Two Wheeled Vehicles and Firearms

I’ve recently been looking at purchasing a two-wheeled vehicle, like a scooter or motorcycle. I’ve been looking at scooters in particular, as they tend to be smaller, less expensive, and more fuel efficient. The fact that I could tinker with a small engine and save on maintenance costs is also a plus, as is the cost for insurance (about $100/year rather than $1,200/year for my car).
Obviously, I wouldn’t give up my car (an ’06 Toyota Camry), as there are many situations where having a car is useful. But there are many situations where it’s not terribly efficient to lug around a few extra thousand pounds of metal. As a physicist, I need to do my part to minimize my contribution to increasing universal entropy, and thus help stave off the heat death of the universe.
This brings me to the following two questions:

  • Are there any readers in the Tucson or Phoenix (Chandler/Scottsdale, specifically) metro areas who are looking to sell a scooter like the Honda “Elite 80” or something similar? I’d prefer widely-known brands like Honda, rather than essentially no-name Chinese scooters. I also like the styling of the Elite 80 over the more curvy Vespa-style scooters.
  • Any recommendations on transporting firearms, particularly long guns, on such a vehicle? I know that rifle cases exist for ATVs, but I have no idea if any solutions exist for scooters/motorcycles. Obviously one could carry a slung rifle or shotgun on one’s back, but I’d imagine that’d be potentially hazardous if one were involved in an accident.

10 thoughts on “Two Wheeled Vehicles and Firearms”

  1. I’m 63 and have continuously owned (or ridden) motorcycles since I was 15 (counting my older brother’s Harley knuckle head). I did have a Vespa once which was great fun because it was so fast, or seemed so.
    I’ve shied away from scooters because they handle differently than a motorcycle and seem (to me at least) to be less stable in tight maneuvers. In city and highway traffic it is not unusual to need to change lanes to avoid some goof in a car or to swerve around some obstacle in the road (a dead dog, a brick, a step ladder, a spare truck tire) that you didn’t see until the last second because the four-wheeler in front of you straddled it.
    If you don’t have time to swerve a motorcycle will take the hit better than a scooter every time. Big wheels handle problems better than small wheels.
    By the way, avoiding an obstacle is similar to shooting trap and skeet. If you look at it you’ll hit it, not looking at it will help you miss it
    To carry a long gun on a motorcycle I’d put it in a soft case and anchor the butt into the bottom of a saddle bag, mount a small duffle over the rear fender and strap the fore end to the side of it. If you don’t want it to look like a gun get some cloth gift wrapping to put around the whole package so people will think you’re taking flowers to your sweetie.

  2. You could also get a motorcycle scabbard like the ones the Army used on their Harleys in WW II. Perfectly legal in Arizona, I think.

  3. I’m looking for a hard side scabbard (like for an ATV) for my long guns on a bike. It will require some mods to make it work, but you get a secure carrier, protection from the elements, security (you can padlock them) plus complete concealment.

  4. I’d be leery of the smaller scooters in city traffic. I ride a Vespa-type (= middlin’ heavy, about 260#) 150cc in town and it’s unsuited for highway traffic, tops out around 50 mph. The small wheels do make them handle differently to a motorcycle — I find mine a bit more nimble but less forgiving of potholes.
    Carrying longer objects of any sort on a scooter or motorcycle is tricky. I can’t add to what’s already been suggested.
    If you have not ridden before, get training. It is well worth it, especially if you’ll be carrying valuable firearms.

  5. Thanks everyone! That’s a bunch of useful information. πŸ™‚
    Now, I just need to get the money for some sort of two-wheeled transport. With my trip to Europe starting on Sunday, money’s going to be a bit tight for about a month or so. I have a thing about paying interest on purchases, so I’m probably going to save up for the scooter or cycle and just pay for it in cash.
    I saw some fantastic looking motorcycles at the Honda shop today, but they’re a bit out of my budget (about $6000-$9000 for the reasonably priced ones, and $14000+ for really high-end ones). If I buy used, is there anything in particular I should be aware of and can easily test or check on the spot without needing a mechanic? I’ve bought used and new cars before, but don’t really know what to look for in a cycle.

  6. The following link is for motorcycle training:
    http://nm.msf-usa.org/msf/ridercourses.aspx?state=AZ
    Personally, motorcycles are too dangerous for me; however, I have a number of friends who ride. Most of the serious ones, those who have been riding for 5+ years, recommend the intro course at a minimum before buying.
    Taking the course will get you familiar enough with riding to make an educated purchase decision. Questions about how to purchase used can likely be answered by the instructors.

  7. Personally I would get a(nother) “Dual-Sport” motorcycle, so that if the/a shooting range was up a dirt road or out in the sticks I could easily get there. I’d mount an ATV-type hard-scabbard to one of the rear side-panels and zip-tie the lower end to a support bracket. Maybe buy a spare one just for that purpose and swap back and forth. Dirtbike side panels are a fraction of the cost of a streetbike’s.
    Personal size and fit is a bit more important on a dualsport bike like that, but plastic is cheaper when you drop it and more flexible – it doesn’t crack and shatter all over – and when you stand up on the pegs (an actual/proper dirtbike technique) you can see over traffic better and you can avoid obstacles more easily with the much greater fork and shock travel that a DP bike offers.
    In case of *traffic difficulties* you can easily go right up over curbs and medians, down ditches and through gravel and create an alternate escape/safety-route – places that cars and many narrowly-focused bikes without knobby tires can’t go.
    The Army uses KLR’s but I would get another Honda XR650L (with electric start) for my “earthquake” bike – it’s taller and lighter and has better off-road suspension components – and go back and ride-up some of those stair-case sidewalks in San Francisco, just to be a hooligan and piss off the hippies and yuppies. πŸ™‚

  8. That’s not bad – I just wish they had kept the KLX since it had so much better stuff, upsidown forks, perimeter frame – Ty Davis used to race one before he switched to Yamaha…

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