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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:28 am 
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750cc Scooter Warrior
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Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:13 pm
Posts: 769
Location: the nyc
Scooter Model(s): 2006 red lx150+ aka Ginger - who was stolen from me
granted i already bought my smallframe i got a great deal of good advice from some of the members of this board regarding questions to ask and things to look for when buying a vintage scooter - so i thought it would be useful if those who were knowledgeable on the subject could post their insight here so other twist-and-goers like myself can be more informed when making a purchase of this sort.

again thank you for the insight.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:15 am 
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250cc Rally Go'er
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:27 pm
Posts: 342
Location: Brooklyn
Scooter Model(s): 1980 ET3
Avoid vintage scooters repaired with excessive amounts of bondo (magnets won't stick), shiny chrome "wings" on the legshield, or the odor of gas in the gearbox oil. Then again almost everything is repairable, and may still be worth it if you got a good deal on the bike.

I'd find it interesting to know what various repairs run. I know engine rebuilds are $400++ in a shop- what else?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:28 am 
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2000cc Scooter Royalty
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:13 pm
Posts: 2317
Location: the newer Jersey
Scooter Model(s): a green one
1. Buy a US market bike. Period. North America is a great place to search for good quality original bikes as they were often purchased as secondary "toys" by their owners. Unlike their Italian/Asian counterparts which were actively used for regular transportation many US examples were garaged for most of their lives and often have low mileages attached to them. One of the SX200s I found only had 265 miles on the clock when it was dragged from a hanger complex in Ohio.

2. Keep saving your money. You get what you pay for and a good vintage bike is going to cost at least $2500-$4000. Then add a grand to this because no matter how expensive the bike it will absorb cash and months of time dialing it in.

3. Research, research, research. Learn how the search function works on the BBS. Hang out with owners of old bikes and ask questions. Just be aware that some owners are pretty blinkered/emotive when it comes to "their" choice. Your best bet is to chat to someone that owns both Vespas and Lambrettas. They are far more likely to give you an informed picture. Both brands have their strengths and weaknesses and that's what makes them so interesting to own.

Know how to spot a good bike/deal on sight because it wont last long. There are some subtle and not so subtle differences between models that greatly affect desirability (i.e series I/II GS160, 74 Rally 200, Servetta/Lambretta, VBB vs VSB, 8" vs 10" wheels etc)

4. Be patient. No matter how good an opportunity sounds/looks a better one always lurks around the corner. Unless it's a low milage $2000 SX200 that is.

5. Never buy via a photo only. White bikes are especially hard to judge via photos and sellers will often neglect to tell you important "little" details like crash damage, rust etc.

6. Buy an original, unrestored bike. Their base history/condition is not only self evident they possess a history, character and rarity that simply cannot be matched by a restoration. Good quality original bikes are prized by collectors and will only get rarer as time progresses. It also represents a bike you can actively enjoy and improve over time. You will not be hesitant to ride it like as you might with a pristine restoration.

I have more info here: http://ridingmachine.com/finding.htm

7. Buy two bikes. That way you will have one on the road at all times.

8. Be realistic about what the ownership of a 40 year old piece of Italian machinery entails (crap brakes, glow worm lights, no turn signals, lumpy seats, 45mph cruising etc) Any bike no matter how dialed in will require tinkering with over time. Be aware that "tinkering" ranges from clearing a flood in a seriously suspect area of town to fixing a broken cable to an engine strip-down to replace seals.

9. Don't buy a bike prior to 1960. They tend to be too slow and parts too rare to be useful as a regular rider.

10. For every cool/aesthetic point your bike possesses, subtract 2 practicality points.

11. Stick with a stock bike. IMHO reliability is infinitely better than speed. If you want to go fast buy a Ducati

12. If you don't want to dedicate garage space/time to wrenching it then make the guys at your local scooter shop your best friend. Buy them beers on a regular basis and don't be surprised when it takes weeks to get the parts to fix your bike. It's all part of the fun.

13. Ignore 98% of the bikes being sold on ebay. Get to know a club member/collector and they will undoubtedly lead you to a good solid bike.


Last edited by clinton on Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:26 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:36 am 
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250cc Rally Go'er
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Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 3:53 pm
Posts: 307
Location: Manhattan.... well now CHINA
Scooter Model(s): 69' "Vietspa" VBB and Chinese electric 1000w scooter
Now that is an informed, clear and accurate responce to this question.... I love when people really just hit the nail on the head...


Well done Clinton...

Oh and Mad_Mike great idea about the Magnets i don't know why I never tried that before... thanks

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 9:38 pm 
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1000cc Scooter Legend
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Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:13 pm
Posts: 1077
Location: New Paltz NY
I dont like the lumpy seat part. :x

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:06 am 
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250cc Rally Go'er
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Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 3:53 pm
Posts: 307
Location: Manhattan.... well now CHINA
Scooter Model(s): 69' "Vietspa" VBB and Chinese electric 1000w scooter
Yeah I need you to make me a wicked seat for my vietepsa... I thinking a giant soda can logo on the seat.....

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:05 pm 
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1000cc Scooter Legend
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Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:37 am
Posts: 1276
Location: Bloomfield, NJ
Scooter Model(s): Lambretta DL200, Lambretta Ser2 TV, Vespa GTS
Fingers wrote:
Oh and Mad_Mike great idea about the Magnets i don't know why I never tried that before... thanks


The magnet thing gives varied results. If there's metal behind the bondo, the magnet may still stick. Its not a failsafe method.

Andrea

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:22 pm 
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Organizer Emeritus
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:21 pm
Posts: 978
Location: Weeeeehawken
Scooter Model(s): '05 PX150, '10 triumph thruxton, '12 triumph tiger 800
Here's an online guide to looking at used motorcycles, whose advice would likely be handy when buying used scooters too. It talks about what to look out for, tell-tale signs of abuse, crash damage, etc. It's quite thorough.

http://www.clarity.net/adam/buying-bike.html


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