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?