Noob questions about motorcycles in Thailand

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by OneL, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. OneL

    OneL Member

    Might be going to northern Thailand in early 2011. Some noob questions. First some background: I don't know how to ride a motorcycle (MC) but I want to learn. I can shift a stick shift in a car, ride a bicycle, a scooter (with auto torque converter), age 40+, 183 cm high, 82kg heavy, and have above average sports skills but not an action figure. What I'm figuring is to buy a moped or starter MC that's not too big. But hard to find these where I'm now--everything street legal is 200cc and 300 lbs at the minimum. I heard that in Thailand you can get smaller engine bikes and 2 cycle engines (illegal in the USA). A small 150 to 200 pound (70 to 90 kg) bike with a 50cc to 150cc engine sounds about right. But it must have the same transmission as a dirt bike so I can gradually learn and graduate to a bigger bike.

    Any suggestions welcome. Also how long it would take to learn to ride for somebody like me is appreciated, since I plan to take lessons. I figure a week should do it.

    BTW I like the forum 'new look'; the black background was hard to read.

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  3. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    I guess there are two things to discuss... why you want to learn to ride in Thailand, and whether that is smart, and the other is what bike...

    For a start, if you don't have a licence to ride in your home country, usually you aren't covered by your travel insurance... medical treatment in Thailand can be as expensive as in the US, especially if you need to be medivaced to Bangkok, and want to be treated at Bumingrad Hospital... something to consider...

    Getting on a bike for the first time in Thailand, especially Chiang Mai, is really jumping in at the deep end... there is usually a lot of traffic, and it goes all over the place... You are trying to ride a bike without experience, on roads you don't know, on the right side (not the USA wrong side :D ) of the road, with unpredicatable traffic... Every year, heaps of tourists are injured riding on Thailands roads for all these reasons...

    That said, I had done many miles in Thailand on scooters and bikes before I rode at home in Australia...

    For bikes... I would suggest a bit of time on an Automatic Scooter for $6 a day to get used to the roads and traffic... then if you really feel the need to move onto a geared bike, a dirt bike like the XR250 for $30/day... not too powerful, high riding position so that you can see what is going on around you, forgiving steering angle...

    2 Stroke bikes aren't that readily available, and they are much more powerful than the equivalent 4 Stroke, and the power delivery is quite violent... not an ideal start...

  4. mbox999

    mbox999 Ol'Timer

    Yes, Daewoo gave some good info...learning to ride bikes here you need to be pretty careful. If you happen to be out in the sticks it would be easier , although still caution needs to be paid on road condition or other traffic member and dogs or other animals on the road.

    As for the Bike...automatic can be a good start, my first scooter here was one with autoclutch (honda wave) and it was fine for short "go arounds" .
    If you looking for something easy with light offroadish ability and being extra strong perhaps the Tiger CX 135 (autoclutch) will serve the purpose?

    here a picture:


    you find specs & price on this page (scroll down)

    hope that helps and take it easy at the beginning when riding and have an open eye,

  5. OneL

    OneL Member

    Thanks, this is good advice. I have actually driven around northern Thailand before, using I guess a semi-automatic scooter, but it was in Khorat countryside and nobody but Tuk-Tuks around--pretty safe. True, I might not be able to handle city traffic. But it should not be a big deal--I've driven in south Europe's small towns with a automatic clutch scooter without too much of a problem, and I haven't fallen down once. Also I question whether medical treatment is as expensive as in the US--this does not sound true. Posting from southern Europe at the moment, which has a GDP per capita at least twice that of Thailand, medical expenses are about one-fifth the US price--European socialism at work? Don't know. But perhaps the key is "can be as expensive". I suppose if you have to be Medivaced to Bangkok, then yes it would be as expensive as in the USA, since helicopters are probably even more expensive to run in Thailand per hour than in the USA (due to maintenance issues). However, why a ordinarily simple motorcycle accident presumably involving a broken bone or torn ligament or two would require somebody to be Medivaced to Bangkok, or even as opposed to just killing you outright, I will leave to your imagination. Your morbid imagination. Anybody who dwells on those thoughts probably should not be on a bike of any sort, including a bicycle. Heck crossing the road here in southern Europe on foot can be a challenge, as nobody pays attention to stop signs.

    But my question for this thread: Honda Wave (Innova here in Europe) is autoclutch--why? What is autoclutch? As opposed to full manual transmission? Also this Tiger CX 135, which looks perfect for me--why autoclutch? Looks to my eye same as any manual motorcycle--but I don't know. The scooter I drove in Khorat region was like this: open frame (step through), then with the left foot you pushed down (or pulled up, I don't remember now, it's been a few years) every time you wanted to change gears. No clutch on the left hand handlebar. To slow down you had to downshift first; also to turn a corner. Is this autoclutch? Semi-automatic? BTW girls and old women were driving this kind of scooter--without any problems. I figured, if they can do it, so can I. But maybe they know how to drive on the wrong side of the road--I admit that is difficult for me to remember.

    I look forward to riding in Thailand again someday. Hopefully without being Medivaced. Or bitten by a king cobra. Or tricked by some scamming but cute girl. Well maybe not the last one... some risks in life you should not try to avoid!
  6. LivinLOS

    LivinLOS Ol'Timer

    Yes those are 'semi auto' machines.

    Full auto would mean twist and go like the CVT or other full auto boxes on some bikes / scooters.. Those you describe have a foot operated clutch (well 2 actually another one to pull away) which engages as part of changing gear.
  7. Naz

    Naz Active Member

    as ong as someone asked noob question allready, let me continue doing this (something reminds me that i was asking that) is it right that in thailand you cannot register old bike to your name due to their new eurosomething emission regulations? or its truth only about imported bikes? i mean how do you buy old bike here in los? just with prission from owner (i mean i forgot how to call that piece of paper)
  8. jethro69

    jethro69 Ol'Timer

    I might be wrong, but when my mind serves me well, the CX135 has manual (4 speed only) transmission.
  9. mbox999

    mbox999 Ol'Timer

    Thats correct the CX135 has 4 gears and autoclutch .
    Don't get confused between automatic transmission and auto transmission will let you ride without changing any gears...autoclutch you still have gears but you don't have a clutch lever to press when changing the gear .

  10. Naz

    Naz Active Member

    thanks Captain! going to find a djebel then
  11. jethro69

    jethro69 Ol'Timer

    I don't claim to have the best understanding of motorcycle mecanics, so I went back to the shop, they have one on display here in Chiang Sean. So, please enlighten me, in my opinion it's manual transmission.

    Foot brake
    Clutch lever :confused::confused::confused:
  12. Naz

    Naz Active Member

    dont know whether its clutch lever on second photo, but on the first one is rear foot brake, pedal on the right side is allways a foot brake, if there is aint nothing on left side then there on bike is automatic transmission, and that lever that you called clutch, is brakes (i mean bike have both foot and hand brakes for rear wheel)
  13. mbox999

    mbox999 Ol'Timer

    Yep, looks like this one has a manual clutch and manual gear...could have been an older model or special request.

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