This post is an article about buying your first scooter, I hope it helps the budding scooter enthusiasts out there!
When you are buying a first scooter there are several items to think about. There are so many brand choices on the market. But the key is to know what your needs are. If you do not know where to start this simple check list will help to guide you in making an intelligent decision.
What would you like to use a scooter for?
Recreation? Will it be a scooter used for weekend riding? For ripping it up on the back roads or, just short rides around the city?
Commuting? A commuter will want to consider a scooter which might offer a nice selection of on board storage such as under the seat storage or racks where you can put all your groceries. A side-car, is always a great solution for tasks like these. Especially if you are off to shop at your local Shop. You cannot just walk out holding a single roll of paper towels when you need a 10 pack.
Do you have a motorcycle license?
Some states may not require a license for a 50cc scooter making scooters in fact, deemed as mopeds (i.e. Some states in the US happens to be structured this way, I think Maryland is). The benefits of such a 50cc is the fact you don’t need to run out and get your Motorcycle license. Nor acquire insurance for the vehicle and last but not least wear a helmet. However, you must be at least 16 and have a car license or a moped permit.
What speeds would you like to reach?
Slow? Fast? 50cc scooters reach speeds of 30-40 Around Town, they are not made for highways. 125cc 45-55 Around Town / Secondary roads 150cc 55-65 Secondary roads / Highways 250cc 70-85 Every thing City to Highway light traveling. 500cc 80-100 Touring hanging out with motorcycles every day. 650cc 90-110 same as above plus speeding tickets.
What speeds do cars travel on the roads that you’ll be traveling on? (this is for mainly if you’re commuting) Test drive those same roads at the times you would be commuting in a car at the speeds you feel you would like to travel. Just because a road is posted doesn’t mean that cars will be driving those speeds! Once you become comfortable with a two wheel machine you will find your self driving everywhere. You will also find for those longer trips having some thing that can really move out can be a plus if you are riding with a group or commuting longer distances. You will not be limited as to what streets you can travel. So if your looking at a 50cc scooter make sure it fits your long term needs such as one year or more use. You don’t want to buy a 50cc if you’re going to go hang out with other scooter riders, carry a passenger or commute 40 some miles/day daily round trip. Unless you have all the time in the world to get to your destination or you happen to live in a very large city.
Would you like to carry a passenger? If so some scooters offer back boxes/top-cases and passenger foot pegs. Be sure to have your passenger sit on the back of the scooter in the show room once you narrow down your choices. You want them to feel comfortable just as well. Unless they’re only going to be on the back 5 minutes once a month. Then focus on what you want. And skip the comfort test as mentioned previously.
Will you be riding with other scooterists? Club rides or events you’ll find a 50cc scooter won’t cut it unless your spending all your time in Manchester hitting every stop sign and light at each block.
Riding with a Motorcycle(s)? If yes you should be looking for a machine that can keep up. i.e. at least 250cc or larger.
What kind of styling do you like?
Modern? I consider modern more with their styling. Examples would be the Kymco Super 9 or Exciting 500
Retro? Tend to be more classic. Examples would be the Kymco People 50/150/250 or the Genuine Stella 150. If you’re spending the money, you want something that fits your style. Otherwise you’re compromising.
What’s your budget?
Get to know your Local scooter shop. A good scooter shop will be able to really lead you into the right direction. Some one who’s going to understand your needs is key. If your looking to purchase a specific Brand and there is no shop in the traveling area to service the machine. You really should choose another brand. Just because you have to have Brand X doesn’t mean you want to travel 100 miles for every service. You have to consider that. Unless a local shop is willing to service if for you or you can service it yourself. But, be careful with self service, it could very well void your warranty.
Does the shop your buying from offer on site service? If not go look at the service center. There are so many shops now who are fly by nights. They’re ready to take your cash. You’ll also want to stay clear of Flea market venders or cell phone shops, or auto parts stores. Most of these shops will be sure to sell you a product but they don’t offer warranties, parts or service.
Once you do buy your scooter learn about it. If you own a vintage scooter or a new Stella, What does a fuel tap do? Why should you turn if off? Have different expectations then you would with a an automotive. Scooters are not only fun to ride but fun to learn the basics. How to fix a flat on the road, changing a cable? Learn about it. If you’re interested in a vintage scooter you MUST learn about it.