2005 Honda Metropolitan

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2005 Honda Metropolitan

Postby mouka on Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:45 pm

Howdy all?

I found a nice 2005 Honda Metropolitan that an old gentleman is selling. It only has 1390 miles on the clock. It is in very nice condition. It was used mainly to putt putt around town by the gentleman's wife. The only issue is that the owner is saying it has an extremely tiny leak. He took it to the dealer last spring for oil change and asked them to look into this matter. The dealer mechanic completely forgot about it and when he went to pick it up and asked about the leak, the mechanic told him it was a seal that went bad. I don't have any reasons to doubt this gentleman as he looked as nice and trustworthy as anybody could. He said that the leak is so tiny he never had to add any oil in 3 years.
He is asking for $600 for his scooter. I am not a scooter guy at all although I enjoy the fact that these small bikes are twist and go. It is for my daughter to learn how to ride and eventually she will be moved to a semi-automatic 3-speed vintage Yamaha I own. From there she probably will move to a full manual bike and she will be on her own.
I myself have never owned a small scooter. The only scooter I have ever owned was a Honda Silver Wing 600 scooter. It was a very powerful scooter that can hold its own against larger bikes. I owned it for a couple of years and eventually sold it.
What should I be on the lookout for this scooter?
This Honda Metropolitan is the unrestricted version because the owner told me he easily gets it over 35 mph. It also is not branded as Metropolitan II. It is simply branded as Metropolitan.
However I have also read that the crankshaft bearing tends to go bad on these scooters around 6000 miles. It is a bit far off in the future and I don't think my daughter will keep it for that long. Should I worry about this issue?
I am going to see the guy tomorrow afternoon and wanted to have some input on this purchase.

Thanks!
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Re: 2005 Honda Metropolitan

Postby GizmoGal on Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:39 pm

I owned a 2005 Met I scooter of the type you are describing. After 8000+ miles it was still going fine when I traded it in in 2011. The crankshaft failures were stories of some merit, but not absolute failures promising to happen. Some of the bikes of that vintage had that problem. If it was all that common, there would be stories about it all over this forum from back then. There aren't. It was an isolated few scooters. And If you're not keeping the bike for all that many miles, why worry or care?

Your bigger concern for a bike that has original equipment 11 years later is much more likely the tires, which by now will be dried out and looking cracked along the bead. I would suspect your purchase will be needing new tires sooner than you think unless they've been replaced recently. It isn't the mileage, it's the age. And I'd be asking a few questions about when was the last time the coolant was changed and if the battery is new? Everything is 11 years old unless the owner can show it was upgraded more recently.

Yes the price of $600 for this old scooter with few miles is a good enough price, but I think you'll be putting more money into it a lot sooner than you want to unless you look carefully and get satisfactory answers. As for the oil leak that "never needs oil added", how is the leak manifested? If it leaks, it needs replenishment. If it leaks, you get friction and heat and that means wear and tear. So how is there a leak, but it has no consequence?

Either spend more for a better bike of a more recent year, 2006-2009 were excellent Met years with fast unrestricted bikes, or make sure you won't be adding money to the purchase while your daughter learns to ride on something with possible defects. The crankshaft failure is potential nonsense. If needing tires, a battery and a coolant flush and replacement are not considerations because the service records can show these are covered recently, then buy the bike. If any of that is going to be your next expense, go shopping elsewhere. It's not what it costs, it's what it's worth.

Buying an 11 year old scooter with a known oil leak, plausible anticipated further expenses and low mileage showing irregular use is no bargain, even at $600. And you'd better make sure it actually reaches 35 mph by road testing it. "Looking trustworthy" is not the best way to judge a nice old gent selling an old bike you're already leery of. It's the bike you have to trust, not the seller''s looks or words. Will you think he's still a nice guy when the tires go flat and the battery dies a month after you buy it? Your $600 is better spent elsewhere unless this bike has been well maintained and can be proven so. You asked for opinions, so I give mine.
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Re: 2005 Honda Metropolitan

Postby mouka on Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:06 am

I did end up buying the 2005 Met scooter. The tires had less than 200 miles on them. The oil leak was nothing but a bit of oil underneath the engine. My guess is that a seal or gasket is not as good as it is supposed to. Oil does not actually leak. There is a bit of oil under the engine but nothing that I would qualify as a "leak".
The owner kept records of the maintenance done to this scooter by a local motorcycle dealer. It shows oil change several times and each tie it was much less than 500 miles. I think oil was changed 6 times over an 11 years period. That is a lot of oil changes for very little usage.
I took the scooter for a spin around the block and it pushed my 230 lbs heavy butt to over 35 mph. So this is a Met and not Met 2 scooter.
The paint job is checkered and is pretty sweet. My daughter loves the retro look but she is disappointed she cannot have her friends ride with her. I told her once she is a seasoned rider she can move to a larger scooter and have plenty of power to carry 2 up.
Thanks for the input. It was highly appreciated.
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Re: 2005 Honda Metropolitan

Postby GizmoGal on Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:21 am

Best of luck with the new bike. I have no further caveats since you already bought it.

Make sure your daughter has a properly fitted DOT helmet and understands that wearing it while riding is not an option. She needs a lot of riding experience to be good enough to take on a passenger and manage anything with two wheels and two people. So it's good that the Met will not be suitable for that. I hope she enjoys learning and will exhibit the maturity and patience to ride safely. I'm sure we'd all agree how much damn fun it is. :D
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Re: 2005 Honda Metropolitan

Postby mouka on Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:04 pm

My 2 daughters took turns riding this sweet scooter and they love it. The only issue I have with it is that the seat does not lock up properly. I have verified that the locking system works, it simply does not want to lock the seat no matter what I have tried.
I will look into this matter fairly soon and see what's going on.
A funny anecdote: When I went to pick up the scooter, I took it for a quick. I was in the middle of corn fields and there was a restaurant in the middle of nowhere where a couple of Harley bikers pulled up the exact moment I was entering the parking lot to make a U turn. I waved to them and one of them jokingly said "Your ride is a BEAST!". They went inside laughing and I enjoyed the joke too.
Big bike riders are always making fun of scooter riders for some unknown reason. I guess they don't consider scooters to be legitimate motorcycles. I would tend to disagree as I really enjoyed this little scooter that is slow but is a blast to ride.
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Re: 2005 Honda Metropolitan

Postby mouka on Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:38 pm

I figured out the issue of the seat not locking. It was a loose tab that needed a bit of tightening. However since it is fastened with rivets, the best I was able to do was use a couple of metal wires to keep it in place. Now I can lock the seat.
My daughters are absolutely delighted and they are having a blast taking turns to ride this nice scooter. I personally did not know one could have so much fun riding at 30 mph around our neighborhood.
I will definitely start looking for slightly bigger scooters to use when I go grocery shopping. These buggers are an absolute blast to ride and they are so easy. Just twist the throttle and go.
I did an oil change today and will change the coolant very soon. I don't think I will sell this scooter any time soon.
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