GENUINE STELLA - OWNER REVIEWS
2009 GENUINE STELLA
Milage: 0 - 1000 Miles
Likes: True vintage experience, Manual transmission
Dislikes: HORRIBLY unreliable, Poor build quality, Dangerous rear brakes
Review: “I have owned a 2003, 2004, and two 2009 Stella’s and they were all HORRIBLE quality. All of them had ongoing electrical issues, engine problems, brake problems, and sloppy / careless build quality. They were all in the repair shop more than they were on the road. I kept buying brand new ones and selling off the old ones...thinking that I just got a "bad one". After 4 different bikes I realized that they were all garbage. There's no such thing as a "Good" Stella. Horrible reliability, Horrible build quality, just plain horrible.
I sold all of them and I now own a Honda and a Yamaha. It's a completely different world...I get on the Honda or the Yamaha and they actually start, run, and provide an incredibly reliable ownership experience. Lastly, all 4 Stella’s had the same dangerous rear braking issue. Something always felt out-of-round with the rear brakes. If I applied the rear brake with anything more than mild pressure, the rear brake would unexpectedly cycle in a grab / lock / release pattern causing the bike to fishtail dangerously. All four of my Stella’s had this issue.”
2013 GENUINE STELLA
Milage: 0 - 1000 Miles
Likes: Form AND Functionality, Spare tire, Quiet 4-stroke, Real PX design, All metal
Dislikes: Quality control is lacking, Power could be better
Review: “I am on my second Genuine Stella after my last one was stolen earlier this year. The Stella, by way of LML in India, is basically a 35 year old Vespa PX. This means it was designed before Vespa became a high-end niche product and as such was built to be a convenient, easily fixable, functional, frugal form of transportation. I have been able to do minor maintenance all on my own with a single 13mm socket wrench, which I find to be absolutely amazing. I’ve had to adjust the headset that was askew. I had to change brake pads. I also had to change a flat tire – which I did in ten minutes, and was back on my way to work since the spare is stored right there under the fender. The tire is tubed, which means I spent $13 for a new tube instead of $50 for a new tire. I also realized the amazing design that went into this scoot when I laid the Stella on her side, to access the bolts around the rim, and the kickstand supported the bike enough to keep the ground-side fender from scraping the pavement. Again, this is the kind of ingenuous functionality that immediately endeared me to the Stella.
I also like the fact that Stella is a shifty. I’m a huge advocate a manual transmission, due to their simplicity. Again, the Stella is designed to be simple and frugal. No expensive CVT belts to replace and maintain. I haven’t had to replace a clutch cable yet, but I’m sure it won’t be difficult.
Because I’ve only owned a Stella, I can’t compare ride quality to other scooters, but I’m happy with the way it rides. It loves running up to about 45 mph, after that it starts to become a little squirrely due to the 10” tires and short wheelbase, but that’s to be expected. Other than that, it’s easy to ride, park, and it’s exactly what I needed for commuting and errand running. And at a consistent 90 mpg (and I'm a big guy), it is almost literally my daily driver, and my cars stay parked in the driveway.
The only problem I had with both Stella’s is the inconsistent quality. My first Stella had a firm-closing glove box, where my new Stella’s glove box lid is a bit off. My first Stella had some electrical gremlins that may have been due to setup from the factory – I had two loose fuses.
I love my 2013 Stella(s), and I’m a bit disappointed that Genuine is only producing Stella’s with automatic transmissions now. I feel like I’m driving a bit of history; something that was made when things were not only built to last, but to be owner-serviceable. I can see how that wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but with only a screwdriver and a 13 mm wrench, I am my own mechanic!”
2014 GENUINE STELLA AUTOMATIC
Milage: 1000 - 5000 Miles
Likes: Large enough to carry two big adults comfortably, or one adult and child. Nice weight and solid. Good pickup. Beautiful vintage looks. Great city bike.
Dislikes: Somewhat difficult kickstand rack. Shoddy small details, such as a loose accelerator handle when bike was brand new (which they never fixed), speedometer broke in 2 years, Stella name not glued on very well. Bike will NOT start if it is below 45 degrees, and even 50 degrees is a tossup. Terrible in slippery conditions, with a tendency to fishtail when braking. 2.5 years in, has warmup problems and will stall at every stop until it has been running a long while. Last year's tuneup did little good, and it's gotta go in again as soon as I get a warm enough day to start it. Fingers crossed.
Review: ”I love this bike because it is FUN. It is sharp-looking, easy to ride, and accommodates passengers really well. The seat is really big, and made of leather, not rubber. My friends all have Buddys, and they are just too small for two big adults to ride on. The Stella can seat two midwesterners pretty well--my wife and I often ditch the car and go out for dates on the Stella. In Chicago, where parking can be tough, this bike has changed our lives for the better. I put a top box on with a seat back, and my daughter feels safe riding back and forth to school with me. With the top box, front rack, a backpack, and a bag hooked on between my knees, I can do a heck of a big grocery shopping trip on this bike, and I get a kick out of the way people watch me load groceries in store parking lots.
This bike can be tough to start in the cold, though, and it can ride rough for a while even in good weather until it is warmed up. Little things on it will go, like the speedometer, which died two years after I bought the bike brand new. The right accelerator handle is always threatening to slide off. The trim that spelled out "automatic" in cursive peeled off in a year. My friends never seem to take their Buddys into the shop, but I feel like this bike needs pretty regular maintenance to run well.
Pulling the bike up onto its stand--there is not kickstand--can be tough for smaller people, and can take practice and a little bit of strength. When I bought the bike, the salesperson first made sure I could get it on the stand. If you park too close to the curb, pulling it up on the stand can pop your tire flat if you accidentally hit the wheel against the curb stone, which happened to me. The brakes are ok, though the rear brake can fishtail the bike in slippery conditions.
If I had my 4K back in hand, which is what this bike cost me after I put the racks and top case on, bought a helmet, and paid taxes and registration, I might choose a better-made bike with more power and reliability. For now, though, the Stella looks good. It's a cool-looking retro bike, and if you are just riding short distances on secondary streets, taking a child to school, or running to the store, and you don't mind glueing things back on it and taking it in to the shop to have it adjusted every now and then, you'll like it just fine.”
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