asian scooters(not japanese)

Everything to do with the increasingly popular and nice scooters coming out of Taiwan.
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Dan Durston
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by Dan Durston »

Are you suggesting women aren't mechanically inclined? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

The problem with taking it to a shop is that you are rapidly giving away the money you saved initially by buying Chinese. With a few trips, you may as well have spent a few hundred more for a Kymco or a SYM. Another thing for buyers to consider is re-sale value. You aren't really saving much with a scooter that is $500 cheaper if you're going to have to sell it for way less too.
Scooters Owned: 2003 Ruckus, 2006 Ruckus, 1983 Yamaha Beluga 80, 2007 Vespa LX 150, 2009 Yamaha BWS 125, 2008 Ruckus
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by kz1000st »

It's not a few hundred more, it's several hundred more. We could go long and hard about list prices, but say someone buys a Chinese 150cc scooter, say something like those no name Znens, for $1800-$2000 out the door. What does a comparable size SYM or Kymco go for out the door? another $1200-or MORE? That's better than 2/3 the price and you still have to pay for service. Do you get free service on your Yamaha? I know you get certain liberties for awhile, but after that you would pay top dollar to have the oil changed, valves adjusted, air filter changed, the same as anyone else who didn't know one end of a ratchet from another. I don't mean you don't know tools, Dan, but I'll bet there are alot of high end scooter owners who've never busted a knuckle on their machine.
While I'm going on, some people here are marking up brand name scooters outrageously. I saw a site where a place dumped $500 (!!!) on top of the MSRP of a Piaggio Fly 150. From what I hear Vespas don't go cheap either when the dust clears. The places selling Chinese scoots are small shops and don't have to carry espresso machines and fresh croissants to lure in customers.
Once people know they're serviceable, parts are available and they have someone they can take it to Chinese scooter won't look like such a gamble. As for resale. I've heard that argument ever since I bought my first new Japanese bike 35 years ago. This ridiculous business these days of people asking the same or a few hundreds less than they paid for bikes and scooters five years later doesn't fly in my head. There are plenty of older models in great shape out there for much less. Let the less creative buy and pay too much. When I buy something, I buy it to use it up and worry about it twenty years from now.
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by Dan Durston »

kz1000st wrote:It's not a few hundred more, it's several hundred more. We could go long and hard about list prices, but say someone buys a Chinese 150cc scooter, say something like those no name Znens, for $1800-$2000 out the door. What does a comparable size SYM or Kymco go for out the door? another $1200-or MORE?
I think a fair comparison is Kymco's Super 8 150cc scooter. The 2009 MSRP is $2299 which is $300-$500 more than the price you mentioned for a Znen....not $1200+. I think this is a pretty fair comparison to a 150cc Znen because both used air cooled, SOHC, 150cc, 2-valve engines and both have a front disc brake.

So is the Znen worth saving $300-$500 initially? If your Znen breaks down and needs to go in for repairs more often than the Kymco, you're going to give back all that $300-$500 in just a few repairs....if it's a major repair your money saved could be gone in just one break down. Realistically, I think the Znen is going to cost you $300-$500 more in repairs (not service) over the life of the scooter vs. a Kymco. Perhaps you disagree.....It's not really up to us to decide but potential buyers whether they want to take this risk.

The issue of re-sale value only comes into the equation if you plan on selling the scooter before it's useful life is over. You said that this is irrelevant for you because you plan on keeping yours for 20 years until it's 'used up'. Right here, you're sorta acknowledging the superiority of a Japanese bike because you view a 20 year old Znen as 'used up' whereas a 20 year old Honda is clearly not used up.....a good running condition Honda Elite 150 from the mid 80's still is worth about $1000-$1500 in decent shape. I believe that's more than they cost new.....and currently about the different in MSRP between a Chinese scoot and a Japanese one.

Anyways, the Kymco in question is $300-$500 more than the Znen. Assuming both are worth nothing in 20 years, then that means if the Znen costs you $15-$25 more per year then you'd wind up basically even. Do you honestly think a Znen is only going to cost you $15-$25 per year more to repair than a Kymco? You've already had problems with yours and how old is it?
Scooters Owned: 2003 Ruckus, 2006 Ruckus, 1983 Yamaha Beluga 80, 2007 Vespa LX 150, 2009 Yamaha BWS 125, 2008 Ruckus
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by kz1000st »

"I think a fair comparison is Kymco's Super 8 150cc scooter. The 2009 MSRP is $2299"

That would be true Dan if everybody was going to buy a Chinese made Kymco, but they won't. Frankly at that price my research says a $2400 Eton Beemer 4 would be a better deal (13" wheels and made in Taiwan) but again we can haggle long and hard about list price.
I can buy a 16" wheel scooter for $1199 shipped to my door from GS Motorworks-two for the price one Super 8 out the door.
As for my scooter I got zapped by a bad exhaust system which caused my head to overheat-possibly- and caused valve spring failure. If I bought another Chinese scoot it would be one of the first things I would check and I can't blame the people who sold it to me-heck I can't even blame the Chinese since they probably make a zillion of these a day. But-I had someone in Scootdawg rebuild the head, put on high perf springs and get it back to me in a week from the time I sent it. Gratis. He felt he owed me a favor and did a crazy nice rebuild.
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

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kz1000st wrote:As for my scooter I got zapped by a bad exhaust system which caused my head to overheat-possibly- and caused valve spring failure......I can't even blame the Chinese since they probably make a zillion of these a day.
A mis-aligned exhaust causing a valve spring failure seems unlikely. Even if your scooter was overheating, valve springs should be able to handle extremely high temperatures. Overheating would accelerate the fatiguing of the valve spring, but it still shouldn't fatigue to the point of failure in 1250 miles. Does a GY6 equipped scooter have any way of alerting the driver if it's too hot?

I suspect your valve spring failure was more likely caused by either a faulty valve spring, or a radically out of adjustment valve gap hammering the spring and possibly causing it to float.

Either way, I don't understand your reluctance to blame the manufacturer. Would you accept a problem like this in a Toyota Corolla because they also make a zillion of those? In my books, the more vehicles a manufacturer makes, the more they should be finding and solving the problems. Luckily for you, you have a friend to get you back on the road. For a lot of others a break down like this would have been the end of the road for this scooter.

I understand that serious breakdowns can happen to any vehicle from any brand, so I'm not suggesting this problem is grounds for avoiding Chinese scooters. However, I do think you should keep in mind that if you had bought a Japanese scooter, you would have been alerted to any overheating as soon as it started happening (since every modern Japanese scooter has at least an overheating warning light) and had this problem still occurred, it would have been covered under warranty. This alone isn't enough to justify the price gap between these scooters, but if stuff like this keeps happening then you may want to re-consider.
Scooters Owned: 2003 Ruckus, 2006 Ruckus, 1983 Yamaha Beluga 80, 2007 Vespa LX 150, 2009 Yamaha BWS 125, 2008 Ruckus
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by kz1000st »

I don't know if I told you this originally, but the reason we got the scooter is because my wife wanted to try one to save gas. Short version is that after trying a dirt bike she wanted a street bike.Now the scooter was a good stepping stone but in the end she got a Rebel. Even you would be hard pressed to debate the advantages she has with a Rebel, nice windshield and good soft bags over a scooter. All for about $3700 inclusive. If she had decided a Kymco Super 8 wasn't as nice as a Rebel I'd be holding $2600 (out the door) of extra scoter right now. Instead I have a thousand dollar set of "training wheels" to use for grocery runs. My own wheels is a 650 Kawasaki that I can run to the grocery store or Lake Ontario (150 miles) with, I've done both.
In the meantime I'll see if I can still fix motorcycles and get the scoot back together. I got it apart without breaking anything, now I just have to remember where everything goes.
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by Dan Durston »

I agree with you about the Rebel.....nice bikes but awfully expensive for what they are. Here in Canada the MSRP is $5300 and then by the time you add taxes, freight, PDI and accessories you are way over $6000 (which is like $5000 US dollars). That's pretty huge coin for an air cooled, carburated, 250cc Honda that's been around forever.

Good luck with the repairs to your scooter.....working on engines can be a lot of fun as long as you don't hit any frustrating problems. I think you'll be able to get a lot more than 1250 miles on this once you get it back on the road. In my mind, I think Chinese scooters are fundamentally good designs that just may have not been assembled properly.
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by kz1000st »

OK, I'm back. After a lengthy delay due to bad weather and other life related circumstances I finally got the scooter back together and it's good as new. It would appear that spring breakage came from one of two areas. The first, and most likely, is that I ran along at WFO most of the time. My scooter has 10" wheels and I was doing 50 mph all the time and it was pushing it. I'll keep it between 40 and 45 from now on just to be on the safe side. I have a motorcycle if I need to make time. The second thought, of course, is defective material and is always a possibility. But I'm leaning towards the first possibility since I know how hard I was riding it. What was cool is that on putting the scoot back together almost everything was aftermarket. The valve springs are high performance and heavy duty. Even the head gasket is not the usual teflon coated metal type but a fiber gasket with a stainless steel fire ring around the cylinder and silicon seals around the studs and cam tunnel. It's made to withstand 175 psi of compression. All the parts were available over the web. In truth I got the the head gasket from the guy who rebuilt my head and I had the company who I bought my scoot from online send him all the gaskets for the job. I have a one year warranty and they stood behind it. As a matter of fact when I told them what had happened (it turned out both the inner exhaust and outer intake springs broke) they were going to send me an entire head with valves and springs on warranty. I turned it down since mine was being refurbed. So now I'm up and running with the new exhaust system I also got on warranty and the scoot is doing good. I'll check the valve adjustment in 500 miles and hopefully I can enjoy the Bashan for years to come. AS a side note. When I torqued down the head with the new springs, the intake valve was still at a perfect .004 clearance which is what it's supposed to be. The exhaust was tight which is common on China scoots at 1,000 miles. I set it .005.
Despite my fears over the job it went well and I didn't end up with any extra parts.
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by Dan Durston »

Good to hear you got it back together! From the sounds of it, this engine should be very reliable now. It seems that you've done a good job getting it all reassembled.

I still think this failure was a result of either faulty springs or faulty assembly. Scooters are made to be ridden at WOT all the time. I intend to ride mine at pretty much WOT for 6000 miles when I ride out to Ontario in 10 days from now.

The stress on valve springs comes simply from whatever RPM you are turning and a GY6 engine isn't spinning that fast at 50mph. I think you're fine to continue to ride at 50mph. Small scooter engine purposely have lower redlines and are geared so that you can ride around at WOT.
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by kz1000st »

Here you go Dan, you get to see the Ugly American on his Cheap China Scooter wearing his free leather jacket. I finally got my wife to take the picture and the camera held together and everything. Now let's see if Vista cooperates.
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by Dan Durston »

Hmm......that's a pretty good lookin scoot. Nice jacket too 8-)
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by kz1000st »

Thanks. I took it out for a quick 52 mile spin today. It ran like a top. I took my eyes off the speedo for a second and it started sneaking up on 50 mph again. The guy who refurbed the head did a little light porting and it fattened up the mid range. It feels stronger at 40-45 mph now. Also, running at reduced speed is giving me much better gas mileage. I've gone about 5 miles further that usual and can probably go another 5 before fueling.
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by Dan Durston »

Yeah running it at a bit less that WOT does wonders for your milage. I leave in 2 days for a 6000 mile trip and a lot of that is with another guy on a 50cc who can do about 50mph. I'll be able to cruise at that speed at about 2/3 throttle so I should get exceptional milage. I'm excited to see how that goes.
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by kz1000st »

Wow, 6000 miles! I hope you have kidney belt. I got bounced around pretty good yesterday on some rough roads and was reminded why I used to use one on long trips. I did a trip around Lake Superior once and the roads got pretty bouncy at times, even on a KZ1000ST.
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Re: asian scooters(not japanese)

Post by crashoverride »

Your taking the scoot all the way to the rally?

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