A knee walker scooter is a great way to move around, especially when you have a serious injury that prevents you from stepping on a foot. There are various types of scooters such as kick scooters, electric scooters, knee walker scooters, or motor scooters.
The last category is represented by two-wheeled vehicles that are engine-powered and are somewhat similar to motorcycles. Depending on the motorcycle’s transmission that can be manual or semi-automatic, the gears are shifted differently. But what about scooters? Do they have gears?
Most modern scooters have automatic transmission. At the moment, this may not tell you much, especially if you are new to this vehicle category. Most vehicles with automatic transmission have gearboxes. Scooters, however, have what is called a CVT which stands for continuously variable transmission.
Although the inner workings of a CVT differs a lot from a gear-based automatic transmission, the most important detail is that there is no clutch or gear shifting to fiddle with while riding, as in the case of motorcycles, for example.
Riding any vehicle with two wheels tends to be more challenging, especially on public roads where you have to dive in the traffic. Surely, you still need to follow all the same traffic laws and worry about other drivers, and even pay more attention to weather conditions.
Believe us when we say that it is definitely not the same thing to be caught in the rain while driving a car or while riding a scooter.
With all these and other obstacles out there, eliminating the necessity to manual shift gears really simplifies things. Having fewer tasks to do at the same time is much easier for a rider.
What is a CVT Style Transmission?
The answer to this question stands in the name itself – continuously variable transmission. Of course, if you are not knowledgeable in this area, this does not tell you anything. Let’s start with the input shaft and the output shaft that are connected by a belt.
Due to the sheaves’ ability to adjust, the belt acts similarly to an adjustable or variable gear system. This belt is at a fixed length. When the rider rolls back on the scooter’s throttle in order to increase speed, the centrifugal force causes the input shave to narrow which forces the belt to act like a larger gear.
This results in the output shaft’s automatic adjustment as it acts as a small gear. In other words, the smaller the output gear’s diameter, the faster the output shaft spins. Obviously, the faster the output shaft spins, the faster the vehicle goes.
Scooters with Manual Transmission
First, let us see what manual transmission is. This is also known as a manual gearbox, standard transmission, or stick shift. If you hear any of the above, you should know that they are referring to the same thing.
This type of transmission uses a driver-operated clutch that is normally engaged and disengaged by a foot pedal or hand lever. This regulates torque transfer from the engine to the transmission. The gear selector can be operated by either foot or hand, depending on the type of vehicle.
A five-speed manual transmission is regularly the standard equipment in a base-model vehicle. More expensive and modern manual vehicles are equipped with a six-speed transmission.
Other transmission options include the traditional automatic, the semi-automatic, or the continuously variable transmission.
To practice the manual transmission on a scooter, you should first roll-ride it with the engine off. You then need to engage the clutch with the left lever and first gear and then shift it to neutral. Then, you can practice by turning on the scooter, standing at a stop and gear in neutral. Afterward, engage the clutch but do not let it go.
For many drivers or riders, there is a slight learning curve when it comes to the manual transmission, which can be a bit intimidating for an inexperienced person. Since the driver needs to develop the feel for accurately engaging the clutch, a newbie will often stall the engine.
Most drivers can learn how to operate a vehicle with a manual transmission in as little as an hour, but it may take weeks, and even months before it becomes second nature. Moreover, if an inappropriate gear is selected by mistake, damage to mechanical components and even loss of control may occur.
There are many jurisdictions in which a driving license issued for vehicles with automatic transmission are not valid for driving vehicles with a manual transmission. However, a license for manual transmission covers both.
However, you should know that scooters with manual transmission are very rare nowadays. If you get to see a manual transmission scooter on the road, you are probably looking at a vintage model. The models that are being made currently are all with the continuously variable transmission or automatic transmission.
Acceleration and Speed
Most standard scooters have engines in the range of 50cc and 150cc. It is true that there are models with more powerful engines of even 250cc. The more powerful an engine is, the more speed it can gain.
In order to increase the speed while riding your scooter, you simply need to twist the hand-grip throttle. Since we are on the subject of speed, you should know that scooters are not as stable at highways speeds, as motorcycles.
Scooters have a lightweight construction and small wheels, usually up to 16 inches in diameter, and riding at very high speeds can be very dangerous. It may be tempting to follow a motorcycle that overtakes you on the highway and to try to compete with it, but we strongly recommend against it.
Moreover, since the wheels of a scooter a so small, hitting a pothole can certainly result in a fall. If you have a very high speed when this happens, things can get very dangerous, if not even fatal.
It does not matter if you have a manual transmission scooter or an automatic transmission one, maintenance is just as important in both cases. Of course, there are many things you need to check regularly, but we are not going to discuss them here. We are going to refer strictly to the transmission parts.
As previously established, you probably have a scooter with automatic transmission. Still, you should know that every 2000 miles or every year, it is necessary to change the transmission oil and check the CVT drive belt for wear and cracks.
While changing the oil might not be such a complicated process, and you could do this yourself, we certainly recommend going to a specialist to check the CVT belt, which might need to be replaced. Of course, a specialist will tell you about everything that needs to be verified, repaired, and replaced.
Changing the oil regularly is the easiest and cheapest way to maximize the life of an engine. Scooters take such small quantities of oil that it should not cost more than $5 to do and it does not take more than 10-15 minutes. It is money and time well spent!