Monday, August 30, 2010


Despite the prediction I made in this post, that I’d let inertia rule my life and stick with my old scooter until it fell apart, I’ve gone and purchased a new one.

Well, new for me. I bought a 2009 Piaggio Zip.

The word that springs to mind to describe the new scooter is "snazzy"... a term which is not entirely positive.

From an engineering perspective the new scooter is superior. It's better built with a more sophisticated engine, the ride is more comfortable and it’s more fuel efficient. When I turn it on it burbles competently, unlike the old one, which whines like an irritable hedge trimmer.

However from a design perspective, both practically and aesthetically, it's the loser. It lacks the gorgeously rounded retro lines of the old scooter. The new scooter has big flat slabs of plastic covering all of its internals, which means that there are no places for me to clip my garage door remote, and the shaped footwell means that I can't safely stow my briefcase at my feet like I used to. And that colour is the gayest shade of yellow yet conceived.

You might wonder why I didn't just buy a new version of my old scooter:

The simple fact is that despite the lovely lines and graceful design, the old scooter was all style and no substance, thrown together using cheap parts and corner-cutting mechanicals. It was also the last of the Vmoto models built with any eye to longevity – the new models are designed to last barely 10,000kms. If I rode a new one as much as I did the old one, it would probably die within two or three years. The Piaggio, being better built with a hardy four-stroke motor, should still be ferrying me about in a decade’s time.

So I’m confident that I made the right choice. I can actually feel the improved quality as I ride it, and the whole point of owning a scooter is to commute to work as cheaply and efficiently as humanly possible. Still, I’ll miss the charm of the old one.


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