Off the Record
Editor in Chief
Weight: 195 lbs.
Inseam: 32 in.
This was a fascinating comparison that opened a few eyes and proved a few things. Among them: I'm not a scooter guy. Sorry, just not. I don't have the predilection for windup motors and CVT, apparently. Even so, I am genuinely impressed with the BMW for its finish and performance, and recognize that for the affluent urban commuter it might well be the perfect vehicle. You can't argue with all that integrated storage space and the amenities.
But here's the thing. As someone with his fair share of road rash, I can't see commuting in anything but full gear. Even with the speedy Aerostich Roadcrafter, donning proper gear takes time and involves inconvenience at your destination. This eats whatever convenience advantage the scooter carries. If I'm gearing up, I'm going to ride a motorcycle.
Road Test Editor
Weight: 177 lbs.
Inseam: 33 in.
Prior to this comparison, the only scooters I'd ridden were an unremarkable rental in Portugal and Zack's spicy little Aprilia SR 50 R. I appreciated both bikes for their convenience and utility, but the over-simplified scooter experience doesn't do anything for me. That being said, the C600 Sport is an impressive piece of equipment, and takes scooters to a whole new level. It's bound to make many riders very happy, but I'm not one of them. Statisticians recently announced that for the first time in history, more of Earth's seven billion people live in cities than outside them. Scooters and their ilk have their place, especially in an increasingly urban world. But if I'm after practicality, affordability, and fun, I'll take a $5500 Ninja 300 ABS and have more fun for less money than on any of these quasi-bikes.
Weight: 185 lbs.
Inseam: 34 in.
Okay, I like scooters. I'm immediately addicted to storage under the seat, and frankly, I stop caring about not having a clutch. As my gritty old ADV-dad always points out, though, most motorcyclists ride for the experience, not convenience. And he's right. Truthfully, I typically recommend small/cheap scooters to motorcyclists as a second bike, so they don't have to fight with a 650-pound sport tourer just to take a spin for a loaf of bread. I maintain that scooters can be a rewarding way to get around, but not a replacement for a motorcycle.
As a one-and-only vehicle between these three, I would have the BMW. Yes, it's expensive, but it will carve a canyon without dragging parts (unlike the Yamaha), has lots of luggage space (unlike the Honda), and has just enough pep to open your eyes.