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Archive for May, 2010

May 14, 2010

What’s cool?

Who doesn’t want to be cool? Whether it’s new shoes, jeans, a shirt or whatever, it feels great when someone takes notices and says “Now that’s cool!” And it’s okay to feel that way… I still light up when my mom tells me I’m cool.

When it comes to coolness, scooters often get lost in the shuffle. In the old days, cool was driving a big, heavy steel boat of a car that pumped out big power and pumped-in even more gasoline. What made your car even cooler was if you cut the tailpipe short and let your car rattle, bang and snort all over town like a wounded pig.

That was then, this is now.

Scooters are creeping to the frontline of coolness—especially with ballooning gas prices. No longer are people searching for the biggest, baddest thing on the market. Most want small, affordable and easy to use. (If you don’t believe me, look at the increase in sales of compact cars.) You get all that and more with a scooter. Scooters certainly don’t produce the ground shaking power of a cruiser or pure speed of a litre bike, but they have a unique character of their own that anyone can appreciate.

At Yamaha we have many scooter lovers. I surveyed a few of them to see what make scooters so cool and narrowed down their responses into a top-5 list here for you folks. Take a read and let us know if we missed anything….


5. They’re cheap.
Might as well hit you with the high, hard one right away: Scooters are relatively inexpensive to buy, cheap to maintain and cheap to fill up. As stated on Yamaha-motor.ca, our BWs 50 gets up to 52kpl/147mpg. Its fuel capacity is 5.7 litres. Multiply that by today’s average regular fuel price  and you could travel approx 300 km’s for only $6. In fact, the cost of filling up is the same price as two rides of public transit!

4. Easy Peasy
Riding a scooter is almost easier than a bicycle—you don’t even have to peddle! Most scooters are small, light, and maneuverable for riders of all shapes and sizes. No clutch, no gears, just gas and go. Unless you’re climbing onto a TMAX or Majesty (they feature beefy 500cc and 400cc engines) Yamaha’s 50cc and 125cc scooters feature slower revving engines, and their step-through design make it easy to get on and off. A scooter is an ideal segue into motorcycling for those with limited two-wheel experience or a great option for aging motorcyclists. Then again, they are a giggle to ride for anyone!

3. One size fits all
There’s no bigger pain (especially for a country boy like me) than trying to find a parking spot on a busy city street, let alone a free one. If I had a scooter though, my problem would be quickly solved. When it comes to parking, one size really fits all with scooters. You could park two, three, maybe even four scooters into a spot occupied by a bulky SUV. Fewer cars parked on the streets means less congestion. Major cities like Toronto are realizing these benefits, and now allow free meter parking to scooters. Cool, eh?

Mr. Scooter Sense, Bryan Hudgin, would like to see Canadian government take a bigger stand for scooters. Some provinces do allow 14 year olds and up to own and operate them, and Toronto features free meter parking for scooters. We’re getting there…

2. Age of minority
Teenagers rejoice, your freedom awaits … well, in most provinces anyways. Quebec, Alberta and New Brunswick allow 14 year olds to own and operate a 50cc scooter; in BC, Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba you can ride one with a regular driving license. Sadly, the province featuring the worst traffic jams and frustrations—Ontario—is also the most difficult to obtain licensing to ride a scooter. You need a motorcycle specific license (written and two-wheel road test) before turning the key.

Obviously some are against allowing people as young as 14 to drive, but IMO, it’s a slow and steady way for them to build confidence and develop awareness and knowledge of the road before getting behind the wheel of much faster and heavier vehicles. As Don McKellar  said in a news article, “I rode dirt bikes and you fell down and skinned your knees. You get up, realize you’re mortal and there are consequences to bad decisions.”

And the number one reason why scooters are cool: they are an absolute hoot to ride! Seriously. Before you make any jokes, you’ve got to ride one first. I was guilty of teasing our resident “BeeWee Man” Aaron Dowden for riding his in to work everyday … that is until I got off my high horse and rode it around the parking lot. I didn’t want to get off the bike! And for you younger readers, scooters are cooler than walking, way cooler than taking the bus, and compared to getting dropped off by your mom—we won’t even go there!


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Posted @ 11:24 am in Commuting   
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May 12, 2010

Good Reads

I was reviewing some web stats on Google Analytics recently, and came across two articles that peaked my interest:  “The Story of the VMAX” and “Birth of the XV1900.” Normally I’m not much of a tech guy, but our MC product manager John Bayliss does a wonderful job of taking readers through the stages of developing a bike (it’s not all done in Japan!) start to finish.

I’m trying to talk him into resurrecting these great articles with a new one on the history of the YZF-R1 …maybe you blog readers could help persuade him? Because my knowledge of motorcycles isn’t even comparable to that of a legend like Bayliss, I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking the reigns. However, I wouldn’t be against bringing you the story behind Yamaha’s YZF motocross machines …. if there were enough interest.


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