Motorbikes/scooters that haven't been ridden – avoid?

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  • Motorbikes/scooters that haven't been ridden – avoid?
  • konabunny
    Member

    I’m in the market for a scooter at the moment and a FOF has mentioned they have a 2001 T4 150cc Vespa they might want to sell. (I assume they mean an ET4).

    Relevant facts:

    – hasn’t been used regularly for 4 months (let’s call it 6).

    – hasn’t been serviced in 8 months (let’s call it about a year) and “could use one”.

    – battery needs a bit of a charge to get started because it hasn’t been ridden much

    – about 14,000 miles on the clock.

    Is it even worth looking at this? I’m moderately spannery (i.e. can change oil and simple stuff with a Haynes) but I’ve had a bad experience with buying a car that was off the road for a couple of years (it was just knackered as a result of the neglect). I’m assuming the guy hasn’t done anything special to store it before he stopped using it.

    I assume I would be looking at changing oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and quite possibly a drive belt. Also – does the battery thing sound like a new battery and alternator job, or just a battery? Can you kickstart these things?

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice…

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    I think you’d be fine on that time frame personally. As you say, a good service and change of fluids etc will probably sort it all out.
    May be worth checking for signs of rust in petrol tank and perhaps flushing this out too.

    Most vespas I know had a kick start too.
    I reckon you’ll be fine.

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    The ZZR 1100 with 96k miles standing in my garden right now throughout the year has done no miles in the last 12 months but starts on the button and but for an oil change, everything works. A quick check through and I am confident it would pass an MOT….

    I reckon your going to be fine. Even more so if its been stored in a shed/garage. Battery might be able to be rescued with an Optimate or similar but shouldnt be too dear…

    BTW they are great. Ms Rickmeister had an ET4 ( the four stroke version), and it was uber reliable and great fun as well as fab for commuting in all weathers…. take a mate along with you?

    konabunny
    Member

    Cheers, guys, that sounds a bit more encouraging than I had thought. I’ll go along for a look and just make sure it’s appropriately discounted for all the stuff I might have to do to it in overdue servicing etc. Unfortunately I don’t have a mate who’s any better at mechanichy stuff than me.

    Meanwhile, I came across another ad for a ET4. It’s been discounted a bit because of the big dunt in the side but I can’t help thinking that big gash in the side would be bad news. If the ET4 is a steel framed scooter and you have a hole in it letting in water, isn’t the cavity going to fill up with water the rust from the inside out? (See just above the centre stand)

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Kb its difficult to offer any advice without seeing it but a bike in better nick for a few more pounds just needing a battery will always win me over a battle scarred cheaper one…

    I dont think the dent is too bad and IIRC the cracked bit at the bottom is plastic with nothing behind it. More crucial is the panel in front of where your legs are, its got most of the electrics and immobiliser in it…

    Ours was pretty good even in very bad rain….

    Top box is worth having even though there is storage under the seat…

    konabunny
    Member

    IIRC the cracked bit at the bottom is plastic with nothing behind it.

    Aah, OK, that makes sense.

    I’m probably going to see them both tomorrow and if they’re both shagged, I’ll just walk away. Cheers.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    the big hole could be fixed in 10 mins.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    I wouldn’t be at all worried about the one thats been standing so long as its reflected in the price. The one I bought was very similar. New battery and away you go.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I might be tempted to take out the spark plug and turn it over a few times – would be pretty easy on a small engine I reckon.

    Note – I know nothing about scooters 🙂

    bikebouy
    Member

    Yeah I’d second that. I bought an ET4 of a mate in Peruga that was hardly used, left in a shed under a tree and all the sap had covered it in greenish slime, battery flat as, oil I don’t think had ever been changed and the front tyre was flat, a couple of “off stand” scrapes and a small tear in the seat. I bought it based on the fact that all this stuff could be fixed easy and sticking in a new battery and pumping up the front tyre It started first time and I rode back to my Appt on it, serviced it myself and got a bargain.
    It’s stuck in a lockup (a dry one) at the moment with the battery lying next to it. I fully expect it to start first time when I go back there.

    Only real worries are things like electrics, they seem to be a bit tempremental in the clocks and rear lights.. but thats about it, oh check the belt drive for exsesive wear, that’ll give you a far better insight to it’s mileage than the clocks readout. If it’s fraying then it’ll need changing (easy peasy)

    My ET4 has electric start, 2003 model.

    hora
    Member

    – hasn’t been used regularly for 4 months (let’s call it 6).

    – hasn’t been serviced in 8 months (let’s call it about a year) and “could use one”.

    – battery needs a bit of a charge to get started because it hasn’t been ridden much

    HPI’d it?

    If I see such an ad it could also read that the person ran it dry of fluids through negligect and is covering their back. Of course it could easily have been simply stood etc.

    I once bought a Cub (15yrs?) ago that had been stood for a very longtime- however that was a Cub so not the same……..

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    As a final point on the ‘standing’

    I’ve bought bikes that have been standing 3 years or more. a Kwak GPX750R and a 600SRAD, it was no huge issue getting them started and running. Larger problem were things like the brakes.

    My current bikes, Ducati 749 and KTM950smr have been garaged for 4 weeks now and won’t be started again until March.

    Premier Icon Woody
    Subscriber

    4-6 months not used regularly (does that mean not at all?) is nothing but as said ^^ it depends if its been kept outside or under cover and there would have to be a valid reason as to why.

    I would definitely want to hear it running, check numbers match and see some receipts for when it was last serviced.

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    Two strokes are more of a problem than 4 strokes because they have lots of seals and parts that are only lubricated when running and they dry out.

    Brakes, cables, overall finish of fastners etc really suffers if bikes are left without any attention.

    The only saving in getting a bike cheap is normally because you add your labour, but spares to make repairs can soon mount up. You need to do your homework and have a good idea of how much your shopping list is likely to be.

    Bargains aren’t always bargains, but that sense of achievement when its all sorted can be priceless.

    hels
    Member

    I would think most scooters would be off the road for at least a couple of months over winter, unless you live in Spain or are peterpoddy of course.

    konabunny
    Member

    Thanks for all the advice, people! I’ll update if anything interesting comes of it all.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    God invented scooters to cull Mods.

    Motorbikes are safer/more fun.

    😆

    konabunny
    Member

    Motorbikes are safer/more fun.

    Don’t worry – I’m on the way!

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Having been standing for 4 months shouldn’t be too much of a worry- if it took significant ill effects in that time it’s got bigger underlying issues.

    Tomaso’s right that 2-strokes can suffer more; otoh they’re easier to fix.

    Don’t worry about cosmetic damage, it’s a scooter, that’s what they’re for- if it’s not already dented you’ll probably do it yourself or have someone else do it for you. Just saves you a bit of time and heartache.

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