Infos for motorbike journey from Saigon to Hanoi.
Replies: 27 - Last Post: Dec 19, 2012 8:09 PM Last Post By: CanuckinHanoi
Aug 26, 2012 5:44 AM
Aug 26, 2012 5:55 AM
17mmmm... seems interesting.
Initially i thought that's the right way but after i thought that buying used bike could mean much troubles or break down.
Anyway, i know that is a common practice there. I think i need to negotiate the price and in some way check if the bike is not for the junk yard. Is so easy to find out where to buy in HCMC ?
Aug 26, 2012 6:30 AM
18If the hire bike broke down would it be your responsibility to fix it?
Yeah knowing what to look for really helps when buying a bike really helps, although you can still get stung. My first bike, an Aprilia RS 125 Extrema looked in beautiful condition and lasted about 8 hours before the problems started to fire up.
I think it's pretty easy to buy in HCMC but you might want to get a first hand account from someone who's done it. You can always stick a post up on TT saying you are looking for a 125 and something will turn up.
Aug 26, 2012 8:19 PM
19don't buy a minsk, they brake down all the time...
a honda WIN 100 or 110 is common troughout the country, cheap and easy to fix
thing about buying a bike from other tourist is that they are mostly 100 or 110's not many 125's
bikes WILL break down or need a bit of fussing about
on the trip i just did, 5 bikes, 1 lost all electricity, no matter we drove in daytime and he pushed started it,
I lost a mirror,
the other 3 bikes were next to new, but still needed a bit of tightening up along the way, and all 3 are in the shop now for tune up and tightening up ...
but it is all cheap and easy ...
you can PM me for info on roads and such ... as well as info on buying a bike ...
Sep 24, 2012 4:20 AM
20saigon to hanoi
iam planning to do this my self but are you going alone? cause i was told that would'nt be much fun,
a honda dream is a great bike with lots of power. thats what i would choose. westerners always get rip off too so it might be better if u find a tour.
iam vietnamese myself living in australia n EVEN I GET RIPPED OFF. and i've heared its even worse in the north so get on a tour in would be much more enjoyable i think??
Sep 24, 2012 5:12 AM
Sep 24, 2012 5:17 AM
Sep 24, 2012 5:47 AM
Sep 24, 2012 5:53 AM
24There's a chap who parks his Vespa next to my bike, and they are the only scooter that makes me a little jealous. Not sure how little wheels work anywhere other than Italy though.
Dec 7, 2012 1:28 AM
25Hi we travelled from Hanoi to Saigon on motorbikes I June/ July this tear we were going to buy minsks and were advised against it because they were extremely unreliable and broke down constantly my husband is a mechanic and has spent his life on bikes!! We decided to hire Honda 160 s and are glad we did we only had the chain snap and the kickstart fall off so we were quite lucky one point I'd like to make is to make sure u have a reliable bike the journey is pretty full on and the traffic on the highway is horrendous and make sure u have a good helmet we actually bought new expensive (Vietnam expensive!!!) ones and sold them the trip was fantastic and we took twenty days travel from north to south definitely not long enough but it was fantastic good luck!!!
Dec 7, 2012 2:32 AM
26Ps we spent no more than 15 dollars a night on accommodation which u can get anywhere on the ride each place locked the bikes inside every night so it's completely safe it's more Cambodia that u need to worry about bike theft the bike shop we hired from paid for the broken kick start cos it was classed as internal but we had to pay for the broken chain which cost us about 10 bucks for a new chain and to be put on they are the most beautiful helpful people we snapped the chain going up one of the passes in the middle of nowhere n the breaks locked up n this guy stopped on his scooter and put his foot on the peg n pushed us both over the hill n to a workshop !!
Dec 19, 2012 8:09 PM
27I've been living in Hanoi for the past 10 months and have been renting numerous types of bikes through a great local shop called Phung Motorbike (2wheeslvietnam.com).
They specialize in Minsks (owner has been supplying bikes, esp. the Minsk for tour groups for 20yrs) and pretty much every Honda model that is available in VN - from Wave 100cc to Baja XR 250cc.
My favorite bike was the Honda GL 160cc, a heavier bike than the Win with a longer frame, making it more comfortable for my legs on those 4hr trips to the next town. Enough grunt to pass trundling tour buses with front disc brakes for avoiding errant riders drifting along the lanes.
I've ridden the Minsk around the city and prefer riding it with little traffic around to really enjoy the great riding position, suspension and two-stroke torque. I find they require more attention than your modern scooter because of it's +15yr age, need for oil to be mixed with the fuel and attention to the condition of the sparkplug.
If you don't beat on the bike by blasting through the gears and manage to keep a good fuel/oil ratio of 3-5% in the tank, then the Minsk will hum along nicely with little need for maintenance. Electrical issues do crop up from time to time, such as drying coils in the generator, but this can be swapped out with a replacement fairly quickly by most mechanics so long as you have a spare part.
Phung, the owner of the shop provides all Minsk rentals with a bag of spare parts ranging from brake levers, clutch cables, generators, clutch chains and transformer boxes. Pretty much all you'll need for 90% of the repairs necessary on the road.
I have a couple friends who own Minsks in the city, one is rarely in the shop for servicing since the owner rides it casually, the other is in the shop constantly since my buddy bangs through the gears a bit too enthusiastically. So, keep in mind when riding this older bike it will serve you faithfully if you treat it with respect and know how to operate a manual bike efficiently.
If were in the countryside and need a mechanic to fault-find a problem with erratic power (carb tuning) or transmission issues, it will be a toss-up between finding a guru and one with little understanding of the Minsk. 20yrs ago, these bikes were the standard for rural use and so mechanics were dime a dozen, now the knowledge is waning, so be warned that without patience in seeking out a competent Minsk mechanic, you may end up with a bike with worse problems that you started.
The owner is also very proud of his bikes and gives on the road assistance by conversing with your mechanic on what needs to be done and how to do it judging by the symptoms of the bike.
This I learned by having rented from Phung several times to range out to the countryside with Honda Wins to AX-1 250cc bikes all rented from him. None of his bikes are new, but they are well-serviced before they go out, but issues do crop up time to time like faulty wiring or a defective part from China (often is the case here, parts are sold as new but some guys in the parts market like to make a little extra by selling like-new refurbished parts to shops).
Anyhow, I'd say go for the Minsk because in a couple years they will be a fading memory as more shops stop renting them out because of scarcity of replacement parts and the VN gov't introducing new policies to curb the use of exhaust heavy motorbikes (ignoring the fact that local buses and trucks pump out 500% more emissions, but that's another story).
Good luck with your trip and have a great time! It's a blast riding here so long as you are patient and willing to compromise.
Oh, just noticed you are starting in Saigon- you can visit Phung's buddy in HCMC who runs Saigon Minsk, I can't speak of his bikes but if Phung uses him as his agent in HCMC, then he should have a worthy Minsk for your trip.
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