City rentals and bashing the Yamaha Nouvo

City rentals and bashing the Yamaha Nouvo

15th April 2017

Removing and firing the Yamaha Nouvo from our fleet of motorbikes was one of the most unique decisions that Tigit Motorbikes has ever made!

The Yamaha Nouvo remains to be the “go to” rental scooter, and the scooter that the majority of Expats own. As a result, bashing the Yamaha Nouvo is a great way to alienate, upset and lose potential sales!

Why is it that Expats are so defensive over their lovely little Yamaha Nouvo scooters?

The Yamaha Nouvo is a numbers game. A once reasonable quality scooter produced by Yamaha. The early version, the Yamaha Nouvo 1 from 2002/2003 were Japanese imported scooters. The result was an incredible machine that has stood the test of times right up until around the year 2015 when it noticeably started disappearing and being scrapped from the streets of Vietnam.

If found in good condition, the Yamaha Nouvo can be amazing value for money and they can also be reliable! This is what has created this optical illusion of a cheap and reliable scooter.
Now outdated and old, dealing with the Nouvo on scale will reveal about 3 out of 5 Yamaha Nouvo’s never actually work. They are bottomless pits of breakdowns and mechanic bills.  In the end, the numbers on the Yamaha Nouvo do not add up! Some get lucky, some do not.

Why not just fix the scooter and make it work?

Yamaha stopped supporting the Nouvo 1/2/3 several years ago, which means it is now impossible to buy parts for them. This creates the commonly seen circle of expats breaking down and fixing their scooter over and over again. The expat will blame the mechanic, review the mechanic and switch mechanics resulting in a pointless circle of drama. Without ever appreciating that the mechanic is not the problem. The real problem is that no parts exist for the Nouvo. Instead dirty cheap Chinese parts are used to keep these scooters on the road.
Expats believe that this regular cheap maintenance is normal, and rarely consider the build up of bills over time.

Just how much do they breakdown?

There have been no rental companies to successfully scale the Yamaha Nouvo as a rental scooter. Small companies, or Vietnamese households will buy a few for around $200+ and charge 1 million dong monthly rentals to get a quick return on investment. Risk free and a good business model to make a few extra dollars.

Try and scale this up beyond 20 rental vehicles and the breakdown problem becomes a very real issue. Stock control becomes difficult as multiple vehicles can breakdown in a day, resulting in a quick turnover of scooters among clients. It can also be hard to gain transaction as being a reputable and reliable company. A few friends may introduce referrals, but a wall is hit as to how far the small community circles can go.
At Tigit we reached around 30 Yamaha Nouvo’s before considering closing the rental business down entirely. Hitting up to 5 breakdowns a day. The business model was failing and the realization that it could not be expanded became a real threat.

The answer to the problem was the Suzuki Hayate!

The Suzuki Hayate remains to be a mystery to most people. Suzuki are a small brand in Vietnam and not particularly popular on the Vietnamese market. We discovered the Hayate in the beach town of Mui Ne. A relaxing beach holiday turned into fascination and excitement at the discovery of this unique scooter that was crowding the street of Mui Ne. Russians were using it, locals were using it and rental companies were using it. Upon renting one, it was apparent that something special had been discovered. We bought two on the spot and drove them back to Saigon. From there, our fleet of Suzuki Hayate rentals took off and Tigit Motorbikes now thrives with city rentals!
Today, Tigit Motorbikes owns 0 Yamaha Nouvo’s and around 60 Suzuki Hayate scooters! A breakdown average on the Hayate that we consider optimal!

2 responses to “City rentals and bashing the Yamaha Nouvo”

  1. Ramcho says:

    How long can Nouvo 3 cruise non-stop? I am planning to ride for about 150-200km way, and worrying about my scooter. I worry that the engine will overheat. Therefore I was thinking I will have to pull over several times to prevent that. But can Nouvo go that distance without non-stop?

    • Jon - TigitMotorbikes says:

      The engine is the only part of the Nouvo that is good.
      Stopping to let it cool down won’t help.

      Problems with the Nouvo are
      1. Transmission (gear) problems
      2. Useless electrics
      3. Useless Carburetor

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