2003 Scooter Update

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2003 Scooter Update

Making The Scene

One of Kozmo.com’s most memorable traits of their short-lived legacy was seeing bright orange scooters all over town bringing snacks and videos to online Seattleites with a zest for convenience.

And while Kozmo is gone today, scootering in Puget Sound is building steadily. An interesting piece ran in the September 22nd issue of the Seattle times, noting the various ways people have changed their habits to adapt to the traffic. But the Times neglected to point out that many people have switched to scooters as a mode of transportation for skirting through rush hour traffic and snagging up precious parking where cars can’t slip in.

Many things have changed since our last update on scootering in Puget Sound . There are more clubs, more models, more dealers and more riders. Because of the economic crunch and mounting traffic factors in the region, we may well be on our way to seeing scooter ownership levels of the early 80’s when a street like University Way was wall to wall scoots. But there’s another reason people are discovering scooting – IT’S FUN!!!!

Your Choice: Big or Retro

New "retro" styled scooters abound. Vespa has reentered the U.S. Market in the last 18 months with outstanding results. Victor Voris of Big People Scooters reports sales of more than 200 units on the new 50 and 150cc models. Both Yamaha and Honda have introduced stylish retro models, the Vino (above/right) and Metropoliton respectively which are selling steadily out the doors at University Honda and other franchises.

One of the biggest breakthroughs this year in scootering was the release of super scooters from Honda and Aprilia (see separate feature). Honda's 600cc Silver Wing and Aprilias 500cc Atlantic are every bit as fun as smaller scooters, but put you on the freeway and into a confident passing mode on command. Each of these scoots will hit close to 100 miles per hour and have plenty of storage under their seats: making them great for around town errands, or an overnight trip anywhere in Washington or beyond.

Other lines making their mark with new models in Puget Sound are Kymco, Derbi and the return of Bajaj.

One brand that hit the market big, and recently left with a bang was Italjet. The sleek Dragster and euro-styled models arrived in the U.S. three years ago but disappeared from showroom floors last spring when the company’s importer- a BMW dealership out of New York- failed to provide needed parts for warranty and service repairs.


The creation of a Vespa Club of Seattle two years ago marked Piaggios re-entry in U.S. Vespa sales. Today the club is going strong with 48 regular members and a plethora of guests arriving at the annual Scooter Insanity event each summer in July. The club meets the first Tuesday of each month at the Fairview Grill in Seattle.

There are a number of other Italian groups and gatherings locally. Clubs like The Flying Monkeys, R-Gang and the Belledonnas put on events like Festering Oktober Scoot, a Spring Opener ride and a donut run - which is simply a crawl from one donut shop to the next. Events in Portland and Vancouver draw a number of owners over the state line for good times too.

In the world of plastic the Northwest Scooter Enthusiasts (at right in Chinook Pass) continue to maintain a monthly ride schedule and regular meetings at the Latona Tavern the first Wednesday of each month at 7pm. The group consists primarily of super and maxi scoot owners who are riding Silver Wings, Atlantics and an occasional Helix. While the monthly Sunday rides are open to larger cc’s scoots only, the summer weeknight rides are all within the city of Seattle and all scoots are welcome. A new South Sound based plastic scoot group has formed as well.

Dealer Me In

In the last two years the number of dealerships carrying a wide array of scooters has grown. Interbay Scooters has opened up along Seattle’s 15th Avenue NW and carries the entire line of Kymco. Moto International recently became an Aprilia dealer and carries the entire line of Aprilia scooters and motorcycles. Maharaja Motors in Lake City has brought in the entire line of Bajaj and Peugot offerings and now sports its own dealership name of Scooters of Seattle. The Ducati dealership in Seattle also continues to stock scooters, currently from Derbi and Malaguti.

Look for a Vespa boutique downtown in Seattle in the not too distant future and a number of Piaggio models showing up at Georgetown’s Big People Scooters- which currently stocks and services Vespa.

PT/Fall 02




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