scooterlife - photog's blog

Motorcycles. Scooters. Wheelchairs. Tape. Whatever rolls.

Friday, June 03, 2005

It's taking hold

We're at the point where one scooter isn't enough.

Ever considered the odd-couple dynamics of a 600-lb BMW and a sub-200-lb. 49cc scooter? While the BMW leaves it far behind in almost every category, the one category that matters in urban exploration is that hard-to-define zone where a scooter comes into its own. Downtown, it squirts through tiny openings in traffic and lands on small pieces of sidewalk. Slide through the frame and thumb the starter and with a tiny little burble it springs to life and launches itself down the sidewalk, off the curb, and back into the streets. If the BMW GS is the polar bear, the scoot is the arctic fox.

Likewise, it's a bit more fun to pair the fox with another fox than to try and match the darting speed of the Zip with the muscular lumbering weight of the GS.

So we're shopping for another scooter. Three front-runners have emerged, all very different: Kymco Super 9, Stella, Honda Ruckus. A few other stragglers appear and disappear on the list--the Yamaha Zuma, the Honda Helix. But in choosing between those primary three, the whole idea of scootering has to be defined.

Is is the thrill of 50cc's being tuned to its maximum potential in the Super 9?

The traditional charm of the Stella?

The irresistably underpowered Honda Ruckus?

The Maxi-scoots aren't in contention--they're simply automatic motorcycles, and we're looking for something small in order to capitalize on their inherent ability to find parking wherever you happen to shut off the motor. This also means that for the most part, any highway excursions are out. But it doesn't rule out long trips on back roads...and the cruising speeds (35 for the Ruckus, 45 or so for the Stella and Super 9, though they are capable of more) enforce a "stop and smell the roses" attitude towards touring.