Per request from a few folks I’ll share my experiences with the Diamo Velux over the last 2 years.
Part 1 – The Sale.
I bought the bike new from Scooter Gallery in Seattle. The price was around $3600 which seemed fair considering other scooters with fewer features weren’t much cheaper. We opted for the 150cc engine instead of the 250cc because we don’t commute on the highway and only ride it over the 520 bridge when it needs servicing. The 4 main selling features for me were the retractable roof, the large storage space (which doubles when the roof is up), the radio, and the anti-lock brakes on both front and rear. It also comes with an alarm.
In retrospect I’d advise prospective buyers at Scooter Gallery to ask some more probing questions about the electrical systems on "feature rich" scooters like this one. It turns out that on this bike, the alarm will drain the battery if it sits idle for 3 or 4 days. I found that out the hard way. Alex at the scooter gallery could have shared this "known issue" at the time of sale and I would have had the alarm disconnected then instead of a couple months later when I got too annoyed by it.
Part 2 – Build quality
The bike is mainly built of cheap plastic, which seems to be the trend in scooters these days anyway. I’ve already broken off the fake chrome footwell fenders with accidental kicks. The core components seem pretty sound, though. The engine sounds good and runs well.
The electrical system (or maybe just the battery?) could use some improvement. The little light in the instrument panel doesn’t fully illuminate the gauges at night. As with some other low power bikes, when I brake, the headlight dims. When I use the turn signal, the headlight dims a bit in sync with the signal pulsing.
Also as I found out recently, even with the alarm disconnected, the battery seems to drain fairly quickly in cold weather. I’m gonna replace the battery and see if that helps. Failing that I’ll try to track down the drain; maybe the radio is doing it, although the radio doesn’t remember any of its settings between starts so it doesn’t appear to have any power then.
The speedometer is also wildly inaccurate. When it reads 50mph, the radar signs read 40mph.
Part 3 – The Ride
I like how the bike performs, it gets good gas mileage and the ride is pretty smooth. The shocks could be a touch firmer but they aren’t bad as is. The seat is nice and soft. Turning is nice and tight (especially with the fenders removed so I can get lower without scraping) for such a tall bike.
I’ve only reached 60+ mph on downhill stretches, it steadies out at around 55 mph peak speed on level ground. Of course the speedometer will claim I’m going 70…
By comparison, my Schwinn Graduate 150 is faster and quicker to accelerate, but the seat is rock hard and getting the bike into a tight turn is harder work than with the Velux.
I use a half helmet and glasses so I also prefer the Velux with its full windshield for most riding. The Schwinn doesn’t have a windshield at all. It can fun in the summer to have the wind in my face sometimes, though.
The roof is very effective when combined with rain pants at enabling me to drive in the rain. It acts a bit like a parachute when driving over the windy 520 bridge but I only make that drive a couple times a year. Naturally it doesn’t keep me totally dry.
Part 4 – Recommendations
Overall I’ve been happy with the bike but I advise interested folks to do the following:
1. Compare it with the new Tank roofed scooter, which costs less and has fewer features. The Tank is cheaper and has a longer warranty. Scooter Gallery in Seattle doesn’t sell Diamo anymore so you’d have to find a used one or go to Bellingham for a new one.
2. Disable the alarm unless you plan to ride the bike on long commutes 4 to 5 times per week.
3. Keep a battery charger handy
If you ride on the highway a lot or carry a passenger, try for a 250cc version. I give my 7 year old rides to and from school with no problems, but with my wife on board we peak out at around 45 mph