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> You don't know me, but Here's my situation and I would really
> appreciate you help. I am a college student living in a small college town
> in Texas, USA, and I need transporataion, and the least expensive I could
> think of was a moped. I am new at this, and would like you help in finding
> one. There are just two things I need to ask you.
> 1. What should I look for in a used moped?
> and
> 2. How much should I pay for one?
>
> If you could e-mail me back I would greatly appreciate it. but if you are
> short on time thank you any ways.

1) Do not buy anything that's not working perfectly, unless it's very cheap and you are certain you can fix it locally without spending too much.

Things to check:
a) Starting - moped in a good shape starts reasonably easy and doesn't die short after. It should also idle well - engine keeps running when throttle is not applied. This first part could be tricky - some used mopeds were stored for a long time - they don't start, but the only thing wrong with them is clogged carburator - not expensive to fix. But this is hard to check when buying.
b) Mechanics - make sure that brakes work well and tires are in good shape. If tires are worn, you have less control of the bike and (from my experience) more likely to get a puncture.
c) Running - if there is lot of clanking noise when going from 1st to 2nd speed (at ~16mph), there is another repair in front of you. If bike doesn't accelerate to full speed or has trouble going uphill, it's due for exhaust pipe cleaning (and possibly carb too).

If none of these problems is the case, you might have found a great buy!

2) As far as payment, they can ask as little as $50 or as much as $700. I'd say, if the bike is from the 70's, top would be about $300. If it's newer one, like Tomos, you could spend more (you will also have easier time finding parts).

Personally, I bought a used Sachs moped - spent $200 on it and then another $200 for repairs. Seems like it is finally in perfect shape - ran for past month without a single problem. Though, at some point in the past I got so frustrated with it, I went out and bought new Tomos Targa - and that was a damned good idea! I spent $1100 on it, took me a while to recover financially, but the joy and peace of mind were worth it.

Check http://moped2.org/mdeal.htm to see if there are moped dealers in your area.

Andrew


> Have you seen or heard of the Honda Racoon?
> I saw a picture of it at
> http://teleparc.com/tms/theme/elec-7e.htm, but there were no info. It has a
> nice clean design, as compared to the Yamaha one (also on the same page).
Dan Ma

Hi, Dan!
I've found couple more links on Racoon:
1) Specs: http://www.alpha-web.or.jp:80/jeva/eng/lookf/josf/32.html
2) From 1995 Popular Mechanics article http://popularmechanics.com/popmech/out/9504BOBIM.html
•Honda Racoon, like the Electra Globe, is an electric motor-assist bike that you can't buy--unless you live in Japan. The model consists of an aerodynamically integrated 220-watt, DC brush-type motor that provides low-speed torque to the drivetrain. Above 15 mph the motor automatically shuts off. Power is provided by a rechargeable nickel-cadmium battery. Honda has no timetable for introduction of the Racoon to the U.S. market, but that could change. For more information, contact American Honda Motor Co., 1919 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90501; (310) 783-2000.

I think, if Honda hasn't started import yet, they may start very soon - in 1995 electric bicycles were nowhere in sight, while today they have at least 5 other competitors in USA alone!

Andrew


Hi, Lance!

Since you've told me, how you got into moped craze, I'd like to share my story. It did start with Bike Machine - suddenly there was a whole new dimension to bicycling, I could go farther and arrive home still energized. But Bike Machine wasn't perfect - hard to brake, not much suspension, totally useless when the road is wet.

So, I started looking for something else. Few shops told me that 'scooters replaced mopeds now', so I gave scooters a try as well. I liked them all - Kasea, Yamaha Razz, Puch and Tomos.

But they did seem too costly. From old books, I found that in the 70s mopeds would cost under $500, so I assumed that dealers are simply trying to rip me off... until I found one article from 1977, which compared bicycle, moped and motorcycle - from there I discovered that bikes and motorcycle are also about 3 times as expensive than they used to be.

But still, I didn't think I could a spare a thousand - I began looking for a used moped. One guy was selling a couple of Puch-77 bikes for $500 each - I went there for a test ride and loved every second of it... in fact, before leaving, I asked if I could ride it again - and I did! But on the way home, doubts started again - there is no warranty, what if Puch breaks ? So, I haven't bought it.

Somewhere at this point I was in a strange state - I didn't yet have a moped myself, but I wanted one badly, so I started reading about them on the Internet and looking for moped books and articles. One of them really touched me - the Moped Fever story (http://www.charged.com/tar/stories/moped/mopedeath.html) Another fact that affected my attitude was the fact that I live in Saint Louis - if there is a moped desert, this is the place! No shop with word 'moped' if them, nobody in 'mopeds' category in Yellow Pages. Fortunately, I was persistent enough to call every motorcycle shop in town and found out that some of them sell mopeds adter all. That was better than nothing. Maybe Saint Louis never seen mopeds - maybe the Moped Fever passed this city without touching it. But if not, I just don't get it - how come nobody rides them ?

In good weather, moped is so much fun, I wouldn't even consider to drive a car!

So, basically, this is how my self-proclaimed mission started - to let people know about mopeds. In the 70s there was a Motorized Bicycle Association - since they are gone, I took their name and sometimes sign as
Andrew
New Motorized Bicycle Association

Boy, this letter is disorganized. But this is how I feel about mopeds and I am glad I could share it with you.

Andrew


> Could you recommend some books concerning mopeds. I'm interested in the
> repair and upkeep as well as just general stuff...
As far as I know, they are all out of print now.
But it's not hopeless - there are still ways to get them.
1) "The Moped Book" - not very technical, but lots of general info, good thoughts on what mopeds are all about and many pictures. Can buy it from Anna Mae Steel, P.O. Box 79, Nova OH 44859-0079 - SEND $7.50.
She sells out of print books and I ordered "The Moped Book" successfully from her.

2) 3 best technical books I've seen are called "Moped Maintenance Manual", "Safe moped operation and repair" and "Mopedaller's Handy Manual". I know of 2 ways to look for them - in the library, search for subject 'mopeds' or title word 'moped' - you should find all of these. It will help if this isn't single library, but network of libraries - for example, here we have county libraries, where I can order book from another branch if ours doesn't have it.

Then, there is Amazon bookstore - recently they added out of print books (including almost 50 moped ones) to their list - they don't guarantee that these books can be found, but said they'd look for them and email me prices, if they succeed.


> Which is best new scooter/moped, best value, most fun ?

I can talk only about the ones I tried, so here goes.
1) Kasea scooter - great fun! Tiny beauty, very easy to learn, controlling is a pleasure, speeds up real well.
Only thing I am not sure about is how reliable it is (not being japanese). You can read review at http://moped2.org/reviews/scooters.htm#kasea
Lowest price - $799 (look for 'kasea' in http://moped2.org/bike.htm).

2) Yamaha Razz - not guite as good. Though the scooter I rode was new, steering wheel was making noise, like it had to be oiled or something. Costs more too - at the dealer I visited, it was $1300. However, Yamaha brand name sounds convincing, so this could be a good choice for peace of mind.

2.5) Honda Elite - the dealer wouldn't let me ride it, so I can't say much about it. Worse for them.

3) Puch moped - looked great and felt wonderful. It wasn't the same Puch as the one on http://www.amjawa.com - could have been different year model or something. The one American Jawa offers doesn't look as good to me because of thin frame.
Anyway, I had a blast until I decided to raise moped to go over the curb. Then something scratched on the bottom and after that it wouldn't start. I walked it back to the shop and the owner said that they have put too much oil and this messed up the spark plug.
Still, the incident was kind of a turn off - if I could so easily get problems with new bike, what would happen later ?
Price - ~$1100

4) Tomos - was sold by Harley-Davidson shop in our city. They said that I could get a test ride.
I put on the helmet, listened to short instructions and started off. Wow! Quiet acceleration, wind in my face, easy breaking - 50cc of pure pleasure. I rode down the long quiet street with stop signs every couple hundred feet. Accelerate all the way and then break at the last moment - no problem. The joy was incredible and I momentarily felt one with the bike.

Tomos Targa is the moped I have right now. Bought it in November and love every minute of owning it.
Had some trouble with it early on, before I figured out the correct procedure for cold starting (look for 'flood' at Moped Chronicles -
http://moped2.org/mm.htm ). This problem is in the past - it's almost as if I learned to speak moped's language and she's happy to do what I want.

Targa switches to 2nd speed at about 16mph - once there, it sounds quiet, almost like electric bicycle.

Whenever weather is good, I leave my car at home and ride moped - can't get enough!

Tomos price range is from $799 to $1200 - more expensive models have oil injection, which I consider a life saving feature. I never have to worry about getting oil/gas mixture right and it is great to be able to fill up right at the gas station.

P.S. Tomos recently came up with a scooter of their own - email tomos@webtv.net for details.


> My parents won't let me have a moped they say that they are to dangerous .how
> can I convince them to let me have one even if its very slow?
Well, there are several reasons why mopeds ARE safe.
1) Low speed - the fastest moped sold in US tops at 30mph, there are some that are limited to 25mph or 20mph.
2) Very good brakes - stopping can be done much faster than on a bicycle, so if you are going downhill and suddenly see a stop sign, you can stop in time - on a bicycle the best you can do is slow down.
This is even more noticeable in wet weather - on a bicycle if you press brakes real hard, you'll most likely fall down, on a moped, you'll just stop.
3) Low center of gravity - since motor is located low, the moped is very stable - unlikely to fall to the side.
Also, since most mopeds have low seats and step-thru frame, it is very easy to reach ground with the foot to gain extra support.
4) Regulations - mopeds are not allowed to ride between cars, thus you can ride on the shoulder or close to the curb - less chances of accident than, say, on a motorcycle.
5) Lights - moped is more visible than a bicycle, since it has headlight and taillight - in fact, it is recommended to keep headlight on all the time.

> Throughout southeasst Asia Honda sells an automatic clutch motorbike called
> Astrea. Are these available in the U.S. ? Yamaha and Suzuki make similar
> bikes (90cc ?). Are they available. If not, how can you go about importing
> one?

This is interesting indeed.
Her is what I've found in the web:
http://www.adwork.co.id/phonda.htm - talks about Honda Astrea in Indonesia. Also has a picture - definetely looks like a moped, though 90cc engine wouldn't classify it as such in US.

There was also several Greek sites, one of them says that Honda Astrea is top selling motorbike in there:
http://kavala.forthnet.gr/users/stevenik/moto.htm

And another link: http://www.astra.co.id/astra/ai/astbuss/astbuss.html

I've been to Honda and Yamaha dealerships around here. They carry the following models (all scooters):
Honda Helix - ~$5000 200cc
Honda (forgot make) - $?, 80cc
Honda Spree - $1600, 50cc
Yamaha Razz - $1400, 50cc

As far as importing to US, I've heard that some manufacturers (like Piaggio) are not able to import big scooters because of EPA emmission policy.

Andrew


> *How far do you ride your moped.
Not too far... though I expect longer rides once the spring starts. When I have a destination in mind and it's a long way, then I'd probably take a car. But if want to enjoy the day, the ride and life - then it's moped all the way.

> *do you go on the main road .
Yes, I am allowed to. I am supposed to stay 1 meter from the curb, which is quite alright by me. Also, moped is allowed on the shoulder, which is even better - whole lane to myself!

> *do the police stop you ..
They haven't yet. I am not breaking the law and seems like police does know what the moped is (though there is hardly any other riders around here).

> *do you have to get a permint for the moped.
No, not here. No license plate, no motorcycle license, no insurance. Just pure fun.

> *do you see alot on the road..
Yes, quite a bit. Even though I have to pay more attention to the road - to avoid nasty bumps and stuff, still I see a hell of a lot more than in a car. Visibility formula can be approximated like this: car/moped = tv/outdoors.

> *How fast do you go..also which moped have you got..
30 mph is the legal limit - faster moped would have to be registered as motorcycle. Most of the time I go 20-25 mph. However, some mopeds can go as fast as 45 mph - for example, Delta-24 (http://www.vivid.net/vnet/baic/).

I have Tomos Targa (made in Slovenia). I absolutely love it! I also have older german Sachs moped - it needs some work, so I am studying moped books.

Andrew


> Hi! I am REALLY interested in purchasing a Moped or scooter. Now I have
> heard that Mopeds are a little safer than scooters. Is this true ?
Only principal difference could be that mopeds have bigger wheels, so could be better on a bumpy road... but scooters are safe too.

> What is the difference between a scooter and a moped?
Mainly the looks - all mopeds used to have pedals, but it's no longer the case.

> Personally I like the Nitro,
> but I also like the Tomos LX. Which do you think would be better to buy money
> wise and safety wise?
If you are in US, you may have hard time finding Nitro - I think they are only sold in Europe. BTW, is safety is a concern, Tomos Targa step-thru model could be a better choice than LX - it is easier to mount and easier to regain balance.

> If I get a moped it will be my first and I'm only 13 ...
Which means you might want to check the local laws. Some states allows riding since age 14... but it's different in every state.

> and my dad wants to make sure it as safe a possible. If you have any facts on the safety
> of scooters/mopeds please tell me.
A while ago I compiled a list of reasons why mopeds are safe. Goto http://moped2.org/mletter.htm and search for "are safe".

> Do you know which moped/scooter would be
> right for me?
It's hard to go wrong here... mainly because there aren't that many choices. If you don't mind spending more money, you might want to choose Honda or Yamaha scooter. However, I myself had Tomos for almost a year and it served me very well.

> I have heard of alot
> of people getting burned one of the pipes coming out the back of a moped. Do
> they cover these pipes up now? How dangerous are they?
I know what you mean. This is mainly the case for Bi-Turbo pipe (add-on that makes moped go faster). Bi-Turbo is bigger and gets hotter, so it's easier to get a burn when you are putting moped on a stand. Though, it only happened to me once - since then I got a reflex not to touch it after riding.

However, the standard Tomos comes with a smaller pipe which doesn't get nearly as hot. In fact, I remember once I was riding in the cold, so I stopped, turned off the engine and warmed my hands on the exhaust pipe :)

Andrew


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