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Maui Moto: Save gas, and money, by switching to a moped

By Staff | Jun 2, 2011

Visit Beth (pictured) and Ted King at Maui Moto for deals on Honda scooters and mopeds.

WAILUKU — Ted and Beth King, the new owners of Maui Moto LLC, hope to help locals battle high gas prices by offering bottom-line deals on scooters, mopeds and motorcycles.

“We bought the Honda Motorcycle Dealership thinking that in a bad economy, everyone redefines the best economical means to travel while being environmentally conscious,” Ted explained.

If you’ve been paying attention to Maui’s roads and parking lots, you have seen an increase in scooter and motorbike usage within the past year.

With many people living and working in the same town, “they are wising up to the fact that 125 miles per gallon puts cash in their wallet,” Ted commented.

“Maui — and tropical islands in general — is the perfect environment for scooter and motorcycle use.”

Maui Moto is located at 1161 Lower Main St. in Wailuku — the old Honda car dealership years ago — and now the company’s Scooter Store, called “Scooter Town,” is open in Lahaina at West Maui Center.

Having worked as a deaf education teacher on Maui for ten years, Beth has put her aptitude for fun and style into this dealership by remodeling the interior showroom with a splash of Honda red and fun accessories.

“It’s been such a fun business to learn,” she said. “I just love meeting our customers and offering them the best value in terms of product and cost. I moved here in 1990 from a small town in Northern Maine, so I know we need to work this business from a non-corporate approach and simply provide that bottom line sale.”

Beth works at the dealership with her little Bichon, Lili, Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Ted has been a Maui resident since 1982. His history of owning several water sports companies — including Pacific Jet Sports Inc., a personnel watercraft rental business off the shore of Kaanapali Beach — has placed him in close proximity to Honda Power Sports Dealership, formally known as Cycle World Maui and before that Maui Motorcycles.

“The old owners simply turned the key and left for the Mainland. That business was a few days away from simply closing up, and I just couldn’t imagine Maui without a Honda Power Sports Dealership,” Ted explained.

Ted and Beth have been Maui residents for 20 years.

“He is one of the most positive, optimistic people I know,” said Beth, Ted’s wife of 15 years.

“If anyone will keep the doors open and make the local customers happy with service and sales, it is Ted.”

Maui Moto offers a large choice of scooters, dirt bikes, street bikes and personnel watercrafts (jet skis).

Maui Moto’s team is dedicated to provide customers with the very best quality scooters and power sport products, balanced by their dedication to promoting conservation and environmental awareness of our natural resources.

The couple purchased the dealership in 2009 during the low point of the economic downfall. Why? “We love to travel, and whether we were in Italy, South America or Vietnam, one of the first things we noticed was the urban commuters, of all ages, jetting around on their motor scooters,” Ted said.

“This is what should be happening on Maui! As the cost of living rises, people are sure to resort to more economical means of travel, especially in this paradise!”

“The life of a scooterist and/or motorist is a happy one. They spend less money at the gas pump, less on insurance, riding is pleasurable and they look cool, and they get the golden opportunity to join scooter clubs and Road Rallies. That’s not even including the two top reasons to own a scooter: 120 miles per gallon and easy parking.”

If you want to just zip around town and take nice, leisurely rides, a two-stroke, 49cc scooter could be the ticket. Classified by the Hawaii DMV as “mopeds” with a top speed of 30 to 45 mph, you do not need a motorcycle endorsement to ride one, only a regular driver’s license.

There are no helmet laws with mopeds, and you do not have to purchase insurance to operate the moped on public roads. Mopeds must be inspected annually, however.

Standard-size motor scooters (80cc, 150cc, 250cc, etc.), typically with four-stroke engines, are still very light but have greater horsepower, so you can go much faster — many with a top speed of 60 to 70 mph.

You can expect your scooter to cruise at a good 45 to 50 mph speed with that kind of horsepower, which is great for riding up Pukalani, Kaanapali Hillside, Maui Meadows and Wailuku Heights.

Hawaii puts these vehicles in the motorcycle category, requiring a motorcycle class license, use of a helmet for riders under the age of 18 and proper insurance.

There has been a change in the law for recreational and tow-in surfing jet ski enthusiasts. Both require certification, with the tow-in class offered at the University of Hawaii Maui College on Nov. 6-7, and the one-day Recreation Thrill Craft Operators Safety Educational Course offered five times a year.

Maui Moto LLC also sells power equipment, such as weed whackers, water pumps and lawnmowers.

Beth said, “Oprah has purchased two lawnmowers from us recently, so she knows were the best deal is, too!”

As a result of their hard work ethic and positive nature, Ted and Beth’s enthusiasm, energy and lifetime commitment to Maui have placed this venture on the right track to keep the doors open and become a “love all/serve all” small business.

Beth said, “We might not have the time now to travel as we did before, but our kids are definitely on the track to becoming motorcycle enthusiasts and hopefully make the profit in 2020!”