There's 50,000,000 Chinese scooters somewhere in the world today, some are still plodding on, others are sitting broken down, some are smashed to bits, and some are riding right and doing their job.
Up until 2008 the materials and workmanship caused many problems and helped perpetuate the myths and misconceptions associated with China scoots in general, but this was not the only issue.
Americans demanded high quality and low maintenance for a modest investment, and the customer base was unskilled and disinterested in developing a support strategy to keep the failures minimal and the reliability continual.
So a few hobbyists applied their talents learned on other machines and soon found the GY6 engine, which was invented by the Kwang Yang Motor Company for Honda, was a study in efficiency and simplicity, and could be supported anywhere in the world by relatively unskilled mechanics.
In 2008 the gas prices spurred interest in cheap scooters so the Chinese factories went into overtime, and boatloads of shipping containers full of new scooters arrived only to be met with scorn and derision due to the 2002-2007 era, before the engineers had fine tuned the manufacturing process to make better scooters cheaper and faster.
The Chinese build fighter jets and satellites and submarines and entire cities, you think they're still cobbling together junk to try to compete in the marketplace? No, they're trying to take over the marketplace, and you can't do that with junk.
From 2008-2012, the fitment was still lacking, and parts supply was still erratic, but the product improvement was dramatic, and the engines and performance were not in the same class at all as the older models. Custom and special parts became a new facet of the supply line, but there still lingers a stigma of unreliability that is only explained on the end user side.
When you buy a Chinese scoot, it is yours alone, and you are responsible for performance and maintenance, so you must be familiar and adept at diagnosis and repair, and if you don't know, no one is willing to do it for you.
By this date, the China scoot forums have a data base that covers all aspects of techniques and procedure, but it is voluminous and must be studied in its entirety to have a working knowledge of the GY6.
People go to college for years and research inconsequentia ad infinitum, but they are unwilling to take personal responsibility for a vehicle they depend on, and then are crestfallen when mechanics who work on expensive, complicated machines decline to accept such a simple repair as whatever may be wrong with the China scoot.
They are easy to work on, parts are cheap and plentiful, if you can't find a part, just buy another scooter, and you'll have all the parts.
I have been flogging and bashing Chinese scooters for 5 years, expecting them to be disposable, or at the very least replacable, and I can't get rid of them. The just keep choogling on.
It starts to rattle, makes a funny sound, something fell off, you fix it, tape it, glue it, weld it with zip ties, put a new carb, variator, belt, shock, and the damn thing won't die.
WHY WON'T YOU DIE, DAMN YOU I HATE YOUR CHINESE ASS!
Not really, I'm sorry, come here my little China doll, aw, you're so sweet, who loves ya, baby? That's right, your Big Daddy, come on let's change your oil, I got some fresh 20w50 and a couple shots of GTX synthetic, and then I'll rub you down with some nice Armorall, would you like that?
I love you, my China Doll.