50cc Scooters are the most popular Scooters in WA
Western Australia is one of the few Australian states that allow riding a 50cc scooter on a car license. Riding a 50cc scooter isn’t particularly difficult, it is as safe as riding a bicycle on the road. And if you already know the road rules through driving a car, you really don’t require the additional hurdle of going through the entire licensing process to gain the means to ride one. However, if you are not riding a bicycle regularly, it is different to be on the road on a two wheeler compared to a car. Therefore we believe some training is really useful – and riding a scooter in Bali is not the same as on WA roads either. We would strongly recommend getting a lesson or two from a qualified instructor.
50cc scooters are also great to start with: Many of our customers start with a 50cc and once they realise how practical a scooter is in daily life, they decide it is worthwhile doing the license and getting something bigger. When you upgrade to a larger scooter later on, the controls will be the same, the handling will feel familiar and you will get used to a larger model with ease.
However, we always think there are a few points to make when it comes to 50cc scooters: Compared with vehicles with a bigger engine, their performance is limited and they are not really suitable for longer distances on a regular basis. We recommend 50cc scooters for use around town not exceeding maybe 10km radius. While their top speed is limited, they are classified as mopeds, less suitable on major roads and not allowed to travel on the freeway. They can be great fun to run down to the shops, to the beach or getting you to work if it is not too far, but doing 20 – 30km distance would be much more relaxed on a larger capacity 4-stroke machine.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND WHAT TO AVOID
So you have decided that a 50cc is perfect for your needs? There are lots of options to go for, but not everything that looks good in the showroom is really good once on the road, especially after a while.
- Choose a known, established and reputable brand. These scooters are reliable and will give you peace of mind down the track. After all brands like Piaggio/Vespa/Aprilia are building scooters for over 70 years and this experience shows
- Chose a brand with a reliable engine: It is not unknown for some cheap imported brands that the engine needs to be rebuilt every 10’000kms. This while a good brand scooter like from the Piaggio family has no problem clocking up 50’000kms and more without any issues.
- Protect your investment: Resale value (in a competitive market) for a reputable brand scooter is always better. Cheaper brands are – cheaper – but you might also face a problem when selling it. Just a year old a cheap brand scooter could be worth next to nothing. The best here is checking on Gumtree or any other website what second hand scooters of that make go for and how many are there on offer for sale.
Here at Ace Scooters we stock Vespa, Piaggio and Aprilia because we know they are great brands, we know we can fix them because we can get parts and warranty is rarely ever an issue.
IT’S (ALMOST) ALL ABOUT THE ENGINE
With 50cc the most important issue that has to be considered because of its implications, is that of power. If you’ve never wondered what 50cc’s actually are, measure it out. Most people are amazed that an engine of that cubic capacity has enough power to move anything, far less a scooter and even up to 2 riders as well! But to maximise that power, manufacturers have to consider what engine technology is the most appropriate. Internal combustion engines fall largely into two categories, 4- stroke and 2-stroke.
The vast majority of vehicles on the road today have 4-stroke engines. They are robust and reliable, quiet and relatively fuel efficient, but relatively complex. Indeed almost every modern scooter larger than 50cc has a four stroke engine and with tighter emission compliance coming in Europe, more and more 50cc scooters are sold with four stroke engines. Compared to a 2-stroke engine, they don’t generate as much power. And when you are constrained by engine size (as the legislation dictates), and you want to squeeze as much grunt into your machine as possible, then 2-stroke technology is the way to go.
So the majority of 50cc scooters on the market today are 2-stroke powered. As are lawnmowers, whipper-snippers, and many outboard boat motors. There are a number of 4-stroke mopeds available, though the majority can best be described as “gutless”.
So if they are more powerful, why don’t all scooters have 2-stroke engines in them?
- Well firstly they are relatively inefficient. We have 500cc engined 4-stroke scooters which use less fuel than the majority of the 50cc scooters on the market. But they are ALL still a lot, lot better than every car on the road however, but would be much less so if they were in larger engine sizes.
- Secondly they are comparatively noisy. Sounds like a hair-dryer? That’s because its a 50cc 2-stroke scooter.
- Thirdly, the engines don’t last as long. The general rule of thumb is that a 2-stroke scooter engine will last for about 20 – 30,000km assuming a normal servicing schedule is being kept up. Having said that we have customers with over 50,000km on their little 50cc Vespa and they still run fine! In any case, a quality 4-stroke should last at least twice this, if not more. This can be extended by more invasive maintenance (such as regularly changing the piston rings and re-honing the bore), but this would push up servicing costs significantly and so is rarely carried out since it is almost cheaper to buy a new one at this stage. However given that 50cc scooters are normally used for short distances only, many riders might only clock up that kind of distance in 5 to 10 years of usage. But if you are considering buying second hand, don’t forget this point.
Finally, but most importantly, 2-stroke engines are much more fickle than 4-strokes. They can be hard to start, particularly if they aren’t used regularly. Think lawnmower. Particularly if you are parking at the train station, at work, school or uni, and there isn’t any other way of getting home. Reliability is vital. Nothing is more frustrating than getting on to your scooter after a long day at work, and being unable to get it going. So please, please, please go for a quality brand that you can rely on. The only brands that we will sell 50cc scooters of (new or second hand) are Vespa, Piaggio, Derbi, Aprilia, Yamaha, SYM and Kymco. If Honda made 2-strokes, we’d add that to the list too. And that is it. If its not on that list (and there are many brands out there we know of which we’ve purposefully excluded from the list) then proceed with extreme caution.