Scooters: Auto vs Manual

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by Lobby, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    Hey Scooteristas,

    My wife is really bugging me about a scooter. She says it's gotta be four stroke, and it's gotta do 50 - 60 mph. That appears to point me to a 150 cc jobbie.

    Well, I'm worried that if I get her one with an auto tranny, she'll get confused when she goes back to her motorcycle.

    But, the only manual, 4 stroke, 150cc scooter is the Bajaj. Not that it's a bad choice AFAIK, but it's the only choice, I think.

    What do you think? Is it difficult to make the return transition? Any other scoots to consider?
    #1
  2. ilmostro

    ilmostro Under Da Sea

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    You quickly figure it our before you make it out of the neighbourhood :D
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  3. DoctorIt

    DoctorIt vrooom!

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    those specs are up a bit since the last time you inquired?

    (or am I confusing you with MaddBrit? too many wives want scooters! :lol3)

    you're right though, not too much choice in the way of manual 4strokes. I would however point out that your thinking in "she'll be confused..." doesn't really hold. It's totally different shifting a scooter than a motorbike anyway. All in the hand, different engine response, etc. If it has to be 150cc and 4T, TnG is the best answer, lots of choices.
    #3
  4. Sgt.Floyd

    Sgt.Floyd delinquent

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    I have a couple bargin basement 150's from China - Tank Urban Racer, and so far, it seems like a good ride. It is an automatic, but I'm going with the theory that Mrs.Floyd can make the transition from an automatic to manual in a cage, so it shouldn't be too much harder to get her rolling on a bike when she is ready for the jump.

    If you were local you'd have a PM. The link in my sig line will take you to my first impressions.
    #4
  5. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    I don't think she'll have any trouble transitioning.

    The only weirdness I experienced with the Stella was occasionally stabbing for a non-existant shift lever in the first week (the shift is on the left grip, for those who aren't familiar with it...it's based on the old WW2 aircraft flap actuator system used on the original '46 Vespa). Going back and forth between the auto Super 9 and the shifting Stella hasn't been hard, nor has going back and forth between the GS--except for the first time, when the GS felt like I was at the helm of the QE2.

    I'd say the only semi-serious issue I had was relative speed. I found myself riding the GS MUCH faster after I had been riding the Stella for several weeks straight. Got back on the GS, and was hauling ass at 85-90mph on the Raleigh Beltline. She'll need to watch that.

    But after the first transition from scoot to GS, all subsequent transitions were a non-issue.

    BTW, there's a pretty good chance that Genuine Scooter (the Stella people) is going to introduce 3 new models in 1Q '06. There's ton of speculation, but I think one of them will be a Primavera (small frame Vespa, manual shift) since it's already in production by LML, and there's some rumor that they'll take on the Italjet (now Kinetic?) Dragster 180.

    *sound of crowd gasping*

    If they bring a Dragster 180, I'll sell everything I have to get one. :nod That bike is a giant-slayer.

    The third bike might be an auto. Who knows? :dunno

    Still, it's all speculation. The Stella dealers I've talked with don't think they'll go to the 4T motor, however, citing several loopholes that may let Genuine (a small business) keep the 2T motor with the catalyzer.

    At any rate, if you don't think you'll buy before February, keep an eye on Genuine. Also, look for the 200cc LML motor next year.

    Kymco is coming up with a 150cc version of their 250 Bet & Win. Take a good look at that. Kymco builds a NICE scoot with a 2 year warranty, and has been building parts/engines for other motorcycle companies for decades.

    Given that gas prices aren't gonna get any cheaper, look for a bike that will handle rigorous commute, joyriding, and errand duties for both of you. I had no problems making the Stella my primary vehicle.
    #5
  6. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    Here's the WSJ article that fueled the recent speculation on what models we'd see next.

    As for the on/off road model, that could mean anything from a Zuma type to the TnG Baja. Or who knows?

    Scooters' Popularity
    Offers a Chance for Growth

    Small Chicago Company
    Expands Its Line, Seeking
    A Diversity of Customers
    By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD
    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    September 20, 2005; Page B3

    Zipping through the streets of Athens on an old Vespa some 20 years ago, Philip McCaleb would smile as he maneuvered through the urban chaos. As a sales manager for a U.S. company overseas, the scooter provided him with a certain freedom, an ease of movement, and ultimately led him down a different path.

    Two decades later, he has yet to shake the scooter bug. Today, he's riding a scooter of his own creation -- called the Stella -- from a line that made its debut in 2002. And his company, Genuine Scooter Co., of Chicago, is expected to put 2,000 bikes on the street this year, while posting sales of $4.5 million to $5 million.

    Scooters -- pop-culture icons of the '50s and '60s -- are popular again, with overall sales in the U.S. more than doubling to 86,000 last year from 42,000 in 2000, says the Motorcycle Industry Council, a membership trade organization. And, as gasoline prices take a bigger bite out of budgets, they're becoming an ever-more tempting mode of transportation.

    Mr. McCaleb, 50 years old, is determined to be a part of that growth, and he predicts Genuine Scooter's sales will reach $8 million in 2006, with the introduction of three new models in February.

    "I always want to grow and compete," says Mr. McCaleb, "but there is no way we can compete, or want to compete, with the Hondas or the Yamahas. We carefully look to compete on a scale that focuses on niche, on service, and quality."

    His own business began more like a junkyard, when he began collecting the rusty remains of vintage scooters 15 years ago. That effort, born in his basement evolved into a scooter parts, accessories and restoration business, returning old Vespas back to their original glory. Although he still maintains that company, Scooterworks, he formed his second firm, Genuine Scooter, to begin marketing a line of scooters in 2002, manufactured by a company in India.

    In building his business, Mr. McCaleb has had to acknowledge his own limitations -- he's an idea guy -- and called on a business consultant to help put together a two-year plan that would support the kind of growth he wants.

    "I crave the opportunity to put concepts on the street," he says. "I'm a horrible bureaucrat and lousy operations guy. I called in the consultant because ... I don't think that way. I think in terms of, 'Let's begin with the end product in mind here, what it should look, feel or taste like, put it on the street and sell, sell, sell.' "

    So that's become his focus. Mr. McCaleb will continue to concentrate on creating products and ideas for growth -- the company introduced a side-car that retails for $1,695, and he hopes to launch a scooter trailer by Christmas, inspired by the shiny aluminum Airstream trailers of the '50s.

    The next round of scooters will be a bit more modern, competing in mainstream, pre-established markets, Mr. McCaleb says. Stella, which has a 150cc, single-cylinder, two-stroke engine and a top speed of 55-to-60 miles per hour, retails for $2,895, less than its Vespa competitor, the PX 150. Stella's price, coupled with its styling, is attracting a wide range of buyers, from urban hipsters and professional commuters, to bikers and retirees.

    But many have something in common: "A large portion of my market are delayed adolescents, or those looking to return to adolescence," says Mr. McCaleb. "There is a grin associated with riding this product. And because it has a manual transmission they actually drive this product as opposed to riding it. It's part of its panache and what attracts people to this bike."

    Nicholas Mendizabal, of Brooklynbretta Inc., a dealer in Brooklyn, N.Y., says the Stella is also a product that's right for the market. "For the first time, we are able to get as a product, a new, vintage bike," Mr. Mendizabal says. "It's vintage-styled, but very new and reliable," he says, pointing to the hydraulic disc front brakes and advanced shocks.

    The new scooters, however, are an attempt to improve upon what's already on the market: well-built machines with increasingly attractive warranties and stronger guarantee components. And they will be aimed at different buyers, Mr. McCaleb says. One scooter will target commuters, another off-and-on road riders, while the third will appeal to high-performance speedsters.

    While Stella was initially designed in Italy and is produced in India by LML, a manufacturer and former Piaggio group partner, Mr. McCaleb will say only that the new scooters will be produced in Asia.

    In addition to rolling out the new bikes, he hopes to increase the number of Genuine Scooter dealers to 100 next year, up from the 70 currently in 35 states, and establish a presence in Canada. And, all 2006 models will meet California's stricter emission standards.

    He also continues to stay connected; he visits, calls and drops his dealers postcards, and participates in many scooter events, which includes rallies and rides like "Mile High Mayhem" in Denver, and "Skooter Du" in Minneapolis.

    "Our biggest marketing [tool] is that we're involved," says Mr. McCaleb. "We are passionate scooterists ourselves and we participate in the hobby as well as the selling process with our dealers."
    #6
  7. BUBB

    BUBB lynch not Zimmerman

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    I have bought 2 scooters in two weeks. A Limited Edition PX150 Vespa (only 500 imported to the US) with a manual 4 speed - very good looking scoot. 2 cycle

    A Yamaha 125cc Scooter Vino 4 cycle automatic.

    The Yamaha is much faster, smoother, has better brakes and gets close to 2x the mileage of the Vespa ~and~ costs only about 1/2 of the Vespa.

    Still the Vespa is sooooooooo darn pretty and is pure joy to drive.nobody can accuse a Vino of being pretty.

    The Vespa is for sale - I'm getting a Vino so I can keep up with Bubbwife.

    I think the Vino 125 could hit 55 after broken in.


    EDIT: phone just rang - Bubbwife found another Vino and bought it.

    good looking isn't it?
    [​IMG]

    EDIT: The Vino's brakes are not "much" better than the Vespa's. I was basing that on feel alone. The rear on the Vino has a better feel because it is not a foot brake but the rear's braking power seems to be quite a bit less than the Vespa's.
    #7
  8. Pally McGee

    Pally McGee Eater of Sandwich

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    Dang, you guys that live in the Southlands are so lucky. Riding season here just isnt long enough! I'd love to buy my wife a new scooter. She doesn't ride motorcycles, but she's been on mopeds before and a small scoot would be great for her. Trouble is, we live too far out in the sticks. Its a good 10 minutes by car to get to anything even closely resembling civilization where we live. A small scooter would be fun, but I fear it could be too littel to make the ride into town.

    I need to move south and find a nice neighborhood with real people in it. :lol2
    #8
  9. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    While running away from Rita this past week, I went to Austin, Tx to look at the scooter shops.

    The Vespa PX 150 was absolutely gorgeous, but they wanted $4k (or was it $5k). Steep. :eek1

    The Vino 125 is one she's looking at. :nod
    #9
  10. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    Thanks for the perspective, Madame V and the rest of you. :thumb

    I suspect, though, that if the color is right, she'll pretty much go for any bike. :lol3
    #10
  11. Marc

    Marc Just sayin...

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    One word for wifey:

    BIG Ruckus

    Yeah baby, twist 'n go. 4-stroke reliability. 70 MPH. Slicker than goose shit. :wink:
    #11
  12. Sgt.Floyd

    Sgt.Floyd delinquent

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    For reference, I just hit 60 on the flat w/ mine, and it feels like it'll do better if I had a bit more runnin room.. I checked the speedo against a speed sign, and it was more accurate than the one on my gs :lol3
    #12
  13. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    :lol3 I know that rationale all too well. :nod

    "it's PURDY."

    ka-ching
    #13
  14. BUBB

    BUBB lynch not Zimmerman

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    I missed it - what kind?
    #14