buying a scooter in London
November 21, 2008 8:57 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to buy a scooter (second hand) in London or Edinburgh: what is the best way to go about it?

Are websites the best way? Which ones? Any recommended second hand shops? I'm either going to get it in London or go up to Edinburgh and buy there over Christmas and ride it down, but don't know where might be cheaper. I've only passed the compulsory basic test, and never bought any form of motorised wheels before. I'm a pretty dreadful mechanic, and would prefer to spend a little more rather than have something that breaks while puttering along.
posted by YouRebelScum to Shopping (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, sounds like you should buy from a dealer. You get a guarantee and you get back up from their garage. Unfortunately they can smell noobs coming and will do their best to sell you what they want, not what you want.
Not all will, but you wont know the good from the bad until it's all too late...

Treat it like you would buying anything else important; visit all the scooter shops and just have a chat. Ask them what they have for sale within your budget and just have a look around. Once you've got an idea what the main issues are (size, make, style, cost, friendliness of garage) then you can go back and have a bit more of a focused look.

Personally I'd recommend a japanese 100 or 125cc. 50cc's are dangerous in traffic, italian machines are temperamental and demand attention. Japanese bikes, in general, are reliable, solidly built and predictable!

Once you have found a bike and are on first name terms with the salesman then you can start haggling. You have the potential for haggling for helmet and clothes and might be able to haggle for extended warranties or service packs.

Give me a shout and I'll give you a hand getting one in Edinburgh if you like. I used to work in the trade and I know all the shops.
posted by BadMiker at 9:14 AM on November 21, 2008

You're going to ride a scooter from Edinburgh to London over Christmas? Are you nuts? It'll take you forever.

I think you'd be best off buying in London and then being local for any warranty claim or subsequent work (it seems you live in London). For the same reason, I'd also buy from a dealer/specialist garage unless the savings were seriously large.
posted by Brockles at 9:16 AM on November 21, 2008

My wife has a 50cc Yamaha, and it's fine in city-only driving. And I mean really city-only driving, mind you--3-5 miles at a time, never going over 40 mph or so, seriously, no open-road driving ever.

It's actually her second bike. The first was a no-name piece of crap, bought new from a store front that also sold bootleg DVDs and bulk clothing. It died after 300 miles. Total waste of money--we ended up pretty much junking it after a month of use, and it wasn't even that cheap. Do not try to save money by getting a knock-off--this is an area where you want to buy a known name from an established dealer.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:13 AM on November 21, 2008

Ditto Brockles -- you'll regret it if you ride from Edinburgh to London, regret it more if you're unused to the machine, and regret it even more than that if you do it in December! And it will take you forever and you may end up dead.
posted by anadem at 12:49 PM on November 21, 2008

And there was me thinking it would be an interesting wee trip. So it takes a few days, and i get a little cold, but I need the practice. But OK, smarter councils may prevail (here's looking at you brockles and anadem). Thanks guys.
posted by YouRebelScum at 10:20 AM on November 22, 2008

Go a Vespa, et4 or LX125 (newer.) You will not regret it. Reliable, hold their value and are cool. They cost a touch more, but are worth it.

I got mine from a dealer - re-sprayed ET4 two years ago now with no problems. You can check for rust under the seat (remove the plastic insert) to see how neglected it has been.
posted by lamby at 5:52 AM on November 24, 2008

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