When Owning a Chinese Scooter isn't so Bad
Let me preface this by saying I have nothing against Chinese scooters if they're brands like TN'G or Schwinn. Actually both are the same scooters with different badges but that's another story. TN'G has been making scooters for decades overseas and has entered the US market with a fairly decent support line. Unfortunately unless the trend of sales remains strong they too may fade away. I hope they stick around because from what I've seen locally dealer support is pretty darn good for this particular Chinese company.
What companies like TN'G offer is an inexpensive scooter which fits a small niche of people just getting their feet wet. Unfortunately there are many [used car] lots selling Chinese brands I've never heard of, even in this college town of St. Cloud. These lesser known companies have gained a sales network of people willing to make a quick buck and it bodes poorly for those of us who are scooterists first and foremost. When a no name brand comes along for a season or two of spiking gas prices the money is made on the sale. Once sales decrease the no name scooter brands fade away, leaving buyers with machines needing only slight maintenance from sitting quietly through a winter, without anyone to turn to. People who would have been avid scooterists are left with regrets and a sour taste against the sport in general.
But what if you're a new scooterist? What if you've never ridden a motorized two wheeler before?
You might be one of the millions who plunked down anywhere from an unbelievable 700 dollars to under two grand for the better models. The bikes have done what you asked. You're learning to ride and you're have a blast in the breeze and sunshine.
The day of truth arrives. The day you discover if you're a rider or someone just testing the waters.
You have your first spill. It could be a slide, or something as simple as what my dad did just two days ago. He started the bike for the first time after a long winter without riding. He managed a simple newbie mistake and the bike rolled away from him. He tried to grab it but by standing on the wrong side and not keeping a hand on the brake the little 50cc "scooted" away from him and went over on its side. Damage was a cracked upper legshield along with a turn signal bracket snapped off. In the accident he tripped and fell but no injuries. Just a little pride and a (thankfully) gentle reminder that these things need to be taken seriously. I don't think he even suffered a bruise that's how light this little tip over was.
My dad has no intention of giving up. He loves to ride. As I mentioned in an earlier post he now has the new Genuine Buddy. He wisely intended to run in the older TN'G to get himself back in the groove before getting on the new scooter. After his little mishap he checked the 50cc out as well as he could and even took it for a little spin. Seems there's nothing wrong with the bike other than a chipped plastic legshield and a snapped turn signal bracket.
To me the TN'G runs exactly as I remember it last season. But it suffered a little cosmetic... individuality. My dad made some fairly common new rider mistakes. He assumed a few things and now knows not to. But I have to tell you he's thankful it happened on the little 50cc rather than his brand new Genuine Buddy 125. Mechanically the TN'G is no worse for the wear. Neither is my dad.
I can't imagine how upset he would have been with himself had it happened on his cherished ruby red Buddy. I'm just glad the little low speed scooter was the bike to remind him to always think about every detail of what he's intending to do when it involves two wheels. He's set in his ways and there's no changing his patterns from the son to father perspective. Sometimes he just does things his way and learns on the uptake. I wish it didn't have to be this way but its his choice. In that respect an inexpensive Chinese scooter was the better of the two he owns upon which the lesson was to be learned.