November 29, 2023

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Buying Your First Motor Scooter

Are you being bitten by the scooter bug?

You’re not alone. Motor scooters are generating a lot of interest right now. The most obvious reason for this, of course, is the ever-rising cost of fuel. Many scooters can achieve upwards of 100 miles per gallon.

But there are many other great reasons to consider a scooter for your transport needs. Here are just a few:

  • They are perfectly suited for urban travelling. Think of how many people are using empty SUV’s for all those little, local journeys because it’s all they have. Do you really need to sit in the traffic in a 3,000 pound car just to get the bagels on a Sunday morning?
  • They are nimble, and easily manoeuvrable in traffic. A scooter can often go many places a car can’t.
  • They are easy to park. There are many places you can find to park a scooter close to your destination that simply cannot accommodate a car.
  • They are good for the environment. Obviously, one or two people on a motor scooter are going to use much less of our precious resources than a full-size car.
  • They are fun! Sometimes, this one comes as a surprise to a new scooterist, but there is nothing like that feeling of freedom and being “at one” with your surroundings that a scooter or motorcycle gives. It is the nearest thing to flying, and it is something of which car drivers are largely unaware.
  • Some people really get “the bug”, and become life-long riders who would rarely choose any “lesser” form of transport.

So, having decided that you’d like to try the scooter lifestyle, how do you go about choosing which scooter is right for you?

Luckily, there are just a few things that you need to take into consideration to help you to decide the best scooter for you. These are:

  • The average speed of the traffic in the areas which you will be riding.
  • Whether your riding will be confined to in-town, or you will be considering longer journeys.
  • Your previous riding experience (if any).
  • New or Used.

Average Speed of Traffic

As a rough guide, here is a chart that outlines the usual top speeds that can be achieved by modern scooters of various engine sizes – along with an estimate of miles per gallon:

  • 50cc – 30 MPH (48 KPH) – 100 MPG (43 KPL)
  • 125cc – 55 MPH (88 KPH) – 80 MPG (134 KPL)
  • 150cc – 60 MPH (96 KPH) – 70 MPG (30 KPL)
  • 200cc – 75 MPH (121 KPH) – 65 MPG (28 KPL)
  • 250cc – 85MPH (140 KPH) – 63 MPG (27 KPL)
  • 500cc – 100 MPH (160 KPH) – 55 MPG (23 KPL)
  • 650CC – 115 MPH (185 KPH) – 48 MPG (20 KPL)

Using the above chart as your guide, you can match the size of scooter to the average top speed of the traffic where you will be riding.

Riding in Town, or Longer Journeys?

The traditional style of scooter (think the iconic Vespa) offers less wind protection than some of the more modern styles of scooters. If you will be doing longer journeys, you may consider looking into some of the more modern styles of scooter which sometimes offers better wind protection.

Ergonomics play a part in this also. While the more upright position of a traditional style scooter is great for in-town riding because you are sitting up straight and have excellent view, some of the larger scooters which are designed for longer distances have a more “laid-back” seating position which you may find more comfortable if you are considering long trips.

Previous Riding Experience

You may be surprised at just how agile scooters are. A little 125cc scooter will often beat most cars away from the lights.

For this reason, if you haven’t ridden on two wheels before, it may be more prudent for you to start out small, and upgrade to a larger scooter once you have more experience “under your belt”.

Of course, if you have previous experience of riding a motorcycle, then that should stand you in good stead in the scooter world.

New or Used?

There are indeed some bargains to be found when searching for used scooters. There are also advantages such as the original owner (hopefully) having sorted out any teething problems with the scooter, and already haven taken care of the initial servicing.

Also, you can sometimes benefit from extras such as after-market accessories which the original owner has paid for, but rarely figures much into the equation when selling the scooter used. If these extras just happen to be the same ones you would have bought yourself, you could be on to a winner!

Of course, buying used brings its own set of concerns and things to look out for. If you haven’t much previous experience of scooters, then I would highly recommend asking a more experienced rider to go along with you when you take a look at any potential purchases.

If you don’t know anybody to help you, you could consider joining a scooter forum online. You may be surprised at just how helpful the scooter community can be, and you are very likely to find someone willing to give up a little of their time to help you with evaluating a potential purchase.

I hope this helps you along the way to joining the happy band of scooter riders. You’re taking the first step toward something which could become a lifetime of enjoyment.