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Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by JerryH, Jul 8, 2019.
Pictures from my ride up into the mountains this morning.
I left at 4:00AM, and rode about 175 miles up there and back. It was hot and humid when I left (monsoon season) I stopped on the way back to have breakfast at a local buffet. when I came out at around 10:30, the scooter seat was too hot to sit on. I went back inside and got a cup of water and poured it over the seat. I had been wearing an orange road construction vest (a heavy duty commercial one) and decided to rearrange my luggage to find a place to put it. It was only a half hour ride home from there, and just too hot for the vest. My T shirt was soaking wet when I left the buffet, but soon dried from the wind. When I rode through my gate I could barely get off the scooter, I just left it sitting there, went inside and took a 6 hour nap. Then I finally got up and brought it into the house. I was afraid it would come a huge dust storm and cover it with dust and sand.
I did not need all that luggage for this short trip. I brought it for a test run to see how it worked out before taking a longer trip. I discovered the tank bag I had on the hook behind the leg shield was a real nuisance. I had to remove it and hang it on the right grip before I could get off the scooter. The scooter has a sidestand, but you cannot reach it from the seat. This morning I looked it over and discovered why. It appears a welded on tang that you are supposed to be able to reach from the seat was broken off. I'll see if I can get a new stand. It is very difficult to hold the scooter upright with a heavy bag hanging on the right grip, get off, and fish around underneath with your foot to find and deploy the sidestand. I almost dropped it a couple of times. I also discovered the front rack is pretty much worthless for anything besides a laptop case, anything bigger covers the headlight. And the Faco adjustable windshield was terrible anywhere but it's lowest setting. I'll probably just remove the adjustable part.
I also discovered the Vespa is a real PITA to put gas in, especially if you have stuff strapped to the seat. You have to remove the stuff from the seat, raise the seat, and then the gas filler is one of those that a gas nozzle barely fits into. I carried an extra gallon of gas with me, and a Gatorade bottle and funnel to finish filling up the tank after the pump shut off. On the way back the gas started getting low, so I pulled into a parking lot and put the one gallon of extra gas in it instead of dealing with a gas station. It gave me enough to get home.
The scooter ran beautifully. It averaged an indicated 75 mph on flat level roads, got down to 40 mph climbing long uphill grades (but it still ran smoothly, no jerking, lurching and knocking like I experienced on a couple of other scooters trying to climb these same mountains) and would peg the needle at full throttle going downhill. I backed off the throttle going downhill to avoid over revving it. VERY comfortable, the stuff I had strapped to the seat made a great backrest. Very plush suspension, I didn't get my back pounded even one time despite quite a few bumps in the road.
I was unable to duplicate the supposed front end wobble. Even at 75 mph, applying the brakes together and one at a time did not cause any problem. It took curves like it was on rails. Even doing some things you really shouldn't be doing in curves failed to cause it to lose it's composure. It felt completely solid and planted. I suspect that this "wobble" is caused by under inflated tires or a mechanical problem with the scooter.
Since I was able to cover around 175 miles in this absolutely miserable weather, I should have no problem covering 200+ miles per day in cooler dryer weather.
And as you can see, I do have handicapped plates on it. That helped a lot at the buffet. I was able to park at a space right by the front door and take my time getting off. I got off several times to take pictures, and could barely walk by the time I got back. The road (hwy 87) from Mesa to Payson is a motorcyclists/scooterists dream road. Nothing but uphills, downhills, and curves for over 100 miles. I would not advise a small CVT scooter. The GT200 and the HD200 both made it just fine though. It is 2 lanes in the same direction, so if you are really slow, you can stay in the right lane. Just be visible.
Glad to see you pushed thru and got this trip in. Pics are nice, too.
Hard to believe, but here in Michigan, there have been a couple of days where it has been almost too hot to ride. The humidity can be brutal, and not liking to gear down to ride in comfort. So long as you are moving it is OK, stopping for traffic lights can cook you.
Hwy 87 is a nice route. The red dirt road- AZ188- across and near Roosevelt Lake, goes from 87 over to US60 near Globe, is even better.
I gotta say that's the first handicapped plate I remember seeing on a PTW, without three wheels.
Out there in AZ, "it's dry heat" but a killer still.
Yesterday morning my friend Paul and I did a short tour through the countryside for breakfast 25 miles away. Weather was clearing and made for a fine ride through murk and mist.
Looks like you had a nice ride. Too bad it gets so hot so quickly. I can certainly understand wanting to get back before it gets really hot.
Glad to see you got out, Jerry. I was wondering about all the luggage, thanks for the explanation. Keep at it!
I too had wondered about the luggage. One thing about luggage on the seat is that you maybe able to strap it to the seat itself. If it isn’t too tall you can then open the seat without removing the bag. A waterproof compression bag is the best thing I’ve found for front racks. I wouldn’t hang anything from a handlebar. I also dislike anything much bigger than a small camelback hanging from the curry hook. Otherwise as you found out it is hard to step through.
As for the side stand, for your Vespa it is an auto retract model which tends to retract if bumped even slightly. Over on Modern Vespa there is a thread on how to reverse the springs to make it more stable. Since you will be using it when the scoot is loaded you may want to do that
I have two friends with handicap plates on their scooters. One rides a GTS and works at Boeing. That lets her park next to the building she works in instead of the normal employee parking lot. Otherwise she couldn’t walk far enough to continue working there. The other rides a Silverwing that used to have a Towpak trike kit on it but she has improved enough to be back on two wheels. She hasn’t owned a car in the 12+ years I’ve known her, just a series of scooters.
Yeah, strapping things to the seat and then needing gas is a real PITA as you've discovered. I try hard to not attach things to the seat if possible, and when I do I try to make the bungee cord ties simple and easy to remove. Still....
Can't imagine dealing with the heat that you have to deal with. I most often ride early in the morning though mainly for the unique light.
Your 175 mile adventure sounded great. Best wishes for more and longer ones to come!
AZ is not a dry heat anymore, and it won't be for the rest of the summer. It is monsoon season. Temperatures actually went down some, but the humidity has increased drastically.
Jakes Corner is at the intersection if 87 and 188. I have ridden those roads for decades, been all over northern AZ. 260 between Payson and Show Low is also a nice road. LOTS of green, pine trees, etc. It goes through Heber and Overgaard. Lots of nice camping and fishing places up there. There used to be a rest stop on the corner of 87 and 188, but it was shut down in '08, and the state says they can't afford to keep it open. It is now being used as a staging area for road construction. A lot of riders used to stop there.
The luggage was just a trial run. I did not ride with anything on the handlebar. I just had to remove the bag from the hook and hang it on the handlebar to get on and off the scooter. Yes that sidestand is an accident waiting to happen. I have no idea why someone would design a self retracting sidestand unless maybe it was a lawyer. I showed my doctor a picture of the scooter, with the flat floor, and he approved the plate.
This setup, with a new kickstand that doesn't self retract, and can be reached without getting off the scooter should do fine on a week long trip, if it were about 40 degrees cooler.
DOT requires kickstand to either auto retract or have a kill switch active when it is down. Until 2018 Vespa went with the self retracting kickstand. With Euro 4 changes the GTS at least went to the kill switch stand like Piaggio users in their bigger scooters.
FWIW, Jerry, that's more luggage than I take to Europe,etc....
Especially since it's nigh on impossible to bring anything very exciting home via air travel anymore.
I sleep better knowing the DOT has my back.
YES! GREAT! to see you out riding Jerry!!! AZ in August isn't for the meek or weak.
If the kick stand doesn't retract when you ride off, you will only do it once .
Ask me how I know ; On my o5 Triumph the kick stand switch went wonky so I disabled it and by passed the switch. Got in a hurry one morning and rode off with the side stand down . No problem until I hit the first sharp left hand bend. Crikey that got my attention.
As I said "you will only do it once"
For me sometimes the ride is the whole point, not the view or the lunch or the getting somewhere. Being able to run across the face of the earth on a minimal vehicle that lets me feel like I'm light and strong and able to be graceful as I navigate around curves and bumps and obstacles. Life is full of frustration, and the frustration gets more and more personal and aggravating because it's coming from my own body and brain as I get old. Who am I going to be pissed at when my own leg hurts for no good reason?
Just being on the scooter, running along where I want, even for a few minutes. It always makes me feel better. Taking a census of a-holes as you ride is a terrible idea. You and I know that there's one for every human. What's to learn from dwelling on them? Ride through, laugh at them and wave. One day the wolves and tigers might get you, but make them work for it.
There you go!
What Wentworth said +1
I totally agree. Just relax and enjoy the ride, especially when on a mostly deserted road in a nice place. On this short trip I spent almost as much time stopping and starting, getting on and off the bike to take pictures as I did riding. That tank bag on the hook and broken sidestand didn't help. I was constantly on the lookout for some place that I thought would make a good background for a picture. Some long distance riders actually carry drones so they can get video of themselves riding from above. Many stop and record themselves describing how things are going, what they are doing, where they stopped for lunch, etc. That is all new to me. I'm used to getting on the bike and just taking off, enjoying the ride, without the anxiety of looking for someplace to take a picture.
I have taken very few planned rides, even long ones, in my life. I load up, get on, pick a direction, and make it up as I go along. I never had a schedule, never booked motel rooms in advance so I would have to be there at a certain time. Things have a way of working themselves out. Things will go wrong whether you have a plan or not. But a lot of things will also go right, especially if you have the luxury of taking your time.
Pre-dawn ride to the ortho doc this a.m. for synvisc shots in knees. Been a while since I rode with the early commuter, late to work crowd!
Wentwest words are sweet but if riding took away my sciatica I'd be on there even more...
I wish they had a shot for sciatica! I tried the spinal epidural shots a couple times, done by an anesthesiologist but have mixed results and fear that shot given the process and all. Meanwhile I'm waiting on my next knee shot as the 1st on the other knee.
Picture- I used to be a picture taking fiend, wildlife, car road racing, vacations here and abroad, but now find myself mostly taking "brain pictures" unless it's family pics that we all share.
When I do those early a.m. rides to the doc, etc., the I-road speeds are slightly above the pegged out speed of a GTS.
Sciatica is serious. I had it when I was 20. At first it was extremely painful, then my right leg started going numb. I had to have surgery to remove the L5 disc. They said it was broken in half and the nerve was caught between the two pieces, and if they hadn't removed it when they did, the nerve damage would have been permanent and my right leg would have been paralyzed for life.