Though bearing a name that would indicate otherwise. the Rabbit Superflow is a remarkable and interesting scooter that can boast of innovations and features rarely, it ever, found on modern day scooters. Disregarding, for the moment anyway, the very attractive body shell. it is the mechanical nature of the Rabbit that aroused most of our enthusiasm. To begin with, the fully automatic torque converter transmission adds a new dimension to the appeal of scootering by reducing the driving operation to a simple twist of the throttle. A parallel can easily be drawn here noting the success of automatic transmissions in automobiles and their wide acceptance. This feature should considerably enhance the appeal of scooters to new riders and prospective scooter buyers. During our tests of the Rabbit, in the hectic traffic of Los Angeles, we were amazed at how Quickly the machine moved from its joggling two-stroke idle up to traffic speed without a complaint. A "wide open" throttle, though not exactly neck-snapping, was smooth and exhilarating. Our only complaint, if it can be called such, was the automatic reaction of the rider when slowing down to reach for a downshift gear that wasn't there. We are certain that in time this reflex could be curbed, though. The Rabbit's claim to individuality does not end with the automatic transmission, as probably its most outstanding feature is the air suspension on the rear wheel. In theory this system is superior to the normally used oil spring, as resistance to bumps and other irregularities in the road is progressive. To put it even simper, a coil spring will drop, say, 1" when 100 pounds of weight is applied; when an additional l00 pounds is added it will drop another inch, and so on. An air unit. conversely, with 100 pounds of pressure applied, will drop the same 1 inch, but when another 100 pounds is applied, wilt drop only about 58. Further, when yet another l00 pounds is added it will dip only I/4" additionally. Our test machine was loaned to us by Dave Mason of Mason Motors in Pasadena, California; it is made by the Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., in Japan. Minor 5-201. Specifications are: single cylinder, 200cc forced air cooled. two-stroke engine, rated at 11 hp @ 5,500 rpm. Standard equipment includes the familiar (on Japanese-built machines anyway) electric starting. rear view mirror, turn signals. foot operated headlight dimmer switch and an attractive and complete instrument panel with an easily read speedometer, ignition light, key ignition switch, and yet another rather unique feature. a gas gauge.
The front end of the Rabbit falls back upon more conventional suspension systems and employs the familiar leading link arms and a pair of shock absorbers. We found the handling quite acceptable but can offer nothing but praise for the riding quality the "floating on air" system offers. Over the roughest of bumps and railroad track crossings the Rabbit feels more like a four-wheeled vehicle than one of our labored two-wheeled friends. To return to the body shell. We have seen few scooters with a better designed "package" in appearance, partly imparted by the attractive gold and beige two-tone paint job. A handy, though somewhat shallow, luggage compartment is reached by pressing a button above the taillights and lifting the seat. This is also the hiding place for a complete tool kit, an intriguing repair kit for the 4.00 x 8 Bridgestone tubeless tires, and a quart of the vital hydraulic fluid for the automatic fluid transmission. All three of these are standard equipment. Another unusual touch is the inclusion of a plastic container attached to the top of the transmission which contains an additional small amount at in life blood. A second seat for a passenger is also included, as well as a set of chrome plated hooks running alongside the seat that serves as a parcel rack.
Mechanics should love the Rabbit. Without doubt it is easier to get into the vital parts than an any other machine we have seen. With a simple lift of a lever at the bottom front end of the rear body shell, the entire unit pivots into the air, giving access to almost any part of the engine, transmission and rear suspension. As on many modern scooters, the entire engine/transmission unit pivots with the rear suspension arm which also contains the fully enclosed drive chain running in an oil bath. This method has several advantages, not the least of which is the low placement of the heavier mechanical components. Performance is excellent, as would be expected with the 11 hp available, top speed is approximately 60 mph. and it feels as thought it would do it forever. Controls are reduced to a minimum, quite naturally. The throttle is of the normal right hand twist grip type with a lever for the front brake: a pedal on the floor board operates the rear brake, and that's it! A final word of praise far the Rabbit is its price, $495.00 on the West Coast. Though not the least expensive scooter on the market, it is one to which serious consideration should be given.
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