14 November 2012

Affordable Scooters 2013

How many times has someone asked me what scooter should they buy knowing full well that at over R50,000 the Vespa is well out their budget. This led me to the problem, what scooter should I recommend them?

I always believed that a Vespa lasts a life time but just before 50,000km my Vespa ET4 150 needed a new engine. Okay you might argue that my Vespa has been to places that most bikers would cringe but Vespa is Life. Anyway looking at most of the imports from China whose prices start at about R5,000 which is a 10th of an entry level Vespa, the Vespa LX150, the imports are very plastic and feel like they about to fall apart let alone make it long distance. There was a time when Japanese cars were once so inferior to the US and European cars that no one wanted them but now look at them, they are top of the pile. I do believe China's automobiles are where Japan was thirty years ago but they will take much faster to catch up and then we'll see who is on top of the pile.

One of the founders of the VLV (Viva La Vespa) Club once said to me that he was happy that the Vespa was beyond the reach of the normal people as they needed to keep the plebs out. Oh dear, I do recall that Vespa started out as an affordable ride for the people. Have Vespa lost the plot? I don't think so. The Vespa is built to last but the cost of making a Vespa is strangling. To keep the Vespa competitive, Piaggio has built factories in the East and recently reopened one in India. They are trying but still have a long way to go to keep them competitive.

With fuel going up and up, and toll gates being erected so fast, that commuting to work every day on a scooter is starting out weigh the dangers. So for now, if a Vespa is beyond your reach, here are a few affordable choices to help you decide. I am only going to list the 150cc models upwards as I will be using Vespa as the baseline model and although they do have a 125cc model, none are brought into South Africa. (Please note prices are subject to change and are in ZAR). A lot of the brands use similar engines and bodies which makes it difficult to choose the right model to buy.

Big Boy Pulse 150cc
Retail Price: R 8,450
Warranty: 24,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.0kw Max Speed: 80km/h
Service Interval: 3,000km/6 months

Zest Z150-1
Retail Price: R 8,450
Warranty: 40,000km/2 year (Extended 60,000km/3 year)
Max Power: 7.2kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 2,500km


Gomoto Citti SI 150cc
Retail Price: R 8,499
Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.3kw Max Speed: 90km/h
Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months


Gomoto Yesterday 150cc
Retail Price: R 8,999
Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.3kw Max Speed: 90km/h
Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months





            Motomia Capri 150cc
             Retail Price: R 8,999
             Warranty: 20,000km/2 year
             Max Power: 7.3kw Max Speed: 90km/h
             Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months




            

               Motomia Milano 150cc
               Retail Price: R 8,999
               Warranty: 20,000km/2 year
               Max Power: 7.3kw Max Speed: 90km/h
               Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months








Jonway Veterano 150cc
Retail Price: R 8,999
Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 90km/h
Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months

Gomoto Nippi 150cc
Retail Price: R 9,399
Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.2kw Max Speed: 90km/h
Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months

Big Boy Revival 150cc
Retail Price: R 9,450
Warranty: 24,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 3,000km /6 months


Big Boy Sportflite 150cc
Retail Price: R 9,450
Warranty: 24,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 90km/h
Service Interval: 3,000km /6 months


                 Motomia Java 150cc
                 Retail Price: R 9,499
                 Warranty: 20,000km/2 year
                 Max Power: 9.2kw Max Speed: 90km/h
                 Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months




Gomoto Urban 150cc
Retail Price: R 9,999
Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.3kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months




    Motomia Java 170cc
    Retail Price: R 9,999
    Warranty: 20,000km/2 year
    Max Power: 10.5kw Max Speed: 90km/h
    Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months





Big Boy Sportflite F35 150cc
Retail Price: R 10,250
Warranty: 24,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 90km/h
Service Interval: 3,000km /6 months


Big Boy Retro LTD Edition 150cc
Retail Price: R 10,450
Warranty: 24,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 3,000km /6 months


Big Boy Revival E5 150cc
Retail Price: R 10,450
Warranty: 24,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 3,000km /6 months

Big Boy Sportflite F35 GP Racing Edition 150cc
Retail Price: R 10,450
Warranty: 24,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 3,000km /6 months


Big Boy Sportflite T32-SP 150cc
Retail Price: R 10,450
Warranty: 24,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 3,000km /6 months


Big Boy Yeti 150cc
Retail Price: R 10,450
Warranty: 24,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 3,000km /6 months


Jonway El Ninjo 150cc
Retail Price: R10,499
Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months


               Jonway Galaktika 150cc
               Retail Price: R10,499
               Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
               Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 95km/h
              Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months



Gomoto Naked Ballistic 150cc
Retail Price: R10,999
Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: 90km/h
Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months

Sym Symply 150cc
Retail Price: R12,500
Warranty: 2 year
Max Power: 7.68kw Max Speed: km/h
Service Interval: unknown




Jonway Master 250cc
Retail Price: R18,999
Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
Max Power: 10kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months



Jonway Master 300cc
Retail Price: R21,999
Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
Max Power: 12kw Max Speed: 95km/h
Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months

Big Boy Powerflite 300cc
Retail Price: R 24,950
Warranty: 24,000km/2 year
Max Power: 12.9kw Max Speed: 125km/h
Service Interval: 3,000km /6 months

Gomoto C5 300cc
Retail Price: R24,999
Warranty: 10,000km/2 year
Max Power: 12kw Max Speed: 125km/h
Service Interval: 2,000km/6 months

   Sym Citycom 300i
   Retail Price: R34,500
   Warranty: 2 year
   Max Power: 15.1kw Max Speed: 128km/h
   Service Interval: Unknown


Sym GTS 300i EVO
Retail Price: R39,500
Warranty: 2 year
Max Power: Unknown Max Speed: 140km/h
Service Interval: Unknown




Vespa LX150 3-Valve
Retail Price: R52,950
Warranty: 1 year unlimited kms
Max Power: 9.5kw Max Speed: Unknown
Service Interval: 10,000km




So what scooter will I recommend? A Vespa is my first choice but if you want affordable then it is not easy to decide. I think next year, I will have to test ride the Vespa competition and write some overviews on each so you can decide. Remember Vespa is for Life.

2 comments:

Louw du Toit said...

Hi Jerome

There are a few points that need highliting if you will let me.

Firstly, I have a vested interest with Vespa, just so everyone knows.

How long a vehicle lasts is dependent on the quality of the vehicle, the quality of the maintenance, and the quality of riding the scooter has to endure. Over the last decade I have seen Vespas do 5000kms before having to be rebuilt (because the scooter was never serviced and ran without any lubricating oil), and on the other hand some of our corporate Vespas with well over 150 000kms and still going strong (full service history, no expense spared). I can vouch for the quality of a Vespa, and yes, you are quite correct in saying that it is a very expensive scooter to build. It has a full metal monocoque chassis, Brembo brakes, Paioli suspension, Magnetti Marelli fuel injection etc. etc. You get the point. Oh, and most importantly (which everyone forgets), it holds it value... As everyone that has tried buying a Vespa secondhand can vouch for. Oh, and please, I hope Vespa never turns into a snobbish elitist brand, as every person that turns to two wheels is good for the industry in general.

But I degress. What I actually wanted to comment on was your poor (no offence implied) selection of "cheap" scooters available in South Africa. You gave a whole bunch of Chinese scooters, and two Taiwanese scooters.

Now without stepping on anyone's toes (which will be very difficult, as I speak from experience), all the Chinese scooters are the same. EXACTLY the same. They all use the same Honda-copy engine. The plastics and appearance is different, and the way the bike is kitted out is different. I will not talk about quality, you get what you pay for I guess. Oh, that, and the fact that Chinese scooter pretty much only sell in China, and South Africa. (I will let everyone guess why they arent seen in Europe for example...)

But this is where it gest especially intersting. The Taiwanese, and more importantly Japanese scooters available in South Africa. They cost maybe 10% more than the Chinese scooters, but they are GREATLY better in every conceivable aspect. From specification right through to quality. A little Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, PGO, SYM, etc. are just about the best money you can spend if you have frugality of ownership in mind. Like Vespas, they only need to be serviced half as much as the Chinese scooters (a massive saving in ownership), and the spares are only marginally more expensive compared to the Chinese parts.

An absolute no-brainer in every conceivable aspect.

So, in laymans terms, one can compare a Chinese scooter with owning a CHANA, or GWM (Whatever that stands for), or a toaster. A Japanese scooter is like owning a Japanese car like a TOYOTA or a HONDA. And owning a Vespa is like owning a MERCEDES, or maybe even a FERRARI? Different horses for different courses, so spend your money wisely, and hopefully aspire to one day own that FERRARI...

Jerome West said...

Thank you for your valid input Louw, I really appreciate it. Yes I agree whole heartily with your reply and would take a Japanese scooter any day over a Chinese but when doing my research online for the article I could find no scooter prices on the Honda, Yamaha, PGO and Suzuki websites so that is why I left them out. It looks like I will have to go into some of the dearerships to get specs and prices for further articles on cheap scooters.

I am will always be for Vespa because they are the best.

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