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Old 09-20-2010, 04:07 PM   #1
madoka
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Default New lady rider - is a 300cc scooter a good choice?

Hi All

I am a 38 yo new lady rider (5'8", 32" inseam). My husband has always wanted to get into riding and convinced me to take the MSF-BRC with him. We just finished our course yesterday, and we both passed! Hubby has already purchased his first bike (2007 Suzuki GS500F) and loves it.

What I have learned from the course and from riding the Suzuki a little bit just in our neighborhood is that I really don't like shifting (both the clutching and using the shift pedal). I want the riding experience to be above all, fun, and I just don't think I will have all that much fun if I have to worry about using a manual transmission. I have always admired the style of the classic Vespa-style scooters, and I am very seriously considering purchasing a 250-300cc scooter as my first ride.

From reading reviews on various sites, the top contender is the SYM Citicom 300i. Its styling is a more modern take of the classic step-through scooter, and I have read many accolades for the quality of the brand at an attractive price. My desire is first and foremost to be able to ride for pleasure around town and with the hubby. I could foresee myself using the scooter to commute to work as well on good-weather days. My office is only 15 minutes away, including going 2 exits on the freeway on my normal car route. For pleasure riding, I could conceive of exploring our regional area (up to 100 mi on the freeway to reach destinations) but would not want to ride farther than that (no long distance touring).

My question is, is a 250-300cc scooter really capable of being *comfortable* on the freeway (the 2 exits I need to go for commuting and occasionally getting farther afield on the weekend)? I would be happy staying in the right 2 lanes (no speed demon here at all) but want to make sure the scoot won't be laboring to reach prevailing traffic speed from the on-ramp, is happy and safe going about 70-75mph (my normal preferred speed in a car), and not easily forced aside by trucks, etc. At the same time, I want the scooter to be fun to ride around town and on winding roads, be easy to handle and park, has some storage, and really just being a good all-arounder.

I would really appreciate any insight you may have. If you have specific thoughts on the SYM or other recommendations for me, bonus! I heard there will be a SYM RV300i also (currently the RV line only goes to 250cc) and a SYM 400cc maxi-scooter coming in 2011. My concern with the SYM maxi is that I don't like the styling of most of the maxi's on the market today (such as Honda Silverwing, Burgman, Yamaha Majesty, etc). Call me a girl but I need that "cute" factor!

Nice to meet you all, thanks in advance for your advice, and happy riding!
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:17 PM   #2
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The SYM 300 is rated at about 17hp. So it'll do 70-75 without a lot of trouble but it's going to be a stretch for long freeway miles. It should get up to freeway speed fairly reasonably. Have you searched any netboards for owners' opinions on the scoot?
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:19 AM   #3
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IMHO, scooters (not the maxi's) are just not safe on the superslab or any road with a posted limit over 55mph.

At elevated speeds, they are at the top of their capability, their steering and aero's are not designed for it, and you'd get blown off (maybe literally) the road.
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:15 AM   #4
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Aprilia makes the mana but that's a lot of bike for a newby I would assume. But thats about the only auto bike that is remotely close to beginner status. I'd say give the shifter another shot, after a few days it normally becomes second nature.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:39 AM   #5
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Kymco has a better dealer network, but the SYM is probably make pretty well. Kymco has a 2 yr warranty.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pushrod View Post
IMHO, scooters (not the maxi's) are just not safe on the superslab or any road with a posted limit over 55mph.

At elevated speeds, they are at the top of their capability, their steering and aero's are not designed for it, and you'd get blown off (maybe literally) the road.
The Sym300 does have 16" wheels which should make the thing fairly stable.
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seruzawa View Post
The Sym300 does have 16" wheels which should make the thing fairly stable.
I can't imagine riding one of those "100 miles on the freeway." Not sure where the PO lives, but around here, it'd be Pucker City.

So it weighs a bit over 400lbs. Still only a leaf off a tree in a maelstrom! Can you imagine that thing when a flatface tractor blasts by at 85!?

And a 2-1/2 gallon tank. At full honk, that'd give you some relief, probably stopping for fuel (and a couple big kisses of the pavement) every 45 minutes.

Heck, it's named "CityCom" for a reason.

My advice, if you want to ride more than just grocery-getting: Learn to shift, and get a 'real bike.'

Or, buy a convertible.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pushrod View Post
I can't imagine riding one of those "100 miles on the freeway." Not sure where the PO lives, but around here, it'd be Pucker City.

So it weighs a bit over 400lbs. Still only a leaf off a tree in a maelstrom! Can you imagine that thing when a flatface tractor blasts by at 85!?

And a 2-1/2 gallon tank. At full honk, that'd give you some relief, probably stopping for fuel (and a couple big kisses of the pavement) every 45 minutes.

Heck, it's named "CityCom" for a reason.

My advice, if you want to ride more than just grocery-getting: Learn to shift, and get a 'real bike.'

Or, buy a convertible.
So, it's probably not as bad as that BSA500 I was riding 40 odd years ago.
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:30 PM   #9
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Hmmmm.

Good point.
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:14 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the comments, guys. I guess I really had my heart set on the CityCom, because I bought one this morning. :P It is a 2009 slightly used (only 345 miles on it), so at least it still follows the "get a used bike for your first" rule. I did find a SYM owners board (thanks for the suggestion Seruzawa) as well as a couple other general scooter boards with many enthusiastic reviews of the CityCom. They say it has no issues with the freeway at the speeds I prefer to travel (less than 75 mph) riding single (I don't intend to go 2-up since hubby has his own bike). I can totally understand the skepticism though from those used to a 650+cc motorcycle. I would think it would not be dissimiilar from riding a 250cc motorcycle on the freeway? I guess this is one of those you just have to try it kind of things. I did take a leap of faith and I hope it pays off. I will keep you guys updated. It probably will take at least a few weeks before I'm even comfortable with the idea of going on the freeway anyhow.

I've also read suggestions from owners (which the dealership's mechanic agreed with) that a tire change will improve the freeway experience. He recommended the Pirelli Diablo. I will see how it goes. Right now the scoot still has stock tires with plenty of tread left.

Oh and to answer questions posed above, I am in northern CA (San Francisco Bay Area), and the SYM also has a 2 year warranty. The one I purchased was originally bought new in May of this year, so the warranty will run till May 2012. The 2009 is the most recent model year currently available in CA. The dealer estimated the range to be at least 150 miles on a full tank with normal riding conditions.

I'm soooo excited!
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