250cc commute impressions

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by chazbird, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    This really depends on the motorcycle / scooter. For example, my KLR650 is less expensive to operate than my Aprilia 250. The Aprilia gets better MPG, 75 vs 50-55, but I spend far less on tires on the KLR. Compare my KLR to a big Maxi scooter and the KLR will come out ahead easily.

    A big part of the cost of any scooter or motorcycle is maintenance. If you do your own maintenance is saves a bundle. For example. I change my own tires on my dual sport bikes, but not street bikes/scooters with tubeless tires. I adjust my own valves but not sure I would want to tackle some of the more complex bikes out there. And what about valve adjustment intervals? Typically they are longer on motorcycles.

    Of course, if you're commuting on a GSXR 1000 or just about any other large motorcycle, then the most scooters will be cheaper.

    It would be interesting to compare a V Strom 650 to a Burgman 650. I'd expect the V Strom to be cheaper to operate.

    However, I don't ride purely based on what is the cheapest. I ride because it's fun. Saving money is important to me, but not the most important thing.
    #21
  2. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    A new Kymco GTi300 and a Honda CB500F cost about the same. The Honda will have better power, better acceleration, and better maneuverability in traffic. It also likely has a higher top speed. The Kymco (or any similar scooter) would be far more comfortable for me, because of the "sitting in a chair" riding position, rather than the lean forward, feet behind you position of the Honda. It also has the advantage of a step through design, and no shifting. The Honda will likely require less maintenance, because it does not have a CVT. Both will work fine for commuting, depending on the rider. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Out of those two, I would take the Kymco. BUT, replace the Honda with a midsize cruiser, which still has the "sitting in a chair" riding position, and things change. I have ridden cruisers with a "sitting in a chair" riding position hundreds of thousands of miles at freeway speeds with no problems. For some reason due to their design, smaller scooters tend to be less stable at high speeds than motorcycles with the same riding position. I have yet to figure out why.

    "However, I don't ride purely based on what is the cheapest. I ride because it's fun. Saving money is important to me, but not the most important thing" I have to TOTALLY agree with this. In today's world, most people NEED to save money. But I ride ONLY for fun, and I would not do it if it were not fun. A car has it all over a bike in a 100 different ways as far as convenience and practicality go, and you can get cars that get 40 mpg. They are just not "fun". I rarely commute on a bike. Riding is almost 100% recreation for me.
    #22
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Smaller scooters have smaller wheels, shorter wheelbase and less stiff frames. Naturally they tend to be less stable. However, I have not found this to be a problem. My Super 8 and Sport city are both perfectly stable at top speed. I once rented a Riva 125 in Hawaii. It was smaller and lighter than my Super 8 and had tiny 10" wheels. It was still perfectly stable at an indicated 65MPH.

    As for the Sitting in a chair riding position. I find that to be hard on my back. For me motorcycles, except cruisers, tend to have a better riding position. But then, everyone is built different and prefers different riding positions.

    Scooters do tend to have much better seats than motorcycles and are more practical for commuting around town. I do commute on my scooters but wouldn't do it if it weren't fun.

    Like you said, everything has it's advantages and disadvantages. There is no perfect bike.
    #23
  4. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    For me riding over 50mph for any length of time without a windshield is just not going to happen. I rode a GTS 18 miles on I-25 without a windshield and felt like I'd been through the ringer. I've ridden both our Sports City 250 and Vespa GTS 250 for hundreds of miles on the freeway at 70+mph and up to the low 80s - by GPS, 92-25 on the speedo with the Puig windshield on the SC and summer windshield on the GTS. While the Sports City with its bigger wheels feels more stable than the GTS I don't find myself particularly fatigued riding either one at those speeds for as long as it takes to run through a tank of gas.


    FWIW, I find the seating position on the traditional style scoots like the BV, Vespa, Scarabeo, Sports City far more comfortable than the Burgman. I couldn't wait to trade our Burgman 400 in for a BV 500. While the Burgman is pretty good for freeway riding it is a pig in the city in my opinion. I know many folks who lover their Burgies but they aren't for me neither is a cruiser, dual sport or sports motorcycle. I occasionally think about getting a standard motorcycle but that's as far as it goes. The BMW c600 sport I'll admit is interesting but I'll wait until they are readily available on the used market before considering one.

    I've ridden our BV and Scarabeo 500s cruising 85-90 (gps) comfortable in Nevada, Montana and other long tours of 3,370 - 4,400 miles without issue and in comfort. The only issue I've experienced with those speeds for extended periods it my gas mileage sucked dropping down to 58-62 mph.
    #24
  5. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I finally gave up on windshields on motorcycles, The severe buffeting they caused was much more uncomfortable than no windshield at all. That is at high speeds. However I do have a windshield on my Zuma 125. I gained about 5 mph with it, though comfortwise I can't tell a difference. It would likely cause a problem for me at higher speeds than the Zuma will go.
    #25
  6. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    Sometimes I wonder if I have some sort of anatomical issue. I can't tolerate any kind of seat but a straight flat one where I can sit leaning somewhat forward with my arms out in front. I need to be able to move forward and back now and then. Do riders generally find stepped seats comfortable? Are they just for very short trips? The seats they put on scooters and most motorcycles are all wrong for me. http://www.flickr.com/photos/29821169@N06/11784705554/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/29821169@N06/11784486795/
    #26
  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    It's not just you. Many people complain about stepped seats. I think that stepped seats exist for two reasons. First, it allows the riders portion to be lower. Second, it's a styling thing. Styling sells bikes. People generally don't figure out a seat is uncomfortable until after they bought it and put some miles on it.

    OK, maybe there's a third reason. On some seats, the step provides some back support.

    Personally I think scooter seats tend to be better than motorcycle seats but in any case, there's a good reason there are so many aftermarket seat companies out there.
    #27
  8. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    A friend of mine found a good deal on a 4 cyl Kawasaki, and wasted no time altering the stepped seat and the pull back handlebars to make a standard motorcycle out of it.
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd....0x720/942947_626864444008920_1811881360_n.jpg He changed the bars a week later.
    #28
  9. gumshoe4

    gumshoe4 Been here awhile

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    JerryH said: "I finally gave up on windshields on motorcycles, The severe buffeting they caused was much more uncomfortable than no windshield at all."

    There's a lot of truth in that statement. For me, however, the option is not to ride without a windshield...I get too beat up and fatigue much more quickly fighting the wind. The answer is to find a windshield which works.

    The stock windshield which was on the SWing and the windshield on the VStar were both horrible for buffeting...to the point that I was seeing double at speeds over 65. Answer?

    Givi AirFlow for the SWing:
    [​IMG]

    VStar before:
    [​IMG]

    VStar after:
    [​IMG]

    The Givi AirFlow completely eliminated buffeting on the SWing. The new wind deflector on the VStar is an MRA Xcreen...it also has completely eliminated buffeting, but does not provide as much wind protection as the old police-style screen...also not really very pretty, but I'd rather be able to ride without buffeting...

    The point is that there are solutions to buffeting, but for me, riding without a windshield takes the enjoyment out of the ride, particularly when the matter can be resolved fairly easily...
    #29
  10. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    My preference is no windshield up to about 45 mph and a good fairing above that. The old Windjammer fairings work great and they're cheap but too big for a 250 motorcycle and they won't mount on a scooter.
    #30
  11. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    I have always had good results with windshields, on a motorcycle and on a scooter. I spent some time adjusting the mounting hardware and test riding to get the angle and the height right. Trimming the windshield height helped some. The vintage Ideal windshield on my scooter is large and aerodynamic, but considered pretty weird by modern standards with its 3 panel design. Does a good job and protects my hands too. Vermont is a chilly place to ride most of the year and I depend on a windshield.
    #31
  12. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    Someone tried to steal my BV250 a week or two ago and broke one of the top box grab handles/attachment arms. To dissuade me from using a loaded top box I removed it and it's certainly been a change on my riding aerodynamics. One would think the body position on a scooter would block wind to the top box, but it seems different now, as if there is less bunching up of wind, perhaps a better uninterrupted wind flow. I haven't done the 50 mile banzai California freeway commute yet, but today I will and see how it feels. Maybe it will be an increase in comfort, but once I get the attachment grab handle fixed the top box is going back on.

    RE: Windjammer fairings. I had one for many miles on a large 70's MC, not by choice. Ugly, but it worked supremely well, except in 45 degree crosswinds.
    #32
  13. carockwell

    carockwell Been here awhile

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    One bike can't do it all. Motorcycle for prolonged freeway rides and scooter for town rides.

    I find that any bike without a fairing is uncomfortable over 65 mph. It is like the magic speed at which wind resistance overcomes the feeling of freedom from riding a bike.
    #33
  14. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I ride my Vulcan 750 at an indicated 80 mph (actual 76 mph, speed limit is 75 mph) without a windshield, and am very comfortable. Yes there is a wind blast, but it is spread out over your whole body, and I wear a full face helmet. I have tried 4 different windshields on this make and model of bike, and all 4 caused the comfort level to go down, due to helmet buffeting. While they were all bad, one in particular made it unrideable. It was a Memphis Shades Slim (Harley type) It was not adjustable. The buffeting was so bad it tried to rip my helmet off. The chin strap was choking me, and once it even blew the face shield open so hard it broke off and flew away. It also had a very negative effect on handling, it would catch air like a big sail, and make it impossible to hold the bike in a straight line.

    Only motorcycle I ever rode with a windshield that worked was a Goldwing with a stock windshield. Honda worked some magic on that one somehow.

    I put a windshield on my Zuma 125, and actually picked up 5 mph. Buffeting is not an issue at the speeds the Zuma is capable of.
    #34
  15. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I had a SV650 without a windshield. It was pretty comfortable up to about 75-80. Having a leaned forward riding position helped because I didn't feel like I had to hang on. On a bike with a more upright seating position, higher speeds make you have to hang on.

    I agree that one bike can't do it all but most of the maxi scooters seem like they would work just fine for prolonged freeway rides. My Sport City 250 is much more comfortable on the freeway than my XT350 so I can't agree with the idea that scooters are for in town and motorcyles for longer rides.
    #35
  16. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    Less than 1 hr. on my BV250 at 75-83 mph on a big ugly California freeway and I am getting fatigued. 5 or more hours on country highways at 55 - 60 and I am totally comfortable.
    #36