Sales soaring for scooters
Steamboat nearly sold out of economical rides as gas prices rise
June 21, 2008
Steamboat Springs — Businessmen are riding them. Hard-working women are forking over thousands for them. And even grandmothers can’t get enough of them.
Brightly colored scooters are showing up on streets and sidewalks throughout Steamboat Springs and beyond. The proof is in the numbers.
“I’d say sales (of scooters) are up 400 percent this year,” Todd Brehmer, sales manager at Planet Powersports in Riverside Plaza, said Friday.
There are only three scooters left in his inventory and he said they’re the last to go only because people aren’t crazy about the purple paint job. His next shipment won’t come in until late August.
“Nobody can get them anywhere,” Brehmer said, adding that a dealership in California had recently called and offered to buy his inventory – or what was left of it.
All kinds of people are buying them, Brehmer said, including grandmothers. He owns one himself, a vintage model “to putz around in.” At the last dealership he worked at, he said every single salesman had one.
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“People are sick of high gas prices, and they’re thinking about alternative ways to get around,” Brehmer said. Sales associate Joel Mayne chimed in, “and people are getting used to seeing them on the roads.” They are easy to ride and can be parked anywhere, Mayne said, including sidewalks.
Steamboat Springs resident Tracy Goldstein owns a red 2005 Honda Elite and rides it whenever she can. Even in the winter, she said, she can put on a warm jacket and get around town as long as the roads are plowed.
Goldstein loves her scooter because “it’s light, it goes everywhere and it’s totally fun.” Her 2-year-old Matisse poodle, Mia, loves to ride, too. Goldstein tucks Mia into a papoose-style carrying case and takes her along for errands. There’s a basket strapped to the back of the scooter, where Goldstein carries supplies for her cleaning business.
Goldstein’s husband bought the scooter for her about three years ago for about $800. Since then, she said, she has spent about $150 dollars on maintenance for a new tire, oil and a new battery. Gas mileage isn’t bad, either.
“It used to only cost me $2 to fill up the tank but now it’s $4,” she said.
Smaller scooters get up to 100 miles per gallon, Brehmer said, and the max speed tops out at about 38 mph. To drive the smallest scooter – a 49cc – no motorcycle license is necessary, just a valid driver’s license. For anything larger, drivers need a motorcycle license.
Brehmer said the scooters are better for paved roads because ruts and bumps can cause damage. He also recommended that drivers wear a helmet and be aware of other cars on the road.
“Scooters are small and hard to see,” he said. “Drivers need to be mature.”
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