Is it a Scooter or a Motorcycle?

We have had a few queries from scooter aficionados around the world questioning why we are calling a bike a ‘Scooter’ when on first impressions it looks like a motorcycle. If you do any research you will soon learn that our bikes are a hybrid.

So here we go:

  • The wheels on our bikes are 17” and normally scooters are deemed to have wheels that are 16” or less.
  • The engines on our bikes, like all motorcycles, are attached to the frame rather than being part of the rear suspension like on most scooters. This allows for a Scooter to have a step through frame and a platform to place the rider’s feet. Whilst our bikes can be deemed as step through, they do however have the traditional foot pegs you would see on a motorcycle. This is one of the main differences between a Motorcycle and a Scooter.
  • Rather than having the petrol tank above the engine which would place it between the legs of a motorcyclist it is under the seat where a scooter rider would maybe store their helmet.
  • Our bikes have 4 gears that are changed by using the left foot. Unlike a normal motorcycle, you continually tap down to reach a higher gear. If you continue to tap down the bike will return to neutral.
  • Like most scooters it does not have a hand controlled clutch. It utilises a centrifugal clutch. So, like most scooters it has a twist & go throttle.
  • The rear brakes are controlled by the right foot which is associated with motorcycles. The front brake is controlled by the right hand.
  • The engines on our bikes have a 107 cc, 4 stroke, single cylinder engine. This is not going to get you any respect down at your local motorcycle club. In the US most DMV’s say that motorcycles have engines of 150 cc or greater.

Our bikes (Safari Scooters) are produced in China and are far and away the most common 2 wheeled mode of motorised transport in West Africa. You do occasionally see scooters like Vespa’s and Piaggio’s, but they are few and far between and sourcing spare parts for them is next to impossible. We do our best to get off the beaten track but no matter how far we go into the bush there is nearly always a mechanic (even if his workshop is under a tree) and access to spare parts.

At Scoot West Africa we are not selling our tours as some extreme motorcycle expedition that only hardcore adventure riders can join. We try to take quiet roads, bush tracks and even ride on the beach. We keep the speeds down and the local interaction element is heavily emphasised. This is a chance to explore West Africa at a leisurely pace and to enjoy the social side of life when the sun goes down (or before if you are that way inclined). Hopefully members of the Scootering community can accept our appropriation of the word Scoot and can embrace our concept of low impact tourism.

See you on the road in West Africa!

In Category: Our Bikes
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