the humble scooter


Scooters. You either love them or you hate them and let’s be honest, more people favour the latter. I’m not sure why this is though. It might have something to do with the fact that most resemble a Tupperware container and (keeping with the kitchenware theme) have the same amount of power as a blender. I’m a fan of some scooters though and like the rest of my automotive vices the more other people dislike something, the more I want it.

My everyday ride (pictured above) is a Yamaha BWS 125 (Zuma 125 in the US). I tried riding my other bike in traffic everyday but the act of riding a 180hp, clip-on handlebarred, heavy cable clutched bike in stop-start traffic is about as appealing as sand filled underpants (and about as comfortable too). So for under three grand brand new I bought myself a fuel-injected 125cc single cylinder scooter. Not the most masculine of purchases agreed but when it’s as fun as it is, I don’t really care. There’s just something about spending at-least 80 per cent of your trip to work at full-throttle that really appeals to me.

Another thing about scooters that people don’t usually get, is the huge modified scene that surrounds certain models, especially in the US and Japan. The “big” player in the modified scooter scene is the Honda Rukus. I say big because of the number of modified examples getting around, not because of its 49cc engine. At the other end of the spectrum is Yamaha’s Tmax. This is a 530cc twin cylinder “scooter” that will happily cruise at 160km/h (100mp/h) while still being able to carry a six-pack of beer under the seat. I like this whole modifying scooters thing, because I think if I see another Honda CB something fifty café racer my head will explode. Pictured below is legendary bike builder/racer Roland Sands’ take on Yamaha’s Tmax. The transformation from Tmax to that was huge, but it shows the potential and I don’t know about you but that’s a scooter I wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen on. My own scooter’s had some humble fettling which consists of a Leo Vince exhaust, bar end mirror, nicer grips and some air-box chopping because it may have the power of a blender, but it doesn’t have to sound like one…

Photo credit: Roland Sands

Photo credit: Roland Sands


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