Pros: Price, ride
Cons: Poor reliability, scarcity of parts
I've had my Tank Urban Touring 150 for about five months now, and I've passed the 3000 KM mark. Hopefully this will be useful to someone considering buying a Tank.
Obviously, like most Tank buyers, I was originally attracted the price. For
about $1400, you're going to get a scooter. Like most things, there's a balance here between what the scooter costs and what you should expect from it. One nice thing about a "cheap" scooter is that I've felt free to modify it in various ways (running lights, marker lights, etc) which I might have been more hesitant to do with a $4000 scooter.
The scooter is pretty comfortable (I'm 6' 1") and it doesn't bother me to sit on
it for 20-30 minutes on my 17 mile (each way) commute. It handles the potholes and uneven spots around the Bay Area with aplomb, is stable at very low speeds--under 5 mph-- and with proper air pressure in the tires, seems reasonably stable at higher speeds. Brakes are strong, pick up from a stop is good, and the shocks are satisfactory.
This one is in the "cons" column. Overall, I have been unsatisfied with it's ability to start on the first try. I was left stranded once by an undercharged battery, but with a trickle charger now in use whenever the scooter is in the garage, I haven't had a repeat. However, starting is something of a hit-or-miss proposition, and I do have to use the kick starter regularly.
I use the scooter both for my 17-mile (one way) commute three or four days a week, as well as for short errands around town. It hasn't let me down completely other than the one time. However, it has been hard to get started regularly.
After approximately 1800 Km the scooter developed a serious oil leak. Attempts to fix it thus far have failed. In addition, the transmission belt is completely shot and will need to be replaced (a $50 cost--which is a serious expense if they only last ~800 miles)
Ease of Maintenance
The scooter is pretty easy for a mechanically inclined person to maintain. Motor and gear oil changes are a snap, and the brake fluid reservoirs are easy to get to. While I haven't changed the CVT belt yet, I have had the cover off the transmission, and that's also fairly straightforward.
A lot of the minor issues I have with the scooter (rattles and squeaks, mirror adjustments, etc) were easily handled. Unfortunately, with more serious issues arising after only 3000 Km, maintenance is becoming troublesome and time-consuming.
For a 150cc scooter, the Tank does pretty well. However, the massive amount of plastic used for body panels, along with the steel reinforcements needed to support various panels (like the footboards) makes it less peppy and other 150s. Around here there are a lot of streets where the speed limit is 50 mph and while the UT 150 will do 60 (downhill with a tailwind) generally to make 50 it's running WOT without any power to spare. This can make for an uncomfortable situation if you need an extra burst to get out of the way
of a merging car. Also, I try and avoid running on the ragged edge, since it's
likely to reduce the life of the engine.
As I said at the start, at this price-point (say 25% of the cost of a Honda),
you can expect quality that is, well--25% of that of a Honda. Fit and finish are Yugo-like and without modifications the scooter's body panels will rattle and squeak like a covered wagon. The usual "made in China" quirks are all there: assemblies that require a three-armed contortionist to put back together, sections inexplicably attached with three or four different sizes of bolts, and odd design decisions like a plastic shroud that almost completely encloses the engine to direct airflow from the cooling fan.
If you're not prepared to live with this type of quirk, and to put time and effort into fixing various mechanical problems, as Ben Kenobi might say: this isn't the scooter you're looking for.
At this point, I'm pretty unhappy with my purchase. Since I knew what to
expect and am moderately mechanically inclined, I haven't encountered anything completely over-the-top, but the annoyances would be way too much for your average buyer who isn't a mechanic.
If you can handle doing the maintenance yourself, and are willing to put some time and effort into the scooter, a Tank UT 150 isn't a bad choice. But you need to go into it with your eyes open.