Deb and I drove out to Pride of Cleveland Scooters today with trailer in tow. We were picking up a new 2002 white Chetak.

We drove past the shop once or twice (left the directions at home duh!) util we noticed a white scooter, and a half dozen scooter sized wooden crates on the sidewalk. We had found Phil's scooter shop.

After some general BS'ing and looking at the other scooters in the shop, Phil
gave my Deb and I an excellent intro to the Chetak. I know my way around a
bike, but he pointed out all the little details that sometimes take a while to
figure out. He showed Deb what she needed to know, and any doubts about
getting a scooter faded away. I felt really good about buying the bike from

A few minutes of paperwork signing, and a swipe of my credit card, and we were on our way.

We got home, unloaded the bike, returned the trailer, came home again and
grabbed our gear. About 2 minutes later I fired it up, and off I went. After
a lap of the neighborhood, Deb hopped on the back and went for a 15 mile ride.

Impressions: What a nice machine.

Engine: Plenty of power. With a combined weight of ~310#, it had no problem
pulling up the local hills (pretty steep in Pittsburgh) at greater than the
posted 35mph limit. (I'll admit I used all of the powerband, despite only
having 3 miles on the odo. Having rebuilt a motor or two, I'm a believer in
the run-it-hard break-in program. Just don't run it lean, or at the same rpm
for too long.) The only thing I had to get used to was the relatively narrow
rpm range. My last bike had a 14,500rpm redline. The overall experience
wasn't much different than a friend's Honda Rebel 250 I once rode, except the
scooter handled better…

Handling: Surprisingly good. I ran it through some twisty stuff, and it
didn't complain at all. Very neutral, and easy to hold a line if you were
smooth. No ill manners at speed (breifly over 50mph) and unbelievable at low

Brakes: This will take some getting used to. On a sportbike the front brake
is everything. On the Chetak it's pretty anemic. The rear brake definately
gets the job done, but modulating the foot pedal isn't as easy as the front
would be.

Passenger experience: Deb loved it. Once I got her to stop fighting the lean
she made an excellent passenger, although she hogged most of the seat. This
was her first time on a bike of any sort.

Other Stuff: What were they thinking with the turnsignal beeper?!? I started
using hand signals… didn't want anyone to think I was a Mack truck backing
up. I have to fix that. The mirrors are ok. Pretty much what I'm used to.
Neutral light is a little wonky… it seems to register in 1st gear. I
probably need to adjust it. I don't use it but it might help Deb. Having a
gas gauge is excellent. It the first bike I've ever had the had one.

I think we'd have just kept riding if we weren't a bit tired from the drive out
and back.

An enthusiastic 2 thumbs up.