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Old 08-07-2007, 08:53 AM   #1
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Getting the most from a scooter

Hey, guys. I've been riding my Vespa for about 6 months now, and I've been getting a consistent 70 - 75MPG since the first 1000 miles passed. The manual advertises 60 - 70, so this seems pretty good, but I think I might be able to do better.

I drive intelligently, but I definitely don't hypermile. I coast to stops and take it easy on acceleration, but if traffic is going 70, I prefer to be keeping up instead of having people riding my tail and shooting to get around me. That already happens enough when I am keeping up. I've been looking for a route where people actually drive slower, but we'll see what comes out of that this coming semester.

I guess my first question has to do with the (lack of) aerodynamics compared to a motorcycle. I expect that a Vespa, with the stylish, brick-like front has worse aerodynamics than a motorcycle, which I understand is already pretty bad. I'm not sure what I could really do about this, so I guess this one is mostly for my own information. I guess that slowing down would have an effect on this, though.

Second, I've heard various remarks about CVT transmissions. They seem to be good for keeping the engine in peak power range, but this appears to be where my tachometer flattens out at around 7k after 40MPH. This seems a little high, but being that it's an automatic, there's not much to be done short of replacing or reprogramming it. Would modifications be worth the cost, or would I have to drive 10,000 miles before I would start reaping the benefits?

I guess that covers the general three "Drive slower", "Be more aerodynamic", and "Use a manual transmission". Does anyone have any tips or comments?

Most of the folks here seem to drive actual motorcycles, rather than scooters. I guess that the base cost for a motorcycle of the same engine size is generally less, but are there other reasons for this? I personally prefer the style, which is a large part of the reason I opted for the more expensive Vespa than the less-expensive Yamaha, Honda, Kymco, or even Piaggio.

But, wow. I always try to keep my posts short, but I end up writing huge things like this. So, I guess I'll end it here. I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say!
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:08 AM   #2
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First thing I would do is add an aerodynamic fairing (windshield). I couldn't find one I liked and so ended up building my own for my Rally 200 back in the 70s. It worked great.

BTW: Piaggio is the parent company of Vespa.

Q (former Piaggio employe)
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:45 AM   #3
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Yeah, I know about Piaggio, but I specifically wanted to point out that I liked the Vespa style instead of saving some money and getting a BV250 or something like that.

But, anyway! I'll definitely look into getting a windshield. They tried to sell me one when I got the scooter, but it was a really expensive "Official Vespa Accessory", so I turned it down at the time. Maybe I can find a less-expensive one somewhere.
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:54 PM   #4
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a friend of mine has that exact same scooter, they are fun to ride and with a 80mph top speed, and fuel injection they are rather impressive.
first off, when you go to replace the tires, choose a touring tire, with silica rubber if possible, they are out there and avalible, and cost about $8. more, then I would look in to replacing your tail light with LED's, I just picked up a 3 watt luxion that is far brighter then the stock incondecent bulb, draws 1/8 of the power, and will never burn out in your life time, altho the cost on that was $25, it does make you more visable by coming on earlier, never burning out, and being brighter, so it might save your life too.

last of all, airodinamics, the wake behind you makes more of a differince then the air in front of you, you want it smooth, and to taper, sport bikes just look good.
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Old 08-10-2007, 07:14 PM   #5
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Where do you live approximately so i can get an idea of weather?
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:29 PM   #6
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I live in Florida. My biggest weather-related concern is usually the rain every afternoon, or maybe melting if I get stuck in traffic. Cold weather isn't so much of a problem, however.
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:51 AM   #7
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If you don't want to slow down, then doing 70 mph is your biggest hit on mileage.

It'll look goofy, but try tucking down as much as possible. Sitting upright your upper body is a huge drag.

The windshield idea may help, be careful about fork mounted big windshields - they may cause steering inputs in wind gusts.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:23 PM   #8
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ducking down helps alot on a motorcycle, my 125cc honda gains alot of speed when I duck down, wearing a back pack could help as long as it's not loose and flaping in the wind as it's going to make your torso streach back, alowing the air to smooth out behind you, simaler to ducking down.
from the vespa dealer I think you can get a wast cover that snaps to the scooter, filling in the are in front of your knees and feet.
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Old 08-13-2007, 08:40 PM   #9
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I'm trying to look for a route where people actually drive slower. The posted speed limit doesn't seem to matter much, so I really have to try each route to see how fast folks are going. I had a few close calls with people trying to get around me back when I rode a 50cc, so I always try to keep up with traffic now that I can.

I already duck down to some extent. Not as much as I could, but it can be difficult to sit up straight when I get up to higher speeds, especially if there's wind coming at me. I'll try the backpack and check into covering the open area, too, when classes start back up.

Thanks for the responses!
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Old 08-16-2007, 01:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeddy View Post
...
I drive intelligently, but I definitely don't hypermile. I coast to stops and take it easy on acceleration, but if traffic is going 70, I prefer to be keeping up instead of having people riding my tail and shooting to get around me. That already happens enough when I am keeping up. I've been looking for a route where people actually drive slower, but we'll see what comes out of that this coming semester...


...Second, I've heard various remarks about CVT transmissions. They seem to be good for keeping the engine in peak power range, but this appears to be where my tachometer flattens out at around 7k after 40MPH. This seems a little high, but being that it's an automatic, there's not much to be done short of replacing or reprogramming it. Would modifications be worth the cost, or would I have to drive 10,000 miles before I would start reaping the benefits?...
Hmm i noticed you do not hyper mile, It's really easy on scooters since they have centrigucal (sp?) clutches, that self disconnect when the motor is not doing work.

The automatics on Scooters are wonderfully easy and friendly to modifications. The CVT uses springs and weights to control when and how fast the gearing changes. Simply putting in heavier or lighter roller weights can make a HUGE difference.

::EDIT:: I just realized that even with the motor off, scooters engine continues to spin, I really dont' understand how that works, but it does haha. So it looks like hyper miling a scooter is not an option.
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