The motorbike market in Vietnam is a complex one. In this article, I am going to try and explain how to find a motorbike for sale.
Tigit’s sister website does have our old rental motorbikes for sale.
Different websites for buying a motorbike in Vietnam
- Craigslist – We know Craiglist from home, so the platform’s familiarity gives us a feeling of safety. On the contrary, Craigslist is probably the worst place to buy a motorbike. Full of dodgy dealers and individuals trying to get rid of shoddy motorbikes. No control and no policing leaves Craiglist open to dealers using bots to circulate trash.
- Backpacker hostels: Full of Chinese motorbikes sold by backpackers trying to save on costs. A backpacker is unlikely to invest in basic maintenance, and the objective is a quick sale before flying out of the country.
- Facebook groups – Facebook is both good and bad, depending on the group. The easy to join backpacker groups are full of Chinese trash and dealers selling garbage to the uneducated buyer. However, the private groups (which are hard to find and difficult to join) are heavily moderated and controlled.
- Vietnamese shops – The hard part for the new arrival is figuring out what the shop specializes in. On the outside, they may look the same, but on the inside, they are not. Is this a shop selling Chinese motorbikes or real motorbikes?
- ChoTot – The Vietnamese version of eBay. A great way of getting an estimate of a motorbike’s value, but very difficult to buy from. Flooded by Vietnamese dealers offering crazy low prices. When you finally arrive to see the motorbike, they “sting raise” the motorbike price up. Having made you drive across the city for the viewing, they use this to their advantage. Every estimate we see on ChoTot needs to be raised by a few million Dong for the real price.
Understanding a Vietnamese motorbike sale
It is essential to understand the Vietnamese buy and sell motorbikes to each other with the expectation of popping down to a mechanic shop to check over the motorbike and fix it up. An old battery, old tires, and no brakes are typical in a Vietnamese to Vietnamese sale.
Vietnamese sales won’t have warranties, and once the cash is handed over, the deal is done.
A foreigner is likely to expect a motorbike with everything checked in advance and ready to go. A warranty expected and a sense of decency in after-sales support. The culture gap between the western ideology of a vehicle sale and the Vietnamese ideology is a big one. It often leads to upset travelers.
Getting the right papers when looking for a motorbike for sale
Paperwork and ownership transfers of motorbike sales in Vietnam is a complicated topic. We have a full article on blue cards in Vietnam that covers the subject in depth. There are many things to consider, which are explained inside our scale of legitimacy on the clue card article. In summary, you must decide on the motorbike’s value and then decide how much of the paperwork needs to be correct.
A Chinese or a “genuine” motorbike
Unknown to new arrivals in Vietnam is that the motorbike market is split into two sections. “Genuine” motorbikes and “Chinese Motorbikes.”
We may see a “Honda Wave” sold at $300 and a “Honda Wave” sold at $600. These are two completely different motorbikes, one made by Honda and one made by an unknown.
To the untrained eye, the motorbikes look the same. To the trained eye, they are entirely different. The Chinese motorbike market in general, is a scam. They do serve a time and place, but overall, we want to avoid Chinese motorbikes at all costs!
There are three ways to avoid accidentally buying a Chinese motorbike.
- Buy from a reputable source.
- Check the paperwork, which must say Honda (paperwork can be faked, though).
- Have experience with motorbikes and test drive them.
Benefits of genuine Motorbikes
Authentic motorbikes made by Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and countless other brands come with after service from the official mechanic shops. The circle of breakdowns foreigners often find themselves in is caused by using backstreet mechanic shops using Chinese parts. Tigit does have a mechanic shop for servicing authentic motorbikes. It is crucial to maintain your two-wheeled machine in genuine service centers. Real motorbikes are more reliable than Chinese Motorbikes, and it is cost-efficient to pay the extra for a quality machine. Chinese motorbikes break all the time, and those $5 daily fixes quickly mount up. Authentic motorbikes tend to be safe. Chinese motorbikes tend to be dangerous.