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Is it better to have a scooter or a motorcycle in a big city?

The simple answer to this question is, whatever you feel more comfortable on.  Big city riding is 95% mental.  It really doesn’t matter how fast you can squirt across the intersection, or how small of a space you can fit between.  What is important, is that maneuvering your motorcycle is so comfortable, it takes a minimum amount of attention and focus, so that you can concentrate on everything else around you that you can’t control.  99% of your attention needs to be on reading traffic, and looking for escape routes, and preparing for the unpredictable.

I used a GSXR-1000 exclusively in San Francisco for about 3 years.  Never any need to use gears other then 1st or 2nd.  I could use a couple throttle blips as a polite horn, to say I’m here, or a quick blip to 8K RPM to say, you cut me off after looking right at me!

I’ve rode big bikes on the street for a long time… (but little ones on the track).  I like the torque, and I don’t feel comfortable on a small scooter.  I see a lot of people who are… but I also see a lot of people who aren’t.  I think scooters get a bad wrap, because they are the two wheeler of choice for a novice.   But if you are so comfortable on a scooter, that it takes virtually no attention to navigate yourself around traffic, then this is perfect… you can spend the rest of your time reading the traffic.

That said, all other things being equal, I would give a slight edge to a dual-sport in the city.  They typically are sitting the highest, so they can see the most.  Their escape routes are more plentiful, as its easier for them to hop a curb.  They are as narrow as most scooters, and louder then most sport bikes.  And have tons of suspension to soak up the terrible under construction roads.

So if your not comfortable on anything yet.  Try getting comfortable on a
dual sport.

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