(post to Moped Mailing List, re: 'The "Lexus" of mopeds'
September 28, 1999
I have been a moped enthusiast since my first ped 25 years ago. I love this type of question, and had some fun answering it! Here are a few of my personal observations and analogies of mopeds to cars; (WARNING don't take me too seriously!!!)
Honestly, I would have to equate the Motobecane's with the Lexus. They are alike in that both are of high quality, well made and way overly complex. The variator/belt drive delivers smooth and quiet performance, just like a Lexus. Likewise acceleration and top end are NOT anything great, both are too heavy and handle poorly compared to their competition. The parts, cost wise, are on par with each other!
The Puch's, like BMW & Mercedes, are nicely engineered and assembled, accelerate well, and I have found them entirely reliable. My old Maxi will do about 2 mph over my Moby, is more maneuverable and stops slightly better. The analogy to a BMW or Mercedes ends there, for the Puch's are noisy and vibrate a lot putting my hands to sleep. This makes them uncomfortable for long trips compared to the Moby, Peugeot (moped only! God forbid you own one of their cars), Batavus and Vespas.
I would equate the Tomos to your run of the mill Chevy. Their are zillions sold, they do everything, but nothing really outstandingly. They are not well assembled, (parts fall off my SP-3 all the time!), most are plastic and those that aren't rust. Thanks to dealers being plentiful, and a reasonably simple design that has been refined over time, they are not bad for what they are. (Especially if you have never driven anything else to compare it too!) Personally, I have to equate the Vespa/Piaggio to a Ferrari. It's fast, handles well, smooth, powerful and something is always broken! The Vespa requires less of a capital investment though!
The Honda and Suzuki mopeds I have owned are like Honda cars. Reliable, decent drivers that are about as mechanically interesting as week old pizza. Best to let your wife or little brother have both, you'll feel better for it. I had a Jawa and a Dodge Dart at the same time in the 70's. Both would run, both would rust, both would fall apart. However, both could be fixed to run again. Both were basic transportation, however, I moved on as soon as my budget allowed. Also, there are a lot of each in back yards everywhere, many free for the asking!
I have heard that the Indian mopeds from the 70's are like a Rolls Royce. Both were made in limited numbers, were expensive and are rarely seen. It's funny though, everyone I have ever known who owned one no longer does....... And who really does own RR anyway????? I'm confused.....
Cimatti's are like Fords. (F)fix (O)or (R)repair (D)daily.
I have not ridden the new Chinese or India made mopeds, and have not driven a Hyundai, Daiwoo or Kia. I don't think this is likely to change. (Ok, Ok, possibly I'm being a bit harsh here, I would try the mopeds.) Batavus= 1970's-80's Audi. Those of you who had Audi 100-LS's and early 5000's know what I'm saying here. They reportedly made two or three that ran well, (They were loaned to the people at Car & Driver, R&T and Motor Trend and got rave reviews), trouble was most of us in the USA didn't get them.
In truth though, all mopeds are great. I am certain no vehicle ever made will deliver the fun and utility of a moped per dollar (pardon to people overseas! Insert your own monetary system here!). As everyone on this board already knows, their moped (whatever age or make) is the best! As the long dark, cold winter lurks ahead of many of us, everyone try to get in as much ped time as possible! Enjoy!!!!
Have a moped day, and every day! ;-)