SCOOTERS: Genuine Stella 4T: 3,000mi. review

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Post by Hattheined84 »

Hey there, is it still fine? I wanted to buy the same model but i'm not sure if i will have enough money for maintenance.

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Re: SCOOTERS: Genuine Stella 4T: 3,000mi. review

Post by JohnKlein94 »

ericalm wrote:
> [img] ... 345b2b.jpg[/img]
> [size=84][i]Before the chrome kit was added. By my pal
> [url=]snapshot05[/url], on Flickr[/i][/size]
> [size=134][b]Intro[/b][/size]
> There have been few scooters to debut in the US carrying as much baggage as the
> Genuine Stella 4T (4-stroke). It comes preloaded with the stigma of being a 4T
> shifter and common perceptions of the Bajaj 4Ts as slow vehicles with a variety of
> quality issues. It's got a lineage that can be traced to Vespa but, as many people
> will complain, it's not a Vespa and it's built in India. As enthusiastic as some
> people are about the long-awaited arrival of a 50-state version of the Stella, others
> question whether there is a need or demand for such a thing. Others pre-judged the
> scooter long before even seeing it in person.
> On top of all that, delivery was delayed by a year due to the Stellas being singled
> out for additional inspections by Customs and the EPA (despite having already been
> approved for sale). During this time, there was all sorts of theorizing, rumor
> mongering and conjecture about Genuine and the state of the scooters. The conclusion?
> The EPA didn't like a ball of glue and the adhesive used for a label.
> [url=][img] ... c29c85.jpg[/img][/url]
> [size=84][i]By [url=]snapshot05[/url], on
> Flickr[/i][/size]
> At the center of all of this, the humble Stella 4T. Its roots are the Vespa P-series,
> the most utilitarian and (arguably) least graceful of the company's models. It's the
> workhorse of the stable. From the mid-'80s through the '90s,
> [url=]LML[/url], the company that builds the Stella,
> manufactured Vespa PXs and LML variants (the NV and Select models) under an agreement
> for Piaggio/Vespa. The two companies ended their relationship in 1999, but LML was
> allowed to continue building its own versions of the PX, which became the Star.
> Genuine Scooter Co. began selling a rebranded version of the Star as the Stella in
> the US in 2003.
> The Star/Stella 4T is the result of years of collaboration between Genuine and LML.
> The original Stella was never sold in California, the country's largest scooter
> market, due to state emissions standards. Similarly, emissions controls have been
> tightening in Europe and Asia, and the 2-stroke version eventually would have been
> regulated out of existence. The new 4T engine reduces emissions, but also alters
> performance and necessitated some design changes. It's a whole new Stella, but also
> sort of not.
> Comparisons to the Stella 2T are understandable. Comparisons to the Vespa PX,
> inevitable. But as much as it resembles these models, the Stella 4T deserves to be
> judged on its own before the comparisons come pouring in. I've got just over 3,000
> miles on my Stella 4T now, more than enough to give it a fair shake.
> [b]A few caveats and notes:[/b]
> Prior to the Stella 4T, my daily rider was a Vespa LX 150 with a lot of performance
> modifications including a 191cc kit, performance variator, sliders, exhaust. I also
> own a Buddy 125, have spent a good amount of time riding Buddy 150s and have test
> ridden many other scoots. I'm 5' 10" and around 230lbs.
> Full disclosure: I got the scoot through an arrangement with my dealer and Genuine.
> It was used as a demo model and I got it semi-used for less than MSRP, 250 miles on
> the odometer. It had a couple cosmetic "blemishes" from having been lightly
> dropped a couple times and had been sat on by a couple hundred people, all of whom
> made "vroom vroom" noises while cranking the shifter. Slightly used,
> whatever; I was happy to have it. I took possession when the original Stella 4T
> shipment arrived in the US. No one thought it would be a year (rather than weeks)
> before they arrived at dealers. Neither Genuine nor my dealer has asked me to review
> the scooter or in any way influenced this review. These are my honest, uninfluenced
> perceptions and opinions.
> [size=134][b]The Specs[/b][/size]
> Engine: 147.55cc 4-Stroke, Air Cooled
> Transmission: 4-speed manual with "twist grip" shifting
> Colors: Avocado, Creme, Slate Blue, White, Dijon Yellow, Red
> Suspension: Gabriel® performance shocks
> Tire Size: 3.5" x 10" Interchangable
> Braking: Front Grimeca Hydraulic Disc, 6" Rear Drum
> Top Speed: 60+ mph
> MPG: 140 (EPA city estimate)
> Warranty: 2-Year / Unlimited-mile
> M.S.R.P.: $3,599 (MSRP does not reflect destination or other dealer vehicle
> preparation charges.)
> You can see the other colors on Genuine's official
> [url=]Stella 4T page[/url].
> What's the difference between a four-stroke (4T) and a two-stroke (2T)? I try to
> explain it [url=topic17788.html]here[/url].
> [size=134][b]The Lowdown[/b][/size]
> For those looking to get the basic scoop on the Stella without my ruminations, here
> are answers to most common and probable questions. I'll go into some of it in more
> detail later.
> [img][/img]
> • For better or worse, it's very much [i]not[/i] a "modern scooter" that
> shifts. In terms of riding and operation, there are few differences from the Stella
> 2T or a Vespa P.
> • Yes, it's EPA rated at 140 MPG. I don't keep consistent track of my mileage but
> average around 100 MPG when I have. It's been a little higher in the summer, lower in
> winter. This may be due to warm up, revving the engine or California's different
> summer and winter fuel mixtures. Time will tell.
> • It tops out around 60mph. 55mph reliably, no problem. 65mph downhill. With
> everything stock, it won't go over 65mph. No, it's not good for freeway travel, even
> if legal in your state.
> • No major issues so far. When I took it, the clutch cables were stretched out and
> all out of adjustment from the aforementioned cranking of the shifter. I also needed
> the clutch worked on at about 1200 miles (IIRC); the plates were replaced. My
> technician has told me this was likely due to early riders abusing it, throttle abuse
> and so on. While I know the ins and outs of a CVT, I'm less familiar with the manual
> clutch and so can' provide much detail on this.
> • Biggest positives: Faster than I thought it'd be, especially after break in.
> Handles great; no pulling to the side, very well-balanced.
> • Biggest negatives: Didn't like stock whitewalls. They may work for some riders, but
> I swapped them for Michelin S1s after several months. Loud turn signal clicker. Evap
> system (more on this below).
> [size=134][b]On the Outside[/b][/size]
> [url=][img] ... e4e451.jpg[/img][/url]
> [size=84][i]With the chrome kit. By
> [url=]snapshot05[/url], on Flickr[/i][/size]
> In terms of its physical appearance, the Stella 4T is nearly identical to its 2T
> predecessor. The form is inherited from its classic Vespa P-series ancestor: squarish
> legshield and horncast, hefty cowls. The most easily-spotted differences from the
> earlier Stellas are the louvers in the right cowl and the star-shaped wheel hubs. The
> seat and rear cowls are a touch longer, but will still work with most accessories
> (with a little modification). I have the complete Vespa PX chrome kit on mine and all
> it required was a couple of notches under the upholstery of the seat's bottom. No one
> would notice with the seat closed.
> [img]files/img_0187a_312.jpg[/img]
> A harder to spot difference is the two-piece chassis. This is a big departure from
> the 2T, an accommodation for the new engine and providing access to it. You have to
> look pretty hard to notice that the "monocoque" frame is now a
> "duocoque" with a tubular frame at the rear. It's completely unnoticeable
> while riding.
> [img] ... emoval.jpg[/img]
> I haven't separated mine yet, but may in the next week or so. Pics will follow.
> Though the Stellas lack underseat storage, the glovebox is very roomy. I can fit as
> much stuff in there as in my LX's pet carrier.
> I would also like to recommend the app ... ell-phone/, which in a difficult moment helped to track my phone.
> Fit and finish on the Stella 4T are good; arguably better than the 2Ts but that may
> just be people expressing color preferences. In general, what you see will be on the
> same level as the Stella 2T. This isn't the super-slick ultimate luxury scooter
> though. It's more of a Jeep than a Cadillac; everything is designed for function.
> [size=134][b]Operation[/b][/size]
> [img][/img]
> [size=84][i]Kickstarts easily, first kick almost every time![/i][/size]
> The Stella 4T features both an electronic ignition and a kickstarter. It has a manual
> choke and a fuel petcock to turn the gas feed off, on or switch to the auxiliary
> tank. For those transitioning from an automatic scooter, the turn signals are on the
> right grip. (This takes some getting used to.) So, yeah, it works just like the 2T,
> right down to some of its idiosyncrasies. The fuel gauge is fairly inaccurate; I just
> haven't calculated how much yet.
> The Stella starts up pretty easily. It's warm-blooded though, and takes several
> minutes to warm up after a cold night. I never had any problems with this in the warm
> months, and think I may have just needed to adjust the idle a bit.
> [size=134][b]Shifting[/b][/size]
> I came to the Stella as a first time shifter rider. I'd ridden some MCs
> recreationally, and a Vespa small frame, once, over a decade ago. So as far as it
> goes, a total newbie. The info here is oriented to fellow new/never shifters but may
> be of use to others.
> Like most shifting scooters, the Stella has a clutch lever on the left and the left
> grip rotates to shift gears. The rear brake is engaged using a pedal on the
> floorboard. There's no tachometer; you know to shift by sound, feel, speed and
> instinct.
> My first impression getting on the Stella 4T: plenty of low-end torque. Enough to
> pull a really big wheelie my first time on it. Somehow, all my knowledge and
> experience from shifting cars went out the window in that moment, as in "don't
> hit the gas then just get off the clutch; ease into gear." Aside from that and
> some early bumps and issues, within weeks I was hauling around town like shifting was
> second nature. I still get stuck between gears on occasion and am always developing
> the finer skills of shifting. For the most part it's not as bad as many new riders
> seem to fear.
> Some riders say shifting provides more control than riding an automatic. I'm not sure
> I'd completely espouse that view, as there are subtleties to mastering throttle
> control on an auto. It does, however, provide another dimension to the human/machine
> interface, that bond between rider, scooter and the road. Both shifters and
> automatics have their benefits, but the Stella 4T has become my daily commuter (lots
> of shifting) while my Vespa is reserved for longer or faster rides. While I now
> appreciate how well CVTs are designed and work, there's a visceral thrill to
> shifting—running up the RPMs and banging into gear—that you don't get from an auto.
> A few downsides to shifting: It definitely takes more work to shift and requires a
> degree of attention not needed when riding an automatic. More than when driving a
> manual car, even, I'd say. On long rides with a lot of curves and hills (i.e.,
> constant shifting) it can wear you out a bit. Also, it's a bit more physically
> demanding and I had to switch from using a messenger bag to a backpack because I my
> back and shoulder were aching. I carry a heavy load, but it's fine with a backpack
> now. For those with carpal tunnel or chronic back issues, a shifter may not be the
> best way to go.
> [size=134][b]Performance[/b][/size]
> The first reaction many scooterists with any knowledge of past models will have to a
> 4T shifter: "It's going to be slow. Bajaj 4Ts were slow." Yeah, maybe, but
> that's kind of like saying "All cars with 4-cylinders are slow." Not all
> engines are created equal. I'd say the Stella 4T isn't slow; it's certainly faster
> than the Bajaj I've ridden alongside.
> Acceleration and speed is one of the areas where it makes sense to compare to others.
> Speed is relative.
> Off the line, it doesn't scream. It's closer to most stock 125s/150s than, say, a
> Buddy 125 which is very quick off the line. It's good enough for lane splitting and
> pulling away from traffic. I do find myself creeping into the crosswalk and getting
> ready to pull away when a light turns green more than on my other scoots. It
> accelerates nicely in 2nd and 3rd gears.
> According to this video from UK LML distributor Eddy Bullet, the 4T actually beats
> both catalysed (restricted) and derestricted, rejetted 2T Stars (Stellas) off the
> line. Hopefully, some shops in the US will try the same for comparison.
> <object width="480" height="390"><param
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> My top speeds are anywhere from just over 60mph on flats to 65mph downhill. Like a
> lot of shifters, acceleration degrades on steep hills. Depending on grade and length
> of the hill, I'll get down to 40mph-55mph. (These are speedometer-indicated, not
> GPS-verified speeds.)
> What is surprising is how well the Stella 4T fares compared to many of the vintage
> shifters that I've ridden alongside at group rides. The Stella ably keeps up with
> all, and is as fast as most with the exception of the 200cc Vespas. It's faster (in
> top speed and acceleration) than a friend's VB with a P200 engine. It flew by a
> fellow rider who just rebuilt a P150. He was slightly gobsmacked and jealous. All
> those vintage faithful prematurely complaining about the Stella 4T's performance may
> have some newfound respect for them once they ride next to one. Or they'll just hate
> it because it doesn't sound and smell like a 2T.
> A dealer who had a number of riders try the Stella 2T before test riding the 4T told
> me that many preferred riding the 4T by the end of the test.
> Once the engine's broken in, the performance only gets better. While there was
> little-to-no gain in top speed, the acceleration improved and the engine took on a
> slightly deeper rumble. It's still pretty dang quiet while idling—more than my other
> 4T scoots. When I first started riding, I had to tweak the throttle at lights
> occasionally to make sure it was still running.
> [b]Performance Parts[/b]
> There aren't a lot of performance parts available for the Stella 4T at this moment
> but it's only a matter of time before we start seeing more. Polini has a
> [url=topic17078.html]pipe and a 165cc cylinder
> kit[/url] coming out. A [url=topic15907.html]Pinasco
> pipe[/url] is currently available.
> [size=134][b]Handling, Braking[/b][/size]
> Overall, the Stella handles quite smoothly. It's agile in turns and curves. It feels
> light and nimble. It doesn't pull to either side. Compared to a Buddy, the Stella
> feels a bit more balanced, with a higher center of gravity. Riding it up in the
> twists and turns of the area hills and canyons provided me with a better
> understanding of why this form has endured for so long. It's not just aesthetics or
> nostalgia; it [i]works[/i].
> The lean angles aren't as good as on some modern scooters, particularly those with
> taller wheels. The Stella's somewhat more likely to scrape bottom on a very
> tight/fast curve but doesn't have a protruding center stand or exhaust like most
> modern scoots. In general, it's very capable, but required some adjustment in riding
> style.
> As mentioned above, I wasn't keen on the Sava whitewalls that came stock on my
> Stella. Even properly inflated, they felt a bit squishy, a little slippery. (Keep in
> mind, though, that I'm a very aggressive and demanding rider and I'm accustomed to
> the high-performance racing style tires on my Vespa LX.) For whitewalls, I think the
> Maxxis tires (stock on Buddy 150s) are somewhat better. I eventually swapped to
> Michelin S1 blackwalls before the Savas expired, partially just to gauge the
> difference. While not [i]dramatic[/i], I find them to be "stickier" and
> grip better than the Savas and perform much better on wet surfaces.
> The Stella's brakes aren't spectacular but they're adequate. As with most scooters,
> most stopping power is in the front brake and the front disc is comparable to stock
> discs on most other scoots. The rear drum brake is a bit softer. The pedal on the
> floorboard doesn't have the degree of control that a brake lever does. Hard stops are
> not as fast on the Stella as on most modern scoots. I've learned to give myself a bit
> more braking room and distance between myself and other vehicles.
> [color=#999999][size=134][b]The Dreaded Evap System[/b][/size]
> Like all scooters intended for sale in the state of California, the Stella has a
> mandated evap system, intended to reduce emissions by recovering and recycling
> vapors. This system is problematic for many scooters and motorcycles. When you buy a
> modern Vespa, the first piece of advice you often get is to disconnect the evap hose,
> as it causes rough idling, starting issues and stalling. So, Stella 4T buyers outside
> California, my first piece of advice is this: Disable the evap system. California's
> Byzantine mandates simply don't work with most scooter and gas tank designs. The
> effect on emissions will be negligible, especially on the already very clean Stella.
> For those of you in California, disabling the evap system is illegal. Although the
> odds of getting caught are almost nonexistent, it would be irresponsible of me to
> suggest you take this action to prevent (for example) gas splashing into the hose and
> causing a vacuum/vapor lock stall. [/color]
> UPDATE, 3/28/11: Happy to report that there are many Stella 4Ts on the road now and
> there have been no reports of evap system issues so far! So, for now, I say:
> [b][i]Don't mess with it.[/i][/b]
> [size=134][b]The Reliability Thing[/b][/size]
> I frequently read or hear people saying, "If you want a Stella, great, but it
> won't be as reliable as a modern auto." This is one of those oft-repeated lines
> that may have a smidgeon of truth, but is probably exaggerated. What is true is that
> the Stella 4T requires different maintenance and more frequent adjustments. The
> cables need tightening every couple thousand miles.
> [size=134][b]Buying Advice[/b][/size]
> [img] ... 82100.jpeg[/img]
> [size=84][i]With chrome and Prima roll bag[/i][/size]
> The Stella 4T should appeal to a diverse selection of buyers, but it's not the right
> scoot for everyone (no scooter is). These are just a few things to help guide you if
> you're considering buying one. That said, you could be on the "probably not for
> you" side of the criteria, get a Stella, and fall in love with it. There's no
> accounting for the [i]je ne sais quoi[/i] factor and sometimes a scooter can work its
> magic on you despite all reason.
> Many potential buyers may wonder if the Stella 4T will make a good first scooter.
> Their primary concern will likely be shifting. All I can say is this: For 50 years,
> the large majority of people who learned to ride scooters did so on shifters like the
> Stella. Take the MSF Basic Rider Course. Get a dealer or friend to teach you how to
> shift and give you a few lessons. Be patient and practice. Five decades of
> scooterists were no more predisposed to riding than you are.
> [b]The Stella [i]may[/i] be right for you if…[/b]
> • You want a vintage-style shifter with the support of a warranty and reliability of
> a new scooter
> • You [i]really[/i] dig the style
> • You're looking for a unique or different riding experience from automatic scooters
> or other PTWs
> • You're looking for a high-MPG, low emissions vehicle
> [b]The Stella [i]may not[/i] be right for you if…[/b]
> • You need a freeway-capable scooter or something that will go over 60mph
> • You're not physically up to the task of shifting
> • What you really want is a modern scooter with all its accoutrements, but you want
> one that shifts
> [img][/img]

Very cool looking, just a dream. I give kudos to the designers of this model, how many years old, and it looks current and chic..
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