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Monday, 8 August 2016

The Next Ride

The Ruckus has reignited my passion and affinity for scooters. The ease of use...... just get on, twist the throttle, and go with a big shit eating grin on your face. No clutch or running through the gears. Simplicity at its finest.

The Guzzi is not even a year old yet, and my mind is wandering to a replacement for it already. A bigger scooter, a maxi-scooter as they call them. The Honda City ADV mentioned before would be quite a beast if it ever makes it to the shores here. Although the Honda City that it is based on is a Euro model only, so I think it maybe doubtful. I really should be living in the old country.

So what are the other options? Let's face it, I don't ride off road, and I have the Ruckus for my short jaunts onto the gravel or the odd trail. I don't need to go balls to walls on a KTM. Most of my longer trips are on pavement or smooth gravel at the worst, so I really have no need for a big ADV bike, as cool as they are.

I do want to start doing some longer touring trips, and keep up my yearly New Jersey trip for work, so a long distance capable stead is needed. I know you can tour on anything, but being able to jump on the interstate from time to time and cruise at 120kph is nice. Sometimes you just need to get somewhere fast. So my eye has wandered to the maxi scooters!!!

I know, you're all thinking.......WTF, a scooter, dude turn in your man card.

I've pretty much ridden and owned all types of bikes, sport, cruiser, ADV, dirt, so I have nothing to prove, and I really don't give a shit. Ride one and you'll get it, whether you admit it or not.

The maxi scooters provide a big engine with a CVT so no shifting, loads of cargo space, and the weather protection is awesome, especially in our neck of the woods where it's cold and wet. The Suzuki Burgman for example has 50L of underseat storage, two glove boxes, and electrically adjustable windscreen, plus heated grips, heated seats, and can cruise the interstate at 120kph with the cruise control on.

What are the options? There's the above mentioned Suzuki Burgman 650, BMW C650GT, the Yamaha TMAX and that's about it. Kymco has a 500, but there are no dealers in the area. In my neck of the woods the Suzuki and Yamaha are down the street where Tim Hovey owns the dealership, and BMW is an hour away in Moncton. Honda has a 300, as does Vespa, but they don't cut the mustard.

The BMW C650GT is a luxury touring scooter, no doubt about that. 647cc engine putting out 60hp (10 more than the Guzzi), but weighing in at whopping 261kg, with an even more whopping price tag of $11550.00. That however is before you add the Highline Canada package which is another $750 and gives you heated seats, grips, and tire pressure control. Another $1K for luggage rack and top case, because like a good BMW owner it has to be the overpriced OEM one. Now it's a $13200 scooter, plus an enormous freight charge, PDI, admin fees, and of course tax.

Those Europeans know how to have so much fun. "Let's head to the beach in Nice this weekend my darling"

That's a lot of cash, or credit. But that does get you a pretty damn comfortable, fast scooter that will tour quite easily with the big boys, and not take up too much space in the garage.

Downside.......it's $13K, and the closest dealer is an hour away which can be a pain in the arse with warranty and servicing. The Guzzi is living proof of that.

Next up the Yamaha TMax. I've had a thing for these for quite awhile. It't considered the sport bike of scooters and it has put more than one motorcycle rider to shame.

Yes folks, that is a Roland Sands Tmax.

More Europeans having fun.

Although it is down on engine size compared to the BMW and the Burgman at 530cc it is quite a bit lighter in weight, tipping the scales at 220kg, 50kg lighter than the Suzuki! More than making up for the loss in displacement.

It doesn't have the finer accoutrements that the Beemer and Burgie have, lacking an electrically adjustable windshield, heated seats or even heated handgrips. It does have a keyless system, but that is not a selling feature for me. The underseat storage is also smaller, so a top box is necessary.

Retail price is $10499, but with a rack, top box, liner, and tunnel bag it's only $11268. Plus the dealer is down the street.

I think this guy might be North American. He looks a little more serious, and couldn't find a date.

Also down the street and in the same showroom is the Suzuki Burgman 650. Some say this is the Goldwing of touring scooters, and just by looking at one and reading the reviews I'd have to agree.

It is a 633cc, 277kg beast of a scooter. Really the only scooterness to it is the CVT. It comes with an electrically adjustable windscreen, heated grips, seat, cruise control, and has a massive amount of storage, both in the glove boxes and underneath the seat. 50l of storage under your arse. Enough for any weekend adventure.

The Burgman is on sale right now for $10500, and really needs no accessories.

What all these scooter boast is all day riding comfort, whether it's backroads or droning along on the interstate. You are completely protected from the elements, which is what makes these great commuters as well.

Apparently chicks dig the maxi scooters too. Although her choice in riding attire is doubtful. Maybe she is on her way to work at Moxie's.

The BMW is a big scoot compared to the Honda NC700X.

So what would I buy? Hard to say. I'd rule out the Beemer on price alone. The Tmax has soul, if anything other than a Vespa has soul. It's more like a sport touring bike disguised as a scooter. The Burgman........it ticks off everything on the list of must haves for touring, but just seems boring. There is always a compromise. 

Now, I'm just looking and probably won't buy anything. But after having a hard look, the scooter seems to fit my lifestyle more than a bike. 90% of my riding is commuting to work, where the added weather protection and luggage space is an asset. The rest of my riding consists of the two to three road trips I take a year. Once again the added comfort of a maxi-scooter is an asset. 

Who knows what the future will bring.
Of course the Russian bike with the sidecar is still in my dreams

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