Return of the Cushman

Weird American scooter on the comeback trail

THE American bike industry is rightfully famous for its cruisers and customs but there's a long history of scooters over the Atlantic too, and none are more instantly recognisable than the Cushman.

Originally, Cushman made scooters from 1936 to 1965, ranging from lightweight machines for the US Army (designed to be parachuted into action during WW2) to custom-style bikes looking like minature Harleys.

Now K-Jack Motors in California is planning to reintroduce the classic utilitarian Cushman design in a range of forms. Initially it will offer the Highlander, with a 265cc single, and the Cushman II Step-Thru with a massive 14bhp 404cc motor...

If you're a fan of the latest generation of plastic-cowled, sleek and smooth scooters or quasi-retro Vespas, you're probably not going to like either Cushman. Both models look like something created by an A-level metalwork student. It wouldn't be surprising if they turned out to be made of recycled filing cabinets.

But there's something appealing about the pure functionality of them. But please, K-Jack, make a WW2-style paratrooper version – the scooter equivalent of a Hummer.