Beep! Beep! How to Buy a MopedJul 17, 2000 Write an essay on this topic.
Review of How to Buy a Moped (July 14, 2000)
Beep! Beep! Bzzzzzzz…. That's the sound people hear when I ride by on my 1977 Puch Maxi Moped. This vintage bike is in perfect shape, and many people mistake it for being a new bike. I often get asked: "Where did you get that?" Well, they're out there, people have them tucked away in their garages or basements or sheds, or somewhere else where they can be out of the way. Pity.
I got my mopeds over the internet at Ebay.com. I simply did a search for "moped" and up it came! I bought a bunch of them from a guy in upstate New York who wanted to clean up his garage. Two of them needed only minor fixing up, so I went about fixing these up first. I ended up completely disassembling them, cleaning /touching up the parts, and reassembling them. I also added new wires, switches, pedals, handle covers, light bulbs, etc. to spruce it up.
Vintage parts are available through several moped dealers on the net. These guys must make a bundle, based upon the prices they charge for parts. For this reason, I elected to find alternate sources for supplies. Fortunately, the items that most frequently need to be replaced my be found by these alternate sources. Here are some examples:
JC Whitney is an automotive/motorcycle catalog supply company. Visit their website at jcwhitney.com and request them to mail you a motorcycle catalog. In there, you will find reasonable prices on replacement tires, tubes, handle grips, helmets, face shields, goggles, cleaners, mirrors, and various other accessories. You may even purchase a new fully functional Kinetic moped for $888.88 + shipping.
Ebay is always a great source for finding hard to find parts. Just don't get to carried away with prices. Remember shipping charges add to the cost of the part. When searching, be very vague in your search criteria. For example, just enter "moped" to find all sorts of items pertaining to mopeds. You might also try actual part names. For example, just enter "goggles" to find all sorts of listings for goggles.
Local auto parts stores often carry needed parts such as cleaners, oils, transmission fluid, spark plugs, switches, gaskets, reflective tape, and other parts you may need. Sometimes you need to be a detective and also an inventor to come up with substitute parts. Forget about asking store personnel - many of them don't even know what a moped is!
Radio Shack is a good supplier of switches and electrical components. Also, Home Depot or Lowes is a good source for replacement fuel lines (rubber hose), clamps, and 2 cycle engine oils. Check the net periodically for specials on manuals, or better yet visit the Moped Web Ring to check out web sites that offer free manuals or advice.
As for licenses, most states now require Moped riders to have a valid driver's license or a Moped license, if you're under 15. Many states also require riders to have valid insurance coverage and to register your bike. In my state, insurance costs me $75 per bike. Annual registration is $8 per bike. If you don't have a valid title, and your bike was never titled, you simply go to the DMV in your state and have it titled for the first time! It does not matter that the bike is 20 years old. If it was never titled, it must now be titled, just tell DMV you used to ride it on your own land. You will also need a receipt.
In most states the definition of Moped is a motorized bike that has pedals to start it and has an engine size under 50 cc, 2 hp, or/and does not exceed speeds of 25 miles per hour. Scooters are not considered Mopeds, nor are small 50 cc motorcycles that do not have pedals. Check with your state's DMV to learn about your particular state's laws.
One important question you may have is do I choose a new Moped or an old Moped? This is a highly personal decision - similar to do I buy a new car or a used car? The new Mopeds today are not necessarily better. They often rattle and do not appear to have the same quality of workmanship. The old classic bikes of the 70's have a certain feel that can not be duplicated by today's bikes. Yet, the older bikes generally come with more problems. Here are some things to consider when shopping for a Moped:
Is there rust in the gas tank? Usually means the tank got water in it or was left with gas in the tank for long periods of time. Not a major problem, unless the rust is causing holes in the tank.
Is the engine seized? Engine seizure is common on older bikes. A good mechanic can generally fix this problem, provided the engine head and piston are in good shape. Generally the procedure calls for rebuilding the engine, and can run into big bucks, unless you can do the work yourself and you can obtain parts.
What are the condition of the wheels and tires? Not a major expense, but you might want to consider this if you have a lot of other work on the bike to do.
Can you ride the bike immediately? If not, why not? The answers to these questions will help you to decide if this bike is for you. If you can, it is better to test a bike out before you buy it. A 1hp bike is a lot slower than a 2hp bike, and you may not be as satisfied with one or the other.
In any case, it is a worthwhile hobby. There is nothing quite like the feel of a nice fresh air drive in the park upon a Moped. Happy shopping, and have a wonderful season!
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