We went scooter shopping

Started by 94touring, February 21, 2023, 09:37:33 AM

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94touring

Jen and I have been looking into getting a scooter recently, and so I started the research.  We've very recently moved our business into an office a handful of blocks from where we live downtown.  The idea is Jen uses it to get around downtown without having to walk or pay for parking with her car.  Parking can be difficult to find occasionally too and the office has an alleyway and potentially a basement they might let us park it in. Plus we can use it to pop down to the riverwalk, rather than hoof it there from here or drive a car down there. It's going to be part of the camp equipment also.  The bus will stay setup at the campsite and the scooter will be used to pop into town and up into the park.  Hence the 4x6 foot trailer I recently put together.  Not knowing anything about scooters it took some time researching what to look for and avoid.  I flew with a guy who restores them and he had great advice that matched what the internet seemed to be saying too, which was don't buy anything from China. That narrowed it down to pretty much Tawain and of course Vespa from Italy.  My buddy said skip buying a vespa because they're basically expensive fancy handbags with the same performance as a list of other equivalent scooters.  I was all on board not paying extra for a vespa till we went and looked at vespas. I had it narrowed down to a few other scooter brands, all in the 150-170cc range and fuel injected.  50cc being pointless it's so slow.  We don't plan to race the thing but it needs some oomph to go up a mountain with both of us on it. Doing 55-60mph if we needed to should we get on a highway is ideal also, rather than get run over.  Couple perks to the vespa were we didn't care for the colors or styling of the other scooters.  And if you're going to pay some money for something you intend to use and keep forever, you're going to want something you like looking at.  Also it has a bigger gas tank. 2.1 gallons vs 1.5 gallons in many cases. They of course get 80 to 100 miles per gallon.  The 150cc vespa has more power than the 169cc that the other scooters had. And it's a business expense so we'll write the thing off on our taxes anyways.  This is what I think we're set on getting. 

Brit_in_TX

I have not ridden a Vespa, but have ridden a few different scooters over time. 

Do not even bother with a 50cc, you are lucky to get over 30 mph on a flat road.  I would only ride one of these around my neighborhood, nothing further (bit like a neighborhood golf cart).

The 125cc/150cc are good with a single person, but with 2 people they really struggle.  I would not recommend riding them on a highway with 2 people as even a small incline the can struggle to maintain decent speed.

Vespa do a 300cc model, and I have ridden a couple of bigger engined scooters, and in my opinion, if you want to ride at highway speeds with 2-up this is the way to go.

94touring

They had some 300cc models there, but they're pretty big. You'd almost be better off just buying a motorcycle at that point.

BruceK

#3
Okay, they are not technically scooters, but the Honda Cub (the most mass-produced vehicle in the world) and the Honda Trail might possibly be of interest.  Neither look like they belong on a sidewalk in a classic scene in Rome, but they would not be out of place anywhere else.  The Trail has camping written all over it.   Both have 125cc fuel injected engines, by Honda of course.
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1997 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

94touring

Yeah, no way Jen would be caught on one of those. She's pretty particular on the styling. There were a couple bikes at the dealership she thought looked nice enough though.

MPlayle

Having ridden a 200cc motorcycle in college as a "commuter bike" and "only transportation", I tend to agree with Craig about going with the bigger engines.  I rode that bike everywhere (including from San Antonio to Austin for events/activities) and often wished it had just a bit more power to it.

A 300cc Vespa will keep the Scooter image/feel and have the power to handle the uses you've described.

If you pay attention to where you see the various sized scooters being ridden, you will notice very few on highways and those that are on highways are always the larger ones.

You will also want the extra power in the moutains.

A 300cc Scooter will likely still get the office management cooperative in allowing it inside versus a small motorcycle - the image thing coming into play.

The camp/trail types Bruce mentioned are okay for a single rider - too small an engine for riding two-up.

94touring

This won't be a highway cruiser. 25-45mph 95% of the time driving speed limits.  Only time I can think it would be in a 55mph zone is if I'm broken down in BFE Colorado again and need to drive 150 miles to the airport to fly home and get my truck and big trailer. 

MPlayle

It is more a recommendation for the "have it and not need it ..." philosphy.  A 150cc scooter will "just" manage two-up riding around town in the 25-45 mph range, but not have anything for the rare instnace when more is needed.  It will also barely handle one-up riding at 55 mph for distance in your "travel emergency" scenario and will be taxing on you riding much distance.

As a motorcyclist, I have not been a "fan" of the "as much power as possible" approach.  I do believe in having a little "safety overhead" for however the bike/scooter is to be used.

Also, take a rider's course and get a full motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license.

94touring

#8
There just aren't any scenerios where I need to do 80mph that the 300cc can do.  Especially for the price tag.  This 150 reading the forums can do 65mph in a no wind straight and level scenario.  Vespa rates it for 59mph.  Worse case driving scenerio I found was 38mph up a steep pass into the wind.  It's 35mph in these parks with 25mph in some areas.  A lot of these campers you get stuck behind are lucky to do 35.  It's level ground from our house 5 blocks to the office.  It will be just fine.

cstudep

#9
I think we all agree that the 50cc versions of pretty much anything are basically completely useless.

I think the 150-180cc versions are absolutely brilliant for zipping about "downtown", piddling about around campgrounds, state parks, that sort of thing. They are small and light so easy to handle but big enough you don't feel like an adult riding a child sized bicycle. Never been on one with 2 people but I can't imagine it wouldn't still be sufficient for the above usage. I would probably never get on an actual highway with one, but these days with everyone on their cell phones 24-7 that is a risky proposition on any 2 wheeled contraption.

If you think you need something bigger than the 150 range you might as well just buy a motorcycle, I don't personally see the usefulness of a "scooter" that large.

I don't have much use in my area for a scooter of any type though and I have always been a more power is better kind of bike guy so I certainly don't have a lot of experience with lower CC stuff.

Edit to add that I have always liked the styling of the old Vespa's and always thought it would be neat to restore one if I ever ran across one that was cheap. It looks like the newer ones still have that classic look so that is cool!

MiniDave

Who made the "Burgman" scooter? Or how about a Honda Elite? J/K

I like the look of that Vespa
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

94touring

Quote from: MiniDave on February 21, 2023, 02:48:09 PMWho made the "Burgman" scooter? Or how about a Honda Elite? J/K

I like the look of that Vespa

Lol.  Had to look those up.  Jen distinctly despises the sport bike looking scooters. That would be a tough sell lol

cstudep

LOL on the Burgman. I have no idea what they were trying to accomplish with that thing but whoever was in charge of that design work should be fired for sure. It's like they took a Goldwing fairing and attached it to a scooter chassis/power plant......absolutely hideous.

MiniDave

Yes but....650cc of raw powah!!!

Honda Elite's were pretty cool, 250cc

Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

ve9aa

Here's my scooter !

I live waay out in the country - but - - If I lived in a city/town, I'd love me a 300cc Vespa however.
  I love the whole look of them.
Mike in NB

30 minutes in a Mini is more therapeutic than 3 sessions at the shrink.

cstudep

Quote from: MiniDave on February 21, 2023, 03:52:55 PMHonda Elite's were pretty cool, 250cc


Yeah those are not terrible, they at least look like a scooter!

ADRay

I had a Honda Metropolitan (50cc) almost 20 years ago. Fun, but you needed to have clean oil, overfilled tires and skip breakfast to maybe hit 38 mph. Worked ok for my 40 mile round trip Maine back road commute in those days.

I would get a Vespa 150 if I ever went back to one.
1982 Mini 1000 HL
@andyray998

94touring

Quote from: ADRay on February 22, 2023, 06:32:51 AMI had a Honda Metropolitan (50cc) almost 20 years ago. Fun, but you needed to have clean oil, overfilled tires and skip breakfast to maybe hit 38 mph. Worked ok for my 40 mile round trip Maine back road commute in those days.

I would get a Vespa 150 if I ever went back to one.

I've watched a couple YouTube reviews and it definitely can do 65.  Seems to get up to 40-45 pretty quickly. Interesting to see you can come to a complete stop and not have to put a foot down to not tip over too. Low cg I guess.

94touring

Any of the scooter experts familiar with swapping out rollers?  I was reading through various modifications and seems as though on this particular model that going from the stock 15g rollers to 12.5 really makes a difference in acceleration and hill climbing.  Those not familiar with what these are, it allows the engine to shift later so you're in a higher rpm and ideally weighted to the fat part of the powerband.  Sounds like every 6k miles they get replaced anyway and are only about 25 bucks.

jeff10049

 
Quote from: 94touring on February 24, 2023, 07:31:49 AMAny of the scooter experts familiar with swapping out rollers?  I was reading through various modifications and seems as though on this particular model that going from the stock 15g rollers to 12.5 really makes a difference in acceleration and hill climbing.  Those not familiar with what these are, it allows the engine to shift later so you're in a higher rpm and ideally weighted to the fat part of the powerband.  Sounds like every 6k miles they get replaced anyway and are only about 25 bucks.

Swapping springs can help too you can tune the clutch with springs and weights and even grind custom weights. It's not just the amount of weight but its position as well it will become very apparent as soon as you open it up for a look. It's fun to tune a clutch and variatior and affordable enough that it doesn't matter if you screw up. We had one all screwed up it would wheelie all day long but wasn't much good for riding LOL.

94touring

Well we bought the 150 today. Then about 2 hours before I was set to go get it, work called and said they needed me in Dallas for the night. I'll grab it on Monday probably. Jen took a check down there today and signed some stuff.

Willie_B

Fun to be had with it. Looks good in that color.

BruceK

Nice!   The body color and seat color really complement each other.
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1997 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

94touring

Yeah the color combo and styling was a big seller.  I found non china scooters that fit the bill, but they just didn't look as good.

ve9aa

Mike in NB

30 minutes in a Mini is more therapeutic than 3 sessions at the shrink.

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