Saturday, June 21, 2008

Calling all scooter riders

I'm in the market for a scooter. I want to finish off driving my truck as much as possible. While I love the idea of riding my bike in to work on a daily basis, it isn't always practical. I don't just work as a desk jockey (I'm not sure if that's fortunate for me or not). I occasionally have meetings to attend, jobsites to check on, and errands to run. Hopping on my bike to trek to an across town meeting or jobsite, just isn't going to cut it. I can also borrow my boss' truck since it's a company vehicle, but then that begins to be a pain as well. So, it's time to scoot.

I've been eyeing them for a while and slowly doing a bit of research. From the sounds of it, there are about 3 levels I can go with. First you have the Chinese direct gray market imports that have about the same quality as a Harbor Freight tool. Don't get me wrong, Harbor Freight is one of my favorite stores to blow money in, but I don't go there looking for long lasting quality tools. Add in that parts and service are questionable or hard to come by at best and it becomes a disposable item. The second level seems to be midline, fairly reliable, but not as well known brands such as Genuine and Kymco. I'd probably equate these to your average Sears quality. It should last you for a while, but at least you know that parts and service will be available when you need it. Lastly, you have the high end Honda's, Aprillia, and Yamahas. Well known, parts and service are plentiful, and have a good reputation for long lasting quality. Oh ya, and they come with the price tag too boot.

I've pretty much decided on the midline scooters. The local dealer is a whopping 4 blocks from my place, offers free pick up for warranty work, and seemed to be pretty friendly when I went in to check them out and pestered the guy with questions for close to an hour when I'm sure he knew I was just browsing. Overall, I think my needs are pretty well met by this selection. I need to commute roughly 18 miles round trip per day, I'll have some 40-50 mph traffic to deal with along with a possible stint up to 60-65 if I jump on the freeway, and I need to be able to haul a few things such as drawings and blueprints. I'd also like to use it for running small errands and such.

There are 3 options I'm looking at right now.
The Buddy 125

The Rattler buck ten

And the People S200

All 3 have distinct advantages and hindrances. Here's what I've put together so far (note I was not able to test ride any of these yet).
Buddy 125: Good- pricing, top speed, overall looks, accessories Bad- get up and go is less than the others, foot rest area is tight, hard to ride two people, baby blue is the in stock color...
Rattler buck ten: Good- pricing, aggressive styling, get up and go should be the best of the three, go fast parts available, reportedly the most fun to ride of the three Bad- doesn't seem to have the functionality of the other two, lower top speed, hard to ride two people.
People S200: Good- most powerful, highest top speed, more substantial size/heft, accessories available, most capable for riding two people Bad- pricing is the highest by $600.

All of them are pretty decent scooters from what I can see. It's mostly coming down to buyer preference when choosing between them, but the $600 is just about a deal killer when I'm doing this to save money. My ROI on the extra cash would take roughly another 4-6 months of riding to cover and could go a long way towards maintaining the other two. The biggest factor for it is the ability to ride two people, but I just don't know if I need to have that ability. Mostly my wife and I wouldn't ever ride together since the little one would need to have a sitter. Plus for the riding we might do, it would just be small trips and no long distance riding which should be fine for the other two. I'm really trying to decide between the buck ten and the 125.

The buck ten is a two cycle 110cc motor and should really get up and move in comparison to the other two. It has some cool styling and according to the salesman would be his choice for fun to ride which I have to admit plays a part in my decision making. If it's fun to ride, I'm more likely to ride. I can accessorize it just as well for functionality as the 125, but that also tones down the styling of it a bit. The biggest down side is that the reviews all say it will get up to 55-60 mph but has no more top end even with power modifications due to the gearing. I just don't know if that will cut it if I ever have the need to jump on the freeway.

I think if the 125 had a bigger spot for my big ass feet (size 11.5), it'd probably be a pretty easy choice. The styling is decent and it is supposed to run up around 65 mph at the top end which is enough to move me along nicely on the freeway even with the 60 mph speed limit areas now in effect. Most likely I'll head back to the shop and see if I can sweet talk them into a test ride since I don't have a motorcycle license yet. They might be a little more willing if I prove I'm serious about buying based on a test ride. As long as it's fun to ride, I can live without the need to pretend it's a mini motorcycle ala the driving force behind the buck ten.

If you've got an opinion, post it!

1 comment:

Iowagriz said...

CBR 600RR :)

Talk to Jason, he's a longtime motorcycle rider and would probably have good input.

I had a scotter in college, but the max speed was 35. Downhill it would go 40, but then the small wheels would get squirrely. Watch out for that issue at 60 on the freeway.