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Chinese Scooter

Should I Buy a Chinese Scooter?

Someone on the Toronto Moto Scooter Club Message Board asked “Should I buy a 2013 Chironex?” and my short answer was No. My long answer was a little less boring. Read it and then I’ll tell you why you should avoid Chinese scooters.

Kenny Mclelland of the Toronto Moto Scooter Club wrote:

I am looking at buying a 2013 Chironex Chase 150 but don’t know very much about them. Does anyone have any opinions?

Well partner, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to YouMotorcycle Town.

My reply:

You know when you really dislike someone, but you don’t want to tell them that you really dislike someone?

They could be your boss, or your neighbour, or your lover’s parents. You detest this person, but for your own personal reasons you just have to live with them and you can’t tell them how much the sight of them makes you want to throw up all over the walls and smash their faces in a fit of rage?

Well…

When that person asks you what kind of scooter to get…

You recommend that they buy a Chironex.

Chinese Scooter

When something is too good to be true, there’s usually someone waiting for you to turn around to call you a sucker.

5 Reasons Not to Buy a Chinese Scooter:

Quality control.

Chinese has over 15,000,000 words, but not a single word for quality control. This may or may not be true, but you can rest assured that the stuff coming from China, buy and large, is made on the quick and easy. At least as far as two wheel transportation is concerned.

You don’t know where the nearest dealerships are.

That can be tricky if the dealership you plan on buying from either goes under, or stops carrying the brand (perhaps due to too many quality control issues). Where can you get parts from now? If you buy a Japanese or even Taiwanese brand that has been around for a decade or more you can probably find a couple of dealerships in your area. Try saying the same about a made in China brand of scooter.

You don’t know how long the brand has been selling in your country.

Motorcycle and scooter brands can develop large stockpiles of parts, ready to ship to customers at a moment’s notice. Dropped your scooter or motorcycle and need a new lever in order to ride it, no problem for most brands. Sometimes however, importers will bring in quantities of the vehicles to test the market or just to make a quick buck, without investing in importing the parts needed to support the customers post sale. Buying and stocking parts is a major investment. Make sure you ask about part availability prior to purchasing any motorcycle or scooter.

The guy who recommended it to you might secretly hate you.

Anyone recommending one of these things probably either hates you, has no idea what he’s talking about, or has just been lucky so far.

You don’t know who will work on it?

Remember how I mentioned quality control? Well a lot of Chinese scooters come with strange quirks. The factory in China gives you all kinds of free customizations to your scooter including screws that come stripped and other problems. Sometimes the more a mechanic digs in to the scooter the more issues are discovered, such as inconsistent screw types or inadequate soldering or other wiring problems. The end result is that a lot of shops refuse to work on Chinese scooters. You might think that motorcycle shop down the street would gladly take in your Chinese mule, and they may at first, but it’s not a risk I’d take.

Whether or not you choose to take the chance, best of luck out there. I’m cheering for you either way.

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50 comments

  1. I’m going to try and stay calm about this. You see that yellow scooter you’re using as an example? I have one. Contrary to what that terrible mechanic Phil Walters of Pride Of Cleveland says, whose ad you used. They work just fine in the hands of non-Vespa owners.
    Let’s take your points, one by one.
    1) The Chinese use cheaper materials but guess what Honda uses cheaper parts than BMW. The problem has ALWAYS BEEN the importers here. You want a cheap piece of crap? Fine sir, here you go. Companies like GS Motorworks have speced better quality scooters and it shows. Mine has 8,000 miles, runs just fine and will continue to run just as well as any Italian, ancient, pressed steel overpriced scooter. I have the original fuel lines, vacuum lines and tire valves. All because the importer ordered them.

    2) Every smart person here in the states has heard of www,scrappydogscooters.com , http://www.partsforscooters.com , http://www.scooterbelts.com and many other firms that sell Chinese parts at reasonable prices. I needed a transmission shaft for a CF Moto CN 250. I ordered it on Tuesday and had it by Thursday, less than 48 hours later. For laughs I also ordered the matching Honda CN 250 shaft. It came, in 8 days and cost twice as much.

    3) At this moment all Chinese scooters are the same inside and out. You can order parts from those people above and not pay an arm and a leg for parts. Try putting a Kawasaki transmission shaft in a Honda. Let me know how that works out.

    4) I recommend them, have been riding for 52 years and am the son of an old Triumph dealer. Your resume please. Yes, if you buy a Chinese scooter, ride all day at WFO and never service it the thing will blow up. If you ride it like something costing one third the price of a comparable brand name it will last. $5000 for a 150 Vespa ROFL.

    5) Who will work on it? How about you? I have. They’re not ceramic lined, V VTI or fuel injected. On the scooter forums many people ask for advice having never worked on a scooter before and succeed. You can’t do that but want a Chinese scooter. Here in the States we have Lance, Puma, Bintelli and Wolf brand scooters, sold by dealers who back them and they still don’t cost an arm and a leg

    I have three Chinese scooter.
    2008 Bashan Biella-8,000 miles
    2009 CF Moto Fashion 250-8,000 miles
    2009 Bashan 50cc clone of a Honda Cub-3,200 miles

    Lets see, three Chinese bikes, almost 20,000 miles together. But what do I know, right Phil?

    • My BMS 260 scooter is a blast to ride. Is it for everyone? No. I do all my own service. That’s what keeps the price of Chinese scooters down. The bike is solid and runs very well. Just remember you are the dealer. There is no middle man with Chinese scooters.

    • Chinese Scooters are nothing but a piece of shit!!!! I have a 2011 Roketa and yes I have 6136 miles on it But it has also been a part time job repairing this piece of crap!!!!!

  2. 20k on 3 scooters? You’re kidding right? Hate to burst you’re Chinese is OK if you fix them bubble but I’ve got 29k on my one Sym Citicom and it’s till going strong and will be when those cheap ass things you call a scooter are in the junkyard pal.

    BTW I spend my time riding not doing any wrenching.

    • I’m so sorry I don’t ride enough for you.I use all three and they don’t break down. My wrenches are mostly collecting dust. Let’s see, a Citicom isn’t that a $5000 scooter OTD? I have all of $3000 invested in my three. A Citicom is a fine bike but way to rich for me. If I had that much money I’d buy a real bike like a Ninja 300. I don’t, so I ride around on cheaper, reliable transportation. Too bad you feel so threatened by someone putting miles on something so much cheaper. If my China bikes are so much junk, why don’t you tell me how many miles I have to put on them to get your approval. Not that after 200,000 miles of road riding I need it.

  3. Plus the point of this article isn’t what’s better. The articles point is “Chinese Scooters are Junk”, uses an ad from 2009 which was printed by a Vespa dealer and is wrong. A GOOD RIDER can get many years, and have, of fun from Chinese scooters. Go to Youtube and look up Acworthpatrick. He has over 45,000 miles on a Baccio GY6 and over 40,000 miles on an Automoto with a GY6 engine. If Chinese is so bad how is he doing it? His real bike these days is a Kawasaki 650 Versys.

  4. From some 2011 statistics regarding scooters IN CHINA – “The number of registered motor vehicles as of the end of (2010) rose 1.6 percent from the year before to 21.72 million, and 68.3 percent, or 14.85 million of those registrations, up 1.7 percent year-on-year, were for scooters, said the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics of the Executive Yuan.”

    Seems to me China probably knows at least a little something about scooters and have plenty of opportunity to develop their products. So, the implication that Chinese scooters are junk simply due to the fact that they’re made in China seems a bit ill-informed. And, with the global market we have these days, if your local dealer goes under, there’s always a strong chance you can find replacement parts online.

    • You’re working on the assumption that the same vehicles which are selling in China are the ones which are selling here. Completely false.

      You’re also ignoring the fact that China’s GDP is only $6,700 per capita. Compare that to the $52,000 GDP of the United States. Now ask yourself, based on the GDP, what price point must all of those Chinese scooters be sold at, and given that they are being built to this price point do you really think they are being to the same standards as they would be in America?

      You’re probably right when you say China knows “at least a little something about scooters” but the trouble is that that knowledge comes from making scooters to people who make less than $7000 per year, not $52,000 per year.

      You also seem to be ignoring the possibility that the vehicles perform as poorly in China as they do here, however, being domestically produced the parts which fail are readily available and easily replaceable, which isn’t the case for North Americans.

      You completely disregard the amount of modification a Chinese scooter must go through to comply with North American standards including federal and state/provincial regulations. Think D.O.T., E.P.A., Transport Canada. Engines and electronics are modified, generally by the importer/distributor, and not always from factory.

      You’re also stating that “there’s always a strong chance you can find replacement parts online” as if this is a bragging point. It’s not. It’s an opening into the reality that there is also a chance that not only can you not find parts locally, but you could also not find parts online as well.

      Moreover, if you aren’t mechanically inclined finding parts becomes infinitely more difficult, and if by chance you do find them, even after overseas shipping fees and government import duties, you still need to find someone willing to install them, which many shops will not.

      I worked in the motorcycle industry at both a dealership and manufacturer level for a little over two years. When examining purchasing a vehicle you must examine the weakest link. As far as the Chinese-built scooters available in North America are concerned, from factory through the distribution channel down to the dealership and end consumer Chinese scoots have weak joints then a severe arthritic.

      If you want to buy a Chinese scooter be my guest. My own philosophy is that life’s too short and too precious to be risked on subpar motorcycles or scooters and the dangers and headaches associated with them.

      I heard an old saying… You get what you pay for.

      Caveat emptor,

      Adrian

    • Of Course you can find replacement parts for Chinese scooters everywhere. Because they make them cheap so you have to keep buying parts for them, there by making a fortune on selling replacement parts!!!

  5. No I would not buy a Chinese scooter. Where do you get parts years after the sale? I would buy a Twainese scooter though.

    • TaoTao has full parts availability. We ship parts to people all the time. And realistically, most of the parts are interchangeable between Chinese brands. So there is definitely parts availability.

      • Lived in China for 10 years, rode a Chinese scooter for ten years. Perfectly fine machines. In addition as a poster above stated, the parts are completely universal (except for the fairings)

  6. Jim Zeiser . you did great commonts . i just wana say that i own a sanya sy 125 – chinees motorcycle for more than 4 years now . and its a perfect bike . never let me down . and its still in a perfect shape . i run 42.000 km now

    • Thanks. Since I wrote that reply my CF Moto has attained 10,500 miles and the Bashan 150cc is at 8,700. We’ll never remove the prejudices of people against Chinese scooters. All we can do is enjoy ours for many, many years to come.

    • Glad you’ve had good experiences, lakhdar. My experiences were very different. Bolts that were stripped from factory. Nuts that didn’t match. Etc.

        • Engines dying could be any number of things, with improper use being most common.

          There is a great difference between engine failure and parts coming seized and unmatching from factory.

          • Oh absolutely, but from what I’ve read in modernvespa.com breakdowns on a grand scale aren’t reserved for Chinese scooters. If you read the rest of the thread that the above came from you’ll see the valve dropping didn’t just happen to the original poster but numerous others also. Fuel pump and wiring recalls abound for Vespas. So what we agree on is before we slam a brand or Manufacturing origin it might be important to look at the owners to determine if the product is to blame or the person using it. From many months of lurking at Modernvespa.com I can tell you that they are far from trouble free for all their owners.

          • I think you should get a part time job at a Vespa dealership and let me know how you find the owners and their vehicle issues. I worked in one, for a single day. Never went back to get paid for it. Try it!

  7. Are Chinese scooters junk? Yes. If you’re shopping for a scooter and reading this as part of your pre-purchase research, please save yourself the head ache and go get a brand new Yamaha or Honda. If you can’t afford a new Yamaha or Honda then go buy a used one–there are plenty of great deals on Craigslist (depending on the area that you live in). Don’t let the idea of a used scoot scare you away—a good used low mileage Japanese scooter will last you far longer than a new China-scoot will. Sym and Kymco are also decent brands–not quite as good as the Japanese bikes but almost, definitely worthy of consideration if you have a dealer nearby. Don’t listen to the Chinese scooter defenders here–trust me, the vast majority of China-scoot owners have nothing but problems, within days after buying one its not uncommon to find them on China-scoot internet forums posting something along the lines of “help, scoot won’t start” lol. If reliability is what you need, if you need your scooter to crank up and safely transport you from point a to point b—-get a Yamaha, Honda, Kymco, or Sym.

    • The numerous people who write “My scooter won’t start” on forums have little to no mechanical background and haven’t even begun to investigate. Not only that but they didn’t even have the skill to use the search function on the site to see the answers given to numerous other people just like them about how to fix it.
      People with brand name scooters just load them in the back of their SUV and cart them to the dealer. The used Japanese scooters on Craigslist are in many instances 15 to 20 years old for the same price. The parts they’re about to break are expensive, difficult to install (requiring a dealer) and have to be waited for at weeks at a time. A new Honda PCX 150 is $3600, plus tax, plus freight, plus set up.A Chinese 150 even from a Lance dealer is $2400 plus the above. A crate 150cc scooter which requires diligent set up from the owner is $1200 and used properly will last a good long time.
      But hey! How about a $4800 Vespa 150? No problems, right?
      http://modernvespa.com/forum/topic130381.2

      • We both know that china-scoots aren’t made for the normal consumer. For the guy (or gal) whom would rather spend their time riding than wrenching, for those whom simply want a low-maintenance bike to get where they need to go, a Japanese bike is it.

        Every china-scoot owner I know–and I know many–have had problem after problem. I’ve seen first-hand the trials and tribulations that china-scoot owners endure. This is the norm all across the country, we both know it, which is why they have the reputation that they do.

        On the other hand, every Yamaha and Honda owner I know doesn’t have those problems, and that’s a fact…which is why they have excellent reputations. Me, I’ve owned 2 Japanese scoots, the latest being a Zuma 50F with over 21,000 miles on it. Yes, 21,000 miles. Guess how many problems I had with my first scooter? None. Guess how many problems I’ve had with my current Zuma? None. That’s right, its NEVER left me stranded (except for a flat tire). I change the fluids and other wear-and-tear parts as needed and it just goes and goes. Only issue I’ve had is a little clutch glaze that keeps building up. And the only time that I’ve had it at the shop was for changing the flat-tire. I’ve never even had the valves adjusted on this thing (they probably need it though)!

        As for your comment about what’s available on CL, I agree that it depends on the region/state in which one lives. Me, I live in a state that doesn’t even require a drivers license to ride a scooter, so they are plentiful. As we speak there’s a black 2014 Honda Met on CL with under a thousand miles for 1,200 bucks (missing one small plastic panel under the head-light) and there’s three 2012-2013 Zumas for under 1,500 each (I can pass along the links if you’d be interested). Also, I’ve noticed that new scooter prices vary region to region as well: For example, back when I bought my Zuma 50f it was a little over 2,500 otd but I seen em going for as high as 3,400 in a few states north of here and elsewhere! Heck, back in December I could have gotten a brand new 2014 Zuma 125 for a little over 2,700 (end of year clearance sale, rebate). So they are affordable depending on where you live.

        And I don’t know why you keep bringing up Vespa in your comments–who recommended a Vespa? Not me, lol. You and I are probably in agreement that Vespa’s are waaay over-rated and over-priced.

        • I’m glad you have had such luck with your Yamahas but your dealer must be out of business. You see dealers don’t make money selling bikes, they make it fixing them. The margin is very low on sale profitd. I don’t doubt your sincerity but I’m guessing your friends who had so much trouble with their China scooters weren’t in tune with their scooters and abused them. That has always been a problem for Chinese scooters. Why do I mention Vespasian? Because as high priced as they are they have horrific problems. Much worse than Chinese. I will tell you this. Check out the sales of MIC member scooter sales. Way down, including the Japanese. Do you know why? Because most people buy scooters from Taiwan and China. It appears they’re not reading “Don’t buy a Chinese Scooter”. Not everyone is as well off as most Japanese scooter owners. In my case I refuse to spend large sums of money on low performance machines. You see, I can read. Zero to sixty. Ten grand Suzuki 650 Burgman. 8.28 seconds. $7800 Kawasaki 650 Versys- 3.9 seconds. For $1200 that the Metropolitan cost I can buy several different Japanese motorcycles and not move over for Smart cars. Chinese scooters cost just what all scooters should cost-not much.

          • My dealer sells the scooters at msrp (I dont know about their other stuff).Its a fairly large place with everything from Jet-skis to Can-ams, scooters are a very small part of it (def not a major money maker for them I’m sure ). If you don’t believe me I can pass along the location of the dealership (just ask).

            Anyways, the issue being discussed here is this: China-scoots are junk. You can deny it, you can make excuses for them, you can deflect by drawing attention to broken down vespas, or whatever..but we both know that China-scoots are inferior to the japanese brands because everything from the metals used in the engines to the hoses to the tires to the elec wires to the plastics in a China-scoot are of inferior quality. They make clones of clones of clones with little to no quality control. Even the average China-scoot enthusiast will admit to what I just posted, there’s really nothing to argue here. Now what–are you gonna try to tell me that a Sunni or Tao Tao is on par with a Honda? You gonna try to tell me that a Roketa will out-last my Yamaha? Lol, c’mon man stop it!

            The fact that I’ve been able to get so many no-worry miles out of my Yamaha isn’t “luck”– no, its because of the higher quality of the materials and quality-control.

            Btw, you can’t always blame china-scoot failure on user-error: Expecting a brand new scooter to crank up and ride without failing within the first few hundred miles isnt “abuse”, its reasonable expectation lol.

          • Show me where I said a Chinese scooter is equal to a Honda? I said in the hands of an owner who uses it like a $1200 scooter they will have good luck and many miles, NOT “Expecting a brand new scooter to crank up and ride without failing within the first few hundred miles isnt “abuse”, its reasonable expectation”. It’s why my 150 has almost 9,000 miles and the 250 has 10,500. Plus I don’t view 20,000 miles as a lot. Come back when it has 50,000 and talk to me. Then the exorbitant price you paid will be justified.

            You’re supposed to be breaking a scooter in during the first few hundred miles, Not, Cranking it up. You see the reason Chinese scooter fail is because there are people like this out there.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNLjSkjiliA

            Yes, Way too many of these. “Get a motorcycle license”

          • Jim, apparently we define the word “junk” differently and that’s where our our disagreement lies.

            If your argument is that its possible for a cheap china-scoot to do okay if someone takes extra good care of it, in some cases I’d AGREE with that. However, even with proper care there’s still a much higher possibility of pre-mature failure with china-scoots due to the inferior materials that the parts are made out of and the lack of quality control. For example, we both know that its not un-common for 2 identical tao-taos to be of drastically differing quality depending on which batch each came out of; one of them might run okay with proper care and the other falls apart due to differing quality of metals and lack of quality control.

            And as for my Zuma, we both know that 20+ thousand TROUBLE FREE miles on a scooter is plenty! The key word here is “trouble-free”. Be honest, do you think I could achieve the same with a sunny vip peace roketa? Lol, get outta here man!

          • Listen, you’re right. Whenever I hear the “Junk” or “Crap” in reference to a scooter I get nutty. My issue is that there are people who think that you can’t get around the block on a Chinese scooter without it failing because people are calling them junk. I owned Japanese motorcycles back in the 60s and 70s. They had issues. It wasn’t until the Gold Wing in 1975 that the “Jap Crap” comments abated.
            I didn’t get to the mileages I have on mine because they don’t run or fall apart at the drop of a hat. I own one of these and the thing is amazing. If the word ever gets out dealers won’t be ale to keep them in stock.

            http://www.motor-scooters-guide.com/bashan-bs48q2-moped.html

            I’ve done 55 mph-GPS- on a level road now that it’s broken in and get 135 mpg. It has been trouble free for five years, and I mean no maintenance beyond routine. I haven’t even adjusted the chain yet and as you can see by the comments I’m not alone. Better yet they’re out there for $800-shipped. Someone did a video with 18,000 miles on hers and still running strong.

            Thank you for being the most reasonable Japanese scooter owner I’ve talked to about this-ever.

      • I would like to ask a few simple questions for this discussion. What does it say about a brand name if only those who are capable of repairing their own machines are satisfied with it? Regarding Chinese-made scooters, would I be wise to avoid them if I just need a dependable scooter that I do not need to know how to repair? If I want a used scooter for temporary transportation while my car’s repair is in the middle of a civil case, can I expect to even come close to breaking even when I resell a Chinese-made scooter?

        • Yes, you would be wise to find a Japanese or Taiwanese scooter. While dealer backed Chinese scooters such as Wolf or Bintelli are no gamble, buying a used crate scooter from someone who may have just tossed it together will give you no end of trouble. I’ve been around long enough to tell you this. It won’t matter what you buy, you won’t get your money back. Resale value depends on a whole pile of issues. Time of year, low-ballers looking to get it for nothing or even just finding someone who wants it. At this time Chinese scooters are just not for everyone, You have to understand mechanical workings and be in touch with your scooter to own one.

        • If you needed something used and reliable, buy a well-maintained used Yamaha or Honda, no-one can argue against this—Chinese scooters don’t even compare.

          • True. You should be able to find a 25 year old Yamaha or Honda for the price of a Chinese scooter. I see 1985 Honda 150s around Craigslist all the time for the price I paid for my 2009 CF Moto 250cc that has 12,000 trouble free miles on it.

          • Prices and availability vary depending upon the city/state/region–what’s true for you isn’t the same for everybody else.

          • I like when people comment on this post, it gets Jim to come back and check out my site ;)
            But bad example I’m afraid my friend. The Like is one of KYMCO’s made in China models.

          • If it’s true around the Northeast where I live then how it is in some other place like Wisconsin or Oregon doesn’t matter. I got my Chinese scooter online because of the “Hope Diamond” prices people are asking for Antique (any two wheeler over 25 years old) brand name scooters.
            Plus if you buy ANYTHING used you get no guarantees that it doesn’t have an expensive problem underneath. I have a 2010 Kymco Like 50cc (MSRP $2200) in my garage now that I’ll fix-someday. I got it cheap because it allegedly had an “Electrical Problem”. Yeah, how about a blown $70 starter motor for openers. Who knows what else? Yet my cheap Chinese scooters just keep humming along on their original starters.
            But you’re right. Most scooter owners need something they can take to an $80 an hour shop when it doesn’t start. Chinese scooters aren’t for those people.

          • Jim, you’re attached to your opinion and there’s no room for anything else. You seem obsessed with trying to convince people that cheap Chinese scooters are of the same quality as Honda and Yamaha when we know that they aren’t. I’m glad that your’s are doing okay but they are exceptions, not the norm.

            Those of us familiar with scooters know that some china-scoots can last a little while with luck and routine maintenance. We get it. And we know that some china-scoots—depending on the manufacturer, brand, and dealer–are better than others. But buying one remains a dice-roll.

            And your constant mentioning of high-cost shop fees and the such is pointless. Why? Because with routine maintenance and normal riding habits our Japanese scooters run for many thousands of miles without needing any expensive work done. My 2014 4-stroke Zuma is now at almost 28,000 miles. I’ve kept it all stock and do the routine maint. myself. So far the only reason that I’ve needed the shop has been for flat tires.

            It all boils down to what a person is looking for in a scooter, that’s all.

  8. True, the Like has an L Vin number but it’s built to Taiwanese specs like a Super 8, Agility, Fiddle II, Fiddle III, Suzuki DW-250. Also my sources state that many Chinese built, Taiwanese scooters have many parts on them from Taiwan. The SYM, built in China, Lance models have R VIN numbers for just this reason. Don’t blame the Chinese for a bad, overpriced model like the Like 50. The engine made have come to China in a crate from Taipei and be a dog. Notice that Kymco doesn’t sell it anymore. Even once I get the Kymco running it won’t outlast or outrun my Roketa MC-114 Cub clone that I got for $600 with shipping 6 years ago.
    I bought a Honda Big Ruckus several years ago for a bargain price. The owner said it would run with a carb clean and fresh gas. Then I found out it had been in a flood and the engine and bearings had internal rust. Gone. I stuck with Chinese after that.
    i will stick with my original statement. Buy Japanese if need a dealer. If you know things mechanical buy Chinese.

  9. Show me where I said that Chinese scooters are the same as much more expensive Japanese scooters. They’re not. As for shop rates. Don’t discount them. People who buy used Japanese scooters can be falling into a quagmire depending on what the previous owner considered routine riding and maintenance. I can just imagine what this marvelous Kymco would cost to repair at a dealer. I spent more than a few minutes tracking down the bad starter motor.

    “Because with routine maintenance and normal riding habits our Japanese scooters run for many thousands of miles without needing any expensive work done.”

    For people who know what “Normal” riding is that is perfectly true. Of course that doesn’t explain all the bikes and scooters stuck in Japanese motorcycle repair bays, now does it? I’m glad you’ve been lucky with your $3400 Zuma. I’ve been almost as lucky with my $1200 Bashan. A few nits here and there but it has always gotten me home.

    I never said a Chinese scooter was as well built as a scooter costing three times as much. I did say that if you rode within its limits it would last and the hordes of Chinese scooters out there seem to indicate I’m right. I have 25,000 miles combined on my three.

    BUT…..people who don’t know what “limits” are should stay away from Chinese and save their pennies. A CF Moto 250 starter costs $60, a CN-250 Honda starter motor costs a mere $400.

    For the bulk of Americans Chinese scooters don’t make sense. They don’t have the skills.

    • OK. let me explain my viewpoint. Scooters, all scooters, are a pain in the neck. Let’s look at this comment:

      “My 2014 4-stroke Zuma is now at almost 28,000 miles. I’ve kept it all stock and do the routine maint. myself. So far the only reason that I’ve needed the shop has been for flat tires.”

      To the UN-itiated that suggests the scooter hasn’t received any undue work. Hmmm. How many belts? How many roller changes? How many oil changes? The Zuma has fuel injection. How many fuel filters? Valve adjustments? How much “Routine Maintenance” requiring mechanical skills have you performed? ALL those tasks would require the less than ept to go to the $80 an hour shop. My CF Moto is a Honda Helix clone. Belt changes every 9,000 or so. Rear tires every 5,000 if I’m lucky. Any fiddling I had to do on it would be the same for a Honda Helix, THE best scooter ever built according to their owners and I can’t get through a season without performing Routine Maintenance. The Honda Rebel sitting next to it….Oil change every year. A squirt of chain lube when I think of it.

      In 2008 the Rebel was $3350 when the 125cc Zuma was close to that.

      I have a friend who is your typical owner. He took his Honda Reflex to the dealer for a tire change. $200 with labor. He won’t do tire changes on his bikes either. As I recall he spent close to $500 for two tires installed on his Kawasaki 1200 Voyager.

      Here’s my question? Why waste money on a Yamaha SMax 155cc when for a few bucks more you can have a Honda CB300F?

      The answer to all of this is that $3500 for a 150cc scooter is ridiculous. SYM Wolf 150cc, $2999. A Chinese scooter is one-third that much.

      If you have to have a scooter and can’t fix it, you spend the money.

      I don’t have Down’s Syndrome. I wish people with brand name scooters spoke about our bikes with less implication than we’re brain damaged for owning a CHEAP CHINESE POS.

  10. Interesting read. I did do some research, and found plenty of articles on cheap crap chinese models. But, I have found nothing but rave reviews on the Bintelli and purchased a Bintelli Scorch 2015 for $1300. I know that’s pretty much high end for a 49.5cc chinese scooter.

    At any rate, I can’t really comment about longevity yest. Only that I’ve had it for several weeks and am loving it. I actually ride it with the wife behind me. That’s right. Two of us. I don’t run it all out because I’m trying to break it in. Short bursts of all out, but try to keep it at 30mph most of the time. Occassionally will take it up to 40mph,

    Once I break it in and have had it longer I’ll have something more to contribute. Obviously as I mentioned, I can’t attest to it’s longevity. The quality sure seems solid though. No loose screws or anything. I’ve also watched several videos, adjusted my idle even though it didn’t need it, adjusted the throttle handle slightly. All very easy to do. I actually enjoy that the scooter is simple enough really for me to perform maintenance on. Pop the hood on my Ford Escape and my eyes cross though :)

    Oh, one other thing. I wanted the highest quality cheap scooter. I figured it’s a good starting point. Didn’t know for sure how much I would even ride it. As is, it works for me. Is it crap? Junk? No way! If I was a hardcore bike enthusiast I might think differently, but I’m not. Also, I did buy it from a local dealer. 2 year warranty, 1 year roadside assistance free etc… Lots of bonuses. I’m not really bothered by the prospect of the dealer going out of business. There are actually two in my area that sell Bintelli and service them. Either way, scooters seem like a fun way to learn mechanics and repairs. They are so simple. I almost want it to break down…lol. Well, maybe not, but would have fun repairing it.

    Obviously it’s not my sole source of transportation. Just something to scoot to the movies or grocery store down the street. Or putter around exploring the neighborhoods with my wife. She loves it. Not too fast to scare her and she’s already stopped trying to squeeze me to death holding on…lol.

  11. Aside from being informative, this article was simply hilarious.Thanks :D

  12. I suspect that many of the positive reviews you see for Chinese scooters, including those on forums, are written by sellers themselves.

    • Just as I think that all the replies knocking Chinese scooters are written by dealers stuck with scooters, costing three times as much, collecting dust on their showroom floors. Like you Nate.

      • Jim, I can taste the bitterness from here, man!

        • Not bitterness Adrian, fatigue. I have three Chinese scooters that have served me well. 16,000 on the CF Moto, 9,700 on the Bashan and 4,400 on the Bashan Cub clone. I have completed 5 trips to Danbury, CT and back at 300 miles per in the last month and a half, at highway speeds, successfully. on the CF Moto. So here it will come. “You have one of the good ones”. Uh, no. I have three of the good ones. How do you think that happens? Luck? No. In this PC world where “People are never to blame” it must be the scooters. Yet somehow my three have close to 30,000 combined miles.

          And Adrian. I also have in my collection a 2009 Honda Rebel, a 2006 Honda Rebel, a 1991 250 Honda Nighthawk and last, and certainly not least, a 1983, kick ass, 750 Kawasaki Spectre. All mysteriously capable of running and racking up big miles like the 300 mile round trip I did last week in one night on the Spectre, even though it’s 33 years old.

          And remember the Kymco Like 50 I mentioned owning? It was finally diagnosed with a burned piston and scorched barrel that was the result of the previous owner running the oil injection tank dry. Final cost for the repair? $660. So Adrian, it would appear the even a $2200 MSRP scooter from a brand name can be blown to heck by a bad owner. Much like all those Chinese scooters that have acquired a bad name from equally “Bad Owners”.

          And that’s where my bitterness/fatigue comes from.

          • Hey Jim, understood. But the Like is one of few KYMCOs that are made in China.

          • And there we have it. ” But the Like is one of few KYMCOs that are made in China.” Not, “hey, there are stupid owners everywhere”. Oh no, that wouldn’t be Politically Correct. It’s the scooters fault. There’s my fatigue. Nevermind that the Like 50 is assembled in China from many Taiwanese parts, NO, it’s BUILT in China so it ran its oil tank dry and blew the motor.

            I guess Taiwanese made two strokes don’t need oil. Silly me.

  13. This article is right on the mark. I bought a bms pallazo. I loved that scooter. Had it less then a year and it sits in my backyard unable to drive it. The parts I can order, the problem is not one mechanic will work on it. I have no clue what’s wrong. Its a piece of garbage. Never again.

What do you think?