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A Buyers Guide to Motor Scooters!

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Motorcycles

A Buyers Guide to Motor Scooters!

Larry Johnson
March 9, 2006

With so many different types of motor scooters available today buyers must do their homework before making a purchase. Vespa, Honda, Piaggio, big engine, small engine, gas, electric, mobility, foldable, seats, handgrips, where do I start?

Before the 1920s it was an easy decision, a foot-powered push scooter or none at all. But once Gino Tsai from Shanghai, Taiwan developed the Razor scooter it changed everything. His motor scooters became popular so quickly there were people waiting in line for six months before they could get one.

In the 1950s companies like Vespa in the UK started selling the first of their gas motor scooters. It was a big hit at the 1950 Motorcycle Show and quickly became a big hit in the UK as well. Vespa sold over 125,000 in the UK between the years of 1950 to 1958. Piaggio from Vespa and Lambretta from Innocenti started selling their models in Italy and France too, quickly becoming the vehicles that everyone had to own. By the early 1950s the sale of motor scooters topped 1 million a year in France alone. Because of its popularity other countries such as France and Germany decided to get in on the boom by manufacturing their own models.

Today, after more than 50 years since the first gas scooters appeared, there are many different makes and models. We have electric, gas powered, foldable, mobility and utility motor scooters dotting the globe. There are specialized scooters for just about every task. They have become a worldwide phenomenon because they are cheap to own, economical to operate, are very handy and functional, and most of all they are a lot of fun. But with all of the makes and models which one is right for you?

Let's start with the different types. Gas motor scooters are the fastest around. They will take you longer distances and reach higher speeds than any of the other varieties. There are smaller and lighter models that will be perfect for running errands around town while the larger and heavier touring models will take you on longer trips. Plus, the larger the gas tank the farther you can travel before needing to stop at a service station.

Electric varieties are a little more economical to run, but will usually travel only about 10 or 15 miles before needing a recharge. Their battery capacity has improved dramatically over the years, but they cannot be taken for long trips due to the fact that their batteries will need recharging periodically. However, for short trips around the city they are wonderful little vehicles. Plus, most scooters have a large storage capacity under the seat so they are ideal for trips to the grocery store or for other light shopping sprees.

The elderly or handicapped typically use what is referred to as mobility scooters. These are usually electric models and have 3 or 4 wheels for extra stability. These models give the elderly or disabled the ability to get about in their homes or around the neighborhood more easily. Without mobility scooters many of the disability-impaired would be confined to their beds.

Another very popular type is the foldable scooter. These are very small and are made for short trips around town. They are particularly popular among the younger crowds. The beauty of these models is that they are extremely compact and can be folded for storage in small places. If you work just a few miles from your home you can travel to work on your folding scooter and then fold it up and put it underneath your desk at work. Very handy.

There are also utility scooters which can be used for many different purposes. They can be used as golf carts or for hauling things. Many big businesses use these types for getting around their factories. Schools use them for driving through the parking lot, checking for cars that shouldn't be there. Major league sports stadiums use them to drive people from one place to another. These are wonderful vehicles that can be used for a variety of reasons.

Once you've decided which type is right for your needs the next step is to figure out what options, if any, you would like included on your vehicle. Of course you can choose from many different colors and designs, but there are other options available to you. You can choose from the many varieties of covers, locks (for security), cases or side bags for storage, helmets, seats, handgrips, windshields or windscreens, backrests for touring, chrome kits, rear luggage racks and many more options. The list of accessories can go on for quite some time.

As a rule of thumb first choose the type of scooter you want, whether it be electric, gas, foldable or utility. This is the easy part because the type you purchase will depend upon your needs. Once that decision has been made look at several popular models in your area and decide which one looks and feels right to you. Most have accessories that are manufactured for a specific model so accessories cannot be decided upon until you know which motor scooter you are going to buy. Once you've decided which accessories you want for the model you chose it's a simple matter of driving your scooter out of the dealership. And it's nothing but fun from there on out.

About the Author:

Motor scooters are lots of fun, which is why Larry Johnson is a motor scooter fanatic. He not only loves to ride them, but he loves writing about them as well. For more information visit http://www.my-motorscooters.com.

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