Chinese Mopeds and Scooters
Reliable - they look good - and best of all - cheap !
Maybe my situation is a little extreme. I put the car to bed, waiting for the time I may have sufficient funds to get it back on the road - but I haven't got to do school runs, don't do the main shopping and don't mind getting wet !!
But if you weigh up a lot of things, by buying a Moped or Scooter, you can save literally hundreds of pounds a year and by buying a Chinese Motocycle, you can save even more.
Mine on the right cost me £499 BRAND NEW (2006). With the tax ,£15 per year, Registration £35 (I think it was) plus a pre-road safety check - the total amount came to £585. The Insurance is £97 per year, but I am an old git I suppose !! So this gives me 3 years without having to worry about an M.O.T, just the petrol, tax and insurance.
Petrol wise I'm getting about 120 miles to the gallon. Speed wise I'm flat out at 30-35mph (downhill!), so the cost in todays standard is very low indeed
I'm not saying it's the best idea and I very often wish I didn't have to go through the procedure of putting on over trousers, extra jumper, scarf and crash helmet etc., but at least this is halved during the summer months.
A few years ago, any vehicle from east of Europe was seen as being cheap and nasty. Remember the Lada car, or 'skip on wheels' as it was known! But I'm sure that looking at my Chinese Moped, you wouldn't see it as being a third of the cost of western manufacturers prices would you?
The main runners in Chinese Motorbikes are Baotian, Himo and Lifan. Bikes in this range are usually either 50cc or 125cc and styles go from the Scooter like mine, to 'Honda C', to Scrambling to standard Motorbike. Be careful or you may top the £1000 mark on some of them! There are even the classic Vespa Retro styles as well. The specs and servicing etc. on all are almost identical.
For extra speed you can 'de-restrict' them. For European purposes, the 50cc models are tuned down to do a maximum speed of 30mph, but by cutting a cable and adjusting the carb, you can take it back to how it was built. Needless to say, I can't recommend this and personally I find 30mph quite sufficient. Also, it has been known for a de-restricted Chinese bike to burn out when some young tearaway just gives it full throttle all the time.
If you are downsizing your ways and maybe have two cars, but one sits in the garage most of the day spending money for you on wasted insurance and tax time, I would really recommend one of these.
Most car parks don't charge you to park simply on the grounds you haven't anywhere to put the ticket! and in a busy town centre they are ideal.
The things slightly more negative are; Obviously the Safety Issue is paramount. A lot of car drivers don't like being held up for 30 seconds of their life by going 30mph and will sit on your backside, then at the silliest opportunity overtake and cut you up. Usually you catch up and overtake at the next set of traffic lights!! You will get shouted at for simply being on the road, I've even had a bottle thrown at me by a passing juvenile car passenger with the brain the size of a peanut - so be aware of these things and be alert all of the time, expecting the unexpected.
Then there's the weather of course and extra precaution has to be taken, but you can pick up good quality stuff on auctions or by looking around.
I got my crash helmet (which is a proper motorbike one) for only £45 with all the Euro Safety Standards labelled.
On the legalities, if you passed your full car driving test before 2000, you don't need to display 'L' plates or take the Government One day training Course.
If you didn't pass before 2000 then if you get either a 50cc or a 125cc Bike, you must take the Course and display 'L' Plates.
I get around fine on mine and the money savings are really felt over having the car. So far, after just about 1200 miles, I haven't had a single problem with mine, through rain and shine, the elctric starter goes first time I expect something will twang somewhere at some stage, but Chinese motor bike parts are available in this country, or you can order them from mainland Europe possibly saving a few bob.