Saturday, January 31, 2009

More insights on upcoming Honda Scooter

I stopped in at Lancaster Honda today to see if they had any new information on the upcoming 150cc scooter. According to the salesman, the picture they were shown was an SH-150, similar to what is currently sold in Italy.

So much for the rebirth of the cub, but still a good scooter from what I understand. It's also a big wheel scooter, which is probably a wise move on Honda's part. Small wheel scooters are fine, but they aren't as forgiving of road anomalies.

I also sat on a 2006 Rebel that they had for sale and liked the feel of it, though it was still a little difficult to get my leg over (though not nearly as bad as the Ninja). With the mild arthritis in my right hip, I think I'm stuck with step through bikes. I don't mind terribly, as it will certainly keep me from spending any money on another bike.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Uncomfortable confirmation of suspicions

I confirmed something today that I have long suspected. I will never be able to comfortably ride a standard motorcycle. I went to Trans-Am Cycle in Lititz today for something to do on my way home from work, and noted that they had a few 250cc Ninjas for sale. Curiosity got the best of me so I decided to sit on one to see what it would feel like. The feeling was decidedly uncomfortable.

You see, I have a bit of arthritis in my right hip, so lifting my leg over the seat of the bike was painful and sitting astride it didn't lessen the discomfort. I also tried sitting on a 250cc dual purpose they had and experienced the same thing.

It looks like I will have to forego getting a D.P. bike after all. Maybe a smaller 125 or 200cc dirt bike would work, but for now, I'll just watch my kid enjoy his dirt bike.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Consumer Reports gets with the program...maybe

Well, here it is, January of 2009, and the March 2009 issue of Consumer Reports arrived in the mail yesterday. I was surprised and delighted to find that they had a section on scooters and small displacement motorbikes.

They reviewed three 50cc scooters (Vespa LX 50, Honda Ruckus, and Motorino Allegro 50), three 125/150 class scooters (Vespa LX 150, Yamaha Vino 125, and the Kymco People 150), and two 250cc motorbikes (Kawasaki Ninja and Honda Rebel).

The Vespas scored very well on their tests (of course), simply because of the superior quality of the scooters. The Motorino Allegro is a Chinese scoot, which I'm glad they threw in for flavor, and their take on the quality of the Chinascoot was unsurprizing (and abysmal). Their take on the Ruckus was a bit lower than I expected, but then, I've never ridden one, so I can't make an educated opinion of my own. They gave the Vino 125 relatively low marks, which I also found surprizing. I've ridden a Vino 125 and found it to be similar in feel to my old Vino Classic (Duh!).

What surprized me the most was their assessment on the Kymco People 150. It scored better than the Vespa LX150. That's a great testament for a little scooter company from Taiwan!

What bothers me about their scooter coverage is that it comes so late in the game. The scooter boom of last summer fizzled out when the gas prices sunk below $3.00 a gallon. Perhaps they are gambling that gas prices will rise again and that there will be a resurgence of interest in scooters come spring. I'm guessing that this is what will happen, since our economy is not getting any better and most people will be looking for economical transportation.

The one thing I don't understand is how they got their city mileage. I've never seen mileage that poor from a 50cc scooter, well, at least not one of the better brands. My 150 also gets much better than 33mpg city, it's really around 50mpg for city and 80 for rural scootin'.

All in all though, I was glad that Consumer Reports finally got on the ball. I do wish they would have been more up front to warn their readers away from "deals" on "cheap" scooters.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I hate being sick

It was inevitable.

I have a cold, or the flu, or something like that. It happens every winter. This year I had missed it so far, and I attributed that to riding my scooter in the cold. Everyone else was getting sick, and I was doing fine. Then we started to get icy weather and I could not ride every day, and here I am, sitting up with a rattle in my chest after battling a cold for the last week.

The scooter has been parked since Thursday. I haven't been riding because I feel horrible, and I feel horrible because I haven't been riding. I take comfort in the fact that January is nearly over, February is a short month, and March is just around the corner.

I will soon be putting together my plans for a ride to Massachusetts in April. I plan to follow a similar route to what I put together last summer for taking my Vino north. I also plan to pick up a small tent and camp out when I get up there. I am sincerely looking forward to the opportunity to have a long, relaxing journey.

Now if only the ice and snow would melt and the spring weather would get here so I can ride around Lancaster county some more.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stir crazy...

Well, I rode my scooter to work today, despite the light cover of snow on the road. It was the warmest day in a while, so I figured I'd take my chance since the throttle was not frozen. It was actually a very nice ride in to work. With my gear, as mentioned in prior entries, I remain fairly warm, so it wasn't so bad.

My wife is currently recovering from foot surgery, so I stopped at Save-Mart to buy a cane for her. It wasn't too hard to get it home on the scooter. When I got home, I sat down to read some forums and relax. I went out to the kitchen to warm some soup and found our kitten, wearing my helmet, sort-of.

See for yourself:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cat in a box

Having a kitten in the house again is proving to be a lot of fun. Certainly, there is a great amount of responsibility as well, but there's no doubt that the fun factor cannot be denied. The funny thing about cats is, you can buy them all sorts of things to climb on or sit in, and tons of toys to play with, but all you really need is an empty Pepsi box...

The Dead of Winter

It is cold. Today was supposedly the coldest day in four years. The mercury didn't rise above 24 degrees. I didn't ride today because I did not want to mess with a frozen throttle. Were I able to keep my scooter garaged, I probably would have ridden to a meeting I had at work.

I did have opportunity to stop in at Trans-Am Cycle. I had two reasons for stopping in there. The first was to check their scooter supply, the second was for information on a lighting project I am undertaking.

They have several scooters, including two Kymco Sentos, a 50cc People S, a 50cc Agility, another Kymco scooter of which I cannot remember the model, a 400cc Suzuki Burgman (insert drool emote here), and my previous scooter, still apparently unsold, sitting at the back of the showroom (*sniffle*). The fact that they have so many 50cc scooters most likely has a lot to do with the weather. Not too many people are crazy enought to ride a scooter at this time of year. It will be interesting to see if they sell in the spring though, what with the recent rebound in fuel prices.

As for my aforementioned project, I am installing some LED pods on my scooter for additional visibility. It has been a long time since I wired a circuit, so this might prove interesting, but I see no reason why I can't do it. Two of the gentlemen at Trans-am suggested that I install the LED's on a separate circuit with their own switch so as to avoid any potential problems with the Po-Po. I have all the wires I need, I just need to find a toggle or clicker switch that will work. They are rated for 12 volts so it should be no problem to hitch them right into the battery. Once I finish the project, I'll post pics of the scoot, at night of course.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Confirmation of new Honda scooter.

I went to Lancaster Honda today around 1:00 and asked the guys behind the counter if the rumor that I read on UrbanScootin was true. They said that all they know is, Honda will be releasing a new scooter in the US, with somewhere between a 100cc and 200cc engine. One of the gentlemen said that the new scoot resembles the old passport...(better known as the Cub).

Let me just tell you, my heart is racing at the prospect of the Cub coming back. They said that the final information should be available in two or three weeks and I can't wait. I'd be a little surprized if it really is the cub, but I'd be elated if that were true.

On a side note, we have a new member of the family. We are now officially well beyond crazy cat people. We now have six. Jo-jo seemed to fit right in with our other cats right away. He's a real sweetie. Here's a few pics for your viewing pleasure.

Has Honda seen the light?

I just read last night that Honda may be releasing a 150cc scooter in the United States later on this year. It's about time, and I hope it turns out to be more than just a rumor. I'll have to head down to Lancaster Honda today or Monday to see if I can verify this claim.

The information was revealed on the "Urbanscootin'" forums.

If this is true, it may mean Honda has finally realized that they have neglected the midrange small scooter market in America for too long and have been missing out on a possible profit here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Bedtime Stories

Disclaimer: This is not a scooter post, though there were a couple of motorcycles in the movie.

I went with my family to see Bedtime Stories, starring Adam Sandler, this evening. The movie can be summed up in one word:


It's a family friendly tale of a goofy guy who's life kinda stinks, who suddenly is asked by his sister to watch his niece and nephew for a week. During that time, he tells them some bedtime stories, which they add to, and their additions come true later on.

It's cute, funny, and not full of all the garbage that Hollywood seems to put in every single movie that hits the big screen. Sure, there's a little potty humor, some kissing, and a few scenes of women in bikinis, but nothing that would be inappropriate for children. After all, kids hear worse humor from Spongebob on TV, they see their parents kiss (or teens in the mall, unfortunately...gross), and they see women in bikinis at the town pool (some of whom should have left the two piece at the store).

All in all, it's a clean, family friendly film that you can take your kids to without turning red every two minutes or having to remind them "don't you dare say that word" just as often. Plus, it has a cross-eyed guinea pig...what more can you ask for?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Crazy? I was crazy once!

I've been reminded several times lately by my wife, my co-workers, my friends, and a few strangers who see me riding my scoot in the cold, of just how insane I must be to ride such a contraption in freezing to sub-freezing temperatures.

I suppose, to someone who does not share my perspective, that it may seem crazy, but allow me to explain my logic. It would be impossible to label me an eco-nut. I care about my local corner of nature and I try to do my best to maintain it in a reasonable manner. I try not to litter. I try to pick up other people's litter when I have a pair of rubber gloves in my pocket (yes, I have this thing about germs). I dispose of oil and stuff in an appropriate manner, and so on. I do not ride a scooter in order to save the environment.

I am not really worried about whether we are going to run out of oil. I'm sure that it is likely to happen eventually, but for now, it's the least of my concerns. I don't ride a scooter to help conserve the world's oil supply.

My wife was easy to convince that riding a scooter would save us money on gas, especially since gas had just hit $3.50 a gallon when I purchased my Vino. Just the same, that really wasn't my reason for getting a scooter either.

I purchased a scooter in part because I have wanted one for years, at least since I was a teenager. I could not convince my parents of the practicality of a scooter, so it didn't happen back then. I also like small vehicles, which definitely drew me to the scooter world.

Perhaps the reason I ride my scooter in most weather, is not one I had fully realized when I purchased my first scooter, and that reason is simply, a scooter is practical. Why should I drive a car to and from work, that consumes four to five times as much gas, when I'm the only one who needs to get there. If I need to run an errand and don't need to pick up anything huge, why should I take a vehicle that is too big for the job? Sure, I have to bundle up a bit against the cold, but so what. It takes less time to bundle up while my scooter's engine warms up than it does to warm up my car and get the windows defrosted (ice-scrapers never seem to work right for me with frost). The cold really isn't all that noticeable when you're properly attired, so that doesn't hold me back either.

So, the question is, am I the one who is crazy, or is it the other people, driving around, alone, in a vehicle designed to carry at least five people (plus cargo)?