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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Scooter or Bike

So...I had a scooter I had to sale.  A more powerful bike I had to buy.  Lessons I had to learn and an endorsement on my licence to obtain (in the state of Florida your required to have a motorcycle endorsement for any engine over 150cc).

Yamaha Virago 250
I don't know why, but a scooter at 250cc is considered a little more powerful than a traditonal motorcycle with the same cc powerhouse.   Basically from what I can figure it is due to how the engine is configured.   A 250cc engine on a scooter will get you up to highway speeds of 65 to 70 mph (105 - 113 kph) but that's going to max it out.  The smaller wheels on a scooter also concerned me, after all it's all about feeling comfortable and safe.   While I might be able to get the speed, what happens if I need a little more oomph to avoid something?

From what I understand, a 250cc motorcycle engine on a traditonal bike might work out great for city driving.  Not so hot on the freeway.  So if I go traditional bike I'm looking at least 650cc, which is generally the engine size of the smaller bikes.

So what is best for me?  I'm about 6 foot even, 210 pounds (1.82 m and 95.3 kg)...not a small guy but not exactly muscular either.  I wanted something that I felt comfortable on, I didn't want to be bent over most of time, as I would be on a sport bike - sometimes called a crotch rocket.   Nor did I need 1200 cc strapped between my legs to prove I am a man.

I'm 45 years old (in dog years I'm 193 years old) and believe more in comfort than style.

My job does not require me to wear a suit and tie every day but I am required to have "business causal dress" most days of the week.   How about storage for a laptop?  Being new to riding I was more concerned about safety as well.   Would the bike "forgive" me if I fucked up?

2007 Aprilia 500 Atlantic
So when I added everything up, my choice was simple.   I needed a maxi-scooter.  The design of which meets a lot of what I wanted in a bike.  

With the pass through my legs are protected.  Storage is safe under the seat, and generally speaking easier to carry as it is more towards the center of the bike so the rider does not have to worry about counterbalance as much.  I have seen 3 bags of groceries placed under the seat without issue.

With the center of gravity moved forward and the engine fixed to the frame, the so called maxi scooter would have bigger wheels than a traditional scooter and that improves handling.   Improved handling equals more safety in my mind.  Other options such as automatic transmission, ABS brakes, and other features that are just not available on a motorcycle yet sold me.  If they are available then the price was steep.

Scooters it seems, carry a lower price tag.  I think that has to do with American's obsessions with power and style and not function...but that is another post.  Another time.

1 comment:

Lucky said...

Robert - First off, congrats on the new Blog. I look forward to reading about your adventures on two wheels.

Secondly, as a long-time motorcyclist who just recently bought his first scooter, I can offer you a little insight. I've had different bikes, mostly what you would call "Standards" (i.e. not a sportbike, not a cruiser, just somewhere in between). Two years ago I had some back/neck problems that eventually affected my left hand strength and feeling. Well - to make a long story short, I had to find something that would allow me to keep riding without using my left hand too much.

I could've rigged my bike (a V-Strom 650) with some sort of electric shifter or switch the clutch over to a dual-lever setup, but in the end I did the obvious: I got a scooter.

For my personal tastes and needs, I wanted something comfortable and powerful enough to do some 2-up touring. My choice ended up being a Burgman 650.

Is it the same as a motorcycle? Of course not! A very different beast. But that doesn't mean it's any less fun ;-)

Keep the shiny side up!