Amongst all the wonderful scooting that is going on in Detroit this summer, a lot of people are asking questions: Which scooter is right for me? How much can I save on gas? What is the best scooter for the money? What people don't seem to be considering is that a scooter is not only good value and can save you money, but it can also provide the kinds of thrills that a sports car can provide. Here are some talking points:
True enough, most scooters aren't "fast". They won't win a drag race that goes over 30 MPH. A scooter still has to obey the rules of the road too. Stop signs mean stop, and traffic lights work just the same. All that said, scooters are definitely "quick". Even the most docile 50cc scooter can get off the line faster than a car, and can certainly get across an intersection faster than most vehicles, especially the ones that are piloted by the usual sleepy, texting, eating driver. And the thrills continue with a scooter. Turn a corner in a car and one has to carry some speed into it to make it "fun". The same turn on a 50cc scooter is a blast, even going well under the limit. The light weight, "right now" acceleration and sharp braking all combine to enhance even a low speed trip to work.
Like the ultimate speed of a scooter, the handling as compared to a sports car isn't that great for the casual rider. Sure, those with sport scooters might lean a little more, but most scooter riders won't be dragging their center stand anytime soon. Still, a little kink in a 30 MPH speed limit road can send your stomach spinning, in a good way. Go on a ride on some smooth, curvy roads and you'll see. Ultimate handling? Not really. Thrilling handling? You bet. Wipe that smile off your face, scooterist, I dare you.
Wind in your hair:
The attraction of the convertible automobile is undeniable. It's the visceral feel of freedom, as the wind swirls around one's head. But they still have a windshield and high doors halfway around them. The worst scooter in the world will still let you have a "whole body" convertible experience. Wear your safety gear, of course, but the feel of the wind on one's body is addictive. Try a scooter with a windscreen and one can still get the convertible effect, but the wind from the front will be shot over one's helmet and allow one to savor the sun (the rain too) and the unimpeded sights, sounds and smells of the surroundings, just like in the world's most expensive convertible. But you don't have to pay for the world's most expensive convertible. Just get a scooter.
Craigslist, your local scooter shop and websites like Genuine Scooters, Kymco, Honda and SYM will set one's mind to wandering. Finding the right scooter is both art and science, but the point (like so many things in life) is not to overanalyze, it's a call to action. Sure, shopping is fun, but at some point, just get on a scooter and go. If you're just starting out, a well cared for 50cc scooter is enough to let you know if scooting is right for you. And with the 50cc category in Michigan, you won't have to add any type of motorcycle endorsement, full registration or insurance. Just grab a "Moped" sticker, add a helmet and some gloves and a riding jacket. I recommend some basic insurance too, but the point is to ride, ride, ride. Come back and tell me that you didn't have a blast.
Put it all together and you'll wonder why more people don't ride. If one buys a quality scooter, some good, inexpensive gear and some basic insurance, one can ride with very little financial risk for a season or two. If you have the time of your life, you'll know that scooting is right for you. If you're not getting it, or need some scooter-style learning, reach out to almost anyone on a scoot for some pointers. Perhaps take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic RiderCourse. Start out slow, and find someone to ride with. Soon your confidence will be growing and your use of the scooter will skyrocket. One can tell when one "gets the bug", one will be constantly thinking of new adventures on the scoot - to the store, to work, to the library, on a fun ride… you name it, you will find a way to spend a LOT of time on the seat of that scoot. Even if it doesn't work for you, sell the scoot for a decent price, keep the gear (just in case) and move on. But you might surprise yourself. Scooting is addictive fun.
Put it all together and consider buying a scooter instead of that next sports (or sporty) car. A scooter makes an excellent second vehicle for any household. Not only will you have a blast, you'll be using a fraction of the gas that the car will use and will have that sports car experience every time you turn the key on that scoot.
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