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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 31 Aug 2006
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Location: Vietnam
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To Minsk or not to Minsk

Hi,
My name is Jo. I am currently living and working in Vietnam. I have never owned a bike, and only have a bit of Asian riding experience. I wont pretend that I know anything about bikes or what to look for in a machine that will hopefully take me anywhere I want to go. Ultimately I would like to ride from London to Cape Town.

Minsks are everywhere in northern Vietnam. Apart from being stinky smokey things, they appear to be very very fixable, tough and, here at least, cheap.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am really looking at setting up a bike that would be easy to ride (beginner, have my licence) maintain and just keeps on going! Any idea of budget for setting myself up with all gear would be great too.

Ta Much
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  #2  
Old 31 Aug 2006
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as far as i know: a minsk is a mz cloon, so it should do pritty well. the 2stroke engine needs a mix of petrol and oil to run. if i was you i would try to find one that has seperat oil and fuel tank, that way you can adjust the mixture to you driving style.
i see no problem why you shouldn't drive one from london to cape town
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  #3  
Old 30 Nov 2006
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Hi Jo,
Great to read about your project if it is still planned. Should you speak french you could find interesting stuff on the following web-site http://perso.orange.fr/mathieu.bringer
A friend and myself both rode on a Minsk from Hanoi to Paris in 2002. Lots of hassles but if your budget is limited everything remains possible on it (!) especially in so called "third world" countries where mechanics are much more inventive and flexible than in the western developped world.

Axel
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  #4  
Old 30 Nov 2006
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Just another point concerning the oil/fuel mixture. The current system you may find on newer models that manages automatic mix will be always desactivated in Vietnam. The reason is that this system is not reliable at all (most will break ending up with no oil addition while riding, thus causing the engine to breakdown). By the way, don't forget a bottle of vodka if you run out of petrol. Minsks are thirsty!
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  #5  
Old 7 Dec 2006
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I'm a fan of riding a local type bike in the country I'm in - enfield in inia, ural in russia etc, even withthe headaches.

An interesting side note though - Honda used to have 70% of the market share in vietnam in the new motorcycle sales department, and now they only have 30%, largely as a result of the chinese invasion. Some of these are almost direct copies of the hondas, even with stickers like "hondarl".

So, maybe even consider a chinese bike.....but thoroughly go over it for safety, durability etc.

See which ones wiz by with a family of seven and the chickens on the way to market.....always amazes me how many poele they get on a bike in Asia.
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  #6  
Old 7 Dec 2006
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Location: Switzerland
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Just do it ! Do it now !

Riding a Minsk in Vietnam is just great, especially in the mountainous area of Northern VN. Much more fun with a Minsk than with any other bike.

A couple of notes:

- last november, when buying my Minsk in Hanoi at Cuong's Motorcycle, I talked with a frenchman who runs Compagnie Bourlingue alias http://www.freewheelin-tours.com/

He told me that in the future, the Hanoi authorities plan to ban 2 stroke motorbikes in the city because of the pollution (infos to be checked). Anyway, even today, you hardly see any Minsk in Hanoi (or if you see one, the rider is a foreigner)

- You'll still find Minsk in the north and in some countryside area in the center and in the south, but they are little by little replaced by chinese motorcycles (Honda made-in-China or other brands).

In the north, spare parts still can be found, but I think, this bike is going to disappear quickly. Take your chance to ride it while you can. Vietnam is changing rapidly. When back again on a Minsk this year after my first Minsk trip in 1993, I was struck to find so few of them nowadays.

@Axel: great adventure you did with those mighty Minsk !
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