Motor Scooter Sales Surge By 24% Due To Fuel Price Crisis
Sales of high mileage motor scooters have been surging by at least 24% nationally over last year, with some dealers reporting 60% or more sales increases over last year. And even the number of drivers over 50 who are turning to scooters has surged as well. Traditionally, many who rode mopeds and motor scooters have been younger counter culture members in their 20's or early 30's. Now many older drivers seek out the high mileage two-wheelers which can usually range from 70miles per gallon on the lower side up to 141mpg in some extreme high mileage mopeds.
And the cost of scooters varies greatly. There are a number of low cost Chinese imports of varying quality available in the $800 price range online all the way up to awesome models like the nearly $9000 three wheeled Piaggo MP3 at quality dealerships which has a huge 500cc engine and looks much like the sort of bike that Batman would be driving. In between the ultra cheap and very expensive scooters are some very good quality models like the CPI Oliver Sport series at $1799 or the Euro designed Benelli scooters at about $2500 on up. Sym has gained a solid reputation for quality as well, challenging longtime durable favorites such as Vespa in terms of both more modern design as well as quality worksmanship.
There are many scooter manufacturers from both Taiwan and mainland China that have had many years experience building some very good quality scooters. Surprisingly enough, even some lower priced Chinese scooter actually use the Honda styled very dependable GY6 engine, which is a high mileage four stroke design that burns very clean and runs very quiet. However some brands like CPI use the two stroke design in their 50cc models because it puts out very good power, and there are automatic oil feeding systems in them that avoids the user having to mix gas and oil on their own. The biggest drawback to two stroke engines is that they nearly always put out more noise and pollution than the four stroke designs do, and the two stroke engines may require more repairs in the long run than some four stroke engine designs. However, under modification, some like the 50cc two stroke CPI GTR, which looks far more like a sport motorcycle than any scooter have been able to boost the top speed to as high as 70mph from the more usual 29-45mph range of many 50cc machines. The larger engined 150cc model scooters can often top out at around 65mph, but require the added expense and hassle of a gaining a motorcycle endorsement. And the bigger 250cc units can sometimes go as fast as 85-95mph, and still offer gas mileage in the 50-60mpg range in many cases.
While motor scooters seem like real gas savers as well as being fun transportation, there are still some serious safety concerns for riders to think about. No two-wheeler is as safe or as stable as an automobile. Full face helmets as well as body armor are extremely wise if you intend to drive in heavy 30mph city traffic. And the smaller 10-13inch tires on many scooters are far more prone to potholes on city streets that could throw a rider off. Any bike takes a longer distance to brake than cars as a whole, so the rider needs to pay real attention to conditions ahead of them and absolutely avoid panic braking as much as possible. And wet or poor weather presents some real traction dangers. I'm personally still recovering from some injuries sustained when I got caught in a sudden hailstorm in late April far from my home and skidded when I attempted to brake for a yellow light at a busy intersection when the street suddenly became like a sheet of glass. You want to wear good safety equipment always on a scooter because they can almost be more prone to accidents than the heavier and bigger motorcycles which have safer and more superior tires and tread designs, brakes and frames. Some cheaper scooters are offering controversial cheap "ABS braking systems", which are nothing like the expensive ABS systems found to top quality motorcycles or on automobiles. Often the cheap version of "ABS" is little more than some sort of brake fuild pressure diverter valve that at least one Vespa dealer website claims can be extremely dangerous and actually result in wheel lockup in a hard emergency braking circumstance. So you might want to be careful about this and use wise braking skills if you own such a scooter. Due to their lighter weight, many scooters are much more of dry road vehicle and less safe during any type of rainfall than a more stable form of transportation like a car or truck. But with some real care, as well as a responsible driver, most scooters can be a fun sort of economical transportation and reasonably safe.
Most scooters under 50cc can be registered as a moped in many states, and driven only with just a driver's license. However, the larger and faster machines generally require the more expensive and time consuming route for a rider to get a motorcyle endorsement. Generally most 50cc units are great for little neighborhood commutes, but the larger 150cc on up units are great for cross town commutes to school or work or shopping. The 250cc units are fine for extended freeway commutes. Compared to the cost of a new car, motor scooters are a real bargain. But they have more limited use in less than perfect weather since there is no heater for Winter driving, or rain protection. Whether a motor scooter is right for you depends on many questions that you need to ask yourself.