California Scooters Doing The Mexico Baja. Twice.

When about 10 months ago I reported on the launch by California Scooter Co. of a new line of retro-modern style Scooters with a traditional motorcycle layout inspired by the Mustang, you all agreed with me that they looked pretty cool and that they offered a fun and affordable alternative and/or complementary mean of transportation. No one had any doubt about the functionality of these single cylinder 150 cc custom machines for city or short rides, but what about very long grueling miles. A group of 5 friends, 4 men and 1 woman, decided to ride these California Scooters along the Baja Peninsula, a 2000 mile round trip from South California to Mexico Cabo San Lucas and back, and see how they would perform under demanding conditions, distance, rough pavement, dirt and intense heat. . 

Story by Joe Berk. “The ride was tougher than usual, as September is Baja’s hottest month. The group crossed the Tropic of Cancer on their way to Cabo San Lucas, and they experienced daily temperature swings in excess of 100 Fon most days. The northern part of the ride from Tijuana to El Rosario skirted the Pacific Ocean on the western side of the peninsula through Mexico’s wine country and agricultural region. Once below Ensenada, the group was well away from the tourist areas and deep into the heart of the true Baja and authentic Mexico. 

At El Rosario the route turned inland through Baja’s Vizcaino Desert, with a mix of twisting mountain roads and long straights. Cirios, Cardon cactus, and other plants are unique to this area (they grow nowhere else). The scenery is stunning, and it stays that way all the way down to Cabo San Lucas. The riders crossed Catavina’s boulder fields, a stark and surreal collection of enormous boulders punctuated by 70-foot-tall Cardon cactus plants (think of a Saguaro on steroids). The terrain in this region is other-worldly; many consider it one of the most unique landscapes on the planet.

At Guerrero Negro (about 500 miles south of the border), the California Scooter riders turned inland, crossing the peninsula in a southeasterly direction. After stopping in the San Ignacio oasis and riding through the Los Tres Virgenes volcano’s lava fields, the 150cc-mounted riders descended through La Cuesta del Infierno, dropping 2,000 feet in just a few miles to arrive in Santa Rosalia on the Sea of Cortez. We arrived in Santa Rosalia on Mexico’s Independence Day just in time to observe military parades and other festivities celebrating Mexico’s Bicentennial.

The single-cylinder adventure Scooter riders skirted the Sea of Cortez past Bahia de Concepcion (a magnificent ride along a stunning aquamarine bay), the resort towns of Loreto and La Paz, and points south to arrive in Cabo San Lucas after being on the road for 5 days. After staying the night in Cabo, the group immediately pointed the bikes north again, retracing their route at a much brisker pace.  On the last two days, the group rode the bikes wide open, keeping the California Scooters near their top speed (just above 60 miles per hour on flat roads, depending on rider weight). It was a magnificent ride with none of us having any mechanical issue despite the number of miles and very high temperatures. It was all good…the scenery, the riding, the food, and the camaraderie. Everyone in the group said they’re ready to do it again tomorrow!” 

California Scooter co. LLC is a California-based business under its parent company, Pro-One Performance Manufacturing, Inc. President and CEO Steve Seidner has been a leader in design and innovation of motorcycles and motorcycle accessories since 1989. His concept is to bring to the 21st century Scooters with the same spirit and quality as big cruiser motorcycles. The company currently offers 3 standard models, the Classic, the Greaser and the Babydoll and many options for paint jobs and custom parts.  More information available at California Scooters.

Zipper's

19 Responses to “California Scooters Doing The Mexico Baja. Twice.”


  1. 1 Arlene Battishill Sep 29th, 2010 at 8:24 am

    As the one female rider on this journey, I can tell you with absolute certainty, THIS was the best adventure trip of my life! We put those bikes through their paces and they just purred like kittens the whole way! The scenery was spectactular, the company of four great guys, the incredible support from everyone at California Scooter Company, what more could a girl ask for! I bought my California Scooter Company bike as my 50th birthday present to myself and everyday that I ride it, I feel like a kid again! Thank you California Scooter Company for helping me to feel what it’s like to be a kid again! PS – I’m ready to do the tour again, just name the day, I’m there!!!

    Arlene Battishill
    President
    ScooterGirls, Inc., makers of GoGo Gear
    http://www.scooter-girls.com

  2. 2 Kirk Perry Sep 29th, 2010 at 10:18 am

    The land of hitch-hiking cactus. Hell on earth. Truly a test-drive for a Mustang.

    Baja is no cake-walk. Unforgiving environment, but the he nicest people you’ll ever find away from home. It’s amazing that in the one Pemex gas station (below El Rosario) the “regular” gas pump is operated by a little external electric motor that sits on a piece of wood beside the pump, and services all vehicles with petrol. Just you and that tiny pump and a jillion miles of wilderness around you.

    We once saw a car coming towards us, as a shimmering layered mirage, in the opposite lane traveling in reverse.
    It was the only gear remaining in his transmission that would operate.

  3. 3 busfreak Sep 29th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    It,s pretty dangerous traveling like you did in Mexico, but glad you made it back safe. It is sure a shame I remember when trips like were that fun.

  4. 4 Joe Sep 29th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    busfreak:

    Joe here from California Scooter; I’m one of the guys on that was on the trip above. The danger in Mexico is enormously overstated (the press in our country has an agenda I don’t understand), and as far as I could tell, there is no problem other than in a few areas apparently associated with the drug trade. We never felt in any danger, and the Bajaenos treated us very, very well. In fact, we’re doing the trip again in March to see the whales, and anybody who owns a California Scooter is welcome to accompany us. That trip will take us about halfway down the peninsula (it will be about 1000 miles total), and the weather will be much better than the heat and humidity we had on this trip.

    JB

  5. 5 J. Brandon Sep 29th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    It was a fantastic trip and as Arlene says, I’m ready to go again, any time. Baja is beautiful, the people are warm and friendly, and we had a great time.

    Regarding safety: busfreak, I’m sorry to read that you feel Mexico is an unsafe place to travel. This is my second extended trip deep into Baja in less than a year. I have never felt in any sort of danger. The most dangerous thing any of us do is drive on the public roads in the US. Compared to that, travel in remote places is extremely safe.

  6. 6 Clutchy Sep 29th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I would have never thought doing the Baja on a scooter, but why not? Scoot looks good.

  7. 7 Geoff Hill Sep 29th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Such a great story. I am so glad that we could sponsor you guys on this amazing ride! Maybe I can get on a scooter and join you in March. Seeing the whales is on my Baja to-do list!

  8. 8 Joe Sep 29th, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Geoff, you will love it. To my knowledge, it’s the only place in the world where you can actually touch the whales and play with them. It is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life. We are proud to have had BajaBound.com as a sponsor on this trip, and you are the only guys I ever use when I travel in Mexico.

  9. 9 Art Welch Sep 29th, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Joe.. thank you for stating that Mexico is a safe place. Too many times we here that from people who have never even been there or have the same agenda as the Media. People are always afraid of what they know, or come up with stories of isolated incidences, that could happen anywhere.. Most of the same crime happens here.. But I would love to Join you guys sometime.. I just need to get a California Scooter!

    Art Welch
    Indian Motorcycle of the Twin Cities, MN

  10. 10 Doug Barker Sep 29th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I don’t know about how dangerous Mexico is now, I have been there a few times and never had a problem. I do think that would have been an adventure to remember on one of these scooters.

    I did go to the California Scooters facility and got to ride one. They are beautiful bikes.

  11. 11 John Welker Sep 29th, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    I have to agree that we put these scooters through quite the endurance test. At 6’ tall and 250 lbs, I make these scooters look even smaller than they are. I figured that even if the bike survived, that I would be in pain by the time that we reached Ensenada on the first day, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even at the end of the trip, I did not feel as tired as I have during previous motorcycle trips. Perhaps some of this is because the scooter forces you to travel in a more leisurely fashion, but much of it is due to the incredible ergonomic design. The seating position is not only comfortable, but also instills the confidence of a larger motorcycle; however, you don’t have the disadvantages of the larger motorcycle, such as the weight, maneuverability, poorer mileage. These scooters performed remarkably well in dirt, sand, and gravel and the engines didn’t miss a beat hauling my massive frame up the steepest of hills in 100+ degree temperatures. Maintaining near full throttle speeds of 55 mph for hours at a time, these bikes maintained an average of over 70 miles per gallon. They are also just plain fun to ride. I’m ready to go back, but next time we’ll plan for a couple of days in Cabo to give us the opportunity to better enjoy our fancy digs.

    Just one more note: Joe’s right. Mexico is getting an overall bad reputation even though the trouble is isolated to a few small areas. I’ve traveled Baja for 25 years, and I haven’t had a bad trip yet. I traveled by motorcycle last November, and even did a significant amount of off-road riding during my most recent February 2010 trip, and I never felt unsafe. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that I love to spend time in Baja. The people are warm and friendly, and the world just seems to be a better place.

    John

  12. 12 Chopperfugger Sep 29th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I wonder if the Mexican folks thought it was the El Diablo run
    come back again?

  13. 13 Joe Sep 29th, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Art Welch: ” I just need to get a California Scooter!”

    Art, we can help you with that. We are evaluating a special Baja price on our Scooters for folks who want to join us on the next ride (we are creating a new adventure touring niche). We believe it takes a special kind of rider to go for a trip like this on a small bike. There’s lots of folks who do it on big bikes, but this is a different kind of adventure for a different kind of rider. Give us a call.

  14. 14 chicagojohn Sep 30th, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Maybe I’m just a gearhead, how big is the motor? and where is it sourced from? also what kind of MPG were you guys getting?

  15. 15 Joe Sep 30th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Chicagojohn, Joe Berk here, and we’re all gearheads.

    The motor is a 150cc based on a Honda design (the old CG-150) and it’s sourced from Taiwan. We’ve attained as high as 98 mpg with a 140-lb rider in normal street riding. On this trip, with big guys running flat out a lot of the time, we were getting from 70 mpg to something north of 80 mpg on bikes with lowered gearing (we went to the bigger rear sprockets because of our weight and the fact that a lot of the riding would be in the mountains). On Arlene’s bike with the stock taller gearing and her lighter weight, she was probably getting around 100 mpg. At each fuel stop, she was taking about 1/3 less fuel than John and I were. I didn’t compute the exact mileage because it was hot and humid, and I didn’t want to take the time to convert liters to gallons (all I wanted to do was get moving again to cool off). You can learn a lot more about the bikes and what our experiences were on this trip on the Cal Scooter blog (www.CaliforniaScooterCo.com/blog). Just look for the “Baja After Action Report” entry.

  16. 16 Bigal Sep 30th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    These Minature’s aient Cheap, either! It is nice and great to see the comradary and allis good!.AAAAaaaaaaahhhhhhhmmmmmm!

  17. 17 Gavin Oct 1st, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Hi.

    All I want to know as a South African, is when will they be exporting to south Africa, as I think that these beauties will do very well in this part of the world.

    Gavin.

  18. 18 Arlene Battishill Oct 1st, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Arlene here again, one of the riders on this journey… needless to say, I have SO many things I could say about this trip AND the bikes but perhaps the one thing I most want to say is that this experience could probably be one of those Mastercard commercials where they go through the list of all the things and how much they cost and then the experience is what gets shown as “priceless”. This is exactly how I describe my California Scooter Company bike AND the trip I took with those guys. It was the kind of experience, the riding of the bike, and the guys that were on the trip that make me reflect on this much like one would reflect on their first kiss… yes, kind of corny perhaps but for me, as someone who hasn’t ridden motorcycles my whole life, who couldn’t tell you which size wrench you use on which part of the bike, can’t tell you a thing about compression or 26T compared to 28T or whatever that is, who can’t tell you the whole history of how motorcycles get designed and manufactured, who doesn’t have a clue about anything mechanical, who doesn’t look at a motorcycle and consider the size engine it has or how much it costs relative to what it is, you know, all that analytical stuff, I only look at it from the perspective of how does it make me feel… maybe that’s a chick thing, but how it feels is what excites me and maybe all the things I just described are what make other people have a particular “feeling” about a bike, but this experience AND my bike give me the feeling I get when it’s the bottom of the ninth, the home team is at bat, bases are loaded, two outs, two strikes on the batter, we’re down by three runs and the guy you want at the plate steps up and looks out at the crowd. With anticipation and the holding of all our breaths, the pitch is thrown and with the perfect swing, he connects and puts the ball out of the park to win the game. THAT is what all of this feels like and felt like to me. How do you put a price on a feeling like that?! Perhaps the best word I could use to describe all of it was, like the first kiss… exquisite. I’m ready for that second kiss!!! Let’s go!!!

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