New Scooter - Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by ScootDude, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    May 28, 2008
    Huntsville, AL
    If you have never ridden before then I recommend getting something small, used and cheap. You will not have any idea of what will or will not work for you until you get some actual riding experience. You can learn on a cheap scooter, then after 6 months or so you can sell it at little or no loss and get what you really want. There are a lot of variables that you won't even consider until you have some riding experience. For example, different scooters have different riding positions. Some may bother your back, others may bother your knees. Some people are bothered by poor wind protection, some aren't. Some people prefer smaller lighter scooters (bigger is not always better), some prefer big, heavy and stable. Some other things to consider; ABS or no ABS?, linked brakes? (I won't buy anything with linked brakes). Do you even know what linked brakes are? Big wheels or small wheels? Everyone is different but you will have no idea of what will work for you if you don't have some riding experience. Make your mistakes on something cheap, not on something like a Burgman or Silverwing.
  2. hexnut

    hexnut Been here awhile

    Feb 6, 2011
    603 took me 54 years to drop one. I'm glad I finally got that out of the way.:D
  3. btcn

    btcn Long timer

    Jul 1, 2010
    Morgan Hill CA
    Hey! Welcome to the world of riding! You'll enjoy it!

    If I was you, I'd slow down a little. Just worry about lerning to ride for now. This is your 1st bike, and chances is it will NOT be everything you want.

    Now you could lern on a big bike. BUT, I'd recommend smaller. Just take the safety course [if you truly don't want to lern to shift gears on a MC, most have scooters availible], and get your MC permit and license. Get a smaller bike or scoot, 250 cc and under is perfect. An older used bike with some ware and tear but a good engine is ideal. That way if you dump it [hey, it happens, I's been riding since I was 8 and I recently wrecked my Shadow] [but chances is that you'll dump it in the parking lot at first, maybe not]. But, just to work on your skills, an old Elite 250, Riva, etc for scoots, or a Nighthawk, Rebel, etc 250 is great, all used. If you buy one used, then you can usually sell it about what you paid in a few months when youse ready to step up.

    You should probably avoid the Interstates at first, try and cruise the backroads, parking lots, etc. Just work on riding skills. I'm not saying you have non, but if youse never rode a bike, anybody needs to get some experance. Also, having limited cc will help you avoid the Freeway. Also, avoid riding in a lot of traffic at first, and in the evening, this is when everybodys eyes is adjusting, and the sun can get in your/cager's eyes and distract you, just a bad time to ride in heavy traffic in my experance. Avoid speeding at first, try and always keep with 5 MPH of the limit, but not too slow either. Just take it easy, and build up your skills, but still enjoy it! Not trying to come of as rude or anything, just trying to give you some tips.

    Now, when your ready/ and or if you insist on starting on a bigger bike, for 5 hour freeways, GO FOR 500+ cc. The Burgman 400 is a good bike, but it has a very optimistic speedometer. For some highway its fine. But if your fixin to cruise 75 MPH all day [GPS not the 10 % off indicated], it'll be very buzy [its a single], and very near redline. Heavy headwinds will be annoying too. Now it may pull up to 90+ MPH, but thats just WFO. I hear if you cruise at 65 MPH actual all the time, it's fine, but 80 MPH is 600/650 cc.

    For a commute on the freeway, the 400 is fine, for maybe and hour or so. But for a 5 hour trips, you can't you wrong with the 600.:deal
  4. knucklehead90

    knucklehead90 Been here awhile

    Mar 1, 2012
    High Desert - Ephrata Washington
    There isn't any real issues in learning on a larger bike vs a smaller one. Just limit the speed for the first few weeks and months. Larger motorcycles and scooters have capabilities that will quickly outstrip your skills if you aren't careful. It doesn't take much time to get to 100mph with a 600cc+ scooter - the faster you are traveling the faster things happen - and the less time you have to react. Hitting the brakes full on at 80mph can get you some serious road rash in a flash.

    By all means take a motorcycle safety course FIRST! You'll learn all the good habits right off the bat. I've had many new riders ask me for advice over the years and this is #1 on my list. I took a course many years ago and have never forgotten what I was taught - things like looking to the exit of a corner seems simple but its important - along with keeping your head level as you look into that corner. How to counter-steer - etc. Things many long time riders may not even know if they haven't taken a riders course.

    Getting a smaller scooter/MC to learn on isn't a bad idea. It makes it harder to get into trouble as you learn. I started riding at 17 - my first bike was a Yamaha 80cc rotary valve single. It'd do 50-55 flat out. I had a couple of Honda 90's and a Yamaha 100cc twin after that. That was while I was in the USN. Once I got out I bought a new Honda CB350 - I became bored with it fast riding with guys with Honda CB450s and 650 Triumph and BSA's. So I bought a white 69 Kawasaki 500 H1 three cylinder Mach 1. Talk about fast! Damn! It had poor brakes and ill handling with a bad head shake at about 110mph but it was greased lightning in a drag race compared to anything else on the road - including the 750 Honda 4 and the Norton 750 Commando. I loaned it to a brother-in-law (yeah - stupid idea!) - swapping for a car so I could take my GF to her prom. He let a buddy ride it and it got crashed. I ended up with a 500cc Matchless single out of that deal - riding for a few months before trading it off for an almost new 68 Triumph Bonneville. I'd love to find one like that again. It had handling - sounded great - and looked beautiful. In the 47 years I've been riding I've yet to run off the road or crash into anything (knock on wood!). I think those first few years of riding small bikes helped me hone my skills without getting into trouble. Well - there was that ONE time - me and a gal doing stuff you're not supposed to do on a MC! We ran off the road very gently since we weren't going very fast. Ended up coming to a stop and falling over! We finished our 'business' and picked up the bike and continued on our way.

    I've seen more than a few guys step up and buy a big MC without having any previous riding skills and a couple of them are dead - and a few have been badly injured - a product of not having the skills necessary to handle a fast situation. People get injured and killed on bikes every day. Learn the skills it takes to pilot a large bike - small bikes/scooters are cheap if you wad them up - doing so at 30mph usually isn't nearly as bad as at 60mph.
  5. heirhead

    heirhead worlds worst mechanic

    Jan 2, 2009
    On the water in SoCal

    Ditto x 2 on the folks who said get a used 250 elite and learn how to ride, even a 150 Elite. Buy a used one now, ride it
    for the summer then sell it and buy the want in fall or winter when bikes are cheaper. By then your skills, ( nothing to do with size, just staying alive), will be better and you most likely have opportunities to try other scoots. Do NOT buy new Chinese to start just because they are cheap as used Hondas will always hold value.
    BTW. Where do you ride?


    10 Honda Elites, 20,000 miles on 650 burg, 10,000 on another 650 burg. Best for my money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  6. Tromper

    Tromper Been here awhile

    Sep 26, 2009
    Land O Drizzle
    Slacker, I got it out of the way after just a month..:evil
  7. redhandmoto

    redhandmoto Been here awhile

    Aug 25, 2008
    People's Democratic Republic of Tarsnakestan
    Take a look at the scootdawg forum ( ). Lots of China bike riders there.

    Quality varies; when they say a "Honda platform" (or Suzuki or Yamaha) they usually mean a clone of an xxx platrform. It's in the execution of the clone, its materials, and construction.

    China bikes (IMO) don't present a lotta problems in the engines; it's the subsystems, connectors, hoses, electrics, etc., where they sometimes go wrong. People happily own them so long as they are willing to replace components with quality bits, often at prep (PDI) time.

    This was true of my Lifan: the engine was bulletproof. Ancillary bits would fail or fall off, but I'd just replace them with OEM Honda stuff.
  8. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

    Oct 30, 2010
    West coast British Columbia
    Before you get all excited about what to buy; go spend a day and sit on a bunch of different scoots. I'm your height and I found most of the scoots I was really interested in (like the SilverWing and the Downtown) were very cramped. The T-Max was ok but the bars were a bit too low, my knees were a bit too friendly with them to be comfortable.

    The two bikes that I found that fit me to a T were the Burgman 400 and the SYM Citycom 300i. I went with the Citycom because of the upright ergos, responsive performance and great handling. I enjoy the comfort, performance and handling so much that my torque monster V-Strom 1000 has been getting lonely.

    As soon as I sat on it I knew the Citycom was the bike for me. Unlike the bigger bikes, it just fit. 14000 km later I'm still thrilled and I've been riding more than 40 years.
  9. gumshoe4

    gumshoe4 Been here awhile

    Feb 3, 2007
    I'm 6' 250 and I've been riding a SWing for about a year and a half now. It's a 2002 with 26K miles on it.

    Storage space
    Light (hey, compared to most motorcycles, this thing is light, IMHO!)
    Good power-hauls me and my stuff around no problem...
    Handles well, both in town and on the road (once you get the hang of riding a's a bit different than a regular motorcycle with manual transmission and a tank between your knees...)

    Reasonably accessible service points

    Not as stable on the freeway as my BMW...a bit more jittery, due, I think, to smaller wheels, more plastic and lighter weight. NOT a big issue and you learn to live with it.

    Stock windshield SUCKS. I replaced mine with a Givi Airflow, which has proven to be GREAT...

    Major service is a bit pricey, at least around here...

    One thing I have learned about the's designed to rev. At 75 mph indicated (so about 70 mph actual), it's at about 6200 rpm, 2000 below redline. It'll do that all day, day in and day out and I've done it and proved it to's an awesome engine and it's really bulletproof if you take care of it. It accelerates plenty fast for me...not as fast as the BMW, but the Beemer's motor is almost twice the displacement. One note, though...if I run at 65-70 mph, the mileage runs about 45-50 mpg consistently, BUT if I hold it at 70-75, mileage drops rather significantly to 40-45 mpg.

    After I got the Beemer, I decided to get rid of the SWing...didn't really need two I put it on CL for sale, but after dealing with low-ballers and idle chatters, I decided to remove it from the market and hang onto it. For awhile, I rode the Beemer quite a lot (new bike thing and all...), but took the SWing out several weeks ago, since it hadn't been ridden much (although it had a fresh oil change with Rotella T6). I was reminded again about what a really good machine the SWing is and I've decided to hang onto it...I can do a lot of the work on it myself, there's good owner support on the internet and it's just a fine machine. So I'm keeping it. I guess that says something about how I feel about the SWing.

    I haven't ridden the Burgs, but have heard positive information about the 2007 and up 400s. The 650s seem to be nice machines, but you might want to do some research about their electronically controlled tansmissions...these have apparently been a problem on occasion and are expensive to repair/replace. Here's a link to the Burgman USA forum:

    I have not ridden the other machines mentioned, either, but have read some on most of them. Earlier in this thread, there are some positive reports regarding the Scarabeo and Piaggio and B400 and TMax. All of these machines have their positive aspects and maybe a few not so positive...for me, I look for reliability, ease of service/maintenance, stability and handling.

    Good luck...hope this helps a bit...

    Incidentally...concur with taking the MSF course...well worth it. When I re-entered riding 6 years ago, it was the first thing I did and I'm glad I did...

  10. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

    Oct 30, 2010
    West coast British Columbia
    When I went looking for a scoot, the Honda dealer was my first stop. I really wanted to like the SilverWing, Honda Canada was awash in bikes with few customers and there was a $4000 discount on the SW. I've owned Honda's and I know you can't beat a Honda engine for reliability or durability and that is true of the SW as well.

    I'm sure for a six footer the bike is great, but for six four it was less than great. Could I ride it? Yeah, but no matter how great the bike and the deal I knew I wouldn't be happy for long.
  11. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

    Jul 4, 2009
    Chandler, AZ
    If you plan on carrying a passenger, then the Burg 650 would be your best choice. If it were me, and I would be riding solo, then the Burg 400 would be my choice. Nothing wrong with any of the others you mentioned. The Silverwing is a fine scooter,, but I don't have any decent Honda dealers around here, so it would wind up being the most expensive due to dealer price gouging. There is nothing wrong with the Kymco either, but the bigger the better for highway cruising. A passenger makes ALL the difference. Myself, my 20 year old daughter, and some luggage are at the max load capacity of my '85 Goldwing 1200cc motorcycle.

    Since you are a beginner, I recommend taking the MSF course. While a scooter may not have a shifter and clutch like a motorcycle, learning to ride a motorcycle in the dirt or in a parking lot is not that difficult. TRAFFIC will be your biggest issue, and riding in traffic on a vehicle that nobody sees requires a lot of skill, to avoid being run over. The MSF course will at least give you some information about that, after that hopefully you will survive long enough to develop the skills to avoid getting run over by a cell phone user trying to operate a motor vehicle at the same time.