Shopping for a new or used scooter is no different than shopping for a motorcycle or car. It takes research and patience.
Shopping for New and Used Mopeds and Scooters
To help with your decision, consider the following:
- Will you use it strictly in city traffic for commuting to and from work or school? Or maybe just for errands? If yes, consider a scooter with a 49cc engine size. This will give you all the power needed for riding on streets with speed limits no higher than 35 mph.
- Will you use it for longer commutes, requiring highway travel or negotiating steep terrain? If so, you'll want a scooter with a larger engine (a bigger engine equates to greater power and speed) that's at least 150cc. Bear in mind that a larger engine may mandate obtaining a motorcycle license and carrying motorcycle insurance. This will depend on the laws of your state.
- Do you have a preference for an automatic or a manual transmission? Most scooters today are automatic, better meeting the preferences of today's riders. If you're old school and prefer a manual transmission, you may have to look harder and possibly expand your search area.
- Gas or electric? If rising fuel prices are a concern, or if you're intent on reducing the size of your carbon footprint, an electric scooter may be right for you. But if power is a greater priority, opt for a gas engine.
- How much are you willing to spend? Consider investing in a used scooter if operating on a limited budget. Otherwise, if money is of no concern, go wild. High-end scooters (Vespas, Honda, Vectrix) run as high as $10,000 - pricier than some cars.
- Can you afford insurance? Depending on the size of your scooter or moped and depending on the laws of your state, you may need scooter or motorcycle insurance coverage.
- Can you afford maintenance costs?
- Thinking used? Before buying a used scooter, have a scooter mechanic inspect it. This is your only defense against buying a lemon. Unlike cars, there are no scooter reports you can order.
- Exercise caution if shopping for used scooters online. Many people in the scooter-know strongly advise against buying a scooter unseen.
- Thinking new? Make sure the dealership is reputable, and ask about a warranty.
- Before buying, consider your proximity to a scooter repair shop. You may want to consider other bike options if the nearest one lies 400 miles away.
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