Real men don’t ride scooters?

Dailies -



During a meeting with a major OEM yesterday, this new TV spot was presented as evidence that scooters face an uphill battle for acceptance in mainstream American society. If there’s one source that young American males listen to, it’s makers of shitty beer, right? So a mainstream beer company telling young men that scooters are “not manly” is a major problem, right? I know what we told that OEM, but we’re interested in seeing what you think.

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This ad is the latest in a series from Miller Lite titled “Man Up” in which drinking any other brand of shitty beer is compared to stereotypically unmanly activities like wearing a skirt, getting a tramp stamp or, as the ad below suggests, wearing skinny jeans. It should be noted that combining jeans that tight with a bear gut that big should definitely be some sort of crime.

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  • Jesse

    I work with two other two-wheeled enthusiasts here in South Boston.

    Ruckus guy rides every day it isnt snowing. Hayabusa guy sometimes rides on clear, sunny mornings. They both love riding, and I give them props. Who the hell cares what anyone else does.

    Tangentially related: they both have way better taste in beer.

  • Ray

    Interesting how the political divide is also expressed in cultural references as well. And it’s originally a MIlwaukee company…

  • Goldhammer

    agreed. men should not be riding scooters. only exception is taking a girl’s out for a few laps around the block to mess around.

    • george_fla

      And you prolly believe Miller is an American beer as well.

      • Brian

        When I lived in Washington DC, I had a 50cc scooter. With it, I ploughed through traffic and beat both cars and public transit in getting to destinations. And I paid $2 for a full tank in 2009 dollars. It was the most fun experience in my life, living with a scooter, that I decided to move up to motorcycles. Now I miss that damn scooter.

  • cramer

    It’s utter horseshit. Ride what you like.

    Getting out in traffic on 10″ wheels and <20 HP takes way more balls than drinking lite beer.

    • Noah

      Hell yeah. Ride your own ride. Leave the posing for the posers.

    • robotribe

      I couldn’t have said it better. But then again, this kind of messaging has always been targeted to knuck-dragging SUCKERS. How else to do explain a taste for Miller Lite?

  • je

    I would like to see honda make a commercial with a “Walking Dead” feel where you have some gents riding around on some post apocalyptic ruckus. Throw in some zombies carrying miller lights and getting chopped down.. The riders should be in hipster like gear to really suck in that generation.

  • Charlie

    Nonsense…scooters have great utility – and are fun. I recommend a Vespa PX125. 4 speeds on the stalk and burns oil to waft that unique blue smoke. Plus, they are magnet for girls in cargo pants.

  • Jon B.

    Funny that scooter dudes in SF have way more skill than most of the real men on proper bikes.

  • Prof. Mudflap

    i’ve picked up more girls on my yellow Honda Trail 90 than any other bike I’ve ever ridden.
    Scooters may be “unmanly,” but so are the women i’m trying to get with.

    • KP

      Not me. I like it when THEY give the piggyback rides. Weee!

  • ktaisa

    fuck miller lite and the rest of the shit beers.

    its un manly to drink the same shit beer u were buying when you were 16 years old.

    any one who gets their ‘man’ advice from a beer commercial shouldn’t be riding a scooter or a motorcycle. because we already got enough losers and posers on 2 wheels.

    • The other Joe

      Anyone who gets their ‘man’ advice from a beer commercial isn’t a man.

      • Emmet

        advice from any piss beer. or any commercial.

  • george_fla

    Cuz drinking outta a swirly Miller bottle is so manly. Fuck SAB Miller and their piss-like rice beer.

  • Brian

    This is the point where real craft beer companies come in with ads that show men AND women rocking out naked bikes, supersports, and supermotards while mocking the light beer drinkers as they sit all glum and alone in their cars in traffic.

  • Will

    This commercial isn’t anything new. Scooters have been marketed like this in America for 50 years. They’ve been the joke bike that nerds and effiminates ride. They didn’t ride scooters in Easy Rider and they don’t ride em on Sons of Anarchy.

    However, I would venture that this commercial actually pushes folks to ride scooters. If Bud (or Miller, whatever) Light has gotten around to making fun of it, the joke is already over and the time is already past for folks to worry about looking girly on a scooter. Those guys have other reasons to feel like douchebags, and riding a scooter isn’t one of them. On that note, I can’t wait to get together with my guy friends and talk about the manly things we do.

  • Braam

    Ride a 62 Lambretta to Work every day , the smell of 2 stroke in the morning..More manly than Miller Lite

  • The other Joe

    Riding a scooter is far more manly than drinking light beer, especially the piss water being advertised here!

  • JVictor75

    Having not seen that ad, I kinda have to laugh at the premise. An advertisement for a shitty, watered down “Lite” beer advising the rest of us what being “manly” means.

    Look at the average Hardly Davison advertisement and you see lots of sexually repressed “manly men” riding along with stoic expressions on their artisticly unshaven faces and generally acting like a scowly faced pirate. There are few if any women represented at all.

    Hint: What other part of our culture appeals only to men wearing lots of leather and doesn’t have very much representation by women? Go on, guess.

    From what I read here on HFL about the motoculture scene in San Fran, New York, et al is that scooters are gaining in popularity with both sexes.

    And like cramer said, getting around in 65 mph traffic on a 20HP scooter is way more ballsy than putting around at 20 mph on a 65 HP machine.

    I like the company of women (one in particular) and I like women that happen to like bikes in general, brand unspecific.

    Bonus points if she rides her own.

    • pplassm

      Have you noticed those Allstate ads in the magazines? The ones with the motorcycling agents? Not a one of them is smiling. They’ve all got that “tough guy” look. Even the women.

      I smile every time I’m even just near a motorcycle.

      • JVictor75

        LOL, yeah. Exactly.

        “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”


        “You meet the seemingly unhappiest most insular group of people on a Harley clone.”

        • The other Joe

          I’d be pissed too if I had to ride a Harley.

          • Mike McHargue

            I rode my Burgman 650 to a Harley dealership today just for the hell of it. There was about 90 HD riders getting ready for a ride.

            They were all really nice. They actually *liked* the Burgman.

            They let me ride several of their bikes when they found out I’d never been on a Harley.

            Frankly, the Harley’s were fun to ride, and the Harley riders were nice people.

            If it’s got two wheel and a motor, I’m in. Even if it’s a Harley.

  • damien

    Skinny-jeaned, boutique beer drinking, bearded hipsters on scooters are attacking! Retreat to the man-cave!

    Any beer that needs a fucking gimmick bottle to sell is pathetic and should not be consumed. Writing on your god-damn bud light bottle, vortex-neck bull shit, mountains turn blue when it’s cold…
    what. the. fuck?!

    • george_fla


  • randry

    I’ll give a sign to all bikes that go by me, but one thing I’ve noticed is most bikes don’t give scooter riders the time of day.
    The Germans are better at beer than they are at bikes. You don’t find many lite beers over there, and the number of scooters is staggering.

    • The other Joe

      Have you forgotten that BMW is German? Best bikes in the world.

      • randry

        They are good at bikes, They are even better at beer.

        • The other Joe

          Fair enough.

    • pplassm

      That’s only because the scooter riders don’t know they’re supposed to wave back!

      • David


        Why is that? I wave anyway.

      • Edward

        my driving instructors here in germany spend more time explaining to me that everyone on a bike now is part of my family, than actually teaching me how to drive. i guess scooter drivers are not getting the same advice. old scooters from the former GDR are becomming more and more popular rightnow.
        I think i’ll have a propper german beer now. cheers.

        • Terry

          Scooters from the DDR??! Do tell! Did they have Bakelite bodywork? That sounds like an HFL article waiting to be written.

  • R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

    The men and women riding scooters through Roman traffic and other dense European cities have more balls than 99% of American motorcyclists.

    • The other Joe

      I’ll agree with that, but American teens excel at the truly brainless acts of stupidity.

  • skadamo

    Real men drink beer. Not miller lite

    • Troy R

      Fuck Miller. Small displacement culture is one of the most influential motorcycle subcultures in the under 40 crowd.

  • cramer

    Know this: the guy on that Cub up top got more tang than an astronaut.

    • JVictor75

      Quote: Stolen

    • Case


      The cardigan / cords / loafers ensemble is really strong. For real.

    • Adrian

      Not with those kneepads he’s wearing.

  • nick2ny

    Manliness doesn’t come from the vehicle you’re on or in–it fact, there’s not relation whatsoever. Buzz Aldrin isn’t a man when he’s not driving a Space Shuttle? Please.

    Isn’t the most commonly owned vehicle among F1 drivers the Cinquecento? Does Rossi not use a scooter to get around the pits? Real men aren’t so self-conscious that they care wtf they’re driving at one point or another. I guarantee James Hunt drove some piece of garbage all the time.

    I can see back in the day when credit was unavailable that a fancy car / well-adorned scooter could show girls that you’re a man of means, but with easy credit the girls can’t distinguish between wealth and reckless spending.

    All this manliness = f(your_possetions) is the same marketing garbage that has given us bloated, complicated crap, and I’m sick of it!

    Pluuuuusssss, it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow. Fast/Fast is still the most thrilling, however.

  • John

    I think this ad just sold me a Symba!

  • jwinter

    The U.S. has the most fragile conception of masculinity. It’s really staggering sometimes. It’s the guys riding the loud Harleys that make me laugh at them. I do have to say that the hipsters on scooters are as self-consciously doing their thing as the Harley guys, but overall I approve of a nice scooter.

  • Thom


    HorseShit I say !

    Let me put it this way

    Seeing a guy in skinny jeans , on a scooter , whatever , might make me wonder . Maybe .

    But seeing a guy with 12 Pack of ANY Light Beer ? Well my friends , then I know for a fact ;

    I’m looking at , at best a Suburban Urban Wanna Be ( I live in the City ) Piece of Trash with less taste in his mouth than my neighbors dog has up his ass .


    And Amen to nic2ny’s last comment . It is more fun to Ride/Drive a slow vehicle fast that it will ever be driving/riding a Fast vehicle slow .

    Honestly when ever I see a Beer Ad from one of the majors , before it even gets into to it I know for a fact it’ll be the lowest form of stupid and inane humor to try and sell you a can of their Crap that in truth isn’t fit to be flushed down the toilet .

    Now … would you like my blunt and honest opinion ?

    ( so I guess according to Miller , Smily Faces on posts aren’t manly either . Tuff shit Miler your Beer’s for morons , tastes like a goat pissed in it and smells as bad as it tastes )

    FYI ; Scooters work . Especially in Urban areas . End of discussion .

  • Case

    I’m tired of insecurity masquerading as masculinity. This stuff probably works on the eleventeen year olds in the flyover states that drink miller shite.

    Masculinity has fuck all to do with what jeans you wear, what beer you drink, whether or not you ride a scooter, or whatever. The ‘real man’ doesn’t give a shit what you think.

    Edited to add:
    The girls I know / talk to would much rather meet some of the guys from this video than from the miller lite ad. Euro cool > Midwestern douche; 10 times out of 10

    • 80-wattHamster

      cool > douche

      Fixed that for you. Although in far too many cases, “cool” ~= douche anyway

    • John

      Well stated, Case.

      It’s not the beer. The author selfishly assumes that “makers of shitty beer” are to blame. What if the makers of his “boutique” beer ran the same spot?
      If you drink beer based on how other people perceive you, you are the definition of the term poser.

  • rvltng_bstrd

    What did you tell the OEM? Do you own a scooter?

  • Chris

    I love scooters. I have 3 scooters and 1 motorcycle, with a 2nd motorcycle coming soon. My Harley friends talk smack, but many of them have changed their tune after riding a scooter for a few minutes. There’s just something fun about small wheels and low power.

  • gene gard

    The guys in the commercial have not seen me ride my scooter. Did I mention the full yosh exhaust so it sounds manly. I have let several guys with bikes from big cruisers to race bikes have a go on my scooter and every one has come back smiling. Miller Lite should worry more about their beer and less about my scooter being cool.

  • pplassm

    This scooter ad is much better:

    • pplassm

      I have 3 bikes that qualify as “scooters” or “mopeds” here in VA. An MB-5, a DT-50, and a modified Z-50. They are all legally mopeds, as long as I do not go over 35 MPH. Great buckets of fun.

    • The other Joe

      I love that commercial, and that’s a rare thing

  • brutus

    everybody wrote paragraphs about the sociological impact of this ad. this is what i think: why listen to these rugby shirt wearing, gelled hair rockin, manscaped fucking douchebags? if i meet these people at a real party, it usually ends in a fight. fuck them. and their shitty company.

  • jason McCrash

    Miller has the balls to talk about manly stuff? Piss water if ever there was. Genesee just re-released 12 Horse Ale, now THAT is a man’s beer. The only people I have ever known who drank Miller products lived in SoCal and that was back when good beer wasn’t available there (only Bud, Miller, Corona, etc). part of growing up is drinking beer, not swill.

    As for the bike, isn’t that a copy of the #1 selling bike ever worldwide? The Honda Cub. Manly or not, they can carry a shitload of chicken coops on em in Vietnam.

  • Brook

    The guy’s buddies in the commercial don’t exactly look like they ride Harleys.

    Keith Stone is way more manly than those DBs.

    • JVictor75
  • David

    I’ve always found beer commercials hilarious for their stupidity at selling “manhood.”

    Before I was even interested in bikes and started riding I used love classic Vespas and used to say exactly this about them:

    Only three kind of men can get away with riding Vespas. Italians in Italy, gay men and really manly men.

    Few years later and into my second year of riding and I’ve owned three bikes, ridden many more, including 50cc scooters and a 250GTS Vespa. I couldn’t care less about the people laughing and pointing at me wearing full gear on the loaner Vespa from the shop. It’s great fun and they’re so practical. At some point I have to own a 2 stroke classic Vespa.

  • Peter88

    I could care less about beer. And a scooter? Unless you’re lookin’ at Burgman class machines why bother? Cyclewerks, Enfield, 250s and 125s of all types and a huge selection of used machines all conspire to make the scooter a non-choice.

    And before my “edit” runs out. I look through this very web site and also see the Honda Solo and the Harley Hummer. Great examples of what could be purchased or built by oneself.

    • DavidMG

      I used to think the same. With some great small motorcycles, what’s the point of a scooter?

      I now see it differently and understand the value of under seat storage, cubbyholes, wind protection and generally better seats. I do miss shifting my own gears though.

  • Edward

    The idea behind those adds is pretty simple: take a insecure target group, make them feel more insecure, and then show them what to buy to solve that problem… pretty simple, and pretty effective usually. And the “man up” slogan is pretty effective from a marketers point of view. every dude wants to be manly, and everyone has his own interpretation of what manly actually is.

    Having said that:
    that beer sucks. scooters rock.

  • Tobias Hermansson

    That’s just plain retarded. I wouldn’t drink a Miller Lite if it was the last beer in the world…

    Also. Here in Sweden you’re legally allowed to ride 50cc scooters on bicycle paths. Makes commuting a whole lot faster than by car and even by motorcycle in some cases…

  • Beale

    I make sure I give big waves to every cruiser I come across when I’m riding my POS franken moped. You can see them just shrink away. Scooters are ridiculous fun.

  • ike6116

    I don’t know, I think we’re all guilty of this to some degree. And while it’s hip to shit on “piss beer” for being the drink of the masses and not as good as your favorite IPA, I think there’s some truth here.

    Replace scooter with something HFL isn’t down with, like I dunno let’s say a Harley, we’ve got no problem talking all sorts of shit about that guy being a dude who barely rides or being a low information buyer or trying to buy an un-earned image.

    I will say personally there’s about two scooters I find cool, the Honda Ruckus and the Yamaha Zuma (hey now, HFL call back) the rest of them…. eh… you do kind of look like an effeminate fuck.

    I see a lot of these dudes on pastel colored Vespas in the bike lane rocking no gear and a deep v-neck… meh part of me does think “grow a pair and ride a motorcycle like a man.”

    Thinking of exceptions… Im down with mopeds (like a vintage puch) and large displacement scooters when I think about it.

  • Gregory

    I think the problem is that a lot of guys my age (36-years-old) are fat. A 50cc engine wouldn’t carry them. They have to wear 38″+ pants, too.

    What _is_ a scooter? A motorcycle with an automatic transmission? A motorcycle with the engine on the rear swing-arm?

    Scooters are awesome: zip zip, anywhere. Probably should wear more gear when on one, though. Can kill myself equally as on the motorcycle.

  • Gregory

    Scooter meets skate park.

  • kinsler

    what they meant to say was, “science fact: youre a pussy if you dont drink miller lite.”

  • Mark D

    Fuck miller, fuck middle-brow culture, fuck gender stereotypes; I want a Cub. Real bad.

    • ike6116

      middle? Isn’t this low?

      • nick2ny

        All the cub ever wanted to be is practical transportation, and it has been ridded and enjoyed by people of all types.

  • tomwito

    I have a bunch of friends that ride scooters and they would beat the shit out of those male model pussies in that ad.

  • Denzel

    The comments about targeting insecurity are right on… but WHY are so many Americans susceptible to this shit?!

    What is it about our culture that doesn’t let young guys feel good about going their own way? The allegedly defining national characteristic of Americans is rugged individualism… yet we let Miller Lite tells us what kind of individual to be…

    Pisses me off… unmanly frowny face :(

    But hopefully, as almost all the comments here show, the target audience might be a lot smaller than Miller Lite thinks it is…

    …optimistic smiley face ;)

  • damien

    I can’t wait to pick up a Genuine Stella Scoot. Exact copy of the old Vespa (except the engine).

  • 2ndderivative

    But what does Buck Angel ride?

  • KR Tong

    America is a male-dominated society. If more girls were into motorcycling, guys would buy cuter bikes.

  • Skank NYCF

    I own a Yamaha Zuma 125 that I use on nights I dont feel like going nuts on my ZX10 and I ride that Zuma a lot. I pull up on the bike sets with it, take it all over the place and I dont care w what anyone has to say about it. I had a few clowns that dont know how to think out-side the box make comments while sitting there on their manly motorbikes. I respond their comment with a ‘ooooh reeeeally?’ and then I let them know who the fuck I am and that I’ll piss all over them on my ZX10. Of course my size and attitude throws them off when they realize Im not some scooter bitch. Lol.
    Us wildin out on the scooter

  • 1

    Now wait just a minute. Are you guys talking about Scooter or Mopeds?

    The image above and the bike in the TVC are both Mopeds. Which are totally lame unless ridden by the postal service or ironically by hip photographers assistants. They generally have bigger and spoked wheels, and for some reason give me the same buzz kill as artificial limbs in beige plastic, compared to limbs in titanium and carbon awesomeness.

    Scooters on the other hand have smaller wheels are associated with italians with classy girlfriends and of course mods, like in Qadrophenia.

    Having a scooter, italian style is pimped and usually any hot girl will get on the back if you have made you move.

    Here’s the Wik definitions, just to check that I’m not going insane.

    • Wes Siler

      Mopeds are defined by their bicycle pedals. Neither of these has those.

      • 1

        You haven’t convinced me at all.

        With scooters feet rest flat on the floor of the bike. Not as the examples above.

        And as stated below, 50cc=50cc. In the UK a moped didn’t require pedals after 1977.

        So I’m very sure you’ll find the Honda C50 above to be recognised as a moped.

    • pplassm

      In my location, it doesn’t matter. 50cc = 50cc. Pedals don’t make a difference.

  • Brendan

    I get all my advice about manliness from diet Dr. Pepper commercials.

    • Lacubrious


  • Trevor

    I asked for a Guinness last night at supper. The waitress says “are you sure”. Cunt.
    If I can see through it I don’t want it.

    I’ve yet to see anyone ride a scooter and not have a huge grin on their face. They’re fun and have they’re place.

    Sadly we are a “follow” society and that will never change. The marketers know this and make insane amounts of money exploiting it.

    • nick2ny

      Rough word to use to describe someone who may just have been looking out for you (if other patrons haven’t liked guiness), flirting, or just blurting it out because she hates guinness herself.

    • M

      i use the c-word waaaay too freely, too. such a meaningless, ridiculous term to me that it just doesn’t register as offensive.

      my girlfriend, however, is of another opinion, entirely.

  • Ceolwulf

    This post had me shopping for a scooter.

  • Michael

    Scooter: I scoot? We scoot? Upright Motorcycle, I ride, we ride. Upright Motorcycle:Scooter as SUV:Station Wagon. Upright Efficiency Motorcycle? I give in, but saying Scooter sucks, blech. Re-brand it.

  • Moto-Mucci

    If a scooter company starts marketing itself as The Anti-Miller Light, I’ll buy one.

    • Ceolwulf

      They should include a six of Fort Garry Dark with every purchase :)

  • Ratlanta

    I bet those top two are the nicest people.

  • Lacubrious

    If it weren’t for some crazy days on scooters on Maui back in the 90′s I wouldn’t be on my Duc today. And I would totally rock a Ruckus if the right deal came along.

  • sam howe

    more bikes & scooters, less congestion… better world

  • pplassm

    Filmed where I live:

    Mopeds R cool.

  • Kit

    I commute on a 1975 Kawasaki G4TR 100cc every day here in Denver. Sun, rain, snow, whatever. Of course I also drink good beer (Dogfish Head, Stone, Avery) so maybe I don’t qualify.

    Also, my CBR1100XX, CR500R-SM, and KZ1000 probably aren’t manly either.

  • Myles

    One of the best rides I’ve ever had was while on vacation in Vieques, Puerto Rico on a Zuma 125. The lady and I were late for a dinner reservation, and going flat out though the windy, narrow roads was amazing.

  • dan

    I have three scooters (two shiftys) and three motorcycles (two vintage). Ride throughout year in NYC except if snow or ice is on streets. Most of NY Scooter Club mates are the same. Miller Lite can kiss my ass. Let them go to the UK and try telling the scooter riders there they are unmanly. I was just going to say I was going to boycott MillerCoors brands, but its almost impossible. Didnt realize how many brands they own.

  • Ben NYC

    I live in Manhattan too and if I had the cash, I would have a scooter and a larger motorcycle. Unfortunately, I’m poor so I got a bonneville as it’s relatively small and can handle the highway when necessary.

    But truly, even a bonneville is too large for city traffic sometimes. You can illegally split lanes like nothing else on a small scooter, drag it on the sidewalk to park illegally with ease, your hands don’t get cramped waiting in traffic, the list goes on.

    In short, I really miss my old Vespa.

  • clickeye

    After winning the open class scooter racing national championship on a 1971 Vespa, racking up a total of 15,000 cross country miles on a 1962 Vespa GS, and running the first Vintage Scooter shop in New Orleans before Vespas made the 2000 comeback I can say that they are very fun. I have owned many motorcycles (Ask Grant Ray) but the nimble City riding that Scooters provide is hard to beat. I must say though at the end of my 8,000 mile trip in 2000 I was ready to have a motorcycle for a while. Averaging 55Mph across the desert in August for 12 hours a day was a chore.

  • helen

    scooters are mostly used for moving from one place to

    another and mostly used by adults. Scooters have always been popular with kids.
    Scooters for kids come in many different forms.