Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Scooter Blog Roundup

It must be Spring, because the scooter bloggers are posting in earnest again.
Many of the bloggers are commenting on the deluge of news stories of people turning to scooters to beat $4 a gallon gas prices. The more astute of you might notice that the previous link is to ScooterFix, which is the new incarnation of Crystal Waters & company's Girl Bike. Girl Bike has been one of the longest running scooter blogs, but it is nice to see that Crystal (who was at one time an official Vespa blogger) is moving to a more gender inclusive scooter platform. Of course, I kid, I kid, because I love. It looks like ScooterFix will sticking with the long-running Girl Bike tradition of covering pink scooter gear, though, so it should feel pretty familiar.
One of the other long-running standbys of scooter reportage, 2 Stroke Buzz, has been posting some learned insights into the economics of scootering. Most recently Illnoise linked to this post on Justinsominia documenting the cost of ownership for a year on a Vespa LX 150. For those you who like to cut to the chase:


In total, with the 3rd service I already mentioned above, I’ve spent $1,193.85 on maintenance over the last year, of which only the $150 brush touch up could be considered unnecessary, though at the same time I lucked out that the $260 clutch pulley replacement happened within 4 days of my warranty expiring. So for a vehicle that only cost me $4300, I’ve already spent 27% of purchase price on maintenance. Ouch. I don’t know if I’m paying a San Francisco labor premium or what, but I’m not sure I’m going back to the Vespa dealership now that my warranty has expired.

Gear, insurance, parking

And of course that total does not include the cost of riding jackets, rain gear, helmets, and gloves which I’ve probably spent about $500 on. Or $500 a year on insurance. Or $60 a year for city street parking plus the inevitable parking tickets (I’ve probably gotten 3-4 so far at $40 a pop).

All that said, I love my Vespa. I wish it looked better, but it’s a tool, not a museum piece. It allows me to get to work on my schedule, and park in the city where ever I want.

I don't know about the SF labor rates, but I think living in the Bay is definitely impacting his insurance rates...

Still, 2 Stroke Buzz has a good point in another post on scooter economics where he does the scooter math:

Spending money to save money is a popular American pastime (e.g. buying a Kitchen Aid mixer reasoning you’ll eat out less, or the scary trend of “Earth Day Sales”). Numbers can be twisted to make you believe anything, but don’t trust them unless you’re the one doing the math, filling the blanks with your own, honest, real-world, data. Change your lifestyle and your consumption over time and you’ll see savings, but don’t go out and finance a $5000 60mpg Vespa at 28% APR to ride on sunny weekends, because your interest on the loan is going to cost you more than the few hundred bucks you’ll save on gas. If you want it and you can afford it, get it, it’s goodtimes, believe me, but don’t blame the Saudis for your attraction to Italian industrial design.

Very good point, Bryan. Oh, and for those of you who are junkys for latest machines to come from Piaggio, he also has a good report on the upcoming Vespa 300 Sport.

Orin, over at Scootin' Old Skool, just reported today that cartoonist Dan Piraro, who draws one of my favorite strips Bizarro, rides a Vespa. Since Breathed, Waterson, and Larson's retirements / slow-downs, it is common to hear folks complain that the comics page just sucks, these days. Bizarro (as well as Mutts, Zits, and Foxtrot) makes the comics page worht being the first thing you turn the paper to.

He is also the original and only owner of the P125 (which has been kitted to 175cc) in the picture above. “For years, It was covered in crash bars, stadium mirrors, etc., and looked very ‘Quadrophenia’,” he writes. “It still has the crash bars but I’ve taken off the stadium mirrors so I can lane split here in NYC (Piraro and wife Ashley are longtime residents of the Big Apple). I’d love to put them back on, but I use it all the time in the city and need it to be more utilitarian.”

I’ve always wanted to ride in New York City. People think I’m crazy. Writes Dan, “NYC is the safest place I’ve ever ridden precisely because of the traffic and chaos that makes people think otherwise. Heavy traffic keeps speeds down and the chaos of pedestrians, bicycle messengers, roller bladers, scooters, mopeds, skateboarders, whathaveyou, keeps drivers on constant alert.”

So where’s a dangerous place? “Soccer moms on the phone, driving an SUV full of noisy kids in Dallas were the scariest kinds of drivers I’ve ever faced, by far.” Piraro grew up in Oklahoma and spent time in Dallas before moving to NYC.

This is actually encouraging, since moving to the East Coast, I have been fantasizing about scooting into Gotham, myself. Great scoop, Orin!

Speaking of Scoops, Steve over at The Scooter Scoop, has a crazy post up about a guy who crammed a 600cc Honda Silverwing motor into a Ruckus frame. Now, I have long thought that the Ruckus had a sweet design, that was underserved by it's miniscule engine, but... Good Lawdie! Click the Crazy Post link for pictures and more info.

Well, sorry about the "clip show" (of other people's stuff), I'm working on my (seemingly) never-ending series of scooter gear posts. Currently in the works is a post on the various materials used in textile jackets, but technical info on this stuff is hard to come by, so it is turning into more of a research paper than a blog post.

Also, just this evening, I cracked out my oil paints for the first time in seven years. So you can look forward to more painting posts in the coming days.

Until next time, Scoot On!


Steve Williams said...

I'm not sure if I save money on the Vespa or not. It feels like I do but I am far too unreliable at all things economic to make such a calculation.

It feels better to fill the Vespa up than my Ford Ranger.

Whatever the bottom line says I like riding a scooter. There are worse things I could spend my money on---golf, bass fishing, booze, poker, clothes, or hair styling...

Steve Williams
Theoretical Agriculture
Scooter in the Sticks

Anonymous said...

A Word OF Warning

I ordered a scooter from TN Trading Company LLC and explained the order needed to make it to my house on or before Thursday, April 10th, they agreed, the order was placed and my American Express card charged on March 25th. I made several calls to TN Trading, the number and dates are listed on my cell phone bill which is sufficient proof they were made to try and find out about the status of the order. On April 4th I was told the order had been miss placed and hadn’t left the warehouse, but the shipping company would contact me on Monday the 7th. The company did call and said the scooter had arrived in Bakersfield which is about 45 miles from my home. I again explained that the scooter had to be delivered no later than the 10th or I wouldn’t be there to accept the order, they agreed. I called on Thursday morning the 10th, the day they promised delivery and was told the driver had a flat and couldn’t find a shop to repair it, called around noon and was told by the same person that the driver had had a wreck and it probably couldn’t deliver that day. I made one more call in the afternoon again to the same person and they denied receiving any calls. They did call Friday morning the 11th already knowing I wouldn’t be there to accept delivery. The call came in on my cell phone and not being home I had to refuse delivery.
TN Trading made on further attempts to deliver the product, still have my money and have told my if I wanted to sue them they would see me in Michigan. The scooter was shipped from LA but evidently they are registered in Michigan. I was told when I refused delivery even though I wasn’t there I fortified my money and the scooter. They will have I’m sure a different story but remember they have the scooter, my money and have not made another attempt to deliver the product. Also the price was listed as $1299.99, free shipping and handling. I agreed to pay $50 extra for lift gate service. I have a bill and was charged $1000 for the scooter and 349.99 shipping. Sounds like part of the charge was shipping which means they started out being deceptive. I can produce evidence of all the above mentioned calls and the billing statement but they can’t produce a delivery confirmation or refund slip.