long trips on small scooters

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by JerryH, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. cat

    cat Long timer

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  2. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I have an XT225. But the thing that got my attention about the SymWolf 150 was first it's styling, and the fact that it has a centerstand. Even the Symba would be a real problem on a long distance ride without a centerstand. Lack of one could even get you into big trouble much closer to home. I might very well already own a TU250 if it had a centerstand. My XT225 has an aftermarket centerstand (unfortunately probably no longer available, as the guy that was making them decided to quit), a kickstarter from a TTR-225, a 4 gallon Clarke gas tank, and a really nice rack. I use it mostly for off road riding.

    I am now more interested in the Symba, now that it is rated to carry 300 pounds instead of 200 pounds. That extra 100 pounds makes all the difference. Just like the scooter, I would not be trying to ride it around the world. I'm afraid my physical condition would prevent that. But trips around 1000 miles are definitely doable, and where the Symba has it all over a 125cc scooter is it's manual transmission, which allows it to climb mountains which are off limits to my two 125cc CVT scooters.


    I have noticed something a lot of people have in common when talking about riding small motorcycles and scooters, and that is their lack of "reserve" power. While that is true, to me it is just something you have to deal with when riding these small bikes, and is one of the major differences between riding a small bike and a much larger one. I have had major issues trying to ride a 50cc scooter in town, due to it's low speed, and especially it's lack of acceleration. You can literally get run over from behind when the light turns green before you have moved 5 feet. Because of this, I no longer try to ride 50cc scooters in town. But, I put over 10,000 miles on an '07 Honda Met out on rural roads, most of them with a speed limit of 65 mph, and never felt like I was in danger. Just like riding a bicycle, you have to accept that you cannot outrun traffic, and learn to deal with it in a different way.

    I have ridden my XT225 on interstate highways for thousands of miles, at an indicated speed of about 60 mph, with almost nothing in reserve (It will top 70 , but takes forever to get from 60 to 70) I ride in the right lane, wear a solid white helmet and an orange reflective vest (the most common colors for road construction workers) and just cruise a long. There have been a couple of times when I have seen vehicles coming up too close to me from behind, and I moved over on to the shoulder. When I did, both times they moved over into the left lane and passed. On a really small bike, there is just no way you are going to be able to keep up with traffic, even on roads with low speed limits. My Vino 125, Zuma 125, and Stella keep up fine in town, but no way will they be able to keep up on any road with a speed limit over 45.
    #22
  3. John Fabian

    John Fabian Fabe

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    I've taken several trips over 1,000 miles each on a 150cc scooter. Here's my blog from this past summer: The-Coulee.blogspot.com. I wrote about my adventure in the summer of 2011 in my book, Road Wise.
    #23
  4. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    I used to always be desirous of a centerstand, but I've changed and no longer think it's necessary, even for bigger bikes such as my DR650, which is still relatively lightweight. On my DR650, I just stick one of the luggage pieces under the swingarm or under the bashplate. The smaller bikes I find an object to use or just lay them on their side. But I don't have any physical limitation that prevents me from just muscling them around.


    The Sym Wolf 150 is very attractive in terms of styling.
    #24
  5. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    I've seen a device that takes the place of a center stand. It's basically a small aluminum crutch that when needed is attached to the right side foot peg or swing arm and a spacer is placed under the existing side stand. Together they hold the rear wheel off the ground. I'm thinking of making one from pieces of a Harbor Freight folding aluminum cane.

    #25
  6. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Back when I was doing some long distance riding on a Honda Rebel, which does not have a centerstand, but does have tube type tires, I built a bolt on sidestand for the right side. Basically it was just a piece of 1/2" pipe welded to a flat 1/4" thick steel plate at an angle. I drilled 2 holes in the plate, that matched the holes on the footpeg bracket. To use it, I put a piece of 2x4 under the stock sidestand, to get the bike as vertical as possible, and to take some of the strain off the stock stand and it's welded on mounting bracket (I have seen more than one bike with the sidestand bracket broke right off the frame) Then I had to remove the right side footpeg bracket, push the bike to the left to raise the wheels off the ground, and bolt on the homemade stand to the frame to hold it in that position. A lot of trouble yes, and not something I would use for routine chain maintenance, but it could be a lifesaver out on the side of the road when you had a flat tire. Because it bolted to the bike with two bolts, there was no way it could slip and let the bike fall while a wheel was off. This worked on the Rebel, because of it's small size and light weight. It would not likely work on a large streetbike. I was going to make one to fit my XT225, which also has the left footpeg bracket attached with 2 bolts, but before I got around to it, I found the guy that was making the centerstands and immediately ordered one. Best investment I've ever made for that bike. I can now ride way out into the middle of nowhere, and not have to worry about flat tires. The XT225 is a small lightweight bike, and at home I often set it up on a 5 gallon bucket when I want both wheels off the ground at once. But you are not likely to find a 5 gallon bucket out on the trail.


    I have asked a few Harley riders what they do in case of a flat tire while riding a bike with tube type tires, and their answer has always been the same. A cell phone and a road service plan. I sure hope they don't get stuck where their cell phone don't work. I'm thinking about getting one of those SPOT gadgets.


    BTW, you can get aftermarket centerstands for both the DR650 and KLR650 from two or three different places. My former '01 KLR had one from DualStar.

    Oh, and for something funny, not too long after getting my '09 Stella, I was riding with a few other Stella and vintage Vespa riders. We were not very far from civilization, but were out on the road nevertheless. Now, these scooters have a spare tire, just like a car, already mounted on a spare wheel. When the scooter is on the centerstand, unlike a motorcycle, where the rear wheel is off the ground, it is the front wheel that is off the ground. I carry a piece of 2x4 to shove under the gearbox to raise the rear end. But the one guy that had a flat had a performance exhaust, and it prevented removing the rear wheel. You first had to remove the exhaust, which was red hot. So we all spent about an hour waiting for the exhaust to cool and this guy to remove his exhaust, change the wheel, and put the exhaust back on. I guess he either never thought of that, or didn't care. If you are willing to spend the money, you can buy one piece wheels for the Stella and vintage Vespas that allow the use of tubeless tires. But I guess that isn't the status symbol that a loud aftermarket pipe is. Many riders used to remove their centerstands (back when many bikes actually came with them) to install an aftermarket exhaust. I guess I just think about things differently. I have never been a boy scout, but I am a firm believer in their motto "BE PREPARED"


    It is also completely unnecessary for any motorcycle to even use tube type tires, especially one designed for road use. BMW has been using tubeless spoke type wheels for a long time, but apparently only on the models they build, not the chain drive singles. The R1200GS uses them, as did the R1200C. Honda used them way back in '86 on the '86 and '87 Rebel 450, The ONLY bike they ever used them on. Over a quarter century later, those wheels are still holding up fine.
    #26
  7. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    The old 2 stroke Vespas were designed to be laid over on the right side, without damage, to have the wheel changed. It would rest on 3 points, the kick start lever, the edge of the floorboard, and the throttle grip. Changing a rear tire took all of 5 minutes, the front took 3, if you were slow. IMO that was a major advantage over today's scoots and all motorcycles.
    #27
  8. thunderkat59

    thunderkat59 Cooter on a scooter

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    My 2smoke ETON 50 is one of the funnest bikes Ive ever had. After all theses decades of big- BIG - BIGGER, hooning this little lo-tech anachronism around town like an imbecile brings back memories of 1977 and 100cc Hodakas named after rodents :rofl ! Soooo much fun. Using momentum and exploiting car ppls slow, lazy reflex's, I OWN traffic in the city. The rural roads, not so much . . . :cry
    I dont think "reserve power". Just WFO and point ☞ :beer
    #28
  9. thunderkat59

    thunderkat59 Cooter on a scooter

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    I got a flat on my Stella, and it was easier than changing a bicycle tire.

    On the Harleys, If you carry a small C-Clamp and a few levers, you can pull the tube and patch the tire without removing the wheel. If its a tube ripping blowout, yer outta luck :cry

    When I woods raced, I always kept my tires bloatated way more than anyone else, and never had to tree-stump or boulder straddle at the checkpoints to fix pinch flats . . . a little squirmier for sure, but better than having to pull a splooge caked tire/tube in the rain :freaky
    #29
  10. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Believe it or not, you can lay an 1800 Goldwing on it's side to remove and replace the rear wheel. I have seen a picture of a brand new 2012 Goldwing laying on it's side, on purpose. I almost cried. That's a $30K bike. I would only lay a bike on it's side to fix a flat if it were pretty much a life or death situation. Nine times out of ten when I remove the tube from a flat tire, I find it pretty well shredded. Most stock tubes are paper thin. I have the 4mm thick "monster tubes" from DualStar on my XT. They can sometimes be patched. The thin ones tend to pop like a balloon. And if they don't, by the time you manage to get stopped, whatever punctured the tube has wiggled around and cut it to pieces. A tube type tire also tends to go flat all at once, while a tubeless tire loses air slowly, giving you time to tell something is wrong and get slowed down. A flat with a tube type tire at 75 mph is no fun, and your chances of crashing are high. My '09 Stella came with tubeless tires, for some unknown reason. I got the olive green color, which was supposed to come with wide whitewalls. I changed out the tires shortly after getting it home. I had a hard time getting those tubeless tires off, the whitewalls went on easily. They are the same size as my Vino uses, and I used them on it. I just replaced the last one. Don't remember the brand, but they lasted longer than the stock Vino 125 tires.

    I am so tempted to get a Symba, my local SYM dealer has a red one for a really good price. This dealer does not charge all the bogus fees most dealers do. But being 6' 220 with a 34" inseam, riding it any distance with the stock seat would be impossible, and if I got the long seat, there wouldn't be any room to carry anything. I didn't even fit on a stock Rebel, I made brackets to install highway pegs 6" forward of the stock pegs, and had the seat redesigned by a local shop. I kind of regret selling the Rebel, it was not only freeway legal, but freeway capable, with a top speed of 80 mph. And according to the administrator of a rebel forum I belonged too, he put 80,000 miles on a Rebel at WOT with no issues, until the valves finally ate themselves. 80,000 miles on a Rebel is hard for me to comprehend.

    BTW, thanks for posting all the ride reports, I am reading them all, and starting to get really enthusiastic about going somewhere. Probably on the Zuma 125. It has better tires and suspension than the Vino, more load capacity, and seems slightly faster. I already have a rack and top box ordered for it, and you can get huge saddlebags that fit it. Not planning anything crazy for the moment, though that sure sounds like fun. I'll start out with a few 1000 mile or so overnight round trips, and stay in a fleabag motel. I've decided the Stella is simply not reliable enough to cruise all day at full throttle, it still has a completely stock LML engine, with the cheap crank that is known to fail easily. Besides, while plastic Japanese scooters are nothing special, and are easily replaced, a 2 stroke Stella is a different matter. I keep mine polished and waxed. They are not replaceable, as they are no longer made, and I intend to keep it for the rest of my life. Parts are plentiful, and it can be rebuilt forever, as long as isn't crashed. The Stella IS basically a vintage Vespa.

    .
    #30
  11. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    The Symba has a center stand as standard. The 200 lb weight seems to be arbitrary, since they upped the weight capability (for Americans?). I weigh 160 and would feel comfortable carrying another 50-75 pounds on the Symba. (My groceries weigh 30+) I also have a C70 Passport and the Symba does everything three times better, but for some reason I can't part with the Passport. Anyway, the Symba is good for 35 mph all day long, maybe 48-50 WOT. I've easily toured on my Piaggio BV250 with no concerns about keeping up on freeways, however the Symba is strictly no interstates/freeways - but it too would be a good tour mount since it is really quite fun although you'd need additional fuel if you're out west and while the seat is comfy it is too short, go for the long seat (if available). With the stock seat you have to saw off the the top portion of the passenger handrail behind the seat, it bashes into your lower back and is quite the torture device.
    #31
  12. maddiedog

    maddiedog In dog we trust

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    You definitely can tour on a scooter. I rode almost 500 miles in one day on my PCX to go ride the Tail of the Dragon with some Rucks: http://hondapcx.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=85

    It was loads of fun. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. :evil

    I've had countless 100-300 mile days messing around in the North Georgia mountains, hitting Wolf Pen Gap, stopping in Helen to go tubing, etc...
    #32
  13. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    According to the SYM site, the Symba sold in the U.S. has a load capacity of 300 pounds. I weigh 220. with some gear and supplies for a 1000 mile or so road trip (mostly just stuff to repair and maintain the bike) I would be pretty close to that 300 pounds. I used to have an '07 Honda Met, which had a load capacity of 274 pounds, and I rode that with no problems, but rarely over 300 miles at the time. I mostly carried stuff to fix flats. My main interest in the Symba, besides it's looks, is it's manual transmission. I would be able to go places with it a small scooter cannot go, due to the limitations of it's CVT. I live at 1200 feet, and within 160 miles you can get to nearly 10,000 feet. There are a lot of long steep climbs in those 160 miles that a 125cc CVT scooter just won't handle. I have made that trip on a 50cc moped, but it was a 2 speed automatic, and had a centrifugally shifted transmission. When climbing at low speeds, it shifted down into first gear, and the engines rpms went way up, giving it power to climb, and preventing lugging the engine. Sometimes it would shift into second, and I would have to back off on the throttle slightly to get it back into first. A manual shift 125-150cc scooter would be great. I wonder why someone hasn't made one. You could build a modern (reliable) scooter like the Zuma 125 or the PCX 150, with a twist grip shifter like the Stella and vintage Vespas. Seems like a good idea to me, but maybe there is no market for such a bike.
    #33
  14. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    I had a old Lambretta 175 with a clutch/4 speed transmission but nowadays I think scooters are thought of as synonymous with automatics. I haven't put a ton of miles on the Symba yet, but it seems tough and capable to tour on. About 12 years ago I did a killer ride in Vietnam on a 100cc Honda step through (AKA Symba like bike) way up in the highlands, south to roads, probably 800-1000 miles on all sorts of bad roads (also in Laos and Cambodia, but different trips). Anyway, there was nothing more suitable for the task. Giant Soviet military 4 wheel drive rescue tow trucks were getting stuck, even with their PTO cables on large trees. But I could push and paddle the bike through the worst of it, keeping it in gear and walking it. On a bike with a manual clutch it would have been the end, as would have a scooter with a CVT too. Aside from being a fine very small scale tour bike I am pretty sure it is the ultimate adventure bike. I've found that on the micro bikes you ride for 80-150 miles a day and you're done. But it seems you see and experience so much more.
    #34
  15. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I have put 400 miles a day on my Vino 125 dozens of times, but only on mostly level paved roads. Mountains are off limits, as are riding through sand or mud. My new Zuma 125 seems to be pretty much the same as the Vino, just a different look. The Stella has a manual transmission and clutch, and will climb mountains, but it still has the stock LML engine, which is not of the best quality. I don't want to get to far away on it, if it breaks down, I have no idea how to get it back. I also value the Stella more than the Japanese scooters. Despite being made in India, it has the same character and soul as a vintage Vespa, and can be kept going forever with vintage Vespa parts, which, just like air cooled VW bug parts, are plentiful.

    The more I think about it, the more I want to add a Symba to my collection. I still wish it were 150cc, so it would be freeway legal. Not that I would want to cross the country on freeways on it, but at least you wouldn't get busted if you needed to get on a freeway for a short time. I seriously considered the PCX150 before getting the Zuma, it seemed to have similar performance, but was freeway legal. I eventually decided against it because of the absurd valve adjustment procedure, which required practically taking the whole scooter apart. 10 minute job on the Zuma and Vino.
    #35
  16. thunderkat59

    thunderkat59 Cooter on a scooter

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    [peer pressure] DO IT, DO IT, DO IT Woo Woo Woo Woo [/peer pressure]
    :nod:clap:thumb:beer:super:dutch
    #36
  17. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    Due to its transmission I'd think the Symba is as peppy, if not more, than a Zuma 125. It is probably considerably lighter, too. It also has a nice electric starter and a handy kick starter as well.
    #37
  18. MODNROD

    MODNROD Decisions, decisions

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    I've been thinking about this same sort of thing for a while, not necessarily touring, but exactly what I NEED out of a bike, now that I'm definately past my 20s and street-racing (at least, that's what I've heard some 20-somethings do.........).
    I always used to have some big-bore hotrod (like my Vmax I currently have), coz I'd ride the 200 miles to the drags, race all day and night against the long-bikes until one of them finally beat me, then the next day ride home on the hotrod again.
    But to be honest where I live out here, I rarely do more than 75MPH any more at the most, usually 65-70, too many trucks/road trains/roos/sheep/John Deere harvesters/New Holland 4WD tractors, etc, just around the next blind bush-covered bend. I travel 60 miles to get to work (4on/4off) at 2am, home at 3pm 4 days later, and lately I've been sitting on 55MPH anyway (what is it with my cars and weeping head gaskets dammit?!?! :lol3) for the trip.

    I think travelling on low rolling hills sitting on 60-65MPH all day/night (to keep ahead of the road trains) is no issue for a 150cc mild hotrod or a 200cc stocker scoot. If you're just riding to the next town 20 miles away or travelling cross-country for days on end, what's the difference really.

    I think that 2010 Sportscity 125 a mate has offered to me for $2G, then resurrect my old Kwaka Zed for the drags, and tell the lovely wife I need the family car (trailer for the Zed) a few times a year would be great.
    Oh yeah, and roll out the old VW Beetle for those days when it's pisn down and I have to deal with crap weather and slippery red grease clay muck!

    Do the road trip man, then write about it here, that way I can read about your exploits and get enthused! :D
    #38
  19. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    The definition of "road" has changed a bit, too. Used to be, all roads were two-lane roads. If you wanted to make time, you took the train.

    Today, even lesser state highways are four-lane, limited-access in places. Often there's no option to either taking the Interstate or a road just like the Interstate, with drivers just as crazed and as fast.

    I went from Madison, Wisconsin to Colorado's Four Corners area last month on my Burgman 650. Even though I had the power, I wanted to stay off the major expressways - the bike, even with a Givi windscreen, doesn't do tractor-trailer buffeting well.

    Mostly I was able to. In places, though...there WERE no other roads; and it wasn't SAFE to keep the speeds down. And often times I wanted to...it was COLD up in them-there hills. Slower speeds meant more comfort and that I could keep the helmet's face-shield up, enjoy the mountain air.

    I had some problems at the launch of the trip; I considered - seriously - taking the Big Ruckus instead. Glad I didn't - traffic would have had me in a constant spaz.
    #39
  20. gatling

    gatling Long timer

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    I rode my California Scooter (it's a 150cc motorcycle) the length of the Baja peninsula and back (about 2200 miles). It was great. You can read that trip report here: http://www.motofoto.cc/california_scooters_conquer_baja!.htm

    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qE-iI9m2n2g?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #40