Motorcycle Bike Rack
Ninja 250 is a great choice if you want something a little more sporty, fast enough to get in trouble, great on gas and around town. My only complaint about them is they quickly make you realize how much you want to get a bigger bike.
@edmonds A guy on a local street racing message board Im on has one of those MP3s in 500cc’s, he loves that thing.
Theres also a gy with a turbocharged Can-Am Spyder
Yeah, I need to scam a test ride on a Spyder. Seems like it would be sick times on a road track.
@salty, I may be stating the obvious, but don’t forget that it gets real cold on a scooter with wind chill. If you mostly bike anyway, maybe you aren’t that worried about the winter car alternative. There are some really cool products though that help like hippo hands and heated lap blankets.
@ejwme- the motorcycle safety course is easy and fun, you and the H should take it together and then you get to test for your license on the last day….after which you buy your motorcycle and tow your stuff across the country and live happily ever after
I ride my bicycle all winter, and even when I used to drive every day I’d put the top down at basically any temperature – although that’s easier with a windshield and good heater. Plus I can always get a Zipcar if I need to take a longer trip and/or it’s cold/wet/etc. I keep my car around even though I’ve driven it <500 miles in the past year because it is convenient sometimes. A scooter would cover the bulk of those cases.
Anyways, I just read through the motorcycle manual (which is surprisingly well-written especially for a state publication) and aced the practice test. I’m going to go take the test tomorrow and maybe buy myself a Vespa or a Stella.
Where can you get a Stella around here?! The closest place I knew of is in Cleveland.
mosites in n. huntingdon claims to carry them, but i’ve never been there.
Anyone interested in a scooter really needs to check out the Aprilia SR50R Factory (Aprilia is a Italian motorcycle company owned by Piaggio, like Vespa). Last year there were days that I rode mine over 90 for work related things. It was a tank’s worth of gas, but only a $3-$4 fill up.
Its only 49cc, I’ve had mine (which is mildly modded and now Kaylas) up to around 50 mph on flat ground, 63 mph down a nice hill. It also has front and rear double piston Brembo disk brakes, it’s water cooler, computer controlled, direct injected, and a utter blast to ride.
Kayla also occasionally rides it to Mars to her Dad’s house–not something all 50cc scoots can do, but goes to show that you can’t judge a bike by its displacement.
I got my ex a Honda Metropolitan and it was nice, but it really wasn’t great for anything but short (under 5 mile) trips, generally.
Another thing to consider with scooters is most modern scooters have CVT transmissions that use a system of roller weights and springs. Geography and rider weight can play a huge part in how the transmission should be setup. It can be tedious and time consuming, but a CVT that is tuned properly can make a scooter seem like a completely different bike from stock.
If you are looking at used scooters, especially Italian ones, disregard mileage.
Many low mile scoots, especially Vespas, experience problems because they weren’t ridden enough. Keep in mind that scooter are made to be daily transport–like how they are ridden in the rest of the world. In the US a bulk of the used scooters on the markets are bikes that people bought, got through the break-in period and got sick of them (probably because the went into it with the wrong idea).
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Even if you can legally ride a scooter without a license, I highly recommend getting your M-class permit and taking the PA Motorcycle Safety Program. It’s FREE and offers a lot of great information to any level rider.
Also, if anyone on here gets a Can Am Spyder, we are no longer friends.
ejwme, you should talk to Kayla about her Aprilia. If you are super nice to her, she may let you ride it.
They look nice (and Mosites has them too) so I’ll definitely check them out.
I was thinking 50cc initially but talked myself into 150cc just to handle the hills (and my fat ass) a little better.
I got mine at Mosites. I have had mixed experiences with them as a dealer, but I would definitely do business with them again.
One thing I forgot to mention about the SR50 is it comes restricted from the factory. It’s easy to de-restrict, perfectly legal, and won’t void the warranty. It’s mainly because it’s a European market bike. It’s just a matter of taking a washer out of the front pulley, a plate out from behind the intake manifold, and then the ECU needs re-flashed. Mosites did mine for free.
Since it’s a direct injected two-stoke, maintenance it pretty easy. Besides the usual brakes, gear oil, ect… it just takes about a liter of injection oil every 1500-2000 miles.
Also, insurance on it is dirt cheap. Before Geico started a minimum premium, I was paying ~$7/month. Now I have Kayla on it, and me on my CB350 for just about $9/month.
As much as my 15 y.o. son thinks a Spyder would be the perfect vehicle for me, it’s not going to happen, so I think we can still be friends.
If I get a new vehicle anytime soon, it’s going to be a (new) Fiat 500.
Nick, do you know anything about the Genuine “Buddy’s”? They look pretty cool.
I think the Buddy is at the top of my list at the moment, especially if I can get a good deal on a (discontinued) 150. Although if they have a 170i I might go that way.
Btw, I assume that Mosites is the same guy who owns the Trek of Pittsburgh stores?
Ditto on the MSF class. The classroom time is a bit of a snooze but you get to spend six hours on a bike doing drills with instructors, well worth the time if you’re new. And you’ll get your full M license at the end.
Wow, I forgot the sheer joy of going to the dmv. The supervisor is apologizing and as far as I can tell only 1 of the 4 test machines is operating. I think I might have to try another day.
This should be some sort of advertisment for riding bicycles.
I’ve ridden a Buddy. It wasn’t anything to write home about. It wasn’t bad by any means–it just wasn’t anything special.
The biggest downside to non-Italian scooters seems to be resale value. Piaggio/Vespa/Aprilia (the biggest state-side Italian brands) seem to keep their value much better than any Asian scoots.
On the other side, getting parts for Asian bikes seems to be much easier than Italian ones.
Sometimes I just don’t feel like riding my bicycle
This is precisely why we bought a scooter.
If you are serious about the SR50, Xtreme Powersports in Deep Creek, MD had them for $2600 out the door, brand new 2009s. They had one white one and one black one when I was down there.
wow… that’s a lot of information…
check on the safety course, hubby wanted to take it too so that will be fun.
So the Aprilia has me thinking I need to actually do some real research and thinking (hubby also sent me a follow up email listing all the things we’d use it for and that I could drive it to work? I might need to jump on this before he changes his mind)
But at $2-3k a pop, new, these things are really affordable (especially compared to cars) – how come they’re not more popular?
Because, unlike cars, they still require a bit of motivation to use when it isn’t sunny and warm.
I rode our scooter throughout the winter (no snow, though). It’s all about layers. Next purchase will be a rain suit.
And, Nick, thanks for all that info on the Aprilia. It appears they make a few other interesting models, too.
I put $3.00 of premium gas in the Aprilia the other day. I made round trips from Oakland to Mars, Monroeville, and Squirrel Hill (with some errand running/scenic routes thrown in) before the low fuel light came on.
So much fun!
well, my dream of riding home on a scooter didn’t come true, but I do have my permit after only 2.5 hours or so at the DMV. it was painless aside from the wait, read the manual at the web site – they give you all the questions in the back.
i got to mosites just before they closed – they don’t have a whole lot in stock, most of what they did have was vespas. sales guy said they sell scooters faster than they can get them. he’s going to call me monday with a date for a buddy 170i, although they also have some 07/08 vespa gts 250s that they’re looking to unload. i dunno, i don’t want to keep moving up but being able to carry passengers would be nice.
Those 50cc scooters are a pet peeve to me. They are not good for Pittsburgh. Our streets are too steep. They will get up and down the hills but you will piss off a lot of drivers while you are doing it because they can’t pass you like you are on a bike. The other thing is a bigger motor can help you get out of a sticky spot, like a car is trying to crowd you out, you can hit the throttle and be out of there in a split second on a bigger bike. Also, just because you can drive a 50cc without a licence does not make it a good idea. The same way it is legal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
The motorcycle safety class will have you riding 250cc bikes, use that as a gauge. With a 250 if you want to run down the parkway for a few exits, you can, if you want to take a road like 5th ave, you can keep up with traffic.
A couple bikes that are great for getting around the city are the Kawasaki super Sherpa or the KLX250s, the Yamaha Wr250s or x. These are all dual sport bikes, they can hop curbs and take Pittsburgh pot holes with ease. A true street bike like the ninja 250 can be difficult to ride in an urban environment.
I got the SR50R Fectory when gas was up a few years ago. I lucked out and walked in the day they got 3 in–2 were already sold, so I let impulse take over and bought it. The year after when gas went down, Mosites was filled with scooters.
Another thing I didn’t mention about he SR50R Factory is the Piaggio direct-injected Orbital two-stroke engine is one of the world’s cleanest burning, most efficient production engines ever. If anyone is a SAE member, there is a pretty good paper about it on there website for a few bucks.
Hmmm, that might be a potential vehicle for some commuting to Moraine State Park I might want to do in the future
Can they be driven quietly at low speed? (I was thinking of this as my obnoxious neighbor sped by to stop at a stop sign twenty feet away)
With the stock exhaust its much quieter. Kaylas SR50 has a Leo Vince Handmade ZX exhaust that has had the European homologation restrictors removed and all of the silencer fiberglass has burned out.
It also depends on your definition of quiet. Silent? No, not at all.
Not obnoxious? Can be done, at least in the case of my Yamaha at slower speeds.
And old man safety note: Nick/Kayla, anyone, if you’re riding a piped scooter or motorcycle any significant length of time, longer than little hops around town, you should use those foam stuff-in ear plugs. Over time the engine noise and wind will definitely damage your hearing. They reduce fatigue on long rides too. Get a big box of them, they’re good for all kinds of things.
I’ve got one of these:
I packed for an overnight in ANF last weekend, ended up taking the rack off in favor of a top box for more secure storage. Pulled both wheels off the bike and strapped it crosswise to the luggage rack and box, worked well.
I thought about the scooter route too, can’t believe how expensive those things are used. Ended up on a big dual sport (KLR650) for $1200. Gets about 50 miles a gallon easy, can do 65 for miles on the highway, dirt roads, carries bunches of stuff. Might take it to NYC next weekend.
I think a smaller 250 dualsport would be a perfect beginner bike.
Hmm, just got passed at my bus stop by a can-am spyder. Maybe if I found a used one, rip it apart, and steampunk it…
Nick, throw up a pic of the cb when you get a chance.
see, my car gets 50mpg, so if I’m not going to do appreciably better with a scooter/motorbike/motorcycle, it’s not worth the extra cost/effort to own/maintain it.
Nick/Kayla – how do your mods affect the top speed/efficiency of your Aprilla, if at all? I am an anomaly – an engineer blissfully ignorant of all things motored. Going on the only information I have, I have been judging bikes by their displacement – is there a better way to judge what bikes are capable of what (aside from getting on them and trying them out)?
I’m not really the one to answer because I don’t quite know, but from what I gather, unmodded ones are a bit better on had but have a much lower maximum speed. Still, I got around 80 miles on less than a gallon of gas, I think. I’ve never filled up all the way (can’t if I use the sidestand) so I don’t know for sure the gas mileage.
It isn’t just the 50 miles a gallon. It is also less money spent on: tires, oil, parts, registration, insurance, parking. Not to mention if you buy it outright, no monthly payments.
Eric – I wouldn’t necessarily be swapping out the car (yet) for a moped, so it doesn’t eliminate the car costs for me just yet – making it about 90% about the mileage (for me personally at this point in time – ymmv). The mileage and the top speed would be my personal determining factors in use (since others have explained the storage issues, a bike covers local trips, and the remaining car would cover long distance), and use would be the determining factor in car elimination.
It may not make sense, but that’s the decision making criteria and realistic order of events that I can see for us right now.
with the untimely death this weekend of my truck, I’m strongly leaning towards getting a motorcycle. The difference in fuel economy between these two will be huge
Also, a reason to get a hot pink leather jacket. Yessss!
Tabby – if you get a hot pink leather jacket, you will officially be my hero. I’d forgotten that excuse…
And don’t forget the bedazzling opportunity of motorcycles: http://www.bikersblingonline.com/Bikers_Bling_Products.php
Would bedazzling a moped be inappropriate?
Would bedazzling a moped be inappropriate?
Surprisingly, I haven’t been able to find a pink jacket that’s bright enough, more of a baby pink seems more common. I’m on the lookout though.
Oooh, fun website. I really like the LED lights, and they seem like they would really improve side vis which is always something I think about biking too.
I think it is important to distinguish the difference between a moped and a scooter– mopeds have pedals like a bicycle (get it? MOtorized PEDacycle).
The SR50R Factory in stock form has a top speed of around 40mph. Derestricted, which I elaborated on earlier, they top out in the low-50’s on flat ground. With basic mods–pipe, filter, and transmission tuning–they top out in the mid-50’s but they accelerate much better.
Transmission tuning is a must for the hills around here. Once it is dialed in, the SR50R is a blast to ride (80-100mpg doesn’t hurt either).
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