Buying a bicycle in Mandalay
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Jul 28, 2013 1:27 PM Last Post By: bikiesteve
Nov 26, 2012 9:38 AM
Buying a bicycle in MandalayApologies for cross-posting with the Myanmar forum :(
I need some help to decide whether buying a touring bicycle in Mandalay or purchasing it in Bangkok and taking the risk of damage during the flight and the trouble of packaging, etc.
Previous posting mentioned that a bicycle with front suspension was strongly advisable for the roads in Burma. With this in mind, could you tell me about the quality and price range of bicycles that can be bought in Mandalay? I'd say that my best dream would be a second-hand, Western-style bicycle (medium-range Shimano gear), but I've happily cycled with Chinese bicycles with a decent gear in the past.
Nov 26, 2012 7:06 PM
1i've been around Burma 3 times on a Race/touring bike....suspension not really necessary. it's up to you.
I know there is a "good " bicycle shop in Rangoon (australian owner i think) with decent MTB. (But, i don't remenber exactely where! )
Once i even came across about 20 americans with a race bike on my way from Thazi up too Kalaw.the road was very bad,but that was OK. ( "spices road" or such organisation probably)
Nov 27, 2012 3:08 AM
2the roads in myanmar, the ones open to tourists anyway, are mostly in very
nice condition. no need for suspension.
but don't even think of buying a bike there. all you'll find is cheap knock-offs
of cheap chinese knock-offs! good bikes will be cheaper in bangkok, and
you'll have a selection of models, sizes, and accessories.
[yes, there is a bike shop in yangon, but it's way out of the city center, about
an hour by bus (at least) from my guesthouse, so i didn't go there.]
there is one (small) decent bike shop in mandalay with some accessories and
parts, they can do repairs.
packaging will be no trouble, the shop you buy from will box it up for you.
your hotel in yangon or mandalay will hold your box for the return flight.
airlines will charge you extra for the bike. last july, air asia charged $16
for 20kg sporting goods.
Nov 27, 2012 4:52 AM
Nov 27, 2012 10:48 AM
Nov 28, 2012 4:32 AM
5I only saw one bike in Myanmar which was not a heavy Thai or Chinese 1 or 3 speed. A local in Pakkoku had a good bike which he had bought in Rangoon. It appeared to be pre-used bike from Japan. Many things sold in Myanmar are pre-used from Japan and other developed countries, eg cars, buses, clothes, etc. But certain aspects of the presentation of this bicycle suggested that the original owner may not have been voluntarily involved in the transaction.
Travelling with a bike by plane is annoying, but not so annoying as to risk trying to buy a bike somewhere as unpromising as Mandalay, unless you are happy with a heavy utility bicycle.
The road surface in Myanmar is rough enough in places that you may prefer to have a rest from the vibrations by riding along side the road on a worn cycle/footpath that exists in places.
Nov 28, 2012 12:43 PM
6Given the advise I will focus in buying a bicycle in Bangkok.
I've done some research and, unless I missed some interesting comments here are my conclusions:
- There are three main options: personal announcements, bicycle shops and supermarket chains.
2) Bicycle shop comments:
- Probike seems to be the most popular, others mentioned are Sukumvit in Silom and Lat Phrao.
- (2010) laromagnola: "a store in Nonthamburi (Nonthaburi) called Saengthong (Saeng Thong Bike and Part). They are very nice and speak English. You can take bus 63 from JJ market and get off at Wat Tinnakorn" ... "The most popular bike store in Lumpini Park has just about the same bikes but for considerably higher prices"
- (2010) Albin_2 "Velo Thai, at Samsen Soi 2, near Khao San Road, is a good shop" including Trek at reasonable prices, but with language limitations (at least in 2009).
- (2011) goo_steward: LA is the biggest Thai brand and their bikes start at about 4000. Maybe a second hand bicycle from http://www.velothailand.com/ the
- (2012) saljes: some bike shops in Nontaburi or Pathum Thani, they are cheaper than the ones in central Bangkok.
3) Supermarkets: "big supermarkets like Big C ,Tesco /Lotus etc have mountain bikes from B4,000" (goo_steward, 2011)
Would anybody have an additional comment?
Nov 29, 2012 7:46 AM
7Hi Pipiolo- on the road again, I am glad to see.
Velo Thailand will rent you a bike, or would probably buy back if you buy from them. They are very good, and I had no problem with language.They have moved a Soi down the road.
Flying with AirAsia is good.They do 2 weights for bikes and cost is not a lot. Packing can be as simple as film - I used cooking film last time I flew with them.
Generally flying in Asia is good - when I returned from Burma, they had added extra packing to protect my bike and other luggage.
Nov 29, 2012 8:26 AM
Yes, after three years and two twin boys, cycling again :)
It's going to be short this time though, as I only have two weeks or so.
Thanks for your comment (and all the other above). Albin http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2278547&messageID=20555184#20555184 also recommended Velo Thai and I decided I'll go there. In fact, I will email them to see what's the situation.
Nov 29, 2012 9:39 PM
Nov 30, 2012 11:52 AM
Nov 30, 2012 11:56 AM
Here's a post I found about a new bike shop in Mandalay:
I'm planning the same thing next year around late Oct.
If you make it there, post about this or any other bike shop you found and prices.Or what it costs in BKK. Remember then you have to leave with the bike for customs. I was hoping to donate it to a monastery at the end , so would need to buy it in-country
And post routes!
I'm hoping to do Mandalay>Monywa>Bagan>Popa>Mandalay, and Hsipaw> Mandalay if there's time,
So, give a road update if you do any of these.
Best of luck!
Nov 30, 2012 12:43 PM
12Thanks for the info :)
The first-of-a-kind is likely to be expensive and the prices quotes (400.000 - 4.000.000) are already above my budget. On the other hand a bicycle bought in BKK can be sold in Mandalay and the money donated.
After the advice of chou and others here, I feel inclined to ride to Lashio, possibly with a first train to Pyin Oo Lwin or even Hsipaw, and cycling all the way back. However, this should be 5 days (plus maybe 1 - 2 for trekking), and I could try another route south of Mandalay.
Indeed I will post the trip in crazyguyonabike.
Nov 30, 2012 6:20 PM
13"Remember then you have to leave with the bike for customs."
why? i don't recall customs searching my bike box. they did ask whuzzat
when i came in....i said bicycle, they waved me on. i didn't put bike on
any customs declaration form.
"new bike shop in Mandalay"
haha, they're long closed, as i found when i went to their address. they
have moved to way out in the suburbs in yangon. i think they also have
a shop in bagan, but i heard that after i had left. BUT there is a nice new
bike shop about 2 blocks east of that closed location. i've misplaced their
business card....but they are located about 50m east of the intersection
of 37th and 78th streets.
"I feel inclined to ride to Lashio, possibly with a first train to Pyin Oo Lwin or even Hsipaw, and cycling all the way back. ....and I could try another route south of Mandalay."
the train from mandalay leaves at 5am-ish and takes forever. just ride up to
pyinOO. train from there leaves at 8:30, gets you to hsipaw early afternoon.
the ride to lashio is nice (a little trafficky, and lashio is nothing special). the
ride back from hsipaw takes you thru the awesome gorge, down and up
a long series of switchbacks. say hello to the nice police/soldiers at the
bottom! you don't need to return to mandalay to go south. there is a newish
shortcut highway about 16km east of mandalay, which hits the southbound
highway (to kyaukse) about 10km south of mandalay.
Nov 30, 2012 7:43 PM
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