Friday, December 1, 2006

Frame Welds on Chinese Motor Scooters

Scattered throughout the web forums on scooters you come across complaints occasionally of poor welds. This is because something welded has failed. No doubt in a few instances the construction of the weld was poor, as many factories both with and without ISO certifications have been building motor scooters in China. Maybe that's not too surprising since the object of the OEM builder is sometimes too concentrated on price, and not safety.
In general the welding is very good on most Scooters. Especially so in the Motofino brands I hawk. By far the biggest problem is buyer ignorance!
People will too often buy a scooter without checking the specifications for max load! Just dumb! You cannot buy a bike rated for 100Kg, and put two fat people on it and expect the Scoot to hang together! Seems obvious.
1 Kilogram is 2.204 lbs. If the spec says ok for 100Kg., that's all it is rated for. An awful lot of riders already
weigh 220 lbs! Not much chance the scooter will survive a long time without breaking a support weld if routinely subjected to 440 lbs. when people try to ride two!
Notice the Scooter usually withstands this abuse for a time, but may fail at any time when overloaded. Why not check the load specs and buy one rated at 330Kg or more? duh...
In my mind, a 100Kg load capacity is only a good choice for a single rider weighing under 175 lbs. who drives on smooth surfaces. Keep a little safety load margin.
The good Chinese scooters sold in the United States are those which meet federal highway safety standards and EPA emissions criteria. Despite the Federal Highway certification, you can cheat it by buying something with a low load carrying capacity if unaware of the rating.
Motor Scooter frames are by and large welded tubular steel. Very strong and tough. One characteristic is they are soft, or mild steels. This is good because these steels bend, instead of snap. The welds are more brittle, and do snap, when severely overloaded. My purpose in pointing out load carrying capacity is only in the interest of personal safety for riders. I have no other "axe to grind."

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