Thursday, April 11, 2013

First commute

Today was my first commute of the season, and the first commute on my GTS 300.

I don't have any pictures to post, so I'll just share my impressions in point form:
  • This Vespa feels so substantial compared to the LX 150.  When I take it off the centre stand it drops down onto its supension like a big cat landing on its feet.  The 150 just came off the centre stand and stood there, without making a statement.
  • The throttle is twitchy.  Twist it too hard and the bike leaps forward.  Wow!
  • The seating is more comfortable for my 6 ft frame (not that the LX 150 wasn't comfortable too).  Ergonomically, Vespas are awesome.  Beautiful and functional.  Nice combination.
  • I'm no longer a stranger in a strange land on the expressway.  I can more than hold my own in any lane I choose. 
  • The top case is very spacious.  Space is the ultimate luxury.
  • The dual hydraulic disc brakes are... AWESOME!!!  Two fingers on the rear brake gives me full control.  Two fingers added on the front brake and I've got total braking capacity.  Silky smooth is what comes to mind.
  • I still don't have GPS mounted (no outlet, no RAM mounts installed) so I don't really know how fast my beast moves.  Judging on traffic flow, the 130 km/h I hit on the way home must be 120 km/h in GPS verified terms.  Time will tell.  I'm waiting for 12 volt outlets to come from Hong Kong.
  • Without front running lights, I feel just a tad invisible.  More so without my Admore brake light turn signal combo.
  • Man, I could have used heated grips this morning.  110 km/h at -1C for any length of time is.... bone chilling.  I spent five minutes in the garage at the office thawing my hands on the headlight.
  • Not having a Stebel air horn is another issue I have to address.  I hit the horn at 50 km/h to see what it's like, and it sounded like a cartoon roadrunner flipped off a coyote somewhere on another street.  Got to fix that this weekend.
  • I took off the Tucano Urbano winter apron.  I don't need it with my Tourmaster Caliber pants with the liner in. it was just way too hot.  Plus the look is a little... strange.
  • Another thing I'm missing? I still need a beeper or some kind of LED mounted on the windscreen to remind me to turn off the blinking blinkers.  GRRRRRR! Loser!
  • The greater width of the GTS really makes a big difference in sheltering from the wind.  Very nice.
  • Though the Vespa side stand is notoriously unreliable, it's kind of a cool way to dismount.  Plus bikes just look better on a side stand.  I know better than to trust it though.  One thread on Modern Vespa was titled "Side stand, you whore!"  Pretty graphic, but when a beautiful Vespa drops all by its lonesome... well you can sympathize with the person who posted that.
Overall, colour me THRILLED!!


Unknown said...


just a couple of things:

When your hands are cold better to use the air coming out from your exhaust. Much warmer and you will get unfrozen faster

Blinkers: I usually turn them off Mid Turn. You signal before your turn to indicate your intention but after you are in the turn, then it doesn't matter anymore

I love the sidestand but you need to put on your front brake. I know there is a front brake lock you can buy. It ratchets the lever towards the handlebar. It is also a security lock. Then it won't "roll off" the stand

other than that, glad your first commute on your new2you machine was uneventful

Riding the Wet Coast

SonjaM said...

Get a side stand, H4 bulb, Stebel or Wolo and you are all set. I love how you discribe your ride. This is how I feel every day I mount the 250. ENJOY!

David Masse said...

Bob, I used to use the exhaust before I got the heated grips. Later I realized there was plenty of heat from the headlight and ot was the perfect shape to warm my hands. Plus, it feels clean and so damn nice.

I have a Griplock and it does exactly what you say. The problem with the Vespa side stand is that the bike is relatively light (300 lbs) and there's no ignition interlock so the sidestand has to be self retracting. A slight gust of wind can be enough to take enough weight off the stand to allow it to retract, even if the bike never rolls.

The only option is to modify the spring placement to wholly or partiallly defeat the auto retract and then you're back to risking a nasty dump if you forget the stand.

David Masse said...

Thanks Sonja, it just feels so, so good.

Canajun said...

David - I'm envious. I'm still held hostage by a private dirt road that remains stubbornly frozen and ice-covered. And this weather today and tomorrow isn't helping. Soon though, soon.

Trobairitz said...

Color you thrilled? What color is thrilled? Vespa colored of course!!

Glad that you are enjoying it. Sounds like there are some cold weather commute kinks to work out but that is expected with a new ride. (heated grips)

David Masse said...

Dave, I feel your pain. But really, as much fun as riding is, do you really want to ride at -1C? OK, stupid question. Of course you do, we all do. But not with snow. SNOW!

We're paying the price for last March when the tuition protesters were parading around the city half-naked for heaven's sake.

The law of averages can't be beaten.

David Masse said...

Trobairitz, your comment spawned a whole new post. Must be the weather.

Kinks? Nothing kinky about shivvvvvvvvvvering :(

Dave said...

Damn, David, why do you have to torment me like this? I *know* I want a 300, but I have to be practical for now. I've loved my LX150, still do, but the lure of *better* is hard to resist. I just wanted to ride the 5 miles to work, but now I feel the lure of rides in the country, the occasional frustration of avoiding faster highways, and I'm ready to trade up.

Okay, I'm actually happy for you, and more than a little envious ;o) I can't think of anyone more deserving. I have a hard time imagining people buying a nice bike like yours and putting 200 miles a year on it.

Another year of getting my riding skills up and biding my time, and I think I'll have to give in.

Enjoy the ride!

David Masse said...

Dave, the journey is more than half the fun. The truth is that the LX 150 is really a great bike, and it's more than enough for commuting in the city, and even decent long distance trips.

I took mine on a round trip from Montreal to Ottawa (220 miles) including a good chunk of the Montreal - Ottawa autoroute (Autoroute 40 - Ontario 417).

There are a good number of riders (links on the right of the page) that have gone across country on LX 150's.

I tried up because Bobskoot and I are doing a major road trip this summer, and I need to be able to keep up with his V-Strom or Beemer (650 cc and 1100cc).

My advice is to hang in and trade up when you must.

In the meantime rock that LX 150 out of the city and into the countryside. You won't regret it.

Dave said...

Thanks for the sage advice, David. That's what I'm doing for now. I'm as happy as a pig in mud with my Vespa, but hey, looking up doesn't hurt once in a while ;o)

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.