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Discussion in 'Vintage Topic Archive (Sept - 2009)' started by Jefferson, Jun 1, 2008.
So besdes the Vespas, which are pricey, what else is worth looking at?
I had a similar question but I asked specifically about "Tomos"... when it comes to tomos, he said: Their mopeds are good, but their scooters *something the lines of not high-quality like Vespa, Lambretta, and Aprilia* (I'm unsure on his exact words on that... maybe he will elaborate!)
For scoots, there is a pretty easy rule:
If you cannot find a brick-and-mortar dealer in at least 3 major cities, stay away from it.
The biggest thing for bikes is good dealer support for parts, since bikes of all kinds often require more day to day matainance than our 4 wheeled counterparts. Stuff like drive belts/chains, filters, tires and brake pads will need to be changed at nearly 4 times the rate of a car, and if you can't find those parts on the shelf, what happens when something serious breaks?
That being said, my top votes are:
-Genuine Scooter Company (Based out of Chicago and have a GREAT dealer support system already in place, and their dealers are growing in every major city! Quality modern twist'n'go scoots, and they make the "Stella", a custom production LML that is nearly 90% the same as the Vespa PX150)
-Kymco (A South Korean brand scoot that's been on tops in Asia for nearly 50 years, and are finally getting a solid break here. Scoots range from 50cc to 650cc in sport, commuter and touring configs. They also make Quads and they actually look GOOD to boot)
-Vespa/Piaggio (Vespa scoots are all steel, but Piaggio are plastic bodied with a TON of unique scoots for all riding tastes)
-Peugot (IF there's a dealer in your town. They're a French brand that is VERY popular in the EU and Africa, but still haven't got a lot of market penetration here. Makers of the Speedfight sportscoot that really kicks butt on the track)
-Aprilia (Uses the same motors as Vespa/Piaggio, but their own bodies. Tend to be very pricey and I say, unless you REALLY like the look of the scoots, you're better off getting the Vespa)
Now, Tomos makes tons of bikes, but are really known for their "true" mopeds. Their scooters are the same moped motors put into step-thru scoot bodies that are kinda on the cheap side. Not terribly fast as scoots, but some of their mopeds top out at 55mph! But, if you're using it as a major city commuter, I say pony up to the more durable scooters listed above.
What to stay away from?
-Garish coloured plastic scoots for $999 from China. They're bought by the shipping container and often times look "similiar" to alot of popular scooters, but have varying level of build quality and questionable parts fit. Good luck finding who makes spare parts considering many of these factories retool every 3 months! Even if they have a showroom and SAY they have dealers, if you can't find an ad for their bikes in any major motorbike magazine or if you can't order, say, an ignition module from the factory then it's good to stay FAR away. These guys are easy to spot since many will sell the sandrail "dune buggys" and quads of similiar dubious build.
-Anything sold at Pep Boys
-Scooters sold with NO title! Many times these are bikes stolen from out of state and brought to states who don't require titles for bikes under a certain displacement. Get pulled over once and you might find out you're in possession of a stolen bike. That will ruin anyone's day.
-"Vintage" Vespas that have two tone paint, TONS of chrome and dual saddle seats being sold as "original", ESPECIALLY if they're from Cambodia or Vietnam. These scooters are junkers that are Bondo-ed and painted up, using spare parts from whatever bin they can find, and then shipped to the US and UK to capitalize on the "retro" craze. The motors are bodged together, and many don't even have enough of a VIN to get a title! There's a ton of these scoots coming out on the market and are getting alot of legit buyers screwed into spending $5000 on a piece of junk that can't be insured or tagged. Remember: Original Vespas had very little chrome, hardly no stock racks or parcel shelves and all came with muted earthtone paints. Bright colours, two tones and the like are aftermarket. Chrome isn't a bad thing, but unless you can find a brand marque on it (a Logo or a name), then it's a Vietnam bodge job.