Scooter Culture: The Alternate Motorcycle

Thursday, October 19, 2017

It’s Not Just Two Wheels, It’s So Much More…

 

In the United States (and especially California), the scooter culture is more than you might think. It’s commuters, and weekend warriors, and a little bit of nostalgia rolled into one.

You may think of a scooter as less than a motorcycle. But it is stilled covered under a cheap motorcycle insurance policy.

So if an insurance company can call it a motorcycle, then it’s good enough for me. Motorcycles and scooters  have made comebacks in recent years.

But if I’m being honest, the scooter never went anywhere, it’s just low-key.

Take San Fransisco for example. You can find a scooter or Vespa around almost every corner.

There are shops dedicated to preserving antique scooters. There are even scooter races that thousands of people attend every year.

So what makes these small, two-wheeled vessels so interesting?

 

Here is the definition of a scooter, just so we are all on the same page:

 

Scooter: noun
  1. a light two-wheeled open motor vehicle on which the driver sits over an enclosed engine with legs together and feet resting on a floorboard. A vehicle typically ridden as a recreation, consisting of a footboard mounted on two wheels and a long steering handle, propelled by resting one foot on the footboard and pushing the other against the ground.
verb
  1. To travel or ride on a scooter.

    There you go. Right out of Webster’s Dictionary. So, what is the difference between a scooter and a motorcycle?

Motorcycle: noun
  1. a two-wheeled vehicle that is powered by a motor and has no pedals.

 

 

The biggest difference between a motorcycle and a scooter is the riding position.

Scooters have a seat that is a little more upright. They don’t have a motor in between your legs either.

You don’t have to worry about shifting on one and everything is usually done with your hands. A motorcycle has more power, it’s true.

And if you like cruising down the highway for long hours, you are probably better off with a motorcycle.

Scooters have a large footboard which you can rest your feet, and they make less noise and less vibration.

It is more of a matter of opinion, but there is a reason that people have been enjoying both scooters and motorcycles since the start of the 20th Century.

Since both motorcycles and scooters need motorcycle insurance, it’s always best to make sure you are insured before riding.

Both of these vehicles have a higher rate of fatalities than car accidents.

Cheap Motorcycle Insurance is easy to find, and can cost as low as a few hundred dollars a year.

 

Types Of Scooters

 

Scooters can run between a small “putt-putt” sort of engine up to 200 HP. Some have saddle bags, and some have chrome.

But the true difference between scooters is the quality in which they are made.

 

Here are a few brands of scooters and what they have to offer:

 

 

  1. Honda: Honda not only makes great cars and motorcycles, their scooters are high-quality as well. The Honda has been in the scooter-making business for a long time and has perfected what people love most about scooters, the style. Take the 2015 Forza with a 300-class engine in bright red. Riding one of these Hondas is more stylistically like riding a small motorcycle. Unlike other brands, Honda sticks with what works: a sleek front end with a raised windshield and large leather seat.
  2. Vespa: These Italian made bikes are known for their high-end style. They may be Italian but they are the number one producers of scooters in the United States as well. They are your most expensive option when searching for a scooter. But they are made extremely well. Think of it as a life-long investment. These bikes last forever and make a bold statement while doing so. The GTS 300 Super Sport is a favorite and is held to a very high standard. It has a lot of power and will be an investment worth making.

Less Popular brands:

 

  1. The BMW scooters are a German made bike that is very similar to the motorcycles they also make. This scooter has a lot of sleek lines and soft edges. These are more performance based scooters and can reach speeds of over 100 miles per hour! The 2015 C 650 GT offers a 647 cc engine making it one of the most powerful scooters on the market.
  2. Evolve is a company that makes exclusively electric powered scooters. They launched in 2011 with the idea to make sturdy and well-manufactured electric scooters. Their “Helium” scooter is light and easy to use, as well as very eco-friendly. These scooters can run up to 50 miles per hour and go 100 miles on one charge. This is just another example of how scooters are changing with the trends of the future.

 

Prices and Cost

Prices of scooters range quite a bit.

Here are some ideas of scooters that might interest you:

  1. BMW 150 cc Heritage 2-tone scooter with leather seat and luggage box- $1,500. 
  2. Toa Toa 50cc scooter Type A1 fully auto transmission –$480.
  3. ZNEN 150 cc Scooter Type VES, air-cooled four stroke – $1,750.
  4. 2012 Vespa GTV 300- $6,000.
  5. 2007 Vespa LX 150 – $2,000-$4,000.
  6. 2015 Honda NPS50F Ruckus- $2,500.   

 

 

But how much does it cost to keep a scooter?

What is the maintenance required on an Italian Vespa?

Here is some information on how much a scooter will cost you yearly:

 

First of all there is motorcycle insurance which you must purchase.

Every state has a different required minimum amount. Most of the time this means having liability coverage.

 

For example, here is the minimum amount of motorcycle insurance needed in the state of California:

  • Bodily Injury Liability Limits: $30,000 per occurrence/ $15,000 per person
  • Property Damage Liability Limits: $5,000 per occurrence

 

But this is just the minimum that you must have.

There are other options which you may want.

They will cost you, but we all know that riding on two wheels is a lot more dangerous than driving on four.

Some other insurance options:

  • Collision coverage which will make sure you and your scooter are covered for damages incurred in an accident. Otherwise, with only the minimum, you could be left paying out of pocket to restore your beloved scooter.
  • Comprehensive coverage will cover theft of your bike or any other damages to your scooter that are not incurred in an accident. Theft to property on your scooter may not be covered, so talk to an agent about your policy.
  • Towing and Roadside Assistance: this is a great option for anyone who has ever been stranded on the road.  This could cover or reimburse you for a tow, and possibly even cover a rental car. Roadside assistance many times will help you out by jumpstarting your engine. There is also 24 hour assistance most of the time.
  • Uninsured Motorist coverage will cover you and your scooter if you are hit by someone who doesn’t carry the proper insurance. This happen regularly believe it or not. So having Uninsured Motorist coverage could save you a lot in the end.

Ways to save on Insurance:

 

There are always a few ways to attain discounts on your insurance.

One of them is to bundle your motorcycle insurance with any other insurance you may have such as homeowners or car insurance.

Most companies will reward you for their loyalty and this could save you hundred a year.

Another option is to take a motorcycle safety course. Most insurance companies want to know that they are insuring a good rider.

You can also ask your agent how belonging to a group such as Veterans of America or the AAA could save you money.

Every little bit counts.

Make annual payments on your insurance instead of monthly payments. You may be surprised how much this will cut costs.

 

Average cost of insuring a scooter in the United States: $300/year for basic coverage.

 

Depending on what you want covered on your scooter, you could pay as much as $1,000 annually.

But, when you love your scooter and the customary options you have, you may want to consider being over insured.

 

Fixing your scooter is another cost that you must consider.

Here is a simple list of things you should do to make sure your scooter is in tip-top shape:

  • Every month you should check the oil. For a car, they say to change the oil every three months or three thousand miles. For a scooter, it is best to try and change it about the same, but to check the oil levels monthly. Check your tire pressure monthly as well. This all depends on how much you ride your scooter and how far. To be on the safe side, having a monthly “to-do” list is essential.  Check your lights, horn and battery levels as well.
  • Every six months you should change your oil. This should cost you about the same as an oil change on a car if you do it yourself. Scooter shops may charge quite a bit more depending on what kind of bike you have. Here is a “how-to” on changing scooter oil.
  • Check the wear on your tires and your brake lines and tail lights as well as your valve stems every six months. It may be pertinent to take your bike into a shop every six months to have all of this mulled over with a careful eye. Most shops charge about $50 an hour for labor (and that’s a good deal!). Parts will be more.

Once a year…

  • Change the transmission oil. This can be changed when you get your oil done, but it is not needed more than once a year.
  • Check and adjust valves.
  • Clean the air cleaner.
  • Check and/or replace spark plugs.
  • lubricate brake lines.
  • Check wheel bearings.

More interested in doing this maintenance yourself?  There are  great videos available online.

Hoping to do maintenance at home? Here is a list of tools you may need:

  • Metric socket set
  • Flat blade screw driver
  • Phillips screw driver
  • Duct tape
  • Pliers
  • Flashlight
  • Wire
  • Metric wrenches
  • A fuel vacuum hose
  • Nylon cable wires
  • Spark plug wrench and spare spark plugs

Why you would spend all of this money on tools when you could just send it into the shop?

It’s a matter of preference.  No one will take care of your scooter like you will.

 

The Best Places To “Scoot”

 

Here is a short list of some of the best places to ride in the country.

Scooters aren’t built for cross country action but many people choose to bring them when they travel.

It’s an easy way to see the sights.

If you are taking an RV or a truck don’t forget your scooter!

 

Best places to “Scoot”:

  1. San Fransisco: If you haven’t scooted around the Scooter Capitol, you really should. This busy, and hilly city is not only beautiful but beneficial to the scooter enthusiast. The scooter culture here is vibrant. As are the array of coffee shops and sea-side restaurants.
  2. Red Rock Scooter Tours in Las Vegas will take you through beautiful scenery like red rocky hills and desert vistas.
  3. Seattle Washington. Visit in the summer to avoid rain. This city is beaming with beauty and places to ride to. Getting around on a scooter is easy and welcomed.
  4. Hawaii. Anywhere in Hawaii is great on a scooter. They have a plethora of scooter rentals for this very reason. The islands are small and easy to navigate. Watch out for those sudden rain storms!

And More…

  1. Wine Country. No matter where you live in the United States, touring vineyards on a scooter is simply the best! Napa Valley or Eastern Washington, scooting from winery to winery is such a fun and pleasant experience.
  2. Alaska? Why yes! The Skagway Tour is one of America’s finest scooter tours. See the Alaskan scenery from the back of a scooter and be pleasantly surprised.
  3. Denver Scooter Rental is a great way to see the mile-high city of brick. Denver is one scenic town filled with a ton of things to do. Best to steer clear of the winter.
  4. Washington D.C. – Learn about your capitol by scooting around to see the sights. There are a few scooter rentals in town and with all of that tourism, having an upper hand on parking is always a good idea!

 

It isn’t just a small bike…

 

A scooter is a lifestyle.

Since the mid-20th century, two-wheeled mopeds and scooters have caught the eye of  Americans.

From vintage scooters to 200 horse powered mods, scooters come in every shape and size.

Well, most sizes are quite small. The benefits to being small is that you never have to worry about parking!

This lifestyle includes hipsters, oldies, youngsters and a gang of coffee lovers too!

There are a million stereotypes for the scooter revolutionaries. The best part about being a scooter enthusiast is that we just don’t care.

Take your Vespa, Honda or new electric Helium and venture out on two wheels.

Riding a scooter is more than just a fun thing to do on the weekends, it’s a lifestyle.

 

 

 

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