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Old 07-17-2012, 06:53 PM   #1
DandyDoug OP
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Motorcycle to Maxi ?

I currently ride a 1985 BMW R80 and am considering buying a Maxi scooter but have some doubts about it being suitable for me.
I live in central NC. and ride the twisty bits a lot.
Today's run was three states and 300 miles of some really tight mountain roads. Aside from the heat whipping me, I am flat worn out from shifting , and throwing the bikes weight around.
I'm 68 and considered to be a very smooth rider ( been doing it a long time)
I still tour a bit , not as much as in the past, comfort is a big factor in my decision process.


A Burgman is high on my interest list along with maybe the BMW C650GT if they ever get here.

Who can shed some light on the usability of a Maxi in the tight twisty bits ?

How does the engine braking ( off throttle ) effect the machine ?

What about the cornering clearance ?
( all that plastic looks expensive if it gets scuffed up)
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:18 PM   #2
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Most any vehicle ridden at it's limits can bring a smile to your face. I think most scooters will reach their limits before your current BMW but they won't keep you from having a good time at a slightly slower pace. There is some getting use to the lack of engine braking on downhills, especially on gravel. You will find that proper entry speed achieved by pre corner braking is the key to keeping things smooth.

You sound like you have sporting intentions so you might want to add one of the sportier scooters, the Yamaha T-Max to your list. I've also read that the KYMCO GTI 300 can achieve decent lean angles.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:02 PM   #3
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The riding position of most maxi scooters is more like a cruiser than the upright position of your BMW. You need to try it to see if it is comfortable for you.

The Burgman 650 is quite a bit heavier than your BMW.

Scooters don't have folding footpegs to warn you when you are running out of cornering clearance.

Personally, I prefer the smaller, lighter, more upright scooters. I recently did a 2100 mile, 8 state trip on my Aprilia Sport City 250. It was not too small, it was comfortable and it does great on twisty roads. I do a lot of my riding in the mountains of N. GA, WNC, and E. TN. Here's the link to my last ride report: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=803404

If you think a small scooter is too slow, check this out: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=694932

My recommendation would be to look at the Kymco GT300I and the new Piaggio BV350 if you want something to that will work well on twisty roads. If you are happy with the lounge chair riding position of the Maxi's then the T max would likely be your best choice.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:21 PM   #4
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Add Burgman 400 and silver wing to your list of possibles. The burgman 400 has about the same performance envelope as a HD 883 sportster, but friendlier ergos and lots of storage. And better brakes, and way less vibration than the old solid mount sporties . The S'wing is slightly sportier, at least to me. There is a learning curve to scooters after transitioning from a bike, I'm finding, but the big scoot is certainly very capable.

You asked about engine braking; it's not a significant factor on the 400, but the more complex 650 has quite a bit, since it has a much fancier transmission that forces a "downshift" of sorts. The 400 and the S'wing have CVTs, which feel more like coasting when the throttle is backed off. I believe the big Kymco and Piaggio are also CVT. note that the CVT can be effectively re programmed by changing slider weights, an easy job, to alter power delivery. you're just gonna have to ride one. It's certainly an eye opener

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Old 07-18-2012, 04:06 AM   #5
DandyDoug OP
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From the responses so far it sounds like i need to find a way to do some fairly long test rides, if that's even remotely possible !

I stopped riding cruisers because the position hurt my low back .

The small wheels on the lesser sized scooters concern me .
If they are anything like the Lambretta's & Vespa's of old that would make them very spooky handling wise.

I do still ride fairly sporty in my old age, but have slowed down a lot in the last few years. Amazing at what you see when you knock off a few miles an hour and start to smell the flowers.
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DandyDoug View Post
From the responses so far it sounds like i need to find a way to do some fairly long test rides, if that's even remotely possible !

I stopped riding cruisers because the position hurt my low back .

The small wheels on the lesser sized scooters concern me .
If they are anything like the Lambretta's & Vespa's of old that would make them very spooky handling wise.

I do still ride fairly sporty in my old age, but have slowed down a lot in the last few years. Amazing at what you see when you knock off a few miles an hour and start to smell the flowers.
If the cruiser riding position hurts your back, then the maxi scoots may do the same. Both my Kymco and Aprilia dealers let me ride the scooters before buying them. I recently stopped by a local Vespa/Piaggio/Sym/Genuine dealer and was looking at the new BV350. The sales lady asked me if I wanted to take it for a spin. She didn't have to twist my arm. If I was looking for a new scooter right now the BV350 would be at the top of my list.

My experience is that Japanese bike dealers generally don't allow test rides except for used bikes while European bike dealers generally do.

As for wheel sizes, my Aprilia has 15" wheels. The BV350 has 14"rear/16" front. The Kymco GT300I has 16" wheels. The Japanese Maxi Scooters have slightly smaller size wheels. Bigger scooters don't always have bigger wheels. There are some 150cc scooters with 16 inch wheels.

My Kymco Super 8 150 has 14" wheels and handles great except that it has limited cornering clearance.

One thing that I have found with my scooters is that it is so easy to stop and get off & on, that I do stop more often to check stuff out or take pictures.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:29 AM   #7
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Something else to consider is weather the benefit of a flat floor means anything to you. I find a flat floor great for hauling things and will probably never own another scooter without one but I ride a scooter for more utilitarian purposes as opposed to sporting pleasure.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:52 AM   #8
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I realize that as with all things " it's a compromise"

I am simple trying to find a way to keep riding as i get older. Some of the guys i ride with on a regular basis are a lot older than me and we all have the miriad of aging problems. They all ride bigger , faster and much heavier motorcycles than me. Frankly, they tend to ride faster than I prefer also.
I have always preferred something around 800cc, but have owned a Goldwing, an ST1300, a Road King, along with a bunch of others over the years.

I'll bet that any of the Maxi's/Scooters mentioned by the respondents to my questions will be ok . I just am not in a financial position to make a bad choice and then lose a ton selling it.
So in order of my priorities :
1. Comfort
2. Versatility/handling
3. Fuel economy
4. Weather protection
5. Dealer network/spares availability
6. and probably a few others that will come to mind

I appreciate all the responses.
Doug
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:17 AM   #9
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No doubt the Burgman would be fine : and it is a known factor . . . likewise the T-Max (for sporty handling).
The as-yet-unproven BMW will offer high performance (plus price).
Same applies to the new Honda-700 scooter, which might [eventually] turn out to be the best, taking things overall.

I reckon there's a good possibility something slightly smaller & lighter might be more fun ~ as mentioned above, the big-wheel Kymco-300, Honda-300, and the new Beverley-350.
All have lots of power, provided you're happy to do most of your riding at less than 80 mph.
Pocket battleships, you might say.
(There are other 300's . . . but they are of the previous generation, and don't have quite the same level of power which a "downsizing" rider would hope to find.)
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:44 AM   #10
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If comfort is your #1 priority, you really need to go sit on a few and see what you think. I've owned Maxi's and more upright scooters and find the upright scooters more comfortable for my 6'1" frame. That said, I currently own a Maxi for weather protection and built in storage. If I were buying today I'd take a long look at the KYMCO GTI300. Reviews say it handles well, sits upright and has good power for 300c's . Top speed is somewhere around 85mph. I imagine it would shine in the hills of western NC.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:05 AM   #11
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My typical top speed is not more than 70 mph on the open road, in the twisty bits it all depends on traffic , how i feel on a given day and line of sight. If I cannot see through the corner i am slowing down

Do you know if there are any Kymco dealers around the Winston Salem area ?
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:16 AM   #12
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DandyDoug

I recently spent a weekend leading demo rides for a dealership here in NC, and spent much of that weekend on a Burgman 650 Executive. There was no doubt that it was a competent, capable machine and it's worth a test-ride. I can't speak to the ergonomics in your case since I'm pretty short. But it wasn't lacking in power, and I had no issues hustling it around curves.

In my opinion the Burgie 650 would have no problem with the NC mountains and would be fun enough to keep a smile on your face. I regularly ride in the AVL and Hot Springs area, as a point of reference.

I'd also have a look at the T-max.

I'm sure owners with real experience will chime in.

The other comments about the big-wheel and more-upright scoots are also great advice. I think you will have to ride a few and figure out your ergonomic and performance needs.

Keep in mind that there's a bit of a shift (no pun intended) in thinking that comes when you move to scoots and smaller displacement bikes, but think of it as zen. As you spend more time on one, they seem to get better and better. I've done daytrips and weekends on a Piaggio MP3-250 without hesitation...2-up.

And to get you thinking about the possibilities, here's an excellent ride report from Klaviator.

My experience with dealership salespeople and scoots, however--unless they specialize in scoots enough that they give a flip--has been less-than-stellar, taken as a whole. The established scoot and motorcycle forums will give you better input and real-world reviews.

As far as the service end of things goes, I'd rely on your experience as a motorcyclist to ferret out good and bad dealerships and their service departments.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:31 AM   #13
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Hi Doug,

Everybody has their favorite scooter so you'll probably continue to receive tons of advice on which one to choose. One thing's for certain, scooters are fun regardless of make/model and whether you ride with friends or solo. I'm older than you by a few years and have owned most of the same bikes as yourself (no Harley's) and currently have a Piaggio MP3 500 in my stable. It's fun to ride and the user's group is one of the best, lots of technical support and no egos to deal with. Here's a link to the forum; if you're so inclined you'd do well to visit it: http://modernvespa.com/forum/

Good luck on your hunt, you're going to love scooters and will probably wonder why you waited so long to own one.

LL75
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DandyDoug View Post
So in order of my priorities :
1. Comfort
2. Versatility/handling
3. Fuel economy
4. Weather protection
5. Dealer network/spares availability
6. and probably a few others that will come to mind
You're obviously the only one that can judge what's comfortable to you. I have a Yamaha TMAX and it's very comfy for me. It handles better than my Ninja 650R did and the weather protection is much, much better too. I haven't had to test the dealer network of parts but it's a Yamaha so I'm assuming it'll be fine.

All of these big scooters you're looking at will be heavy, but because the engine sits low in a scooter they all feel much lighter than they actually are, assuming you keep it tire side down. I'm not sure but I think the low center of gravity helps with handling also. There will be less engine breaking on a scooter than a motorcycle but there is some depending on the speed you're going, but you could always hit the brakes too
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:54 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by DandyDoug View Post
My typical top speed is not more than 70 mph on the open road, in the twisty bits it all depends on traffic , how i feel on a given day and line of sight. If I cannot see through the corner i am slowing down

Do you know if there are any Kymco dealers around the Winston Salem area ?
I did a quick search and found 6 Kymco dealers within 50 miles of Winston Salem.

I would look at both the Downtown 300i and GT300i. Many dealers are marking them down to under 5K plus tax. Kymco's come with a 2 year warrantee which is nice for peace of mind. You will find that there are far more Kymco dealers out there than BMW dealers.

Personally I prefer the GT300i because of the upright seating position but if I were to consider a Maxi scooter the DT300i would be at the top of my list.

You posted earlier that every bike is a compromise. That is true however IMO big heavy bikes are more of a compromise than smaller, lighter and more fun to ride bikes.

Another option to consider. Get a small, 125-200cc used scooter and ride it for a while just to see what scooters are all about. I started on a Kymco 150 after having ridden motorcycles for 30+ years. This size is great for around town and even short trips. This will also let you learn much more about scooters and put you in a better position to pick the right scooter to replace your BMW. Then you should be able to resell the small scooter for little or no loss. I must warn you however, small scooters are so much fun you may decide to keep it. I still have my kymco in addition to my Aprilia and 2 motorcycles. I ride it almost every day.
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