Be warned!, Some motorbikes are cheap because they are rubbish…. So understanding and researching what you are buying is incredibly important!
Chinese Honda Win Manual Transmission – $150-250
Chinese Honda semi-automatic, Wave, Dream, Future – $150-250
SYM Attila automatic – $150-250
Yamaha Nouvo 1/2/3 automatic – $150-450
Honda Cub semi-automatic – $300 to priceless
SYM Excel automatic – $350 +
Suzuki Epicuro automatic – $500 +
Minsk Manual Transmission – $no idea (Tigit never owned)
Honda 67 Manual Transmission – $300 to priceless
Bonus Manual Transmission – $300-450
Daelim Manual Transmission – $450-800
Suzuki GN Manual Transmission– $400 – $800
Yamaha Mio automatic – $400 – $700
Yamaha Sirius / Taurus Semi-Automatic – $400 +
Honda Wave Semi-automatic – $500 +
Yamaha Jupiter semi-automatic – $650 (never owned and never driven, but we do talk to people!)
Honda Future semi-automatic – $650 +
Suzuki Hayate automatic – $600-800
SYM Elizabeth automatic – $750
Honda Dream semi-automatic – $800 + (never driven and never owned)
Honda Click Automatic – $900 (Tigit never owned)
Yamaha Nouvo 4 Automatic – $950 +
Honda Lead Automatic – $900 + (never owned and never driven)
Honda Airblade Automatic – $1000 +
Honda Vision Automatic – $1100 (only experience with oldest generation)
SYM Wolf Manual Transmission – $1000 + (Never owned but have driven one before)
Suzuki Axelo Manual Transmission – $1000
Honda Master Manual Transmission – $1100 +
Rebel USA Cruiser Manual Transmission – $1200 + (kind of driven one before)
Yamaha Exciter Manual Transmission – $1500 +
Suzuki Raider Manual Transmission – $1500 +
Honda XR 150cc Manual Transmission – $1700 +
Honda Winner Manual Transmission – $2200 +
Suzuki Satria Manual Transmission – $1800 (not owned, not driven)
Honda MSX Manual Transmission – $2300 (not owned, but have driven one)
Usually found flogged in the backpacker street. It is also probably one of the worst motorbikes in Vietnam!
A comical joke of a motorbike that wobbles around and breaks down all through the country. Surprisingly expensive to fix and generally an absolute burner of dollar notes in mechanic bills. The Honda Win looks “cool” so backpackers fall in love with it, only to find a holiday riddled with unpredictable and expensive breakdowns.
Cheapest motorbike in Vietnam to buy and also the cheapest to fix. For the traveler on a tiny shoestring budget and absolutely no spare cash then the Chinese Honda Wave is a reasonable choice!
The Chinese semi-automatics are all the same underneath, the “name” Wave, Dream is just the bodywork design. Underneath is the same Chinese engines.
The Chinese semi-automatic is severely lacking in the power and character department. Overall it is nothing more than a chunk of plastic on two wheels. Generally, the Chinese Semi will get the traveler from A to B cost efficiently. Even a catastrophically bad breakdown is quick and cheap to fix providing the traveler gets the right price in a backstreet mechanic.
Despite the ridiculous appearance and small wheels, a good quality Attila can be a lovely comfortable drive with a lot of power behind it. The transmission on the Attila is higher quality than the Yamaha Nouvo which actually makes them a reasonable choice for backpackers in terms of general reliability. The weakness being the frequent electrical and starting issues. To find an Attila without battery-draining problems can be an uphill battle!
The Yamaha Nouvo is the most commonly seen automatic motorbikes in Vietnam driven by foreigners.
The Nouvo is a Yamaha which means it was once a reasonable quality scooter.Getting the right one can be a great bargain for the money, however getting the wrong one can be a holiday stopper! Parts are expensive and picking up the wrong Nouvo can be like buying an unfixable car ready for the scrap heap.
The Nouvo can be heard from miles away grinding down the highway with an airplane sounding screech coming from the transmission that has gone a long way past its sell by date. Worth noting that Yamaha has stopped producing spare parts for the Nouvo 1/2/3 which means they are quickly going to become even more worthless than they already are!
$300 to priceless
The Honda cub is a semi-automatic motorbike from a long time ago. Due to the age of the motorbike it is now seen today maintained with cheap Chinese parts. Honda will not service the Cub which means over time these gradually have fallen to be no different to the Chinese semi-automatic. A source of confusion and misunderstanding among foreigners who purchase these beauties expecting Honda reliability. Only to find the motorbike has no brakes, regularly falls apart and is an ongoing and stressful maintenance project.
The cute styling of the Cub will often create a defensive reaction by the owner if interrogated about the reliability of their beautiful motorbike. A few hard-hitting questions in the right areas and the sob stories will eventually come out! Contradictory to belief, the Cub can still be bought new for around $550 as a Chinese and useless replica.
The SYM Excel seems to be the hidden gem of the cheap scooters in Vietnam. A cheap 150cc large framed automatic scooter that is comfortable for a foreigner. SYM generally are not known for quality, so at Tigit we have always found the Excel a suspicious concept. Though having bought and sold a few ourselves in the old days we can report that the Excel has never caused any problems. All expats that we know who own Excels seem to be happy. A strange purchase in our eyes, but the theory goes against the evidence and we believe these to be a solid purchase. They are rare!
An expat will never be found driving one and even on the Vietnamese market, they are rare motorbikes in Vietnam! The Epicuro is a high quality imported scooter from around the year 2001. In the early days of Tigit we bought and sold a few of these successfully. Hard to explain, but the Epicuro is in a class of its own compared to all other normal scooters in Vietnam. A clear quality jump from a local Asian built scooter to a Epicuro European import. The Epicuro we later discovered is basically an unfixable scooter due to the high quality but old systems within. Mechanics do not have the skills or parts to fix them. When broken the Epicuro’s life is done and there is no reviving it.
$no idea (Tigit never owned)
As Richard Hammond from Top gear says.. “The ak47 of motorbikes”. Supposedly indestructible machines that are the origins of the now famous concept of traveling Vietnam by motorbike. Richard Hammond thought the Minsk was indestructible but backpackers put this theory to the test and came out on top. A 2 stroke engine requiring a mixture of oil and gas in the right concentrations is what led to the slow and eventual deaths of the iconic Minsk. Backpackers who know nothing about motorbikes failed to get the mixtures correct and one by one these motorbikes came to a bitter end. The story doesn’t end there though! The Minsk is now used by the tour companies in Sapa, renovated with modern Honda engines and used for charitable rides.
$300 to priceless
The 67 is without question one of the most beautiful looking motorbikes in Vietnam. In modern times they are maintained with low-quality Chinese components making them unreliable and useless motorbikes. The price bracket shows the variation in quality and a truly original Honda 67 is worth a fortune. A motorbike that should be used by people who enjoy “projects”. Constant ongoing maintenance that should be considered “fun” by the owner.
For most people, they are something to be admired from a distance. Owning one of these beauties can be a stressful experience!
A slightly bigger version of the Win. The bonus is the cheapest “big” motorbike that money can buy. Often used in scams as the frame can be customized to create a cool looking motorbike on a shoestring budget. The motorbike may look cool, but has nearly no chance of actually working!
Ultimately the Bonus is a motorbike from the past that was low quality, to begin with. Today, they are only seen being sold by dishonest dealers turning a quick buck. It is one of the most common scams on the market when dealing with motorbikes in Vietnam!
The Daelim motorbike is a huge vehicle for the money. A big cruiser that fits the dream of driving a proper motorbike. The Daelim is essentially Chinese and so therefore designed to be maintained with low-quality parts. This actually makes them easier to fix than some of the other smashed up garbage out there that has gone beyond its maintainable life cycle (looking at you the Suzuki GN). If used as a gentle city monster truck the Daelim can be a great motorbike for the money. However, when pushed hard they overheat and fall apart.
$400 – $800
The Suzuki GN is a magnificent motorbike to drive when found in good condition. The GN has a huge heart and lots of character. Unfortunately buying Suzuki GN components is near to impossible which means they are maintained with cheap Chinese parts. The Suzuki GN is an incredibly expensive ongoing maintenance project that will eat the bank balance.
However, the GN is so much fun to drive, a broken bank is not actually a terrible trade off for someone that loves motorbikes. For the backpacker, it is a con that will likely ruin a holiday. For an expat or motorbike lover, the Suzuki GN can be a much-loved friend.
$400 – $700
The Mio is a small framed automatic. Mostly seen by expat girls who find the standard automatics too heavy and bulky for city driving. The Mio is basically a Nouvo 1/2/3 with a small frame. Low quality and broken garbage that has an inflated value on the expat market due to its “cute” frame size. Rental companies attempt to rent these to target the female market – in Tigit’s opinion, this is a bottomless pit of non-profitable rentals as the maintenance is on-going and high.
Rarely seen driven by foreigners, but do exist out there on the Vietnamese Market. Yamaha Semi-Automatics are both cheaper and smaller in frame size than the equivalent Honda Semi Automatic. Semi-Automatics rarely breakdown and so for the money, they are a good and reliable purchase.
The Yamaha Semi-Automatic lacks in power and performance compared to the Honda competition and this shows in the price differences between the two. As an entry level motorbike created by a proper company that is Yamaha, the Sirius is not a bad choice!
$500 + Honda Wave for sale by TigitMotorbikes.
Buying the correct Honda Wave is the most financially sound, safe and economical purchase a human can possibly achieve. The “Honda Semi-Automatic” is an indestructible motorbike. Only ruined or broken due to the incompetence of the owner. The Wave, if maintained in a Honda shop with Honda’s world-class service will never break down.
Ridiculously cheap to maintain and the long term depreciation is minimal.
Unfortunately, Honda semi-automatics can be maintained by people using backstreet mechanic shops that use Chinese components. This creates a large variation of quality. However, even a badly maintained, smashed up Honda will not drop below the value of $450. Generally, on the market, they are found from $550 and upwards. The Honda Wave is one of the most common motorbikes in Vietnam, and there is a good reason for this!
$650 (never owned and never driven, but we do talk to people!)
The Yamaha Jupiter is Yamaha’s top range semi-automatic. We believe people buys these due to the soft suspension of Yamaha, small frame size and stylish Yamaha looks. In Tigit’s opinion, at this price range it is better to buy a Honda. For high-end motorbikes in Vietnam, Honda is usually a better choice.
The Honda Future is Honda’s top level semi-automatic. Hard to put a price range on these as the model has been around a long time and significantly changed through the years. The variation of prices and quality is a minefield. If buying the correct one the 125cc engine in the Future is like driving a sports motorbike through the city. They are astonishingly fast and smooth – probably the ultimate motorbike for a combination of city and long distance driving. Rental companies often like to use the Future to promote the concept of a 125cc engine to foreigners. In reality the Future is over budget for a rental company and unless the rental price is in accordance to the luxury image of the vehicle it will be found that the Futures used are old and have lost their power.
$600-800 Suzuki Hayate for sale by TigitMotorbikes
The Hayate is without question the best value for money automatic scooter in Vietnam. It is reliable, has character and for the money, there is nothing in its class. It puts the Yamaha Nouvo 1/2/3 to shame and it can closely compete with the reliability and performance of the Honda Airblade which is nearly double the Hayate value.
Not only is it amazingly reliable for the money, it also has a buzzing noise and handling that is to die for. When looking for a motorbike in Vietnam, the Suzuki Hayate is up there as the best value for money scooter in the country!
The SYM Elizabeth is a comfortable and stylish girly motorbike. A flat platform for bags and often crash railings makes the Elizabeth an attractive choice. A common theme of SYM motorbikes where quality is not the priority, they are a Vespa copycat company but sometimes they do seem to release golden gems and we believe the Elizabeth is one of them. The ladies out there rushing to buy the “cute” Yamaha Mio, hold your horses and get one of these instead!
$800 + (never driven and never owned)
The Honda Dream is the Ford Transit-Van of the Vietnamese motorbike world. Mostly seen driven by delivery drivers, motorbike taxis or old men. The flat seat design is comfortable and convenient for transporting goods around. The dream has a cheap exterior but high-quality internal mechanics which creates a misunderstanding among foreigners. Looks can be deceptive and the Honda Dream is one of the more expensive Honda motorbikes on the streets. Those smashed up looking delivery vehicles are worth far more than that beautiful spray-painted Chinese scrap the average foreigner is pottering around on. Upon research, this motorbike remains a dream that is over budget and out of reach!
$900 (Tigit never owned)
The Click is a very small city scooter. Seen around the streets of Vietnam but for a Honda it can be considered a small release and in relation to other motorbikes the Click is rare. The Click really is an unbelievably small motorbike. We are not sure why Honda stopped producing this model which means most of them are now quite old. If a small size is the most important element of a motorbike then the Click is the one to get!
The Nouvo 4 is 135cc of automatic power making it one of the fastest automatics on the streets. In a completely different league to the Nouvo 1/2/3 and is the cause of some of the confusion about Nouvo’s being “good” motorbikes. The Nouvo 4 is popular among locals and can quite often be seen as a bling’d out automatic. Yamaha bikes depreciate quickly and in 2017 the Nouvo 4 has considerably dropped in value making it a reasonable purchace. When buying Yamaha, it is important to consider the long term depreciation…. Although good value for 2017, we believe it will continue to quickly drop in price.
$900 + (never owned and never driven)
The luggage space is enormous and these scooters are basically a transport box on two wheels. Very popular among the locals and the Lead can be seen everywhere on the streets. A big hole in Tigits knowledge as we have never bought, sold or owned a Honda Lead. The lead appears to be hard to get hold of despite its popularity, and we have never managed to find them at the “right price.” Perhaps this is because the owners won’t let the beast go!
$1000+ Honda AirBlade for sale by TigitMotorbikes
The Airblade is the most common automatic scooter in Vietnam. There will not be a Vietnamese household that does not own a Honda Airblade of some sort. The ultimate family vehicle of supreme reliability, great gas consumption, and minimal depreciation. Economical and practical is the name of the game here. Front opening gas refills for convenience, a solid 110cc engine (older models) and a mid sized frame make it the most down to earth and straightforward scooter that money can buy. The same old story of indestructible Honda’s ruined by people using back street mechanics applies here though, so getting the right one is important. The Airblade is a high-quality vehicle and therefore the components are expensive. Fixing a bad purchase can be a costly mistake!
$1100 (only experience with the oldest generation)
The Vision is Honda’s entry level automatic and is worth every penny. The usual Honda reliability and a flat foot platform that is convenient for shopping. From experience the Vision lacks in the suspension department and this is where we believe Honda have shaved off a few dollars in comparison to the Airblade. Overall there is no reason not to get a Vision if wanting the cheapest Honda automatic that money can buy!
$1000 + (Never owned but have driven one before)
The SYM Wolf is an almost mystical motorbike that everyone recommends to buy. Person A: “I want a cheap but good manual motorbike”…. Person B: “Ah, get an SYM Wolf, I heard they were good” ….. Person A:”Where do I find one?”…. Person B: “No idea!”….
Tigit’s opinion is the SYM Wolf is just another Chinese piece of garbage. Somehow and from somewhere it has developed this mystical reputation as being the number 1 motorbike to buy when on a budget. However, no one knows where to buy one. No one has ever seen one. Does anyone even have one?
Do they even exist?………..
The cheapest manual motorbike that actually works in Vietnam. The Suzuki Axelo is an amazing machine for the money. Power, reliability, and performance handling all for $1000.
Suzuki actually managed to build the perfect backpacker motorbike. A cheap and reliable manual that can also be fixed. Unfortunately, Suzuki messed up the styling which has created one ugly monster of a motorbike. Such as shame as we would love to buy and sell these on mass.
Like the SYM Wolf, the Honda master is another mystical motorbike commonly spammed around as the “recommended motorbike of choice”. In this case, at least they do exist and can eventually be found! It is true the Honda Master is a wonderful machine for the money and any owner should be proud and lucky to have one. They are small enough for city driving whilst also being comfortable for a long cruising holiday. Imported which means they are not under support by Honda. Maintenance is an unknown and needs to be sourced through back street mechanics.
$1200+ (kind of driven one before)
The Rebel USA is a gangster looking cruiser that is all about style. For the Harley wannabe to sit back and display dominance. The Rebel USA has a rumor of low quality around the “experts” and when people state an interest in these cruisers the reaction from the public is usually a word of warning and caution. The Vietnamese driving test for A2 licenses is on a Rebel USA 250cc cruiser which is where I had the pleasure of driving one. It was a shockingly bad motorbike but I am not sure a drivers test arena where motorbikes are driven by learner drivers all day long is a fair test of performance.
$1500 + and the Yamaha Exciter is for sale and for rent by Tigit Motorbikes.
The most common manual motorbike in Vietnam. Seen everywhere on the streets in use as a normal city commuter or a pimp’d out race motorbike. The Exciter has a huge range of models through the years alongside a modification culture which has created a wide range of prices. In 2015 the new generation of Exciter was released that Tigit uses, a 150cc large framed manual that is great for travelling Vietnam. The oldest models of the Exciter are becoming collector items for local street racer boys as the old technology is great for modifying up to death defying speeds.
The Exciter is a quiet and gentle motorbike when relaxed, but a thundering monster when unleashed. The Exciter is a great motorbike for anyone with a keen interest in biking! More description of the Yamaha Exciter over in Linh’s blog Yamaha Exciter: King of the streets!
$1500 + and the Suzuki Raider is for rent by Tigit Motorbikes.
The Suzuki Raider is a racing motorbike at heart. Designed for street racers and small circuit track events. For the city it is an absolute blast to smash aggressively through traffic. The brakes on this roaring go-kart outperform any rivals within its class despite being the lightest and smallest motorbike within its category. The Raiders bodywork is not exactly “firmly” attached to the motorbike and vibrates around – it is clear that this machine was built with speed in mind and it lacks in some areas of convenience. The Raider is the motorbike that is designed for someone who can really drive and can put its amazing power to weight ratio to good use. It is for fun and the owner of this motorbike should probably already have experience driving as well as other more convenient motorbikes sitting around as a backup. Worth noting that the Raider is disappointingly “restricted” within Vietnam which means it needs modifying and money spent on it to unleash its true potential.
$1700 + Honda XR for sale and Honda XR for rent by Tigit Motorbikes.
The XR 150cc is a large framed dual sport and has become the most common motorbike used for off-roading and tours within Vietnam. The “XR” is an international name and most motorbike enthusiasts who enjoy off-roading will be familiar with the 250cc+ versions. A farm vehicle at heart and we consider them reliable tractors on two wheels. They are comfortable to sit on and despite the aggressive look, the XR is a gentle giant.
Impossible to put a value on a second hand imported motorbike in Vietnam due to the issues with poor maintenance and tour companies flogging them when they are past the sell by date. The XR 150cc is a relatively new motorbike in Vietnam and Tigit Motorbikes was one of the first companies to adopt this gentle giant on a large scale. Maintaining any big motorbike is a challenge in Vietnam and finding parts is hard. Through Tigit a customer can have some after-service to help keep the motorbike on the roads!
$1700 + Honda Winner for sale and Honda Winner for rent by Tigit Motorbikes.
The Winner is Honda’s attempt to compete with the already popular and dominant Yamaha Exciter under the category of local manual motorbikes. It comes with 6 gears and a speed that will leave its rivals standing on the start line. The Winner appears higher quality than the Exciter with great suspension and a better finish in regards to bodywork. The Winner had a slow launch and Honda’s solution was to slash the prices. It is now significantly cheaper than the rival Exciter whilst also being a higher quality vehicle. This makes it amazing value for money! The downside to the Winner is the lack of character, hard to put into words but the Winner drives like a scooter and not a motorbike.
A classic two stroke motorbike that pollutes the planet and annoys all the surrounding motorists. For the driver, however, an explosion of acceleration and a rare two-stroke noise that can only be enjoyed by a motorbike enthusiast! Many of these old two stroke motorbikes look old and broken but are sitting on values upwards of $2000. Now illegal to import the two stroke motorbike to Vietnam meaning these classics will likely increase in value as time goes on. The standard motorbikes are boring and slow whilst big motorbikes are impossible and impractical to drive here. This leaves the 2-stroke where the performance and acceleration is optimum and an underground knowledge is needed to realize that the smashed up beater is worth a small fortune. Respect and acknowledgment when someone compliments and understands the beauty of a classic motorbike that looks like a $200 broken down toy!
$2300 (never owned, but have driven one)
An eyebrow and question mark is raised just looking at the Honda MSX. A small and lowered powered motorbike with an astronomically huge price tag. We can’t see any point in these ridiculous machines and from what we can tell it is the motorbike for showing off to friends.
I had the unfortunate pleasure of driving a pimp’d out MSX that was probably a total of $5000 of a motorbike after bodywork and accessory upgrades. Had I been blindfolded and asked what motorbike I was driving – the answer would have been a Honda Win. It wobbled, it lacked power and even the brakes didn’t work. Maybe I got unlucky, but for a $5000 motorbike, it is probably the biggest joke I have ridden to date!