Caring for your Lambretta

First of all, congratulations on owning an iconic piece of scooter history. A Lambretta is a scooter to be loved, so keeping one in tip top condition is very likely high on your list of priorities. It’s more than just your Lambretta, however. When you own a Lambretta, you are more inheriting it and taking care of it for the next generation.

Here is a quick guide to keeping your Lammy in tip top condition.

Oil Changes

Roughly every 1500 to 3000 miles you’ll need to change your gearbox oil. These are old machines and they need a lot of maintenance. You’ll need a 10mm Allen key and an adjustable wrench, along with something for the old oil to drain into and a funnel for the new oil.

Buy some good oil. Cheap stuff won’t last as long and can more easily lead to damage. SAE 90 should suffice. You will probably need about half a litre for each change.

Keep on top of your oil changes, if you don’t you are liable to destroy your gearbox, which can be expensive and fiddly.

Clean the Ol’ Girl Down

After you’ve been out on the road, your Lambretta could probably do with a clean, especially in winter months when there is salt on the road.

Old Lammy’s are not made of the best steel, it has to be admitted. Once corrosion gets in, it can quickly eat away at the body of your prized scooter and make it very dangerous. It does not look good either. When you clean it, you should be looking for cracks and spots missing in the coating.

There are a lot of special formulas out there to use as cleaning solutions but hot, soapy water can work just as well. Be gentle with the water if you are using a hose or sponge. The real trick is to keep on top of the cleaning and make sure the scooter dries out properly. Trapped water can quickly lead to problems.

Keep it Painted

Their enamel paint chips and cracks easily and can lead to corrosion very quickly if you haven’t kept on top of it. If other paints have been used, you should still check to see if there are any gaps. Because of the relatively poor construction (my modern standards), they are particularly prone to corrosion. A good paint job keeps it looking spic and span but also keeps your Lammy safe.

Use the Right Fuel

When you are fuelling up your Lambretta, you should use the highest octane fuel you can find. Unleaded is OK to use, it might cause a bit more heat build up in the engine but it is generally tolerable. The oil mix is generally 4% for mineral 2-stroke oil but if you are using a modern synthetic oil, you can reduce this to 3% because it is better at doing its job. Modern oils are preferable because they burn more cleanly and lead to less build up in the engine and exhaust.

Tune it Up

Your Lambretta will give you two main tunings (the settings that get the best results for different applications). Bottom end speed and cruising speed. There is no real way of getting both, so you might have to choose. Usually, you will have bought your Lambretta with a neutral tuning, so it will be good for zipping around town (that’s what most people use them for). Exactly how to tune the Lambrettas is beyond this article, but you should be aware that you can get a better acceleration and lower-end oomph that is suitable for city dwelling and short trips; or you can have an engine tuned to getting better efficiency at higher cruising speeds, which is good for longer journeys.


Most of the time, if you have problems with the electronics on a Lambretta, it will be due to a faulty earth or duff connections. The electronics are very primitive and with a little expertise can be adjusted and fixed at home. Always make sure the ignition is off and you ground yourself before touching anything electronic in your Lammy. There are schematics available for download online, or you can check out some of the forums for more specific advice.

Learn some Basic Mechanics

If you get other people to fix your Lambretta all the time, you are going to spend a lot of money on it. They need regular and close attention, even if you do not ride it very much. Things break, fall off, get corroded, or just stop working with a regularity that most Lambretta owners will knowingly attest to. You can pay a mechanic to fix her every time, or you can learn some basic electronics and mechanics skills and do most of it yourself.

Things like transmissions, drive chains, brakes, lights, and oil changes are easy. There are plenty of guides online and many patient Lambretta owners who are willing to help you learn the best way to care for your precious scooter. It is a large part of the appeal of a Lambretta: the fact that you can understand and fix every part of it yourself, no plugging it in required. Be safe and enjoy.

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