Larger motorcycles

Olaf, I think I agree with your point that it’s not the bike, but how you drive it.

Larger bikes are not without disadvantages, that might choose some people not to ride them:

    [*]They require significant physical strength to drive.[*]Many are not set up to carry much luggage (think groceries and children)[*]They are exceedingly hot when stuck in traffic[*]They would be tough to park in Taiwan's cities[*]They are expensive to run (chains, tyres particularly, even gas on larger models)[*]Repairing them after accidents is mindnumbinly expensive. The parts exceed the cost of the bike many times.[*]Insurance rates for theft also high, and given the investment not insuring is a bit risky. They get stolen a lot becuase the parts are so valuble :-) [/list]If 'larger' bikes were permitted, I would not buy over 350c.c. for use in Taiwan. That's all you need to overcome the practical problems of scooters. High capacity bikes only come into their own for long distance touring (why I used to have one), impressing others (the Harley crowd). High speed driving might be a lure, but for me once I had found out that my Yamaha 1200 could go at 275km/h (170mph) I did not feel the need to repeat the experience regularly.
quote[quote]They (larger bikes) require significant physical strength to drive.[/quote]Yes, but not as much as you'd think. I had a very good female friend in university, not a hair over 160 cms and 45 kilos soaking wet. She eventually traded in her 900 cc sportbike for a Kawasaki 250 Ninja, because it was cheaper to insure. She always missed that big bike, though. She was an athletic girl, but not at all "butch". You don't need to be an East German weightlifter to ride a big bike. Hell, I was riding a YZ125, a very quick motocross bike, when I was only 12.
quote[quote]They would be tough to park in Taiwan's cities[/quote]Maybe. I figure they'll be treated the same as a car, and since those Swatch-Benz cars are touted for their parking ease, I can imagine a big bike would be even easier. I'd hope that the non-scooter superbikes/crotch rockets would stay off the sidewalks, though. They're just too big.
quote[quote]Insurance rates for theft are also high, and given the investment not insuring is a bit risky. They get stolen a lot because the parts are so valuble[/quote]True. I would be very careful about where you keep your bike parked, especially overnight. Disc locks, serial numbers tattooed in multiple places (on the bike!)and ignition bypasses or ic chips in the ignition systems are all a good idea. [img]images/smiles/icon_cool.gif[/img]
quote[quote] Yes, but not as much as you'd think. I had a very good female friend in university, not a hair over 160 cms and 45 kilos soaking wet. She eventually traded in her 900 cc sportbike for a Kawasaki 250 Ninja, because it was cheaper to insure. She always missed that big bike, though.[/quote]

You are right, perhaps I did not capture the idea quite right. I recall machine weight being an issue when I bought a 400cc machine for the first time. You can’t drag it around to park it, push it back with your feet against a grade, catch it so easily when you go off balance, pick it up when you drop it even…

I guess also your friend did not do all this in a pencil skirt and high heels either. Scooters have some advantages!

I thought the reason heavy bikes were banned was simple protectionism. Taiwan has a good industyr making small bikes and doesn;t want to have to compete. But that’s just what I heard.

I do think big bikes will be more dangerous, just because idiots will buy them so that they can go REALLY fast and so be more likely to have accidents.

quote[quote] It's cars you have to be worried about... cars, cars, cars. [/quote]

Don’t you mean “taxis taxis taxis”?

Bri

quote:
Originally posted by Bu Lai En: I thought the reason heavy bikes were banned was simple protectionism. Taiwan has a good industyr making small bikes and doesn;t want to have to compete.

I see your point, while it might be easy for Taiwan to copy Japanese scooter designs, it is a lot of bother to retool to copy the larger models :slight_smile:

quote:
Also: Don't you mean "taxis taxis taxis"?

To be honest I have no idea whether taxis really end up in more accidents. I mean sure, Taipei’s taxis drive with reckless disregard for scooters. The favorite manouver seems to be ‘the pinch’ where the cab traps the motorcycle between the cab and the prospective customer on the sidewalk. But that has to be followed closely by the ‘unannounced u-turn’ and the ‘begin right turn from far left lane’.

But the other side of this argument is that taxi drivers are professionals and drive all the time day and night. They are more likely to know what works and what does not. Many of these stunts are very inconvenient, but may not result in accidents. I have had more bumps from cars than taxis, although I do more emergency stops for taxis! My bet is the idiot on the cellphone doing the ‘right turn to major street without looking first’ is the greater risk.

Opinions…?

Oh, I think protectionism is definitely a cause. Just think about it. Due to the ban, Taiwanese scooter makers didn’t have any competition or pressure to innovate for a couple of decades. Of course, this will bite them on their collective posteriors when suddenly they have competition again. Imagine if there had been a ban on imported computer technology, or that everyone had been limted to using Texas Instruments TI994As for the past 20 years? Fortunately, motorcycle technology hasn’t advanced as much as computer technology has, and I’m sure that local manufacturers will rise to the occasion and begin producing larger bikes if there is enough demand and they can make a profit.

I suspect, however, that the great majority of scooter-riding commuters will keep riding scooters. Bigger bikes were always a tiny minority, and I doubt that will change.

Seen last night at the Keelung Rd/Roosevelt Rd intersection: Floppy red-dyed hair, betel stains, cheap white shirt with black polyester pants and rubber sandals, sitting in that legs akimbo gangster pose astride… what looked like a Razor scooter with a seat and a tiny engine, in the middle of a herd of scooters waiting for the lights.

When they changed, he didn’t have enough power to get much faster than walking pace, but he kept to the middle of the road, forcing buses, cars, bikes to swerve around him.

Maybe that’s why he was legs akimbo – he must have had cojones like fuckin’ watermelons. Either that or a brain the size of a walnut.

I’d prefer the safety of a big bike ANY day, thanks!

I think one of the major things those Taiwanese drivers who purchase faster bikes will have a problem adjusting to when bigger bikes come out is dealing with the extra sustained power. For the past 20 years the vast majority of people have been riding scooters with just enough power to go, so that most people have a “power on/power off” mentality to the throttle. When the light turns green (or I should say, then the green pedistrian guy in front of the intersection starts to blink), they just open up full throttle and go, just like pressing a button. There’s no in-between, no decision to make about how fast to go; it’s just “as fast as I can”, which with most scooters isn’t all that fast after 0-40 kph. Now, clearly, if you’re riding an R1 and do that you’ll probably end up with a huge piece of machinery on top of you. It might take people a while to get used to not cranking the throttle all the way whenever an open space appears in front of them.

My local bike shop in Hsintien has had a spanking new R1 in the window since the beginning of this week. Sweeeeeeet!

You probably meant “the size of a betel nut”? I’m not sure if the ban had to do with protectionism, but scooters should not yet have been involved in 1982…

Anyway, I have seen no reason so far that would justify a ban. This is something you can do with drugs or the like. Okay, you can get addicted to bikes too, but there’s still some difference…
Other countries simply implement several licence classes, but a ban…

Btw, Malkie: The one driving a taxi is not necessarily the one who has the licence to do so. At least in areas outside Taipeh it is not unusual to “rent” or “borrow” car and licence. And professionalism: Trucks should only be driven by professionals, right? A truck once crushed the right mirror on my Zing while I was standing(!) on a cross road within the assigned area waiting to turn left - I hadn’t moved at all!

Man, you mean I can’t bring my Harley? :imp:

So, many big bikes on on the market, but I have yet to see the bloodbath many were predicting when this happens. I doubt it will, as the big bikes are not only too expensive for most people, they’re not that practical in the city. The vast majority will stick with the MRT, buses, and scooters for commuting and shopping for anything up to the size you’d need one of those little blue trucks to haul. Especially after the public parking fees come into effect at the end of the year.

I was down at the shop near the intersection of Jianguo and Bade Rds the other day, and they’ve slapped legal licenses on some of their older bikes. I saw a really nice '96 250cc Kawasaki Estrella, dark green and pearl white, single spring seat with cushion for pillion, for NT$150,000. Other larger bikes were available for NT$180,000 or so, and many had the new yellow licenses. Granted, I’d be more likely to purchase one of these babies if 1) I had that much money lying around, 2) I lived a ways out of town, within cruising distance of mountain and seaside routes, and 3) I had a reasonable secure place to park it where I lived.

Something like this? Dayum, I’m gonna buy that puppy this weekend if its in good condition. Eat your heart out, Maoman, THAT’S a 250cc motorbike!

For the most droolworthy showroom, head out to the Tesco in Taoyuan. Just around the corner is an enormous Jaguar showroom, next to which is an equally huge (2 floor) super-plush showroom for Moto Guzzi and Aprilia. They have many niiiiiiice Italian bikes, big and not-so-big.[/img]

Yeah, that’s it exactly, except there was a cushion on the back fender, but otherwise, it’s exactly the same. It looked to be in perfect condition to me, but I didn’t ride it. Since it’s only 250 you can ride it without the special license, an added plus certainly. Let me know if you do get it, Sandy; I want a test drive!

Someone told me the licence fees for big bikes are 30000 a year. Anyone know if that’s true? If so it would put a lot of people off (to say the least).

Brian

It’s on a sliding scale, Sir Don, with the top fee of NT$27,000 reserved for bikes larger than 600cc or something. I hope Maoman can tell us how much it is for a 250cc.

I heard Taiwan does not allow towing with motorbikes. I guess this applies to automobiles also since I don’t see any trailers. Does anyone know about this law? Changes in this law? Ways around this law? I wish to get a large motorbike and tow my luggage on long trips.

I’ve seen motorbike towing enormous trailers. Don’t know if it’s legal or not though.

Brian

Its on a sliding scale, Sir Don, with the top fee of NT$27,000 reserved for bikes larger than 600cc or something. I hope Maoman can tell us how much it is for a 250cc.[/quote]
The license fees were no biggie for my Yamaha 250cc. Actually, I don’t even know how much, because I lost track of all the details when I traded in my old bike for the new one. It’s probably not significantly more than for a 125cc or 150cc bike.

And just for the record, Sandman, anything that’s streetlegal and under 600cc is just a toy. I lust for a real motorcycle, but it’s not practical at all for me at this point. I needed a bike where I could store 2 fullsize helmets, all my raingear, locks, etc. I needed something with a bit of guts - especially warranted since I live a good 25 minutes out of town. When it rains, my feet stay dry, and my briefcase fits under my seat. And I like the fact that I could pay for it in installments with no interest. :sunglasses:

The licence fees for a bike 126-250cc are 1350 a year in total. I just did mine on Wednesday. I am reliably informed that the fees for a Fireblade (just over 900cc) were 20,000 for this year, and the top band is 30,000 for monsters like the Hyabuca or Hyacinth or whatever it’s called (1300cc). Scandalous.

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