Monday, June 23, 2008

Scoot Scoot

For many years Chelsey and I have talked about getting scooters. It really isn't very practical in Minnesota so it has always been just a dream. With gas prices rising that dream seems at least a little bit more realistic. Scooters are still too expensive to ride just six months a year and the US dollar is so weak that scooter prices are though the roof so there probably isn't a scooter in our future for a little while longer. It's fun to dream though. Here's some pretty pictures. Perhaps my ultimate dream bike right now? A 1966 two tone metallic blue and grey/white Vespa 150 with chrome edging and white sidewall tires. Drool.

Now, the price on something like this, an actual restored 66 vespa with chrome and a custom paint job is astronomical. What Chelsey has long wanted is a Stella, imported by The Genuine Scooter Company. The Stella is made in the same factory in India that made the Vespa PX from 1978-2005. When Piaggio (the manufacturer of the Vespa) decided to no longer make the PX, LML decided to keep making it for themselves and the Stella was born.

Now Chelsey likes the red, and I do too but what about getting a Stella and doing a custom paint job like that Vespa at the top? I did a quick photoshop job. I can't really recreate the shiny metallic paint and I didn't bother with the tires but you get the idea. While this would be gobs less expensive than the 66 vespa a new Stella is still over $3000 and that wouldn't include the cost to make it look something like this. We're probably looking at something like $4000. Still way out of my price range.

Genuine Scooter company does make some of their own scooters and I think this one is okay. It is the Buddy International 150. This is a nice scooter but the front end looks a little undersized. It has some classic styling but is all new. Nice tires. Sticker price is still too high though. I can pick one up locally for $3400. Ouch. Let's try again.
Now here's something different. This is the Charming from Lance Powersports. I really dig this style but it is only made in a 50cc scooter which would be cool for swinging on down to the movie theater but not practical for going to work. I need something that can do 55 mph. I don't plan on going on the highway but the back roads to work are 55 mph roads.
I like the two tone paint jobs available and the handlebars with the non-integrated speedometer. The light is built into the front instead of the handlebars which is not ideal but at least it is cool looking and not ugly like many other scooters with weird shaped front lights. I think this is actually a rip off of a Honda Metropolitan.

While looking at these I discovered the 150cc Lance Vintage. This is really cool. The body is a ripoff of the Honda Joker which is a scooter I liked five or so years ago when I last looked at scooters. Here it is in red. It has chopper style handlebars with the light attached and nice instruments in three clusters. They aren't encased in a plastic dash like many of the other scooters. There are a lot of versions of this bike out there by different companies but Lance seems to have the nicest details. Retail price seems to be $1995 and climbing by the week. They are in demand and the price keeps going up. That makes them pretty unattractive to me. The price has gone up about $500 in the last month! I would save less than $500 per year in gas because my car is so efficient so the dealors have essentially added more than a year to the time to pay this off which makes it impractical. I haven't sat on one of these but it is one of the bigger vintage looking scooters out there which I think is important since I am 6 feet tall and would look really weird on a scooter that was too small. I think I would remove the box on the back as it is kind of lame.

There may be one more option. At the bottom of the barrel (which is more my price point) I can get a bike like this. I'm not wild about the handlebars but they are okay. I can probably get one of these for around $1200. I don't think I like this quite as much as the Vintage but I would want to see one in person. I'm afraid I would look too big on it. The only way to get that low a price is to have one drop shipped to my house and then do some of the assembly myself. I'm not totally opposed to that. I think I would learn a lot about how the bike goes together and be able to fix more down the road.

Reality Check

All of the bikes in this post are 150cc bikes. In reality that isn't enough power for my commute when I need sustained speeds of 55 mph. Sure, some of these bikes can do 55 mph but they aren't meant to sustain that speed and it is hard on the engine. Hills are a problem. That leaves me with few choices. The new Vespas come in a 250 cc model.
You're looking at a $6000 bike. Forget it. I maybe could pick one up used for $4000, still too much or maybe used and dented for less.

Dreaming's free.

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