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Old 10-31-2012, 03:15 PM   #1
Scootrider OP
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Scooter suspension

I bought a 2003 Aprilia Atlantic 500 this summer, fell in love with it, fixed the 'time bombs', and am now trying to tune the suspension to my needs.

With the stock suspension as it is, I feel that it's way too firm, even with a pillion rider and the preload adjusted to the minimum. My mechanic looked at it, rode it, and felt that the dampening is actually what we'd want to change. I had at first thought that the rear springs could be softer, but would have to be longer to yield the same static ride height. The bike feels wonderful on fast smooth roads, but alas, here in Vermont we drive on roads which withstand the effects of frost and all that leads to. My Honda Helix, rides like a Cadillac on this stuff, even though the shocks are mostly shot or of low performance, bouncing a bit after a bump. What I would like to do is change the shocks, 15" fully extended, 13" ride height single up, to something more compliant. I believe that the front might improve with lighter fork oil, and it would make sense to try that first before trying to find springs for the fork.

My theory is that because this bike was the first 500cc scooter on the market, the designers erred on the side of caution. They didn't want anyone to have control problems on the first maxi scooter that would go 100mph. Though I have ridden a 400 Bergman and a 400 Majesty, I don't recall what they felt like in that regard. Judging by the enthusiasm I see about the Aprilia Scarabeo bikes, I imagine that they might have honed in the suspension on them, as they are a more recent design. If so, and if the measurements correspond, I may be able to put Scarabeo shocks on my Atlantic, or maybe Atlantic Sprint shocks. I'd like to find out what the measurements are for the above mentioned Japanese bikes, if they in fact have a nicer ride. If any Majesty or Bergman 400 riders who weigh about 150lbs would like to comment on the nature of their suspensions, that would be helpful. If you are happy with what you have over rougher roads, I might ask you to measure the extended length of you shock (on the center stand, and measure bolt center to bolt center).

Thanks for any help you might give me, Phelps
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:51 PM   #2
DandyDoug
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Motorcycle and scooter suspensions in general are over sprung and under damped .
For the manufacturer it's the cheapest way to get the product to the masses, along with terrible seats !!

The best money you can spend on any two wheeled vehicle is to improve the suspension.
You can spend a little or a lot, all depends on your budget. But almost anything you do will be a huge improvement over the OEM stuff.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:57 PM   #3
cdwise
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You might want to go over to the AF1racing forum for Aprilia/Piaggio 500cc scooters. There are a couple threads on suspension over there that you may find helpful.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:12 PM   #4
JerryH
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Scooter suspension? What suspension? I have owned a total of 7 scooters, still have 3 of them, and none of them have what I would call suspension. They do have springs, but they don't do anything as far as I can tell. A maxi scooter might be different, mine are all small, 150cc or under. And I am comparing them to motorcycles. My biggest problem with scooters is their lack of a functional suspension. I have a bad back, and every tiny little bump pounds my back like a jackhammer.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:48 AM   #5
Cortez
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
Scooter suspension? What suspension? I have owned a total of 7 scooters, still have 3 of them, and none of them have what I would call suspension. They do have springs, but they don't do anything as far as I can tell. A maxi scooter might be different, mine are all small, 150cc or under. And I am comparing them to motorcycles. My biggest problem with scooters is their lack of a functional suspension. I have a bad back, and every tiny little bump pounds my back like a jackhammer.
The 300cc scooter that I currently own, although also a bit on the stiff
side like in the original post, has better suspension/handling then my
ex650 kawasaki had.

Especially 2 up.

Heck, even my Agility 125 reacted better to a passenger then the 650.

Try the T-max, then get back to us. ;-)
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:48 PM   #6
Wentwest
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I think the problem is compounded by a short wheelbase. The suspension on a Helix is just as primitive as on any other scooter, but with a 62 inch wheelbase it's just a much smoother ride. My solution to bad, choppy roads is to stand up a little. If you get your butt off the seat on the really rough patches you'll be a lot happier. The scoot will bounce around, but your knees can absorb the shock and your back will thank you.
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:53 AM   #7
Cortez
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wentwest View Post
I think the problem is compounded by a short wheelbase. The suspension on a Helix is just as primitive as on any other scooter, but with a 62 inch wheelbase it's just a much smoother ride. My solution to bad, choppy roads is to stand up a little. If you get your butt off the seat on the really rough patches you'll be a lot happier. The scoot will bounce around, but your knees can absorb the shock and your back will thank you.
+1

Those small wheels should make if very harsh..
The wheelbase is the only logical explanation.. other then the
shocks being half-dead.

Can't wait for mine to go wrong (on the DT300)..
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