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Thread: Is the scooter holding back my learning curve?

  1. #1

    Is the scooter holding back my learning curve?

    Don't get me wrong, I love my C650GT. It's fun, easy to drive, super agile, reliable, powerful enough for me, great in traffic, fuel efficient, tons of cargo room and super sexy.
    It is also a definite attention grabber which I also like. I like to be a bit unique, have something that most others do not. For example, I
    like Ford Mustangs, but I'll never buy one because like they say, "they are like *ssholes, everyone has one."

    When you have a scooter like this, people approach you to ask about it. I don't know how many times someone has walked across
    the parking lot at Tim Hortons, walked right by three or four other bikes without giving them a glance only to come up and look at, and ask
    about mine. It really makes me feel like I made the right choice.

    However, I can't help but wonder if being spoiled on this machine, which I sometimes describe as a "snowmobile on two wheels" is holding me back
    from progressing my skills as a motorcyclist. It's perhaps... "too easy" to drive? Although I have known how to drive "stick" in a car since I was a teenager, and have had training on manual transmission motorcycles (just a Honda 125 though) I have very little driving experience driving a manual bike.
    I have plenty of miles under me with a 500lb bike so moving to a somewhat heavier bike shouldn't be an issue, but there's all that shifting...

    I guess what concerns me about this is what happens should I wish to buy another bike one day that is super nice, but now manual shift?
    For example, I can see myself one day graduating to a big nice beautiful touring bike like the 1600B but when I hop on one of those, am I taking on more
    than I have skills for? Or should I purchase a smaller standard bike to keep "on the side" just to build up skills before getting a super machine?

    Trade show is coming up in February and I need to know my plan before going!

    Dilemmas dilemmas!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by richardus View Post


    Dilemmas dilemmas!
    If your primary use is as a city commuter I don't see the problem with the scooter. If you're wanting to trade up to a bigger bike, but not aggressively seeking CC's and want to stick with BMW's, the F800GT/GS's aren't bad bikes. Of course, there is a contingent of people that go "Meh" over the Rotax twins.

    A manual is going to give you more control over acceleration, get some engine braking via downshifting (clutch plates wear out quicker, brake pads are easier to change) etc. You're not losing riding skills. The same physics is there on a motorcycle and a scooter. You just aren't shifting through the gears.

    Shifting becomes "automatic" after awhile on a motorcycle. You don't think about it. When you do, it's a conscience choice and goes back to "automatic" in your application and use of the gearbox. You learn to shift based on the sound rather than the tachometer and get the "feel" of your motorcycle.

    Honda's NC 700 has a DCT with ABS. Seems Honda's engineering and marketing is "geared" toward making motorcycles more accessible to new riders in a sliding market. Millions of people used manuals before automatics weren't a luxury option. Automatic still cost more money to fix. People with moderate mechanical skills can switch out clutch plates in most bikes when they eventually wear out (except a clutch on the air/oil/hexhead bikes).

  3. #3
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    SW Iowa
    I don't see the scooter holding back your skills.
    If you're already used to manual shift moving to a larger touring motorcycle should not be a problem.
    I did not look up the weight of the K1600B but your scooter is about the same weight as a R1200RT LC.
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    I commuted on a Suzuki Burgman 400 for several years. Eventually, something dawned on me. Most people riding scooters are doing so because they don't have a choice. Age is taking its toll on their body and they can no longer swing a leg over the seat, and perhaps can't squeeze a clutch lever. Scooters were where they gravitated in an effort to keep riding.

    I did have a choice on what I could ride, but was noticing things like my left hand was beginning to give me problems as if arthritis was setting in. And I was getting arthritis in my hips. So while I could, I bought a Honda NT700V. I thought I'd ride both bikes about equally. After a year, I found I had only filled up the scooter three times, which was about a week and a half of normal riding. When given a choice each morning, I went with the motorcycle without giving it much thought.

    On the practical side of things, the scooter won hands down. More economical. Full fairing for riding in the cold and rain. Huge 62 liter storage area under the seat. Tires cost far less and lasted for about 15,000 miles. Everything said the scooter would be the ride of choice...but it didn't happen.

    On the physical side of things, the left hand no longer has any problems in it. I don't have a problem with the hips anymore. It's like doing physical therapy...but a lot more fun.

    I don't think there's a problem with riding a scooter. But if you have only enough room for one bike, I'd get a "real" motorcycle now and save the scooter years for when you don't have a choice.

    Honda's NC700X is getting the larger 750cc engine. The Yamaha FJ-09 is getting an upgrade soon, and the BMW F800 series will get a larger engine with a number of upgrades to it as well.

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

  5. #5
    Thanks for the feedback guys, some interesting points too. Scooters win on every level as far as practicality, but the motorcycle has more appeal when it comes to "fun factor". And it really will come down to what you want the bike for as well. I live at my workplace and live in a rural small town, so there is no actual need for practicality. The C650 has curb appeal though as I was saying, but now I wonder if the motorcycle is going to offer more fun factor. And it comes down to what you want the bike for as well. Am I riding simply for recreational pleasure? Or am I using the machine for practical purposes like commuting? The answer for me is pure fun factor, but I need some of those conveniences like storage space and weather protection too.

    I have test driven the NC700DCT by honda and it handles like a dream. Also offering automatic shifting too, but it doesn't have the luxury feel of a BMW. Still, something to consider, but it defeats the purpose of getting more experience on a manual. Maybe the BMW800 is something I should be looking at?
    I look at it here and don't think it will suit my needs for camping and long cruise trips. No storage, and a very small windshield, also not good on longer runs.


  6. #6
    Any of the F650/700/800 bikes can be fitted with side cases and/or a topcase. My wife Voni has an F800S with side cases and she has ridden it on summer rideabouts (with camping gear) for months at a time. We have both ridden F650 singles to and from Alaska, and toured on them for two months in southern Africa.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    Apr 2016
    Actually, it is quite good for camping, etc.

    You'll want to purchase some panniers or side cases. Lots of options there. I wouldn't necessarily look at anything BMW offers, unless you could assure yourself of the ability to use them on the next bike. If you buy some side cases from a third-party manufacturer, there's a high initial cost, but when you sell the bike, you take the cases with you for the next bike. Another alternative is to buy a used bike that has all the necessary mods done to make it suitable for camping and touring. If nothing is available locally, do a "fly and ride" where you buy a used bike somewhere else and ride it home. Make the purchase into an adventure.

    The F800GS or Honda NC700X is great for riding back roads and getting you there. If you plan to do more pavement touring and less dirt and gravel riding, the F800GT is worth considering. The first owner of mine set it up for touring and did a very good job of it. This picture was taken on the way back from an overnight camping trip on the North Cascades Highway and is at Artist Point on Mt. Baker. Everything fit inside the side cases and top box except for the tent and ground cloth.

    2017-11-20 10_12_29-.jpg

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

  8. #8
    The 700/800GS's are fine motorcycles. I had a F800GT that was a good solo bike. Many GT's have traction control and ESA, although the ESA on this particular bike isn't going to be same as a 1200 series. You can find these used for fairly decent prices. They feel exceptionally light. There's a good supply of farkles for these particular bikes. The only limiting factor is your budget. is a good site to check out it's a little more dedicated than this site on that particular model.

  9. #9
    Wow some great info. Good to know that the F800's take side and top cases. There is a bike show coming up in February and although I do not have a definite plan as of yet, I will certainly be going and checking out ideas for the next bike. There is also a side of me that says "my bike is already pretty good, maybe I don't need a new bike". But to align with the theme of this thread, getting a manual as the next upgrade may not be a bad idea. Like was mentioned above, maybe I'm just not old enough to need the scooter just yet. Maybe I should be having some fun on other bikes before I "have" to ride a scooter. My C650GT is around 500lbs, so I think I've worked my way up over the past three years, doubling engine displacement as well as weight each time I upgraded. Now I wonder if I really need to double it again, or an option like this may be just right for me. Here is what I like to use my bike for:

    • Touring locally around the countryside in a rural environment.
    • Motorcycle camping
    • Long distance tours, around once a year up to 10 days
    • Some city driving, but only on special trips, like Niagara Falls for a weekend.
    • Weekend getaways to a bed and breakfast on Manitoulin Island.

    I also have been a little turned off by the largest bikes, like Goldwings, giant Harleys and other 900lb + bikes. It just doesn't feel like a bike any more, it feels more like I'm driving a truck on two wheels. I like something with good maneuverability that I don't have to worry about dropping it if I try and do a U-turn on a narrow road.

    The F800 looks like a nice candidate and is around the same price range as this C650Gt. Any other ideas? Please post!


  10. #10
    Registered User lasnin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Susanville, California

    No loss of skills, just knowing where and how you like to ride

    After riding a C650GT for two years with many multi day rides, I donít think this bike is going to lead to loss of skills. Itís a 575 lb motorbike that can exceed 100 mph. Skills acquired while defensively riding a C650GT still are the same. Once you learn how to ride/drive a manual transmission, either auto or motorbike, youíre not going to forget. Knowing if you want to ride on the tarmac, off the tarmac, and/or both is really going to dictate which motorbike for you. For me, I love high speeds on dry tarmac. The C650GT gives me great wind protection, riding comfort with heated seat and grips, and the ability to ride with my legs extended. Iíve added both top and sides cases, so thereís enough storage for an army. If I were to upgrade, I would go R1200RT with highway pegs since again I am not planning any off road trips. If I were to do both, and could only have one bike, then I would definitely go GS. Also, there is a cost factor as an RT or a 1200 GS is going to be double the cost of the C650GT. Other factors are also if youíre riding two up, in which case a larger bike will give you more power. All IMHO.... E8260B6C-876C-43B3-869E-35B9CD3A6893.jpg

  11. #11
    Jeff Wilson life member Justscootin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Richmond Hill Ontario Canada
    Where in Ontario you from

    Quote Originally Posted by richardus View Post
    For example, I
    like Ford Mustangs, but I'll never buy one because like they say, "they are like *ssholes, everyone has one."

    the parking lot at Tim Hortons,

    Dilemmas dilemmas!
    A bad day on the C650 GT scooter is better than the best day at work

  12. #12
    Registered Schmoozer irish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Madison, WI
    I agree that a scooter with automatic shifting should keep your high speed skills sharp. A lot of slow speed skills (tight u-turns, parking lot maneuvers, off road skills) involved being adept at feathering the clutch and using the rear brake to control power to the rear wheel. You may not have an interest in that type of riding and you can certainly do some of those maneuvers using other techniques (like not using the rear brake on a bike with fully linked brakes and feathering the clutch only). If you are using an automatic transmission you arenít developing and improving your clutch control. That said, you can always take classes and practice to improve those skills if/when you buy a bike with more manual controls.
    14 R1200GS, 02 R1150RT

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