Monday, May 14, 2012

Okay.  This a real call for help on a very important subject.
Now that I've got your attention, here's the deal –
Should we upgrade from the Honda Elite 110 to an Aprilia 250, or buy a motorcycle such as, oh, I don't know, a Honda Shadow, or a Suzuki Boulevard, or a BMW Roadster.

Clearly, I'm in over my head except that the Elite can't do what we need: something that will hold at least 50-mph (or a bit more) steady, with two people aboard plus the usual weekend "stuff".

We went the scooter route - even though we both hold motorcycle licenses, because of my concern about handling a bike.  In particular, holding the darn thing upright.  My fear was, has been, is, that if it starts to tilt, the game is over.

four years ago this wouldn't have been a problem (real or imagined - i'm not sure) but my bout with cancer took 20 some-odd pounds off my 5' 8'' frame, most of it muscle, leaving me with 143 pounds to do my stuff.

So, I'm reaching out for some advice.  Any suggestions as to bike versus scooter and which bike (if that's the suggestion), would be most appreciated.

Or, in the alternative, allaying my fears about keeping a 700 some-odd pound object with the wheels on the road and the handlebars on top.

In the meanwhile, we will continue to merrily chug along on the 110.



  1. Once again, this is one of those completely subjective things. Only you will know what is best for you. If you enjoy the scooter feel and automatic, why not go for a slightly larger cc like a Burgman? Highway speeds, good mileage, lighter, automatic, lower center of gravity?

    As far as concern over a motorbike weight...someone wise once wrote you will be riding it, not carrying it. Most times you drop it there will be people around to help. If you worry about dropping it down some dirt road while riding alone, that is a different story and you will have to weigh the possibility.

    And a Honda Shadow is not going to weigh 700 lbs (only 445 lbs hehe). Start looking around. Have fun shopping and test sitting. Get a feel for what attracts you.

    Good luck and have fun shopping!

  2. I agree with everything Lori has mentioned above and will add my two cents.

    You might want to consider a Piaggio MP3 500. Sure it will weigh more but you have the stability of having the two wheels up front but it leans just like a motorcycle or two-wheeled scooter. I have heard really good things about them and they even come up for sale used around here too.

    Also if you both have your endorsements you might consider two small cc'd motorcycles. Two bikes can carry more than one and they wouldn't be as heavy then either.

    Just some thoughts. You might want to take a few test drives. I had a Suzuki TU 250 motorcycle and it was great. Got 81 mpg and would go on the highway and didn't mind dirt and gravel too much. Wet weight is 326 lbs. Not perfect for two up though but if you each had one. I went from that to my Gladius which is 446 lbs wet weight. I am just shy of 5'8" and weight 143 lbs and I've only had to pick the Gladius up once when it fell over, but it was doable.

    Keep us posted on your decision making. And have fun with it.

  3. Mike:

    My my . . . true confessions here, that's what I like about you. You know that females are willing to let you how much they weigh and you haven't even asked yet ! You must have a trustworthy smile.

    Not to offend anyone but this is my opinion. I have had Italian Machinery and I've had it with brands where obtaining parts can be difficult. I used to have scooters but I wanted to "TOUR" the country. I had a Kymco X500Ri which I rode to Oregon (I have blog posts, go to the archives).

    I would say, depends what you wish to do and whether you want to change gears or not. The CVT is not efficient at high speeds, M/Cs have overdrive. I like the thrill of changing gears and blast out of a corner and gear up after it straightens and just hear that delightful sounds of the exhaust noises.

    If you wish to meet me halfway for coffee or lunch, somewhere near Seattle I would say go for the motorcycle. I picked Seattle as the half way point because you liked their sunny weather. If you wish to stay within a reasonable radius from Home you may prefer a Burgman, Majesty or T-max. Suzuki & Yamaha dealerships are plentiful with lots of help all over the country.

    I know you feel a bit limited with your 110ccs of power but we need more information before we are able to spend your money for you

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    PS: we tell everyone it Rains in Vancouver a lot because we don't want any more people to move here.

  4. Well, this is THE dilemna, isn't it? I can certainly relate to where your mind is regarding all this. I like my new Elite 110, but if power over miles is your interest, it falls a little short in that catagory, doesn't it?

    Like you, I wanted more power but to keep it in a smaller, lighter platform. I have ridden a motorcycle (Shadow 500) in the past and have been on a scoot for 5 years. I laid my Shadow over in the driveway and had to call for help to pull it back up. And it is one of the lighter weight rides. So I know what you mean there. I have to feel comfortable handing it, moving or in the driveway.

    However, the plus with motorcycles is that you can get "more power" without having to go up to a "maxi scoot" like a Burgman, Reflex, TMax, Silverwing, etc. Those mothers are heavy! I have straddled them all and they feel like "flying bricks" (Space Cowboys!) to me and even though I know that this might not affect their ride quality, that weight feels very intimidating to me. (Exception is the "bare bones" Big Ruckus)

    On the scooter side, I liked the big wheels (16 inch) of some of the scoots like the Kymco People 150, Piaggion BV250, Honda 150i, etc.) thinking riding on them would give me more of a motorcycle handling feel on the road. The Honda 150i was too tall for me and new I felt the price tag was a bit much ($4500). But that concept of big wheels is worth considering.

    Other motorcycle pluses are: huge variety of models to choose from, lower cost on used ones, great "community" aka "culture" out there to be part of that does not exist for the lowly scooter rider. I am not a "mod" or a "rocker", but a "rider" and "adventurist" and most scooter riders are not. They are running for latte or putting off to the office or mall. I am riding the twisties, seeking the wild, exploring nature and history. I am an outcast in the "scooter community", which is largely fictional. I think I fit in more with the motorcycle mentality, but I ride a scooter. Weird, I know.

    The drawbacks of a motorcycle? Shifting, having less storage/hauling options, shifting.

    You could get "more power" on a scoot with something like the Piaggio BV250 or 500, which I am currently lusting over after having seen one at an Amish market. That scoot, or ones like it, could be outfitted with saddlebags, etc. like a motorcycle for touring or long day rides. Here you get more power but a smaller, lighter platform. This is the way I am likely heading after the Elite.

    In reality, many have already traveled across the country on the 49cc lowly Ruckus. Whatever ride you have, if you really want to, you can tour on it. It can be done. Even on an Elite 110. Sapping out with poor power over miles and miles of hills and grades is not for everyone. Sitting on a "buck board" seat is not for everyone either! Shifting is not for everyone, either. Comfort takes priority over everything else for some.

    You have to decide what works for you. Had I choices monetarily, I would have kept my Ruckus for running around the county out here and gotten myself a used motorcycle 500-700cc something or a larger cc'd, smaller platform, scoot like a 250cc something (Piaggio, Kymco). I insist on the smaller platform, less weight ride. It has to "fit" me. I would lean toward "no shifting" as well. That is just me.

    I could ramble on forever, but these are my wayward thoughts this morning. Consider the pros and cons, test ride a bunch, and then maybe decide that you really need TWO machines each. The Elite for local rides and something used and bigger for longer tours/rides.