Scooter Girl 411: Motorcycles vs. Scooters

Original Content

I have to admit, when I first saw Seth from Metro Scooter unboxed the new 2018 Kymco 150 Spade on Instagram, I was quite taken by the mini-bike. Blasphemy, I know but just look at it – it’s darling!

2018 Kymco 150 Spade

It’s not the 150cc engine. It’s not that it has Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI). It’s not even that it is retro inspired claiming 12.5hp @ 8500rpm. Nope. It’s because the seat height is 28-inches and is MSF compliant for motorcycle training schools.

The thought of riding a motorcycle without worry about my feet being able to reach the ground was oh-so-very-enticing. However, the reality is that there are a lot of scooter specific features that I simply prefer over a motorcycle – no matter how adorbs they may be. So here’s my run down:

Motorcycles
vs.
Scooters
Engine Size Modern singles range in capacity from 50 cc to 660 cc 50 cc – 250 cc
Transmission Manual Automatic
Seat Height 23.8″ – 37″
*Seat width also may impact feet touching the ground*
25.8″ – 31.9 “
Weight 200 lbs – 700 lbs 180 lbs – 550 lbs
Storage None Under Seat
License Endorsement M1 Endorsement Only *Ohio Specific*
100 cc & Below = M4 (Scooter Specific) Endorsement
Over 100 cc = M1 (Motrocycle) Endorsement

Engine Size: The bigger the engine, typically means the faster a rider can go and the smoother the ride. However, the bigger the engine also means the heavier the two-wheeled vehicle. So keep that in mind.

Transmission: The fact that all motorcycles, as far as I am aware of, are manual transmission and most scooters are automatic has always been the singular fact that always beckons me back to a scooter. There are enough things I need to be aware of on a motorized two wheels, the last thing I want to add to that is shifting gears.

Seat Height: I am a “Fun-Size” rider – standing at 4’10”, 100 lbs, with a 27 1/2″ inseam. The Genuine Buddy 125 with a low profile seat and an inch thick sole boots is just about the right combo for me to comfortably stop. The Buddy Kick seat height is actually a little lower than the Buddy 125 but WAY out of my price range new and nearly impossible to find used.

Weight: The heavier the bike or scooter the more laborious at stops & gos. Think of inching up in a turning lane. The Buddy 125 is about 220 lbs and it’s no joke pushing it up an inclined driveway.

Storage: Love the under seat storage compartment of the scooter.

License Endorsement: For the longest time, Ohio did not make any distinction between a motorcycle and a scooter. Therefore I was under the impression that even if I never have intentions of riding a motorcycle I would have to perform the skills test on a motorcycle. Little beknownst to me, many riders would take the motorcycle written test (written practice test HERE) and skill test on their scooter or three-wheel. A few years ago, so many scooterists were showing up for their skills test in a scooter that Ohio decided to create another type of endorsement – the M4 .

When I took my written test in Sep 2017, anything under 150 cc fell under the M4. But it recently changed and the M4 now only covers anything under 100 cc. The written test is the same for either the M1 or M4 endorsement. The only real difference is the skills test is slightly different. See below:

M1 vs. M4

Motorcycles vs. Scooters in geek terms, is a lot like Batman vs Deadpool.

Batman
VS.
Deadpool
Bad Ass Bad Ass
Intense Carefree
Brooding Fun

Until next time – zoom zoom 🛵 👧🏻

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Scooter Girl 411: First Love

Original Content

The sound of the wind rushing from under the face shield muffled the low, smooth whine of the 50 cc engine. It was still early enough for a crispness to linger in the morning air, before the grueling Midwest summer humidity took over. I meticulously scan the road ahead and relish in a sense of unadulterated freedom riding my Honda Metropolitan. There was just something extraordinarily fun riding a scooter. There was just something about having nothing but two wheels and a motor which separated me from the road brings about a sense of vitality and unexplained joy. It is one of those odd, acquired taste which is impossible to explain to someone who absolutely have no interest in riding.

The fun. The thrill. The undeniable vintage coolness of being on a scooter was sparked when I was just a tween binge watching old black & white movies on the television. The 1953 classic, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck was the movie that forever changed my life. Scootering was probably my very first true love. No amount of words can describe the childlike wonder and delight on her face. Perhaps it is magic. Perhaps it is a death wish. But I am willing to wager that one would be hard-pressed to find a scooter rider without a smile on their happy little faces.

Perhaps it is just a cult phenomena like Jeep or Mini Cooper. Regardless, I am a fan. Always have been, always will be. I think Robert M. Pirsig said it best in his book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values.

In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.

hepburn-vespa-roman-holiday(Thanks Seth from Metro Scooters for the quote)

There may be some truth to being in the world, without being separated from it by a couple thousand pounds of metal and plastic. Granted Pirsig was referring to motorcycles specifically but I think the direct connect with all that is around us can easily be applied to scooter riders as well.

The last time I was on a scooter it was the late 1980s. My love for scooters never completely died, but it never was quite enough to do anything about it either. With two little ones, it was difficult to prioritize a want over a need.

It wasn’t until I was riding on the Hubs’ new (to him) 650 cc motorcycle that the sense of uninhibited freedom came flooding back to me. This year, the scooter fever took hold of me by both shoulders and gave me a good shake. The kiddos are on the verge of being adults and all the stars seemed to be aligned, beckoning me to the open road once again. So after over a 30+ year break, I bought another scooter.

I researched for over 3 years and I settled on a Genuine Buddy 125. *swoons* Yea, that’s mine!

(Thank you Caitlin from Capital City Scooters for the awesome new ride)

20180331_154337 (2)

My hope is to share with anyone reading is bits of discoveries and ah-ha’s that I have uncovered through a lot of research and trails & errors.

I  would like to post a Scooter Girl 411 on Mondays but the frequency is still to be determined – why? Because it’s riding season silly! SO please subscribe to get auto updates.

Until next time – zoom zoom 🛵 👧🏻