NYCS Review: How To Repair Your Scooter
Most scooter books fall into one of either two camps: historic reviews of classic marques, or down-and-dirty shop manuals breaking down every thread, hex bolt, and cable of your particular bike.
James Manning Michel’s latest book, “How To Repair Your Scooter,” doesn’t quite fit either category, but instead attempts to bring something a little different to the workbench.
The book is an overview of common maintenance and repair tasks for scooters that is not model specific. While there is a very nice overview of both two-stroke and four-stroke engine basics, the book aims to be a practical guide to the modern scooter owner and as such leans in much more heavily on the four-stroke side of the equation.
Over the course of 160 pages, James breaks down 36 projects that move from the basics, “Remove, Check, and Replace a Spark Plug,” to more advance topics like an “Engine Compression Test.” Each project is aligned with a set of parameters that give you a sense of the level of complexity (or “Talent,”) time needed, tools required, and – nicely – the benefit of learning that particular repair.
Outside of an initial set up, and a nice overview of common daily maintenance tasks, the book dives right into the projects, and only really breaks to talk to the aforementioned differences between two and four stroke engines.
The book contains close to 400 photographs from photographer Randy Johnson that give a nice clear view of proceedings, much clearer than the average newsprint shop manual.
So is it the perfect scooter book to accompany your daily ride? The question becomes, who is the book aimed at? Opening paragraphs suggest that the need for the book has come about given the recent proliferation of scooters in light of the see-sawing of gas prices in recent years. This also means that the book assumes that many new scooter riders have migrated from four wheels, and have some basic knowledge of auto repair. So, while not directly referencing working on a car or truck, some of the concepts covered are going to cause the occasional head scratch for those riders who’ve had no grease-monkey experience at all.
Covering tasks in general terms not specific to a particular model, also means that the book is also best complimented with at least your owners manual, if not a more detailed shop manual for some tasks (both recommended by the author.)
What the book does do is give a nice overview of common tasks associated with owning a scooter and does bring many basic tasks such as filter, cooler, and oil replacement well in the reach of Joe Public, and if that saves an unnecessarily expensive trip to the local scooter dealer, that – in my eyes – is a good thing. It’s also a great overview for anyone who’s interested in the level of expertise required to keep the average scooter on the road. Answer? Very little if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.