Scooter Review: 21st century Lambretta? Part 1 – The Scomadi TL250 long term test

Last issue, we tested the new Scomadi TL250 and mentioned our long-term test plans, arranged with one of the owners. So let’s start by introducing you to our crash test dummy – sorry, we mean the owner…

RED ALERT

Regular rallygoers may well have come across Red. He rides hundreds of miles around the UK and has achieved a bit of a reputation as being a bit of an animal in more than one respect – not just because he’s a member of Animals fae Naboombu SC, but also because he has a reputation of destroying scooters due to his hard riding lifestyle. Apart from the cranks, RB or TS1 engines and gearboxes he’s destroyed, who can forget that ill-fated fire which destroyed his Lammie cutdown. Vespas haven’t escaped his evil hands either, as his P2 has suffered a similar fate. We think we can safely say this is going to be a hard test for the Scomadi. Red has already clocked up over a 1,000 miles. Here’s his first report…

THE FIRST 1,000 MILES.

After paying my deposit in September 2009, I finally collected my Scomadi (build no.3) on 27 March. Arriving home, I went for a quick ride and realised it wasn’t running correctly! I’d get to about three-quarter throttle and start to lose speed. I thought it was short on fuel, or a rev limiter kicking-in too early. I refuelled, but it didn’t solve the problem. I spoke to Scomadi’s Frank Sanderson and he advised me to try a couple of things, which didn’t cure the problem, so he came and collected it on the Thursday prior to Easter. I later received a call from Paul Melici (Frank’s partner) to say it was sorted; the problem was debris in the fuel tap and float bowl.

Although a small teething problem, easily rectified, it took the initial shine off. I collected it on Easter Saturday and rode to Scarborough and Whitby for both rallies that weekend. Arriving at Whitby after riding over the moors, the Scomadi attracted interest and mainly positive comments with the only negative ones being purchase cost and being an auto (never thought I’d own one)! Arriving home, I’d travelled 280 miles and was very impressed with the ride quality and spread of power throughout the full range (it pulls away quickly and soon reaches a comfortable cruising speed).

It was ‘run in’ for the first 500 miles at 60-65mph and will easily reach 70-75mph, which should increase after approx 1,500-2,000 miles, once the engine has loosened up. I’m averaging 55-60 mpg and have covered over 1,000 miles (rising rapidly). It’s been back to PM for the first service at a cost of over £130! This needs to be done between 500-700 miles (mine was 870) and I rode 155 miles to get there. Personally I think the first service should be inclusive in the deal, as it had to go back to PM (no local dealer network) – especially as it has to be done so soon after collection!

RED FLAG

There are a few minor concerns: You don’t get an owners handbook or paperwork to back up warranty claims (the only paperwork was leaflets showing how to calibrate the speedo, which hadn’t been done before collection and shock absorber adjustment instructions). If you opt for upgrades (as I’ve done) with the PM sports exhaust, uprated variators, rollers and belt, you only get a limited engine warranty, depending on the nature of the fault and circumstances. Other components (brakes, suspension, body, etc) are still covered by the full 12 months warranty.

I think you should have a document showing basic maintenance info (tyre pressure, plug type, oil type/quantity, tyre/wheel removal instructions and torque settings, etc) as there are going to be instances where repairs or maintenance need to be carried out without going back to PM. Paul told me they’d like to produce some kind of information sheet or booklet in the future, but haven’t currently got the time, as they need to proceed with the other Scomadi builds. Most things are same as the Vespa GTS (I haven’t got one and don’t see why I should buy a manual, or check a website for info). Paul said any questions arising need to be directed to him or Frank and they’ll do their best to answer queries. Another concern is that it has to return to base for servicing – OK if you’re local to Heysham, but I’ve a three hour ride either way. Personally, I think that Scomadi should reach a servicing and maintenance agreement with authorised Piaggio agents. I’ve also had a couple of issues with the final finish (which will be sorted in the future, I hope). The radiator is mounted underneath the legshields with the risk of stones getting thrown in to the fan without any guard to protect it – I’m going to fit mesh to mine for peace of mind.

RIDING HIGH

Compared to a Lammie, the ride is high and the seat, being hard, is uncomfortable after about an hours riding. An aftermarket seat (if there’s one to fit) might improve this situation. Talking about aftermarket bits, I also purchased a sprint rack and legshield toolbox as optional extras. I’m waiting for the toolbox to be completed, so can’t comment on that, but the sprint rack is handy when putting the Scomadi on the centre stand (pulling on the rack to make it easier to operate). You can also purchase aftermarket LED indicators, different style mirrors and handgrips, all available through PM directly.

Summing up, I’m impressed with the handling, the ride and the spread of power, but disappointed with the lack of handbooks and other documentation. On the positive side, I have excellent Lambretta styling with the reliability of a modern engine.

If you see me around (and I’m sure you will), come over and have a chat and I’ll let you know how I’m getting on.

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