Barefoot in the workshop

With all the badmouthing of Vietnamese-restored scooters, Huy’s Scooter of Vietnam was probably worried about their reputation. So they put together a website to tell their side of the story. A look at the site
seems to reinforce the idea that Vietnamese-restored scooters are built out of Bondo in cluttered sweatshops by shirtless teenagers in flip-flops. If ScootRS works this way, at least they have the common sense to hide it from us on their site.

18 thoughts on “Barefoot in the workshop”

  1. Man, I don’t miss the BBS. This debate has been going on for some 2 years now, that I know of.

    I do agree with Brian though. Would you buy a car without driving it first? Why do people buy scooters without riding them first?

  2. >>If ScootRS works this way…

    Jeez, thanks for mentioning us just because we happen to be in the same country. Honda has a factory here; I guess they work the same, too, huh? David Duke is American, therefore… Well, I’m sure you get my point. This has nothing to do with us.

    By the way, we have pics of our shop onsite regularly. Search the archives for “shopcam”.

    I was also told by a foreigner here who buys/sells a few scooters to tourists out of his cafe that a local internet shop guy took his photos and set up that website, so apparently the site is a bit of a double whammy. -That’s all I “know” about this one.

  3. Randall, I was just yanking you chain because I know you read the site. You and all regular readers know that I’ve always been very happy with ScootRS, and I apologize for implying otherwise to casual readers. If you’d like to send me an M-class, I’d be happy to test-drive it for several years, then I’ll make a judgement on its value, heh.PS. It never fails to amaze me when Jim-Bob is more cynical than even me.

  4. David Dukes is rich. Trust me on this one. One does not go hungry being in politics and catering to idiots. I’m just heartened that there are a lot of dentists buying restored Vespas, too, and not just Harleys.

  5. True the work may not be of the quality appreciated here in America but in a country where millions of scooters clog the roads of Saigon alone I think their “sweatshop standards” suffice to get them to and from work on two wheels and bring home the bacon.

  6. yeah, I’m being a little harsh, I guess, but it bothers me that these scooters are being sold here as top-quality restorations. Sure, the prices are probably fair for what you get, but it bums me out that new scooterists buy these thinking they’re getting a bargain and then realize they’re stuck with a totally thrashed scooter made up of several different models combined with random dodgy components and dodgy paint.

  7. um.. “and then realize they’re stuck with a totally thrashed scooter made up of several different models combined with random dodgy components and dodgy paint. ”
    are you saying i drive a ‘nam bike?

  8. And how is that any different from nearly everything available on the market? It’s easy to point a finger at the Asian bondo jobs, but unless you have a magical divining headset all restorations look about the same.

  9. That is true, there are plenty of godawful US restorations, too. and I, personally, have painted parts while holding them in my hand, while wearing flip-flops. I don’t know if you’re the Alex from the BBS fight, but the scooter in question in that case was ridiculous, no respectable shop would have sold that in the US, but to an unexperienced buyer, it looked like the perfect scooter. I think in some cases (and, it’s true, i’ve never knowingly seen a scooter restored by Huy,) many of these importers are simply taking advantage of the market and misrepresenting their products, and it’s up to the scooter media and experienced scooterists to get the word out that the buyer should beware, both with domestic and imported restorations. Of course no scooter is perfect, and a $8000 concours restoration could blow a seal a day after purchase, but asian restorations seem to have a particularly bad track record and, in most cases, less legal/financial recourse for the buyer when something is not as it was promised.

  10. So what. Looks like the workshop pics on the Honest Vaclav site, only not quite as amusing.

  11. So, which used scooter sellers have good track records? I’ve seen innumerable Vietnamese, US, Indonesian, Austrian and Indian shops slagged to the rafters. Can someone here prove a positive, or at least disprove a negative? I know that seeing something first-hand can eliminate (or at least reduce) buyer’s remorse. But oftentimes, buying locally isn’t an option. Suggestions and advice welcome!

  12. I like how they couldnit be bothered to crop the iThe Den of Vespai tag off of the bottom of the pic on the front page.
    They also stole Paulis iVespa Buyer’s Guidei text, even the part about taking iVespa Motorsport’s or a similar catalogue with you and add up the cost of fixing problems or replacing parts.i

  13. Another good point. The bottom line is that I can’t believe anyone would spend thousands of dollars on a scooter sight unseen. As recenty as five years ago, if you wanted a vintage scooter, you had two basic options, to pay big bucks for a shop restoration at one of the four or five scooter shops in the US, or to scour the classifieds in your area until something came up. Since then, nearly instant gratification has become possible thanks to several importers, new scooter dealers, dozens of new vintage scooter shops, and other sources. If you’re made of money, buying a restored scooter from one of the bigger, older shops (scooterworks, Sportique, Vespa Supershop, Scooters Originali, etc) is probably the best way to go. They have their detractors and horror stories, but they are accountable for their mistakes and they know what they’re doing. Otherwise, I’d do it the old fashioned way, ask around, check the classifieds, and WAIT. Wait until you can find one that looks reasonably OK at a price that is worthwhile even if it turns out it needs a lot more money put in. I’d rather spend $1000 on a beat up bike that’s been in a barn for twenty years than $1800 on a bike of completely unkown origin, no matter how pretty it is. Patience is key. Truth is, I’ve bought five scooters, and almost all of them have serious problems that i’ll probably never get right. The difference is that I never paid over $1100 for any of them. If I wanted a brand-new scooter that had a guarantee, I’d buy a new scooter. The people buying these imported restorations aren’t scooterists, they’re neophytes under the impression that they’re getting a top-of-the-line restoration that will give them years of service. I’d say that just doesn’t happen until you’re looking at scooters restored by the real experts, in the $3000+ range, and even those are rarely trouble-free. Vintage scooters are pain and sorrow. Buy a Vino. that’s my advice.

  14. And I thought I had it bad with just one drunken mechanic

  15. Randall seems very defensive when his shop’s rep is called into question. Which is sort of silly. He should rest assured that an overwhelming majority know ScootRS to be a cut above the rest–and that only people with David Dukes-type money can afford to buy a scooter from them. Does the “M” in M-Class stand for “money?”

  16. >>Randall, I was just yanking you chain because I know you read the site.
    -I figured so. I was thinking about other readers, as you say. I’ve billed your card for an M-class; I’ll try to remember to send it off sometime.Hmm. Maybe we should advertise in Orthodontistry Today…

  17. >>Randall seems very defensive when his shop’s rep is called into question.
    The whole point is that it is not our reputation that is in question here. I don’t mind discussion about what WE do. What I dislike is being randomly associated with people selling crap merely because they happen to be in the same country as us. I understand that Vietnam is a world away for most people, but, nonetheless.
    David Duke is rich? I thought he was just a KKK nut.
    M-class stands for “we have such great referrals from present owners that we now have a 4-5 month waiting list for scooters” ;-)

  18. Sounds like a lot of sour grapes on Vietnamese imports, mainly from guys who can’t compete with the prices, I have purchased several scooters from Huy and all run perfectly, no bondo, all top quality restorations.
    Unless you have first hand knowlege on Vietnamese imports do not knock them, by the way its is lible.

    Agostino Calisi

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