1,300 miles, 4-6 days, $500, on a scooter

Discussion in 'Americas' started by twistedkeys, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. twistedkeys

    twistedkeys Utahrd

    Sep 3, 2010
    Paiute, Utah.
    So I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I need some pros to tell me if I'm being realistic or if I'm going to die. I can probably trade my old CR250 for a newish Elite and come up with some cash somehow.

    Who: Me myself and my bike....and God.

    What: Mid 90's Elite 80/125/150, a sleeping bag, a tent, an iPod Touch with internet email etc., $500, an OHV and learners permit (that's right, no license), tools, oils, spare spark plug, spare belts, and a tire.

    When: Summer 2012

    Where: From Central Utah to Los Angeles (or near-by places; Newport, Santa Monica, Malibu, etc.).

    How: By riding as much as possible (15-20 hour rides), skimping on "dinner", planning ahead with a map and my gps, and riding on secondary-highways all the way there.

    Why: The season of summer 2012 will be my very last time to myself. Right now I'm studying like crazy, and after that I'm heading to college for 5 years, getting married, and so on. Summer 2012 will be my last time as a kid. I also want to do something that'll make me a real man since I would have just turned 18. It'll be an adventure. Also I used to live in LA and miss it greatly. I have not seen a beach for 12 years.

    What's wrong with me: When I was 14 I bought myself a brand new 50cc scooter - I still have it running in fact - I took that little beast anywhere I could find. Once on a 7 hour adventure straight up a mountain and back down the other side into a new city, on the highway back to home. All on one tank of gas, no water, no map, and it needed to have a charger to start again, and the charger was running low. I'm a very adventurous person, but I know when to stop. I've never been hurt in any way on a motorcycle (apart from kicking the damn thing when it wouldn't start) and have a great deal of genuine confidence in my riding and decisions. I also have confidence in my mechanical skills; I can pretty much fix anything on the side of the road.

    What I'll do to the bike: Besides the regular maintenance (oils, gas tank cleaned, electricals checked for wear, belt inspected, battery charged, etc...) I will probably bring a couple extra belts, a large can of gas, and a spare tire. I will also do one small modification to it: change the roller weights for maximum speed. Not only will this allow for secondary-highway rides, but also make the RPMs lower at average speed thus less stress on the motor and improved gas millage (ona scootah mothaflufa!).

    My concerns: Scooter's gonna completely die on me. Some bitch on a phone is going to ram me. I'm going to wipe out out of exhaustion and get seriously injured. Run out of money half way through (I can borrow my parents credit card number over email right?). Bike might get stolen during the night while camping. Will run out of gas in death valley. Or get stuck between a major highway or dirt road (namely in Death Valley.)

    What do you think? Is this realistic? Is $500 too low for food, gas, and emergency repairs for 4-6 days? My BIG question is will a Honda Elite make it? 65MPH all the way to LA? Roughly ~600 miles? I think of it in this logic: If a Honda Elite's average life span is what 50,000? Why could it not make a 1300 mile round trip? Why? 'Cause if the only limitation is the rider and his wallet then I'm ready.

    Also one last, large concern.... I literally do not know anyone on the road there. So once I leave the state, I'm completely by myself. It would be SO much better if I had a friend midway through that would be willing to pick the bike up and help me out a little if I needed it. Or ideally a support vehicle.

    And yes I'm serious about this. I also plan on documenting it by way of video.

    (Click cycling directions)

    Comments gotten from my family:

    Older sister: "That sounds fun...I would never do that though"

    Younger sister: "Traveling is simply a waste of time and money. I highly disrespect the thought and anyone who attemmpts it"

    Father: "California's a nice place...."
  2. jnorton1

    jnorton1 Been here awhile

    Jan 3, 2011
    Loveland Colorado
    No specific help but wtf is wrong with the little sister. I'd tell her I have no respect for ignorant closed minded people. I say go for. Worst case the things blows up and you hitch a ride into town and by a bus ticket.
  3. twistedkeys

    twistedkeys Utahrd

    Sep 3, 2010
    Paiute, Utah.
    Yeah I was a little hurt by her comment :scratch

    Too bad we don't have a bus system into Utah. Too bad I don't know anything about buses :rolleyes

    But I guess I could sell it for $150 and make my way back if I found out there was a bus system or something of the sort.
  4. leewildwater

    leewildwater rrrrRide Man rrrrRide

    Dec 21, 2004
    out riding my two legged horse near Bryson City NC
    GO GO GO GO!!!!!!

    Your story of your ffirst scooter reminded me alot of my first bike a 60's Honda S-65. I was allowed to go pretty much anywhere as long as I was no on paved road. I would travel a lot farther than anyone could have suspected. All this equaled one thing = FREEDOM

    My Beast of Burgamn left today heading to So Cal with some friends trailering west and then going to Baja. My wife and I will fly out in about a month and spend a week with my wife family and the she flys and I ride. Going south to San Diego and then west to St Augustine FL before heading home to NC. I am not planning on more than $100 day for everything.

    And those scooters are bomb proof. Mine was nearly destroyed in a fire in 2009.

    Just don't sweat the small stuff and remember; Its' all small stuff anyway and you'll and the elite will do just fine.

    Attached Files:

  5. twistedkeys

    twistedkeys Utahrd

    Sep 3, 2010
    Paiute, Utah.
    Nice :D $100/day would be more then enough for a small scooter then? And how did you start it on fire?:lurk Should I be concerned?
  6. Cosmic_Jumper

    Cosmic_Jumper Been here awhile

    Feb 1, 2005
    The Republic of Dreams , Bureau of Dubious Reality
    Absolutely GO FOR IT!!!

    It will be a whole less worrisome if you could see your way to upgrade to a 250cc Elite. So much less stress on the scoot given the highway speed you'll need to maintain to compete with traffic.


    A tight budget is the mother of adventure
  7. twistedkeys

    twistedkeys Utahrd

    Sep 3, 2010
    Paiute, Utah.
    250 would be nice to have. I can not find any for sale in my state is the main problem, and I've been looking for a few months. Though there's a wealth of 80/125/150 for anywhere between $200-$800. All have slightly rough body work, 4-14K miles, and "runs solid". If I change out the roller weights, with a stock top speed of 65 for a 150, I'll be able to top out at freeway speeds. So as a guesstimate, 4-5K RPM at 65MPH?

    I also don't plan on competing with traffic on a scooter. Though it would be nice to keep up. :evil
  8. twistedkeys

    twistedkeys Utahrd

    Sep 3, 2010
    Paiute, Utah.
    So is not having an actual motorcycle license not a big deal because no one's brought it up?

    As I said I do have an OHV (MX/ATV) and learners (car) permit. I do not have a drivers license nor a motorcycle one.
  9. willys

    willys Long timer

    Jan 26, 2006
    Lake Simcoe Ont.
    I say go for it also, you aren't spending your life's inheretence, just a small amount of cash so to speak. Plus the machine is basically a throw away cost wise, no? You have a plan and a distination, that's all you need.
    As for the licence, I would find out officially if you need it in every state you are traveling through. Just incase some horny trooper pulls you over and slaps your ass in jail. Or worse takes your ride!

    I wouldn't try and keep up with traffic either, if it means flogging the daylights out of the poor scoot. They will drive around you, whether you are at the speed limit or slightly below it. I would wear something bright so they see you and ride. I would also buy the best machine mechanicly you can afford with the highest cc engine. Body work is over rated! Plus it will be less of a theft score if you are worried about that side of things.

    Study hard, pass all courses and then go on your adventure.....once you do one....you'll be hooked! I'd did my frst one a few years ago mow, and every winter I dream of the next and the next.....it'll get under your skin....enjoy.:freaky:clap
  10. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

    Nov 16, 2007
    Branson MO
    What you are planning certainly sounds doable, I have a 150 scoot that I tour with and it is as enjoyable as the trips on my big bike. But ..

    With only 6 days I think you will find that most all your time will be spent in the saddle, you'll have almost no time once you get there before you turn around and head home. At home it will take you two days to 'recover' from your adventure.

    My scoot will pull 62+ at WOT but to keep from throughly thrashing it, I ride at 50-55, so in the end - accounting for rest/fuel/talk stops I always end up going 38 miles for every hour spent in the saddle. But that is my 'style' as I like to tour rather than participate in some sort of Iron Butt adventure.
  11. tortoise2

    tortoise2 Been here awhile

    Dec 29, 2007
    Probably unrealistic . . and weight, hills, and headwind will significantly reduce speed.

    You just seem to be in denial . . possibly gaming the system on driver license and scooter registration and insurance . . and the consequences of probably running an engine at wide-open-throttle for extended periods.
  12. acejones

    acejones Long timer

    May 14, 2005
    MS. Gulf Coast and Puerto Vallarta, MX
    Come up with a more workable fantasy.
  13. btcn

    btcn Long timer

    Jul 1, 2010
    Morgan Hill CA
    Alright let me try and answer your questions, I'm glad to see Y'all wanten a trip like this, but I'll give you the facts straight.

    Ok, I have an 86 Elite 150 Deluxe myself. I rode it as my sole bike for 2 years, meaning my only transportation and only bike other than a couple dirt bikes [not street legal]. I put well over 20K on it in that time and I still have it and ride it quite a bit. I've replaced and rebuilt the engine on it, dont LOTS of work on it, I'd say me and a couple others on here such as bbishoppcm know these things inside out.

    They are great scooters, their real reliable [BUT you WILL have to replace a bunch of parts we's commed up with or it will be unreliable and if you don't replace the intake manifold the engine will self destruct, and the CDI can cause constant carb like power spikes and drops, took me nearly 2 years to find that one! Thes things are notorious for this. Once these and a few other parts is replaced, it'll make a fine scooter.

    The engine is liquid cooled [a huge plus], they are about as reliable as a civic, and are just fun little scoots for a good price. Now concerning top speed, they do have quite an accurate speedo, within 2 MPH of GPS/Radar speed. I'm going to tell you right now though, for what you want to do you will quickly find the power to be very inadequate. Top speed DOES hit 65 MPH, but that is with a moto GP style tuck, a under 200 pound rider, a decent tailwind, and a LONG flat straight road. If you lack ANY of those top speed will be about 60 MPH. Even at 55 MPH the engine is working real hard and revving super high. 4-5K at 65 MPH? No way! My Shadow 700 V-Twin runs right at 4K at 70 MPH in OD 6th, and thats a big bike! Even a Burgman 650 with OD runs at like 5-6K at 55-65 MPH I believe, so an Elite 150 at 65 MPH would be well over 8K. As far as comfortable cruising, 50 MPH is the max comfortable speed on an Elite 150. 55 MPH even feels like it is straining, and a bit of headwind and 55-58 MPH is WOT. Now some claim that the Honda 125-250 CVT scooter engines are fine at WOT all day, this is due to the scooter's power curve to gearing ratios make the HP/Torque completely flatten out at a certain speed, and tie bike is incapable of going ANY more without a downhill or mods, and the Redline[the high RPMs that actually damage/hurt the engine] are a bit above the max speed, and I'll tell you at 55+ MPH there is nothing there. However engines don't like to be run at WOT for long long periods of time, maybe it won't blow but its certainly not good for them. Plus, those long hills will be super hard on the engine and take you down to 45-50 MPH tops with strain. The Elite 150 is honestly best suited for around town and country backroad cruising as well as fun hilly twisty roads. It is NOT a highway bike or even a good secondary 2 lane 55 MPH highway bike for any long distances. Now I have seen 70 MPH on GPS on my Elite, but that was FULL tuck, WFO, and a powerful gusts of wind on a flat to slight decline road. But 60-63 MPH is your regular max speed.

    Upgrading roller weights will NOT increase top speed despite what claims are made without more high RPM power or a change in gearing. Only a taller ratio may give you more speed, but in the 150's case it won't cause it runs out of power, but if it was like an extra OD gear it may lower your cruise RPMs back into the powerband, thus giving a bit more top end. Lighter rollers will just make your engine rev more and wear out quicker as well as give you shitty gas milage. Heavier will make it real like an 80 off the line and just make it shift quicker. Only real way to change ratios is bigger rear tar [cannot do cause lack of clearance] or final drive gears upgraded [don't know of any companies that make em].

    SO what would I say?

    Save up your money and get yourself a bigger scoot or a motorcycle. Hell, you like wrenching? A street Project bike sounds like a good candidate. I bought my Shadow 700 for $500, all I needed to to was change the all and replace the Fuel Pump [$20 ebay] and its a runner! Fixed it up, painted it, maybe $800 including bike invested and I got an awesome, fun little cruiser. I's ridded it to Surgis this summer, and its reliable and runs like a champ! What a bike! Not the meantion the price! Has great power for a 700 V-Twin, I's sawed 110 MPH in 5th it has 6th OD left and it had more left! Cruises effortlessly at 70 MPH, hell I can't even get it into 6th without stalling it out until around 60 MPH!

    I'd say go pick up a bike, fix it and next summer you'll have a road worthy motorcycle. Craigslist you may find a nice little CB650 or something for like $500-$900 range that just needs cleaned up and carb cleaning. It'll suit you MUCH better.

    And as far as licensing, just go get your motorcycle license? I mean your old enuff, just do it. A while ago I rode scooters without any permit or license, never got caught. But thats cause I wasn't old enough to get one. But as soon as I got old enuff I got my Motorcycle Permit.

    I don't know what law is out in Utah, but here its like up to $3K in fines for towing and a huge deal now for driving without a license. Its less deal for bikes, but still sucks. I'm sure out there you need a Motorcycle Permit for even a 153 cc Scooter. There Interstate legal [I have done 1 mile of Interstate its decent in the right lane! But not comfortable at all]. Plus you don't have no insurence covered for the vehicle without proper licensing so thats a big fine and in accident your screwed.

    Plus its not nearly as fine riding illegally, your always looking in the mirrors to see if a cops behind you, and your shittin bricks when a huge Sheriff SUVs up your tail. Trust me, ridings 1000X funner when its legal. You can just cruise without a worry on your mind.

    Well good luck and let us know what you decided.
  14. t6pilot

    t6pilot Been here awhile

    Feb 15, 2011
    huntington beach
    License first, insurance second, forget riding a 150 scooter on any california freeway
  15. achtung3

    achtung3 Long timer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Central Coast California
    There was a guy on this forum that went to Anchorage and back from San Jose Ca on a moped, I believe a Symbad!
    I think you can do it if you ride wisely, and know a bit about wrenching.
    Go to the scooter section on this forum and ask some of the guys there, the Morgan Hill guy here knows about the the scoot and he has good information about it, I think you can do it (riding wisely), it is not the speed but how you ride it.
    I have a 86 Elite 150 and it has over 11K, I have not done anything to it except change oil, tires and coolant, I ride it constantly specially in these past 3-4yrs, I think a 1300 mile trip will be fine (ride it wisely).
    Good luck and power to the scoots.:clap
  16. alicethomas

    alicethomas Been here awhile

    Jan 1, 2011
    Palatinate, Germany
    Long trips are not about speed, but reliability.
    1954-55, when frontiers opened again after WW2, G√ľnther Markert went around the world with a Kreidler 50cc (book available!).
    A former schoolfriend cycled around Africa (1 year west coast down, 1 year work in SA, 1 year south coast up).
    Common people (with 3 weeks vacation) went on their 50cc Vespa with wife and small baggage on the pillion seat from North Europe over the Alps to Italy and back.

    Even today many Europeans travel on bicycles or 50cc scoots (and 28mph, maximum allowed with a car driving license) on minor roads (motorway not allowed) through their country (and further).
    Since about 10 years you can book all inclusive scooter package holidays all around Europe and even to North Africa!

    You don't need much displacement for an adventure. The way is the target. You will see more at minor speeds on back roads.
    Prepare your bike and yourself and go for it!
  17. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

    Nov 26, 2006
    Here, but lost. Am I lost if i know i'm here?
    Is your learners permit valid in another state?

    License. Insurance. Reliable (bigger motor) bike.

    Or take more time than that.
  18. duncanfc

    duncanfc Adventurer

    Aug 28, 2011
    San Francisco
    In the 80s, I was going from Prescott, AZ, to LA in a day.

    Day before I was leaving, met a fellow at the airplane school there...Embry something.

    He noticed I was on a motorbike, asked where I was going and when I told him I was en route to LA, he asked to join me.

    I asked what he had, told me a Vespa P200E. He had purchased in a month prior from an older fellow in town and had gotten it road ready.

    Hmmm. An air cooled two stroke in May, from a mile high to sea-level, and the section from Blythe to LA on I-10.

    I told him ok, meet me at X at 4 AM tomorrow with a full tank, extra 2-stroke oil, and a working spare. At worst, I told him he could me a lift to the next stop if my bike dies, and at 2nd worst, I could do the same for him. :D

    No problems till we descended towards Palm Springs...there is a long downhill there. He pulled in the clutch to coast. We were doing about 60 at that point. He engine sputters and seized. In a panic he left clutch-out, lays a long streak of rubber, wobbles, pulls clutch in, brakes to stop.

    Not knowing what had happened to cause this, I ask him to detail what he did.

    When he tells me. I say that by cutting the flow of fuel/oil mixture to engine, things overheated....no coasting allowed with a 2-stroke that is this hot. I have no idea if I am right or not, but it sounded good at the time.

    He couldn't turn it over, and I told him we needed to get it running so the engine would be permanently seized, so I push him down the hill and when he hits 20-30, to let the cluch out in 2nd or 3rd gear and pray.

    He does it, and it starts and we go on.

    At next gas, the bike starts up fine on its own....crisis apparently adverted.

    We get to LA, I get to stay on the couch at his girlfriend's place in Sherman Oaks, and next day I am off.

    Anyway, the point is, do it. If a 2-stroke can do it with a novice rider, you can do it also on a better engineered machine provided you are sensible and don't hit a bunny rabbit while going around a corner. :wink:

    Good luck and enjoy.
  19. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer Supporter

    Jan 3, 2005
    The Badlands (of NJ)
    Great idea, go for it. It is much better to work on the principle of "It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission".

    When I was about your age, I built a crappy saddle, attached it to the luggage rack of my 50cc minibike (these are not mopeds, but rather small motorcycles), put my then 10-or-so year old brother on the back and cut across southern section of the country we lived in. Our family found out only when we arrived at the destination, grandparent's house. OK, it was a bit crazy, but even after many decades the memories bring smiles to both mine and my brother's faces.

    To address some of your questions: the license may be an issue. Check on your state motor-vehicles authority web site. In some states you can ride up to 50cc scooter license-free, then you'll need a motorcycle endorsement. This varies by the state; you are bound by regulations of your place of residence.
    To increase your chances: could you get at least a motorcycle learner's permit? It would be better than nothing (even though technically not sufficient: here in NJ moto and auto learner's permit requires that you are accompanied by a licensed driver or rider). What this means is that you are waltzing into territory of asking forgiveness vs. permission.

    Regarding bike/engine size: you do not need a big one. Yes, it is nicer, but with a smaller one you'll easier slide under the watchful eye of the Law. Someone here mentioned that you will have hard time keeping up on the freeways - but, that would be true with anything below 125cc - and, besides, scooters are often banned on freeways anyway.
    Just be realistic about daily distances you can cover: you cannot travel all 15-hour days. Your body or your bike will give up. Count on maybe 8-hr days and on average speeds of only few tens mph on backroads on a 50cc, 45mph on 125cc and up.

    To summarize: try to at least get motorcycle learner's permit, if not a real license. Get as small machine as possible. Some here will pooh-pooh a tiny scooter, but many of us traveled all over Europe on 50cc minibikes or scooters. Take it easy and have fun.
    Need a role model? How about this Aussie traveling "Sydney to London on a moped called Dot"?

    Final thought: what is this deal with your life ending now, as you are going to college?
    Surprise! Ahead of you, may very well be the best time of your life - and if you play it right, you may have plenty of time to travel.
  20. Seth S

    Seth S Will _____ for _____

    Jul 19, 2004
    Moped trip:

    18000 km on a moped:

    my first bike was a 1971 Honda CT90. I rode it 3000 miles in the time I had it. I took one long trip on it over a weekend...250 miles total I think...at 40 to 45 mph it was kind of slow but it was fun. Traffic is your biggest headache as you have to keep an eye on the mirrors so as not to get run over. At 85 mpg gas was about $3 for the trip. You get all sorts of reactions from people ranging from ear to ear grins, big waves, rude gestures and comments...mostly good. The rude people I suspect are just insecure. i say go for your trip. Your sisters attitude makes me fear that when she turns 15 she will have her first child....:D but there is still time to reform her.

    My old ct: