~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I Confess


OK, I confess, I'm interested in something on two wheels other than a motorcycle. I want a Heinkel Tourist motorscooter. There, I said it.

My wife has had an on-again-off-again interest in scooters so I've been poking around the scooter world to see what's what and fill in the extensive gaps in my knowledge of scooters. Somehow her interest in modern scooters has translated into me wanting a Heinkel from circa 1960. It's not clear to me how that happened but I'm good with it. I'd even let her ride it.

I've found that the scooter world is very much like the motorcycle world, just slower, maybe a little quirkier, and with a better sense of humor about itself. I confess too that I have always had an interest in things that were a bit different, a bit quirky, out of the mainstream, and so the Heinkel Tourist, with it's big valenced front fender and stout German heritage, has caught my interest. I work for a German company and have some knowledge of things German and as nearly as I can tell, the Heinkel Tourist is built the way the Germans used to build things before they discovered plastic, computers, and a "the more complex, the better" mentality.

I have no intention of giving up motorcycles but I just have the feeling that it would be no end of fun to have a vintage scooter, and a Heinkel in particular, to trundle about with on the weekends or to take to vintage events. The Heinkel has the style and substance of another era and I like that a lot.

With just 175cc it wouldn't be fast but it would be fun.

Heinkel's turn up for sale periodically, sometimes at good prices, sometimes at surprisingly high prices. They are not as numerous in the US as in Europe so finding the right Heinkel at the right price could be a bit of a challenge. I let one slip by already --"he who hesitates is lost" and all that. The was a nice looking Heinkel on eBay recently but it was down in Australia and the shipping costs would have made the purchase impractical unless the bug to have one bites me harder than it has. The recently acquired 1992 Kawasaki KLR650 is my 40th motorcycle; could my 41st two-wheeler be a vintage scooter? Stranger things have happened but not recently. I'm past-due.

More Heinkel Tourist info here for the excellent USA based Heinkel Tourist enthusiast and here for German site for all things Heinkel.


Steve Williams said...

The Heinkel Tourist motorscooter is one really cool machine and as a 41st two-wheeled vehicle it may finally fill a spiritual gap.

Personally the vintage scooters are too fussy for my temperament and I find myself thinking too much about the machine rather than the ride. The modern scooters are just so transparent and I have found that I like that a lot more than the two-stroke dirt bikes of my youth or the bone rattling vibration of the V-twins I rode.

Here in central Pennsylvania I picture the Heinkel Tourist motorscooter during hunting season with a blaze orange clad rider with a buck draped over the front. It kind of has the feel that some of the Cushman scooters had that were intended for the woods.

Forty machines.... I am still trying to explain to my wife why a motorcycle would be a reasonable addition in the garage next to the Vespa.


Doug Klassen said...


I have an advantage in that I started riding at a young age and every woman I've been associated with knows or knew that I was a motorcycle guy through and through. I'm on record for decades now as being one who spends too much money on motorcycles. No secret, no apologies.

Debbie and I got married last year and as I told her before we got married "I don't smoke, drink, gamble, do drugs, or consort with women of easy virtue, I just ride motorcycles."

As for adding a bike to your garage to accompany the Vespa, sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do! There are worse habits you could have than riding bikes and scooters.


Anonymous said...

Growing up in india, were scooters are like the family car here, I rode plenty of them. They are fun! The popular ones there are the indian made Bajaj, the Vespa and an ancient one called the Lambretta. Not sure if I'd want to own one though, I probably would ride it much!

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