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A few scooter riding tips


by Amyot Bachand ,

Here are a few tips I've picked up over the years to make scooter riding safer and more pleasant.

Riding a scooter is different from riding a motorcycle because you're sitting more upright and don't have your legs spread apart. You can easily move them while keeping your feet on the floorboard. Over time, after watching MotoGP racers at work, I've realized that you can have an easier time in corners by opening up your inside knee.

2011 Suzuki Burgman 400 ABS front 3/4 view
Photo: Sébastien D'Amour

This technique allows you to turn much more sharply and maintain solid control in the process. You don't even have to lean into the corner; just angle your knee outward (toward the apex). The more you open up, the easier it is to steer the scooter into the corner. The rest of your body will follow the same path, making for a smoother weight transfer.

While testing many different models over the years, I've noticed that the brake lever tension isn't the same from one scooter to the next. Also, each rider has a unique shape and size. Holding the bars and keeping a couple of fingers on the brake lever requires dexterity. And it's a must when riding in the city, especially on busy streets.

To make your job easier, ask a mechanic to adjust the lever tension based on your size and riding position. If you have small hands or short fingers, he or she can loosen the cable a bit.

Motorcycle handlebar

Adjustable shock

A number of scooters (including some urban-oriented models) are equipped with an adjustable rear shock. You can and should learn to make the necessary adjustments to benefit from a safer, more comfortable ride.

Manufacturers opt to install this type of shock as a way to handle some extra load on the tail of the scooter, whether it's a passenger or cargo. You may not notice it on slick pavement, but when tackling bumpy roads, the rear suspension can bottom out or jolt from time to time, compromising your balance and safety. Even when riding solo, one might prefer a softer or firmer shock setting depending on road conditions. Just ask your mechanic to show you how to adjust the shock.