Shoddy reporting? SmartMoney…maybe

July 15, 2008

A recent SmartMoney column compared various scooter models and I feel they dropped the ball. They compared apples to oranges and weren’t fully up-front with their reasoning for some decisions and ratings.

Here’s the link to that story.

And here is a comment I left for the author…

As with any vehicle choice, a scooter might not be for everyone. Nor will the opinion of any one columnist or product reviewer mesh with the thoughts and experiences of an entire audience.

That said, this article was light on research and heavy on heavy-handedness.

I spent the better part of two years researching scooters, blogging about them and talking to shop owners, manufacturers, scooterists and motorcycle riders.

From this two-year informational journey I learned that scooters are as personal as cars. You’re not going to convince everyone that a Jaguar is a good vehicle or that a Smart Car is a smart choice for them.

In my opinion, the scooters that are being sold today stack up like so:

Vespa – good build quality, easy to work on, requires a good measure of care, costs a lot, lasts for a long time, sturdy, good MPG, nice resale value.

Genuine Scooter – best warranty in the industry, good build quality, not so easy to work on because of the design, half the price of a Vespa, easy to ride, great MPG, good resale.

Yamaha – bullet-proof designs, easy to work on, good MPG, good build quality, same price as Genuine, shorter warranty, well-supported dealer network, good resale.

Honda – lasts forever, great resale value, bullet-proof, some models are too small and underpowered, good dealer support, pricey for what you get, outstanding build quality, good gas mileage.

Suzuki – larger models mostly, solid build quality, long-lasting designs, fair gas mileage, more comparable to automatic motorcycles.

THE REST. The other brands are on-the-whole, knock-offs from China. If Vespa is a 10, Genuine, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki are all eights. The others are threes and fours.

I wish the tester knew more about scoots, had taken some motorcycle safety courses to see how to get the most from any two-wheeled vehicle, and was more specific in the comparison of like models to like models.

I wish the columnist/reporter did a little more research so that he got more info from the tester.

In disclosure, I was mere moments from buying a Yamaha but was convinced to purchase a Genuine Scooter based on owner comments and the two-year warranty and free year of roadside assistance. The two bikes I was comparing were priced identically. Yamaha only offered one year warranty and no roadside.

You can read more of my commentary, columns and rants at any of the following sites:

I will be posting my entire comment at this week.

Have you run into reporting that makes you crunch up your eyebrows and wonder what was motivating the writer? If so, please share.

Thanks and keep reading!