Comparison: Piaggio BV500 and Honda Silverwing

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by gumshoe4, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Been here awhile

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    While they may be one of the largest manufacturers in the world, they seem to have the poorest dealer/parts networks in the USA from everything i read ?
    #61
  2. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    I like it, someday I'm gonna have to take the scooter plunge.
    #62
  3. gumshoe4

    gumshoe4 Been here awhile

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    I am fortunate to have purchased the BV from a large Vespa/Piaggio/BMW/Ducati/Triumph dealer near here. When I ordered the replacement turn signal stalk I talked about earlier, the parts guy told me that delivery time tended to be slow, compared to the other makes they sell...parts availability is evidently not a big problem, but slow delivery response can be.

    The other part of the equation is...how often will replacement and repair parts (anything other than routine maintenance parts) be required? As I said, the BV500 and BV250 series machines have a good reputation for reliability and long life...

    I guess we'll find out...I'm on a learning curve here and I'll let you know how it goes.
    #63
  4. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    The black scooter with the tan seat shown in the photo above your post. A fine Italian big wheeled scooter designed for touring as well as commuting.
    #64
  5. John Bentall

    John Bentall Been here awhile

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    Those who are curious might find 2 minutes spent reading this enlightening. It has nothing whatsoever to do with riding skills, motorcycles or scooters, so please feel free to skip this post.
    #65
  6. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Been here awhile

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    Since your signature or what ever you guys call them , does not say where you are. Where is this super dealer you got your machine from ???
    #66
  7. Dabears

    Dabears --------------------

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    Your earlier comment about dealer support is worth noting. It's hit or miss, depending on where you live- I'm in Atlanta, and for a period of about 18 months we had no Vespa/Piaggio dealers after a multi store chain closed down three shops here after the owner died. Now we have two, and both are competent, but the Italians & Germans do not have the distribution commitment that you find with HD or the big Japanese brands. The same issue can be raised for SYM, which is another great scooter, but with a limited dealer network and slow parts distribution.

    On a positive note, the new BV 350 is just about the best selling scooter in Italy, and it's catching on like wildfire here in the US as well. Higher sales will usually be followed with increased parts & accessories inventory and a healthier dealer network.

    Facts are, however, that if you are looking at national dealer penetration and support as a key factor in a purchase, it'll be hard to stray far from looking at Japanese scooters. Much like car brands; Fiat support is very small, but you can get your Toyota serviced in nearly every town....
    #67
  8. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Been here awhile

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    I know and understand the lack of dealers or parts supply.

    I was riding BMW's back when there were a total of 11 in the entire country if memory serves.
    Until last year i was riding a New Triumph Bonneville as my main motorcycle. Triumphs network of dealers was a crap shoot at any given time, here today & gone tomorrow.

    I bought a 1985 BMW R80 last year, there are a few good airhead shops around and the internet helps me with parts. Any new BMW dealer can access parts and most will, but they do not provide any service on them. Technicians are pretty good computer code mechanics/parts changers , since that's what they learn in their schools today.

    The experience of friends who ride Italian machines is not so good from their comments. The dealer network is small and parts are mostly found via the internet from what I gather. Plus the dealers don't seem to last very long in any location. I put that down to low volume sales, high floor plan costs, and lack of distribution support.
    Since i can only afford/justify one machine at a time now I want to buy as wisely as possible and the Italian brands , while very sexy/cool looking give me pause. I try and do as much of the service work as possible on my motorcycles , but I know zero about working on scooters , so a good dealer fairly close by is very important to me.
    #68
  9. Dabears

    Dabears --------------------

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    Something to be aware of since you're already a motorcyclist- Scooter maintenance needs seem to occur with more frequency than cycles. I'm not talking reliability, but rather service intervals and replacement of wear out parts- Tires is the biggest one.

    Small scooter tires are always a topic of discussion. Next big maintenance point- drive belts; typical replacement in the 6-12k range. Drive pulley sliders are another thing which get lots of focus as well. None of these are high dollar items mind you, but they do require service, and therefore can be a problem for high mile riders. Oil changes/valve adjustments depending on model can be a frequent concern.

    Not trying to put you off on scooters- they are great, but if you like to do big miles on your bikes, you should just be aware of some of the differences that you'll find coming from a motorcycle background....
    #69
  10. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    People are starting to avoid Piaggio scooters locally for some time now
    because of the same issues you people are experiencing re: delearships
    and parts availability.

    The only difference is, Italy is just a few hours away from me, and I'm as
    far as possible. We're right next door and it's STILL an issue sometimes.
    #70
  11. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Been here awhile

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    Good comments !
    I am still an above annual mileage rider, 7 --10k per year, and i ride mostly year round. But do allow for high and low temps, as I age i don't deal with the extremes like i used to :cry

    I like the idea of the step through design, but frequent maintenance and buying tires every year are certainly a turn off.

    I might take a look at the new offerings from Honda with the dual clutch transmission. But I still need to get up on it and swing a leg over.

    Dealing with a clutch lever has been an issue lately and has kept me off my bike for a while now, well the excessive heat also. I was just in my garage and tried to pull in the clutch lever, no go again today:cry
    It's getting better but the elbow and hand still hurt too much to ride.
    #71
  12. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    Bigger scoots have bigger intervals, up to 10.000km (Integra 700 for
    example, 6k miles).

    I've got a 13" rear tire with 6k+ mile on it, it's still good for another
    2-3k at least, and at 400lbs+200lbs rider, and ~25rwhp, it's not that
    light and/or slow.

    That's about the same usable mileage out of a tire I got on a 72hp
    Ninja 650.

    The only difference is that for the price of the FRONT tire on my Ninja,
    I can get top of the line tires for the scoot (14 and 13"), that's BOTH,
    and still have $20 left over.

    At 6k miles, my belt was fine, it'll probably be fine for 10k miles.
    That's more then most get out of a chain/sprocket set on a "big bike",
    and the belt will cost 1/3 or 1/2 of the price of that set.

    Tire issues are really down to those Vespa 150 scoots with 11"/10" tires,
    and 125-150cc GY6 based engines need new oil every 1500 miles or so.

    Bigger scoots are 3k miles and up.
    #72
  13. Domromer

    Domromer Desert Rat

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    Thanks for the write up. I've got a silver wing and its always interesting to hear it compared to other scooters. My only complaint about the silver Wing is its suspension is soft and busy. I've set the rear shocks to a 5 setting and added PVC spacers to increase the preload. That has helped but not fixed the problem. That being said if I were to do a long trip without a passenger I'd chose the silver wing over my vstrom every time.
    #73
  14. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    +1 on the bolded part.
    That's what got me selling my 650R.

    I've got the opposite problem with my DT300 though, it's too stiff/sporty,
    and I'd like a softer/plush ride.

    Can fix it with preload at the back though since anything below 3/5 makes
    the front end wobble and I loose a lot of feedback, not to mention issues
    when riding with a passenger.

    I'd like softer forks.
    #74
  15. Domromer

    Domromer Desert Rat

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    Hopefully with more people buying scooters there will be more aftermarket solutions put on the market. From my research the only fix for the silver wing is custom air shocks. Which are extremely pricey unless you have the time and skills to fabricate these items.
    #75
  16. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    Considering forks for a bicycle can go over $1k, I wouldn't call any
    motorcycle suspension component expensive.

    Bicycle rant brought to you by:
    [​IMG]

    :deal
    #76
  17. Domromer

    Domromer Desert Rat

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    1k for a new shock is pricy no matter what its attached to. That would pay for a lot of nice weekend rides. The point is I think Honda really cheaped out on the suspension. And it sucks to pay money to just get the ride to where it should already be in the first place.
    #77
  18. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    Yeah, for that kind of money, it should probably be better, and supposedly,
    the NC700 Integra IS better, but it's probably more to do with 17" wheels
    then quality suspension parts.

    It's hard to make a 13-14" wheeled scooter super comfy and not make
    it spongy and undersprung.

    I guess.

    16" is great, but really you can get away with 14-15" and not be aware
    of the difference.

    The BV250 for example went from 16" at both ends to 16"/14" (front/back)
    and it made no difference in comfort from my ass meter.
    #78
  19. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    Gee, the Vespa dealeship in Houston has been there for a least a dozen years - inside ther Ferrari dealership. That's as long as I've noitced them not necesarily how long they've been there. There were a lot of boutique dealerships that open in the cas crunch 4-5 years ago that didn't really have the training or knowledge to run a dealership and subsequently folded. If you look over on Modern Vespa you'll see reference to dealerships that were in bicycle shops and even one that was in a shop where the primary line of business was weight machines. Neither dealer even serviced scoots that weren't bought from them or one added another 2 hours of labor to the first service they did because they "didn't know the scooter history". That's BS and most of those type dealerships have closed.

    Since Piaggio is requiring a dealership send at least one mechanic to be trained on the new engine/transmission we've heard bitching by dealers who have no factory trained mechanic that they aren't able to get the new BV 350 ifor their shops. Personally, I'm rather pleased that Piaggio is requiring trained mechanics and hope that continues before they give anyone a dealership in the future.

    When I had a Burgman I ordered parts for it off the internet as much as I do my Italian scoots. As I commented before both my local Vespa and local Aprilia dealerships carry maintenance parts in stock and get most other parts the next day.That experience is comparable to the Suzuki dealership that serviced the Burgman.

    Reality is there isn't much difference between service a scoot and servicing a motorcycle. Up in Breckenridge for non-warranty stuff we take our scoots to a very good motorcyle mechanic and he has zero issues with it. Sure there are some differences but any competent motorcycle mechanic should be able to handle them without problems. why not download the manuals and see for yourself if you are used to doing your own service.

    Vespa GTS Manual
    BV manuals
    Modern Vespa Wiki with maintenance & troubleshooting articles

    There are a lot of how tos both in text and video format over on youtube as well.
    #79
  20. gumshoe4

    gumshoe4 Been here awhile

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    I really understand the concern about servicing and parts availability for the Piaggio and for Italian machines in general. As I progress here, I think we'll get some perspective on whether those items are a significant issue or perhaps not so much.

    Here's another perspective...there is only one Honda dealership in my vicinity. This means if there are service items on the SWing which I can't do (valve clearance and adjustment, for instance), it goes to the dealer and they can charge top rates since there is almost no competition. I think that this is true for most makes and the thing that keeps the service costs more reasonable is when you have two or more dealers competing with each other in the same geographic area.

    For reference, I think I read that one of the nice attributes of the BV350 is that the valve clearance check interval is 26K miles, or something like that...

    I have the BV500 going in for its first service on August 21. I believe they will be doing an oil and filter change and some specifications checks and other odds and ends. In addition, I'm having them also do the following, which I have previously discussed:

    1. Replace right rear turn signal stalk.
    2. Check cooling system and verify op temps in hot weather-seems to run a bit hot, although it has been 100 degrees F + for awhile around here lately (Sacramento, CA).
    3. Check speedometer calibration...seems off, slow vice 10% fast.

    Everything else seems OK and the bike continues to run well. I'm tied up today and most of the weekend, so won't be riding it, but next week will be cooling off a bit, so I'd like to put at least another 100 miles or so on the bike before its first service...maybe Tuesday up Highway 88 into the mountains, or some such...

    Bottom line is this, Doug...there's absolutely nothing wrong with choosing a Japanese machine, if that's your preference. You know how I feel about the SWing...there are many out there who have had great experiences with the Burgmans, the TMaxes, the Majesties and others, so you find the one that fits you and go from there with reasonable assurance that you'll be getting a good machine. I've spoken about my concerns regarding the B650, but I believe that the number of people who experience that problem is pretty small. I have heard, but not confirmed, that service costs for the TMax are pretty high and, of course, the US is no longer receiving new TMaxes from Yamaha. I have a friend who owned a Majesty for many years and she had a great experience with it...but it did not fit me at all. Keep doing your research and you'll find the right machine...but don't be surprised if you find that you ride more after you get a scooter. They're very user-friendly and very capable. Others have expressed their preference for their large scooter for touring purposes over their motorcycles and I definitely agree...much more capable in many ways than a motorcycle for that purpose, until you start talking Goldwing or Harley FLH...and then you have a 900 pound hunk of pig iron you have to schlep around...I'm getting a bit long in the tooth for that...:D

    Stay tuned...more info will be rolling in as I collect it...
    #80