Riding a Scooter

mgecaOctober 9, 2013

After years of waiting, I am now retired and ready to ride a scooter. I have settled on a Kymco model, 200 cc. I want to just cruise around town, run errands, commute to a part-time job if I get one. Casual, easy going.

My question is, how much physical strength/effort has to go into riding a scooter. Not heavy like a bike, no shifting, weighs maybe 200 pounds or so. I am 6', 180 pounds, over 65, not as fit as I once was-too many years driving a desk.

Any comments, thoughts are real welcome. I don't want to endanger myself, others or a brand new scoot.


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At your weight of 180 lbs, I venture a guess that you will soon find the 200 cc motor a little shy of power. It'll be fine for learning, but as soon as you become confortable at handling it, you will wish for a bit more engine, say 250 cc or more.

The 200 cc engine is fine for road speeds of no more than 30 mph, but it may top out at 40 mph in a strong head wind; add an up-slope and you may not be able to keep from being a traffic hazard.

I don't know your location, but if you are in the northern tier of states, the riding season is drawing to a close especially for a beginner. However, its at this time of year when bargains for used machines appear as summer riders go back to school (in northern states). In southern states, the opposite may be true.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 10:44PM
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Jemdandy--Thanks for your response. I am indeed in the northern tier, western PA. Coincident with your advice, today I am going to look at a scooter with a for sale sign, sitting in someone's front lawn.

I am a bit leery of a used scooter, same as some used cars. I lack the knowledge to see a hidden problem and to fix it. But, there are a lot of older guys (50s, 60s, plus--I am 70 now) scooting around town and maybe they take better care than a kid.

My decision, unless a great used deal comes up, has to be based on price. Around 3K is my limit I am told. After years of postponing (my first post on this forum was 2006!) I think Kymco and Honda are where I want to look. Cheap Chinese scooters sound great in ads, but by the posts here they are to be avoided.

There are a couple of Kymco models pricewise that range from 50cc to 125cc to 200cc. No 250cc anymore. Honda also doesn't offer 250cc.

For the 50cc's the ads say great for around town. Kymco's 150 is said to be 13.5 HP and an urban commuter. The 200cc is billed as a two-up machine. No, I don't believe all that I read.

Basically I want to ride around town (hilly PA of course), maybe later on 40MPH strip mall road. That route could be a "commute" if I could ever find a p/t job.

We have a big Harley and scooter dealer a ways down the road who has a good rep and I guess that will be my choice (only Kymco dealer around). Also, I'm counting on a used scooter inventory.

Any further thoughts based on all of this? I'm debating your thoughts at all because I have few of my own, so I appreciate your experienced opinion. Depending on what I find, this will be a spring purchase unless something good and reasonable shows up. Always $$. But I will start the search now and hope for something good. Or am I too old?

Thanks - Mike

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 1:13PM
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I'd stick with well known scooter brands such as Honda. Many years ago, an Italian brand, Lambretta, made a decent scooter, but the poblem with these brands today is the lack of dealer service. These dealerships have a habit of disappearing too soon.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 3:07AM
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Include Sym and Lance in your research.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 12:35AM
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I've owned several Kymco scooters, as well as Honda, Piaggio, Suzuki, and Yamaha. The last Kymco I owned was a 250. Dealer and company service was very good, and I had no issues. Prices for parts and service seemed very fair.
My favorite scooters have been Piaggio\Vespa only because for their cc size they are geared to be very fast - my X9 will beat nearly any Harley or other cruiser (and most cars) off the starting line, and the X9 top speed is higher than many cruisers (mine will show 115mph on the speedo). The downside to Piaggio is the outrageous cost of parts and service.
The Honda Silverwing I owned had terrible handling, like a car with pronounced understeer. I got rid of it as soon as I could.
The Honda 250 (I can't remember the name offhand, but the scoot was very sporty and good looking) was very underpowered, even compared to the 250cc Kymco I had.
The Suzuku's are wonderful till you need service or want to work on them youself. Service costs are very high because they are a little like working on a spaceship, especially the 650.
Overall, the best all lround scoot, IMHO, is the 400cc Yamaha Majesty - big and powerful enough that 2 people can ride comfortably, plenty of storage space for shopping (my favorite way to the supermarket), fast but not superfast (top speed about 110mph), and the best part is that it comes with an owners manual that gives step by step instructions for service - oil changes, valve adjustments, etc. And parts and service in my area are reasonable too.
If you are wanting just an around town scoot, I'd recommend looking for an older Yamaha 125 or 150. I Learned to ride on one; a used 125 was my first scoot. They are very easy to work on, very reliable, and fast enough to get around town with no problem, even steep hills, etc. (I weigh about 200 lbs).
I'd buy a Yamaha Majesty 400 again as my only scoot without hesitation. It's even easy on tires, the main expense on all my scoots, since I'm getting about 11K miles to a set of tires. On fuel economy, all the scoots I've owned got about the same - 50mpg, no matter the cc size.
I won't buy another Honda because I don't like the way they handle. Nor Suzuki because of high parts and service prices, and Piaggio doesn't import anything bigger than a 300cc now.
I have a Honda Goldwing motorcycle that I ride occasionally. Used to have a Harley. After touring on the scoots, no more big motorcycles for me; they're like riding a parade float when what you're really after is a sports car. And beating the motorcyclists on my scoots has always put a smile on my face. (my Suzuki Burgman 650 toppped out above 145mph).
Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2014 at 5:47PM
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Forgot - I'm 57 and disabled with orthopedic problems; no problems at all with riding scoots. (just don't fall - it happened to me as I was turning in to a driveway and my front wheel slipped on a piece of wet newspaper - boy, did that hurt!)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2014 at 5:53PM
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Did you buy a scooter after all??

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 5:36PM
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No, great disappointment. I found a new Kymco 200, sat on it really impressed, at a great price, signed up for the motorcycle licensing course, and it fell apart. I am in good health but not as strong and flexible at 72, and apprehensive about ability to handle the scooter. I no longer can see well at night under certain conditions. Add to that I suddenly lost my depth perception a while back and have put some good dings in my Jeep's bumpers, had some white knuckle moments driving on streets with cars parked and another car coming toward me. I knock a parked car mirror twice. After thinking about these factors for a while, I realized I might be a real menace to myself without a vehicle around me, and a menace to others. So after years of posting here and getting wonderful advice thanks to the generosity of fellow posters, my desire for several years was ended. I finally had the money but my abilities were in doubt, and maybe so was my courage. I don't even think about, the fun of riding a scoot...one of those could'a, should'a, would'a of life. Thanks for the follow up. Mike

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 9:12AM
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If you really want to ride a scooter, nothing can stop you! :-) Try a small 50cc scooter, you will like it. I like the Honda Ruckus for 50cc, 200lbs, 43mph, 100mpg, fun and very cool looking, plus super easy to ride. If you get one, you need to buy a heavy chain lock like Kryptonite New York Noose/Fahgettaboudit for safety.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 7:12PM
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