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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thinking of buying a scooter? Want advice?

May 1, 2014 - UPDATE:  A lot of you are looking for information on Scooters.  A few of you may even buy one, so I'm going to recommend you read not only my article but also this piece on Cheapskate Scooters.  You want to buy the bike that's best for you, but also one that is best for your situation.

I write this blog because I am still new to the joy and the art of motorcycling.  I have questions and concerns and hopefully someone just as new or newer than me stumbles across my pitiful attempt at being helpful.  If they gain some new knowledge or somehow avoid making a mistake that I made then wonderful.  

So with gas getting close to and, as your reading this, probably over $4 a gallon I thought it best to give a little run down on what to look for if your thinking about life on two wheels.  I’m not going to say Brand X is better than Brand Y, that’s not my job nor the purpose of this entry.

Basically, if you were to come up to me on the street and ask me for advice on buying a scooter my answer might surprise you.

1)         Do not buy a scooter based on gas mileage alone.

Buddy's all in a row.
Okay, so you want to get somewhere between 50 - 100 miles per gallon.  You want to save money -  I understand that.  But do a little research first.  For example, what is the speed limit on the majority of roads you drive on?  Is that speed limit more wishful thinking or is it accurate?  If you’re driving a little 50CC over 50 miles round trip down the highway with cars zipping past you at 75 miles per hour…it may be time to reconsider your choice of scoot.

That being said, buy a motorcycle or scooter based on what you want to do.  Don't buy something that is to powerful for you either.  You don't need 1200cc between your legs to make you a man if your not comfortable with that type of power.

What do you plan to use your Scooter for?  Commuting?  Touring?  Errands?  I was very surprised to find that, over time, my riding needs changed.  I started as a simple commuter, and now I would rather take the bike out than the car.  Your mileage may vary.

2)         Get endorsed and Gear Up

To make it as simple as possible, this might save your life.  The endorsement class will also break you of some bad habit and teach you to be a better, and safer, rider.  Well motorcycles and scoots are great fun and a form of cheap transportation the truth is that jackets, helmets and other things are not.  A good “cheap” armored jacket might run you $125.  A really good helmet about the same.  Gloves vary in price and frankly I'm not sure why.  Find a pair that fit and your comfortable with.  Boots can be found cheaply (for example I got mine at Wal-mart), just make sure they are waterproof and have oil resistant soles.

These are a one time expense.  Wear them all the time.  Hence the term "ATGATT" which stands for All The Gear, All The Time.

Scooters and motorcycles are dangerous, have a lower profile than your car and don't react like a car does.  Preparing for that moment when something goes wrong, and it will go wrong, just makes common sense.

3)         Are you a gearhead?

I’m not a gear head but I learned a few things because motorcycles and scooters can be expensive to work on.  For example an oil change in your car can be done by your local mechanic for roughly $20 US dollars.  An oil change on your bike might be twice that.
You can go through life not ever learning how to do something, learning to change the oil and other basic maintenance is just part of owning a bike and might save you some money.  Motorcycles and scooters are not that common (yet) and frankly your local mechanic may not be qualified to work on your ride despite the fact he's worked on your car for 20 years.  Learning how to do basic maintenance is a requirement of owning a bike.  If your not willing to do that consider public transportation.  

4)  Are you willing to suffer?

You will be hot.  You will be cold.  You will be wet.  You are exposed to the environment and have to make a choice to accept that.  

5)  Are you willing to have a smile on your face for the rest of your days?

Because you will.  

If your willing to take some advice, then I think your going to not only save money but have a hell of a good time doing it.  

1 comment:

Roxana Petrovici said...

I am 6'3" and i would really like to buy a scooter! Either a lambretta or vespa...that type of scooter!
I think i might be too tall for that type or to tall in general.
Do you know if any of them two models make bigger scooters ar something else that looks like them?

Thank you