07 June 2010

Helmets and 2 Stroke

After a few years of Vespa ownership, I've noticed that there are two things that would a sure-fire way to start a debate amongst scooter enthusiasts. The first thing being one's choice of helmets. Full-face or Open face? The pros and cons. Basically, does style trump substance?

I don't know the answer to that but, what I do know is that the other thing that is prone to debate in the world of scootering is the choice of 2-stroke oil. More specifically, whether it's semi-synthetic or fully synthetic.

Even such authoritative sites such as Scooter Help shy away from the answer to that question. Scootering magazine on the other hand, is quite clear on where it stands on the matter, advocating that their readers use the highest quality, fully synthetic 2-stroke oil for their scooters. Seemingly, this is very good for the engine's lubrication and also for the environment.

So, in keeping with the magazine's advice on the matter (and ignoring the advice of seemingly more mechanically-minded people), I've always stuck with high quality fully synth oils for my scooter. When I first got my Vespa, I opted for Castrol's TTS. I knew even back then, it was a bit overkill for just a Vespa but hey, Halfords was only two minutes away from where I live and it was convenient for me.

Then the recession came along and I was looking to trim the budget as much as I could. Not surprisingly, the amount spent on the Vespa would take a hit. At €3 less than Catsrol's offering, Rock Oil Synthesis 2 became the oil of choice.

I've been using Rock Oil for over a year now with no problems. While there's a bit more smoke when compared to the TTS, it does have less of a distinctive smell. OK, the smell produced by the TTS might not be as nauseating as the Putoline Strawberry variety but on a warm and humid day, it can get up your nose!

Then, SIP came along with their fully synthetic oil. All it took me to get their oil was a free delivery voucher which meant that their oil was almost €4 less than Rock Oil. Quite amazing really when you think I'd be now getting my 2 stroke from a warehouse a few thousand miles away rather than a bike shop only 5 minutes away from where I work.

I'm sure to be lectured on this at some stage. Something along the lines of, I should support my local dealers (and indirectly the local economy) by buying local, blah, blah, blah. But, why should I? Why should I have to fork out my own hard-earned money to support someone else's excessive profits or their inability to reduce their own costs? I'd be OK if it was a bit more expensive but, slapping another 50% on the price and blaming it on VAT and shipping is just a really bad joke.

I'm no charity and until that changes, I'm buying what's cheapest out there. Anyway, I'll see how I get along with my new choice and report back on this.

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