Friday, May 29, 2009

Scooter Re-tired

I left my scooter at Trans-Am Cycle sales this morning to have the rear tire replaced and have the valve clearances checked. Now that I've seen the clearance check done and i know how to get at the valves, I can do it myself with a little help from my friends at the scooter club.

The old tire was very light on tread in the middle and the tread was flattened out rather than rounded, so I decided it was time, after over 7,000 miles, to get a new one.

I had originally scheduled a "while you wait" appointment, but i had to take a client to an appointment, so i figured, drop the scoot off at 10 am, pick it up at noonish. Unfortunately, our lines of communication got crossed and they had not noted that it was a "while you wait" appointment. They were very apologetic, and I was understanding, because, after all, now I had opportunity to watch them work. They were kind enough to show me how to take off the engine cover and it was amazingly easy. The front access panel on the People 150 makes accessing the engine easy, even if it's a bit cramped.

They then fought with the back wheel for about an hour before they finally got it off and back on again. I am glad I didn't attempt that one myself. They had to remove the muffler, the battery, and the right shock. The finished product is nice though.

The new tire is very grippy. I found myself much more comfortable leaning and countersteering, whereas with the old tire, it was a little dodgy on some corners.

Since it took a while for them to replace the rear tire, I took the opportunity to look over the scooters and cycles they had for sale. As I have previously written, I am interested in eventually obtaining a second scooter in the 400cc+ range for touring, while still retaining my People 150.

They had a Kymco XCiting 250 Ri there, which I sat on and found very comfortable. The 250 Ri and the 500 Ri share the same body and frame, which is why sitting on the 250 was a great way to see how I would like the 500. The only issue I had with it was the width of the floorboards and seat. Both are very wide which might prove uncomfortable when stopping at lights and such. The sitting position is nice, as are the controls.

I had an opportunity to take a GrandVista for a spin. I wanted to see if I'd be satisfied with a 250cc touring scooter. I have to say, I was impressed by the smooth ride. I wasn't really wowed by the engine's power initially, as it wasn't really all that much different from my 150 at the low end. At the upper end of the spectrum though, wow! Smooth, no screaming at 60+, a very pleasant ride, and a comfortable seat. I had it up to a reported 73mph, with throttle to spare and no hesitation. Unfortunately that is not GPS verified, so I can't be certain of the accuracy.

There was a noticeable difference in stability and cornering. Due to the smaller wheels and longer wheelbase, the GrandVista does not feel as surefooted as the People 150. I think I would prefer larger wheels, which is one reason I am leaning toward something in the 400cc+ range.

The underseat storage was impressive. It almost precludes the need for a top box and saddlebags, though I would probably opt for them eventually anyway.

I find the front end of the Grand Vista to be ugly, but if I were to be in the market for a 250cc scooter, the Grand Vista would certainly be in the running.

Since it took hardly any time to check the valves, they cut a good chunk off my service bill, so I bought my first armored riding gear today; a pair of Joe Rocket waterproof gloves
They are very comfortable, and I feel a little more secure about keeping my fingers and palms intact should I be in an accident. I also like the reflective piping on the knuckles.

My next step in the gear department will be an armored jacket or possibly a jumpsuit. I found something rather nice from Olympia Moto Sports that would work well I think. Unfortunately, the price is prohibitive at the moment, but once I can afford it, I think I may go for one of those in hi-vis yellow.

Perchance to dream...


John McClane said...

I think larger wheels are better for longer distances. I'm beginning to now I'd got a bike instead of a scooter. Certainly I'm going to look at one if/when I change it.

On the other hand, the scooter has better storage.

kz1000st said...

You know my thoughts on this Paul. If you can tolerate the discomfort of a wider scooter, think used 500 Vulcan. Otherwise start scanning the papers and Craigs List for a Used Burgman. Bigger wheels, bigger engine and Japanese reliability at the price of a 250 Kymco. You won't have to take the back roads to Western Massachusetts on that. Or a Used Honda Rebel. I've seen the Craigs List listings in your area. Bunches for less than $3000. Add a windshield and bags like my wife's anti-scoot and you could take that to Massachusetts too. It gets in the mid 60s for gas mileage for her.