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Touring Vietnamese Style!

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by hondawinning, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. I just wanted to share the trip that I did almost 2 years ago now (January 2015) that really confirmed my interest and love of bikes and biking!

    I'd never ridden a manual bike before we (my girlfriend at the time) rode from Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam to Hanoi in the north via almost everywhere in between. Our trusty steeds were two "Honda Wins" which were not Hondas but did do some winning on the trip! They were (allegedly) 110cc bikes and are some of the only fully manual bikes you can get in Vietnam. They are popular with backpackers and the like doing exactly what we did.

    We had our backpacks strapped to the makeshift luggage racks that came with the bikes and could do about 300kms per day if we really pushed it. We avoided big days like this once we found out we only had one sub-par headlight between us. The bikes got a bit of oil on the chain every couple of days and an oil change about every 800-1000km. Other than that they only got worked on if something broke which, surprise surprise, happened fairly often.

    Overall the trip was absolutely unforgettable for both good and bad reasons. It completely sold me on motorbikes being my preferred method of overseas travel and also convinced me to buy a bike when I got back to the city.

    I've never really shared this trip with 'motorcycle people' before so I'd be interested to hear what you all think and answer any questions!

    Thanks for reading!


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  2. Tell us more!!! Sounds like an episode of Top Gear ;)
  3. It was pretty much exactly what they did on Top Gear except (correct me if I'm wrong) they were on the common semi-automatic bikes. Also from memory they rode most of it on the main highway which we avoided like the plague! The more isolated roads away from the highways were by far the best!
  4. Looks like an awesome, yet sketchy, trip to be had! Nothing like an adventure to lift ones spirits.
  5. You my friend are an adventureous rider. There are so many top places to see and by bike is the best.
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  6. Awesome! How did you cope with learning to ride a (manual) bike on dodgy roads? Any incidents?
  7. Sketchy is the exact right word to describe a lot of the trip in regards to the bikes. The roads were sketchy, the bikes we sketchy, the way we were riding them was sketchy, the mechanics were sketchy. It was sketch city basically.

    I think I did well learning in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City! I'd never even driven a manual car so I didn't even have the clutch knowledge which would have made it a lot easier. The top speed of our bikes was only 70-80 km/h and that was on a wide open dual carriageway. So there were a few minor incidents but mostly at low speed. I lost my rear a little bit in a couple of corners in the mountains. Too much rear brake (didn't know that using both brakes at once was most effective) and carried braking into the corner.
    We mostly found that if you ride like the locals (including at their speed) you survive pretty well! :D