Am I missing much not getting a motorcycle?

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by dbk23, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Cheshire

    Cheshire Anachronistic rideby

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    I've had my motorcycle endorsement for 4 years now. I started out on a 125cc scooter and put 19,000 miles on it in 2 years. Sold that for a ninja 250, put 3,000 miles on it. Sold it for a Vulcan 900 and put about 9,000 miles on it. Sold that for Triumph Bonneville and put 4,000 miles on it. Tomorrow, I'm trading the Bonnie in for a Vespa GTS 300.

    My favorite so far is the 125cc scooter (Genuine Scooter Co.) followed closely by the Bonnie. Of all the bikes, the scooter is the one I regret selling, which is part of why I'm getting back to scooters.

    Take from that what you will. :)
    #41
  2. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    Finding what you like means you have to find a machine that resonates for you, and if you don't have that connection with the bike you won't be attracted to riding. We drive cars most of us for their utility, their load carrying capacity and weather protection and ease of use. With motorcycles or scooters there has to be some visceral thrill to induce you to ride. Unless the bike you choose gives you that thrill, indefinable yet real you won't ride.

    It doesn't matter if its a scooter or a motorcycle, you can adapt motorcycles to carry groceries and you can ride scooters like tourers, usually its the rider's limitations that limit the machine not the other way around. You have to find something that turns you on. Unfortunately you have to kiss some frogs to find the princess, as it were, so the best advice I can give is follow your instinct, and buy used because when your instinct is wrong, as it will be in the beginning, a used bike costs less to buy and resell. Or to buy and drop on the ground.

    I love riding my Triumph Bonneville, a modern motorcycle derided by many as a slow overweight heaving pig and a pale reflection of the superbike the Bonneville was in the 60s. You don't have to ride a scooter to get negative reactions from other people. Nevertheless I get a cheap thrill every time I ride the "heaving pig". Which is why I put 15,000 miles a year on it year after year. These things defy logical explanation. I also enjoy my Vespa but the Bonneville is the nicest and most enjoyable power two wheeler I have owned since 1970 and I have no logical explanation. I ride it in town, on the highway and on Iron Butt rides. I once rode it 48 hours straight with just a few hours sleep. And rode again the next day. Weird but I'm stuck with it.

    Good luck.
    #42
  3. klx250sfguy

    klx250sfguy Been here awhile

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    That sounds a lot like my story. I started out on a rented Honda Spree in 1990 and have had many bikes and scooters in between. And what do I ride now? A mint condition red '82 Honda Cub/Passort and an 80cc 2 stroke '85 Honda Aero. Full circle. I would probably have a Honda Reflex or a SilverWing or a Burgman 400 (in addition to what I currently own) but I bought a '99 Miata a year and a half ago and simply "can't have it all." Because we have three kids and my wife and I both need vehicles for work, we have a Toyota Camry and a Toyota Sienna too. When our nest is empty though, watch out.
    #43
  4. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    The one bike I seriously regret selling was my Triumph Bonneville. It was not a modern Bonneville, it was a 1966. And it was unreliable. Mostly the carbs, electrics and cables. But it was the most fun to ride bike I've ever owned. I had it for 3 1/2 years, and spent about as much time working on it as I did riding. Getting rid of it must have seemed like a good idea at the time. But that bike had some kind of magic that nothing else has ever had. I test rode a newer Bonneville and found it pretty bland, though the right pipes would have probably helped a lot. I'm not part of the loud pipe crowd, but motorcycles need to make some noise and vibration. Right now the only bike I own that does is my XT225 with an aftermarket exhaust. Not Harley loud, but sounds and feels like a dirt bike should.

    The one thing you will not get with most scooters is character and personality (My Genuine Stella and most vintage Vespas excepted) but they are tons of fun in other ways. I especially like the smaller ones. They are an absolute blast to zip around on, and also fun to take long trips on. My Vino 125 and Zuma 125 are comfortable, and can turn a trip of a few hundred miles into a real adventure. I have 24,000 miles on the Vino, and have enjoyed them all.
    #44
  5. vader1

    vader1 Adventurer

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    I am a fairly new rider, but here is my 2 cents.

    I decided to get a motorcycle license at 43 because I rented scooters in Hawaii and thought they were fun. I enjoy the MSC and liked riding a shifter bike too.

    I wanted something big enough to do highway miles without too much effort an settled on a Kymco Downtown 300. I enjoy it more than I thought I would and find excuses to ride it to work or run errands. I have a modified sports car with about 400hp and I enjoy riding the scooter more than driving the car.

    I would like to add a new Ninja 300 (against objections from the wife) to go and ride with friends through some twisting roads and all of them have motorcycles. For this kind of riding, the shifting would be fun and I think I would prefer it on these pleasure rides more than the scooter BUT........I really think I would use the scooter more for day to day stuff. I don't care if it looks dorky. The mileage is better if that matters, and if I were going on a long weekend trip with several hundred miles I would probably still take the scooter for utility.

    The model I bought is great, but seat comfort could be a little better and the suspension could be improved. Lots to choose from though. So my short answer is if you get the right scooter, you won't miss a motorcycle that much. You may find you want a motorcycle for certain rides but if you are like me, the scooter will be more desireable in most riding situations.

    I did have one lady come out of a bar get on her Harley, get next to me at a light and tell me to put "That foreign piece of sh*t in the junkyard." I flipped up my face screen and told her I was going to get a Harley but did not like the cheap whore-ish women they attract. That was just a put down for the right moment, I am fine with whatever somebody wants to ride and don't care for stereotypes but it got my point across and made me giggle. But I basically don't care what somebody thinks of something I enjoy. The guys I work with are all in their mid forties and we still play video games so if someone points to me and says "DORK!"... then guilty as charged.
    #45
  6. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    I ride with a women's riding club - Women in the Wind. Most of them ride Harleys or other cruisers but none of them have given me grief when I ride my Scarabeo 500. If fact, they have considered banning Ninjas from some of their rides because the riders start complaining about the time/distance between stops on some of their long rides but that's a different issue. There is a big annual toy run supporting a children's home at Christmas. Many folks decorate their bikes for it and this year when it was suggested the Women in the Wind riders should decorate their motorcycles. I said my "decorated bike" was my Vespa GTS. The immediate response was "ride it". When we met up to ride together as a group and take photos guess who's ride was the one folks wanted their picture with?

    I've ridden my Scarabeo in the twisties with a bunch of BMW and other bikes. I wasn't the slowest and had plenty of fun. Our scooter group went on a ride through one of the state parks on the edge of the hill country which is where you find twisties in Texas. One was on a loaner motorcycle instead of her Majesty and swore she wasn't going back through the tight twisties on a shifter again (she's been riding m/c & scoots for 15-20 years and works for a dealership where she got her loaner from the used stock.)
    #46
  7. klx250sfguy

    klx250sfguy Been here awhile

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    I relate to the problem of wanting to ride with bike friends but not being able to do so with what I got (in my case a C70 and a Honda Aero 80). The solution for me is this: I borrow my niece's baby Ninja. Since I have two scoots and a Miata (that she can borrow whenever she likes - and she has), we both enjoy the best of both worlds.

    Here's me and my best buddy Brian out for a run. Imagine me trying to keep up with Brian's Connie on one of my scoots! It's doable on the Ninja, in fact it's a hoot on twisty coastal roads, which is where we ride.

    [​IMG]

    Here's me out for a ride on my C70. As fun as it is riding with friends, 95% of the time I ride alone, just the way I like it - my speed, my destinations, my freedom to stop for photos or coffee or conversation. I like the slower pace of a scoot, the jump on, jump off nature of it, the ability to take in the scenery, enjoy the scents (woodsmoke, sea air, coffee, smell of bakery bread). Going flat out on super slab just doesn't do it for me. Again, that's just me.

    As a side note, I wish Kymco sold products here in Newfoundland. They seem to have a great product line up.

    [​IMG]
    #47
  8. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Nice. A real Honda C70. I wish we could get those here. I used to have an '07 Ninja 250 (the first gen model) and it was just too small for me. Never ridden the '08 and up, but from sitting on one it seemed way less comfortable than the old one. I can no longer ride bikes like that. It is now strictly cruisers and scooters, and I do have a Goldwing. No more lean forward bikes. I am hoping to get a new Honda CTX700. My sister has a Miata, and it is about the most fun you can have on four wheels. Handles like a go kart through curves. Kymco makes some of the best scooters in the world.
    #48
  9. klx250sfguy

    klx250sfguy Been here awhile

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    Cool. Jerry, which version of the CTX700 were you thinking about, the naked or the fairing equipped model? Do these bikes share their underpinnings with the DN-01? At first glance I would say yes. I can't understand why these bikes aren't shaft driven though. Chains are a PITA. Otherwise, beautiful bikes.

    http://0.tqn.com/d/motorcycles/1/0/8/m/0/-/CTX700ND.jpg
    #49
  10. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    Choosing a motorcycle presents some difficult problems for me. Motorcycles are scaled so that the tall and long of limb are cramped on a small or mid displacement bike. Getting a full size mc for riding comfort is not practical if fuel economy, load carrying and weather protection matters. I made a lot of trips in the Northeast and even crossed the US on a Honda 305 Dream, a fine bike that delivered a fast cruising speed and outstanding fuel efficiency but had a small frame, and only the crudest weather protection (standard windshield). Since then (1974) I have been riding an old scooter. Not much power, but loads of room, a seat I can move back and forth on, a flat floor to shift my feet around, a maintenance free drive system, streamlined weather protection designed by aircraft engineers, a spare wheel, excellent fuel economy, and an outstanding ride. I can't go over 60, but the best riding for me is under 60 anyway. I had a 1979 Goldwing for a while, but sold it because the scooter was more fun, and the GW was a gas hog. I don't go on long trips much any more, and the older I get the better I feel about the scooter. I will be 60 this summer.
    #50
  11. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    I can relate to being cramped on small displacement bikes but for the last 5 years I've been riding a 200cc dual sport Lifan that is comfortably large and gets great gas mileage. It won't go much over 60 either but does work well on the trails as well as roads. I also had a 79 Goldwing and felt cramped on that before making changes to the seat height and shape. I've gone to an 81 Silverwing Interstate for distance road riding and find it comfortable and not to bad on gas mileage. With the big Vetter fairing the weather protection is not as good as a scooter but pretty good.
    #51
  12. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    If there is to be one motorcycle, the decision resembles choosing a wood heater for a house in Vermont. If you get the heater that can, running normally, heat your house during the worst cold snaps, you have chosen the wrong heater. It will routinely run too cool. I don't have the option of a collection or ever changing series of bikes. My scooter is not made for the freeway- going to NYC in a day was an adventure. Bar Harbor too. Most of the time I travel within a 40 mile radius in Vermont, often picking up things, rarely carrying a passenger. And I drive 8 months a year, sometimes 9, so weather protection is critical. I like getting 80mpg. I think the 80%/20% rule is valid with motorcycle choice. Get the one that is usually perfect and sometimes less than adequate. For 20% of the cost and difficulty you will get 80% of the satisfaction.
    #52
  13. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Despite it's looks, the CTX shares almost nothing with the DN-01. It was designed around the NC700 engine, which is used in several Honda models. Apparently this engine was derived from a Honda car engine? I want the naked model with manual transmission. I have ridden cruisers most of my life due to their comfort, and I want the CTX as a replacement for my current Vulcan 750 which is rapidly closing in on 80,000 miles. The CTX has the same riding position, but does not look like a cruiser.

    I put 20,000 miles on a Honda Rebel 250, I am 6' 227 (I was 220 back then) with a 34 inch inseam, and just didn't fit. I had to fabricate brackets to move the pegs and controls 4" forward, and modify the back edge of the seat. Even then it was very cramped. I had an '85 Goldwing, and found it didn't have enough legroom, but you couldn't move the pegs, the engine was in the way. I later got a 1500 Goldwing, and it was better. But the Vulcan 750 was even better because it had even more legroom. I like to stretch my legs out, not fold them up underneath me.

    I have ridden a lot of midsize cruisers. They are not cramped, big enough for sustained interstate travel, yet small enough to not be a problem in town, and are a lot of fun on curvy roads. My current '02 Vulcan 750 is the best one I've ever had. I also had a '93 Vulcan 750 bought new. They are exactly the same. I just passed the 160,000 mile mark on Vulcan 750s. If they still made them I would buy another in a heartbeat. Despite the much lower displacement, they are physically larger than a 1200 Sportster, and a little bit faster. (the VN750 engine is more sportbike than cruiser) I am hoping I fit on the CTX700 comfortably.

    Dual sport bikes are a whole nother thing. I have a Yamaha XT225, and fit on it fine. I've also had 2 KLR650s and fit fine. I even had an '07 Lifan LF200GY-5, and fit fine on it. Unfortunately the nut that holds the centrifugal oil filter to the end of the crankshaft came loose and destroyed the engine at around 3500 miles. It ran great until that happened. The main problem with all dual sport bikes is the seat. It's like sitting on the narrow edge of a 2x4. Way back in the '70s, DS bikes had much wider seats. But on modern dirt bikes, you stand on the pegs most of the time, the seat serves mostly as a bumper that you hit once in a while. But dual sport bikes copied the dirt bike design, apparently not realizing or caring that you actually had to sit on the thing.
    #53
  14. klx250sfguy

    klx250sfguy Been here awhile

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    I hear ya regarding the seat. My KLX was just like that until I had the seat professionally modified (base widened, more padding etc). The guy who did the work did a great job. That was the first thing I did with the bike when I bought it. Seat comfort seems to be a common theme. For me, it is really important. I like my C70 because it is long and flat meaning I could scooch back if I wanted to. Same with my Aero. I had a Yamaha BWS (Zuma) and I hated the seat and the small floorboard. The seat didn't allow for sliding back (so I took the seat cover off and shaved the seat down - that fixed it). But the floorboard was still a problem - way too small and not flat. I like a floorboard that allows you room to move, change positions. Sometimes it's not until after we've bought our bikes that we realize the fit for our body doesn't work. I had a cruiser, a Shadow VLX, and I loved the seat (super comfy). I test rode a Harley Sportster and hated the seat. Which again is a good reason why the demo days are worth going to.

    BTW I test rode a Goldwing (airbag equipped model). Loved it. The weight on paper looks intimidating but because the COG is so low, it handled really nice. I am 5'9" and about 200 lbs. If I had the money, I would have one of these.
    #54
  15. quasigentrified

    quasigentrified Ape Trumpet

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    the answer is: yes! but, i think folks without scoots are missing something as well -- the throw-it-around urban agility that can be some really wicked fun if you're city-locked. they're like dirt bikes for parking lots ;-)
    #55
  16. Phipsd

    Phipsd Been here awhile

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    It's funny how a particular bike can really turn your crank when objectively it may not even seem rational to most. I loved Intruder 1400's right from the moment I first rode one home in a rainstorm; back wheel spinning all the way. The sound and the grunt; it made my BMW seem boring.

    These days I do the most riding and have the most fun on my SYM Citycom. In almost every way my V-Strom 1000 is a vastly more capable machine and very useful for the distance, but it's the scooter that makes me giggle in my helmet.

    Go figure.
    #56
  17. Phipsd

    Phipsd Been here awhile

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    Right on! People don't think about risk and possible consequences. I was very much guilty of that in my younger days. In 44 years of riding I only ever had one major hit the car accident and that was with my girlfriend on the back. I was basically ok but my passenger got pinned between the bike and the car when we hit. Passengers almost always seem to get the worst of it. It was thirty years ago but I remember like yesterday how I felt.

    Taking a passenger is a big responsibility. People should get trained and get at least a couple of years experience before they even think about doubling. Never say never; but I would pick and choose an area as safe as possible before I considered it now.
    #57
  18. quasigentrified

    quasigentrified Ape Trumpet

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    also, riding context and your local environment is EVERYTHING.

    when i got into riding a couple years ago (i am a n00b), i THOUGHT i wanted to quickly get up into the big cruisers. however! i live in a BIG CITY! riding a bike over 500 lbs SUCKS at parade speeds, or when you have seattle's many hills, alleys, one-way streets, and general traffic cluster-effs. i started on a cbr250 and that was fun, but after awhile, i realized i spent most of my commute time in the low gears, diddling the brake lever and cramping on the clutch. i picked up an sh150i scoot on the side, and I WAS HAVING HUGE FUN -- so much so that i wasn't really into the cbr250 except on the occasional weekend when i could hit the slab and terrify myself for shits and giggles. (oh, i-5 through downtown. hey, i had to man up somehow.)

    anyway, a coworker told me about honda's auto bikes, and i test rode the nc700x dct (also tried the manual) -- and i kinda, uh, hated it on account of the high seat and the top-heaviness. (i was used to hunching over the cbr250 and feeling like a little buzzing bullet.) however, a dude at the dealership pointed out the mana 850, and i signed up for the aprilia test ride day -- and drove off with one the next day. despite the terror of a part failure and the expense that comes with owning an ape, i have loved the SH*T out of it. yeah, yeah, cvt, not a real bike, go home scootboy, blah blah blah -- if you can keep your clutch hand intact day in day out on queen anne or when you hit eastside stop-and-go, you can mock me. (everyone else can shut their pieholes.) the mana has a nice middle distribution of weight, and while it's 90 lbs fatter wet than the cbr250, it handles the slab like such a champ -- and the seat is a nice 31-ish inches for a not-quite 6 foot chump like me.

    that said, it's still pretty heavy for endless hill parking and the crappy parking lots of downtown seattle. the sh150i was great but riding the mana all the time made me want a scoot with more guts, so i traded it in for a sportcity 250 on an impulse when the dealer was doing those great incentive deals on oh-nine's last year, and it is PERFECT for me. in town, i am a holy terror on it, since it has the agility in the urban jungle that the mana lacks (i dumped the mana once thinking i was on a scooter -- at least a clutch kept a clear mental differentiator!), plus my launchpad is small and uphill and sometimes, i just don't wanna do the little dance of doom that gets the mana into proper take off position from my crappy garage and moss-caked death driveway JUST to grab groceries or visit a neighbor.

    i don't think a big cruiser is for me until we decide to move somewhere that's less urban, or until my skills in maneuvering a 700 pound monster at low speed improve dramatically. (i'm a fit late 30's dude, and i have no idea how some you older gents and ladies manhandle those litre-plus bimmers and tank-sized harleys around like you do!) BUT I DREAM
    #58
  19. Phipsd

    Phipsd Been here awhile

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    That Ninja 300 would be a really fun bike. It has way more grunt than the old 250 about 10 more HP (mid 30's) and runs about 2000 rpm lower at highway speeds. I would get the ABS though. You will have way more Zoom without being overpowered, better suspension and way better brakes than the scoot. I know from experience that's a good amount of power to have for all around fun.

    I go riding with bikes on my Citycom 300i and I mostly keep up no problem and it's less powerful than your Downtown; but it is way more roomy and comfortable. It's too bad you didn't look at the Kymco GTi 300. Basically same motor as your bike but tuned for more grunt, larger 16 inch wheels and an upright seating position more like a motorcycle. Better seat too.

    You could also look at the new BMW 600 sport or the 650 GT scooter(same motor). They are very motorcycle like but still with the CVT.

    Another good choice would be the Yamaha 530 T-Max. That is a bike with sport bike handling and brakes,but still a CVT scooter with Japanese reliability. The T-Max and those BMW's have a frame mounted engine like a motorcycle as well as sport bike quality frames.
    #59
  20. klx250sfguy

    klx250sfguy Been here awhile

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    You hit the nail on the head there quasiG. Riding context is key. If all the riding I did involved riding on slab then I'd go for something built for that. But I live in St. John's Newfoundland where the streets are hilly and about as tangly as a bag of cats. There is no grid and we have some pretty steep grades (and crazy street names: Hill 'O Chips, Salomon's Drung, Rawlins Cross). A smallish bike or scooter is perfect in this environment, for those who enjoy riding downtown.
    #60