Chinese Scooter FAQs

YES! MOTO2N works on Chinese scooters year-round, not just during the “slow” season! Call (719) 565-9295 to schedule an appointment TODAY! 

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Chinese Scooters

Oops. I already bought a Chinese scooter. It has 36 miles on it, and it wouldn’t start this morning. Can MOTO2N fix it?

Unlike many other scooter and motorcycle mechanics, MOTO2N is willing and able to work on your Chinese scooter. We have a ton of experience with them, and we know how to make them run right and increase their durability. We can’t do much to improve shoddy design and workmanship, but we can do a lot to make your Chinese scooter last as long as it can.

If you want your Chinese scooter to be somewhat reliable, in most cases you’ll have to perform a suite of upgrades on it as soon as you get it. This includes removing and replacing the fuel and vacuum lines, replacing the valve stems, replacing the spark plug, and adding a fuel filter ($210 labor + parts).

And we won’t judge you for buying a Chinese scooter, either. We want to see you up on two wheels as often as possible, putting your knees in the breeze and enjoying yourself, regardless of whether that’s on a Chinese scoot or a Japanese scoot! We want you to have a good experience with your Chinese scooter, so hopefully you get “hooked” and upgrade yourself to a better scooter sometime down the road!

Please keep in mind that repairing a Chinese scooter costs just as much, in some cases more, than repairing a Japanese scooter. Also keep in mind that Chinese scooters break and break often, and we are mechanics, not miracle workers or psychics. Even after repairs are performed, there’s no way to predict what might break next on your Chinese scooter.

With all of that said, some people have really good luck with Chinese scooters. Others, not so much. In the end, you’re taking a chance whenever you buy anything, but the odds of things working out well are vastly increased if you start with a high quality unit of Japanese, Taiwanese, or Italian manufacture.

If you haven’t yet purchased a Chinese scooter, keep reading for more information on what it’s like to own one…

What is a Chinese scooter?

A Chinese scooter is a low-quality scooter manufactured as cheaply as possible so as to be sold as cheaply as possible in China and other parts of the world, including the United States.

Are they any good?

In a word, no. They are not any good.

Should I buy one?

No, you should NOT buy a Chinese scooter.

But they’re WAY cheaper than Japanese (Honda, Yamaha), Taiwanese (Kymco, TGB), and Italian (Aprilia, Vespa) scooters! How bad could they possibly be?

Pretty darn bad. Let’s count the ways.

  • We often find the carburetors on BRAND NEW, RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX Chinese scooters have to be cleaned before they’ll run right. (Cost: $105 flat rate for a carb clean)
  • Chinese scooters are often shipped with “shipping oil” in their engines, and, if you run them for any length of time on this stuff you’ll destroy your “brand new” engine in your “brand new” scooter. (Cost: $47.5 flat rate for an oil change + $12 for 1L of oil)
  • The vacuum lines on the engine fall apart within weeks of owning your “brand new” Chinese scooter. (Cost: $105 to replace vacuum and fuel lines + $8 for high-quality replacements)
  • The valve stems on the wheels fall apart within weeks as well. (Cost: $105 labor + $10 for high-quality valve stems)
  • The steering neck bearings loosen up frequently and for no discernable reason. (Cost: $47.5 to adjust every time it happens)

But wait, there’s more:

  • The tires on most Chinese scooters are no-name-brand nonsense that we find hard to trust. (Cost: $80 for tires, $100+ to have them mounted at a motorcycle shop – and that’s if the shop is even willing to *touch* a Chinese scooter)
  • Many 49cc Chinese scooters that use the QMB139 engine will barely crack 30mph on flat ground, then they slow to 10-15mph when forced to climb even the smallest of hills. ($200 for a big-bore kit, $235 to have it installed)
  • Electrical components often fail on Chinese scooters, regardless of how “new” the scooter or the components are. We’ve seen CDI boxes, rectifier regulators, and stators that don’t work right out of the box! We’ve seen them fail after very little use! And there’s no discernable reason for it… The parts are simply low quality, and the factories who build them don’t seem to care much about quality control.

But seriously, I can get a Chinese scooter for like $850 shipped to my door. The MSRP on a 2016 Honda Metropolitan is $2399 + $150 destination charge + tax at the dealership! Why does a Japanese scooter cost THREE TIMES as much as a Chinese scooter?

Chinese scooters are to Japanese scooters what grocery store sushi is to sushi at a decent sushi restaurant.

Chinese scooters are to Japanese scooters what dollar-store jelly beans are to Jelly Belly jelly beans.

It’s like comparing a bag of cheap gummy bears to Haribo gummy bears. Miller Lite to craft beer. Two-Buck Chuck to Kendall-Jackson. Japanese scooters are just better.

In our opinion, the Japanese build some of the finest machines on the planet. On a Japanese scooter, every single component has the look and feel of a high-quality, well-designed product. Anyone with an internet connection can go to HLSM.com, enter the year, make, and model of virtually ANY Japanese scooter, bring up a detailed parts diagram (called a microfiche), find part numbers, then call a dealership and have those parts in hand within 7-10 business days in most cases.

On Chinese scooters, you have to order parts from sketchy websites, and the only way to get the right part is through hard-fought experience, luck, or by doing your best to match the part in your hand with the poorly-taken photo on the sketchy website.

We have a ’93 Honda Elite SR in our fleet that is a little rough around the edges, but even after 23 years and 8000 miles of hard use, it still runs fine and presents well for what it is. Chinese scooters simply don’t last this long.

OK, OK. I get it, but I can’t afford a new Japanese scooter. What should I do?

Buy a used, non-running Japanese scooter as cheaply as you can, then call MOTO2N to repair it. If you can score an old Honda Elite or Yamaha Razz for around $300 with halfway decent tires on it, and all it needs is a battery and a carb clean to get it running you’re looking at $300 for the scooter and another $250-$400 in MOST cases to get it back on the road again.

Total: $550-$700 for a decent, used Japanese scooter, which is cheaper than a Chinese scooter.

Incidentally, if you watch craigslist closely enough you should be able to buy a pretty decent, used Japanese scooter that ALREADY RUNS for anywhere from $600-$1200. If you need help purchasing a scooter, feel free to call us and pick our brains. MOTO2N can be reached at (719) 565-9295.

 

Posted in FAQs, Scooters

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