Low-Power Scooters: A Guide

It's summer in Colorado and I recently became obsessed with scooters. Vespa style, not Razor or mobility scooters.

Anyway, having done minimal research, I desperately replied to every ad on Craigslist I could find. I heard back from approximately zero people, except one girl who had already sold hers. That's not true. I also heard back from this other guy selling a tiny motorized bike that he advertised as a scooter, but didn't post photos of. I was duped into texting him about it and next thing I know I'm thinking about buying this things even though I don't want it just because I'm scared to tell him I'm not interested. Hmm...sounds a lot like my dating life. JUST KIDDING, I have a wonderful boyfriend. He's pretty awesome (please see photo).

So about two days into this wild search I find some guy either on Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace. Speaking of which, have you used that marketplace? It's freaking awesome! I highly recommend it. Either way, he bought this scooter off of his neighbor a couple of years before, it sat in the garage all winter and then had some trouble idling, so he just wanted to get rid of it.

Side note: The Craigslist Killer is a real thing, so if you're a lady, please don't go around looking at random scooters by yourself. It's a sick world out there.

So I buy the scooter from this guy for a few hundred bucks, my incredibly talented boyfriend worked his magic and we got this thing running! I can honestly say it has been one of the better purchases I've made lately. I zip all around the neighborhood for fun or to run errands and there is nothing better than feeling the wind in my hair! It's also a big hit at parties, so if you plan on throwing a party, DEFINITELY pick up a scooter along with the beer and cheese plates.

Enough about the history. Here's what you need to know about scooters:

Low-power scooters don't require a special license.

That's right, people. Just a regular driver's license will do the trick! No motorcycle endorsements needed.

Low-power scooters are 50cc and under in Colorado.

I don't know what other states look like, but the State of Colorado considers the scooter to be low-power if it is anything up to and including 50cc. This is important to know because a lot of people think that 50cc disqualifies the scooter as low-power.

Scooters have to be registered just like a car does.

No, you don't need a special endorsement to drive one. Yes, you still need to register it. You can mail your registration in and the DMV will send you a little sticker back (good for three years) that goes on your scooter. It's weird because the registration requires a VIN, bill of sale and proof of insurance, but does NOT require a title. So if you're afraid you're buying a stolen scooter from the Craigslist Killer, turns out you only need to be afraid of being murdered, not arrested for purchasing a stolen vehicle.

Wear a freaking helmet.

This is not a request, I am demanding this of you. Scooter and motorcycle crashes are not a matter of if, they are a matter of when. I don't care if you're only riding the thing down the block, there will always be:
  • Somebody who doesn't see you
  • Somebody who doesn't see you because they're texting
  • Somebody who runs a stop sign
  • Somebody who doesn't hear you (scooters aren't that loud)
  • Ice on the road
  • Rain on the road
  • Gravel on the road
  • Children on the road
I could go on for days about the hazards of motorcycles and scooters. JUST BUY THE FREAKING HELMET.

Do you know what the top two questions I get about my scooter are?
  1. Have you laid it on its side yet?
  2. You wear a helmet, right?
And those questions typically come from people that have or have had a scooter. Your life is worth a lot more than the $80 the helmet costs.

You need a battery tender.

It's like $25 on Amazon. Your battery will die otherwise and that just sucks!

Your idle jet will clog if your gas tank isn't emptied over the winter.

Gas goes bad and at 100+ mpg on a scooter, your gas might go bad long before you have the chance to use it. When gas goes bad it gets all gross and gooey and clogs up things it shouldn't. One of them is your idle jet. So when winter is over and you take your scooter out of storage and wonder why it dies every time you slow down or stop...it's your idle jet. You don't need a new carburetor, just a little cleaning in the jet.

I wish I would have known this stuff when I first bought my scooter because these are issues you'll inevitably run into and it's surprisingly difficult to get a straight answer about scooter problems in a Google search.

Happy scooting!

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