Tips for Buying a New or Used Scooter

By: Staff Writer June 19, 2012
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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.

Know of any scooter or moped buying tips we missed? Share with our online community by leaving your wisdom below.

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