What good is a scooter?
In Europe, the 125cc Piaggio Liberty is a workhorse, delivering everything from pizza to the mail. And it’s a reliable a commuter. A 150cc version has just now become available in the USA.
If you are looking for something light for the street, the Liberty only weighs 255 lbs. without fuel. But the lighter the bike the smaller the engine. Why? I don’t know exactly but it probably has something to do with staying alive. You only get 150 cc’s.
You can have a 150 cc motorcycle, but a small engine requires a lot of shifting to keep the rpms in the maximum power range. A scooter has a simple automatic transmission and is more or less always in the right gear. No shifting required.
The Liberty engine is the same air cooled, fuel injected, three valve unit used in the much more expensive Vespa. 77 mpg, actual, reported on fuelly.com
The big wheels, 16 inch front and 14 rear, help on rough roads and produce handling more like a motorcycle than a small-wheeled scooter.
There’s a big glove box up front and good storage under the seat. You can get by without a top box, at least around town. The seat is 31 inches off the ground and pretty narrow in the front, making it easy to put your feet down. No side-stand, but the center stand is easy to operate.
You only get a top speed of 60 mph, and 45-50 is probably more in the comfort range, so you are talking minimalist transportation. Keeping up with traffic is a matter of either picking your roads or occasionally moving over to let cars go by.
Think of it this way, the Liberty is out of the box faster than any hot-rodded 50-60 cc Honda Ruckus, and I would love to go around Lake Winnipesaukee on a Ruckus. I like minimalist thinking, but I don’t want to get run over either. With 13 horsepower, the Liberty has just enough to stay out of trouble.
You can buy a Piaggio Liberty 150 at Herb Chambers Vespa in Boston for about $3600, out the door.
Am I going to buy one?
Very tempting. This is one of the very few practical scooters that look good to me and I am a big fan of things that look good. But I would want to keep my ’97 BMW F650 and I know my wife will say “you don’t have room for it” and be right.
In fact, she did say it.
How did this post turn into thoughts on shed building?