No activity that takes place on the road can be ever considered entirely safe, but its unquestionable that riders of two-wheeled vehicles are more likely to sustain injuries if involved in an accident. However what isn’t published is whether or not two wheeled vehicles are actually more likely to be involved in an accident in the first place. Our experience (from crash repairs) thus far has been this. 1) Inexperienced road users are significantly more likely to be involved in accidents than experienced road users, 2) high risk takers are significantly more likely to be invovled in accidents than low risk takers. The rate of accidents amongst most adult riders is extremely low. Unsurprisingly its much higher in 16 year old males. However, the good news is that 3) once an accident has been had, risk taking behaviours appears to drop considerably, and fortunately most of the accidents had are at fairly low speed (thanks to the relative low power of the machines they are riding). This can actually be an invaluable lesson before your teenage son takes the wheel of your V6 or Ute. But its also why its worth stressing the next two points.
A) Your safety is paramount to us, and whilst we recognise that for holders of full car licenses instruction is not compulsory, getting some sound advice on good motorcycle road-craft is something that we would strongly encourage. Not only will you be a better rider (and driver!), you ”ll be less likely to aggravate the rest of the road-going public. The Ride Safe handbook provided by the Department of Transport is a great reference for advice, however we believe some practical advice from an expert is money well spent, and we are delighted to be able to recommend a number of instructors who can provide expert advice and tuition from about $70-75 an hour. Give us a call, and we can let you know an instructor near you – or take advantage of one of our schemes and base your lessons from our showroom.
And B) don’t forget to wear protective clothing. It sounds obvious, but even when the weather is at its hottest, keep as much of your skins as possible covered up, and wear covered shoes or boots. We offer a lot of inexpensive options for new riders to be protected, and we’d encourage you to take them up.
Fundamentally there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Most vehicles on the road these days have 4-stroke engines. They are more efficient, quieter, last longer, generally have longer service intervals and are more reliable. Almost all scooters on the market today over 100cc have 4-stroke engines.
However, at small engine sizes, particularly 50cc, a 2-stroke engine will produce much more power than an equivalent sized 4-stroke, which is why most 50cc scooters on the road today are still 2-strokes. But beware – if you are going to get a 2-stroke engined scooter, invest in something of a decent quality, otherwise you might find that the reliability issues that you can find in cheaper engines might catch up with you at inopportune times. All the 50cc scooters that we sell, from the Zip 50 and Typhoon 50, to the Vespa LX 50, all feature the HiPer engine from Piaggio, arguably the best air-cooled 50cc two stroke engine in the world. And the only other 2-stroke engined scooter we sell is in the legendary Vespa PX – a scooter that has been in production since 1977. Pretty fair to say that ones a keeper!
The key thing is quality. You can often recognise which is a good engine from the service intervals. The longer the interval, the better the engine. Piaggio/Vespa 2-strokes need to be serviced every 5,000km, the smaller 4-strokes every 6,000km, and the bigger ones (250 and up) every 10,000km.
The WA law states that you can ride a two-wheeled vehicle that is under 50cc, fully automatic, and restricted to a top speed of around 60kmh on a normal car license. Unfortunately federal laws stipulate a 50cc scooter (an LA class vehicle) should be restricted to a top speed not exceeding 50kmh.
If you are 16 you can apply for an R-N license. This requires you to take a online test at the Licensing centre which if passed allows you to be issued with L plates. You can ride your scooter on L plates as long as you are accompanied by another rider with appropriate licensing (ie car or motorbike held for at least two years). This rider must either be riding pillion, or accompanying you on another scooter or motorcycle – following in a car does not qualify.
Once you have adequate tuition you can sit your test which will allow you to be issued with P plates. Note that you cannot take a passenger when riding with P plates.
To ride any scooter larger than 50cc will require you to have a “motorbike” license. You need to be at least 17 years old. If you take your test on an automatic scooter, then you will be issued with an automatic motorbike license, which restricts you to automatic motorbikes. However without clutch and gears, and no foot pedals to worry about, the co-ordination required to ride a scooter compared to a motorbike is much, much simpler. To get your learners permit you will need to do an online test at the licensing centre. Thereafter you can take lessons, or practice accompanied by a person who has at least the level of license being taught for at least four years. Most riders will develop the requisite skills to pass the automatic motorbike test within 3 or 4 lessons. Simple.
If you want to pass your motorbike test, or just want some more experience on a larger machine before you decide on what scooter would suit you most, then give us a call as we can help you with the loan of an appropriately sized scooter for customers who place a deposit to purchase one of our scooters.
From January 2013, changes have been made to the licensing regime regarding engine size. From that date the restricted engine size will be determined by power-to-weight ratio, rather than engine size. What this means is that all the scooters that we sell (up to 500cc) will be able to be ridden by newly licensed riders.
Riding a scooter is really fairly straightforward. If you can ride a bicycle, you can ride a scooter. The key new skill is getting used to the throttle – you can pick this up in a few minutes and will master it within about an hour of riding. Other than that its getting used to the indicators, finessing the use of brakes, and then its just roadcraft. Easy.
All our brands strongly recommend regular servicing of their vehicles – indeed if you don’t you may break the rules of your warranty. The details of periodicity differ depending on brand, however at least one running in service should definitely be undertaken, and thereafter at the distances determined by the manufacturer, or at least once a year.
All scooters need a running in service. If you are looking to buy one and find that it requires two, don’t buy it. Seriously. The running in service is normally at 1000km.
Service interval is a fairly good indicator of engine quality, so make sure that you ask the dealer this question when you are out looking. The majority of our 2-stroke 50cc models have a 5,000km interval (or yearly). Our mid-range (125-150cc scooters) require every 6,000km (or yearly). All of ours of 250cc and above have a 10,000km (or yearly) service interval. We believe that all 4-stroke engines should have an oil filter. An oil strainer just doesn’t cut it.
If the service interval for the scooter that you are considering is less than this find out why, and also determine how much extra its going to cost you to keep it on the road.
Of all the questions about scooters, this is one that has been asked time and time again. However the answer is not quite as simple as it first appears. Modern China is capable of making space-stations. They have acquired technology and the skills to use them extremely quickly. They are more than capable of making scooters to a very high level of quality, and in fact, they do. However, most of these are produced for external markets such as Europe, and are for those brands that you would associate with high quality, whether that might be Honda, or indeed Piaggio or Aprilia! The quality is such that you wouldn’t know whether it was built in Japan or Italy, far less China! The advantage for customers is that they can get high quality, but without having to pay European prices. Compare the Piaggio Zip 50 to the Vespa LX 50. Same manufacturer, same engine, same two year warranty, same quality of manufacture, but different country of manufacture. Now whilst there are a few other factors to add to why they are differently priced (like the Vespa’s metal body), the reality is that you can almost purchase two Zips for the price of one Vespa. That is the impact of labour costs on overall price.
However, the quality of most scooters manufactured in China is nowhere near on par with these. Such scooters are made for the Chinese domestic market (which is absolutely enormous), but some enterprising Australians import them, rebadged with a European sounding name, and then flog them to the unwary. They can look great when brand new, but they very quickly show signs of strain, whether from the Australian climate, or the relatively faster speeds that we travel here compared to the gridlocked cities of China. Moreover, manufacturers change parts at a whim, but often without changing the part numbers, making ongoing support very, very difficult. Our advice is to be very careful. Do some reasearch, and if you can’t find any details about the brand in question, avoid, avoid, avoid.
The final wobbler to throw into this answer, is one we’ve heard from some dealers which is the backward logic that if its not made in China, it must be decent quality. Not true. We’ve come across many scooters manufactured in other countries (notably Taiwan) which are largely equivalent to those made in China. Interestingly whilst manufacturing a number of brands, you can only buy two in Taiwan (SYM or Kymco). The rest are for export only. Again, do your research. China is not the only manufacturing country responsible for shoddy goods.
Disc brakes are certainly more powerful than drum brakes, but cost a lot more too. The majority of braking takes place through your front wheel, hence why most small engined scooters have the combination of disc brakes on the front, and drums on the back. For scooters that are set up for one, drum brakes front and back are perfectly up to the job – they wouldn’t pass Australian compliance standards if they weren’t – but they aren’t as powerful as disc brakes.
The value of disc brakes on the back? Well clearly for more powerful scooters, additional braking capacity is highly desirable, but for most small engined scooters drum brakes at the back are more than adequate, and indeed less likely to lock-up.
Nope. Modern 2-stroke scooters use a direct oil injection system which delivers the right amount of oil directly to the engine. Not only does this stop a lot of hassle when you fill your petrol tank, but actually increases efficiency as you need to use a lot less oil. Just fill your petrol tank with petrol, and your 2-stroke oil tank with oil, and your scooter will do the mixing for you. The oil tank on most scooters is big enough for over a litre which will last roughly 1000k. However do make sure that you use good quality 2-stroke oil that is made for injection systems (that’s oil injection, not fuel injection). 2-stroke for outboards, lawnmowers etc is often a different viscosity, and may quickly start to cause a build-up of carbon around your exhaust port, having a significant impact on performance. Additionally, don’t get pulled into the hype about needing semi or fully synthetic 2-stroke oils. A good quality mineral oil (such as from Rock Oil), will be just as effective, and much cheaper. Synthetic 2-stroke oils are generally only needed for race-performance engines.
This is easily the most common question we get asked, particularly regarding 50cc scooters. Well the best, and most honest advice, is if you want more speed, then buy a bigger engined scooter – and if that means you need to get a “scooter” license, then from both a personal safety, as well as for financial/legal reasons, it’s the best advice we can give.
Manufacturers put multiple devices into 50cc scooters to slow them down to meet Australian Design Rule (ADR) requirement of a top speed of 50kmh. Removing these will increase the scooters speed, usually to between 60 and 75kmh. A good quality scooter will still operate within the safety margins, particularly regarding chassis strength and braking, as built by the manufacturer. Removing these devices will not affect manufacturers warranty if done by an authorised technician (ie authorised dealer), although, of course, this is illegal. To confuse matters in WA, your license allows you to ride one up to 60kmh!
The other way to improve top speed is to modify the vehicle. Some modifications are low impact (eg adding a sports exhaust, variator, or tuning the carbie), whilst others are more significant (eg changing the engine to 70cc). Most modifications cannot be carried out in isolation – often new variators and belts are required so that gearing matches the increased power, or different weight rollers to ensure pick-up is still good at low speed. Bigger carburettor jets are usually needed too. You might find yourself having to remember to add 2-stroke oil to the petrol every time you fill up with fuel. Get it right, and decent speed improvements can be attained. Get it wrong, and your scooter won’t last too long. What’s more you’ve negated any manufacturers warranty you might have had. Also consider – is the frame and suspension of the scooter capable of the extra power? Well if the vehicle is also available in larger engined formats (eg the Zip, Typhoon, Vespa 50) then yes, otherwise its less clear. However the best advice if you really want more power is to get an RE-A license. In the long run it will be cheaper, lower risk and actually more practical. And with Ace Scooters, its not that difficult! Check here for details!
At Ace Scooters we will not service any scooters modified by another dealer as we cannot cover the risks of any future problems attributable to the original modification, which might inadvertently be attributed to work we have done.
So before you decide on the path of performance enhancement, make sure you fully understand the implications of your decision. And understand why we will always recommend that if you want more power, you should initially consider simply getting your license and buying a larger engined scooter.
What is the best petrol for my scooter? Well, we have customers that swear that they get an extra 5kmh or more if they use premium (95 RON), particularly BP Ultimate (98 RON), and others who say that they can ‘t see any difference from using regular unleaded petrol (ULP – 91 RON). So we suggest that you try them out, and find out what works best for you – (although check your users manual, as a number of our performance scooters require higher octane fuel). Consider – if you don ‘t expect to use your scooter regularly, we recommend that you use normal unleaded (ULP), as the additives in premium fuels can “go off”. If they sit around in your tank and engine, they can foul up your spark plug and gum-up your carbie, which in turn may give you starting and running problems. Recently we have seen some “experts” suggesting that 2-stroke scooters should only use normal ULP because Premium fuels mask water which can affect the efficiency of 2-stroke oil. To date we have seen no evidence that would suggest that this is the case, and most manufacturers recommend fuels between 91 and 95 RON (ie ULP or PULP). But if you aren’t using your scooter regularly we’d suggest sticking to regular ULP.
What there is absolutely no debate on however, is how much your weekly petrol bill will decrease by using a scooter compared to a car. Even our thirstiest scooters will give 25km per litre, and that’s not in test conditions, that’s in normal riding situations.
Well, the best thing to do would be to get in touch to come in and see us. Let us show you how easy scooters are to ride in our car park, and discuss with you the best option to match your needs. Just call 9300 1719 or preferably email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
And if you’ve got a question you want to ask, please email us and we just add it to our list! The more into that is out there, the better. Expert knowledge is one of the key things that separates Ace Scooters from the other dealers, and we are more than happy to share our expertise with you.