Most scooters on the market are automatic and you can find more info here on various models. These don’t use a gearbox as automatic cars do, but instead employ something called a CVT, or continuously variable transmission. This system is more flexible, as it uses an input shaft to keep a constant angular velocity, even if the output speed varies.
For those of you who are considering using another type of vehicle for transportation instead of a car, a scooter might seem like an excellent idea. However, if you are thinking about getting an automatic one, then the idea of shifting gears doesn’t need to scare you anymore. Drivers who have tried using a manual car might have some bad memories related to the experience.
The good part is the automatic scooters are an option, even though they work a bit differently than cars. Before making any choice, the first thing you need to do is take the time to consider how you are going to use the vehicle. There are so many options you can choose from that, depending on your commute, you might discover that an e-scooter is just what you need.
However, if you need to go over longer distances, then an automatic scooter might fit the bill as well. It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie when it comes to this. These vehicles are not that difficult to drive. As long as you have a driver’s license, you make sure that you comply with all the local regulations, and you take your time in learning, then you should be good to go.
A scooter’s definition
Since you will need to check with the local authorities in your area to see what rules and regulations you need to follow when riding a scooter, it’s important to know how these vehicles are defined. A scooter is a light two-wheeled unit that features a footboard mounted on two wheels, as well as a long steering handle.
Depending on certain models, an open motor can also be included, and the user needs to be able to stand on it. While certain alternatives on the market allow for more than one rider on the same vehicle, you should never carry passengers if the unit doesn’t allow this through its construction.
Doing so is both illegal in most areas and dangerous for those using it since you cannot rely on its functionalities as you would when it’s properly used. Since we’ve mentioned the legal constraints, it’s a good moment to go over these a bit.
As you can imagine, each city, area, and state can have different regulations when it comes to these vehicles. Some of the main ones you should bear in mind include wearing a helmet all the time, avoiding the sidewalks when you are riding it, and owning a valid driver’s license.
Moreover, you may also want to check and see if you need to register it, get lights and a license plate, and certain states require riders to be over the age of 18. Now let’s take a closer look at what automatic transmission means for scooters.
Automatic transmission and public roads
While most scooters have this option, the word “automatic” might not describe exactly what you would expect, especially compared to cars. Most vehicles that feature an automatic transmission come with gearboxes.
However, the same cannot be said about scooters, as these feature something that is called a CVT instead, which is short for continuously variable transmission. Their inner workings vary greatly from those of a traditional gear-based automatic transmission, and the main aspect is that there is no gear shifting or manual clutch that you can use during rides.
The good part about automatic scooters is that they are easy to ride, especially if we consider the fact that anything involving only two wheels comes with different challenges than driving a car. Riding a scooter on public streets can be even more stressful, since there’s traffic that you need to deal with, besides figuring out which way you need to go.
When you take your scooter out for a spin, you need to follow all the traffic laws, while keeping an eye on other drivers, since there’s a high chance they won’t see you. Weather conditions and other obstacles can lead to additional stress, which means that not having a manual shift to worry about as well is an excellent idea.
One thing that you need to do as soon as you get your first scooter is to get used to riding it and one way to get this done is by riding it when the traffic is reduced, which might be during weekends or holidays. If you intend to commute to work, then you should take several routes there, and see which one you are more comfortable with.
Moreover, if you do this, you will also get used to the road itself, from bumps to maybe more difficult crossroads, so when the time comes to join the traffic or deal with bad weather conditions, you won’t need to focus on figuring out what the next turn is, and thus you’ll be able to focus on getting to work safely and on time.
A few words on safety
Whether you are a pedestrian, a car driver or a scooter rider, your safety should always come first. This means that wearing a helmet and other protective gear should not be an option, but something that you do each time you take your scooter out.
Furthermore, those around us need to remain safe at all times, including pedestrians, drivers and other riders. If you are not fully comfortable with the scooter yet, then you should ride it at a lower speed that gives you enough time to react, in case anything happens on the street.
You should stay off the sidewalks and get any additional accessories such as lights that you need to use when you are riding during the night. This is particularly important if you are going outside the city as well since there you won’t benefit from extra light from public streets.
The CVT can feel a bit odd to those who are used to riding motorcycles. Given that the transmission works differently, scooters don’t rely on a motor’s RPM to gain or decrease their speed, so the result is that as the user twists the throttle, there is no change in the sound made by the unit, but the speed does increase.
Because this rev sound is missing, new users can sometimes think that the vehicle is underpowered, or that it has an issue altogether. However, this is not the case, and the CVT simply gets the job done in a more discreet manner.
A Continuous Variable Transmission system uses input and output shafts, as well as a belt that connects them. Given that the sheaves are able to adjust, the belt, that has a fixed length, acts just as an adjustable gear system would.
This means that as the throttle is rolled for the scooter to go faster, the centrifugal forces narrow the input sheave, thus forcing the belt to act as a gear. The smaller output shaft responds by automatically adjusting and the faster it spins, the more speed the scooter gains.
Scooter with manual transmission
Some of you might wonder if scooters with manual transmission are being produced as well. In short, the answer is close to a “No”. Chances are that if you do see such a model on the street, you are looking at a vintage scooter. While some who are truly passionate about scooters might like to ride a manual one, the truth is that these are more difficult to handle.
Therefore, unless you want to experience riding all the alternatives, you are most probably better off using an automatic one that allows you to stay focused on the road.