Author Topic: Got myself an India made Scooter - Stella  (Read 246 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

axman88

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,093
  • Karma: 1
  • Vintage Motorcycle Fan
on: September 13, 2021, 06:03:12 pm
Several friends just say "WHY?", but I'd been wanting a scooter since tagging along on a group scooter ride about a year ago.

The Genuine Stella 4T ticked all the boxes, classic looks, 4 stroke engine so I don't have to subject myself and others to the nauseating fumes, and most parts interchange with certain vintage Vespa's, as well as having "cheap from India" aftermarket sources.  It's also a manual shift, making the most of the limited 150cc power.  The Stellas were made by Lohia Machine Limited, who started as a licensed builder of Vespa PX scooters for the India market.  When that relationship ended, LML continued to build scooters, some of which were imported by the Genuine Scooter Company, right here in Chicago, IL. 

With the pandemic demand and pricing, it took a while for me to find a candidate that I felt was a good value, but a blue, 2011 Stella 4T showed up on Offer Up a few weeks ago just over the border in Wisconsin, and I bought it.  The Stella makes a decent commuter vehicle, very nimble, small, light and narrow, perfect for wending through congestion or parking in tiny spaces.  It can keep up with traffic, however, it lacks the acceleration to leave the pack behind at green lights.

Here's the stats and more info:  https://www.motorscooterguide.net/genuine-stella/


cyrusb

  • Kept man
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,362
  • Karma: 2
  • Theres a last time for everything
Reply #1 on: September 13, 2021, 09:44:59 pm
Outstanding! I had a P125x in 1977 and put 15000 miles on it in 4 years. It was part of a stable of 5 bikes but me and the bride loved it for local runs. That spare tire is a huge asset. I have noticed the newer Vespas do not have them. Enjoy! I envy you.
2005E Fixed and or Replaced: ignition, fenders,chainguard,wires,carb,headlight,seat,tailight,sprockets,chain,shocks,fork springs, exhaust system, horn,shifter,clutch arm, trafficators,crankcase vent.


Richard230

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,409
  • Karma: 0
Reply #2 on: September 13, 2021, 10:11:29 pm
Looks nice to me. I bet it runs better than the 1962 Vespa 125 that I started my riding career on.  Pop, pop, pop, went the engine, boing, boing, boing went the suspension.  ::)
2011 Royal Enfield B5 500, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM Duke 390, 2002 Yamaha FZ1


AzCal Retred

  • Chennai Wrencher
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,638
  • Karma: 0
  • Laissez le bon temps rouler! Fresno, CA
Reply #3 on: September 14, 2021, 12:35:17 am
Well done. A practical vehicle that's hard to beat. I always thought the interchangeable wheel gambit was brilliant for basic transportation. The 4-cycle engine removes the minor hassle of a separate 2-stroke oil tank like our 1970's era Vespa's had.
A trifecta of Bullets: a Red Deluxe 500, a Green Standard 500, and a Black ES 350.


StefArmstg

  • Scooter
  • **
  • Posts: 68
  • Karma: 0
Reply #4 on: September 14, 2021, 01:45:08 pm
Very nice.  Love the classic scooters.  There was a dealer in town.  It's still here but they told me the company's out of business.  And the guy I spoke to seemed to suggest the 4 stroke machines sank the business.  I hope he's wrong about that, and yours gives good service.

I've had about half dozen 2 strokes,  including a couple Puch scooters.  Also had a couple RDs that I club raced in the day.  Very fast. But unlovable.  A 4 stroke Vespa seems ideal.
Favorites:
HD DuoGlide,  Norton Commando,
Yam SR500, Cagiva Elefant,
HD Sportster, RE Bullet


Karl Childers

  • Ghost in the machine.
  • Bulleteer
  • ***
  • Posts: 182
  • Karma: 1
Reply #5 on: September 14, 2021, 02:31:18 pm
Scooters have always been on the periphery for me, occasionally someone I know will own one for awhile or like the other day I saw two guys out road tripping on a pair, they seemed to be all grins so they were having a good time of it. My one and only experience was renting one in Mexico for a day, the wife and I buzzed around San Marcos on a two smoker. I don't see myself owning one but more power to those who enjoy the niche.
New Mexico, not really new, not really Mexico


axman88

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,093
  • Karma: 1
  • Vintage Motorcycle Fan
Reply #6 on: September 14, 2021, 04:07:11 pm
Thanks for your well wishes guys.

LML ran into financial problems and went out of business, but the importer, Genuine Scooters is still selling scooters, which have largely all gone 4 stroke in the USA, from what I understand.  There is some discussion of mechanical issues with the LML 4 strokes on a forum, I think it is the rod bearing that fails, but the incidence of disasters seemed low enough that I'm willing to play.  Mine is an early production model so will be a candidate, but came with just 4000 miles and apparently somebody dropped the blue Stella at some point, so there is a modest amount of right side cowl paint damage, and the price was reasonable.

I don't mind 2 strokes while open road motoring, but commuting here, I spend too much time stationary at traffic lights, smelling my own fumes, to want to risk the nausea I've experienced while using chain saws and weed whackers.

The spare tire is a real treasure.  A good spare, already aired up, takes a lot of the worry out of traveling.  And the split rims make tire changing very easy too.  The bike had the original SAVA whitewall tires, made in Slovenia mounted as purchased, already well worn at 4000 and with evidence of one rotation.  A poster on the scooter forum disparaged these tires pretty savagely, but left me with a funny quip I've added to my repertoire.  You can substitute any names and the joke still works, as follows. 

In tire quality, I rank them as:    1)   Michelin
                                                2)   Pirelli
                                                3)   Riding bare rims
                                                4)   Sava

Including the spare in the rotation, is recommended, and by doing so one can extract the last bit of service out of a front that has worn peculiarly.  I've heard that tires tend to wear more on one side because the weight of the engine on the right side tends to make the rider lean left at the balance point.

The front shield full floor boards and large rear rack, ( scooter guys call it a "barbeque grill") make the bike pretty practical.  It's my new go-to for days that threaten rain, and is by far the most practical grocery getter in my small stable.

The innards are quite a mystery and I've a lot to learn.  There is a battery and electric starter , but the headlight is pure AC, and oddly, the horn, although DC, seems to have it's own dedicated rectifier, and perhaps relay, not sure why they did that and it's not on the schematic.

I want to add a modest amount of auxiliary lighting, so trying to figure out which way to go.  I can't imagine how the Quadrophenia style riders powered the forest of lights fitted to their Mod machines, the generator doesn't have much capacity.  The existing turn signals have single contact 7507 bulb sockets, with the 150 degree splayed bayonets (BAU15s socket).  One owner said they modified the turn signal system to stay on all the time, then blink when turning.   I was looking over our local regulations, and they don't allow for amber rear running lights, and limit indicator power to 25 Candles, so there's that to consider.  Clear, smoked and amber lenses are all available, but I haven't found red.  I have clear lenses now.


Stanley

  • Grease Monkey
  • ****
  • Posts: 394
  • Karma: 0
Reply #7 on: September 14, 2021, 05:30:53 pm
Welcome to the dark side. ;)
I love the classic Stella and that one is my fave color. I tried one on but my legs need more room, or else I'd be on Indian iron again.
After selling my Bullet for medical reasons, I later found a helpful medication for my hypotension. That brought back the itch to ride, so I let local YT star "Robot" indoctrinate me until I bought a 2005 Vespa ET4 150. A nice lady in the neighborhood had taken good care of it and even took a personal check! I added City Grip tires and a brake refresh. It's great to have a top box for the helmet and the under seat storage. It took a while to adapt from right side shift to no side shift. The CVT is a first for me and I love it. I miss the Bullet, but not the rare wet-sump cloud. ::)



"It's a scooter thing, you Harley guys don't understand."
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 05:44:30 pm by Stanley »
Lurker on a Vespa


AzCal Retred

  • Chennai Wrencher
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,638
  • Karma: 0
  • Laissez le bon temps rouler! Fresno, CA
Reply #8 on: September 14, 2021, 05:45:19 pm
The DC horn is a cheap & standardized component, likely just easier to add a rectifier (also cheap). The relay lets them keep the control circuit all DC.

Does the Stella use shift cables back to a quadrant on the engine? Keep these lubed up, they're a bear to change out, the sheet metal rather eats your hands when installing new ones. Same goes for the throttle cable.

The short wheelbase keeps these nimble but they feel "busy" at speed. The small diameter wheels tend to fall into potholes. Whilst riding from Tucson to Phoenix in the "wayback" on a borrowed Vespa 90 I hit a pothole at a blistering 45 MPH. The front end shook quite a bit but the whole machine just continued on in a straight line, a credit to Vespa's engineers. We even has a brave soul with a sidecar on his P200E that he rode everyday. I saw him cruising on the freeway at near 70 MPH one time, but he never had anything other than normal maintenance in the 5 years or so I worked at that shop.

The "flat" powerband was a new experience for me. The Bullet in some ways is reminiscent of that power delivery, especially the 350. No big power peak, just a steady pull. Likely a hold over from the pragmatic 1940's when they were expected to work as reliable transportation, not entertainment.
A trifecta of Bullets: a Red Deluxe 500, a Green Standard 500, and a Black ES 350.


REpozer

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,291
  • Karma: 0
  • Royal Enfield Let the good times roll.
Reply #9 on: September 14, 2021, 09:51:22 pm
Love it!
2008 AVL Classic Bullet in British Racing Green
REA # 84 ( the first time)


axman88

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,093
  • Karma: 1
  • Vintage Motorcycle Fan
Reply #10 on: September 15, 2021, 03:18:32 am
Welcome to the dark side. ;)
I love the classic Stella and that one is my fave color. I tried one on but my legs need more room, or else I'd be on Indian iron again.
After selling my Bullet for medical reasons, I later found a helpful medication for my hypotension. That brought back the itch to ride, so I let local YT star "Robot" indoctrinate me until I bought a 2005 Vespa ET4 150. A nice lady in the neighborhood had taken good care of it and even took a personal check! I added City Grip tires and a brake refresh. It's great to have a top box for the helmet and the under seat storage. It took a while to adapt from right side shift to no side shift. The CVT is a first for me and I love it. I miss the Bullet, but not the rare wet-sump cloud. ::)



"It's a scooter thing, you Harley guys don't understand."

Nice looking scooter, thanks for sharing.  The shield and cowl guards look great.   I like the pod box, but I don't need a helmet enclosure.  My helmet is cosmetically challenged, and I don't bother to brush off the grey hairs, which is adequate protection.  I don't even lock it to the bike.  Helmets aren't required in IL, so worst case, I ride with eye protection only, which is required.

I think the CVT would have made more sense for the city, gears are short and there's a lot of clunky shifting in my stop and go.  First is particularly high ratio, and the engine has enough torque to start in 2nd, if I baby it.  I didn't realize until after I owned it, the construction is all gears, from crank to wheel shaft.  At least that's my understanding.  Much to learn.

My Harley buddy, who refuses to even sit on either of my Honda's smiled on the Stella, and even expressed approval when he saw the spare.   I don't think he knew that the Topper ever even existed. 
https://www.bike-urious.com/hds-only-scooter-1961-harley-davidson-topper/ 
 
Does the Stella use shift cables back to a quadrant on the engine? Keep these lubed up, they're a bear to change out, the sheet metal rather eats your hands when installing new ones. Same goes for the throttle cable.

The short wheelbase keeps these nimble but they feel "busy" at speed.
I don't know how the gear shift works, to be honest, I haven't been in further than the cowls and horn cover off.  Just an oil change, tires changed, battery charge and very basic checks like brake fluid and electrical system.  A new front brake switch is on its way from India, and the electric start needs some fixing.  I like kicking them anyways, hardly miss electric, except when it dies entering the intersection.

I'd read that the cables are best managed by using the old ones to guide the new ones on.  I used to do some electrician work on the side, so I've got some technique and some technology available, but appreciate the tips.

The service manual I found on the internet is pretty marginal.  You think that the Haynes P/PX manual would be worth the $30?   https://www.scooterworks.com/Haynes-Manual-for-P-Series-Vespas-P6778.aspx   I read that the engines are fairly different, but have no idea.

I might just have to learn by poking around in there.

One thing that is kinda fun, getting change back from my $5 bill.  The manual says I have 4.5 liters before I hit the reserve, but I only managed to squeeze in $3 today, (at $3.50 a gallon), after the hot engine died on me halfway to work.  (Idling at the stoplight, of course)  I wonder if there's an issue with the main tank pickup screen or something.


AzCal Retred

  • Chennai Wrencher
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,638
  • Karma: 0
  • Laissez le bon temps rouler! Fresno, CA
Reply #11 on: September 15, 2021, 04:57:58 am
Here's owners manual &  service manual PDFs, but you probably have these already. Wiring Diagram seems helpful. The service manual was OK, I thought.

http://iheartstella.com/resources/manuals/2010-stella-4t-owners-manual.pdf

http://iheartstella.com/resources/manuals/stella-4t-service-station-manual.pdf
« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 05:06:03 am by AzCal Retred »
A trifecta of Bullets: a Red Deluxe 500, a Green Standard 500, and a Black ES 350.


GlennF

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,563
  • Karma: 0
Reply #12 on: September 15, 2021, 05:40:45 am
Little known fact - Indian Motorcycles brought out a Scooter version of the 50cc Papoose back in the day ....