Go Back   ADVrider > Bikes > Battle scooters
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-14-2014, 10:08 AM   #1
tw3nty OP
Joined: Jul 2014
Location: San Francisco
Oddometer: 4
New rider considering a scooter for San Francisco

Hello All,

I am taking my MSF course next month to get my M1 for CA. I have my sights set on getting a scooter for riding in town around SF with occasional 2-up riding. I do not plan on taking it on the highway.

Any recommendations on a scooter for the city? From my research, I feel I will need something 125CC and up for all the hills and a potential passenger.

I really like the styling and reviews of the SH150i, but they seem hard to find in Northern CA.

I am 5'8 150lbs with and around a 30" inseam. I want to stay around 3k for the scooter. Any tips and recommendations for a new city rider would be appreciated.

tw3nty screwed with this post 07-14-2014 at 10:33 AM
tw3nty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 10:26 AM   #2
Sam...I am.
Joined: May 2010
Location: seal beach, ca.
Oddometer: 1,460
Here's a candidate.
1150RT R100S KLX250s SymHD200

Southern California from a scooter;
samthg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 10:46 AM   #3
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2010
Oddometer: 330
U should get a bike with manual gear shift, if you have hills to climb.
I remember there were some really steep hills in SF.
A Sym Symba is a good candidate.

73Mustang screwed with this post 07-14-2014 at 11:05 AM
73Mustang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 10:58 AM   #4
Iron toocus
brianwheelies's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2005
Oddometer: 2,847
SYM HD200 will take on two up riding and hills in the city without issue. You would not be wanting more for your intended purpose even though it will be capable.
brianwheelies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 11:46 AM   #5
Beastly Adventurer
conchscooter's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Florida Keys
Oddometer: 1,710
Burgman 200

Too expensive for your desired budget, but beautifully equipped for the money, and sufficient performance for you to be able to grow into using it to replace a car. To my surprise the styling which I usually do not like on cruiser style scooters is attractive to my jaundiced eye.

conchscooter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 11:56 AM   #6
Gnarly Adventurer
bman's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2004
Location: ain't from around here
Oddometer: 475
They are clearancing 2012 Kymco Yager 200 GT's for 2399.
Pretty peppy scooter, 175cc fuel injected.
They knocked an extra $200 off if you were ever in the military.
Couldn't pass it up.
bman is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 12:34 PM   #7
tw3nty OP
Joined: Jul 2014
Location: San Francisco
Oddometer: 4
Thanks for all the suggestions, seems like the consensus is going for above 150cc. I will have to check out the SYM and Kymco dealers in the area.
tw3nty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 01:04 PM   #8
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Orange County, CA
Oddometer: 1,229
I've been to San Francisco, and a scooter is THE way to get around. I've done some SF miles on a derbi variant with a 60cc kit, and it was adequate.

I have an sh150i, it would be a great scooter for the city.

Would look long and hard at a sym hd200. It's more or less a larger displacement copy of the sh.
villageidiot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 01:19 PM   #9
Vintage Rider
JerryH's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Chandler, AZ
Oddometer: 4,414
I remember those hills from my 2 trips to San Francisco on a bike. A 750cc bike. If you want new, I would seriously consider the SYM HD200. I've never ridden one, but I have never read a single complaint about them, other than scratched paint on the matte black ones. They seem to perform better than their displacement would seem to indicate. I still don't trust Lance. For many years they were bottom of the barrel cheap Chinese scooters. It looks like they are now made by SYM, and are much better quality. But they are cheaper than a SYM, and that price difference has to come from somewhere. Kymco is also an excellent brand.
2002 Vulcan 750 (engine out, slowly being disassembled) 2013 Royal Enfield B5
2001 XT225, 2009 Genuine Stella
2012 Zuma 125, 1980 Puch moped
JerryH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 03:47 PM   #10
MiguelATF's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2014
Location: Somewhere in the wilds of Oregon
Oddometer: 20
I'll echo a few suggestions made, and make some others.

First - taking the Motorcycle Safety Course isn't optional - it's mandatory. Riding a scooter is fun, economical but also dangerous - and good MSF courses teach you vital survival skills. When you're on your scooter in the city, you must be aware 1000% of the time and drive ultra consciously & defensively - and a good MSF course helps.

Second - sometimes it helps to have a little extra power - to be able to get out of situations - or escape from tricky ones. So it doesn't hurt to at least consider slightly larger displacement scooters than the 125cc you mentioned. Good candidates include -

The SYM HD200 (already recommended) - simply one of the best handling and most reliable scooters ever made. Its big wheels make it handle slightly differently than smaller-wheeled classic Vespa-type scooters - but it's a great scooter.

There are a handful of great Kymcos - also very reliable - and fun to ride. The big-wheeled People series can be had in a variety of sizes - but the 150 is nice and so is the 200. Someone mentioned a Yager (now discontinued) which also has a rep as being a nice scooter.

Genuine Buddy's should also be on the list. Buddies are incredibly well made and reliable and fun. You can get them in 150cc or 170cc sizes. They 'feel' a tiny bit smaller than some of the other larger scooters mentioned here - but they're fine, reliable and last.

It's worth noting that SYM, Kymco and Buddy/Genuine are all made in Taiwan. Made-in-Taiwan scooters seem to have a good rep for reliability.

Another option is the scooter I just bought - a 'new' older model of Aprilia's Scarabeo - a big-wheeled scooter - the Scarabeo 200 used to retail for around $3500 but they can be found either on sale or slightly used for less if you look. The Beo 200 is made in China, under Aprilia's quality control. There were some issues in its first year (2008) but subsequent years seem fine. I like them so much that I just bought one - which should tell you how I feel about them.

The Honda you mention is a very cool scooter. Also, if you feel adventuresome, older Hondas and Yamahas can be found for much less. The classic 1980's Honda Elite's - 150cc scooters - had and still have a reputation for reliability. Plus they're crazy fun to drive. Older scooters may need more work - or more things updated and/or replaced if you're buying one, so the initial low price may be offset by some maintenance - but they can be great. My previous scooter before the Scarabeo was a Honda Elite 1986 - and it ran for years reliably. I would include the Yamaha Riva's as well. The Riva 125cc in particular is zippy - can carry 2 - and was made/imported by Yamaha up through the early 1990's. They're very nice too--assuming you like older scooters. And while we're talking about Honda's and Yamahas, the newer generation of Vinos - the 125cc - are slightly overpriced but very very nice scooters. Probably equivalent to the Genuine Buddy's.

Of core, if you have more money, Vespas are great.

And coming back again to the Taiwanese Scoots, Kymco also makes a small-wheeled retro scooter line - the "Like" scooters - whose styling is inspired by the classic line of old-school Italian Lambretta scooters. The Like 200i is a very nice - and reliable - scooter, if you like retro looks but can't afford a Vespa.

So - all in all - you've got a lot of choices. And good ones, too. One final suggestion - go to several scooter shops and spend a few hours test riding everything you can. It's one thing to listen to other people's recommendations - but there's no equivalent to making up your own mind. It's possible you'll find the perfect scooter - which is just right for YOU - by doing that.

Good luck.
Club: Zen Scooting Society, Ashland, Oregon
Current steed: 2009 Aprilia Scarabeo 200
MiguelATF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 10:23 PM   #11
Let me take this duck off
fullmetalscooter's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: BC
Oddometer: 2,412
I m assuming that you ll be going up hills allot. 125 to 250 should work nice. The Higher cc the less you slow down. Honda helix , reflex , elite 125 , 150 , 250 all will work. Also consider the honda pxc 125 and 150 since you can pick up new ones for 2200 to 3 grand. SInce you getting the course as one guy said it something everyone should take , you should also buy the gear and wear it . One guy I know is sporting a flatten scooter , broken thumb , collar bones , 35% Road rash all over his body . A 17 year old U turned into him. The good news was the full face helmet saved his face. It was destroy and he thinks he would have lost his nose without it. Last years gear is cheap at
New enough .com ironpony etc. For 200 to 300 get s you fully kitted out.
Use a clist search engine :
what you wanted for cheap : sh150 for 1800 which is about 1 grand off you normal price .
Nearly new helix with 1600 miles for 2300 bucks . at ta dealer you be
Also one of the best honda scooter the Big ruckus with less then 2500 in US / canada. if you can get it for 3500 give or take it's an ok deal. Keep it nice and looked after you still will sell it for near what you bought it for . One of the few scooter that don't devalue with age that much .

2001 Aprilia Scarabeo 150 and 200
HOnda reflex 1800
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body,but rather to skid in sideways totally worn out shouting WHAT A RUSH, WHAT A RIDE.
"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot." Charlie Chaplin
fullmetalscooter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 11:13 PM   #12
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Northern California
Oddometer: 382
So, I live in Oakland, and I ride around the Bay Area. You really need to get a 150 or higher cc engine. There are great suggestions here and they should lead you in the right direction. My advice is don't buy a new bike. You will pay a lot and you will scratch and bang it up. And the City will, too. People back into it in the street, knock it over parked, dogs pee on it. people steal your mirrors and your bike. Get a used bike with scars and marks, so when you add a few it won't matter. And either chain it to something or hide it up the alley at the side of your house, or conceal it off the street somehow. There are good deals on used bikes on Craigslist often, especially in the Fall, and you can bargain.

There's no way better to get around San Francisco than a scooter. You do NOT need a shift bike, the regular scooter system works just fine.
Wentwest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 11:46 PM   #13
tw3nty OP
Joined: Jul 2014
Location: San Francisco
Oddometer: 4
Thank you all for the input. I plan on buying a full-face helmet, jacket w/ shoulder & back protection, and gloves.

My only concern in buying a used scooter several hours away is not knowing the true condition and wasting the time getting there.

Another question regarding the MSF course. They have the option of riding a scooter or a motorcycle. Should I learn on a motorcycle just to make sure I know how to ride manual? Or use the scooter because its what I actually plan on riding.

I really appreciate all the input, and it will definitely help as I research.

tw3nty screwed with this post 07-16-2014 at 12:30 PM
tw3nty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2014, 12:14 AM   #14
Iron toocus
brianwheelies's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2005
Oddometer: 2,847
I would go motorcycle as it could change your mind on what you want and open more doors(opportunity).

A scooter will be more rewarding after you have shifted.
brianwheelies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2014, 06:16 AM   #15
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2009
Oddometer: 3,093
Buy used. Maybe get a 250 too. Why? It will be fine in the city of course but even though at this time you say you don't want to go on the freeway a 250cc scooter will open all of the great riding north of the Golden Gate bridge and down the peninsula along the coast - not freeway per se, but somewhat highway like. I live in Oakland and had lived in SF 20 years, bikes or scooters are the way to go. I often take my scooter to SF on the bridge and also ride all over California too, all on a 250cc scooter. I can do the freeway easily, if I have to, but prefer other roads. But I wouldn't on less than 250cc.
chazbird is online now   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 09:27 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014