Just joined as I see a lot of great information on this forum. I have owned a Vespa GT200 for 8 years. I love riding it but I also want to experience a motorcycle. Some online and dealer research led me to the V-Strom 650. Ideally I would keep the Vespa, but I don't want to maintain 2 bikes. I am 6'5", so leg-room & seating position is critical. I would like to be able to handle the occasional dirt or gravel road, but my primary mileage would be commuting and weekend cruising.
What I would miss about the Vespa - no shifting, better protection from the elements (due to design), flat board to keep feet on, etc. It's very convenient. But it would be nice to have more power for highway commuting, and I like the style/appearance of a motorcycle. I am a little leery of chain maintenance, is it really a big deal?
Any general advice? Anyone move from scooter to motorcycle and regret it? How many of you use this to ride to work? I know this is a personal decision so just looking for feedback. Thank you!
I rode bikes from when I was 15, then 7 years ago went to a scooter - MP3 500 - which was fully capable of touring. I ride my bike 24/7 as a daily commuter and weekend back road rider.
I went to the Glee when the roads literally started taking the scooter apart. The Dl650 handles these crap roads with grace and aplomb.
I get as good mileage with full luggage as I ever did on the best days of my scooter. The MP3 required an expensive belt change every 6000 miles - the chain lube/care is easy peasey and certainly cheaper than that damned belt!
I will say you will need to be uber cautious about the clutch - since that is a brake on a scooter it's far too easy to let go at a stop in gear and lurch forward - whether you fall is entirely dependent on your reflexes. Shifting is either a pure joy or a curse depending on whether you prefer a shifter or auto tranny. I like the control and involvement in shifting and the benefits of engine braking cannot be over stated - just be cautious when on wet roads. Speaking of which - weather handling will need to be relearned to some extent but it will seem second nature in no time.
For some reason the Strom seems to be far far better at cornering than the MP3 ever was (even though it had a 40 degree lean angle).
You are correct in being more exposed - not only to the elements, but also to engine heat which hits me in the calves. Not a big deal and even a bonus in the cold as you have instant non-contact hand warmer. Plus you can get or it comes equipped with the hand guards which block wind.
Do I regret it? Hell no! This bike is pretty dang awesome - I did a lot of homework before settling on it. One factor was teh legendary sturdiness. There are folks with over 200K on these things and they've been all over the planet. I personally would keep the Vespa simply for its fun value. Plus I dunno about where you live but here we have a vibrant scooter club with some truly terrific fun people.