The Honda XR is an international household name, and is a motorbike that is suitable for both on and off-road driving. Most off-road enthusiasts will be familiar with the Honda dual sport series, Honda Baja, Honda XR and Honda CRF.
The motorbike is known for its indestructible capabilities and unbeatable reliability, which causes confusion when people land onto the Tigit website to read disclaimers of it being our least reliable motorbike.
At Tigit we love the Honda XR and it has quickly become our second most popular travel rental motorcycle.
We also use it within our fully guided motorcycle tours.
What is The XR Dirtbikes Reputation?
The Honda XR is reliable and true to its international reputation of being indestructible. The problem with the Honda XR is that it is imported into Vietnam, which means official and certified Honda mechanics will not service the motorbike. This means that it can only be serviced in backstreet mechanics, many of which have no idea about motorbikes.
This can lead to a small problem becoming a big problem. Something simple like fixing a flat tire on a big dirt bike is a challenge to a mechanic who has never touched anything beyond a small Chinese scooter.
Why is this different to locally supported motorbikes?
With locally supported motorbikes such as the Honda Blade, Yamaha Exciter or Honda Winner, the official service centres are trained to fix locally manufactured motorbikes. A crash or breakdown can be fixed within minutes and most parts are stocked on site. For the traveller this means that nearly any unfortunate event that occurs on a holiday can quickly and efficiently be dealt with.
With the Honda XR, Tigit motorbikes will have to translate over to a mechanic, and determine if the shop has the skills and knowledge to fix the motorbike. This can be a repetitive process and does not always work first time.
In reality, the after service of the official Yamaha and Honda stores is incredible and provides an amazing convenience for beginner riders. For experienced riders, this level of after service is not really needed. It is a unique marvel of Asia and works because of the cheap mass production of standardised and simple scooters. The XR motorbike rental would be no different to somewhere back home, where after service tends to be a slightly more drawn out process. This is why official Honda stores have no interest in fixing imported motorbikes. They simply don’t have the time.
How often is there serious problems?
The Honda XR has never had a serious breakdown when in use by Tigit Motorbikes. On occasion gas tubes can get bent which restricts gas flow, suspension seals can also break which causes the front forks to leak. The Honda XR also takes a very long time to warm up, which seems to alarm and upset first time riders. These are minor problems, and we have never had a breakdown that stops a holiday.
More commonly, the XR has issues in relation to the driver. Such as accidental adjustment of the clutch causing it to burn out. A traveller randomly extending a holiday and driving more KM than anticipated resulting in the chain and sprocket set becoming old.
Replacement parts are not stocked by any mechanics on the roads of Vietnam. Which means regular maintenance such as replacing chain and sprockets must be done in major cities, and the driver should have the skills to detect this before disaster strikes on remote mountain roads.
A crash can be time consuming, difficult and expensive to fix as parts are not locally stocked.
With locally supported motorbikes the official dealership will have the parts on site for regular maintenance, and they have the ability to fix nearly all crashes, big or small… usually within hours.
The purpose of our disclaimers
Tigit rents to a wide variety of travellers, many of who are not really adventure seekers or have nearly no experience with motorbikes. The aim with our disclaimers on the Honda XR page is to create concern about the model to avoid first time riders pre-booking the motorbike without understanding what they are doing. An experienced biker or a thrill seeker will have no problems travelling on the Honda XR and it can be considered a reliable and safe choice.
From our stance, we prefer travellers who are not adventure seekers to stay away from the XR and to choose a locally supported motorbike. We are grateful to Honda’s world class after service, and it allows the casual riders to experience Vietnam safely and with a guarantee of no drama. For a holiday where absolutely nothing major can go wrong, the driver should choose a locally supported motorbike. For everyone else, the Honda XR is a fine choice!