Fri 3 Aug 2007
A tour of Online Motorscooter Enthusiasm
Motorscooters mean many different things to different people, of different ages, in different places. To some, particularly in the states, the scooter is just a wimpy motorcycle. To others, it is a symbol of style, nonconformity, elegance, emancipation, perhaps even virility. To much of the world, however, it is simply basic transportation with no particular association with any message whatsoever. The motorscooter is really somewhat older than the motorcycle, having been created from the simplest ingredients: wheels, a board, and a box to sit on with a motor in it. See Motorscooter FAQ How did the motorscooter come about? Motorscooters are more basic, cheaper, simpler and in most cases, prettier than motorcycles (One could perhaps find many motorcyclists who feel that their vehicles are more aesthetic, but few of them are likely to argue that they are”prettier” than scooters). There are also many other advantages of motorscooters over motorcycles.
The fuel efficiency of motorscooters varies somewhat depending upon vehicle weight, load, inclines, etc., but tends to hover around 80mpg for 150cc models and a bit over 100mpg for 50cc models, making scooters one of the most ecological vehicle choices from both fuel consumption and emissions perspectives (At ome time, when two-stroke motorscooters were the norm, the infamous “blue smoke” produced by burning oil and inefficient combustion made scooters an ecologically poor choice. Modern motorscooters, most of them using four-stroke engines, are very clean-burning and efficient.). We all look forward to alternative fuel scooters but (Piaggio plans to launch hybrid-powered scooter in H2 2008), for the time being, the gas ones are still a very responsible choice.
E lectric Motorscooters do exist and some are very viable choices. Research has demonstrated that really novel scooters are just around the corner. The Vectrix VX-FCe fuel cell hybrid motor scooter contains a 500 watt fuel cell, a regenerative braking system, a top speed of 62 mph, and a 155 mile range. See Fuel Cell Electric Motorscooters. There is also a Scooter which burns liquid propane gas.
Classic motorscooters such as Vespas and Lambrettas once gained a reputation for being the cheap vehicle of choice for counterculture subversion and rebellion. With the current soaring prices of modern Vespas, only the established can afford them. The new cheap Chinese import scooters, TANK, Roadrunner, and Roketas, have largely taken over that role. Scooter Commuter Steve’s Motorscooter Blog contains a chronicle of TANK ownership. I ride one myself and love it (the others, not being approved for sale in California See Legislation-Happy California Shoots Itself in the Ecological Foot).
There has recently been a spate of anti-motorscooter deprecation in Australia (See Motor scooters ‘new menace’ on roads) where motorscooters have seen a major upsurge in usage (See Finding the best way to battle Sydney traffic) . Of course, the temperament of Australians combined with the narrow road structure which is treated by drivers as though it were the Autobahn, makes driving there dangerous under any conditions. See Motorscooters in Australia