Riding The Scooter
iPhoneOgraphy – 25 Nov 2016 (Day 330/366)
A scooter or motor scooter is a motorcycle with step-through frame and a platform for the rider’s feet. Elements of scooter design have been present in some of the earliest motorcycles, and motorcycles identifiable as scooters have been made from 1914 or earlier. Scooter development continued in Europe and the United States between the World Wars.
The global popularity of scooters dates from the post-World War II introductions of the Vespa and the Lambretta. These scooters were intended to provide low-power personal transportation (engines from 50 to 250 cc or 3.1 to 15.3 cu in). The original layout is still widely used in this application. Maxi-scooters, with engines from 250 to 850 cc (15 to 52 cu in) have been developed for Western markets.
Scooters are popular for personal transport, partly due to being cheap to buy, easy to operate and convenient to park and store. Licensing requirements for scooters are easier and cheaper than for cars in most parts of the world, and insurance is usually cheaper.
A motor scooter is a motorcycle similar to a kick scooter with a seat, a floorboard, and small or low wheels. The United States Department of Transportation defines a scooter as a motorcycle that has a platform for the operator’s feet or has integrated footrests, and has a step-through architecture.
The classic scooter design features a step-through frame and a flat floorboard for the rider’s feet. This design is possible because most scooter engines and drive systems are attached to the rear axle or under the seat. Unlike a conventional motorcycle, in which the engine is mounted on the frame, most modern scooters allow the engine to swing with the rear wheel, while most vintage scooters and some newer retro models have an axle-mounted engine. Modern scooters starting from late-1980s generally use a continuously variable transmission (CVT), while older ones use a manual transmission with the gearshift and clutch control built into the left handlebar.
Scooters usually feature bodywork, including a front leg shield and body that conceals all or most of the mechanicals. There is often some integral storage space, either under the seat, built into the front leg shield, or both. Scooters have varying engine displacements and configurations ranging from 50 cc single-cylinder to 850 cc twin-cylinder models.
Traditionally, scooter wheels are smaller than conventional motorcycle wheels and are made of pressed steel or cast aluminum alloy, bolt on easily, and often are interchangeable between front and rear. Some scooters carry a spare wheel. Many recent scooters use conventional front forks with the front axle fastened at both ends.