As a life-long motorcycle enthusiast, I didn’t know what to think when I was first asked whether I would like to test a large displacement scooter. Ultimately, I tested several, including the Honda Siver Wing, as well as both Suzuki Burgmans (the 650 and the 400). I even tested (along with Barry Winfield) the 3-wheeled Piaggio MP3 500ie. I enjoyed riding them all. So much so, I even considered purchasing a Burgman 400 for short trips . A combination of features impressed me, including (1) leg room (I love being able to shift my foot position, and even stretch out my legs on some of the models), (2) automatic transmission with both brakes operated by hand levers (the low center of gravity and the hand brakes, in particular, permitted extremely aggressive, short stops with great feel and no dive), (3) underseat storage (the Burgman, for instance, could swallow two full-face helmets or a healthy portion of groceries without the added width or hassle of saddlebags), and (4) complete wind protection for my lower body.
Riding a scooter rarely made me question my manhood. I do recall stopping at a Starbucks with my friend Willy who was aboard a Suzuki GSX-R750 at the time. We walked in to order some java and an attractive young woman at the counter saw our helmets and told us she rode a Kawasaki ZX6-R. She then asked “What are you guys riding?” As Willy described his Suzuki sportbike, I began to think about how I would describe the scooter I was aboard without being embarrassed. In the end, I just chuckled and said I was on a scooter.
What I would like is feedback from our readers who have owned, or ridden large displacement scooters after years of riding motorcycles. You can certainly post a comment if you haven’t ridden one, but I really want to know what people think that have ridden a scooter after years on a “real” motorcycle. EICMA is just around the corner, and there are plenty of big bore scooters about to be unveiled, including a new Yamaha T-Max, the Aprilia SRV 850 we told you about a few days ago, and at least two models from BMW. Honda is further bluring the line between motorcycles and scooters with its new Integra.