What to look for when buying a scooter
With over 13 years experience – six of them owning his own scooter store in Melbourne – we picked Scooti’s resident scooter expert, James Patrick, to get his tip for what to look for when purchasing a scooter.
Scooti: We’re pretty familiar with buying a car, is the process the same when buying a scooter?
James Patrick (JP): It’s a little bit different, but it has some similarities. Take the odometer, for example. A well maintained car might survive up to 300,000km whereas on a scooter you’re looking at around 60,000 to 90,000km.
It’s best to first work out your budget to determine what you can afford.
Scooti: Let’s talk new vs. old, is one better than the other?
JP: A second-hand scooter with 20,000km on its odometer might seem appealing, but it’d be like buying a car with 100,000km on it. That’s what I’d always personally suggest buying new. You can pick up a great scooter for around $3,000, including registration and warranty.
Scooti: But what’s the quality like on a cheap scooter?
JP: A quality scooter doesn’t mean it’s an expensive scooter. Brands like Sym or Kymco are great, affordable ones to keep an eye out for. Of course, brands such as BMW are synonymous for quality; but, they’re at a much higher price point.
Scooti: What about when it comes to engine sizes, with an array of sizes to pick, where should one even start?
JP: To drive for Scooti you need a minimum engine capacity of 125CC. And that’s a great starting size engine for a Scooter. You’ll be able to go on a highway, or easily carry a passenger without straining the scooter’s engine. It’s perfect for inner city, urban riding. If you’re after more of a cruiser or you’re looking to go out on longer rides, then a 200CC engine would be ideal.
Scooti: So I’ve set a budget, decided on an engine size, considered different brands; but, what about ongoing costs? A cheaper scooter doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper parts, right?
JP: Correct! A reputable manufacturer that’s sold at a number of different retailers is likely to have spare parts readily available. On the other hand, obscure or ‘exclusive to the retailer’ brands, generally speaking, require their parts be ordered in from overseas – a cost passed on to you, the buyer.
Scooti: Any final things to consider?
JP: When buying a scooter – new or used – don’t just look at the scooter itself, look at what sort of warranty it has or its service history. If buying used make sure it has a road worthy certificate (RWC). Here in Victoria, there are strict guidelines to obtain a RWC. The scooter will have had a comprehensive safety check. Just remember that a RWC is not a mechanical liability check. If in doubt or for added peace of mind, it’s always recommended to have a qualified mechanic inspect the scooter.