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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I decided to buy a second bike, something smaller and lighter than my Goldwing for zipping around town and running local errands, my wife mentioned that if I bought a scooter with automatic transmission she would like to ride it. I've been riding for over 35 years, and my wife has been a good passenger for most of those years, so seeing some interest in riding herself made the decision easy. I bought a new Honda PCX150 which my wife could sit on and still feel comfortable almost being able to flat foot at a stop, and with a weight that was not intimidating. (And by the way, this little scooter is an incredibly fun ride. Normally taking a ride around the neighborhood is not something I particularly enjoy on my motorcycle, but with this scooter it is a hoot just riding the local streets.) Anyway, now I begin to give her some basic instruction so that she can get her motorcycle license. Although I am a former MSF instructor, I stopped teaching almost 20 years ago so my memory of the basics might be less than complete, and its hard to remember what you didn't know when you first started since riding is so automatic to me now.

I watched a few videos and have put together a list of basic skills to teach, and bought a stack of 2" plastic cones to use to mark the empty parking lot at the nearby community college. But even without shifting, without the need to learn the "friction zone", I realize there is quite a bit of knowledge that needs to be imparted. The whole concept of counter steering is anything but intuitive. Skills like learning to always straighten up the bike coming out of a turn before braking to a stop is something I need to teach rather than her learning this by dropping the scooter a few times. And even though I am her husband, meaning she is more likely to roll her eyes on most things rather than take my word for it, in terms of motorcycling she is willing to trust me and to guide her in this new pursuit.

Some might think that she is too old to start this new endeavor, at 72, but I think it will help keep her young at heart as it does for me. My long term hope is that after she gets her license and gets comfortable on this 153cc scooter, she will want something more powerful so that she can safely ride even on the Interstate highways (like a maxi scooter if she wants to continue to NOT have to learn how to shift gears). Then we will really be able to ride together, something I have wanted for many decades.

Wish me (and her) luck in getting to the goal!
 

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Have you considered the Can Ams? Still need a motorcycle endorsement in my state for one, but they are much more stable than a scooter. With the Ryker, starting at $8499 it's pretty reasonable. My friend who's a little "older" just got one for his wife and she loves. it.
 

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Good luck, sounds like a great summer ahead.
 

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It may sound like a stupid question, but can she ride a bicycle? Once, my brother tried to teach his MIL to ride a small bike, and it didn't end well. Then he found out she never rode a bicycle, ever.
 

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There is something to be said about going thru a second childhood so to be. Wishing both success. You may need it more than her vito. Husbands teaching wives is always questionable.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My wife can ride a bicycle, but honestly, is not the most confident in her riding. This may prove a problem with the scooter but I have to let her try. As to the Can-Am, we took a demo ride on one a couple of years ago and neither of us liked the experience. Maybe when holding up a two wheeler is just too much for one of us, even a lightweight scooter, then a Can-Am or a Slingshot or a conventional trike might be in order, but not until then.
 

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That's kind of what I did. My wife had no interest in riding at all, even as a passenger, she just wouldn't do it. But, she once said to me that she always wanted a red Vespa scooter. I thought that was strange coming from someone that had no interest. And as for not wanting to be a passenger, I was fine with that since I prefer to ride alone anyways. So one day I brought home a 50'cc red Vespa for her and she loved it. So, I decided I needed a little scooter to ride around with her so I bought a little 50'cc Honda Metropolitan scooter. All this was last year. She knew how to ride a bike so balance wasn't an issue, but I had to start with the very basics, you know, brakes, how to use the brakes, throttle, horn turn signals, balance and turning skills, safety skills and the works. I started her out in the front yard just doing straight lines, starting and stopping, throttle & braking and she quickly advanced from there. So a year later she is happy riding her 50'cc scoot around the neighborhood and on some of the outer Islands like Siesta Key, Pine Island, Longboat Key, Anna Maria and the likes.

Max speed limit on these islands are 35 mph and around our neighborhood its 30 mph. Her Vespa scooter was faster than mine right out of the box and was capable of a top speed of just under 45 mph, that's fast for a 50'cc scoot. My Honda would only do 35 mph. So I did a little tweeking on it and when done it can now achieve 40 mph, maybe a tad more with a tail wind. Think she would trade me? Not a chance. Anyway a year later and she still has no interest in upsizing or advancing to get her endorsement. Shes happy with her little scoot and I'm ok with that, I don't push her on anything she doesn't have interest in. I still get my preferred alone ride time, and I get to ride around with her on the scoots, like you said, they truly are a lot of fun, just a different kind of fun compared to our full sized bikes.

 
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My wife would not enjoy learning from me. She can make all the noise she wants about respect, and I can pretend I am just teaching a student, but we both have too much emotional investment in the other for something like this to be successful. She took an MSF class and learned to ride from the professionals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My wife signed up for, and started the MSF course a few years ago. But unfortunately, the Instructor (or are they now called Coach?) was one of those losers that thinks being a motorcycle instructor gives you a free hand to abuse people. Early on the first day, he yelled at her that she was not shifting the way he wanted her to, and within an hour told her she was kicked out of the class. After that she refused to even consider trying the MSF class again. Yesterday I went out and bought a stack of cones. I sat down and sketched out 12 basic skills and concepts that we will work on at the "range". She's excited about this, and so am I.

As to the scooter, the first one I looked at was the 300cc Vespa. I liked the idea of that size engine, and on a demo ride I got right up to 70 mph and there was lots of throttle left to go. But the seat was just a bit too high for her to feel comfortable, and the cost was about twice the $4K that I ended up spending for the Honda scooter. And maybe its my prejudice, but I like the way the Honda feels and rides a lot better than the big Vespa.

I'll post after some "lessons" on how it is going.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks. I had no idea I could get range cards.

When I was an Instructor I knew my role was to teach students how to ride, not to stroke my ego by showing I had the power to fail someone. I remember encountering a few jerks like that when I taught, and I refused to work with them. I wonder how many potential riders gave up because of this poor instruction.
 
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It's jerks like that idiot that make people say, screw it, and learn on their own and in doing so pick up bad riding habits that are extremely hard to un-learn. That's if they ever do go for a class again. It's a shame too. I'm sure we've seen them here as a newbie and have 3 posts then gone. I've always wondered if they bought the big one when I see those folks.
 

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Are you sure that scooter will be a good choice for a beginner ? I cant ride scooters, lol :D it has a driving position like as sitting on a chair and I cant understand how people are able to stand in balance in such a position :D I tried to ride my friend's scooter a few times and I could not turn around a corner properly. I should put my legs to my sides, not in front of me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I ride a Goldwing, and have no trouble at all handling the "kitchen chair" position of sitting on a scooter. A lightweight but balanced scooter, like the Honda that I bought is incredibly easy to balance and maneuver. I'm not sure why you have a problem with it. I find that I can get down to 0 mph and still keep the scooter upright. I can do this with a motorcycle, but not nearly as easily. And with the short wheelbase, slow speed riding is much less challenging than on a longer base motorcycle. The other day I rode the scooter and was on a street filled with huge puddles and potholes. I was down to about 5 mph and with total ease rode around the water and the holes and continued on. I know that I could not have done this nearly as easily with my Goldwing. I think a scooter is the perfect vehicle to start with. It allows the rider to learn the basics of street riding and handling a motorized vehicle while not also requiring them to learn the gear changes, clutching and friction zone. If they do later want to ride a motorcycle, they already understand the basics of riding in a straight line, turning, stopping, swerving, etc. and only have to integrate the shifting into the equation.
 
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With my mangled leg/ankle stepping thru to mount a scooter is a lot easier than throwing a leg over a motorcycle or trike too. There is just a lot to like about scooters. It's a shame people don't give them(scooter riders) the respect they deserve. They face the same road hazards as any motorcycle rider would encounter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A number of years ago I went through double knee replacement. Even after rehab, there was no way I could swing my leg over the seat of a motorcycle. I bought a Honda Silverwing, a mega scooter, and in truth it was an amazing ride. Good amount of storage, excellent instrumentation, modest but acceptable acceleration, top speed of over 110 mph (on flat road), excellent weather protection, ABS and more. After two years, however, I traded it for a "real" motorcycle that lacked most of the goodies that the Silverwing had. There was no good reason to give up this scooter, other than something in my head felt that a scooter was not the "real thing". Years ago scooters had very small engines, tiny wheels and tiny sound. I think most people (and I may partially still fall into this category) ride motorcycles not just for the ride, but for the lifestyle image, even if that is primarily a self image issue. But as I am re-discovering, a scooter is in some ways like a motorcycle, and in some ways even more fun to ride. And if you get one of the larger scooters, like the Yamaha 300cc model, with the motorcycle size wheels and a motorcycle style fairing, you might call it a motorcycle with auto trans, rather than even calling it a scooter. For anyone reading this that says "never", take one for a spin and then decide. You might surprise yourself.
 

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Yep. Only a side-view of that thing gives it away. Front-view and rear-view and you'd swear you are looking at a motorcycle.:thumbsup:
 

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"Have you considered the Can Ams?"
Nope, wouldn't do that...try a hard turn sometime...tips right over...dangerous. I was stopped at a light, guy turned the corner in front of me and one of his front wheels came off the ground..just a bit more and he would have flipped it.


"seeing some interest in riding herself made the decision easy."
Check local regulations, around here, 50cc's or less and all you need is a car drivers license and insurance. 50cc's is plenty fast for side street and "to the store and back" riding.
 

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"Have you considered the Can Ams?"
Nope, wouldn't do that...try a hard turn sometime...tips right over...dangerous. I was stopped at a light, guy turned the corner in front of me and one of his front wheels came off the ground..just a bit more and he would have flipped it.


"seeing some interest in riding herself made the decision easy."
Check local regulations, around here, 50cc's or less and all you need is a car drivers license and insurance. 50cc's is plenty fast for side street and "to the store and back" riding.
Sorry. That's totally incorrect. They have built in software that keeps that from happening. In fact many get ticked off because they can't do silly things like that on purpose. It's call Vehicle Stability System(VSS), commonly called the nanny.
 
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