Whether you ride a twist and go moped, a sassy sports scooter or a classic style of Vespa, customising your scooter with accessories can be a great way to improve the practicality of your ride.
With the huge market for scooters on mainland Europe, a number of companies have cropped up producing custom parts especially for scoots. But what are the best parts you can add to your scooter? These are five of our favourite modifications…
Most scooters are hugely practical out of the box. Almost all have ample storage under the seat, where you can load a few bags of shopping and leave your helmet during the day, but for when that’s not enough, adding a top box is the perfect modification for your scooter.
Most manufacturers offer top boxes in their official options catalogue, and they usually come in various sizes. If your scooter doesn’t have an official accessory top box option, you will probably find a third party aftermarket alternative out there, with companies like Givi and SHAD doing a roaring trade in luggage every year.
The great thing about a top box is that, unlike panniers, they don’t add any width to your scooter, meaning that they won’t affect the ability to filter through traffic. They also provide a backrest for your passenger, so if you regularly take a pillion they may find that it makes their ride more relaxing too.
Top boxes are usually pretty easy to fit at home, especially if it’s an official accessory from your bike’s manufacturer. Don’t forget though, you’ll need to fit the top box to a rear rack, so make sure you purchase one of these and any relevant adaptors before attempting to fit it.
Another one that’s regularly offered by the OE manufacturer, a screen offers improved wind protection and can have benefits for riders who spend extended periods on dual carriageways, or who ride in all weathers.
Larger scooters like the Yamaha XMAX/TMAX series and the Honda Forza models come fitted with screens as standard, but most scooters, even smaller ones, can get one fitted as an accessory.
Screens come in a variety of sizes. Shorter screens look a bit tidier to many eyes but offer minimal protection, while tall screens deflect more of the wind blast but can look unwieldy and can cause an uncomfortable turbulence at speed for some riders. Adjustable screens are the best option, as they allow it to be lowered around town and raised to the rider’s personal taste on a run, although these usually only come on more expensive models.
Also related to the windscreen, some scooters will come with the option of handguards, which will deflect air from the rider’s hands and make for a warmer and more comfortable ride.
Italian company Tucano Urbano has built its reputation with the Termoscud leg cover, and these are an essential accessory for the year-round scooter rider. Getting in on the act, there are a number of other companies making similar covers these days, including many of the scooter manufacturers themselves.
Essentially a big quilted blanket that’s designed to fit your particular scooter, these leg covers keep the warmth in and the rain out – a godsend during winter riding.
Leg covers are particularly welcomed by commuters who like to dress light. Rightly or wrongly, many city riders like to ride in civvies, and a leg cover can be a good way to keep warm without wrapping up in layers of bike clothing, or to keep your suit trousers and smart shoes clean and dry on the way into the office.
A bike cover should be an indispensable accessory for any rider who leaves their bike parked up in public places.
A waterproof cover has many benefits. On a rainy day, it’s great to be able to whip the cover off and find a lovely dry scooter, as there’s nothing worse than riding around on a soaking wet saddle. A cover will also help protect your pride and joy from the elements, reducing the risk of corrosion over time. From a security point of view, a cover is also recommended by the police as a legitimate security device. They say that covering up your scooter makes it less attractive to thieves, and with a cover being a relatively inexpensive and easy to use accessory (it simply folds up and fits under the seat when not in use) it’s an essential accessory for all moped and scooter riders.
Lock and chain
All moped and scooter riders should take security seriously.
Although the theft epidemic is abating from its peak last summer, motorcycle theft rates are still unacceptably high, not just in London but throughout the country.
Alarms and trackers work well on mopeds and scooters, but a good quality lock and chain should be the minimum security for all riders.
A lock and chain provides a very visible physical deterrent to bike thieves, especially ones acting on impulse, and although it’s no guarantee of 100% protecting your bike from theft, there is no doubt that good security devices play a part in presenting theft and facilitating return.
Purchase the best lock and chain you can afford, because never has the adage that ‘you get what you pay for’ been more true than with the lock. Heavier and stronger devices are usually more difficult to break with bolt croppers or an angle grinder, while specialist publications like MCN and RiDE regularly test chains and publish reviews to help you make your decision.
London’s Metropolitan Police recommends a ‘Lock, Chain, Cover’ approach, using a disc lock to immobilise the scooter, a chain to secure it to an immovable object (such as a lamppost) and a cover to make it less desirable to passing criminals.
As always, you should always contact your scooter insurance company to discuss any modifications you make to your scooter. In many cases, security devices can have a positive impact on your insurance premium, so make sure you declare these when getting your next quote.