Fly Scooters Closing Down
After Five years of operation, Fly Scooters in California is closing their doors. Leon and Daniel have seen their business shrink to the point that they can no longer sustain it. Unlike some of the distributors that have gone under, Fly had a good reputation for striving to bring good quality products for the price and strong support to their dealers. CLICK HERE or on the image for more information.
Our Scout is Here
June 18, 2010
Leon and Daniel from Fly Scooters very kindly sent a red & white Scout to JustGottaScoot for a long-term review. The Scout arrived at Scooterville where Bob Hedstrom and his crew helped unload and uncrate it. There was some damage from transit that resulted in a broken front fender. On Saturday, June 19th I spent some time going over the Scout and performing the pre-delivery inspection. With any new scooter, a good pre-delivery service can make a world of difference in the customer’s satisfaction with their purchase. Many mainland Chinese scooters in particular need some extra attention to ensure proper operation.
I have mentioned before that it is VERY IMPORTANT to buy from a reputable dealer with good support resources, and will say it again. Here in the Twin Cities, Marty Mataya at GoMoto is the Fly dealer and I know Marty does a great job of servicing and supporting product he sells. Personally, I would not buy a mainland Chinese scooter without a reliable dealer to work with. On to the prep of the Scout.
When the crate arrived, it looked as though it may have been tossed around less than lovingly and the front fender was cracked as a result. After getting the cardboard off and undoing SEVERAL bolts, the front wheel was installed and the Scout was put on a lift for detailed inspection and some assembly.
The engine oil from the factory was immediately replaced with synthetic and the bowl of the carburetor was removed and cleaned out. There are US mandated front turn signals to install as well as mirrors. These added on turn signals are the bane of the scooter world in the US. Perfectly good front signals are already integrated in the headset, but they don’t conform to our “standards” so these slap-dash ones have to go on (can you tell I don’t like the add-on signals???). Battery filled with acid and charged, fasteners checked (blue loctite added), brakes adjusted and we’re off and running.
In the first couple of days, I put 75 miles on the Scout and it has run flawlessly. I’m going to ride it around for a few more days and then the initial formal review process will start which will include all the “usual” testing of speedometer accuracy, speed, fuel economy and so forth.
June 22nd, 2010 – Experienced the first mechanical glitch with the Scout today. It was a fairly warm day and I was just heading out to run some GPS speedometer accuracy tests. About six blocks from home, the Scout stalled at a stop and was hard to re-start and I couldn’t keep it running. My first thought was carburetion issues and I suspected that a jet may have fallen out. I’ve experienced this before on other scooters, and one can often get the float bowl cover off the carburetor and make the repair without having to actually remove the carburetor. Nope. That wasn’t it. In doing some basic checks, I took the fuel filler cap off and the vacuum hiss told me what the likely culprit was. It turned out that the vent hose at the top of the gas tank near the send unit was pinched. Something akin to vapour lock had caused fuel flow out of the tank into the carburetor to be restricted. Very easy fix and the Scout is back to running like a champ.
I also took the add-on front turn signals off. If the feds haul me away, I won’t be able to continue this long-term review, but the Scout looks much better and is easier for me to ride. The location of the starboard add-on turn signal interfered with me getting to the front brake lever. A person with smaller hands probably would never notice this, but it was bothering me. I DO NOT suggest that you violate federal requirements yourself, but changing over to the existing front turn signals that are molded into the headset was simple. Just be VERY careful when removing the top headset cover as it is EASY to break off retaining tabs, especially the one that goes under the top position of the headlight ring.
June 24th, 2010 – This morning dawned sunny and DRY – we’ve had a very wet June here in Minnesota. I decided to run some GPS tests on the Scout this morning. First off, look at the picture below and tell me that the Scout DOESN’T look MUCH better without the add-on front turn signals. Go ahead, tell me, I dare ya.
The Scout started right up this morning and ran great. I did GPS testing of speedometer accuracy at 20MPH, 30MPH and 40MPH. Because of the refresh rate of my GPS unit, I have to hold those speeds as precisely as I can for a few minutes. The accuracy of the speedometer was astounding. Those of you who have read my scooter reviews will know that most scooters have optimistic speedometers. That is to say they indicate faster than the actual speed. The Scout’s speedometer was as close to spot-on as this kind of testing can determine. The Scout speedometer indicate MILES per hour and the odometer indicates KILOMETERS travelled. I did a couple of “mile” GPS tests and realized the odometer couldn’t possibly be that far off. When I switched the GPS unit to kilometers, the odometer was right on. I also did a quick top speed test. The engine is NOT broken in yet, I weigh 200 pounds, and I didn’t wring the last bit I could out of the Scout…. I’ll save that for after it’s got some more miles (sorry, kilometers) on it. It hit 51MPH on a level road.
June 26th, 2010 – Some of you may remember by review of the SYM Symba, and what a problem I had with the stock seating on that machine. On the Symba, the passenger grab-bar located between the front and rear seats stuck up quite high and was RIGHT WHERE I WANTED TO SIT. The Scout has a similar grab-bar, but it doesn’t sit as high above the top of the seats as the one on the Symba did. Still, it was in the exact position that I wanted to sit. I found myself moving forward on the front seat or riding with the base of my tailbone right on the metal bar. It wasn’t as bad the Symba seating position, but it still bothered me. So I cut the bar off.
The rear seat can be removed by rotating four retaining tabs from under the seat. The pillion will come off, leaving two bolts to remove the seat base. You will also need to loosen the retaining nuts on the top of the rear shock absorber mounts. The grab-bar is welded on to the base and can be cut off with a good saw. I used a grinder to clean up the edges and put a little red touch-up paint on the exposed metal. Now the seating position is much more comfortable. The BEST solution for this would be a bench seat which I understand is in the works.
The modifications to the rear seat base definitely come under the category of DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. If you aren’t an experienced metal worker, it would be far too easy to leave an exposed SHARP and DANGEROUS edge. I am making modifications to the Scout with a full understanding that the changes are to suit my tastes and I DO NOT suggest you do ANY modifications yourself. If removing the grab-bar turns out to be a benefit, I would expect that Fly will have a base plate for the rear seat made without the grab-bar welded on in the first place.
June 29th, 2010 – The first fuel economy test is completed. I like to do multiple tests under the same (or at least very similar) conditions – same rider, same routes, speeds, acceleration, etc. During engine break-in, with a 200+ pound rider, accelerating briskly, riding on roads at 45 MPH, I got 84 Miles-Per-Gallon. I consider 84 MPG to be pretty good. Yeah, I know, everyone says these are supposed to be 100MPG machines, and they probably are! That’s AFTER break-in, with an average-sized (120 – 160 pound or 8.5 stone to 11.5 stone for those of you reading from GB) rider running at speeds of 30 – 35 MPH and NOT taking off from each and every stop at near full throttle. More testing to come.
July 1st, 2010 – The second fuel economy test is completed. Still with a large rider (me) but riding at slower speeds I got 93 Miles-Per-Gallon. Had a carburetor issue on the ride home last night. The Scout would stall on deceleration. Easy to re-start, would not idle. I popped off the starboard upper white cowl access panel and turned the idle screw a bit clockwise. I suspect vibration, ever the bane of scooters, to be the culprit. While making this adjustment, I noticed that the lower cowl retaining screw was loose. Blue Loctite is your friend when it comes to scooter fasteners.
Just back from giving the Scout some time in the shop. The carburetor needed to be cleaned. The pilot jet was completely plugged (thanks to Marty at GoMoto for advise on what to check in what order). There was also a vacuum leak at the manifold from the fuel tank vent line (emissions line). I wish I could say that I figured this out all on my own, but it was really Marty.
July 3rd, 2010 – Jordana Whyte is currently riding the Fly Scout and will be writing a review. Jordana rides a Genuine Buddy St. Tropez and has been kind enough to help out rather a lot here at JustGottaScoot. She reviewed the GoGo Gear jacket and interviewed Arlene Battishill of GoGo Gear for our podcasts. I’m sure her perspective on the Scout will be very interesting.
July 15th, 2010 – The Scout review is completed.
August 5th, 2010 – Jordana finished up her review of the Scout and I finally picked it up (and dropped off a Kymco Like200 for her to review). Jordana had been having some starting and cold running issues with the Scout. It didn’t want to idle, but was fine when running at speed. I got the Scout home and, once again, did a partial carburetor cleaning. The idle jet was plugged. I realize now that I should have flushed the fuel system, installed a high-quality fuel filter and cleaned the carburetor all at the same time. I do have a very good in-line filter in place and hopefully (with this most recent carburetor cleaning) all the “gunk” is out of the fuel system now. It has been staring and running like a champ these past few days.
August 19th, 2010 – Rattle My Bones, the Twin Cities scooter rally, took place from August 19th to the 22nd and the Fly Scout made a few appearances. On Thursday evening, rally participants gathered at Yarusso’s in St. Paul for a scavenger hunt. As usual, the service at Yarusso’s was GREAT and we all had a wonderful time. They gladly turned their parking lot over to hoards of scooter riders. I had the Scout there and was glad to let people give it a test spin. The Scout performed flawlessly and several people took it around the block (usually around SEVERAL blocks). The responses were uniformly positive.
September 6th, 2010 – The Labour Day holiday weekend was pretty scooter-intensive for me including a trip to a friend’s wedding on my Kymco People 250. I hot a lot of “looks” as I removed my helmet, armoured jacket and gloves and put on a sport coat, combed my hair and headed into the church. I also put some more miles on the Scout around the neighborhood and was reminded what a fun ride this thing is.
My little jaunts this weekend were nothing when compared to Marty from Go Moto who made a 550 mile run on a Scout to the Antique Motorcycle Club of America’s Fall National Swap Meet in Davenport Iowa. CLICK HERE or on the image to the right to read about Marty’s Scout adventure.
October 20th, 2010 – Checkerboard at long last! It’s a sickness, I freely admit it. Every scooter/motorcycle I own has checkerboard on it someplace. It’s not just some twisted obsession (really) and has it’s roots in better visibility and hence safety. The Scout has completed it’s first season of being passed around to just about everybody and their brother. It’s been through media reviews, events, test ride events and the like and now I’m just enjoying it during the beautiful and all too brief Autumn riding season. The red checkerboard on the front legshield is made from a HIGHLY reflective material from 3M.
The Scout has about 600 miles on it now and has been functioning just fine. No carburetor issues for some time and I credit that to burning only non-oxygenated fuel in the Scout. Both front and rear brakes have needed adjustment (stretching cables, I am sure) and I have started working on a bench seat. I acquired a 1981 Honda Passport seat in excellent condition and will be fabricating a few pieces to install it on the Scout.
November 8th, 2010 – Even though Fly Scooters is shutting down their operations, interest in the Scout continues. I’d like to thank everyone who has emailed me about the Scout and let people know that several Fly dealers still have some in stock. The boys at Fly are working on getting parts out to dealers and as soon as there is further information about parts availability I will announce it here. Thanks to Marty “I-think-I-have-a-part-that-will-work” Mataya at Go Moto, The bench seat project is going forward on my Scout:
The seat is from a 1981 Honda Passport. The original hinge form the seat and the rear latching mechanism were removed. I got a spare seat hinge from Fly and modified it to fit the Honda seat. The mounting holes had to be ground outward a bit and different grommets (local hardware store) installed. The rear seat pad was removed as well as the rear luggage rack that the pad was attached to. Under that was a bracket that was mounted to the rear fender. This was removed and I modified a part form Go Moto (thanks again Marty) to fit on the existing mounting points. The bench seat makes a BIG difference in riding comfort for me as I can now sit in the correct position to operate the shifter comfortably.
April 25th, 2011 – The Scout is out of winter storage and I rode it to the office this morning. It actually came out of storage a few weeks ago and I have to say it was one of the easier vehicles to get going after surviving several months of nasty winter. I had been running non-oxygenated fuel in it (no ethanol) at the end of the season. I filled up the tank, stabilized the fuel, drained the carburetor, fogged the cylinder and pulled the battery. The battery was kept inside and put on battery tender for one week every month (four batteries for one tender, rotated each week). When it looked like spring was here (I was wrong, we still have snow in the forecast… in April?!?!?!) I turned the fuel to the carburetor back on, checked the spark plug, kicked the engine over several times, put the battery in and it fired right up. A quick check of tires, lights, brakes, and tightening of some fasteners and the Scout was ready for the road. It was cold this morning (36 degrees) but is supposed to be in the 60s this afternoon. The Scout needed some choke this morning and it was about four minutes before it would idle without the choke (cold-blooded beast) but was purring blissfully along once warmed up.