Scooter in Moncton

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The 2006 models of the Yamaha BW's cost $2849, plus tax, new. This, apparently, includes a $50 helmet. That's too much for the budget, I figured. So what about a used one?

I bought some local bargain hunting flyers to see what was out there in that price range. I found a couple to look at over the next coming weeks.

The first one I called about was being sold for $1200. Scarce on details, I went to the guy's house to have a look. It looked old. Not just by the model, but by its appearance. There was a big scratch on the front fender, and it just looked generally dirty, the way an old piece of equipment looks as it ages. He offered me a test drive. How could I refuse? This would be my first time on a scooter. We had to use the kick starter, because the battery wouldn't hold a charge. My guess, as was his, is that the battery froze in the shed over the winter. While we let it warm up, having to hold the throttle open a little to prevent it from stalling (also a bad sign), we talked. He bought it two years ago for flitting around a camp ground, and that's all it had done in the last two years. He also mentioned that he hadn't filled it up in those two years. He admitted that it would be the same gasoline in it for those two years. Nice touch. Anyway, I took it out for a ride. He said he could get it up to 75 km/h (with him weighing in at about 250 or more, that should be good for me, some 70 pounds lighter). I noticed that this scoot didn't have the under-seat storage compartment I had been expecting. Apparently before 2003, the engine was mounted vertically, and that storage compartment wasn't there.

It was an easy ride. There are things to get used to. For example, I'm a cyclist, and the rear brake is on the right. The scooter, however, has the rear brake on the left. Either way, with no gears to think about, it was pretty simple. This particular bike wouldn't break 55 km/h on a downslope. Disappointing, indeed, since I've been reading that 70 km/h is normal on these things. Also, on the turns, there was a very uncomfortable shimmy in the front wheel. I decided, after feeling like I almost wiped out on my last turn, this would not be the one I would buy, if any. After returning to his house, I noticed the last sticker on the license plate was from 1997. So I had just driven an unregistered vehicle on the road. I wonder if he had insurance on it...

I walked away from this one, slightly disappointed, but certain I was doing the right thing.

Then I saw another one in next week's paper...


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