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Scooter vs Bikes....what are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Scooters' started by guggle, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. Hi all,

    I'll be getting my learners in about a month and will be buying my chosen mode not too long after. Thing is, I don't know what my chosen mode will be.

    I'm going down this path primarily so I can commute to work. It's about a 60 km daily commute and I initially had thoughts of getting a scooter. But someone recently said to me that scooters aren't as stable as bikes, and justified it by talking about the experiment some may have done in school where you hold a spinning wheel by the axles and try to move it around - the bigger the wheel, the harder it is move.

    So, I'd like to hear the thoughts of those more experienced than me, particularly from those who may have swapped from a bike to a scooter or vice-versa, or possibly from someone who rides both.

    I'd appreciate any comments.

    Cheers, Michael.
  2. I used to have a 50cc motor scooter, when I lived in the CBD of Brisbane. I loved it. It had larger wheels on it than other scooters. I thought it was fine.

    I have recently bought my first motorcycle, and I prefer it over the scooter.

    What would stop you from buying a motorcycle and choosing a scooter? Is it the automatic aspect of a scooter?
  3. For a 60 km a day trip I would get a bike as I am surmising that most of that is at higher speeds, bikes are better for that.

    Scooters are good for short trips of 5-10km. Smaller more agile.

    Get both if you can.
  4. Why not do your licence course first - or maybe some pre-training and get a feel for what suits you best.
  5. I have both, the scooter is better for short commuting and carrying stuff and the bike is better for longer and/or highway riding.

    The scooter is more practical but the bike is more fun.
  6. I also have both. A 100cc scooter for local riding and a bike for fun. If your commute is in traffic (ie not freeway) a small scooter would work. Mine is 80kph max (down hill with a tailwind). It could filter for Australia. My wife has a 250cc Burgman scooter that she finds too big for commuting (but great for touring). This would work if you have a highway commute. Scooters are cheap to run.
    Stability isn't an issue. Your sense of balance is the determining factor.
    Thought about a motard?
  7. sit on lots of different styles, lots of bikes, lots of scooters. decide that way :)

    makes it easier - both scooters and bikes can do 30k's each way easily - a slightly bigger scooter (say 250 - 500) would be perfect, but bikes you can also do more pleasure rides more easily.

    comes down to what you feel comfy on and if you're always only wanting to commute, or want to go on weekend rides also - not saying you can't ride a scooter on weekend rides, just not as practical or fast etc for some.

    i've only ever ridden bikes.
  8. I have had 50cc Scooter, 250cc Scooter and now only have GS500.

    50cc scooter was good when I worked next suburb over. Also ok for commute toward city, or purely inner city. Stupidly dangerous on any roads over 60kph or even on a busy uphill on a 60kph road. All drivers (and some riders) hate you with a passion (hence the reason its dangerous).

    250cc scoot was just alround good for everything, except feeling safe over 70kph. I just couldn't get it. Felt to close to the front of the bike, felt too scared to corner hard at 80kms, let alone 100. However it was really good for commutes into the city on 60-70km zones.

    GS500, really good for all road conditions. Light and easy enought to get through traffic, although not quite as good as either scooter (but not far off). Lacks the storage space, but that would be easy fixed with a top box. Much better on the open roads and highways and much more fun to ride allround. Much less scary at 100kph.

    Next year I am going to upgrade to a small, non lams bike and see how that goes. Thinking maybe a 650 or 750. Going to do some advanced rider training courses first, and try hook up with some guys of here to skill up a bit more first. When I do, I might even buy another scooter for the ride to work, maybe a 125cc so I am not tempted to take it on the highway.
  9. ;) hot man, seriously hot hehehe

    sorry... it's been a long day in the sun
  10. or gals! I might head up your way soon for some experience!
  11. I don't nod to scooters! If you want me to nod you should get a bike.
  12. I've had a scooter for 4 yrs, a Bolwell HD200. I really enjoy it, it has advantages for commuting in its efficientcy and storage space. I've done 50k on it which is very long in the tooth for a scooter. It goes frewway speeds no problems and has motorcycle sized wheels. Being automatic is also handy if you just want to get from A to B. They are far better balenced at filtering speed and makes the job of skipping ahead of traffic an absolute sinch.

    When I bought it I thought as someone who is not concerned about vanity, I wouldn't mind the embaressment that goes along with owning a scooter. However honestly it does wear on you, the number of times someone has seen me wearing the jacket and asked me what do I ride and I have to respond "its just a scooter" and go on to justify it is countless. I don't think anyone really thinks any less of you for riding one and you get far far more respect from motorbike riders then cagers do. But you do sometimes feel like a second class citizen for riding one.
  13. See what you are more comfortable on, I don't really think stability is an issue. I've had 150cc and 200cc Vespa's before and they had no trouble maintaining highway speeds, although would obvioulsy recommend a 200cc or better if budget allows.

    Scooters really are the king of the commute as they are easier to handle through traffic and come ready with a decent amount of storage under the seat. If you are 60ks from home I'm sure you're going to need some storage especially for some wet weather gear.

    I've found all bike storage to be poorly designed, unsightly and expensive. I'm not saying its not doable but tank bags, tail bags panniers and top boxs are all really after thoughts, some exceptions are the Across, Mana (fake fuel tanks as storage) and the Deauville (intergrated panniers) perhaps others can suggest more. Unless you are only likely to carry a couple light things I would try to avoid a back pack on a 60k commute.

    You'll probably find at some stage though that you'll want more power and a more engaging drive that I find a scooter can't really offer. But if you are just after a practicle ride and a good introduction to two wheels scooters are def worth a good look.
  14. I do a 60k daily commute about 50k of freeway and the rest in congested inner city roads on a cb400. I see a few smaller scoots near the city and on the freeway the occasional bigger capacity style scooters. Filtering on a big scoot looks to be a tad limited due to their width but apart from that a scooter would be great commuter if you pick the right rig matched to your expected road conditions. From my perspective though my cb400 is the perfect set up for my needs, light, manouverable with good freeway performance.
  15. I would recommend doing your training and licence on a bike rather than a scooter. That way you get a licence that will cover you for non-automatics as well and you'll have the legal choice as to what to ride.

    As for what to buy to do your commute, that depends on your needs. Scooters are available that will provide all the performance you could possibly want on a commute (Suzuki Burgervan, Yam T-Max etc.), so that's not a limitation. Smaller machines still offer the weather protection and storage space advantages of the breed whilst being a bit more manageable sizewise if you need to squeeze through traffic. Scooters have been said to be lower maintenance than bikes but, apart from the absence of an exposed chain, it's hard to see how they could survive for long with lower maintenance than my bikes get :D.

    Stability really isn't an issue unless you habitually ride on unsealed or deeply potholed roads, and even then I've met enough hardcore scooterists who'd be deeply insulted if you suggested they shouldn't that I wouldn't see that as a limitation either.

    The main difference, I suppose, is that scooters are designed to be easier to treat as a piece of white goods that does a job rather than an interest in themselves. I don't see that as, necessarily, a bad thing but it does colour the perceptions of both riders and the general public.

    BTW, I would strongly recommend avoiding 50cc scooters (which is what many people think of as a "scooter"). They are, actually, mopeds and, as such, are legally limited to a 50km/h top speed. IMHO a vulnerable vehicle that is unable to keep up with the general traffic flow is not a particularly safe means of transport. I would, however, be happy enough to ride a 100 or 125 cc machine in most urban situations, though if I were buying a scoot, I'd be looking at 250 and up for the extra versatility without a huge penalty in running costs.
  16. If you only ever intend to commute buy a 250cc scooter. Anything much smaller and you may have problems keeping up with traffic.

    If you think you might want to do something other than commute buy a motorcycle. I forget which state you are in. But if you are in a state the has LAMS then go for a GS500, ER500, CB400 or something similar.

    Either way, do your tests on a motorcycle, that way you will always have an option.

    Don't buy a scooter, motorcyclists will laugh at you.
  17. Why not get something in between like a Kymco Quannan or a Yamaha Scorpio? I'd definitely recommend a Scorpio - seen them in person and they're very narrow for filtering and are great on fuel, perfect for commuting.

    Keep this in mind, if you are even considering doing weekend joy rides, a scooter WILL NOT cut it! (well maybe if you're keen on being overtaken by literally everyone and holding up even cars behind you) You'd be far better off getting a VTR or a Zeal or something. A 250cc bike isn't really that hard to ride in traffic and in my opinion the benefits of them over the smaller commuter bikes (Quannan, CBR125, Scorpio etc) make them a far more attractive piece of kit if you're going to be doing ANYTHING other than riding to work in peak hour traffic. The only downside to these bikes is less storage space however you can buy a backpack, attach a Ventura rack or even buy a Suzuki Across which has enormous space.
  18. I think bigger wheels are a good thing. I think a scooter than can hit about 120k on the freeway, while still being stable and assured, that can move away from the lights at least as fast as most of the car traffic, and can climb hills as well as most cars, is fine.

    Personally, I have a very strong preference for bikes over scooters, but that's just me. As long as it can do the basic things, I guess it's up to you.

    They can both fall over. They can both go under cars and trucks. People on scoooters though, rarely seem to wear the same protective gear as bike riders, and I could be very wrong, but I often get the feeling half of them have no idea what they're doing. Again, possibly, that's just my perception.

    I would firmly advise against the ultra compact scooters. I think they're a cool toy, to ride around the workshop or car park, but no way would I commute 60km on public roads with one.

    Michael, yeah. Good name that one, eh?
  19. Thanks heaps for all your replies. Just to clarify, my commute will be mainly medium to heavy traffic, no freeway at all, but speeds of up to 80k's are probable for short periods.

    Is there any difference between the maintenance costs of the two? Also, excuse my ignorance, but some of you have talked about "filtering" - what does that mean?

    Cheers again, Michael.
  20. Maintenance costs on my scooter are maybe $600 every 10k. Tires need to be replaced every 10000 or so bits and pieces of the variator tend to need replacing each service. Mainly the rollers. I change the oil myself every 2-3000k which saves me a lot and is the best thing you can do to maintain your engine. Lifespan however is one to consider with a scooter. From what I've been told my scooter on 50000 is one of the furthest travelled scooters the mechanics have seen. You should get much more out of a bike.

    Filtering is sneaking between stopped cars.