One knows when spring is here based on two things – #1 all the blooming buds on trees, flowers, grass and #2 the insatiable urge to ride or get one, whether it be a motorcycle, trike, or scooter.
Perhaps one of the best part of owning a scooter is the ability to customize it and like tattoos, once you start, it’s difficult to stop.
My inspiration was an orange Vespa, complete with racing stripes and white wall tires. I absolutely adore the vintage look of Vespas but I am much too petite to ever ride one, much too poor to ever afford one, and THIS is probably the only Vespa I will ever be able to ride. 🙂
Many of the customizations on my Genuine Buddy 125 I was able to do myself accompanied by hours of YouTube videos. It made me feel rather mechanically inclined … which I am not. LOL
The absolute first thing I did was to model my plain orange Buddy with a combination of car decal stripes and reflective tape from Amazon. It was a very inexpensive mod which made an immediate WOW impact. The first thing I changed which required a screwdriver, was out of necessity rather than esthetics. The stock Genuine Buddy seat is very stiff and unforgiving. Since I only have a 27″ inseam, I took the opportunity of swapping out the seat for the low profile seat which reduced the seat height (inseam) by a good inch or so. One of the down side is that with the lower seat, some under seat storage is lost.
The second item I replaced was also out of necessity – the stock rear shocks is brutally unforgiving and the ride can be compared to bouncing on a cement bench, feeling every nuke and cranny of the road. It was so severe that for the first time in my life I had lower back pain after a longer ride. I installed the NCY Adjustable Lower Rear Shocks which lowered the seat height by an additional inch or so. Being able to comfortably rest both feet at a full stop is a luxury fun-size riders really have to work for, not only for safety reasons but to increase overall confidence. However, one of the downfall of the lower shocks is that I can no longer sustain enough leverage to use the center stand which is a bit of a bummer. The other downfall is that I didn’t do enough research and made a costly mistake. I’ve now learned that when one installs the lower rear shocks, one has to remove the rear fender. Otherwise the rear fender will consistently knock against the fuel tank and eventually crack it right where the petcock connects causing the need for the entire fuel tank to be replaced. VERY expensive mistake. I also opted for a new set of Prima white wall tires which I felt not only improved ride quality and control on turns, but it completed the retro look.
The third item I added was a wind screen which I initially did not want. Being a petite rider (under 4′ and flirting near 100 lbs) I needed a wind screen to help stabilize the scooter at higher speeds and winds. Otherwise, the front wheel at higher speeds felt like it was floating on the road and a good stiff breeze would be able to blow the scooter right out from under me – which is not a fun feeling for a new rider. I did have to change the wind screen to a shorter, sportier model so that I am not looking through two layers (face shield & wind screen).
Perhaps one of the most functional additions was the rear rack. With a few bungie cords I have carried dinners, brownies, tripod, and many other things which cannot fit under the seat storage. And I think the chrome is just more snazzy looking. The other fun & fairly inexpensive ways to get a new look are seat covers. Suzy from Cheeky Seats is wonderful to work with and has an amazing assortment of fabrics. I have two vinyl ones and will be purchasing a third in carbon fiber. It will be awesome.
And if all that wasn’t enough customization, I even customized my helmet! After years of nagging from the Hubs, I finally retired my first helmet, the AFX-76 3/4 with a Biltwell bubble face shield in smoke. It protected me well enough but every once in awhile a small pebble sneaks up and projectiles onto my chin which at 45+ mph doesn’t feel all that great. Since I have such an obscenely round head, my choices for a full helmet was quite limited. I ended up with an Arai Quantum-X with the Aria Vas V-Pro face shield in dark smoke. Again, with both helmets I used a variety of car-grade decal stripes, reflective tape, and car decals to make it my own. I am most happy with how nicely the Hello Kitty turned out.
I am considering in replacing the front performance forks to further enhance the ride but that will be an investment for another day.