Most backpackers in Vietnam will select the cheap Chinese motorbikes. Everything seen on the internet or in the backpacker areas in the $300 price bracket will be a copy Chinese Honda . An authentic motorbike is worth some “real money”.
At around $300 Chinese motorbikes are cheap to buy and then sell to another backpacker when finishing the journey. Allowing for a small initial investment.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh have different market values for Chinese motorbikes. Market prices fluctuate weekly but prices tend to follow a fairly clear pricing model. The main takeaway is that Hanoi is usually cheaper than Ho Chi Minh for buying a Chinese motorbike. As it is a smaller market and it is closer to the source, China. You can plan your selling strategically by buying in the North and selling in the South in Ho Chi Minh City.
Selecting a Chinese motorbike and a holiday of breakdowns and mechanic shops should be expected. No different from buying a $300 car back in the Western world, just because this is Vietnam does not mean that a quality vehicle can be bought cheaply. Chinese motorbikes are unlikely to survive in good condition from one end of the country to the other. They are throw away vehicles and locals rarely use them. They are mostly only found in the backpacker streets being sold to foreigners who have no idea what they are doing.
Chinese motorbikes are unlikely to have a working speedometer, fuel gauge, backlights/brake lights or an effective working front brake.
A genuine modern Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki is the ideal motorbike for Vietnam. Pleasurable to drive and over the duration of a journey, should work out similar or cheaper than trying to buy and sell a cheap backpacker motorbike. Less oil changes, no breakdowns, and good gas consumption bring the cost into a similar range as the hidden expenses in buying and selling a cheap motorbike.
Safety is also important and a genuine motorbike in good condition is unlikely to fail. Chinese motorbikes, which are only $300, can have failing brakes and lights and on some occasions, have been known to snap in half. Are you willing to risk your safety for a few hundred dollars? Consider all your options before taking the plunge with a cheap Chinese Honda.
We discovered the Vietnamese version on Ebay on a search for the Honda Win. Prices around 17 mil which is roughly $750. Huge variation of prices depending on Fake, real or even half real.