Consumer Reports goes against the overwhelming tide of “scooters are great” stories to publish a concise list of things people should think about before being swept up in the hype. The only thing missing is a general caution to research your vehicle in depth before buying, it’s likley Consumer Reports readers know better than to buy a $999 Chinese scooter, but getting the word out about the vast differences in quality and the questionable ethics of most Chinese importers sure wouldn’t hurt.
3 thoughts on “Consumer Reports’ scooter tips”
We joined CR for information about washing machines, but I was really hoping to get some info on scooters… At the time, there was one blog entry on CR with many comments calling for scooter information, but the moderator said that CR could never bring itself to review scooters, as their vehicle reviews are often safety-oriented and scooters have an inherent safety risk.
I would suggest that you point out to them that despite scooters’ inherent risk, there is a great deal of consumer information that really needs to be addressed, and anything they can say about scooters will help readers make an informed decision.
The painfully low standard for discount chinese-made scooters right now really needs to be publicized more than anything. These people are calling cheap diverter valves “ABS,” using forged or misrepresented EPA and DOT paperwork, selling bikes on the internet with disregard to the dealer licensing, vehicle registration, and vehicle preparation requirements of many states, and just generally selling an inferior product with multiple safety risks. People buying these things are finding their warranties are worthless and they’re pumping more money into keeping them running than they might have spent on a brand-name scooter.
With the scooter boom going as it is, and the depleted stock of quality scooters convincing more people to buy whatever they can find, I’d think a frank look at Chinese-made scooters could be a CR cover story, without even doing any sort of in-depth comparison of specific scooters.
Once you’re looking at a scooter that’s being sold by a reputable importer with a good dealer network, it’s hard to compare because everyone has different preferences in styling, features, size, etc. If they’d just explain what to look for and what to avoid when buying a scooter, it’d be more helpful than a model-by-model comparison. Scooter World and Scoot! magazine have annual “What Bike?”-type issues that list features and all that.
The other message is education and safety, and I’m glad they’re talking about that, I just wish they’d talk about the quality issue a little, it would mean a lot coming from them, and that message really needs to be out there right now.
I had a real hard time finding info on scooters in general when I bought my Buddy 2 years ago. I researched everything I could ( this site definitely helped, thank you!) and narrowed it down to the Buddy and the Kymco Super 9 as far as what appeared to fit my needs. Scooterworks was the only dealer that I went to that allowed me to take a test drive. There is a store that sells go carts near me that started selling Chinese scooters but will not let you ride one. Being mechanically inclined and somewhat skeptical I had to wonder how a scooter that looks just like one that costs thousands can cost $800. My immediate wonder/worry is “where did they skimp to get the price down that much?”
I have since purchased several scooter “review” related domain names with the hope of actually starting a site because I do think that there needs to be somewhere that people can go for this kind of info. I also opened an unrelated business since then, which is taking all of my time.(While I’m here-anyone want to partner up on a review site? I have some decent names and can host the site!) After the Xingyue story I emailed them to see if they would be interested in providing me w/access to their products to write a review and I have not heard back.
The question that I would like to answer is this-“If someone really does only commute a mile or so every day, can they get away with a cheap scooter?” I would love to be able to answer that question for them with a factual review. I would love it if ANYONE could answer that question for ME w/ a factual review!
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