About a week ago my dad picked up the Genuine Buddy scooter he'd ordered. The reason he bought it was the scooter he's ridden until now is a 50cc. While it'll run an honest 40mph and 45 if you strain it down a hill, traffic generally moves a little quicker than the posted limits. Keeping up with traffic flow can become a safety issue.
We brought it home in his Tacoma as my work on making my boat trailer a dual purpose design hasn't begun.
The other day it was beautiful here. In the fifties and light winds. Dad was itching for a good day to ride his new prize. I called him and said I thought this would be a good day to take it on a little spin. Kind of get the feel for it and break it in a little. You could hear the anticipation in his voice. Within half an hour the little red truck was parked in the driveway.
I rolled my midnight blue LX and his ruby red Buddy into Annette's spot and began wiping them down. It's the little details which surprised me about the Buddy. The fit is nicer than you might expect from a Taiwanese import scooter. By looking at the quality of the fit and finish a person might be hard pressed to come up with the actual price of this bike.
My dad commented that I didn't have to wipe it down but it's a habit I developed somewhere along the line and I'm not about to quit now. To me it's part of the fun of owning a motorcycle or scooter.
We rolled the two scooters out of the garage and onto the driveway, each of us starting his respective bike. Both started immediately. Both worked themselves down to a warmed idle and settled into that familiar one lunger loping sound. So nice.
We went over the switches again and decided the route. A familiar loop we'd ridden all of last summer. Some straights, some hills and a few sleepy bends to round out the ride.
Compared to last summer this first ride with pop was already better. We weren't limited by his speed. Cautious and a more spirited ride is what this turned into. My dad rolled his throttle and moved through the rpm's and the bike never stuttered. When we turned I could only smile as once we were rolling again he remembered to flick off the signal. The audible clacking of the switch is a great feature to remind us to thumb it off. Dad could hear it again. He never missed a beat.
Now there is a section of plumbline straight road. Pockmarked and rippled its a sore spot on the run but it gets you to the better stuff. I sometimes think of it as the price you have to pay for what's coming afterward. Something I hadn't thought of before came to mind as I watched my dad riding ahead of me on this road. You really get to see how a bike deals with rough pavement. You don't visialize it like you might when you critique your own experience, you actually witness it.
I don't know why but for a split instant I saw my dad on the old 50cc. I blinked and there he was on the Buddy. As strange as this was it also caused me to notice something. The Genuine Buddy's supension works extremely well. It's rider wasn't being jostled but the feedback appeared to be about as close to right as I would suppose one would want from a scooter. My dad wasn't fighting the ride, he was rolling with right along with it. He certainly appeared comfortable.
Once we got to the roads where a little lean angle is employed he moved right along through them. Instead of the wandering line he used to follow, using the whole lane to negotiate each arc, he held the line consistantly. When he started in the left third of the lane he rode that third all the way through and maintained it on the following straightway. After the ride he spoke of the Buddy's design inspiring his confidence. Hey, I can't argue, I witnessed it.
The true testament to the Buddy's quality and attention to details regarding how it works came in the words my dad spoke upon shutting the bike down. He looked me square in the eye and said, "Son, if it was a bit warmer I would say let's just keep going."
The only thing he thought the bike could use is a wider legshield. Coming from him that's pretty impressive. We'll revisit his thoughts later in the season once the newness of the bike wears off and he's put some miles and time in the saddle.
That says enough about how my dad feels about his new Buddy.