Saturday, January 03, 2009

Back on the Road Again

After lunch today my daughter dropped me off at Kissell Motorsports so I could be reunited with my Vespa. The rear master cylinder arrived during the holidays and they installed, checked, and tested it so I was ready to go. When you are used to riding constantly it feels like forever to be without something to ride, even if it is for only a couple weeks. A couple weeks at Christmas when the whole world is busy with other things anyway. The weather was cooperating too with partly sunny skies and temperatures hovering around 35 degrees for my ride home.

Walking into a motorcycle dealership is a bit disorienting. For me at least. You never go right to the service counter but instead do one of those Family Circus kid coming home from school routes through the place. I do a slow stroll through the Vespa’s until the Triumph’s catch my eye. I imagine what it would be like to take the Bonneville T100 up Rattlesnake Pike, or the 2009 Kawasaki KLR up along Pine Creek. I pretty much find I can create a fantasy to accompany any vehicle in the place. Sure, I have my favorites, but a person needs to be flexible.

Craig Kissell, owner of Kissell Motorsports, must see a lot of these Family Circus walks. We try to stay cool and act like adults but I’m sure he sees eyes drift off into imaginary rides when someone stands too long near a Triumph or Ducati. I pause too long near and ask too many questions of a brand new, flat black MP3500. I know that he knows that I like this scooter. He tells me to take it out for a ride. Part of me wants to but another part of me knows I don’t need to be obsessing right now about anything else. I am already coveting an Epson 3800 printer. And a new computer. But that’s a story for another day. I resist the temptation but I do allow Craig to take a picture of me on the MP3. I’ll have to delete that image. If you are out for a ride in Central Pennsylvania is is worth making a stop to look around at all the good things at Kissell Motorsports. Unless you don’t like having that old, kid-like, toy store experience.

The Vespa is ready to go and the extended warranty I purchased covers all the repair costs save for a small deductible. That was a nice surprise. When I pulled out onto the road I was surprised at how powerful the GTS is. It really jumps when you twist the throttle. I had plans to ride straight home but I always get distracted by some view or little winding path. After one short detour down a dirt and cinder road to test out that rear brake I did make a beeline home.

It’s nice to be back on the road.


Bob Olcott said...

I am without my Buddy 50, and have been since December 12. It's in for repair, and for me being without it is like having withdrawl symptoms from the liberation of mobility. It's due to be fixed and ridden on January 6, and it's a challenge to wait until Tuesday. Glad you got the Vespa back and the rear brake is behaving. Bob

Orin said...

This is why I have two. If I weren't so broke, I'd have three... the third would be a bike on which I could put the vintage license plate that's in my top left dresser drawer. But it would probably be a money pit. Projects can be like that.

I rode an MP3 250 at Amerivespa 2007, and was very impressed with it. I found once I stopped thinking about how weird it looked and just rode it, it's stable and comfortable in a way I'd never experienced. It tracks through corners as if on rails, and the braking action could be like tossing out an anchor if one were not careful. Two wheels up front, acted on by two big disk brakes = stopping power extrordinaire.

It's the complexity of the front suspension that gives me pause...

Scootin' Old-skool

Thumper said...

I went from an SV650 standard sport to an MP3 400; I thought I'd miss the power of the SV, but those MP3s are just too much fun. The stability is amazing, the storage on the 400 is fantastic (it has a little more than the 500) and it just zips along like nobody's business. You want one, you really do ;)

MICHAEL said...

Glad to hear you and your baby are back on the road.
Thou shalt not covet...........But DANG I want two MP3 500s so my wife and I can take weekend trips to the mountains. Or..I can go by myself to fly fish.
Guess I'll have to wait til my rich uncle gets out of the poor house!

Charlie6 said...

Good to have your baby back isn't it? This is why I have a "spare" motorcycle for the hopefully rare times when one of them is at the dealer for repairs.

I must, after all, cater to my riding addiction.

Redleg's Rides

Joe said...

Welcome back to the Pennsylvania road, Steve!

I head out to Somerset once a month or so and always nod in your general direction when I pass through. I doubt that I'll meet up with you on I-80 or 99, but I always keep half an eye out for you.

- Joe at Scootin' da Valley

Baron's Life said...

Welocme back to the road Steve.
MP3...not for me baby.... still prefer two wheels anytime.
It just looks and feels too weird for me.

Steve Williams said...

Bob: Hope you get the Buddy 50 back quickly. If it's any consolation it's pretty cool to ride again after a lapse. Maybe that's a secret of putting the scooter away for the winter....

Orin: I've wondered about the complexity of the front end too. I've not done enough careful Web research to see how they are holding up. Our local dealer did tell me on Saturday that a fellow came in and bought one of the MP3-400s to ride across country. Once there are more of those kind of rides circulating maybe we'll hear how the thing holds up.

Thumper: So how is the MP3 400 holding up for you? How many miles on it??

Steve Williams said...

Michael: I buy a lottery ticket every now and then...

Charlie6: A spare makes more and more sense all the time.

Joe: Thanks Joe. Maybe our scooters will cross paths one of these days.

Baron's Life: The weird look is part of the attraction for me. Everyone I talked to so far who has ridden one has confessed that it felt just like a motorcycle despite having two front wheels.

But it does seem a pretty radical departure. I certainly understand your feelings about it.

Thumper said...

I've only got 1600 miles on it; no issues so far. There are a couple of MP3 forums originating out of the UK, and riders there who have had them for a lot longer aren't reporting any obvious defects in their scooters; nothing more than the occasional hiccup, the same you'd get with any model of scooter or bike.

bobskoot said...

Steve: glad you're mobile again. due to wave after wave of snow storms all my vehicles have been out of commission for nearly 3 weeks. roads were still impassable this morning but the rain is on the way. I'm sure getting to know how to use our transit system. Since it hardly ever snows here I was so happy to be able to snap a few "snow" pictures, but now I need it to melt away before my back gives out from all that shovelling. So even though my scoot/bike required no parts, it has been out of service longer than yours.
I was reading up on printers trying to decide if I was going to replace my aging i9100 and I have read good things about the R2880, but the 3800 is the KING of all Printers. I have a friend that has a CIS system installed which reduces ink costs considerably. Are you sure you can't save some $$ and go for the R2880 instead as it has good reviews, good ink management and uses the same inks as the 3800.

Conchscooter said...

Of all the people who could use an MP3 (an engineering solution without a problem in my opinion) you have to be the one. But only if you learn to sit on it without keeping your feet on the ground...

Canajun said...

"Family Circus kid coming home from school routes through the place" - the perfect description of every visit I've ever made to a bike shop. I love it.
Unfortunately up here in the frozen north, that's about the only motocycling satisfaction I'm going to get for at least 3 more months.
Oh well, we take what we can get I suppose. And dreams are, after all, still free.

irondad said...

Yee, freakin', Haw! Let the good times roll.

I hope you cleaned up the Family Circus dashed lines on the floor. It's the decent thing to do, you know.

I also hate to share this in a way, but it's pertinent. I rode an MP3 at a class. You know how you can hit the button and lock the front wheels from tilting when you're coming to a stop Well, Irondad thought he would be cool, hit the button, and coast up to a stop. Here's a hint. Make absolutely sure the wheels are actually straight up and down!

These wheels were locked, but slanted just a bit. I almost ran into a line of parked bikes!

Heinz N Frenchie said...

So happy to hear that you have your Vespa back. A great way to start the New Year. Safe riding in 2009.

scgt said...

You look good on the mp3 500, Steve! I've ridden 4,700 miles on mine since August.--Lorenzo

Steve Williams said...

Thumper: I've checked around and found one rider indicating over 30K miles on their MP3 250 without incident or problems.

bobskoot: My understanding of the two Espon printers are the same as yours. I've been looking at so much information about them though that my brain has gotten tired of thinking about them for now. I'll just step back and see what happens. I know I'll wake up one day and it will become clear which road to choose.

conchscooter: It sure seems like the MP3 would be just the right versatile machine for the conditions and road surfaces I tend to ride. And if I did get one I would absolutely never ever put my feet on the ground again.

In a good way.

Canajun: Dreams are free but they can sure waste some time left unleashed...

irondad: You aren't the only one who has told me of similar experiences with the MP3. They are a different technology I guess and not every riding skill is available for transfer.

Sure would have been embarrassing to run into a parked car. Especially if someone had a video camera and it ended up on the web! You could have been famous!!

Heinz N Frenchie: Thanks and a safe riding year to you too!

Lorenzo: Cool! Drop in from time to time and let me know how the MP3 is doing.

Glow Guy said...

Enjoy reading your writing and love your pics. I have your feed on my Google home page. I had to comment on the MP3 as I have been saving up my pennies for the past year to get one. If you want to know how good they are, check out the Modern Vespa/MP3 forum
The thing that has really sold me on it is the number of guys who have decades of riding experience saying how much they love it. I'll be getting mine in a month or two (although there is a redesign coming out soon for the 250 and 400; new grill, windscreen, seat, etc.) And for reliability, one guy has put over 60k miles on his and loves every minute of it.

Steve Williams said...

Glow Guy: Try as I might I have not really found anything negative about the MP3's. And like you I have seen accounts of high mileage without issue.

I think it is a good think to save for. Let me know when you are flying down the road on yours!

MDscooter said...

You're a braver man than I! I have been drooling over the MP3 for quite a while. I imagine if I actually sat on one, minutes later I'd be filling out financing papers.

On a broader note I just wanted to say your blog is great. I am a long time professional photographer and a fairly new scooter rider. Your images are fantastic, and making me even more impatient for warmer weather.

Dave Grauel

Steve Williams said...

Dave: Thanks for your kind words about my photography. I suppose any subject that you are passionate about will eventually lead a photographer to some good pictures.

Someday I can see myself filling out papers to get an MP3. For now I just need to be content with the GTS.