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  #1  
Old 24 Dec 2012
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Riding a Honda ST1100 in Vietnam?

Hello All:

In the summer of 2013, I will be moving to Vietnam (Da Nang region) and will be living and working there for at least a year.

I'm not familiar with the country, and I am trying to determine if it would be appropriate to bring my Honda ST1100 motorcycle with me, or if it would be more appropriate to purchase a smaller motorcycle once I get there.

I am not concerned about import formalities, because my posting in Vietnam is quasi-diplomatic, therefore I don't expect there would be any "official" difficulties if I wanted to import the motorcycle.

My primary question, which is directed to forum members who have ridden in Vietnam, is this: Is a Honda ST1100 too big and too heavy for use in Vietnam (use both in smaller cities and for touring use)?

Michael
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  #2  
Old 24 Dec 2012
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Michael

Based on my travel in rural southern Vietnam in October 2012, I would say it will be too big...heavy traffic, 40 to 60 kph speed limit, rough roads, etc.

I suspect the cities would be the same.

Remember Ewan and Charlie in Russia (or was it Mongolia?) when the camera guy broke his bike, got a light local bike, and rode rings around the Bimmers....

BUT, I have been known to use "inappropriate" equipment at various times, and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Cheers

John
BTOAPAW
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  #3  
Old 25 Dec 2012
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Hi John:

Thanks very much for sharing your wisdom, that is greatly appreciated.

Do you know if it would be possible to buy a reputable brand (i.e. Honda or BMW) motorcycle with an engine in the 400 to 800 cc range once I arrive in Vietnam? Is that the kind of product that is sold in the country? I would not object to having to travel to Hanoi or HCMC to pick it up.

Michael
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  #4  
Old 25 Dec 2012
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400cc is a big bike in that part of the world. If you can ship something there due to your diplomatic "waiver" I'd find something in Canada and do that.

While the Triumph Tiger is indeed made in Thailand bringing a similar bike into the country is PAINFULLY expensive. 5-year old DRZs imported from Japan cost 50% more than a new one in the US, at least.

As a resident of the LOS (Land of Smiles) I can't even take my Thai registered bike into Vietnam without considerable hoop jumping, time and even then very specific limitations.

Use your "waiver" and take/bring what you want.

But I can't imagine even using a GS650 or a Husky TE630 to anywhere near it's limit there, the roads and traffic will make it somewhere between impossible and frustrating. Water-cooled engines are HIGHLY recommended.
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  #5  
Old 27 Dec 2012
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Based on my time riding in Vietnam, thousands of km,
You really feel out of place on a bike like that.
No way would I have a Honda Pan, in Vietnam.

Vette
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  #6  
Old 27 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
Hi John:

Thanks very much for sharing your wisdom, that is greatly appreciated.

Do you know if it would be possible to buy a reputable brand (i.e. Honda or BMW) motorcycle with an engine in the 400 to 800 cc range once I arrive in Vietnam? Is that the kind of product that is sold in the country? I would not object to having to travel to Hanoi or HCMC to pick it up.

Michael
.
Michael,

Being blunt now, but you will later thank me for it.
Get down of your high and mighty 400cc to 800cc motorbike pedestal.

Just get real, and look for nothing remotely bigger than a 250cc.
In all honesty, a 110cc Honda or 125cc is more than adequate, so just do your self a favour, forget 400cc to 800cc bikes.

vette
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  #7  
Old 27 Dec 2012
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Hello Vette:

Thanks for your suggestion, much appreciated.

I'm not 'on a pedestal' in any way - I've owned the ST1100 for almost 12 years now, it is the moto I am most used to. I've not ridden a smaller bike in 20 years (simply because I have not had the opportunity to do so).

I still have (traumatic) memories of riding across Canada in the 1970s on my Honda CB360 - it was just a bit too small for the job and was constantly "wound right out" maintaining 60 to 70 MPH, hence my thinking of getting something in the 400 to 800 cc range as a step down from the Pan.

I have never been to Vietnam, hence, I don't have any way to evaluate horsepower needs there - for that reason, I do appreciate your advice. I think I will wait till I get to Vietnam in the summer of 2013 and scope things out then.

Michael
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  #8  
Old 28 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
Hello Vette:

Thanks for your suggestion, much appreciated.

I'm not 'on a pedestal' in any way - I've owned the ST1100 for almost 12 years now, it is the moto I am most used to. I've not ridden a smaller bike in 20 years (simply because I have not had the opportunity to do so).

I still have (traumatic) memories of riding across Canada in the 1970s on my Honda CB360 - it was just a bit too small for the job and was constantly "wound right out" maintaining 60 to 70 MPH, hence my thinking of getting something in the 400 to 800 cc range as a step down from the Pan.

I have never been to Vietnam, hence, I don't have any way to evaluate horsepower needs there - for that reason, I do appreciate your advice. I think I will wait till I get to Vietnam in the summer of 2013 and scope things out then.

Michael
.
Hello Michael,

Vietnam isn't anything like Canada.
You will be averaging 60 to 70 KMH, seriously,
110cc or 125cc Honda's are all your going to need.
We did thousands of KM on them, great bikes, no need (or place) fro speed of big bikes in VN.

Vette
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  #9  
Old 29 Jan 2013
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Riding in Vietnam

I road a Minsk for most of my klicks in Vietnam. I have traveled around the country extensively. I rented a Suzuki DR 400 once and I was able to make great time but...one must realize that life is moving in slow motion there and people are definitely not expecting a vehicle to be traveling more than 60 or 80 kmh. I enjoyed making it from Son La to Ha Noi in about half the time it would have taken on the Minsk. I did not enjoy the video game like ride getting there. It would have been really easy to have taken someone's life. I read an account by some clown who rented a 250 and claimed to have run down a guy with a load of bananas. I hope it wasn't true. The locals don't look much when pulling out and such. They expect to be seen. Anyway, to make a long story even longer. When you get to Vietnam, if you are the type who will kick yourself for not bringing the big bike when some jerk has his at some bar, then see if you can bring it. If you are a guy who doesn't engage in those types of pissing contests, you will find yourself quite happy with a bike you can buy there. I noticed the last time I was in Hanoi they had some nice Japanese dual sports that are pricey but appropriate. Good luck
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  #10  
Old 29 Jan 2013
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150cc is all you will need. Anything else is overkill. Go slow and ENJOY THE RIDE. You will love Vietnam (hopefully) as the people are some of the most hospitable on earth.

Be safe,
Keith
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  #11  
Old 29 Jan 2013
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i rode a 110cc step trough when i lived there, and was still one the fastest things on the road. you're not going to need much bigger during the weekends, and large bikes are more work in the cities. are you going to commute by bike?
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  #12  
Old 29 Jan 2013
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I can only speak about "down in the delta" as it is some 20 years since I was last in Hanoi.

South of the Mekong, the ENTIRE area is "built-up" and urban by Western (well, Australian, at least) standards, and the highest legally permitted open-road speed I saw sign-posted for motorcycles was 60 kph, with some areas posted as 40 kph.

We rode two-up on a variable-speed step-through of 132 cc capacity, and were able to blitz the locals away from the traffic lights. (I am over 100kg, so the little 132 has some two-up weight penalties as we sped away from the cowds at the lights...)

Cheers

John
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