Need help in choosing new Bike in Thailand

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by fm2002, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Was recently up at Mityon on Sukhumvit Pattaya and saw the new Ninja 650's. Man I wanted to buy that bike right than and there. I decided to put some thought into it before making such a important investment. I would be doing about 70% on road and 30% off road (why the Ninja wouldn't be a good choice). I would say 50% of my total driving would be in remote areas like Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and possibly Vietnam and Cambodia. So it has to be reliable and part availability friendly. Some of the time I would have my gf on the back.

    Alright guys what bikes available in Thailand would be the best for me ??? I can handle any type of bike from Russian Minsks to the Big Bikes.
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  3. gobs

    gobs Ol'Timer

    Hi fm,

    Can you give a price range? Same as the brand new Kawy?..
    Are you ready to go for a (good) 2nd hand bike?..
    "Off road" is meaning dirt tracks/roads or a bit "Xcross/enduro" riding?..


  4. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    Ninja 650 is a Kawasaki probably also known as ER6,,, maybe he should look at the kawasaki Versys.
  5. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    My budget is 300,000 or less.

    Heard about the Versys on another forum and looks perfect. As I said there I heard Kawi will release to the Thai market all the bikes it manufactures in Thailand. Whether this happens and whether they manufacture the Versys here who knows, but we can hope.

    Also heard from a poster it may be possible to convert the er6 to a Versys. Anybody have any info on this ?
  6. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    that would be expensive to do, different bodywork ,forks etc not a viable option
  7. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

    Play it safe, get a new one - Kawa 650 with enduro tires or a KL-250 enduro. Any engine repairs and you will pay more for a used bike.

    For under 100 k, you could try the Tiger Boxer 250 RS. Good ergonomics, light which is good when you are off road.

    Forget top speed - be prepared for the unexpected like ghost riders (driving on the wrong side), farm animals on the road and erratic behavior.

    Many Thai drivers pull into the street, ignoring traffic. Or when they merge, they are not accelerating hard, forcing you to brake real hard :x
  8. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Funny you should mention "unexpected like ghost riders (driving on the wrong side)" as I'm currently mending a crushed foot I received from 2 drucken Hmong hilltribesman cutting a corner on their motorbike. That said I think I need a 400 or up to accommodate my gf who will at times be on the back.
  9. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    that would be expensive to do, different bodywork ,forks etc not a viable option
    Would it ? I've been told the differences are:

    1) Tank size (Versys 3 litre +) - no need to change
    2) Plastics - no need to change
    3) Seat - no need to change
    4) Adjustable Front Forks - Need to change
    5) Rear Swing Arm and support - Need to change

    So you need to change #4 & 5. Major changes yes, but how much ? Any ideas ???
  10. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    I know a funny old guy who successfully rode his Kawa ER6n on the dirt road from Pai to Chiang Mai. I've never ridden that road but understand it's dirt and generally recommended only for dirt bikes and 4 wheel drive trucks.
    He did it with the stock Dunlop street tires too!

    An ER6n could be converted to Versys by changing the front forks and rear swing arm. You'd have to source those parts abroad and import them.

    How much clearance do you really think you need?

    With the belly pan removed the ER6n has pretty good clearance:

    I imagine the Versys is only 2 or 3 inches taller.

    If it was me I'd put dual sport tires on the ER6n and give it a try.

    In fact- I need new tires on my ER6n- maybe I'll throw some dual sports on there and see how she handles on dirt! (I have very little experience riding off road- can anyone recommend good dual sport tires for my ER6n?)


  11. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Went to Kawasaki dealership today to see if I could special order the Er6n with Versys suspension. They of course were useless. They said if they don't carry it they can't order it.

    Looks like if I did want to convert it over I would have to order the parts from abroad. Anyone know if this bike is sold in the U.S.A. ?
  12. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Yes, the Versys is sold in the US where it's quite popular with the Adventure Rider crowd- full specs here:

    I've been doing a little research to figure out the similarities and differences between the ER6n and Versys. They share the same engine (though tuned differently) and very similar frames.

    Was surprised to learn that the Versys front fork is only an inch taller than the ER6n. 5.7" and 4.7" respectively. The Versys forks feature adjustable rebound and preload.

    Geometry is a bit different- rake and trail on the Versys is 25°/4.3 in. The rake and trail on the ER6n is 24.5°/4.0 in. This gives the Versys a slightly longer wheelbase- 55.7" compared to 55.3" for the ER6n.

    The Versys holds more fuel- 5 gallons vs 4.1 for the ER6n. Seat height for the two bikes is nearly identical- 33.1" for the Versys and 29.7" for the ER6n.

    With the extra fuel and beefier suspension the Versys weighs 454 pounds compared to the ER6n at 450 pounds.

    So, two very similar bikes but the Versys is a little taller and features fully adjustable suspension from and rear. The question is- how well will an ER6n handle dual sport riding compared to the slightly taller and more adjustable Versys? Is converting an ER6n to Versys worth the hassle?

    Ride On!

  13. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Some more good pictures of the Versys and ER6n-



    Happy Trails!

  14. gobs

    gobs Ol'Timer


    I should never go in such a game... At the end, modifying by yourself, you should not have a true Versys and not more a true ER6... but a "strange" combination of both without knowing how it could handle on road and off-road...
    And what at time of re-sale?..

    You like the ER6? Well, go for some dual-purpose tyres... No risk: you can split later with the original ones and for a "not-so-heavy cost". Maybe 6000 to 8000 Bahts R&F tyres...

    Well, IMHO

  15. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Salut Gobs,

    Well, one thing to remember is that any changes done to the forks or swingarm of ER6 are easily reversible. Having said that, I agree with you that ideally it would be best to try the ER6n with dual sport tires first to see how it handles before making any modifications.

    Happy Trails!

  16. gobs

    gobs Ol'Timer

    Salut Tony,

    For sure I understand that, but at what price!? Parts coming from overseas are not that cheap and at time of re-sale you get fork and swingarm (at least!) for what? OK, maybe that is a good idea for the deco of the living-room... 8)

    Furthemore, many time, dual-purpose bikes are "improved" with larger size of bearings, axles and maybe some more welded parts ("gousset" in french but in English I don't know) here and there to re-inforce the frame... How to be sure the axle of the Versys swingarm has the same specs the ER6 one? Are the shock mounts exactly at the same place, in the same alignment, same axle size?
    Only looking at the 2 good pics you posted, Tony, I doubt the 2 frames are exactly the same ones. OK some plastic parts can hide this or that, but... "At first sight", too many questions with no answers. So I guess many, many hassles coming soon!

    As a project bike, and with good money, it could be interesting to do it, realy. But I suppose it's not fm2002's idea and that he wants better to ride a reliable/original bike through SEA ASAP... Well, I suppose!..

  17. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    What I'll do is try and contact Kawasaki USA and ask what it would entail to do the changeover and if possible at what price. Will report back.
  18. schackster

    schackster Ol'Timer

    if you want a DP bike wouldnt it be easier to buy one rather trying to convert a naked bike ? More trouble than its worth..
  19. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Well I went down to Beach Road yesterday and rented the Kawasaki Er6n. I decided to take it out to Chonburi to Chonburi Superbike which entailed about a 100km ride on Sukhumvit returning on highway 7. So the ride was limited to paved good roads. As with any new Japanese bike there isn't much to say bad about it. The small things I didn't like were:

    1) Comfort - for me it's not that comfortable. After sometime I'm sure my muscles would accommodate it better, but it seemed a reach to the bars and the seat angle didn't accommodate quick starts or stops for me or especially for my gf on the back. You could perhaps change the bars to bring them in closer. Bottomline - I couldn't see taking this bike on long haul rides

    2) Wind Shield - it was windy yesterday, but I would definitely need to put a windshield on it. At speeds 100+ I definitely was being pushed around

    3) Suspension - if you have read my post I'm looking for a bike I can also use on dirt. For this reason I believe the suspension is too stiff for this. Of course this bike is made for street so you would expect this.

    4) Exhaust - from 0 -3500rpm the bike sounds and feels like a diesel flubbering up. It clears up after that, but what the heck ? I'm guessing it has something to do with that box at the bottom that I would say is a emission controller. Would get rid of that ASAP !

    CAn't comment on how it handles on mountain roads or on dirt.

    Guess now I'll try and test drive the BMW 650GS and see how it compares.
  20. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    The BMW F650GS is 660,000,- Baht new, if you can get a 2nd hand one good for you as it's an awesome bike. That is the old thumper one, the new one is not as good off the road I have read, it's not the same as the F800GS it's lower and the front wheel is smaller. Probably more than enough but just stating the fact.

    Now let me add up to the story about the dude who did the dirtroad with his ER6n he also fell over on that road with it.

    I rode my FZ6 on a very crappy dirtroad once with superbike tires and although it's possible to use anything on any surface I will not recommend it. Maybe knobbys on an ER6n is usable on dirtroads/trail I never tried it, still you have lowish ground clearance, air intake not meant to do the massive dust these roads give, and the exhaust is low. Probably it would work out for the odd time on these roads, but the beemer would be a better choice if you can find one in good condition for your budget.
  21. gobs

    gobs Ol'Timer

    Maybe a little bit of confusion, here about BMW...

    The actual F650GS is a 800cc twin cylinder designed as a "entertainment" bike tagged 690000 Bahts. I checked a brand new one at Barcelona CNX: not impressed at all. Not my piece of cake!..
    The actual F800GS is a 800cc twin cylinder designed as a "middle range" off-road bike tagged 770000 Bahts. Impressive and strong at first sight. Expensive for a piece of cake IMHO!..
    The previous F650GS is a 650cc single cylinder designed as a "soft" off-road bike (the Dakkar model, same frame/engine, was more "strong" off-road oriented), but not at all enduro or motocross! This model is not more available in many countries* all over the world as Thailand (for now...) since about middle of last year (replaced in the BMW marketing plan by the actual F650GS 800cc... OK, you follow?). Its price beginning of last year was about 580000 Bahts...
    Many infos on this previous one here:

    Maybe not many second hand F650GS 800cc yet in LOS...


    * The "brand new" previous F650GS is now particularly available in USA or Spain... France, Germany and so on can't get it! The engine, as the X-country and the rest, is now built in China (previously Austria) for lower costs and comes in black color... This quick U-turn from BMW because many beemers didn't want to change with the new F650GS 800cc, so they begin to lose customers (particularly in the USA where there are a lot of the previous F650GS) for their low range bikes... And for sure, crisis coming don't help!..
  22. gobs

    gobs Ol'Timer

    Hi fm,

    Interesting short report...

    Can't you rent a F650GS where you stay (Pattaya, isn't it?) and ride it on the same trip you did with the Kawy and in same conditions (pillion*, speed and so on)? I guess it would be a accurate test between the 2 bikes...

    Well my 25 Satangs...



    * My wife like much better to be passenger on the F650GS than on the FZ6F... :roll:
  23. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Wish I could. Can't find one to rent or buy for that matter. Will check some places in BKK next week, but it looks like a trip to CNX is in my near future.
  24. Lightemup

    Lightemup Ol'Timer

    Im ready to part with my F650GS, but would be asking 350.000 Baht or best offer.
    But you would get a great bike at a great price ready for some serious adventure riding, with or without your missus on the back.

    I will get some pics up in the for sale forum in a couple of hours.

    Link for my for sale post is here.

    Where are you located?
    Im going to Buriram this week from Phuket on the bike for my last ride and could drop by and let you try it out if youre interested, if its on the way.
  25. gobs

    gobs Ol'Timer

  26. bard

    bard Ol'Timer

    I read a lot about the new beemers, and even heavy duty offroad test of the new F650GS, and it gets a very good review.

    The comparison is made like this;

    F650GS the 1200GS litte brother
    F800GS the 1200GS Adventure little brother

    One enduro test they preferred the 650;

    as they did not notice any major power increase from the F800GS
    The F650GS had good offroad capability, the F800GS was superior
    The F650GS was superior on the road vs the F800GS
    They found tubeless tires on the F650GS to be an advantage as it's easier and faster to plug a tire than remove and glue a tube
    They did not see the spoked/cast wheels to be of major advantage for normal enduro riding
    The F650GS accepts any fuel on the pump, the F800GS does not without buying expensive additional fuel map for the then required computer, plus loose power.

    Summed up with the F650GS was a great bike for any road, awesome for twisties and had offroad capability to do trail and terrain, the bike to ride every day and do a journey with riding the trail around the mountain. Versus the F800GS was not as good on the road, most difference in twisties. However they called it the bike you ride and take directly over the mountain.

    I don't know never tested either, but from reading up on them the new 650 seems to be pretty ideal for what the 650's normally do when it comes to offroad in Asia, touring, doing dirt roads, doing trails, it has a twin and nice power to boot for the journey, adequate speed for touring even on highway speeds. I would take neither on a real offroad journey, then I think a 250 is what you need in Asia, maybe push it to a 400... KTM or something, the 650's are to big and heavy for Asian terrain...
    Both of them has 10,000km between services, which is brilliant...

    Anyhow the prices are very high for both bikes unfortunately. If the new 650 was around 580k a lot of more buyers would go for it, but 690k is horrible...

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