Archive for Scooter

Motorcycle Safety Foundation Training

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting with tags , , , on November 22, 2014 by Jason

Last weekend I had the opportunity, well more like I had to do it in order to ride my new scooter legally, attend a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Training. The training is mandatory in order to get the motorcycle endorsement on my license here in Florida.

saferideIn order to obtain a motorcycle license here in Florida you must do 2 things. 1st take an approved motorcycle safety training course and then once you have that you are able to have the motorcycle endorsement added to your license at the local DMV. I chose to take my training course at Safe Ride (saferide.com) for a couple of reasons. They were one of the cheaper options, and the dealership that I purchased my bike from would give me credit towards service or merchandise for the entire amount that I paid for the class.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from the course. I had thought about taking it back when I had the 50cc scooter just in case I had ever wanted to be able to test ride a larger scooter and to be honest I should have. Even though on the paperwork I was riding a 50cc scooter which required no additional endorsement other than my drivers license I was truly riding an 80cc scooter which should have had an endorsement. On top of that minor detail after taking the course I must say that I feel that I am better suited to handle certain types of situations that I may not have been prepared for in the past.

The course consists of 2 parts: Classroom and Practical Hands On Training. The class size was relatively small with what appeared to be a max of 12 students with 2 instructors that worked together. When I got there they had 3 tables set up, coffee ready and candy on the tables. We started with course work for the first half of the day and then moved out to the practical part of the day. The second day started with practical, followed by the practical exam then a bit of course work followed by the written exam. As long as you pay attention to the training neither test is cause for alarm since the instructors do an excellent job of preparing you for the exams. I will say that this is true if you are willing to listen which everyone in my class did although it sounds like this is not always the case. With Safe Ride however if you would happen to fail either exam they will allow you to come back free of charge and retake that portion.

I guess in short I would recommend taking the class no matter if you are wanting to be able to ride something bigger than a 50 or not. At $145 it will give you the chance to learn while having the instructors critique the way you ride. Please let me know if you have any questions about the class or exams. As always ride safe.

Back in the Saddle

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting with tags , , , on November 8, 2014 by Jason

A bit over 2 years ago I sold my beloved Pepe and ever since then I have been unfortunately scooterless.

2 days ago I ended up purchasing a brand new 2015 Yamaha Zuma 125, and I have to say the difference between my original scooter and my new scooter is amazing. Although the new bike has not received a name yet, but I’m sure I will figure something out. Without further ado I would like to introduce the yet to be named scooter:

2015ZumaThe major differences between the new guy and good old Pepe is the performance. The difference of speed is obviously quite a bit since Pepe was a 50cc that was upgraded to an 80cc and the new guy is weighing in at 125cc. That additional amount displacement does require a motorcycle endorsement but it is worth it. Other differences are things like the acceleration is much quicker, the headlights are bright enough to see in completely dark streets, and it just looks amazing to name a few.

I’ll keep you posted on the new adventures. Have a great night.

Scooters 4 Hooters 2012

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting with tags , , , , , on March 25, 2012 by Jason

Yesterday I got the chance to go to my first scooter rally by going to the 6th annual Scooters 4 Hooters (www.scooters4hooters.com) which is a charity scooter rally & live music held here in Orlando, Florida. Scooters 4 Hooters was started by Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation (www.libbyslegacy.org).

On my way to the rally in the morning I was greeted by some very dark looking clouds and I was beginning to worry that my light shirt and shorts were maybe not the best wardrobe decision that I could have made. By the time I navigated my way to downtown orlando however the clouds parted, the sun came out and everything was once again beautiful. I found a place to park my scooter near Lake Eola Park and went on my search for the check in desk for the rally. After being chased by a very large swan and laughed at by a little girl because of this I finally saw a mass of pink balloons stretching over a corner of the park. Once I got into the area there were your typical vendors and such that go to these sort of events but I saw very few scooters and still no check in desk. I did however find a booth that was a silent auction and donation area so I figured they would know. After speaking briefly with a very nice young girl I discovered my scooter was about as far away as it could be for the ride. So following the directions I made my way to the check in area.

Along the way I started to see more and more scooters, which made me think that hey I may finally be going in the right direction. Every turn I felt myself getting more and more excited, it was kinda like all those years ago when I went to my first bicycle tour with my father. Not knowing what to expect, not knowing how many people actually would be doing this at the same time, a little bit of fear of causing an accident or making a fool of myself and all the other normal things that one feels when they are doing something new for the first time alone. I took the last turn and it looked like the middle of some oriental city center, there were scooters every where. I followed the very good directions of where to go and where to park and stop here for a photo and such and went up to the booth to register. I went up to the table and told them my name… she looked at the pages in front of her… she looked at me… she looked at the pages… she said “I don’t have your name here… when did you register?” I had just registered the night before so I pulled out my phone and showed her the receipt showing that I had registered and payment was taken and she quickly asked my shirt size and I was on my way. I got back on my bike right next to a very nice looking Kymco Super 8 which I had drooled at pictures of before but had never seen one in person and was on my way to line up. I parked my bike among all sorts of bike, many Chinese scooters like mine as well as every other make and model I can think of new and old.

The ride wasn’t scheduled to start for another hour so I decided to take a look around and see what I could find. After about a minute I heard my name being called and looked up and saw the Wild Hogs Scooter guys (Wild Hogs Scooters Website). I stopped and talked to them and they had me move my bike up with theres so I could ride with them which I was very happy about since I knew absolutely no one else there.  JJ, the guy I have purchased both of my scooters from also brought me my piston that broke on my bike so I finally got to see the damage along with a t-shirt and sticker that says I laugh when you buy gas. We hung out and talked a bit while waiting for the rally to start which was fun since it’s not very often that I get to talk about scooters with people who actually have them very often… or ever. After a bit of chit chat they announced that the ride was about to start and it was time to mount up and get ready to go.

Once the ride started it was like nothing I have ever been involved with. I could probably go on for a very long time but I will try to keep down a bit. I have never been on a ride like this before and I’m sure that many of the rallies are quite similar. We had a police escort that would block the intersections so that no one had to stop or get left behind. This took the most getting use to since there was a cop at the intersection and I was to run a stop sign or a red light… if felt very awkward. I never really got use to it since it is instinct when a light turns yellow to start slowing down not stay at the same pace watch it go read and then keep on going into the intersection. The most fun part of the journey was all of the spectators, people clapping, people giving us the thumbs up, people with their phones out trying to get a video of all these bikes going by. The 4 legged spectators were quite fun too. I passed this house somewhere in downtown that had a beautiful golden retriever sitting inside his fence. He looked excited and confused by all the bikes going by. You could just see his little head trying to get a good look at each and every scooter as it passed by and wishing so much that he could come out and play with us. The most heartwarming part of the ride was at the end. There at the finish there was a group of about 30-40 survivors cheering us on as we came back to the park.

I have been blessed in my biological family to never have had to deal with the news that someone I love has been diagnosed with breast cancer but have always cared a great deal for the cause of breast cancer awareness. I have been known to say that we can not afford to loose one more boob in this world which is a bit joking but is also very true. I couldn’t even begin to immagine the feeling of dread and loss that a woman must go through when they are diagnosed and treated with breast cancer. To a man the closest thing that we could attribute this to would be testicular cancer but even that isn’t quite the same thing. Testicles may be linked with manhood but they are also a very private thing, breast on the other hand are out there for everyone to see, they are such a large part of a woman’s womanhood from feeding babies, to being such a beautiful part of why a woman is so alluring and attractive. I don’t think as a male I can even come close to understanding what it would feel like to loose something like that. I do encourage my beautiful lady readers to weigh in on this since I have no true understanding and if I keep typing I’ll probably just sound more stupid than I already do.

This was truly a great way to get together with like minded people and raise money for a very important cause. I left that day truly feeling that I was part of a solution which in todays world is not always the easiest thing to do. I encourage each and everyone of you to find a cause that you believe in and look for a creative and fun way to raise money for said cause. I will be riding again next year and hope to have my beautiful wife on the back of my scooter for that ride.

Have a great day and be safe everyone.

Shinny New Exhaust

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by Jason

After my last incident with someone running into me I decided to use some of the labor money that they were giving me to fix my bike to get a new exhaust since mine was already showing quite a bit of wear and I was just waiting for the welds to crack on this one the same as they did on my old one. I ended up going with an exhaust I found on Amazon.com. I had looked at other exhausts that were more expensive but really hadn’t been able to find a reason why they were more expensive and went with this one instead.

On Friday my new exhaust came… well kind of… they tried to but I was at work and wasn’t there so I had a choice. I could go and pick it up the next day at the UPS office or wait until Monday and have them try to deliver it again while I was at work so they would fail yet again leaving 1 more try before they would ship it back to the seller. So needless to say I decided to go pick it up from the UPS office and showed up about 20 minutes before they opened and to my surprise I was about the 20th person in line all ready. So I lined up and waited. I do have to give UPS some credit because they opened right up as soon as the clock struck 10:00. The line started to move and some people left with packages and others left with a grudge. It was finally my turn and after seeing a few people in front of me get turned away with nothing because they didn’t have the right info or just decided to show up with for the chance that the package would be there… who does that? I was walking away soon with my new exhaust in hand or at least a box that should have the exhaust neatly wrapped inside.

I got back to the car and I couldn’t wait to look inside. The first thing I pulled out was the instructions which basically consisted of 1. Remove old exhaust. 2. Install head. 3. Install silencer. 4. Use a bracket to ensure silencer does not break off. There were no pictures or anything else helpful on that front. The next page I pulled out was a bunch of pictures showing exhausts installed but none of them matched my exhaust at all and were all bigger bikes than mine. Now to the fun bit… the parts. First I pulled out the header pipe. It was nice and shiny with only one area around the welds for the brackets that was dulled. Then the silencer or muffler whichever you want to call it which was also nice and shiny. Then a couple of baggies of nuts and such to install everything. I put everything back in the trunk and was on my way to the garage where I would install the exhaust later on.

After dropping the car to my lovely wife I was off and running on my scooter to get back to the secret layer where I do all my scooter work. It was a windy day yesterday… I’m not sure of the exact wind speed but I was being blown over at every turn and couldn’t maintain a speed of more than 32 mph if I wasn’t in a tuck position. This doesn’t mean much right now but could attribute to something later on.

After letting the bike cool for a bit I went to work. Starting off of course just like the instructions said to remove the old exhaust. This was easily done by removing the exhaust bolts and the 2 bolts that hold the exhaust to the engine block. Then you can just lift the exhaust off of the bike. So now it’s out with the old and in with the new. I started by installing the exhaust header pipe. This was easy enough to do since the brackets that came off of the header pipe lined up perfectly with the same mounting holes that were for the original exhaust. I just lined those up so that they were loose and bolted the exhaust header to the engine then tightened everything up. This was the part I was most afraid wouldn’t fit since the description said that it fits most bikes and that I may need to bend it to make it fit. Now it was on to the exhaust silencer. This was the part that proved most tricky. First of all one of the screws that goes into the silencer is blocked on one side with a bracket. I finger tightened that one first and then was able to get the other 2 screws in. I couldn’t fit a allen wrench into the space provided so I decided to tighten it with a pair of pliers instead. I got everything tightened up and started it up to see how Pepe II sounded with his new pipes. Much deeper and louder than it was before. I also had heard that after installing a free flow exhaust that I should be able to pick up some more power by putting on the free flow air filter as well. So once again I removed the air box and installed the free flow air filter. I was off for a test ride.

During the test ride I noticed the same bogging that I had noticed before when the free flow air filter was installed. It had pretty good pick up but just seemed to be chocking every once and a while and I wasn’t hitting the speed I thought it should be hitting. I returned to the garage to put the stock air box on once again… I don’t think I will ever remove it again either because when I took the bike back on the road it was more what I expected from the first ride. Good response and a nice clean sound of the engine revving threw the power range. Back at the garage once again it was time to look at how to install the support ring for the silencer. The kit didn’t come with anything to help make this happen and I didn’t have any spare metal or tools to make this happen so it was off to the auto parts store to see if I could find anything that would work. My first thought was I needed a erector set piece, but I didn’t think I would find that at the auto parts store and the thought of finding and buying an Erector Set (Meccano for my British friends out there) just for one bit of metal didn’t really jive with me to well either cause then I couldn’t make whatever was in the kit. At the auto parts store I did find something that was very close to what I was thinking. It was strapping to hold down something… what I’m not sure but other than being a bit bigger it was what I was looking for. I took it back to the garage to get it put all the way together. Everything went back together great and it felt very solid so I’m pretty happy with the install. I did go ahead and adjust the air/fuel mixture as well as double check the gap on the exhaust and intake which was still set right where I left it so that made me happy.

On the ride home I noticed 2 things. I was a lot louder than I use to be which I don’t think is a bad thing since I am still quieter than most motorcycles and that extra noise may get me noticed a bit more. The 2nd thing I noticed is that my throttle response is much better than it use to be and I am hitting speeds that I haven’t hit before. The speeds I haven’t hit before may be more in part of that same wind that was keeping me from going above 32 earlier when I was going the other way so I’m trying not to get my hopes up to much.

Ride safe out there friends and keep an eye out for us little people.

The Ups and Downs of Scooter Ownership

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by Jason

So if you have been reading for a while I’m sure you have noticed that there are things that are fun about owning a scooter, and things that are not so much fun. I’ll start with the not so much fun and then hit on the fun later on.

I’m sure if you have been following the blog you will no doubt know some of these are coming, but since there are some new ones here it  goes. Helmet hair… I ended up letting my hair get a bit longer than I normally do over the past month or so and wow when I would take my helmet off I looked like some crazed professor or mad scientist. Although it was a quick fix by getting a hair cut but wow I’m sure my coworkers probably were wondering what was up with my less than stylish locks. The 2nd issue that I have had is with cold. Getting to work on the mornings when it has been in the low forties has been less than fun even though it is a lot easier now than it use to be now that I am wearing a full face helmet. The downside of the full face helmet is that it tends to fog up but I’m sure I’ll find a solution to that soon. Last but of course not least the biggest down of scooter ownership is vulnerability which is quite obvious after the wreck a few weeks ago but it also didn’t take Pepe II long before he found himself laying on the ground. I was coming home from work the other night and remembered that I had the mail key in my pocket so I thought I would stop and grab the mail on my way. It had been raining and when I hit the brakes at the last second the bike slipped out from under me and I hit the ground. I got right up and felt extremely stupid but other than the scraping up my knee once again I was fine. Pepe II was okay, scratched up but okay… I can not emphasize how annoyed I was that I had scratched up my brand new bike.

Now on to the good stuff. There are three main things I enjoy about owning my scoot. They are easy and fun to work on. It is fun to find creative solutions to the shortcomings of the designs of the scoot. And last but not least it is fun to ride. This weekend I got to do something that I have never done before with any engine. I checked the valve clearance on my engine. This is the type of thing that I have wanted and probably needed to do on my car many times in the past but was always too intimidated to try it. After reading a few posts in a forum and watching a couple of videos on how to do it I for the first time felt comfortable enough to crack the cover and take a look. While doing this I also dabbled in some body work to fix a bit of the problems caused by my slip up earlier in the week. It’s amazing what a bit of superglue and patience will get you. The last adventure of the weekend was to make some improvements that I had done on the original Pepe, lockable helmet hangers. One of the issues I had with my first helmet hangers was that they were a little hard to hang the helmets from because they were so far into the seat well. So I came up with an alternate location to make it easier to attach the helmets. heres a step by step for my scoot friends out there that are looking for a similar solution:

This shows the location of the hole drilled to accept the bolt. When I had done this before I put the bolts inside the seat well so I went all the way to the edge on both sided in similar locations.

This shows the bolt/nut/washer pattern that I used. 1-1/4″ x 1″ Hex Bolt, 2-1/4″ Hex Nuts and 2- 1/4″ Washers.

This shows how it was installed. The bolt with one nut and washer inserted into the hole, then a washer and nut tightened onto the bottom making sure to leave space to catch the d-ring on the helmet.

Then I reinstalled the seat well, hung the helmets and closed and locked the seat. I’m sure it’s not perfect and someone could probably still steal my helmet but it would slow them down a bit.

Well that’s it for tonight folks. Be safe out there and keep your eyes open for your 2 wheeled friends.

Installing a Bicycle Computer on a Scooter

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2012 by Jason

Alright so I have said in the past that one of my biggest gripes with my Chinese scooter is that the speedometer was way off. On my first scoot it was a steady 5 mph off but on my new scoot it is 10 to 15 mph off. Also the odometer never has been the most reliable piece of measurement equipment as well although as long as you convert what should be miles into kilometers it seems to be halfway close. So the question came to mind: How do I fix this? Well I pulled from my past and decided to install a bicycle computer to my new bike. So I started my research and found that not only cheap scoots like mine have a problem with giving accurate speeds but just about every 2 wheeled vehicle on the market so there were plenty of posts about installing a bicycle computer to a motorcycle, so I figured if it can be done on something that goes much faster than my little scoot can use one than I should be able to use one too. Also I found that not all brands of bicycle computer would work for the task for instance some bicycle computer stop being able to calculate speed at 30 mph so those wouldn’t work at all, also the wireless kind get all sorts of messed up by the starting motor and other electronics on the bike. After research I found out that Sigma brand bicycle computers are rated up to 200 mph and that will cover my needs quite nicely and even though the cadence feature wouldn’t be used the additional wire to hook up the cadence feature will come in handy to lengthen the wire on the harness. One of the other features I wanted to have was a backlight, and after reading up on a few models I also found a new feature that I thought would be kind of nice, temperature.

I ended up purchasing a Sigma BC1609 off of Amazon.com and must say I think it ended up being a pretty sweet deal. About 25 bucks including shipping came with everything I needed to install it for the most part and it came in less than 3 days so I can’t complain about that either. After doing a bit of test fitting I did find that the wire was about a foot short so some splicing would have to be done. Some of the other obstacles I had to find a solution to were: Where do I mount the computer itself? How do I mount the magnet that sends the information to the computer? and How do I get the sensor close enough to the magnet to read it?

So I started by splicing the wire which when I first cut the wire on the cadence cable I thought it was just a single wire… It was not. It was 2 very small separately insulated wires inside of an already skinny wire. When I saw the size of them I didn’t trust just twisting and taping the wires and went ahead and soldered them together before taping. Now that I had enough wire it was time to figure out how to mount the computer its self so I could be able to see it as well as not have to make any permanent holes anywhere. I found that the easies way to mount it for me was to use the rubber o rings that came with the unit and wrap 2 of them around the brake oil reservoir which worked out quite nicely. Next was to find a good place to mount the sensor unit. Ironically I chose to mount the sensor to the unit that currently keeps track of my speed using cable ties along with wrapping the cable I was able to get it nice and tight without any sagging in the cord. Now on to the Magnet. This was a bit trickier, how do you mount a magnet on a wheel that doesn’t have spokes when it’s designed just for that. Well you make your own spoke out of a coat hanger of course… duh. Basically I bent a couple of circles on both sides of a small piece of wire then bent them to a 90 degree angle along with bending it in half in the middle so that it can stand on its own. Then I could slip the magnet in place and stand it up on the wheel attaching it more cable ties and securing it more permanently with some JB Weld. This worked perfectly! I was even able to bend it to adjust it closer to the sensor once everything dried. Last but not least was figuring out the distance my tire travels every time it goes around in millimeters. To do this I put a bit of butter on the ground, ran over it and moved forward until I left another smudge of butter on the ground. Measured from beginning to beginning of the marks and converted the inches to millimeters and I had my measurement.

So far the computer has worked great, it gives me a much better idea of what speeds I am going than the orignal speedometer and also increases the accuracy of my odometer so I should soon be able to tell you exactly what gas mileage I am getting. Sorry if this post was a bit boring for some of you but for other scooter riders out there I hope this helps you in getting one installed on yours. Be safe all!

New Year and a New Ride

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2012 by Jason

Pepe II has been unleashed… or at least is starting to warm up. Only have about 30 miles on him so far but from what I can see I like the new Pepe. Hills and wind don’t seem to be much of an issue any longer which is very nice and will sure come in handing pulling out of my apartment complex onto a busy road with an overpass right away. He also seems to be better set up for breaking than the original was as well. A lot of things that I just assumed were normal on my first bike do seem to be better on this one. Little things like the headlights seem to be brighter, the foot pegs for the second rider pull out easier, I successfully kick started it when the engine was cold and the suspension seems to be a bit more forgiving.

It is hard to say for sure what Pepe II will be like since we are still in the engine break in period but I will keep you posted on how it goes from this point forward. Also since I was in a wreck and remember the feeling of my head bouncing on the road I did switch to a full face helmet this time which also has one other added benefit… warmth, this will come in handy over the next month or so.

Just a short post tonight but I’ll keep in touch and let you know how Pepe II shapes out. Goodnight all and be safe out there.

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