Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mod Gone Wrong: Scooter Madness

Okay, when does one cross the line into self-parody?
Want this photo on your wall? Just go here!
Hey, I'll give this guy credit for having the chutzpah, not to mention time and dedication, to blanket his scooter like this. Seriously, it's an insane feat of energy to get a bike this blinged-out! I just can't quite figure out what he's using to weigh the back of the bike down for balance... I mean he's not a big guy!

I understand that decking out your scooter is a unique thing to Mod culture and something that really helps identify the look. But I have always wondered when you know you've reached the "too much" mark. It was refreshing to hear, a while back, the attitudes of some of the original Mod(ernists) in regards to scooters. Many didn't adorn them this heavily (or at all) and some had no problem moving on to slicker cars when they had the ability. Scooters were an inexpensive way of getting around, and although you wanted to keep a nice bike, you didn't worship it. Along those lines, I subscribe to the Booker T. way of thinking: less is more.

Although I'm not into this style of decking a bike up, I really do hope it's on display in a museum somewhere. I'm getting down on the poor kid, but he must have blown his friends' minds when he first pulled up on this.


  1. Generally speaking, in most photos of the 60s Mod days that I've seen, the people with the decked out scooters were dressed pretty casually, while the people with plain scoots were often very nattily attired. Though this photo is an exception as he is dressed nicely. Perhaps one couldn't afford to splurge on both clothes and a scooter. Or the way I like to look at it is for many mods the scooter was used for simple, stylish, economical, & reliable transportation, not as a individual statement. Maybe the practice of multiple mirrors and lights came later as the scene grew?

    I see it as a phase of mod that is amusing if nothing else. Personally my first scooter (Lambretta LI125) was minimalist. I had one mirror and chrome rack on the back for practical reasons (for a spare tire and luggage). But I appreciated all the work that my mates put into their more decked out scoots.

  2. I agree. Although everything seems to be well done (and symmetrical) on the scooter above, I always preferred the clean minimalist look. When it comes down to it a scooter that is all original looks the best in my opinion.

    The thing that always killed me was "scooter boys" chopping up their scooters and making them into "choppers" or whatever. In my mind they were ruining a beautiful thing and I to this day can't understand it. I've never hidden my disdain for people who did this. An ugly paint job or accessory overload is one thing, but at least it can be "fixed". Chopping up a bike kills it forever.

  3. This young man should have no problems affording clothes, since a proper mod youth would have stolen all the accessories off of cars instead of buying them.

  4. TheJab, I've noticed the same thing. The impression I get is that the super zany decked-out bikes came after the '60s. The guy in the photo looks like a '79er, based on his jacket pattern.LIke I said, although I'm not into it, I have to appreciate the zeal and energy he put into that bike!

    Delinquent, I could NOT have said it better myself, especially in regards to 'choppers'. At that point, just buy a damn motorcycle already.

    El Brando, are you saying these guys are delinquefied?

  5. In 1983 this photo was on the cover of a copy of the Weekly World News, a very cheap National Enquirer rip-off, with the caption reading "Scooter really lights up his life"
    My grandmother bought a copy and sent it to me because she remembered seeing me in a striped boating blazer and thought he looked like me!?!

    I always thought that this guy had gone too far even when I was 16 and had Mod on the brain! :)

    As a avid scooterist I understand both sides. While in Brighton I saw masterpieces of over indulgence and minimalist MOD that made me drool.

    But I am in complete agreement that there is no room in this work for a "skelly" cut down!

  6. After a quick check online, I should mention that stadium head mirrors sell for $26.00 a piece and the stems are currently $66 ea.

    14 stems = $924
    34 mirrors = $884

    Over $1800 in mirrors alone!!

    ..also did you notice he still has his learners tag

  7. Another great post!

    @John - I don't know where you saw Stadium mirrors at 26$ apiece but I would love to know! Most likely they are Stadium "style" mirrors. Original Stadium mirrors go for 3 times that price each. If you want, we can buy them, sell them on eBay and split the profits. ;) Come to think about it, I would put them on my TV175. Here's a photo of an original Stadium mirror on my Vespa VNB. You want that "Stadium" stamp on it.

    I tempted to answer the question "Why do Mods have so many lights and mirrors on their scooters?" on a previous blog post. It wasn't easy and got a few divergent answers.

  8. Darn it, I didn't see your post earlier, Patrick! You're always like 5 steps ahead of me! Also, it's actually way more informative than this and the comments bring up some good perspectives as well.

    Years ago, I had a Dick Hebdige book (Hiding in the Light) and if I recall, it dealt with the scooter aspect of Mod. I need to hunt a copy down.

    John, that's RAD that your grandmother sent you the photo! When I was younger, I think I dug the idea of "tons of lights and mirrors" a bit more. I had buddies who built their bikes up in that fashion and it was exciting.

    Now, though, I just appreciate the form of the scooter much more and have a larger appreciation of stock bikes. A few lights and mirrors can't hurt though..

  9. The lights and mirrors fad in 60's only lasted a short time, it just happened to be the most photographed look.

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