Dec 31, 2009
Jun 13, 2009
Nov 2, 2008
Oct 9, 2008
Sep 19, 2008
Probably the most common issue on these bikes is just parts coming loose. New owners of these scooters are always advised to check every nut & bolt on the bike for tightness. And use Loctite. This is good advise. I have had a few things get loose and this can be a safety concern. New owners are also advised to change rubber - fuel lines, vacuum lines, CVT belt. This may be good advice on some bikes, but I have had no problems with these items. I have had issues with the quality of plastic body panels. This is not a safety issue, but it is worth considering when weighing the pros & cons of paying more for a scooter.
Another concern occasionally raised is the question of the dreaded Chinese metallurgy. I participate in a number of scooter forums. The biggest & best is ScootDawg.com. Based on the experience of hundreds of owners on these forums, it's my conclusion that criticism of Chinese metallurgy is unfounded. In point of fact I believe that it's just fear-mongering initiated by people who (for what ever reason) just hate Chinese scooters. There may be plenty of issues with electrical gremlins, bad carbs, loose items, and cooling issues on liquid-cooled bikes, but there appear to be no issues relating to the quality of Chinese metals. No folks, these things just don't break in half going down the road.
So the ultimate question is: are they a good purchase? Well the answer is yes and no. For someone with no mechanical skills - no. For someone who has to depend on the scooter as their only means of transportation - no (unless you buy 2). For someone who can do repairs - yes. Definitely yes. If you like the style of these bikes, you like tinkering with them and you like the idea of paying half of what a Honda or Yamaha would cost, then they are a great value.
Another related point that I have to state clearly is that part of the problem with these cheap scooters is owner expectations. A few people buy these things and expect to drive them like their cars. Stick the key in and go. No repairs, no maintenance, no problems. Then they get furious and bitter when anything goes wrong. They want to complain all over the Internet about a brand or dealer, when they are just as much at fault because their expectations are so unrealistic. Don't get me wrong - there are rip-off artists peddling scooters on the internet. But being realistic and doing your homework BEFORE buying a scooter can save a lot of headaches.
Lastly, I want to point out a new link I've added. A very helpful web page that will get new owners off to good start. BTW if you can't do the things outlined on this page, think twice about making a Chinese scooter purchase. http://x1scooters.com/scooterpdi.html
Sep 5, 2008
Discussions of the pros and cons of buying a Chinese scooter often center around parts availablity. And rightly so. It's one thing to buy a cheap scooter and know you are going to have to repair it. But if you can't get parts to make the repairs, it doesn't matter how good a mechanic you are. As you may have noticed, I have not bought any parts form the vendor who sold me the scooter. In fairnesss to them, I only tried to call them one day. But after placing a few calls and not getting an answer, I gave up. I don't need them since I own such a generic design. There are several companies who sell all the parts I'll probably every need. Still, it seems like a missed opportunity for Rakatak.
Jul 22, 2008
Jul 7, 2008
Jun 29, 2008
In October, shortly after my last post, I was riding with my brother. About a mile from his house, the scooter suddenly died. I pulled over & found that I could restart it, but the engine stalled when given any throttle at all. So I pushed the bike to my brother's house and went over there a few evenings to try to diagnose the problem. Being unsuccessful and a little frustrated. I put the scooter in the back of a pick-up and brought it home. At first I thought perhaps the CVT belt broke or the clutch seized up, so I removed the CVT cover to inspect things. Everything looked fine. My brother suggested it was an ignition problem, but I didn't think it was. But the only way I could be sure was to replaced the suspect parts with new ones. And since these parts are relatively in expensive, I placed my order for a new coil & new CDI with Oregon Vintage Scooters. After promptly receiving my order (thanks Stan!), I installed the new components and voila... nothin'. No change. So I continued to look for a cause. At this point I have been suspecting the carburetor, but I can't prove it. The carb is also one of the most expensive parts to replace.
Meanwhile, I had been thinking about getting a new motorcycle. In November I stumbled across a great deal on a very slightly used, one year old Sportster. It was a deal I couldn't refuse, so I didn't. What little nice weather was left in November I spent riding the Sporty. Then I put all bikes away for the winter.
When spring returned I was itching to put some miles on the Sportster, so I did. To be honest, any time the weather was nice I chose to ride rather than spend time in the garage. I worked on diagnosing the scooters problem a little bit here and there. I tried to eliminate any possibility (except the carb). I inspected the throttle, fuel filters, fuel lines, fuel petcock, vacuum lines, nuts, bolts, fittings. Nothing looked wrong. Finally spring had drawn to a close and summer was upon me and I was getting darn tired of not ridding the scooter to work like I had last year. So I broke down and ordered a new carb (from Oregon Vintage of course). It arrived in only four days (some dealers claim THEY can't get parts that fast). I installed the new carb and... the scooter now runs perfectly.
So, I am back on the scooter again. And just in time with gas at $4.00 a gallon. I will keep this blog updated, even if nothing interesting happens.
Oct 6, 2007
However, the extra loud rattle from the front end appears to be caused by a broken tab that holds the front cowl in place. I have not taken it apart yet to see if it's repairable but that is my next project.
Sep 21, 2007
Monday I had a recurrence of issue #3 in Sept 6 post. The engine would not run when it got a little warmed up. After work I got to poking around the engine and discovered that the nut that holds the throttle cable to the carburetor was loose. Very loose. I tightened up both screws (on both sides of the plate) and started the scooter. Seemed OK. I then rode it to work the next three days and everything is fine. So I think this issue is resolved.
However, this cheap bike has always had some squeaks and rattle, but this week the rattles coming from the front end are a little louder...
Sep 15, 2007
After the plastic was removed I was looking hard at the switch, trying to figure out how to remove it. As I'm looking for what holds the switch in and how to work around the handle bar, I noticed a white electric connector just dangling. So I looked at the switch for wires, and guess what? No wires were connected to it. So I put the connector up to the switch and pushed till I heard the click. Now I'm thinking, there is no way the problem is this easy to fix (and I still have not had to order any replacement parts for the scooter). I test the signals and they work.
Someone who works on these for a living probably could have figured this out faster. But the scooter still has not stranded me and has cost me nothing to repair.
Sep 6, 2007
1) A couple of weeks ago the turn signals quit working. I replaced the fuse and they worked - for a couple of days. Then they quit again. This time I replaced the fuse and the signals still did not work. I checked both fuses with my multimeter and they are good. I suspect a faulty turn signal switch, but as of now this issue is unresolved.
2) One day last week the scooter would not start. There was a click but the engine would not turn over. I checked the battery and it was a good 12.5 volts. So I hit the electric start button and kicked it at the same time and it fired right up. This problem has not recurred.
3) Today the engine started and ran fine until it warmed up. Then the idle was low and it died with the application of throttle. So I drove the car to work. At lunch I came home, fired up the scooter and it seemed fine. So I rode it to and from work and it still seems OK.
These are not major problems (at least not yet), but it's important that I document them so everyone is aware of all issues in this project.
Sep 4, 2007
Aug 21, 2007
Did the first valve adjustment tonight. As with everything else I've done to this bike, it was amazingly easy. Both valves were very tight, so a minor adjustment was needed. For those of you who need some how-to tips, take a look at this discussion at SccotDawg:
The only additional tip I can give is remove the vent hose from the valve cover before removing the valve cover. It's easier.
Aug 18, 2007
Jul 31, 2007
Jul 30, 2007
It finally happened. As some of you predicted, the scooter has failed. I was warned that these Chinese scooters are junk. That they will fall apart underneath you. That they are death traps. So I guess it was just a matter of time. On a long ride this weekend, with just over 800km on the scooter, catastrophe struck. A bolt that holds the head pipe to the cylinder fell off, rendering the bike loud. What is to become of it now?!
Jul 13, 2007
Jun 24, 2007
Jun 16, 2007
Jun 10, 2007
Jun 7, 2007
Jun 3, 2007
May 31, 2007
May 22, 2007
May 20, 2007
May 13, 2007
May 3, 2007
Apr 5, 2007
Mar 17, 2007
Feb 1, 2007
Jan 23, 2007
Winter has (unfortunatley) finally arrived. Three inches of snow Sunday with temperatures forecast in the low 30's with high winds the rest of the week. So I doubt the scooter will be out for a while. My posts here will be scooter related, but I may not have any updates regarding mine for a while. I hope y'all keep reading anyway.
Jan 17, 2007
The scooter idles very quietly. It does get somewhat louder when the throttle is opened up, but it sounds good. It is, however, queiter than just about any motorcycle you have ever heard. No, it does not sound like a vacuum cleaner (electric motors sound nothing like gas engines) and it does not sound like a weed whacker. Weed wackers (or chain saws) are 2-stroke engines and sound very different from a 4-stroke.
Thanks for asking.
Jan 11, 2007
Jan 6, 2007
Inspection revealed no other defects. The bike starts immediatly and runs well. The headlight brightness varies with engine RPM, so it obviously has a whimpy electrical system. No fluid leaks. So far I am pleased with what I got.
The next step is waiting for paperwork to get the title. For some reason most online retailers do not send the paperwork with the bike; it comes seperatly. I have heard a few people complain that it took weeks for the paper work to arrive. We'll see how good Rakatak is.
Jan 4, 2007
Jan 3, 2007
Jan 2, 2007
Dec 25, 2006
While considering the purchase of a motor scooter I was struck by the great price advantage of Chinese scooters over those from other countries. I read everything I could find about them for about a year and noted that consensus was not to buy one on Ebay. Obviously they are not up to the design or quality standards of the Italians or even the Japanese, but, I wondered, how bad can they be? So in the interest of hard, objective information I bought one on Ebay. The main reasons that people are advised not to buy them on Ebay is that if there are problems with it, there is not a local dealer to repair it for you and there is the possibility of not being able to get parts in a timely way, or even at all. I believe I can make whatever repairs may be necessary. I’ll keep my fingers crossed about the parts. A major factor in my decision to purchase a scooter on Ebay was price. Chinese scooters on Ebay sell for half (or less) of what a clone Chinese scooter sells for at a dealer. The basic engine design in these scooters (known as a GY6) is the same, and the external appearance is the same. The purveyors of the “brand name” Chinese scooters insist theirs are higher quality even though they appear to be identical. Considering the price difference I find it hard to believe that the quality differences (if any) could justify paying an extra $1000. Hopefully my saga will prove that either: a) paying the extra money to buy a “name brand” Chinese clone scooter is worth the money spent, or b) the quality difference is nonexistant or very small and it’s better to save the money and do a little work yourself.