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Old 12-29-2012, 10:53 AM   #1
Murgatroid OP
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HD200 vs SC250 vs BV350 vs 300GTS

I know, yet another what scooter should I buy thread, like we need another one.

So I have a few motorcycles and 2 vintage Vespas. I like the Vespa construction and quality. I'd like to get a modern TnG scooter for mainly around town, occasional freeway jaunts, and *maybe* the 2-3 hour tour (I work in the Sillycon Valley and live in the Sierras, so am always going back and forth between the two). The 2-3 hour ride is not as important to me, but would be icing on the cake. I currently have been riding a friends Piaggio Fly 150, which has given me the TnG scooter bug, but I'd like something with more power. I'd rather not lose too much on the small maneuverability aspect, though.

There's a practically new 2012 HD200 for sale that the guy bought in July. He's asking $2800. I really like the SYM's and everyone who has one loves them. They seem like they are faster than people expect, but are they that much quicker than the Fly? I have the highest confidence in their long term quality. I also like that there is a lot of warranty left on this scooter.

There's a very nice 2008 Sport City 250 in the area for a similar asking price. Keep in mind that the last SC's in the US are '09's, and there are some of those around, too. These look to hit the sweet spot for power and agility. How much quicker is the SC250 over the HD200? I don't have as much faith in Piaggio's long term quality, but I am fairly handy with a wrench and will likely take care of most of the maintenance.

So these two are the cheaper alternatives. I'd like to spend less money than more. However, I have this nagging suspicion that I'd always be wanting more power.

I am seriously jonesing for the BV350. This seems like one hell of a scooter, even considering the price tag. Will I always lust after this scooter if I had an HD200? I know the BV350 is about 70 lbs heavier, but physically not much bigger than the HD200. Will this be much of a detriment for around town use?

Being a vintage Vespa owner, I do like the modern 250/300GTS Vespas. These strike me as the Fly on super-steroids, which is very appealing. I love the way I sit on these and they feel fairly light. They also look the best to me, although the BV350 is very nice looking in a modern-retro sort of way (and I even like the red seat and plastics). The downside is they are pricey. They cost similar (dealers are discounting the 2012s) to the BV350, but don't have the tech and features. Hell, they don't even have a trip odometer! I can save some money on used ones, and luckily there are always a few for sale

The Japanese don't have anything in this size range that appeals to me. Kymco makes nice scooters, too, but I"m not a fan of their styling for the most part. The people 300 is the same price as the BV350, and I'd rather have the latter.

So given the choice: practically new HD200 Evo, clean used SC250, used 250/300GTS, or new BV350 (maybe used if I"m patient enough), which would you choose? I'd love to hear from folks who have owned 2 or more of these models for a comparison. I plan to take a few test rides in the coming weeks.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:25 PM   #2
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Ok- First confession- I've owned none of those models, but I have been studying them for nearly a year, and like you I do own an older Vespa. (I won't insult you by claiming mine's vintage, it's a 1980).

You've mentioned all the scooters I've either looked at or considered, and I'll explain why I haven't bought anything but still feel I can weigh in with some advice (it's free afterall).

I'll cut to the chase- for what you're describing as the designated purpose a nearly new HD200 would be perfect for you. They are reliable, comfortable (can actually seat two up) and you've got a really knowledgable dealer in California- http://www.ootyscooters.com/ . He posts lot of great info on the SYM forum, and is a huge fan of the HD200.

I'm sure you're also aware an HD200 has previously won the cross country Scooter Cannonball.

The SC250 is a great scooter- Klaviator on here has toured on his, and has great things to say about it. Between it and the SYM the bigger issue is whether you have access to a local dealer for any service items you might want addressed.

The BV350 and 300GTS are sort of in a league of their own. Complete apples and oranges compared to the utilitarian HD200, and with prices to match- both are great, but do some research to see if they fit your real philosophy of use. Seems like from your description both are overkill. Again, dealer access is important, and lots of folks will caution you that Piaggio support in the US has been a bit spotty. Spend some time on Modern Vespa and you'll get to hear all the great and not so great things about both. Only downside that I have for the GTS are the passenger seating position is sub optimal due to the wide rear end of the scooter. My wife could barely reach the pegs, and indeed it's a common complaint.

I came close to buying an HD200 to go on the back of my RV. Alas, when I went back to the dealer they had sold the flat grey model I had lusted for, and the red and canary yellow models did not mess well with my RV colors. So for the time being I'm going to use my P200E for carry duty, and perhaps if I sell my R1200GS next spring I'll look for a bigger replacement like the BV350. For now I'm waiting to see how badly the 'fiscal cliff' affects me

Hope you find the perfect scooter for your needs.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murgatroid View Post
I know, yet another what scooter should I buy thread, like we need another one.

So I have a few motorcycles and 2 vintage Vespas. I like the Vespa construction and quality. I'd like to get a modern TnG scooter for mainly around town, occasional freeway jaunts, and *maybe* the 2-3 hour tour (I work in the Sillycon Valley and live in the Sierras, so am always going back and forth between the two). The 2-3 hour ride is not as important to me, but would be icing on the cake. I currently have been riding a friends Piaggio Fly 150, which has given me the TnG scooter bug, but I'd like something with more power. I'd rather not lose too much on the small maneuverability aspect, though.

There's a practically new 2012 HD200 for sale that the guy bought in July. He's asking $2800. I really like the SYM's and everyone who has one loves them. They seem like they are faster than people expect, but are they that much quicker than the Fly? I have the highest confidence in their long term quality. I also like that there is a lot of warranty left on this scooter.

There's a very nice 2008 Sport City 250 in the area for a similar asking price. Keep in mind that the last SC's in the US are '09's, and there are some of those around, too. These look to hit the sweet spot for power and agility. How much quicker is the SC250 over the HD200? I don't have as much faith in Piaggio's long term quality, but I am fairly handy with a wrench and will likely take care of most of the maintenance.

So these two are the cheaper alternatives. I'd like to spend less money than more. However, I have this nagging suspicion that I'd always be wanting more power.

I am seriously jonesing for the BV350. This seems like one hell of a scooter, even considering the price tag. Will I always lust after this scooter if I had an HD200? I know the BV350 is about 70 lbs heavier, but physically not much bigger than the HD200. Will this be much of a detriment for around town use?

Being a vintage Vespa owner, I do like the modern 250/300GTS Vespas. These strike me as the Fly on super-steroids, which is very appealing. I love the way I sit on these and they feel fairly light. They also look the best to me, although the BV350 is very nice looking in a modern-retro sort of way (and I even like the red seat and plastics). The downside is they are pricey. They cost similar (dealers are discounting the 2012s) to the BV350, but don't have the tech and features. Hell, they don't even have a trip odometer! I can save some money on used ones, and luckily there are always a few for sale

The Japanese don't have anything in this size range that appeals to me. Kymco makes nice scooters, too, but I"m not a fan of their styling for the most part. The people 300 is the same price as the BV350, and I'd rather have the latter.

So given the choice: practically new HD200 Evo, clean used SC250, used 250/300GTS, or new BV350 (maybe used if I"m patient enough), which would you choose? I'd love to hear from folks who have owned 2 or more of these models for a comparison. I plan to take a few test rides in the coming weeks.

Well, I own a GTS250ie (parent scooter to the GTS300), and on the 5th of January will have owned it for 7 years. Ive toured on the Vespa into Death Valley, Nevada, and Arizona and frankly its a damn fine little tourer better suited for secondaries and highways not freeways.

Maintenance costs and purchase (new and used) prices on the Vespa tend to be higher than Piaggios underbone scooters like the BV, Scarabeo etc. but then ONLY a Vespa is a Vespa. The 12" running stock doesnt lend itself to a particualrly smooth ride on anything but a really nice stretch of tarmac.

Pothole dodging is a big part of Vespa riding, but thankfully the 12"ers make quick work of avoidance steering.

I recently test-rode then ordered the BV350 despite some heartburn with 's parts support over the years. My wife who owns a Vespa GT200L tested and ordered one as well. Yes, its THAT nice! We will keep our Vespas since we still enjoy them and have a lot of history with them....

The service schedule on the BV350 is phenomenal compared to the Vespa, and with 33 hp at the rear wheel, larger rolling stock, and a bigger fuel tank they will be our new big-mile scooters.

(her XT is listed for sale below in my sig-line. What better shameless plug segue could I ask for?)

Sooo, depending on what type of use you plan to use it primarily for, your penchant for a smooth ride, and your level of maintenance-cost pain tolerance I think you'll have a great time on any of the italians....warts and all but frankly your short-list of the 4 is all good and not a loser on the list so, follow your heart first, and wallet second.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:33 PM   #4
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I may be mistaken, but isn't the SC250 the same engine as the GTS250? Either way, I just went out on a 35 mile jaunt, mostly rural roads and a quick 1 mile stretch on the Freeway (highway became official freeeway and I exited on the first exit to continue my travels). While the wind noise with the puig windscreen is bad, I rode with earplugs and could really, really see how nice the windscreen works. While I didnt' go faster than 65mph, I also spent most of the trip doing 40-55mph and it was like butter even at 65. My second fill up today and I got 65 and 68 mpg respectively. And, I still have just under 500 total miles on it.

My choice would be the BV350 if I had to do it all over again. Just because.

GH
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:57 PM   #5
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You have a conundrum.
The BV350 is a very nice Scooter but double the money of the Sym Evo. New GTS or new BV350? BV350.
If the warranty will transfer and there is nearby Dealer support, the Sym would be tempting.
If the price on the Sym is negotiable, negotiate with this Cycletrader info...
http://www.cycletrader.com/Sym-Motor...&keyword=hd200
There are new HD200's left over for less than the Evo which would be good ammo for negotiation.
Unknown resale value on the Sym but if bought right you could ride free for a period of time.
You already have Vintage Cool with the other Vespas, something the GTS doesn't have.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:37 AM   #6
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I have a SC250 and took a short test ride on the BV350. Check the following for more info on my SC250:
Sport City review: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=695285
Ride reports: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=694932
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=803404

As for the BV350. It is heavier and considerably more powerful than the SC250. It is by no means too big and heavy for around town use but it is more than you need as the smaller bikes you mentioned will handle around town duties quite nicely and be more agile. I have pretty much written off the BV350 as a possible future bike because the linked brakes are a big turn off for me.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by GREY.HOUND View Post
I may be mistaken, but isn't the SC250 the same engine as the GTS250? Either way, I just went out on a 35 mile jaunt, mostly rural roads and a quick 1 mile stretch on the Freeway (highway became official freeeway and I exited on the first exit to continue my travels). While the wind noise with the puig windscreen is bad, I rode with earplugs and could really, really see how nice the windscreen works. While I didnt' go faster than 65mph, I also spent most of the trip doing 40-55mph and it was like butter even at 65. My second fill up today and I got 65 and 68 mpg respectively. And, I still have just under 500 total miles on it.

My choice would be the BV350 if I had to do it all over again. Just because.

GH
Yes, the Sports City 250 is the same engine as the GTS 250. It will go a bit faster though because of the larger wheels and you do need earplugs and preferably a windshield on it if you are going freeway speeds. When we rode out to California my husband did not have a windshield on the SC. We did have Scala headsets and I had to wear earplugs in my helmet because of the wind noise coming through his mic with a full face helmet on the SC. If you have a windshield that will deal with the wind noise it is a fairly comfortable freeway bike even if we prefer secondary roads as more fun.

As for the OP, you can't really go wrong with any of them. I'm partial to the Italian scoots but Syms are good scooters as well. Vespa GTS 250 and Scarabeo 500 are my favorites but if I were looking for a new freeway capable scoot the BV 350 with its maintenance intervals would be high on my list.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:14 AM   #8
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Agree with gogogordy, though I haven't ridden a BV350. I love our GTV300 for urban or secondary road use, but wouldn't consider it the best expressway scooter. Plenty of performance, even two-up, but with 12" wheels things are pretty busy at 65MPH+. We bought it to tool around town & short trips to the lake on 50MPH two-lane. The GTS/GTV Vespa's are perfect for this use.

When garage room & finances allow I would love to have a maxi scooter with 15" or larger wheels & 500+ cc's for interstate/higher speed use.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:25 AM   #9
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Thanks for the replies so far! Keep them coming! I can't say it's helped any yet. I"m still as confused as ever.

There's a lot I really like about the BV350, and keep gravitating toward it. The downside is that it weighs about the same as my Buell XB12Ss! I have had no problem using the Buell for everyday tasks, but like the convenience of a scooter better. The BV350 is the only scooter on my list that I can see using to commute between work and home. While smaller and lighter scooters would obviously be easier to handle in town, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have a problem with the BV, and I know I'd like the extra power. There I go, rationalizing the BV!

Then I think maybe I should get the cheaper, lighter HD200 (or SC250) for now, and something like the BMW C650GT (or a regular touring bike - the Victory Vision is one of my favs) for commuting between work and home later.

I have a truck camper and thought it would be cool to be able to take the scooter with me. I haven't figured out the best way, though. I don't want to use a hitch carrier in the back as I'd have to hang it off an 18 inch extension. I could put it in the front, though. This would favor the lighter bikes as the BV would be too heavy. Or I could tow a small trailer and then be able to take any of my bikes.

Arrrrrgggggghhhhhhh! I hope things become clearer with a few test rides!
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:40 AM   #10
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Great pics!

Did you have to change the oil a few times on this trip? I thought the oil change interval on the HD200 is short, like around 1000 miles.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billigan View Post
I bought a brand new 2009 HD200(left over) 2yrs ago and now it has 20k miles on it. I love it more than the 2 motorcycles I have as it can carry more stuff and much better on fuel. Taken it on a 5000 miles round trip tour and everything worked as they should without repair. Just replaced both tires, plug, belt and rollers.

http://s1271.photobucket.com/albums/...MountRushmore/
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:54 AM   #11
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Long Term Piaggio

The SYM is a good bike, I brought them into the Charleston area back when they came into the US, but if I remember correctly, that engine is only used in the HD200. While they are a huge international company (The SYM factory in China produces scooters for SYM, Tomos, Yamaha and other companies), SYM doesn't distribute in the US. This tends to create problems down the road with parts and availability.
Many of the cheap new 2009s are being sold at fire sale prices, but without a warranty.
As you know from owning vintage Vespas, parts are pretty much always easily available for anything Piaggio has ever made, and I don't forsee this changing in the future. Even though we are not a Vespa dealer, I get pretty much any part I need for any model in less than 10 days.
I think the BV350 is probably going to turn out to be a great bike over time, it seems like what you really want, and if you buy it, you will never be kicking yourself saying you should have bought that instead of whatever else you buy.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by MOPED MEDIC View Post
The SYM is a good bike, I brought them into the Charleston area back when they came into the US, but if I remember correctly, that engine is only used in the HD200. While they are a huge international company (The SYM factory in China produces scooters for SYM, Tomos, Yamaha and other companies), SYM doesn't distribute in the US. This tends to create problems down the road with parts and availability.
Many of the cheap new 2009s are being sold at fire sale prices, but without a warranty.
As you know from owning vintage Vespas, parts are pretty much always easily available for anything Piaggio has ever made, and I don't forsee this changing in the future. Even though we are not a Vespa dealer, I get pretty much any part I need for any model in less than 10 days.
I think the BV350 is probably going to turn out to be a great bike over time, it seems like what you really want, and if you buy it, you will never be kicking yourself saying you should have bought that instead of whatever else you buy.
Your comment confuses me. Alliance Powersports is the US distributor for SYM, and provides the new ones currently in inventory at US SYM dealers after the debacle that was the Carter Brothers and their curious problems with suspicious warehouse fires.

I read the SYM forum pretty frequently as well as Alliance's Facebook page- they seem to be getting new inventory all the time. They got a very cool new flat white 2013 HD200 Evo a day or two ago. My dealer told me they try very hard to ensure part orders get fulfilled. Are you unaware that Alliance is the distributor, or are you saying they are not able to fulfill their purpose and support current dealers?

Lastly, it would appear from the SYM website that the HD200 engine is the same as used in the 2013 RV200 as well. I've not seen one, but HP specs are the same. http://alliancepowersports.com/models/index.html
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:17 PM   #13
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As the new owner of an NOS 2009 BV500 had a few "teething" problems in the first 700 miles, I have developed a bit of mistrust regarding Piaggio's parts pipeline distribution system. I love the bike and expect it to be very reliable...and I extrapolate that to the BV350 and the 300 Super, both of which I've looked at...both are very nice.

Have you looked at the Kymco People GT 300i? Not a lot of storage space, but has received very good reviews...I think Cortez did a really good writeup on it. I'd be looking at one if we had a Kymco dealer around here...
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:02 PM   #14
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The People 300 leaves me cold. It's priced the same as the BV350. I'd rather have the BV. To me, the Taiwanese scooters should significantly undercut the Italians and Japanese.

Being an engineer, I think a big part of the appeal of the HD200 and BV350 is the technology. The engine and clutch of the BV is interesting to me. I find the ceramic coated cylinders of the HD fascinating. That each engine reliably produces ~100hp/liter is what I expect from a modern engine. Many of Kymcos designs are fairly dated although the People 300 isn't one of them. It just seems bigger and clunkier in comparison to the BV, even though it's lighter.. I'll have to look at one in person.

Even David Harrington almost admitted that the BV350 is superior in just about every way to his 300GT, but picked his bike due to his faith in Kymco's reliability compared to Piaggio.


Quote:
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As the new owner of an NOS 2009 BV500 had a few "teething" problems in the first 700 miles, I have developed a bit of mistrust regarding Piaggio's parts pipeline distribution system. I love the bike and expect it to be very reliable...and I extrapolate that to the BV350 and the 300 Super, both of which I've looked at...both are very nice.

Have you looked at the Kymco People GT 300i? Not a lot of storage space, but has received very good reviews...I think Cortez did a really good writeup on it. I'd be looking at one if we had a Kymco dealer around here...
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:08 PM   #15
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The People 300 leaves me cold. It's priced the same as the BV350. I'd rather have the BV. To me, the Taiwanese scooters should significantly undercut the Italians and Japanese.

Being an engineer, I think a big part of the appeal of the HD200 and BV350 is the technology. The engine and clutch of the BV is interesting to me. I find the ceramic coated cylinders of the HD fascinating. That each engine reliably produces ~100hp/liter is what I expect from a modern engine. Many of Kymcos designs are fairly dated although the People 300 isn't one of them. It just seems bigger and clunkier in comparison to the BV, even though it's lighter.. I'll have to look at one in person.

Even David Harrington almost admitted that the BV350 is superior in just about every way to his 300GT, but picked his bike due to his faith in Kymco's reliability compared to Piaggio.
Although the price tag on the Kymco 300GT may be similar to the BV350, in reality you can probably get it for significantly less. The local Kymco dealer is selling it for $4899 + tax. I would expect to pay close to the sticker plus add on dealer fees for the BV350. However, get what you really want instead of pinching a few dollars. If it was me, I'd get the Kymco over the BV350. For around town and occasional long trips, I'd go with the HD200 or SC250.

I also have a Kymco Super 8 150. It is much lighter and more nimble than my SC250 and turns short trips around town into an exciting ride. I have owned many motorcycles and have been riding for over 30 years. For short trips around town, you just can't beat a small, nimble, lightweight scooter.

The Sport city on the other hand is probably the lightest 250 out there and is quite capable of touring and even running all day at highway speeds. Why get a heavier and more expensive scooter when you already have a larger motorcycle?

I haven't ridden a Vespa but I would imagine that the small wheels make it more nimble than a similar sized big wheel scooter. Unless you are riding in an area with a lot of potholes, I don't see a problem with the smaller wheels.
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