In need of some guidance on purchasing my first scooter

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by MichaelPatrick, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. MichaelPatrick

    MichaelPatrick n00b

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    Hey everyone,


    I am new to the forum and also pretty new to scooters. I never considered buying a scooter, as my plan in the near future was to buy a bike; likely a Triumph Bonneville. However, like I noted in my introduction post, I live in NYC and had the opportunity to use the scooter rideshare, Revel and I fell in love (as did my wife who often rode on the back). These things are just so convenient and fun, and they seem to make much more sense over a bike! Here’s the thing, despite being a professional researcher, I am really struggling to find a few suitable scooters that fit my price range, power and design preferences, and I think that has a lot to do with scooter models constantly being phased out (even despite a pretty serious spreadsheet…). It’s for this reason that I am reaching out, hoping that you can provide some assistance with your collective knowledge! Below provides a pretty good sketch of what I’m looking for.


    Please note that I am perfectly fine with buying a used scooter. That said, I’d hate to sacrifice modern safety features like ABS and other similar features with an older scooter.

    Price range: Ideally, under $2500

    Motor: 200-400cc range. I know this is a large range, but it provides flexibility for price. I expect to be riding primarily on city streets and secondary highways, and I expect to often ride 2 up with my wife. I also want the ability to hit highways (and perhaps freeways once I gain more experience).

    Wheel size: 16” wheels (or larger, if possible). I know that millions of riders are fine with smaller wheels, but I think there’s a good argument for larger wheels in terms of stability at higher speeds. I also live in NYC and the streets and highways in NY/NJ are often pretty brutal. The Revel scooters have 12” wheels and man, when you hit a sudden pothole it really calls into question whether you’re going to go flying.

    Design: I’m drawn to the maxi-styling of scooters like Burgman 400 over the traditional Vespa style. More than aesthetics, it just seems more stable and comfortable (I’m 6’0, 200 lbs.). While I’m cool with the Vespa style around the city and on secondary roads, I have a hard time seeing myself feeling as stable, visible and ultimately safe with that style on a highway/freeway. The typical maxi style also just looks badass and has a nice hybrid feel.


    Thanks!!!

    Mike
    #1
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  2. Wentwest

    Wentwest How's that work?

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    Look for a Piaggio BV350 in your price range. If it was me, and I was living in NYC, I'd get used to the idea that the scooter I want is likely to be hundreds of miles away, in the garage of an older person who isn't riding anymore. Find yourself a search tool that searches through Craigslist over wide sections of the US, and be prepared to end up traveling some to ride your new scooter home. A BV350 will roll down the Interstate at 75 all day, in comfort and style.
    #2
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  3. ernest t bass

    ernest t bass Been here awhile

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    Searchtempest is a good tool for shopping regionally.
    600_12012252.jpeg Honda Reflex is a good choice.
    Yamaha Majesty & Suzuki Burgman good choices as well.
    #3
  4. Duck Dodgers

    Duck Dodgers Scared shiftless ! Supporter

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    Second on the BV 350.
    2BF21532-6B3C-4ED0-8817-A7E9771B141D-8484-0000024B75DDC6F3.jpg
    #4
  5. Martijn Wils

    Martijn Wils Been here awhile

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    Pretty tall order for $2500 or less .. not that it cannot be done if you are patient and willing to travel to find the scooter you desire and bring it home. As others before me I recommend a Piaggio Beverly which can be found in at least four different variants in the USA: BV200, BV250, BV300, or BV350. Quite possibly there's one out there with your name on it but keep in mind that desirable, low mileage motorcycles and scooters usually sell in 24 hours or less of an posting it online in an ad so you must be ready to buy immediately with cash in hand. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist seems to where the action is nowadays. Good luck!
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  6. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

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    Third on the BV350, it's ideal for you. Going to cost more but it'll be worth it. If it was me I'd also spring for one of the later model years with ABS, that's what you want in NY. Especially as a somewhat new rider? People switching lanes without indicating, taxis doing u-turns and cyclists riding all over the place.. ABS. When you panic and pull the lever too hard on instinct it's a godsend so you don't fold the front.

    Other models to look for are the Burg 400, X-Max 300, T-Max 530. But in NYC I'd say you want something pretty agile and the BV350 is much more agile than the Burg 400 or T-Max. X-Max 300 and BV350 are about on par in terms of agility, if you ask me the BV350 is a tad sportier to drive and the x-max 300 is a tad more practical with more storage etc.
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  7. BigBaloo

    BigBaloo Been here awhile

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    Choosing a scooter is about selecting a machine based on likely usage pattern.
    There's a reason Vespas are popular besides the styling.
    They are simply excellent at what they do.
    Don't discount them based on the looks.

    Honda Forza 300 ABS model meets all your criteria, except maybe price.
    Kymco Downtown 300 (may not have ABS in US?)
    Sym RV250, (GTS250 elsewhere) excellent scooter, no ABS version.

    Personally I wouldn't buy anything without ABS.
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  8. Martijn Wils

    Martijn Wils Been here awhile

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    An older online friend of mine (80 yrs old) with a lifetime of riding experience and well over a million and a half miles under his belt is currently riding a 2019 Kymco X-Town 300i ABS which he reports has been totally reliable with enough performance built in to meet the challenges of many different riding environments. Dual-channel ABS is standard. The suggested MSRP is $4,499, but I suspect a careful shopper could nab one for under four grand OTD (out the door). Asking prices of pre-owned Honda Forza 300s seem to hover around the $3,000 mark at today's market .. and there are still a few dealers with NOS (new old stock) Forza 300s on the showroom floor if you desire brand new.

    Kymco X-Town 300i ABS
    https://kymcousa.com/scooters/x-town-300i-abs/

    Motor Scooter Guide, a good reference source for scooters that interest you
    https://www.motorscooterguide.net/
    #8
  9. rdhood

    rdhood Been here awhile Supporter

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    There are plenty of Downtowns for under $2500, there is even a People GT 300i (big wheeled half sibling of the Downtown) that is out there for about $2500 (offer less).
    I have seen a couple of BVs for that price, too. Here is the thing: Just about every bike made can be had for under $2500 if you have the time and energy to look, and if you are willing to travel to get it. Some recent model xmax/vespa/burgman would be off of your list due to price, but everything over about 5 years old can be had If you are persistent and willing to travel . So pick two or three models that you would be comfortable with, and search/search/search until you find once at the right price. They ARE out there... sitting untouched in people's garages. You have to be the first once to answer that cycle trader/craigslist/facebook marketplace ad with an honest offer (cash in hand and ready to go).
    #9
  10. Bar None

    Bar None OLD DUDE Supporter

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    Mike,
    If you are not an experience wrench then make sure you have a good dealer in NYC for whatever scooter you buy. Plus do you have safe covered storage space for a scooter?
    How does renting cost compare to ownership in NYC?
    Try https://gorevel.com/new-york/ for a bit?
    #10
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  11. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer Supporter

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    If he likes the looks of a maxi I suspect he won't go for a BV. Though it would benefit choice among the scooters that fit his stated requirements. Personally found the Burgman 400 too lumbering for a daily city rider. Burgman 200 maybe an option. Xmax would be perfect but highly unlikely to find one incident budget. The only reason a BV350 might be is that it has been around longer so older ones are available.

    A Kymco or Sym in the 300 size would also be a good choice.
    #11
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  12. Martijn Wils

    Martijn Wils Been here awhile

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    +1 what the gentleman from Georgia says. Research all scooters of potential interest first and make a short list of two to no more than five scooters in advance that you feel certain will work for you if one were to cross your path at a fair and reasaonable price (because time spent researching a scooter whose ad piques your interest after the ad has been posted online usually means someone else will beat you to sellers doorstep and buy the bike), then run, not walk, to respond to that ad immediately in the hope that it'll place you first in the queue. Speak to the seller in person on the phone, grab the envelope of cash money you've stashed away in kitchen cupboard or sock drawer in your bedroom dresser that you've reserved for "the scooter" (I keep $4000 give or take handy at all times), and then politely insist on meeting the seller in person where the bike is located ASAP that very day and no later than the next morning.
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  13. greg531

    greg531 greg531

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    I have a Aprilia Scarabeo 200, and it has lots of power for two, weighs 350 lbs, but is a rare mid size scooter, with 16 inch wheels, and you can find them for around $2000....I changed the clutch in mine, because of the clutch shudder, and put in 11 gram sliders. It is a known problem, but if you are in the know, it is a easy fix, and that is why they are way below market. The Aprilia Sportcity 250, with 15 inch wheels, is nicer, but somewhat more cost....There are more discontinued scooters out there, that are bargains. A little road-parking rash will bring down the price too, just get some stickers to cover up the worse of them!
    Riding a scooter, is a lot more safer these days than riding a Covid Coffin, or a Covid Tube!!! (Bus or Subway) You are smart, not going with a 125cc or 150cc, for two up riding....Keeping up with traffic is important! Get a disk lock and a log chain, for NYC, and connect with the NYC scooter club for info on riding and parking in the big city....
    #13
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  14. Wentwest

    Wentwest How's that work?

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    My understanding is that the Aprilias from 2005 or so on are mechanical twins of the Piaggio BV series, with different bodies, seats and storage. Whatever I said about the BV series applies to the Aprilias as well, and there is some support for the idea that the Aprilias are more comfortable and can carry more stuff.
    #14
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  15. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer Supporter

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    Having owned both Scarabeo and BV 500s if say the Scarabeo is more comfortable and has a smudge more storage. The Scarabeo's seat is flatter, a bit wider than the BV. I use an airhawk on the BV but never needed one on the Scarabeo.
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  16. Wentwest

    Wentwest How's that work?

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    You and a fellow I met a few weeks ago are my sources for the idea that Aprilias are more comfortable. When I was swapping engines into the BV500 I found and used an Aprilia service manual for all the procedures to follow, and found it to be far better than the Piaggio equivalent. I used it for everything that needed to be done.
    #16
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  17. rv-rick

    rv-rick Long timer

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    NYC?
    Theft?
    Do you have secure covered storage? Might want to find that before you pick up the scoot.
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  18. simbaboy

    simbaboy Lansing MBS Supporter

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    If you need highway capable, comfortable, adequate storage and weather protection, almost available in your budget (you may need to go to $3K) and easy to maintain:

    Suzuki Burgman 400.


    Buy one that is not too shiny. Gain experience. Sell off at almost same price you paid for it. Then, you can get a Suzuki Burgman 650 that is like a mini Goldwing for 2.

    Simba



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    #18
  19. wanna bECO

    wanna bECO Long timer

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    If I lived in NYC I would have a PCX and would not think about the freeway.... are you really going on tbe freeway???? ( not trolling... just trying to get ya to think, as I can tell you are and have) NYC commutes ... the super 73 ebike would really be faster than any scooter. Forget my post... block me if ya need to :photog
    #19
  20. MichaelPatrick

    MichaelPatrick n00b

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    Hey everyone, thanks for the advice and sorry for the late response - very hectic work week...

    I've actually really liking the BV350 and am putting it on the short list. I've also been looking at a few SYMs and Kymco's. I think I'm leaning more toward the sportier 'Vespa' style scooters like the BV. As much as I like the maxi style scooters, I think the maneuverability of standard scooters makes sense, especially since I won't likely be doing much freeway riding even if I had a Maxi (Wanna bECO rightly pointed out!). And I think scooters like the BV350 are beefy enough for secondary roads like the West Side Highway. I even wonder if they can handle stretches of highways like Route 80 safely...

    Very helpful advice! And I've used the Revel scooters which really got me into scooters over bikes!

    This is now on my list. Thanks! Did you find the Aprilia to have enough power 2up on highways like the FDR?

    And yeah, I have no interest in it. I had Covid in April, but even if I might have immunity, I don't want to take up space or risk becoming a carrier! Plus, a scooter allows me to drop my wife off at work, too.


    - The Burgman is a cool scooter, but I get discourage by the 14" wheels. Maybe it's a weird bias, but with the potholes and generally bad roads in and around NYC, I don't know...


    Thanks everyone!
    #20