’s been built to a well-proven recipe of trusted parts. Those parts haven’t just been thrown together by accident either. Everything used is used for a reason. Then you add in some top-end tuning work by the man with the golden gun and it brings things nicely together. Surprisingly, Darrell doesn’t do any work on the transfers, he says there’s often no benefit and he has tested his theory out numerous times.
Eric’s scooter is a 34bhp road motor built to ride like a blueprinted Innocenti factory engine. He tosses me the keys…
Built by the owner
I know that this engine is producing more power than most BSSO race engines were a decade ago (since when did 30 bhp plus become the norm on a road-going Lambretta?) but already it feels and sounds different to what I expected. It’s easy enough to kick up, with a nice bit of compression but not as much as I get from my 210 Quattrini. It fires into life at the first prod of the kickstart and ticks over cleanly, it sounds as sweet as a well set up single-cylinder two-stroke should. Since Eric built this engine it’s not been on a dyno, the jetting has been set up the old fashioned way and left slightly on the rich side by the owner. Darrell is confident he’d quickly liberate a bit more power once set up by him – not that it needs any more power.
I feed the clutch out slowly and short shift away from Eric as he watches me ride away on what is a very tasty Lambretta. With my reputation for breaking things? Luckily, he needn’t have worried…
VIDEO | We take it for a spin
My first thoughts as I took it up through the gears heading out of the village was that it had a similar engine characteristic to a Targa Twin – quick but not overly fierce. It’s not got quite the kick in the pants of an SST 265. This is built to feel a little more naturally ‘Lambretta’ – like an oversized Innocenti engine, rather than a detuned racer for the road. A scooter that had the best ‘off the shelf’ components available, built into a package for the modern road rider. It’s for a rider who likes to go quickly when he wants to but often rides with others and needs to be able to bimble along at low revs quite happily.
Taylor Tuning clubman
This RB 252 can be wound up quicker than a pre-menstrual teenager but it doesn’t feel like an ‘all or nothing’ race bike. It’s user friendly, easy to ride slow but just as capable of going quickly enough to lose a licence. The specially-developed Taylor Tuning ‘TType RB’ clubman exhaust helps keep a broad spread of power, rather than a small window of fun in a narrow powerband. It also helps to keep your neighbours happy, it’s quiet enough for a middle-aged man to ride without attracting any unwanted attention. The airbox fed carb also helps to keep things quieter – thanks to less induction noise. It also means there’s no need to cut a whacking great hole in your side panel or trim your rear runner for an expansion pipe. The air filter is there to keep the nasty stuff out.
Some readers will recognise the shape and style of the exhaust, visually it looks like a Ron Moss Ex Box. Darrell and Ron collaborated on the exhaust, with much of the R&D being done on Darrell’s dyno. The TType RB version of it uses an Ex Box carcass. Darrell designed a new header pipe and silencer for it, the internals were also reworked to suit his requirements and production of the exhaust was farmed out to Ron Moss. Of course, there’s always the option to add an expansion pipe if you want a little more fun.
This is a proper street sleeper, it’ll pull cleanly in fourth from very low revs, dip the clutch in fifth and it’ll do the same. Even though Eric was running shorter gearing (4:6) than the scooter can pull it’ll do a genuine 85mph (Darrell also plans a top speed test on the sprint track with taller gearing). You don’t need to thrash this like a race bike to get there either, you can ride it like you would a bog-standard Lambretta, or if you prefer, you can give it a handful and get there a bit quicker.
COVID-stress busting ride
Despite being a miserable looking day with damp roads and the odd bit of rain I was quite enjoying getting out on the scooter. Any chance to actually ride somewhere this year is a bonus. Before I knew it I was at the Humber Bridge, so stopped for a couple of photos and sent Eric a ‘don’t worry we’re safe’ message. All was good in the world. Riding a scooter can do that to you, it stops you thinking about real-world problems and the uncertainty we’re all facing at the minute (stay strong brothers and sisters). Ride a well put together, sorted scooter and the world becomes a brighter place.
The ride back to Scunny gave me a chance to try the engine in slow-moving traffic, on fast open country roads, flat out on the dual carriageway and through the twisties. It handles them all like a well-rounded Lambretta GP should. It’s a scooter that will appeal to a broad variety of riders. It may not be the outright fastest scooter on the road, have the most violent power delivery, or the biggest price tag but it’s a refined motor that will get you there feeling good, rather than like you’ve just met Mr Big in the prison showers. You’re not constantly changing gear to keep it in the power, or like with a TS1, hitting the power occasionally and fighting against the wind for the rest of the time. This is much more refined and easier to ride, fast or slow. The big power output of the engine pales into insignificance when it feels this smooth and easy to ride.
The man behind it
We dropped the scooter back to Eric as he fettled another Lambretta in his garage, then headed south to see the man behind this cocktail of parts, Darrell Taylor. Although Eric has been road testing the 252 engine for around 2,000 miles that’s merely an earlier, smaller capacity version of what Darrell is going to be producing.
Increasing the capacity
In the world of tuning (and pub bragging) size matters and although there’s nothing wrong at all with a 252cc 34bhp engine, Darrell wanted to create something to match what has become the benchmark single-cylinder capacity. He talks us through the ‘why’s and how’s’ on the video below but for those of you who don’t want to sit through a video we’ll spell out the main points of this very well-rounded package for you.
A complete package
As aftermarket tuning and engines go you’ll not find one currently available that is quite as complete and ready to fit as this one. Literally, all you’ll have to do when you get it is bolt it in (even the engine bolt is supplied), put the pre-fitted Readspeed shock on the top mount, cable it up, mount the supplied CDI, fit the supplied fuel tap and fire it up. All engines will come with the following…
Taylor TType 265 package
New Uni casings and mag housing
All bearings/seals etc.
Engine mounts, offset cones and engine bolt
Darrell Taylor spec 65mm crank (62mm on Eric’s 252)
AF Clo5e 5-speed gearbox
Darrell Taylor tuned long stroke 72mm RB 265 top end
TT copper head gasket
LTH 7-plate race clutch
LTH pull down chain tensioner
SIP Vape ignition
CDI/coil pre-mounted on plate
Readspeed adjustable rear shock fitted
Flywheel and head cowling
TT CNC inlet manifold
TT V-Type reedblock
Mikini 35mm carb with fast flow fuel tap and pipe
Air filter and bellows
TT Clubman exhaust
S2 type rear hub
Brake shoes (pre-cut and fitted)
SIP rear tubeless rim fitted with Dunlop ScootSmart tyre
Each engine pre-dynoed and set up
Power: Around 37bhp (34 bhp 252cc)
One man band
Patience is a word often used (or tested to the limit) by scooterists when building a project or waiting for a new engine. Darrell Taylor is pretty much a one-man band, when he’s not playing the ukulele and penny whistle he’s busy developing stuff, tuning, building race engines or posting out orders for products like his very popular thumb choke and engine pressure testing kits. There are only so many man-hours in a day.
If your name’s not down…
With the TType 265 engines Darrell wants to be able to offer them complete (as you can see from the comprehensive spec list above). He also doesn’t want to feel pressured into churning them out by the dozen. Instead, Darrell plans to have a small list of names, preferably for customers who don’t live too far from Doncaster. He will build each engine individually. Whoever is next on the list will get first refusal when an engine is completed. If they’ve got bored of waiting, or changed their mind that engine will go to the next person on the list. It’s as simple as that. If your names not down you’re not coming in.
With a Taylor TType 265 you’re becoming part of a small club, each engine will be built in-house and individually numbered. Darrell will offer on-going support to the owner, hence why he’d prefer them to be sold closer to home. The engine spec uses parts that have been tested to 57bhp so should be well within their limits in a 37bhp touring spec road scooter. If you’re looking for a smooth and surprisingly powerful package and aren’t in a massive hurry then you’d better get your name on the list. The first engine has just been finished…
Words, photos and videos: Iggy
- More complete than any other aftermarket engine
- User friendly
- Smooth and powerful
- Parts are mostly ‘off the shelf’ so parts availability is good
- Service schedule/maintenance book
- Small batch production means longer lead time from ordering
- A brand new package so not many road miles of testing (2,000ish with Eric)
- Limited availability equals longer lead times
Price and availability
Availability? 3-6 months from getting on the list
Contact: Taylor Tuning
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