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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure if ya'll can help, but I figure I'd give it a shot!

Okay, so I have a question. But first, backstory.

My boyfriend is a far more experienced rider than I. He has been riding motorcycles for about.. 3-4 years I'd say. I have only ever been on one as a passenger.

I've decided that I adore it and want to get myself a bike. I know which model I want to end up on, but I don't want to start out there. The bike I want is a Kawasaki Ninja 250. I've seen personal friends get themselves hurt (and friends of those friends get themselves killed) on this exact bike so I know that it's dangerous. Which is why I want to start out on something smaller - A scooter!

For a few reasons.
1. I'm still a bit twitchy on the road and sometimes easily startled. For this reason I'd rather have something that is a lower CC that won't shoot me four miles in any direction if I twitch the accelerator on accident.

2. I want to get used to driving without a car surrounding me before giving myself the power that the Ninja brings.

Okay, so here's where my question comes in.

My boyfriend and I are very skeptical on anything Chinese. His last bike was, as we like to call it when someone asks the make/model, "a piece of Chinese ****". It broke down so often that I was in his parents car (which they so graciously loaned us) more than I was on his bike.

So we were looking at Vespa and Piaggio as options for my first scooter. Doing a bit of research I found that Genuine Scooters are a Chicago based company - Before we thought they were made out of the country.

Long story short - What are good brands of scooters other than Vespa and Piaggio? Is Genuine okay?

Second, if you are going to recommend I get a motorcycle instead of a scooter as my first bike, which do you recommend and why?

Thank you!
 

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First let me congratulate you on your choice of first bike! Far to often we get people who want to jump right on a supersport thinking they will be careful. Most of them are "coached" by their friends who think they know how to ride. A Ninja 250 is a great beginners bike.
Now for the scooter issue. I'm a firm believer in riding what you like and if you want a scooter you should get one. I do however recommend that before you ride anything, you take the MSF beginners course. (or a riders edge course) Around here they supply the bike (usually a 250) and sometimes even the helmet. Most of the courses are designed for people who have never been on a bike and covers everything from duck-walking to get the feel of the balance, to starting, clutching, shifting, and then get you into riding. You might find that after the course you want to go ahead and get on the Ninja. I don't really know to much about various scooters, but I also would stay away from a chinese bike of any kind unless you first want to completely rebuild it and be certain it's put together and everything is tightened up.
My wife had never ridden before and was very nervous about the road. After she took the course she was hooked and put almost 5K on her bike the first year. Get what you like, scoot or 250, and have fun, welcome to riding!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First let me congratulate you on your choice of first bike! Far to often we get people who want to jump right on a supersport thinking they will be careful. Most of them are "coached" by their friends who think they know how to ride. A Ninja 250 is a great beginners bike.
Now for the scooter issue. I'm a firm believer in riding what you like and if you want a scooter you should get one. I do however recommend that before you ride anything, you take the MSF beginners course. (or a riders edge course) Around here they supply the bike (usually a 250) and sometimes even the helmet. Most of the courses are designed for people who have never been on a bike and covers everything from duck-walking to get the feel of the balance, to starting, clutching, shifting, and then get you into riding. You might find that after the course you want to go ahead and get on the Ninja. I don't really know to much about various scooters, but I also would stay away from a chinese bike of any kind unless you first want to completely rebuild it and be certain it's put together and everything is tightened up.
My wife had never ridden before and was very nervous about the road. After she took the course she was hooked and put almost 5K on her bike the first year. Get what you like, scoot or 250, and have fun, welcome to riding!
My boyfriend has already told me that before I even touch a bike (let alone purchase one) that I have to take the MSF course. We've already looked into one here locally, so now I just need to save some money and actually get a bike. And yes, the one here provides a bike. I forget the model.. I think it may be a Honda, but I'm not sure.

Thank you for the warm welcome! I am super excited and already have my gear/helmet picked out. Which my boyfriend makes fun of me for.. All my gear is pink somehow. Lol. What's funny is that I'm such a girly girl (dress and heels most every day) who wants a motorcycle. I see less dresses and heels and more jeans and boots in my future. :]
 

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MotorcycleGirl said:
I see less dresses and heels and more jeans and boots in my future.
Welcome to the world of motorcycles. Not much of a place for heals and dresses. :D Sounds like you got a good head on your shoulders. Your choice of two wheels is right on. You should get what you a comfortable with and if that means a scooter then scooter it is. You will probably find that once you take the MSF course you'll be able to handle the 250. But only you can determine that. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to the world of motorcycles. Not much of a place for heals and dresses. :D Sounds like you got a good head on your shoulders. Your choice of two wheels is right on. You should get what you a comfortable with and if that means a scooter then scooter it is. You will probably find that once you take the MSF course you'll be able to handle the 250. But only you can determine that. Good luck.
Which is sad, cause I love my girly-girl stuff! Oh well, at least my gear will be pink. Lol.

Thank you. :]
 

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In most states, a 50CC scooter doesn't need a license to ride, but larger ones do. Check your local ordinances to be sure.

A 50CC scooter is only going to get up to about 30mph, where something like a 150CC should comfortably do 45mph or so. You can even find 650CC models that will do over 100MPH.

Chinese scooters are low priced and pretty much disposable since parts are nearly impossible to find and they break easily. You can get a new 150CC for around $1000 shipped. They may be a viable option for someone who just wants to get the hang of riding and doesn't care if they have much resale value later on.

Higher quality models will run anywhere from $2000 to ~$8000 depending on size. You could expect some resale value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In most states, a 50CC scooter doesn't need a license to ride, but larger ones do. Check your local ordinances to be sure.

A 50CC scooter is only going to get up to about 30mph, where something like a 150CC should comfortably do 45mph or so. You can even find 650CC models that will do over 100MPH.

Chinese scooters are low priced and pretty much disposable since parts are nearly impossible to find and they break easily. You can get a new 150CC for around $1000 shipped. They may be a viable option for someone who just wants to get the hang of riding and doesn't care if they have much resale value later on.

Higher quality models will run anywhere from $2000 to ~$8000 depending on size. You could expect some resale value.
I was planning on getting a 125-150CC scooter. 30MPH barely hits most streets speed limits where I live. I'd rather not go below the speed limit.

And, I care about the resale value as I won't be riding the scooter for more than a year or so (assuming I get the hang of riding and still want to move up, which I assume I will).
 

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Thanks! Speaking of gear though, any tips on good brands for those on a budget?
No not from me. I've been out of the new market for years and years and years. Ya I'm that old. I'm sure someone will have some suggestions for you though.
 

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I'll chime in here. I got a 2012 50cc Piaggio Fly a month ago. It is my only source of transportation and I ride it everywhere. I also love it, it's a great little scoot. Full throttled, it will go 45, and I regularly go that due to the roads I ride on (40, 45, and 50 speed limit roads).
 

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While I too have a feeling that a 250cc motorcycle will be ok once you have taken the MSF course, I also think that a scooter is an excellent way to get used to riding a two-wheeler in traffic. Just not having to deal with a clutch and shifting will allow you to concentrate on the actual driving/maneuvering of a two-wheeler a bit more. Once you are comfortable on two wheels, moving on to a regular geared motorcycle should be a cinch.

As for scooters - the Genuine brand I believe is made in places like India, and only undergoes final assembly/checks here in the US. Unless the Japanese or Italian brands just stop making scooters, I would say go with them rather than the Chinese or Indian or Korean makes. Not that they are bad - it's just that they do not compare with Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, or Piaggio/Vespa in areas such as reliability, maintenance facilities, or parts availability.

Unless you will only stay on neighborhood streets, I would not recommend a 50cc scooter. I would recommend 150cc at the minimum, and if you are going to be on the highway for a while, I would recommend 250cc. Of course, going above 50cc will probably mean that you will need to get a motorcycle license and have to take the MSF course, but it sounds like you will be doing this anyway. Good luck with your decision...
 

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My first ride was a genuine buddy 125 Very good little scooter. Good power for an around town ride. Buddys have a good reputation for build. I graduated to a Vespa 150 and then a Piaggio 500. I currently ride a Honda Rebel and a vintage Vespa P200. While I enjoy both a motocycle and a scooter, they are 2 very different riding sensations. Scooters at lower speeds are great. Much past 55 mph, the feel a bit squirrley. The rebel is not too bad at low speed and is much more stable at higher speeds.

You are looking at 2 good brands of scooters. I am a big Vespa fan but can certainly endorse Genuine. Another good brand is Kymco. They sport a bit larger wheel which may be a bit more stable at speed.
 

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First of all, welcome! I'm glad that you were not so easily seduced by sexy 600cc super sport bikes and that you have a good head on your shoulder. Starting off with a scooter isn't a bad idea as someone has already mentioned as it takes the clutch and shifting out of the equation. However, most definitely take the MSF Basic Rider Course as it will teach you some basic riding and survival skills. Also, plan on spending some money on gear before you even buy a motorcycle or a scooter.
There are marked differences between a "scooter" and a motorcycle. Scooters generally have a shorter wheelbase and smaller diameter wheels which make them very maneuverable and nimble below 35 or 40 mph. However, they will get twitchy at speed. A motorcycle on the other hand has a longer wheelbase and larger diameter wheels which contribute significantly to stability at moderate to high speeds (gyro effect). As for scooters, I work at a Piaggio, Vespa and Aprilia dealer. I would highly recommend a Vespa because it is really well built with a solid steel main frame. After you ride it for a year or so, you can turn around and sell it for a fair amount of money because they do hold their value quite well.
 

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I think the MSF course will help you decide what you want to do. I'd do that first. Once you get the shifting down, you probably won't even think about it.

I learned on, and still ride a Rebel. It has crash bars to keep the bike off the rider in case of a crash. The Rebel is very nimble, and is fine at speed (Wind will blow you around though).

I can ride a 600 sport with no problem now, and will probably be my next bike.

Stay within your limits though, and don't be afraid to seek help if you're uncomfortable with something.
 

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My very first bike is a ninja 250 (pink too, so I'm sure you'll appreciate, lol!! *points to my avatar pic* ). I will tell you this much, from one girly girl to another - they are heavy, they are strong, and you are very right about its power. BUT, from everything I have experienced, it is a great starter bike if you do decide to skip the scooter. I'm a petite girl, only 5 feet tall, and when I sit on my bike my toes touch the ground and that's it, but I can pick it up from laying down and control it pretty well. It's just something you have to get used to with controlling it as opposed to being passenger!

Good luck, and I am glad to see more of us girly-girls around here! :D
 

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I've had my Ninja 250 for about a month and I love it. I bought it a few weeks after completing the MSF course. The first hour on the bike was probably the most nerve-wracking since I didn't even sit on a bike from MSF until I bought the 250...so I'd say don't wait too long to get a bike once you finish the course, so the feeling of riding is still somewhat fresh.

The 250 is a ton of fun and really easy to learn on...like a lot of others, I've started thinking about what I want to upgrade to, but cruising along easily at 70mph on the freeway today, I couldn't help but think the 250 is all I really ever need.
 
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