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SCOOTERS: Genuine Buddy Blackjack

 
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pyrocpu
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Joined: 16 Jun 2009
Posts: 194
Location: Nashville, TN
Blackjack!

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:08 pm    Post subject: SCOOTERS: Genuine Buddy Blackjack Reply with quote

A bit pricey, but what a fun ride!

Having ridden the Blackjack for a week now, and with ~250mi on the clock, I figured I'd chime in with my take on this flat black scoot.

I started looking about 3mo ago. I had a used 2006 Honda Metropolitan; had fun on it. Needed a lot more power, but the size was about right.

I considered a used 2004 Vespa Granturismo 200 that was for sale here locally, for about $3k; similar price to the Blackjack. My thoughts & deliberations finally led me to a Blackjack. http://www.modernbuddy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12367&highlight=gt200

Let's start with a list of Pros vs. Cons for the Blackjack...

PROS
* Looks great!
* Prima pipe sounds great! People seem to be surprised a scooter's making these noises... Laughing
* Tossable, easy to handle/maneuver
* Headlamp performance is good, though I had to adjust it up a little as it was pointing towards the ground when I got it
* ~75mpg on the first 3 tanks so far
* Center & side stands super easy to use
* Cancel button on the turn signal's great!
* Horn is as loud as people make it out to be. Still, I haven't had to use it yet, primarily due to the aforementioned Prima pipe!
* Peppy. On this one steep hill nearby, I'd top out at maybe 22mph indicated on the 50cc Honda. The Buddy showed 40bmph and was still accelerating when I ran out of road! At stoplights too, I'll almost always pull away from other cars.

CONS
* A bit more uncomfortable than I thought. Rides a bit rough. More on this later.
* Prima pipe, while sounding good, requires earplugs for trips more than 10 minutes max. It's seriously loud.
* Rear brake is f'n horrible. I get that it's cable-actuated; it was the same on the Metropolitan. But it's so mushy feeling and does nearly nothing to slow the scoot down. Yes, it's there, and you can check off the checklist as having a rear brake, but Fred & Barney Flintstone could do better.
* Buzzy. The bars buzz & vibrate quite a bit, especially at idle.
* Centerstand: I can't lean this thing on lefts. Centerstand scrapes wayyyy too easily.
* Wheels aren't balanced; there aren't any weights on them. Anytime I'm over 50+ bmph, you feel a slight wobble (though the noise it makes seems more alarming than it really is).
* Resonant sounds from the drivetrain between 42bmph & 47bmph. It's an oscillating sound, about maybe 3Hz (3x a second, not the sound frequency!). This sound I hear also resonates throughout the bike: butt, feet, hands all feel it. It's like a shudder, but not coming from the wheels. I think

NEITHER PROS NOR CONS. JUST COMMENTS, REALLY
* Front brake: OK, it looks super nice. True. I had wanted to get accustomed to the Buddy, in case of an emergency. So I found a traffic-free stretch of road, took Buddy up to 45-50bmph, and laid on the front brakes. OK, wobbles and tramlines a bit under hard braking, got it. On the third time, the right brake lever hit the right handgrip. Max braking was still there, barely, but all of a sudden, the front brake lever's all mushy now. Maybe the system wasn't purged of air; I'm willing to give it a flush to see, but the brake's friction point is seriously 1 full inch from where it was. There's a lot more play in the lever when braking action starts too. Not good. Although the calipers are the same as on a 125 or International 150, I figured the NCY brake disc would dissipate heat better than this. I'm quite disappointed, but as I said, hopefully this issue will be covered by warranty. Panic-stop braking (done similarly to the MSF course, plus 10mph), soft brake lever notwithstanding, is pretty good though.

* NCY adjustable shock: this took me up until mile 210 to get all dialled in. That's the main reason why I didn't want to write this review any earlier. The first few rides, I unloaded the shock nearly all the way, and stuck it on Soft/Slow. The ride was jarring. The only theory I have on this now is that the spring was so loose, it was rattling around; the damper didn't even have a chance to work. Then I cranked the shock down to slightly below halfway, and left it on soft damping. Still jarring, but in a different, indescribable way. Took spring perch to slightly above halfway on the threaded body, turned to full stiff. MUCH better! Good on smooth roads; bumpy ones were still a bit jarring. Backed off 10 clicks from firm (so about halfway), and it's about perfection right now. I might still administer minor changes, but won't vary too much from this now

* Speedometer: Illumination doesn't light past 60 mph on the speedo. Of course, you can only see this at night and perhaps one shouldn't go much more than 60bmph at night??

* Kickstart: Haven't mastered it yet. Relatively easy on the Metropolitan; not so this one.

Other observations
* Genuine seriously needs to pay a bit more attention to presenting a better brand. The two glaring parts are the keys to the scooter are still molded with "PGO" on them, and the Owner's manual is a joke. There's not much in the way of owner maintenance, as with a Honda scooter manual. Even the MSO has "PGO" all over it! What's the displacement? Marketed as a 150cc; manual says 148cc; emissions label says 149cc. C'mon! Additionally, with Genuine clearly doing business in the USA, convert the dang maintenance intervals to SAE standard units!

* Maintenance intervals: Which brings me to my second observation... Seriously, an oil change every 1000km (~620mi)? Apart from the initial oil change, Vespa requires one only every 2000mi or so. I might have been paying more per visit for servicing a Vespa, but at this rate, I'm hitting up my Genuine dealer over THREE TIMES as frequently! This is blatantly unacceptable. Maybe in other regions where PGO products find themselves in more inhospitable environments, I could understand that, but here in the US, I'd like to see at least 2000mi between oil change intervals.

* Insurance: YMMV of course; I'm at about $250/yr for everything, including comprehensive. Seems a little pricey to me.

* Saddle: The Blackjack's seat looks nice, but I'd like to move my arse a bit more rearward when I do my ninja tucks. I might have to buy a standard Buddy seat in black to do this. The saddle itself is quite cushy though! Smile

* Front NCY shocks: not adjustable, right?

* Toolkit: what are these tools for? The laughably thin owner's manual doesn't reference it, IIRC.

* Power: I turned right out of a couple of streets, at WOT, as I'd gotten to doing this w/ the Metropolitan. I found it strange those first two times that the scoot wasn't very responsive to steering inputs when I do this. It'd want to go... well... straight. As I found out later, I was apparently doing wheelies by accident! It couldn't have been much more than 1/2" off the ground though... Very Happy

All told, even with a bunch of gripes, this still is a pretty enjoyable scooter. I'm having a lot of fun with it. What combined to temper my excitement is likely the fact that my peers have had limited success in trying to talk me into motorcycling. As such, I may be looking to sell the Blackjack in the near future to fund that. I haven't decided yet; I might end up keeping both, but we'll see.

I'll continue to post more, including pictures in the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading!

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ericalm
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STELLA FOUR STROKE FURY! + Vespa LX 150/190 + '87 Honda Helix CN250

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remind me (in a week or so… Smile) to move this to the Reviews section!
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hairball
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Blackjack , Vespa S150, KTM 625 SMC

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have owned the Blackjack for 900 miles, I don't know what is going on with your brakes but mine are are near perfect... Stoppies are fun! I certainly am no noob to the cycling world, I have spent plenty of time and money on a road racing track the past few years "Jennings GP" in northern Florida, So performance, suspension balance and braking are always important.

The rear suspension is kind of a faux shock, The "F & S" on the dial is suppose to be for Fast & Slow, I believe the on the NCY it is for Firm & Soft (which is opposite) and is suppose to be for rebound while the spring is for cush. There are 40 clicks in between the F & S... I haven't noticed much difference in any knob adjustments, The ride is very harsh and the front is not adjustable, But the suspension is stiff enough to rail corners, If I were to go to a cart or supermoto track the center stand would come off

The tools are junk - Just like all tool kits on all the motorcycles I have owned... (minor exception - Triumph)

I was a bit concerned about the oil change frequency until I did the second oil change today (I stayed with dino until this change) The oil did not look too bad I ran a strong magnet through the oil and found very little carbon or shavings so I am going to do my next change at 2000 to gauge frequency of oil changes.

As far as PGO on the key... I can live with that.

The exhaust note was cute at first but on long rides - very annoying.

Scooters are new to me, and I am quite happy with the Blackjack.

The only mods may be weights, airbox and jetting though I don't know why, Kind of like building a high performance cow... Your really not going to get that much faster.

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Kaos
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'08 vOoDoO Buddy 270cc,'74 Vespa Super with 200cc Rally180 Engine, '89 Honda CB-1 400cc Cafe

PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hairball wrote:

The only mods may be weights, airbox and jetting though I don't know why, Kind of like building a high performance cow... Your really not going to get that much faster.


Just a few comments on the part I quoted, as well as the original post.

First off, great review! Nice to see new and fresh reviews on the bikes we all love here. Sounds like something might be wrong with your brakes. The Blackjack has a slight bit better brakes than the 125 that I ride, and I can do stoppies easily. The rear brake likely needs adjusted. Properly adjusted it will stop the bike ok. Its not the greatest rear brake in the world, but its better than you describe. Smile

I dig the Prima's exhaust note, yeah its a bit loud but I love it. I do 50+ miles a day to that sound Very Happy

Ok, now the quoted part: There are a TON of performance parts. Its nothing like a "high performance cow." You can make a Buddy into a seriously scary speed machine. Mine has hit a GPS verified 88MPH, can keep up with traffic on the highway, and wheelie on command. No cow there Wink Will it ever be a street bike? Of course not. But that doesn't mean it can't do a passable job of pretending it is Wink

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pyrocpu
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Blackjack!

PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree--the Prima pipe is a bit loud, but with earplugs, I don't mind it one bit. I love it!

With my brakes, I did adjust the adjuster nut on the rear brake, and when squeezed hard enough, it'll lock just fine. However, on the front, at first when squeezed hard enough, the rear unloaded enough to pivot right and left a bit. I wouldn't really consider that a stoppie since it was unintentional and must have looked rather untidy to a pedestrian! However, on that third (and subsequent) stops, I can't get enough braking force from the front to get close to a stoppie. It still stops fine now, just not great. Having said that, I'm agreeing that something's not quite right and when I do take it in for my first service, I'm hoping this will be covered by the Genuine warranty (and not billed separately).

Regarding the 150cc motor, I understand most GY6 mods will work on it? I don't see much point in going from 150-ish cc to 161; I'd think the difference would be negligible. Bumping to 180+ cc of displacement would pique my interest at some point--again, that is, if I keep it.

As far as "mods" go, I've stuck in a Sylvania Silverstar 55/60W headlight bulb (HFC, a big difference, and the stock headlamp wasn't bad at all!), and tucked the rear of the scoot. I removed the rear splash/mudguard completely, remounted the LP and the LP light. I did leave the splashguard that goes over and surrounds the rear wheel/tire for at least some protection. Also removed all of the ancillary warning & barcode stickers from the BJ and relocated them to the pet carrier. I'm on the fence about debadging the puffy Blackjack logos...

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Kaos
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'08 vOoDoO Buddy 270cc,'74 Vespa Super with 200cc Rally180 Engine, '89 Honda CB-1 400cc Cafe

PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pyrocpu wrote:


Regarding the 150cc motor, I understand most GY6 mods will work on it? I don't see much point in going from 150-ish cc to 161; I'd think the difference would be negligible. Bumping to 180+ cc of displacement would pique my interest at some point--again, that is, if I keep it.


The 161cc kit won't fit the 150 motor, its for the 125's. And even if it did, it would only make the 150 a 155 due to the crank differences. Not worth it Smile There is a 177cc kit that fits the 150's, and if you also get the stroker crank(same length as the stock 125 crank, different wrist pin) you end up with a 183cc. And yes, many generic GY6 mods fit both motors.

If you're interested in mods, search the forum for "voodoo" the Voodoo Crew has tried and tested a TON of parts.

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scooterjon
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Broken buddy 150. Vespa P200E

PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a great review but it sounds as if you are not all to happy with your Black Jack? It is a fun scooter but I have to agree with you on some of gripes you have made. Did you ever have the chance to ride the Vespa you were looking at to compare?

Jon
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rickko
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'07 Italia 125

PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You said, "* Resonant sounds from the drivetrain between 42bmph & 47bmph. It's an oscillating sound, about maybe 3Hz (3x a second, not the sound frequency!). This sound I hear also resonates throughout the bike: butt, feet, hands all feel it. It's like a shudder, but not coming from the wheels. I think"


I think something is wrong. I think you should ride another Blackjack to compare, or ride another Buddy 150. Your experience doesn't sound right. I wonder if it has something to do with the way the Prima Pipe is attached/supported to the scooter.

..rickko..
PS. Great report. I get the feeling from reading it you'd probably enjoy a m/c better even though the Blackjack looks so cool.

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pyrocpu
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Blackjack!

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I would, I'm not quite sure. I did get a chance to ride the Vespa I had been considering, that secondhand 2004 200GT. The Buddy's quite a bit more nimble, more fun to ride. The Vespa seemed like a small, automatic motorcycle. I can understand now, why most of the other members said go for the Vespa. Crying or Very sad Goes to show how good MB members are on here--I should have listened!

Having said that though, the Blackjack is quite fun, in its own way. The concern now is what I call "bitter charges" at my sole, local dealership. See, I bought my Buddy out of state since my local dealer wasn't willing to move much beyond full MSRP + dealer fees + shipping + setup. I don't count tax since my state gets that either way; it's a relatively fixed cost IMHO. If I roll into my local dealer for the first maintenance fee, and yes, while I do understand I have to go there to get the first service done, I'm concerned they'll pull a:

Dealer: "Oh wait a minute, you didn't want to buy from us... you're that guy, right?"
Me; "Yup."
Dealer: "See, the thing is, if you'd paid us to have the scooter prepped, there wouldn't be this resonant noise, there wouldn't be this brake lever issue. That'll be an extra $125 to address those issues, plus the first checkup charge... $500."

If it came down to that, first person at my door with $3300 gets my scoot.

Truth be told, I think Rikko nailed it on the head: the motorcycle bug hit me within a day or two BEFORE I took delivery of the Blackjack. What needs to happen is for me to conceptually believe that the Blackjack is fun for what it is, and not in an absolute standpoint. I believe that's what's my biggest hurdle for me.

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iwabj
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oops

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KRUSTYburger
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2007 Buddy Italia 125, 1979 Vespa p200e, and 1964 Honda Dream 305

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iwabj wrote:
Even though I still miss my '05 Military Royal Enfield, the truth is, it was not perfect either.

I've been keeping my eye on those Royal Enfields, in what way was yours less than perfect?
How did you like it? I don't mean to thread-jack, you can PM me if you want.

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iwabj
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oops

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ericalm
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STELLA FOUR STROKE FURY! + Vespa LX 150/190 + '87 Honda Helix CN250

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a lot of differences between a Vespa GT and a Blackjack but what it really gets down to is that these are designed from different perspectives for different purposes. The GT is in a lot of ways like a small auto motorcycle. It's larger, doesn't handle as well as a Buddy, and the engine is more oriented towards power (not speed). The Buddy and Blackjack are really great for in-city riding, commuting in traffic, open roads up to 55MPH.

When I bought my Vespa (before the Buddy was available), I chose the LX over the GT because I wanted something closer to the experience of riding a classic scooter. I've never regretted this. Over the years, I've really come to appreciate smaller scooters in the 125/150cc range. They're absolutely perfect for 90% of the riding I do—really, the majority of the riding most people do.

This is sort of what I meant in another thread where I said the Buddy doesn't really need to be any faster (stock) than it already is. For most riders, going much faster on a scooter that size with 10" wheels would be a really bad idea.

pyrocpu wrote:
The concern now is what I call "bitter charges" at my sole, local dealership. See, I bought my Buddy out of state since my local dealer wasn't willing to move much beyond full MSRP + dealer fees + shipping + setup. I don't count tax since my state gets that either way; it's a relatively fixed cost IMHO. If I roll into my local dealer for the first maintenance fee, and yes, while I do understand I have to go there to get the first service done, I'm concerned they'll pull a:

Dealer: "Oh wait a minute, you didn't want to buy from us... you're that guy, right?"
Me; "Yup."
Dealer: "See, the thing is, if you'd paid us to have the scooter prepped, there wouldn't be this resonant noise, there wouldn't be this brake lever issue. That'll be an extra $125 to address those issues, plus the first checkup charge... $500."

That all depends on the source of the problem. The local dealer shouldn't try to screw you just because you bought elsewhere—you're more valuable as a parts, service and accessories customer. If it's a clear warranty issue (defective parts or workmanship), no problem.

From your descriptions, it may be a transmission issue. It's also possible the tires/wheels weren't properly mounted and balanced.

If the noise and wobble are due to improper prep by another dealer, you may have difficulty establishing that and getting it fixed under warranty. That's really a dealer issue more than a Genuine issue, though most dealers would fix it for free.

You may be best off calling the dealer where you purchased the scooter. How far away are they?

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pyrocpu
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Blackjack!

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The resonance seems to be going away slowly as I pile on the miles. I'd have to be going exactly somewhere between 43-47bmph or so before the resonance shows up. Kinda strange.

The brake fade/spongy front brake lever feel is my next source of worry; if I'll be charged for a brake line flush.

My original dealer's about 250mi away. The bad part is that I don't know if he/they sent in the warranty card. It's been 3 weeks since my purchase date and I still haven't anything from Genuine yet!

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ericalm
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pyrocpu wrote:
The bad part is that I don't know if he/they sent in the warranty card. It's been 3 weeks since my purchase date and I still haven't anything from Genuine yet!

Doesn't matter. You're covered by the warranty and roadside assistance from the moment you take possession of the scooter.

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pyrocpu
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Blackjack!

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UPDATES!

~425mi now, took the 'Jack in for the first service at exactly the 400 mi. mark.

* Wheel balance/wobbling issue is gone... kinda. Instead of 50+bmph, it's more like 63bmph+. I'm not too worried anymore; I rarely venture that far up in the speedo.

* Ride comfort: A lot better now. The adjustment knob is about halfway in the middle, so it's good now.

* Front brake: sponginess went away. However, I still would feel better if I flushed the brake fluid for some synthetic fluid. Is the brake fluid just standard DOT3 fluid like a car? I'm just going to do this myself; I already have an auto shop-quality air-powered brake bleeder that taps into my air compressor.

* Resonant sound went away.

* Rear brake still horribly dismal. Smile

* Speedo illumination: can someone check and see if their speedo is illuminated all the way to 80mph? I don't know if I have a burnt-out bulb, or if that was the design intent!

Local dealer said I was broken in. Soooo... on the way home... Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
79bmph indicated on a slight downhill. Shocked

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rickko
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'07 Italia 125

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pyrocpu wrote:

* ... Is the brake fluid just standard DOT3 fluid like a car? I'm just going to do this myself...

Be CERTAIN you find out which DOT is correct. Using the wrong one will damage your brake system.

Quote:
* Speedo illumination: can someone check and see if their speedo is illuminated all the way to 80mph? I don't know if I have a burnt-out bulb, or if that was the design intent!


Here is a pic of the underside of your speedo. There are two illumination lamps (see picture) at top and bottom of display panel. The headlamp would be at top of this picture if part is flipped over horizontally.



..rickko..

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pyrocpu
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Blackjack!

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rikko!

Is the headset easy to remove, with having to disconnect the speedo cable and all?

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rickko
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pyrocpu wrote:
Thanks Rikko!

Is the headset easy to remove, with having to disconnect the speedo cable and all?

Not too hard to remove. Look underneath for all the screws holding it on. Also need to remove the headlight chrome ring. Hardest part is figuring out the tabs at the ends near the brake levers. Here are a few pics.

I've heard the easy way to deal with the speedo cable is to remove it from where it attaches at the front wheel then you can lift the headset up quite a bit. Maybe tie a string onto the bottom of the speedo cable before lifting the headset so you can pull it back down exactly through the route it got pulled up.






Good luck!
..rickko..

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7ate9
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Black Jack 149cc 09

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:37 pm    Post subject: disc breaks! Reply with quote

is there a way to convert to a disc break on the black jack ?
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Kaos
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'08 vOoDoO Buddy 270cc,'74 Vespa Super with 200cc Rally180 Engine, '89 Honda CB-1 400cc Cafe

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:33 pm    Post subject: Re: disc breaks! Reply with quote

7ate9 wrote:
is there a way to convert to a disc break on the black jack ?


Depends on what you mean by that. Its already got disc front. Yes you CAN convert to a disc rear, but its expensive, and the bike doesn't need it. It can already stop lightning fast with what it's got.

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Buddy 125

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:38 am    Post subject: Buddy Pros and COns Reply Reply with quote

My speedo doesn't light up past 60 either. I guess theres really no reason because mine doesn't really go beyond that. Hope it helps. Also, the resonance you were describing is the same i was experiencing but nobody understood. FOr me it was at low speed, kind of like a handful of metal flakes bounding around a tin can. It got better with more miles (now at 1,075) but it hasn;t gone away completely. I was expecting something a little more cause I was also comparing to a Honda Metro although I never owned one. It just sounds funny when running over 30. It kinda gurgles metal but feels absolutely fine. Hopefully it will be better in another 1,000 miles. I like the scootet a lot and its my only transportation here in Richmond city, VA but I do wish I had saved an extra $1,500 and went with the Vespa LX150. Overall, it does ride a little rough and I'm often concerned, but it is a great scooter none the less. Had it 4 months now and no serious problems yet. Does anybody ever notice their scoots running like straight crap when it's humid? Is this normal? Why? Thanks fellas!
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dandidori
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Joined: 22 Feb 2012
Posts: 13
Location: Mi
Buddy 150

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What accessories are a must for Buddy 150?
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Tomas4785
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Joined: 05 Jun 2017
Posts: 4


PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Such a great post
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