One of the reasons that I initially bought a scooter over a motorbike (ignoring the fact I was rubbish at hillstarts on a motorbike) was simply the cost – it was cheap to buy, and in general it’s pretty cheap to run. Almost two years later, I maintain that running costs alone are a great reason to own a scooter – filling the tank is around $8, and in terms of consumption, I average about 23km/l.
Unfortunately though, when it comes to mechanical work, either I’ve been rather unlucky, or I’ve got myself a bit of a lemon. Actually, that sounds insulting to lemons, so instead, I’ll say that perhaps my scooter is mechanically challenged.
As I noted when I first picked it up, the engine had a bit of a stalling problem. And not just an “every now and then the engine stalls until it warms up” type of issue: we’re talking every time I took my hand off the throttle. The problem turned out to be a sticky butterfly valve in the motor which was sealing shut, preventing air from flowing through the engine at idle (hence causing it to stall). When I asked if this was a common occurrence, the mechanic said, “No, we hardly ever see that! It’s been ages since we’ve had to replace a butterfly valve!” At least it was fixed for free under warranty, I suppose…
The next issue came when one of the battery cells blew up. Having the scooter freighted to the mechanic plus a new battery ended up costing me $140. I asked the mechanic if a battery blowing up was a common occurrence, and he said, “No, we hardly ever see that! Usually they just go flat and then the motor won’t start, but yours completely blew up!”
And now, just last week on my commute home from work, I took off from the lights at Stafford Road, heard a loud BANG, then noticed that the engine had no power. Thankfully I had enough momentum to carry me to a side road, where I pulled over and attempted to restart the engine. When I pressed the starter button, all I got was a “click” sound, and then nothing. So, once again, I was on the phone to the motorcycle freighters and, once again, I found myself another $50 out of pocket to get the scooter freighted to the mechanic.
The problem this time was the drive belt, which apparently “snapped clean in half”. When I asked if that was a common occurrence, the mechanic said, “No – I’ve never seen that before! Usually they fray and eventually wear through, but yours just completely snapped in two, then wrapped itself around the motor!” No wonder it wouldn’t start! Since the bike was due for a full service in October anyway, I told them to do the service early instead. So everything is running properly again (for the moment). Apparently they would have replaced the drive belt at that service anyway as a normal “wear and tear” replacement, so it’s only a few months early – but still, what rotten luck!
Anyway – once bitten, twice shy, third… well usually people learn their lesson after two bites, I guess. As such, I’m now contemplating an upgrade to a proper motorbike. I’ve been thinking about it for ages, but having previously had no better reason than simply, “Why not?” to upgrade, it’s been a bit of a tough sell. Now though, I figure that the scooter is running the best it ever has/will, so it’s probably a great time to trade it in. Of course, knowing my luck, it will never have any problems ever again, and the next owner will have bagged themselves a total bargain!
Speaking of bargains, does anyone want to buy a scooter? Super reliable, never had any problems with it….