Scooter Redux

My New Ride!

I previously wrote about how I loved having a scooter as a primary transportation option. The gas mileage is crazy good with these little 2-wheeled vehicles and they are super cheap to own and operate. Owning a car definitely has its own set of benefits, but I feel that the drawbacks are too high to overcome at this point in my life. Simply put, I’m looking to maximize every single dollar I earn as I aim to achieve financial independence before 40 years old.

Unfortunately, I sold the scooter listed in the hyper linked article above. I had an incident on the road that left me wondering about my own safety. I regret selling it now, as getting rid of the scooter was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction on my part. At the time I was riding the scooter almost everyday to work and using it for trips to the grocery store, along with other errands that would come up. I have since come to realize that I was riding the scooter too much, instead of using it for what its intended purpose was: to provide an alternate way to get to work when the bus ran late.

So, I have since rectified this situation and last week purchased a black 49cc 1997 Yamaha Zuma that you can see in the picture at the beginning of the article. It has less than 1,500 miles on the odometer (4-digit odometer). This little scoot is in pretty good shape for being 15 years old! I purchased it for $700, which is almost half of what my last scooter cost me. This thing costs less than a lot of bicycles, and certainly significantly less than a car that is even half-way reliable. Frugality is king!

This time around I am determined to not ride this machine more than I really should. I’ll continue riding the bus on a regular basis, which means almost every day. On the rare occasion (about once a month) the bus is running late, I can just hop on my ’97 Zuma and hustle my way into work. I’ll also use it for errands, as walking to/from the grocery store does get a little old after a while. I’ll probably also try to ride it at least twice a month, as the carburetor can get gummed up from lack of use (from what I’m told).

So, the great thing is that I accomplished my goal of developing or purchasing a frugal alternative to the bus. Basically, for any new readers out there, the bus runs late about once a month on average which leads to me being late to work. Since this is really unacceptable, I’ve decided it to be prudent to have an alternative for those occasions, and still get to work on time. I definitely don’t want to get fired due to attendance issues. It’s hard to save money and invest in stocks if I’m unemployed!

There you have it! I am the proud owner of a super-cheap 49cc scooter once again! I could have purchased a brand new knockoff Chinese scooter for the same amount of money, but a quality name brand scooter like a Yamaha will last infinitely longer.

How about you? Ever own a scooter? Thoughts on them?

Thanks for reading.


  1. Shopteacher says

    Looks great!! We used to run around on little mini bikes when we were kids. They are great fun!

    Defensive driving and a helmet are the key!

    Love your blog!

    Have fun!!

    • says


      I agree. You definitely have to be defensive on these things, and even then there is a certain element of risk involved.

      I hope that my decision this time around to limit my time on the scooter will reduce the amount of risk I incur.

      Glad you enjoy the blog! Thanks for stopping by and reading.

      Best regards!

  2. says

    Cool! I love the singleness of purpose and sticking to the vision (i.e. primarily only riding if the bus is late).

    So can you explain a little bit about logistics? Are you going to keep the scooter locked up near the bus stop, or is the bus stop near your apartment? I guess it wouldn’t be too much trouble for you to just run home and scoot to work.

    Thanks for sharing this! I am slowly coming around to ditching the car. Slowly. On the West Coast it’s challenging. But reading about your experiences certainly helps.

    Have a great week.

    • says


      Thanks for stopping by.

      As far as logistics go, I moved late last year to the apartment I live in now to be purposely close to the bus stop. As is, I’m about a 2-minute walk to the bus stop. So, if the bus is late (or doesn’t show up) I’ll just walk back home and hop on the scooter. The scooter is parked right outside my apartment. I don’t keep it locked up right now. There are 4 or 5 scooters in this complex and a few motorcycles too. I think mine is the oldest and cheapest of all of them. There really is nowhere practical to lock it up.

      That would be awesome if you’d be able to go car-less as well, but I’m sure it’s quite difficult out there on the west coast. I can imagine.

      Either way, you’re doing great with the frugality!

      Best wishes.

  3. says

    Nice purchase. I’m impressed.

    I have the Honda Elite 2010 and I can’t believe I didn’t have it earlier. Averages 85 mpg and I take it from Orange County to Los Angeles, but mostly around town.

    Always first at the lights, low insurance and registration–both under $100. Now that I’ve had one for awhile, I’m amazed that a hell of a lot more people don’t own them.

    I understand the safety factor, but still, if we let fear rule our lives, we give up our freedom. And to be honest, I feel safer on that than in a cage.

    • says


      Those Honda Elite scooters are legendary. I see Elite scooters from the 80’s on craigslist still fetching a pretty penny. Amazing machines.

      I actually wanted a Honda Metropolitan, as I find them to be pretty awesome little scoots. Unfortunately, they are extremely difficult to score a deal on…as the owners want almost as much as a new one costs. And a new one is $2k plus dealer fees. Just wasn’t in the cards.

      Yeah, insurance and registration is ridiculously cheap. Mine requires no insurance at all, and the yearly registration is $35. Love it.

      I hear you on not letting fear rule our lives. One cannot live in a bubble.

      Take care!

  4. says

    Nice old scooter ! I love these things. I own an old Renault Clio, about 13 years old and it works ok. But I fear repairs and cost insurance of 400 €uros a year. Although I live on the Spanish Coast near Alicante, in winter-time temperatures can go as low a 1 Celsius degree or 33,8 Fahrenheit. Sincerely it freezes my hands and my head ! Scooters here are more expensive: new around 2000 € Old: forget about them, they used them so much that it remains nothing good. As to the car, the problem is once a year for a technical visit once it is 10 years old or more. Problem also with a scooter is the rain and what can I take home from the grocery: Not much place left under the seat ! Lol !

    • says


      Sounds like a beautiful place you live in. I bet you’re enjoying life!

      I live in Florida, so riding a scooter year-round isn’t too difficult. The weather is fairly mild, but still gets cool. Today, for instance, was only 52 degrees in the morning. That’s pretty brisk!

      Grocery runs aren’t too difficult at all on the scooter actually. This scooter doesn’t have any storage under the seat, unlike my last one, so that’s a little disappointing. But, I bring a backpack and can fit quite a bit in that…and I also use the floorboard of the scooter for bigger stuff like milk and soda. It works pretty great.

      Best wishes.

  5. Nuno André says

    This looks very nice, but also keep looking for a 4 stroke electronic fuel injection one, maybe you can find a sweet deal, these tend to last longer and use much less fuel, then you can trade, depending on price… Congrats!

    • says


      I’d love a 4 stroke fuel injected scooter. I really wanted a brand new 2013 Honda Metropolitan. It took a lot of willpower to stick with an older used scooter. The Metropolitan ran about $2,300 after dealer fees, so it was just too much right now. The 120 mpg will be missed! This little Zuma probably only gets around 70 mpg.

      Hopefully this little Zuma lasts a while and I can get most of my money back and move on to a Honda after a while. The great thing with these things is that most of the depreciation is already gone. I can probably ride it for a few years and get all of my money back if it’s still running.

      Best regards.

  6. says

    Nice ride! Looks like you scored a great price on it as well. I’ve never looked into scooters before, but they seem to be a very practical/cheap form of transportation. I had no idea they costs so little.

    I spent more than double that on a road bike a few years ago!

    Enjoy it. I’m sure you’ll be able to mix in some fun in there alongside the business aspect of it.

    Take care!

    • says

      FI Fighter,

      I’ll try and fit in some fun on it! It’s a great time buzzing around town, enjoying the sunshine.

      Scooters are extremely cheap. I think the only thing cheaper is walking or riding a cheaper bicycle. That would be about it. The bus is also very cheap, but it depends on the time frame we’re talking about. Over 2-3 years, a scooter is cheaper. Over just one year, the bus is cheaper since you haven’t recouped the initial costs of the purchase.

      A car is certainly nice as well, but I just couldn’t make the numbers work. I’d much rather save and invest the difference.

      Best wishes!

  7. says

    It’s better to live free then to never truely live as financial working slaves.
    As for losing your job to attendance, I am experiencing that pressure at my job as well as I am sure many other big and small private company workers are. It seems like upper management and CEOs are ready to pull the fire trigger on any Full Timer who is tardy, then wait until they beg to come back on part time and do double the work with no benefits and in less work time. This will help them make their quarterly earnings on a “fake” business status, before word gets out they have no full time workers, and people are replaced part time at the snap of a finger like mostly in china factories.

    Only foolish generals are on time for a battle, Sun Tzu The Art of War.

    Just wait, one day soon, you and I and many other FI’ers won’t require a scooter to be “on Time” for someone who doesn’t really care about you, only the profit you generate for them.

    That Scooter is really a business expense passed on to the employee, like uniforms, like lunches, like a lot of other business costs for just being there for them, and they still have the nerve to demand employees to be on time.

    Other’s would be more awaken to the financial truths if a prision bus came around each morning to pick them up from their surburbia houses to go work. Instead you risk your life to get to a prision. It’s more cost effective for them.

    Sharing for the duty of the community is one thing to be on time for, but to mentally whip yourself to get to work for a Master of profits is another thing.

    A sad side note is: I work with a lot of “Retirees” in their 60’s that have gone back to work to afford their over spending lifestyles or they fear financial freedom for one excuse or another. I can’t place judgement on their habbits and lives, though I wish them the best, especially when another of their worker friends suddenly died of a heart attack at age 55.

    They keep believing the Governments and Corporations message to keep working because you need $10 million and increasing to afford to live happily in a retired or financially independent lifestyle, as they continue to be taxed for working and pay passed on inflation as consumers.

    • says

      “Other’s would be more awaken to the financial truths if a prision bus came around each morning to pick them up from their surburbia houses to go work. Instead you risk your life to get to a prision. It’s more cost effective for them.”

      That’s pretty funny. I agree with you.

      I suppose it depends on your perspective. I don’t particularly enjoy my work, but even if I did I would still be seeking financial independence all the same. I don’t ever want to be forced to spend most of my time somewhere on a daily basis, much like the prison you describe.

      Best regards.

    • says


      Nice to see you back in the U.S. Hope you enjoyed your time in Ecuador! Looking forward to reading about your adventures.

      I haven’t used the scooter much since I got it, but that’s probably due to the cool weather. I’m a total baby when it comes to the cold, and our mornings have been starting out in the low or mid-50’s. That’s pretty chilly for me, especially when you’re cruising down the road at 35-40 mph. I’ll probably get a chance to use it a little this weekend.

      Hope all is well!

      Best wishes.

  8. squasher55 says

    re: your scooter. I own two of them, both the 50 cc variety and both 2-cycle engines. I highly recommend an additive called sea-foam. I put in one ounce of it each gas fillup. It keeps the engine operating at peak efficiency, and overcomes the problems of leaving a scooter without running for too long, and also the evils of ethanol in our gasoline. Personally, I try to run our scoots every day…they are happier that way. I would recommend running yours at least once per week. Now, I am retired…so it is a bit easier for me.

    • says


      I agree with you about running the scooter as often as possible. I do plan on using it about once a week on average, including the days when the bus is running late. Scooters, just like cars, don’t like it when they just sit around.

      I’ll have to try the sea-foam. I’ve heard about it before, but never used it.

      By the way, what kind of 50cc scooters do you own? I’m a big fan of the Honda Metropolitan, but very difficult to find one used at a decent price.

      Best wishes!

  9. squasher55 says

    By the way, what kind of 50cc scooters do you own?
    Hi Mantra,

    We own a Buddy 50, and a Kymco People 50(this one we bought at a garage sale for $600.) Both scooters are made in Taiwan, which is the new Mecca of Scooter manufacturers. The Buddy is a 2009, and the Kymco a 2004. What we did not know is that the Kymco People 50 is an amazing machine…both for performance and also for longevity. Both scooters have been derestricted, so moving with traffic is easy at 45 mph. We live in the mountains of New Mexico, and because of vast amounts of sunshine we can drive them in all months of the year….but not every day. We do get snow here.

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