This is a common question asked by those new to the scooter world. Many tend to get lost between price vs quality when researching to buy a scooter. There are those who will buy a scooter based on how cheap they are. On the flip side, there are those who will buy a scooter based on how durable they are. The trick is to find a scooter somewhere down the middle. Finding this middle ground will be different for each consumer.
Why you should buy a Chinese made scooter
It's easy for people to be wary of purchasing a Chinese scooter ... and with good reason. But, there are actually several Chinese scooters that are worth considering. The Linhai-Yamaha company manufactures some of the best scooters in China that are currently sold in the U.S. under the Aeolus brand name. Under this partnership, Linhai uses the technology and knowledge acquired from Yamaha to produce their own line of quality scooters. Linhai has actually been producing scooters for Yamaha for years. The fact that China has relatively low manufacturing costs compared to the U.S., you can see how these Chinese scooters can be sold for a fraction of the cost for a name brand scooter.
CFMoto also produces a clone of the Honda Helix sold under the name CFMoto Fashion. The Honda Helix is also known as the Fusion in Japan. The CFMoto Fashion is not a copy, but a CLONE of the Honda Helix. But the fact that its parts are interchangeable with each other, any kind of repair work will never be an issue. You can purchase any necessary parts from a Honda dealer and apply them to the Chinese scooters.
The old saying "you get what you pay for" is certainly applicable to Chinese scooters, but for some people, this is exactly what they want. For someone who is mechanically inclined, the ability to purchase a clone of a name brand scooter at a bargain price is a dream come true. And for someone on a limited budget, it's a no-brainer. There is definitely a market, where it makes absolute sense, to purchase these Chinese scooters.
A lot of scooterists will buy a Chinese scooter and the first thing that they'll do is to swap out major components with higher-grade quality parts. Even for the extreme riders, buying a cheaper Chinese machine and adding-on high performance upgrades would be less than buying a brand-name scooter with similar features.
Why you should buy an American made scooter
The number one reason why you should buy an American made scooter is because of the quality. The last thing one would expect (or want) to do on a brand new scooter purchase is having to fix it. One horror story told about a Chinese scooter involved someone taking their brand new scooter for it's first ride. Half-a-block later, they would see nuts & bolts and engine components falling off onto the street.
This is one of the major complaints of Chinese scooters. The vibration from the engine will loosen the nuts and bolts. An easy fix is to tighten all bolts and apply loc-tite. But, is this something you would expect to do on a brand new scooter.
There have also been situations where one would buy a Chinese scooter for 0 ... but would up paying an additional 0 to fix it. Wouldn't it have been better to have just bought an American made scooter for 00 in the first place? And not have to worry about build quality issues at all.
Another big issue revolving around purchasing Chinese scooters has to deal with parts supply. This is a big one! How readily available are they? You need to make sure that parts are easily accessible in the future, for whatever Chinese scooter you buy, so that you can repair it. It doesn't matter how much money you saved by purchasing a Chinese scooter if you can't make a simple repair because parts are not available.
For those where money is no issue, buying American made scooters is the right choice for you. High quality scooters + parts readily available equals a scooter with zero headaches that scooterists can just take out for a ride and enjoy the open roads. And for those who don't know the difference between a Philips screwdriver and a flat head, go buy a U.S. made scooter. TRUST ME!
Chinese scooters have already come a long way from when they first started entering the U.S. market. A lot of people complained in the beginning and the manufacturers listened. Are they where they need to be? Not quite yet. They still need to address quality control issues; however, they are well on their way to bridge the gap of their U.S. counterparts.
But, until that time comes, you just might be better off shelling out more money for an American made scooter than invest in a low-cost Chinese scooter with no guarantees. The Chinese are masters at copying and so many of these bikes look basically the same. So, what may look like a brand name scooter for a fraction of the cost is actually a Chinese made clone.
How to Choose Between Buying a Chinese Made Vs American Made Scooter
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