Monday, November 19, 2007

Strada Scooter is Back !

It has been a long long time since I last rode my scooter. I have lost track of time over the long wait but it has been 5-6 months since the scooter went in for repair.

It actually took two shops to fix it. I had originally informed PSF of the problems and tried to get MotoGalleria to do the work however they were in the process of closing the retail store and didn't have the time. I then contacted BlackTopMotorsports as they formally worked with PSF. After delays in getting the parts they were finally able to do most of the repairs however upon attempting to ride it in to me they discovered a severe wobble in the rear. They were unable to diagnose the problem thinking something was bent or flawed. I had them drop the scooter off at the PSF headquarters were they diagnosed the problem to be the roller weights had developed flat spots causing the variator and clutch drum to wobble the inner race area of the clutch drum causing it to become elongated making the rear wheel jump up and down.

I found this a little alarming especially since I had experienced similar symptoms in the past which I had mentioned to them. Also the belt and roller weights were both changed at MotoGalleria about 2,500 miles previously. Regardless I am glad that they found the problem and were able to repair it. In all a lot of parts had to replaced but after arguing the actual mileage and warranty they agreed to do the repairs at no cost.

Driving the scooter back on the highways was a little nerve racking. It may be that I have been riding the FZ6 for so long that it just feels naturally so much more stable and responsive. I also noticed that the scooter will only get up to about 50mph whereas it used to easily pull to 55mph and even get up to 60mph on the highway. Hopefully the new parts just need to be broken in. I am just glad that the scooter is finally back home despite it being winter now having missed the entire summer riding season with it. The scooter is however my primary mode of transportation for the time being so as the winter progresses so too will this blog.

Glad to be back!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Tire Blow Out on the Highway

Just as the title of this post describes my rear tire blew out on my while in the fast lane on highway 95. I was heading to visit my folks and had just made it across the Philadelphia border when I heard a loud pop along with feeling a small explosion under me. My first reaction was to wonder what had just happened when thankfully reality kicked in and it no longer matter what had happened but how I reacted. I immediately pulled in the brakes and pulled off onto the narrow shoulder. Up ahead I could see an emergency vehicle turn around with a state trooper parked their. So I managed to limp it up to where he was parked and I must have startled him as he started screaming at me inquiring what I was doing and instructing me to remain where I was. I quickly responded that I meant to ill harm and had gotten a flat tire. However I think my helmet camera may have spooked him and he took off promising to return to check on me. I called AAA and waited in the hot sun with 3 delicious hoagies but no water to take them down with. While waiting I noticed that very few if any bikers waived to me despite me having nothing else to do. One old school Harley rider stopped and offered his assistance as well as a guy on a Ninja 250, go figure. AAA arrived shortly as they deemed this a priority and I was relieved to see it was a specially configured pickup truck with a powered bed that lowered down to ground level. It was nice and convenient and afforded piece of mind on the ride home. I contacted the stealership which wanted way too much money for replacement tires. In the end I found a fellow rider fairly close who offered his old tires for free. So in the end everything worked out but it was certainly a nervous experience to say the least.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


It happened again, I got screwed.

I left work early on Friday to head out to the Valley Forge Convention Center to meetup with the 'VIP' ride through Philly. This was being filmed for the show Super Bikes on the Speed channel with Jason Britton. There were ~300 bikes that rode through Philly stopping at the Art Museum and ending at Pat's and Geno's in South Philly. I was fortunate enough to ride back to the convention center on the backroads with Jason Britton and Jessica Maine along with a few others.

Woke Saturday to meet up with a friend to ride to the actual show, Clutch Control 2007, at the convention center. It was hot out there on the asphalt but the riders really ripped it up. I have some pictures and video (including the entire ride on helmet cam) I will post at a later time. On the way back my friend took me on some really interesting back roads. The sun and the fun really had me by the time I got back. Before putting the bike away I did a quick post ride inspection and what do I find?

F#*@N SCREW !!!

(dead center in my rear tire)

- Why does this have to keep happening to me? It's always on a Saturday after 5pm too and no bike shops are open on sundays or mondays. Spent 3 hours in the shop today getting it patched. When the guy comes to get me he says "Oh you've been done for some time I thought you went somewhere." What??? This guy had my keys and bike and then had the audacity to overcharge me by charging me for an hour labor at $65 rather than a tire patch at $55. At least the guy ringing it up and the owner both sided with me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I realize that I haven't posted in a while and I apologize. My ribs still hurt pretty bad and only this week have I gotten back to riding. The weather has been so perfect for riding it has been driving me nuts. Getting to and from work has been a real pain since I hurt myself and so at least I can ride in now. Im not really up for any casual/fun riding yet though until I heal some more. Hopefully the scooter will be back by the time I am feeling better. Although I really think I could have been riding the scooter much earlier since it is automatic which probably wouldn't hurt as much as clutching the bike in the city traffic. The scooter should be at PSF now although I have not heard from them in a while. Until then I may be a little slow on the blog but do hope to be back up and running again soon. Next weekend (assuming I am up for it) I plan to ride out with the SBN riders to the Clutch Control 2007 'stunt' show at the Valley Forge Convention Center. I know that there will probably be few if any scooters there but I will post up if I do make it with some pictures anyways. This event will host the first ever amateur womens stunt competition so should be pretty sexy and exciting. More to come....

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Today was the day to be riding a scooter

Unfortunately I am unable to ride at the moment. I slipped and fell on some stairs and cracked my ribs. It is extremely uncomfortable but is ok as long as I don't move around too much. I think right now the bike would just be too much for me to handle and could get away from me. Hopefully though I may have my scooter back this weekend as I finally heard from the dealer after three weeks hiatus.

It was however such a beautiful day. As I sat outside this morning I saw a whole lot of scooters passing by. I had to catch a ride into work though. Today happened to be the first day of classes for many schools and traffic was really bad. To add to this there is a taxi strike in New York and Philadelphia. Although not having as many crazy cabby's on the road was nice.

In addition to above mentioned reasons for it being such a great day to scoot was all the action going around in the neighborhood. I had one neighbor moving out with two large trucks at one end of the street. On the other end was a work crew with three trucks blocking the road as well. Then after finally maneuvering out I discover they are filming a movie just around the corner. Rumor has it is Happenings by starring Mark Walberg.

Here are a couple of not so great pictures of the action:

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bad News about bad scooters

This was recently posted online. It appears that Power Sports Factory has lost one of their first and best dealers in the US. Paul aka Sporty at MotoVento has called it quits. He has decided to no longer sell the Strada or Vento brand scooters. Also in jeopardy is the Chinese Scooter board on Yahoo which he has maintained for the past several years. Sporty is a long time scooter mechanic and has been around since the beginning with Chinese scooters sharing helpful information online. This is certainly discouraging news but I hope that he will stay around on some of the other forums at least. I know he's still got a garage full of scoots and a lot of valuable knowledge.


"I just found out my 2003 Vento Phantom with 5000 miles dropped a valve, I did the motoman break-in and sold it with 2000 miles on it, The belt lasted longer than the motor with all oils Mobil 1 synthetic. I'm forming a opinion that the Chinese 4 stroke motors have a long way to go before I will buy another. With all the other people that have had valve train failures I can not sell scooters that last such a short time. Rubber that falls apart in months is another issue. Intake hoses, Fuel lines are easy to deal with, Fork seals, Engine mount bushings and brake seals are the stuff that scares the crap out of me now that I have been around these scooter for 4 years.

On the other hand my 2001 Malaguti F-12 Phantom water cooled Foggy 50cc 2 stroke replica all the rubber is fine with over 5000 miles on it. With that said I will no longer be selling scooters from China for THE lowest price on the internet until the quality meets my standards, I like to sleep with a clear conscience and selling a scooter for over a $1000 last last for less than 5000 miles is just ripping people off. I'm still going to try to help people on the group but I'm surly not
going to tell anyone to buy one.

Paul aka Sporty"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The 3 year warranty that takes 3 months to repair

I was really hoping to have a wonderful summer riding my Strada rx200hp scooter. I had planned to be back up on this blog at the beginning of the season. I had even purchased a video camera and bullet camera to record these rides. The sad truth is I haven’t been on my scooter in over 3 months and have heard no word on when, if ever, I might have it back from the shop.

My plan had to been ride the scooter to 5,000 miles and turn it over to Power Sports Factory for inspection and repair if need be. I figured this would be a good opportunity for them to evaluate their product after being ridden hard for two years and 5,000 miles. I even went so far as to leave the scooter completely stock and only had it serviced at PSF’s retail store. Well unfortunately the scooter only made it to 4,960 miles before I was forced to abandon it for repair. Fortunately Strada’s warranty is for 2 years major parts and 3 years on the engine or 5,000 miles. So the break down couldn’t come at a better time.

I first noticed the issue with the scooter as it became extremely unbalanced to the point that I felt unsafe on it. It turned out that the front fork was leaking oil. This is the same problem that I experience one year earlier which that time resulted in me going down. Evidently the scooters were assembled with a soft fork which was designed for the European market and never changed.

The difficulty then arose in trying to get someone to work on this scooter. I contact PSF about 3 months ago informing them of this issue. They were very nice about it but informed me that the retail store was closing and after several weeks of me patiently waiting I tried to locate another dealer. I contacted Blacktop Motorsport which is an authorized PSF drop shipper and was told they could do the work for me. They don’t have a retail store so the owner was kind enough to come pick it up. He seemed very knowledgeable and had ties to PSF so I figured my scooter was in good hands.

Blacktop Motorsport picked the scooter up over two months ago and at that time I was told I should have it back in less than a week. Well I have now had three empty promises of delivery and no word on when I might expect my scooter back. Each time after the delivery date came and went I had to contact them and even told them that if they needed more time that would be fine but please keep me informed. About weeks ago they were on their way to deliver my scooter and were going to ride it in to double check everything. Well I received a call informing me that it wobbled in the rear and that the rim might be bent internally. I was very glad that they caught this problem however it has been over two weeks since and they have not contacted me with any updates.

I suppose in the past I took it for granted that I was so close to PSF and could always go to them for support. With the retail store now closed I was forced to find another dealer that would work on Chinese scooters. From my experiences I can sympathize with those in a similar situation. I think if considering the purchase of a Chinese scooter it is important to remember that it may be difficult to find dealer willing or able to work on the scooter. Until the Chinese scooter market matures and dealer networks established you may find yourself without the support you need. This is certainly something to consider when purchasing a Chinese scooter.

I am still hopeful to get my scooter back but the downtime has really been difficult. When and if I do get it back I will report it here on this blog. In the meantime I will continue riding my FZ6 on a daily basis and will continue to check in here. Please don’t hold it against me as I consider anyone on two wheels to be ok in my book. So to all my fellow two wheelers all the best wishes and I hope to be back among the ranks of the scooterists soon.