Larry Clevenger, Honda PCX 125cc Scooter Owner (pending)
by Larry Clevenger
(Chicago, IL, USA)
I was a previous rider of a motorcycle (Kawasaki Ninja 500 EX500D) until it was stolen last summer. Luckily, it had LoJack installed; however, it was not in usable shape, thus was totaled out, after it was recovered.
I found the 500R to be a bit too exciting at times, thus in a weird sort of way, I'm glad to have been given a chance to look around a bit more for various riding options.
This time around, I've been looking at something lighter and not so heavy since I'm basically 5'5", about 140 or so, and trying to hold onto 39 but failed a few times.
Having moved to Chicago in '95, I had sold my car, thus primarily got around with the public transportation. But lately, other than the itch for riding my bicycle, I needed something else to get to my destination faster, especially when you consider things like the CTA's Union wanting to mess up one's schedule by striking or having a work slowdown, or even the CTA cutting back on services even.
On my days off work, I mainly carry around a Semi-Pro camera kit in a backpack (Tamrac Adventure 7 or Adventure 8) which can be quite heavy at times for my back, while my hands are a bit full of stuff I pick up when shopping *haha*.
On a motorcycle or the bicycle even, there's no real storage space short of installing some panniers which I don't really like to do because I don't always do proper weight/balances when loading them up.
I'm primarily a Kawasaki person, thus when I was looking for a new ride, I was eyeing the Ninja 250. I'm not keen on highways, and Chicago's pretty much flat with lots of stop lights, unlike the country winding roads where I came from (Kansas City).
However, there are times my ankles bother me (as does the back) and since Kawasaki doesn't have scooters in their lineup, I've looked around some more, looking for something that I don't have to worry about remembering which gear I'm in, feathering the clutch and other things when I want to enjoy the scenery and the ride.
Mind you, I primarily looked at the Japanese labels since I'm more used to them, but have looked at Sym, Kymco, GSC, Vespas and others.
I think the one thing that draws me to the Honda PCX is the unique styling, which is probably a sad thing. But it's also relatively new and not a remake of their models I believe; unlike the Ninja 250 which received a major upgrade in 2008 after
2 decades! There's probably other factors too, but I'll find that out when I get some seat time on it.
At the present, I've got a down payment/deposit to reserve the PCX when it becomes available (same place where I bought my EX500D).
What I plan to do with the PCX when I get it? Go to the gym, visit friends and other locations within Chicago that aren't readily served by the CTA and some errands.
Since I don't think I'll go on the highway/expressway/tollway, I'll have to learn alternate ways to get to some of the outlying areas. Time to make friends with MapQuest! The sad part is, there's no place for my map/tank bag! :(
I don't know how fast it would go, but will have to look into that. I'm not quite a speed freak, but if there was a race track that allows scooters to have some free reign (relatively speaking), then I'd go for that! Although I'm still sure my ol' 500R would leave it in the dust. :)
I'm not quite sure what clubs are available, but will keep an eye open. I do belong to RoK (Riders of Kawasaki) which is almost comparable to Honda's HRCA I believe. I'm also a member of AMA (American Motorcyclist Assoc).
I've taken the BRC (Basic Rider's Course) with "Ride Chicago" and the SS (Scooter School) with "Motorcycle Riding School" (which at least is endorsed by MSF). I'll have to inquire if the ERC (Enhanced Rider's Course) is usable with scooters. That would be handy.
Insurance wise, I was with Progressive. Will probably go with them again. And yes, to help deter another lost ride, I plan to install LoJack again as well as get a Grip-Lock and a new disc lock.
Gear-wise, I have a Bell "Leviathan" bucket, an Icon Mil-Spec vest, Icon 29 Gloves. Forma (Street EVO touring boots). I've got two "Dragon Rider" jackets, one is textile and the other is leather.
Besides the aforementioned camera bags, I've also got the Icon Mil-Spec Squad 2 backpack. Still haven't found a good set of pants yet, cargo pocket style. Other than the Icon gear, I got my gear at the International Motorcycle Show '09. One can almost always find deals at shows like that.
Hopefully, I can do some riding in the winter, but that will take some doing, especially with Chicago winters. :o
I'll edit this later on when I get the PCX and some seat time on it! Maybe next year, I'll give a couple of my friends some gift vouchers so they can take some scooter training. :)
A battery tender like the Battery Tender Jr. can make all the difference in whether your scooter will start right up each spring, after being stored for months.
Just about every scooter owner needs to have a battery tender, sometimes called a trickle charger. Unless you are lucky enough to live in a climate where you can ride all year long, chances are your scooter will be put on ice, figuratively-speaking, for at least a couple months every winter.
One of the key steps in winterizing a scooter is to protect your battery from draining during its "rest" period. This can – and will – happen if you leave your battery sitting untended in your cold scooter over the winter, even if it's in a garage or shed.