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@rocklanddad avatar
UTC

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UTC quote
Hi All

I love my scooter. I am starting to get a bit discouraged about the reliability.

When I was 600 miles in, I was going around 50mph and poof. dead. I needed a new fuel pump.

I had 5500 stress free miles - and then after my 6000 mile service I was riding back home and while going 50MPH - something SIEZED I was told and and poof bike died. Fixed immediately. The timing of that was strange because it happened immediately after the 6000 mile tune up a few weeks ago

Then, yesterday, oil light came on and another breakdown. It did restart and I could have driven away, but I decided to have it looked at again and capitalizing on the fact that the shop had it's tow van about 3 blocks away. 7100 miles on the clock.

Any pointers? I use this as my main form of transportation because I love it so much so I need this to be reliable. Is this just par for the course with owning these things? I had an ET4 for 15 years a while back and have zero memories of anything like this happening, but I rode it a lot less.
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UTC

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UTC quote
No, I wouldn't be happy with that. Did you find out what happened the second and third times? Not that breakdowns should happen frequently, but some things are easy enough to fix yourself.
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UTC quote
JKJ-FZ6 wrote:
No, I wouldn't be happy with that. Did you find out what happened the second and third times? Not that breakdowns should happen frequently, but some things are easy enough to fix yourself.
The first time was factory recall, fuel pump.

The second time I was told that a bearing seized. Frankly, to me, my uneducated non mechanical mind tells me that the timing of the break down is suspect. I was on my 50 mile ride back to my house from the shop that just completed the 6000 service. My research tells me that a belt came off or something, but regardless, it was fixed and I rode home.

This THIRD breakdown I just heard from the shop. I was told there was an update available for the ECU which fixed the issue.
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UTC quote
Check your PMs Rock
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UTC quote
Not normal, yes the fuel pump recall happened and has happened with previous Piaggio products.an ECU update should not have caused a breakdown though nor should a bearing seize. That one is not common at all.
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UTC quote
cdwise wrote:
Not normal, yes the fuel pump recall happened and has happened with previous Piaggio products.an ECU update should not have caused a breakdown though nor should a bearing seize. That one is not common at all.
The people working on the bike are vespa mechanics, so I have to take their word for it. It's a certified vespa dealer.
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UTC quote
I don't own an HPE so I have no first hand experience - but I have to ask. If an ECU update was available and recommended, why was this not done at the recent 6000 mile service or the servicing to correct the "bearing seizure"? As accounts from others on MV clearly demonstrate - all servicing Vespa dealers are not created equal.
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UTC quote
I may switch shops......We shall see. I know they are looking everything obver as we speak
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Regarding the oil light: when did you check the engine oil level? If you're going a thousand miles or more between oil level checks, you can't really blame the designers or mechanics for a catastrophic oil pressure failure.

Two-wheeled vehicles need inherently more attention than four-wheeled. People who are resolute about not wanting to provide that attention themselves need either a very trustworthy relationship with a shop or to cycle their cycles to a new one after about 5k miles.

I agree with you that the "seized bearing" explanation is super sus. Bearings that can be quickly replaced don't quickly seize. They whine, groan, click, rattle, and scrape for hundreds if not thousands of miles first. More likely the shop screwed up the reassembly order of the transmission parts, and ground down a belt in short order.
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UTC quote
Juan_ORhea wrote:
Regarding the oil light: when did you check the engine oil level? If you're going a thousand miles or more between oil level checks, you can't really blame the designers or mechanics for a catastrophic oil pressure failure.

Two-wheeled vehicles need inherently more attention than four-wheeled. People who are resolute about not wanting to provide that attention themselves need either a very trustworthy relationship with a shop or to cycle their cycles to a new one after about 5k miles.

I agree with you that the "seized bearing" explanation is super sus. Bearings that can be quickly replaced don't quickly seize. They whine, groan, click, rattle, and scrape for hundreds if not thousands of miles first. More likely the shop screwed up the reassembly order of the transmission parts, and ground down a belt in short order.
I got my 6000 mile service done at 5700 miles……..I am at 7100 now and have not checked the oil. I had plans to bring it in for service again at 8000 as per their recommendation.
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Your oil light went on, the engine stopped, you hadn't checked the oil in 1400 miles, and you still haven't checked it?

Four-stroke engines, particularly small engines, cannot be operated like that. At least, as you're discovering, not for long.
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UTC quote
the seized bearing was sus AF

not checking the oil regularly in that many miles is no bueno.

pins and needles on awaiting the report from the shop.
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UTC quote
I was concerned about the possible oil consumption I had read that the 300 HPE's were prone to doing, especially when highway-ridden a lot like mine is.

To help with easy and often oil level checks, I opted to install the oil sight glass engine cover on my GTS to give me one less excuse to allow my bike's oil level to drop below spec.

It's almost certainly, IMO, one of the best and most sensible mods to make on this machine, and I know, yes, it should be standard equipment on these scooters, but it isn't.

At least it's not particularly expensive nor very difficult to install.
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UTC quote
CHECK THE OIL every 1000miles or so. Very important with HPE (less so with older)

and the oil light always comes on when the engine stops (including kill switch). this is normal. ignore it unless the engine is actually turning
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UTC quote
If someone told you this was happening with a car they just bought, and you had to guess between the brand of the car being a Honda, a Ford or a Fiat, which would you guess? Italian motor vehicles are not marketed as a reliable option to the vehicles made anywhere else that's not currently at war with Ukraine. Most people who wax poetic about the reliability of their Italian bike don't put a lot of miles on it, overlook things like the time the engine sucked a valve, or live across the street from a Piaggio dealership. Once you peel away the pretty metal outer shell, you own an Italian motor vehicle, and everything you've ever heard about Italian motor vehicles is true.

There is a saying amongst Ducati owners that Ducati has been making mechanics out of motorcyclists since 1949. That's not far from the truth.
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UTC quote
with a bit over maintenance and checking of oil, tire pressure, coolant, and for any fluid leak, seepage, unusual noises, I'm hoping to keep getting lucky
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Motovista wrote:
There is a saying amongst Ducati owners that Ducati has been making mechanics out of motorcyclists since 1949. That's not far from the truth.
Before they brought out the EVO engine, you could have said the same thing about HD.
OP
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UTC quote
greasy125 wrote:
the seized bearing was sus AF

not checking the oil regularly in that many miles is no bueno.

pins and needles on awaiting the report from the shop.
This is the shops response about why I broke down

We needed to reset the ECU, which ultimately controls the air/fuel ratio and a host of other things that control the the bikes ability to run properly. After doing this and updating the ECU, we roadtested the bike and it runs properly and the way it should
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UTC quote
Motovista wrote:
If someone told you this was happening with a car they just bought, and you had to guess between the brand of the car being a Honda, a Ford or a Fiat, which would you guess? Italian motor vehicles are not marketed as a reliable option to the vehicles made anywhere else that's not currently at war with Ukraine. Most people who wax poetic about the reliability of their Italian bike don't put a lot of miles on it, overlook things like the time the engine sucked a valve, or live across the street from a Piaggio dealership. Once you peel away the pretty metal outer shell, you own an Italian motor vehicle, and everything you've ever heard about Italian motor vehicles is true.

There is a saying amongst Ducati owners that Ducati has been making mechanics out of motorcyclists since 1949. That's not far from the truth.
I know these are the assumed stereotypes for vehicles, but I don't know how accurate it is anymore.

There's a couple of YouTubers touring on Hondas. One guy on a Honda Monkey 125cc has already had one engine rebuild after about 3000 miles and is now burning a lot of oil again. There's also Itchyboots who's had a lot of trouble with her Honda in Africa, but plenty of Vespas who've toured or are touring the world.

I think the main thing going for Piaggio is that they often keep the same model and drive train for a decade or more - so hundreds of thousands are made. Also, Piaggio was instrumental in creating the scooter market x- and that speaks volumes.
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Yes but a Suzuki Burgman, Yamaha X - Max, Honda Forza and BMW's range of scooters are all more reliable than anything from Italy.

Brands get a reputation for a reason as do countries of manufacture.

All because you were first it doesn't mean that you are the best.

The Japanese, Germans and Taiwanese have picked up the ball and run with it.

Granted nothing's perfect and there are plenty of examples of bad experiences linked to premium manufactures but in general if I wanted reliability I'd buy something Japanese.

Edit - I think it depends what you are asking your scooter to do. If it's commuting then see above.
⚠️ Last edited by Bill Dog on UTC; edited 1 time
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Bill Dog wrote:
Yes but a Suzuki Burgman, Yamaha X - Max, Honda Forza and BMW's range of scooters are all more reliable than anything from Italy.

Brands get a reputation for a reason as do countries of manufacture.

All because you were first it doesn't mean that you are the best.

The Japanese, Germans and Taiwanese have picked up the ball and run with it.

Granted nothing's perfect and there are plenty of examples of bad experiences linked to premium manufactures but in general if I wanted reliability I'd buy something Japanese.
Japanese is the way to go
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UTC quote
Out of curiosity, are there any reports from cannonball 2023 as to breakdown numbers etc. Did specific makes or models fair better than others?
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UTC quote
JakeM wrote:
Out of curiosity, are there any reports from cannonball 2023 as to breakdown numbers etc. Did specific makes or models fair better than others?
I started in San Clemente with 750 miles on a new Vespa GTS 300HPE that was given to me by my great friend Ken Wilson.

It ran hard across the country to Hilton Head, SC, then to Jacksonville, FL.

Never missed a beat, never burned any oil. It performed perfectly.

I have a GT that got to 76,000 miles on its original engine, now at 106,000. Another with 40,000 miles.

Are they mechanically perfect? No.

Are they nearly perfect in every other way? I say yes.

Are they worth repairing to keep riding them? Absolutely!

Bill
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UTC quote
Tierney wrote:
Before they brought out the EVO engine, you could have said the same thing about HD.
the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was making HD reliable.
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UTC quote
I think we've discussed this pretty heavily and it's always the same answer. A Japanese scooter is going to be more reliable but is it what you want? Most people concede that buying an Vespa is a "Personal Choice" like buying a Harley. It makes you feel good so a little trouble along the way is the price of admission.
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UTC quote
JakeM wrote:
I know these are the assumed stereotypes for vehicles, but I don't know how accurate it is anymore.

There's a couple of YouTubers touring on Hondas. One guy on a Honda Monkey 125cc has already had one engine rebuild after about 3000 miles and is now burning a lot of oil again. There's also Itchyboots who's had a lot of trouble with her Honda in Africa, but plenty of Vespas who've toured or are touring the world.
And there's that one guy who got 500,000 miles out of a Ford Ranger pickup. Anecdotally, you can find unreliable Toyotas and one extremely reliable Yugo. Well, maybe not the last one....
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greasy125 wrote:
the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was making HD reliable.
And then they built the Two Cam, put plastic parts inside the engine and started going backwards again. Facepalm emoticon
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UTC quote
Tierney wrote:
And then they built the Two Cam, put plastic parts inside the engine and started going backwards again. Facepalm emoticon
they made a deal with a crossroads demon; everybody knows after 10 years those come due. thus the regression...

*grins*
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JakeM wrote:
I know these are the assumed stereotypes for vehicles, but I don't know how accurate it is anymore.

There's a couple of YouTubers touring on Hondas. One guy on a Honda Monkey 125cc has already had one engine rebuild after about 3000 miles and is now burning a lot of oil again. There's also Itchyboots who's had a lot of trouble with her Honda in Africa, but plenty of Vespas who've toured or are touring the world
Itchy boots ran the hell out her bike from South America to Alaska and never missed a beat. Same bike in Africa, beat the hell out of it and only had a radiator fan sensor go out up until the time some one else rode her bike to the point of burning up the clutch in deep mud.
Now I have to say from working on Vespas, that some things are getting better (Engine), but some are getting worse (electrics). Honestly, there are better electrical components on a 1973 Honda CB350 than any Vespa made since 2010. I don't know where they are sourcing from, but I wish they would turn it around and build the scooter like they used to.
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Tierney wrote:
Itchy boots ran the hell out her bike from South America to Alaska and never missed a beat. Same bike in Africa, beat the hell out of it and only had a radiator fan sensor go out up until the time some one else rode her bike to the point of burning up the clutch in deep mud.
she extensively rebuilt it after completing Alaska before shipping to Africa
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SteelBytes wrote:
she extensively rebuilt it after completing Alaska before shipping to Africa
They went thru it, and built it up here and there. Bear in mind, this is a L model - not a full on dirt bike. Then she piles on heaps of equipment and let some fool tear it up in the deep mud. Definitely pushing the limits for a dual sport bike. What shines thru it all is Norally, herself. An amazing lady.
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greasy125 wrote:
they made a deal with a crossroads demon; everybody knows after 10 years those come due. thus the regression...

*grins*
Dean agrees.
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UTC quote
OP - 3 breakdowns ain't normal.
Motovista wrote:
Most people who wax poetic about the reliability of their Italian bike don't put a lot of miles on it, overlook things like the time the engine sucked a valve, or live across the street from a Piaggio dealership.
This might be MV's best kept secret ^
Motovista wrote:
There is a saying amongst Ducati owners that Ducati has been making mechanics out of motorcyclists since 1949. That's not far from the truth.
Royal Enfield owners say the same thing, but only amongst themselves, few will break the code and let the world know, until you really pry lol

Actual conversations I've had with RE owners

"I've that this bike almost 5 years,it's never given me a problem!"
How many kilometers do you have on it?
"7,000, trouble free!"
Sir, that is only one riding season at best.


Next guy:

"I've never had a problem with my Interceptor 650, I don't know why people say they're unreliable on the internet."
So nothing at all, not even under the warranty?
"oh well, yeah, under warranty a couple things, like my front disk brake was warped in the first few thousand km, but they replaced it and didn't charge me!"
Front disk warping in the first few thousand km sounds exactly like the kind of thing would make people say they're unreliable on the internet...


It's a dangerous game. Sometimes preconceived notions perpetuate outdated stereotypes that lead to false generalizations and we sell ourselves short because we choose to stay in ignorance rather than try things for ourselves... other times those preconceived notions are 110% tried and true lol

Personally, I have only had to replace 1 regulator rectifier and 1 turn signal switch between three used Vespe, so, I'm okay with this. Don't get me started on my old MP3 250 though, or the Aprilia Shiver 750 Facepalm emoticon Facepalm emoticon Facepalm emoticon Facepalm emoticon

That said, I'm in the kind of position where I can buy a Royal Enfield and absolutely beat the ever loving shit out of it and see how it holds up, and post about it all over the internet, so, I'm shopping for a Royal Enfield, to either break the stereotype, or prove beyond a doubt why it exists.
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UTC quote
Motovista wrote:
There is a saying amongst Ducati owners that Ducati has been making mechanics out of motorcyclists since 1949. That's not far from the truth.
My ex-colleague has a Panigale (twin). It has already seen some years...but his approach is thorough, frequent maintenance. Like with...well, a race bike.

With this, not too many unexpected breakdowns...but many, many miles in the sport bike rider's heaven on earth. I'm not a big sports bike fan myself, in non-track surroundings, but I have to say just listening the sound of that thing is magical.
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RRider wrote:
My ex-colleague has a Panigale (twin). It has already seen some years...but his approach is thorough, frequent maintenance. Like with...well, a race bike.

With this, not too many unexpected breakdowns...but many, many miles in the sport bike rider's heaven on earth. I'm not a big sports bike fan myself, in non-track surroundings, but I have to say just listening the sound of that thing is magical.
Ducatis, for the most part, are race bikes built for the street. The way their bikes handle is a level above most machines. The problems are well known as a lot of them have persisted thru different models without change, but if you stay on top of them, you'll be ok. Perfect combination of ride the bike on the weekend, work on it during the week.
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UTC quote
I had a 2010 Ducati Multistrada. Loved that bike and perfectly reliable. Rode it from WY to Deadhorse and all around AK, 12k miles in 30 days. No problems. All that said, it absolutely got all required maintenance, but didn't need anything else in the 6 years I owned it. It did like tires though

Unfortunately it was totaled when I got back from the trip due to a van driver not paying attention.

All that said, I have heard of others with issues. I do believe the later bikes are better, especially water cooled.
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UTC

Ossessionato
2012 Kymco Like 200i (Sold), 2018 FLSL
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2756
Location: San Jose, CA
 
Ossessionato
@troutbum avatar
2012 Kymco Like 200i (Sold), 2018 FLSL
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2756
Location: San Jose, CA
UTC quote
Tierney wrote:
Before they brought out the EVO engine, you could have said the same thing about HD.
HD introduced the EVO in the early 80s. It's now 2023 and Vespa still can't get it right.
UTC

Veni, Vidi, Posti
Joined: UTC
Posts: 6396
Location: Tega Cay, SC
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Joined: UTC
Posts: 6396
Location: Tega Cay, SC
UTC quote
TroutBum wrote:
HD introduced the EVO in the early 80s. It's now 2023 and Vespa still can't get it right.
Mid-80s for the EVO. Vespa (Piaggio) just made the choice many other companies have done (HD) and cut quality. This would be understandable on a lesser machine, but Vespas are supposed known as a premium brand.
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
Joined: UTC
Posts: 6396
Location: Tega Cay, SC
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Joined: UTC
Posts: 6396
Location: Tega Cay, SC
UTC quote
adri wrote:
That said, I'm in the kind of position where I can buy a Royal Enfield and absolutely beat the ever loving shit out of it and see how it holds up, and post about it all over the internet, so, I'm shopping for a Royal Enfield, to either break the stereotype, or prove beyond a doubt why it exists.
Let us know how it goes. I have owned 2 Indian machines and recently worked on a 2021 Himalayan. If I lived in India, I would probably own one. But here - NO. Let's just say, for the present, I would not use the words "India" and "quality" in the same sentence. But they are getting better.
@troutbum avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
2012 Kymco Like 200i (Sold), 2018 FLSL
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2756
Location: San Jose, CA
 
Ossessionato
@troutbum avatar
2012 Kymco Like 200i (Sold), 2018 FLSL
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2756
Location: San Jose, CA
UTC quote
Tierney wrote:
Mid-80s for the EVO. Vespa (Piaggio) just made the choice many other companies have done (HD) and cut quality. This would be understandable on a lesser machine, but Vespas are supposed known as a premium brand.
I agree.
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