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I've been reading all the information here for a while now, and have already asked a few questions. Now it's time for more - I guess I need to learn the lingo so I can get a better understanding of some of the topics.

The first question that comes to mind: what the heck is a "variator"? I've seen it mentioned several times, but have no idea what it is and what it does. Is it a motorcycle thing, or a scooter thing?

Any recommendations on a "Scooters for Dummies" book that I should read?

And, it seems that when people put their scooters away for the winter, the battery must be removed and charged regularly - is there that much parasitic draw on the scooter that it won't hold a charge for a month or two? Or is it that the battery doesn't have a lot of reserve capacity? If the battery does go dead, is there any way to start the scooter, like a kick starter? With an automatic transmission it's probably not possible to start it by rolling it forward...

Why do the tires seem to wear out so quickly? It seems people are getting about 6K-8K out of the tires - are they a real soft compound? My truck has 72K on the original tires and there's still about 5/32's of an inch left on the tread.

Thanks again for all the help!

Alan Hepburn
 

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Think of tire wear as the # of revolutions, the smaller dia. requires more revolutions to go the same distance as larger tires. Also there are different rubber compounds in tires and vary between manufactures. Typically the sticker tires, ideal for wet, or performance in handeling, are softer and wear out sooner. Longer mileage tires usually are a harder compound and not as "sticky". Some are radials, some are not. Like car and truck tires, milage can vary widely.

A variater is the clutch mechinisim that is set to engage at a preset RPM, typical with scooters. The higher the RPM setting the more RPM required to engage, (more power) but usually less milage.

The battery likes a charge once and a while. Not running it for 1-3 months can cause it to discharge. Same as any cordless tool, if you don't use it you lose it.
 

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A variator is part of the CVT transmission on the Burgman 400. See :

http://website.lineone.net/~awright_eastbrent/multivar.htm

No "Scooters for Dummies" books that I know of ... but you do have this forum. :wink:

Like a car battery, if it's not used the battery will go down over time. If it goes dead, there's no other way to start the scoot other than replace or charge the battery / jump start.
 

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Alan_Hepburn said:
And, it seems that when people put their scooters away for the winter, the battery must be removed and charged regularly - is there that much parasitic draw on the scooter that it won't hold a charge for a month or two? Or is it that the battery doesn't have a lot of reserve capacity? If the battery does go dead, is there any way to start the scooter, like a kick starter? With an automatic transmission it's probably not possible to start it by rolling it forward...
The issue is no different for a scooter than a motorcycle. These batteries are much smaller than car batteries, so if you do not care for it over the Winter, it will most likely be dead by Spring (and you may or may not be able to resuscitate the dead battery). It is not necessary to remove the battery from the scooter if you have the scooter in a garage with a place to plug in a charger. You can charge it while it is still in the scooter. If you do not have a garage with electricity, then it is best to remove the battery, bring it indoors, and charge it periodically over the Winter.

Almost no motorcycles or scooters are made with kick starters these days - been that way for a long time. Bump starting even a manual transmission motorcycle is getting tougher. Many of the new models are fuel injected (like the Burgmans), and without battery power, you are not going to get any gas feed.

In all of this discussion, there is zero difference between my Burgman 650 scooter and my Suzuki V-Strom motorcycle. Same battery size and type. And even though the V-Strom has a manual transmission, without enough battery power to operate the fuel injection, it isn't going to push start.

Alan_Hepburn said:
Why do the tires seem to wear out so quickly? It seems people are getting about 6K-8K out of the tires - are they a real soft compound? My truck has 72K on the original tires and there's still about 5/32's of an inch left on the tread.
Since you are quoting truck tire life, I'm assuming you have never owned another motorcycle or scooter. There is no comparison possible. You only have two wheels on these machines, so the tires are made of a much softer compound for better grip. And each tire works a lot harder on a bike. The forces of cornering, accelleration and braking are being handled by two tires - not spread across four tires like a car or truck. Even on a motorcycle, 10k to 15k is pretty good for tire life. A scooter has wheels that are smaller, so the tires spin faster than a motorcycle tire at any given speed. They will therefore wear somewhat faster.
 

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Jim said:
A variater is the clutch mechinisim that is set to engage at a preset RPM, typical with scooters.
You have the basic idea but you may not have stated it quite right. The Burgman 400 has a clutch and that is used to engage the drive pulley. It disconnects the engine from the drive train. Think of it as useful for the first ten feet and it allows the bike to idle without going anywhere.
The variator is the adjustable drive pulley that is controlled by pulley taper/rpm/roller weights. A lighter weight roller increases the rpm it takes to move the pulley to a higher ratio giving you a higher "set" rpm.

Thanx
Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, guys - I knew I could count on everyone here!

I can see why tire mileage is so much different - those little 13 inch tires certainly spin a bit faster than my 19 1/2 inchers on my truck :idea: - and they certainly need to be stickier since there's only two of them holding onto the road...

It sounds like the variator can be compared to a torque convertor of sorts - does it also provide torque multiplication during low speed use like a torque convertor?

Alan Hepburn
 

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Alan_Hepburn said:
Any recommendations on a "Scooters for Dummies" book that I should read?

And, it seems that when people put their scooters away for the winter, the battery must be removed and charged regularly - is there that much parasitic draw on the scooter that it won't hold a charge for a month or two?
Hi Alan! I'm not sure if there are any "Scooters For Dummies" books out there. I've never seen any. However, I'd HIGHLY ecommend a MSF course for a beginning rider. I've heard they now offer a scooter-specific course. Check with your motor vehicle department or the link in the "Links" section in our Forums. Best investment you can make.
In the cold weather states, if your bike is stored out in the cold, batteries can go dead in a week or two (or less) if the bike isn't used regularly or put on a charging device. Just one of the pleasures of having four seasons. :wink:
 

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I think the best "scooter for dummies" is not a book, but a process. Buy a used Honda Helix and ride it for a year. It's extremely easy to get to the mechanical bits and it's kind of cool to see the stuff in action.

When I had my Helix, I wanted to see the drivetrain in action. I took the belt cover off which took only about 2 minutes. Then, on centerstand, I started the bike and reved the engine. I thought "Oh, so THAT'S how it works..."

The engine is accessible by just removing the seat which takes about 10 seconds. The Burgies take much more effort.

Also, if it's your first, the Helix is a good one to dump, lay down, scratch, and make all of the "Newbie" mistakes prior to getting a Burgie. You can buy thenm cheap, learn on it, and then sell it. They run about 70MPH and just about every person here that had a scooter previously had a HELIX!!! They are great scooters, though not as good as a Burgie.
 
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