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View Full Version : Finding sense in Chinese scooters



Ted Hoppe
08-20-2010, 01:38 PM
There is a local scooter shop that is offering 50cc scooters for under 700 dollars. As I began to run and compare the numbers, I saw some interesting things. If one breaks the cost of the scooter ownership, 700 out the door, 200 dollars for gas and nearly no scheduled maintenance (throw away). If you crunch the per mile cost per 5000 miles is roughly 18-20 cents a mile san insurance (not required in California).

Interesting enough, my old airhead BMW costs me nearly 700 a year for maintenance (tires, filters, fluids, plus various major spares/replacements as needed periodically), 290 for insurance and 350 for gas for at total of nearly 1350 a year - which breaks down to .27 per mile.)

Other options: A monthy bus pass is 80 per month without the convenience or flexability. A bicycle which is significantly cheaper, healther does have it's drawbacks such as clothing choices, clean up, night travel and light two up riding.

I am interested in your thoughts of cheap scooters.

McMike
08-20-2010, 01:42 PM
I had a scooter when I lived in Seattle. Great in the summer, sucks in the rainy winter. Here in the Northeast the distances are too far for me to feel comfortable driving one around exclusively.

bobbys
08-20-2010, 01:55 PM
There is a local scooter shop that is offering 50cc scooters for under 700 dollars. As I began to run and compare the numbers, I saw some interesting things. If one breaks the cost of the scooter ownership, 700 out the door, 200 dollars for gas and nearly no scheduled maintenance (throw away). If you crunch the per mile cost per 5000 miles is roughly 18-20 cents a mile san insurance (not required in California).

Interesting enough, my old airhead BMW costs me nearly 700 a year for maintenance (tires, filters, fluids, plus various major spares/replacements as needed periodically), 290 for insurance and 350 for gas for at total of nearly 1350 a year - which breaks down to .27 per mile.)

Other options: A monthy bus pass is 80 per month without the convenience or flexability. A bicycle which is significantly cheaper, healther does have it's drawbacks such as clothing choices, clean up, night travel and light two up riding.

I am interested in your thoughts of cheap scooters..

Its much to wet here for a scooter or MC, Sure i could actually drive them in the winter its just when you arrive at your destination your completely wet. Then your Machine rusts right out.

The other problem is to get to town where the Bars and the pinball machines are are i have to get on the Highway and some young blond like my daughter would run me over while putting on her make up and texting..

If i did not have to get on main roads, maybe .

My boy has a Bicycle with a small gas motor on it, Thats pretty cool but you have to pedal to get the motor going.

Bobcat
08-20-2010, 01:57 PM
There is little or no dealer support for some of the Chinese scooters. If you have a breakdown, you call an 800 number. Getting parts can be dicey as well.

Some of the more expensive Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean scooters are good deals with good support.

Rain is not an issue with good riding gear

I don't own a scooter, but commute by motorcycle year round in Seattle. I have been doing so for about 14 years now.

paladin
08-20-2010, 02:03 PM
I rode a 50/90cc honda all over SEA for several years...moved up to a 305/then 350 when I aquired a spouse.

Dale Genther
08-20-2010, 02:25 PM
I drive a Chinese made scooter almost everyday. I bought two of them three years ago at an estate sale for a total of $900 with about 350 miles on each. Sold one of them for $600 and kept one. Right now I have 7300 miles on it and it still runs great. The one thing I did to it was to install a larger jet in the carb. Now it will do 45 mph instead of 35 mph. The electric starter stopped working on it but it starts on the first kick so I never bothered looking in to it. If it ever dies I'll buy another one as this one has certainly paid for it self since my regular vehicle, a truck, only gets about 16 mpg around town. I only use it around town where the max. speed limit is 35 so it is great for 90% of my driving purposes. Easy parking is a plus also. It can hold a surprising amount of stuff, with the bin under the seat, the rack in the rear and the small compartments behind the consule.

switters
08-20-2010, 02:42 PM
There is little or no dealer support for some of the Chinese scooters. If you have a breakdown, you call an 800 number. Getting parts can be dicey as well.



oldest son has had two used ones and I agree with the above. Buy one only if you can support it or have a good dealer with parts and mechs.

Ted Hoppe
08-20-2010, 02:57 PM
Thanks for your input. I live in the SF Bay area about 5 miles from Bart and a few blocks from the ferry. They bumped up the bridge toll to make it to 6 bucks 2.75 commute on my much loved bike and once there I pay another 7 for close parking. My old Volvo has taken a beating in the unsecured parking lot at my Oakland Bart station as well as has some unsavory characters who one would be wise to avoid. Scooter parking on the other hand is free and secure just a few steps from the gate.

I've been weighing options. I can't help think that this is a good compromise too. Yeah, it's not all manly but it does make sense especially when I work off hours and need to take advantage of mixed transportation as currently available. Besides having a inexpensive semi practical toy is in itself rewarding and fun.

Dale Genther
08-20-2010, 03:02 PM
Service can be problematic. It is best if you are mechanically inclined so you can do repairs yourself. The are really pretty simple machine. The major problem is access to everything is difficult because of the plastic shrouds that cover almost all the components. The is one very good service center nearby in Annapolis. They seem to be able to work on any of the brands. The reason for this is that regardless of the manufacturers name on it, the engine and most other mechanical parts are the the same or very smiliar. There is a sales/service shop here in Rock Hall but so far I havn't had any experience with them.

ccmanuals
08-20-2010, 03:15 PM
A couple friends of mine bought scooters from these folks. They have been in business for years and have built a good reputation. They offer free shipping.

http://www.gsmotorworks.com/

Mrleft8
08-20-2010, 06:14 PM
Thanks for your input. I live in the SF Bay area about 5 miles from Bart and a few blocks from the ferry. They bumped up the bridge toll to make it to 6 bucks 2.75 commute on my much loved bike and once there I pay another 7 for close parking. My old Volvo has taken a beating in the unsecured parking lot at my Oakland Bart station as well as has some unsavory characters who one would be wise to avoid. Scooter parking on the other hand is free and secure just a few steps from the gate.

I've been weighing options. I can't help think that this is a good compromise too. Yeah, it's not all manly but it does make sense especially when I work off hours and need to take advantage of mixed transportation as currently available. Besides having a inexpensive semi practical toy is in itself rewarding and fun.

Tell that to Jimmy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzLky4U-xCg&feature=related

OconeePirate
08-20-2010, 08:49 PM
I want one of these...

http://scootersintheusa.com/images/Sachs-Madass_1.jpg

European design, Chinese made, the engine is a Honda 50 clone.

Dale Genther
08-20-2010, 09:25 PM
I want one of these...

http://scootersintheusa.com/images/Sachs-Madass_1.jpg

European design, Chinese made, the engine is a Honda 50 clone.

Nice, but no place to store all the stuff I need to work on boats.

OconeePirate
08-20-2010, 09:28 PM
Nice, but no place to store all the stuff I need to work on boats.

Load it up with bicycle style panniers.

brad9798
08-20-2010, 09:29 PM
Cheap Chinese goods help our economy ... :rolleyes:

GET a REAL Scooter for a bit more money!

:(

OconeePirate
08-20-2010, 09:33 PM
Cheap Chinese goods help our economy ... :rolleyes:

GET a REAL Scooter for a bit more money!

:(

Pray tell, which one of the numerous scooters being built by the many U.S. motorcycle companies would you recommend?

Garret
08-20-2010, 09:42 PM
Nice, but no place to store all the stuff I need to work on boats.

Trailer. Just make sure it has a swivel!

Who makes that? Oh - Sachs I guess. Look at the pic Garret.....

brad9798
08-20-2010, 10:05 PM
I'm not sure if there is one oconeepirate ... but Chinese is junk. We PROBABLY BOTH know that, now don't we!?!

;)

Thus- I do not have a scooter!

brad9798
08-20-2010, 10:06 PM
Italians do ... and I am MUCH more comfortable with Italian than CHINESE crap!

Nicholas Carey
08-21-2010, 01:00 AM
My take on scooters is this: if you buy a Vespa, Honda or Yamaha and ride it for 3-5 years, you can turn around and sell it for a significant fraction of what you paid for it. If, instead, if you went down to Wal-Mart and bought the cheap Chi-com Vespa knockoff, at the end of 3-5 years, you'd have a scooter that was essentially worthless and you'd probably have had more downtime and higher repair costs...if you could find the needed parts.

LeeG
08-21-2010, 06:17 AM
this is a good story, traveling around the US on a Honda Ruckus.

http://www.superstreetonline.com/features/130_0901_honda_ruckus_wan_lees/index.html

How many miles did you log?I rode 18,000 miles, spending about $640 on gas! The Ruckus gets 100 miles per gallon!

Joe (SoCal)
08-21-2010, 07:07 AM
Had one of these ( Exact color )

http://www.hondascooterpart.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/honda-scooter-1.jpg

Bought it for $50 at a police auction sight unseen. Went all the way out to Whitehall impound yard by subway, pushed it out the gate coasted down hills and pushed it to a motorcycle store bought a new battery and changed the fuel filter and added gas & oil, bought a helmet and she started rite up. Rode her back home to Jersey City and had it for 3 years until it got stolen :(. I loved that little scooter.

The Bigfella
08-21-2010, 08:27 AM
I'd go for one a bit bigger than 50cc. I just put 3,000 - 3,500km on a China Honda (a Honda clone made in China.... by Honda for all I know, but badged Zinda) in Vietnam... both city and open road (and off road for than matter). Damn fine little machine. Bought it second hand, less than a year old for $400. If I could find the same thing here in Oz for double that, I'd snap it up.

I got 50 km per litre.... call that 120 mpg I guess... and I flogged it. It topped out at 115kph... carrying 360lb.

Tom from Rubicon
08-21-2010, 08:37 AM
Anyone remember this good ol' American classic?
http://www.whizzermotorbike.com/History.html

Mrleft8
08-21-2010, 08:51 AM
I'd go for one a bit bigger than 50cc. I just put 3,000 - 3,500km on a China Honda (a Honda clone made in China.... by Honda for all I know, but badged Zinda) in Vietnam... both city and open road (and off road for than matter). Damn fine little machine. Bought it second hand, less than a year old for $400. If I could find the same thing here in Oz for double that, I'd snap it up.

I got 50 km per litre.... call that 120 mpg I guess... and I flogged it. It topped out at 115kph... carrying 360lb.

In most (maybe all) states 49cc is the cut off for having to register the bike, apply for and pass a motorcycle license test, and get insurance. The 50cc jobs generally just slide under the 49cc rule. Then you get the upgrade kit and soup it up to 79cc or so.

Pugwash
08-21-2010, 08:53 AM
In most (maybe all) states 49cc is the cut off for having to register the bike, apply for and pass a motorcycle license test, and get insurance.

That's why they're called liquorcycles.

Dale Genther
08-21-2010, 11:14 AM
In most (maybe all) states 49cc is the cut off for having to register the bike, apply for and pass a motorcycle license test, and get insurance. The 50cc jobs generally just slide under the 49cc rule. Then you get the upgrade kit and soup it up to 79cc or so.

What a few people around her have done is to buy a 150 cc scooter and remove the "1" from the 150 sticker. The 50s and the 150s look the same in physical appearance and the 150s are only a couple of hundred more in price.

SamSam
08-21-2010, 11:47 AM
Whatever happened to converting bicycles with a spare engine?

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_24DcgVtaIDk/SKRxBAq9GVI/AAAAAAAAAUE/TXEHPN_0uso/s400/Whizzer+Motorbike,+1948+copy.jpg



Here's a place with kits for $139....
http://www.kingsmotorbikes.com/80cc_bicycle_engine_kit_jet.htm

http://www.kingsmotorbikes.com/images_products/51_big.jpg

Captain Blight
08-21-2010, 12:01 PM
I've often thought that something like this would make a lot of sense:

http://buyvintage1.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/1camille_doudon_cucciolo.jpg?w=470&h=335
http://buyvintage1.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/3camille_doudon_cucciolo.jpg?w=470&h=294

Or this:
http://oldbike.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/1951narcisse_tandem.jpg?w=470&h=305

And since I'm working with a nationally-known and respected wheelbuilder, I'd like to get my hands on something like this:
http://buyvintage1.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/cyclemaster1.jpg
And lace it inside a harlequin-painted Deep V, and run it around with one of those old Shimano Integer front freewheels (If I used Positron shifters and a Maillard Helicomatic freewheel in the rear, I'd have the full trifecta of Bad Bike Ideas.)

Mostly, though, every time I think about motorizing my bike, this is the image that comes to mind:
http://blog.news-record.com/staff/jrblog/twins2.jpg

I'm almost certainly going to hit my goal of having lost 100 pounds by the time my birthday rolls around; I am close, very close. Gonna see about getting 60 miles in this evening when it cools off a little. It would be a lot easier if I had a little motor helping me out. But sometimes "easy" misses the point completely.

huisjen
08-21-2010, 12:11 PM
I want one of these...

http://scootersintheusa.com/images/Sachs-Madass_1.jpg

European design, Chinese made, the engine is a Honda 50 clone.

I've got a Sachs Dolmar chain saw. I got tired of repair bills for it and got a Husqvarna. European design isn't necessarily good just because it's European. And a clone may have different metalurgy in vital places. Sure, it looks cool, but...

Dan

Three Cedars
08-21-2010, 01:15 PM
I've read that 2 stroke chinese scooters have a fairly short engine life in the neighbourhood of several thousand miles which isn't a lot .

I would definitely get a scooter with larger wheels , those little 12" wheels wouldn't handle a road hazard as well as a larger wheel.

On the downside if someone wants to steal it , they can quickly back up a van or truck and two guys just lift in and poof gone... happened to my cousin .

Dale Genther
08-21-2010, 01:58 PM
I've read that 2 stroke chinese scooters have a fairly short engine life in the neighbourhood of several thousand miles which isn't a lot .

I would definitely get a scooter with larger wheels , those little 12" wheels wouldn't handle a road hazard as well as a larger wheel.

On the downside if someone wants to steal it , they can quickly back up a van or truck and two guys just lift in and poof gone... happened to my cousin .

My old scooter, which I still have, is a 2 stroke and has 6700 miles on it and still runs fine. I just prefer riding my newer 4 stroke one that has 7300 miles on it.

Old Dryfoot
08-21-2010, 03:15 PM
My take on scooters is this: if you buy a Vespa, Honda or Yamaha and ride it for 3-5 years, you can turn around and sell it for a significant fraction of what you paid for it. If, instead, if you went down to Wal-Mart and bought the cheap Chi-com Vespa knockoff, at the end of 3-5 years, you'd have a scooter that was essentially worthless and you'd probably have had more downtime and higher repair costs...if you could find the needed parts.

I don't buy this for a second, these things are manufactured in massive quantities and if they were that flawed they most certainly would not be selling here or in Asia in the numbers they do. I find it very frustrating that so many people automatically assume that Chinese made equals junk, have a look at the label on the back of your Sony or any other piece of electronics you have in your home, odds are that 80% of what you find will have a made in China stamp on it. I know lots of Harley riders who spend more time working on their bikes then riding, does this mean that all American made goods are crap?

OconeePirate
08-21-2010, 03:44 PM
If I bought a new Honda/Suzuki/etc... I'd be putting the money in the hands of some random bike dealership that is probably owned by businessmen somewhere else. If I bought a Vespa/Aprilia/etc... I'd be putting money in the hands of someone way away since the closest dealership for stuff like that is Atlanta. If I bought one of the random Chinese things I'd be putting money in the hands of the guy that owns the variety store around the corner from me.

The Madass is made by Sachs which isn't a Chinese company, they just have things made in China. Just like Harley-Davidson does.

Ted Hoppe
08-22-2010, 11:56 AM
There have been some interesting points brought up. The same manufactures that pump out Harley, BMW, Sachs, Vespa, or Honda parts also are making these cheap scooters. When you consider the cost factor of under 650 dollars delivered its hard to argue you are going to get a scooter 4 times better if you purchase a marque brand at 4 times the cost. From all indications, you get a scooter that has a 1 year warranty and 6 months on parts. The break in may be slightly unusual under modern motor standards but has some sense to it. For the first 1000 miles, change the oil every 300 miles. Don't flog it for the first 3 hours of operation and the 50cc bike is said to go more than 20k before its worn out.

These are some stats on the $629 delivered scooter:
Engine Size 49cc, Single Cylinder
Cooling Forced Air Cooled
Carburation 4 Stroke
Ignition CDI Electronic
Starter Electric with Keys, Kick Start Back-up
Max. Speed: 30 MPH
Fuel Tank: 5.6 L

Drive Train
Transmission Fully Automatic - CVT
Gears/Pattern N/A
Driveline belt
Chassis and Suspension
Front Suspension Hydraulic
Rear Suspension Hydraulic Spring
Brakes, Rim and Tire
Front Brake ABS Hydraulic Disc
Rear Brake Mech. Drum
Front Tire 3.5-10 Aluminum/Alloy(bigger than the 2009 model)
Rear Tire 3.5-10 Aluminum/Alloy(bigger than the 2009 model)
Dimensions
OA Length: 68.5" inches
OA Height: 41.5" inches
Wheelbase: 47" inches
Height to Seat: 29.5" inches
Heigth to Handle Bar: 38.25" inches
Overall Width:
(Includes Handle Bars) 27" inches
Ground Clearance: 4.5" inches
Other Specifications

Battery - 12V 9AH

Max. Loading Capacity - 240 lbs.
Vehicle Weight - 185 lbs.

Storage Underseat storage area, trunk


So I am still intrigued. Below: my refurbished prewar set up and running 1911 track board replica with a 125 dollar, 66cc chinese built motor for nearly 2 years and about 60 hours of total running time. Fun to have.. not much fun to ride over 30 mins...

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3047/3324346327_a3b64239b1.jpg

bamamick
08-22-2010, 12:09 PM
They sell them in a grocery store in the town where I stay in Germany when I am there for work. I see them all the time and they certainly make sense if you are traveling a short distance. My daughter who is in school in Atlanta has spoken of getting one. I think I'd prefer she get a bike, but I understand the appeal.

I am pretty sure the ones they sell at that store are more than $700 US. I think they sell for about 1000 euro.

Mickey Lake

SamSam
08-22-2010, 12:25 PM
So I am still intrigued. Below: my refurbished prewar set up and running 1911 track board replica with a 125 dollar, 66cc chinese built motor for nearly 2 years and about 60 hours of total running time. Fun to have.. not much fun to ride over 30 mins...

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3047/3324346327_a3b64239b1.jpg

Your handlebars are upside down and you need a lower and better seat. A 30 min limit is to do with the bike, not the motor.

I wonder how one of those motors would work on a three wheeled bike or a horizontal one? Like these...

Well never mind the three wheeled...http://motorbicycling.com/f44/anyone-motorize-3-wheel-bike-700.html
http://motorbicycling.com/attachments/f44/666d1210379505-anyone-motorize-3-wheel-bike-57_trikegas2_1.jpg

Horizontal...
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.darklord.com/uploaded_images/300px-Hpv-race-743359.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.darklord.com/2005/10/monday-morning-bike-o-saurus.html&usg=___dObJrvxUgaFRiHbU0s7pM7unV4=&h=200&w=300&sz=41&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=edGEgYGHFGZpsM:&tbnh=151&tbnw=205&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhorizontal%2Blaydown%2Bbike%26hl%3Den %26client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DG%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D617%26gbv%3D2%26t bs%3Disch:1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=159&vpy=111&dur=588&hovh=154&hovw=231&tx=68&ty=29&ei=xlxxTLD-CcL58AaTmPWmDQ&oei=sVxxTK3mF4P-8Aasxcj1Cg&esq=7&page=1&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSnEjWf3q40J5O5WoKEKnLxY23H_eJxX 2h0lV8EkyBhpBMBSUc&t=1&usg=__v0hZ8jHeMWAf9YnGGewuscsByS8=

Whoa......
http://www.popsci.com/files/imagecache/article_image_small/articles/atease.jpg

rbgarr
08-22-2010, 12:29 PM
http://scooterworld.sports.officelive.com/default.aspx

Syed
08-22-2010, 12:45 PM
http://image.made-in-china.com/2f0j00RCztroVJvfkY/Electric-Stand-Up-Scooter-AGB-ET100-.jpg

paladin
08-22-2010, 12:55 PM
Buy a fold up Da Hon Bike and add an aftermarket small engine....I had one a while back but Tyler Durden put it on his son's bike, I think and it worked just fine.

Michael D. Storey
08-22-2010, 12:59 PM
I think that the number to crunch is how much of your less-efficient driving can you expect to replace with such a machine, and how long will it take for the savings in operating costs to outweigh the initial expense.
Like so many of our social and cultural problems today, there is not a single answer (in this case, such as contemplating replacing a truck with a scooter) but instead how much of a dent in the problem can a partial solution make, and whether it is good sense for you to take that partial step.
BTW, regards home-made retros, I flew to Florida two years ago and saw a home made retro. The rotor from a gas powered generator rubbed against the rubber rear tire to convey the power from the tiny 2-cycle engine. Gettin by with what ya got, I reckon.

Breakaway
08-22-2010, 05:01 PM
I had a moped, and then a Honda Aero 80 during HS/College. The 80 allowed plenty of power to safely and confidently transit secondary roads, hitting 45 mph or so. I would not opt for a 50, unless I had plans to hop it up as others stated.

Kevin

adampet
08-22-2010, 06:53 PM
We've rented one for the last three years when we take our anniversary trip to Martha's Vineyard. They are easy to drive and apparently rugged enough for the rental trade. My commute is only ten minutes by car, 30 by bicycle. I've contemplated these as a commuter option, but not pulled the trigger. It would be an auxiliary to a car or truck, and I think that's what stops me. Fun but not economic. They really do fit the bill around here though.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v681/adampet/Vroom.jpg

Adam

Captain Blight
08-22-2010, 07:20 PM
Bicyles are even lower-cost, especially over the long haul, but not an option for those addicted to their own personal comfort.

Ride the bike, guys. Ride the bike. I have lost 98 pounds since I started this project, and all I've done is throw away the car keys.

coelacanth2
08-22-2010, 07:42 PM
I'll probably get in trouble for this old bikey joke; Why i s dating a fat girl like riding a scooter? Both are fun to ride, but you wouldn't want Your friends to see you on either one.