by Stephen “Hell Cat” Heller
For every person who hates theYamaha Morphous, there is a person who absolutely loves the thing. The samecould be said for the Honda Ruckus andthe Big Ruckus. There really isn’t a middle ground for these scoots. When I first saw photos of the Morphous, I reserved judgment until I saw one in person. Then when I saw one at the motorcycle show, I decided to wait until I rode one. Well, I finally got the chance to ride the Morphous and I am decidedly indifferent.
From a background of riding scooters exclusively, there are some features of this bike that I just didn’t like. But for riders who prefer cruiser motorcycles, this bike will feel right at home to them.
First of all, it is Morphous, not Morph-e-ous; the former a word used by Yamaha to sound futuristic, the latter is the Greek God of Sleep and a character from The Matrix. The long and low design of the scooter definitely invites some looks, pointing and even a few “What is that?” comments. I just say the Morphous, turn the throttle and zoom away.
The extra low seat height of 25.8 inches makes it possible for everyone, even the Vino-inclined riders, to sit and ride comfortably. The seating position is not typical for scooters. Even though the floorboards are long, the only comfortable position for my legs was straight out. The handlebars were a little below shoulder height for me, which would make it a lot higher than other scooters. This position made me feel a little less in control of the bike, but seems to be the typical position for riding a cruiser motorcycle.
The futuristic LCD gauge panel runs underneath the windscreen and displays the speed, odometer, tachometer and gas gauge. With the sun overhead, it was difficult to read the bar tachometer running across the top of the gauge panel. But what is the point of a tach on an automatic anyway? As for storage, I was expecting a lot more for the size of the bike, something along the lines of the Pacific Coast. While there is a lot of storage, it is all small nooks and crannies; nothing is large enough for a full-face helmet. Under the seat there is enough room for a 1/2 helmet and a tray for other items. There is also a shallow back trunk and two front spaces for easy on-the-go access.
My run around Minneapolis included some city and freeway riding. I was a little leery about other motorists seeing me because of how low the bike is. In actuality, you sit higher on this scooter than most sedans on the road. As for the freeway, the 250cc fuel-injected four-stroke, had little trouble keeping up with traffic at speeds over 60 mph. It cruised along nicely with power to take it over 75. The Morphous is slow getting up to speed from a stop. For a 250cc scooter, the Morphous is a bit slower than expected.
When getting a scooter from one of the big 4 OEMs (I include Kymco) you are not going to find a problem with the fit and finish. This is true with the Morphous as well. There is nothing cheap-looking about the bike. As for style, we’ll leave that up to the individual to decide.
Yamaha has unveiled a new scooter to reach US dealers this fall. The C3, (not to be confused with the Piaggio MP3) is a 4-stroke 50cc, 2-wheeled scooter. I don’t know if it fills the hole created when Yamaha discontinued the Zuma in2005, but it does fill something. My first thought when seeing photos of the C3was of the suitcase scooter from the 50sor else a more-refined Ruckus. Anyway, the C3 is another option for the scooter buyer.
The circle is complete: Jimmy (Phil Daniels) from “Quadrophenia” sings the song “Parklife” on the album of the same name and then Genuine Scooter Company names a bike after the band that wrote/ sang the song. Don’t worry if you don’t follow, The Blur is the newest150cc 4-stroke to be marketed and sold by Genuine. Although it would be an interesting nod to a highlight in scootering pop culture, I believe it has more to do with the speed.
I had a chance to test ride the first Blur in the country over the past week and I had a blast. The Blur is a modern styled scooter with a very aggressive look. The body panels are black, orange and flat gray. It reminds me a lot of a beefed up Kymco Super 9. In terms of speed and size, the Blur is a closer relation to the Kymco B&W. Two things you notice right away is the exhaust that looks like a video game plasma gun and the no-so-step-through floorboards. The controls are standard for an auto scooter and the dash is very easy to read with a speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge and clock.
The seating position is very upright with the handlebars a bit higher than my waist. It is a pretty comfortable, natural position. My two worries about the seating position are that there isn’t a lot of room to move my feet on the floorboards for a longer trip, and the stepped seat leaves little wiggle room.
Off the line, the Blur was a bit faster than the Bet & Win. The difference seemed to be how fast the variator weights were able to fling out and engage the clutch, because after initial take-off the Blur didn’t seem to pull away. What the Blur excels at is its stopping ability. The dual-piston front and rear brakes are capable of neck-jarring deceleration. With a little practice, I think stoppies are possible (but I don’t condone such hooliganism). With a claimed top speed of 70mph, the Blur is sure to give the other 150cc scoots a run for their money.
Rally Wrap Up
Did you walk outside on August 11, 12,or 13 and cough a little from the smoke in the air? You can thank your local scooter club for that one. The Regulars hosted the No Direction Home Rally at various venues around the Twin Cities. Friday night was hosted at Spring Street Tavern with entertainment by LeCirque Rouge Cabaret and Burlesque. Beer and pasties anyone? Saturday was the traditional large group ride around town and a stop for lunch before returning to Scooterville for scooter games and general scooter gawking. Reggie W. from Mankato showed everyone how to ride fast, slow, over ramps and blindfolded and in the process swept all three events. Saturday finished at Elsie’s with a raffle that included giving away a Buddy 50 scooter. Although raining all day Sunday, brave souls made it out to the book signing by local scooter authors Eric and Michael Dregni, whom were reading from and signing their latest books. Mark your calendars the same weekend next year for more scooter rally fun. For pictures of the No Direction Home Rally, check out scoot.net