Vespa vs Chinese Scooters
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Addicted
1979 P200E (sold) / ZNEN Amore 150 / Genuine Buddy 170i / Genuine Stella 4T / 2009 Aprilia Sportcity One 50
Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 693
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:40 am quote
Hey, all. I'm new to the forum. In fact, I registered for the sole purpose of asking the question, "Why the price differential between Vespas and Chinese scooters?"

Before you answer, let me give you a little background on why I ask. And please bear with me; I tend to be a little long winded.

I have worked in quality control for an automotive manufacturer for more than twenty years, specializing in CMM (coordinate measuring machine) programming and metrology. As such, I am always very quality minded about all things mechanical. I drive a 1989 Volvo 240 5-speed, a 1985 Porsche 928 and ...

a Chinese scooter.

Now, everybody please just sit down and be quiet while I explain what happened. Two years ago I was transferred to our other facility and my eight mile drive became twenty. Management also decided that they didn't want to pay me for the change in my mileage. I talked with my wife and began entertaining the idea of purchasing a scooter. I went with a local dealer and purchased a ZNEN Amore 150.




The first thing that struck me was the fantastic service I received from the dealer. The first TWO bikes were damaged in shipping, and Jason at Grand Rapids Scooter (shameless plug) ate the cost and worked with me until we were shipped an acceptable bike. I have to admit, while the bike looks very nice all in all, there are definitely areas that are not the finest quality from a fit and finish standpoint, but ultimately the overall quality surprised me, especially considering the $1500 out the door price tag.

I now have just over 1700 miles on the bike and have been very happy overall. It is easy to work on and parts - if needed - are plentiful and affordable. Even with the addition of the windshield I am averaging 73mpg, very often running WOT at 50mph+. It is based on the Honda GY6 tried and true platform, so when it comes to modifications and upgrades ... again, it's very affordable. In fact, I can buy an entire 150cc GY6 and CVT for under $300 new. So, what's the problem?

I stopped at the local Vespa dealer last night. All I can say is O-M-G! (spoken like a 14 year old schoolgirl). I can really see the appeal. Without even driving one I can "feel" the difference in the bike. I really like things like trip computers and fuel injection (all things that COULD be added to my ZNEN), but it also felt more solid and well balanced. Detail was definitely top priority on these bikes. While the 946 is a no-brainer (I would first buy another car for that price), the Primavera 150 COULD be a good deal. But is it worth it?

So, now I'll turn it over to those of you who really know what you're talking about. That's why I'm here. I want to learn as much as possibly before jumping into a decision that may or may not turn out the way I expect it to. Some food for thought ... I plan on keeping the ZNEN, but love the "classic-ness" of the Vespa. Would it be worth purchasing a new Vespa for $5K+ or should I find a classic Vespa (2-stroke manual) and keep the ZNEN for the daily driver? They did have a fully restored '65 Vespa 150 in the showroom for less than the cost of a new one. Or, should I continue with the Chinese scooters, knowing that dollar for dollar I'm not going to recoup the cost by buying up?

Thoughts?
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 7225
Location: Ashburn, Va. Home to the Internet
Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:53 am quote
Pls rpst nc y hv 10,000 mls nd lt s knw f t's vn rnnng nymr. Th Chns sctrs r thrw wy jnk, y wll fnd tht t sn :rll:
Addicted
1979 P200E (sold) / ZNEN Amore 150 / Genuine Buddy 170i / Genuine Stella 4T / 2009 Aprilia Sportcity One 50
Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 693
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:58 am quote
Hmmm ... thanks for the warm welcome.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 8628
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:08 am quote
Welcome to the forum.

You probably won't find much love for Chinese scooters here (it is, after all, a Vespa-based forum), and from my perspective, they're at opposite ends of the spectrum-not that Vespas's are perfect, but there is a "get what you pay for" issue.

Glad you're enjoying your ride....though as WEB-TECH points out, you're not likely to be riding your scoot as long as a Vespa....30K and beyond is an easy mark for a Vespa...
Ossessionato
07 GTS250(RIP), 13 GTS300, Several Lambrettas
Joined: 25 Apr 2007
Posts: 2690
Location: Raleigh, NC
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:11 am quote
Welcome to MV. Some people have no manners.

A couple of quick thoughts. First, it seems you are in a different league with a dealer that will support and service your scooter. A great deal of "chinese POS" scooters are those imported and sold over the internet, or those sold by Pepboys and the like. No chance of service beyond the sale. There truly are some bad examples out there. Quality differs dramatically between factories in fit, finish, metal parts, etc.

Second, if you are mechanically inclined, you really don't need more than a few special tools to work on these things yourself. This gives you a great hand up to those folks who buy a cheap scooter and are lost to fix even the smallest thing. If you enjoy tinkering, get an older 2-stroker. If you prefer the feel and look of newer Vespas, get what make you happy. Ignore the rest.
Hooked
Currently Vespaless
Joined: 24 Apr 2014
Posts: 277
Location: Toronto
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:12 am quote
seamus26 wrote:
Hmmm ... thanks for the warm welcome.
I'm not sure what you're asking. A lot of options being presented.

1) keep the Chinese scooter
2) buy a 65 Vespa
3) buy a new Primavera

You're looking for a financial justification and quite frankly, none of them make any sense from a finance point of view. The best option financially is a bicycle.

But if the Chinese scooter is working for you, just keep riding it.
Ossessionato
07 GTS250(RIP), 13 GTS300, Several Lambrettas
Joined: 25 Apr 2007
Posts: 2690
Location: Raleigh, NC
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:16 am quote
Here's a couple of throw away chinese scooter junk that made the journey across USA:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=988742
Hooked
2009 Vespa 250GTS, 1992 Honda Shadow 1100
Joined: 08 Jul 2014
Posts: 335
Location: Northern Bay Area, California
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:17 am quote
Just my two cents...
About a month before I got my Vespa this summer, I had bought a Chinese scooter (used, BMS, 2008, only 400+ miles) to see if I liked small bikes/scooters (I also ride a Honda Shadow.) I bought this scooter on the recommendation of my neighbor, who had bought one last year and has had no problems with it. I, on the other hand, had trouble with mine right away - had to replace the fuel lines (expected) and then the electric choke, and then the carb, and then the clutch almost immediately - and discovered that no shop around here will work on Chinese bikes. Parts were inexpensive online and easy to install, and my neighbor's hubby did it for me while I helped and learned a lot about how to work on this easy-to-work-on little scooter. It was a fun scooter to ride, and I could flat-foot it, always nice on my long gravel driveway. I decided that I liked scooters.
But I also decided that I wanted a scooter that has a rep for reliability and that shops are willing to work on, both for basic maintenance and any repairs needed. The Vespa (2009 250 GTS) fills all these requirements. Except for the reaching-the-ground-issue with the Vespa (I have short legs!) I have been very pleased with it. I have a great dealer and numerous shops nearby very willing and able to wrench it for me, I no longer have to rely on the patience and goodwill of my neighbor's hubby, and I can just get on it and go without undue fear that it will die on me as the Chinese scooter did again and again in the month I owned it.
While the Chinese scooter wasn't the right bike for me, if you are willing and able to do repairs and maintenance on your Chinese bike, then it might be the right one for you.

Last edited by BlueShadow1 on Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:20 am; edited 3 times in total
Addicted
1979 P200E (sold) / ZNEN Amore 150 / Genuine Buddy 170i / Genuine Stella 4T / 2009 Aprilia Sportcity One 50
Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 693
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:17 am quote
fledermaus wrote:
Welcome to the forum.

You probably won't find much love for Chinese scooters here (it is, after all, a Vespa-based forum), and from my perspective, they're at opposite ends of the spectrum-not that Vespas's are perfect, but there is a "get what you pay for" issue.

Glad you're enjoying your ride....though as WEB-TECH points out, you're not likely to be riding your scoot as long as a Vespa....30K and beyond is an easy mark for a Vespa...
I understand that I'm walking a minefield here, but that was my reason for asking the question HERE. I am interested in actually purchasing a Vespa. I thought a good place to start would be talking to Vespa owners.

I didn't expect champagne and roses, but wow. I wanted some real-world comparisons, preferably from people who have ridden both (you know who you are).

The quality of the Chinese scooters has improved drastically over the last six or seven years. They are much more reliable than their predecessors.

I hope that I am able to post again at the 10K mark and give you a glowing review.
Moderatus Rana
MP3 250 (sold) MP3 500 (current)
Joined: 11 Jul 2008
Posts: 21446
Location: Palatka, Florida
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:22 am quote
Welcome to MV.

I think you answered your first question ""Why the price differential between Vespas and Chinese scooters?" when you checked out the Vespas.
Molto Verboso
2010 Aprilia Mana GT, 2010 Aprilia Sport City 300 (sold), 2010 GTS 300 Super (sold), & 2007 LX150 (sold)
Joined: 07 Aug 2009
Posts: 1312
Location: Toronto, Canada
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:25 am quote
Congratulations on your purchase and welcome to the wonderful world of scooters. I do like the retro looking lines on your scoot.

Not all scooters are built the same. I have only owned Piaggio brand scooters. Two Vespas and one Aprilia. So I can’t offer any advice on Chinese built scooters.


I will try to answer your questions:

1) keep the Chinese scooter – Learn to ride on this scoot. Enjoy your ride and you will know when it’s time to sell and buy your 2nd scooter

2) buy a 65 Vespa – if you are mechanical inclined then it’s a good scoot. Older scoots require a little more love compared to the modern.

3) buy a new Primavera – Hell YES! But beware once you ride a Vespa (or any other Piaggio brand, even SYM, Honda, BMW, Yamaha, Kymco ) you will never look at a Chinese scooter again.

Last edited by TEX on Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:37 am; edited 1 time in total
Addicted
1979 P200E (sold) / ZNEN Amore 150 / Genuine Buddy 170i / Genuine Stella 4T / 2009 Aprilia Sportcity One 50
Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 693
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:25 am quote
Thanks for the responses while I was responding.

To clarify ... I will probably keep the ZNEN for several reasons. I am a tinkerer. I can pull the carb, clean it and have it running inside half an hour (it was my fault for adding dry gas - live and learn). It's cheap and easy to work on.

I will probably buy a second scooter. I'm looking for any information I can find on whether the Vespa is a good investment, or should I stick with a second Chinese scoot.

Even though a Vespa is known to go 30K+ miles, for the price I can buy three ZNENs or one and replace the entire driveline with brand new stuff a dozen times.

All things to consider, I suppose.
Addicted
Vespa 946,Yamaha Vino
Joined: 07 Apr 2014
Posts: 849
Location: GULF COAST
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:26 am quote
My answer may not have much validity as I have been advised that I have negative Karma. Its really not clear who determined that or what their assessment qualifications are.
If you like and are happy with the Chinese scoots, then stay with the Chinese. If you want something with the potential to hold some value, then go buy a Vespa. That's one of the reasons my motorcycles are BMW's and not some Chinese stuff. However, some of the Taiwanese built scoots are pretty good. You must be into value since you drive a Porsche.
I just noticed you referred to pulling the Carb on the Chinese scoot. That's one reason I don't like older carbed stuff. I hate having to do that.
Addicted
1979 P200E (sold) / ZNEN Amore 150 / Genuine Buddy 170i / Genuine Stella 4T / 2009 Aprilia Sportcity One 50
Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 693
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:31 am quote
acejones wrote:
My answer may not have much validity as I have been advised that I have negative Karma. Its really not clear who determined that or what their assessment qualifications are.
If you like and are happy with the Chinese scoots, then stay with the Chinese. If you want something with the potential to hold some value, then go buy a Vespa. That's one of the reasons my motorcycles are BMW's and not some Chinese stuff. However, some of the Taiwanese built scoots are pretty good. You must be into value since you drive a Porsche.
Thanks. I suppose when it all boils down to it I may have to ride one to see for sure. Perhaps a test drive is in order.
Ossessionato
X10 350
Joined: 12 Nov 2008
Posts: 2956
Location: London
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:32 am quote
Hi. Welcome.

I think one of the problems may be that you're likely to have much more experience of actually riding a Chinese scooter than almost all of the people on here, so you may not find anyone who's actually done a lot of riding on both Chinese scoots and Vespas.

You will, of course, find lots of "someone I know told me about a friend of theirs whose friend had an awful experience 10 years ago with a Chinese scooter....", as well as plenty of people who just like saying "POS".

If you can find any way to test ride a Vespa, you might be the person best qualified to answer your own question.

Vespas are definitely NOT made to be value for money. You pay a premium for the brand (and the fact that they look cool as ***), but that's life. I think most people here would agree that they're great fun and pretty reliable in general (although problems do happen, and a lot of folk don't have easy access to a good dealer, and the whole of Italy closes down in August, so sometimes there's a wait for parts, etc).

Good luck.
Hooked
'13 BV350 Black
Joined: 30 Nov 2012
Posts: 276
Location: Denver
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:36 am quote
Members of this forum are all over the world. I would give it at least a day before getting discouraged.

For myself I see the appeal and value of the Vespa but it just not for me. I got the Piaggio (Vespa related but not) and before that I had a Buddy 125. I did a lot of research before I bought either of them and the main problem I had with the Chi scoots is the long term reliability.

As snarky as the previous post may have sounded, the point is sound. The typical Chinese scoot will not survive for several years like a Vespa without a lot of work - which can cost a lot in labor. My understanding is that there can also be a lot of variability in the quality of the same make and model Chinese scoot. This is a "pay now or pay later" situation and value is a personal choice. Now, if you are one of those that likes to tinker and is willing to put the time into maintaining your bike then your ZNEN is a great value. Or you simply may have gotten one of those that beats the odds.

Don't get me wrong. There is a place for them and they are really cheap to own and operate - for awhile. I read lots of horror stories about all the fuel lines cracking after a year or two. The speed nuts (those are the metal clips that let the screws hold plastic body panels in place) rusting. Thin body panels. Rusting frame welds. Intermittent electrical problems. You get the picture. It's the little things that wear you down.

For me if comes down to reliability. I don't want to be on a trip (short or long) and have to pull over to the roadside to fix my bike. How much that is worth to you?
Hooked
Currently Vespaless
Joined: 24 Apr 2014
Posts: 277
Location: Toronto
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:39 am quote
seamus26 wrote:
Thanks for the responses while I was responding.

To clarify ... I will probably keep the ZNEN for several reasons. I am a tinkerer. I can pull the carb, clean it and have it running inside half an hour (it was my fault for adding dry gas - live and learn). It's cheap and easy to work on.

I will probably buy a second scooter. I'm looking for any information I can find on whether the Vespa is a good investment, or should I stick with a second Chinese scoot.

Even though a Vespa is known to go 30K+ miles, for the price I can buy three ZNENs or one and replace the entire driveline with brand new stuff a dozen times.

All things to consider, I suppose.
I'll say again, there is no such thing as a good investment in the motoring world. Buy it, ride it, enjoy it and when it comes time to sell, hopefully you don't take a big hit.

I scooter for fun. There's an enjoyment factor in riding a Vespa I like the 2 stroke sound and feel. It's not practical in any way.

I'm not sure what sort of welcome you expected but for the most part, the repsonses have been quite civil. Try posting a similar question in a Harley forum.
Addicted
2013 Honda CBR500RA ABS, 2005 Vespa PX150 w/ GickSpeed 177
Joined: 30 Apr 2006
Posts: 550
Location: Canadian in Alabama
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:39 am quote
GY6 platform if maintained in a normal matter (simple oil changes and the basics) can outlast in many many cases I've personally seen an equally maintained vespa.

A buddy of mine currently has 53k miles on one of his gy6 scooters still capable of the same top speed as it was new, infact he barely does anything to it, looked at his logs recently and realized it was 25k since he last changed a plug or gear oil in the cvt. his other gy6 powered scoot had 35k on it when he sold it in perfect running order.

Now not all Chinese scooters are created equal some are just royal pieces of shit. But when I sit on Facebook, listen to friends conversations and read about it here that people are having their 15-25k mile vespa gt and gts engines detonate or catch fire and you want to bash a Chinese scoot you need to sit down and shut up.

I have nothing agasint any 2 wheel form of transportation I choose vespa because the heritage and wanting one for 15+ years.

Last edited by RevToTheRedline on Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:43 am; edited 2 times in total
Moderatus Rana
MP3 250 (sold) MP3 500 (current)
Joined: 11 Jul 2008
Posts: 21446
Location: Palatka, Florida
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:39 am quote
acejones wrote:
My answer may not have much validity as I have been advised that I have negative Karma. Its really not clear who determined that or what their assessment qualifications are.
It is perfectly clear and sitting right in our very own wiki. This should help you understand. FAQ: Post Ratings and Karma
Addicted
1979 P200E (sold) / ZNEN Amore 150 / Genuine Buddy 170i / Genuine Stella 4T / 2009 Aprilia Sportcity One 50
Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 693
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:50 am quote
snowrider wrote:
I'll say again, there is no such thing as a good investment in the motoring world. Buy it, ride it, enjoy it and when it comes time to sell, hopefully you don't take a big hit.

I scooter for fun. There's an enjoyment factor in riding a Vespa I like the 2 stroke sound and feel. It's not practical in any way.

I'm not sure what sort of welcome you expected but for the most part, the repsonses have been quite civil. Try posting a similar question in a Harley forum.
Thanks. I only differ to opinion on the investment portion because of this :

I am keeping a spreadsheet tracking my mileage on the scooter (real world) compared to my average mileage in the Volvo or the Porsche. It continually updates me on my savings. As gas prices go up, so do my savings.

Don't get me wrong, the fun factor is huge. I love riding and ride every chance I get. But, my main goal was to save pennies at the pump. As it stands, with my current average mileage it will completely pay for the initial investment (including gear and licensing) in 14,775 miles compared to the Volvo and 9,612 miles compared to the Porsche.

Right now I am averaging 72.87 mpg. Hopefully with a couple of light mods I will be able to improve that.

Thanks for everyone's input.
Member
Lx150, gts250
Joined: 30 Jul 2014
Posts: 19
Location: Lowell ma
Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:56 am quote
Hey there! Welcome! Scootin' is scootin' man!

I have ridden Honda and Yamaha scooters, and while they aren't as cheap as the el cheapo ones the quality of riding between those and Vespas is huge!!

When I ride my vespa I feel like there is more motorcycle under me. The controls and steering all seem more solid. The engine runs smoother. The body feels bigger and more solid. So when I'm riding it it doesn't feel like anything is in danger of falling off.

Now when I ride the other two I feel like I'm just too big for them (and I'm only 5'3") and that the wobble at high speeds something will fall off.

Do you have any way to take a test ride?? There's a place nearby my house that rents Vespas.

Good luck!
Molto Verboso
2010 Aprilia Mana GT, 2010 Aprilia Sport City 300 (sold), 2010 GTS 300 Super (sold), & 2007 LX150 (sold)
Joined: 07 Aug 2009
Posts: 1312
Location: Toronto, Canada
Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:07 am quote
What'chu talkin' 'bout seamus26?

Okay now you have thrown me for a loop…… And I am sure someone else is thinking the same. I say this in good fun

You drive a Volvo and a Porsche and you bought a Chinese scooter for cost savings?

Just ride the hell out of the ZNEN keep it maintained under warranty. When the warranty expires start looking at a scoot that would complement your garage. Something Italian or German.


Moderator
2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 12959
Location: Paros Island, Greece
Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:07 am quote
to MV from the Sunny Aegean!

Seamus,

There are Chinese scooters, and there are Chinese scooters. I truly hope you got one that is solid and reliable. Sounds like you have a good, supportive dealer, and in the US, that can be difficult to find.

You will be hard pressed, as others have noted, to find someone on this forum who can offer first hand experience with a particular brand and year scooter from China. Quality of some brands has improved over the years, and while several brands produce very similar looking models, quality variance between brands is great. Getting a valid comparison, therefore, is difficult. What you can get is a lot of different first hand impressions with Piaggio products.

You identified some of the build differences, and of course, a Vespa is a metal bodied scooter, not plastic. That adds to the cost of building, and thus the price.

If you are looking at 150cc scooters, then it's a matter of taste and how it feels to ride one scooter vs the other. 300cc scooters are a whole different bag.

You might PM Snowrider in Toronto who has a very good PX 150 (shifty) for sale. Sometimes it's worth a drive to pick one of those up in like new condition.

Meanwhile, enjoy your ride.
Ossessionato
2009 MP3 500 - The Iridescent Chameleon, 2007 Yamaha Vino 125, 2016 Indian Scout Sixty
Joined: 18 Jun 2010
Posts: 2664
Location: Geneseo, IL (Quad City area)
Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:12 am quote
I had a Chinese 50cc a decade ago, and I put over 1,000 miles on it in a year. But there were several times in that year I had what I considered big problems with it (2 failed turn signal relays, fuel line failure, and eventually major carb problems that made me sell it). When I lived in Indy near the importer, I was able to get parts. I think about the time I moved, they went out of business and I was stuck. I had a friend who was very good mechanically that used every trick he'd picked up in 30+ years of working on bikes to get the engine running again. It still wasn't quite right, so I ended up just selling it rather than try to deal with the spotty performance.

Now, if quality of the bikes they're making has come up in the last decade, I can't say. That's just my experience.

Since that time, I've had a Yamaha scoot I put 6,000 miles on before it was stolen and my MP3 that I'm up to almost 40,000 miles. I've had very few problems on either of those bikes that I didn't cause myself with tinkering or crashing.

When you buy a Vespa, the premium you're paying for is several things:

* Fit and finish
* Quality control
* The cost of design & labor
* The name
* Dealer and parts network. (As much as people may gripe about it on here, it at least DOES exist, and you can get replacements at least online, if not locally)

I will agree with you that a Chinese scoot CAN be as reliable as a Vespa. But the odds of it happening are a lot lower. For example, in your specific experience alone, it took 3 tries to get a bike that was right.

It boils down to this question: What are you comfortable with? If you're good with mechanical work and like to get your hands dirty, and have a source for parts, you can certainly find some great deals on Chinese bikes. Or if you have a reliable shop that can do work for you, they can be a great option. But if you want something that "just works", you're more likely to find that in a Vespa. That's not always the case, but on average, that's how it works out.

On a different note, there's another option for purchasing a Vespa you didn't list: buy used. If you search for a while, you can usually find a used bike with next to no miles for about1/2 the price of new. They tend to be ads on Craigslist that say something like "Bought this for my girlfriend/wife, but she never rode it."

Mark
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 29304

Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:17 am quote
Aloha and welcome to the forum from Hawaii. When i mov ed back here in '99 i hadn't kept up withe the Chinese stuff and how bad they were (rode Honda's). Bought a used SUNL ('06). It didn't last 6 months and i practically gave it away. I was looking for a vespa since i always wanted one and had to get one from CA. Huge difference in the ride and performance. While the Vespa's maybe a bit quirky they are hearty beasts. My LX has 29,300 miles and is 7yrs old. There's a guy who sells knockoff scoots in Waikiki. He has a 3yur warranty. Engine is made in Taiwan and it's assembled in China. If he notices any parts going bad (more than a few people bringing them it to get a certain part fixed) he's on a plane to ream them a new one. My roommate has a Buddy which is a solid scooter. One of the top 5 but it's entirely plastic. The Vespa's have a metal mono body which makes a HUGE difference in the way it rides. Vespa feels more solid. That said the bike i mentioned is $1200 OTD. So you could buy 4 of them for what you'd pay fpr a LX,Sprint or Primavera. It's all about what you want in a ride. Go test ride one and you'll see what i mean. Good luck BTW i had a little Abruzzi 50cc i bought second hand for $450 before the SUNL. Honda Met clone. It had 50,000 on it when it died. I replaced the essentials and that was it. I figured at 50,000 it had a good life. That was 10yrs ago tho. Chinese stuff (don't know about scooters) seems to be getting worse.
Ossessionato
MP3 400 / BV250
Joined: 02 Jun 2009
Posts: 3803
Location: San Diego, California
Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:30 am quote
Heck if you want a bullet proof 150 scooter for commuting I would get a Honda PCX 150. Lower priced than a Primavera, better built than the Mainland China Scoots, huge dealer support network for parts and service.

My 2 cents on Mainland scoots. I have witnessed a front wheel falling off, harnesses catching fire, near new switches going bad, the GY6 based engine block having holes in it due to poor casting. The style is there, the engine design is there, the quality control is not. If I am risking my life at 50mph I want some assurance that it will hold together. These are the same people who, a few months ago, poisoned our pets with tainted pet food, last week sold expired chicken to millions of people, and last year sold drywall that made people sick. They are seeing only dollars without a thought of how it affects the consumer. These drop shpped scoots with no manufactuer presence in the USA give you no recourse against the builder.
Member
2013 GTS 300 ie
Joined: 20 Jun 2014
Posts: 29
Location: United States
Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:33 am quote
Hi Judy. A bit off topic here, but, I was in Maui on holiday last week and noticed a lot of scooters on the island. Strangely, they all rode on the side of the road instead of with traffic. Is this common on the islands?
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 7225
Location: Ashburn, Va. Home to the Internet
Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:37 am quote
[quote="seamus26"]
snowrider wrote:
Thanks. I only differ to opinion on the investment portion because of this :

Unless you are buying a classic car, no vehicle is an "investment", the definition is to make money, not a chance in hell you're going to make money
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 29304

Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:54 am quote
JAVA. Mopeds are supposed to ride on the side but over here on Oahu most don't. I think it's very dangerous to ride on the side myself. When i rode a 50 i'd ride the middle and when i saw a few cars behind me i rode the breakdown lane for a few minutes and let them pass. Did you do the road to Hana and go to Mama's Fish house?
Molto Verboso
2009 GTS 250ie "Jigokuchou" 2001 ET2 "Luna"
Joined: 07 Aug 2011
Posts: 1560
Location: Minneapolis MN
Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:57 am quote
WELCOME seamus26!!

I feel obligated to share my experience, as it closely resembles yours.

Not only did I take the "learner bike/training wheels" route, I too chose a chinascoot for the task.

My logic was pretty simple: What if it turned out i didn't like it? What if it turned out I sucked at it? What if I just randomly fell over at a stoplight? I didn't want to be sitting on a curb somewhere sobbing brokenhearted that i'd just trashed a significant emotional and financial investment.

So i got a Baron VLA 150cc chinascoot for $700 in September 2011. My bike info here on MV read "Baron VLA-don't look at me like that!" By December i'd put 800 accident-free miles on her, had my endorsement and had the MSF under my belt. At that point proof-of-concept had been made, and that January I ordered my Vespa. I then handed down the Baron to my sister to serve as training wheels. Again, proof-of-concept was achieved, as was endorsement, and we found a killer deal on a NOS Kymco People S 250 for an upgrade.

The Baron's next home has already been identified: she will continue her life's mission as training wheels by going to live with my sister's BFF.



To return to OP's question, is a Primavera worth the price difference? Gods, yes, though I would personally go with a Sprint, because I LOVES me some 12-inch wheels. That said, as long as you KNOW what you're buying, especially if it's going to be your first scoot, a Chinascoot may be a viable option, even more so if you suspect you're going to upgrade in a year or two. But make sure you can get a mechanic to work on it if you're not into wrenching yourself. It sounds like you've got that covered, and that's awesome!

You DO get what you pay for. But i'm not classist when it comes to bikes. I'll never judge someone who knew the facts/made an informed decision. And it sounds like you did exactly that. My advice: Get a Primavera or Sprint, keep the Znen, and love them both for what they are.

cosmo left side.jpg
My Chinascoot

Cargo1.jpg
The GTS on a grocery shopping trip

Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Typhoon 125
Joined: 29 Dec 2007
Posts: 10832
Location: Oregon City, OR
Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:00 am quote
As others have pointed out, we are talking about more than simple practicality here. We are talking whatever rings your bell - or mine. I notice you own a Porsche. Why didn't you get a Yugo instead (when you could )? They were much cheaper. They ran (sort of). They could be repaired in your garage (to a point). I presume the answer is because you prefer the look, feel, and zeitgeist of the Porsche.

One practical comment. You are lucky to have a local dealer that conscientiously supports your scooter. That is typically not the case with the "China scooter" brands. My local shop refuses to work on them any longer. The service manager's comment was that you repair one, then something else breaks or goes wrong, and the owner is back blaming the shop. His solution - no more "China scooter" service or repairs.
Ossessionato
1976 Super (x 2), 1974 Primavera (x 2), 2006 Fly 150
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 4820
Location: So Cal
Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:02 am quote
Seamus, if you are asking whether you would "recoup the cost" of a new or used Vespa vs. a Chinese scooter, the answer is no unless you get a screaming deal somewhere or somehow manage to find a rare oldie in pristine condition for a ridiculously low price.

However, Vespas clearly hold their value much better than Chinese scooters. They are more refined, better engineered, better built, with better materials and much more attention paid to tolerances, fit and overall quality.

If you're a musician compare it to buying a cheap imported guitar vs. a Martin or Gibson. Which would you rather own?
Ossessionato
2009 MP3 500 - The Iridescent Chameleon, 2007 Yamaha Vino 125, 2016 Indian Scout Sixty
Joined: 18 Jun 2010
Posts: 2664
Location: Geneseo, IL (Quad City area)
Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:09 am quote
SoCalGuy wrote:
If you're a musician compare it to buying a cheap imported guitar vs. a Martin or Gibson. Which would you rather own?
My Taylor...
Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Typhoon 125
Joined: 29 Dec 2007
Posts: 10832
Location: Oregon City, OR
Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:12 am quote
seamus26 wrote:
I am keeping a spreadsheet tracking my mileage on the scooter (real world) compared to my average mileage in the Volvo or the Porsche. It continually updates me on my savings. As gas prices go up, so do my savings.
Quite a few people here have kept careful records to calculate cost per mile for their scooter. You can look up some of the previous threads about this. For the calculation to work, you really have to keep track of all ownership costs. A CVT scooter will typically consume more in tires and belts (including installation costs) than it will in fuel .
Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300, BV 500, Buddy 125
Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 7894
Location: Houston, TX/Breckenridge, CO
Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:41 am quote
I'm really not sure why you came here to ask "What's the problem?" with China scoots. Kind of like going to a Porsche forum and asking what is the problem with a kit car based on a Volkswagen engine. You talk about your jaw dropping moment at the Vespa dealership when you looked at the fit, finish and "classic-ness" of the Vespa. Vespas are unibody metal construction not tube covered by plastic panels.

I presume you choose Volvos and Porsches over Kias for a reason. If you are happy tinkering on a Chinese clone and are fortunate enough to have a dealer who will work with your through two "damaged" scooters before delivering a third then may have one of the "good" Chinese scoots. Only 2 of the couple of dozen that have shown up on our scooter rides have had reasonably trouble free Chinese scooters. They tend not to perform as well as even the Taiwanese made scooters with Buddy 125s routinely out performing the 150cc Roketas and other CY6 based Chinese scoot when winds or hills are encountered.

What scoot you want to ride is a personal decision. We have 7 for 4 riders in our household. 6 of which are from the Vespa-Aprilia-Piaggio-Derbi family and the other is a Genuine Buddy that was the starter scoot for everyone in our household and is still in use as a daily rider for my high school son. You will never see a China scoot in our garage because none of us like to tinker and finding mechanics who will work on them is almost impossible. Besides which their ride just doesn't compare even to the tubular frame and panel non-Vespas in our garage. Vespas and other Piaggio scooters just feel more planted on the road. Classic two stroke isn't for me. Don't get me wrong, I love vintage but I'm not a fan of two stroke smoke nor do I want to be maintaining something 30 years old but I admire those who do. Having said that, you'll see a two stroke vintage in my garage long before you'd ever see a China scoot.

Only you can decide what scoot is best for you.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 8628
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:19 am quote
seamus26 wrote:
I'm looking for any information I can find on whether the Vespa is a good investment, or should I stick with a second Chinese scoot.

Even though a Vespa is known to go 30K+ miles, for the price I can buy three ZNENs or one and replace the entire driveline with brand new stuff a dozen times.

Just an observation...I guess it all depends on what you consider a "good investment." Three of something vs. one is a bit telling to me. Granted, there's the question of maintenance costs as well, but I suppose that'a up for graps. I would be that unless you have horrible luck, you'll be hard pressed to find a Vespa that has more things go wrong than a Chinese scooter over the same time period.

I think it's going to boil down to an actual test ride. If you're sold on the superiority of a Vespa, most of us here will nod knowingly. If not, nothing wrong with that. It's all about having fun, and for some of us saving some $$ on gas anyway, right?

Either way, hope you hang around. Certainly don't have to have a brand to do so. And if you stay Chinese, you can poke us once in a while with your successes.
Addicted
1979 P200E (sold) / ZNEN Amore 150 / Genuine Buddy 170i / Genuine Stella 4T / 2009 Aprilia Sportcity One 50
Joined: 31 Jul 2014
Posts: 693
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:44 am quote
LOL! Thanks for all of the responses. I have to give some feedback on some of them :
Quote:
Okay now you have thrown me for a loop…… And I am sure someone else is thinking the same. I say this in good fun

You drive a Volvo and a Porsche and you bought a Chinese scooter for cost savings?
Ouch. That’s a fair point. The Volvo was really a frugal investment choice. I had switched from VWs (long-time owner) to Volvos because of their reliability. At the time I picked up a ’91 240 for $2K. I drove it for three years before we were hit by an Escalade driver who decided that he didn’t want to stop for a light. I decided that I wanted another one, so I scoured the area and drove to Chicago to look at three of them. After looking at the first (my current ’89) and seeing the maintenance records from it’s original date of purchase, I knew that was my car. Again, I paid about $2K for it, and have been driving it for five years. It was inexpensive AND reliable.

The Porsche … let’s just say that everyone has an impulse buy. I love it, but it’s for sale.
Quote:
There are Chinese scooters, and there are Chinese scooters. I truly hope you got one that is solid and reliable. Sounds like you have a good, supportive dealer, and in the US, that can be difficult to find.
Yes, the one that I purchased was through a local dealer. They have been incredibly supportive. He gives his bikes a bumper to bumper warranty (1 year 3K miles) including everything down to the blinker lights. Good mechanics and always there to help.
Quote:
It boils down to this question: What are you comfortable with? If you're good with mechanical work and like to get your hands dirty, and have a source for parts, you can certainly find some great deals on Chinese bikes. Or if you have a reliable shop that can do work for you, they can be a great option. But if you want something that "just works", you're more likely to find that in a Vespa. That's not always the case, but on average, that's how it works out.
That’s what I’ve gathered about the Vespa riders, and no disrespect intended, but I have seen a lot about making sure that you have dealers being available to perform the work. I grew up working on air-cooled VWs, so this is a nice transition. I have no fear of getting my hands dirty. In fact, as a winter project, I am considering buying another GY6 and “building” it so that I can have a 2nd setup on a stand, one for daily driving and one for weekend cruising.
Quote:
Unless you are buying a classic car, no vehicle is an "investment", the definition is to make money, not a chance in hell you're going to make money
I don’t plan on making money, but I was looking at a way to save gas money. If I had to pay $5K to save gas, the payoff would be a lot further out. For example, my neighbor drives a Chevy Volt. He is saving money hand over fist, but because of the initial cost his payback is out a good ten years. “Investment” is a pretty broad term. Cheap and reliable was what I was shooting for, although I know they don’t always go hand in hand.
Quote:
As others have pointed out, we are talking about more than simple practicality here. We are talking whatever rings your bell - or mine. I notice you own a Porsche. Why didn't you get a Yugo instead (when you could )? They were much cheaper. They ran (sort of). They could be repaired in your garage (to a point). I presume the answer is because you prefer the look, feel, and zeitgeist of the Porsche.
There’s a long story there that includes myself at ten years old, and episode of “The Hardy Boys”, and a chance opportunity. I still shake my head sometimes, and I plan on selling it every spring. Then I drive it and remember how … incredibly … cool … it … is. It is for sale, BTW.
Quote:
One practical comment. You are lucky to have a local dealer that conscientiously supports your scooter. That is typically not the case with the "China scooter" brands. My local shop refuses to work on them any longer. The service manager's comment was that you repair one, then something else breaks or goes wrong, and the owner is back blaming the shop. His solution - no more "China scooter" service or repairs.
I cannot tell you how great our local shop is. They have gone above and beyond with service and support. It’s a small, family owned business, and everyone there has been a great help. They are having their 2nd annual BBQ Rib Cookoff this Sunday followed by a group ride. It looks like it’s going to be a great day for it.
Quote:
If you're a musician compare it to buying a cheap imported guitar vs. a Martin or Gibson. Which would you rather own?
I love my 1982 Alvarez Yairi.
Quote:
Quite a few people here have kept careful records to calculate cost per mile for their scooter. You can look up some of the previous threads about this. For the calculation to work, you really have to keep track of all ownership costs. A CVT scooter will typically consume more in tires and belts (including installation costs) than it will in fuel .
I am going to keep track of that as well.


Thanks for all the good information, everyone. I’m just bouncing a lot of ideas around, including the buying used option.

I also wanted to point out that all of my consideration of upgrades and performance parts only came AFTER my initial purchase and AFTER I found out what a blast scooters are to ride. All of those things are totally outside of the arena of a fuel cost savings investment.
Enthusiast
08 Piaggio MP3 400ie
Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: CA
Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:44 am quote
While some Chinese scooters are bad in quality, majority of them are great. Like many things, you get what you pay for. If you find "cheap" Chinese products, blame it on the importers. Chinese manufactures make great products, it's just the the cheap people don't want to pay for them.
Ossessionato
2010 ThunderFly 190, 2008 250 GTS
Joined: 29 Apr 2011
Posts: 2613
Location: Springboro, OH
Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:47 am quote
Your best value on a Vespa would be to find a low mileage used one. They can be found easily, many times savings can be significant over new when considering dealer fees and taxes you'll avoid buying from a private party. Private Party sales might also have a little more wiggle room price wise and depreciation will not be as big a factor down the line.

Chinese scooters can be hit and miss. The quality control varies tremendously depending on manufacturer. Some things are easy to see in regards to fit and finish, but there can be tremendous differences in component quality, metallurgy and even wiring harnesses. I've seen wiring from some Chinese scoots where the copper was so thin and sparse inside the insulation, it could barely hold an electrical load and was prone to breakage very easily.

That's not to say a scooter made in China can't be a quality ride. My 2010 Piaggio Fly 150 was made in China and the only real issue I've had was a bad stator after about 10K miles. I believe ZNEN was made by one of the better quality manufacturers.
Hooked
Aprilia Sportcity 125, Buddy St. Tropez 150
Joined: 04 Jun 2013
Posts: 164
Location: Edmond, OK
Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:00 am quote
I have a friend who has always had motorcycles and scooters. A couple years ago, after selling both scooters he had, he decided he needed a scooter again. He spent $800 on a new Chinese scooter and, for the price, it was fine. Sure it squeaked and rattled a little bit and he had to go over it to make sure EVERY nut and bolt were tight (they weren't). The biggest problem was that he didn't love it. As a machine, it was ok... but that's all it would ever be. He ended up selling it and buying a Stella. In the end, the Stella may not be any more reliable, but it definitely has a soul.

Welcome, and nice 928 by the way. I've lusted after one of those since before I knew what lust was.
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