Monday, December 29, 2014

Owning Old, Modern Scooters

Through the last 12 years I have owned four scooters and I am currently holding another for three years.  As they age, they start to deteriorate.  Here is what I have experienced.

  • 2002 Malaguti Ciak 50:  This one has been ok since new.  It has occasionally been hard to start, but mostly because of little use and a clogged carburetor.  I believe I fixed that by using non-ethanol fuel exclusively for the past year or so.  But after a 15 mile ride on Saturday, I went into the garage to find a strong smell of gasoline.  I looked around until I spotted a large fuel spill under the Malaguti.  I am not sure why it took so long, but the fuel line must have finally given in to the earlier ethanol fuel.  So it is currently not usable, a shame because I just had Boris change the belt and it runs like new.

  • 2006 Vespa GT (Rocket):  Rocket has been a fantastic scooter since purchased nine years ago.  It had normal maintenance for the first five or so, but has been costing me at least $100. per month to keep it going for the past four years.  The changed parts include camshaft, rocker arm, carburetor, fuel line, starter, bendix, three variators, shock absorbers, etc.  It has been through probably 8 or 9 rear tires, 4 or 5 front tires and at least 12 exhaust gaskets.  The oil has been changed probably 14 times.  That is difficult as the original dealer did the first services.  On their last one, they overtightened the drain plug, stripping the threads.  All oil is sucked out the filler plug since.  The most recent issue is the engine mounts have deteriorated and it is in the warehouse awaiting parts.

  • 2005 Vespa GT:  This one I bought from my brother a couple of years ago.  I used it for several rides, a 2000 mile ride from Jacksonville to Franklin, Tennessee, down the Natchez Trace Parkway to Natchez, Mississippi, to Biloxi, Mississippi to home.  It was also my Iron Butt ride.  I replaced bearings and other wear items while owning it, but after selling it to Zoltan, he had a total engine meltdown at around 30,000 miles.  A valve dropped into the combustion chamber causing enormous damage.  He and Boris scrabbled together parts from various sources and rebuilt the engine.  It ran well for a while but is back in the warehouse again.

  • 2007 Vespa GT:  I am holding this one for my friend Leslie while she works in Naples, Italy for three years.  She had an accident on this one on her first ride with the club.  We turned in to a gas station and she ran into Tom and both went down.  Boris repaired the scooter and it looks great but she has had various issues since, mostly easy like fuel lines and exhaust gaskets.  Now it is leaking coolant.  So I limit my rides on this one until it is repaired.  Another slight issue with this one is that I changed the rear tire a few months ago.  The new Michelin City Grip is out-of-round causing a slight bounce at certain speeds.  
  • 2013 Honda NC700X:  This is the newest and it is a Honda.  I lube the chain every now and then and change the oil per plan.  That is it.

Owning scooters is an expensive hobby.  It feels like at least one is broken at any time.  

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