Scooter

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A scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle with a step-through frame in which the rider sits without straddling any part of the engine.

An average daily commuter with no mechanical experience would be making a poor decision if they were to purchase an antique moped as a replacement for a four wheeled vehicle. For example, a four stroke honda metropolitan would probably reach 10,000 miles with only routine maintenance while a 1977 moped will need a lot more love than the average commuter has to offer.

Scooters have grown in popularity due to a solid network of Honda, and Yamaha dealers. Most mid-sized metropolitan areas have smaller networks of dealers supporting Italian, Spanish or Taiwanese scooters.

In contrast, there are few moped showrooms and no support across wide areas. Factors such as limited dealer support for new mopeds and high maintenance for old mopeds has shifted the consumer spotlight onto scooters.

Ironically, factors such as limited support and high maintenance are the very reasons most moped riders are fanatic about their antique bikes.

Taken from Wikipedia:

Description

The classic scooter design features a step-through frame and a flat floorboard for the rider's feet. This design is possible because the scooter engine and drive system, transferring power to the rear wheel,is either attached to the rear axle or under the seat. In contrast to a frame mounted motorcycle engine, this front-hinged arrangement allows the rear of the engine to swing vertically in conjunction with the motion of the rear wheel. Older Vespas, most vintage scooters, and some newer retro models have axle mounted engines with a manual transmission with the gear shift and clutch controls built into the left handlebar. Most newer scooters use a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

In contrast to most motorcycles, scooters generally feature bodywork, including a front leg shield and body that conceals all or most of the mechanicals. There is often some integral storage space, either under the seat, built into the front leg shield, or both. Most modern motor scooters have smaller wheels than motorcycles, between eight and 12 inches (20-28 cm) in diameter (though maxi- and big-wheel scooters may have larger wheels). Most scooters have smaller engines than motorcycles (between 30 cc and 250 cc with a single cylinder, though larger models have twin cylinder 400 to 650 cc. motors). Most jurisdictions have no legal definition for "scooter". In general, 50 cc and under scooters are classified in most states and countries as a moped and are subject to reduced safety restrictions and licensing fees. Scooters above 50 cc are generally legally considered motorcycles, though some states have an in-between definition for motorized bike for scooters and motorcycles between 50 and 150 cc.There is E-service network available provided by the Keenmotorbikes [1] in Taiwan since the year of 2005. Until recently, most modern motor scooters came with air cooled two-stroke engines with automatic two-stroke oil injection although some of the higher spec small ones and large ones are water cooled such as the Honda FC50 or the 2002 Yamaha YQ50s. Scooters increasingly have four-stroke engines to meet stricter emissions controls. Trends world-wide have seen new variations on the classic scooter. A common variation, the 'big-wheel' or commuter-style scooter features wheels as large as a motorcycle. Popular models of the commuter-style bike include the Aprilia Scarabeo models, the Piaggio Liberty/LT models, and the Taiwanese Kymco People models.

High-end scooter models now include comprehensive technological features including cast aluminum frames, engines with integral counter-balancing, and cross-linked brake systems. Some of these modern high-end scooters also come with comfort features such as windshields, heated hand grips and full instrumentation (including clock or outside temperature gauge.)

High-powered electric road scooters are on the horizon now that small electric motorcycles like the e-max and the eGO have been released.

In an effort to reduce emissions, there are now LPG powered scooters that run on Liquefied petroleum gasrather than petrol or diesel.

History

Scooters trace their ancestry back to the USA, where Cushman and Salsbury created some of the first motorized two wheelers with the traits that have come to embody scooters. Salsbury produced the first automatic scooter with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Cushman's light, compact, and rugged scooters were used by the United States military as ground vehicles for paratroopers during World War II. The Vespa, originally manufactured by Piaggio in post-WWII Italy, quickly popularized motor scooters in places where inexpensive transportation was in dire need. Constructed using aircraft design and materials and eliminating belt drive by mounting the engine on the axle it redefined the vehicle type for 35 years. Despite Vespa's dominance of the scooter market, they were not without competition. Lambretta offered models that rivaled those in the Vespa product line. In the 1980s new versions of scooters began to be released and become popular, especially in Japan and Far-East Asia. This styling of scooters began to reflect that of larger, sporty, higher-performance motorcycles of the time and the trend has continued to the current day. With the release of the Honda Ruckus, new trends towards dirt-bike scooters are just beginning. The classic styling of the Vespa has never lost its popularity, however and remains the most popular and most imitated scooter design. Almost all manufacturers now carry both a classic/retro model and a sporty/modern model.

Popularity

In many parts of the world, such as Europe and Asia, motor scooters are a popular form of urban transportation due to their low cost and easy driving position. For many people, a motor scooter is the family vehicle until sufficient funds to purchase an automobile are amassed. Motor scooters are also popular because of their size, fuel-efficiency, weight, and typically larger storage room than a motorcycle. In many localities, certain road motor scooters are considered by law to be in the same class as mopeds or small motorcycles and therefore they have fewer restrictions than do larger motorcycles.

In the last few years, new technology has emerged. Fuel-injected scooters are very efficient and durable. Aprilia released the SR Ditech in 2002. The fuel consumption of this direct injection scooter is one litre of fuel for 50 kilometres of driving (117mpg). Later on, more brands, such as Derbi and Peugeot, started using direct injection systems for their scooters. Due to new environmental laws, scooters had to change because the Euro3 standard allows only four-stroke engines. Some scooter drivers don't agree this is a good solution because they are used to two-stroke motors.

More recently China has become the largest manufacturer of scooters producing over 50% of the worlds supply according to the MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council). With lower prices and better quality control, China is now making scooters which meet strict United States DOT & EPA standards. Some manufacturers from China and Mexico like Ricardo Motors meet the very strict California Air Resources Board's CARB requirements.

In the 2000s they have gained popularity in Latin America, specifically in Puerto Rico.

Maxi-Scooters

Another trend sees larger scooters, called maxi-scooters, with engines ranging in size from 250 cc up to 650 cc. This trend began in 1986 when Honda introduced the Fusion/Helix/CN250, and continued with the 1999 introduction of the Suzuki Burgman 400 and Burgman 650. Piaggio, Yamaha, Aprilia, Kymco and others have since introduced scooters with engine displacements ranging from 400 to 650 cc. Honda's PS250 or Big Ruckus defies commons scooter classification in that its step-through is high and the bike features no bodywork but rather a motorcycle-like exoskeleton.

This trend toward larger, more powerful scooters with fully automatic transmissions is matched by an emerging trend in motorcycle design that foreshadows automatic transmission motorcycles with on-board storage. This is exemplified by Honda's redesign of their Silverwing motorcycle into a maxi scooter with an engine size of 582 cc.

Scootering Terms

  • Scooter rallies are overnight events where scooter enthusiasts from various areas gather in one area. A scooter rally may be comprised of multiple meets, swap meets, rides, parties, and concerts. Some people may have a run leading to it. The Garden City Rally — held every Victoria Day in Victoria, British Columbia — is the longest continuously running scooter rally in North America.
  • A single-day event where people from various areas gather in one spot is called a scooter meet. A meet may or may not have a ride leading to or from it.
  • A run, an overnight event where people from a single area ride to an overnight destination (i.e. Seattle's Monkey Run), is another scootering event. In the case of the Cannonball Run, there are multiple overnight destinations.
  • One-day events where people from a single area ride together are rides.

External links