As you all know, I’m a bicycle guy. I’ve ridden numerous bikes throughout the years and my Electra Amsterdam electric bicycle project is one of my dearest possessions. However, as a student juggling two part-time jobs and working with a college newspaper, I find myself needing to travel longer distances in shorter times than even an electric bicycle could reasonably allow me to do.
To that end, I got my hands on an immaculate pre-owned 50cc motor scooter a little over a month ago. Prior to that, I’d been exploring the world of motorcycles and scooters for several months, considering new scooters like the 2015 Suzuki Burgman 400 and beginner motorcycles like Honda’s 250cc Rebel. Dealer prices and financing options proved too costly for me, and to that end, I decided on a 2004 Aprilia Mojito 50cc that I purchased from a Honda mechanic in my neighborhood.
The scooter is reminiscent of the Honda Joker despite having a plastic cover on the handlebars. Having been modified with a Leo Vince Touring exhaust and a larger jet in the carburetor, the bike can cruise at a little over 40 MPH with a top speed of about 52 MPH. Its 2-stroke motor sucks up gasoline at about 50 miles to the gallon, which isn’t a spectacular figure for a 50cc scooter but makes sense given the modifications.
Aprilia is a renowned sport bike manufacturer, and it feels as though the same level of craftsmanship and engineering was used to produce this urban jungle warrior. The bike feels peppy within the city streets, with even subtle openings of the throttle kicking the variator into high gear and delivering fantastic acceleration. The seating arrangement is also attractive, with a large and plush leather bench seat providing more than enough room for riding two-up.
Unfortunately, the 50cc model does not include passenger foot pegs, which does compromise passenger comfort a bit.
Storage capacity is adequate – a generously sized glovebox has room to spare after storing riding gloves and goggles, and an underseat storage compartment has room for a jet helmet, Coleman rain coat and pants and not much else. An aftermarket chrome luggage rack that replaces the passenger grab rail and can mount a variety of top cases is available from www.AF1racing.com.
For me, it’s a whole new world to be in control of a gasoline-driven vehicle after having ridden bicycles for so long. That being said, I still see the merit of bicycles as being the most attractive and useful combination of physical activity and transportation out there. My electric Amsterdam project will still see regular use, particularly for commutes no longer than 10 miles and not subject to shorter time constraints.
After all, time is really the enemy – if you’ve got to cross 10 miles but have 2 hours to do it, there’s no excuse to riding your bicycle the whole way!
I look forward to many years of commuting throughout Miami’s streets with this beautiful Aprilia scooter. I’m still getting used to the very notion of having such a useful vehicle in my possession, but I’m already convinced of having made a very good choice. Were I to ever upgrade to a motorcycle or larger scooter, Honda’s Gold Wing, Triumph’s Bonneville or Suzuki’s Burgman 650 would be amongst my options. For the time being though, a modified 50 cubic centimeters of engine are doing me very well.