In case you haven't noticed lately, the world of scooters is moving quickly.
Once mainly a European and Asian market phenomenon, the little motor scooter has moved upscale and uptown in the United States.
The market's iconic names -- think Vespa and Lambretta, for example -- have been joined by the mainstream Japanese manufacturers and a host of others.
Combine new styles and improved engines with the traditional advantages of economy, efficiency and compactness and you get what the manufacturers are seeing today: Lots of second looks and a steady stream -- though not yet a torrent -- of new buyers.
Some of the reasons are obvious.
A typical scooter tends to be inexpensive to buy, cheap to operate and maintain and fun to ride.
They're small and light, so you often see, for example, a scooter lashed to the back of a camper or motor home.
Many people consider them unmatched as urban transportation, and market numbers show a strong attraction among students.
Although many scooters are technically considered motorcycles, they're much easier to ride.
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