Friday, September 03, 2010


Earlier tonight I delivered my old scooter to its new owner, a young student who wants a cheap ride for pottering about her suburb. She’d never ridden a scooter before, but she fell in love with its retro lines the moment she saw it. She didn’t even haggle over the price.

Her inexperience was so pronounced that it worried me, and I compensated by giving her ever more detailed advice. “You need to check the oil level every few weeks. Keep in the centre of the lane otherwise car drivers will think they can push past you. You need to wear a jacket and protective gloves at all times. And don’t talk to any strange boys while you’re out!”

I’m still at a slight loss to know why she chose mine. It was the cheapest functional one for sale, but only just, and it has quadruple the mileage of most other scooters on Why would anyone pick my scooter over all of the alternatives?

The answer becomes more apparent if you take a closer look at the other Vmoto Milans for sale at the same time as mine:

Example 1: Yellow 2005, 5300kms, $1,500

V MOTO MILAN Jx50 Retro-styled yellow automatic SCOOTER regularly serviced, great condition **Helmet box & Nolan helemt (size med) included** reg March 2011, $1500ono

It's overpriced and the seller misspelled “helmet”, but other than that it’s not so bad. Except for the fact that elsewhere in the ad he claims that it’s a Honda.

Example 2: Silver 2005, 4035kms, $1,050

V moto milan for sale1050 ono
year 2005 rego untill 27/07/2011 millage 4035.
very saving on feul fill in full tank only 5 dollars can make 200km.
it very good to travel around city.
very easy parking almost free every where.
it come with v moto helmet.
if you interrested can contract me on
0422------ (Matt)
location in highgate wa.

It’s nice when a seller tells you that you can contract him. You know, like syphilis.

The Milan is indeed very saving on both feul and fuel… but nowhere near 200kms for $5. Even at the cheapest petrol station in Perth, $5 would equate to around 4 litres, which would get you about 100kms. His claim is double the actual mileage. Or, indeed, the actual millage.

Example 3: Black and aqua 2006, “187907”, $600

Hi, I'm selling a vmoto milian 2stroke scooter in avarage condition no major damage has a few crack in plastic but easly fixable also has a mirror that came off but can be put on very easy. I have brought brant new lights an indercaters for it and the regostration has been payed and is vaild till September next year I put the wrong fuel in the scooter so you need to drain the fuel from it and put in unleaded really easy job can do bye hand. The scooter runs very very well it can reach 70kph and 65kph on a flat road. if you wish to buy please email me - or txt/call me on 0406------

Sweet merciful crap. This ad contains 119 Words, 12 of which, or approximately 10%, are spelled incorrectly. There’s also 1 missing hyphen, 8 missing words, 3 missing full stops and 3 missing capitals. And we’d better not judge his grammar… he might think we’re insulting an elderly relative.

Beyond the technicalities, this ad poses any number of bafflements. In the fact box he claims that the odometer reads “187907”, but does the odometer even go that high? If the multitudinous repairs are so easy to do, why hasn’t he done them? How can a scooter with cracked bodywork, a missing mirror and a tank full of the wrong fuel be described as being in average condition? Is a scooter capable of reaching “70kph and 65kph” actually doing 135kph? And if a tree falls in a forest and hits this guy in the head, will it make a blind bit of difference?

Example 4: Red 2005, 66kms, $2,000+

red and cream coloured scooter for sale, made in 2005 only ever done 66ks. Hi my name is Shantell and I have a great condition scooter up forsale it works great and is a gem to handle i bought it for 5000 and unfortuantly have to sell it, but the great part about it is. Im selling it loads cheaper, $2500, or 2000 cash upfront, can deliver if needed, it is not licensed as i have not been able to ride it for a while due to illness. if you are interested please contact me on (08)9351---- (08)9351---- or email me on

The Flatmate and I have seriously discussed whether Shantell is mentally disturbed or just a compulsive liar.

This is actually the second version of Shantell’s advertisement - in the first she claimed that she had imported the scooter from Italy. Given that Vmoto is an Australian company, and their scooters are manufactured in China, I’d wager that the closest this machine has ever been to an Italian is when a pizza delivery guy drove past the showroom.

She did not buy this scooter for $5000, because they can be purchased brand new for less than half that price. It’s unlikely to have only done 66kms in five years, since it’d be almost that far to drive it from the dealership to her house. It’s also unlikely to be in great condition if it’s been sitting around with an expired registration. And judging from the photo the floormat is missing.

I understand that some people do not speak English well, or are dyslexic. I understand that some people don’t have any respect for the art of language. I even understand that some people are dumber than a sack of doorknobs. What I don’t understand is the listlessness with which these people are attempting to sell their scooters. Is it really that hard to find out the name of the manufacturer, the fuel economy or the odometer reading?

Of course the really terrifying thing is that all of these people are endorsed by law to get behind the wheels of cars and drive on public roads. Albeit backwards, in a cloud of oily smoke, with one wheel missing.


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