Australia is currently going scooter crazy and with fuel exceeding $1.50 a litre it is no wonder.
I recently spent two weeks with a great little four-stroke scooter, the Bolwell Gmax 150 epitomises what is great about scooting.
I covered nearly 200km in a matter of days on the Bolwell and with the needle on the fuel gauge well into the red zone I pulled up at the local BP. I thought I would be generous and fill the little beast up with their finest brew, Ultimate 98. I squeezed a whole 6.22 litres into the 7.5 fuel tank but at 146.9 cents per litre that still worked out to $9.14. That’s less than $5 per 100km even when using the most expensive fuel available in Perth. But that’s only half the story of the economies that scooting can offer.
Most motorcycles return pretty good fuel economy. But these days modern motorcycles require expensive servicing. Every 6000km you can expect a bill of around $300. Add to that the cost of tyres. A modern sportsbike used as intended will destroy a set of $500 tyres in that same 6000km. Motorcycling is no longer the domain of the poor man. The modern motorcyclist is by and large affluent and these days the motorcycle is more a toy rather than a cheap form of transport. In comparison scooter servicing is cheap and tyres can last years.
And when you get to the practical side of the equation scooters come out even further ahead. There is no clutch work required around town or prodding of a shifter, just twist and go. In an urban environment there are lots to be said for continuously variable transmissions. Right now I bet you’re thinking but surely it is a slug? Well no. The Gmax is a 150cc four-stroke, and to be honest I thought it would struggle to pull the skin off a rice pudding. But during my time with the scooter no car even looked like keeping up with it off the mark, the thing zips to 60kph in no time.
Now I’m sure you’re thinking, but yeah I bet it runs out of steam at 80? Again, no. Nearly half the 200km from that aforementioned tank full was completed two-up at 100kph! And at that speed it does have a little left for overtaking. It won’t rip your arms off but it will get to 110kph in virtually all conditions, and 120kph is achievable. Thankfully the Bolwell also has the brakes to match that performance. A generous 220mm disc and monster four-piston caliper combine with an extremely powerful rear brake to pull the machine up quick smart.
Nice touches abound, a side and centre-stand is handy even though there is no chain to lube. Plenty of underseat storage, electric start with kick back-up, a steering lock, remote fuel cap lock etc. It suddenly looks as though leaving the sportsbike in the shed during the week in favour of a scooter is a smart proposition.
And you know what? I am going to be doing just that in the very near future.
Scooters have come a long, long way from that dreadful Motobecane 50 that was my first motorcycle. These days they are extremely reliable, so much so in fact that Bolwell backs its scooters with a two-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
$5490 is the asking price for the Gmax which means it is not at the cheap end of the market. But for your dollars you get a quality machine with excellent handling, great brakes and a zippy motor.