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Thread: Do you think Scooter drivers are "lesser drivers"?

  1. #1

    Do you think Scooter drivers are "lesser drivers"?

    I found several ads covering some serious "bucket list" tours across Europe such as Spain,
    Germany, England, even Russia and other places if you can afford it so I inquired if they
    will rent scooters along with their other bikes they offer for these huge 10 day guided tours.
    By email I asked if they can provide a maxi scooter, in particular, but not limited to a C650GT which
    is the bike I drive at home.

    Once he found out I was a "scooter driver" the whole demeanor changed. And in short, basically
    told me to come back when I have "more driving experience" and a better bike.

    After calling him out on this unfair assumption, he backtracked but the damage had already been done as
    far as I'm concerned. However, it does lead me to ask in general to the group, if they share the same
    stigma that a scooter driver does not possess the skills necessary to do a European tour.

    My personal thoughts are that a good rider is one that in conscientious of surroundings, the bike, road safety and
    of course, arriving to destination safely. This is not a track circuit, this is a tour. My scooter is not a racing
    machine, granted, but I'm not racing, It does not have a manual transmission but it makes an excellent touring bike as far as I'm concerned after
    just getting back from an 8 day 3500km ride with it. Does a manual transmission really give you that much more control?
    Personally I find it's just more manipulation to worry about while maneuvering your bike. Was he also aware that I've completed all the rider
    safety courses and training I can find, and still continue to do so? Does he know that I put over 7000 km every season
    on my bike?

    Even on many Youtube bike reviews I've seen. Whenever they are reviewing a scooter they act like it's some sort of embarassment
    to be on one, but at the same time, cannot get over how comfortable, easy to drive and just plain fun they are.
    They are suprised at the speed and power the maxi scooters can provide and the superior cargo room as well, but for some reason don't want to admit it.

    Please post your thoughts on if you think someone that primarily rides maxi scooters is a lesser driver, and why.
    I promise not to bite if you feel that way!

  2. #2
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    You got out lucky......You got out before they really disappointed you. I don't know any of the tour companies but would have to guess there are some that would embrace your request.

    From CBS Sunday Morning-

    I always considered Europe the home of Scooters.
    Scooters are a blast.

    Last edited by Omega Man; 08-27-2017 at 08:39 PM. Reason: add video link
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  3. #3
    Not sure about the “lesser driver” label but in the US scooters often tend to attract riders who through age or inexperience don't want to ride a full size motorcycle and deal with the seat height, weight, clutch, shifting, and such. Some states don't require a motorcycle license to ride small scooters and that may lower the required skill set bar even more. I also don't know about comparative accident rates but have noticed that most used scooters at the dealers have evidence of being down at some time.

    That said I believe it's a mistake to make assumptions about anyone’s riding ability based on their choice of hardware. There are many skilled and accomplished motorcyclists that happen to ride scooters (maxi and otherwise), just as there are many unskilled riders riding large and expensive motorcycles.

    Scooters make a lot of sense when one considers how practical they can be, especially in an urban environment. It's a shame in the US they are not taken seriously, but for those that have little to prove or compensate for they are a very reasonable choice.

  4. #4
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    Apr 2017
    Being from Europe I grew up seeing them and I rode them as well. Back then (35 years ago) they weren't as powerful and sophisticated as they are now.
    I have a neighbor in my office complex who rides a BMW scooter and that thing is FAST!
    So honestly I don't see a "lesser" bike and I also have no issues with any brand bike either. It is the rider that defines the attitude, not the bike.
    I guess that that rental agent shot themselves in the foot...
    MOA # 108516
    Current ride 2018 R1200 GSA Triple Black
    Past rides '04 R1150RT, '05 K1200LT, '06 R1150GSA, ‘17 R1200RT

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    Apr 2016
    Sorry, but it sounds like you're trolling for comments supporting your outrage over a supposed slight. I'm not buying it.

    You're expecting a tour operator on a limited budget to cater to your desire to ride a maxi-scooter. An expensive BMW maxi-scooter to be specific. Get over it. The cost benefit analysis doesn't support it from his point of view. If it did, you wouldn't be starting this thread.

    FWIW, I rode a maxi-scooter for 77.000 miles. I know the advantages and disadvantages of a maxi-scooter.

    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
    John 14:6

  6. #6
    Scooters with enough power for highway are awesome commuters. I started on a 50cc scooter in 1992 and it was so much fun, a lot of my riding of other motorcycles fun factor is compared to that feeling I had as a kid in that scooter. Now where I live, 50cc scooters would be dangerous because speed limits are greater but in a tight urban environment they make sense. In my area, I'd want enough power to safely go 60mph minimum.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Sounds like you asked for a bike that they didn't have in the inventory, and he made up an off-the-cuff (and off-script) answer for why they don't rent them. Probably not his company's point of view. The most dangerous rider on the road is not the scooter rider, it is the newb with his 900 lb. UltraClassic...

    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    Airheads #3480 | Iron Butt Assn. #8914
    1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

  8. #8
    rsbeemer 22600's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    New Braunfels,Texas/Taichung, Taiwan

    Nice Scoot Richard

    I think I got this figured out. He probably though your weren't experienced because you mentioned you
    were/ are a "Scooter DRIVER." So, he then said, "Come back when you have more DRIVING experience."

    I don't believe I have ever used the term motorcycle driver or scooter driver. Maybe that's what though him off.
    1978 R100rs MOA#22600 125cc Kymco , 180cc Kymco Racing King
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

  9. #9
    Registered User
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    May 2017
    Guadalajara, México
    Where I live the (Mexico), there are lots of two-wheeled vehicles on the streets in towns and cities. They are a pretty even mix of scooters and small, 125 cc, motorcycles. Lots of people use them for transportation, so it is not just kids or beginning drivers by any means. They are ridden by all ages, used for delivery vehicles for lots of shops, and often carry two or more people. There is no difference in ability between the scooter and the motorcycle riders. On highways outside of towns, one rarely sees large motorcycles and I have never seen a maxi-scooter here. Occasionally you will see a small motorcycle riding on the shoulder of the road. There are lots of bigger bikes and a few riding clubs, but percentage wise they are a very small fraction of the mix and I can count on one hand the times I have seen other road bikes on the road during cross country trips.
    MOA #2607 - 2015 R1200R Cordoba Blue
    Previous: 1999 R1100RT Tundra Green • 1987 R100RT Grey • 1970 R60/5 Black • 196? Honda 305 Super Hawk • 195? Sears Allstate 50 cc Moped

  10. #10
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    gig harborr ,wa
    We are all family here.

  11. #11
    Registered User lasnin's Avatar
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    Jul 2017
    Susanville, California

    We don't need no stickin' badges!!

    All I know is that I have had this up over 100mph, and it has two wheels, so call us what you want! 😎

  12. #12
    Registered User
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    Apr 2016
    Quote Originally Posted by lasnin View Post
    All I know is that I have had this up over 100mph, and it has two wheels, so call us what you want! 😎
    A scooter...
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
    John 14:6

  13. #13
    Registered User CABNFVR's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
    Laurel Park, NC
    As "scooters" change so will the perception, if that's the right word. See, I'm guilty. We have a 175 hp sport-touring bike and love it. I want an S1000RS with the RR engine, NOT the R engine, the RR. So I'm biased. But I keep that bias to myself and don't judge those who prefer a different ride. We met a group of Cushman riders in the Georgia mountains a few years ago. They were concerned. It was after mid-afternoon and they had 60 miles to go before they were back in their home town. We had 200 and made it with ease. I hope they got home before dark.

    I've often wondered who actually had the most fun that day.
    "Have BMW. Will Travel"

  14. #14
    Registered User selyab's Avatar
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    Sep 2009

    Edelweiss has scooter based tours

    Current : '76 R90/6, '11 R12GSA, '15 RTW, '16 S1R.
    Gone: '07 K1200GT, '03 R1150RT, '85 K100RT.

  15. #15
    Registered User bicyclenut's Avatar
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    Jul 2016
    Sugar Grove, IL
    The problem is when you say scooter, whether you add maxi-scooter to the phrase or not, most people think of the commuter or college kid racing around on a little 50cc thing with no gear or maybe just a helmet and maybe no or little training. Even if you said BMW C650GT I doubt anyone exept maybe BMW riders who know the line really well would even know what you are talking about, from what I heard they only sell about 2000 a year here in USA and I've passed 1000's of Harley bikes and maybe 1 BMW Scooter.

    The skill of the rider should have nothing to do with what they ride, it has to do with training, experience and more. Put a K1200RT rider on a C650GT and he is probably not going to be a very good rider until he gets some experience riding with a CVT and hopefully doesn't grab the left lever quickly thinking he is engaging the clutch. Same would be true if you switched the scenario and had to get experience with shifting. Or even moving from a road bike to an adventure bike or off-road bike - you would need to gain skills from training and experience. If you look at the forums for Maxi-Scooters you will find that there are a majority of riders whom are older riders, many rode motorcycles for years with LOTS of experience and now they want something easier to ride, easier to get onto and easier to handle. The experience of these riders can be 40-50 years of riding, so I would hardly call these "lesser riders"...they have survived for 40+ years riding a motorcycle, so they are either pretty darn lucky or pretty skilled by now.

    As far as motorcycle vs scooter, or at least the larger variety, the skills are much the same, the dangers are the same. The BMW's, Burgmans are 550+lbs and reach speeds similar to comparable motorcycles. Some people like to drive sports cars, some SUV's, some pick-up trucks, etc. The reasons we pick a certain vehicle, whether it be 2 wheel or 4 wheel may be due to use/utility, comfort, ease of use, cargo requirements etc. but that the reason there are so many brands and models, to have a fit for each individual. To say a young adult in a sports car is a better driver than grandpa in his pick-up truck would be wrong and probably far from true. Just because it goes faster and maybe has a manual transmission and wider tires? Its all about the driver and his/her training, experience and mindset.

    As far as manual transmission vs automatic, there are pros and cons for each. I used to always get a manual transmission in my cars, but they become harder to find and less people can drive them (my wife) and you switch to an automatic and you find you have less to deal with when driving and its much easier in heavy traffic. With technology evolving there may be a day when all transmission are some form of automatic transmission. Certainly high end race cars have done away with the conventional clutch pedal and gear shifter and I recall seeing a video where the Porsche auto shiftronic system could out perform even the best drivers using a manual transmission.

    To get back to the root question, I think you cannot stereotype or prejudge any rider just based upon what they choose to ride. Harley riders rarely wear full gear, if even a helmet and most BMW riders usually wear full gear - must mean us BMW are less skilled and crash more because we always wear "crash gear"... I don't think so. It's just a personal choice, much like what we decide to ride.
    2010 BMW R1200RT
    2014 BMW C650GT (sold)
    MOA # 208387

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