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Here are answers to questions which people frequently ask us. Click on the question to get to the answer. Hopefully we've included questions in which you are interested.


WHAT EXACTLY IS A SCOOTER?

The word "scooter" is confusing because it is used for several unrelated things.

There are scooters for kids which might have a small electric motor (top speed 10mph) or might be entirely foot-powered (you know - you stand on it and push it along with your foot.) These "sidewalk scooters" can be either "stand-up" or "sit-down" scooters. These are wonderful toys for kids but not what we offer.

Then there are "mobility scooters" which you'll see advertised on late night TV. This is a terrific aid for a handicapped person but is not our business.
Some people call their motorcycles "scooters", especially Harleys. This is sort of a "pet" name for their beloved machine and adds a bit more confusion to the mix.

What we offer are high quality vehicles for adults to ride on the street. Our scooters are made by the best scooter companies in the world - Vespa Piaggio, Lambretta, Kymco, Genuine, Hyosung - which have excellent US distributors and provide excellent warranties. These scooters have top speeds from 35 mph to interstate speeds, depending on the model. Most have fully automatic transmissions.

By the way, to add to the confusion, you'll hear people using the words "Vespa" or "moped" to refer to scooters. For "Vespa", see the next question. In New Mexico a moped is legally a vehicle which his less than 50 cc engine size, has an automatic transmission, and does not exceed 30 mph. We sell some scooters which are legally mopeds. Most of the ones we sell are bigger than a moped and fall under different laws.


WHAT IS A "VESPA"?

You'll hear people using the word "Vespa" as a generic word to refer to scooters. Vespa is a brand name like Chevrolet or Toyota. Americans actually invented the scooter - one of the earliest being Cushman. During World War II Americans dropped Cushman scooters into Italy for the use of the soldiers there. The Italians were quite taken with the little, fuel efficient things and Mr Piaggio used this model to invent the Vespa (from Italian for wasp). Another classic Italian brand was Lambretta. Vespa and Lambretta competed strenuously for years. Vespas have been made and improved ever since. During the 60's a lot of us rode Vespas and Lambrettas, an all steel scooter which had a 2-stroke engine and manual shift. Please visit our Vespa page.


HOW FAST DO THESE SCOOTERS GO?

The scooters we sell range from top speeds of 30 mph to 90 mph depending on the model.

The ones which have an engine size of 49cc come from the factory restricted to 30 mph. This is because most states have laws that make a scooter less than 50cc legally a "moped" which can't go faster than 30 mph. In New Mexico, a moped does not need to be registered and does not require a motorcycle endorsement on your license. All these scooters can be de-restricted so they can go 35 to 40 mph and we're happy to perform that service for you. Most of the 49cc scooters we sell have 2-stroke engines because a 2-stroke is a good bit quicker than a comparable 4-stroke (which is what's in your car). 2-stroke engines generally do not get quite as good gas mileage as 4-strokes of the same size.

Mid size scooters are between 125 to 150cc. This is the size that meets most people's needs. They will top out at 55 or 60 mph and with the 200cc engine, it will cruise on the interstate topping out at 70 to 90 mph.


WHAT SORT OF GAS MILEAGE DO THEY GET?

They all get great gas mileage! The gas mileage depends on the size of the scooter's engine. The 49cc scooters generally get about 90 mpg. Most of the 49cc scooters we sell have 2-stroke engines because a 2-stroke is a good bit quicker than a comparable 4-stroke (which is what's in your car). 2-stroke engines generally do not get quite as good gas mileage as 4-strokes of the same size. So a 4-stroke 49cc scooter will get even better mileage (but go slower).

The mid size scooters (125 - 150cc) get from 80 - 90 mpg depending on the model.

All the scooters get way better gas mileage than an average car. And take much less of the earth's precious resources to produce.


DO I STILL HAVE TO MIX OIL WITH THE GAS?

In modern 2 stroke scooters you do not need to premix the 2 cycle oil with the gasoline. The scooter does it for you automatically. All you need to do is pour the 2T oil in the proper reservoir and then the engine injects the right amount of oil at the right time. Be sure to use high quality 2 stroke oil which has been designed for motorcycles. It makes a tremendous difference to the life of the engine.

With some older model scooters, this is not the case. The older the scooter the more likely it is that you will have to pre-mix the oil and gas. There are special cups available that indicate how much oil to mix with a gallon or half gallon of gasoline.

2 stroke (or 2 cycle) engines burn oil (special 2 stroke oil) and must have oil mixed with the gas. This is the oil that lubricates the engine. 2 stroke engine demo.

4 stroke scooters are just like cars and do not mix oil with the gas. Most of the scooters we offer have 4-stroke engines. 4 stroke engine demo.


DO THESE SCOOTERS COME WITH WARRANTIES?

You bet! All the manufacturers whose products we sell provide excellent warraties (either one year or two with unlimited mileage) as well as parts availability. It's important to keep your warranty intact by having the scheduled services performed at the suggested intervals.


DO I NEED INSURANCE?

Most countries say that for any motorized vehicle that goes faster than 30mph or is over 49cc you DO need insurance and registration. You cannot register a vehicle without liability insurance. Most larger insurance companies offer motorcycle insurance. Shop around for scooter insurance since the price can vary widely.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VINTAGE AND A MODERN SCOOTER?
 
Vintage scooters are scooters over 20 years old, which in most cases have an all metal body and manual transmission (clutch and gears) as well as manual choke and gas control. These are old Vespas and Lambrettas. They're cool and they're beautiful.

Modern scooters are the wonderful brands scooters that have become available in the American market in the last 8 or 9 years. These generally have a CVT automatic transmission and automatic everything. Scooters have improved a lot in the last 10 years in terms of fuel efficiency, reliability, performance and emissions. Of course we're discussing quality scooters, not crummy ones from China.

There is an exception to the previous paragraph about modern scooters having automatic transmissions: Stella! This lovely creature from Genuine Scooter Co. is a manual shift, 4-stroke, 150cc, metal bodied vision of loveliness (see above picture). And also see her at Centaur Cycles & Scooters.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SCOOTER AND A MOTORCYCLE?

A motorcycle usually has an exposed engine located midway between the front and rear wheel. The engine’s power is delivered to the rear wheel by a secondary driveline such as a chain and sprockets, belt drive or a driveshaft. You climb on to a motorcycle by swinging your right leg over the back, straddling the machine. They typically have standard transmissions which are operated with a foot shift and hand clutch.

A motor scooter’s engine is mounted in front of the rear wheel. It is connected directly to the wheel so no secondary driveline is required. The engine is concealed by the bodywork, much the same as in a car. The most obvious difference is that scooters have "step through" frames and you sit on it more like a chair. Your feet rest on the floor plate and your legs are protected behind the front of the bodywork. Your clothes tend to stay cleaner on a scooter than on a motorcycle. In general, scooters have a lower center of gravity and are easier to handle than motorcycles.

Scooters are generally much easier to ride and maintain due to their many “user friendly” features. The best example is the automatic CVT transmission found on most modern scooter designs which delivers seamless power to the rear wheel at the twist of the right grip.

It’s hard to go beyond these few generalizations. Scooters used to all come with tiny wheels, but now some of them have wheels as large as those commonly found on motorcycles. Scooters used to be thought of as chiefly around-town putt-putts. But now many models are available with the power, suspension, brakes, comfort and carrying capacity needed to cruise effortlessly on interstate highways, even on longer coast to coast journeys, and even with a passenger! So motorcycles are not necessarily bigger and faster than scooters, just different. Take your pick and ride whatever you like the best!


DO YOU GUYS SELL USED SCOOTERS?

We are happy to sell good quality used scooters or motorcycles when we can get them. Usually they're gone pretty soon after they arrive so if we have one you want, don't hesitate too long. And if we don't have what you want today, check back because a wonderful used scooter or motorcycle could show up unexpectedly any time.


ARE THESE THINGS MADE IN CHINA?

Nope. We do not sell any scooters manufactured or sold by a Chinese company. We have tried scooters from several supposedly reputable Chinese companies only to be bitterly disappointed in their quality, reliability and warranty. We continue to watch Chinese scooters with great interest but everything we hear is that they still are in no way comparable to the high quality scooters we sell. Like you, we're wary of China after all the stories in the press about poisonous pet food, toxic toothpaste, terrible toys, beastly baby food, and sulphuic acid dry wall.

The scooters we sell are made by Italian, Taiwan or Korean companies. We have found that Taiwan has ethics similar to Japan - they stand behind their products and are in business for the long haul, not just to make a fast buck and leave customers stranded. That said, Kymco and Piaggio both own factories in mainland China and manufacture their less expensive scooters there. We were wary at first until we learned that other dealers were satisfied with their quality. We now offer these scooters and we and our customers are pleased with their price and quality.

Here are 2 articles about "quality" in China you might want to read. These articles will give you a good idea of why we are so very wary of Made in China.


HOW DO I KNOW WHICH SCOOTER IS THE RIGHT ONE FOR ME?

We'll do our best to help you determine the best scooter for you. It will come down to a few basic questions that you can think about when you are shopping around.
1. How far do you intend to ride each day?
2. How fast do you need to go?
3. Do you intend to use this scooter as a daily commuter or for fun on the weekend?
4. Are you going to carry a passenger?
5. What are your preferences regarding the mechanical workings of the scooter? Are you the kind of person who prefers an automatic transmission so you can hop on and go? Or, do you prefer to shift the scooter yourself, and enjoy the process of turning the fuel on, and using a manual choke?
1 & 2 & 3. If you're only going a mile or two on city streets, a 49cc scooter may be the right choice for you. They're less expensive, fairly small and easy to handle and they beat the heck out of taking the bus!
However if you need or want to ride on bigger streets where cars are travelling at 50 mph, you'll need a mid size scooter.
4. If you plan to take a passenger (please ride your scooter for several months before doing so) you'll want a scooter which can handle 2 people at the speeds you need to attain.

We're always delighted to discuss all these issues with you. We genuinely want you to be satisfied with your scooter and to get the one which you'll enjoy the most.

The scooter engine and body are original. We replace the parts that need to be replaced on a 30+ year old scooter. Check out our Restoration page for a complete list of parts replaced.


DO YOU PROVIDE A DISCOUNT IF I ORDER MORE THAN 1?

Absolutely. Contact us and specify the amount of bikes you want.


CAN I RIDE MY VESPA/LAMBRETTA IN MY COUNTRY?

In most countries, yes. Many scooters over 20 ages are exempt from many of the laws concerning emissions. Of course you will need proper registration for your local area.


IS THE PAPERWORK INCLUDED WITH THE BIKE?

Yes, all the necessary paperwork is included with the bike. The paperwork is shipped out after final payment has been received and the scooter has been shipped.


ARE THE MOTORBIKES WORKING?

Absolutely. Almost like new.


WHERE CAN IN FIND PARTS FOR THE VESPA WHERE I LIVE?

There are lots of resources on the internet. You can start with Scooterhelp.com or Scomo.net & sip-scootershop.com


CAN I GET MY VESPA/LAMBRETTA IN ANY COLOR (OR COLORS) I WANT?

Yes.


DO YOU SHIP THE VESPA/LAMBRETTA MANUAL WITH IT?

Yes, we ship the Manual with the Vespa/Lambretta.


CAN THE VESPA/LAMBRETTA MAKE IT ON A LONG JOURNEY?

There are many tales of people travelling along coasts in England and America. Suffice to say, yes, they can make it. But do remember this wasn't meant for the kind of rigorous driving that modern bikes are capable of.


DO YOU PROVIDE ANY KIND OF WARRANTY?

We provide a 12 month Warranty on all parts. We do not, however, take responsibility for damages occuring during the shipment or missing/wrong delivery scooters- each scooter is insured only when the customer buy insurance and the buyer is responsible for checking the scooter for wrong delivery/missing/damages and filling in the form before accepting the scooter from carrier/forwarder and we will not be responsible if the customer didn't do like we mention.


DO YOU PROVIDE ANY SUPPORT AFTER I HAVE RECEIVED MY BIKE?

Absolutely. We typically respond within 24 hours.

 

     

 

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