Scooters VS Motorcycles: What’s better for commuting?For navigating Kathmandu’s clogged streets, two-wheelers make for probably the best options.
A scooter is a light two-wheeler with an enclosed engine, a floorboard for resting your feet and, usually, leg guards. Back in the day, scooters used to be regarded in Nepal as a vehicle primarily made for women and girls but that thought has changed with time, and now it is inscreasingly used by both sexes.
Motorcycles too are no longer seen as the domain of one particular sex these day: instead of their being as only vehicles to be used by men, some women are starting to opt for motorbikes too.
- Easy as abc: Scooters are exceedingly easy to ride. In fact, making the leap from bicycles to scooters is not that difficult.
- Clutch-free: Since most scooters have an automatic transmission all you have to do is start it up and twist the throttle and you’re good to go. There’s no hassle of changing gears and matching the throttle-torque and clutch.
- Better in the wind and rain: We all know how hard it is to ride a bike during winter or in the rainy season. During winter, motorbike rides can turn into painfully cold outings; but the front half of scooters, which includes the leg guard, protect your legs from the onrushing cold air. Thus, no joint pain. During the rainy season, the same front half acts a guard that protects your legs and shoes from water splashes.
- Storage space: Scooters have a storage space under the seat to keep your bags, helmets and any baggage that can fit in there. This space comes in handy not only when you are out shopping and so on but also for storing your helmet—an accessory that is prone to getting stolen.
- Fuel efficiency: Scooters today boast better fuel efficiency than their precursors did, but they still offer less mileage than commuter bikes. If you’d rather not spend too much on fuel, then you might want to pass on scooters.
- Small fuel tank: Their below-average fuel efficiency and a small fuel tank means you’ll have to make constant stops at the gas station: in most models, the scooter’s fuel pump was sacrificed to create space for the storage box.
- Not as fun as riding a bike: While it is true that it’s really easy and convenient to ride a scooter, for many, it’s still not as fun as riding a bike. Some people like to change gears according to the terrain they are riding on—something that is not possible on a scooter. Yes, there are some scooters with gears, but they don’t have a manual clutch, and what’s the fun is changing gears without a clutch?
- Plastic body: Most of the scooters have plastic bodies—the manufacturers opted for this material to make scooters lighter; but plastic fairings can also mean trouble. God forbid you crash, but if you do go down when riding a scooter, there’s a high probability that most of the plastic parts will get damaged, and you’d be in for a costly visit to the repair shop.
- Fuel efficiency: The commuter bikes of today are extremely fuel-efficient. I have even seen claims by companies promising 80+km per litre, which is a lot, and scooters can’t compare with that.
- Fast: Commuter motorcycles pack more punch than scooters and are quicker too. If you are a speed freak, then you’d obviously want a motorbike.
- Better handling and brakes: Motorcycles have better
handling and brakes than scooters. As far as these criteria are
concerned, motorbikes easily outclass scooters.
- No storage space: Yes, you can hang your helmet with a helmet-lock but it won’t be as safe or convenient as a scooter’s storage box is.
- Traffic jams: Constantly shifting gears through traffic gridlocks can be annoying. And if you are not careful with the way you ease and pull the clutch, you can put a lot of strain on it.
- Riding in winter and in the rain: Unlike scooters, most bikes (unless you install leg guards) don’t protect your legs like scooters do. On most bikes, your legs are exposed to the cold wind and puddle splashes too.
Weigh your options well and buy the two-wheeler that suits your personality. Ride safe! Happy riding!