moto parts avaialbility in Laos...Minsk, Honda WIN, etc ???

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by deepcdiver, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. deepcdiver

    deepcdiver Active Member

    Am hoping to buy a VN registered bike for a loop thru Cambodoa/Laos/ back to VN. Just wondering if Minsk parts are available in Laos. I had a Minsk for an HCMC-Hanoi run last year, parts were hard to get south of Hoi An. Also, I would rather not have a Minsk again, I hear Honda 100cc/125cc parts are easy to get in Laos...but it might be easiest to arrive and get a Minsk from Cuong in Hanoi for quick departure.

    Bonus 125 also looked OK when I was there but I understand parts availability are pretty much relegated to the HCMC area.
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  3. mat.ward

    mat.ward Ol'Timer

    We rode Minsks in the north west of VN and around most of northern Laos. We bought Minsks because we knew the only bikes we would really have a chance of crossing the VN border with would be a stepthrough or a Minsk. We figured the Minsk would be a better work horse loaded up and on rougher trails. Also I could not bring myself to ride a stepthrough.

    Although it is possible to take many of the parts that you might need for a Minsk (seeing as they only about 5 moving parts), the one big concern we had once in Laos was the potential risk of something breaking that we did not have. We got away with it (just) but it would have been nice to have a bike that was common. We saw a Minsk in Xam Tai (which we bought bits off), Nam Nuen (which we also bought bits off), Ban Hap in the south east, and Luang Prabang (were we sold our Minsks due to my clutch plates starting to go). We were keeping our eye out for them, and in some places we actively searched the mechanics for help/parts with no luck (even quite close to VN like Xam Nua). There would be other places with them but in 4000kms in Laos we only saw a handful. I can not remember seeing a Minsk in Cambodia, but then that was before we owned one, so I wasn't really looking. If you were in just in northern Vietnam the Minsk would be the bike of choice, even the village dogs can fix them.

    Of course it would be great if there was a bigger bike that you cross the borders on, but it seems at the moment that is not likely. So its either cruise about between countries on a little shitter, or spend time in one country and hire/buy a decent bike. Make sure you read up about the feasibilty of using various borders or you might get stuck or turned around or whatever.

    The locals go anywhere on a stepthrough, so no reason that getting a stepthrough should limit your trip. The thrill of the ride might just be tempered a bit ;)
  4. deepcdiver

    deepcdiver Active Member

    Thanks for the response :)

    I feel the Minsk has had it's day as the bike to get, even for NW hills of VN. I saw few Minsks even thru Sapa, maybe 2% of Dien Bien Phu where I replaced my chain, the shop said they had not seen one for 5 years. South of Hoi Anh...forget parts availability, and younger mechanics are unfamiliar with the bike. I needed a magneto drum, as mine was scored heavily and burned out the voltage coils every day...finally got one off a dead Minsk between Hanoi and DBP.

    The newer step -thru 4-strokes seemed just as fast, even w/ similar loads, as the Minsk, and I witnessed them doing dirt my Minsk was straining to do. Even the hill tribes have converted top the modern 4-strokes...many times the thai clone of the Honda Wave.

    And parts are everywhere.

    If the Minsk were popular in Laos and Cambodia for some reason I would use one again, but if that is not the case...well what's the point?
  5. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

    There are Minsk parts along the border with VN in Laos but they dry up after Lao Bao/Dansavanh in the south. One reason that the Minsk is not as big in Laos and Cambodia is that better bikes abound. If you have a little mechanical skill, you can keep it running as long as you leave Hanoi with the parts you are not going to find in Laos or Cambodia. While I have a Minsk, it is not my riding bike as in Laos, the speed of bigger bikes and reliability is the issue. To be honest, I'm not sure I could find all the Honda or Suzuki parts I needed to repair a bike while on the road but know that I could get them sent from VTE to me in Laos and from PNH in Cambodia.

    When you pay USD $ 400 - 600 for a bike, you can not expect it to run 5000 km in 4 countries without difficulty and then again some people are lucky and get by with no trouble.

    Matt ran well with his Minsk but on average, he was a little more of a rider than those that rent the bikes in Hanoi and putter about.

    If you do get a Minsk and ride in Laos from VN, you can call upon me for spare parts that you can't find. If I don't have them, I can get them but it takes time to have them sent by bus from Hanoi. Once in Laos, I can send them about the country easily. I once had the rings break apart on my Minsk and ruin the cylinder and get the fly wheel stuck. With a few phone calls, a replacement motor was onboard a bus heading my direction. Good thing the motor comes out with 4 bolts and a few pieces of wire to be removed, 20 minutes out and 20 minutes in.

    Best to have the bike blessed as well, can't hurt.
  6. deepcdiver

    deepcdiver Active Member

    Well, I'll definitely get in touch if I end up with one of Cuong's bikes (last resort) and become in need of parts. I appreciate the offer too! At least I am familiar with the Minsk.

    I certainly do not expect a trouble free ride, but it's easier when parts are available, and I'm told the Honda 100WIN and clones are the most popular two wheeled vehicle there....

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