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Are Scooters really that bad ?

mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 779
edited October 2016 in The cake stop
I have been considering (only vague considerations at this point) getting a little scooter purely for odd commutes - A twist and go job nothing fancy - 50CC jobbie. I am just getting fed up with those days where either the weather is just totally sh*t or for when I simply cannot be bothered to cycle.

Whilst the above scenarios are not that common they do crop up from time to time and rather than getting a 2nd car I just thought a scooter maybe an option but lots of people in my office (all non cyclist car drivers) say that its crazy dangerous ? Is it really that bad ?

I live in a village with no bus / public transport and my missus not only works in the opposite direction but leaves for work way too early for me so getting a lift or using the bus is out the question and given my workplace is about 9 miles walking is also off the list. Running sucks so that is a no go.

I personally don't think so for the following reasons:

1. My route to work on the bicycle is mostly flat and on the roads ( maybe 15% cycle lane), most of the time I am doing around 18-22mph and generally keeping up with rush hour traffic so in terms of exposure to traffic/speed I don't see a difference between my bicycle and scooter.

2. On my commute as already mentioned I have to mostly mix in with traffic and given that on a bicycle I have normal clothes and a normal cycle helmet whereas on a scooter I would still be on the same route at the same sort of speeds but I would have a full face helmet and probably M'Bike gloves and jacket - Clearly I can't wear M'Bike gear on a bike otherwise I would explode from heat exhaustion.

3. Running costs especially for the couple of times a month it may get used is pretty low. The initial cost is the biggest expense at around £800-1k after this fuel and insurance are tiny. CBT is about £100 and I have a full car license since 2000 so I can just leave L plates on and re-do CBT every 2 years

Clearly I am fairly Pro scooter but I would welcome any opinions ideally from someone who has one etc.

I would totally agree with the people in my office if for example I cycled my whole commute on cycle paths or a scooter instead of a bus etc but for me the road risk is the same I think regardless of bicycle or Scooter as the route and speeds are broadly the same.

Thanks in advance.
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Posts

  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Probably safer than a bike I think. You go faster so you're keeping up with traffic and not being overtaken all the time ?

    Depending on the traffic though - you might be slower ?
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,488 Lives Here
    Don't get a 50cc, they are awful and your bicycle is probably quicker. Get a 125cc if you're going to get one.
  • 22stu22stu Posts: 69
    I'm a recent convert to the world of a scooterist, having came from a background of 'proper' sportsbikes and the like, obviously I have a full licence so no need for CBT or 'L' plates etc. Mainly have mine for the railway station commute when I stay at my partners place, circa 2.5 miles each way.

    Not sure on a 50cc jobbie - very very slow and can actually leave you in situation where you can't accelerate out of harms way, perhaps consider a 125cc on 'L' plates? I'd never be one to say scrimp on safety gear, I also raced bikes for a few seasons and spent a fair amount of time on my backside sliding along tarmac. Good strong jeans, strong shoes or boots (shorty bike boots are good and don't look or feel heavy), a decent jacket, good lid and gloves at a minimum.

    Mine is a full-fat 500cc maxi-scoot and is capable of 100mph but to be honest is overkill for what I use it for.
  • mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 779
    Ok so on paper looks like it maybe an option - I didn't think about the power to get me out of trouble scenario tho so maybe a 125cc is the option to go for. I have seen some 125cc with larger wheels so I am guessing they will also be a little more stable as well.

    Thanks for advice I will keep an eye out for a 2nd Honda / suzuki etc. I don't trust those cheap chinese things that are £1200 brand new.

    Ta.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    *sexist alert* Scooters are like Fat Burds .... great fun .. but you wouldn't want your mates to see you riding one */sexist alert*
  • 22stu22stu Posts: 69
    mr_eddy wrote:
    Ok so on paper looks like it maybe an option - I didn't think about the power to get me out of trouble scenario tho so maybe a 125cc is the option to go for. I have seen some 125cc with larger wheels so I am guessing they will also be a little more stable as well.

    Thanks for advice I will keep an eye out for a 2nd Honda / suzuki etc. I don't trust those cheap chinese things that are £1200 brand new.

    Ta.

    Burgman 125 should fit the bill well
  • 22stu22stu Posts: 69
    fat daddy wrote:
    *sexist alert* Scooters are like Fat Burds .... great fun .. but you wouldn't want your mates to see you riding one */sexist alert*

    So true! None of my biking / racing friends even know that I own and ride an Italian shopping bike yet! :D
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,244
    I'm loving riding me (ahem...Dad's) YBR 125 around at the moment. Save some budget for a bit of decent kit, a helmet, gloves and clothes with armour etc.

    I did my CBT a month or so ago and had no issue. From driving and, in particular, cycling, you'll have the road skills and awareness already so you won't struggle to pick it up. The first few rides are bloomin terrifying though! ;)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,488 Lives Here
    mr_eddy wrote:
    Ok so on paper looks like it maybe an option - I didn't think about the power to get me out of trouble scenario tho so maybe a 125cc is the option to go for. I have seen some 125cc with larger wheels so I am guessing they will also be a little more stable as well.

    Thanks for advice I will keep an eye out for a 2nd Honda / suzuki etc. I don't trust those cheap chinese things that are £1200 brand new.

    Ta.
    Yes to larger wheels and yes to used and quality not new and sh!t.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,488 Lives Here
    22stu wrote:
    fat daddy wrote:
    *sexist alert* Scooters are like Fat Burds .... great fun .. but you wouldn't want your mates to see you riding one */sexist alert*

    So true! None of my biking / racing friends even know that I own and ride an Italian shopping bike yet! :D
    Bought the EPO a Peugeot step through a few years back and wound up riding it when my bike had broken. Chap on a sports bike pulled up next to me at some lights and said "I bet you normally ride something bigger than that" whilst laughing. I asked how he could tell and he said it was hilarious watching me force the thing onto it's side hanging off it with a knee out. That and not many scooterists wear Alpinestars jackets.
  • 22stu22stu Posts: 69
    veronese68 wrote:
    22stu wrote:
    fat daddy wrote:
    *sexist alert* Scooters are like Fat Burds .... great fun .. but you wouldn't want your mates to see you riding one */sexist alert*

    So true! None of my biking / racing friends even know that I own and ride an Italian shopping bike yet! :D
    Bought the EPO a Peugeot step through a few years back and wound up riding it when my bike had broken. Chap on a sports bike pulled up next to me at some lights and said "I bet you normally ride something bigger than that" whilst laughing. I asked how he could tell and he said it was hilarious watching me force the thing onto it's side hanging off it with a knee out. That and not many scooterists wear Alpinestars jackets.

    That's me!
    Keep saying I'm going to ride it wearing my battered race leathers just for the fun of it. Bet I could get my knee down on it too!
  • 50cc? They call them "twist and farts" round here for obvious reasons. Slow as others have said.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,244
    I can't talk about bikes much as, as discussed, I'm new at it, but I'd say that on a 125cc I struggle to keep up with traffic on bigger roads (not without thrashing it at least) and dual carrigeways etc. Not sure how in the country you are but that's something to think about.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • orraloonorraloon Posts: 7,579
    Electric bike?
  • I rode scooters (vespas and lambrettas - and one Kawasaki Z500 bike) for about 15 years from aged 16 and have got back into riding a 2 stroke vespa 125 in the last 18 months ago.

    I'd agree that ideally you want something capable of a bit of speed - not sure how much I've changed and how much the roads have but I do feel exposed on a dual carriageway now as the thing I have tops out at about 55mph. Depends on the roads you intend to ride of course but some busy single carriageways can be worse than DCs if you can't keep up with traffic.

    The other thing is do ride defensively - you may only be doing 50mph which is relatively slow for a motorised vehicle but it's extremely fast to slam into a car that pulls out in front of you ! It's a bit like riding a bike only at the speeds of an alpine descent everywhere - the potential to kill yourself is definitely greater than on a bicycle if you don't respect it imo.

    I know nothing about taking the test and all that malarkey as when I did mine it was a case of a one day thing and weaving round some cones on a car park and then the part two which was some bloke stood on the pavement telling you to ride round the block a few times.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,244
    No, that bit is still the same. How an adult fails a CBT I Don't know

    (that said, I worry about the 17yr old kid I did my road test with who had absolutely no road sense at all!)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,920
    A work colleague had a 50cc scooter for 6 months but soon got pee'd off with me overtaking him as we left work in the 1/4 mile drag to the roundabout.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcbMZSdJi4s

    He's now got a 125cc and my days of catching him are long gone.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • 22stu22stu Posts: 69
    ddraver wrote:
    No, that bit is still the same. How an adult fails a CBT I Don't know

    40 year old that I work with failed his in the summer LOL! :D
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,244
    (Got to be honest, I think the company I used were pretty lax. As I said, I'm not sure I would be comfortable what that boy out on his own on the roads but I obviously have no experience. Perhaps he just needs a week of doing it to get the hang of it. It's not like most of us a great drivers after one day...)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • seanoconnseanoconn Posts: 6,811
    veronese68 wrote:
    Don't get a 50cc, they are awful and your bicycle is probably quicker. Get a 125cc if you're going to get one.
    Yes seriously don't bother with a 50cc. I had a 125 in my younger days. Was enjoyable in the summer but never felt truly comfortable with it and was glad when it got nicked to be honest. Had a few spills which dented my confidence, some I could have avoided with experience and others I couldn't. I feel safer cycling. If you do get a scooter, drive defensively.
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • I have a motorbike (600cc) and commute on it when it is lobbing it own with rain. Why? On the motorbike I can wear head to toe waterproofs and stay dry, cycling I'd be sweaty or wet. So your idea is sound. In the summer when it is hot and I'd get sweaty on the push bike I ride the motorbike to stay cooler. Just office clothes with lid and gloves (sometimes my cycling mitts). Some people say that is crazy - but the max speed limit on my commute is 30mph and I can ride faster on the push bike. It all depends on your attitude to risk.

    You need to factor in the extra time to get togged up at both ends of the commute. And ny extra aggro in getting a moto in / out of secure storage.

    When buying kit get decent waterproof stuff. I have alpinestars touring boots, gloves are Frank Thomas (but nearly dead!). Skip leather jackets and buy some cordura jacket and trousers. In addition get a cheap bin bag type of waterproof to go over the top if you can. The cordura layer is for abrasion, there is a waterproof layer underneath. The cordura layer absorbs water and takes a while to dry.

    And yes - get a 125 minimum. Also bigger wheels help stability over bumps. Perhaps try the fancy three wheeled scooters that you can ride on a car licence (piaggio MP3 I think).
    Finally (and really boring); a top box is really useful for carrying stuff like the bin bag waterproofs so you are never caught without waterproofs.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    redvee wrote:
    A work colleague had a 50cc scooter for 6 months but soon got pee'd off with me overtaking him as we left work in the 1/4 mile drag to the roundabout.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcbMZSdJi4s

    He's now got a 125cc and my days of catching him are long gone.
    Chapeau :mrgreen:
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,920
    Graeme_S wrote:
    He's now got a 125cc and my days of catching him are long gone.
    Chapeau :mrgreen:[/quote]

    There's a couple of other videos under the same title on my YT channel of me catching and passing him.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • capt_slogcapt_slog Posts: 3,447
    I like the idea above about the three wheel scooter.

    I used to ride a motorbike, and 500cc Ducati Pantah was my last bike, after working my way up from 100 then 250cc. Extra speed/power was always a pull and my downfall really. I wonder how I lived through those years, but that's another tale. :)

    My tuppence worth...
    Motorbikes are great fun until you have to do an emergency stop. This for me was the tricky bit, and unlike being in a car, it felt like a gamble every time I had to do it. Sadly, on a motorbike, this seems to happen more than you'd like. Consider the near misses you get on your cycle, and then add some.

    As mentioned by someone above, imagine that you are doing fast descents all the time, and then think about stopping during these, in the wet.

    I wonder if the three wheel jobbies handle this aspect better than the two wheeled version. I know they're not for the purists, but the OP wants to commute, and I can see major advantages with one of these.


    The older I get, the better I was.

  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,631
    I'm sure scooters are wonderful.

    Shame about all the nobs who ride them, though. Particularly those vile 3 wheeled efforts

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • I had a 125 maxi in mallorca and did about 8000 miles on it all over the mountains, took it to barcelona on the ferry loved it so much i shipped it back to the uk. Unfortunatly still on spanish plates and have no clue how to get it swapped over as id love to ride it here. Would need to do a cbt for it but my 125 did 72mph flat out and was more than enough for around town. Im looking at doing my test and getting the tmax 530 as it looks great fun.
  • Those three wheel efforts one of them you dont need a license for and its 500odd cc. Could be worth a test drive.
  • mouthmouth Posts: 1,195
    125 all the way. I ran a 50 for a couple of years and it was just embarrassing. 2nd hand, and jap would be my choice this time round. Manual or twist? Personally I'd go manual, but I reckon you'll come across more twisters if you're going used. I would consider a Lexmoto, if necessary. As far as Chinese stuff goes, they probably set the standard.

    If you've never ridden before, I'd suggest you do the CBT first, before buying wheels and gear, just to be sure you like it, or more to the point, can do it. I'd expect the school will also give you a chance to ride both a manual and a twist. In addition to this, I'd go back for an extra couple of hours training 1-1, after the fact. While the CBT is ok, it really isn't enough on its own. As for gear, buy the best you can afford, BUT proper fit will always win over an expensive price tag.

    Make sure there's enough in your budget to do your license and buy a bigger bike though. It's addictive.
    The only disability in life is a poor attitude.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,244
    Something else to note is that you can pick up decent Motorbike gear for very reasonable prices, Compared to Cycling, I was astounded!
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 2,004
    Not to be boring but don't the accident statistics rather proved that powered 2-wheelers are massively more dangerous than push bikes - death rate is 10x or something?
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