By Gabe Ets-Hokin
Photos by Gabe Ets- Hokin, Jessica Jung and Aaron Gross
gen•u•ine adjective ‘jen-y?-w?n, -(?)win, ÷-?win -actual, real, or true: not false or fake -sincere and honest – merriam-webster.com/dictionary/genuine
If you want a stylish, well-made, fun-to-ride scooter all you need is decent credit and a ride to the scooter shop. Once you’re there, almost every manufacturer has a big selection of scooters: retro, classic, sport, whatever you want. And if you want to soup up your ride – whatever it is and wherever it was made – you can stroll to the parts counter or surf the Interwebz and shop till you (or your credit rating) drop.
Genuine’s latest release, the Hooligan, combines zesty performance with super-modern style.
Today Genuine/Scooterworks is one of the bigger players in the scooter importing business. Unit sales at the 200 Genuine dealers hover between 3000 and 5000 units, big numbers in a total scooter market that was under 30,000 (counting major brands only) in 2013. The parts business is going strong as well, with 800 shops selling items through the Scooterworks catalog, everything from vintage Vespa wiring harnesses to billet triple clamps for a Honda Ruckus. A third subsidiary, Scooterworks Chicago, is a busy dealer of Genuine, Kymco and (sometimes) beautifully restored classic Vespas – Trey claimed Genuine sold 33% of the scooters in the Chicago area. McCaleb has since moved on – the company was recapitalized and is now owned by an investment group.
Scooterworks was founded on vintage scoots, but it’s looking forward. “We want to be a driver of the scooter industry,” Trey told me, and Genuine sees plenty of opportunity in the smaller-displacement marketplace. “Seventy to 80% of the market is still under 300cc, mostly under 200cc.” That’s why the company is excited about its modern-styled, 170cc, liquid-cooled Hooligan and its other high-performance, affordable plastic-bodied scoots, despite much media attention focused on bigger, faster scoots like the BMW C600. It’s a shrewed strategy – Genuine/Scooterworks has a broad, deep knowledge of the American scooter market, bolstered by years of experience and tens of thousands of customers.
“The goal is to get more Americans riding scooters,” Trey says, enthusiastically wrapping up our interview. “Keep the trend going!”