Friday, May 15, 2009

Summer's coming...

And with Summer, comes lots of questions posed to scootsters about their rides. It must be a seasonal thing, but last year, I had lots of people asking me about my scooter until around October. Suddenly, within the last two weeks or so, the questions have started up again. This could be due to the nicer weather, or perhaps the recent upswing in gas prices.

The questions vary, but generally I get the following:
  • What kind of gas mileage do you get on that thing?
  • How fast does it go?
  • How much did it cost?
  • Do you need a license for that?
Most readers of this blog will be aware that scooters deliver superior gas mileage. The only gas operated vehicle I know of that gives better gas mileage than a 50cc scooter is the Honda Passport (Cub). This is due to the manual transmission. The Honda Rebel also gives superior fuel economy, though it tends to be more on par with a 125 or 150cc scooter at around 75 to 80 miles per gallon (though I've heard claims of up to 100mpg).

Asking about the speed of a scooter makes sense from the standpoint of a commuter, but if the vehicle is purchased for joyriding, speed will probably be less of a factor. A commuter doesn't want to be late to work, and will most likely be in traffic which will not take kindly to someone putzing along below the speed limit. A joyrider, well, joyriders really aren't as likely to care when they reach their destination, though that will vary based upon the individual.

Initial out-of-pocket expense is always a concern. I know it was for me. Additional costs, such as insurance, maintenance, repairs, and so on, also factor in.

The question of licensing interests me most. I was initially among those who chose a 50cc scooter because I did not need a motorcycle license to operate it. Over the past year, I've come to understand that this may be a mistake. I've never shared this before, but on my first ride on my Yamaha Vino, despite having ridden a Honda Elite so many years ago, I lost control of the scooter when turning onto the main road out of my development and almost ran into a curb. Thankfully, I regained control, but that experience taught me to respect the power of the vehicle I was riding.

If you are considering a 50cc scooter for yourself or perhaps your teenage son or daughter, I highly recommend that you take (or have them take) a rider's safety course. Here in PA, it's free.

The point I'm trying to make is this, making the choice to purchase a 50cc scooter rather than something with a bit more power, and therefore more ability to coexist with traffic, based solely upon avoiding the additional cost of a motorcycle license, is not recommended. Getting a motorcycle license isn't all that difficult, and getting rider's safety training isn't terribly hard either. It may take a little time out of your schedule, and may cost a little more (PA charges $46.00 every four years for a CM class license, as opposed to $26.00 for a class C), but the amount is not prohibitive in any state as far as I am aware.

1 comment:

kz1000st said...

We discovered that my wife's Rebel and the 150 scooter got identical gas mileage while the Rebel was vastly more powerful and highway capable. Of course it cost three times as much but it will probably last that much longer also.