What's It Like to Own a Chinese Scooter?

Updated on September 25, 2017

Earlier this year, I was faced with a dilemma. I had just finished university and was moving from Cambridge to a small town in Bedfordshire about two hours away. I wanted to stay employed with the company I was working for but their closest store was 15 miles away from me in Milton Keynes.

I took a place at the Milton Keynes store and had to find a way to commute into work. I tried, very naively, to cycle there and back once and it was horrible. The way there via canal paths was fraught with peril and returning via the dual carriageway was scary and reminded me that I'm horribly unfit. For a while, I caught the train there and back but this posed two problems: I would potentially have to work from 6:45 am or to 9 pm and sometimes trains weren't available. Secondly, the walk from my house to the train station was 40 minutes. The train journey was a further 15 minutes and then I had another 20 minute walk in Milton Keynes. Furthermore, it was bloody expensive (thank you, London Midland).

I decided I needed an engine. I have no full driving license so I opted to take a CBT road test and buy a scooter. Since I'm lazy, slightly stingy and foolish, rather than take time out to hunt down an expensive Japanese second-hand bike I simply bought a brand new Chinese-manufactured scooter, a Lexmoto Valencia 125cc. Enquiries online and with shop owners revealed it was apparently reliable and popular.

A proud and noble beast.
A proud and noble beast.

I paid £1,059 for the scooter and the shop very kindly paid for the first tax disc and also threw in some L plates for me. To insure the bike cost approximately £40 per month with Swinton Bikes, who sent me an extraordinary amount of spam, which, considering I had already bought their policy, was bloody annoying.

I was very pleased with my little scooter. Sure, it was a Chinese Verspa knockoff but it was a good looking one. Nice to ride too. Supremely comfortable seat, nice engine sound and relatively good fuel economy.

It wasn't without it's problems though. Firstly, the storage compartment under the seat wasn't big enough to store a helmet, which was quite irritating considering how fat the bike is. This also led to some surprising fragility. My girlfriend was sitting on the seat while the scooter's stand was enabled and the key was in the storage compartment key slot on the side of the body. The scooter rocked back, causing her leg to brush ever so lightly against the key and this tiny lateral force snapped the key in half.

Love nor effort would convince the damn key to come out so for more than a month, I was stuck with an inaccessible boot compartment and only one key. Attempts to get a new key cut at well-known locksmiths (Timpsons) didn't work as they didn't have a template key to match my scooter's. Luckily, an independent locksmith in had a match, though only one of two keys made worked with the scooter. Weird. Eventually, the key was taken out at the bike's first service for the sum of £15.

A second major problem I had with this bike was when I returned from a two week holiday to find a breather pipe to the engine had mysteriously snapped. How it managed to break during two weeks of inactivity is beyond me. It goes to suggest further fragility with the bike though—bearing in mind that these events occurred in the space of two months. I probably qualify as the World's Least Technical Man so I contacted the dealer who assured me that the bike was perfectly safe to ride in such a condition. It didn't affect performance, just made the bike's exhaust noise rather shouty. Think of a kitten pretending to be a lion.

The broken bit.
The broken bit.


As you may have noticed, the bike I bought was garnished with an amount of chrome detailing. If you do buy a bike with similar design, please, for the love of God, cover it up every day. I neglected to for a couple of weeks and the English weather proceeded to tarnish the headlight housing with rust. All other areas were mercifully untouched by the rain.

After a few months, a position came up in a local store in town. I changed jobs and my commute was now one mile rather than 15. I still kept the scooter as it was exceptionally handy for popping to work in five minutes or for late night visits to the supermarket. Ultimately though, I couldn't justify keeping the scooter. It was making me really lazy (why walk when you can pootle?*) and my out of town trips were rare. Also, riding on dual carriageways in severe crosswinds is a life endangering experience. I sold it a few weeks ago for £650. Now that does seem like steep depreciation and it may be, but I am a terrible salesman. I hate haggling. I was happy to accept a number just to get rid of the thing.

I don't want to make it seem like my ownership experience was entirely bad though. I genuinely did like my scooter and if I was rich and lazy, I would have kept it. I believe that my negative experiences I had with it were relatively isolated. The bike itself was easy to ride, pretty safe (fat tyres, a top speed of 53 mph downhill) and cheap. Even the problems that I had, if fixed out of warranty, would have only cost £40 or so. I genuinely hope the man that bought it off me is not having a bad time with it.

For anyone buying a Chinese scooter, rather than a Japanese second-hand bike, I offer the following tips:

  • Be prepared to lose some money on it. It may be manufactured to a better degree than Chinese machines traditionally are, but these is still a lot of scepticism regarding Chinese bikes. Also, don't say you have a Chinese bike on an Internet forum unless you wanted to be trolled relentlessly.
  • Search for vendors who will sell with the best warranty available. With these machines you are betting that your choice will be reliable and won't ruin your life by breaking. Much better that someone else has to pay for the repairs if it does break.
  • Do not buy from www.scooter.co.uk. It's pretty much a scam. They were featured on Watchdog with severe safety issues. They don't even come fully assembled. I was tempted by the cheap prices but I'm glad I didn't.
  • If you do buy a scooter from a Chinese manufacturer, be prepared for some trouble during things like my little key episode. Had I rode a Suzuki or a Honda, I could have gotten a key cut anywhere. Because I rode a Lexmoto, I had to keep on searching.


* I'm a firm supporter of 'pootle' being the official verb to describe travelling on a scooter.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      AltaF 

      8 months ago

      Vvvvv nice looking

    • profile image

      Alicia 

      3 years ago

      cheers for the advise mate. thinking of buying one but will perhaps look at a few other motors beforehand

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, axleaddict.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://axleaddict.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)