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Thread: Rise of the Scooter

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Captain Worley's avatar
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    Rise of the Scooter

    Has anyone noticed that there has been a huge increase in the number of scooters on the road? Granted, I live across the river from a major university, and most riders seem to be college age, but, man, there are a lot more of the things on the road.

    I used to think they were DUI-mobiles for those that lost their licenses, but I see at least five 50cc scooters parked at the grocery store wen I go in.

    Has anyone considered replacing their car with a scooter? If everone did, even if they rode when the temps were pleasant and it wasn't raining, it'd probably make an impact on our national oil consumption.

    That being said, I really can't. I have a three mile stretch of 60mph undivided four lane with no shoulders that is heavily traveled with gravel trucks, so a 35 mph scooter wouldn't cut it. I saw one guy tring it about two weeks ago and he had a look of sheer terror on his face.
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  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Yes, I've noticed a marked increase in the number of scooters seen tooling around lately. I've also noted a marked increase of boneheads driving 35 mph scooters in the middle of the lanes on higher speed limit roads
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  3. #3
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    I've noticed a significant increase in two-wheeled motorized vehicles in general - motorcycle, scooter, and moped (depending on what part of the metro I'm in).

    Off-topic:
    Has anyone seen those big-ace scooters on the road? The ones that are as big as sportbikes? Those look sweet!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    I can't say I would be able to see an increase in scooters, though many I see look fairly new. I supposse they make sense in urban areas where one isn't going to go particularly fast anyways. Of course they also allow one to weave in and out of traffic as well. While certainly not practical year round, they do serve their purpose and I supposse are fun and trendy as well.

  5. #5
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I have noticed this as well. This morning on my commute I actually was the minority in a car for a short part, with almost 6 motorcycles and silly 'ol me in my Honda Civic...

    If I didn't think that motorcycles were death waiting to happen, I would really love to get the kind of MPG they are getting.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    The amount of scooters I am seeing on a regular basis has doubled - now, instead of seeing one a week, I'm seeing two a week.

    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Off-topic:
    Has anyone seen those big-ace scooters on the road? The ones that are as big as sportbikes? Those look sweet!
    The two that I see on a weekly basis are the bigger ones.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  7. #7
    I have not personally noticed an increase in scooters here.

    Off-topic:
    My MIL told me a story about a family friend that recently decided to get a job at a local private golf course in anticipation of retiring to Arizona (thinking that having the experience on his resume might help him land a job at a course in AZ, and thereby reduce his fees to get his golf fix). He was riding his scooter to work on a state highway (not an interstate) when he was pulled into the draft behind a semi truck. He thought he would be okay for a minute but then lost steering and crashed. My MIL reports that he is on big scab from his shoulder all the way down to his ankles. He was, fortunately, wearing a helmet.
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I've also noted a marked increase of boneheads driving 35 mph scooters in the middle of the lanes on higher speed limit roads
    That's why we need to push for wide outside lanes on all roadway projects.

    As a beach/university town, we have always had a decent number of scooters around town. I have seen an increase recently.

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    I've noticed a significant increase in two-wheeled motorized vehicles in general - motorcycle, scooter, and moped (depending on what part of the metro I'm in).

    Off-topic:
    Has anyone seen those big-ace scooters on the road? The ones that are as big as sportbikes? Those look sweet!
    There's been a huge increase down to the south of you (massive young, college population). I haven't seen a ton of the 50cc models, but several in the 150cc range. The increase in scooters has been higher than motorcycles, probably because they are "twist-and-go" and don't require the clutch coordination, they are easier to mount, and typically cost less. Around here, not only is it gas prices, but two-wheeled transportation gets better parking on the campus and the permit costs less.

    I'm on my motorcycle today (1200cc). I'm riding about 4 days a week now; only in rain or on evening meeting days do I drive the car.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Everyone's heard of the Honda Goldwing (the monstrous touring bikes)? Well, check out the Honda Silverwing:

    Honda Silverwing at Honda Powersports website - a big-engine, freeway capable scooter

    or it's primary competitor here in the States:
    the Suzuki Burgman 650 (yes that number's the engine size)

    I could get down with these. I can imagine having to shift and whatnot can get intrusive at times to a riding experience. Of course, I'm never learned to drive a stick car, let alone a motorcycle. Is it bad or just another thing, SR?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    We have been shopping a bit for a Trike. Neither one of us want to have a motorcycle but something with three wheels would be good. That way if we want to do something on the weekend both of us could go. To run for a gallon of milk or to take a child hither and yon.

    I have seen an increase in motorcycles on my commute. There has always been this one guy and he rides no matter the weather. We always wave.

    Now there are probably 8, it will be interesting to see if they continue in the winter.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Just can't see putting that kind of money into a scooter. I know I'm predjudiced because I rode motorcycles for years but if you want to save gas money until you die on the road, get a real bike. There was an exception back in the day but they don't make the Cushman Eagle any more.
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I am in agreement with jsk1983 on this one. I've not noticed an increase, but I live in a city with the same climate as his. I do see them in the summer more frequently than any other time of the year.

    The helmet law is pretty well enforced in this part of the State. When driving elsewhere I find it shocking to see folks without them on scooters or motorcycles. Law or not, I don't understand not wearing one.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  14. #14
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post

    I could get down with these. I can imagine having to shift and whatnot can get intrusive at times to a riding experience. Of course, I'm never learned to drive a stick car, let alone a motorcycle. Is it bad or just another thing, SR?
    Silverwings are NICE! It would be my choice for a highway capable touring 2-wheel scooter. Though I'm a two-wheel guy, I really, really like the Piaggio MP3s (see below).

    I've ridden both a scooter and a motorcycle. I prefer the motorcycle, mainly because the throttle seems more predictable to me and I'm more comfortable straddling a two-wheeled vehicle--the balance and feel is closer to a bicycle. Also, I like to do a bit of light off-roading and prefer more powerful engines than are available on scooters. All of the scooters I've ridden seemed to have a bit of hesitation when you rolled-on the throttle. Also, that clutch comes in handy for tight, low speed turns. Conversely, the center of gravity is typically lower on a scooter, making it seem more stable. The motorcycle I ride, a Buell Ulysses, is one of the tallest on the market. This can be uncomfortable for inexperienced riders, but I prefer it because of visibility and light off-road use. You can find motorcycles, particularly those less than 650cc, with much lower seat heights. As they say in the two-wheeled world, there's a seat for every ass.

    Most sanctioned motorcycle safety courses are designed to take someone who has 0 experience on a motorcycle to a point where they are road-ready but could still use some practice in their neighborhood. I don't think having driven a stick-shift car creates a particular advantage, though I had a ton of experience with that. Most courses are relatively cheap (<$200) and are a good way to discover whether it will interest you or not (nearly all supply motorcycles and some have scooters).

    Queen B: Motorcycle trikes are always custom and always expensive (and customs have more mechanical issues). They also tend to get mileage on par with a Toyota Corolla at best, but typically with a thirst for premium. I would suggest looking at a Piaggio MP3 scooter instead, which is a 3-wheel scooter that is VERY stable. The 500cc will set you back around $9,000, but you should be able to get away with a 250cc for $7,000.

    Texas got rid of the helmet law. Stupid Stupid Stupid. You'll never see me on the road without my brain can.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  15. #15
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Queen B View post
    We have been shopping a bit for a Trike. Neither one of us want to have a motorcycle but something with three wheels would be good. That way if we want to do something on the weekend both of us could go. To run for a gallon of milk or to take a child hither and yon.
    Anyone have any experiences with Urals? http://www.imz-ural.com/ They claim they're copies of old BMW's with new tech, but I've heard good and bad (kinda like a three-wheeled modern [read: Indian] Royal Enfield).

    The cartoons on Ural's site are entertaining, though.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I've actually been Vespa shopping this week.

    While I've been riding my bike most days (and man, there are alot more peeps doing this too), there are some days I'd just rather not (its 25 miles, each way).

    Probably just gonna get the 50cc Vespa...

  17. #17
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Anyone have any experiences with Urals? http://www.imz-ural.com/ They claim they're copies of old BMW's with new tech, but I've heard good and bad (kinda like a three-wheeled modern [read: Indian] Royal Enfield).

    The cartoons on Ural's site are entertaining, though.
    The one guy I know that has one sure likes it. If you want a cycle with a sidecar, it's the only way to go (steering is designed for a sidecar). Finding service for them can be difficult, though I know there's a dealer somewhere in Austin. A lot of people that buy them know how to do motorcycle service themselves and are considered "tinkerers". Reliability, I've heard, is a bit hit or miss.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  18. #18
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Anyone have any experiences with Urals? http://www.imz-ural.com/ They claim they're copies of old BMW's with new tech, but I've heard good and bad (kinda like a three-wheeled modern [read: Indian] Royal Enfield).

    The cartoons on Ural's site are entertaining, though.
    A guy who works in my building has one. It's an interesting looking bike (imagine old WWII German military) but has modern touches like disk brakes, front and rear. Also has a driveshaft/trans-axle that can be connected when the sidecar is on to make it 2-wheel drive. I haven't ridden it yet but I have volunteered to be ballast/passenger. Bikes with sidecars are tricky to handle, not for first-time riders.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    Not so much scooters....

    I've seen an increase in the number of bikes on the road. I started riding mine to work about 6 weeks ago, and I've seen at least 4 more along my route to work every day. I had to drive to work today and was amazed at the number of bikes I saw on the road along the way.

    Here in Arizona, golf carts are a popular mode of transportation. I've seen a marked increase in the number of golf carts, gators, and atv's on the road in the last two weeks. In fact, someone had an ATV chained to the bike rack at work this morning.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    It's funny that I'm seeing more people say that I was smart to buy a Segway. Five years into it and I've had to replace the batteries once. No other maintenance cost, no parking, no gas, no insurance and a whole lotta fun.

    Why hasn't it caught on.... I reason... most people are stupid and those who aren't are scared of being the first on the block.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

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    Back home in Boyne MI I have seen several more sooters on the road....... hey at 100 + mpg its a great way to get around. I also see the very insecure manly man driving his giant pick-up truck to prove his manlyness. I am either going to get a Segway or a scooter when I get back from Iraq. I also noted that in the Economist magizine that the UAE will have a 12 TRILLION $ surplus.... becuase they can't spend the money fast enough! Hey if you want to make other countries rich..... keep buying exspensive gas & oil...... If you want to keep our $$$$ in the US get something SMALL ......like a scooter.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    I have seen many more scooters on the road in Downtown Atlanta, but a scent few in the suburban area where I work. Personally, I would be terrified riding one of those things with these crazy (and sometimes training deficient) drivers that are allowed on the road in this city.
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  23. #23
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by New World Planner View post
    I also see the very insecure manly man driving his giant pick-up truck to prove his manlyness.

    ...... If you want to keep our $$$$ in the US get something SMALL ......like a scooter.
    Yep, like you my self esteem isn't wrapped up in what I drive, but as you point out for a lot of urban cowboys, that's exactly what a truck is. The females are just as bad, ever see that lady in an SUV by herself with tinted windows and sunglasses... she'll say it's about safety... but in reality it's about vanity.

    Buy something SMALL... that's just unAmerican, regardless of where our money goes. NWP, haven't you heard that excessive consumerism is our God given inalienable right and the Federal Reserve will price fix interest rates to keep it flowing. Consumerism is a God given right.... it's right there in the Declaration of Independence... isn't it. Doesn't our Constitution say that a private central bank shall print fiat money and charge our government interest on the money it needs to deficit spend and keep a make believe economy afloat?
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

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    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    I went to the Honda website because I wanted to know how far you can go on a tank of gas. I can find the mpg for their scooters at all. What kind of mpg do these get? My dad had a Vespa in the late 1960s... wish he still had it!!
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  25. #25
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by tsc View post
    I went to the Honda website because I wanted to know how far you can go on a tank of gas. I can find the mpg for their scooters at all. What kind of mpg do these get? My dad had a Vespa in the late 1960s... wish he still had it!!
    my BF has a scooter, purchased it in 2004 for grad school. his scooter gets between 80-100 mpg.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

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