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American automobiles consumed over 384 million gallons of gas every single month in 2015. If trends continue as they have, that number will only continue to rise until it breaks every record ever set. The average American spends around $2000 a year on gas alone. More people than ever before are switching to more fuel-efficient options like a Yamaha 50cc scooter, for example, to save at the pump — and after hearing those numbers it’s easy to understand why.
With all the options nowadays to lower your gas consumption, perhaps you are in the market for something for scooting around town. Yamaha, a company that’s been around since 1887, makes some cool scooters. You don’t even need an additional motorcycle license to ride around on a Yamaha 50cc scooter like one of the models we are talking about today. How cool is that? Let’s find out what these machines are all about and what real customers have to say about today’s modern Yamahas.
The Many Benefits of Using a Scooter to Get Around
The most obvious benefit of driving a scooter versus a larger vehicle is the savings on gas. But there are far more benefits than that. First, the environment will thank you. The rising use of gas is not a good sign because fossil fuels are not infinite. Cutting down on your carbon footprint can’t hurt and is always a good idea. Secondly, a scooter is much more practical. You will pay not only less for gas but also parking. You can park your scoot at a bike rack, and those don’t cost a thing. Not to mention, scooters are far less expensive than cars as well.
If you live in either an urban area like San Francisco or an area with open country roads, a Yamaha 50cc scooter might be for you. If your commute involves a lot of high-speed highway travel, a scooter isn’t going to be a safe option for you. However, if you are on a college campus, in a developed area, or out in the country with decent shoulders on the roads, these little machines should at least be on the list of things you look into buying. We even found a reviewer from Quebec who rides their Yamaha 50cc scooter in the snow.
Other considerations before you buy a scooter
If you are thinking about making the switch to a scooter, there are a few more things you should keep in mind. If you are very tall or you have long legs, keep an eye on the size of the scooter. There is a Yamaha 50cc scooter that can accommodate your size, but not every model will be for you — more on that later. Secondly, since these are only 50cc scooters, you likely won’t be able to take a passenger. These scooters just aren’t powerful enough for that, unfortunately. The smaller engine negates the need to have to get a motorcycle license. Though, it also means that you can’t ride a bike big enough to bring a buddy.
All About the Yamaha 50cc Scooter Family
Currently, there are three different types of the Yamaha 50cc scooter for sale on the company’s website. You can choose from the Zuma 50F, the Zuma 50XF, and the Vino scooters. Below, we will talk about each of these scooters and what they have in common, what makes them different from each other, and what real customers have to say about them.
There are a few things that these scooters all have in common, and they are as follows:
- automatic transmission
- storage compartment large enough to fit a full-sized helmet
- TCI: transistor controlled ignition (turn it on with the flip of a switch)
Zuma 50X & Zuma 50FX
First up on the list is the Zuma 50X and the Zuma 50FX. Each machine is a Yamaha 50cc scooter, and they are identical “under the hood.” These scooters both have a four-stroke engine, locking storage, and a stepped two-up seat. The 49cc engine ensures that gas mileage is out of this world at around 127 miles per gallon. With all this in common, you might wonder what the differences are. Mainly, it’s all about how they look.
The Zuma 50X is styled more for those tougher off-road areas. This version has a luggage rack on the rear grab bar and twin headlights. The Zuma 50FX, on the other hand, has a single headlight and a grab bar with no luggage rack. Each machine has a small front pocket for storage of things like phones and wallets.
Additionally, there is a front-mounted folding hook for smaller items like bags and purses as well as under seat storage — which is enough room to fit a full face helmet. So, if you think storage might be an issue for you, these likely have more of it than you think. The Zuma 50X comes in Raspberry Metallic and midnight silver. The Zuma 50FX comes in Heat Red and Quicksilver color selections.
Yamaha Vino Classic
Now, if you are more into the old-school looking scooters like the Vespa, the Yamaha Vino Classic is for you. This Yamaha 50 scooter looks just like those Italian scooters do for a fraction of the price. This scooter smaller than the other two and not built for rugged terrain. The smaller size means it doesn’t quite have the ground clearance or turning radius of the other two, either. However, the storage areas remain about the same. So, if you are into that classic look and you’re going to be cruising in an area where you stay on the road, the Vino might be the choice for you.
The thing about a Yamaha 50cc scooter versus another brand is the subframe the company uses. Instead of a cheaper unibody assembly with sheet metal body panels, Yamaha uses a proper subframe. What that frame means for the end-user is that if you get into a small fender bender, you can easily replace the body parts without the need of any cutting or welding. Each of the three scooters in the Yamaha 50cc scooter family uses these types of frames.
Finally, let’s talk about the types of brakes that Yamaha uses in its 50cc scooters. The Zuma models both have a hydraulic brake caliper with a 180-millimeter wave-cut brake disc. This design means that heat dissipates more rapidly than the more traditional “round-cut” style. In the rear of the Zuma models, you will find a mechanical drum brake with a wing-nut adjuster. That rear drum design means that you can adjust the rear brake on-the-go without needing any tools.
The Vino Classic, however, is a little bit different. Instead of a hydraulic disc brake on the front, the Vino has a 110-millimeter drum brake that comes on the rear. Please note, though, that the Vino weighs even less than the Zuma models, so the disc brakes are all that this model needs.
How we reviewed each Yamaha 50cc scooter
For each of the Yamaha 50cc scooters we reviewed, we did the same thing. First, we looked up the professional reviews to see what those said. Then, we found some reviews from real customers online, as well. We compared everything to make sure that they all matched up. Below you will find out what everyone has to say about these machines.
Customer reviews of the Yamaha Zuma 50x & Zuma 50FX
First, we will talk about the two Zuma models. One reviewer, a self-titled “certified lummox,” rode a 50X around San Francisco. He said that even for someone his size, the scooter was powerful enough to get him all the way to the top of all but one extraordinarily steep hill — and he only had to jog it the last few feet to the top. Yamaha has been making the Zuma models for quite some time. This longevity means that parts are easy to come by for most owners, which is a huge bonus. So what about bad reviews?
It was difficult to find many negative reviews about these scooters, but we did locate a couple. A few users stated that their Zuma model scooter did not start well in the cold. Additionally, we found a few complaints about the power of these machines. Some people simply want to go faster than a 50cc engine will carry them. Finally, a few customers noted that depending on the terrain, the gas mileage is closer to 70 miles per gallon instead of the purported 125 and up.
Customer reviews of the Yamaha Vino Classic
Next, we will check in and see what people have to say about the Yamaha 50cc scooter called the Vino Classic. Much like with the Zuma models, it was difficult to find a negative review of these machines. We located many reviews, though, encouraging readers to purchase these scooters. Customers said that the Vino Classic climbs hills with no problem, especially with a few easy-to-do modifications. Additionally, many reviewers can’t help but talk about the “fun factor.” So, what about the downsides?
Again, it was difficult to find any negative reviews about this product. However, a couple of users did note a few things that Yamaha could improve upon on this bike. First, the Vino Classic is smaller than the Zuma models. So, if you have long legs, this machine might not be for you. Secondly, one user noted that they didn’t like that this scooter does not have a kickstand.
How much money will you need for a Yamaha 50cc scooter?
Now the section where we talk about how big of a hit your bank account will take if you want to purchase a new Yamaha 50cc scooter. The good news is that it won’t be as big as you might think. Yamaha’s MSRP for the two Zuma models is between $2,300 and $2,700, and the MSRP for the Vino Classic is even lower at $2,000 to $2,500.
How Do the Yamaha 50cc Scooters Compare to the Competition?
Here is the part of the program where we do some comparison shopping. Today, we compared each of the Yamaha 50cc scooters to scooters from other manufacturers to see how they stack up. Today, we are taking a closer look at the TaoTao Pony50(ATM50A1) and the Honda Metropolitan.
First, we compared the Yamaha 50cc scooter family to the TaoTao Pony50(ATM50A1). This scooter is less expensive than the Yamaha 50cc scooter selections. The Pony50 costs $600 to $900 depending on where you shop. The one advantage the TaoTao seems to have is the lower cost and a larger seat. Remember, though: it’s still a 50cc scooter. The Pony50 has the same ignition, it’s automatic, and has about the same storage options as the Yamaha versions. This particular TaoTao scooter looks more like the Yamaha’s Zuma models.
Let’s find out what customers have to say about the TaoTao scooter. The Pony50 scored 3.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon and 3 out of 5 eggs on Newegg.com. As far as what customers have to say about these machines, there are a lot of complaints. You see, the people that benefit from purchasing this budget-friendly option are the individuals that have the knowledge and time to tinker with it. Many of the TaoTao scooters arrive and have mechanical issues either right away or very quickly. So, if you want to save the money and you know what you’re doing, the TaoTao might be for you. If, however, you want to get a product that works like it’s supposed to, something from the Yamaha 50cc scooter family is still the best bet.
Next up is the Honda Metropolitan. This sharp looking scooter looks like the Vino Classic, and the similarities don’t end there. With a turnkey ignition, under seat storage, a 50cc engine, automatic transmission, and 100 miles per gallon fuel efficiency it compares in many other ways, as well. Even the price tag is similar because the MSRP starts at $2,499 for Honda’s Metropolitan.
Honda’s 50cc scooter is similar to the scooters in the Yamaha 50cc scooter family in the reviews, as well. One user said that even though he used it a little less than he thought he would, the machine performed admirably. There are a few complaints, however. Several reviewers noted that the ignition could be tricky. Additionally, a couple of other riders said that they wish the Metropolitan was more powerful. So, in the end, the Honda selection seems on par with a bike from the Yamaha 50cc scooter line in most areas.
Pros and Cons of Each Yamaha 50cc Scooter
We just covered a lot of ground. Instead of a quiz, though, we will do a final tally. Here is where we will make a short list of the pros and cons of each of the Yamaha 50cc scooters we talked about today.
- Automatic transmission
- Easy to find parts
- Electric ignition
- Ample storage areas
- Gets anywhere from 60 to 127 miles per gallon
- You can park a scooter anywhere
- You won’t need a motorcycle license
- If you need to go over 40 miles per hour regularly, a scooter isn’t for you
- Will not carry a lot of weight efficiently
- People with long legs can’t ride all models comfortably
- Difficult to start in the cold
Now Grab Your Helmet – It’s Time to Ride
We do a lot of product reviews in this line of work. It’s rare to find a machine that seems as reliable as the bikes in the Yamaha 50cc scooter family. A lot of the reviews we found were talking about scooters that were years old and still performed like new. These things come highly rated by nearly everyone. If you live in an area where you don’t regularly need to go over 40 miles per hour, a scooter might be the thing for you. No matter what, stay safe out there and check your local laws on how to register your new ride. Now get those helmets ready because it’s time to ride.