We have not checked in on our Cruise Azul motor scooter for a while. Also have not reported that we sold our beloved Burgman 650 Suzuki scooter in New Mexico a month ago. It was impossible to get the Burgman in Mexico for a reasonable import fee.
For those that have not been here for these many years – six years ago come October we purchased our 2008 blue motor scooter (better known as Cruise Azul). It is a Chinese knock-off of a Honda 150 cc moto – however built with lesser quality in China as opposed to the more refined Japanese manufacturers – Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda for example.
That October we tossed the numbers around – We could buy FOUR China dolls for one of Honda’s finest. As is often the case, we opted for the cheap route – we would see how it goes. We bought two scooters at Chedraui grocery store in Coatepec. We bargained for a 1000 peso discount (each) buying two – an acquaintance came in with us. We each paid $950 USD out the door. Now we are six years down the road and about 5000 miles later. Not counting maintenance (regular or otherwise) that works out to about $14.00 a month – pretty cheap transportation.
Of course we only ride it 6 months out of the year – but even $28 a month is not bad for reliable transportation.
Did I just write ‘reliable?’ OK well there is some debate on that. With less than 5,000 total miles we have replaced and repaired: new front fork bearing; new battery; new brakes (twice –don’t ask); new brake cable; new starter motor; frame to motor bolt; new rear tire; some wiring problems and as of today a new clutch assembly.
This after doing a recommended 20 + point improvement and care set-up upon purchase. This included changing all hoses and tubes; change spark plug, solder some wiring connections, changing fuel filter assembly, modifying the exhaust system and the air intake box etc. Tear down to tighten and inspect bolts and belt etc.
It should be noted parts are more expensive in Mexico – labor much less as compared to the U.S. In Mexico we have never registered (not required) our 149 cc scooter – so a saving there as well as no insurance cost.
We know a local (here in Xico) mechanic we like. He is competent and slightly expensive (Mexican expensive). More on this later.
A little history: Cruise Azul has never left us stranded (mostly). We have had two INCIDENTS: twice we laid the scooter down stopped or nearly so, mostly due to sand. On one of those spills I had bruised ribs and a scuffed ankle. Anita hobbled on crutches for two weeks (in fairness she has weak ankles). We are fully recovered (except for Senora Calypso’s ankle).
We drove 120 miles one day on Cruise Azul – a lot for a little scooter – sore butts later – not recommended. A scooter here is very handy when parking is difficult to find as well as economical fuel and maintenance as compared to driving a car. It also is a bit dangerous as compared to a car – all factors to consider.
Cruise Azul in particular has a large ‘landing’ space for groceries as well as a nice large box under the seat and ours came with an additional rear stuffing box large enough to hold a helmet or a bag or so of groceries (it has since been replaced with a new one). We could transport 3 bags of groceries or haul a 20 liter bottle of water and more. The design of our scooter is such that it really carries a lot – even more we think than the large 650 cc Suzuki Burgman – the key being a flat floor between the seat and front fork assembly.
We have money from the Burgman sale burning a hole in our pockets! What to buy now? We are again weighing the advantages and not of Chinese versus Japanese (or even German). We are also considering a 4-wheeler to get to-and-from our Rancho up in the mountains. We would lose some parking advantages as well as needing increased storage area and perhaps more safety issues driving one of those on our Mexican highways. Also have thoughts about a rack on the back of the Jetta that would allow us to transport a scooter to and from Puerto and Xico – that would give us full time usage instead of 6 months per year.
In the meantime the scooter is in the shop: Oil and change; new clutch assembly, installed; throw in 4 Jetta sparkplugs we brought from the U.S. Oh yeah – we asked the mechanic if he knew where we could get our plugs changed – right here was the answer – cool! His total bill for parts and labor – $1400 pesos or about $110.00 U.S.D. Not bad
I explained with Anita’s help that I was having a clutch problem – he went right to it.
We are good to go for another ??? miles. What to buy or do next? Lots to think about regarding two-wheel transportation (or even four). Stay Tuned!