You have probably seen the movie ‘Wild Hogs”, where four old friends want to take a motorcycle trip, kind of their midlife crisis, to do something fun before they get too old. The guys get into a lot of trouble with real bikers in the movie.
I’m not looking for trouble. However, one thing I am looking forward to back in Canada is time on my Yamaha Majesty 400 scooter motorcycle. It’s been a passion of mine for two years now. My first year with the scooter, I drove the thing everywhere around the Island, and a few long distance cruising trips too. The scooter became the second car we never bought. That first year, a friend and I went cruising around the Cape Breton Highlands for a few days too; one of the most enjoyable outings in a long while. Two years later I had 12,000 km on the Yamaha Majesty.
As we were getting ready for the trip to the Cape Breton Highlands the first summer, some friends began teasing us saying the “Wild Hogs Ride Again”. Our retort was, “The closest we come to being Wild Hogs, with scooters, is maybe being “Scrappy Piglets”. The name “The Scrappy Piglets” stuck, and now we are trying to have an annual “Scrappy Piglet Tour”.
But you have to admit, from the front, the scooter looks a little like a sports bike. I often have other motorcycle riders wave at me only to have them arching their neck as they go by, as if to say, “What the heck! What kind of bike is that thing?” after they get a bit of a side view.
“In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.” (Robert M. Pirsig, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values)
Well, this style of scooter are not what most people think. They are big scooters; really they are motorcycles on a scooter style frame. Don’t let the word scooter, or the looks fool you; my Yamaha Majesty 400 can hit over 100 mph (155 kph) with a full load, weighs in at almost 470 lbs, and can pass a lot of the 650 cruiser bikes who can’t keep up. My wife and I can cruise all day at 110 kph no problem, and still pass anything we want. I never dreamed a single cylinder 400 could be that responsive. The only draw back is that in a really strong gusty side wind you have to be careful. Also passing some BIG tractor trailers makes some big wind that can toss you around a little. I’ve not driven other bikes so i don’t know how it compares. However, I hear of many people who have trouble with their 650-900 cruisers in gusty side winds too. However, as much as I love my Yamaha Majesty, the Burgman 650 does a much better with side winds, and at 150 lbs heavier, and awesome suspension, it rides much smoother as a highway cruiser scooter. Each has their place and advantages.
“It wasn’t until I went to college and I got my first motorcycle that I understood the thrill of speed.” (Vin Diesel)
Having said this, it is still a scooter. I love that it’s all automatic- twist and go. Also, you are protected from the weather behind the large front cowling. Your legs are not out in the wind and rain. Nice. The smaller wheels do make it handle differently, and that comes with its advantages and disadvantages.
“People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it’s safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.” (Alexei Sayle)
You can ride two up no problem, with a huge and spacious back seat for passengers. My wife and I go everywhere on it and cruise highway speeds all day. My wife does not share my thrill for riding, but she humors me from time to time. For long trips, she prefers to stay home. I tease her all the time, saying, “We have the bike, and the biker dude… all I need is a biker babe now.”” I also tease her by saying I’m getting her a leather mini skirt and bikini top for riding on back. A biker is only as cools as the chick he is hauling on back, I told her. She didn’t buy it.
“Note to self: Never ride a motorcycle in stilettos and a miniskirt.” (Maggie Grace)
I wear leathers. They see this near 6 foot 250lb biker dude walk in and seem impressed. And they begin to laugh when they see me getting on or off the scooter. I don’t mind the joke. If I was wanting to be cool, a sccoter might not be the best choice…. Not sure if the following is true or not, but a woman said it. But it is not what I’m looking for. 🙂
“All girls like guys who are tough. Obviously, riding a motorcycle – I don’t want to say that there’s a bad boy quality – but there’s definitely a tough and macho thing about a guy who rides a motorcycles and that element of danger. That’s really sexy.: (Marisa Miller)
I put 12,000 km on the Yamaha Majesty in two years, and am looking forward to another 6000 this spring through late fall.
“I enjoy going on motorcycle trips and stopping in small towns and enjoying drinks with the locals.” (George Clooney)
No, I’m not that bad…. ;-). But you expected a quote like that, didn’t you?
There is a huge 60 liters of storage under the seat, so you can pick up some groceries, take your computer and office bag to work. And when I travel for a week, I can pack most things under the seat, and if not, in the added top bag that you will see in the pictures.
Last year my friend, with his Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter, and I did 2100 km around the Gaspe Bay Peninsula in Quebec in 5 days. The scooter is not cool, but it can handle the highway speeds no problem. Maybe some day I will step up to the 650 suzuki burgman, but right now I don’t see why, when what I have is almost the same size, hauls ass quite well, and is $4000 cheaper. 99% of my driving is on PEI anyway, where the top speed limit is 90km/hr. The 400 is more than enough for here. I make one or two long distance trips a year. Is it worth upgrading and wasting more money for a two long distance trips a year?
The Gaspe Bay trip was one of most fun things I have ever experienced, as well. Beautiful scenery, especially the tip and the north side. The south shore of the Peninsula is no less beautiful… but more populated. However, Pierce has great seafood, if too many tourists, the rock is worth seeing. After Pierce north… WOW.
“You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle!” (Dan Aykroyd)
I am finding scootering like a good therapy. The fresh air, and wind in my face, and the adventure of just going “Somewhere”, and mostly not planned. Point the bike and go, when I have the time. It also gets my mind off things. So it satisfies this male urge I have 🙂 A cheap second car, too, which I have been avoiding for ten years.
Anyway, if it was about cool I would be on a motorcycle, but I am so tired of shifting gears in Africa, driving hundreds of km in the bush each week; the novelty about shifting has worn off. People laugh as I wear my leather vest, and they think… Oh this biker dude. And then you see them smiling as I hop on my scooter. But many have never seen a big scooter, and come over and look them over, asking what they are… But I suppose I have to agree with Henry Winkler,
“You see, I don’t know how to ride a motorcycle, actually.” (Henry Winkler)
Anyway, it’s tough to get a few days to go any distance in the spring to fall for a fisherman… But I am so looking forward to making a few trips this summer long distance as well. And maybe the following year I can look at the Suzuki 650 scooter. Right now this is fine. This scooter is all I can handle… Just like my bike wife…
“I really love to ride my motorcycle. When I want to just get away and be by myself and clear my head, that’s what I do.” (Kyle Chandler)
“Well, I motorcycle, I hunt, fish, I do all that. I keep busy. I’m never bored. I’ve never been bored.” (Larry Hagman)