My First Scooter: Too Little, Too Much, How Much is Enough?
By William T Hoehn


1. Green Plate 50cc

  • If you have an International Driver's car license and do not want to take the tests, this is your bike. (Best advice: study, take the tests and really learn how to drive). It is cheaper, most economical, small, and uncomplicated. Generally, they can go about 30-40 mph (48 to 65 kph) on a flat, but do struggle with hills even with full power. They are light and very maneuverable which gives them access to small spaces like roadside or sidewalk parking. Gas mileage runs on average about 80-100 mpg (28 -42.5 kmpl) ( which makes them ideal for the commuter. The controls usually consist of horns, lights, turn signals, throttle and brakes making them simple to operate. They are cheap, costing between NT$1,000 - NT$1,800 new, and cheaper if used.



  • The downside is that they are often underpowered for foreigners' expectations. They are good for what they are if you are not looking for a macho image. Without research, they can be disappointing as they do not meet many ideas new riders have of a cool scooter. They are not meant for a trip up the mountain or for open roads when traffic is moving at 37-50mph ( 60-79 kph). In fact, they can become a hazard by being in the wrong place at the wrong time and not having the power to get out of a bad situation fast enough.



2. White Plate 51-249 cc

  • They can look like scooters, street and dirt bikes and everything in between. They can generally go 50 - 70 mph (80-112 kph) and are less affected by wind or rain. Many have fairings which can keep the rider drier during a rainy commute, and can tolerate headwinds and most hills.



  • They DO require a written and practical driving test before operation. Although you will hear of many folks not bothering with licenses, DON'T try it as the police are becoming much less lenient because they know you know better. Because of higher speeds, they are more prone to accidents and injuries IF the driver is not focused and knowledgeable. Remember, white plates ARE NOT allowed on freeways, expressways or national highways and your unintended presence on them will cause great consternation and nasty looks.


  • However because of more power and the ability to go faster, more open surface road adventures are possible. Trips up Yangmingshan, the North Coast, HsinChu to name a few. You are allowed to park in the on-street slots, and anywhere a shop owner does not yell at you, but please be considerate of all sidewalk dwellers.


  • Scooters between 100 - 150 cc average between NT$50,000 and NT$100,000 with used scooters less than half that amount. This scooter size is the most prevalent on the streets and serves as a bus service for families up to 5 members, grocery carts, general construction worker trucks, as well as commuters and tourist cars.


  • Check how well you can deal with the weight differences of individual bikes in terms of handling when stopped, as well as when maneuvering in traffic