If you’ve been dreaming of a long trip on the open road ever since using kids scooters, now it might be the time. However, picking a scooter for long distances will make the trip great or miserable. There are some criteria to think about when choosing the scooter. It needs to be the right size for you, comfortable enough as you will ride for multiple hours, and it should have some helpful devices.
Choose the right engine size
Engine sizes may vary from 50cc to 500cc. If you want to move fast on your long trip, a scooter with a bigger engine is recommended. Riding for hundreds of miles at 30 mph might be frustrating and it will take away some of the riding pleasure.
Scooters with 50cc engines are usually too slow and too small for long trips. Even if they are cheap and they can be driven without a valid driver’s license in some of the states, they are not a good choice.
Having a bigger engine will allow you to legally ride on interstate highways since vehicles with engines smaller than 50cc can’t be legally driven there. So if you already own this type of scooter, it would be better to rent one for the trip.
If you are making the trip with some of your friends, make sure you can keep up. You don’t want to be the slowest guy in the group that gets constantly left behind since many of these scooters have a restricted top speed of around 30-35 mph.
Scooters with an engine from this range generally have a top speed higher than 50 mph. Also, acceleration from a complete stop is pretty energetic, which will help you when moving around the town. The 125cc+ engines are even better as you can keep up with traffic, ride smoothly up hills and have a reserve of power under most circumstances.
If you want a scooter with more serious performance, you should look for one in the 250-350cc range. Usually, they are bigger than the average scooter and weigh more. So buy one only if you are an experienced driver in order to avoid accidents.
The 200cc+ options have the advantage of being able to travel at high speed so you will have no problems when entering the freeway. Keep in mind you must have proper licensing as some of these require a motorcycle permit.
Don’t rush for the biggest engine
Choosing a scooter with a bigger engine definitely adds more power, but you will have to pay more for it and its insurance. Also, the scooter’s maintenance and overall gas price will be more costly than for a smaller engine.
Larger scooters could be a bit more difficult to handle safely for smaller riders looking for something light and agile. So think about what size of scooter meets your criteria and check if such a scooter fits your budget.
The real test is finding the right mix of a scooter not costing a lot of money but that still gets you thrilled about riding it. Buying a scooter without good enough specifications in order to save some money often ends in disappointment while getting a more expensive one might turn into a pricey lesson.
Take a scooter that’s visible
Sometimes, scooter riders get involved in accidents because their vehicles are physically smaller and more difficult to spot, especially at night. So make sure your scooter makes you as visible as possible for other traffic participants.
Check both the headlight and the tail light to be powerful enough so you will be safe on the road. Don’t go for the modern-looking scooters with small tail lights and signal lights and choose a vehicle painted in a bright color.
Furthermore, you can add more light to your vehicle and wear reflective clothing to better signal your presence on the road and if you are traveling with friends, stay close to each other. As an additional safety measure, always drive defensively, even if you have the right of way.
Think about road conditions
For the most adaptability and convenience, buy or rent a scooter which will do best on the type of road you will be traveling. The roads might not be paved smoothly, or they could be really crowded. So you could be getting yourself in dangerous situations with a large scooter on narrow and overcrowded city streets.
If you will be going through a lot of cities, a smaller scooter is recommended, especially if you plan to go sightseeing a lot. Having a small scooter will save you time while looking for a parking space. However, keep in mind that you should have enough space for your luggage.
Pay attention to the wheels
Two-wheeled vehicles have less contact with the road than a car so it might be harder to control when conditions are rough. When turning or braking on wet pavement, pebbles, or wet leaves, the scooter might slide swiftly and you will get seriously injured.
To avoid this situation, go for a scooter with bigger wheels as it will keep you safer. In addition to the safety part, larger wheels will make the trip more comfortable as they are better at absorbing shocks caused by riding over bumps.
Don’t forget about fuel efficiency
This kind of trip might turn out to be more expensive than you anticipated so you want a scooter with good fuel efficiency. In general, smaller engines are more economical to run. For example, a scooter with a 125cc engine will get an average of 70-90 miles per gallon.
Also, you need to plan all stops for gas during your trip so you won’t end up pushing the scooter to the gas station or calling the roadside assistance.
Make sure it’s comfortable enough
If you’ve never taken a long trip on a scooter or on a motorcycle, you might be surprised by how uncomfortable the seat gets after a few hours. Keep in mind you will spend a lot of time on the scooter and it could cause you a lot of back pain.
You may opt for a model that has a back rest. Your friends could make fun of you for getting a back rest, but it doesn’t matter as long as it increases the scooter’s comfort level. You don’t want to lay in bed for 2 days with a stiff back after a 5-hour trip.
Get a scooter with a windshield
If you ride most of the time in the city, you might not see a lot of use for windshields since your average speed might be around 20-25 mph. However, when you get on the open road, things change a lot.
Feeling how the wind blows as you travel on your scooter is one of the beautiful parts of riding but 2 or 3 hours of driving at 80 miles per hour will be exhausting. After 5 hours on the highway, you will wish to go back home.
Without a windshield, you will slow down after a while to give your arms some rest. So you have two options. Either you start working out 4 times a week, or you buy a scooter equipped with a windshield.
Buy a scooter with enough storage space
Unlike traveling by car, you can’t take with you a lot of baggage if you plan on riding the scooter. So make sure you can fit everything you need in the scooter’s storage space. Although you might need to leave at home a few items, you still need food, repairing kit, first aid kit, etc.
More experienced riders will say that on a motorcycle or scooter trip you’ll get hot, cold and wet. So double check if you have enough clothes, a waterproof jacket, and appropriate gloves.
Technology makes the trip better
If you have more money to spend, choose a scooter with cruise control. Although some riders think cruise control will make driving a scooter too much like driving a car, it will add safety and comfort to your trip.
Being able to accurately keep a constant speed for a longer period of time will keep car drivers from recklessly passing a scooter that’s unintentionally slowed down to a few miles per hour.
How to make the decision
It is very hard to find the perfect scooter for long distance. You must think about its engine size, storage space, fuel efficiency, and how safe you will be when riding that scooter. You may ask a more experienced friend to help you with this decision and don’t forget to trust your gut.