Almost a year ago, I installed a ScootRS electronic ignition kit on my Vespa 150 (VBB), and promised a review. Well, it was a tightened-down clutch away from being finished for a year, but finally on Friday Mike Durso helped me finish the job and, well, it lives!
The purpose of the kit is to convert VBB-type Vespas from 6v lights and a points ignition to 12v lights and an electronic ignition. The benefit, obviously, is brighter, safer lights and a more reliable ignition. It does this with the bare minimum technology required (no battery), which I like. “Keep it simple” is my motto when it comes to scooters.
The kit costs a reasonable $150 and includes the following parts:
- Flywheel, stator, and fan
- CDI box
- Upgraded HT coil
- Voltage regulator
- Four front and rear 12v bulbs including a 35x halogen headlight bulb for great lights!
- Wiring loom, hardware, and rubber bits
You could probably buy all that stuff for a lot less, if you lived in Southeast Asia. I’ll just pay the $150 and let Randall do all the math and parts-hunting for me.
The assortment of parts is pretty random; some of it is name-brand (Sylvania/Bosch bulbs, Bajaj stator and flywheel) and some of it looks like fifth-generation knockoffs bought off a cart in a downtown Jakarta bazaar. But it all fits and works nicely. My only complaint was the fan, it bolts on to the flywheel rather than being integrated, which is good, but it’s a little on the hoopty side, it’s sloppily-cast aluminum and mine had a teeny crack around one of the mounting holes. I’m sure Randall would have replaced it, but I was in a hurry (ha!) and it was no big deal, it still performs it’s fanly duty perfectly well.
Installation was fairy simple, when you order the kit, you’re given a link to the instructions online so you can plan your attack right away. I would say that I’m comfortable with anything short of engine rebuilds, and I have a fairly good set of tools, and I had no problems. If you’re less experienced, you might want some help installing it. If you’re an ace mechanic, I would guess you could get it on and running in a couple hours, maybe add a little time to make the wiring pretty and pop the bulbs in. If you’re like me, it will take a full afternoon or maybe a bit more. In any case, take your time, read the instructions, and do it right. One thing that’s kind of a drag is that the stator only has one hole drilled, so you must measure and drill the other two, but done carefully, it’s no big deal.
You’ll need to find a place to mount the CDI and rectifier. Most people put it in the left cowl, so it’s easier to remove that cowl before drilling the holes. Be sure when you’re drilling the holes in the body that you don’t drill through your tire or wiring or gas tank. (No, I didn’t, thankfully) You’ll need to remove your seat, gas tank, and brake pedal to run the harness, so you’re better off doing that before drilling. The harness included is not a full harness, but it’s a well made loom with connectors to match up to the existing harness. My kit didn’t include the new brake wire, (they promised future kits would include it) but I just made that myself. The kit adds a schload of wiring to the junction box, so I decided to use a PX junction box so I’d have more room to stuff wires. That worked well. but because I did that, I had to cut off some ring connectors and solder on slide connectors. Another option would be to leave all the ring connector-fitted wires in the existing junction box, then find some other kind of enclosure for the wires with slide connectors. In any case, the diagram is perfectly clear and grommets are included to make everything look neat and clean. Small bits of clear hose were also included to protect the slide connectors and hold them tight to the CDI and regulator.
Once everything was installed, I hooked up the ignition wires and the tempermental beast that hadn’t run for almost two years started on the (literally) first kick, once I remembered to turn on the flow to the two-year-old fuel. I almost cried. It was a beautiful thing. The next morning, I cleaned up the wiring and soldered on my new connectors and stuffed everything into the PX junction box. I started it up (first kick again!) and Jeebus! The headlight was glaring, it was as bright as an average car headlight. Beautiful. Even in daylight, it was brilliant. Get this: It was daytime, and I could see the speedometer was lit. These lights are awesome, and the best part is that I can buy replacements at Pep Boys. I took it on a short ride, and nothing blew up, so I’m looking forward to getting the plates up-to-date and getting it back on the insurance so I can take a real ride. But first impressions couldn’t be much better. I’ll update the comments after I’ve ridden it a little more. Cheers to Randall and ScootRS for making an affordable kit that’s fairly easy to install.