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Old 06-28-2012, 03:35 PM   #1
rockmurf OP
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Scooter Maintenance vs. Motorcycle Maintenance

I have been looking at getting a scooter(250cc-500, Aprilia Sportcity or Tmax, ) but the more I look into it it seems as though the maintenance costs on the scooter will be more per mile than a mc. With the belt replacement, short tire life and then the usual valve adj.and oil changes etc. Am I off on this or are scooters more expensive to ride? If I got the Tmax their wouldn't be much difference in gas mileage either. Thanks for your comments.
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:32 PM   #2
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I am always running the numbers on expenses, maybe at the risk or discounting the relative fun factors. But to answer your question: It could be the same, or more expensive, a slight chance to be less expensive. I am riding a Piaggio BV250 - its really very nice and convenient. Yesterday I put tires on the scoot $200 for the tires. The original tires lasted 11,500 miles, and still had a few thousand to go. I think that compares well with a motorcycle. I go 4000 miles with synthetic oil, easy to change yourself. The belts were changed at the recommended 9000 miles, $240. They had plenty of life so I am comfortable moving it up to a 12,000 - 13,000 interval. Valve adjustment is recommended at 13,000. I'll check, but maybe wait to 15,000. If they need a minor adjustment or none I'll move that interval up. All the costs seem to be in line with modern motorcycle costs. I think small motorcycles, less than 250cc, is where you'll start to see some savings in money. But a mid size scooter or a TMAX will be more fun and considerably more capable than a 150cc budget motorcycle. Scooters are all about ease of use, convenience, and carry capability. If the costs are the same as a motorcycle you maybe should consider what costs those attributes are worth.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:54 PM   #3
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I have a 2009 TMAX with about 5500 miles. I bought it used last year with about 2000 on it. I replaced the tires about 500 miles ago. The rear tire had cupped for some reason, not sure why, but I figured that was a good enough excuse to get some Pirelli tires on it, which I absolutely love. I don't know why they cupped, but I blame the tires not the scooter. They had plenty of tread left and would still be on there if not for the cupping.

The 12,000 mile maintenance is the big one. I'm looking through the owners manual and it looks like new spark plugs, air filter, and the v-belt. (Actually says replace when v-belt light goes on but from what I understand this is about every 12,000 miles.)

So really the v-belt is the only piece you'd have to do on this vs. a motorcycle.

I can send you a pdf of the owners manual if you'd like to look through it (or anyone else for that matter.) Just PM me your email address, it's probably too big to post here.

For me, I went from a motorcycle to the scooter because I wanted something that was easy to just jump on and go. I was sick of shifting in traffic, sick having to wear my backpack everywhere I went and having no storage, and sick of having to worry about the chain. Now there's really no daily maintenance that needs to be done. Just start it and go. My scooter is the best motorcycle I've ever owned or driven.

PS. TMAX can fit a 12 pack of bottles under the seat. And don't get me started on my topcase.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:19 PM   #4
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With tire yes you have t change them more often but at 30 to 50 bucks each it's about the same as buying a motorcycle tire for any bike. that motorycle tire might 50 12 000 miles but it's going to cost at least 100 bucks plus to buy. Belt are changed around every 15 000 miles but even my helix belt is still going at 20 000 miles. It's about the same as owning a bike I feel. Even an oil change is simple dump a 1 quart in after you empy the old stuff out offer 2000 miles.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:59 AM   #5
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well if you have a chain bike then you will be changing every 15-25 k miles the chain and the sprockets so that comes to what i think a belt cost. then motorcycles tires cost more than scooter's and how many quarts go into that v4 you say? so it could be the same.

i only have 1k plus with my 100 cc scooter so I can't make a comparison just yet.

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Old 06-29-2012, 05:42 AM   #6
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Thanks. I have a FJR1300A, 2006, and it is change the oil,filter, rear (shaft drive) and go. Tires every 10-14k at 320 installed. Irridium plugs every 30k. Is scooter maintenance easy to perform for a diy type? I really like the concept of the scooter but I don 't want to fall into a cash pit of throwing alot of money at it. I ride alot of miles, 20-30k per year and maintenance is an expense that needs to be factored in. Thanks again and any new comments would be appreciated.
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Old 06-29-2012, 06:16 AM   #7
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If your focus is on the cost angle of scooter maintenance vs motorcycles, you probably ought to consider other costs such as initial price and depreciation as well.

Scooters in my opinion are not the most 'bang for the buck'. Consider that a quick check through Craigslist will find late model Ninja 250 for $2400 with 3500 miles on it:
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/mcy/3066851323.html While I have not owned one, most of us have read enough to be aware of their outstanding performance and reliability. A used Vespa 250 will run high 3's, mid 4k- new around 5 or 6k. Other scooters of course can be found for less, unfortunately, some of the better lesser known scooters like Kymco, Aprilia or SYM take a bit of a beating at resale because people don't know them like they do the Japanese motorcycles or the well known scooter brands like Vespa, Honda, etc.

Where scooters can be a smart purchase is when your riding needs fit their sweet spot for usage. Maintenance costs will likely be only a fraction of the overall expense you have getting a scooter or motorcycle.

If we all focused purely on cost and were honest with ourselves we would just own something like a used Toyota Camry and drive it for 300k miles. We don't of course, which is why we are here!
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:36 AM   #8
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Where scooters can be a smart purchase is when your riding needs fit their sweet spot for usage. Maintenance costs will likely be only a fraction of the overall expense you have getting a scooter or motorcycle.

If we all focused purely on cost and were honest with ourselves we would just own something like a used Toyota Camry and drive it for 300k miles. We don't of course, which is why we are here!
I agree--if the scoot fits into its "sweet spot" usage, then the maintenance just factors into a rationalized cost of ownership that will seem worth it.

I also agree that a small motorcycle may fit the bill a bit better. But having done both, there are some personality and design traits that scoots have that seem minor at first but add up over time if you're in that sweet spot.

Ignoring the inherent complexity of the MP3, the only maintenance issues that have jumped to the forefront is tire wear on all my scoots since they all have small wheels ( <13"). My Stella definitely eats rear tires. Not a big deal to me since my downtown commute is about 6 miles each way, but when I started doing daytrips on the MP3, the rear tire wear became noticeable.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:45 AM   #9
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It appears the bigger the tire diameter the longer a scooter tire lasts. As mentioned, 11,500 with some to spare on my BV250 rear tire. That's the mileage I got on my TranAlp rear tire. Consistent tire pressure checking may help too. I picked up a screw in the rear a few days ago and it was down to 10-15 lbs, (!) but it looked (and kicked ) fine. It handled shitty and I thought the steering head bearing had gone bad. So I am thinking many people on scooters never check their tire pressures and they can be 70% low for a long time and prematurely wearing the tire. I nearly did.

As far as utility and functionality while I love small motorcycles and I lust after a new CBR250R having two quarter liter bikes doesn't work for me, especially when I can load 2.5 full grocery bags on the BV, without using the under seat storage, as opposed to 1.25 with a CBR (top box and messenger bag) If I want to use the BV's top box, grocery bag holder clip, under seat storage and messenger bag I can safely and comfortably carry 3.5 full grocery bags. That's pretty much Mazda Miata territory.

Today I am going on a 3 day camping ride in the Sierra's with two other separate riders and our combined displacement is 750cc.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:03 AM   #10
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Honestly, I wouldn't worry a whole lot about that.

Now while scoot tires may last a little less milage, they's much cheaper when there smaller. So it sort of balances out in the end, maybe slightly more cost but not much.

Belts? They ain't that expensive, and they never need major tranny work. When a motorcycle tranny fails it could get more expensive, espically if you don't do it yourself. Although it don't happen often on motorcycles. But just replace the belt ever so often, between 8,000 and 20,000 miles, you can find em on ebay for about $20 [replace the cheap ebay ones sooner though].

Scoots also tend to get less MPG per cc than a manual tranny too. BUT, a 250 cc scoot can get 70 MPG easily, some nearly 80 MPG.

Most bikes also need valve adjustments too. Only hydralic auto adjusting valves don't. But if it does it's usually simple and a do it yourself job.

As far as oil goes, while many scoots [particularly the older Honda Elite 125/150/250/Helix's say change oil every 1,000, this is only with straight non synthetic oil. With a high quality synthetic motorcycle oil, you can extend this to over 2,000 with ease. Typically the bigger the bike, the less oil changes you need, BUT, then again the more oil you'll need to fill it with!

See, in the end, it works it self out. With a big motorcycle, while you may be changing the oil only every 8,000 miles or so, when you do change you gonna have to put in a lot more oil, which is more $. The 150 and 250 Elites only take a little under a quart of oil! About $5. And they ain't got any oil filter, just a screen! Clean the screen, dump in a quart of oil, your good to go! $5! With a motorcycle, buy a $5-$15 filter, dump about $20-$25 of oil, your good to go! See what I mean?

As for gas, yes the big scoots can be gas hogs for there size! The Burgman 650 don't get hardly the MPG of a big inch 1600 cc Harley, it's comparable with a 6 cylinder 1832 cc Goldwing.

The Burgman 400/Majesty 400 is your best bet for good MPG on maxi scoots. They get in the 50s to 60s MPG range, will do in the 90 MPH range [actual], cruise at 65 MPH all day long, and are great little scoots with lots of storage. Still a scooter around town, not too big to be a bitch to manuver in traffic, and big enough to cruise the freeway.

Anyway, don't let this be the determining factor over Motorcycle vs. Scoot.
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Old 06-29-2012, 06:59 PM   #11
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I've owned a lot of motorcycles and scooters over the last 45 years and a few stand out as being the most economical to operate. The Vespa Rally 200 was the cheapest scooter by far. Cheap 10" tires, no chains or belts, 5 minute 8 oz oil changes, rugged, simple and reliable. The Honda CX500 motorcycle was the cheapest mid sized bike to own. Shaft drive, low maintenance, reliable as a rock. Now I'm riding a Lifan 200 dual sport which is cheap and reliable but tops out at about 65 mph.

I think the most economical scoot or bike to own nowadays would probably be a 250cc Japanese bike. I rode my friend's new Yamaha 250 the other day and was impressed It's one of those dual sport designs with 17" wheels and street tires. Excellent power, 6 speed, and maintenance is easy since it's not all covered with plastic. For a plastic covered bike it's hard to beat the Ninja.
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:18 PM   #12
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If you consider the fun factor per dollar spent motorcycles come out way ahead of any scooter.
Scooters represent but a mere distraction experience wise.
Motorcycles can offer a positively transcendent experience.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:51 PM   #13
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If you consider the fun factor per dollar spent motorcycles come out way ahead of any scooter.
Scooters represent but a mere distraction experience wise. Motorcycles can offer a positively transcendent experience
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:58 PM   #14
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If you consider the fun factor per dollar spent motorcycles come out way ahead of any scooter.
Scooters represent but a mere distraction experience wise.
Motorcycles can offer a positively transcendent experience.
So is that why I'm so much happier now that I sold my motorcycle and bought a scooter?
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Old 06-30-2012, 03:37 AM   #15
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Have a cruiser, sport bike, and dual sport in my toy box along with my scooter.
All offer their own special 'zen' for differing moods and occasions.

But I stand by my statement nonetheless.
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