The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

Navigating this blog is easy, just scroll down the list of posts by date to whatever interests you, click on it and you're in. Photos can be viewed in larger format by clicking on them.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oct 21 - Vespa 250 - KAOKO Cruise Control

Recently I've been working with the KAOKO firm in South Africa who make some of the best cruise controls for bikes you can buy. I'd contacted them to see if they'd consider building one for my Vespa and it turned out they've been doing a bit of research into scooters as far back as August, maybe even further.
You've got to like a firm that uses an elephant in its logo

Working with Product Designer Roy Mentis I responded to his request for pics and dimensions of my Vespa's throttle control. This was easy enough to do and gave me an opportunity to try out my digital micrometer.

Bare stock bar end

Taking measurements

Bar end weight removed

Riley knows where everything goes....

My photography skills are very limited but I sent off the pics and hoped they'd suffice. A few weeks went by, more emails flew back and forth and my unit was finally ready to ship. Then the SAPO - South Africa Post Office went out on strike adding an unwelcome delay. Bugger all!

Eventually everything must have gotten sorted and the package arrived at our post office in Bandon. I opened the long awaited prize and marveled at how small it was.
My mom always said good things come in small packages

So this must surely be a good thing, eh?

The unit arrived without instructions of any sort so I figured the guys at KAOKO must think I'm good at solving riddles. OK then I thought, let's see what happens when a complete novice has a go at installing something he's never laid eyes on before.

It took me around ten minutes from start to finish, probably longer then needed since I figured out a non-working alternate way to assemble it and had to retrace my steps from the beginning. In the end it was dead simple so maybe instructions aren't really necessary.

Here's what it looks like on the scooter:

There's much to be said for clean engineering. Keep it simple and it works.

To operate you simply slide your hand over the KAOKO knob and twist the throttle to whatever speed you want. The cruise control holds it until you turn the throttle down, it's very simple and self-intuitive to use. 
Jerry Smith takes a photo of it at the county park in Coquille
Jerry researches products for various motorcycle publications. I think his Bonneville could use one so who knows, maybe a KAOKO cruise control is in his future.

After our photo shoot session was over I decided to take another run up the road to see how it worked and also find out the name of the small mystery burg I'd passed through the other day. I'll save that for the next session.

In the mean time I can tell you this about the KAOKO cruise control for Vespas: It works great and should prove to be a welcome asset for anyone who rides, especially on open roads like I do.

Til next time keep the rubber down...


Nov 1, 2014 - Update: The verdict's in, I've ridden enough miles with the KAOKO cruise control and can now say I'm truly comfortable with it. At first I thought I might only engage it on longer rides but as time passes I find myself using it more and more each ride regardless of distance.

I'm not sure how soon it will be available here in the states but I expect it won't be long and in the mean time those who are interested might wish to contact *KAOKO directly.

*Thanks to all the stupid spammers I can't provide an active link directly to KAOKO so you'll have to copy their address and paste it into your URL field, then it will work. Thankfully it only takes a moment to do that. Here 'tis:


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