Advice for first time rider, Chiang Mai?

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - General Discussion Forum' started by msnarski, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. msnarski

    msnarski New Member

    Hi all, I spent a fair bit searching around the (extremely useful!) forum but couldn't find any advice for first time rides in Chiang Mai -- maybe because someone who has never ridden a motorbike shouldn't be having his first go in Thailand! I cycle a lot on very busy streets and I have fair road awareness, so I feel like a combination of very slow and careful driving and sticking to easy roads should maximize my likelihood of survival. That being said, three questions: 1) Is this just a bad idea? I feel confident I can pick up a moped and drive off without too much difficulty. Am I plain wrong? 2) Can anyone recommend any easy routes, i.e. roads without too many bends, no gravel, etc.? I've read a bunch about Samoeng and it's the route I'm considering, though the start counter clockwise from the 107 seems to be on a pretty busy road. Any other good ways to get on the loop from quieter roads? Also, I imagine I should rent a semi-auto rather than auto for the hills -- or would a simple auto moped be able to tackle the loop? The only thing I'm worried about is breaking and going downhill... 3) Is there anyone who'd like to tag along and show me the ropes? I plan to go in the next few days, maybe Monday, starting early in the morning to beat the afternoon rain. Best regards and thanks in advance for any help! Michael
     
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  3. msnarski

    msnarski New Member

    I apologize for the poor formatting, not sure what happened, and I see no way to edit.
     
  4. Personally I think you are approaching it all very sensibly..... nothing wrong with hiring a scooter and doing Samoeng loop, or up the hill past the zoo to Doi Suthep...... believe me, you will not be the first! Every time I do the MHS loop I see loads of folk on scooters doing CM - Pai - CM.
    Chiang Mai's not a bad place to learn riding..... some say the traffic is hell (ha! bet they've never ridden Pattaya every day for 15 years!!) but I find the drivers/riders up here far better than in Pattaya or the Big Mango.
    Go on, rent a PCX and take a run up Doi Suthep...... after that you'll be gagging to do the Samoeng Loop, and after that....... knees in the breeze, flies in the teeth, you'll be hooked for life!
     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Start with a non automatic. Honda Wave - Dream.
     
  6. lordofthedreadz

    lordofthedreadz Ol'Timer

    I disagree, as a long timer on proper motorcycles I still have problems to handle the upside down gears on Dream and things like.

    If you want something to move around without assle, an automatic scooter is definitly the way to go, perfect in town, fuel efficient and some are even confortable and powerful enough to ride the mountains.

    On the other hand, if you are interested in learning how to drive a proper bike, you might consider buying a CBR 150, a MSX 125 or a D-tracker / KLX 150 depending on what is the mos appealing for you. They are perfect first bikes in my opinion and quite fun to ride.

    Since renting a motorbike is quite cheap in Chiang Mai I would advise to rent and try before buying.
     
  7. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    I agree with Dave as a Wave uses half the fuel as an auto scooter but more importantly offers engine braking when going down hills unlike an auto which disengages the gears and free rolls down gaining speed, therefore your forced to use the brakes.
    Be alert, keep eyes roving and anticipate other road users.
    My two bobs worth, good luck mate.
     
  8. lordofthedreadz

    lordofthedreadz Ol'Timer

    It is not true, any modern injection scooter with the same engine size as a Wave/Dream does not use twice the fuel.... if it was the case nobody would buy them, while a Dream/Wave is indeed more fuel efficient almost all 110 - 150 scooters nowadays are very fuel efficient (my 150 carbed scooter makes about 35km/L, an injection PCX 150 makes about 45km/L and a Wave/Dream makes about 50km/L about the same as the Honda Scoopy 115cc (53km/L according to honda specs)).

    I agree that the engine braking is a plus downhill but again any modern scooter offers good enough braking to go downhill at Doi Suthep without the need of engine braking, I am not saying that the Wave/Dream are not good motorbikes, just saying that as a first time rider it is not the smartest choice, especially if you are interested in stepping up to a proper motorbike in the future (250cc+), either you dont want or need to learn how to use gear and you can stick to an automatic or you do want or need to learn and it is better to start straight away with a proper clutch.

    I personally dont see why it would be advised to buy a Dream/Wave nowadays seeing that we have a lot of better options to choose from in term of ease of use, price, comfort, fun and look other than being nostalgic about these models that did not really improved on the chassis, the brakes, the engine (apart from the injection) and the suspension in more than 10 years, I might even add that they are not even as cheap as they used to be (an injection 125 Wave is indeed more expensive than a Scoopy/Spacy/Click/Fino....).
     

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