So You're Thinking of Becoming A Scooter Commuter
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saggezza di scala
2009 'Burma Shave' Red GTS 250ie
Joined: 13 Mar 2010
Posts: 6866
Location: Israel
Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:34 am quote
Created article So You're Thinking of Becoming A Scooter Commuter

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Piaggio BV 350
Joined: 17 Jun 2012
Posts: 581
Location: Cookeville, TN
Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:42 am quote
I chose my first powered-two-wheeler in June the year before this article was published. I bought it specifically for the purpose of a 55-mile-per-day commute along state highways, in a rural area with only one, small town in the route with only four traffic lights.

Not having the benefit of reading this article before hand and having no prior PTW experience means that I took some best guesses on taking a $5850 leap in purchasing a Piaggio BV350 for this purpose. That $58580 though is not even close to the price it takes for some serious, highway commuting on a regular basis in all four seasons. By the time my scooter was street legal, I was in $6400 (tax, title, tags, etc.); and then one needs a worthy windshield ($250), a decent top case or side hard cases with a mount that works for his or her scooter. Without this extra storage, one is quite limited on packing extra clothing, stopping at stores, etc. Since the BV350 has lots of under seat storage, I went on the cheap and got a small, 26-liter top case and made the universal mount work with a little extra hardware, all for under $100. But even after all of this, only your scooter is prepared for riding; now one must equip him or herself.

The article is spot on. There are things one may not consider if he or she is scooter ignorant like I was. Weather and crash protective gear is essential, and it ain't cheap. Figuring out what to spend good money on if one is new to all of this is tough, but having a forum like this one and doing a lot of shopping around at online stores is very helpful. I got a good winter/rain riding suit for $170, and believe it or not, that's very cheap for a riding suit, but it absolutely saves the day for Fall, Winter, and early Spring riding. But when it gets hot, you'll need gear that will protect you yet not burn you up. Then there is a helmet, but that's no big deal unless you want one that is quiet or can hook communications up through. Otherwise, they're reasonably priced.

Then one will discover that he or she will need a solution for keeping one's hands from freezing in cool and cold weather unless one plans to put the scoot up during cold weather or lives in an ocean-tempered area. Good winter gloves are expensive, heated gloves, heated grips, or good muffs are even more expensive. So far I've gone only to the point of good winter gloves, but that limits my riding down to about 30 degrees. I have an outdoor, blue collar job so I always have good 6" boots on hand, but if one doesn't, he or she will need some good quality, leather boots for riding/crash protection.

Lastly one must consider maintenance and tire wear. Tires don't last like they do on cars, especially the rear tire. Regular service comes around more often as well and if the shops do the work, many of them will charge $100-$120 an hour for labor, so if you're pretty handy with a wrench or are willing to learn on this forums, a scooter makes more economic sense.

After 8 mos. and 6200 miles in, I've made a few purchasing mistakes and have learned the hard way that this endeavor can't strictly be in the name of saving money, because it won't; but all-in-all I lucked out and chose a pretty suitable ride for my needs and one with some of the longest service intervals out there, so I've not done all that bad. Also, although I've absolutely worn out some of the MV members, I'm doing all the regular service stuff myself and will learn more when it's time to change out the rear tire and replace the drive belt.

One of the positive things I've learned about my scooter experience, since I knew nothing about scooters or motorcycles before deciding on a scooter is that, even though accessories like windshields for scooters are expensive, they're not even close to the same price for accessories one finds for motorcycle models. Most MCs, for instance don't come with a luggage rack, center stand, or windshield or the stock windshield is useless. But looking at the prices to equip MCs, what I saw was nearly double what I spent to equip my scooter and many of the accessories needed for an MC, e.g. a luggage rack and center stand often come standard on a scooter. So, even though one can go out and get a naked Honda CF500 @ $4800 MSRP, it won't have any practicality for commuting whatsoever without first spending thousands to make it commute worthy. With regards to my BV350, it was a mere $350 to make it a worthy hwy commuter.
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LX150
Joined: 05 Oct 2014
Posts: 4
Location: M01
Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:22 am quote
This article and related posts are well written and anyone considering frequent commuting should heed this advise. I am grateful that my commute is four minutes, no stop lights with two cars as alternate transport. Security at both ends of my journey includes enclosed buildings behind security gates with video surveillance.

Well done!
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