Would you give up a Road King for Maxi Scooter?

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by chukzelda, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. chukzelda

    chukzelda Adventurer

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    I’m looking for some experience and wisdom. I’m getting older and am pretty lightweight for my height (150lbs at 6’). I’m finding that managing my 2000 Road King (740 lbs) at hills, parking lots, slow speeds is turning into a bit of a chore.

    I use the RK for several time a week rides to de-stress. I also go on a couple trips each summer (1000 mile and 1500 mile). I live in a small town and the local roads have freeze cracks, etc. My RK’s air shocks absorb all this pretty well.

    Now, would I be happy moving from my RK to a maxi scooter like the BMK 650GT? The nearest BMW dealer is 135 miles away, so I will have to arrange a whole day off just to test ride one if the feedback here is good.

    I appreciate any thoughts.

    Thanks
    Chuk
    #1
  2. Jim T

    Jim T Been here awhile

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    You might be happier going to an even smaller scooter like the Honda PCX150 at around 300 lbs. :hmmmmm

    Well maybe not! :dunno However.........you might consider buying a scooter in the 150cc class to ride locally and keep the RK for the longer rides. I just recently bought a Honda PCX150 and continue to be amazed at just how capable and fun it is. I'm also coming from larger road bikes........having owned 2 Goldwings and a Harley Ultra Classic in the past. I'm not alone in this journey from large motorcycles to scooters, so you should get a lot of good input.

    Also......be sure and take a look at some of the newer middle ground scooters in the 300 to 400cc class. They're lighter weight than the maxi scooters, yet still pretty darn capable.

    I'm still pretty new to the scooter world, but am becoming rapidly entrenched.

    Jim
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  3. CaptnJim

    CaptnJim Scooter Pilot

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    I think the other Jim makes a great point. I would have been hard pressed going from a Road King to a scooter 6 years ago. I had downsized from a Harley Ultra to a BMW RT and then to a 650 V-Strom. I wondered about each "downsize," but they all turned out for the better. We had stopped doing cross-country riding to where I would do an occasional weekend solo. With a deteriorating hip, I figured I'd be done riding. The PCX 150 scooter was a revelation, allowing me to keep riding... and enjoying it more. But, speaking frankly, I don't think I could have gone from the HD to the small Honda scooter... I think I needed each step down.

    The maxi scooters, like the Burgman 650, are still pushing 600 pounds (compared to 800 on the Road King). It may be easier to toss a leg over, but it will still be a lot of weight to move around in the garage or driveway... and you will notice that weight at parking lot speeds. So, a small scoot along with the HD gives you time to consider. I wouldn't be surprised if something like the PCX would get ridden more, especially locally. Then, you can make a decision on keeping the HD or going for something bigger in a scoot.

    We have been enjoying these PCXes for 5 years. Considering something a "bit" bigger, but I won't be surprised if we talk ourselves out of that.

    Good luck with the decisions, Chuk. Hang out on this sub-forum - you will find a lot of folks who have scoots and motorcycles.
    #3
  4. Steve_h1963

    Steve_h1963 Adventurer

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    Yep. Keep the RK, buy a used scooter and see how you like it. I would suggest something in the 3 or 400cc class, perhaps a burgman or similar. That will highway capable albeit a chunk slower than the 600+ class.
    If you're used to bikes the scooter is a strange thing, it will take more than a half days test ride to know if it's for you.
    Be warned though they are addictive!
    #4
  5. tastroman

    tastroman Long timer

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    If you drop to the 300-400cc range you are going to love the drop in weight. I'd venture your biggest disappointment will be with a scooters suspension. When you factor in the price it's worth the comprise, at least for me it is.
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  6. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    I worked in a shop that sold Suzuki.
    The Burgman's for the most part would never come back unless they opted for an oil change or tires.
    Or when they had a shit ton of miles on them (and still ran fine) but traded in on another one out of guilt.
    Not everyone's style, but they are easy to ride. The weight is so low it's not a bother. Test ride one if you get a chance.

    They have gotten to be like little Gold Wings as far as comfort. The 650 is very, very capable.

    maxresdefault.jpg
    #6
  7. JerseyBiker

    JerseyBiker Living the life!

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    A jump to a 650 Burgman or BMW will take a lot of chore out of riding but they are still heavy scoots. Coming from your bike you might find that size perfect. Plenty of power, comfortable and still planted at highway speeds. I rode a Silverwing 600 for many years and touring was a pleasure.

    I eventually found even the 600-650 class heavier than I needed and now have a Forza 300. I also believe the 300cc-400cc class is the sweet spot. Light enough for town and city but powerful enough for touring. I have taken several 1500 mile multiday trips on a Vespa 300 and the Forza 300. Others here have done far longer trips than that.

    I currently have both the Forza and a 2018 HD Heritage Classic with the 114 motor. I often switch back and forth between them, sometimes in the same day. The HD was on my bucket list so I got one but it is now for sale. The Forza stays. For me it's just more fun and all I need.

    I believe others gave good advice- keep the HD and get a scoot so you see if you like it. Be advised, however, most folks who do that end up hardley using the bike and selling it before long. Scooters today are powerful, fun and quite seductive.
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  8. bicyclenut

    bicyclenut Adventurer

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    Chuk,

    I’ve never had a Road King nor a Harley, but I have owned a BMW C650GT for over 3 years. Personally I think it’s a great scooter/motorcycle that can really do it all, except for maybe off road riding of course. I use mine for daily commuting to work, day rides and week long trips.

    Be aware that the C650GT is not light, weighs about 575lbs but the weight is low so it’s not top heavy and pretty stable at low speeds. You gain the ability of not having to worry about gears and a clutch, so you can concentrate more on riding and such, but you lose some of the engine braking and feathering of the clutch, I guess you still have this ability, but it works differently and you need to adjust to it primarily with the throttle and how it works with the CVT. It’s certainly easier to mount with the step through and you gain considerable built in storage. The BMW is tall but at 6’ it should be great for you as I am only 5’6” and I’ve managed with one foot or tip toes, so you should have no issues.

    As far as long trips, I don’t see an issue. I’ve done several 1000+ trips every year, 400 mile days, Chicagoland Interstate and back roads, no issues. My riding buddies all have 1000cc+ bikes and they comment how quick the BMW is and never had an issue riding with them even cruising on the Interstate at 75+mph. You won’t win any race with a sports bike, but this isn’t a 50cc put put by any means. The larger 15” wheel make for a stable ride at higher speeds and over most road surfaces. I live in far west Chicago burbs and commute on roads with tar snakes and less than perfect surfaces everyday.

    I’ve considered buying a motorcycle like a sport touring bike for longer trips but I’ve never been able to see a true NEED or seen any real deficiency in the BMW that I really need a motorcycle. I think the only reason I would might be if my wife were to ride with me on week long trips (she doesn’t want to ride anyways) and wanted the extra power for the extra person and extra gear.

    You also need to be able to ignore the few riders that don’t accept a “scooter” as a real motorcycle. You are on two wheels, you can accelerate as fast or faster than many and go as fast or faster, but they will still fail to recognize you the same. My friends don’t, but some will and you just need to be ready to deal with some of these riders.

    If you are from NW IL my guess is you will be going to BMW of Barrington or BMW of Countryside. I think many will say there is a is of experience with BMW dealers, I was very happy with Bob Clark at Countryside as my sales guy, service has been unimpressive, but did the one job I had them do.

    If you have any specific questions, let me know. If you get one, be good to see more out on the roads around here, I only know of a few guys in Chicago area riding them.




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  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I think you will be surprised at how capable and fun scooters are. I have gone touring on scooters as small as 149cc and once did a 550 mile day on the interstate on a 250. My 2 up touring bike is a Yamaha Majesty which is 395cc. I have owned much bigger bikes including a Yamaha Venture full dress touring bike.

    If you can test ride some scooters then do it. Basically any scooter out there 300cc and up will do pretty much anything you need it to do unless you have a big desire to ride around at triple digit speeds. IMO, one of the best all around new scooters out there is the Yamaha Xmax. It's only 300cc but should easily cruise at highway speeds and top out around 90MPH. Here's me sitting on a 2018 Xmax:

    [​IMG]


    If your riding includes a passenger then any 400-700cc scooter should work just fine.

    On a twisty road most scooters will handle much better than your RK although as someone already mentioned the suspension on most scooters isn't the greatest.

    [​IMG]

    Another option would be to buy a small, 150-200cc scooter for around town and day rides and keep the RK for longer trips. I did a day ride with a bunch of 750cc and up motorcycles on my 155cc Smax and had no problems keeping up.
    #9
  10. rv-rick

    rv-rick Been here awhile

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    Waiting for the Harley bashing. :lol3
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  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Not from me. I have a bunch of friends who ride Harleys and ride them well. However, Harleys are heavy bikes. At some point, as riders get older they started looking at trikes or downsizing. Personally I think downsizing is the way to go. Since that is what the OP is considering I think a scooter as a great way to do that.
    #11
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  12. Jim T

    Jim T Been here awhile

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    Not sure you'll see much of that here.........since a lot of us have already scratched our "Harley Itch" and had a good time doing it. :beer

    Jim
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  13. CaptnJim

    CaptnJim Scooter Pilot

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    Yep. I owned 9 Harleys over the years, and thoroughly enjoyed each one. Great bikes. The "Harley bashing" generally seems to come from those who wish they could afford one. Kinda like the scooter bashing comes from those who haven't tried one. :nod
    #13
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  14. chukzelda

    chukzelda Adventurer

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    Hey guys,

    Original poster here. I’m floored by all the great advice!

    Jim and CaptainJim -
    The most reasonable course of action would be to purchase a scooter as a 2nd bike. However, I have a daughter in college right now (who is working extremely hard herself, both at academics and part time job - Proud Dad). Hence, I won’t have any motorcycle/scooter slush funds until she graduates. I can keep riding the Road King for 2.5 more years but not sure I want to wait that long.

    Steve and Tastroman - same as per the Jims, no money in the kitty for several more years. 1 Bike/scooter till then.

    Unstable
    Good to hear your experiences about the Big Burg from working for a Suzuki dealership. There is a Suzuk dealership about 25 miles away. Easy enough to arrange a test ride. I wonder how the Burg stacks up against the BMW comfortwise?

    JerseyBiker
    You have a sweet bike in the 114 Heritage. I sat on one at the HD dealership one day, HD has really done their homework on the rework of that bike <jealous>

    Bicyclenut

    Hey - someone from Chi-town! I used to live in the suburbs until 8 years ago when I moved way out here to Galena, IL (right on the Iowa border). The BMW dealer I’m referring to is up in Beaver Dam, Wi (just north of Madison). I very much appreciate your comments about your experience with the GT. Sounds like you are quite happy with it and you think it’s worth my time to take a day off later this month to test ride one?

    Chuk
    #14
  15. tonymarchman

    tonymarchman Been here awhile

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    I agree with Klaviator, I have owned a 750 Bmw, 650 Triumph and a few really good dual sports. Now I have a 400cc Majesty which I have put over 70,000 miles on it and it still puts a smile on my face every time I ride it. I will never sell it. I picked up an 07 Vespa GTS 250 two years ago and it is an excellent short run scoot. Surprising quick and agile and attracts positive comments from the galley. The Vespa tops out around 80 so brief freeways run are possible. Not as accommodating as the Majesty in rider comfort and confidence inspiring on the main roads.
    Since you are a tall fellow you might try sitting on a 650 Burg as it has the best legroom of all I have ridden.
    Tony in Tn
    #15
  16. bicyclenut

    bicyclenut Adventurer

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    Chuk,

    Yep, ridden up to Galena a number of times. About the only place in the state where you can actually find some hills. Did an overnight last summer and stayed in Galena with some friends. Photo taken from Iowa on other side of Mississippi as we were headed back to Galena after a ride up and into Wisconsin. About a 350 mile day.
    [​IMG]




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  17. MiniBike

    MiniBike Casual Observer

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    My short answer is no. Maxi scooters hold no appeal to me.

    In 2006, I downsized from our long-term Gold Wing to a Triumph Bonneville America. It seems about half the weight of the GL, handles well and still allows me to ride all day in comfort and do the ton if I choose to. Not long after, I discovered the fun and convenience of scooters and added a 150cc scooter (now I have 3 from 50cc to 250cc). They all have their place, but I could ditch the 50cc and 150cc and not lose any sleep. The Triumph stays because sometimes, I just like to ride a "real" motorcycle. The 250cc (BIG Ruckus) stays because it can do almost anything and has a nice low center of gravity that makes it a breeze to ride and a joy not to have to constantly shift in traffic. My total investment is probably less than the current value of your RK. :D

    So get out there and do some test rides and see what fits and feels right for you.
    #17
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  18. JerryH

    JerryH internal combustion rider

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    I would also have a problem with a Road King in tight spaces and at stop lights. I have bad knees and weak muscles do to a degenerative condition. But I found what I believe is a suitable substitute for a large Harley. A Sportster. Much smaller and lighter, but still has that wonderful Harley feel and sound that I find so relaxing and enjoyable.

    As far as a scooter, I definitely recommend one, but they are not really a substitute for a Harley. That does not mean they are not a blast to ride. They are. But I prefer smaller scooters. I found a Vespa GT200 perfect for me, if you want or don't mind EFI, then a Vespa GT300i should be perfect. They look like a scooter should (to me) and are freeway capable. I personally would not care for a 650, especially a BMW. Very close to a Goldwing in size. A Burgman 400 might fit the bill. Or one of the BV series scooters from Piaggio. I would definitely stick with Japanese brands or Piaggio.

    I think it might be great if Harley built a scooter, gave it some cruiser style, and put a small displacement long stroke 45 degree single crankpin engine in it. to give it some of that wonderful Harley sound and feel. Maybe in the 400cc range. It would be a great smaller bike for older or disabled Harley riders. Just dreaming here, but since Harley is working on an electric bike, it doesn't seem completely impossible.
    #18
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  19. Clampett

    Clampett Uncle Jed

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    @chukzelda
    Big bike = MPG
    Scooters = SPM (smiles per mile)

    28 bikes. 7 were Gold Wings. Cruisers, sport, etc. I can go as far in one day on a scooter, but I have to focus and try harder to do it because I see all the stuff I was missing before.
    I stop more, visit more places, take more photos, talk more, and spend more time on the scooter while doing fewer miles in the same time frame on most days.
    My fav is Honda Silver Wing. My 2nd fav is Honda Forza(just .001% less). The Burgman 650E was nice. I enjoyed it, but it just wasn't as much fun (to me). Still better than my big bikes.
    Find the one that fits you, and you'll be wondering how you could be red pilled.
    It's a beautiful day in the scooterhood.
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  20. Fiftygrit

    Fiftygrit Been here awhile

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    You won't regret it, I went from an FLHT to a 155cc yamaha smax, I have way more fun around town and short trips, 50 plus years of riding and I still really enjoy this little thing, waaaaay more fun than my 58 Panhead with tank shift and foot clutch hahaha
    #20
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