Buyers Guide
To help the new scooter purchaser better understand the scooter marketplace and the things they should consider before they decide on what scooter to purchase and from which dealer we have put together the following information for their consideration.

We have broken this information into 4 sections.

Section 1:  Overview
Section 2:  Scooter Quality
Section 3:  New or Used
Section 4:  Should I Purchase Locally Or Over The Internet

Buyers Guide - Overview

Hello, my name is Tim Juntgen and I’m the founder of Carolina Fun Machines.  We have people come to us with their new scooters that they just purchased somewhere else looking for help and advice.  These are people that have owned their new scooters for less than 6 months that are already no longer running, or running properly.  They have come to us because when they went back to the business they purchased their scooter from they found that:

1. They were no longer in business or no longer selling scooters.
2. The scooter they purchased just a few months ago didn't come with a warranty or the warranty was only for a couple of months or a few hundred miles.
3. The place they purchased their scooter from has no service or parts department to take care of the scooter they purchased.
Most of these people are first time buyers that weren’t aware of the important things to consider or the proper questions to ask when shopping for a new scooter.
So I’ve taken the time to put together the follow information hoping to help people better understand the scooter marketplace and what to look for and the questions to ask when they are out shopping for a new scooter.

So your looking to purchase a scooter but feel a little lost in knowing which brand to purchase or from which dealer?  Well, it can be a little overwhelming.  So we have put together the following information that we hope will make this purchasing decision a little easier for you.  At Carolina Fun Machines we believe that an informed purchaser will end up being a happier customer in the long run.
When it comes to scooters there are a lot of different brands and prices.  So which brand and how much should you spend?  Basically there are just a few things you need to consider.
You usually get what you pay for.  Normally the more you pay for the scooter the more you will be out riding it and not over talking to a mechanic about what is wrong with it now.  And, always ask for a copy of the warranty that comes with your new scooter.
To help keep it simple we categorize scooters into three categories.
Low, Medium and High Quality
We always advise that you take the time to calculate how many miles you need the scooter to last because as the quality of the scooter increases so does the length of service it can provide you before you end up spending more money on it than its worth to keep it running.
So as an example, if your round trip mileage each day to work and back is 32 miles and you work 5 days a week for 50 weeks per year and you need the scooter to last 2 years then the scooter will need to last 16,000 miles and that does not include the mileage you would put on it for pleasure during the weekends.  In this situation you would save money by purchasing one of the Higher Quality scooters.
There are a number of things to consider when selecting the dealer to purchase from.
Do they have a service department with qualified scooter mechanics to keep your scooter in tip top shape?  Do they have a parts department stocked with the common parts needed to keep your scooter running properly?  How long have they been in business under the current ownership?  And, when you tour their sales, service and parts departments does it give you a good feeling that they will take care of you and your scooter the way you want or does it look like a junk yard of confusion?
We encourage you to visit at least 3 different scooter dealerships before you make a buying decision.

Buyers Guide - Scooter Quality

Just like with many other things you can buy… scooters come in different levels of quality, even though some look very much alike.  Carolina Fun Machines, over the last 10 years, has sold and serviced thousands of scooters so we can tell you from experience that the biggest factor in determining the quality of a scooter is the manufacturer that made it.  When you make something that is inexpensive you have to build it using cheaper quality parts and cheaper quality parts just don't last as long as better quality parts.  You get what you pay for.
At Carolina Fun Machines we believe that an informed buyer will end up being happier than one that isn’t.  So we have put together this Scooter Quality Table to help new scooter buyers understand the important things to consider and the proper questions to ask when out buying a new scooter.
We also understand that most people want the better quality scooters but don't have the money necessary to purchase one.  So for that reason we offer scooters in all three levels of quality and work to provide the best service and support of any dealer in the greater Charlotte area.

Low Quality
Scooters in this category are of the lower quality and are sold at hardware stores, used car dealers, flea markets, out of people's garages and your lower end scooter dealers.  The manufacturers and importers of these scooters will sell their scooters to anyone and don't care if the dealer buying the scooters from them can service the scooter or stock any parts to repair them.  Depending on where you purchase one of these scooters they will be sold as is, with no warranty, or a very short time or mileage warranty.
- Bashan
- Charger
- Chuani
- Duster
- Eagle
- Future Champion
- Gator
- Hemi Powered
- Jmstar
- Jonway - Shanghai Shenke Motorcycle Co., LTD
- Longbo
- Peace Sports
- Roadrunner
- Roketa
- Sunny
- Super Motor
- Tao Tao
- Velocity
- Yamati
- Zongshen
Medium Quality
The importers and distributors of this group of scooters are more particular about who sells their product.  They require that the seller has a business with all the proper state, county and city licenses and permits as well as a service and parts department to honor the warranty that comes with their scooter.  When purchased from a local licensed dealer they will usually come with a 1 year unlimited mileage engine and transmission parts warranty.
From our experience these medium quality scooters will last, with proper maintenance, between 12,000 to 14,000 miles depending on brand before any major work has to be done to them.
- Bintelli
- Wolf Brand Scooters (Znen)
- Linhai
- Motofino
- Motorino (Znen)
- RedStreak Scooters (Znen)
- Znen
High Quality
The importers and distributors of this group are very particular about who sells their product. They require that the seller has an established business with all the proper licenses and permits as well as a service and parts department to honor the warranty that comes with the scooter. When purchased from a local licensed dealer they will come with a 2 year parts and labor warranty.  Some manufacturers also provide 2 years of roadside assistance.
From our experience of selling these high quality scooters they last, with proper maintenance, between 25,000 to 35,000 miles depending on brand before any major work has to be done on them.
- Adly
- Aprilia
- Genuine
- Honda
- Kymco
- Lance Powersports (SYM)
- Piaggio
- Suzuki
- Vespa
- Yamaha

New or Used

We get a number of calls asking if we have any used scooters for sale.  From time to time we do have a few but we are very careful about the scooters we take in trade and resale.
If you go out to craigslist you will find dozens of scooters being offered for sale used.

But you have to be very careful for some of the sellers will tell you that all it needs is a new spark plug or new carburetor only to find out that after you purchase it, it needs a complete engine rebuild.

We would recommend that before you buy any used scooter get the seller to allow you to take it to a reputable scooter dealer for an evaluation.  The better quality dealers will go over the scooter and give you a report on what is good and bad about it before you give up your hard earned money.  Most dealers will do this for $35.00 to $65.00.

Should I buy locally or over the internet?

That’s a good question.
So let’s take a look at the differences and then you can make the decision on which way would be best for you.

When you compare the prices for the exact same quality scooter you will find that there is normally only about a $300.00 difference in price between the internet sold scooters and ones at your local scooter dealer. The key words here are “exact same quality scooter”. You will find as you search the internet a number of brands that appear to offer the same scooter at widely different prices. The Chinese are very good at coping things, even themselves. And although these scooters look the same there can be a major difference in the overall quality of them. This will be reflected not only in the price but also in the warranty that they offer.

ScootDawg, a popular internet scooter forum, highly recommends that you buy from a reputable dealer in your area. They say this will save you a multitude of headaches and will give you a local source for help if something goes wrong. They say you will pay more for a scooter from a dealer but the added expense is well worth it. They recommend that you save a month or two longer if you have too, but buy locally… if not you’ll usually wish you had.

Buying Locally

When you buy from a local dealer you are able to go to their place of business and see, touch and sit on a number of different scooters. You may even be able to test ride one depending on local laws and regulations. After choosing the one that is best for you the dealer will fully assemble and perform the pre-delivery inspection before they deliver the scooter to you. The dealer will also take care of the Department of Motor Vehicles paperwork for you.

Most local dealers will also protect your investment with a parts and labor warranty. So if any defects show up all you have to do is take it back to your local dealer and they will repair the defect at no charge and have it back to you in a day or two. Some local dealers may even provide low cost rentals or loaners while your scooter is in the shop.

And if, after some experience on your new scooter, you decide you want a larger one your local dealer will more than likely be willing to take your current scooter in trade for a larger model.

Buying on the Internet

If you’re not scooter savvy buying a scooter over the internet can be very intimidating. There are dozens of resellers, offering scooters from over 35 different Chinese manufacturers, and many of them look to be the same, but be very careful… for they’re not.

In our lifetimes we have all heard the saying “you get what you pay for.” And because we live in such a competitive world today this statement is truer than it’s ever been. So when you see scooters on the internet that look the same but range in price from $699 to $2,199 you have to ask yourself why there is such a big price difference. There are many. The overall quality is the main one, the warranty is another and the ability to get parts and service are also factors. I bring all this up because I want you to be ok with walking away from the low priced scooters and understanding why you did and feeling good about it. Believe me, in the long run you will be so happy that you did. The last thing you want is to have a new scooter that won’t run and are not able to get parts or service on it and it sits in your garage doing nothing but collecting dust.  When this does happen the last thing you remember is the great deal you got on it.

Recently I’ve seen people selling low end scooters at flea markets and off the back of their pickup trucks on craigslist. These people are making a quick $ and have no interest or intentions of providing service or parts over the time period that you will own your scooter. And most local dealers will not work on these scooters because of their low quality and lack of parts availability. So you end up with the same situation, a scooter collecting dust.

So, with all that said, what is it like to buy a scooter over the internet?

ScootDawg goes on to say: If you buy from the internet YOU are responsible for assembling the scooter, performing the pre-delivery inspection, and sorting out the many quirks it will have for the first few hundred miles. If you are not handy with a wrench, don’t have the desire or time to repair things then do not buy on line. Even the best dealers (and we know of many good on line sellers) can only tell you how to fix a problem and send you parts. They cannot repair the scooter over the phone for you. Know your own abilities before you commit to buying a scooter off the internet. On line scooters can be a great deal but only if you have reasonable expectations and can do the needed repairs yourself. Sorry to sound redundant but all too many people buy the cheaper scooters and then fill the message boards on the forums with such and such scooter is a total piece of crap… don’t buy a scooter from this company or that company and so on. If you are in doubt at all make the drive and buy from a local dealer. The scooter will be prepped, running, and you can take it back for repairs if needed.

In reviewing the forums we hear a number of stories where the scooter arrives and it is not reflective of the picture people ordered from on the website, or it's the wrong color, or worse yet… damaged. If you fully review the terms and conditions page of many internet resellers (and many of us don’t until it’s too late) you will see that they are not responsible for many of these things when they happen. And if you want to return the scooter you have to pay the shipping cost back to them and they may charge you for the freight they paid to ship it to you in the first place along with a restocking fee. So you are out as much as $600 to $800. Because of this most people just keep the scooter even though it isn’t what they wanted or ordered.

Then we also hear that many times when the scooter breaks it can take 2 to 4 weeks to get replacement parts. With internet purchased scooters most dealers require that you ship the bad part back to them before they will ship you a replacement. And then after waiting for 2 to 4 weeks the part doesn’t fix the problem and the process starts all over again. We have also heard that it can take weeks to get the paperwork required to get the scooters registered with your state Department of Motor Vehicles so you can drive it on the streets legally.

In summary, you expose yourself to a lot of headaches and frustrations for a few hundred dollars in savings. With all of this in mind you be the judge… should you buy locally or over the internet?