It's getting close to purchase time: final thoughts please

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by GREY.HOUND, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. GREY.HOUND

    GREY.HOUND Been here awhile

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    So, this weekend I take the MSF rider course and assume I will pass then get my permit in the next week or so.
    I'm throwing all previous ideas out the window about my needs and uses.

    My main riding will be weekends and maybe some evenings afterwork; just exploring the neighborhoods and countryside. This could very well be the only scooter I ever buy, since the more I think about it, I don't know if I want to commute and I know my wife won't be taking trips with me; I'll be solo.

    Locally, PCX 150, Zuma 125, Super 8 150, and Sportcity 250. I've also mentioned, the Vespa 300's are all pretty sweet and caught my eye probably more than any others. The issue is of course, Vespa's are much more expensive and I'm not 100% I want to spend that much on one.

    So, what would you choose? Forget the differences in price. While I'm not rich, none of them are going to break-the-bank so to speak.

    My thoughts:

    Super 8, great price but not FI and I don't even work on my lawn mower.
    Zuma 125, everybody seems to say it's the most fun ever on two wheels.
    PCX150, Just about perfect if you ask me. Good design technically , build quality is Honda, and I do find it attractive.
    Sportcity 250, sleek, great engine if I am reading correctly, 15" wheels
    Vespa 300's, all are probably the nicest scooters I've seen, plus 300cc engines. Oh, and "It's a Vespa"
    #1
  2. Brooktown Geezer

    Brooktown Geezer scooter guy

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    A piaggio BV 350 or a Vespa. If you're only going to get one scoot, make it one you'll like for a long time. You could explore the local areas with either one of them, but also if you got the urge to ride up through Yosemite or further, you could do that on either bike as well. What I mean is...either is more than capable of longer distance riding and local short runs with ease. Plus, if the Vespa styling has caught your eye, you'll never find yourself in the future saying "I wish I had bought the Vespa." Just my two cents, and I'm sure you'll get plenty of other points of view.
    #2
  3. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    With your short range ride expectations if may turn out that a bicycle could suit. Much less expense and you gain good exercise.
    #3
  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Since you don't even work on your lawn mower, the Sport City 250 has the longest interval between required service........by far. It is also capable of being comfortably ridden cross country if you change your mind and decide to do that, Yes it does have 15" wheels.

    the Kymco Super 8 is easy to work on but requires service more often. The lack of FI is not an issue however. My carbs have performed flawlessly.

    You may want to check out this ride report, it has both scooters in it. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=647784
    #4
  5. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    PCX 150 has good reviews , goes hwy speeds and get great mileage. That's what I would go for</pre>
    #5
  6. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    They are all good scooters, but they will all cost an absolute fortune if you can't at least do the maintenance yourself. A $50 oil change is common. From there the skys the limit. A scooter can cost more than a car if you can't maintain it. I have a Zuma 125, and am completely satisfied with it. I have just over 1000 miles on it, and have changed the oil 4 times (during break in) it cost me less than $12. I will now change the oil every 1000 miles. Cost, about $2. Dealers charge an average of $100 an hour, with a half hour minimum. That means they can charge $60 to replace a light bulb, $50 minimum labor, plus the marked up bulb, plus tax. Routine maintenance can cost you hundreds of dollars a year, plus parts, like tires, belts, filters, etc. which the dealers will mark up if they install them. After about 3 years, dealer service will have cost you as much as the scooter. If I couldn't do all my own work, I wouldn't even consider a scooter or motorcycle. MUCH cheaper to buy a car, even if you have to have that serviced. Even the gas mileage is not that great. My Zuma gets about 60 mpg, ridden at full throttle with my 220 pounds on it. I have a car that gets 30.


    Aside from the above, if you are going to get a scooter, the ones you listed are all good choices, get what you will be happy with if you can afford it. Vespas cost the most, but also have the highest resale value, plus as you said, the Vespa name. That can be important is it is mostly a hobby. My "hobby" scooter is a Genuine Stella 2 stroke with manual transmission. But those are not for beginners or someone who is not a decent amateur mechanic.
    #6
  7. alicethomas

    alicethomas Been here awhile

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    If I wouldn't be sure to like scooting, I'd buy a reliable cheap one.
    One of the first three, where a dealer is close to me.
    #7
  8. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    If you have never ridden i would advise a used purchase. That way when you drop it the value does not go down as much as a new one. Everyone drops them and it is hard to watch your shiney new machine all rashed up. Buy a reliable old machine and use it for a season. If you really like riding then learn on that. Make your mistakes on it and then resell (without the depreciation costs) and get what you want with alot more real world knowledge to discern what you need/want.
    And good luck with the course.
    #8
  9. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    +1, excellent advice. As far as I'm concerned, every new rider should start with a good used machine.
    #9
  10. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    I'd go for a used Vespa. There is very little difference between the 250 and 300 models, only 34cc or something like that. The 300 has better pick up but top end is the same (some say better on the 250) something like this GTV http://santabarbara.craigslist.org/mcy/3338813204.html though at least in my area it would be overpriced for a 2007 with that number of miles. It isn't a huge number of miles as Vespas go provided its been properly maintained, ask for records. If shop serviced check with the shop.
    #10
  11. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Well, I have to agree on starting with a used scooter. And if you are not mechanically inclined or experienced, I would start learning how to work on things with that used scooter. At least get the basic maintenance down. Owning and riding any kind of bike can become VERY expensive if you cannot do your own maintenance. Most people, including myself, who are attracted to bikes are attracted to them because they are a lot more like machines than newer cars, and tend to like tinkering and working on mechanical things. To me anyway, working on them is just about as much fun as riding them. Plus I know if I do the maintenance/repairs, it will be done right. I never did trust dealers, and have only known a couple of independent shops in my whole life that I would trust.

    I would recommend something like a Vino 125, in good condition. These scooters are drop dead reliable, and about the easiest thing to work on that I know about. Even doing the valves is a 15 minute job. Changing the oil takes 5 minutes. Yes it will take considerably longer if you have never done it before, but that is the case with everything. The learning process can be fun, especially if you are not risking an $8000 machine. If you don't have tools, get what you need, and get good ones. Get a manual. Get started right. Ask questions. It's a lot easier than it may seem at first.

    If you are looking for image, Vespa is definitely where it's at, but I would start lower. I have never owned a Vespa, but I do plan to someday, when my finances allow it.
    #11
  12. Dbains8

    Dbains8 n00b

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    Have you had the opportunity to ride any of these? That could be the deciding factor for you. I just got my first scooter four months ago. I wanted a 250+ because where I live, if I can't get on the freeway (65 mph limit), I'm trapped touring my neighborhood. I ended up getting a good deal on a used Kymco People 250. I've been commuting to work on it & it cruises at 68 or so no problem. There is a PCX150 in lot at work all the time. I will say this - it looks tiny. I'm 6' tall and while I've never sat on one, it looks like I would be cramped. Could just be an optical illusion.

    My advice (granted, this is from a newbie as well) is to buy used, like others have said. You won't worry about damaging it, and you won't be spending as much $$ up front. Also, I would get something that you can at least take on the freeway a bit. I think you'll get bored just puttering around and having the ability to go out and explore a little is a big advantage.

    As for working on your scooter, I think you'll find it's not that hard, and thanks to the internet, you can find lots of how-to guides and videos. I haven't worked on any of my cars for, oh, 30 years? But since I've had my scooter, I've changed the engine & gear oil, air filter, adjusted the valves, put in a new spark plug, and - changed the CVT belt and variator weights. It's actually kind of fun and you will save a ton of $$. Plus, you'll have a better sense of the condition your scooter is in and knowing that it's road worthy is a good feeling.

    Don't rush into buying one. Test ride some, and take your time with the purchase. Like you said, if it's going to be your only scooter purchase, make sure you get the right one for you.
    #12
  13. KennyT

    KennyT Adventurer

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    Hi Greyhound. I am excited for you!
    You might be surprised how much you love your new scooter, and end up wanting more than one... :)
    I have a Kycmo Agiltiy 125 that I purchased w/ 1500 miles for $1100. That being said, more power is always nice.
    I think the PCX 150 is very hot! If I had the money, I would buy the biggest one you could afford...
    A 300 would be nice. Not to big, but able to hit the highway if you wanted/needed...
    Good luck again, and have fun!
    Ken
    #13
  14. GREY.HOUND

    GREY.HOUND Been here awhile

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    Thanks again for the advice. Glad I've spent lots of time on the forums because the written portion of the MSF course covered lots of things discussed on here and stuff from Proficient Motorcycling. I got 100% :freaky so in theory, I'm a perfict rider.

    As a teacher, I get lots of "theory" pushed down my throat, so my excitement is tongue-in-cheek. Driving portion this weekend.

    I'll see what they offer as far as test rides. I do keep thinking that the extra power would be nice since there are lots of mountains nearby. I'll keep you posted...
    #14
  15. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    If you plan on climbing mountains, and want a CVT scooter, the absolute smallest I would go is a 250, larger if possible. In fact I would seriously consider a Piaggio BV500 or a Kymco Exciting 500. Unlike the Silverwing, Majesty, and Burgmans, these are not huge heavy scooters, but they have enough power to climb mountains and cruise all day on the freeway. And if you can afford a new Vespa bigger than 50cc, then both these should be in your price range. Both are very high quality and reliable.

    The first 3 scooters on your list will not climb mountains. I have both a Zuma 125 and a Vino 125, and they won't climb mountains. Their gearing is WAY to high. They lug the engines badly, and will come to a complete stop and stall eventually. The Vespa 300 should be ok, but it to will slow way down. Not sure about the SportCity.

    Small engines have no torque, and make all their power with RPM. But the CVT scooters do not have the gearing to use the power they make under a heavy load, like climbing. I live at the base of a 10,000 foot mountain (goes from 1200 feet to 10,000 feet in 160 miles) and the only scooter I have that will climb that mountain is the Stella 150, because of it's manual transmission, which allows you to keep the engines RPMs up.

    If you are taking the MSF class, they will almost certainly use motorcycles instead of scooters, with manual transmissions. The tiniest of motorcycles, even 50cc, will climb almost anything in first gear. It will be slow, but it will keep climbing, and won't destroy the engine in the process. I have easily climbed that mountain on a Kawasaki KE100 2 stroke, and a Kawasaki Eliminator 125 4 stroke. Manual transmissions make all the difference.
    #15
  16. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I wouldn't hesitate to ride my Sport City 250 up any paved road that I have ridden in the past on any of my bikes, and I have done a lot of mountain riding all over the country. My Super 8 150 actually loses less going up hills than my Sport City although it has less speed to start with. Yes, manual transmissions do outperform automatics in every way except for convenience but I don't agree that you need a maxi scooter to climb mountains. It all depends on how fast you want to go.

    Bigger isn't always better.
    #16
  17. GREY.HOUND

    GREY.HOUND Been here awhile

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    I have to admit, the SC250 seems kind of like a small motorcycle, which is a good thing. I was reading about wheel wobble on the AF1 forum, any comment Klaviator? I have seen your threads and it seems to be a fine bike. The local dealer has one leftover SC250 so I may see what kind of deal they can offer.
    #17
  18. larrylarry75

    larrylarry75 Aye Chihuahua

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    I have a Vespa 250ie and a Piaggio MP3 500. Both climb hills, both handle good, both get great gas mileage and both are OK on freeways. The MP3 500 is definitely more capable of touring, rides nicer, handles better, cost a little bit more. [Make that a lot more.] I like them both but they're not the same critter, same as bikes, no two alike.

    Here's a little test you could try when you're out for a drive before you decide on your scooter: Whenever you see a side road ask yourself "Would I ride my _[fill in the model]_ on that road? You need to be extremely honest with yourself when you do this because you'll find yourself wanting to ride in places that your scooter of choice may not be friendly to. Gravel can be a nightmare for some, mud for others, grooved pavement, really steep hills, etc. You should be getting the picture by now. All too often we make buy decisions based on unrealistic expectations so do your best to focus on real world riding that goes beyond what you think you might do.

    One of the guys made the statement that scooters cost more to own than cars. I expect that may be true for him or he wouldn't have said it, but for me that's not the case. I imagine there are others who might take exception to that also but such is the nature of forums, you get all sorts of divergent opinions all of which are based on unassailable facts. I only mention this with the hope you will take all that you hear with a grain of salt. As for the poster who made the statement please don't feel I want to debate this with you, we all have our own thoughts and ideas and the purpose of this thread is to inform and present that information without prejudice.

    Bottom line is you'll enjoy owning and riding a scooter no matter which one you decide on. I think if you can afford at least a 250 that would be a good choice but if not you'll still have a lot of fun on a smaller rig, it just might take a bit longer to get where you're going.

    Happy hunting.

    LL75 :getiton
    #18
  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    At certain speeds, if I take my hands off the bars, the front end will shake. I have owned several motorcycles that did this. It's not a big deal. Just don't ride with no hands. Perhaps some sport city's are worse than mine, I don't know. It also seems worse with a Sava tire up front than with the Maxxis that came on it. I'll probably get another brand of tire when I replace it. I have read that it is a bigger problem with Vespa's yet plenty of people still buy and love their Vespas.

    You have also probably read that Piaggio, which includes Vespa and Aprilia, has bad parts support. I haven't experienced this. I have had no problems getting parts and they seem to be more reasonably priced than Kymco parts.

    I paid 3500 plus tax for mine and I have read that they sold as low as 3K plus tax. If you can pick one up in that price range you will be getting a deal that is hard to match with any other new scooter or motorcycle.
    #19
  20. aeholton

    aeholton R100S

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    We have 2 SC250's that we bought back in July. They will both get a little head shake on deceleration if you take your hands off the bars. I asked my wife if she noticed this and her reply was "No, I never take my hands off the bars." I thought this was good advice. I don't notice any shake any more.

    I would not hesitate to recommend the Aprilia SC250. They are terrific little bikes. Not sure if there are dealers still sitting on any 2009 leftovers, but we picked ours up for $3035 each out the door (including all taxes, setup, tag, etc...).
    #20