Why scootRS? Good question. Let's think about the options for a moment, shall we?
There are a few good shops in the West where you can get an excellent standard restoration done, or high-end tuning. The problem is that it often takes ages, is very expensive, and not many options are offered.
However, most scooters in Western shops were not restored there. They usually resell scooters bought in bulk from Asia from wholesalers doing them as cheaply as possible. Many are from India, not original collectible Italian models (and some new Indian parts are great, but many are poor quality we would never use). Needless to say, outsourcing the important assembly doesn't give you Western standards.
I bought a NEW [Indian] GP 200 engine [....] Upon dis-assembling the motor, I found that the piston had scuff marks and the cylinder bore had one groove I could catch my nail on [....] [T]ook the chaincase cover off and found a small blob of dirt/rust which leads me to believe they assemble these motors on a dirt floor!!!
Other scooters being resold were recently forced off the road by the Italian government, and merely repainted and cleaned up, not fully-restored. Many Italian scooters have been ridden to death over the years and need a full frame-up restoration, not just rubber trim and clutch plates.
I got a great deal on my scootRS Vespa, only 850 trouble-free kms so far, but it's all good. Three Italian Vespa mechanics @ the local Vespa dealer gave it the once over yesterday and found NOTHING suspect. Replaced only the oil fill plug gasket. “Very nice Vespa” was the verdict.
Our business was built from the ground up with the goal of offering a better option: Italian scooters fully-restored from top-to-bottom with all-new motor parts for reliability, customized exactly as you want, affordably priced, and restored relatively quickly (but not in days like wholesalers do, sorry). Get the scooter of your dreams, without the worries.
The best unrestored scooters are so-called “barn bikes”: scooters that have been in the US/Canada/UK since new, and barely ridden. With a bit of work to get them going, or as a restoration project, they can be great, so if you find a bargain go for it!
There are few places selling imported Italian Vespas and Lambrettas these days, but you really need to check them very closely, top to bottom. Most were sold en masse as part of an Italian government program to get them off the roads, and are seriously worn out. One person reported finding cement in his; it appeared to have been a cement hauler for a construction company, not the best background to have.
In any case, most people want something rebuilt and re-painted. And as one email we received reads:
Your prices, even with shipping and Customs, just about kills what some folks are asking for scoots that don't even run, let alone have a half-decent paint job.
Note: If you can find a painter willing to do a “half-decent paint job” on a scooter, it often costs around $1000.
Since we started ScootRS and the whole direct-from-Asia idea many years ago, others have followed suit and come and gone, because it looks easy: while they're popular, rapidly pump out cheap scooters to flip for a profit in the West. Unfortunately, it's not easy if done well and for the long term.
Why not? Three reasons:
Welded, modified, and worn-out parts need to be replaced.
Scooters in Asia have been ridden daily over the years and need all critical motor parts replaced in order to be safe and reliable on Western roads, not just a few cheap parts and a paintjob. These critical parts, however, are expensive and generally unavailable in Asia, so so-called “original” parts are severely bodged to keep the scooters going for a little while longer: short-term welds, changes to hide noise, changes to fit incorrect seals, etc. Some photos from our scrap metal pile:
Compare with ScootRS:
We use all-new motor parts including the gears, layshaft, crankshaft, flywheel, sprockets, cylinder, etc. Having done this business longer than anyone in Asia, we can tell you that it is necessary or we wouldn't bother. If comparing elsewhere, ask specifically about the critical parts. The difference in price is huge. A new engine alone will cost you over $1000 later!
Doing the assembly well is difficult and time consuming.
Local mechanics with years of experience only have experience doing it badly wrong. No measurements are taken, and all the missing pieces are worked around or other pieces made to fit. And when they pump out scooters daily for eBay or resellers overseas you end up with scooters that will look nice at a glance and run, but unreliably, even dangerously so, and are unrepairable in a Western shop due to endless bodges and cheap shortcuts throughout. Sad, but true.
Compare with ScootRS:
We only do a small number of scooters per year. We import hundreds of small and large parts unavailable locally then take time to assemble things properly. For example, we spend days preparing the case alone, and weld and retap all bolt sizes correctly for you instead of leaving them random-sized as they typically are.
Poor scooter supply.
Many models can no longer be found or only in the worst possible condition. For example, many fake VBBs are coming out of local shops now for sale overseas by resellers. They are actually remade VBC/VLB with copy parts.
Compare with ScootRS:
We've been in the country stocking up on scooters for over a decade and already have a large warehouse-full to choose from when you order. We have stopped buying scooters because the supply is so poor now.
To fully understand the issue before gambling with your money and your neck, read the following articles from the two most respected scooter magazines in the world:
Please don't confuse us with our location. As you can tell from the above two articles, that's not what we're about.
When deciding where to spend your money, keep the following in mind:
» We are foreign-owned, producing fully-restored scooters, and focussed entirely on export markets and Western standards. Our scooters win awards and have been positively reviewed in the world's major scootering magazines. We have never resold scooters from local shops, and we have absolutely nothing to do with the local market because the standards here are too low.
» We also manufacture hundreds of parts, some of the most innovative scooter parts around, and supply shops around the world. We thus have the ability to approach technical questions properly.
Any questions about these issues, just ask.
As you can tell by the section above, it's not worth it. We do have one cheaper option when ordering where we skip the motor restoration entirely so you can use your own motor.
Any other questions, simply ask.