So, one of the many reasons it’s been quite here is because for the past few weeks, I have been scooter-less. Before that I was stuck with a Vespa P200e that could NOT pass emissions in Arizona, no matter how much engine rebuilding it took! Eventually, I realized that the draconian laws in Arizona were out to keep both Hispanics and 2-Strokes oppressed in different ways. But, rather than move states (which was an option to both keep my Scooter and to avoid SB1070, but that’s another story for a different kind of blog), I decided to cut my losses and move on to a different bike that I KNOW would be legal.
This led me to the Rattler 110 I had mentioned previous from Genuine Scooter company. But, the bike itself actually came from an untrustworthy dealer who initially didn’t say they were a dealer. They emailed me as if they were a private party stating they had a Rattler for sale, and that it “only” had a performance variator and some holes drilled in the airbox for better venting. Other than that, the bike was bone stock with 2,200 miles. On the surface this seemed tempting. And, within a few days he was in Phoenix and took possession of the Vespa in it’s disgraced state, and I took possession of the Rattler 110.
Performance-wise, the “racing” variator was a hard-engaging beast but the bike overall was “OK”. Decent acceleration and otherwise didn’t seem like a bad deal at all. Heck, I even got a new spare rear tire out of the deal! But, on the way to class about a month later, the bike turned on me and the truth was soon to be revealed…
At around 24th and Van Buren in Downtown Phoenix, you will find many things
-Prostituttes (although not as many as there used to be. Phoenix PD has done a great job cleaning it up!)
-Maricopa County’s own Mental Health Corrections facility. Locals call it “Sherriff Joe’s Arkham”
-And… My Rattler 110 that randomly stopped dead for no reason!
With no warning, I lost complete power with no compression and no hope of a re-start. So, it was off to the scooter shop since I was still in my apartment and had no where to tear the engine apart. The local Genuine Scooter dealer in the East Valley is a shifty and untrustworthy lot, and generally will sell you a China-scoot as soon as any other bike and leave you twisting in the wind. So, obviously getting it fixed there won’t happen. But the Urban Commuter, a local shop in Tempe, was more than happy to take it in! So, with $95 of hard-earned student grant money later, the tow truck deposted the scooter on their doorstep.
(The interior: A nice little hole-in-the-wall local shop that specializes in electric bikes, scooters of all makes and the occasional wierd –ass Chinese horror like you see in the right side of the pic)
(And yes… that is an Italjet Dragster 50. Yes, it was for sale. No, I didn’t have the money )
After about 4 days, they were finally able to get to it. The verdict?
Yep. That’s a hole. In the TOP of the piston, where it shouldn’t be!
Turns out that there was QUITE a bit more done to this scooter than was previously mentioned, including:
-Removal of BOTH top and bottom cylinder gaskets in order to increase compression. How did they seal it up then? Oh just by using a SEALANT squeezed onto the parts. Yeah.. that’ll work…
-re-jetting of the carb to the WRONG specs
-Install of the WRONG spark plug that was sticking out 2-3mm into the combustion chamber
-An entire performance clutch kit with 1,500 RPM spring, the heaviest weights known to be on a Rattler and a whole mess of things that aren’t fit for a daily driver
-And, as it turns out, the bike is actually a 2008, but the title says 2010. Yep, they lied to the DMV as well to get it to register as newer.
In short this bike was amped up to be a mini pipe bomb without rebuilding one part on the internals, which were all stock and not meant to be hot rodded. The dealer lied (again) and this time I was stuck with the bill. I didn’t even bother dealing with them since I know with this many lies not one thing they can do will be trustworthy. And, since they sold it as a private party sale there was really no recourse, especially in another state.
The Urban Commuter ended up doing me good. They may be a bit slow (about 2 weeks, and that was the fastest I’ve got a bike from them), but their work once again was good for me and for just under $600 I got a new Cylinder, Piston, bearings top and bottom, PROPER gaskets, head, plug and clutch service. The performance variator and clutch are still in there, but at least now the weights aren’t worn to shit and it actually accelerates with a little more smoothness. The idle is still a tad high, but I’ve just been too busy to fix it. The bike does run solid and it’s by all accounts a new bike.
Do I regret selling the Vespa? Every day. But, with my new job, new home further from job and the dreadded “off season” approaching, I need a CVT powered bike that can take the hits. Now that this hit is over, I can pretty much run this thing into the ground because… well, let’s face it: It’s a bike by Genuine Scooter Company! These have a rep as good as Honda for being one durable scoot.
Do I dig the style? Well, no. It’s got great suspension, amazing acceleration for a 110cc and it’s built super solid, but it’s not really my thing, So, I will soon be looking for another Stella, Vespa or Buddy to put me on a proper style scooter. But at least I won’t have to worry about finding something ASAP since ride-wise, this is one solid scooter that will take the hits and come back for more.
But, the search for the perfect bike will continue. In the meantime, I have a good bike to keep me company until then. Who knows? I may still keep it as the backup/urban runabout bike. There really is no scooter more fitting or more powerful for the sub-45mph streets of the inner-city. Screw 50cc scoots, Zumas or even small dirtbikes: This bike has them ALL beat!