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Hello all. As the subject line states, I'm brand new to this game and have done extensive lurking/reading/researching on this site and many others in preparation for buying a ride. Still, I have questions based on conflicting info (which is to be expected, different strokes, etc) from more experienced riders and dealers.

Planning on using this to commute on the city streets of SF as my daily ride, about 6.5 miles each way from one side of the city to the other. As a new dad (yay, baby!), my inexperience as a rider tells me I should get something with ABS (the thread on this topic was super helpful), but also something used.

And then the classic 150 vs 300 argument, and I've read many many posts on it. Friends with bikes say to get the 150, as does the guy I took lessons from. Dealers say get the 300 (though they swear they're not upselling me), and experienced forum posters make a compelling case for the 300 for getting out in front of traffic. I'm 6'1, 215, so the weight of the bike doesn't scare me, but the traffic maneuverability does a bit.

So confused! Help?
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If this is your first motorized two wheeler, get used.
That narrows things a bit, I would think.
GTS 250 would IMHO be a good starting point.

An LX150 may also be nice. It depends on how sure you are about getting into traffic. The 250 will go on highways. I've had mine up to 75MPH or so. So if you want to go distance or highway, get a 250 or 300. If you're happy at 35-50 MPH, the 150 could do the trick.


Start the timer for someone to suggest a 200....


As far as maneuverability, you should have no problems there, on any size Vespa. Few hours riding and you'll be right at home.
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Welcome from San Antonio ezrocks! I've recently traveled the same path you are on now. Check your PM's.
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From what you've said in your first post, I'd say get something in the 150 range. Your friends and your instructor probably know you best; they say get the 150. You're using it mostly in town; until you get into long distance touring 150cc's will be enough. "Getting away from traffic" is overstated, in my opinion. Ride smart and you won't get into those situations in the first place.

And you haven't said it's gotta be a Vespa -- for some it has to be Vespa -- so there are a lot of other scooters that may work for you too: Kymco, Genuine Buddy, Yamaha, Honda to name a few.

Good luck & have fun! 8)
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From what you say a 150 will do everything you need and for city traffic it will get you out in front easily enough.

Used is probably the way to go but if you want new that's okay too. Vespa is obviously something we will recommend but Genuine Buddy 125 or larger is good. Piaggio Fly or Liberty, SYM, Honda PCX, some of the Kymco are also good options.
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This is great, thank you all.

Narrowing it down to a 150 definitely helps, as does the recommended advice on used. Unless I happen to find a used Sprint around here, I'll probably have to skip ABS until I'm ready for something new. As you may be able to tell, I'm a bit of an overthinker, so definitely value all the opinions!
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If you can I would ride both. I was amazed at the difference between the 150 and the 300. Our family owns both and I like riding each one depending on what I'm doing that day. The 150 is super light,easy to maneuver/park, and very quick to turn. The 300 feels like a Caddie. It accelerates much more quickly but is heavier and slower steering which translates into more stability especially at high speeds. I honestly love both of them and I bet a test ride would help you decide.
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ezrocks wrote:
new dad (yay, baby!)
If compatible with your height . . the Sym RV200 has a flat floorboard, which offers enhanced utility for transporting packages of diapers, gallon jugs, 12-packs, and pet food.
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Going to check out a 2007 LX 150 tomorrow night, with about 6K miles on it. Will post pics if that bad boy ends up coming home with me!
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ezrocks wrote:
Going to check out a 2007 LX 150 tomorrow night, with about 6K miles on it. Will post pics if that bad boy ends up coming home with me!
Might be perfect. I started riding with that model and year myself. Great scooter. ABS is nice and all, but really, there's a lot more to consider. Don't get to hung up on it. Wonder how we managed to survive all these years without it.... Nerd emoticon
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Not to roll back your decision, if you're already set on a 150, but...
I also live in Fog City. I've had a 150 for years. Great for most riding around town. I wouldn't recommend it for either bridge, though. I got a 300 recently, so that I could cross the Golden Gate Bridge and ride to Sausalito, Tiburon, Tomales Bay--unbelievable fun. A 300 is still quite nimble for city riding--and really much better to stand up to our wind, get through our fog, and cross bridges. My 2 cents.
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Scoootster wrote:
Not to roll back your decision, if you're already set on a 150, but...
I also live in Fog City. I've had a 150 for years. Great for most riding around town. I wouldn't recommend it for either bridge, though. I got a 300 recently, so that I could cross the Golden Gate Bridge and ride to Sausalito, Tiburon, Tomales Bay--unbelievable fun. A 300 is still quite nimble for city riding--and really much better to stand up to our wind, get through our fog, and cross bridges. My 2 cents.
This is my exact conundrum. Knowing how unique SF is, the hills, the wind, the fog, is what has me going back and forth on what to get. It's great to get a local's perspective, thank you
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Re: Brand new rider - advice sought
ezrocks wrote:
...
And then the classic 150 vs 300 argument, and I've read many many posts on it. Friends with bikes say to get the 150, as does the guy I took lessons from. Dealers say get the 300 (though they swear they're not upselling me), and experienced forum posters make a compelling case for the 300 for getting out in front of traffic. I'm 6'1, 215, so the weight of the bike doesn't scare me, but the traffic maneuverability does a bit.

So confused! Help?
In my opinion you have no option but get 300 one assuming you want to ride Vespa. Getting 150 and then 300 and then bigger bikes is very expensive proposition and you are going to cover that expense on each exchange. You are 6'1" 215# man, there is no way you are going to have problems handling 300 Vespa, the difference between 150 and 300 scoots are around 25 kg.
I was 61 when I bought my first ever scooter/bike and that was Vespa GTV 300. I'm 5'10, 200# and never regretted. One year later I bought couple Moto Guzzi bikes because Vespa wasn't quite up to tasks/expectations as far as performance goes. Both MG bikes are over 650# and I really enjoy riding them, very different than Vespa and both require my 100% attention, but still fun.
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I think I'd go for at least a 250. Having the option to get out of the city and ride the epic roads of West Marin is not to be underestimated. Getting across the GG bridge on a smaller scoot gets a little dicey with the wind and fog.
I refer to my scoot as my escape pod, cuz I have two kids and a wife. A coffee run out to Pt. Reyes early on a Saturday morning is a great attitude adjuster.
Go big, I bet you won't regret it.
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My 2c

I own both an lx150 and a GTS250. The larger scooter is a no-brainer for me. I find that any advantage the 150 has in lighter weight and nimbleness (which is only slight) is more than overcome by the more power/speed, better braking and stability of the 250/300. With both sitting in front of me, I don't think I would ever prefer the 150. The reason we have kept the 150 is that my wife absolutely loves it! For her, the nimbleness, lightness, ease of filtering and parking far outweighs the power and sure-footedness of the 250...

Soon after buying the 150 I wished I had bought the 250, so went out and bought one. Lucky for me my wife liked the 150.

Best advice though is to get something used first, even if it is not a Vespa. Have seen so many stories of people just like yourself spending big dollars on a pristine Vespa and scratch/wreck it due inexperience.
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I started off with a used 150 about a year and a half ago. It was my first PTW and I chose a 150 because everyone told me that's all I would need living in New York city. It was a great bike and I loved and cherished it. But as time went on I became more and more comfortable at higher speeds and the desire to get out of the city every once in a while started to come over me. I took a day trip last fall and that was the first time it ever felt limiting to me. My speed was maxed out around 60-65mph when all the cars around me were going 70-75. A few months later I traded it in for a 300 and have never regretted it.

Also when I took the MSF class, I chose to do it on one of their Harleys so I could learn. After 10 hours on a Harley my new 300 didn't feel so big anymore. So I would second or third the suggestions of a 250 or 300. They are really no less nimble than a 150.

Whatever you chose I'm sure you will love it!
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And then, as Paul intimates in his post above, there is the 'Vespa' thing! You start off on that 150 and you absolutely love it, you get your confidence. It's then not long before you want more. Even although you are maybe not a big two wheel fan at the moment, if you get a Vespa, it won't be long before you are and you'll definitely want the 300! Not taking anything away from the 125/150 engined bikes, but the 300 reins supreme is virtually any situation you may come across in or out of the city. Ok there are faster bikes, but the 300 is plenty for most folks and the 150 is often not quite enough once you become familiar with scooters and in particular, Vespa's. The 250 could suit as has been said, but I'd go for the 300, it has a better power delivery and more torque and speed. Fuel economy is roughly the same or even better on the 300. The motor doesn't work so hard as the smaller engines. Try each one if you can, that's the best way! Good luck.

ps. ultimately, whatever you get, you won't go far wrong, but the 300 will most likely save you money and keep you safer as you won't need to change it again quite soon which is often what happens when folks go for the 150. At 6'1" (I'm 6'2") you will benefit from the bigger frame of the GTS300, far more comfy for us tall folks. My 300 fits me perfectly but the 150 is way to small for my frame and gets uncomfortable after even 40 mins of riding. Not so with the 300.
⚠️ Last edited by Stromrider on UTC; edited 1 time
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Stromrider/Data you are back!
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I loved my LX 150. The only issue I had were hills. I'm a large women, 220 lbs. By the time I got to the top of one I was either full throttled or losing a bit of steam. Not an issue with my GTS 300.

You say you're riding in SF. Take into account how many hills are on your daily route.

Best of luck in your search!

Kim
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I don't care what you buy size wise new or used.

The very first thing to do is

TAKE A MSF CLASS before you buy anything period.

once you completed that then go out and look for something.
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I dont know the power rating on a 150 maybe 1/2 of a 250/300?
On frequent elevation changes I would definitely get a bigger bike.
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Have to agree with the recommendation that go through the MSF class FIRST!!!! That is more important than ABS or any advice received otherwise. After that you will have a much better idea of what you want and expect out of what you buy.
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I third the MSF recommendation. Learning from a "friend" is nice, the MSF will teach you skills that will save your life and make you a better driver in an automobile to boot. Also, pick up Proficient Motorcycling or its companion Proficient Scootering to get further insights.

Once you are dead sure you want to ride a PTW, get the 300. I started on an LX 150, loved it, but it's very limiting in there will be places you just can't go. The GTS I have now is just so much more useful to me. The 300 can go anywhere, even long distance touring involving interstate highways (not something I'm interested in BTW), but you can do it if you want. If you want to ride, don't purchase something that will put physical constraints on what you want to do.

New or used is your choice. There are sometimes good used options because people get a scooter, decide they don't like it and just park it for years.
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My first thought was your weight and the hills. 300 is a piece of cake to manovure at your weight, you will feel like a circus gorilla on a minibike on a 150
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I've never taken a class to learn to ride a motorcycle, but then, I'm old, and it wasn't really a thing back when I was getting my license. I suppose it certainly couldn't hurt, anyway.

I had a Vespa all through university, and I rode it for the 8 years I lived in San Francisco (Tenderloin, Richmond, Lake Merced, and Upper Haight). My Vespa (a P200e) was the perfect vehicle for the city, and I think you'll really like it.

It won't matter much which bike you get, if you ride it exclusively in the city. If you ever go out of town or across the bay bridge/GG bridge with it, you'll like the 300 series GTS/GTV a lot better.

My recommendation is to learn to ride on wet streets, since that happens a LOT in SF. Especially look out for the cable car center track (the one where the brake/drive mechanism lever goes through to grasp the underground cable). Those things are horrible when they're wet, and you will go down quickly if you hit them the wrong way in the mist/rain, and *especially* if you brake hard while on them, even when dry. Just a little bit of dust, grit, or water makes those damn things "slicker'n snot on a glass doorknob," as my dad always loved to say...

Other than that, you're going to love riding a scooter in the city. Parking is super cheap, and traffic means nothing (if you learn to lane split carefully and efficiently). Enjoy!
⚠️ Last edited by biffnix on UTC; edited 1 time
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Fritz wrote:
Have to agree with the recommendation that go through the MSF class FIRST!!!! That is more important than ABS or any advice received otherwise. After that you will have a much better idea of what you want and expect out of what you buy.
100% on the MSF class, that's a non negotiable for me. There are also a number of private instructors here, and I've taken two 3 hour lessons from the most reputable. I'll take as much instruction + experience as I can get.
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I just re-read the thread to see if anyone suggested a GT200. It's the large frame predecessor of the GTS, more power and larger wheels than the LX.... Despite their age, they're still a pretty attractive option. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding one at a pretty good price.... so I'd keep that option open as well.
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fledermaus wrote:
I just re-read the thread to see if anyone suggested a GT200. It's the large frame predecessor of the GTS, more power and larger wheels than the LX.... Despite their age, they're still a pretty attractive option. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding one at a pretty good price.... so I'd keep that option open as well.
That took forever Razz emoticon
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fledermaus wrote:
I just re-read the thread to see if anyone suggested a GT200. It's the large frame predecessor of the GTS, more power and larger wheels than the LX.... Despite their age, they're still a pretty attractive option. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding one at a pretty good price.... so I'd keep that option open as well.
You may have to look closely at my initial reply.
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Used 250/300. I had a Kymco 150 before my Vespa. I liked it but quickly outgrew it. As others have said, your weight and the SF hills scream for a 250.

w.
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++++1 for the MSF course - it is simply invaluable.


In my opinion, you will be happier long term with a 200+ cc Vespa. My 200 has plenty of power and I am happy to have that on every hill and whenever I need to get out a situation. Any well maintained GT/GTS should do the job.

Just my 2 cents
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Awesome comments- Here's one I haven't seen and is super important to me: The weirdest thing about the LX 150 vs the GTS 250 (I've owned both) is that under the seat, the LX 150 holds more stuff! I know, right?! I can fit a full-face in an LX 150 but not a GTS 250; translate that into groceries, side-of-the-road maintenance, extra gear, secure/secret storage while parked, etc.

I do have a top-box personally so it's not the end of the world but I also know people jack helmets in SF.

Hope that helps!
PS: Pro-tip: People jack helmets in SF.
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irieman wrote:
PS: Pro-tip: People jack helmets in SF.
Oh man i hadn't even considered this, but doesn't surprise me in the least!

Really great advice everyone, thank you. Exactly what I was hoping for when I started this thread. I'm registered for the MSF class here and look forward to riding and sharing with you all
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6'1" and you're asking what to get? you will look like a clown on a 150 and your knees will get in the way when you try to get out of someone else's way. get something that fits. it's safer.
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A little birdie told me there is a strong likelihood that ezrocks scored a 2012 GTV with less than 1,000 miles for an incredible deal.

Hopefully he'll see this post and TELL US ALL ABOUT HIS NEW SCOOT AND POST SOME PICS.

That is all.

8)
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Outted by The Man From San Antone himself, Mr. JP.

It's true, a beautiful 2012 GTV 300 came home with me on Monday after an extensive search. My patience apparently paid off, as I got nearly everything I was looking for.

Registered for MSF at the end of Sept!

Pics to follow once I'm able to size them down some
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Congratulations! I can't wait to see
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'07 LX150 (Sold), '17 GTS300, '16 BV350, '15 EN650, '09 FXDF (sold). '15 FLSTN
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Posts: 5664
Location: Home of the Alamo
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
@jet_peddler avatar
'07 LX150 (Sold), '17 GTS300, '16 BV350, '15 EN650, '09 FXDF (sold). '15 FLSTN
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5664
Location: Home of the Alamo
UTC quote
Scoootster wrote:
Congratulations! I can't wait to see
+1
@harbinger avatar
UTC

Veni, Vidi, Posti
2023 Arancia Impulsivo Vespa GTS300 HPE , 2022 BMW R1250GSA 40th Anniversary, 2019 Ural Gear Up
Joined: UTC
Posts: 8508
Location: Toronto
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
@harbinger avatar
2023 Arancia Impulsivo Vespa GTS300 HPE , 2022 BMW R1250GSA 40th Anniversary, 2019 Ural Gear Up
Joined: UTC
Posts: 8508
Location: Toronto
UTC quote
Congrats! Absolutely a perfect choice and at your size a 150 would look too small with a risk of buyers remorse. As far as posting pics they will size down when you upload them (I believe) and there are plenty of free options to do it as well. I just drag them out of Photos on Sierra and then upload from my desktop.

People jack used helmets? Ewww... However knowing the price of some helmets I can see that though. My AGV and Nolan I just leave on my helmet peg if I have no room in my top case. My Arai I will never leave vulnerable.

I bet San Fran is a great city to ride in though from what I can tell expensive as all get out to live in. Unless I really get ambitious down the road I doubt I'll ever get the opportunity to do it though. Toronto can be a pretty boring town to ride in and then add rain, some snow and tons of street care tracks to the mix. Guess you have trolley track there though? What are they like to ride on/around?
@baba12 avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
2018 Vespa 300 GTS Touring
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1353
Location: NYC
 
Molto Verboso
@baba12 avatar
2018 Vespa 300 GTS Touring
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1353
Location: NYC
UTC quote
Congrats on becoming a dad..
As for choice of vehicle in SF. If you don't plan going across the Golden Gate bridge or the bay bridge then a LX 150 or the 125GTS would be fine.
But if you think you will like to be able to go over to Marin and or further into Napa/Sonoma etc then the 300 is the better choice as the lighter smaller scooters dont do well in the windy conditions one sometimes gets on the highways and when a semi passes you by.
Had to edit the reply, saw you got a 2012 GTV.. congrats and you will be smiling when riding it and when you holding your baby...
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