Adapting to riding small.

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - General Discussion Forum' started by bigal, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. bigal

    bigal Ol'Timer

    I have lived in Chiang Mai for 5 years and for the biggest part of that time I have been riding Harley Davidson motorcycles. I started with a nippy Sportster which always made me smile as it would be refered to as a little Harley, 883cc and it is a little bike.

    It wasn't long until I took a shining to a Softail which I duly bought and enjoyed on rides both long and short.

    I didn't get out on rides a huge amount and so, just after filing my tax return this year, I had a head over heart moment.
    The Softail is special and often a centre of attraction but it is expensive to keep in good nick on the road.
    Meanwhile, and to add to the logic bouncing around my brain, the pound sterling was falling like a stone making a mockery of retirement planning.
    I decided that I would sell the bike and ride around on a little twist and go for a while, after all, if my friends and I want to head off on a road trip, there is no shortage of bike rental places in Chiang Mai.
    So that was that, bike sold and zipping down town on the family Scoopy i... Well not quite, the Scoopy is a little underpowered for someone of my frame and my friend had already been refused a Scoopy from a rental shop because they thought him to be too big. I may not be tall like him but my weight fluctuates between 110 and 120kg so there is a lot to shift.
    We both tried out the PCX150 and it seemed to be capable of taking the load so the question was, do I go and buy one, pay the cash and start riding something one tenth of the engine size of my Softail or rent a bike any time I want to go further than big c?
    My decision was to go ahead and buy one. This was influenced in no small way by a guy who goes by the nom de plume of Captain Slash.
    OK I have only been on 1 ride with him but I have read of his travels on his website and on forums such as this and as far as I can gather, Cap'n Slash has done most of his Asian rides on smallish bikes. I decided I would follow his lead.
    Of course this means that I no longer have the big flashy bike to attract the girls...

    but that is probably a good thing as they always had boyfriends close by...
    So order placed, in March 2013, I took possession of my brand new PCX150.
    Naturally, it needed to be Blessed

    So what is it like moving from a large hunk of a bike to a light nimble thing with a fraction of the power? Well, I am finding out.
    So I have had the bike out for a couple of small rides to far, the handbook says it should be run in for the first 500km so it will be a week or more before it really gets some full throttle but I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised.
    The first ride was a short trip taking the 1317 east and following it round until it meets the 118. I have done this small ride many times before but not for some time and I was surprised to see a place making use of solar power not far from my home.

    Once passed the turn off to the Sankampheng hot springs there was the first decent hill for the bike to climb which it managed nicely maintaining a respectable 60km/hr
    I resisted the temptation to take the road towards the flight of the gibbon and kept on. There are some nice views along the way.
    Once I had got to the 118 I turned towards Chiang Mai until the Doi Saket turn off so I could take the 1014 home via Bosang.
    80km and most enjoyable.
    The day after I did a loop to the Maengad dam, following the 800 year ring road over to highway 107 and turning north towards Maerim. I avoid riding through Maerim northbound taking the road by the canal rejoining the 107 at the junction with the Samoeng road. North again to Mae Teng where I turned left to take the road to the dam. It is another one of those pretty roads with things to see along the way and I am finding this one of the really nice features of riding a small twist and go bike. It is just so easy to stop and have a look at something and or take a picture like this colourful field on the way
    and the flags on the bridge

    I went to the east side of the dam, by the spillway, the last ride before then to the dam I was on the Harley
    but this time this was the picture I took of the bike parked up.

    The water level is certainly low,

    So having taken photos to prove I was here (some would say I took photos because I had a new smartphone to play with) I headed back taking the 1323 to the 1001.
    On the way I passed a small lake with lots of Thais on boats and rafts fishing (I think).

    I love to know more on this "fishing" area.
    I like the 1001 and its sweeping bends and even though I was trying not to go too fast as the bike is running in I forgot a couple of times and saw the speedo registering over 100km/hr. The final leg off the trip was on the 121 round to the 1317 and home, the fuel gauge had just started to blink on its last sector so it is time to refuel, the tankful has taken me about 220km which isnt too bad a range but way short of the close to 400km the Softail could do on a full tank.
    2 days of riding a little twist and go and I am ready for more. The seat is giving me **** ache but every bike I change to does that for a while until either the seat or my **** beds in. I really like the easy to stop, hop off, take photos and just park the thing. One thing I did feel on the trip to the dam was the wind, to state the obvious, you feel it far more on the PCX than the Softail.
    I want to get a couple more days of riding in before songkran so on Monday I went for a ride to the Mae Chedi Wiang Pa Pao.

    I again took the 1317 round to highway 118 but this time I turned right and headed towards ChiangRai. I quite like the 118 to ride on apart from the nutters who cut corners and overtake wherever they like. We all know the rule (don't we) "I am bigger than you and I am coming through get out of my way even if that means get off the road flash flash".
    I had a brief stop at the ChiangRai hot springs, the highest hot springs in Thailand or so they claim, habit really, I always have a bit of a walk around here.
    The shops are selling some novel souvenirs, I wonder how they get them into a suitcase?

    I didn't spend long here, just enough to see a cremation procession passing by

    Then off I went to see the chedi which is visible ffrom the 118. There is more than one hill top chedi here from what I can see.
    The road to the chedi offers a good frame for the building and I imagine a good photo when the place is not smogged in.

    Up a bit of a steep road and there I was.

    There is a sort of Chinese pagoda that you pass on the way as well.

    Well worth a look.
    Setting off back and on the 118 I fuelled up then rode to the coffee view for a cold drink

    Then it was back via the 118 to Doi Saket then taking the 1014 to Bo Sang and home via a D milk shop to get a milo dip for my wife.
    About 220km in total and a lot of fun.
    So with well under 100km until the official running in period or more correctly distance was covered, the day after I set of to climb to the top of Doi Inthanon. What I wanted to see was could the little bike lug a fat bloke like me up some of the prolonged steeper gradients that I was likely to come across.
    Around the 121 to the 108 I enjoyed how nimble the thing was a t getting through the traffic at Hang Dong and San Pa Thong. I called for some fuel just before the right turn onto the 1009.
    My first stop was at the junction just before the entry to the national park by the Wat and waterfall, for some reason I like to stop and take a picture there, lorn knows how many I have so here is one I took on this trip.

    Entry into the park cost me 60THB, 40 for me and 20 for the bike.
    It was very enjoyable riding up the road with its twists and turns and soon I took the turn off to the right down to the Wachirathan waterfall. Another place I always call in at.

    I like the coffee at the shop there and the girl always has a smile and I have seen her having to deal with some difficult customers but always a smile.

    After my iced coffee, it was onward and upward and the little bike did well until we passed the check point.
    The road steepens in sections from then on and that did reduce my speed to 50-60kmph with one or 2 spots where it went right down to 40-50kmph but overall I was taken to the summit in reasonable order.
    It is amazing how much colder it is up there.

    given that back in ChiangMai it was hitting 38c or more.
    I thought it right and proper to get a picture of the bike by the neutron monitor sign (and I will put one on the doi inthernon picture thread as well)

    I was interested how the brakes would feel on the way down but to be honest they felt good all the way and sooner than later I was back on the 108.
    Once again I stopped at a place to take a picture, I have seen this becoming more complete over time.

    The dual carriageway allowed me to exceed 100kmph on a number of occasions and getting home was most enjoyable.
    So another 200km+ day trip done, running in distance exceeded and overall the little bike is proving to be a good buy.
    I will be leaving it at home until post Songkran now and I am looking forward to resuming my rides out in a week or so. Next on the agenda is probably the Samoeng loop and a couple more day trips to complete the 1000k and the 1st service so I expect there will be more to come on here...

    Note, It is some 18 months since this was posted and I have had a revamp of my photo sites. As a result of this I lost the links to this and I imagine other posts I have done. My apologies, I will try to stick some thumbnails as time goes by.
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  3. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Being a Big Guy I thought You would have went for the 300cc Forza instead of the 150 PCX Al? Good Luck with Your New Ride!
  4. bigal

    bigal Ol'Timer

    Hi Ian, I did take a look at it but I figured that going up to the Forza was like replacing the bike for a big scooter and deciding scooters were best for old farts like me. I wasn't quite ready for that leap so the pcx keeps it as an in between concept for the moment. Also the forza is considerably heavier as you would expect and I wanted a light bike option. Not sure how things will do, I am enjoying the pcx and I rode to Mae Chedi Wiang Pa Poe yesterday and will do doi inthanon today partly as a see how the little beast does. Have noticed riders of real bikes don't acknowledge fat blokes on scooters though.
    All the best.
  5. bigal

    bigal Ol'Timer

    It has been a good few days Colin. The bike has had to work hard to get up Doi Inthanon but it held its own. I have added a couple of days onto the post now.
    Hope we get to meet for a beer sometime. Al
  6. bigal

    bigal Ol'Timer

    Would be great, you are most welcome at my place or we can meet in a bar/cafe etc
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Glad your enjoying the new bike. As Slash has proved bigger is not necessarily the only way to go.
    On a smaller bike you do go slower, so tend to actually see more & then stop more = you learn more.
  8. bigal

    bigal Ol'Timer

    Thanks David, fully agree especially with the "stop more" and so actually look and photo interesting things. Looking forward to finding things out. Al
  9. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    Bigal, sure you will enjoy the PCX, as David stated you go at a slower pace and tend to see more, had this experience on the Scooter run to Mae Hong Son years ago, suddenly I saw that there's petrol everywhere. While zipping past on one of my biggies I wouldn't even dare to look left or right. And power of these 125-150cc scooters is sufficient to get 2 persons up and down the mountains anyway. Remember 23 years ago on my first long time visit to LOS I had a Honda Dream 100cc in MHS and it took me not much longer to go to CNX than today on one of my bigbikes. Enjoy the scoot ! Rgds, Franz
  10. bigal

    bigal Ol'Timer

    Cheers Franz many thanks for the encouragement. Have a safe and happy Songkran.
  11. Changnoi1

    Changnoi1 Ol'Timer

    Big or small ... it all depends on your definition of "fun" .... oops this sounds weird!
    Some people hit the road pure for the riding, other people hit the road for the traveling .... can both be done with big or small bikes.
    Must be said that I think on smaller bikes it is easier to go weird places. But I do not see myself riding the 110km from Khon Kaen to Nam Nao on the Kawasaki KSR from my wife.

    Chang Noi
  12. bigal

    bigal Ol'Timer

    Cheers Changnoi, the most I have done on a ride so far has been about 240km I think ir 120km there and back, once the PCX is past the 1,000km mark I think I will do the Mae hong son loop which should be interesting and, I hope, "fun"

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