July 08, 2005 GMT
Philippines (Nov. 2005) - Bike Preparation

Purchasing & Preparing the Bikes

Our search for suitable bikes to tour the Philippines mainly involved keeping a close watch on the bikes listed for sale in the Motorcycle Philippines (MP) free classifieds and using the contacts of Martin Gino, our trusted friend in Manila.

Martin is also the HU Community Contact for the Philippines.

You can buy almost any type of motorcycle in the Philippines, from a Triumph Rocket III to the smallest of Chinese made scooters. Most of the major Japanese brand motorcycles officially released in the Philippines are sourced from China then assembled and badged in the Philippines. A Honda XLR200 released in the Philippines costs P105,000 new. A similar bike, if fully manufactured in Japan, would cost about P300,000 new.

When purchasing a second-hand motorcycle in the Philippines, You basically have three options; Chinese made & imported, Chinese sourced/Philippines assembled, and fully imported non-Chinese. For a percieved better build quality, we decided it was better to buy a fully imported, non-Chinese model.

In determining the type of bikes that would be best suited for this tour, consideration was given to the type of riding to be undertaken. The speed limits in the Philippines are 30kph, 50kph and 80kph (maximum). The roads we would be travelling on vary from good sealed roads to rough dirt tracks. The models had to have reasonable parts availability. The bikes must be properly licensed and legally able to carry 2 persons. With this criteria, we decided on dual-purpose type bikes of 200cc to 250cc capacity. Anything bigger would just be over-kill in both power and mass.

It wasn't long before the first suitable bike came to our attention. It was found in the MP free classifies, a 1991 Honda AX-1, asking P90,000 (about USD1,650 in 2005). The AX-1 was only released in Japan and grey imported into the Philippines. It is the same bike as the Honda NX250 (Baby Dominator) except that has been modified for the Japanese market by fitting duel headlights and replacing the alloy steel spoked wheels with all alloy.


1991 Honda AX-1

1991 Honda AX-1


Martin Gino inspected the bike and reported back that it was in excellent condition with 18,000km on it. The bike is a single cylinder water-cooled 4-stroke with electric start (only) and having provision for a pillion passenger. The only down-side to this bike was that the tyres where starting to perish, no mirrors, and a missing chain guard and front drive sprocket cover.

After the price was negotiated down to P75,000 (about USD1,300), I transferred P85,000 to Martin and the deal was done. The extra was to cover some of the costs for modification and a bit for Martin's time and effort.

The next step was to prepare this bike for 4 weeks of touring on Philippines "roads" carrying a rather large Australian and his gear. First, new tyres were ordered. Not being a common size, the tyres have to be specially imported. This importation involves a lead time of about 3 months. Lucky we bought the bike 7 months before it is needed.

While waiting for the new tyres, work started on the other preparation. This involved-


  • Giving the bike a complete service;
  • Fitting mirrors, chain guard & front sprocket cover;
  • Overhauling the rear shock and fitting a heavier spring for the expected loads;
  • Strengthen up the rear sub-frame to take the expected loads;
  • Replace the existing rear rack (not considered strong enough) with an MMC stainless steel rear rack suitable to take a Ventura/RJays/Gearsack rear bag.

While the AX-1 was being prepared, the search was on for another suitable bike for Greg Haig, my touring partener. This took longer than we expected. Dual purpose type bikes are not that readily available in and around Manila.

While looking for other bikes, our tour group numbers dropped to only two, myself and Greg. The others were unable to get time off work. Greg is more of a gung-ho type dirt rider, so his bike was to be more dirt orientated than the AX-1.

It took another 2 months before we found another suitable bike in good condition. It was a '91 Suzuki DR250 with an asking price of P75,000 (about USD1,350 in 2005), located in San Fernando about 130km north of Manila.

After an inspection by Martin, he negotiated the price down to P68,000 (about USD1,200 in 2005) after all outstanding taxes had been paid and the bike was purchased.


1991 Suzuki DR250

1991 Suzuki DR250


This bike is not standard. Inverted front forks and an after-market exhaust have been fitted and the rear suspension had been beefed up. Like the AX-1, this DR250 also needed some work to bring it up to an acceptable standard for our tour.


  • Giving the bike a complete service;
  • Fitting mirrors, chain guard & front sprocket cover;
  • Getting all the lights to properly work;
  • Strengthen up the rear sub-frame to take the expected loads;
  • Fit an MMC stainless steel rear rack suitable to take a Ventura/RJays/Gearsack rear bag.

Fortunately, the DR250's tyres were found to be still in an acceptable condition for the tour.

Now that the bikes are purchased and being prepared, time can be spent planning the trip.

Posted by rbscairns at July 08, 2005 07:43 AM GMT
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!