Something I've always wondered...

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by MiteyF, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    First off, I'm not bashing on anyone, I honestly want to understand...

    I've wondered this for a long time, and have to ask.

    Why in the hell do people buy scooters?

    My thoughts. Albeit these are sort of generalizations, for the most part from what I've found, they hold quite true. They accelerate slowly, and most brake poorly. They don't have the power to pull out of a turn. Without proper footpegs you don't have nearly the input from your weight to help corner. All of this adds up to make them DANGEROUS. In fact, I've ridden a few (mostly smaller ones) and can firmly say I will NEVER ride one in traffic. They just feel utterly SCARY. And I ride motorcycles every day, rain shine or snow.

    Some say they ride them "for the gas mileage", but you can get just as good of mileage with a low cc motorcycle, and still have some speed, control and braking capability. Like a Ninja 250. 75+ miles to the gallon, and they can still lift the front tire with just the throttle and do 110 on the top end.

    I've ridden dual sports, dirt bikes, sport bikes, cruisers, classics, and most things in between. And loved them all. Except scooters. The damn things just feel wrong.

    So... why?
    #1
  2. seraph

    seraph asshole on a scooter

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    It sounds like:
    -you rode shitty scooters
    -you didn't spend enough time on them to learn how to ride them (they require different technique)
    -you needed to adjust your expectations

    Your post reads a little like "I can't understand why anyone buys Focuses and Civics when Elises and Corvettes perform so much better!"
    #2
  3. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    Well, to be fair, I can't understand why people drive "kitted" focuses and civics... does that count? :D

    It would be an equivalent statement if I said "I can't understand why anyone drives Focuses and Civics when Elises and Corvettes perform so much better, more economically and safely" (of course, that would have to be true too).

    I've ridden a few ruckus' too... which seem to be a favorite among the scooter crowd.
    #3
  4. Bud Tugly

    Bud Tugly Gnarly old curmudgeon

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    Practicality - you can carry several days ' groceries or other gear on-board in protected storage without resorting to expensive saddle bags and top boxes.

    Price - there are only a couple of motorcycles priced under $4000 new but many dozens of scooters.

    Size - there are dozens of choices in the 50-200 cc size range, which the motorcycle world has totally abandoned in the US.

    Convenience - twist and go with no clutch or shifting.
    #4
  5. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    I agree with Bud Tugly. I ride all kinds of motorcycles as well. I ride a Suzuki 250 enduro, Honda CRF, a Harley and I have ridden a sports bike and many other bikes. I also have a Honda Elite 150. It is very practical for me. It gets about 85+ mpg, goes 70 mph and only cost me $1000, and is very reliable. I have done over 500 miles on it in a day and it is actually more confortable than the Harley. It will accelerate just as fast as the Harley from 0-40 mph, I am not joking, I have raced them both. The Harley cost $20,000, vs $1000.

    I can see what you are saying, but I think scooters can be practical. Like for a long trip, a Burgman 650 would be great, with a huge amount of storage under the seat and so on. I also love the automatic. Don't get me wrong, I too love to shift gears sometimes, but in tons of rush hour traffic it can be a bitch, espically a sports bike. The scoot just zipps along with ease, and always has power when you need it. I have ridden on the interstate with it a bit, and it could use a bit more speed, but I am fine in the right lane cruisen at 60 mph, as everyone is going 55-60 in it.

    As far as braking, I hear you. Mine does not break too well, with the old crappy drum brakes and smaller tires. Some new dual front disk scoots will probably stop you on a dime, but my 24 year old brakes aren't quite the best around. Handling is ok, it is not sport bike handling, and it does not really have pegs, but it is not bad, I can lean it into curves in the mountains at 50 mph without to much trouble.

    I can understand what your saying, but for some they just make some sense, but if you are better on motorcycles, then thats cool. I like both. I ride scoots for fun and screwin around, and bikes for real trips and long highway rides.
    #5
  6. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    Not having to shift is a huge selling point for people who want to ride and are afraid of gears. The newer four strokes are perfect for them. Also the image thing prevents some people from wanting tog et on a motorcycle. Scooters don't intimidate. Weather protection, secure dry luggae built in. Stuff like that. Gas mileage doesn't seem to be the big deal a lot of people thought it would be.
    Most scooter riders aren't seeking performance as much as they are style, similar to motorcycle riders in fact, just a different kind of style. I've owned and enjoyed several Vespas in my life and though they handle differently than motorcycles it's just a matter of learning the idiosyncracies- they aren't particularly dangerous.
    I Europe everyone rides scooters for convenience in traffic choked cities with parking restrictions. In the US it's different, it's a fashion statement for many people to be seen riding a scooter.
    Me? I just like riding.
    #6
  7. Kentucky

    Kentucky Long timer

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    Funny story. Yesterday I was riding my Piaggio BV250 in Daytona Beach. A guy on a newer Harley Dyna Fat Bob was ripping the throttle at the stop light after pulling up about 4 inches away from my right grip. When the light changed he ripped it up and I motored away from him. LMAO. 80 mph top speed, 70+ mpg all the time, cruises for days on end at 65 mph with ease, secure storage, amazing dual piston disc brakes with braided hoses, Michelin 16" sport radials, great weather protection and can smoke about any HD at any time. Now, I've recorded over 200k on Ultra's and love them so not HD bashing at all. I'm thinking you haven't ridden the right scooter for you. I ride mine often from Daytona to Jacksonville often for a vintage m/c club meeting. It is about 155 miles round trip and I can do it on one tank. Sweet. Very few vehicles can out motor me in daily traffic. Next time you are in Daytona come ride the BV. It will make a believer out of you.
    Barry
    #7
  8. PinkSteel

    PinkSteel Been here awhile

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    I'm 53 years old, and while I took the MSF course, worked for BMW cycles, and got licensed over 30 years ago, I never owned a motorcycle. Always wanted to get one, but marriage/kids/etc. got in the way.

    Now, I still have the desire to ride, but not a big honking Harley, or a too-fast rice-burner that'll leave my back sore. And I don't really want to throw my legs over a BMW. I'm happy to own a few old classic Hondas scooters, that I bought cheap, restored, and ride with my wife.

    There's lots of folks, young and old, that want a simple, stylish alternative to a car. They don't want the expense, and the commitment, of a big bike. Scooters satisfy a basic need for speed, transportation, image, and thrift. Most importantly, they're a blast to ride.

    The last gas crisis, in 2008, enlarged the scooter population and generated visibility and credibility for the sport. They will be another oil crisis, probably more serious and prolonged, that will drive even more folks to this low-cost, low-stress type of transport.

    What has excited me lately, is the continued melding of motorcycles and scooters, in bikes like the larger engine/tired Piaggio/Aprilia/Kymcos, and especially, the new Blur 220. High performance, tremendous handling, and a simple/clean design...
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    #8
  9. approachbears

    approachbears 250cc is 50cc too many

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    They buy them for lots of reasons. Certainly there's some buyers who crave a motorcycle, but can't afford one. However, in many years of riding I find that group to actually be quite minuscule and that claim--usually made off hand by non-scooterists--to be fairly demeaning. There are plenty of used motorcycles and even used cars just as cheap as scooters.

    The obvious reason most people buy them is that they find them superior to other options like motorcycles.

    All 2 wheelers are dangerous. Everything you mentioned about scooters I've heard others mention about bicycles. Everything you've mentioned about scooters I've heard mentioned about motorcycles. I know people who ride bicycles every day and people who ride scooters of all sizes (from 50 to 500cc) every day as impervious to the rain, shine or snow as you. I have truthfully heard people claim, just like you do for scooters, that they will "NEVER" ride a motorcycle for the exact same reasons you describe.

    You seem to find it hard to believe that the massive front disk brake on my wife's scooter actually brings the scooter to a halt. Its also seems strange to you that my 50cc Honda has consistently been able to make it out of turns in 4500 miles of riding and that without pegs I haven't just fallen off or ran into a wall in out of control riding. Yet day in and day out in a mix of urban and open riding our scooters perform admirably. Your reality and mine are apparently not the same.

    My scooter gets better than 75 mpg. It handles different than a Ninja 250, but I feel it handles better. Lower center of gravity, nicer ergonomics, ability to butt-steer, smaller size and weight for increased maneuverability, smaller wheel size for better road feel, and the list goes on and on.

    I don't believe that you posted something anti-scooter backed up with claims of tons of riding experience on a scooter board just to stir up a hornets nest or because you're an asshole. You do come across as somewhat ignorant, but you also seem genuinely vexed about why scooters are so popular and what you're missing out on.

    Your last word above answers everything you're confused about. Although you previously offered what seems to be factual evidence about speed, braking, fuel economy etc..., it really comes down to feelings for you. Just admit this and you won't be so vexed. People buy vehicles not for what they are, but for how they feel about them and what they believe them to be. That's OK. Its not a bad thing or some advertiser's mind control. People attach emotional meaning to material objects and emotions are not something that facts about speed, mpg or weight ratios can counter.
    #9
  10. approachbears

    approachbears 250cc is 50cc too many

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    Way to be condescending there bud. Many of us aren't afraid of gears, know full well how to shift gears based on years of experience with all types of geared vehicles, and still find not shifting to be a huge selling point. Removing a clunky shifter from the equation often frees up the rider to actually feel the road, feel their surroundings, know one's limitations, and let their machine run wild. The extra clutch handles and foot pedals sometimes clutter up the simple beauty of riding. Its akin to riding a 21 speed road bicycle versus a single speed cruiser with coaster brakes...the simple single is often pure fun.
    #10
  11. Coopdway

    Coopdway Curiouser

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    Honestly, this boils down to where I am. I count 35+ "gears" present in the garage and I'm very comfortable with all of them, but both scooters are absolute joys to ride without having to pick one. The scootering has reminded me of why I started riding in the first place, back at 14 years of age. It was the Going that got me wound up then, much more so than the technology or the machine specs. I've very much learned to appreciate things that work and work well.

    These days, the more technology involved, the more it becomes white noise for me. I'm around technology every day in my profession and getting away from it is joyous when I'm out rolling down the by-ways.

    Personally, it's now about the Going......again. Doing it with less, simply and at a more basic level is rewarding like I never would have been able to explain in the past. Yep, I'm getting old and not all that ashamed of it.

    I'd encourage everyone to do it their own way and I'll say it again; we're lucky to have the choice. There's really nothing says you can't mix and match, a bloody obvious observation if you look through the stables of our many stablemates here.
    #11
  12. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    I can't add much more to what's already been said.

    Two very different ride experiences:

    [​IMG]

    One provides some of the most amazing bad/slick-surface handling and braking I've experienced and is the perfect urban machine, with backroad touring capability. The other is closer to medieval technology and yet I'm smiling every minute I'm on it, loving that little downshift to third and blazing through a 90 degree+ corner on those skinny 10" tires, hitting the pipe at the apex, while retaining that "oh, it's soooo cute" look that gets smiles and waves as I do so. The third scooter, a Kymco Super 9, cost me $15 a month to do all my commuting, joyriding, and shopping.

    It makes for some interesting pairings when we ride.

    [​IMG]

    And I'm reminded every time I ride the Stella that this is how touring is still done elsewhere.

    [​IMG]

    To me, there's some honesty to them that's refreshing, along with the wee beasties and smaller bikes (check out the Minimalist Touring Thread).

    That said, years ago, you probably couldn't get me on a scooter. I distinctly remember saying, when the first 50cc bike was purchased for SWMBO, that "motorcyclists...just don't ride scooters....". :rofl I promptly ate those words and never looked back. (Within a week of acquiring the 50 I had appropriated it for myself, prompting the purchase of the Kymco.) I figure my experience isn't that different from many other riders who've discovered that one of these bikes fits in their stable just fine.
    #12
  13. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    My last bigger trip was about 9000km, two up on a Burger 400.

    It performed perfectly. I tried riding my Bandit, two up with the wife, and she was not a happy girl.

    So I have a few motorcycles for when I ride alone, and the scooter for when we ride somewhere together.

    I like riding all of them.
    #13
  14. baloneyskin daddy

    baloneyskin daddy bikaholic

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    I have multiple bikes of various sizes and performance including a dirt bike and a 9 sec drag bike and unless I'm planning on a long ride its one of the scooters that leaves the garage. I just figure why put miles on the big bikes to run small trips.I love em for errands andlocal rides with occasional 50-60 mile jaunts. However I do have some buddies who apparantly could never take the blow to their fragile self esteem to ride one.
    #14
  15. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    First, I've been riding motorcycles and scooters since the early 60s, everything from Trail 90s to Goldwings, and I'm a big fan of scooters. The old 2 stroke manual transmission Vespas are an engineering work of art. I put over 170,000 miles one one including many long trips.

    While I can't comment on all scooters, the old Vespas are unbeatable by any bike on tight twisty roads. They're super reliable, get good gas mileage, and provide weather protection that no motorcycle can equal. Add to that a spare tire that can be mounted front or rear in under 5 minutes. If I had a bigger garage I'd have a Vespa along with my other bikes.
    #15
  16. Dabears

    Dabears --------------------

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    Interesting discussion. I can only speak for myself, but my R1200GS sits on a battery tender while my nasty 30 year old Vespa does my daily 16 mile commute and my errands and joy rides on weekends.

    Ultimately I suspect I will end up with an automatic with a bit more power- I'm lusting after the BV300 if it ever makes it here to the US.

    Most people I've spoken to that don't have positive things to say about scooters tend to believe that they aren't fast enough, aren't 'cool' enough, or aren't sporty enough. I think the opposite, and I have the option every day to chose between Germany's latest high tech vunderbike and a frumpy P200E.

    Fellow scooterists understand.
    #16
  17. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    OK, so many have decent brakes and a pretty good top speed (which really has no bearing for most), and I guess I can see an auto tranny being nice for some (although I think shifting is one of the most fun parts of any vehicle, 2 wheels or 4). Now, I really don't get the "style" thing as was mentioned, but that's always personal preference. I suppose for around town they may be ok, although that's what I have my 90cc cafe bike for, again with the handling aspect.

    When people say "dry storage" now THAT still doesn't make any sense, as there's no way a scooter offers as much dry space as even a set of saddle bags, let alone with a top box and tank bag (which of course you can't have on a scooter).

    So they're getting closer to making sense... definitely not there yet, but closer indeed!

    And as to smoking Hardleys... well that's not saying much, don't even get me started on those big ugly things :)

    EDIT: approachbears... all those things I said can NOT be said about motorcycles... even most small motorcycles have very good acceleration, braking and at least decent handling. The same cannot be said for scooters.
    #17
  18. seraph

    seraph asshole on a scooter

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    Most modern 150cc-ish scooters have underseat storage for at least one full-face helmet as well as luggage racks... so you can add a top box to the rack, a seat bag, and there are scooter saddle bags. Throw in a tunnel bag and a front rack, and you've got a damn workhorse. Many maxi-scooters have an *incredible* amount of underseat storage.
    #18
  19. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    Storage space for touring gear on the old style scooters was quite good. I'd put 2 sleeping bags, tent, tarp, and a cloths bag on the front rack. Food, stove, cooking gear, water bottles, small ice chest in rear top box. 2 extra tires under the top box. Valuables, camera, maps, etc., in locking glove box. 2.5 gallon gas can on center floor board. More cloths in soft saddle bags thrown over seat. Spare tire and tools under left side cover. Just as much ore more than I carried on the Goldwing. I did a lot of 2 up touring on the Vespa 200.

    The super low center of gravity enables a scooter to flick from side to side in the tight corners more quickly than any large wheeled bike while the floor boards allow you to move your feet around to the most optimal position rather than being stuck on foot pegs.

    #19
  20. approachbears

    approachbears 250cc is 50cc too many

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    They certain can be said as I've heard them. That doesn't make the speaker correct; it just indicates that many people have some strong beliefs based on something other than direct experience or direct comparisons. For instance, you scoffed at the notion of dry storage, but failed to notice that many scooters can and do often have top boxes and saddle bags as big as any motorcycle's along with fairly vast underseat storage, tunnel bags that are usually bigger than tank bags, and even real trunks that almost all motorcycles lack.

    In the end two wheel riding is just too personal to knock someone else's choice with claims of some single superior standard. That standard just doesn't exist.
    #20