Originally Posted by JerryH
The KLR is actually the perfect road bike for around here, we have the worst roads on earth. Big bumps and potholes everywhere. To bad it is such an uncomfortable bike. Most of that is the seat. My last KLR was an '01 model, maybe the seat on the '08 and up has improved. I haven't tried it. But this is not the best place for a large scooter with small wheels. It's hard to see just where those wheels are going, and you will KNOW it when you hit a pothole/bomb crater. With my small scooters I can weave my way around between most of the worst stuff. The interstates are still in pretty decent shape, they still get federal money to keep those maintained.
I actually wonder why maxi scooters even exist. If the main attraction is the automatic transmission, why not build a motorcycle with an automatic transmission? I know it has been tried and it failed, but times are different. Seems to me a nice comfortable automatic motorcycle with shaft drive, full size wheels, and storage capacity would be better than a maxi scooter. Such a motorcycle would of course have to be priced no higher than the scooters. Honda's DN-01 for example was an expensive joke.
I agree with you on the KLR as a rough-road mile eater. A Seat Concepts seat kit eliminates the problems with the seat for a reasonable price.
I haven't ridden a small-wheel scooter for about 25 years, so I can't comment on the modern breed. Both of mine had large wheels.
The CVT transmission on most modern scooters is actually a very trick piece of gear. It came to us from the snowmobile world, and is now being used on small automobiles. It is virtually maintenance-free (changing belts and variator weights around 15k miles is necessary, but there is no day to day attention required.) Unlike the dual-clutched electronic transmissions offered by several manufacturers, notably Aprilia and Honda, there are very few parts and very little complexity. And CVT means that the ratios are continuously variable. They can be tuned for optimal performance or optimal economy. They hit either the most efficient or most powerful part of the power band and sit there. Unlike shaft-drives (I currently own 4 shaft-driven bikes) there is no torque reaction when power is applied. Further, they are significantly lighter weight than a gear/shaft set up.
It's an ideal set-up in urban traffic, where constant stopping and starting is necessary. There is simply no comparison between the two in ease of hill-starting, particularly with a passenger. The scooter wins hands-down.
Most scooters have a lower center of gravity than a comparable motorcycle, which also cuts the work load. They also have more storage off the shelf than almost all motorcycles. I had no problem fitting a week's groceries on mine.
Inmate Barbsironbutt took the Scarabeo 500 out to Wyoming from Vermont with her daughter on pillion this summer, riding a total of over 5050 miles and carrying gear for both of them. She'd tried several other bikes in preparation for the trip. The combination of low CG and low work load made her feel much more secure. This wasn't a milk run. She did several days over 600 miles, and was in temperatures up to 105 degrees on major highways. She was consistently running at speeds of 70 or above. The Scarabeo has a top speed of around 105 mph, which made it more than competent on the interstates.
The scooter, a single, used very little oil (significantly less than a KLR would have!), and the only mechanical issue was a heat shield coming loose on the muffler.
Scooters and motorcycles are similar, but not the same. The decision which to choose comes down to the nature of your riding. I wouldn't take my KDX200 on an extended pavement ride. I also wouldn't take a scooter in the woods. However, I would argue that each has a proper place, and that a maxi-scooter is no less competent a tourer than a motorcycle of comparable displacement.
Besides, scoots are darn fun to ride!