Buying Guide for Your New Scooter
Where will you be driving your scooter? Will you be mostly on side roads that don’t exceed 40 mph? Or will you be using your scooter to get you to and from work and might need a little extra oomph to keep up with traffic. Don’t let the requirement for a motorcycle license keep you from going bigger if you think you need it. In fact, the Motorcycle Safety Course is a good idea for all scooter riders.
Will you want to carry a passenger? What is the anticipated maximum driver and passenger weight? Not all scooters are passenger capable. Keep in mind that a 50cc may very well be able to carry more than a 125cc so read the specifications for the scooters you’re considering very carefully.
How much cargo will you need to carry? If the trunk under the seat typical on most scooters isn’t enough, a cargo rack becomes a necessary addition. Make sure the scooter you’re researching can accommodate an add-on rack or top box.
Narrowing it down.
Which scooter should I buy? Only you know this. No matter what you choose, there is always some risk in making a purchase. You are the one who must determine how much risk you can accept for the money available to spend. Stick to major brands with a proven track record of reliability. A few you’ll want to research: Aprilia, Piaggio, Honda and Yamaha. All have dependable, stylish models – some better suited for your needs than others. Test drive them and go through this checklist: If you’re using it for commuting to work, is the seat comfortable enough for the trip? Do your feet comfortably reach the ground? Can you physically handle the weight and easily maneuver the scooter forward and back while seated? Ultimately, buy something that makes you feel good!
Scan message boards – but with caution! People become REALLY attached to their scooters. I strongly encourage visiting scooter message boards for some great information, but keep in mind that information can (and probably will) be biased. If what you want meets your criteria and YOU like it, then get it. Certainly, if there is overwhelming opinion about one specific scooter or aspect of a scooter, I would seriously weigh that into my final decision.
I’ve found some cheap scooters online and available for mail order. Are these ok? There are a lot of cheap places online to buy scooters, but remember you get what you pay for. Unless you’re a mechanic and can expertly service your machine it’s wise to steer away from online scooter merchants. It’s not going to be easy to get spare parts or maintenance by emailing the company overseas where you bought your scooter. Lots of new scooter owners “buy down” and find later they need more power, cargo, passenger room, etc. and trade in their relatively new machine for something bigger. Be on the lookout for these deals. Another advantage of doing business with a reliable dealer is the possibility of finding a good used scooter at the dealership if you’re still not convinced you want to spend the money on a brand new one.
You’ve found the scooter of your dreams – now what?
Seriously think about taking a Motorcycle Training Course even if your state doesn’t require it. People in cars are not always looking out for you and any tips or extra training you can get will serve you well.
Protection equipment is a must. A helmet may or may not be required by your state, but should be a given. You’ll also want to look at getting gloves, eye protection and an armored riding jacket.
Get insurance. It may be required in your state, but if it isn’t – get it anyway. A decent insurance policy will only run about $100 a year – definitely worth the price considering potential theft, vandalism and accidents.
Scooter alarms are available for around $100 if you want added protection. Some people seem to think these are toys and it’s possible to come out of the grocery store to find three kids hanging off your shiny, new scoot as if it were an amusement ride you stick a quarter into. If you don’t want to go so far as that – there are grip locks that will help keep your scoot safe. These attach to the throttle and handbrake and serve as more of a theft deterrent. If a thief sees anything that will keep him from making a quick get-away, he’ll probably pass it by.
HAVE FUN and BE CAREFUL. Get involved in your local scooter scene. Check online for local scooter clubs. No other vehicle is such an extension of its owner’s personality – trick it out and make it your own! Last, but not least, don’t be afraid – chances are you’ll be the first one in your circle to take the plunge and buy one, but after they see you fill up for $3, you probably won’t be the last.