Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ooooh!! Pretty lights!

Well, I can no longer say that I have never been pulled over by an officer of the law. One of Manheim Township's finest took a dislike to the LED's on the front of my scooter tonight and decided to pull me over. Of course, it didn't help that I was doing 53 in a 40mph zone.

I stated that Title 75 (the PA vehicle code), states that LED pods and strips may be used for vehicle lighting, and he stated that some other longwinded piece of paper specifies that blue and red can't be used on the front. He suggested that I stick to amber. I apologized for speeding, citing that the speedometers on scooters are notorious for being wrong, and stated that I was just enjoying the wind and hadn't really been paying attention, which was true.

In the officer's defense, he was really cool about it. After detaining me for about ten minutes, he let me go with a warning, and I continued on my way.

So, even though I can no longer say that I have never been stopped, I can still say that I have yet to get a citation for a moving violation.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Suitable Demographic

Yesterday, I mentioned that motorsports companies would do well to adjust their marketing due to the current slump in big bike sales. As mentioned before, big bikes are, by nature, a luxury item. Scooters, (traditional scooters, not maxi-scooters), are not generally a luxury item, with the likely exception of Vespa. This being the case, scooter manufacturers are in a unique position in the motorsports world. They have a product that is economical, comparably inexpensive, and a blast to ride. These three factors make scooters a surefire sales item in an unstable economy.

Consider that last year, scooter sales went up by over 60%. This was largely due to the cost of gas. With the cost of gas down under $2.00 a gallon, fuel prices are no longer as much of an imediate issue for most consumers; however, it is still in the back of many people's minds. I've spoken to several folks who want a scooter for a backup vehicle for when gas prices go up again (and it's likely they will).

As it is, there are several demographics to which scooters could be agressively marketed. I will cover a few, but I'm sure there are more out there.

The campus commuter: College students have always had two needs; money and transportation. Many college students end up with a beat up car and no money for gas. A scooter meets the need for on and off campus transportation, without breaking the bank. They even look cool, especially models like the Yamaha Zuma or the Honda Ruckus.

The rural romper: Can't afford a Harley? Still want to ride around and don't really care what kind of image your vehicle exudes? Well, a scooter is an excellent solution, though something in at least a 150cc model will be recommended. Scooters like the Kymco People series, the Aprilia Scarabeo, or the Piaggio BV series, with their 16" tires are particularly well suited to rural roads and the bumps and potholes they seem to be riddled with.

The Working Woman*: Women have traditionally been ignored by the powersports industry. This could be due to the perception that they simply are not interested in motorcycles. Whether or not that perception is accurate, it is my impression that women are interested in scooters. Scooters don't have the stigma that is often connected to motorcycles. Scooters can also be very chic, something the majority of motorcyles just don't have. For pure chic, nothing beats a Vespa, though the Yamaha Vino 125 has classic looks that rival Vespa.

Each of these demographics could be easily targeted with snappy adds in print media and on television. As suggested by KZ1000ST in an e-mail I recently received, add campaigns like "you meet the nicest people on a Honda" could be easily resurrected. Of course, new add campaigns could be launched as well, but sometimes, resurrecting classic adds can be very effective.

The fact remains, these companies have a window of opportunity they should not ignore.

*credit goes to KZ1000ST for suggesting that scooter manufacturers should market to women.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A warm thank you!

I was curious this evening, so I checked Google Analytics to see the visitor statistics for this blog. I was pleasantly surprized to see that I've been averaging about 15 hits a day and recently I've been seeing about 30 a day with reasonable regularity. Google must take Metamucil...

Anyway, I wanted to thank all of you folks out there that read my ramblings. it is touching that I actually seem to have a following. I have also recently received compliments on my writing style and I can only say that I am blessed to have had a father who taught English for nearly 40 years. He instilled in me a love for literature and writing. This is one of the reasons that, despite my nature as an artistic soul, my blog remains primarily a labor of writing, rather than photography.

Again, I wish to thank you all from the deepest recesses of my heart.

Bigger /= Better

We understand. We, who ride small displacement scooters, understand. There is something about a small engine that the big bikes just don't have. It's not mystique, no, that's not it. It's definitely not speed. Perhaps it is the freedom to simply enjoy the ride. There are side benefits, certainly, but serious scootsters soon discover that it's all about the ride. Big bikes have their advantages, but they certainly don't force one to get off the beaten path in the same way that scooters and small displacment cycles do.

The NY Times recently ran an article about Harley's troubles. As I surmized in a recent post, Harley is headed for trouble, and as one of my readers suggested, it may be too late for them to recover. Marketing a luxury item to people who've suddenly found themselves hard up for cash, well, I think you know where this road leads.

I also ran accross a rumor at that originated in Australia. The rumor indicates that Yamaha may be working on a 750cc, three cylinder version of the T-Max. If this is true, it's likely that the scooter will find itself in a market that may not be able to afford it, especially if it has an MSRP of $10,000 or so, which is likely considering the cost of the T-Max 500. Of course, it may never show up here in the US, even if the rumor is true.

Motorsports companies are in a unique position at the moment. Almost every private industry in the U.S. is currently struggling to keep above water. The exception has been the powersports industry. Scooters and small displacement motorcycles have reportedly been selling very well, despite the current economic climate. Even off-road vehicles have been selling well from what I have read.

To survive, the powersports industry must capitalize on their successes. The door on the big bike industry is currently only open by a small crack; however, the window for scooter and small bike sales is wide open. Perhaps it is time to start agressively marketing these wonderful little vehicles to the demographics for whom they are most appropriately suited.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Poll

There's quite a bit of buzz about Honda's new scooter offering. The biggest concern seems to be the price. I'm running a poll here and one a couple forums basically for my own curiousity. Not very scientific of course, but most polls are no more scientific than monkey farts, and just about as valuable.

I've been riding People hard for six months...

I'm sorry, the pun was too good to resist.

As of today, I have had my Kymco People 150 for exactly six months. It seems only logical that I should relate my impressions on the vehicle to date.

I've put over 3300 miles on this scooter since I purchased it. Had it not been for the winter months, she'd probably have more miles on her, but, as it stands, it was a chilly winter. Now that the spring is here, she's seeing more road time, much more.

The engine still runs smoothly, though my maximum speed seems to have dropped a little. This doesn't seem terribly odd since I experienced the same phenomenon on my Yamaha Vino. The carburetor remains a little finicky, but fuel system cleaner seems to fix that quickly. Riding in extreme cold can be troublesome as the clutch does not seem to like the cold, and the throttle tends to stick below about 20 degrees F. Once the engine warms sufficiently, the clutch engages perfectly, and the engine putts along nicely.

On warmer days, there are no issues with the clutch slipping and the warm-up time is not as long.

The seat remains reasonably comfortable for long rides. It could use a little more padding, but a sheepskin would probably do the trick nicely.

The scooter has held up well to the winter weather. I do think that next year I will avoid riding during or just after snowstorms as the salt cakes on the engine housing and muffler, which will damage them both over time. The muffler is easy and not terribly expensive to replace, not so the entire engine.

Body panels are not very easy to remove. I'd like to remove them myself so I may access the valves on the engine for the upcoming check that they need. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to get the side panels off. Some warm weekend, I'll need to tinker with that some more.

Documentation and support from Kymco seem to be somewhat lacking. I'd like to see an online service manual, but have come up empty handed so far. I was given a link to one on Kymco Italy's website, but the link didn't work.

Tire wear doesn't seem to be an issue so far. The tread remains even and in good condition.

The brakes are still good. They squeal a little when wet, but work just fine otherwise.

So far, the Kymco People 150 seems to remain a solid little scooter. After I've had the Silver Streak for a year, I will have to revisit my opinions.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Customer service blues

I don't know why, but for some reason, companies seem to think that outsourcing a call center to India, training the technicians in rudimentary English and providing them with scripts equals customer service.

Since November of last year, I've had DSL service through Verizon, if you want to call it service. In that time, I've had only one month (February), of moderately stable service. Before and after February, my connection exhibited and now exhibits the following behavior; It will drop suddenly and without warning at any given moment, then come on again a few minutes later. I'll look at the modem with it's three portals of LED mystery, one marked "DSL", another marked "Data", and the last marked "Internet." The Internet light will be dim, while the DSL light blinks a sullen cryptic message of hatred for all humankind. At times, the Internet light will glow an angry red instead of the accustomed green, indicating, perhaps, that the digital creature inside has trained its lasers upon me and is about to fire if I do not release the other appliances from their bondage and set them free in my lawn in a strange display of hillbilly landscaping.

Before February, when this occurred, I spent five anguished sessions with so-called technicians from Verizon's overseas call centers, trying to convince them that my connection was indeed fubar and that they should send a technician to my home to investigate. After countless restarts of the modem, and even my own router (which I knew would be fruitless), they finally relented and sent a technician. He spent two hours at my home, after which, the connection worked flawlessly for about a month. At the beginning of this month; however, the agony resumed in earnest, except now, instead of twenty minutes or more of uninterupted service, I have perhaps five minutes to check my e-mail, write a blog entry, or visit the forums I frequent.

I warred within myself as to whether I should call, hoping that the situation would, beyond logic, rectify itself, to no avail. So, biting the bullet, I called Verizon this evening. The number in the telephone book yeilded a gentleman with a cosmopolitain American accent. I almost cried. It was wonderful. I stood outside the pearly gates and explained my situation, and he said "I'm sorry sir, but this is business support, I'll need to transfer you to residential." After some buzzing, clicking, and unexplainable alien noises, there was some hold music, and then. "Hello, my name is _______, how may I be of service today," in a stilted middle to far eastern accent. I wept. It was horrible. I'd been relegated back to the seventh level of Hell.

I gave the young woman my information, told her, "Just send a technician, I've been through this before and I am through playing games." Her response; "O.K. sir, I am just needing to do a line test. Could you please to hold the line?" I explained that she could save herself some time by simply sending a technician to my home. I explained that I was tiring of Verizon's poor excuse for customer service but managed to hold back my deepest darkest feelings of rage, since I worked for eight years as a customer service representative and understand how it is to be yelled at by an irate customer. Despite my protests, she went to do her line test, and set her headset down (I heard the thump as it hit the desk), while she talked to the person next to her about the crazy American she had on the line calling their customer service "crap."

After she came back to tell me what I already knew (that my connection was flopping around like a salmon in a grizzly's teeth), I told her she could forget about it and that I will be cancelling my service. She then transfered me to the cancellation department...which was closed.

In the time it has taken me to write this posting, my internet connection has died three times. It's not my computer, it's the service itself or Verizon's equipment, as evidenced by the activity of the aliens inside the modem. While I understand that it is much more costly to run a call center in India or Indonesia, it saddens me that so much true customer service is lost in the process. I have nothing against the people of these countries, and I appreciate that the customer service industry has brought a level of prosperity to areas that never saw it before.

Unfortunately, customer service has transformed into an evil dopelganger: customer processing.

Tomorrow, once the business offices of the various Internet providers open their lines, I shall find a company worthy of my business. Until then, I shall suffer here in the inferno.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

SUV: Scooter Utility Vehicle

Ahh, yes. The SUV. Normally, this acronym brings to mind gas guzzling multi-passenger vehicles which take up two lanes and are generally piloted by a soccer mom on a cell phone. These vehicles, though highly popular for several years, suddenly fell out of favor last summer when gas prices made a vehicle that gets ten gallons to the mile completely unpractical.

The scooter; however, can be a great utility vehicle, within reason. In some countries, they are loaded up with people, goods, and even hitched to trailers which haul people and/or goods from place to place. Of course, the "scooter" that is primarily used for this purpose is the Honda Cub (known most recently in the US as the Honda Passport during the 1980's). The Cub is technically not a scooter since it does not have the pure scooter step through styling with a floorboard, though it comes close enough that the line between the Cub and scooters is somewhat blurred.

I cannot say that I have ever carried live chickens in cages, or huge bails or whatnot, or my entire family on my scooter; however, for basic errands, a scooter is very appropriate and functional.

Take the following scenario. This morning, my wife asked if I could pick up a prescription at the local pharmacy. I have choice A; take one of my cars, use about a half gallon of gas and struggle to find a parking space, or, choice B; take my scooter, use a fraction of the gas, enjoy the fresh air, take my son for a ride, and easily find a parking space next to the bike rack at the pharmacy. Obviously, I chose B. The prescription fit easily under the scooter's seat with tons of room to spare. A larger vehicle for such a small task would have been overkill.

Here's scenario 2. You want to have a family movie night and you don't want to cook. So, you order Chinese food and you go to pick it up. Again, you could use the cage, but you opt for the scooter instead. The bag fits easily in the top case with room to spare for a 2 liter of soda. The only downside of this is that some Chinese take-out restaurants use flimsy containers, which may spill into your top case if they are not bagged properly.

These are simple examples of times when a car or SUV are just too much vehicle for the job. Even bigger articles can be carried on a scooter. I'd hesitate to carry delicate electronics equipment, but I wouldn't think twice about rigging a contraption for carrying lumber or other building materials.

Let's also consider such menial tasks as grocery shopping, clothes shopping, running to the bank, running to the firing range, etc.

Depending on the type of scooter that an individual may own, there is a wide range of options for improving carrying capacity. Most scooters have an under-the-seat "trunk" which is usually big enough to hold at least a half helmet. Some scooters, like the Yamaha C3 and most maxi scooters, have a huge storage compartment under the seat. Others, like the now discontinued Honda Helix, have a trunk that is accessed from the rear, with a huge cargo capacity.

If the built in storage is not enough, a top case can be added. Most scooters come with a luggage rack, onto which a trunk or top case may be afixxed. Some folks do as I did, and simply bungee a milk crate to the back rack. It may not look pretty, but it's functional. Top cases look much better than milk crates, though they do limit one's ability to put extra large items in them, due to their nature as a closed container. Luckily, they come in many sizes, some of which are gigantic.

Saddlebags may also be an option, though I have not tried them yet myself. I would like to get some eventually, especially with my upcoming trip in April, but I am not yet ready to make that purchase.

So, just what purpose does the SUV serve?

For a family shopping trip, a scooter probably won't cut it. My scooter pretty much tops out at two or three bags of groceries and a gallon of milk (though I used to be able to carry four gallons when I was using a milk crate on my Yamaha Vino). On the other hand, if all I need is that gallon of milk and a half gallon of icecream or some other small items, my scooter is perfectly suited to the task. My wife's Toyota RAV4 is just too big,

For small items, such as prescriptions or clothing, a scooter is again, well suited (no pun intended). Going to the bank may be a little more complicated. I don't recomend using a drive through while riding a scooter. I've done it once or twice and I have to say, I feel a little too exposed. I feel much more comfortable when I simply go inside the bank.

A larger vehicle has its place. Large items are difficult to carry safely on a scooter. Heavy items can seriously affect one's balance. Small items and short errands though, are definitely scooter territory!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ducati Maxi scooter?

There has been mention, on two of the forums I visit, of a rumor regarding a maxi-scooter concept sketch from Ducati. I personally know little of the company other than their good reputation. It certainly would be nice to see another reputable company get into the mix with another maxi scooter, but I'd be more interested in seeing more low to mid-range scooters.

None of the Japanese manufacturers currently sell a 200 - 350cc class scooter here in the U.S. Kymco has one "200" that is really a 163cc, and three 25o's. SYM has three scooters that range from the 200 class to the 300 class. TGB has one 250. Piaggio group has several 200 - 300cc scooters under their various brands. So, where are the Japanese? Heck with that, where are the American companies (translated Harley and Buell)?

The answer is, the Japanese and American bike makers are focused on high performance/high cost sports bikes and cruisers. Here in America, and in the rest of the world, there is a lot of concern over financial issues. Very few people are going to have the money, or, if they have the money, be willing to spend a large sum on a luxury item. I believe that both the American and Japanese manufacturers have made a drastic error in judgement here.

Scooters under 400cc are not generally a luxury item, with the possible exception of Vespa. This was proven unequivocably by the surge in scooter sales over the last year. They are still selling well, and from what I understand, sales are starting to heat up again, though not as well as last year. Many people are becoming less concerned about how a vehicle looks or sounds, and more concerned with more immediate issues, like, "Will it cause me to go completely broke like my SUV did last summer at 1ompg?" Many folks are realizing that even though gas is "cheap" right now and hovering just below $2.00 a gallon, it will go up again. Many of those same folks are thinking ahead and looking to buy a scooter or motorcycle now.

Harley is in an interesting position. They are facing layoffs at many of their plants. Sales figures are dropping. They could, and I believe should, introduce a few lower end bikes, and perhaps a scooter or two, at a reasonable price-point. Their smallest cc bike is the Sportster 883 which isn't what one could call a small displacement engine. At $7000 MSRP, even the Sportster won't be an impulse buy for most people.

A simple fix would be to re-introduce the Topper. Give it more modern lines and a better engine, perhaps a 300 or 350, and price it at about $4000. Even better, put out a few variations with engines perhaps ranging from 50cc, 150cc, 250cc and 350cc. I imagine they would sell well, as long as they were a good product. The name itself would draw attention.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that any such thing will happen. While I can see that selling 500 scooters at a profit margin of a few hundred dollars each is better than selling 500 high end motorcycles at a loss because nobody wants to pay for them, the mainstream manufacturers just don't seem to get it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Honda SH-150i

**For more up to date information, go to this link**

I thought I had mentioned this, but I cannot find the post, so I will address the issue. The rumors have come full circle. Honda is bringing a 150cc scooter to the U.S. market this spring. It will be the SH-150i which has been available in Europe for some time.

The upsides:
  • Fuel injection
  • Dual disk brakes (apparently linked)
  • 16" wheels
  • It's a Honda
The downside:
  • The projected MSRP is $4500
At first, I had a lot of negative feelings about this offering from Honda, simply because of the price. I'm now kinda waffling in my feelings about this scooter. At a likely OTD price of more than $5000, the SH150i comes into the pricing territory of a Vespa LX150, or a Suzuki Burgman 400.

On the one hand, the proposed MSRP seems excessive. A 150cc scooter, even with all the bells and whistles, isn't something most people are going to spend more than $5000 on. Sure, a Vespa will command that kind of price, and I'm thinking a Honda is probably better put together than a Vespa, but then you're paying for the name when you buy a Vespa. $5000 is a lot of money for the average American to fork out, especially now with everyone pinching pennies.

On the other hand, one could argue that when you buy a Honda, you're also paying for the name and the quality it comes with. No one can successfully argue that Hondas are junk. I'm sure they've made a few lemons along the way, but they are the exception and far from the rule. Perhaps that will be enough to convince some folks that the SH150i is worth it. Personally, I'd never be able to afford one, but as was mentioned by poster KZ1000ST on, they will probably last forever and give their owners back every penny that is spent on them. If it were a SH 300i at that price, well, then I might find a way to afford one eventually, but it's not.

I do think the pricing was a very bad move on Honda's part, but then, the Japanese companies seem to think that Americans are made of money. They don't seem to really pay much attention to trends. Had they been paying attention, they would have noticed that gas prices were going up three years ago and brought more mid-range scooters to the U.S. back then in preparation for the surge in scooter sales. As it was, three Japanese manufacturers (Honda, Suzuki, and Kawasaki) lost a lot of likely sales to the other manufacturers, while Yamaha was the only one of them to have anything mid-range still in production, and the only one of them to bring a new mid-range (albeit 125cc) scooter to the market in time for this model year (Zuma 125). Yamaha's pricing is also very competitive, despite their dealers' tendency to add on exorbitant dealer fees.

So, to sum up, yes, the Honda SH150 is way overpriced for what the market will bear; however, it should still be worth every penny in both quality and longevity.

Scooter brainwashing

An interesting comment was made on my last entry. Will I allow my son to choose a standard motorcycle with a manual transmission or encourage him to get a scooter instead? I suppose it's a fair question.

My parenting style is such that I put knowledge and ideas out there and allow my son to make decisions for himself, though there are times that "encouragement" is given to help him make the best decisions. When he was younger, there was more "encouragement" and less individual decision making. As he grows older, the freedom to make his own decisions on his own, with less input from his mother and me, continues to increas.

That taken into account, I've already told him that he may purchase a scooter with my help when he gets his driver's license after his 16th birthday. There are several reasons for this:
  • A 50cc scooter doesn't require an M classification in Pennsylvania.
  • A 50cc scooter doesn't cost as much as a car.
  • A 50cc scooter doesn't have a "back seat" in the same way that a car does (think about it).
  • The insurance cost on a 50cc scooter is minimal
If he wanted to get his motorcycle license, I'd be willing to help him with a motorcycle instead of a scooter, but due to the current laws in PA, if they do not change before his 16th birthday, he would need to complete 50 hours on a motorcycle and 50 hours in a car to get both licenses. It'll be up to him really.

The scriptures state; "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." This verse has shown its truth in my son. Love and patience have helped shape him into a young man who, despite some expected lapses from time to time, shows wisdom and great depth of passion. He's a good kid and so he earns more and more liberty and trust from my wife and me as the days pass.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My son's first solo ride

I took my little guy out to ride his dirt bike today. After seeing that he was stable enough on the local basketball court, I took him to a dirt track I'd been told he could use until we find a better alternative. We loaded his CRF-50F into the back seat of my Chevy Cavalier and headed out.

He did several circuits around the track. Fell down a few times, but got up, dusted himself off, and kept going. Just seeing him smile was a wonderful thing.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Beautiful weather we're having!

Today, the thermometer hit 71 degrees (according to Weatherbug). It was a fantastic day for a ride, so I hopped on the Silver Streak and went up to Lebanon to see if I could find the Vespa dealer up that way. I ended up going the wrong direction on 422, but got turned around again, and found Vespa of Lebanon on the west end of town.

I was met out front by Paul Copenhaver, who was more than happy to show me their stock of Vespa, Piaggio, and Aprilia scooters. They have quite the stock, including several MP3's, Scarabeos and Vespa LX's.

If you have the money, Vespa is a good choice, as is Piaggio, or Aprilia. There are certainly other less expensive options, but as with anything else in life, you generally get what you pay for.

Vespa, in particular, stands for quality in the scooter world. For one thing, the body panels of Vespa scooters are still made of metal as opposed to the plastic panels found on most other brands.

If you have the money to do it and you're looking for a scooter with a stellar reputation, and you live in Dauphin, Lebanon, or Lancaster County, Vespa of Lebanon is worth checking into.

The only issue I take with them is that they apparently charge dealer prep fees, over an above MSRP. With the already high cost of a Vespa, this may be a deterent for many buyers (including myself).

Piaggio plug-in Hybrid in 2010?

I found an link to an interesting story on Fox News today. Thanks to MGA531 on for posting the link.

According to the story, Piaggio is releasing a gas/electric plug-in hybrid version of their MP3 scooter here in the U.S., in early 2010. The sticker price will be between $8,000 - $9,000.

O.k. So far I am interested, but here's the downside. The gas engine will be a 125cc. Add in the electric assist, and it's maybe equivalent to a 150 or 200 (my best guess). They claim 0-60 time of 5 seconds. I'll believe that when I see it.

It might be worth popping up to the Vespa dealer in Lebanon to see what they have to say about it, but I doubt they will have anything to add that isn't already on the web.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I just can't stop tinkering...

I found some LED's for my top case today. They look really good. Yet another step toward greater nighttime visibility. Now I just need some red side LEDs. I found some white ones that will work for the front amber bubbles, but I'll need to wait on that.

Getting visible is relatively easy. A project for another day will be to replace the stock lights with LED's. That will also have to wait.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Warm weather waiting in the wings!

Well, according to the weather forecast, it will hit 45+ tomorrow, then mid 50's and 60's Friday and over the weekend.

I can't wait to get out riding routinely again!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A weekend away...

I spent this weekend at my Church's fourth annual men's retreat at Caledonia State Park near Chambersburg, PA. Aside from being ill Friday evening, the experience was one in which I am glad I was able to share.

I had originally intended to ride out on Rt. 30, but since I had already had a good soaking on Friday and the weather on Sunday was promising snow, I decided against it (and am glad I did).

In any event, we studied excerpts of Chapter four of Real Christianity by William Wilberforce. The recurring theme in the chapter is the pursuit of "authentic" faith as opposed to "cultural Christianity." The exhortation to apply one's faith to daily life through the influence of the Holy Spirit, rather than allowing the prevailing winds of the surrounding culture to sway one from the true path.

It was eye opening and convicting, leaving me with much to ponder while I ride around on my scooter, once the current snowstorm passes.