Too bad there isnt a book: Proficient Scootering

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Too bad there isnt a book: Proficient Scootering

Postby johnmcneely on Thu Sep 27, 2007 2:00 pm

So I am slogging though this 256-page book called Proficient Motorcycling. True the discussion on motorcycle dynamics are interesting and I'm sure it is a very fine book and I'll get a lot out of it and all but much of it has to do with avoiding crashes at high speeds, makes me wonder if some of it just doesn't apply to scooters. I bought the Met 'cuz it doesn't go fast. And what issues do scooter have that motorcycles don't? They're probably not covered in the book.

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Postby ronnath on Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:51 pm

okay, john, granted a Met might not do the same speed of a Harley, but they can hit upwards of 40mph.

i got rid of my Met last spring and hopped on a Reflex as my new ride.

So, i was travelling somewhere between 25 and 30 on wet streets and this prick runs a stop sign and i lay it down trying to stop. the result was broken ribs and a screwed up knee. i was sidelined for several weeks on the mend even tho i was wearing full armor - helmet, armored jacket, armored gloves.

the point is that regardless of speed you can get screwed up pretty well when dumping your ride and it doesn't make a helluva lot of diffence whether it's a 160 pound, 40mph Met, or an 1100 pound, 120 mph Goldwing.

Ain't the speed of the thing, it's you making contact with the asphalt or concrete that causes the problem.
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Postby ancientpelican on Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:54 pm

Remember that the term "scooter" covers a lot more territory than the Met. I ride a 150cc touring model and I've found that even at city and suburb speeds (no more than 50 mph and usually a lot less), the lessons in Proficient Motorcycling are very applicable.

In fact, much of the book is about being careful at intersections, riding too closely behind a bus or truck, or taking turns at intersections skillfully, which certainly speaks to me. And curiously, while my wife's 150cc retro doesn't really require knowing about counter-steering, my 150cc touring model sure does.

OK, maybe I don't need the part about handling downhill turns in the mountains, but my friends who own Majesties and Burgmans sure do, as well as a lot of folks riding 250cc Vespas GTSs.

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Postby opiemuyo on Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:56 pm

^^^ I concur. -5 mph two cracked ribs and a combat roll into apposing traffic. 'purt near dropped a turd that day.
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Books Shmooks

Postby fishcutter44 on Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:54 pm

Manuals have good info but I think you'll get just as good advice or better on this and other forums. Seasonal issues (wet leaves in fall, sand in spring, rain always, sewer covers, and most importantly THINGS you don't expect) are not always covered well in manuals. I got hit straight in the eye with a bee the other day (goggles on). The posters on this forum have logged lots of miles on different bikes and have tons of experience to share.
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Re: Books Shmooks

Postby ronnath on Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:18 am

fishcutter44 wrote:Seasonal issues (wet leaves in fall.....) are not always covered well in manuals.



while riding yesterday i started to pay attention to the leaves in the streets around here. we've had some dry weather so the leaves were just blowing around a little but i immediately thought about how slick those little bastards can become when wet. Good point you made there, FC44.
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Re: Books Shmooks

Postby ancientpelican on Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:31 am

fishcutter44 wrote:I got hit straight in the eye with a bee the other day (goggles on).


I use the faceshield on my helmet. The other day something -- probably a big beetle -- hit the faceshield dead center. Didn't hurt me or the faceshield (not sure about the beetle), but I was sure glad I had the faceshield down. That would have really hurt if it had hit my face.

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Postby JeremyZ on Sat Sep 29, 2007 6:17 am

Most of the stuff in that book applies to motorcycles AND scooters. Over on BurgmanUSA, there's a thread where they're arguing whether the Burgman 650 is a motorcycle or a scooter.

With the exception of gears & clutch, that same stuff applies to scooters. You DO need to know it.

Example: Part of what makes a bike stable is the gyroscopic forces of the wheels. The bigger the wheels are, and the more of the weight is distributed towards the outside of the wheels, the more stable it is. There is also talk of steering geometry that applies to scooters, even small ones such as the Met. Talk of proper braking also counts, even though the Met's got linked brakes.

The high speed stuff that doesn't apply, may apply some day, if you decide you want more speed.
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applying lessons in Proficient Motorcycling

Postby johnmcneely on Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:18 am

I have continued reading this book. I am applying lessons regarding using the front brake more than would be assumed by the average non-skilled rider (even though they are linked). I am also practicing the turning steps of slow, look, lean and rolling on some throttle. I'm also paying attention to delayed apexing in curves. I think when we get the Aurora Scooterist Club to meet during the off season, I will try to build interest in using a nearby church parking lot as a practice track for practicing Quick stops, figure eights, and any other skill-building practice things we can do. I'm just getting to the chapter on Urban Traffic Survival that, I'm sure, will be very relevant to Scootering. This whole process and my initial attitude toward it reminds me of when I first learned how to sail a sailboat. I was taught by a big university sailing club in my early 20s. Couldn't believe how much jargon and theory there was to learn. But as it turned out, knowing all of that was quite necessary in order to sail well and the jargon is part of what makes sailors have a kind of kinship with each other.

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Postby Smorris on Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:51 am

Proficient Motorcycling is probably the most highly read and recommended book available for riders. It is the paper equivalent of the MSF classes.

Don't consider it a manual, as noted above, or something to read once. Consider its principles a lifestyle change rather than simply information. They could save your life!
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Postby PatienceGrasshoppah on Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:06 pm

> Proficient Motorcycling is probably the most highly read and recommended > book available for riders. It is the paper equivalent of the MSF classes.

Sorry to disagree with you, but it most certainly is not -- no more than gravy is the equivalent of steak. I've more background on this than I care to go into on-list.

MSF has it's own books that are by far better for someone who wants to take the class but can't find one, and nearly all DMV motorcycle operator manuals were made by MSF (though many states re-label the jacket).

If you like the technical aspects, read up on Ed Bargy or Tony Foale. If you're looking for journalist advice/opinions, there's no reason to stop with Hough. Check out your local bookstore and public libraries to start. Most can get books not in their system for you (free) via "inter-library loan."
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Postby ronnath on Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:34 am

Quote: "and nearly all DMV motorcycle operator manuals were made by MSF (though many states re-label the jacket)." unquote

dunno about other states, but the manual in Iowa has big chunks of MSF material in it, and is properly attributed.

whichever is better, PM or MSF, is for others to decide. Since my learning style is 1) visual, and 2) hands on, for me there was nothing better than the MSF beginner's class.

for example, reading about counter steering left me completely confused because it was so counter-intuitve. having it demonstrated and then actually doing it was what finally made it make sense.
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Re: Too bad there isnt a book: Proficient Scootering

Postby Magnulus on Fri Oct 05, 2007 11:15 am

It's a great book and applies to both motorcycles and scooters. MC's and scooters aren't quite the same but the handling and strategies you need are not all that different.

If anything, going fast on the freeways/expressways is EASIER than riding on surface streets with traffic. Freeways and expressways are, for the most part, just boring, not much happens there.

The Honda Metropolitan has a few quirks to it that don't make it quite like riding other scooters, though. The handling and suspension are a bit crude compared to other scooters. It bucks and bobs around turns alot, for instance. But the overall strategies and techniques are the same.

Scooters are a diverse category too. There is a huge degree of difference in handling and performance, at least as great as between different kinds of motorcycles.
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Postby DennisD on Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:39 pm

PatienceGrasshoppah wrote:> Proficient Motorcycling is probably the most highly read and recommended > book available for riders. It is the paper equivalent of the MSF classes.

Sorry to disagree with you, but it most certainly is not -- no more than gravy is the equivalent of steak. I've more background on this than I care to go into on-list.

MSF has it's own books that are by far better for someone who wants to take the class but can't find one, and nearly all DMV motorcycle operator manuals were made by MSF (though many states re-label the jacket).


It all depends on how a person learns and how they absorb things that they read. If you're the sort of person who likes "how to" manuals, go for the MSF publications. The have lots of lists and people who like manuals usually love lists, and they have specific and exacting instructions on how to do skill building exercises.

If you're a more introspective type and you want something you can take your time reading and thinking about, re-read it and absorb it slowly and thoroughly as you take the lessons and apply them in your daily rides, then Proficient Motorcycling will probably be the book for you. It also has suggested skill building exercises, but without the very specific instructions and pictures on how to set them up that the MSF books have.

Or get both.... then you have lists of rules and things to check and remember, along with very precise instructions on how to set up exercises to build basic skills. When you're done with that, David Hough will give you a lot more subtleties and scenarios to consider. The various state manuals indeed use much MSF material from the MSF, but the the MSF materials began with and were born out of David Hough's writings and ideas on motorcycle safety. When you're reading David Hough, you're reading the Textbook.... the MSF materials are the Workbooks.
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Re: Too bad there isnt a book: Proficient Scootering

Postby scrabblegal on Sat May 31, 2008 3:05 pm

So, I'm new to scootering. I took the motorcycle safety class, even though I have a 50cc Vino and didn't "have" to get a motorcycle endorsement. I thought the class was pretty challenging, largely because of the shifting issues. I suck at it! Anyway, I am wondering if anyone has taken the MSF class using their scooter? How is counterweighting different on a scooter than on a motorcycle? Sometimes I feel like I could bounce right off my scooter, but I never felt that way in the MSF class. How fast do people go around cloverleafs? I have one one my commute and it kind of freaks me out. I am going to go on some rides with my local scooter meetup group to gain some confidence. . .
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