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Save money, scoot better..?

September 28, 2018
Walmart's Coleman 50cc

Walmart now sells this scooter, under the Coleman brand (Photo: Walmart)

Longtime readers of this here blog might remember that I posited a scenario in which Walmart might sell scooters. And no, I don’t mean personal assisted mobility devices.

Well, darn if they haven’t gone and done it.

Point your browser at Walmart’s website, type “Coleman 50cc scooter” in the search box, and here’s what pops up.

As you can see, it’s a 50cc Yamaha Vino clone. Yours for $799 U.S., plus $49.97 shipping (Rollback!). No, you can’t pick it up at your local SuperCenter, it will arrive on your doorstep via LTL carrier.

The part number reveals that it is manufactured by a division of Zhejiang Geely, the company that, among other things, owns Volvo Cars and Lotus (you knew that, right?). They’ve made scooters and motorcycles for a long time, and have a reputation for quality above the average Chinese standard (though it must be kept in mind that contract manufacturers build bikes to the standard specified by their customers… a container full at $300 per is not going to result in an heirloom).

This actually isn’t the first time a major U.S. retailer has offered a scooter. Of course there was Sears, but when I was scooter shopping in 2003 Costco had a 50cc T’n’G something-or-other, for $699. Still in the crate, you had to take it home and set it up.

That will probably also be the case with this one. Hey, Walmart sells lawnmowers, and you have to set those up yourself. The Walmart scoot most likely comes with a badly-translated setup and operator’s guide.

I do find it interesting that Walmart classifies the scoot (which they didn’t call the Walmart Wasp… I’m slightly hurt) as a Toy. In fact, you will also notice they sell a bunch of other bikes and even a quad under the Coleman name.

Coleman? As in coolers, camp stoves, and other outdoor gear? Yes.

Since a big chunk of 50cc scooter sales are to folks who want something to carry in their RVs (y’know, for the runs to the convenience store at the KOA), applying the Coleman brand is a reasonable move.

There are those who will say this it yet another example of the evil behemoth that is Walmart crushing the small local retailer.

Scooter stores have been dropping like flies for a few years now. Where I now live, aside from a few places that are really more interested in motorcycles, the closest scooter dealers are in Phoenix. Back in Seattle, Scoot About closed for good in August, citing the prohibitive cost of doing business, among other things. Vespa Seattle went earlier, and Moto International just closed within the last few days.

In the latter case, when I was shopping for my first scooter, they blew me off. I went on subsequent occasions to buy parts or accessories, and there was literally no one home. Either the doors were open but no humans were present, or the doors were locked during what they said were their business hours.

Over the years, I’ve received many emails from readers telling similar stories. There are some U.S. dealers that offer absolutely stellar customer service and support: Moto Richmond, Vespa Motorsport, and Vespa Portland come to mind for me. (None of them paid me to say this; if you have a great local dealer, please feel free to give a shout-out in the comments). Unfortunately, they are the exception rather than the rule.

So many scooter stores shoot themselves in both feet, regularly and often, they don’t need any help from Walmart putting themselves out of business.

The details

MSRP: $799, plus 49.97 shipping
Built in: China
Construction: Tubular steel frame with attached plastic body panels
Dry weight:  165.3 lbs (75 kg)
Length: 63.6 in (1615 mm)
Width: 24.8 in (630 mm)
Wheelbase: 45.7 in (1160 mm)
Seat height: N/A
Front susp: Single trailing link with coil spring and telescopic damper
Rear susp: Swingarm w/coil spring & telescopic damper
Front brake: Single hydraulic disc
Rear brake: Single hydraulic disc
Front tire: 3.00-10
Rear tire: 3.00-10
Engine: 50cc air-cooled 4-stroke
Transmission:  CVT with centrifugal dry clutch
Power/torque: N/A
  1. V Campisi permalink
    September 29, 2018 2:00 am

    Is that a typo or does this Geely really have discs on both wheels? I don’t know another 50cc that does except maybe some really expensive Piaggio products.

  2. Peter Saunders permalink
    September 29, 2018 10:19 am

    Add Scooterville in Minneapolis to your list of stellar scooter dealers.

  3. September 29, 2018 10:45 am

    V Campisi, that’s what the specs on Geely’s website say. Since the scoots are not stocked at stores (and my inquiry to Bentonville for details went unanswered), I will have to take their word for it. Unfortunately, there’s no way to contact the reviewer on the Walmart page who bought two and is looking to buy a third…

  4. Tyler permalink
    September 30, 2018 12:41 am

    Add Fusion Cycles out if Virginia Beach, VA to your list of stellar scooter shops. They started in 2013 and have only grown exponentially in the past 4 years.

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