Chinese Scooter Repair…

I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO WORK ON YOUR CHINESE SCOOTER BASED ON ITS AGE, MILEAGE, AND/OR APPEARANCE!!!

IF YOUR BIKE IS NOT WORTH FIXING, YOU WILL STILL BE CHARGED MY $101.5 MINIMUM SERVICE CHARGE!!!

I DON’T CARE HOW POOR YOU ARE OR HOW MUCH YOU DESPERATELY NEED RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION!!! I’ve had to rely on RTD (the bus!!) before, lots of people do, and you can too!

I’M SICK OF CARING ABOUT CHINESE SCOOTERS!!!

That said, I’ll still work on them (because money), but let me tell you about Chinese scooters real quick.

Scratch that, this is NOT going to be “quick” and there aren’t going to be any pretty pictures to look at. Just bought a Chinese scooter? Read it and weep.

I’ve worked on more Chinese scooters than probably anyone else in the state except for Matt at Rolling Wrench, who doesn’t work on them anymore. I wonder why?

I have opinions about Chinese scooters, backed up by fact and experience, and none of them are good.

They’re horrible scooters. They’re so bad I often refer to them as “scooter shaped objects“. Here’s an analogy: a Yugo or 70s Fiat or Jaguar is to a Honda Civic (any year, great cars) what a Chinese scooter is to a Honda Metropolitan or Ruckus or Yamaha Zuma or C3 or Jog or Vespa/Derbi/Malagutti/E-ton/Kymco/Genuine.

Yugos and 70s Fiats and Jaguars WERE NOT known for their awesome reliability and build quality. They’re known for being raging pieces of shit.

Same with Chinese scooters. “Raging piece of shit” sums it up nicely. Sorry I’m not going to mince words or try to make China scoots sound like they’re better machines than they actually are. I’ve taken more “Ls” on Chinese scooters – meaning bikes I couldn’t fix and thus didn’t charge the owner anything – than any other type of bike. 90% of my “go backs” are Chinese scooters.

I feel sorry for the people who own them. I like making money sure, but I don’t feel good when I hear from the same people every 2-3 weeks when their Chinese scooters break and break and break.

My minimum is $101.50, and that’s what I like to get paid – MINIMUM – when I show up and fix something. Feeling sorry for people is NOT good for my mental health OR my bottom line. I end up driving myself nuts doing all kinds of shit for free or at reduced cost trying my best to keep people and their Chinese scooters on the road for “reasonable” money.

Sorry, but there’s nothing “reasonable” about a Chinese scooter. They cost just as much to have worked on as any other bike, but they break five times as often. They cost what they cost because you get what you pay for. No warranty, no dealer network, no documentation, and in most towns and cities literally nobody is willing to work on them.

Why is that? Allow me to cite some sources.

Why we stopped repairing Chinese scooters by Nashville Motorcycle Repair

Here’s what they have to say:

Imagine Sisyphus, sweating away in Hades, pushing his rock up the hill every day, only to watch it roll back to the bottom, where he’s forced to start over. Now imagine the rock is actually a poorly-made machine that’s always breaking down, and halfway up the hill, you have to stop and pay $150 to get it fixed.

We’ve told over a dozen owners of cheap Chinese scooters that they should sell them as soon as possible (before they break again), then buy a heavily-used Japanese scooter from the 1980’s or later. Similar cost as cheap Chinese, and there might be an additional investment to take care of the previous owner’s neglected maintenance. But after that? Gas, oil changes, and tires will be most of what it ever needs.”

The reason we stopped fixing cheap Chinese scooters is that when we were done, we knew we’d be fixing some other problem before long, and it was just too depressing.

Those are *my thoughts exactly* but written by the obviously very smart people at Nashville Motorcycle Repair. I tell people to “SELL IT ASAP” literally all the time. I also tell people to buy used Japanese scoots. And yeah, feels like Sisyphus repairing them and YES it’s depressing more often than not.

Why Not Buy a Chinese Scooter? by Slow Kids Scooter Gang

I enjoy breathing and really don’t want to die on a Chinese POS  made in the same fashion you make toasters or Hello Kitty rice cookers!  I also dislike companies that make deathtraps and purposely lie to gain sales, and who copy designs simply to mislead you from your money.

So there’s that too. If I wanted to ride a deathtrap, I’d build a rigid chopper with a GSXR1100 engine in it. And it would still be more reliable than a Chinese scooter.

I won’t own a Chinese scooter because they’re not worth my time. I’ve owned exactly ONE Chinese scooter, and it was a GY6 150cc bike marketed by a company called “FLY SCOOTERS”. I paid exactly $ZERO for it. For a 150cc bike it was a total dog, topping out around 45mph and struggling to get up some of the steeper hills around Metro Denver. I was doing *something* to it every other week. Back then my time wasn’t all that valuable, so spending time keeping it on the road didn’t bother me.

If I had to pay someone to work on it for me, there’s no way I could have kept it going without going broke.

I upgraded to a ’93 Honda Elite (that I paid a whopping $200 for), made that run, installed a big bore kit, and it would go 40-45mph and charge hills just like the 150cc GY6 China scoot. The difference was all I did was put oil in it until I very foolishly traded it to someone for a vastly inferior scooter in an attempt to keep them on the road. I can be a sucker sometimes. Because I feel for people, like some kind of idiot. I loved that scoot, and I doubt the person I traded it to appreciated it nearly as much as I did. Live and learn. Never doing that again.

Americans are obsessed with appearances and the notion of “brand new!” shiny bullshit. I was talking to a lovely older gentleman the other day while I worked on his son and daughter-in-law’s bikes. We got to talking about our teeth, and I told him as long as they don’t hurt or smell funny and work to chew my food, I don’t give a damn how mine look. He laughed, and I said “I don’t get Americans’ obsession with appearances,” and he said “Well we didn’t get completely destroyed during WW2 like England did,” and I said “Yeah, we don’t even know what ugly looks like” and he chuckled and said “No, we don’t“.

But yeah, we don’t know what ugly looks like, and many of us are persuaded by new and shiny over something that’s old and well built. We should NOT be like that, but many of us are, and that’s what leads many of us to think a new Chinese scoot is a better deal than a used Japanese scoot. Throw in the fact that Americans are notoriously bad at geography, and a hell of a lot of us don’t even know the difference between China and Japan. Do NOT be seduced by “the shiny”. Get a beater 20-year-old (hell even 30-year-old) Japanese scoot instead. You’ll be happier for it.

I risk my reputation every time I touch a Chinese scooter. What do people think when I have to roll out every 2 weeks to fix yet another issue on their Chinese scooter?

If they’re reasonable, they recognize they bought a raging piece of shit, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it, but I’m trying my damned best, and I do in fact know what I’m doing.

If they’re not reasonable, they might start thinking I have no idea what I’m doing and making their problems worse. These people are, ahem, a complete pain in the ass to deal with, and there’s no way to make them happy short of reaching into my presumably limitless supply of small business dollars and shelling out on a new scooter for them ‘cuz obviously I’m the cause of all of their Chinese scooter issues.

This, folks, has actually happened. I told the guy to go fork himself and blacklisted him for life. Don’t be that guy.

Everyone with a Chinese scooter gets the same speech from me. Sell it ASAP before it breaks again. If you really like riding a scooter, get a Honda Elite (’94-01 if you want to GO FAST or literally ANY Elite if all you wanna do is bomb around), Ruckus, or Metropolitan. Get a Yamaha Zuma (2-stroke for GO FAST, 4-stroke for bombing around), Jog, or Vino. Get a Vespa ET2 or ET4. Get a Kymco People, Super 8/9 or a Genuine Buddy or Rough House. Believe it or not, people often pay good money for used Chinese scooters that still have “the shiny” because they just don’t know any better.

Now that you’ve experienced what it’s like to own a Chinese scooter, sell it and buy something that’s actually worth owning. For what you’ll spend repairing and maintaining a Chinese scooter, you can afford to take out a personal loan from the bank and BUY A BRAND NEW Honda, Yamaha, Kymco, Genuine, or Vespa from your local scooter store with a warranty, dealer network, and documentation to support your purchase.

You could also sell that Chinese scooter, buy a non-running 80s or 90s Japanese scooter, pay me ~$400ish (this is a very ballpark number) to make it right, and it’ll most likely keep going and going and going until you let it sit over winter and have to pay me ~$150 to make it run again come next Spring. If you start it up every couple weeks during winter, all you have to do is put gas in it and look after the tires and brakes.

So with all of that said, I’m still willing to work on your Chinese scooter, but I offer absolutely no guarantees concerning how long it will hold together after I repair it, and I hope you realize that having me repair your Chinese scooter is NOT going to be cheap or easy given how often they tend to break. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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