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Last Updated : Sep 16, 2019 11:29 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Motorcycle vs scooter: Which is the ideal daily commute?

Among many automobile manufacturers in India and abroad, Bajaj Auto undoubtedly holds a significant market for itself.

Advait Berde @Advait_Berde
Bajaj Chetak | A worthy mention and an icon among scooter riders, the Chetak has been immortalised as the first scooter with manual gearing. With a name to justify its loyalty, early Chetak owners had no idea that their beloved scooter will live to serve multiple generations of their family. With such a time-tested track record, it wouldn’t be wrong to expect the Chetak to hit the Indian roads once again. This was a list of iconic Indian motorcycles which should make a return to the Indian market. Whether our wishes come true, only time can tell. (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Bajaj Chetak | A worthy mention and an icon among scooter riders, the Chetak has been immortalised as the first scooter with manual gearing. With a name to justify its loyalty, early Chetak owners had no idea that their beloved scooter will live to serve multiple generations of their family. With such a time-tested track record, it wouldn’t be wrong to expect the Chetak to hit the Indian roads once again. This was a list of iconic Indian motorcycles which should make a return to the Indian market. Whether our wishes come true, only time can tell. (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Scooter or a Motorcycle? This is a question that every household in India wrestles through while looking for a vehicle to commute short distances or while looking for a vehicle meant for travelling long distances without putting too much pressure on the pocket.

That question had an easy answer in the early 70s, through 80s and the late 90s - a scooter. The snazzy and faster motorcycles were still catching up and soon India's love for the humble scooter went away for a while.

In both the scenarios, Bajaj was able to pioneer the two-wheeler segment through Priya, Chetak scooters and then Pulsar, Discover motorcycles among others, later. More and more automobile manufacturers then started to develop two-wheelers specifically for the Indian audience.

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Bajaj Pulsar 220

But in 1999 things changed. Honda Activa was launched in May 1999. It got a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox which would go on to redefine the scooter segment.

Honda_Activa

But the question still stands Scooter or Motorcycle?

With a CVT gearbox things changed in favour for scooters. Scooters are considered to be “gearless” two-wheelers, as most have a CVT gearbox. This allows the rider to focus on riding the scooter without having to worry about shifting gears, engaging or disengaging the clutch or keeping a tab on the rev band. This makes travelling in bumper-to-bumper traffic almost effortless as it eliminates the chance of the scooter stalling or the engine seizing.

Another of the scooter’s advantages is its cost-effective fuel efficiency. As a typical scooter has a low-revving, low displacement engine, it does not require much fuel for combustion. This leads to less consumption of fuel, consequently giving better mileage.

Modern scooters have further increased travel convenience with the introduction of a combined braking system. This system applies both brakes of the scooter in proportion, even if the rider presses one lever. This helps distribute the braking force evenly between both the wheels, therefore minimizing the chance of one wheel locking up.

Scooters are also known to be luggage carriers, as they have a footboard in the front which can be used to carry small to medium luggage. They also feature under-seat storage which can typically hold at least one full-face helmet, while most manufacturers these days are offering a glove box as an add-on accessory for additional storage.

Motorcycles are typically defined as two-wheelers with a manual gearbox, manual clutch and independent brakes. While scooters can be operated by just one hand if the need arises, a motorcycle requires input from all four limbs of the rider. This includes the throttle and clutch in the right and left hands respectively, as well as the brake and gear levers which are operated by the corresponding legs.

Motorcycles also cover all the higher displacement segments which cannot be filled by the scooters. So, while there is a 110CC CT 110 on sale by Bajaj, Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Honda is also selling the 1000CC supersport motorcycle, CBR1000RR Fireblade.

While a motorcycle offers a bigger engine with more power and higher speed, it does so at the cost of fuel efficiency. Keeping low-capacity commuter motorcycles aside, there is hardly any motorcycle that can keep up with the mileage and fuel efficiency of a scooter.

Value for money

Scooters often return high fuel-efficiency, with good mileage. This helps the rider maintain a low average monthly expenditure on fuel. Motorcycles, on the other hand, have a bigger tank than a scooter. Hence it is costlier to fill up a motorcycle than a scooter. However, because motorcycles have a bigger fuel tank, they tend to offer a higher mileage than a scooter.

 

Consumer options

A daily commuter typically travels from his home to office and vice versa. This means that most commuters take a fixed route to work, with a fixed distance and relatively predictable road conditions. These types of commuters find it best to use a scooter, as it reduces fatigue and helps in saving money. Scooters are also helpful for vendors or travellers with a considerable amount of luggage such as bags, boxes or other equipment.

Motorcycles, on the other hand, are ideal for long-distance commuters who can put the two-wheeler into overdrive and cruise comfortably. While motorcycles offer comfortable cruising speeds, they can also prove cumbersome in peak traffic conditions. Because the motorcycles have a higher-revving engine than a scooter, they tend to overheat in traffic, causing the engine to ask for more fuel. This leads to a drop in the motorcycle’s fuel efficiency and can lead to more expenditure.

Moreover, a motorcycle has more independent parts and requires more consumables during servicing. This can lead to a considerable expense on the long-term but does not affect a customer looking for short-term ownership.

Scooters are easily serviceable and do not require much effort or maintenance. This makes the scooter more reliable and durable, in terms of vehicular health. What it loses in speed, it makes up in longevity.

Overall, each segment has its own audience with its own set of pros and cons. It is up to an individual to decide which two-wheeler suits him the most.

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First Published on Sep 16, 2019 11:29 am
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