Well, I'm sure this is starting to look like a disused blog...no entry for almost 2 weeks. Or was there?
Angelle here. When I was away in Tauranga, I wrote a blog entry about the abundance of Chinese 50cc scooters I saw there. Looks like it didn't post for some reason. I'm not going to try to recreate my thoughts from then, but I will give you the general idea of what I had to say instead.
I was in Tauranga for a week of work. Long days, starting at 7am and finishing between 5-5:30 each evening. On my drives to and from the work site from the suburb of Mt Mauganui during those hours, I saw quite a few scooters. One day on my way home and in a time frame of about 20 minutes, I counted 14. The majority of these scooters were unknown to me - someone who calls themselves a scooter enthusiast. I was only able to recognize one Yamaha BWS, one Honda Today, and one Suzuki maxi scoot over the whole week. Not a single Vespa, Lambretta, Belladonna, etc. I don't consider myself elitist when it comes to scooters - I'm happy to see every one of them out and about, but I do wonder where are all these new Chinese scooters coming from and who is the market? In the area where I stayed (which seemed middle to upmarket), there were 2 scooters that I had a look at and still couldn't tell you the manufacturer. I discussed this with Simon one night and he surmised that these scooters were likely first vehicles for youth with their learner licenses and not enough money to run a car. That sounded reasonable so I kept an eye out. One morning, I saw someone getting on to one of the scooters parked next door - it was a portly, middle aged man who seemed to be dressed in business attire. I kept a look out at all the other scooters to see if I could see Learner plates or young riders. I saw neither. Well...one learner plate but the rider was a woman, not what I would call a youth. Perhaps the Tauranga riders are not youth, but practical minded 30-50 year olds with a bit of spend-thrift attitude.
Personally, I don't like the styling of many of the Chinese bikes and those I do like, I wonder about the quality. Back in Canada, I rode a Honda Jazz/Metropolitan/Scoopy for 3 years and a Yamaha Vino 125 for about 6 months and found both of them to be very stylish and reliable bikes...stylish and reliable, 2 words I often associate with the Japanese. Lately, I've obviously been on a Vespa and of course, I enjoy the styling and haven't had any mechanical issues as yet. Maybe I AM a bit elitist when it comes to scooter brands and never even realized it. I'm going to put up a new poll to find out what type of scooters all of you ride, and if anyone has any feedback or experience with Chinese scooters, I'd love to hear it - leave a comment!