long trips on small scooters

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

  1. max57

    max57 Adventurer

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    A scooter with a spare tire is the best place to start. I drive my Heinkel anywhere- I have been to Bar Harbor, Maine and NYC. My uncle, who bought it new in 1960, took it off the showroom floor and went from DC to LA by way of Mexico. You just have to keep the revs within safe limits. He made the trip in the late 50s on a Vespa. Said he liked the Heinkel better, larger and more comfortable, and got more respect. It has gravitas.The Stella is probably your best bet. A flat tire will hold you up for a half hour maybe.
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  2. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    Looks like a fun trip. I've been thinking about doing a similar trip on my small motorcycle.

    #42
  3. thunderkat59

    thunderkat59 Cooter on a scooter

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    Can you post a pic of this Heinkel? I think these are the Holy Grail and Golden era of scoots. Maicos too . . .:cry
    If you ever want to sell the mighty Heinkel , PM me ?

    The most gorgeous sheet metal work in the history of bikes :beer

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    #43
  4. Krusty ...

    Krusty ... What? Me hurry?

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    Taotao BWS150. It looks better in black :deal.


    If this came in a 250cc version, I think I'd have to buy it. I'm just too big (heavy) for a 150.
    #44
  5. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    The reason I want a 150cc version is just to make it freeway legal, and yes, it would be nice to have another 5 mph or so. But on long distance trips, sometimes it is almost impossible to avoid the freeway.

    I almost have 1000 miles on my recently purchased Zuna 125, and have my first trip planned. It is not "long distance", being only about 700 miles total, but it will give me an idea of the capabilities of the scooter. It will be necessary to ride about 15 miles on I-10, I'l just have to hope I don't get stopped by a cop.


    That Heinkel is indeed a beauty, though it doesn't look like it has much ground clearance. I have seen many pictures of Salsbury scooters that I loved the looks of, but I believe that Heinkel has them beat. Not worried about a flat tire on the Zuma, as you can jut plug the puncture, air up the tire, and be on your way. My Stella has a spare tire, but it has an Indian made LML engine, which is not known for it's reliability. I'm afraid of blowing an engine hundreds of miles from home, with no way to get it back. That Heinkel would never leave town, for the same reason. That is a rare and beautiful scooter, and I would never risk losing it on a long trip. I prefer to use generic Japanese scooters for trips, they are nor rare, beautiful, nor irreplaceable.


    I am still seriously interested in the Symba, I would buy one next Tuesday when the dealer opens if I weighed 30 pounds less. But looking at it close up, it does look kind of fragile for someone my size (220 pounds) I downloaded and read the owners manual, and was happy to discover that it does not have the rotary transmission of the Cub and Passport, it has a regular motorcycle transmission which cannot be shifted down below first, no up above top gear. It also bothers me that it was originally rated for only 200 pounds, and it's new importer changed that to 300 pounds. Makes me wonder if it can really carry 300 pounds safely, or if that number is just to make it sell better.

    Off topic but somewhat relevant: The big Ford Explorer/Firestone tire fiasco that got several people killed, turned out to be 100% Ford's fault. People were complaining about the Explorers harsh ride (it's a truck, what did they expect) so they changed the recommended tire inflation pressures in the owners manual to way below what the Firestone tires were designed for. I always run tires at the max inflation pressure stated on the sidewall of the tire, no matter what the vehicle owners manual says. The vehicle manufacturer did not make the tires.


    I noticed that Underboning had some broken spokes on their long distance odyssey, and he weighs less than I do. I put several hundred miles on a VeloSolex 3800, a French made moped/motorized bicycle, knowing I was to heavy for it, and sure enough, spokes started breaking in the rear wheel. Since the Solex has what amount to 23" wheels, it was not possible to have heavy duty wheels made for it, as no bicycle uses that size in the U.S.


    I have no trips planned for south of the border. While I rode a couple thousand miles in Mexico on a moped back in the late '70s, it's a different scene now. There is an ongoing war between Mexican gangs/drug smugglers and the U.S. Border Patrol. Several have been killed on both sides here in AZ, very recently. I won't ride anywhere near the border without being armed. I stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint almost 100 miles from the border, they noticed the 9mm I was carrying, and even told me it was a good idea if I was going to ride in that area, as it is in a corridor known for drug and illegal immigrant smuggling. So any border crossings I do would be the Canadian border. I have been to Canada several times on a motorcycle, before it required a passport, but I never got very far into the country.
    #45
  6. max57

    max57 Adventurer

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    I am not allowed to post pictures. Not even my avatar is visible! When I can, I will. I have a 1960 A2 and a 1965 A2 Schwinge. Driving these Heinkels for 40 years now.:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl
    #46
  7. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Aren't California Scooter Company bikes really small motorcycles, similar to the old Mustang, with true manual transmissions, clutches, and chain drives? They look really cool, but may be to small for my weight. I am still considering the SYM Wolf, which is a 150cc motorcycle with plenty of load carrying capacity. Like the CSC bikes, it looks like it might be difficult to carry much stuff on it. I can get a new Wolf 150 for $3000 OTD.
    #47
  8. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    Next to a honda scooter from 57 that I posted picture of here they are the coolest scooter ever. It's like a lot of things you more then likely didn't know back then how much of cult following they end with. Luck and being in the right place at the right time.
    #48
  9. gatling

    gatling Long timer

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    They are small motorcycles (we called them Scooters because we refer to all motorcycles as "scooters"). You are right - they have clutches, chains, manual transmissions, and they are styled like the old Mustangs. A 1953 Mustang was the basic model for the CSC.

    The SYM is a nice motorcycle, too (I love its style). Susan Carpenter of the LA Times did a comparo of the CSC, the SYM, and a Cleveland Cycle Works small motorcycle. You can Google it and find the article; you might want to read it to get her impressions of how the bikes compared.

    I am a consultant to CSC, so I have a relationship with the company and I am partial to the CSC bikes. You might watch the CSC blog; occasionally a CSC will go on sale for about $3K. Most of the time they start at $3695. If you can get a SYM OTD for $3K that is a good deal.

    Regarding riding on the freeway, I do it all the time. I just stick to the right hand lane, where traffic seems to hold a steady 50 - 55 mph, and my 150 is pretty comfortable and content at those speeds.
    #49
  10. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    The underboning the world on Symba's and the broken spokes might be the result of some of the roads they found themselves on - African potholes for one. I'd replace the stock Symba tires for any "touring" that might have a little dirt or mud, ribbed tires went out with bell bottoms. Doing so might knock your 105 mpg down to 104 mpg though. The Symba seems to me to have a fair amount of rearward weight bias, even without a load, so I'd recommend a front rack and keep a decent load in that whenever carrying anything on the rear. When picking up the Symba I've seen and sat on the SYM Wolf, didn't ride it it, but it seems as if that might work as well as a Symba too, maybe better. While it isn't exactly always freeway safe the Wolf is freeway legal in many states.
    #50
  11. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    What I found on a certain dual sport motorcycle known for wheel issues, is that keeping the tires inflated to the "max" pressure stated on the sidewall definitely helps prevent broken spokes, spokes pulling through the rim, and elongated holes in the hub. Low tire pressure allows the wheels to flex to much, and things begin to wear and eventually break. High pressure in the tires holds the wheel assembly in place better, and results in less flexing. I know high pressure is not good for off road or dirt road riding, due to a loss of traction, but on this particular bike, it can save your wheels. And I've never had any problems controlling the bike like that. But I also ride slow off road, I'm a trail rider, not an MX racer. (not anymore anyway) Low pressure would be better, but you would need stronger wheels. Wheels with straight pull spokes would be best.

    Freeway legal is what I need. I have no plans for extended freeway travel on such a small bike, but sometimes you need to ride a short distance on a freeway. I am planning a trip where I will need to ride several miles on a freeway on my Zuma 125. I'm way more afraid of getting stopped by a cop than getting run over. Neither motor driven cycles nor pedestrians are allowed on the freeway, so not only would I get a ticket, but the cop would probably call a tow truck to pick up me and the scooter, at my expense. Being freeway legal would prevent a scenario like that and allow me to concentrate on the traffic instead of being paranoid about cops.
    #51
  12. Dirt Road Cowboy

    Dirt Road Cowboy Sometimes I'm A Jerk

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    Jerry, did you ever get to take your trip? :ear
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  13. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Not yet, but I am retiring next March 30, next year, and should have plenty of riding time then.
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  14. Kentucky

    Kentucky Long timer

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    I've done 5500 Interstate miles on my Kymco GTi300 in the last 30 days. Pretty impressive motorcycle actually. It makes enough power to get the job done with ease.

    Can't help you with the under 150 though. Never done it.
    Barry
    #54
  15. Jurgen

    Jurgen Trolljegeren Super Moderator

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    I ran across a guy riding from Michigan to California on a 50cc last May. :lol3

    This guy truly packed light. :thumb

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    The orange vest was given to him by a cop in Nebraska. Holding it on was a pair of zip-cuffs. :eek1 :thumb
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  16. Dirt Road Cowboy

    Dirt Road Cowboy Sometimes I'm A Jerk

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  17. Jurgen

    Jurgen Trolljegeren Super Moderator

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    Freeway Legal?

    Talking legalities here, not "smarts." :D

    With some minor googling California is the only place that I've come up with a displacement minimum (150cc) for riding on the Freeway (Interstate). Many states have laws against "motorized bicycles" on the Freeway which encompasses 50cc scoots. But I'm not finding a national trend mandating 150cc over 125cc. Am I missing something? What are the laws in various state? :ear

    PS-- I'm say legalities, not smarts-- I think most here would like to avoid freeways like the plague on smaller 60mph max scoots. But, as has been pointed out that isn't alway possible. As an example to get from Albuquerque to Santa Fe requires Interstate riding, or a massive re-route.
    #57
  18. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    Were I live if it can do 45 mph then its legal but I think you ll get pull over for driving to slow.
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  19. gatling

    gatling Long timer

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    My CSC 150 (California Scooter) tops out at around 66 mph. I drive on the freeway all the time. Even here in the land of nutty drivers and cell phones and folks running 80+ mph on the freeways, the right lane generally runs at around 50 to 55 mph. I just mostly stick to the right lane and I do just fine.

    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/XAUjvjYqhuk?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  20. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    What I really need instead of a larger scooter (I don't want a maxi) is a route across the country. I have read many ride reports from people who have done this on small scooters, and they never did have a route. I tried to get Wan's route over on totalruckus.com, but could only get small parts of it. Many of the backroads are not on maps. Trying to piece together a route is very frustrating, I keep running into dead ends, or places where the route runs concurrently with a freeway for many miles. It seems that with as many people that have done it, there would be more information on the routes they took. I did find several bicycle routes, but they included a lot of freeway shoulders, where motor vehicles are not allowed. Many AZ interstates allow bicycles to be ridden on the shoulder. The reason for that is because there really is no other practical route that lets you avoid the freeways altogether.
    #60