8 Best Street Scooters | March 2017
- one-year battery warranty
- minimalist frame
- not the most comfortable option
- bright led headlights
- available in many colors
- digital speedometer
- storage compartment
- holds up to 330 lbs
- single-cylinder engine
- efficient 149cc engine
- wide rearview mirrors
- fully automatic cvt transmission
- one-and-a-half-gallon fuel tank
- air cooled 4-stroke engine
- front disc and rear drum brakes
A Bicycle With A Beating Heart
Go ahead and picture a bicycle. Got it? Good. Now, do you see how the back wheel is connected to the pedals in middle by that chain and those gears? That means work.
In order to get this thing to move, you have to provide the energy with your very own legs. And if you spend even a quarter of the amount of time the average American spends just sitting around, your legs might not be up to the task.
Fortunately, they went and strapped a motor to this thing, and now it moves under its own power.
The scooters we're looking at here today have relatively small motors attached to them, running no more than 149cc (that's the measurement of space where the combustion takes place) which makes them all, according to most states, not motorcycles.
That's a good news/bad news scenario: The good news is that you usually don't need any special training, licensing, or insurance to ride a motorized bike or scooter under 150cc. The bad news is that they can't push much past 55 mph, making them dangerous to take on the highway.
No Need To Tighten The Belt
So, that title is misleading if taken literally. Any drive system–belt or chain–will require an occasional tension adjustment. I mean the title metaphorically, in that the purchase of a scooter will actually save you money, a lot of it, in fact, even in the short run.
Let's just do the math: I drive a Honda Civic that gets me about 24 mpg. The car normally does better, but I live in one of the worst cities in the world for roadway traffic, so a lot of those gallons expire while I'm idling at a dead stop.
Also, I'm going to use $2.50 as the gas price because that makes the math easier.
My car has a 12 gallon tank, so it would cost $30 to fill it from completely empty. At 24 mpg, that's 288 miles for $30, or a little over $.10 per mile.
Now, the scooter at number one gets about 120 mpg. That translates to $.02 per mile.
The average American driver covers about 13,500 miles each year.
For me in my Civic, that's about $1,400 for the year. For you on your scooter, it's only $270. That's $1,130 in savings for year one, meaning that your scooter will pay for itself in gas miles alone in less than a year.
Add in the fact that your miles are easier (you can weave through traffic), that you have half as many tires to maintenance, that you can park almost anywhere for free, and that your insurance is cheaper, and you see what a good investment these things really are.
So, it's not about tightening your belt, so much as loosening–metaphorically speaking.
The Scooters Of Yore
The scooter as we know it was, in fact, predated by the motorcycle, but not by as many years as you might think.
The boom in scooter design, following on the heels of the motorcycle you see here from the very late 1800s, really came about after the first world war.
There were a few designs kicking around before then, but more and more manufacturers began to improve upon the design in the post-war period.
We probably think of scooters as a more recent development of the 20th century because the style we associate with them–that of the classic Italian Vespa–didn't get its patent until just after the second world war.
I don't know about you, but I'm noticing a pattern here. If, and I mean if we have a third world war, there's a good chance that the scooter industry will get quite a shake-up.
Let's hope it doesn't come to that. I like the current scooter designs well enough not to wish for any more global conflict.