Book review: How to Repair Your Scooter
Did you buy a scooter from a dealer that went out of business? Or one imported (or built) by a company that went out of business?
More importantly, did you try to take it to a motorcycle repair place only to have the guy behind the counter laugh at you and say, “we only work on REAL bikes!”? Or is there a place that will work on your scooter that is several hours away from your home?
Is that what’s buggin’ you, Boo-boo (or if you’re a Genuine Buddy owner, BuBu)?
In the U.S. and Canada, scooters have always been a niche market, and a small niche at that. Many brands (Derbi and Malaguti come to mind, as does the La Vita) have come and gone, and one can never know how long the ones that remain will stick around. It’s best to prepare for the possibility that you will one day be on your own when it comes to service and repairs.
When that day comes, you will want a copy of James Manning Michels’ How to Repair Your Scooter.
The book is a concise, well-organized, and most importantly, comprehensively illustrated instruction manual that covers every possible maintenance item or repair one might need to make. It begins with a discussion of maintenance vs. repair; if you are conscientious about maintenance, says the author, you will minimize the need for repairs.
There are color-coded sections for electrical, exhaust, suspension and other vehicle systems. There are also separate sections covering 2- and 4-stroke engines, with comprehensive troubleshooting guides for each.
Each color-coded section begins with a brief explanation of how that system works, along with its strengths and weaknesses. Illustrations are clear and easy to understand.
Best of all, each specific operation is called a project, beginning with a header that contains the (estimated) time, tools and talent (mostly 1 or 2, on a scale of 3) required, the cost expressed as one or more dollar signs ($), parts needed, and the benefit of performing the operation.
Each and every step of each operation is illustrated with big, clear color photos accompanied by captions containing pertinent details.
While there are many pictures of old-skool scoots, the book is oriented toward modern scooters. After all, there are many more of those on the road. Besides, there are excellent service and repair books specifically for old-skool Vespas and Lambrettas. How to Repair Your Scooter is not the book for that audience.
I would suggest this book is a worthwhile investment for someone who doesn’t own a scooter, but is thinking about getting one. Knowing how a scooter works is valuable if you’ve never owned one—even if you decide not to tackle maintenance or repairs yourself, you’ll have an excellent picture of what the repair shop is doing. Or should be.
Quibbles: the chapter on swapping a blackwall tire for a whitewall—a tire-mounting machine is not something most readers of this book are likely to have in their garage (though many places that sell tires for cars will mount a tire for you); an illustrated list of tools would be nice, especially one divided by essential vs. nice to have.
The $24.99 cover price makes How to Repair Your Scooter a book worth having, if for no other reason than it can pay for itself immediately. Available online, and at bricks-and-mortar bookstores. Hope you still have one of those.