Working in Makati has its perks. You are surrounded by the top companies in the country, all based in this so-called central business district (CBD). Food and entertainment options are plentiful, and the place is one of the more walkable cities in Manila. Working here has its good side.
But as with most things, it rears its ugly head sometimes, especially when it comes to traffic.
I live about 1.6km from my firm, and it takes a mere half-hour to walk from my house to my office (I know, I’ve tried). But unless you’re willing to arrive at work smelling of sweat, driving is the way to go. Unfortunately, a 5min drive without traffic can easily turn into 2.5 hours of hell during rush hour. Cars stuck bumper-to-bumper with nothing but your sanity and a rapidly depleting podcast playlist to keep you company. It’s completely maddening.
So, when BMW offered me its new C400 X midsize sports scooter to test-ride for a week, I decided to give it a shot as my daily commuter to see if it could help me be more productive and save time on the road. After all, 2.5 hours a day equates to more than 10 hours a week that I could spend working or sleeping—either one a welcome reprieve to sitting in a car and listening to TED Talks for hours.
Here’s why the BMW C400 X completely changed my outlook on my daily commute:
1) The horn is #%@&^$! loud.
There is no doubt that when you are on two wheels, you are a lot less visible on the road than if you were in a car. Thankfully, then, the BMW’s horn is insane, sounding more fit for a BMW 7-Series than a dinky little scooter. A quick blast not only tells everyone in the vicinity of Ayala that you’re coming through, it also shouts “Get out of the way!” with total abandon. It makes for a safer and more secure ride through the roads of Makati.
2) Underseat storage is flexible and amazing.
Where to place your documents and laptop is becoming an issue in choosing a motorbike. Well, the C400 X has got you covered. The storage space is large enough to fit your work items, and the bottom portion of it also unlocks to swallow even more stuff. Dubbed ‘Flexcase,’ this lower portion drops down to accommodate a helmet under the sleek body of the BMW.
3) Twist-and-go is perfect for city traffic.
Worried that working the clutch makes everyday leg day? So tired that your clutch hand often leaves you on the verge of stalling? Or worried that you might back up into the car behind you in ‘hanging’ situations? Not to worry—all of these are non-issues with the C400 X because it’s an automatic. It couldn’t be simpler to operate, which leaves you less worried about balancing clutch control, and lets you be more focused on cutting a path through the cars in front of you.
4) Weather protection is top-notch.
A motorcycle may be more fun to ride, but when you’re wearing slacks to work, going through puddles and dusty stretches will make you look like you’ve just done a section in the Dakar when you show up at your client meeting. Thankfully, scooters like the C400 X boast great weather protection: The front panel prevents your legs from taking splashes, and the step-through design ensures that your hard-earned leather shoes won’t be damaged by the consistent rubbing with the footpegs.
5) Pillion riders will have a dandy time.
Need to take a passenger on your journey? Not a problem with the C400 X. The seat is wide and spacious for even the biggest office buddy, and the stable ride and well-spaced-out foot pegs mean that your passenger will arrive at your destination as relaxed as if he had just stretched out on a La-Z-Boy. Imagine BMW scooters as ride-sharing units—we have no doubt more people would choose these two-wheelers over sedans any day of the week.
6) The midsize dimensions make light work of filtering.
True, some of the so-called maxi-scoots may look grand and mighty, but they’re impractical for weaving between the jeepneys, buses, and cars packing the CBD. Thankfully, the C400 X is designed as a midsize scooter, so although it’s wider than most small scooters, it’s still extremely capable of darting in between cars while leaving enough space for ‘anxiety allowance.’
Riding the C400 X for a week has been such a revelation because it completely changed my outlook on using two-wheelers for work. While I occasionally ride my KTM dual-sport to the office, the engine has been uncomfortably hot between my legs, splashes from the front wheel have caused early trips to the bathroom to clean up my slacks, and storage has always been an issue.
Now, though, I firmly believe that scooters are the way forward. Thanks to the C400 X’s ease of use and the better quality of life it has afforded me by reducing the time I spend stuck in traffic, I have done a complete 180. One week after testing the BMW for work, I ended up buying a scooter—a more affordable Vespa S 125. I reserve that story for another day and another article.
Needless to say, I’ve put my money where my mouth is, and I don’t think I’ll be looking at scooters the same way again. They really do make city life more bearable. Are you sold on getting a scooter, too?