Scooters In Scooterville

I’ve always said that scooters are a bit crazy yet so convenient in Taiwan. I’ve always assumed that I would like the smaller yet more powerful scooters. However, I’ve noticed that the bigger maxi-scooters aren’t that much heavier compared to the few smaller 250cc scooters that are out there. In fact, I know only of the Vespa GTC and the Kymco Ego which have that kind of displacement; most “powerful scooters” are of the 150cc variety.

I really like the Kymco Xciting. Naturally, I would love to get a 500cc scooter, but that will have to wait a while. I’ve been getting cinged by the sun all week, going to and fro from work in my scooter.

It takes me 9 minutes to get to work from my door, which is pretty sweet. Before, it used to take me at least 45 minutes to get to work. Since I have been driving so much, I have been worried about Old’ Nancy, my pet name for our scooter. We bought it cheaply in Hsinchu last October. She’s a 1996 SanYang 125cc mongrel, with a lot of parts of different scooters. In retrospect, she was too expensive… you can get a scooter like that for about 10000NT or less. In fact, you can probably get a way better deal than we got. However, she’s only got 21000 km on the odometer.

Yet, she has scootered me around town without any problems. Actually, since we moved to Banqiao, it’s the first time that I have been using the scooter seriously again. Before that, I used her daily in Hsinchu, from October ’06 to March ’07. However, I haven’t yet found similar riding places in the mountains here, I haven’t had the time to explore, but I do enjoy riding the scooter to work. There is some order in the chaotic mad dash of scooters that are pervasive on the Taiwanese roads. Once you figure it out, it doesn’t bother you anymore to ride in the fast lane and zip around cars.

The only thing is that I will have to wear a coat. For now, I am contenting myself with a thicker denim coat. However, wearing a thick coat in 37C weather seems ludicrous, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I have already had two accidents on this scooter and wouldn’t want to have another one. I had two low speed accidents when we got the damn thing in October.

Another thing I need to buy is riding gloves; believe it or not, I feel like I have had a slight burn on my body. Since I am in the sun while I drive, it would be easy to get sunburned, which hasn’t happened yet. The sun is so intense here. It’s funny, because I actually felt a burn on my feet as well. I don’t wear sandals. I wear socks and high top hiking shoes all the time. It makes you wonder about UVB. Today, there was some freak rain on my way back. I got totally soaked once again, even though I had a rain coat on.

The scooter that I have my eye on is a Kymco Xciting 250 or 500. That would be cool to own. I have decided that there is no way to go around the convenience of a scooter. There is so much storage space on these, it’s really hard to imagine being able to carry all of this around on a motorcycle. What can you say? With a top bag in the back, and two other ones mounted to the side, it’s hard to say no to these giant touring machines. I only say giant because they are much meatier than the smaller older scooters. I’ll probably look around to find a cheap deal in the few months. If I can get an older maxi-scooter like a Sym RV 250 or a Suzuki Skywave 400 or 650 for cheap, I won’t say no. In fact, I found an AN 650 Skywave for 114000NT (~3400USD), which is pretty cool.

I leave the Yamaha TMax and the Honda Silverwing out of the equation, because they are expensive. At that price, I could just get myself the motorcycle that I want. I find that the cheaper motorcycles all have 150cc and are not really worth buying; they are just like scooters but with a manual gearshaft. The bigger motorcycles are a lot more expensive, almost the same or more than back home. That is because any motorcycles over 250cc have stiff import taxes on them.

Another thing is that I feel that the maxi-scooters are a lot safer than the older smaller once. Naturally, I won’t be getting it soon. I’ll probably upgrade to a newer 150cc model in the next few weeks.

* * * * *

Featured Photographer


Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.