My ride for the past few days has been a modified Yamaha Mio scooter that a friend is trying to get me to buy.
The original Mio, released in 2003, had a displacement of a little over 110cc and was meant for short trips to the grocery store. This one, though, has been modified to have an effective displacement of 150cc and is meant for illegal street races. It also has a G@Zi damper and a big-bore muffler. All these mean, in non-technical terms, that it is a shitty bike.
The electric starter is too weak to kick over the engine, especially so on cold mornings. When it does manage to get the engine running, though, the effort drains the battery faster than pitting Ultraman against a mid-level alien beast.
You can, of course (and will have to), use the kick starter. The larger displacement, though, means more compression. That also means it takes more effort to get the scooter started. You need to put your entire weight into it, and sometimes that is not enough. I’ve spent many awkward seconds climbing onto the kick start lever and waiting for it to give way under my weight . Sometimes it works. Most often, it doesn’t. A swift front kick to the side fender never works although it will help you feel better.
Even when you get it going, it still presents problems. The damper is much wider than the stock shock absorber and gouges bits of rubber from the rear tire. The muffler is too loud, ensuring extra scrutiny from traffic enforcers, something that no rider welcomes.
“This is no fun,” I tell my girlfriend as we tool down White Plains after half an hour of trying to get the thing started. In the end, it took the combined efforts of three men (and a woman smart enough to call for help from others) to get it going. The ride down EDSA was done in nervous silence because the scooter was too loud and it vibrated so much I developed arthritis within minutes.
That’s the thing, I guess. Motorcycles and scooters are supposed to be fun. Sure, they’re stylish and are sometimes bad ass. But the bottom line of riding is that it should be fun. And if, when you strip away the bells and whistles and dampers and engine blocks, there is no fun to be found, then you are missing the point.