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Old 06-16-2008, 06:03 PM
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Am I too fat for a scooter?

Half the time I commute to work, I'm traveling alone. The other half of the time, I take my three kids to school.

I keep seeing little scooter things buzzing the back streets and I wonder if this is at all practical for a 350 lb, 6'3" man.

I have a 13 mile commute to work and there's times where being able to reach 45 mph would be handy. I can avoid the 70 mph highway, though.

Is this kind of vehicle a practical consideration?
Old 06-16-2008, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belrix
Half the time I commute to work, I'm traveling alone. The other half of the time, I take my three kids to school.

I keep seeing little scooter things buzzing the back streets and I wonder if this is at all practical for a 350 lb, 6'3" man.

I have a 13 mile commute to work and there's times where being able to reach 45 mph would be handy. I can avoid the 70 mph highway, though.

Is this kind of vehicle a practical consideration?
Depends on the scooter. How big is the engine? For example, I'm a pretty big guy myself, and I used to tool around on my wife's 125cc scooter and get it up to 50 or 55mph without much difficulty.
Old 06-16-2008, 06:26 PM
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I'm 240.

How bout a 50cc?
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:34 PM
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I had a 50cc scooter when I was young and skinny - it went 47 1/2 kilometers per hour - flat out with a tail wind. I was probably about 120 pounds at the time.

I'd suggest talking to a local dealer about what will fit your height / weight / terrain / distance requirements. Too small a scooter will burn out it's engine.

I've killed a motorbike (not with my size, which was still skinny when I upgraded) just by running it too far and fast for the engine to handle on a daily basis. It was only a little motorbike 125cc - because I needed to be able to lift it up when Wellington's infamous winds blew it over.
Old 06-17-2008, 12:01 AM
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I had a 180 in college and it was capable of carrying two adults, so 350lbs oughta be doable. But definitely not on a 50cc. One reason I got the 180 was on the advice of a friend who had a 50cc. He wisely told me that if you're ever giving a girl a ride somewhere and you come to a hill, having to ask her to get off and walk up the hill is really a mood killer.
Old 06-17-2008, 12:02 AM
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Just for clarification: is a scooter the same thing as a moped?
Old 06-17-2008, 12:05 AM
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Is this what you have in mind?
Old 06-17-2008, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Washoe
Just for clarification: is a scooter the same thing as a moped?
Mopeds tend to have pedals (Motor + pedals).

EDIT: Actually, I've seen a lot of bikes that are called mopeds, but which I would call scooters as they don't have pedals. Mopeds without pedals, to me, would have a frame that the rider straddles or semi-straddles; while a scooter would be more like sitting in a chair. But I think the nomenclature probably varies by region.

Last edited by Johnny L.A.; 06-17-2008 at 12:09 AM.
Old 06-17-2008, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Washoe
Just for clarification: is a scooter the same thing as a moped?
Nope...mopeds have pedals.
Old 06-17-2008, 01:04 AM
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what kind of a license do you need for those?
Old 06-17-2008, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex_Dubinsky
what kind of a license do you need for those?
Quote:
Originally Posted by New Mexico
Class [D] License - A license to drive any single vehicle weighing less than 26,001 pounds and vehicles towing 10,000 pounds or less.

Class [M] License A license to drive a two or three-wheeled motorcycle. This license classification carries one of three endorsements:

W any two or three wheeled motorcycle with an engine piston displacement of more than 100 ccs (minimum 15 years of age with successful completion of an approved driver education course);

Y any two or three wheeled motorcycle with an engine piston displacement of at least 50 ccs, but not more than 100 ccs (minimum 13 years of age); or

Z any two or three wheeled motorcycle with an automatic transmission and engine piston displacement of less than 50 ccs (minimum 13 years of age).
http://tax.state.nm.us/pubs/mvddrvrs.htm
Old 06-17-2008, 09:52 AM
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The definition of a "moped" varies by state. Here it's just a scooter (with a step-through frame) under 50 ccs that doesn't go faster than 35 miles an hour; a moped does not require a special license other than your regular driver's license and has a plate that says "moped". It isn't technically a moped because it has no pedals, but that's what the state calls it. Anything over 50 ccs requires a motorcycle license and is not a "moped".
Old 06-17-2008, 10:01 AM
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IIRC, that's the rule for California as well. Which is why I'm shopping for a 49cc Piaggio scooter around October. I figure it will get me to work and back every day. I'd ride a bike, but there is no way I'm facing the 7th St. hill on a hot afternoon after teaching sophomores all day!
Old 06-17-2008, 10:04 AM
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I'd take a razor scooter and replace the steering column with a jackhammer connected to the front wheel, then put the air compressor on the sled with a seat on it. It's go like a fury but I'm not so sure about braking.
Old 06-17-2008, 10:09 AM
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If you're 6'3" and 350 pounds, you are going to look like a HUGE DORK riding a little scooter. Sorry, there's just no two ways about it. If you're one of those people who doesn't give a damn about what other people think, bully for you, but you're going to look goofy as all get-out on one of those things.

On the other hand, you'd look like a straight badass on a big cruiser like a Honda Shadow or a Kawasaki Vulcan. I would say Harley, but I don't like them - that's just me.

Think about it. Goofy dork or badass? Which do you want to be?

Sorry for thinking about it in such superficial terms, but I'm just giving you the Joe Sixpack view here. Some things are just facts of life, and one of them is that big bikes are badass, and little scooters aren't.
Old 06-17-2008, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers
that's just me.
No it isn't.

I don't like them either.

Old 06-17-2008, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus
IIRC, that's the rule for California as well. Which is why I'm shopping for a 49cc Piaggio scooter around October. I figure it will get me to work and back every day. I'd ride a bike, but there is no way I'm facing the 7th St. hill on a hot afternoon after teaching sophomores all day!
Funny, I always had you pegged as a Harley guy. Then again, some of the Piaggio color schemes would match better with your shirts.
Old 06-17-2008, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers
If you're 6'3" and 350 pounds, you are going to look like a HUGE DORK riding a little scooter. Sorry, there's just no two ways about it. If you're one of those people who doesn't give a damn about what other people think, bully for you, but you're going to look goofy as all get-out on one of those things.

On the other hand, you'd look like a straight badass on a big cruiser like a Honda Shadow or a Kawasaki Vulcan. I would say Harley, but I don't like them - that's just me.

Think about it. Goofy dork or badass? Which do you want to be?

Sorry for thinking about it in such superficial terms, but I'm just giving you the Joe Sixpack view here. Some things are just facts of life, and one of them is that big bikes are badass, and little scooters aren't.
Yeah. I have to admit the dorkage factor plays into it. I was telling my wife that I look at these for ease of use and I look at this because that's what I really want to be seen on.

If I went the motorcycle route, knowing that I live a mile up and may take it to 10,000 feet, what's a practical engine displacement?
Old 06-17-2008, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belrix
Yeah. I have to admit the dorkage factor plays into it. I was telling my wife that I look at these for ease of use and I look at this because that's what I really want to be seen on.

If I went the motorcycle route, knowing that I live a mile up and may take it to 10,000 feet, what's a practical engine displacement?
You could retain the ease of use and counter the dorkage factor by going with one these 3-wheeled Piaggio MP3 things, currently adjudged "cool". They come in some smaller models, as well as the 500cc version described there. I've seen a couple of them buzzing around the Silicon Valley.
Old 06-17-2008, 11:50 AM
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I'm not ashamed to be seen scooting around on my little yellow scooter.

That's because I'm a girl, and it's cute when girls do it.
Old 06-17-2008, 11:51 AM
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Addendum - the article I linked doesn't show pictures of the fancy tilting front suspension, shown in the wiki article, which claims they come in 250, 400 and 500 cc versions in the US:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piaggio_MP3
Old 06-17-2008, 11:58 AM
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Belrix, I don't know what your financial situation is like, but the Suzuki Burgman may be right up your alley. It's pretty spendy, but the engine size goes up to a 650. that's enough for any size rider.
Old 06-17-2008, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yanceylebeef
Belrix, I don't know what your financial situation is like, but the Suzuki Burgman may be right up your alley. It's pretty spendy, but the engine size goes up to a 650. that's enough for any size rider.
Except Bosstone has confirmed in the recent motorcycle threads that they're almost impossible to find these days, as are many other scooters. Go figure.
Old 06-17-2008, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yabob
You could retain the ease of use and counter the dorkage factor by going with one these 3-wheeled Piaggio MP3 things, currently adjudged "cool". They come in some smaller models, as well as the 500cc version described there. I've seen a couple of them buzzing around the Silicon Valley.
Very cool. Also 7 to 9 grand!

Not sure that'd be approved by the budget babe.
Old 06-17-2008, 12:33 PM
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Ugh, those things are hideous!
Old 06-17-2008, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian
Except Bosstone has confirmed in the recent motorcycle threads that they're almost impossible to find these days, as are many other scooters. Go figure.
I'm willing to bet the supply will be up in the fall, though, once the '09 models come in.

Personally I think the Suzuki Burgman, Honda Reflex, and Yamaha Majesty look kick-ass and not dorky at all. Dorky is this.
Old 06-17-2008, 03:15 PM
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Is the terrain reasonably flat? If so, and if there's a shower at work, then how about a bicycle?

As for the scooter, the accident rates for motorbikes etc are not good. You're much safer on a bicycle.
Old 06-17-2008, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone
I'm willing to bet the supply will be up in the fall, though, once the '09 models come in.

Personally I think the Suzuki Burgman, Honda Reflex, and Yamaha Majesty look kick-ass and not dorky at all. Dorky is this.

I love that classic Vespa! I could totally rock that scooter and look damn adorable on it.
Old 06-17-2008, 03:30 PM
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I know, I can't believe anybody would rather have one of those things that looks like something you get in your Happy Meal For Boys than the classic Vespa. I'd be cruising up and down and all around the town going "Ciao!"
Old 06-17-2008, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz
As for the scooter, the accident rates for motorbikes etc are not good. You're much safer on a bicycle.
I should think scooters 125cc and below are safer than motorcycles. Above that size, I think scooters could fairly be lumped in with motorcycles, but underneath there's just not enough power to get you into trouble. I'm having trouble finding scooter accident statistics for the US, though.
Old 06-17-2008, 09:58 PM
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A lot has to do with the traffic conditions, and in your case belrix local altitude and size. Height and weight.

I dont drive in Denver traffic to often, but my experience, like any big city, you need to keep up with it or you put yourself in danger.

Im 63 and 215lbs. There is nothing worse than being chased by cars traffic light to traffic light because the bike does not have the acceleration you need.

Honestly, I think that if you are 63 and 350lbs is probably to much for anything that is rated as a scooter You also have to consider the suspension as well as engine power.

Its interesting though. Let me share an anecdote.

I was at the local gas station the other day when a couple of older guys pulled in on a couple of BMW R1200GSs (its a bike Im interested in). They where obviously new bikes.

Im not a big rider. But have spent many years around bikes. The one fellow had to grab his pant leg so he could get his leg over the seat. He was mid 60s and seemed to have WAY to much bike for himself.

Thats probably not a well fit bike for him. You dont want to go the other way.
Old 06-18-2008, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone
I should think scooters 125cc and below are safer than motorcycles. Above that size, I think scooters could fairly be lumped in with motorcycles, but underneath there's just not enough power to get you into trouble. I'm having trouble finding scooter accident statistics for the US, though.
I'd ask all the readers to keep in mind that the tire size and wheel base in scooter vs. motorcycle is also a factor. You're also typically much more visible on a motorcycle. I'm not convinced at all that scooters are universally safer.
Old 06-18-2008, 01:39 AM
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I agree it's likely scooter accidents are far more common. Anecdotal info from our local newspaper quoted scooter riders as saying they were often deliberately forced off the road by impatient drivers. That fits with my own experience.

Also, the wheel base meant my motorcycle could recover much better from contact with potholes and road debris than my scooter ever did. Wet road markings were safer on the motorcycle, too.

Cars are your biggest threat though, they either don't see you, or don't care. A motorbike may get you out of trouble, but their increased speed means any accidents will likely be worse.
Old 06-18-2008, 04:32 AM
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Here's a review of the Vespa's practicality in New York City.

Specs:
Quote:
Vespa S

http://vespausa.com/Products/VespaS.cfm

ENGINE TYPE
Single-cylinder 4 stroke LEADER, two-way catalytic converter and secondary air system
CYLINDER CAPACITY
150cc
BORE x STROKE
62.8 mm x 48.6 mm
MAX POWER at SHAFT
8.7 Kw (11.7 cv) at 7,750 rpm
MAX TORQUE
11.5 Nm at 6,000 rpm
MAX SPEED
59 mph
FUEL / TANK CAPACITY
Unleaded / 2.3 gallons
GAS MILEAGE
72 mpg**
DISTRIBUTION
Cam head single shaft-SOHC (2 valves)
COOLING SYSTEM
Ram air with sound proof cover and integrated SAS (Secondary Air System)
LUBRICATION
Wet sump, 1000cc capacity; chain-driven lobe pump; intake and delivery filters

MSRP
$4,199*
See the article for specs on the larger model.
Old 06-18-2008, 05:18 AM
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Another suggestion for the bicycle. Here in the Netherlands, such a distance would be thought of as the ideal bicycle commute. Biking to work is a very natural way to work out, and you'd be surprised how much time it saves at such small distances. Especially as you don't have to go to a gym anymore.
Bycycling and swimming are the two sports that, because of the low impact and the excellent aerobics training, are recommended for overweight people. if you bycycle at a leisurely pace, (and the tempreature isn't extreme) you don't even need to shower at work.

Bycicles don't need to be expensive, especially if you buy a not so fancy, perhaps second hand one to try if bicycling works for you. You could even trying to rent a bicycle for the first tries.
You might want to look into "bicycles with engine"; normally, you use the pedals like with a normal bike. But if you are in too much of a hurry, the hills are too steep, or the wind blows against you, you start a little auxillary engine. Such bikes have an absolutely zero dork factor; they look like bikes with a heavy bag on the back carrier.

Last edited by Maastricht; 06-18-2008 at 05:19 AM.
Old 06-18-2008, 09:26 AM
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Well I speak from practical experience, scooter-wise. I'm a big advocate of "simpler is better"

1. I have a 49.5cc scooter with a *large* wheelbase, and it takes me up to 45-47 mph at the flick of a wrist. I can easily out accelerate most cars.
2. You don't need a large engine for good acceleration, because most scooters are light.
3. Scooters statistically have fewer accidents than motorcycles.
4. My scooter has a 400lb max carrying capacity. With a friend on the back, and stuff in the carrier(it's a two seater) I've come close to 400lbs.. No appreciable difference in performance: knock a few mph off top speed and slightly decreased acceleration.
5. I've carried up to 6 bags of groceries on the thing comfortably. I'm able to place bags on the floor between my legs. Try that on a motorcycle.
6. I've gotten nothing but respect from cars in my very urban environment. I can't say the same for me on my bicycle in similar situations. That's because the scooter can out accelerate and keep up with the cars.
7. A larger engine and heavier vehicle will cost you more in gas. My scooter gets 70-80 mpg.
8. My scooter cost me $2500.
9. I don't need a special license for it because it's under 50cc.

Don't forget to get a quality model. I'd suggest the Kymco People or the Aprilia Scarabeo if you want a large wheelbase.

http://apriliausa.com/modelli/sc...llo.asp?id=121 (all they have available in the U.S. now is a 100cc and up model - 100 cc would be more than adequate for your needs)

http://strmotorsports.com/showro...e50/index.html

These scooters do *not* look dorky. Motorcycles look dorky.

Last edited by Rusalka; 06-18-2008 at 09:30 AM.
Old 06-19-2008, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maastricht
Another suggestion for the bicycle. Here in the Netherlands, such a distance would be thought of as the ideal bicycle commute.
13 MILES is a bicycle commute?

No bloody way, unless it was dead flat all the way... and the weather wasn't inclement. 13 miles on a bicycle and you'd be covered in road splash and looking like a drowned rat by the time you got there.

Add in that the OP isn't in the peak of physical condition and assuming he could even make it all the way (and if he's not in the habit of riding bikes, I really don't think that's a reasonable expectation) he'd arrive sweat-drenched and in need of a shower. That really impresses the co-workers.

I'm glad it works for you, but speaking as someone who isn't an athlete, it's an idea that fills me with horror.

ETA: Not to say that getting a bicycle is a bad idea; it'd be an excellent idea for getting around town locally. But it's not an entry-level commute.

Last edited by Bites When Provoked; 06-19-2008 at 08:46 PM.
Old 06-20-2008, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bites When Provoked
13 MILES is a bicycle commute?

No bloody way, unless it was dead flat all the way...
Which the Netherlands is, for the most part. But 13 miles is well under an hour's travel on a bike.
Old 06-20-2008, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Quartz
But 13 miles is well under an hour's travel on a bike.
Definitely. That's about how far I just now rode coming home from work.
Old 06-20-2008, 10:11 AM
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Not all Dutchies like to ride 13 miles on a bike, I know I don't.
I also drive an Aprillia 50cc scooter (without the limiter I must admit).
It will do about 50Mph and will out-accelerate most cars, but I think 350 pounds would be a bit much for it.
I think you will need at least a good 80cc.
Old 06-20-2008, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia
I know, I can't believe anybody would rather have one of those things that looks like something you get in your Happy Meal For Boys than the classic Vespa. I'd be cruising up and down and all around the town going "Ciao!"

Happy Meals toys! Awesome description! We'll get classic Vespas and drive around our respective towns, looking awesome!
Old 06-20-2008, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bites When Provoked
13 MILES is a bicycle commute?

No bloody way, unless it was dead flat all the way... and the weather wasn't inclement. 13 miles on a bicycle and you'd be covered in road splash and looking like a drowned rat by the time you got there.

Add in that the OP isn't in the peak of physical condition and assuming he could even make it all the way (and if he's not in the habit of riding bikes, I really don't think that's a reasonable expectation) he'd arrive sweat-drenched and in need of a shower. That really impresses the co-workers.

I'm glad it works for you, but speaking as someone who isn't an athlete, it's an idea that fills me with horror.

ETA: Not to say that getting a bicycle is a bad idea; it'd be an excellent idea for getting around town locally. But it's not an entry-level commute.
Yeah - pretty much pegged it that 13 miles isn't a practical commute given my physical condition (add to the weight the fact that I'm 43 years old). When I change the path to roads with more bike-friendly traffic, the distance jumps to nearly 17 miles, too. I'd still be nervous about biking what I plotted - A good portion of the trip is completely without bike lanes.

While Denver is flat compared to the mountains 20 miles to the west, it's still rather hilly - it'd take me a while to work up the stamina for that kind of ride. It'd be interesting to get an elevation profile for it but I don't know a site that'll do that.

Nope - best way for me to bicycle would be to bike the 2 miles to the best bus route, put my bike on the bus, ride that 9 miles to the bus depot closest to work, then finish the last mile on my own power again.

Doable if my car breaks down but the $3.50 for bus fare that day is awfully close to the $5 in gas it costs me to drive daily. I could get it down to $3 a day for bus fare if I bought ten tickets in advance but, in general, my convenience is worth that extra $2 a day.

Last edited by Belrix; 06-20-2008 at 12:24 PM.
Old 06-20-2008, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belrix
Yeah - pretty much pegged it that 13 miles isn't a practical commute given my physical condition
Why don't you try it on a weekend? Just to see how far you can actually go and what it's really like?
Old 06-20-2008, 02:20 PM
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Is it wrong for me to consider this as an ideal "scooter?"

I so want one of those.
Old 06-20-2008, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone
I'm willing to bet the supply will be up in the fall, though, once the '09 models come in.

Personally I think the Suzuki Burgman, Honda Reflex, and Yamaha Majesty look kick-ass and not dorky at all. Dorky is this.
Didn't know they had become hard to find. I drive a 650 Burgman and I can at least attest to the fact that 350 lbs on one is nothing at all. But don't buy one expecting 70-80 MPG, you'll be lucky to get 50. But then again, you can do 100 MPH if you want to. Better mileage can be had from the 400 and it should also carry you OK.
Old 06-20-2008, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yabob
You could retain the ease of use and counter the dorkage factor by going with one these 3-wheeled Piaggio MP3 things, currently adjudged "cool".
Not by me! That is FUGLY with a capital FUG. And dorkish, in my book. It looks like a little brother to ED 209.
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