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Old 08-06-2013, 08:05 AM   #31
ABritOnMaui
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There is one other more glaring possibility. I have no wish to offend anyone, but I have noticed a strong correlation between people who find their scooter can't do hills and those that are more amply proportioned. Scooters do have a load capacity, smaller engined scoots generally have a smaller load capacity, in some cases close to 200lbs (i.e. a single person). HP ratings can also be pretty meagre, 2hp for a 50cc, 8-12hp for a 150cc (ballpark figures). If you happen to be 50-100lbs over the load capacity on a small scooter (sub 250cc) then you probably will suffer on inclines. It's unlikely to explode when you sit on it but it will have a significant impact on performance, especially in situations where performance is at a premium. A manual box might help more than a cvt, but you are outside the design specs.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:34 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ABritOnMaui View Post
There is one other more glaring possibility. I have no wish to offend anyone, but I have noticed a strong correlation between people who find their scooter can't do hills and those that are more amply proportioned. Scooters do have a load capacity, smaller engined scoots generally have a smaller load capacity, in some cases close to 200lbs (i.e. a single person). HP ratings can also be pretty meagre, 2hp for a 50cc, 8-12hp for a 150cc (ballpark figures). If you happen to be 50-100lbs over the load capacity on a small scooter (sub 250cc) then you probably will suffer on inclines. It's unlikely to explode when you sit on it but it will have a significant impact on performance, especially in situations where performance is at a premium. A manual box might help more than a cvt, but you are outside the design specs.
Yes I weigh 230 pounds. But the load limit on the Zuma 125 is around 350 pounds. The Zuma WILL climb, but it is geared way to high. It is exactly the same as trying to climb a steep hill with a manual transmission car or motorcycle, a gear or 2 to high. It might make it, but you are seriously abusing it. Lugging an engine is way harder on it than over revving it. With a manual transmission, all you have to do is downshift to get the engine speed back up. That won't increase your road speed, but it will save your engine and transmission. A true automatic transmission will downshift itself when climbing, all the way down to it's lowest gear if necessary.

And while I am heavier than many riders, I find it odd that my 50cc Puch pedal moped will pull me up any hill I've tried to climb with it with ease. It only has 2 gears, the top one is good for 30 mph on a flat level road, which is where the engine tops out. But it has a MUCH lower gear, good for up to about 15 mph (and below) The transmission is neither manual nor a CVT. It is centrifugally shifted, When engine speed drops below a certain point, it down shifts into the lower gear. Now you can climb a steep hill at 15 mph or less top speed, but with the engine spinning just as fast as it does in top gear at 30 mph. You can climb for miles without doing any damage at all. 50cc will pull my 230 pounds, and another 20-30 pounds of stuff up a steep hill just fine, without over stressing anything.


To put it simply (and I am not complaining here, nor trying to make anyone "understand", just explaining) a CVT on a small displacement scooter simply does not have a low enough gear for climbing without engine damage. Think about it. Why does the old Honda CT90 have a dual range transmission, with a super low gear? So it will climb anything with a small engine, without damaging that engine. Why do people lower the gearing on dirt bikes and Jeeps for off road use? To give them the ability to climb better, with a sacrifice in top speed. My former Suzuki Samurai had 2 4WD gears, 4WD and 4WD low. The "low" was for climbing. It kept the engine's rpm up while just barely moving.

Try climbing a steep hill on a single speed bicycle and see what it does to your legs, especially your knees. Now do the same thing on a decent mountain bike in first gear, and notice how much easier it is on your legs. You will be pedaling a lot faster, but it will be easy, because of the mechanical advantage that low gear gives you. A really strong person could do it in a much higher gear, but something on the bike would eventually break under the stress. Just like something is going to break on a small displacement CVT scooter if you keep climbing steep hills with it.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:44 PM   #33
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Jerry, how many CVT scooters have you owned or at least ridden. They are not all the same. My Super 8 seems to keep the engine revving at a decent speed up hills but my Sport City does tend to lug the engine. Riding it by myself the sport city does OK up hills since it can keep it's speed and engine RPM up. 2 up doesn't work as well but it still has made it up every hill I have tried so far.

As someone else mentioned, the higher elevations you ride at probably has some effect too. Perhaps at sea level your scooters would be able to maintain a higher speed, and RPM.

From what I have read about the Kymco DT and GT 300, they accelerate very well and I suspect they would haul you up hills just fine.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:45 PM   #34
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I'm sad. I've never ridden a CVT scooter, so I don't get to opine.

I will say that not having to shift and having two handlebar mounted brake levers would be a joyous thing...

....as would having a disk brake, electric start, underseat storage, etc. May have to try one someday
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:58 PM   #35
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Only 4. A 2005 Zuma 50 2 stroke, a 2007 Honda Metropolitan 50, a 2008 Yamaha Vino 125, and a 2012 Yamaha Zuma 125.

But I have also ridden my 4 speed manual shift Stella 150, and 2 speed automatic shift (not CVT) 50cc Puch moped up the same mountains I'm talking about, and they both did fine. (and yes, I did have a rescue mission for the Stella already set up in case it broke down)

I do understand others may be different. But the Honda and Yamaha are just not climbers. I'm not sure when (but probably soon) I am going to buy a freeway capable scooter, either new or used. I've come very close a few times already. But I have to make sure that same scooter will take me up any mountain in AZ with no problems, because I want to be able to ride up in the mountains in the summer, when it is too hot to ride in the desert.
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:41 PM   #36
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Only 4. A 2005 Zuma 50 2 stroke, a 2007 Honda Metropolitan 50, a 2008 Yamaha Vino 125, and a 2012 Yamaha Zuma 125.

But I have also ridden my 4 speed manual shift Stella 150, and 2 speed automatic shift (not CVT) 50cc Puch moped up the same mountains I'm talking about, and they both did fine. (and yes, I did have a rescue mission for the Stella already set up in case it broke down)

I do understand others may be different. But the Honda and Yamaha are just not climbers. I'm not sure when (but probably soon) I am going to buy a freeway capable scooter, either new or used. I've come very close a few times already. But I have to make sure that same scooter will take me up any mountain in AZ with no problems, because I want to be able to ride up in the mountains in the summer, when it is too hot to ride in the desert.
Jerry, you would be able to climb said mountain on a Burgman 650 just fine. How do I know? I outweigh you (I come in at 250 pounds) and my Burgman pulls me just fine. It can even pass people driving in cages up those mountains at any speed I ask it to (sane speeds). I also own and ride a V-Strom 650. My Burgman pulls almost as well as my V-Strom. If I want more RPM's to get more torque on my Burgman, there is a Power Button that will give you just that.
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:20 PM   #37
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I hope this is not a dumb question, but are their (there) scooters that do not have automatic transmissions?

I always wanted to try out riding a scooter so a couple of weeks ago, while on vacation in Maui, I rented a Blur 220. I had fun riding it but I really did not like the whole automatic transmission thing.

Have you checked out the Suzuki Burgman 650? It has arguably the best CVT tranny out there PLUS you can select MANUAL mode and use the paddle shifter to up or down shift to your heart's content. It also has a POWER mode which allows the engine to rev way higher before "shifting" into the next ratio. And yes, you DO need to rev the engine up a bit for the clutch to take hold, but WAIT....isn't that what you have to do with a "normal" motorcycle too?????
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:53 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by ABritOnMaui View Post
There is one other more glaring possibility. I have no wish to offend anyone, but I have noticed a strong correlation between people who find their scooter can't do hills and those that are more amply proportioned. Scooters do have a load capacity, smaller engined scoots generally have a smaller load capacity, in some cases close to 200lbs (i.e. a single person). HP ratings can also be pretty meagre, 2hp for a 50cc, 8-12hp for a 150cc (ballpark figures). If you happen to be 50-100lbs over the load capacity on a small scooter (sub 250cc) then you probably will suffer on inclines. It's unlikely to explode when you sit on it but it will have a significant impact on performance, especially in situations where performance is at a premium. A manual box might help more than a cvt, but you are outside the design specs.
My daughter in high school weighs 108 lb. I weigh 165. The difference in performance is marked when she is on the back. So if I weighed 273 my old scooter would work a lot harder all the time. I would want a 250.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:37 AM   #39
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I do understand others may be different. But the Honda and Yamaha are just not climbers.
I agree, CVTs are not good for mountain roads.

I weigh 155lbs and my PCX 125 has a bit of trouble with STEEP inclines. Mind you, it doesn't stop, but it bogs down and will crawl at only about 15mph up some of the mountain roads around here. I've talked to a guy that rides his PCX150 on the same roads and racks up WAY more mileage than I do, and he has no issues. I think this is a small-displacement scooter issue.

Klaviator, I've ridden with you up through TN, the CVT in your Kymco does better than most in my opinion. I think I was on a Silverwing when I rode up there with you an a group of a bunch of other scooters, and you were able to haul ass way better than I could have on my 125.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:49 AM   #40
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I agree, CVTs are not good for mountain roads.

I weigh 155lbs and my PCX 125 has a bit of trouble with STEEP inclines. Mind you, it doesn't stop, but it bogs down and will crawl at only about 15mph up some of the mountain roads around here. I've talked to a guy that rides his PCX150 on the same roads and racks up WAY more mileage than I do, and he has no issues. I think this is a small-displacement scooter issue.

Klaviator, I've ridden with you up through TN, the CVT in your Kymco does better than most in my opinion. I think I was on a Silverwing when I rode up there with you an a group of a bunch of other scooters, and you were able to haul ass way better than I could have on my 125.
That must have been someone else. The only time we rode together was in N. GA. and I was on my Aprilia.

The Super 8 does pretty well on hills. I have gone up some really steep hills, I'm guessing about 20% grade or more, from a standing start. It accelerated up those hill with no problems. Going up the Cherohala skyway I was able to maintain an indicated 45MPH or better most of the time. There was one stretch where I fell below that but then It seemed to catch a second wind and got back up to speed. I think it's geared more for acceleration and climbing hills rather than top speed and fuel economy. The PCX is probably geared more for fuel economy. This is probably one reason it gets such fantastic MPGs.
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:29 AM   #41
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Oh yeah, you're right. We stopped at all the waterfalls.



Sportcity 250? That's why you kept up so well. Not sure why I thought you rode the Kymco -- maybe that was at another ride. I've ridden with you on the waterfall tour, and again on a larger ride where we met up at Rider's Hill.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:59 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by maddiedog View Post
I agree, CVTs are not good for mountain roads.

I weigh 155lbs and my PCX 125 has a bit of trouble with STEEP inclines. Mind you, it doesn't stop, but it bogs down and will crawl at only about 15mph up some of the mountain roads around here. I've talked to a guy that rides his PCX150 on the same roads and racks up WAY more mileage than I do, and he has no issues. I think this is a small-displacement scooter issue.

Klaviator, I've ridden with you up through TN, the CVT in your Kymco does better than most in my opinion. I think I was on a Silverwing when I rode up there with you an a group of a bunch of other scooters, and you were able to haul ass way better than I could have on my 125.
I'm not sure what sort of CVT you are talking about. Certainly NOT the type I have on my 2012 Burgman 650 Executive.
There is a street here in Laguna Beach, California, namely 3rd St between Mermaid and Park St, that climbs over 50 feet in a distance of 200 feet. That's about as steep as it gets. My Burgman has absolutely no problems climbing that while accelerating nicely.
I suspect the CVT's on the small displacement scooters are radically different than mine, and if you're talking about those, you may be right.

On a gentler ride, we have wonderful CA Hwy 38 that runs from Mentone to Big Bear across an 8500' elevation pass. The Burgman will cross over the top of this easily at 85mph.
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Old 08-10-2013, 04:06 AM   #43
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Talking as we are about small-to-medium engined scooters :-

As far as I know, in most [or all ?] belt-CVT scooters, the range of torque multiplication is very close to the 3:1 ratio.

So if geared for peak-power revs at 60mph, then the scooter can (if operating ideally) pull peak revs/power at 20mph.
In that case, on a steep hill it will be "lugging" the engine if much below 15mph ~ and you will be wanting to change down to a lower gear . . . if available.
(Obviously that figure will be more like 10mph for a very small motor with correspondingly lower gearing.)


The problem, as Jerry has hinted, comes when [a heavy load is] is climbing a very steep incline . . . or even maybe slogging at walking speed through long stretches of soft sand . . . and the engine is reduced down to clutch-slipping speeds.
Not good for clutch life (or belt life, owing to the local heat).


Not so easy for a manufacturer to supply CVT plus two or three gears
~ most scooters sell on cheapness, rather than capabilities
~ difficult to have a robust and/or smooth-shifting multi-gear transmission at the rear hub
~ scooter riders are attracted by the "gearless" mindset, and a good many would soon trash the hub gearbox by clumsy/clueless gear changes . . . and the brand gets a reputation for unreliability & expensive repairs.



Otherwise, a multi-gear CVT would be grand for tackling extreme conditions.
Is there a way around this problem?

[Fitting a hydraulic torque converter plus CVT ~ as found in many modern cars ~ is probably ruled out by expense and space/volume considerations.]
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:37 AM   #44
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Manual override

I understand what you're saying, Jerry. I would like to see a CVT with a manual override; either factory (on something with a dual-sportish character like a Honda Ruckus) or an aftermarket add-on kit.
Think about it. Some lawn tractors use a manually controlled CVT where the further you push a lever or pedal, the faster it goes. The same thing could be done (inversely) on an automatic CVT with a lever pushing on the driven pulley via a throwout bearing. That way you could ride normally most of the time, but when you need more pulling power just push down on a pedal to force the CVT into a lower ratio.
This wouldn't involve any additional gearing; it would just counteract the spring pressure in the CVT.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:47 AM   #45
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Have you checked out the Suzuki Burgman 650? It has arguably the best CVT tranny out there PLUS you can select MANUAL mode and use the paddle shifter to up or down shift to your heart's content. It also has a POWER mode which allows the engine to rev way higher before "shifting" into the next ratio. And yes, you DO need to rev the engine up a bit for the clutch to take hold, but WAIT....isn't that what you have to do with a "normal" motorcycle too?????
Sounds interesting, but I think I am more interest in a small displacement scoot. I need to test ride some other models. The Madass 125 sounds interesting.

The deal with a motorcycle with a clutch is that I can "pulse" or "feather" the clutch to effectuate a slow take off when I need to in heavy traffic
(lane splitting) or off road. I sure with more practice I could get comfortable operating a CVT. I just have very limited experience.
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