Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Big Bike, Little Bike - Take 2

Over the last few days, I have had several opportunities to use either my scooter or my cycle.

On Sunday, after church, I took my son to ride his dirt bike, then after we returned home, we took a ride on Natasha.

We wandered around a few roads that I had never before explored with him, though I'd ridden on them by myself. The Honda performed very well, and I found myself settling in to the process of shifting more and more. It's really not too far removed from shifting a manual tranny in a car, just moved around a bit.

After riding around the county, we came home and then took a ride on the Silver Streak. We didn't go quite as far as we had on Natasha, but one thing was readily apparent. My son, all 75 lbs of him, doesn't feel like much of a burden on the Honda, but on the Kymco, every little move he makes seems to throw the bike off course. I hardly noticed it before, but now, after riding the bigger bike, it's very obvious. The Kymco is such a light scooter that it responds to every movement of its riders. In away, it's agility works against it when riding two-up.

I rode the Honda to get it inspected on Monday. It has an issue with the speedometer, which the mechanic stated he had run into before when the magnets inside the sensor got gummed up. We had some trouble getting the assembly apart, so we were unable to clean it out entirely. A project for another day. But everything else checked out and I have a nice green sticker on the bike, declaring me good for another year.

I rode the bike over to WalMart to check out some motorcycle covers. $20.00 for a motorcycle cover sounds good on the surface, but I hesitate to plunk down cash on something that may only last a year. I also looked at their full face helmets. They have some for $90.00, but they are some off brand and are only DOT approved. I need to get an FF helmet before winter since my 3/4 helmet is starting to wear out (It wasn't that great to begin with), but again, I do not wish to be stuck with an uncomfortable helmet that will perhaps last a year.

I didn't purchase either item since I did not have my scooter with the more capacious carrying abilities. In a way, going shopping while riding the cycle might prove a good way to save money, at least until I get a back rack and some side bags.

This morning when I left for work, I took the scoot. I was glad I did since its nimble handling and light weight kept me from plowing into a car that pulled out right in front of me, crossing to the far lane on the opposing side of the street. The driver had not even looked to his left before pulling out and glared at me when I leaned on the horn as if I were to blame for his incompetence. Of course, he was driving a Mercedes and I was only riding a lowly Taiwanese scooter. At least I could have had the decency to ride a Vespa. The nerve of some people. **insert sarcastic eye roll here**

I left work at around 9 am and reveled in the agility of my scooter as I puttered along toward home. At about 1:00, I recieved a call from the nurse at my son's school stating that he was ill and needed to go home, so I strapped his helmet to the little sissy bar on the back of the sabre and went to pick him up. After settling him in at home with some juice to drink and a blanket over top to keep him warm, I hopped back on the Sabre, since it was warmed up anyway, and rode to work. It may not be nimble and spritely, but the rumble of the engine and the visceral feeling of all those horses pounding the pavement beneath me was invigorating. Strangely enough, I arrived a work a little earlier than expected.

This evening's ride home was equally enjoyable, and thankfully, filled with none of the excitement of my earlier ride on the scooter this morning.

I am really not certain how that would have turned out on the bigger bike. I didn't have room to counter steer and my only options were to modulate the brakes or lay the scooter down. Thankfully, the braking worked and I did not lock either wheel. I was going slowly enough, having just crossed an intersection, that I did not have a tremendous amount of momentum, but I ended up within about three feet of the other vehicle's side panels. Looking back on it, I am thankful to the Almighty that He was watching over me.

So, my earlier impressions have held true. The two machines, though similar, are very different, with their own unique charms and disadvantages. I think, on the whole, while the power of the bigger bike is intoxicating, after my morning experience, I'm inclined to say I prefer the smaller vehicle, simply for it's lightfootedness...if that's a word.

The scooter is whimsical and fun, while the motorcycle is more serious and earthy. It's so nice to have both.


cpa3485 said...

Ah yes, the cages making left turns without looking situation. Know it well. Glad your encounter turned out okay.
Have thought about a motorcycle and scooter myself. For now the scooter is fine, but can see some advantages to a motorcycle especially for touring.

kz1000st said...

What you will find, after a while of riding a bigger machine is that your "radar" extends. You will slow sooner at the sight of a car in an intersection. I never go to an intersection without covering my brakes on the bike something I don't do on the scoot.
Recently I rode the bike and my wife asked me how I felt. I replied, "Exhilarated." Now the scooter is a fun machine but it doesn't make my heart pump like the Kawasaki. You have a bike with four cylinders, sixteen valves, direct flow intake tracts and was the basis for World and AMA Superbike Championships. It has a few throbbing ponies in there.

So Hey, Just be Careful Out There.

Paul said...

Had another idiot situation this morning. I was coming up on the intersection of PA-501 and Valley road, and there was a lady in a 1980's land yacht sitting in the left turn lane. She apparently decided she wanted to go north instead of south, so she cut me off as she pulled into the right lane, then turned right to head up 501. The horn on the Kymco is nice and loud, so she heard my protests of annoyance, but she just nonchalantly looked back as if I were a minor irritation. No wave of apology or anything.

I was watching out after my experience yesterday, but still, it's not turning out to be a good week for me so far.

bobskoot said...


I think that choice of car dictates driver behaviour. The selfish ones drive land yachts and are takers, push their way around, don't think they have to signal or follow the rules of the road, as rules are for other people like you and me.
I find that drivers are getting worse. No one follows the speed limit anymore, and few stop when making right turns. When the light changes to green and you pause for just a millisecond, they start honking at you.
As for the scoot and bike, it is nice to have a choice, and also a spare in case one is out of service.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin