Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chinese Scooters: Good Buy or Say Goodbye?

Scooters are becoming more and more common on the road these days.  People are drawn to the low price tag, great gas mileage and convenience as a source of transportation.  But when it comes to buying, not all scooters are made equal.  In the past several years the market has been flooded with Chinese scooters. 

These Chinese scooters come in all different styles, sizes, brands and colors.  At first glance it can sometimes be hard to tell them apart from a name brand scooter.  They often have a price tag that seems too good to pass up– usually a couple hundred bucks on the low end, still less than one thousand on the high end.  But, as many consumers find out, the drawbacks to a Chinese scooter almost always outweigh the initial benefits.

Here’s an example of a typical Chinese scooter we might see someone bring to the shop:

From across the street, it looks like a pretty decent scooter, possibly a Honda Metropolitan or a Kymco Sento.  But when you look closer, a few things are amiss:

You’ll notice the front turn signals are falling off.  The seat is broken off from the bike. 

Some metal parts are rusting and the rear turn signals are also falling off.

Most importantly, you’ll notice the brand: JINCHENG.  One of the most important things you can research when buying a scooter is brand.  Is it a reliable and trusted brand?  Have you heard of it or seen it before?  Are there dealerships in your area that not only sell, but also service that brand?  The owner of this scooter found out these answers the hard way– JINCHENG is not reliable, we had never heard of it here at the shop and we could not get any parts needed to service it.  Unfortunately, since the scooter would not run and could not be fixed it was abandoned. 

So when you go to buy a scooter, don't be tempted by a "great bargain" before you ask the dealership questions such as these:  
  • What can you tell me about this brand?
  • Do you service all of the scooters you sell?
  • How easily can you get parts for the scooter?
  • Does the scooter have a warranty?
  • Can you do warranty work if there are any problems?
Answers to these questions often differentiate between an unreliable, cheap Chinese scooter and a reliable, long-lasting name-brand scooter.  You can also ask yourself, "If I found a great deal on a car, would I buy it if I had never heard of the brand?"

One last thing to think about: 

This scooter had a little under 3,000 miles on it before it was abandoned because no one could get the parts needed to fix it.

Jason Howell has Genuine Buddy which is one of our best-sellers here at Moto Strada.  He created a blog about his trip across the country– on his scooter!  He rode the Buddy for over 4,000 miles from New Jersey to California with only minor problems which were fixed with ease at dealerships across the country. Check out  his trip here!

Moral of this blog: Like the old saying goes. 
"You get what you paid for!"

No we don't fix them! From time to time we will change tires. Nothing else. 

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Moto Strada

Founded in 1993 as Baltimore Vespa & Lambretta, Moto Strada is the Washington and Baltimore area’s largest scooter sales and service dealer.

Moto Strada is a full-service scooter repair shop servicing the greater Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area as well as Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. We specialize in service, sales, mail order, and restoration.

Tel: 410-666-8377
9918 C York Rd. (across from Target)
Cockeysville, MD 21030
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