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Old 04-13-2010, 11:06 AM
Location: New Jersey
8 posts, read 70,060 times
Reputation: 16


Aloha all! I will be moving to Oahu come mid-August, and will be attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa. My boss and some friends that have lived previously on Oahu have recommended that I get a moped or some kind of scooter when I get out there. What do you guys think? I have used the search function on these forums, and have already found a lot of useful information re: the subject, but I am just really looking for some resident opinions...

I will be living on campus, and my part time job will be on campus. I was on the island about 6 months ago for a week and was able to get a pretty quick handle on The Bus system (the few days that I was there, I got really lucky - it was always on time and all around a very pleasant experience.)

I personally think it would be fun to have a Vespa or something, but overall I don't think I need the expense or the hassle. I know that scooters are prime targets for theft as well. I know that you cannot drive them on the highways, so it would really just get me around locally. But I can use The Bus for that. My boss said, "Well, you want to have a moped so you can go up to the North Shore when you have free time and not have to depend on the bus." But I don't think you can realistically even GET to the North Shore via moped, without using the highways, right?

Any advice or tips would be so greatly welcomed. I have money in my budget that if a scooter was something that would really be useful, I could get one. I would just really like some input. Thanks everyone, I so appreciate it!
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:58 AM
Location: Hawaii
1,677 posts, read 3,609,641 times
Reputation: 3043

Another student's question (mine is the 3rd post).

About being stolen; yes it is a risk but they really don't look so bad in the front room (haha). At school there is security and places to park them. I don't know if the students use bike chains to secure them at school or not.

You know how convenient mopeds are hopping around an area like UMH. Wait till you get here to decide.

No; you can't get to the North Shore from Manoa without going on the freeway and you already know that mopeds/scooters are not street legal.

The bus system is very good.

Last edited by tyvin; 04-13-2010 at 12:17 PM..
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:51 PM
Location: New Jersey
8 posts, read 70,060 times
Reputation: 16
Thanks much!
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Old 04-13-2010, 08:13 PM
312 posts, read 1,183,702 times
Reputation: 464
there is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to mopeds/scooters in hawai'i. i have researched and expirienced this entirely, so i would like to share it with you.

1. there is a difference between a moped and a scooter. a moped has to go under 35mph and can not have an engine larger than a 49cc. if it goes faster than that and has a larger engine than 49cc it is considered a "Scooter". (it must meet both requirments, even if it's 49cc and goes 40mph, it's a scooter. if it's 80cc and goes 25mph, it's a scooter, etc). Scooter is not a legally binding term; anything considered a scooter is a motorcycle. Mopeds need a moped license/registration. Scooters require a motorycle license, registration, inspection and insurance.

2. This is where it gets confusing. Scooters are streetlegal, by all means. you can get a scooter than goes anywhere from 25 mph to as fast as any motorcycle. So feesibly, there is no problem with owning a Scooter if you want to get anywhere on the island. A moped, on the other hand, would not be reasonable outside of Honolulu. Let's just assume you'd go with scooter because you can go anywhere. Scooters are automatic (there are manual scoots, but it's not common), no clutch, no gear shifting, etc, making them easy to ride.

3. Ready to get more confused? don't worry this is the most confusing part. Even if you buy a Scooter, for instance, the two popular ones are a Honda Metro or a Honda Ruckus. Technically, by reading the Hawai'i State Law, they are Scooters/Motorcycles by the criterea of the law. However, be weary, the dealers will tell you a load of crap that isn't at all right. To even make this stranger, if you buy one and get it registered, the state office will register it as a moped because the dealers type on the selling information that it only goes 34mph and has a 49cc engine. My regular standards, Metros/Ruckus' are considered 50cc because they are 49.9cc, they also go from 40-45 mph depending on your body weight. So basically, you will be treated as if it's a moped, told to high heaven that it is, when it's not. But Hey! that means you get a better, cheaper deal on a Scooter and less hassle to drive it.

I know a lot of that is useless to you, but I always like to educate someone on how the laws are there, and how odd it is that even given Hawai'is laws on motorcycles, they still allow people to break the law, while abiding by the law...it's very strange. In my opinion, if you are getting a car, only spend your money on a Scoot when you are ready to have one just to have fun. You will use it a lot, and you will probably like it. If not, you can always sell it, TRUST ME! someone will always be there to buy it. If you do not want to get a car, then i would suggest getting something like a 80cc Honda Elite, or a larger scooter. You would need nothing bigger than a 150cc anything, since those go upwards of 60mph, which is already faster than the roads allow there. Right now i have a 125cc Yamaha Vino, and i've gone 65 and never topped it out...don't know how fast it actually goes! If you choose to go on something larger, you will get in trouble if you do not have a license for it (reg, insp, insurance etc) but honestly, scoots are such a part of the hawaiian daily life that most people don't notice or care-even cops. i might care, but the law isn't really harsh on it. i would suggest the license anyways, just because it's always best to know what you are doing on any size scoot. Also, I live on Big Island, but as far as my understanding, the laws are island wide for the state and not by county. I would like to remind you again, that people will argue like crazy about Motorcycle/Scooter and Moped laws in Hawai'i, but it's as easy as getting the pamplet yourself or simply finding it on the official State of Hawai'i website. Aloha and have fun with whatever you choose!
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:00 PM
Location: Honolulu, HI
704 posts, read 1,289,738 times
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I have been using the bus as my mode of transportation, however I have been interested in buying a moped as well. Anybody have some recommendations on which mopeds/scooters are top quality and good value?
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:23 PM
312 posts, read 1,183,702 times
Reputation: 464
stay away from chinese scooters, that's the biggest and best advice anyone can give you. people are drawn to them because they often "look cool" and are cheaper in price, but you WILL get what you pay for. many years ago my husband made the mistake of buying one and it was rendered useless within 2 weeks of being brand new. they will suffer constant problems and be a money pit. don't be fooled! the most popular brands you may see to avoid are Tank and Baja, most likely.

if you find a scooter or moped you like, just do a little research. it's easy to look up user reviews for anything these days.

brands you normally can't go wrong with are the well-knowns, like Honda, Yamaha, Piaggio, Vespa, etc. you may spend a little more to begin with, but you will def. save money in the long run. I had a 80cc, 1987 Honda Elite for 2 years and it never needed anything fixed on it. When taken care of a Scooter can last you a VERY long time and be very reliable!

As far as Mopeds go, i have no expirience with owning one personally. I have no desire to own one, so i only know the laws about it because people wrongly mix them with scooters, but that's the extent of my knowledge.
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:27 PM
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
9,316 posts, read 17,946,933 times
Reputation: 7980
Well, I've owned mopeds, a Vespa and various motorcycles and ridden them around Oahu for decades. These are all hot prospects for thieves, so get a really good lock - something that can't be clipped with bolt cutters - and then lock your ride to something solid. Otherwise they will just lift the whole thing into a pickup truck and drive away with it.

The mopeds and Vespa were easy to ride and inexpensive although the Vespa was registered and insured like a motorcycle. However, they do have very small diameter tires and there are a lot of potholes in Honolulu street so there were hazards to riding them just because of the physics of their construction and use. I found a smaller motorcycle somewhere between 250cc and 450cc to be about perfect for eeling through downtown Honolulu traffic. That size is big enough to zip out of the way when it has to, yet is small and agile enough to get around some really congested traffic.

I think the University has some rules about mopeds on campus, I think they restricted them awhile back because of the sheer number of them everywhere.

Whatever you ride, remember that YOU ARE INVISIBLE. And, if they could see you, THEY'D BE OUT TO GET YOU. Paranoia is your friend when riding two wheelers of any type in traffic. The other rule is to "keep the shiny side up".
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Old 04-15-2010, 03:15 PM
Location: Dublin, Ohio
380 posts, read 697,269 times
Reputation: 348
Are there many three-wheel motorcycles in Hawaii? They are appealing to me at 72 more than a two-wheel. They also have cargo capability. A neighbor has one he and his wife go touring on. They have a trailer painted to match the trike they pull with it for long trips. Their trike license is HIS3W, the trailer license is HER JUNK. Kinda neat.

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Old 04-15-2010, 09:23 PM
312 posts, read 1,183,702 times
Reputation: 464
Mickey, you can probably get a motorcycle like your neighbors or a Scooter like a Piaggio MP3, but i would make sure you drive one first. they are much harder to drive than normal 2 wheeled cycles because of the way you use your body to turn instead of your handlebars. almost anywhere you live (probably more so the islands) but i wouldn't say it isn't a possibility. they are also usually quite expensive. I considered it myself once when i lived in Texas and to get the bike i wanted with the side car was the cost of the bike twice over...i'll stick with a basket on the back and underseat storage for now!
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Old 04-16-2010, 04:18 PM
Location: Hawaii-Puna District
3,754 posts, read 9,528,190 times
Reputation: 2444
hotzcatz is right - BE PARANOID. It it almost every day that one reads in the papers about another moped/scooter crash with injuries or death on Oahu.
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