Motor Scooter Frequently Asked Questions
Featuring many questions that have never been asked before
The motorscooter has a well-deserv-ed reputation
That helmet on the pillion seat's an open invitation
It gets the subtle message out without overt flirtation.
See Dating and Scooter Culture
This FAQ is based very loosely upon the original scooterfaq.com, an extensive, well researched, and well written site, but sadly outdated with relatively little information about the current wave of low cost, easily ridden scooters and absolutely nothing about donkeys. As cheap turn-key scooters are the ones which promise to be the means by which scooters could experience a major resurgance, it is they that this site will emphasize.
- How do I justify to my spouse or parent the purchase of a motor scooter?
- We have attempted to do the job of persuading your spouse/parents/whomever for you, by providing all the arguments for scooter ownership on a customizable email form on our scooter economy page. The payback point at which the price of the scooter will have been matched in fuel savings comes remarkably soon with one of the cheaper scooters. Our Motorscooter Return On Investment computer will tell you how much you will save per mile, per month and how long it will take for some scooters to pay for themselves. It is also a good argument that scooters are safer than motorcycles (good, but not necessarily valid). See motor scooter advantages.
- Now I have the scooter, what else do I need?
- There are a number of items for handling fog, fuel, flats, and other foibles of scootering -- items that make scooter driving and ownership safer and more pleasant. We have created our Essential Scooterist Kit in an attempt to provide these all in one place. We also have a motorscooter insurance page with free insurance quotes from multiple sources for comparison shopping, and a scooter roadside assistance page to help you make sure you are covered in case of a breakdown.
- Does my auto roadside assistance program cover me in case of a breakdown?
- Probably not -- but some do. See our scooter roadside assistance page to see which is which.
- What are some tips for the new scooterist?
- Here is a fairly extensive discussion of new-scooterist concerns.
- Where can I get the best deal on a good scooter?
- We have tested and researched a wide range of low-cost scooters and, at least temporarily, found what we consider to be the best deals available on the internet. See our Basic, Classic, High-performance, Luxury , Minimalist, Stand-up, and Electric Motorscooter pages for the best scooter deals in those categories.
- Which is preferable, the two-stroke, or four-stroke engine?
- The two-stroke engine was the standard for classic, manual transmission, European scooters. It is, mostly for nostalgic reasons, still the favorite of devoted classic scooter enthusiasts. However, the four-stroke engine with it's superior emissions control and longevity has won out in most modern scooters. See the Scooter Engine.
- Are electric motor scooters a viable option?
- Electric Motor Scooters are available, but they have very specific advantages and disadvantages. They may be the ideal solution for basic local commuting. See our Gas vs. Electric Scooters page.
- What distinguishes a motor scooter from a motorcycle?
- If it can be mounted and ridden in a tight skirt without discomfort and without compromising one's modesty, it is a scooter. The scooter has a step-through design that permits mounting without swinging one's leg over.
- Has anyone driven coast-to-coast on a 50cc scooter in the US?
- Yes -- with many side trips and excursions during summer 2004. See Laird VanDyck's ride.
- What are the advantages of a motorscooter over a motorcycle?
- There are many advantages of motor scooters, not the least of which is the motor scooter image. The modern, inexpensive motor scooters with their stepless transmissions are very affordable and extremely easy to drive.
- How do you have an exorcism performed on a motor scooter?
- How did motor scooters come about?
- Take a board and put a wheel at the rear end, and a wheel at the front end attached to a handle for steering and you have a scooter. Nail a box to the back of the board and you can sit down while going downhill. Put an engine in the box to power the back wheel, and you can sit down going uphill as well. Backyard prototypes existed long before any commercial product was designed. See the History of Motor Scooters.
- Is there a repository of motorscooter poetry?
- There are several and we will add them as we find them. We have our own Motorscooter Verse page and there is another on Max's scooter page: Scooter Quotations and Poetry.
- Is it illegal to carry a donkey on a motor scooter?
- This is still the subject of much heated controversy. Nobody has yet been able to find a U.S. law specifically prohibiting motorscooters from being used for donkey transport (see individual state regulations), though those law enforcement officials questioned maintain overwhelmingly that they would stop any scooter so laden, however small, well behaved, and well groomed the donkey might be. This fact has been cited as proof of the excessively unrestricted license to practice capricious and arbitrary regulation that has been bestowed upon U.S. law enforcement. Counter arguments to this one tend to resort to Ad Hominem claims commonly employing terms like idiocy and its less complimentary synonyms, and typically contain little or no reference to donkeys, however well or ill behaved they might be. One inspired comment on this entry appeared on the scooterbbs.com from "Kyle" and could simply not be omited here, however hard we tried:
...If you should be seen by some shapely lass,
while riding your scooter and bearing your ass.
Would having him straddle,
the front half of your saddle,
be considered rude.... or just crass?...
- What is a pillion? Do I need one, and what would I do with it if I had one?
- A pillion is simply the rear or auxilliary seat on a horse, scooter, camel, broomstick, etc., and might be used for bearing an ass or other ungulate but is, more commonly, used to accommodate a primate. Most scooters (but few broomsticks) have a pillion as well as storage behind the passenger seat.
- How do I store two helmets on a scooter?
- The scooter has many storage options not available on motorcycles. See motor scooter cargo storage issues.
- How does the twist-and-go scooter differ from the classic scooter?
- Much like most motorcycles, the classic scooter had a manual transmission. The stepless automatic transmissions found in low-priced Chinese import motorscooters, for example, require no rider attention at all. All the rider need do is twist the throttle to go and apply the brake to stop. Most modern scooters use a four-stroke engine while the classic scooters used a two-stroke engine (see motor scooter engines). In practical terms, this means that the modern scooterist need not mix oil and gasoline/petrol together as would be required in a two-stroke engine. It should be here noted that, in scooter dominated countries (Taiwan for example where there are about 11 million scooters in a country of 23 million people (nearly 1/2 scooter per person)) practically all scooters use the simple modern twist-and-go design.
- Is it true that a scooter is recommended as the ideal natural disaster evacuation vehicle?
- Recent events have demonstrated that mass evacuations using the existing road systems are doomed to failure. Many of those who attempt to evacuate a major metropolitan area find themselves riding out the disaster in their vehicles rather than in their homes as major arteries become jammed parking lots. The bicycle, moped, scooter, motorcycle evacuation options are probably the only ones that would work. The bicycle would be a good choice only if the driver is alone, uninjured, in excellent shape, and if food and water are in good supply. The moped is most versatile and does not rely entirely on a fuel supply. Fuel, however, is not likely to be a significant problem when highways are clogged with abandoned vehicles, if one carries a siphon pump (see Essential Scooterist Kit). Meltdown, dirty bomb, chemical or biological attack, natural disaster -- or simply the rumor of same -- all are likely to end up with impassable roads stopped up with abandoned vehicles.
- Where can I find out more about scooter-mounted cat flinging?
- There is relatively little documentation on that subject specifically. Other Cat Flinging practices have been well researched however.
- What is a Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT)?
- The stepless automatic transmission used on most modern scooters requires no attention at all from the driver. The CVT or Continuous Variable Transmission is discussed at length on its own page.
- Do scooters suffer from parasites?
- Which scooter should I get?
- This is a loaded question. There are many classic traditionalists among scooter enthusiasts and it is certainly understandable that history, nostalgia and quality may play a large role in scooter choice. However, as the purpose of this site is to promote general usage of scooters for transportation and this is not likely to be accomplished on a large scale by persuading people to sink a lot of money into an antique and to become restorers and classic scooter tinkerers. For those who can afford them, we recommend the high quality scooters: Vespa, Honda, Yamaha, Kymco. For the rest of us, the low price modern Chinese scooters can offer a very good quality/price ratio. See The Basic Scooter, The Classic Scooter, The Performance Scooter, The Luxury Scooter, The Minimalist Scooter, the Stand-up Scooter, and The Electric Scooter.
- Where can I get a motor scooter that runs on used vegetable oil or paint thinner?
- We're still working on that.
- Is there a divination ritual for motor scooters?
- What is a Motor Scooter anyway?
- For a discussion of motorscooter taxonomy, see our Types of Motorscooters page. Here is the Wikipedia Motorscooter Entry and the scooterfaq.com definition is quoted below:
The term "scooter" as commonly used in the newsgroup (NG) alt.scooter refers more properly to a "motorscooter", which are a subclass of motorcycles utilizing a distinctive structural design. These are generally two-wheeled vehicles originally based on motorized versions of children's push scooters, although some three-wheeled scooters are considered to exist. Motorscooters (or simply "scooters") have been around almost as long as motorcycles and the distinction between the two has often been blurred (see 1.4). The most commonly accepted definition of scooters requires two-wheeled vehicles (or two-wheeled vehicles modified to have a rear axle) that have wheels between 8 and 14 inches in diameter (smaller than motorcycles), step-thru frames and typically engines that are low and close to the rear wheel [see The New Encyclopedia Britannica (1997), vol. 8, pg. 367]. However, it should be noted that this definition is not universally accepted, as some have argued (Dregni & Dregni, for example) that scooters need only have 2 out of 3 of these attributes. Scooters also often incorporate full bodywork, including legshields and generally are designed to be easier to operate than standard motorcycles. It should be noted that scooters may be of any engine size, though historically they typically have ranged from 50cc to 250cc. Likewise, there is no limitation to possible top speed inherent in scooter design -- many scooters regularly exceed 100mph. Incidentally, the term "scooter" is also commonly used for "medical scooters", which are typically 3 or 4 wheeled vehicles for people with mobility problems, but are quite unlike "motorscooters". There are also scooters with very small engines (under 40cc) commonly called "go-peds" (a prominent brand), which look like motorized children's push scooters. However, they are not covered by this FAQ because they have their own NG, alt.sport.go-ped and since they differ significantly from the larger motorscooters commonly discussed on the "alt.scooter" NG. There is also a popular German techno band named "Scooter" that sometimes leads to confusion as well, especially when using search engines. [11/99]