My Scooters

My Scooters
     

I assisted in the purchase of 8 scooters from EvoSales for myself, friends, and family. I bought from Evo because they looked pretty generic, and they were inexpensive. I bought one 250 Tank touring Scooter, two 150 Classic i-scooters, three 150 Retro 'Vespa' Scooters, two 50 Classic i-scooters. I also have a Bandit Motors RC150 which is the same model as the Evo Retro, and a Benda 50CC from the Zhejiang Zhongnan Group Motorcycle Co. given to me by a friend who couldn't get it running.



2006 Tank Touring

Scooter 1 – Tank Touring Scooter 250: I put a large storage box on the back, reattached the trunk to the top of the storage box, loaded all of my camping gear into it, strapped my tent, chair, sandwedge, and drove to the Oregon Coast. I camped and toured for 5 days. The only thing that happened was that the rear tire (10”) went very low. The engine ran fine, the brakes stopped (important on winding coast roads). It was a great trip and just right for celebrating my 50 th birthday. It was also relatively comfortable. I've since put over 3500 km on the bike and have had few problems: the body panel under the left floorboard cracked and had to be removed, I'll get around to fixing it someday.

It has turned into my grocery scooter. I can get a lot of payload into it.. This scoot came with a radio/cassette. I removed it before I even drove it. It took up way too much space under the seat. The under seat storage isn't deep enough to get store a full-face helmet, but there's enough room for a lot of clothing, a skull-cap helmet, tools and a spare liter of fuel.

The tires seem out of balance because there is a lot of vibration at top speed, about 75mph. It gets about 65 MPG.

Problems:

  • Cracked body part under floorboard.
  • Scratchy Brake Lever mechanism
  • I replaced the rear tire and the vibration went away. This was a solid bike for the 7,000 miles I road it.

    Sold to a friend in 2008.


    Scooter 2 – Vespa Retro 150. I love the design. It's my second scooter of this design. The first problem I had with my new scoot was that the speedometer gears at the axel locked up and disintegrated. I have ordered a replacement several times from Moises at Evo Sales, but it has yet to come. The center stand hung too low and hit the ground when I went around corners, so I removed the roller bumber and let it swing up a little higher. The next problem was that the bracket that holds the headlight broke off. My son took it to school and rewelded it in shop class. Almost every bolt I removed from the Evo Sales scooter body was partially stripped. I've replaced them all with stainless steel bolts and chased the threads on the nuts. The rear fender that attached to the muffler tore off leaving a small hole in the muffler. The worst thing is that at high RPMs for more than a mile the engine drops off like it's starving for fuel. My guess is that the cheap vacuum fuel pump is not supplying enough gas when the vacuum drops at wide open throttle. The good news is that for what I use this scooter, it almost never happens. I happily drive around town at under 45 mph. This scooter did not come with a kill switch, instead it has a switch that turns off the headlight. I've renamed this the “Get Killed Switch.” Also, the turn signal switch stopped working after about two months. My German visitors this summer named this “Sexy Scooter.” The low flat seat and old-school handle bars make this a very comfortable ride. Everything about this scooter is manufactured at the low end of quality. The metals are thin and soft, the bolts are stripped, the single rear spring is too weak, the seat vinyl is paperthin. Top speed is about 50 mph, andit gets about 65 miles per gallon.

    Problems:

    • Speedometer gears stripped (replaced)
    • Many stripped bolts. (replaced with SS bolts and chased the nuts)
    • Broken headlight bracket (welded back together and reinforced)
    • Center stand hung down too far (heated and bent so that it tucks up and out of the way)
    • Rear fender tore off (replaced)
    • Fuel system or pump inadequate, loses power at WOT (added a fuel pump)
    • Turn signal switch unreliable (taken apart and modified)
    • Rack painted with silver paint rather than chromed
    • No kill switch
    • Has a headlight switch ("Get Killed Switch")

    .Sold to a friend in 2008



    – Road Runner "Vespa" Retro 150. My dad loves it. He's 71 years old and has been riding a Honda Mini Trail 70 since he bought it in the late ‘70s. He lives near the boundary waters near the Canadian Border on Lake Superior. His main problem was that it took over 2 months to get his bill of sale and certificate of origin from Evo because they mailed it three times to the wrong address. Not being able to drive on the streets, he resorted to the dusty back roads. After weeks of this he finally got his title and license and started riding on the streets. One day the scoot just stopped running, or would only run at full throttle. He's a good mechanic and has worked on everything from tiny chainsaw engines to D-9 Cats. He took everything apart, and found the gaskets in the air cleaner had been installed improperly at the factory and that dust had gummed up the carburetor, especially the main jet. He cleaned out the carb, put it all back together and built a trailer for it so he could get groceries. Very cool.

    One day he was riding it at about 35 mph, and it developed a violent front end wobble. He took the front end apart and found that the bolt that holds the handle bars to the fork assembly was loose. This could have been bad, but luckily he slowed to a stop without crashing.

    Problems:

    • Improperly installed air filter gasket
    • Loose steering bolt.
    • Recently wouldn't start. Loose connecter to coil.

    .


    My Daughter on her Pony Sparkle Princess

  • Scooter 4 – Classic 150 RoadRunner i-scooter. Pink. Very Pink. I bought this one for my daughter who just started at U of Oregon. She absolutely loves this mode of transportation. She has never been a “pink girl.” She's a monster soccer player, jazz musician and straight-A student. She's been independent since her first day on the planet. We have had only one problem with this scooter, the rear fender tore off. It's much faster than my Evo Retro 150. The odd anomaly of this scooter is that it's speedometer is about 10% pessimistic. When the first 5 scooters were shipped to me, the two Classics were mis-marked 150cc at the factory, and were actually 50cc scooters. Evo Sales called before they arrived and asked that I store them for at most a few weeks, and they would send the shipper back to pick them up when they had a new destination. I agreed. Evo also said they would send out the replacement scooters the next day. Two days later I called for tracking information and they said they had not shipped yet. There was a problem. They had no pink scooters in stock. My daughter agreed to a red scooter instead so they sent me two red Classics. I got them a few weeks later. It was several weeks until my daughter could take the Safety Training class required by Oregon for motorcycle endorsement, and one of my friends wanted one of the 50cc scoots, so Evo gave me a good deal on the two 50cc's and I kept them. One evening my son and I swapped bodies between the pink 50 and the red 150. I was impressed with quality and design of the scoots. Swapping bodies took us about 2-1/2 hours. The only tricky part was the front fender because we had to remove the break cable and some of the brake fluid escaped, and then we had to bleed the brakes. As soon as my daughter saw it, she fell in love. She calls it her pony and named it “Sparkle Princess.” She bought a pink helmet and pink armor jacket. It's rounded out by her pink shoes. She has become the Pink Scooter Girl in Eugene. She looks like the Pink Power Ranger. Top speed is about 65mph and it gets about 70mpg.

    Problem:

    Rear Fender tore off.

    Here's the fix I used- 3/4" X 1/8" aluminum flat stock. On the other side of the loop I turned the last 3/4" of aluminum back on itself so it pinches the fender. I could have made the loops a little closer to the curvature of the fender, but I was in a hurry. This has held for about a month without any sign of tearing off.

     

    Update 10/23/09 - My daughter has been hard on this scooter. It has been outside and uncovered since I bought it, but it still looks good. She's dropped it a few times and I've had to repair the plastic with fiberglass and epoxy resin (on this inside). It is still very quick and manuverable. It runs rough now after it warms up, and I haven't figured out why. She's at college on the other corner of the country for a semester so she left it with us. I ride it once in a while just to assert my masculinity. The battery has been replaced several times. It has about 3,500 miles on it.


    Scooter 5 – Classic 50 RoadRunner (red). I haven't put many miles on this scoot, but it seems solid. I kept it because I wanted to experience riding a 50cc scooter around town. My family hosted three of my daughter's delightful German friends this summer. My daughter spent the previous year on an exchange there. One was 19 and was able in Oregon to ride the 50cc scooter legally without any other documentation. I spent a couple of evenings showing her how to drive and teaching her the rules and then turned her loose. She was able to drive around on her own, but mostly followed me to the grocery store every day for ice cream. Germans, it turns out, eat a lot of ice cream: on pancakes in the morning and on waffle cones in the evening. Top speed with my 200 pounds is about 35. The 120 pound German girl said she got it up to 45 with the wind. It's too early to tell what kind of mileage it gets. It still has less than 200 km on it, and I've only filled it up a coulple of times.

    This scooter would only go about 35 with me on it, so we removed 3 of the 6 rollers in the variator, and voila! it now goes 43 with me on it, and 46 with my 130 pound son driving it. Now it's much more comfortable driving around town. 35mph is just too slow to be safe unless you can drive in the bike lanes, and that's illegal.

    Update 10/23/09 - I've now had this scooter for about 3 years and it's still running well with over 2,700 miles on it. One of our Germans visited again last summer and drove it to her internship almost everyday. I've replaced only the battery. I drive it for short, nearby errands once or twice a week. I like how easy it is to park in town. I often squeeze it into the bike racks on our city sidewalks without being bothered.

    Update 3/13/10 - Still lovin' this little bugger. Has plenty of room for groceries with the rack and I installed on the back. Gets great mileage. It's on its third battery.


    Scooter 6 – Classic 50 RoadRunne. A neighbor friend heard about my scooters and fell in love with the idea of riding to work on a scooter. She had a 50cc scoot in college and enjoyed it. Now, 15 years later she thought it would be fun again. She hasn't had any problems with it other than pilot error. She couldn't start it one day. She pushed it to a tire dealer down the street from where she was having lunch. One of her friends at the tire store came out to help. After a few minutes, he asked, “What's this button?” “That's the kill switch” she said. His reply, “Shouldn't it be on?” She rides it about 12 miles to work and her only problem is that she drives a little slower than traffic over a bridge and up the hill to her office.

    Update 10/23/09 - Has had to replace the battery twice. The owner rides to work during the summer.


    .

    Scooter 7 – Retro 150. My business partner liked the scooter idea and had some extra cash, so he bought one, too. Immediately he started having problems with it. First, it would die every time he turned left, it had fuel leaks, the gas gauge stopped working, then it wouldn't start at all. He pulled off the front cover and found that several of the electrical connectors were disconnected. Also some of the connectors were disconnected under the seat on the right side. After reconnecting everything, it started and ran well. After that it was only the gas gauge. Evo sent him a replacement gauge, but it didn't match the one on his scoot. It was from a different set of gauges with different connectors. Now he carries a small spare tank of gas under his seat. He also had a flat tire, which he fixed with some green slime.

    Problems:

    • Loose connections
    • Fuel leaks
    • Broken gas gauge
    • Flat tire

    Update: My partner is fed up with this scooter. He never did get the fuel gauge to work so he's going to sell it and spend his time with his MG Midget.

    Update 10/23/09 - My partner moved to Nashville and took this scooter with him. It seems to be running well for him now. The funny thing is that he couldn't get the Midget to run and sold it to me. Now I have the Midget running and drive it when I can't drive my scooter. (in the snow)


    Scooter 8 – Classic 150 RoadRunner i-scooter. Bought by a friend who I've worked with or around for over a decade. A whacky broad known as 3Jane on the www.scootdawg.com forum. She had her scooter for a few months and did all of the maintenance required ahead of schedule. She's upgraded to $12 spark plugs and synthetic oil. Her scoot died one day on a long ride with a friend and found that the sparkplug wire melted and shorted out on a large braided tube from the exhaust manifold to the a vacuum activated emission control valve. Her valve seemed to be dysfunctional. It's supposed to let a little bit of air into the exhaust manifold to burn off unburned fuel. The same valve situation is on all of the 150 and 50cc scooters I bought from Evo. Since they don't seem to function well, I've removed them from all of my scoots.

    Problems:

    • Dysfunctional emission valve
    • Melted spark plug wire

     


    Scooter 9 - Bandit Motor Sports RC 150: I bought this scooter from a neighbor who bought it about a year before from Bandit Motorsports. He said it never ran right, and finally gave up on it after the warranty expired. I've since talked to the guys at Bandit Motorsports, and their story is a little different: They say it was stored improperly and the carburetor filled up water and corroded. In any event, my neighbor was fed up and sold the scooter to me for a song. It took only a few minutes to get it going, and a couple of weeks of tweaking the carburetor, changing the gas lines, and adding a fuel pump to get it humming. I rode the scooter through the winter and spring and part of the summer before I accidentally ran the oil out of it. I had been checking the oil every few days, and after a while neglected to wipe off the dipstick. One day it just started running roughly, and then just died. I was able to start it, and drive home slowly. I checked the dipstick, it still had oil on it and looked like it was only down a little. I decided to change the oil anyway, and when I removed the plug only a few drips dropped out. Boy did I feel stupid. After refilling it with oil, it started and ran but smoked a lot. I ordered a new engine along with all of them scooters I ordered from Evo Sales and recently installed it. I was amazed at how complete the engine was, and how easy it was to install. Basically, you just attach the tire, the carburetor, a few wires, and reattach the exhaust. The engine attaches to the frame with one large through bolt and the shock/spring. I changed the oil in the crank case and transmission, ran the starter for a few minutes with the kill switch off, and then started it up. It purred like a kitten. I screwed the idle screw in until it was running at a mid range and let it run for about half an hour. After that, I've just been riding it slowly to break it in.

    The scooter although still a cheap Chinese machine, is of a higher-quality than the Evo Sales Retro 150s. The rear spring/shock absorber has a much stronger spring and therefore a tighter ride. Electrical switches are better quality and reliable. The electrical connectors are thicker and less likely to come apart accidentally. The machining on the front suspension is smooth and silent. The Evo Sales scooter front end clunks when the shock is off weighted. The vinyl in the seats is thicker and more durable. The plastic body parts seem to be exactly the same.

    Problems:

    • carburetion and fuel supply
    • loss of oil (pilot error)
    • headlight

    Update: The blowing out of the headlamps was due to a faulty stator. Once I replace the stator and the headlight, everything is now working fine. This continues to be my favorite ride around town. Top speed is about 44 mph ( confirmed with a gps), but the speedometer says 62 and it seems fast enough for this model of scooter.

    Update: 10/15/08 - Sadly, I sold this scooter. I just didn't have room for 5 scooters. This remains my favorite model for running around town, especially with someone on the back.


    Kymco

    Scooter 10: 11/26/07 - I bought this at the end of the season and got a great deal on it. It's a different class of machine from the Chinese bikes above. It's much more solid, stable and well appointed. I've only driven about 200 miles on it so far and haven't opened it up yet, but it's very quick compared to my 250 Tank. The only thing that malfunctioned when it was new was that the speedometer needle was on the wrong side of the peg so it could only read up to zero. After a few days I took it on the freeway, and when I got to around 60 the needle jumped over the peg and it now reads. I checked it with a gps and it's 20% high. The dealer has ordered a replacement for it. This scooter has a lot of trunk space under the seat: enough to have a 3/4 helmet, jacket, gloves, etc. The dark red mile unit on the speedometer are almost impossible to read in all but perfect light. I"m going to see if I can make a new guage face for the speedometer so it's more visible.

    The large tires and the long wheel base give this the feel of a much bigger bike. I'm amazed at how slow I can drive without having to put a foot down. Unless I have to stop at a light; I amost never have to take my feet off the foot pads, and that's a good thing, because I'm only 5'-7" and the seat on this bugger is 30 inches high which is longer than my inseam, which means I'm on my tip-toes to balance it.

    I look forward to doing some serious touring on this bike.

    Update - 10/23/09 - I've now had this bike for two years. I have driven over 14,000 miles and replaced the rear tire and belt. The bike is still like new. I have toured all over Oregon mostly camping along the coast and in Central Oregon. I have a pair of soft side bags that hang over the rear seat and a large trunk on the back. I can carry all of my camping gear comfortably. The mileage is roughly 60 mpg which is a little less than I would expect. The speedometer is still 20% high even after it was replaced. But I realized the conversion to the correct speed is just 1/2 of the KMH, and since the KMH markings on the speedometer are white, I can actually see them. Top speed is 65. On the flat 65 mph is almost at the red line on the tach. I drive this bike everyday ( unless there's snow or ice on the road ).

     

  •