Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Scooter Quick Reference Guide for 2007/2008

The price of oil is breaking new records and has reached over $92.00 a barrel as of this writing. Along with the price of oil, the price of gas is sure to skyrocket. The days of cheap fuel are gone forever. And for eco-conscious folks to consider, one gallon of gas burned releases an astounding five pounds of carbon into the atmosphere!

This brings me to the topic of scooters. Scooters are an economical alternative mode of transportation, sure to save gas. And they aren't just for college kids to drive around campus anymore. Now days there are a large and diverse range of scooters available for every purpose and every lifestyle. Fun for everyone!

Some of the scooters are as big as a motorcycle, like the Suzuki Burgman Executive at 638cc. Others are as small as 49cc which are made by all the manufacturers represented here except Suzuki. Gas mileages on scooters often can double that of a motorcycle. The classic looking Yamaha Vino 125 can get up to 90 mpg. That's a huge savings at the pump and a lot less carbon in the atmosphere.

I've compiled a list of the more common 2007/2008 model scooters with their MSRP and links to the websites for those interested in exploring the scooter possibilities even further:

Make/ Model/ cc/ MSRP/ Links to Official Sites


SR 50 R Factory/ 49/ $2,999.00/Aprilia
Scarabeo 100 4T/ 96/ $2,699.00
Mojito 150/ 150/ $3,499.00
Scarabeo 200/ 200/ $3,599.00
Sportcity 250/ 244/ $4,599.00
Scarabeo 500 ie/ 460/ $6,299.00


Metropolitan/ 49/ $1,899.00/ Honda
Ruckus/ 49/ $2,049.00
Elite 80/ 80/ $2,399.00
Helix/ 244/ $5,349.00
Reflex/ 249/ $5,549.00
Silver Wing/ 582/ $8,099.00


5-49cc models from $1,599.00 to $2,499.00/ KYMCO
2-125CC MODELS AT $1,999.00 and $2,999.00
2-150cc models at $3,199.00 and $3,499.00
People S 200/ 163/ $3,299.00
4-250cc models from $3,999.00 to $4,899.00
Xciting 500/ 500/ $5,999.00


Burgman 400/ 400/ $5,949.00/ Suzuki
Burgman 650/ 638/ $7,899.00
Burgman 650 Executive/ 639/ $8,999.00


LX/ 50/ $3,699.00/ Vespa
PX 150/ 150/ $4,699.00
LX/ 150/ $4,799.00
LXV/ 250/ $5,699.00
Granturismo 200/ 200/ $5,799.00
GTS 250/ 250/ $6,499.00
GTV/ 250/ $7,299.00


Vino Classic/ 49/ $1,949.00/ Yamaha
C3/ 49/ $1,999.00
Zuma/ 49/ $2,099.00
Vino 125/ 124/ $2,649.00
Morphous/ 250/ $5,299.00
Majesty/ 395/ $5,899.00

So there you have it, the most popular scooters around, from 49cc up to 638cc and from $1,899.00 to $8,999.00. That makes the average bran spankin new scooter only $5,449.00, a bargain as compared to a car or most motorcycles. Imagine what you could do with all the savings! Maybe there's a scooter in your future?
©2007 N.(Kano)Miles, Kano's Coffee House

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Scooter Blogs of Note: Scooter in the Sticks, Little Billy's Scooter Tales

Scooter Bible: From Cushman to Vespa,the Ultimate History and Buyer's Guide

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Air Pollution - Car vs. Motorcycle vs. Scooter

One gallon of gas burned puts 5lbs of carbon into the earth's atmosphere. I'm going to do some quick math here. My Harley gets about 40mpg. A scooter, say a Yamaha Vino 125 at least doubles that at about 80+mpg.

I commute to work on my Harley around a total of 10 miles per day. That means my motorcycle is spewing into the atmosphere about 5lbs of carbon in one of my 4 day work weeks. (I actually work 5 days a week but hey, I'm trying to keep the math simple here!)

Suppose I commute to work 36 weeks per year. That means my bike is putting 180lbs of carbon into the air in a year, as compared to half that, 90lbs if I were riding the scooter.

Quick Carbon Comparison - My Commute - Car vs. Motorcycle vs. Scooter

Car at 20mpg = 360lbs of carbon into the atmosphere per year @ 72 gallons.
Motorcycle at 40mpg = 180lbs of carbon into the atmosphere per year @ 36 gallons.
Scooter at 80mpg = 90lbs of carbon into the atmosphere per year @ 18 gallons.

Car vs. Scooter = My car would burn 54 more gallons and add 270lbs more carbon into the atmosphere than a scooter would in one year of my commute. Project those figures ten years out, the car would burn 540 more gallons of gas and put 2,700lbs more carbon into the atmosphere than the scooter would.

As you can see, seemingly small differences really make a big difference. In a way, high gas prices may be a blessing in disguise. If a lot of folks drove even a little less because of the cost of gas or switched to a vehicle that is more efficient, it would keep countless tons of carbon out of the earth's atmosphere.
N.(Kano)Miles, Motorcycle and Scooter talk at Kano's Coffee House

Coming soon to Motorcycle and Scooter Talk at Kano's Coffee House, a scooter quick reference guide listing 43 of the most popular models by 6 different makers along with MSRPs. Subscribe now and get it delivered right to your email box FREE!

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Check-out these excellent bike news and info sites, Bikes in the Fast Lane and Biker News Online.

Scooter Bible: From Cushman to Vespa,the Ultimate History and Buyer's Guide

Motorcycle Consumer News

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Who doesn't Love Their Motorcycle and what's That Got to Do with Sex?

"It's a beautiful machine" were the last words the salesman said before I rode off on my new Harley Sportster a couple of years ago. The salesman was right. For me anyway, motorcycles, especially Harleys, are the most beautiful things ever made by man. I would rather sit on a bench and take in the art of the machine then look at the "Mona Lisa" at the Louvre in Paris.

I love my bike; it's one of the few material things that I have a strong attachment to. It's as though the bike is an extension of me.

My wife thinks so too, in a literal sense however. She says men love motorcycles because they are some sort of phallic symbol, representing a projection of power or something like that. She may be right for all I know. Maybe Carl Jung would have agreed with her on that one.

But a lot of women love bikes too, what about them? Hmm, penis envy? Sigmund Freud's analysis might be that all those women riding around, subconsciously wish they had a peter.

As for me, I think motorcycles symbolize freedom, it's all about the freedom, and the art of form and function. Not a penis on wheels.

Yep, my Sportster, it's a beautiful machine alright. I'll just keep on riding while the poets, philosophers, psychoanalysts, and my wife figure out why.
©2007 N.(Kano)Miles, Kano's Coffee House

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Motorcycle Book Quote - The Perfect Vehicle

"Each moment of those 35,000 miles seems to be catalogued in some deep archive, and occasionally the wind flips up one of the index cards they're on and it's suddenly there, bobbing at the surface of consciousness, along with a ghost perception of the temperature and smell of the air. This is the perfume of the past. Future scents wait by the road."- Melissa Holbrook Pierson, from The Perfect Vehicle: What It is about Motorcycles

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

News Flash and Post Correction - I'm no Don Juan on a Motorcycle!

My wife came up to me yesterday and said "Hey, you're no Don Juan." I replied "So what else is new?" Then taking full advantage of an opportunity to keep my ego in check, she said "At the end of your last post you said you were chasing windmills like Don Juan, maybe you meant 'Cervantes' Don Quixote, he's the one who chased windmills and I think you're more like him."

Oops, my wife was referring to my post "The Wild Hogs Movie, Harleys, and My Own Mid-Life Crisis", where I inadvertently replaced the eccentric old man Don Quixote with the storied lover Don Juan. She went on to say "I think what you wrote was a 'Freudian Slip,' you probably think subconsciously you're Don Juan."

The beauty of the Blog format is it's possible to go back and fix mistakes, even on already posted material. So for those who've already read the post in question, I went back and fixed the error.

My wife was right of course, there is a lot more Don Quixote in me than Don Juan. Just don't tell her I said so.
©2007 N.(Kano)Miles, Kano's Coffee House

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Monday, October 15, 2007

What the Motorcycle Makers Don't Want You to Know

Today is Blog Action Day. A day that is organized in an effort by participating Bloggers to focus attention on the environment, climate change, and sustainability.

So in honor of Blog Action Day, my contribution is a bit of a follow-up on one of my previous posts "Who Else Wonders How Big of a Motorcycle is Big Enough?" I try to make a case for better fuel economy and engine pollution control on motorcycles. I'm now going to throw some surprises at you.

It turns out a lot of vehicles are more efficient and environmentally friendly than many motorcycles.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not in any way shape or form anti-motorcycle and pro-car. I'm not advocating for people to park their bikes and drive a car. It's just the opposite. I am a conservationist however and am naturally interested in fuel economy and engine pollution control. Most politicians are ignoring global warming or giving it lip service, but I can't and won't. See the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winning Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth for a good wake-up call everybody.

Only recently did I discover there's trouble in paradise. I've always assumed perhaps naively that anything on two wheels has to be "greener" than anything on 4 wheels. Wrong answer, I was told with a comment on one of my previous posts, "Motorcycles, Allergies, and Global Warming", A college professor and Blog commenter flunked me on my facts. He said "actually, though less exhaust comes out of your motorcycle, more pollutants come out of the tail pipe of the cleanest fossil fuel motorcycle than out of the dirtiest car". I apparently was wrong that motorcycles are more environmentally friendly than cars.

So after calming down, I got to checking around to find out just what the hell the professor's been smoking. I found a number of articles and studies (see links below)backing up what he was saying. I felt the fool for awhile, but wait just a minute; it's not all that clear-cut.

There are a bunch of variables that go into it all. Some things are left out of some of the equations such as; a bike often spends less time in congested traffic than a car and what about the far less raw material and energy it takes to manufacture a motorcycle?

Anyway, just the fact that there is a debate between motorcycles vs cars on the subject of air pollution and fuel efficiency tells me something. In my own simple way of looking at things, I think motorcycles should do better than cars, way better. What do you think?

Want to see more Blog Action Day participants from around the web?

Ask Umbro on pollution comparison.

Reuters UK, brief article on government test.

Article on Paris study.

Science Daily article.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Movie Wild Hogs, Harleys, and My Own Mid-Life Crisis

I finally crawled out of my cave this past weekend and rented the movie Wild Hogs. Just in case there's anybody else on the planet that hasn't seen it; this biker comedy flick is well worth the watch. I laughed my head off, it's one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time.

The movie is about four "RUBs" (Rich Urban Bikers)played by Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy. They embark on a road-trip and find lots of trouble along the way, especially when they run into a real biker gang.

Those characters reminded me of a couple of guys I ran across in Texas some years ago and wrote a post on recently. They had a lot in common with the movie characters and were real life RUBs.

Sometimes I wonder if people think of me as a laughable poser too, riding my Harley through a mid-life crisis. Maybe the one-time observer would think so, but anyone that knows me or sees me go by on a regular basis know I ride a lot and have been riding regularly for quite a few years. However, the mid-life crisis part would be a correct assumption.

My earlier adulthood seemed to be absorbed in making a family, building a career, buying a house, grooming the lawn, collecting material wealth; pursuing the American dream. Then I reached middle-age. That, combined with my dad dying of cancer and my mom coming down with Alzheimer's disease made it hit, WHAM! I called into question everything about how I was living my life, and so that's how it all started.

When it hit, it hit hard. Quite a few years had passed since I'd been on a motorcycle and I started thinking about riding again. Then I bought my first Harley and soon after quit my stressful job, embarking on a different life course. I wanted a life focused on the truly important things such as my family who had long been neglected from my own exhaustion and depression.

I left the security of a fairly good paying job after realizing I wasn't living life as it should be. I'd lost my way. All the ideals of my youth; one by one had been left on the side of the road. I'd become exactly what I didn't want to be, a burned-out and cynical old man.

Plenty of hardships have had to be endured as a result of leaving my old life behind. My family is living a more precarious and spartan lifestyle, but it's all worth it. Our life is richer now. Not in figures that can be measured, nor stuff in the garage, or dollars in a bank account, but in ways that can barely be put into words.

My wife has a husband again, my kids a dad. I've begun to reclaim some of the happiness lost along the way. Getting my life back again started the day I bought my first Harley. So I keep riding, trying my best to keep the Sportster, my family, and myself on the road and between the ditches.

In conclusion, am I like those Wild Hogs? Or the Texas bikers mentioned in my previous post, so transparant that they might as well had price tags still attached to their shiny helmets? No, well OK, a little bit. Laughing at those guys is like laughing at myself in a way, and I don't mind.

One thing I've learned is not to take myself too seriously. So if people want to think I'm a poser, so be it. Let people think what they want and let them laugh. I'll just keep on riding my Harley through life, chasing after windmills in my own Don Quixote like way. "It's not the destination" someone once said, "never the destination, only the ride".
©2007 N.(Kano)Miles, Kano's eCoffee House

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Wild Hogs (Widescreen Edition)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank some of my Blogger friends for their encouragement and I invite you to check out their excellent sites.
Scooter in the Sticks
Musings of an Intrepid Commuter
Biker News Online
Little Billy's Scooter Tales

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Motorcyclists - How You Can Adopt an Acre of Rainforest for Fifty Bucks!

Just imagine a pristine tropical rainforest alive with towering trees, macaws, jaguars, pumas and monkeys. And then comes the chainsaws, bulldozers, and fire; wiping out a vital part of the eco-system important to the health of the entire earth. What if you could do something about it, would you? Even if just the tiniest fraction of the multitude of us motorcyclists took action, imagine how many acres combined could be saved!

You can be part of the action...for just a $50.00 donation, you get the satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference. By adopting an acre of tropical rainforest on the remote Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica you would be doing the entire world a favor. What a noble thing to do!

With your donation you also get a personalized certificate, a car (bike) magnet, a one year subscription to Nature Conservancy Magazine and a full-color fact sheet. A donation could also be made in someone else's name and would make a great one-of-a-kind gift.

Send to all your biker friends this post from "Motorcycle and Scooter Talk at Kano's eCoffee House". Then take your next ride with your head held up high and a happy grin on your face, because you've done great things this day.

To adopt an acre of tropical rainforest or for more information click here or call 1-800-84-ADOPT.

Exit the fast lane and read about the simple pleasures of the slow ride. Riding can have a mellow and contemplative side to it as described in the award winning blog "Scooter in the Sticks".

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Owner Survey - 2006 Suzuki SV 650S

Never mind the hype put out by manufacturers and the reviews done by the pro publishers, here's a chance to take a look at what actual owners think of their rides. I have already done a survey on my own 2006 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200C and a 2007 Buell Odyssey. This post is on a 2006 Suzuki SV 650S.

The Suzuki 650S appears to be a very good choice of bike for lots of reasons. It gets excellent fuel economy at 50mpg and the initial purchasing price of a new 2008 model seems like a bargain at under $7,000.00. I took a quick look around the Internet and found used ones going for around $4,000-$5,000. The online Kelley Blue Book has the 2006 SV650S listed with a retail value of $5015.00.

So if you're looking for a practical sportbike that's good for the commute and carving the twisties, the SV650S or its twin, the Standard SV650 may be just the ride for you. If sport bikes aren't your thing, the Standard version has an upright seating position and would make a great all around bike. It sells for about $500.00 less.

Owner Name/State - hsartteacher, Miami FL
Year/Make/Model -2006 Suzuki SV 650S (red)
Modifications/Accessories-frame sliders, tank bag, tank pad, in process of putting in new Sonic Springs in front
How tall are you?- 5'9"
How are the ergonomics, is the bike comfortable on short rides?-on short rides it is great. This is the sport bike version of the SV so the position is more aggressive; longer rides takes some getting used to. You need to use your abs, squeeze the tank slightly w/your knees to take pressure off your arms.
What would you say about the handling characteristics? -so easy to take corners and curves, flickable, maneuverable, a BLAST to ride
What is the bike mostly used for? -street riding for fun, commuting, overnight trips, and now track day coming up
Has there been any unscheduled maintenance or repairs?-just fixing the clutch lever after a low speed parking lot drop (doh my fault)
What is the average gas mileage?-50 mpg
Average miles ridden per week?-150-200
Mileage on the odometer?-2400
What do you like most about the bike?-all around fun to ride for a variety of riding styles. Kicks a** on curves/corners, can outcorner a litre bike.
What do you like least about the bike? -fender is kinda ugly cheap plastic (but it's a budget bike)
Would you buy another one?- YES!!!!!!!!
If you had a different bike, what would it be? -maybe a Triumph Street Triple or Daytona 675
Overall are you satisfied with your bike? -I adore it
Would you recommend the bike to others?-Absolutely-- a great value for the money. May be a bit much for rank beginners though.
Comments?:This bike has a cult-like following worldwide because it is so quick, flickable, and all around fun to ride. People who don't want the sport riding position should sit on the standard SV 650 (same bike, w/ higher handlebars and no fairing). I used to ride a cruiser and will never go back to that; there is no comparison.

So there you have it, the Suzuki SV 650S. Thank you hsartteacher for giving us a rare and valuable peek at the SV 650S from an owner's perspective.

Would you like to have your bike featured and in the spotlight here at Kano's eCoffee House? All makes, models and years are welcome. Just send me an email at oregonian@netzero.com and I'll get a quick and easy survey out to you pronto.

Specs - 2006 Suzuki SV650S
Engine: 645 cc, four-stroke, liquid cooled, 90° V-twin, DOHC, 8-valves, TSC
Bore Stroke: 81.0 x 62.6 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Fuel System: Fuel Injection
Lubrication: Wet Sump
Ignition: Digital/Transistorized
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: #525 chain
Overall Length: 2080 mm (81.9 in.)
Overall Width: 730 mm (28.7 in.)
Overall Height: 1170 mm (46.1 in.)
Seat Height: 800 mm (31.5 in.)
Ground Clearance: 155 mm (6.1 in.)
Wheelbase: 1430 mm (56.3 in.)
Dry Weight: 169 kg (372 lbs.)
Suspension Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped, fully adjustable preload
Suspension Rear: Link-type, 7-way adjustable spring preload
Brakes Front: Dual hydraulic disc
Brakes Rear: Single hydraulic disc
Tires Front: 120/60-ZR17
Tires Rear: 160/60-ZR17
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17 liter (4.5 gal.) 16 liter (4.2 gal.) CA. model
Color: Blue, Red


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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Two Texas Hard Core Bikers - Motorcycle Cowboys Gone WILD!

Back about 5 years ago we were living in Fulton, a sweltering South Texas town on the Gulf Coast. I had recently lost my business and had a family to feed. So I got a job washing dishes at a local waterfront restaurant and watering hole popular with the tourists.

Riding the Sportster I had at the time to work, I arrived early for my shift one day. I often did this so I could do some fishing off the dock or just sit and take in the somewhat cooler gulf breeze before washing what seemed like a million dishes.

While looking around in my saddlebags for a pack of smokes the roar of aftermarket pipes broke the silence of the otherwise quiet parking lot. Pulling up next to my Sportster was a shiny new Harley Road King and a new Harley Softail Classic.

Both the riders had obviously new black leather jackets, leather chaps, beanie helmets and sunglasses. If the bikes and gear had been aged a couple of years I might have mistaken these guys for hard core bikers especially by the way they talked.

"What's up Bro?" Said the guy on the Road King as he dismounted and carefully removed his hundred dollar sunglasses. "That's a nice little bike there Bro" said the guy on the Softail Classic, looking at my Sportster. So I got to talking with them for awhile since I had some time before my shift started.

"Let's get a f***en beer Bro!" Said the the taller of the two. I told him I couldn't because I had to work in a few minutes. "F***" said the short fat Road King guy. "Come on, f*** the job, let's have a f***en beer dude!" Looking at me as if I might change my mind the tall guy said in a more subdued tone of voice "come on, I'm buying."

Standing there in the parking lot, I asked where they were from. The sweating fat guy replied, "were down from Houston on a f***en three day road trip." The other one said "We haven't passed a single f***en bar the whole way!"

I asked them what they did for a living. They could have lied but they didn't. The tall one on the Softail Classic was an accounting manager and the short one on the Road King a tax attorney. Then the conversation suddenly died down. No more f*** this and f*** that from those two. I think they were sobering up a little.

Then we parted ways with a friendly hand shake. They went in the front door to the bar to drink themselves into believing they were hard core bikers. I went in the back kitchen door to wash about a million friggen dishes.
©2007 N.(Kano)Miles, Kano's eCoffee House

Monday, October 1, 2007

Today Is All There Is and Ever Will Be

My Mom has Alzheimer's Disease and she doesn't remember my name or even who I am. She sits in her chair at a nursing home and waits, though she doesn't know what she is waiting for, unable to even comprehend the coming of the next meal time. She doesn't know much of anything anymore. I ride my motorcycle, chased by a dark shadow never too far away.

She can still walk with help; her frail legs are too weak to stand on her own for too long. And she responds sometimes when I speak to her. Sometimes she says some things that almost makes sense. She surprises me once in a while by saying something that I thought she would not remember. She laughs and sometimes she cries. Little pieces of her old personality are still there.

She would walk out of the nursing home and keep on walking if the door wasn't locked. She did just that a few years ago when she was living in an assisted living facility. They found her after several hours a mile or so away, sunburned, dehydrated, looking at flowers in someone's yard.

My Mom can't eat on her own anymore. Someone has to spoon feed her because she doesn't have the coordination, know-how, or instinct to feed herself. It's possible she doesn't even sense hunger at all. She fed and took care of us 5 children when we were young. She can't take care of herself anymore let alone anyone else. Now it's our turn to take care of her. She deserves it and more.

I find comfort in thinking more about who she was than who she has become. She was an amazing woman who suffered many hardships in her life and overcame them.

I ride my motorcycle knowing that my Mom's fate may be my own someday. With certainty it will be for millions. There may be the day when this ride, all rides, and everything else in my life may be forgotten. My family, my wife, my children, my entire life may fade away.

I have learned that memory is the most prized of all possesions and to make the most of each day and appreciate everyone in it. I ride as if it may be my last ride because in a way, today, right here and right now is all there is, ever was, and ever will be.
To make a donation to help support Alzheimer's research and services visit the Alzheimer's Association website.