Chinese Scooters - Buying Them & Living with Them

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If you are looking for a review that says TWIST & GO, yee ha, they are great, please look elsewhere.

I looked at a lot of Chinese scooters. They are all fairly similar. They are of much older, poorly constructed designs than either Japanese or Italian scooters.. They will rust faster and they will not handle, through design, like anything to come out of Japan or Italy in, say, the last 25 years.

With good tyres, these scooters can handle quite well.

That said, you can get one brand new for about £600 maybe saving £1,500... so buy something else second hand


THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING:


• Good handling Hard round profile tyres eg 207/70 or 210/70
• Spares are hard to obtain so broken plastics make a big dent in the resale value.
• Mono rear shock allows easy rear wheel removal for punctures & new tyres. Both twin mono shock examples require exhaust removal. Instead of replacing the gasket you can use fire cement as we are not dealing with high exhaust pressures on these machines.
• As few proprietary fairings & ‘plastics’ as possible. At the time of writing parts are hard to get. A little accident goes a long way towards a CAT C insurance write off (i.e. too expensive to repair).
• All Chinese scooters break easily either by accident or poor maintenance. They will require more servicing than modern machines. You MUST do a pre-delivery inspection. I found loose brake caliper bolts, rear wheel axles and incorrect carb settings. All three of these can kill you. If you dont understand how then take the bus & get flu.
• When buying second hand, take these factors into account. To people who can only ‘twist and go’, an oil change is something their Teddy Boy granddad talks about.
• Some users have reported frequent CVT belt failures. This seems to be build related and such machines should probably be avoided.

RIDING & SAFETY

There is very little of either. These machines and the training associated with them is non existent. They are not designed with safety in mind. No split pins to keep the wheels from falling off; No engine kill switch; no foot pegs to change centre of gravity; no high beam flash facility; a vague wobbly frame; hydraulic brakes that bite & pull to one side then immediately fade under load. It is as if these scooters have been introduced to boost the road traffic accident statistics. Armoured jackets & crash helmets are just an establishment economy boost so either poodle around town or get a real bike.

In less than 500km, I experienced a loose rear wheel axle & a front brake caliper bolt which actually came loose and dropped off during a single ride because the vibrations are high and the factory quality poor. You have to torque these just right (25 lbs/ft) or you can strip the fork frame threads.


MAINTENANCE


It never ceases to amaze how many young hopefuls, fresh from studying Leisure & Travel, have saved up their Education Maintenance Allowance in order to buy a mobile phone and a Chinese scooter.

About 13 months down the line, they’ll be complaining about the lack of power, or maybe a seized engine if they haven’t crashed when the rear wheel came loose.


These machines are supposed to have all their fluids changed on delivery and have quite frequent service intervals. It is important for any kind of durability to stick to the service schedule. No design effort has gone into reduced maintenance.


Expect everything to rust and fall apart towards the end of the first year. Try to keep the thing in a dry garage; wash it down after venturing out on salty or even wet roads (what on earth are you doing on wet roads anyhow?).

Carburetor Adjustment:

Poached.Info has the definitive method to adjust the carburetor settings under the General DIY pages.. Chinese settings are typically wrong because of poor quality control and differing atmospheric conditions in China.

This site also has a further review of scooters.

LIVING with a CHINESE SCOOTER

These vehicles are simply not safe enough. The engines are rough and ready so stalling & perhaps surging are too likely, although it does not take much effort to re-adjust the carburettors ( much more practical than fuel injection but then these old designs were NEVER going to have fuel injection) and these are unnecessary dangers to incompetent riders. Little power, even a 125cc CVT can hardly do 60 mph. Not particularly economical relatively speaking. A Japanese 125cc with gears & foot pegs would make far more sense. If you don’t understand why then you should probably be getting the bus.


Twist & Go is Strictly Chav’s transport.

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