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Old 01-31-2010, 10:16 AM   #1
driller OP
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Taming the small wheel

I have found a couple of threads on "Perfect Line..." about people who have made the move from scooter to motorcycle, but none comparing differences in riding techniques between the two.
Considering the different center of gravity, weight distribution, shorter wheelbase, rake angle and all the other elements that affect handling of scooters, there must be some different techniques that allow a rider to maximize fun, speed and safety.
I ride a Dual Sport bike and a large "Maxi" style scooter. The Maxi is much more "bike-like" in it's handling, but there are still some different things going on to follow the laws of physics as you wind through the twisites.
I am considering getting a smaller wheeled scoot (think Zuma125 or similar) for closer local running around. Just the road to town and the grocery store has enough curves to make you dizzy.
So, what wisdom do you offer for taming the small wheeled beasties.?
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Old 01-31-2010, 11:00 AM   #2
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Ease up on the control inputs. Yowza, I found that out the hard way. First time I rode the Stella it felt really twitchy--but it was me. I found that countersteering input was almost thought-control versus giving much pressure at the bars...just a smidge needed on that particular bike.

The Stella is a bit on the extreme side of things with 3.50x10 tires and a good amount of motor hanging off one side, but after cruising around at 55 on that thing after getting used to it, you learn how to really smooth out inputs.

All the other scoots I have--Kymco Super 9, and the MP3--have larger wheels so it gets easier from there, though on the Kymco and Stella the turn-in is pretty quick as you know with the little tires.

The neat thing I've found after riding a few small wheel scoots is that when I go back to the big bike, I'm even smoother.

One other thing--they seem to be really sensitive to tire pressure. A pound or two low on my little-wheeled scoots makes 'em feel like something is really amiss.
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Old 01-31-2010, 11:25 AM   #3
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I thought most people rode scooters because they were; A) Scared of Motorcycles or B) Need an auto tranny.

As neither of these seems to apply to you, why would you expand your stable in that particular direction?
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Old 01-31-2010, 11:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KilLeR Kawasaki
I thought most people rode scooters because they were; A) Scared of Motorcycles or B) Need an auto tranny.

As neither of these seems to apply to you, why would you expand your stable in that particular direction?
Maybe because this forum is aimed at people who have KTM's, GS, etc and also happen to have scoots in their garage, so it's a good place to get info from people who are also avid motorcyclists. The idea that we're scared of the bikes we own or need a CVT doesn't wash here. He's got a pretty good question.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KilLeR Kawasaki
I thought most people rode scooters because they were; A) Scared of Motorcycles or B) Need an auto tranny.

As neither of these seems to apply to you, why would you expand your stable in that particular direction?
Man, don't even open this can of worms. It's just different tastes.



driller, one thing you'll learn about quickly is bad pavement. On roads I travel often, I know where the poorly-paved manhole covers, potholes, big cracks in pavement, etc. are. The light weight, small wheels, short wheelbase, and uneven weight distribution (it's all in the back), coupled with generally crappy suspensions, makes them awfully sensitive to this sort of thing. This has been true over all the scooters I've ridden (Metro, Vino 125, Stella).

I'll second Photog as well, they do seem twitchy (even without bad pavement) compared to big bikes, but once you get used to them you know what to expect. They really take just a minuscule amount of steering input.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:56 PM   #6
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Not all scooters handle the same just as all motorcycles don't handle the same. There is a huge difference between a sport bike and a cruiser. There is a huge difference between a Burgman 650 and a Vespa 150.
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:44 PM   #7
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I have both. Photog puts it well.

A motorcycle is like flying a plane.
A scooter is like being a bird.
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:42 PM   #8
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Good camparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by redhandmoto
I have both. Photog puts it well.

A motorcycle is like flying a plane.
A scooter is like being a bird.
Indeed!
Some aircraft (Piper Cub) will "fly themselves" while some are inherently unstable (F16). Hummingbird or even skateboard come to mind.
I seem to be losing CC's as well and having more fun all the while.

A Stella is a good basis for discussion. My first two wheeler was an Allstate Cruisair which was essentially a three speed version of a Stella.
That twitchiness was my downfall one summer long ago. Zip, Bang, Pow!
On the pavement with a broken collar bone and the usual road rash....I know twitchy.

Despite the generally poor suspensions of scooters, I entertain thoughts of mild to moderate trail/FS road riding on something like the Zuma or Rat110.
Just wondering what riding techniques I use when on the DS would transfer or work to overcome the disadvantage of the smaller diameter wheels. Slow and easy is probably the rule there. I'm sure it will require some trial and error along with some washouts to figure it out.

Keep up the interesting input!
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:10 PM   #9
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Hello again, Driller.

My Rat 106.2 (a/k/a 110) is a fun alternative to my Triumph Speedmaster bagger for running about. Think of it as a runabout, something to complement the real bike/s, & you're good to go.

I have no regrets with it, but it does have its limitations. Provided you don't try & make it a motorcycle replacement it's all good.

The Rat is also fun to tinker with, & 2T scooters are just cool.
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B02S4
Hello again, Driller.

My Rat 106.2 (a/k/a 110) is a fun alternative. Think of it as a runabout, something to complement the real bike/s, & you're good to go.
The Rat is also fun to tinker with, & 2T scooters are just cool.
He knows where I'm going.
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Old 01-31-2010, 11:09 PM   #11
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I hear those Rattlers are wheelie machines, especially if you can get an aftermarket exhaust and maybe some lighter rollers in 'em. I want one.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KilLeR Kawasaki
I thought most people rode scooters because they were; A) Scared of Motorcycles or B) Need an auto tranny.

As neither of these seems to apply to you, why would you expand your stable in that particular direction?
Borrow a 50-125cc small scooter for a week, try running errands on it.
You'll understand.

Me?
I got a big bike first, but knew what scoots are all about.

Reviewed a few for a local mag (big ones), tried a lot of smaller ones
when I worked at a Peugeot Scoot dealership.. and bought a 50cc scoot
in 2008 (had the kawasaki since 2007).

I've just sold it (the 50cc scoot) a few days ago and feel like I lost the
function of my legs. I'm looking forward to the new 125cc scoot that I'm
waiting to come home more then I was looking forward to my Kawasaki.

Different thing, different thrills, and just as fun.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:36 AM   #13
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I have only ever owned motorcycles until last summer when I bought a Vespa 150 S. I LOVE that thing. For me it makes a great commuter bike (I'm only 4 miles to work) so I love to ride it to work in the warm months.

I'm not sure that I ride it a whole lot different than my motorcycles... well maybe MORE aggressively. The short wheelbase really lets you throw it into corners. I guess what I would say is you might not have as much lean angle on the small tires, although I have not had a problem yet. I do know if you have the narrow squared off old school tires, you definitely don't have the lean angle and you can feel it when you have gone as far as you can go.

Scooters are FUN
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amycyclenut

I'm not sure that I ride it a whole lot different than my motorcycles... well maybe MORE aggressively.
I've noticed the exact same thing!

I'm rather cautious and very smooth on my motorcycle.. yet.. when I jump
on my scooter, I can seem to keep both wheels in the same line, backing
the rear end in turns SM style, and constantly grinding the center stand
whenever I can.

And at 28.. I'm not a kid anymore either..
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:31 AM   #15
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Mind reading...

Amazing how you have gotten in my head!
Cortez, that is how I got "infected". Used a small one for a couple of hours and was bitten. Just didn't have enough time on it to figure how to get the most out of it as well as not wanting to trash someone else's bike. I was laughing for a long time after riding the little one. Well, all bikes make me grin. The old Devo tune "Whip it" was beating around in my head.
Nothing like flicking a light bike around.
Amy, have you ever ridden around Lake Lanier , just below Tryon?
If not, you will have to come up for a run. It is a hidden scooter (and MC) nirvana.
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