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The Scooter

The Scooter is why we are here in the first place, make no mistake. The Lambretta and Vespa scooter offer the willing rider a versatile and amazingly robust alternative for long distance touring. However, lets not also forget that its only a 200cc little engine thats tugging up and over every hill. They therefore break a lot if you don't look after them. Regularly maintaining them and spending a heap of cash on them can certainly prolong and enhance the enjoyment factor somewhat.


Add in the punishment served out on a normal L.O.S.T enduro event and things get worse quickly and have many times. The Scooter itself has to be ready for what lays ahead if only to stop the piss taking that can occur upon breaking down.

The items listed below are purely a series of observations / recommendations for L.O.S.T riders when readying their trusty steed for the road ahead. It hopefully gives you some tips - Enduro - styley!!




  • Sparking stuff - Check and change your plug, cap and lead regularly. None of that "I've had this plug since 1983" stuff. Its probably knackered, gonna fail at any minute and your bike is definitely not going to be running as well as it could be.

  • Cables / connectors. - regularly check for cable ends fraying and damage to the outers. especially where the outer enters an adjuster. Check they are sitting and operating properly when engaged.  The Adjuster block and gear tie rod mechanism is worth checking before setting off as it can wear here and make gear changing problematic ,Try getting a that miniscule circlip re-fitted when stuck on the side of the road. its a painful exercise so inspect and renew where necessary.

  • Cable tie down anything loose including HT lead and wires as rough roads can make short work of flapping loom parts.

  • Headsets wires also have a habit of breaking their connections so an annual review of the state of the Headlamp connector block and switch gear is definitely worth it, especially if you have been diving around in there with bulb re-fits recently. For anyone who has ever looked inside of my headsets knows fully how little I do this myself  -a mess at best!

  • WD40 your rear foot brake mechanism, making sure the little switch nipple is depressing freely. This takes a battering with water and mud and often gets neglected. 

  • I'm not going to go into Indicators - If you have them get em sorted as nothing worse to watch a constant right indicator lit up for mile after mile. Its dangerous anyway!




  • Gearbox oil is relatively cheap and simple to check or change regularly. Certainly before embarking on a 650 mile trip. I replace my gearbox oil on all scoots every 1500 mile or so. It keeps the clutch clean by washing away all of the debris and shite that builds up as the poor engine gradually gives itself over to wear and tear. Clutches need comfort always!

  • Look for any leaks around Exhaust outlet. A high revving tickover can be often a slight leak at the joint, especially when cold. Irrespective of leaks it is worth changing the Exhaust gasket at least annually. A good re-torque of the exhaust manifold studs is a useful practice. I would recommend all Lammy riders to wire the Exhaust manifold nuts. Vibration is not a good friend.

  • Wrapping your exhaust is a great way to quieten down a noisy expansion, add a bit of performance by maintaining exhaust temps but also for protecting manifold area from damage. Wrap and paint with smoothright if you want it to last and perform at its best. Tis an old trick that has been used by car tuners for years. Looks good also if done well.


Suspension and tyres


  • Brakes and tyres are the most critical parts and needs to be upto the job. Many of the roads we take are uneven, wet and gravel ridden. Good wet or winter tyres combined with good brakes are recommended for all riders. Certainly if you want to stay upright. Even summer trips will see us traversing some rough roads so tyres in good condition and a heavily treaded variety of tyre is thoroughly recommended. Conti Move and ANLAS M&S are some of the best I've come across. Remember to run these tyres slightly lower pressures than normal road tyres for best performance. many of the guys who moved to this type of tyre have since seen a significant improvement in grip and confidence since running them at lower settings.

  • The choice of different brake configuration for front and rear is now massive. The specific design and the capability of each can differ hugely between type manufacturer and set up. I'd recommend changing shoes / pads on the front every 3000 mile or so. It really depends on your riding style and will be even less if you are a demon front loader!. Trying to brake flat i.e. Back then front together certainly spreads the load and the reliance on one set up alone. Braking this way also makes for quicker stopping and corner approach work. If you have a disc DO NOT run it without Anti-dive as its just down right dangerous under emergency braking maneuvers or loose surfaces.  

  • A spare wheel is best but for those with no space or are more trusting of the Tubeless variety - make sure you have a vulcanising kit with air for re-inflation.

  • Front and rear suspension are in my opinion, after brakes, the third most critical part of the riding experience. I cannot recommend investing in good quality suspension enough. Take them off and check for travel operation regularly and .  Back brakes in particular can be problematic. Replace old and hardened shoes and replace with very soft types shoes. check them alongside each off the bike as they can be set or operate differently over time. 

  • Rear Shocks should not be bolted down tight at the top or bottom. 'Nipped' is the word as the shock needs to be able to move radially in its mounts to cater for the swinging action of the whole engine. Tighten them too much and you WILL snap your shock on rough stuff. If you have an adjustable shock check the sag settings and compression ride heights. Adjust to cover the extra weight you will be carrying. You will be amazed how much better a scooter handles and corners with properly set up suspension. 


Seating and luggage racks


  • Seat design is always a personal choice and depends totally on how much punishment you are willing to take for looks sake. Each rider will suffer and struggle with a saddle's design dependant on their own specific riding style and what is 'comfortable' in their own minds. i'd recommend something with sturdy padding but equally something that you can move around on easily so you can move your weight as you ride. . Some of the more sporty Single or 3/4 length seats look the business but after 150 miles your arse will get very numb and painful. Longer or full seats offer the best all-round service as you can utilise the space on the saddle more and ease those joints as you go . Furthermore, the shorter seat kind of lures you into locking yourself in a set position. This 'locked shoulder' style of riding is not really good practice. Its Ok on a 3 mile straight but will ultimately limit your ability to corner effectively and safely. i.e. shift your weight. 

  • The nature of the L.O.ST events mean you will nearly always have to carry a mountain of stuff.  Racks should be secured and try to work out a bungee system that's repeatable when tying down your possessions. Use Roc-loc type straps if possible and reduce the risk of losing an eye on every re-pack. Alo spread the load if possible and use the space between your feet so long as the foot brake is clear for operation. Do not load up a huge tower, overhanging the rear wheel and then sit on the back of the seat. Scooters can fly.....


Lastly but the MOST IMPORTANT......


Makes sure the thing is MOT'd and Insured. Just for everyone elses sake.



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