The following are riding impressions of scooters I have owned
Honda PA 50 Moped
The very first scooter-like bike I got was a Honda PA 50 back in 1996. I had been buying and selling bikes for a few years, and I got it in trade along with 2 other motorcycles. It needed a seat cover and some TLC. Once I got it running I putted around the neighborhood. My first impressions of riding a moped was how light it was, and how slow it was... But it was fun. It felt more like a bicycle than a motorcycle, with the open frame and handlebar/seat layout. I could raise the seat just like a bicycle. On flat ground, it would do 25 mph. I rode it in the bicycle lane - it was not safe to ride it on the road because it accelerated too slow and the top speed was limited. It would not climb hills worth beans. I could bicycle up most hills faster than riding this moped. You'd have to use the pedals to maintain 5-10 mph if the hill was steep enough. But it was fine on flat ground. I had to mix the gas and oil - a pain, but not too difficult.
This was my first real scooter. It was quite a step up from my Honda moped. Cute and lightweight, it was red in color and only has 298 miles on it when I got it. Firstly, I had to get used to starting it. I've owned dirt bikes (and street bikes) for years, so my first inclination was to kick start it because it had a kickstarter. After a quick tuneup, I was able to get it started easily in 2-3 kicks. What a blast to ride! The acceleration was way better than my moped. It had a two speed automatic transmission, which allowed it to climb hills much better than the moped. Top speed was an indicated 27 mph. Once a got a new battery, I tried the electric starter but it wouldn't work. I disassembled the front fairing pieces so I could trace the wires. Lo and behold, there were wires running to the brakes that had to be connected in order for the scoot to run. You connected them by putting on either brake. Welcome to the world of scooters! This was a safety device to prevent you from taking off (remember no transmission) when you first started the bike. I didn't know that almost all Japanese scooters had this safety feature.
The Jog is a similar size to the Yamaha Razz, but it's quite a bit faster. It will do ~40 mph compared to 25-28 mph with the Razz. The brakes/suspension, and some of the components are better quality. They share a ver similar engine, but the Jog has a slightly bigger carb and maybe some other performance mods. Anyway, it was great to have the higher top end. I would still ride the Jog in the bicycle lane, but when I got above 25 mph I'd try and creep into the right hand lane of traffic.
This scoot was very similar to the Razz in terms of acceleration and performance in general. Of course the styling is different.
Honda Elite 80
This scooter was a bit of a disappointment. I figured that because it was 80cc instead of 50cc, it would be faster than the 50's. Not necessarily true. The four stroke engine felt sluggish compared to the two stoke engines in the 50cc scooters. Top speed was fair - about 42 mph. Top speed among these models varies a bit, but you will not get much over 45 mph with a stock scooter. At least I didn't have to worry about mixing oil/gas or adding oil to the injector tank like on the 50cc two strokes.
Yamaha Riva 125
This scooter has good performance up to about 40 mph, then it will slowly continue to pull until maybe 50-55 mph. I was impressed with the acceleration up to 40 mph - it would accelerate as well as the Riva 180.
Honda Elite 150
I traded my Honda PA50 moped plus some cash for my first Elite 150. After riding this moped and some other 50cc scoots, I was amazed how fast the 150 was! Finally, I didn't have to be embarrassed about being on the road. The first time I rode it, what fun it was to watch the speedo go from 25 to 35 to 45+. I couldn't wait to do the trade. I rode around on it for a while, and then late one night I decided to take it on the freeway. This is when the max speed limit was 55 mph. It was a little scary riding a scooter on the freeway for the first time. (Not I was not a novice rider at this time. I'd been riding dirt/street bikes for 25 years). The light weight of the scooter, plus the small wheels made it feel a little unstable. The 150 tops out at 60-65 mph, so maintaining 55 mph was not a problem. But at any slight upgrade, I'd loose maybe 5 or more mph. This is really a freeway scooter. (Note that in California, 150cc is the minimum you need to ride on the freeway). These days, with the 65 mph speed limit (and traffic traveling 70+ mph), I would not take the 150 on any of these freeways. But it would haul two people around easily most anywhere else.
Yamaha Riva 180 and Riva 200
These big Rivas are very versatile! In general, the bigger sized scooter you get, the more you can do with it. You can easily keep up with traffic, climb hills, and haul a passenger & climb hills at the same time. I sell quite a few scoots to people in San Francisco. These big Rivas (and the Honda 250's) are the only scooters that can go anywhere and haul another person, without apology. My Riva 180's would do 65-70 mph, and my 200 would do an indicated 72 mph. This is generally fast enough for the 65 mph freeways, but it doesn't leave you a lot of breathing room. These Rivas work great on the 55 mph freeways - they'll go all day at 55-60 mph.
Honda Elite 250
All I can say is - wow what a scoot! In some ways, the Elite 250 feels more like a motorcycle than a scooter. At idle, it sounds and feels like a motorcycle. It actually vibrates a bit just like a motorcycle. Acceleration is not blazing, but you can leave a *lot* of cars in the dust. It will easily haul two people around. It will cruise all day at 65 mph. My top speed for an Elite 250 is ~75 mph. The bigger scooters like the Elite 250, Riva 180, and maybe the Elite 150 are heavier, taller and wider than the small scooters (naturally). They are more stable at higher speeds, but they're still not as stable as a motorcycle. This is mostly because of the small wheels and short wheelbase as compared to a motorcycle.
Lastly, for me, is the Helix. When these scooters (I guess you can properly call them scooters) first came out in 1986, I thought they were really ugly. I still don't find them very attractive. But they are very well designed and quite functional. The 2.3 gallon gas tank is large by scooter standards, so you don't have to fill up every ~70 miles. Wind/rain protection is very good. The rear trunk is pretty large, and it allows you to keep your stuff hidden out of sight as compared to using a wire basket. The wheelbase is very long. At first this is disconcerting. Slow speed handling is funky until you get used to it. Side winds affect this scooter much more than other scooters because of its large size and long wheelbase. But, the Helix is very stable at highway speeds. It likes to eat up miles on the freeway. Acceleration is very good from the 250cc engine, and I have seen top speeds of 77-79 mph.
Late breaking news - the previous Helix I owned was about 4 years ago when the speed limit here in California was 55 mph. The Helix was great on the highway at 60-65 mph (the speed most of the traffic was going. However, I recently owned and drove another Helix. Now the speed limit is 65 mph, and traffic routinely goes 75 mph. The Helix just cannot keep up at these speeds. For short jaunts (~10 miles) it's ok, but I'd really like to have +10 mph more available. The new Reflex 250 is supposed to do 80 mph. I'd love to try one of these scooters out and see how well it does.
Honda ReflexThe Reflex is basically a modern Helix. It has modern styling, along with better instruments, under seat storage, and disk brakes. It is a bit faster than the Helix and tops out a bit above 80 mph. The Reflex sits pretty low to the ground. It has styling something like Honda's sport bikes. A lot of people (including me) like this look. From the front, it does not look like a scooter. The seat is large and has a nice back support. Storage under the seat is pretty good. The analog fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer, temperature gauge) are nice looking and easy to read. My Reflex was cold blooded. This means you had to warm it up for maybe 10 - 15 seconds before riding. This is very unusual and a bit annoying. Also there was vibration when starting from a stop. My Reflex has 10,000 miles. I checked the clutch and de-glazed it (by sanding the clutch shoes a bit) but the problem is still there. These are minor problems that may not occur in all models. One other thing is the windshield. The stock windshield is too low! Honda made a dumb styling decision by giving the Reflex a short windshield. Wind noise (especially on the highway) is quite annoying. There are several aftermarket windshields that will do the trick. I experimented with the stock windshield by adding a clear piece of plexiglass to the top. You only need about a 3 or 4 inch extension to quiet things down considerably. Gas mileage is great, I usually get 65 - 68 mpg.
Yamaha MajestyOverall, the Yamaha Majesty 400 is a very nice scooter. It is very comfortable and Wind protection is better than the Reflex and almost as good as the Silverwing. It feels like a Reflex on steroids - a bit heavier and faster. It does not accelerate very well from a stop to maybe 50 mph. I think you'd have to play with the variator weights to make it work better. I know the Burgman is a good scooter. But check on the valve adjustments - I've heard they are difficult to do. A shop will charge $100 or more for this adjustment. Lastly the sound of that large single cylinder engine with the stock muffler is not pleasant in my opinion. If I were to own a Majesty, I would get an aftermarket exhaust pipe.
Honda SilverwingI had owned my Honda Reflex for only about a week when I got a chance to ride a Silverwing for the first time. At first, I didn't care for it very much. It's large and rather heavy for a scooter - over 450 lbs. It feels tall and wide because it is tall and wide. Underseat storage is very good. I like the large central speedometer. The analog tachomoter is off to the left, while the temperature and fuel gauges are on the right. I don't really care for the digital displays in these two instruments. I also don't like the little buttons used to reset the odometer. They are too small and they look cheap. Lastly, you have to choose to display either the total mileage, or the mileage in tripmeters A or B. That is dumb. You should see the total mileage all the time along with the mileage from trip A or trip B. Upon starting it I immediately noticed the engine sounds nothing like a scooter. It has a nice growl to it. The engine is a horizontal twin, displacing almost 600cc. It's the big brother to the Reflex. It is larger, smoother, heavier, and definitely faster. It will easily cruise at 80 mph. Top speed is above 100 mph. Gas mileage is poor in my opinion. I usually get about 45 mpg even though I don't ride hard. This is about the same mileage I got on my Honda ST1300 sport touring bike. This motorcycle has an engine twice as big. It also has over twice the horsepower (115 HP vs 50 HP with the Silverwing) and it weighs about 180 lb more than the Silverwing.
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