Sunday, January 28, 2007

Shiny Scooters and Snow Don't Mix

The weather broke, or perhaps my resolve to keep the new Vespa GTS clean, safe and off the road until it was completely dry. Either way I was on the road again yesterday. The temperature was 31° F when I left and had risen 10 degrees by the time I returned home. The roads were clear and damp without ice or slush. I had hoped to see what the GTS was like in snow so I turned off into a shaded parking lot that was still snow covered. It was a gravel lot so traction is much better to begin with but there were a few areas packed smoothly that would simulate snow on the road.

The Vespa GTS feels more stable in the slippery stuff than the LX150 did. The advantage of the smaller scooter is that it's lighter weight makes it easier to physically wrestle if the wheels should slip out from under you. A foot down on the ground and holding the handlebar can keep the scooter from falling to the ground. I didn't push the experiment with the new GTS though---I'm not ready to see it fall down yet. Maybe after it gets dirtier. For this experiment I was content riding in circles, stopping, trying to slide, and generally increasing my comfort level with the new handling characteristics.

Still being in the break in period of operation I didn't push the scooter too hard on the highway and kept my top speed below 65MPH. Acceleration is smooth and positive and the increased weight makes for a more stable ride. Handling on turns and curves is smooth and the GTS feels almost as nimble as the LX150.

More snow is called for today so I'm not sure yet if I will ride or not. Part of my concern is doubt in my familiarity with the new scooter but a big part does not want to get it dirty and covered with salt spray. As I ride more the scooter will become less precious and allow me to use it as I want.


American Scooterist Blog said...

Those bigger tires do make a considerable difference.
I learned a trick from the MV forum. I got this idea and the sheets from Lomunchi. What you can do is get clear plastic sheeting from most auto parts stores. The stuff is clear and sticky on one side. What I did was lay a few coats of wax to the underside of my LX150 and then cut and apply the sheets to the underside of the scooter. It protects against stone chipping and salt. Just a thought in case you wanted to look into it.

The Roadbum

Gary said...

That's a sensible, measured approach to the limits, Steve. That's the way I intend to do it, but my natural enthusiasm sometimes gets in the way.

And the GTS is gorgeous! I really like that second photo.

Roadbum, I'll keep that trick in mind, should I ever get my own Vespa.

Ride well,

Combatscoot said...

I like your approach to things, Steve!

Biker Betty said...

Glad you were able to get out. Winter is very trying on the patience when a person wants to get out and ride.

Betty :)

Steve Williams said...

Roadbum: I think I vaguely remember that trick. I think I will have a look at that. It may slow down the wear that the road salt brings.

gary: The GTS is really nice. Vespa has a way with that classic look and they follow through in the details.

John: thanks!

Betty: We usually have enough dry winter days that I should be able to ride enough to satisfy myself. But it just doesn't seem fair when you have something new in the garage. I don't know how people who buy a new motorcycle in the fall to prepare for spring riding do it.