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Scooter versus Motorcycle?

10184 Views 24 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  avgibson
Hi All,

New to this forum. I signed up because I am in a bit of a quandry. I currently have a 2001 Honda Helix. I have been riding 2 up more lately and I am interested in more bike. Originally I thought I would go with a motorcycle. I have never owned one, so I have no real experience with them, just what I had at the motorcycle safety course.

I had my eye on a Kawasaki Vulcan 500. I went to the dealership to look at it again and take it for a test spin. Then I saw a leftover Burgman 400. I loved it. It was everything I wanted in a bigger scooter. I wanted to ride that too. As luck would have it, both bikes had dead batteries and I would have to come back after they charged them.

So here is my I go bigger scooter or motorcycle? There are pros and cons to both that I can see. But never having had a motorcycle, I was hoping that some of you that have had, or have both, could help me out.

And to 2003 Burgman 400 owners. What are the pros and cons of that bike? I cannot afford the 650, so that is out of the running. Hoping someone can shed some light on this for me. Thanks. ~Dan~
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400 or M/C?


I owned lots of bikes (about 25 since my teenage years) and for some reason I came back to my original two wheel vehicle...a scooter. Currently I own 4 M/C's and 2 scooters (vespa and 400 Burgman) and you may ask why. Well lets not go there but better yet to ask, "When you head out to the garage which one does he choose to ride to-day".

I will tell you, "Not the V11 Sport because its too heavy, too fast and a lousy bike in city traffic". The 400 is one heck of a elegant commuter and lots of fun. Its smooth, nimble and easy to ride. The insurance is inexpensive and the thing looks really cool. Now I get a rasing from some of my macho male friends but I know exactly what I like. This is a beautiful and wonderful vehicle. It also is friendly to the environment (fuel injected and PAIR system results in low Nitrous Oxides) and I think relatively easy to maintain. I hope this helps. BTW I looked at the 650 and saw it as another big two wheel vehicle...I hope I don't hurt anyone's feeling here. Timothy
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the answer your looking for might be easier to determine if you could tell us what you will be using the vehicle for most of the time
I will predominately by using my bike for commuting. I live less then 10 miles from my work. But I do use my current bike for pleasure riding as well. I have had the bike for 1 1/2 seasons and have put just under 3k miles and it.

I have avoided the turnpike on my Helix because it shimmies a lot in the wind and at high speeds :shock: , but I would like to take longer rides then I have, especially since I have a passenger who enjoys riding.

So I guess the bike will see country rodes and some highways. Does that help? ~Dan~
Bike vs. Scoot

Primary function IS needed. I'm 51 yrs. old and owned about 7 different Motorcycles in my younger years. After a 25 yr absence, I bought a Burgman 400, mainly to see if I could still handle it. Suprize No Problem. I'm riding 2 up 95% of the time in a Rural Setting. We traded the 400 for the 650, The Ride is better, (larger wheels, and weight), smoother, and the extra power is great (crusing @ 70mph indicated Regularly and up to 80mph indicated 2 up, very comfortably ). The scoot is easer to drive being an automatic. I made my choice on the Burgman 650, an excellent all around Bike.

The Motorcycle, I think is more fun riding solo but not any long distance, unless it's a larger touring machine.
ill have to admit my view is a little biased because i own the 650 i use it for commuting to work and back and also for longer rides of near 300 miles one way at times. i would have to say if long riding comfort is your goal then a scooter is the way to go unless ur gonna buy an expensive touring bike which im assuming ur not. most cruiser motorcycles are not designed for long riding comfort but they are excellent for city commuting. the burgman line wether its the 400 or 650 both should be satisfactory for either touring or commuting. although i have never ridden one im a little skeptic of the 400 on the interstate highways...i know its capable of the speeds but u almost have to max it out, especially 2 up riding. long term mechanical effects could come into play with the 400 maxed out a lot on the highway. i personally bought the 650 because i wanted to go on longer rides and i used to ride sport bike "crotch rockets" and i coudnt stand being on it for more than an hour. and i didnt like the old timer look of the cruisers either as im only 26 :) still young and gotta look cool :lol:, plus im a big fan of high tech electronics which the 650 is loaded with. hope this helps you decide.
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In my opinion I believe the scooter (400) is the machine you should seek.

1. The scooter is better for commutting. It has more storage capabilities than the motorbike.

2.In stop and go traffic its so much better not having to pull in a clutch as you creep along. The twist n go of the scoot is much nicer.

3.Again in traffic situations or regular riding conditions the more upright sitting position of the scooter causes less back ache and body fatigue.

4. The scooter also provides better protection from the weather should you happen to encounter rain.

5. With your passenger in mind, It is my understanding that the scooter offers one of the most comfortable rides for them. I'm sure it would be easier for your passenger to endure a 2 hr ride on the scooter over the motorbike. There is room for them to move there feet around on the foot pads as opposed to the one position foot pegs on the bike.

6. It also seems that if your budget is tighter than the scooter is going to cost you less overall to insure and ride.

I'm sure there are many more details that could be argued, but I think your time would better be used haggling with that dealer over the 2003 Burgman :D

and yes I too have owned both and have been riding for 25 yrs. I have never experienced any thing that has been so comfortable to ride.
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Tough choice. I've been a motorcyclist for a long time. I've owned all types of bikes from dirt bikes through a full blown touring bike.

Currently, I have Suzuki Bandit 600S and the 650 Burgman. They are both unique in their own way. I'm pleased to have them both. For general riding, mini touring and all round commuting, I think the Burgman is unparalleled. For good sport bike roads, 12,000 rpm shifts, the sound from the titanium can and great comfort, the Bandit is a blast.

Sometimes, one set of wheels can't do it all.

I have now almost 100 mi on my burgy. The ride compared to the other bikes I have had is actually better. The handling is tight and precise. If it's power you want, it's not lacking in the Burgman. So far I'm very pleased with my purchase and happy to call myself a Burg"man".

If something could be changed , I'd wish for a taller screen
Thanks for all the imput. It is all very informaive. I went to the dealership tonight and rode both bikes. I had hoped that it might help me make up my mind. Wrong!

The Burgman was a blast! It had much more uuumph then my Helix. Handled well. Moved great. The backrest could be a little uncomfortable after a long ride. I really loved it though all in all.

The Kawi Vulcan...that was a power bike. It moved and grooved. It was a lot of bike. And I realized that I need a ot more practice getting into 1st gear. But this was a motoercycle.

So now I weigh it all. The Kawi is $4399 w/ 4.9% finacing for 18 months. Insurance $260 a year. Plus the backrest and saddlebags I would need...what another $700. The Burger is $4999 at 6.9% financing. Insurance $180. So in the long run they financially balance pretty close.

So it comes down to, maybe more comfort, and something unusal with the Burger, or balls to the wall now that's a bike (maybe to much bike) with the Kawi. Quite the pickle!
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Easy choice. Go for the AN400.

Much like Timothy and many of the others, I own a brutal naked bike (145bhp at the rear wheel), a couple of V4 race replicas, as well as a 250 Reflex for the commute and going around town, and an AN650 for proper touring.

If you are going to commute 10 miles, and have only put 3000 miles on the thing in a year or so, the AN400 is definately the machine for you. The 650 is far too big to cut it alongside the NSS250 Reflex/AN250/400 around town and is far more expensive to run. Conventional bikes (10litre underseat trunk equipped CB400 aside) cannot carry a **** thing around town, so are comparatively inconvenient.

The reason why I bought the AN650 is because despite having a torquey and powerful naked that for a conventional non-full touring motorcycle is pretty comfortable for passenger and rider, I began to use the Reflex more and more for touring. Being ABS equipped, it meant that you could go touring with confidence in the rain, and the backrest was well received by the girlfriend. The desire for more urge when going uphill through mountain passes meant I had to look for a bigger engined machine that offered the same of better comfort as the Reflex, but with more power and carrying space - hence the AN650. An STX1300 cost more than double the AN650.

mactd83's concerns about highway stability for 250/400s does not materialise on the rode. My Honda Reflex 250 is good for 85mph on the flat and is extremely stable in any weather condition at those speeds. Most countries have speed limits that mean that you won't be travelling at 8,500rpm (redline) and 85mph, but even on the modern 250 big scoots 70mph represents 7,000rpm or so which will do no damage to the machine whatsoever. I've put 12,000 miles in 18 months on my NSS250 Reflex by commuting & touring, and I have never had a single problem with the thing yet. The AN400 will be an even more relaxed highway cruiser as the gearing is different, as well as being the perfect communting tool.

Go for the AN400 and enjoy.
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Zenden, just seen you latest post. If you want a bike, go for a bike. The two are completely different things.

Scooters are not macho, altough they are practical and look pretty cool. Women love them. If you want a cruiser for Godsake man, buy a cruiser.

The AN650 may replace my x11 as the main touring bike, but it doesn't replace the unique riding experience of an 1100cc 160bhp brute.

Get what you heart tells you it wants.

Scooter vs Motorcycle

Lycheed comment: "Zenden, just seen you latest post. If you want a bike, go for a bike. The two are completely different things. "

I am very fortunate to own both a Burgman 650 scooter and a Suzuki VStrom 1000cc motorcycle. They are both equipped with additional luggage (Givi E52 trunk on the Burgman, sidecases and trunk on VStrom, plus tank/hump bags for both). They both have aftermarket windscreens.
They are both practical, fun to ride, and I could tour on either one. I could live with either machine for my only ride. But it is so nice to be able to choose which one I want to ride - because the riding experience is quite different. Both machines are capable of putting a big grin on my face, and if I had to sell one of them, I honestly don't know which one I would part with.

Bottom Line: The super scooters are certainly a viable alternative to a motorcycle. If you can't decide between the two - flip a coin. Riding either is more fun than not riding!
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Re: Scooter vs Motorcycle

pauljo said:
Bottom Line: The super scooters are certainly a viable alternative to a motorcycle. If you can't decide between the two - flip a coin. Riding either is more fun than not riding!
It couldn't have been said any better :D
I vote for the Burger 400 just on the practical and ease of use aspect alone. I had a Suzuki SV650S before my AN400 and the scooter is much more fun to me! Mainly because I'm doing a lot of riding around town as opposed to carving up the canyons (advantage SV650), or touring. For example...tonight I went to drop stuff off at the dry cleaners, picked up groceries at the market, and a video at Blockbusters...doing that on my bike would've been a big pain in the rear, but the Burger handled everything fine! Yeah, the SV was fun, lots of power and a wheelie machine, but I can live with the Burger everyday!

As you know from reading my messages, like many of the members of this forum, I also own both motorcycles and scooters - 3 of each at the moment if my memory serves me right (400, 750, 1100 bikes & 125, 250, 650 scooters). But this is besides the point.

Zendan's choice doesn't seem to be based on which one is better suited for the commute, it seems based on which one he likes. It sounds to me like deep down he wants to own a cruiser. For that reason, my simple advice is 'follow the heart'. Stepping off a Burgman 400 in jeans, trainers, and down jacket is not quite the same as stepping off a spitting, vibrating cruiser, dressed in black leather and boots.

I stand by that advice.

Over here in Tokyo, big scoters are by far the most stylish and fashionable way to travel around the city, with cruisers coming a close second. This is a recent developement - 6 years ago it was cruisers, 1960s British style big-singles, and 400cc in-line 4s. Why have big scooters killed the sub-750cc market? Easy to ride, comfortable for two, fast, convenient, can carry loads of stuff (A4 breifcase, tennis/soccer/fishing/summer camping gear), stylish, and don't require specialised clothing.

If it was me, I would buy the 400 very quickly indeed - I don't find clutching around town attractive, and I want to be able to use it as transport - not just a leisure machine. But it's not me - it's Zendan. He must follow his heart.
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Well, I went to the dealership this weekend and put a deposit down on the Burgman. I wanted to take it out one more time to help solidify my choice. As luck would have it, as the salesman was getting the keys, it poured for all of 5 minutes. :cry: Enough to make the road wet. The manager at this point said no test rides. Makes sense but really stunk. And it is supposed to snow this week, so now I have no idea when I can try the Burger again!

I have been thinking a lot about which way to go. And I have been reading all of your post and thinking about all that you have had to say (which I greatly appreciate). I came to this conclusion: The Burgman is the bike for me. For what I will be using it for, this is the way to go. I know I will love it and it will be a fun bike to have. Plus I should have this paid off in about a year. At that point I may upgrade to a bike, or buy a bike and have two! As many of you have stated, sometimes one bike isn't enough! :p

If luck holds out, I will soon be the new owner of 2003 Blue Burgman 400! :D Thanks for all your advise and comments.
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I'm very sure that a Burgman is the bike for me. Certain circumstances enforce this decision as well, plus the fact that it's great for travelling and commuting. It has great storage space, it's effecient and to me sounds far better than a car.

I can't wait until this Saturday - I'll get to see a Burgman in person for the very first time!! Dunno about test driving it because I have no idea if I will have a motorcycle licence by then (planning to get the level one licence this week...).
Halshak, Zendan,

Great choice - you will not be sorry. You can do so much on a big scoot, you'll soon be wondering why people use conventional motorcycles around town, and indeed for leisure riding and touring.

I can recollect once being given a CBR954 as a loan bike when Honda did a routine service on my Reflex 250 - that week can only be described as hell. It rained, there was no-where to put my breifcase. I had to cover it in a plastic bag. I had to use the train to go to meetings. It had no ABS. The mirrors were tiny and crap. You need specialised shoes as the gear change lever damages normal shoes. Your feet get wet going through puddles. Even on dry days, I worried that the knee grip would ruin my suit - as I did previously when I commuted for a short time on my RVF NC35.

Perhaps this is why they can't sell anything but scooters in Japan now to buyers of machines under 600cc, or for those who intend to use the machine as daily transport.

Enjoy your 400s.
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