Taming the small wheel

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by driller, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. driller

    driller Twist and Go

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    I have found a couple of threads on "Perfect Line..." about people who have made the move from scooter to motorcycle, but none comparing differences in riding techniques between the two.
    Considering the different center of gravity, weight distribution, shorter wheelbase, rake angle and all the other elements that affect handling of scooters, there must be some different techniques that allow a rider to maximize fun, speed and safety.
    I ride a Dual Sport bike and a large "Maxi" style scooter. The Maxi is much more "bike-like" in it's handling, but there are still some different things going on to follow the laws of physics as you wind through the twisites.
    I am considering getting a smaller wheeled scoot (think Zuma125 or similar) for closer local running around. Just the road to town and the grocery store has enough curves to make you dizzy. :D
    So, what wisdom do you offer for taming the small wheeled beasties.?:ear
    #1
  2. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    Ease up on the control inputs. Yowza, I found that out the hard way. First time I rode the Stella it felt really twitchy--but it was me. I found that countersteering input was almost thought-control versus giving much pressure at the bars...just a smidge needed on that particular bike.

    The Stella is a bit on the extreme side of things with 3.50x10 tires and a good amount of motor hanging off one side, but after cruising around at 55 on that thing after getting used to it, you learn how to really smooth out inputs.

    All the other scoots I have--Kymco Super 9, and the MP3--have larger wheels so it gets easier from there, though on the Kymco and Stella the turn-in is pretty quick as you know with the little tires.

    The neat thing I've found after riding a few small wheel scoots is that when I go back to the big bike, I'm even smoother.

    One other thing--they seem to be really sensitive to tire pressure. A pound or two low on my little-wheeled scoots makes 'em feel like something is really amiss.
    #2
  3. KilLeR Kawasaki

    KilLeR Kawasaki Marky A

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    I thought most people rode scooters because they were; A) Scared of Motorcycles or B) Need an auto tranny.

    As neither of these seems to apply to you, why would you expand your stable in that particular direction?
    #3
  4. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    Maybe because this forum is aimed at people who have KTM's, GS, etc and also happen to have scoots in their garage, so it's a good place to get info from people who are also avid motorcyclists. The idea that we're scared of the bikes we own or need a CVT doesn't wash here. He's got a pretty good question.
    #4
  5. seraph

    seraph asshole on a scooter

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    Man, don't even open this can of worms. It's just different tastes.



    driller, one thing you'll learn about quickly is bad pavement. On roads I travel often, I know where the poorly-paved manhole covers, potholes, big cracks in pavement, etc. are. The light weight, small wheels, short wheelbase, and uneven weight distribution (it's all in the back), coupled with generally crappy suspensions, makes them awfully sensitive to this sort of thing. This has been true over all the scooters I've ridden (Metro, Vino 125, Stella).

    I'll second Photog as well, they do seem twitchy (even without bad pavement) compared to big bikes, but once you get used to them you know what to expect. They really take just a minuscule amount of steering input.
    #5
  6. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    Not all scooters handle the same just as all motorcycles don't handle the same. There is a huge difference between a sport bike and a cruiser. There is a huge difference between a Burgman 650 and a Vespa 150.
    #6
  7. redhandmoto

    redhandmoto Been here awhile

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    I have both. Photog puts it well.

    A motorcycle is like flying a plane.
    A scooter is like being a bird.
    #7
  8. driller

    driller Twist and Go

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    Indeed!
    Some aircraft (Piper Cub) will "fly themselves" while some are inherently unstable (F16). Hummingbird or even skateboard come to mind.
    I seem to be losing CC's as well and having more fun all the while.:evil

    A Stella is a good basis for discussion. My first two wheeler was an Allstate Cruisair which was essentially a three speed version of a Stella.
    That twitchiness was my downfall one summer long ago. Zip, Bang, Pow!
    On the pavement with a broken collar bone and the usual road rash....I know twitchy.:eek1

    Despite the generally poor suspensions of scooters, I entertain thoughts of mild to moderate trail/FS road riding on something like the Zuma or Rat110.
    Just wondering what riding techniques I use when on the DS would transfer or work to overcome the disadvantage of the smaller diameter wheels. Slow and easy is probably the rule there. I'm sure it will require some trial and error along with some washouts to figure it out.

    Keep up the interesting input!
    #8
  9. B02S4

    B02S4 Aye

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    Hello again, Driller. :wave

    My Rat 106.2 (a/k/a 110) is a fun alternative to my Triumph Speedmaster bagger for running about. Think of it as a runabout, something to complement the real bike/s, & you're good to go.

    I have no regrets with it, but it does have its limitations. Provided you don't try & make it a motorcycle replacement it's all good.

    The Rat is also fun to tinker with, & 2T scooters are just cool. :D
    #9
  10. driller

    driller Twist and Go

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    He knows where I'm going. :deal
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  11. seraph

    seraph asshole on a scooter

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    I hear those Rattlers are wheelie machines, especially if you can get an aftermarket exhaust and maybe some lighter rollers in 'em. I want one.
    #11
  12. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    Borrow a 50-125cc small scooter for a week, try running errands on it.
    You'll understand.

    Me?
    I got a big bike first, but knew what scoots are all about.

    Reviewed a few for a local mag (big ones), tried a lot of smaller ones
    when I worked at a Peugeot Scoot dealership.. and bought a 50cc scoot
    in 2008 (had the kawasaki since 2007).

    I've just sold it (the 50cc scoot) a few days ago and feel like I lost the
    function of my legs. I'm looking forward to the new 125cc scoot that I'm
    waiting to come home more then I was looking forward to my Kawasaki.

    Different thing, different thrills, and just as fun.
    #12
  13. amycyclenut

    amycyclenut Been here awhile

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    I have only ever owned motorcycles until last summer when I bought a Vespa 150 S. I LOVE that thing. For me it makes a great commuter bike (I'm only 4 miles to work) so I love to ride it to work in the warm months.

    I'm not sure that I ride it a whole lot different than my motorcycles... well maybe MORE aggressively. The short wheelbase really lets you throw it into corners. I guess what I would say is you might not have as much lean angle on the small tires, although I have not had a problem yet. I do know if you have the narrow squared off old school tires, you definitely don't have the lean angle and you can feel it when you have gone as far as you can go.

    Scooters are FUN :clap
    #13
  14. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    I've noticed the exact same thing! :huh

    I'm rather cautious and very smooth on my motorcycle.. yet.. when I jump
    on my scooter, I can seem to keep both wheels in the same line, backing
    the rear end in turns SM style, and constantly grinding the center stand
    whenever I can.

    And at 28.. I'm not a kid anymore either.. :huh
    #14
  15. driller

    driller Twist and Go

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    Amazing how you have gotten in my head!
    Cortez, that is how I got "infected". Used a small one for a couple of hours and was bitten. Just didn't have enough time on it to figure how to get the most out of it as well as not wanting to trash someone else's bike. I was laughing for a long time after riding the little one. Well, all bikes make me grin. The old Devo tune "Whip it" was beating around in my head.
    Nothing like flicking a light bike around.
    Amy, have you ever ridden around Lake Lanier , just below Tryon?
    If not, you will have to come up for a run. It is a hidden scooter (and MC) nirvana. :deal
    #15
  16. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    :freaky:clap

    Tell ya a secret..
    I just put a deposit down on an Kymco Agility 125.. like 20 minutes ago!

    :clap:freaky
    #16
  17. redhandmoto

    redhandmoto Been here awhile

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    See that you're considering the Zuma 125. I have a black '09. It is bringing out the devil in me. Whereas a motorcycle demands prudence, maturity, sober consideration of its mass, lumpen turgidity at low speed in urban riding, the Zuma has somehow got me, ah, showing my ass.

    It is so light, torquey, and responsive that the separation between it and one's body dissolves. The physics of handling become instinctual. It is a shameful and irresponsible thing for an otherwise solid citizen to ride. One gentleman above noted that he was "no kid", and I am more than twice his age. Shame on me. I am at a loss to explain it. It has become My Secret Life, and I just snuck through a monstrous order for a big bore kit, racing clutch and variator, and a pipe.

    Think, Man! What will I say to my grandchildren when the constabulary claps me in darbies and drafts up a way-bill of moving violations long as a bus ticket to Omaha?
    #17
  18. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    :rofl

    Fun times!
    Make sure you "report in" after the mods, ya hear! :deal
    #18
  19. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    I have no idea why, but I'm more of a hooligan on the scoot than I've ever been on any other bike. :rofl

    The 7 phases of me discovering my first 50cc scoot

    1. this is dumb and slow
    2. if I change my route it won't be so annoying
    3. this route is sorta fun...maybe I'll stick with this
    4. okay, if I don't brake and get back on the gas faster this time I can snipe this apex from the main street to the alley better than Rossi
    5. Holy cow, you get get a metric buttload of groceries under the seat AND play motoGP on the way home
    6. DO YOU WANT A PIECE OF THIS? DO YOU? YEAH, YOU IN THE MINIVAN.
    7. I need another scooter
    #19
  20. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    +1 !
    I just hit number seven!
    :evil:evil
    #20