Tips for buying a scooter

by G. Kunkel

The Basic Facts You Need Before Your Purchase

(This article was originally published at Yahoo! Voices on 5/21/2009)

Scooter purchases have risen over the past few years. They are a fun and economical form of transportation. With so many brands and models to choose from, how do you make a decision? After owning, riding, and maintaining a scooter for the past eight years, I’ve come to know the pro’s and con’s of scooters and their purchase. Here are some tips that will help you save time and money from the start.

Purchase price

Purchasing a scooter is similar to buying a car in many ways. A scooter is a vehicle and has similar features and maintenance. The purchase price should be only one consideration in making your final decision. In general, new good quality scooter prices start around $2200.00 and can go up to $10,000. Used scooters can be purchased for significantly less.

What engine size?

The most basic decision is to decide where you are going to ride the scooter. This will determine your engine size requirement. For simple commuting on 35 mph city streets, a 49cc size engine should be sufficient. If you need to reach highway speeds of 55 mph or greater, you should consider purchasing a scooter with an engine size of 150 cc or larger. If you have hilly terrain or need 75 mph highway speeds, you may want to purchase a 250 cc engine. If you do decide to get a larger size engine, this will most likely require you to obtain a motorcycle endorsement and insurance.

Automatic or manual?

Are you comfortable driving an automatic or a manual transmission? Like cars, scooters can come in both types. Most new scooters on the market today are automatic transmission scooters. Automatics tend to require less maintenance and the cables don’t break as often as on manual transmission scooters. 2-stroke scooters also require one to add two-stroke engine oil to the oil tank few few fill ups. If you are not mechanically inclined, I recommend going the automatic transmission route.

New or used?

Should you buy new or used? Like a car, new scooters come with a warranty. The warranty is only as good as the dealership. Check out the dealer just as you would a car dealer. How long have they been in business? How long is the warranty? Do they service the scooter? Can they get parts for the scooter? A new scooter can quickly become useless scrap metal if service is not available. While there are many reputable dealers, the current popularity of scooters has flooded the market with disreputable ones.

Used scooters can be budget friendly and reliable transportation. It is possible to find low mileage modern scooters on eBay and Craigslist. Before purchasing one however, try to get it checked out by a scooter mechanic. It would also be advisable to obtain information about the model you are interested in from online forums. Most popular and reliable scooters have online enthusiast forums with members eager to help out newbie’s.

One type of used scooter is of special concern. These are restorations of vintage Vespa’s performed in Vietnam. These scooters are extremely dangerous. They are pieced together very hap-hazardously and have been known to fall apart at speed. There are signs that give away these scooters. Descriptions of the telltale signs can be found by performing a Google search with the term: viet bodge. Online Vespa forums can also be of help.

Buy a quality brand of scooter

With scooters, quality counts! Brand name is an extremely important consideration in your purchase. Some well-known reliable brands are Vespa, Piaggio, Yamaha, Honda, Genuine, Kymco, Sym, Lambretta, Aprilia, Derbi, Malaguti, and Suzuki. Generally, reliable brands are Italian, Japanese, and Taiwanese. Avoid scooters made in mainland China. These scooters are less expensive but they are made with questionable quality metal and prone to mechanical breakdown. Parts and service are nearly impossible to obtain for these even with a warranty. Most scooter shops will not service them.

Take a test drive

Before purchasing a scooter, give it a test drive. Any reputable dealer should give you this option. These are some items to consider during your demo. Is it too heavy for you to control? Do your feet easily reach the asphalt? Do you like the seat shape? Does it easily reach your speed requirements? Do you like the color?

Maintenance

Scooters do require maintenance. Some scooters are more service friendly than others and labor costs can add up. Find out what the service schedule is for the scooter you are interested in and how much it costs. If you mechanically inclined, and even if you aren’t, you may be able to perform some of the service yourself.

Dealer negotiation

Scooter prices at a dealer are generally non-negotiable. Dealers have very little markup and must pay for shipping and setup. Most dealers make their profit in servicing scooters. Where you can negotiate with the dealer is with the warranty terms, scooter options, riding gear, and possibly the cost of a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course.

Accessories

There are additional costs associated with scooter ownership. Your scoot may require insurance, registration, and ownership taxes. Riding gear can include a helmet, goggles, gloves, and a jacket. Other items to consider are: a cable lock that can be attached to something solid, a battery tender, and a windscreen.

There are many things to consider when purchasing a scooter. These tips should help you be more informed before walking into scooter ownership. Scooters can be a fun economical form of transport and a way to make new friends. I bought one eight years ago and I’m still wearing a grin every time I ride it.

More information on motorscooters

The Top 5 Accessories and Modifications for Your New Scooter

How to Maintain Your Scooter

How to Winterize a Scooter

Sources:

http://daysailer1.com/

Modernvespa.com

http://sportiquescooters.com/

personal experience

 

© 2008-2014 G. Kunkel and Colorado, snowboards, and scooters. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and Colorado, snowboards, and scooters with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Google

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My Favorite Memory of Skiing with My Parents

A Most Hysterical Story on the Slopes of Snowmass Ski Resort

by G. Kunkel

(This article was originally published on Yahoo! Voices on 12/3/2010)


My parents don’t ski anymore but we have a treasure trove of memories. It was sometime in the mid-1990s. My sister and I took a break from our jobs and went on a Christmas ski vacation with our parents out to Aspen Snowmass. We all piled into my SUV in Boulder and then headed west on Interstate 70.

The snow conditions were perfect during our entire vacation. One morning it was cold and snowing steadily so we bundled up in our warmest ski outfits and face masks and then headed out to the ski slopes. We skied a few warm-up runs and then headed to our favorite section of Snowmass – the wide long groomers of Elk Camp.

Once at the top, we headed down the Sandy Park trail. My mom and dad skied ahead while my sister and I lingered and skied into the deep powder in the trees by the trail. We lost sight of dad in the snow but caught glimpses of our mother in her dark colored ski clothing.

After playing in the powder, my sister and I decided we better catch up to our parents. We took off down the trail and soon spotted our father further down the trail. He was with another skier who suddenly left and took off down the ski trail.

As we approached our father, he was by himself and laughing hysterically. We inquired what was so funny as my mother skied up to the group. He said he was skiing along and saw our mother stopped ahead in her dark ski clothing. He skied up to her and stopped. After admiring the local scenery, he turned to mom and said “It sure is pretty here isn’t it sweetie?” There was a short pause and then a very male voice replied “yeah”. The skier then quickly took off.

We laughed until we nearly fell down. My father complained that it was very hard to pick out our mother because of her dark ski clothing. That evening he spent hours taking her shopping for new ski outfits in Aspen and Snowmass over her protests. He made sure she picked out ski outfits she liked and that he could easily recognize. My father hates shopping for clothes.

Sometime during that vacation we called my older brother and told him about our father trying to pick up strange men on the slopes of Snowmass. We had another chuckle at my father’s expense.

Alas, the ski vacation ended and February rolled in. In was Valentine’s Day and my mother sent our father out to retrieve the daily mail. He came back into their house with the mail – very fragrant mail. My father quickly located the perfume-drenched envelope and opened it. The Valentine’s Day card inside had the simple message “I miss you” and was signed “Sweetie”. A quick check of the postage cancellation on the envelope quickly pointed to my brother as the sender.

We’ve laughed about that story and many others over the years. To the mysterious “Sweetie” on that fateful day on the Sandy Park trail – sorry about the mixup. It wasn’t anything you did. My mother did get some expensive new ski suits out of it.

© 2008-2014 G. Kunkel and Colorado, snowboards, and scooters. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and Colorado, snowboards, and scooters with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Google

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The Worst Times to Go Skiing or Snowboarding in Colorado

Avoid Expensive Lift Tickets, Pricey Lodging, Crowds, and Traffic

by G. Kunkel

(This article was originally published on Yahoo! Voices on 1/18/2011)

Colorado ski vacations can offer great skiing and snowboarding at many fine ski resorts throughout the state. For the best vacation experience, timing is everything. Those planning a ski vacation in Colorado should be aware that some peak travel periods have large crowds, long lift lines, and higher pricing on lodging, lift tickets, and airfare. By avoiding these peak periods, ski vacationers can experience Colorado skiing at its finest.

During school vacation periods

Colorado ski resorts within a 100-mile radius of Denver are packed when local schools are on vacation breaks. Skiers and snowboarders can also expect long lift lines and peak pricing for lodging and lift tickets. Crowds can be avoided by visiting smaller ski areas such as Loveland Ski Area or traveling to ski resorts farther away from Denver like Wolf Creek, Aspen, Crested Butte, or Telluride.

USA holidays

Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Martin Luther King Junior Day weekend, President’s Day weekend and Spring Break (March), are peak ski vacation periods at Colorado ski resorts. Expect premium pricing on lodging and lift tickets. Well-known ski resorts within a 100-mile radius of Denver will be packed with people during these holidays. Smaller Colorado ski areas will have less traffic yet still provide a quality ski vacation experience. Consider these value ski resorts if you need to tighten the budget.

Weekends

Traffic on Interstate 70 on Saturdays and Sundays is notoriously bad in the mornings and evenings to and from Denver, Colorado. Summit County ski vacationers have missed flights at Denver International Airport because they did not leave the ski resort by 1 pm. Front Range Colorado residents love to ski and most go on the weekends. Martin Luther King Junior weekend and President’s Day weekend are the two busiest weekends at Front Range ski resorts.
Typically, ski resorts within a two-hour drive of Denver become very crowded on weekends but are practically deserted on weekdays. Many ski resorts offer discount lift ticket deals, discount days, or coupons valid only on weekdays. Take advantage of weekday deals and untracked powder.

Spring break

Spring break lasts the entire month of March at Colorado ski resorts. Resorts within a two-hour drive of Denver typically are packed with college students and families with children on school break. While many resorts do offer lodging and lift ticket deals, expect packed ski school lessons, crowded slopes, and more out-of-control skiers. Those desiring a less crowded experience to enjoy the snowiest month of the year should travel to one of the Aspen resorts, Telluride, Crested Butte, Wolf Creek, or Durango Mountain Resort.

Peak ski season

February is the height of ski season. Ski vacationers will find fewer deals on lodging, airfare, and lift tickets especially at large well-known Colorado ski resorts. Expect crowds on President’s Day Weekend. April is the best time for fantastic snow conditions, uncrowded ski slopes and ski package deals.

It is possible to find uncrowded ski resorts in Colorado that offer ideal ski and snowboard conditions. By planning around peak travel times, one can practically have the ski slopes to their selves.

More money-saving ideas:

Free Colorado Gas Station Ski Coupons Available

Discount Ski Lift Ticket Coupons for Winter Park Resort in Colorado

How to Save Money at Winter Park Resort During the Ski Season

Sources:

Personal knowledge and experience

http://www.coloradoski.com/Passes/PassportProgram/

http://daysailer1.com/

© 2008-2014 G. Kunkel and Colorado, snowboards, and scooters. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and Colorado, snowboards, and scooters with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Google

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