OT - Scooters zipping off lots

User Forum Topic
Submitted by jpinpb on June 26, 2008 - 8:45am

UT - Scooters

Yet another scooter story. Oh, why didn't I listen to nostradamus and buy stock.

Submitted by jpinpb on June 26, 2008 - 8:47am.

Excerpt:

"At Motorsport Scooters in North Park, owner Alex Cohn said he has sold out his entire inventory of imported Taiwanese motor scooters – and 50 customers have put their names on a waiting list that requires a $500 deposit. "

Submitted by Eugene on June 26, 2008 - 9:34am.

Maybe I'll buy a scooter too. They are so economical. My family will be able to take all the money I saved on gasoline and buy me a nice pretty tombstone.

Submitted by jpinpb on June 26, 2008 - 9:41am.

W/the way people are struggling w/mortgage payments and turning house keys back to bank, I think next is SUVs. Apparently more and more scooters are selling, w/waiting list, which means more to come. More scooters on the road, less SUVs. It will be safer.

All you see in Europe is scooters (of course it's 8 - 10+ a gallon there) and even in Asian countries. Haven't heard of extraordinary sales of tombstones there.

Gas prices are only going to keep going up. It's not like house prices where we knew it made no sense w/subprime, etc. that eventually prices would come down. They have us over a barrel w/gas prices. I don't see gas prices ever coming down.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on June 26, 2008 - 9:42am.

scooters are not as dangerous as you might think. they are dangerous if you're a teen or don't wear full on motorcycle gear. if you're an adult with lots of driving experience who is very vigilant and geared up? it's pretty safe. i rode a scooter for 4 years as an adult over 10,000 miles and never once had anything remotely close to an accident.

Submitted by nostradamus on June 26, 2008 - 10:38am.

esmith wrote:
Maybe I'll buy a scooter too. They are so economical. My family will be able to take all the money I saved on gasoline and buy me a nice pretty tombstone.

I think with less SUV drivers out there, the risk of death to scooter riders is greatly diminished.

Submitted by vagabondo on June 26, 2008 - 10:43am.

I wish I still had my Vespa. The good ole mod squad days complete with flight jacket and union jack!

Submitted by jpinpb on June 26, 2008 - 10:59am.

Yeah, there will be less SUVs on the road. The dealerships look like graveyard/cemetaries, yet the scooter stores are sold out and have waiting lists.

Submitted by nostradamus on June 26, 2008 - 11:03am.

That's great! Just last night I almost got hit by a speeding teenage girl driving an SUV. At least I know she's suffering at the gas pump (or at her parents are).

Submitted by jpinpb on June 26, 2008 - 11:11am.

Lines are already starting at gas stations. I'm waiting for the '70's odd and even days to happen. (it doesn't apply to 2-wheeled vehicles)

Submitted by kewp on June 26, 2008 - 11:15am.

Can you take them on the I-5?

Submitted by desmond on June 26, 2008 - 11:17am.

It must be time to break out my Honda Mini-Trail.

Submitted by jpinpb on June 26, 2008 - 11:20am.

If you want to take them on the freeway, I recommend a Vespa 250, the luxury high-end scooter. It's fast, great shocks and great brakes, much bigger wheels.

I have a vintage Vespa 150 and top speed on that is 45, so no freeway for me. Still great. Took it from my place in UTC to Motorsport and from there went on a rally along the coast to Oceanside and back home on a tank (1 1/2 gallon) w/gas left over.

Used to have a Vespa LX 150 and took it on the freeway once. It goes about 65-70. But it was scary. Even slightly wobbly (grooves in road)

I'm more comfortable on streets. (maybe a girl thing)

Submitted by kewp on June 26, 2008 - 12:10pm.

What the state really needs to do is split the shoulder and make half of it a scooter lane.

I would probably buy one if they did that, I'm in no hurry :).

Submitted by vagabondo on June 26, 2008 - 12:40pm.

kewp wrote:
Can you take them on the I-5?

Back in the day, a min 200cc engine was required on freeways. I am not sure if this is still the case. In the 80's I would regularly take my Vespa on I-8.

Submitted by jpinpb on June 26, 2008 - 3:31pm.

I think it's 150cc or higher. But my old 150cc won't go fast enough for fwy. The new LX will.

At a buck forty a barrel, they should make a lane for scooters/motorcycles.

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on June 26, 2008 - 3:45pm.

Do they come with baby seats ?
What about sidecars for 5-year-olds ?

Submitted by jpinpb on June 26, 2008 - 4:19pm.

Yeah. I want a sidecar!

Submitted by 34f3f3f on June 26, 2008 - 4:33pm.

Just be careful folks, Scooters are not for everyone. In Europe, roads are more dangerous because they are small and windy, but test standards can very rigorous due to the many accidents in the past. In the US, roads are less dangerous but cars and drivers (the enemy of two wheels) are not used to scooters or motorcycles so aren't on the look out for them. It's not for the faint-hearted! If they really pickup, there's going to be a few nasty accidents before this sinks in. I hope it's not anyone here.

Submitted by vagabondo on June 26, 2008 - 7:47pm.

jp - curious, is the new LX 2 or 4 stroke?

Submitted by jpinpb on June 26, 2008 - 8:00pm.

The new LX is a 4 stroke. The vintage one I drive is a 2 stroke. I use Motul, so it doesn't smoke much at all. Still, unfortunately, embarrassed to say, it's a gross polluter.

The LX was a great scooter, too. Got better gas mileage, too. I guess I like the look of the vintage. If I were to get a new one, I'd be inclined to get a 250. They really improved the shocks and brakes, bigger wheels, all around better scooter. I think handles better, but bigger. A little much for little me.

Submitted by JerseyGrl on June 27, 2008 - 7:31am.

I am starting to see scooters on the stretch of 805 between Mission Valley and North Park. I held my breath the other evening as a scooter struggled up the hill to University Ave, with cars barely swiping by him as they tried to pass.
I am seeing more and more scooters on the 805.....I think they're nuts.

Submitted by jpinpb on June 27, 2008 - 8:20am.

I personally wouldn't go on the freeway w/a scooter. Did it once on the LX. Won't do it again. I don't feel comfortable or safe. Most times I'm not in that big of a hurry and can take side streets pretty much anywhere I need to go.

Unfortunately I have to haul a trunk full of crap to work, so I have to take the car, not the scooter. That's when I use the freeway.

Otherwise, I take the scooter and take my time and stop to smell the flowers.

My scooter does pretty well up hills. Often I have to go up Genesee when heading to PB from UTC. Goes up it fine, doing 40 mph. That's not to say people aren't passing me in the faster lane exceeding the speed limit, though.

If someone has a 50cc, they're gonna have trouble.

On another note, Mile of Cars has had a 50% decline in truck sales, was one of the headlines on the SDDT. It's starting. Less truck sales, waiting list for scooters.

This is not just SD. Nationwide. Talked to Alex. Their supplier/manufacturer is backlogged from sales worldwide.

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on June 27, 2008 - 8:26am.

Two questions for the knowledgeable ones - Any good websites that list all Legal CA Scooters for the road? and Is the license test difficult (I believe its the motorcycle test?

I have a 14 mile commute from western Rancho Bernardo to El Camino in CV and I can take all backroads so a cheap scooter/ motorcycle seems like a good investment over the family truckster.

Submitted by jpinpb on June 27, 2008 - 8:39am.

You will need a motorcycle license. You can take a written test. Pick up the book, read it, take the test, pass. This will give you a permit to ride. You cannot carry passengers or ride at night. I was okay w/that. Except the permit is only good for a year. So you have to keep taking the test every year and renewing it. Pain in the a$$ dealing w/DMV.

So I took the test on my Yamaha 80 (cheating) was real easy. Weaving through the cones is easy. I could do it on the Vespa. Riding in the tight circle w/out putting your feet down or having your front wheel go outside the line is a little of a challenge on most bikes.

Alternatively, you can take the CHP class for something like $250. I've heard many good things about it. You won't have to take the DMV test. If you pass their course, they give you a slip, you go to DMV and voila, you have an M1. I also heard that taking the CHP class lowers your insurance.

Sounds like your commute will be a breeze on a scooter/motorcycle. Especially w/the backed up traffic going west from RB and heading back. (depending on the time of day you're doing it)

I can say for me the scooter is liberating. I love my Audi, don't get me wrong. But when I'm on that scooter, it feels like I'm giving OPEC the finger. Kind of a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing I'm not lining the pockets of oil tycoons in the Middle East.

It's not that I can't afford gas. It's the principle. I don't want to be a mortgage slave or a gas slave. Better things to spend the money on.

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on June 27, 2008 - 8:43am.

jpinpb wrote:
You will need a motorcycle license.
I can say for me the scooter is liberating. But when I'm on that scooter, it feels like I'm giving OPEC the finger. Kind of a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing I'm not lining the pockets of oil tycoons in the Middle East.

It's not that I can't afford gas. It's the principle. I don't want to be a mortgage slave or a gas slave. Better things to spend the money on.

The OPEC Comment is great. Thanks for the info. I may just take the written test yearly but I will call my insurance co and see what the best plan is. I have a volvo suv to cart the kids in but for me to go back and forth to work in it daily is stupid. Its a total waste of fuel. Money isnt the issue. Im also considering a Kymco Venox.

Submitted by jpinpb on June 27, 2008 - 8:48am.

Insurance on the Vespa is cheap, I think, surprisingly.

Submitted by Eugene on June 27, 2008 - 9:02am.

There are two motorcycle license classes in California, M1 and M2. M1 is a wider license that allows you to drive anything with two wheels. M2 is for mopeds and scooters only. Getting M1 is non-trivial, the hardest part is the skill test where you have to perform a number of tight low-speed turns. I've never heard of anyone doing that test with a scooter. It may be illegal. (Motorcycles are manually shifted, scooters are automatic, you may need to demonstrate your ability to operate a real motorcycle to get the license) One way around is to enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation training course, it's like $200 for two days of classes (evenings) and two days of practice (9 to 1 on a weekend), motorcycles are provided, and finishing the course waives the skill test requirement. And when you're done, you can go and buy yourself a sport bike that goes from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds.

Since you only want to ride a scooter, you may shoot for M2 license. Some kind of skill test will still be required but it should be easier.

When you pass the written test, they give you a permit that you can use to buy a bike or a scooter and practice on public roads. The permit does not allow you to ride at night or on freeways.

I have a 14 mile commute from western Rancho Bernardo to El Camino in CV and I can take all backroads so a cheap scooter/ motorcycle seems like a good investment over the family truckster.

If I had to commute on a bike, I'd rather take 14 miles of light traffic on the freeway over 14 miles of traffic lights and stop signs. If you're a responsible rider, the most likely places to get into an accident are intersections (for example, if someone turns in front of you). Cruising 65 mph on the freeway is relatively safe, as long as you keep distance and stay out of other vehicles' blind spots.

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on June 27, 2008 - 9:08am.

esmith wrote:

If I had to commute on a bike, I'd rather take 14 miles of light traffic on the freeway over 14 miles of traffic lights and stop signs. If you're a responsible rider, the most likely places to get into an accident are intersections (for example, if someone turns in front of you). Cruising 65 mph on the freeway is relatively safe, as long as you keep distance and stay out of other vehicles' blind spots.

Well the ride on backroads is through RSF on San Dieguito Road, then down El Camino for about two miles or CV Road all the way to El Camino.

Im with you in that the freeway could be faster, but the drive down the backroads is quite nice. Almost all the lights on San Dieguito are green all the way to El Camino.

Submitted by jpinpb on June 27, 2008 - 9:11am.

Nope. You can do the test w/a scooter. "Anything that falls under the heading of motorcycle or motor-driven cycle can do the skills test."

I researched it. I let a friend borrow the Yamaha 80 to take the skills test, rather than have him do it on the 600cc. They were at first trying to tell him he could only get an M2. But he told them to check to make sure (since I took the test on it and got the M1) Sure enough, they came back and told him the quote. CC size, amazingly, doesn't matter either.

If you pick up the motorcycle manual, you will see scooter is a motor-driven cycle, and thus you can get an M1.

I think M2 is pretty much for mopeds, anything w/pedals. My scooter is not automatic. The new Vespas are. BUT, it doesn't matter. I've seen them do the test w/new scooters. And actually, not so easy to do it w/an automatic. Personally, I think it's easier to do it holding the clutch and finding the sweet spot.

esmith is right about the freeways. I did forget to mention that you can't ride on freeways w/a permit, either, besides carrying passengers and at night.

Submitted by nostradamus on June 27, 2008 - 9:11am.

I highly recommend the CHP/Motorcycle Safety test that jpinpb and esmith have mentioned. In it they teach you emergency maneuvers, like sudden turns , what to do when the brakes lock, and so on. The instructors actually have you lock up the brakes.

They teach you important stuff like when you lock up the REAR brake, you SHOULD NOT unlock it because it can whip you right off the bike. If you lock up the front brake, you should release it. They will also teach you the very important evasive technique of counter-steering which is counter-intuitive for most people.

Be safe!

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