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2010 Yamaha Zuma 125 First Ride

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Semi-knobbie tires provide some grip for the dirt.
Yamaha's Zuma 125: Tough styling for a tough world.
Why can't they be like we were,
Perfect in every way?
What's the matter with kids?
What's the matter with kids?
What's the matter with kids today?
– “Bye Bye Birdie,” 1958

Seriously, what is the matter with kids these days? I'm not talking about the weird unpronounceable drugs they take (LSD was good enough for grandpa, and it's good enough for you! Why, in my day we didn't have Oxycontin: we had to steal Valium from our mothers...) or their penchant for mixing gangsta'-style ball caps with Dead Kennedys T-shirts (“um, I think it was like a TV show or something”) or even their creepy obsession with social networking websites (“What? You only have 1100 Facebook friends? You know, you can totally get treated for Social Anxiety Disorder...”). No, my beef with them is their seeming disinterest in two-wheeled transportation.

When I was 18—and maybe this describes you, too—I discovered scooters and I could think of little else besides food and sex (hey, I was 18). I had no Wii, no X-Box, no MySpace. But I had a Yamaha Riva 180, there was no helmet law, and to say I felt an awesome rush of freedom accelerating up to that bike's sizzling 65 mph top speed is serious understatement. Suddenly, suburban Marin county didn't seem so remote: San Francisco was 20 minutes away and I was a man of the world. Twenty-two years later and that feeling of liberation has yet to diminish.

The Zuma fears no urban environment  thanks to its rugged construction and fat tires.
The Zuma fears no urban environment, thanks to its rugged construction and fat tires.
Which is why a phone conversation with Yamaha Motor Corporation USA's Product Planning Manager, Derek Brooks, was a shocker. Yamaha's zippy, zesty, seemingly youth-oriented Zuma 125 scooter isn't being bought by youths. The average age of Zuma 125 owners is a Methuselah-ish 48. In fact, 49 percent of Zuma 125 buyers are over 50, while only 11 percent are under 30. “You would imagine the kids that grew up on dirt bikes would naturally transition to scooters as they reach the driving age.” said Brooks. “However, we're not seeing as much of that as we would like. They typically get too focused on getting their first car at that point.” A car? Really? They are missing out, because when it comes to getting your first taste of automotive freedom, it's tough to beat a simple, fun scooter like this.

For many years, Yamaha has had its Zuma scooters built by vendors—the first one was built by MBK in France, with later models coming from a company in Taiwan. Yamaha now makes the Zuma 125 in Yamaha's own Taiwanese facility. It's pretty standard scooter construction, with a tube-steel chassis and plastic bodywork. Twin shocks hold up the back end, and the skinny 27mm fork tubes get plastic covers to make them look more beefy and protect them from debris. What is beefy are the fat, semi-knobby tires, a 120/70-12 front and 130/70-12 rear designed for grip and handling on a wide variety of surfaces, and maybe—just maybe—to pull those kids from the motocross track over to the scooter side of the showroom. A disc brake in front a drum in the back handle stopping duties.

Widely spaced mirrors  easy-to-read instruments and wind-cheating handguards make the Zuma 125 nicely equipped.
Widely spaced mirrors, easy-to-read instruments and wind-cheating handguards make the Zuma 125 nicely equipped.
The engine is built for reliability, torque and efficiency. It's a fuel-injected, four-valve, four-stroke Single with a single overhead cam and sporty 10.0:1 compression. Electric start makes operation easy, and an oiled-paper filter keeps off-road operation from ruining the motor, which uses a built-in centrifugal oil filter: an oil change is just that, with no new filter required. Transmission is fully automatic CVT with belt drive.

Styling is simple and aggressive. Those big rally-racer headlamps light the night with twin halogen bulbs—one for a 60w high beam, the other a 55w low—the leg shield is narrow, there are dirtbike-style handguards bolted to the exposed tube handlebar, and a compact (but complete with fuel gauge) instrument panel hides under a tiny fly screen. The frame tubes are exposed, and kind of like Marky Mark, the scooter manages to look tough and cute at the same time.

Gabe found the Zuma 125s seat surprisingly high. Hes 5-foot-6  but says hes 5-foot-8   for reference.
Gabe found the Zuma 125's seat surprisingly high. He's 5-foot-6 (but says he's 5-foot-8), for reference.
Getting on board the Zuma, the first thing I notice is that it's not your average Asian-sized scooter. It's roomier than a 50cc Zuma and it's a good fit for me at 5-foot-6. The seat is high, giving plenty of legroom but actually making it hard to reach the ground at stops unless I slide forward. It is broad and comfortable, and there's plenty of room for a passenger. Extenede trips may reveal the thin nature of the foam, but at least there's about five gallons of storage under the seat: a full-face helmet fits just fine with careful positioning. There's no rack, just a grab handle, but a rack is available in Yamha's accessory catalog. It's rated for just 10 pounds, so it may not be the best mount for an aftermarket topbox, limiting the Zuma's cargo capacity. There is also no bag hook in front, although Yamaha's accessory catalog does include a Big-Ten-ready beverage holder.

Starting and going is as easy as it gets. Fuel-injection and electric start ensure the engine fires quickly and is instantly ready to roll. Acceleration is snappy, with noticeably more torque down low than the two-stroke 50cc Zuma. Staying ahead of cars and SUVs is no problem, and the bike keeps a stable, substantial feel at speed. Top speed is just under 60 mph tucked in, and although I may or may not have been able to barely keep up with slow-moving traffic on Orange County's slow-moving 405 freeway, the 125 is not legal for use on divided roadways in California and other states. Instead, like the Honda Elite 110, it's perfect for fast-moving suburban arterials that might swallow up a smaller scoot. Stopping from the tiny front disc and rear drum is adequate, if not eyeball-flattening.

Handling is nimble and easy thanks to a short wheelbase and wide handlebars.
Handling is nimble and easy thanks to a short wheelbase and wide handlebars.
Handling is, as you'd expect, similarly trouble-free. Although the 125 weighs in about 60 pounds heavier than the 50, the wheelbase is just a half-inch longer at 50.8 inches, so quick steering and a light feel is in full effect. The bigger tires don't really slow steering much, but they do go over potholes, curbs and landscaped college quads nicely, and the quasi-knobbie tread gives confidence (if not that much actual grip) on dirt and gravel. Psychological or not, that apparent dirt-readiness makes the Zuma 125—and 50—a leading choice for the RV crowd.

The main difference between a scooter review and a motorcycle review is that practical, day-to-day functioning is center stage when you're writing about scooters. If the Zuma was a motorcycle, I would have a hard time getting excited about it: 55 mph, which is close to top speed on the Zuma, is where an open-class sportbike shifts into second gear. But can you put your helmet under the seat? Can you ride it while drinking a beverage? And how are you feeling about that insurance payment, bunky? For day-to-day, run-of-the-mill trips around town, nothing beats a scooter, and a ruggedly built, low-maintenance scoot like this Zuma especially fits the bill. Should you maintain a bike like this by the book? Of course. Do you have to? Probably not: I worked in a scooter shop in San Francisco, and the profusion of wretched-looking Yamaha Riva and Zuma scoots that still staggered here and there, zombie-like, after years—decades, sometimes—of abuse was a daily surprise. Will a highly-tuned sportbike stand up to the kind of neglect and abuse that is sure to befall a two-wheeled vehicle used as daily transportation? It can, given enough time and energy. Or you could just get a scooter and occasionally check the oil. Or not: it'll probably run for years anyway.

Were trying to get Gabe to quit smoking. Its probably why hes so short.
A good example of how to not get good gas milage from the Zuma. Although fun per gallon is through the roof!
It won't use much gas in that time, either. Yamaha claims 89 mpg in EPA testing, which isn't real-world: expect more like 50-70 mpg, depending on how you ride. That should be good enough to squeeze almost 100 miles out of the 1.6-gallon tank. That's a lot of trips to the video store or other short-to-medium-range hops.

So given this attractive, low-cost, fun and easy transportation alternative, why aren't the young folk buying cheap, cheerful scooters and small motorcycles like their parents and (I hate to say this, fellas) grandparents did in the '60s and '70s? Maybe it's money: although a new 2010 Zuma 125 is just $3190 (adjust it for purchasing power and it's the equivalent of about $560 in 1970 dollars), the recent financial crisis (remember that?) has tightened up credit, making it likely that a younger buyer won't be able to “finance the steam off a hot bowl of soup,” as a crusty old sales manager of mine liked to say. Sure, scooter and motorcycle prices in real dollars haven't gone up too much, but the cost of other things—medical care, tuition and housing—have really shot up, making purchases of “fun” things like motorcycles tougher.
Aussie Zuma buyers may want to install roo guards  but Yamaha only stocks a windscreen and luggage rack as accessories.
Will the Zuma of the new decade be enough to capture more of the younger riders?

Another reason may be distractions: there are a zillion things young people can spend money on. From snowboarding to BMX bicycles to Cancun vacation packages, everything is relentlessly marketed to youths 18-30. And that marketing is sophisticated, with many billions of dollars spent annually to reach youth buyers. Yamaha and the other motorcycle manufacturers are as forward-thinking as the next guy, but fighting such odds must be daunting.

It's a shame. The Zuma 125 is as good a scooter as you'll find; tough, durable, flexible and a blast to ride. Forty years ago, that was enough to get a whole generation onto two wheels: today, you can't even get their attention, and that's a shame.
2010 Yamaha Zuma 125 First Ride Gallery
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Piglet2010   October 6, 2011 08:02 PM
50 to 70 mpg real world? My NT700V has been getting 55+ mpg on a "green" engine, while my NHX110 is averaging about 95 mpg as close as I can tell (hard to fill up the tank to the same level every time).
Ren Schmidt -Pres. of Revanche2strokes.com  January 16, 2011 06:57 PM
The general problem, i would be willing to bet is, people got used to a machine that was light, inexpensive, easy to work on, super reliable and had a very snappy powerband. Like all things with the big 4, they get established, they get a top rating and become number one or two in the world, with 2 strokes, then when they have control over a special market segment. They abandon the stroker, for inferior machines that cost soooo much more, are more difficult to work on and very complicated. Then when it doesn't sell, they wonder why. All they need to do is look at Europe, the Euro's have kept 2 stroke scooters, motocross bikes and are always looking to advance 2 stroke street bikes. They are giving the people what they want and the Jap's are NOT!! Soon, they will get it, I hope it's too late and then they are forced to bring back the simple and fun 2 stroke. Everything in the world gets increasingly more complcated, but not everyone wants this to happen on every front.
Matt -Mike  September 18, 2010 08:44 AM
What is wrong with you my friend? "Gender-bending toy's", are you kidding me? Ive owned many 2-wheeled vehicles, scoots, crotch rockets and cruisers. Out of all of them, I never had as much fun as I did on my Honda Ruckus, just a 50cc scoot. I can't really pin point what it was about it that was so much fun but it just was. I got a feeling your bothered by a lot of things in your life Mike, not just Scooters.
zain abbas -great  September 6, 2010 06:58 AM
that scooti bike was fanmtastick
Irv H -Darth Mouth  July 28, 2010 06:53 AM
Like Neil points out, the CVT is not useful for bumpy roads. The manual shift/auto clutch Yamaha Lagenda has a chain drive. It sells for $1100 in Malaysia. Why do they give us a 125 CVT at $4000?? You can easily find a good used 650 vstar for $5000.
Ted -LML / Vespa Scooter...the "proper" ones :-)  July 8, 2010 09:09 AM
Hi all,
I have been riding Lambrettas and Vespas here in the UK since the days when you had to mix your own oil with the gas and if you couldn't kick it, then you didn't get it started.
ALL of these scooters came witrh a clutch on the left and twist gears shift......lambrettas always seemed a bit faster, but used to rattle more. Bolted on panels. The Vespa, now made from the same pressings by LML (google them) and come from India. UK has tight emission laws on two strokes but this is about one of the last "strangled" 125cc and 150cc (if you can get them) still available new. The NEW, NEW LML is a 4 stroke...YUK, just don't sound right for a scooter :-)

I have just bought a brand new (black) LML and had it de restricted.......running in nicely now it has been up jetted a little and got the sports exhaust on......probably still only good for about 65 mph, but at least faster than the little TGB R50X that I had. Big body scooter, twist and go and 13" wheels gave fantastic road holding,and the double disc brakes were great, but topped out at 40mph....."sleeping speed" :-(
I found I was getting careless, so needed the clutch and gears again to keep me on my toes and the standard 10" wheels are no quite as good as the TGB grip .....but better on the rubber than they were in the 60's.

THOUGHT for the DAY.

Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly

rich -Cheap, Old, Contrary, But Too Young To Die  April 15, 2010 09:43 AM
If you're old and cheap like me, and you don't go too far, a 50cc scooter is OK. I sometimes think about paying $100/year to insure it, but not sure I could cause enough damage for this to make sense. For me it is largely about not giving money to insurance company, state, local police, etc. It's pretty fun to ride, but more fun to to pull right up to store, park on sidewalk (and not pay meters), etc. Note: I have heard of VA residents getting tickets on their 50cc scooters for no license plates driving in DC... . That said, the 125- up class has advantages. The cost to insure, license, tag, etc. is minor, and now you've got something you can take on 495. I don't agree that you may as well get a motorcycle after you pass the 50cc mark. The scooter is twist and go; you feel like a kid again. A motorcycle is better on most levels, but it's complex, more expensive, and more of a responsibility than a scooter (at least it feels that way). I am still enjoying my cheap, crappy-but-rideable Chinese 50 cc scooter. I can pull any part to clean/replace, etc. in no time. New cylinder head? No problem. Can remove/clean/replace carb in 20 mins.; 10 if I want to impress someone. New tire - $10. And/or I can just go buy another one new for $700. I've ridden motorcycles all my life, and although I downgraded to the 50cc scooter, I am still having fun, saving even more money, and not feeling like I have another car-like vehicle to maintain. And since I cannot go 120 mph anymore, I may even live longer. I think I will stick with the 50cc until The Man finds a way to tax it. Next, I want to cancel my cable TV and Internet service. Another waste of money that is keeping me from riding on this gorgeous day. That is all. Except that if you are young and want to get laid, buy the biggest, loudest, dumbest Harley you can afford. This is something I have struggled with for decades. I cannot explain it, but I know it to be true.
mikeebikee -uh...yeah they did...?  April 14, 2010 03:28 PM
Actually, cell phones were invented over 50 years ago. They have been in constant and continual use (way before you had one) for over 30 years. Although the technology of the day has allowed for smaller hardware, and continually greater content and information to be transmitted to a personal device, this should only open the door for effective low cost advertising to reach a greater number of people. -M-
Neil -Had one - sold it - suspension horrid with bad roadsq  March 30, 2010 02:03 PM
I live in the Boston area and the roads get so beaten up in winter that the Zuma 125 could not handle the bumps at 35-45 mph. The cars are moving right along and even after putting some aftermarket shocks on it, it was still terrible and an absolute deal breaker. Budget stiff as nails Twin pogo stick shocks do not fit this scooter at all. It needs one shock that does has much better damping. - The motor was fast and fun, however if you live down South away from the frost.
Dumb Parent -Chairman of the Board  March 23, 2010 07:16 PM
I bought 2 zumas last summer for my boys. One was stolen last month. I am going to replace them with a scooter half the price. What an idiot I was. yahama's are stolen more for their parts. I am going with a Fly Il Belo or a BMS Evo both 150cc.
Gabe -Milwakee Mike "less than manly...."  February 24, 2010 01:03 PM
Come on Mike, find somewhere else to spout your drivel! It's much more less manly, for a man to insult folks he's never met, because they aren't riding what he does.Childish too! You're probably a 16 yr old "Harley Rider Wannabe" on your Dad's PC! This attitude is why the Motor Company's in trouble financially.Even HD had a scooter back in the day. Think of the market share they'd have now if they'd stayed with it making it better over the years, like they have their current Motorcycles.I can remember riding Harley's that caused you to get numb from the waist down before a hundred miles! What a blessing that the new ones have become so smooth! Gabe
milwaukee mike -I beleive that scooters are "less than manly"  February 10, 2010 06:45 AM
Of course there will be others that will disagree. However, I've done research and at least one manufacturer did try to appeal to "people with alternative lifestyles"

Fred -Proud owner Feb. 1, 2010 8:30 P.M.  February 1, 2010 06:32 PM
I have wanted a scooter since age 13. For my 65th birthday last Sept. my wife bought me a bright yellow Zuma 125. Well worth the wait. Rides great, last 2 fillups averaged 90 mpg. But the main thing is the fun factor. I've been riding for over 45 years and I must admit my Zuma is the most fun of all. My wife and I rode our Kawasaki Voyager on a 4000 mile trip out west in 2005, and I've been to the Dragon thrice, plus numerous other trips so I'm not a putt around town rider, and I love the twisties, and my Zuma is quite capable there. I can't drag parts like my Voyager does, so zooming in the curves is all the more fun.
zha pa -retired  January 29, 2010 06:32 PM
Amazing form function and presents how can I sell you on what you don't understand nor believe it is difficult.... But let me try
The ZUMA 125 is a function of life that has progressed from the beginnings of scooter life to now witch is multifunctional and able to travel on all roads and dirt paths with out a shift and get you to the trout stream with fishing gear being retired this is a function with a flair not tied to a suv but free and less of a carbon foot print and fun with a style and you can be unusual not the same as others the zuma is a statement of non conformist make your statement
Nick -Maybe it's because  January 27, 2010 12:19 PM
. . . you can get a pretty good used motorcycle for the same three thousand bucks.
toddol1971 -different purpose  January 27, 2010 05:50 AM
I think they should change the style of scooters. Why do they all have to have a step thru. I think a bike with fat knobbish tires, chain drive auto clutch dirtbike styling or bycycle styling with engine choices in the mild 125cc to more aggressive 3 and 400cc would go over real well. Dont make the higher cc models fairing highway cruisers! Same chassis same tires same everything except 2 to 300cc more power. I would buy one. It would be an awesome dual sport adventer bike. I could drive it to town & drive it down easy 1 & 2 tracks on the way there and back without damaging the belt drive cover or system thats on the current scoots (its to low & to big for trail riding). They need to bring something useable for active lifestyles. Sure a tw200 works, but I think something thats 80lbs lighter with the same motor & manual or auto clutch would sell well.
Tacman -Owner  January 26, 2010 06:35 PM
Just a couple of nits. Yamaha sells a $10 Zuma bag hook. I can put 3 or 4 bags of groceries between my feet, then hook them on the hook, and off I go. Also, about the 10-lb rating on the luggage rack, that must be some kind of "lawsuit label" because I can sit on that rack (I weigh 225) and if my wife holds down the handlebars I can bounce up and down on it. It can easily handle more weight than you can put on it. BTW, you're right on target for the range -- I get about 100 miles to each fill-up.
GABE -Simple Life....  January 26, 2010 04:53 PM
I started riding in 1971. There's nothing like the freedom of being on two wheels with the wind in your face! All these years later, It's still an obsession...Just bought a leftover '09 Yammy Zuma125. Raised the gearing for a relaxed 60mph cruise, and added a pipe to help pull the taller cogs. Yeah, I know Milwakee Mike, It's not a Harley Davidson. Now that I can afford to buy one,I don't need one.I retired from three million miles in a big truck, and my wee scoot makes life simple again! And,the wind's still in my face! lol! Like it has been for 4 decades. Whatever y'all ride, Bicycle, moped, scooter, or a Harlry. That's still all that's important... Gabe
Travis B -more! more! more!  January 25, 2010 03:22 PM
1st, marketing if you want to sell these to kids make t.v. commercial
of kids cruzing thru a big city having fun and for pepole like me finding parking in chicago is a real pain w/a car push that oh' and theres that whole 89mpg thing and play that commercial during popular
youth programing so they see it...
2nd, being a younger person myself i need speed all my friends want a sport bike of some brand or another hard to buy a scoot that dose 50-60,mph when you can buy a ninja 250cc for near the same price!
3rd, $$$price$$$ kids don't have a lota cash and there always looking for the best bang for there buck...in short 2 slow 2 much$ and who ever heard of a scooter any way?
milwaukee mike -No kids on Zumas?  January 25, 2010 01:01 PM
That is good news. Maybe these 15-20s youngsters are finally realizing that riding scooters is a "less than manly" way of transportation.
I don't much care for silly little crotch rockets (like the 250 Ninjas), but they are far more exceptable than any silly scooter. And it is comendable that the younger generation realizes this and moves further away from these gender-bending toys.
Wes -Marketing again  January 22, 2010 09:47 AM
I keep reading about "cell phones and iphones" being all the rage with 'kids these days.' Ask yourself this, how often do you see a commercial for wireless service on TV and contrast that with how often you see a motorcycle (let alone scooter) commercial on TV.
Mike Reader -Bikes-to-Scoots  January 20, 2010 11:42 AM
My "progression" to scooters wasn't exactly typical. I had owned numerous motorcycles but always had a slight fascination with scooters. My dad had an old school Kushman (sp?) and when my friend bought a new Vespa three years ago, I fell in love. I bought a 125cc Kymco that I absolutely love and I'm currently looking a getting a Vino 125. I'm thirty but it's a shame that I'm just about the youngest guy on a scooter in my town and I've only seen the growth in scooters rise as the fuel prices skyrocketed last year. They're cheap to own and a ton of fun but it seems that people just don't think they're cool. They just don't know what they're missing!!!
Thomas -So. Can -Zuma One Two Five  January 20, 2010 10:56 AM
It looks like a nice style upgrade from the last zuma with the steel tube being exposed. I wonder why MKE Mike has not responded to any of these posts?? Where are you, you hater????
SAMxrl -boot-SCOOTIN boogie?  January 20, 2010 06:51 AM
I've owned a bunch of motorcycles over the years. When I purchased a 125cc and 150cc scooters I rode the wheels off them. Any motorcyclist that isn't wrapped up in all that brand affiliation and "Image is everything" non-sense would find a way to have a ball on these things. They really are that good at tootin around the city and running errands! In many ways it's kind of refreshing to ride without having to think about shifting. Just hop on and go. When gas prices rise again prospective buyers will flock to the dealerships once again. As for the youth, show them how to text and ride (like they drive) and they might become eager buyers. Otherwise, no loss there....
Old Fart -Zumo - Good Buy  January 20, 2010 05:57 AM
This has the same motor as the Vino 125 which is not imported anymore. These are bullet proof and fun to ride. The Zuma has been in the U.S. for years with a 50cc 2 cycle motor. Kids now days are all spoiled. Why would they want a 125cc scooter when there parents will buy them a car and give them gas money. I am 64 years old and when I was 16 scooters like these were unheard of much less available. This is a good scooter and the Majesty 400cc is even better.
Gunther -a european point of view  January 20, 2010 12:24 AM
Very nice article. Here in europe scooters are pretty popular in the mediterranean countries, where a large group of people use scooters as a fashinable way of transport in busy cities.
Speed limits here are 75mph on the freeway, so most scooters sold are 250-500cc and offer enough room under the seat for two helmets. In these aspects this yamaha just doesn't cut it. Fuel consumption isn't too great either, about on par with a 400cc scoot.

In the netherlands scooters are way less popular, but are beginning to sell better because of the huge traffic problems. I just hope the low costs and tax benefits will get more new riders interested in two wheel transportation.
Brian -agree with others..  January 19, 2010 09:01 PM
I agree with the others here. Motorcycling is dead for our youths. They have little interest in it because their world is different. We (olders) grew up with NO cell phones, computers, video games, etc. Our desire was to GET OUT and explore because their was nothing exciting us at home anymore. Thus...motorcycles were independence! Now a days, youths do not WANT to leave home. They have cell phones, computers, video games, etc, which makes them feel connected and entertained with OUT having to step out the door, no less commute somewhere. Times have changed, and so have youths interests. Our youths lack of adventurous spirit is saddening to say the least. It's time society started "unplugging" themselves from tech stuff and started enjoying REAL life and getting out there!
Broke -Scooters, the gateway drug.  January 19, 2010 07:58 PM
I got into motorcycles because of scooters. Just a short few years ago when the gas prices were first starting to spike; I looked into scooters for economy. I couldn't afford to drive my car to work any longer if the price of gas got to $5 a gallon. We didn't see it spike that high, but it got close. Did some spreadsheet work in Excel, figured out it was indeed more economical for me to buy a scooter and drive it 70% of the year than it was to drive my car. I sought out some scooters, found a MZ Mosquito 110cc on ebaymotors that was in my neighborhood and bought it for $400. No license, no plates, just rode it around my neighborhood. Was a lot of fun, but it could barely do 40mph downhill and the speed limits to work and back are all 55+mph. I'd be slaughtered. But I really liked it, was a lot of fun so I found that a Vespa/Piaggio/Kymco dealer was literally 1/2 a mile from my house. I went and checked out their inventory. Being very ignorant at the time, I sought a 150cc (as that's all my budget could bare). Looked and pondered, but back then a 150cc from those brands were between $4,500-6,000. "That's a lot of money, I'm not sure about this" So I backed out, but at the same shop they sell motorcycle's on consignment. I had grown up under the false-impression that motorcycles were really expensive and for rich kids. Saw a 2001 Suzuki Savage 650 for $1,700. I've never ridden a motorcycle, didn't know what I was doing. But I bought it right there and then. Left it there, got myself a helmet and told my boss who used to ride I bought a motorcycle. He got it home for me and taught me how to ride. I no longer have the Suzuki, but moved onto a better bike and a new obession. I ride year-around, no matter how cold, long as it's mostly dry out. I'm out riding. I did save thousands of dollars on gas, but I ended up diverting all my spare money into bikes. I wish I had a 500cc scooter at times tho, the storage, the comfort, the simplicity. All great things... it's the costs that hurt. Used scooters are rare, large displacement ones are even more rare... and there's way more second hand bikes out there with greater range, power and cruising speeds for less money. Makes me wish we could still buy Honda Cubs tho, looks fun!
RickRussellTX -Graduated licensing  January 19, 2010 05:42 PM
Not everywhere is California. In much of the country, it wouldn't make good sense to spend $2300 MSRP on a vehicle that can leave your kid stranded when a cold front blows through. Second, few states have graduated licensing, and the ones that do usually set the line at 50cc. If you need the same license to ride a 125cc scooter as a 600cc sport bike, and there are perfectly decent used bikes on craigslist for under $3000, who would pay retail for a Zuma? Japan's license system is graduated at 125cc mark, so the Zuma's at the top of the class. One thing you can say for craigslist -- it has made the used market FAR more efficient than it used to be, and that means there's hardly any reason not to consider used vehicles in your buying decision.
Rich -Owner  January 19, 2010 01:45 PM
I bought one of these when they first came out mainly for use at track days, but have found many more uses for it. If I lived in town I would be riding it all the time. Lots of fun on back country roads.
John -Reader  January 19, 2010 12:21 PM
+1 on what Desmolicious stated These days you have to have a cell phone, broadband internet and a laptop to start. The motorcycles/scooters get edged out of the equation. In the early 80's all those 100 to 250cc bikes were phased out so there is a generation that has never seen "beginner bikes" so they never rode motorcycles or scooters. Now a Ninja 250 runs $5K out the door which is "real money" and a real man starts on at least a $8K 600cc sport bike. You can get a small used car for mileage, it don't need valve adjustments, chains, sprockets or lube like a motorcycle and the insurance is about the same. Motorcycles are "toys" because they have been marketed as such for decades and that problem has come home to roost. Maybe that EKO ST-120 hybrid bike might change things around. 200+ MPGs, under $2K purchase price and the draw of hybrid technology will open up the market to the college and high school students to two-wheeled transportation. I know a $6,400 Yamaha 250 motard (plus tax, title, insurance, maintenance) won't. I plan on getting one of those EKO ST-120's to learn hybrid tech, laughable gas costs and low maintenance and low, low entry fee to get back on two wheels. 40 MPH will keep me off busy highways were all those drivers texting on their iPhones to Facebook play bumper cars on their way to pick up the new Apple Tablet (iSlate?)
Desmolicious -Marketing  January 19, 2010 11:55 AM
The reason this scoot isn't selling to da yoots, is marketing.
I haven't seen any.
So what does Yamaha expect? Most people don't even know this exists.

As for disposable income, like you mentioned, things have changed from when we were kids. All we care about was girls, and how to get to them. Which brought up bikes. Cell phones did not exist 20 years ago

Financing a Zuma would be maybe $100/$125 a month. But kids have I-phones with $200/month plans. That's where the money goes.