|My scooter and me!|
In my effort to live as frugally as possible while still maintaining a high quality of life I decided to purchase a used Yamaha Zuma 49cc scooter a little while back. Now that I've had a chance to really try this thing out I'm deciding to write this article as a report to anyone interested in such a move.
First, the gas mileage is awesome. 100+ mpg is nothing to sneeze at. A typical "fill-up" is less than a gallon and as such costs me less than $4. That's the kind of fuel bill that would make any self-proclaimed frugalist smile in delight. I know that I'm loving it. My fuel bill is almost nothing and that fill-up typically comes every 1.5 weeks or so.
Second, it's super easy. It doesn't have gears due to a CVT transmission and so shifting is non-existent. It simply needs to be started and then there is the throttle and brakes. It's so easy a caveman could do it! It requires no mechanical skill whatsoever to operate. From what I can tell the maintenance is very minimal and can be done at any motorcycle shop for little cost. I would recommend a motorcycle rider safety class for safety reasons, but as far as operational education there is little needed here. I feel at ease while riding it and so far it's started with the electric starter every single time and I've had 0 issues with the scooter so far. Parking is easier than a car, which can be a huge plus when trying to find a parking spot by the beach.
Third, it's cheap! I paid less than $1,400 for it and it requires no monthly insurance. That's a big bill that comes pretty standard on just about every transportation option out there, but this little scooter requires none. The gas mileage, as mentioned above, is extremely high and the maintenance, when required, will be small and inexpensive (compared to a car). I'd say the only cheaper transportation options would be walking, riding a cheap bicycle or perhaps a bus depending on where you live. Here, a bus ride is $1.25 one-way and when doing the calculations a scooter might actually be cheaper over the long haul. Surprising.
Fourth, it's just plain fun. At first, I was a bit concerned what people would think when they see a grown man riding around on a little scooter. But now I don't care. I think it's a ton of fun to ride around town and the warm Florida sunshine in my face while the 35 mph breeze keeps me cool feels superb! It really wakes me up in the morning when I'm riding to work and the early temps are hovering 65 degrees.
I would actually highly recommend one of these for the frugal-minded out there. Compared to a car's costs there is no comparison. This thing can only be compared to a bicycle or public transportation cost-wise, but even then this comes pretty close if not cheaper. A bicycle will get me to work, but much slower and I'll likely be sweating. The bus gets me to work just fine, but it's not as fun or autonomous. The scooter easily fits a small amount of groceries under the seat and on the floorboard and it's been great for weekly grocery runs. I really can't say enough good things about riding a scooter. The only negative aspect is the risk of injury and/or death. If I get hit on a scooter I'm much more likely to get seriously hurt or die vs. getting hit in a car. Of course, car accidents can be very dangerous as well and I'm typically not traveling on major roads and I'm generally riding under 40 mph.
How about you? Ever consider a scooter?
Thanks for reading.