Question for the scooter pros

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by novaboy, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. novaboy

    novaboy Been here awhile

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    Ok folks,

    I need some help, actually a lot of help, but I have a shrink for most of it:eek1. I'm involved with a film production company and we are tentatively planning on filming an adventure ride from New Brunswick on Canada's east coast up through the Trans Labrador Highway(yes 1000's of kms of gravel road), and then across Newfoundland to St. John's. Originally we thought of doing this on dual-sport bikes(the sane way of doing it), but what's the adventure in that? It's been done a hundred times before. So today, one of my partners in this adventure casually suggested we do it on scooters.

    My question to all of the scooter experts out there...............what do you suggest we use? Keep in mind it has to be a current model available in Canada and have as much character and coolness as possible, and at the same time handle the rigors of over a 1000kms of harsh gravel road.

    Appreciate the input and advice.

    Cheers
    #1
  2. tortoise2

    tortoise2 Been here awhile

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  3. MODNROD

    MODNROD Decisions, decisions

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    Gday.
    I ride 100km to work one way weekly, 10km of it is gravel. It's mainly lightly corrugated, but some sections are rough enough to shake the fillings out of your head. The only way to help prevent that is to speed up to 60-70kph at least, preferably 80kph. The issue then of course is that the really strong crosswinds have more of an effect and have a tendency to blow you across the gravel and aim you at the bush.
    *sigh* Oh well.
    I've done the trip now on 2 bikes and 3 scoots.
    The KTM Supermoto with a big fat tall front tyre was brilliant. Go figure?
    Next best however (surprisingly capable) is my riding-now Piaggio X8 250. A CT on the back has improved it's straight line stability on the dirt.
    Very close behind it is the Aprilia Sportcity One 125cc. It is actually a bit better overall, but because it's only 120kg it gets blown around heaps by the cross-winds, the 175kg Piaggio baby Maxi is a bit better here.
    Dead set last, and damn near terrifying in wet slippery red clay, is my 1987 Vmax.......but that's another story.

    If you want to do the trip surprisingly easily, I would opt for a smaller maxi, 250cc Majesty, 300cc Downtown, etc.

    If you want to do the trip on a "scooter-looking" scoot, especially to sell the end product to people who don't know what a maxiscoot is (to be honest here, they're just automatic motorcycles really), I would suggest the Aprilia Sportcity. Big wheels ride over the bumps well, comfy, can take 50kg in luggage, instantly recogniseable as a scoot to the general public, and very reliable. The 250cc or 200cc liquid-cooled EFI versions would probably be the pick, bit more power and less fuel used.
    #3
  4. novaboy

    novaboy Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the links and the info fellas. Will let you know what we come up with shortly.
    #4
  5. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    why not the old ct110 that can be had for 1500 bucks and out fitted for world travel. Honda Ruckus is the next scooter I would tell you to look at because it cheap , easy to work on and handles what you want to do . Total ruckus .com has lots of info. Once guy did 12 000 mile tour on one .
    #5
  6. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    Sounds like a cool ride. Love to do it on my Heinkel.
    #6
  7. Midnullarbor

    Midnullarbor Been here awhile

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    .
    Tall and narrow front wheel is the go, certainly, once you are off bitumen.
    Any scooter will do, if you never encounter anything looser than very hard-packed gravel.
    But for sand, mud, or a goodly scattering of "rolling about" rounded stones on hard base . . . you will find the standard little scooter (with 10" or 12" fat front wheel) to be slow & tiring & very miserable to ride over any real distance.

    If you want to be seen riding something small and/or cute ~ a David, rather than a Goliath of a motorcycle/maxi-scooter ~ then the CT110 is a proven product with suitably tall skinny wheels that would do moderately well even with its standard slightly-blocky road tires. But rather slow, once you get back on bitumen.

    For something sleek & modern but clearly a [non-motorcycle] step-through scooter, Modnrod's suggestion of the Sportcity would look good. The only real catch is its 15-inch front wheel ~ which is quite nice, but (AFAIK) leaves you using only road tires.

    If you are wanting the best [fastest, safest, most pleasant] dirt-riding small scooter, I'd be inclined to get something with a 16-inch front wheel. Not because 16 is significantly better than 15", but because you can fit a 50/50 moderately knobby front tire ~ of which perhaps the best is (3.00x16) the Shinko-244. Yes, a tubed tire, but that will allow you to run a lower pressure for even better ride & handling. And leave the rear wheel stock standard, other than a slight drop in pressure.
    Of course, re-fit the stock front tire when it comes time to sell.

    A 16-inch front wheel will probably limit you to one of the Taiwanese brands of scooter ~ not that there's anything wrong with that! (Am I overlooking some models, here?)
    .
    #7
  8. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    For looks, I would suggest a Genuine Stella 4 stroke, especially if you have a support crew for breakdowns. These look just like a Vintage Vespa, and are available new. If you don't mind something new and modern looking, I would recommend the Yamaha Zuma 125. It has tires and suspension suited to gravel roads, and will go 50-55 mph, depending on the terrain and grade. I own both a Zuma 125, and a Stella 2 stroke, which is no longer available. But the 4 stroke looks just like it.
    #8
  9. LandPirateMBC

    LandPirateMBC Full blown child

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    The ct110 would handle it easy but is technically a motorcycle so it wouldn't really fit the mold. If you want a true scooter adventure the Vespa P series or genuine stella would be perfect. Flats take 5 minutes to repair, they are real reliable, sip gas, and stylish as it gets. The Zumas suspension and tires would make the ride more plush but it definitely lacks in the looks department. Plus all the cool kids ride 2 strokes.
    #9
  10. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    i have some scooter experience and some Labrador experience but alas have not combined the two.
    I purchsed my Big Ruckus in Malagash, NS and rode it home to St John's, Newfoundland. 1300km.
    I would not do it on a scooter of less than 250cc for the fact that keeping up with the flow of traffic could be a lifesaver. The TLH and the TCH are the only roads and having truckers who are trying to make time up your arse is bad enough on a motorcycle.
    430km between Goose Bay and Port Hope Simpson without any fuel or houses. Nothing only sandy dirt with marbles on top.
    Can it be done? Damn straight it can.:clap
    #10
  11. Midnullarbor

    Midnullarbor Been here awhile

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    "Only sandy dirt with marbles on top."

    Sounds like the territory where a Vintage Vespa or Genuine Stella would be skaty & unstable . . . and a modern small-wheel scooter not all that much better.
    Strictly for S&M enthusiasts (Scooter Masochists, that is).

    Go big-wheel of some sort.
    .
    #11
  12. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    I agree with Midnullarbor (Post #7) in the preference for scooters with narrow 16" front wheels (or larger) for non-sealed road riding.

    [​IMG]

    bunnybash (Scooter Community forum "Maxis on dirt roads? Any experience?" topic from 2010) said:
    "Used a Scarabeo 500ie, Beverly 250ie and Vespa GTS on gravel roads no problem, excellent fun actually, especially the Bev and Beo... think the bigger wheels helped...".

    I'd option that Scarabeos from 200cc and upwards, and Honda SH300i, models would be easier on non-sealed roads than small wheel scooters and heavy touring maxis.

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    A vintage look or small wheeled scooter can be ridden anywhere, though it might take a little more skill than something with larger diameter wheels. Since your primary purpose is to make a film, I would go with the Stella just to make it look good. They will not be as good as something else with larger wheels and better suspension, but for making a film, where you can edit out crashes and replace broken scooters without anyone knowing it, you could get away with it. I would be much more interested in watching a film with a vintage type scooter than something more modern. And many people HAVE ridden vintage Vespas around the world. You don't have to have a $20,000+ BMW 1200GSA to go somewhere.
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  14. MODNROD

    MODNROD Decisions, decisions

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    +1.
    I ride on this shite twice a week, and a 12" or 10" tyre isn't being brave or even "tough", it's bloody silly. Trying to manhandle a Maxiscoot with even a 14" front through soft sand (luckily only a few km long) is a cause for focus, lots of it, and very physical. Anything over 60kph to be honest and I feel a touch threatened! Your skills are probably better than mine, so others may do it easier.
    A 15" or even better 16" rim (especially with the "trials" type tread Midnullabor suggests) is still going to teach you a few riding lessons and a few new choice words, trust me.

    That photo of Bunnybash on gravel put up by Vortex?
    Jeez, I WISH my roads were like that! :lol3

    When a bloke who has "Midnullabor" as a user name tells you to get big tall skinny wheels for the dirt, don't disregard his advice out of hand..........
    #14
  15. Ken OBSC

    Ken OBSC -6.12, -7.64

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    For very cool and very stable, consider a Piaggio MP3 500. It's also known in Europe as the Fuoco 500.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Goa_HYPJKKU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #15
  16. Lola Rides

    Lola Rides Avid Adventurer

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    Hello Novaboy,

    I am a video production student and I'm going to be doing a project like yours, only in South America, Ive been making videos since forever and I've been riding scooters since I was 12. I can't thnk of anything better than a Vespa for a trip like this. They are strong and stable and cooler than anything else on two wheels.

    Lola
    #16
  17. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    My husband rides our Aprilia Sports City 250 on gravel and dirt frequently. I've seen him successfully navigate sand as well. We rode through Utah national parks summer 2011 and he went on plenty of dirt that I turned back on and came back with a huge smile on his face.
    #17
  18. Warney

    Warney Been here awhile

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    Not many big wheel or Maxi-Scooters on this ride but they were invited. Mostly Vespa P-Series, an LX, GT, and GTS, multiple Stellas, a Honda CH150 and two Big Ruckuses, a Yamaha Zuma 70 (camera Scooter) and a Zuma 125, most with 12" or smaller wheels. Edited to add there was a Piaggio BV250 along too.
    Yes those are Train tracks, curbs, multiple steep drop offs, loading ramps. concrete, dirt, mud, asphalt, and gravel surfaces.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UTBxrz0ilY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciqhHA5QRY0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7-mUTn7Q84
    #18
  19. Lola Rides

    Lola Rides Avid Adventurer

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    When I was a kid in North Carolina I rode on dirt roads, muddy ones and gravel a lot, and it's easy to do it on a Vespa with 10 inch wheels, as long as you don't use the front brake hard. People who know how to ride scooters can go just about anywhere that is a road on them, just not as fast as people on dirtbikes.
    #19
  20. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    I not putting them down but the issues with parts makes them hard to say go for it. Modern vespa forum seems to have that as a common issue. I really thought about them but said no. It would handle it but you don't want to be sitting for a week for a lack of a parts.
    #20