In the spring of 2003, few months after my Vespa was gone, I felt the Call of the Road again and started looking for another scooter. There was a local store which sold BMW motorcycles and Aprilia scooters (I know, it's a strange combination). I test rode Aprilia Scarabeo 150 and was amazed by how smooth and comfortable the ride was.
The bike was 1 year old and I got a good deal on it - especially because it included after market top case and side boxes. (The incredible storage capacity led to my bike being used for storing helmets and stuff by my trunk-less friends:).
Scarabeo was heavier than Vespa, so it took some getting used to - for example it couldn't turn on a dime, so I actually laid it down twice while trying to turn in parking lots. Side boxes also meant that I couldn't squeeze into narrow passages as well I liked, so some scratches were earned that way too.
Overall, things were going great until the shop I bought it from decided to become "BMW exclusive" and refused to work on Aprilias. My Scarabeo became orphaned and next time I needed service, I went to the local "any scooter accepted" shop. That was not a pleasant experience - the bike was there for 2 months and I was experiencing an "Aprilia withdrawal" syndrome. Thankfully, I also had a Vino 50cc scoot as a backup, so I could keep riding.
My Aprilia has seen many years of commuting, rides, rallies and even scooter jousting:
Being lazy, I neglected the winterizing tips - for example I never disconnected battery when storing Scarabeo for a winter. As a result, every spring it was an adventure getting it started. Sometimes I was able to get it going by jump starting from my car, but every other year a new battery was due.
In the spring of 2012, I jump started Aprilia, rode for an hour, tried to start it again.. it wouldn't. I took it to the shop, they called me back a week later and said that it's ready. I came to pick it up, rode few miles toward home and engine died. I called the shop and they said "if you can 'limp' it back, we will look at it".
So I started back - it died 9 more times on the way. When I came in, mechanic doubted me and went for a test ride himself. He came back 20 minutes, looking embarassed and said that it died on him 3 times too :)
A week later they called me again and said that it's working - but they don't know why. This was the breaking point for me - if the service people don't know what's going on with the bike, how can I rely on it now? So, I started searching for a replacement and eventually got a Honda PCX 125.
However, the memories of Aprilia remain - I miss it and I even thought of calling the Honda dealer back to see if my Scarabeo is still sitting in the storage somewhere...