gy6 scooter quality, mods, maintenance

Chinese (mainland) scooters and bikes can be a great value but do require research and work in the American context.  In general Chinese scoots cost about 1/4 as much as Japanese ones.

In China scooters and small bikes are cheap transportation that can repaired by the owner or repaired in the street by omnipresent curbside shops.   Parts are generic, ubiquitous, and of fair-at-best quality.  The engines and general designs are usually shameless rips of Honda designs.

In America bike shops generally won’t look at your Chinese scooter.  Which is good because shop rates are high.  And because it will need regular TLC.  So we need to learn some survival skills.


Do all this before the first ride:

  • replace fuel lines.  About $5 for fancy-ass tygon or whatever.
  • replace vacuum lines.  Silicone seems to be popular these days.  About $5.
  • drain and replace engine oil – use dino for at least the first oil change.  You can afford to splurge, though, as gy6 motors hold less than 1qt of oil  :-).  About $5 for good oil.  This would be a good time to install a magnetic drain plug;  it’s $$$ at amazon but I find it for about $13 shipped everyone once in a while around the net
  • drain and replace transmission oil.  About $3.
  • replace spark plug – traditionally replaced with NGK.  About $3.
  • set valve lash while you’ve got the plug pulled so you can rotate the engine easily.  Free.
  • check every fastener you can get to.  Free.  Consider using a torque wrench and blue loctite if you already have it.

Change when convenient

  • replace tire valves the first time you unmount the tire.  OEM ones are infamous for cracking and leaking.  Normally the 90-deg bent ones work best on small-wheeled scoots.  $2 ea.
  • replace drive belt with a Gates Powerlink. You can keep the OEM in the emergency kit as a backup or donor to a stranded friend.  Normal Gates belts are $10, kevlar ones are closer to $20.

Emergency kit

Stuff to carry with you under the seat or in a toolbag:

  • replacement CDI (electronic ignition) for your bike.  About $8.
  • replacement drive belt, maybe the OEM one you took off earlier.
  • replacement fuse.  About $2.
  • tire plug kit

Useful to have

  • 12v charger.  Battery Tender or similar with quick-connect.  $20.
  • torque wrench.  Digital head or old school style, about $30.
  • tire irons.  $8 x 3.
  • variator puller.  About $15 or you can make your own.
  • blue loc-tite
  • rectifier/regulator.  The battery won’t charge when voltage is low and bulbs/fuses will burn out if output voltage is high.  About $10.

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