by Stephen Heller
Watch out while I make a few assumptions here. People like scooters because they are fun, a great form of transportation and they are economical. Many people simply don’t want a new scooter. I tell these people to check out craigslist.org. If I were selling a scooter, this is where I would sell it. It is free and local and there are tons of new scooters on there every day. I thought I would investigate which scooters are being sold on craigslist.org in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul to see what is out there.
On April 15th there were 37 new listings when I searched for “scooter”. Sorting out the foot powered and mobility scooters, there were 19 listings for the type of scooter that we are interested in. Included in the listings were a Honda Elite 80, a Silver Fox and a Kymco Super 9. These were the three newest listings that are indicative of what you will find on Craig’s List. The three scooters are from familiar manufacturer, not at all familiar manufacturer, and a somewhat familiar manufacturer.
“1993 Honda Elite CH80 Scooter, great shape and only 2700 miles. Top speed ~45 mph. Great for around town.”
Honda is a company that everyone knows. They make a great product. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do your research on the positives and negatives of each scoot you are looking at. A 1993 Elite 80 is, after all, a Honda. It is 80cc, but is as fast as a 50cc scooter, so you will need a MC plate and an endorsement. Parts are available, but don’t expect a Honda dealer to really help out in finding them for you. This Elite looks to be in good shape and it has a windscreen.
Keep in mind: Look at the tires. Even though tires may not be worn because of miles, they may need to be replaced because they may be hard or dry rotted. The cheapest tires will be $30 plus mounting and balancing.
“2006 50cc Silver Fox Scooter, Zuma knock off. 275 miles distributed by Mountain Iron Sports parts availability no problem.”
The second scooter is listed as a 2006 50cc Silver Fox Scooter “Zuma knock off”. It doesn’t look like a Yamaha Zuma, rather like one of the countless Chinese scooters being imported and sold under a plethora of brand names. After a bit of digging I found that the Silver Fox is made by Herchee in Taiwan. Only a bit of water separates China and Taiwan geographically, but in terms of scooter quality they are oceans different. Herchee sells scooters under the brand name Adly, and has a pretty good reputation, but poor distribution in the US. As for parts support, many of the 50cc 2-stroke scooters’ engines are very similar and are available inexpensively online.
The Elite is $50 less than the Silver Fox. Even though the Silver Fox is a lot newer and has fewer miles I would have to go with the Elite. Although, the decision is closer because the Silver Fox is made in Taiwan instead of China.
Keep in mind: Batteries are expensive. Generally, the larger the scooter, the larger the battery is in amp hours. A good 4 ah battery starts at $40 and a 12 ah battery can cost over $100. The battery may light the lights, but if it doesn’t turn over the starter; beware.
“2003 Kymco Super 9 Scooter. Was originally 50cc but has 70cc kit on motor. 2-stroke Disc Brakes front and rear. 2300 km (1430 miles).”
Kymco pretty much only makes scooters, so the brand isn’t known outside of scootering. But they are good and the Super 9 is the top of the line for their 50cc scooters. Because it is older than a 2006, it is liquid cooled and is a lot faster stock than a new Super 9. It is 70cc so it is technically not a moped. I would also worry about the quality of the 70cc kit installed and inquire about who installed it. The stock parts would be nice to have if anything happened to the cylinder kit. It is double the price of the other 2 scooters. This scooter is seeing more and more demand, but I think it is a bit over priced.
Keep in mind: The more service history the better. Receipts of oil changes and any other work = more piece of mind that you are getting a well cared for scoot.
Do research on any scooter that you are going to look at. Check around for parts availability and who can service the particular scooter you are going to buy. Have fun and ask questions. If they won’t answer your questions to your liking, move on. There will be more scooters on Craig’s List tomorrow!