Interesting email questions

Jon

Interesting email questions

Please note the dates on emails. Prices and advice can change as time goes by!

Cafe racer style motorbikes and modifications
The most comfortable motorbike?
Blade and Airblade same names
Authentic looking motorbike
Two up and Honda Shops
I am worried about power of a 150cc
Detech Win and long distance travels
Follow up email of passport concerns
New driver and Thailand loop
8 days with experience
Short south trip
What to do if the XR breaks down
Discount
Short notice and discounts
Automatics reliability issues
Rushed holiday
Variety of questions
Driving license
Driving license further confusion

Cafe racer style motorbikes and modifications

Suzuki Gn questions
Date written: June 2017
Hello
I want to buy a bike that i can use both in the city and for travelling. I want one looking like a cafe racer/tracker that is reliable. My budget is around 20million (second hand). Do you customize these types of bikes in your shop? Any suggestion? A mechanic offered me to customize a suzuki 125 for me for 20mil, don’t know the name.of the bike, can you offer something similar?

Tigit Reply

You are walking down a very dangerous rabbit hole ๐Ÿ™‚
Please read here: Motorbikes in Vietnam

Also read here: Maintaining a Suzuki GN125

The bikes in your price range that are customized to be “cafe racers” are:
Win
Honda 67
Bonus
Dailim
Suzuki GN

These are all Chinese motorbikes and complete garbage.
This does not mean that you should not buy one. They can be great projects and a lot of fun.ย  But you must remove the word “reliable” from your mindset.
We will not touch any of these motorbikes. They are a recipe for disaster and most foreigners have absolutely no idea how useless and impossible to maintain these suggested motorbikes can be.

Do some more research and make sure this is what you really want!
20 million dong is expensive for a GN, so it needs to be a very, very nice one.
Hope that helps a bit.
Good luck and be careful!
Jon

The most comfortable motorbike?

Date written: June 2017
XR comfort

We are returning to Vietnam to do another bike tour. We used you guys last time (last year) and had a fantastic experience.We traveled from HCM and you collected our bikes from our hotel in Hoi An. ย We rented the Honda Blades and we did love them but I must say our bums were really sore. We were thinking of renting the Honda xr 150 this time because you say it is more comfortable. We are experienced bike riders. So just want to find out if you would suggest this bike as a more comfortable (less pain on our backsides) for our next trip. Also are they as reliable?

Sounds good. Yes, the XR is the bike I advertise as “comfortable”.ย  I think as far as motorbikes go, this is the most comfortable bike in Vietnam.

Yes reliable, but not easily fixable.
Read here – Is the Honda XR Reliable and Fixable?

and here : Honda XR150 The Best Motorbike for Vietnam

Jon

Blade and Airblade same names

Date written: May 2017

Hate to point it out to you experts but it’s a Honda Wave, not Blade. The Honda Air Blade isn’t semi auto.

Before making an attack, 5 mins of research may have been a good idea. Please understand we are a rental company with offices all across Vietnam. Most of the time we know what models we sell.

Please see below.
The Honda blade semi-automatic

and by the way, apology accepted

Authentic looking motorbike

Date written: April 2017

I’m planning on doing a 30 day trip from hanoi to HCM with my friend and we have both never rode a motorcycle before. What would you recommend in terms of ease of use and comfortability? My friend is pretty set on buying a bike when we arrive and selling it when we leave, but we are also worried about the quality of bike we are getting. Part of the reason why he wants to do this is because he wants an “authentic looking bike” to match the “authentic experience”. I on the other hand would much prefer reliability over aesthetics of the bike. Are there any older models you have that look more rustic so that we can both be happy?

Ease of use I would go for an Exciter or Winner. For arguably an “authentic look”, and to look like motorbikes that we consider in the western world, then the Honda XR.

The XR design has been around for years, the bike is so perfect that Honda never needed to update it. So I would classify this as authentic ๐Ÿ™‚ In terms of the cheap crap for an “authentic experience” that your friend speaks of…… this is up to you. Wins do provide entertainment, however they are not safe and they are not motorbikes. They are toys, and so in my opinion the experience is not authentic, it is fake.

A happy medium?
Unfortunately you have cheap Chinese toys or proper motorbikes. There is nothing in the middle apart from the scooters / semi-automatics that the locals tend to use.
As beginner drivers, this is really what you should be using.

Chinese motorbikes are dangerous, and the 150cc genuine motorbikes (that we have) have a fair amount of power and speed.
What you should be on is the Honda Blade. And if your friend needs motivation at the performance and experience of these bikes, then please watch this video of a Blade on the Ho Chi Minh road.

Please read for a full description of motorbikes in Vietnam.

I have nothing against the Win market and the concept of buying and selling cheap motorbikes. I just like to be realistic about what they are and the holiday that they provide. Providing the traveller understands and accepts what they are doing, then this fine!

Watch the videos on the site, including the Win video. Then make a decision ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope that sheds some light on the situation.

Jon

Two up and Honda Shops

Date written: March 2017

Hello,

My girlfriend and I will be in Vietnam for most of June and are looking at buying or renting a motorcycle and travelling from Hanoi to HCM. What model of bike in your fleet would be best suited towards traveling 2 up? Do you equip your bikes with luggage racks capable of carry luggage for two people? I have experience riding motorcycles, this will not be my first time.

Do i have to give my passport to Tigit when purchasing a bike and have it returned to me when the bike is returned back to Tigit?

In the long distance travel contract it states all maintenance must be done by genuine honda/suzuki/etc stores, is the location of these stores restricted to major cities? Or are they common along most routes between Hanoi and HMC? What is the cost of maintenance at these stores?

I look forward to your reply,

 

For comfort the XR 150 is the best for two people. Limitation being it is the bike most likely to have problems and also the bike that is the most difficult to fix.
Having said that, we have never had a holiday stopping breakdown on one.Please ย read about the XR being a reliable motorbike.
For a balance of a guarantee of no problems and 2 people then the Honda Winner is best. Each model has a buy and a buyback price. Using this, no passport is required.Please see the relevant pages within the model you are interested in.If the deposit is too high, then a passport + $500 is possible.Honda shops are everywhere, an oil change (required every 1000km) is around 10USD.
A standard holiday is likely to have a few flat tires, at around $5 a time.
The rest we cover.

I am worried about power of a 150cc

Date written: March 2017
power of a 150cc

I’m worried about the small engine displacement and how it will handle big hills with two riders. I’m also concerned about how to suspension will handle the weight of two riders plus gear.

Cheers,

For the XR
Around 1.5 month in advance at the moment. ย No challenges in terms of power. 150cc is a big bike for Vietnam, and it will tackle anything thrown at it.
XR is a farm vehicle at heart, it is designed to be loaded up. People do the blade 110cc with 2 people + luggage with no problems. However it is best to send as much on the train as possible.A bag on the train is $15 and you can collect at finishing destination.
Jon

Detech Win and long distance travels

Date written: March 2017
detech win

Hi Jon,

Very good website with a lot of helpful information. I am planning a 3 month trip to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and would like some insights/tips on buying a bike here. I have been to Vitenam in the past and never trusted the chinese copies that are found amongst all backpackers riding motorbikes; I went for daily Yamaha/Honda/Suzuki rentals instead.

This time I would like to buy a bike for the whole trip. And to be honest, I would like a new one with manual gearbox. I have heard about the recent Detech Espero. It is totally clear to me that this may never be as good a genuine Japanese bike but is it still a good bet for such a trip?

I own a motorbike license back home and know how to take care of bikes. So I am thinkng that buying a new locally-made bike and taking good care of it should bring me around with minor issues.

I am also taking into consideration the fairly competitive total cost (original price – resale price = 250-300$) and the easy maintenance (spare parts availability). What is your opinion on this?

Thanks!

Detech is just another copy. (Some companies) sell them new. In my opinion it is likely to work without problems within this duration. The issue I have with these copies is that they drive like toys. They are not motorbikes, and the experience you have is as a fake as the bike.

Any genuine bike, new or second hand that has been looked after properly will take you around this trip without issues.
If you are really going budget, then buying a second hand wave around $600-650 and selling for $450-500 when finished. This is the most economical way of travelling.

Your budget of $250-300 is on the low side for rentals. The cheapest we have is the Blade semi – automatic which over this 3 month duration the rental will be $350 total. Everything is under warranty from us during the travels.
For a proper motorbike, the XR 150c, and this would work out as a $650 rental over 3 months.

If you want a cheap manual motorbike, even if the bike is a toy, makes a bit of noise and will go from A – B. – Then get a Win

If you want to save money in every way shape and form – Then get a second Hand Honda Wave.

If you want to travel on something pretty new and perfectly maintained with a maximum chance of no breakdown drama – then get a Honda blade rental.

If you want to travel on a motorbike and are willing to raise the budget – then get a Honda XR

For more information on the Detech Win read our blog.

Hope that helps

Jon

Follow up email of passport concerns.

Date written: June 2017
passport question

Thanks for responding so fast!

That causes for a bit of concern for me. If anything would happen back home in Norway, and lets say we are at Danang, and need to travel back home (death or severe sickness in near family etc), we would be stuck and have no way to travel back. Why wouldnt a copy of our passport (like they do in so many other rental dealerships around the world) work just as well?

Hi

This is why we have a buy and buyback system which is what most customers use.

Having said that, delivery is so quick in vietnam that even in an emergency it can be dealt with. But if it is a concern, then don’t use the passport option ๐Ÿ™‚

In relation to the rest of the world….

The rest of the world has insurance, police and court systems to deal with theft.
The rest of the world also has registration documents and systems for vehicles.

Vietnam has….. nothing.

As lovely as people are, theft from backpackers driving 1000-3000usd motorbikes that can be sold easily at market value is a very real threat.

We are starting to use gps trackers in the aid of lowering deposits. But this is not in full swing yet.

You will find all companies in Vietnam have similar deposit systems.

Vietnam is not the rest of the world ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope that answers your question.

New driver and Thailand loop

Date written: March 2017
newdriverandthailan
Hello!

I was recommended to you by a friend and I am excited to not be wasting my time with a Chinese bike like I was previously planning to. Thank you so much for all the great info on your site.

I am interested in renting a Winner from you in early August, learning how to ride it and then going up to Hanoi. I have no experience driving motorcycles. I’m nervous about it, but if others have successfully done it.. I am also interested in taking the bike to neighboring countries, possibly Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. I am finished a job in Japan and am looking to roam around without too much of a strict schedule.

I do not have an international drivers license and I am nervous about that, but the info on your site says I should be ok.

I guess in addition to a reservation, I need some assurance that my plan is sound.

Thanks so much,

Your plan is sound apart from Thailand. Before 6 months ago, people were managing to get into Thailand. These days our customers have started failing.

Cambodia and Laos are fine. If you do decide to go across borders, I would recommend the Honda XR. Which is the most international bike out of the lot.
Also better for offroading, in both Laos and Cambodia you will be more comfortable with this.
However, if your heart is set on the Winner, this is fine as well.

The XR is$3000 buy
$2550 buyback within 35 days
$2400 buyback within 60 days
$2250 buyback within 90 days.

If for some reason you are not comfortable on a manual motorbike. Then you can switch to a semi automatic at the time.
There will be a motorbike that you can drive ๐Ÿ™‚

To deposit and have a bike waiting is $100 a bike. This contributes towards the total. Without a deposit we may not have anything available.

Attached is some more information in PDF.

I am way in August, but we have employees around who can help you.
Watch this video for driving a motorbike.

Let me know if you have further questions.

Jon

8 days with experience

Date written: June 2017
8dayswithexperience
Hello,

I’m planning a first visit to vietnam and have about 8 days to spend on the road.

There will be 2 of us, highly experienced bikers with many international journeys done.

Do you have any routes laid out or guided route for such a timescale? We want to see a lot of Vietnam and were wary of taking on a big north south trip if it means rushing through the country.

Trip is going to be in Spring next year

8 Days lends itself to a Hanoi — >> Hanoi north loop.
But in the North the weather and roads can be unpredictable.

I do not have much experience in the Northern areas, but this is the trip I did in 7 days and I can provide the GPS for it if needed. At the end of the video is a map of the route taken.
Hanoi and the North by Motorbike

Or a South loop, where the weather is likely to be more consistent and the drives flatter / more open.
South motorbike loop

We do not offer step by step GPS guides.

Attached is the map we give to customers, it is mostly South to North content.
The tour companies in Hanoi keep their routes secret and the fluctuations in road conditions means that providing GPS can sometimes send people down impossible roads. We are not experts in the Northern area.

We tend to give a basic route/concept and send people on their way. Vietnam is a good country for making things up as you go. Every location is within a confortable days drive of eachother and hotels + guesthouses are everywhere. For detailed routes, it may be worth trying (Insert trusted competition!).

Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Jon

Short south trip

Date written: June 2017

HI, Boss

I will rent motorbike for 5 days.

From 2017/07/05-2017/07/09

My Schedule plan as below:

2017/07/04 Arrive HCMC, Check and rent motorbike

2017/07/05 HCMC to Mui Ne

2017/07/06 Mui Ne to Nha Trang

2017/07/07 Stay at Nha Trang

2017/07/08 Nha Trang to Da Lat

2017/07/09 Da Lat to HCMC, Return motorbike

2017/07/10 Buffer day for contingency, Flight back to Singapore

My Enquiry as below:

1. If deposit 1000k by Creditcard is it ok, or need cash?

2. What is your shop location and operating hour?

3. Have any extra cost?

4. How about insurance?

5. International Driving Permit can use?

6. What are the accessory include in rental?

Waiting for your reply.

Have a good day!

Regards

Seems a good travel plan. Dalat to HCM is a big drive though ๐Ÿ™‚ But possible.

9-5pm is working hours (not sundays)
Can return Monday morning. Keep 5 days is fine.

Yes card is fine.
To deposit and have a bike waiting is $100, this contributes towards the total. Without a deposit we do not guarantee to have a bike available.
(Deposit link)

1. When arriving you use this page
(office deposit link)

Where you would pay $100 in non refundable deposit and $900 in refundable deposit.
When returning the motorbike we refund $900 + $100

2. Shop location is
HCM Motorbike Shop

3. no

4 and 5 . No insurance
International drivers license

6. Second hand helmets are free and ropes for the bike.

Let me know if you have further questions.

What to do if the XR breaks down

Date written: June 2017


Hi, Jon

I still have some questions:

1. If the bike break down on the road, how I going to deal with it?

2. If I have accident on the road, how I need to deal with it?

3. Is my Sinapore License and International driving permit not valid in Vietnam, if Trafic Police stop me, How?

4. Did you privde some spare parts in case of emergency such as inner tube, clutch cable, spark plug etc.

5. Is it simple tools provided?

Hope you can reply.

Best regards

1. If it breaks down. Go to a local mechanic shop and we will translate. The fixing cost is our responsibility. (apart from flat tires and oil changes)

2. We will translate for you. With the XR we come to an agreement. If you choose a Winner or Exciter, then go to a Honda shop and we use the bill they create. Local bikes are cheap to fix, the XR imported bike is not cheap to fix.

3. Traffic police, we explain in detail in person. Do not worry about this.

4. yes – Inner tubes. The bikes are not old enough to need spare clutch cables etc.

5. No need, mechanics are everywhere.

If you are worried about the above. Then choose a Honda Winner or Yamaha Exciter which are supported by official stores…. which makes life very easy if there is a problem.

Hope this helps.

Discount

Date written: April 2017

Thank you,

can you give us a discount if we rent 4 bikes?

No sorry, we operate off set prices to keep everything simple, easy and fair.
Jon

Short notice and discounts

Date written: Feb 2017

Dear Jon,

I’d like to rent the 6 bikes for 8 days. But I’m only interested at a price of 18$/day.
No problem for the deposit + passeport.
Please let me know if you have them available from Hanoi from April 10th to 18th.
Thanks

Sorry, we do not do discounts, and we do not have 6 bikes available on short notice.
Jon

Automatics reliability issues

Date written: May 2017
automatics

Hey there, I have just put the deposit down for the Honda Blade, however I don’t see an option on the drop down list for the Suzuki Hayate that my girlfriend wishes to purchase.

What would you like me to do?

Thanks

We don’t do automatics for travelling.

We always have them around, so worst case scenario she can take one.
However it is best if she can do a Blade. This is down to reliability issues on automatics.

Watch here on how to drive a motorbike in Vietnam.

Noted down for
2x Blade or 1 hayate
HCM
11th May

Jon

A rushed holiday

Date written: May 2017

Hello,

I would like to get a Honda XR on May 31 and return June 13th. Do I need to make a reservation in order to do that? Or what is the best way to accomplish that?
Going from HCM through Da Nang and ending in Hanoi.
Thanks,

It is possible.
HCM — > Hanoi is roughly a 10 day drive, all day every day. So the dates suggested are a rush.
Please read: ย Vietnam routes and mapsThe XR is
$3000 buy
$2550 buyback within 35 days
$450 total rent.Passport options also available.If you change your mind, only to Danang or HCM — >> HCM loop then the price is different.To deposit and have a bike waiting is $100 a bike, this contributes towards the total. Without a deposit we may not have anything available.Attached is some more information in PDF.Let me know if you have further questions.
Jon

Variety of questions

Date Written: Sep 2016

1) We are thinking of doing the whole HCM to Hanoi trip and going in April, or Mid march – Mid April. Is this a good time of year for the whole trip? Is this the best trip to do in your opinion?

March + April is a good time. Best time of year.

2) We see there are 2 possible routes to take when going from HCM to Hanoi, one is the Mountain and one the Coastal route? Is one better than the other? Is one easier than the other?

Not really, these days the coast in the south (+ dalat) then from Hoi An onwards inland along the loas border is the only proper way to go.
There is a map section on the website still being developed. But it is mostly there.
Vietnamcoracle covers most of it.

3) If we decided to just do Danang to Hanoi, do we miss much in the South? Is there a better time of year to do this ride?

These days customers are increasingly enjoying the south. New coastal roads around the Phan Rang area seem to be a favorite. If you had asked me 2 months ago I would have say no. Not missing anything.
Now I think the answer is yes, people seem to be enjoying the south a lot.

The best roads will always be Hoi An to Phong Nha on the laos border.

4) If there was a preference on what motorcycle to get, semi auto or manual, which is the better? The reason we ask is (name) can ride a semi auto, but would be happy to learn a Manual here before we go if you felt that would be a better option to tour on. Equally, if you thought I would be happy on the semi auto, we could go that way.

No right or wrong answer here. The semi-automatic is fine for the job. The most common motorbike type in Vietnam. You can’t go wrong on one. They are fun to drive, crashing/having small knocks are cheap to fix and you fit in with the local environment.
Essentially driving a “good” university student motorbike. Simple, efficient and reliable.

Manuals are rare here, and for the roads of Vietnam unnecessarily quick and powerful. If you enjoy driving then go for a manual. Else there is no need.
Driving person (manual) – Watching the country side (semi-auto)

Other advantages of manuals = proper brakes and better suspension.

The main feedback from the manual motorbike drivers is they like having the power to accelerate away and out of dangerous situations. Providing you have the skills to utilize the power then this can make experienced drivers feel more comfortable. (funny to say 150cc is powerful, but for Vietnam they really are.\)

5) Do you need a licence of any sort to ride in Vietnam?

To be legal yes. You need an international license + normal motorbike license from home. Since 2015 this is now legal.

6) If we were dong the HCM to Hanoi trip, and decided when we got to Danang or similar, that we had enough, can we stop and send the bikes back from there?

Yes you can.

Hope that helps.

Driving license

Date written: June 2017

Hi!
Quick question: I have a Norwegian drivers license that certifies me to drive; a car, tractor, snowmobile and motorbike/scooter (50cc) On the back of my license this is clearly illustrated with a picture of the different vehicles.. Would this be enough to be able drive legally?

To me it sounds like this is not valid.

You need a motorbike license from your home country + and international drivers permit.

Jon

Driving license further confusion.

Date written: June 2017

I didn’t understand can I ride a bike in Vietnam with just a UK driving licence

Legally, then no.
This means no insurance will be covered.

Can you do it ?
Then yes. Vietnam police do not properly enforce rules.
Backpackers drive up and down Vietnam without licenses all the time.

Please read a further article about the Mui Ne police.

Do so at your own risk though.

Jon

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