The Motorcycle and Scooter Dilemma

Since testing and passing for my full learners motorcycle license, I’ve been presented with a bit of a problem. I’m torn between whether I should get a new motorcycle or buy a bigger scooter. Here’s how it played out based on my criteria…

Parking – One of the things that is awesome about a scooter is that I can pretty much put it wherever I want. It’s like RockStar parking wherever I go. The change to a motorcycle will not only get me noticed, but the parking cops and the mall security people start to notice too. Right now, with Happy Scooter, I can stick it beside a bike rack, go away for hours. I know I couldn’t do that with a motorcycle. Point for new scooter.

Storage – Happy Scooter has crazy amounts of storage. You can hold two bags of groceries in the cavernous trunk. Motorcycles have no trunks and if you need additional storage, you need to add hard cases and top cases, making the vehicle fatter, heavier, and even more difficult to maneuver in super tight spots. All scooters have varying degrees of underseat storage and some scooters have hooks on the front for your groceries. Since I often have stuff to pick up at the post office, or errands to do, the added bulk and cost of adding storage cases put the motorcycle in the dog house. Point for new scooter.

Performance – Although most motorcycles are much more powerful than scooters, their size and weight make them hard to maneuver in tight traffic. Motorcycles also have additional controls for the clutch and a foot brake. A scooter is comparatively simple, only requiring you to twist the throttle and the CVT transmission takes care of the rest. Front and rear brakes are both on the bars, making them easy to reach in a panic. This puts less distractions in front of you when jockeying for position in the city traffic. Outside the city however, the added weight and power of a motorcycle gives way to highway stability and headroom for passing slow moving cars and staying out of the way of large trucks. Since I’ll be mainly traversing urban highways and battling traffic in the city, the scooter makes more sense in my case. Draw: A scooter is better in the city but the motorcycle is better outside the city.

Gas Mileage – A motorcycle, displacement for displacement, gets lower gas mileage than any scooter. The CVT transmission always shifts at the optimum RPM and as a result, the engine is more efficent. We know that blipping the throttle, taking off in a lower gear and what not is a lot of fun, but it doesn’t make for the best gas mileage. Since one of my major reasons for getting into two wheeled transport in the first place was to stick it to the oil companies, it’s clear that scooter wins. Point for scooter.

Cool Factor – Of course, scooters are dorky as hell in North America. However, in the rest of the world, they are the mode of transportation of choice for the masses. When I selected my Yamaha C3 scooter, I knew that it wasn’t the looker. Some thought it was ugly, and no one called it pretty. However, it was definitely functional. Since I’m all about utility these days, the scooter works for me, but cool factor definitely belongs to a bad ass cruiser anyday of the week. Point for Motorcycle.

At the end of the day though, I turned to two wheeled transport for the practical aspects. I save nearly enough money in gas each month to purchase an Xbox 360 (Arcade) and I get to park wherever the hell I want. Most of the time I don’t even have to pay even though everyone else does. Although I can’t rule out getting a motorcycle in the future, for now, scooter FTW.