What would you say if I told you there was a two seater that got around 100mpg in the city, and had the magical property of being able to breeze through the worst Manhattan traffic (at a reasonable 25 mph)… And that you could buy a brand new one for $3,200 out the door? Perhaps a better question is: if this existed, why doesn’t everyone have one? It costs less than an upgrade package on a luxury car…
Scooter may not be the most macho form of transportation, but in the old days they kept pace with classic motorcycles… A Buddy 125 has a top speed of 55-65 (depending on which way the wind is blowing on its 9hp engine) while carrying a passenger. I’ve seen a Vespa 250 (which is arguably the Lexus of scooters) hit 75 on the 59th Street bridge… The Buddy 125 (which my wife bought in the Fall) gets 90-100 miles on the gallon which is good considering it has a one gallon tank. My wife’s weekly commute costs in the ballpark of $3 in gas…a little less depending on where we ride out for dinner.
I wasn’t making up that part about traffic either… Have you ever heard of a scooter traffic jam? There are like a billion scooters covering every square inch of Asia and not one traffic jam – okay so maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit… But where my sportbike gets behind a car or at an intersection, the scooter travels with ease.
Now I don’t think scooters are for everybody. If you love motorcycles, you probably wouldn’t want to trade one in for a scooter – you can’t really go on the highway and the small tires make Manhattan potholes seem like the Grand Canyon. But if you wanted a second bike – or were averse to the noise and difficulty of motorcycles, the scooter is an alternative that I think ANYONE could ride and love…
How can I know if a scooter is for me? If you can ride a bicycle and drive a car, and are tired of paying $50 to fill up your car with gas, then you will LOVE the scooter. You will need to get some protective gear (at least a helmet, gloves and over the ankle boots) and you will need some practice, and you will need to get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license (take the written learner’s permit test at the DMV, then when you’re ready take the road test on your scooter).
Question, “But won’t girls think I’m a dork?” What are you…in high school? And the answer is – I don’t think so… Most over high school age girls are a bit risk averse, and would think twice about jumping onto the back of your Ducati (that even sounds like a dirty euphemism!) But even Audrey Hepburn wouldn’t think twice about getting onto your scooter…provided you had an extra helmet and gloves (which stow under the seat in the trunk – of which my 600rr is deathly jealous).
So there you have it. If you want to ride a motorcycle – go ahead, a scooter will never satisfy that itch the way a cost efficient 600 can… But if you like having fun and want to get around Manhattan – then for the sake of the planet – get out of your Hummer and onto a scooter. Cheers!