Monday, January 24, 2011

The State says you're a scooter...

Seriously?  dude.

Yes, the Great State of Illinois has decreed that any two wheeled motor vehicle under 150cc of engine displacement shall be categorized as a "scooter".  Sweet.  Interestingly, this means that my wife's 2002 Honda Reflex, with 250cc, is considered a motorcycle.  How do I know this?  Well, I traveled to the Driver Services Facility in Lombard, Illinois on Saturday morning, February 22, 2011.  I was quickly processed and encountered a likable young man that was a little confused by the registration from the previous owner.  The NX was (previously) registered in Maine.  Maine, like New Hampshire, does not title vehicles that are of a certain age (twenty years old or older, I believe).  So, he had to double check with his supervisor.  With that straightened out, he went about making copies of the registration and bill of sale.  Then, he proceeded to stamp "less than 150cc" in about five or six separate areas of the registration form.  At no point did he ever ask about insurance (Did I have any?  Policy #?  Carrier?).  Nope, just pay the sales tax, title & registration fees and be off with you!  Did I mention he took his own sweet time?  The entire process took, easily, three times longer than normal because he was looking around, reviewing his handiwork and generally acting like a Government Employee.  Not that I minded, I was really in no hurry especially if he wasn't going to require proof of insurance (I have insurance, I just didn't have ID cards yet).  A (different) gentleman, that took the title & registration fees, and I had a good laugh about scooter versus motorcycle designations.  What's even more strange is that Illinois has chosen to make different license plates to differentiate scooters from motorcycles; firstly, a motorcycle plate is indicated by two letters (in the case of my wife's scooter, "AV", in the case of my TransAlp, "AA"), a scooter plate is indicated by one letter (in the case of the NX, "C"). Secondly, the motorcycle plate's letter/number combination is in dark red (on a mostly white background) while the scooter's is dark blue.  I'm guessing this makes it easier for law enforcement officers to ID a bike or a scoot?  Illinois may also restrict "scooters" (less than 150cc) from limited access highways (i.e. interstates).  The plate would make it easy to ID a "scooter" in this case.  I'm pretty sure the NX's top speed is about 60 mph which means I'll be avoiding highways like the plague and I knew this before even buying the bike (or scooter....).

I also had an opportunity to take it for a short spin, on Saturday, when I got home.  I made sure the battery was well charged (it sat on the trickle charger while I was out).  She fired right up and even though it was about 15º F outside, she ran just fine while I shivered and rode around in circles in a parking lot close to home.  Since I'm still breaking in a motor, I was surprised to find no tachometer next to the speedo (!!).  Hmmm.  It's nice to have a tach, especially when you're trying to keep the revs down during break-in.  So, an internet search quickly revealed Trail Tech's TTO Tach/Hour Meter.  Small enough to fit in the (already) cramped instrument binnacle but big enough to be easily read, this should work just fine (at least until I can tune my ear to know approximately how many RPM the engine is turning).  Now, if I can just figure out how to get a rear rack on the bike........

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