The truth about buying and selling Chinese Honda Wins in Vietnam

Discussion in 'Vietnam Trip Planning' started by chrisynok, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    The most important thing before you even consider to buy or rent a motorbike, is that you have enough experience to drive one. Vietnam is no place for beginners, so please take your time to learn until you have plenty of experience and confidence to have a safe, enjoyable ride!
    Lately i have come across a lot of inaccurate and false information, scattered around multiple website forums. I have no doubt that half of the posts and even replies are from the bikes shops trying to sell second hand wins.

    I would like to provide some real facts about the whole buying and selling at one end or the other of Vietnam. Most of the bikes being sold by backpackers and buy and sell bike shops on most occasions have been bought from another backpacker who also is likely to have purchased the bike from a backpacker, which means that the bike has gone up and down Vietnam like a yo yo. During the trip the bikes would have had multiple work and rebuilds done to them. Most of the time they will claim they bought it from someone else. You only need to check the clock to see the mileage on them to know they are no longer safe and reliable. Even still most of the time the mileage gage has stopped working and it's not difficult to adjust it to a lower figure. On some of these bikes the true mileage is normally 60,000 70,000 or maybe more.
    Ok so some facts about rebuilds, which all the shops claim have been done to most of their bikes. The figures below are on average and relating to the Chinese Honda Win's.

    Most shops will rebuild an engine using second hand parts. The engine should have a rebuild with brand new parts, once only after 20,000km, so after 40,000km the bike is on its way out and so shouldn't be used for any long distance trips at all! Also parts of the bike like the suspension should be changed when needed and properly fixed with new or at least with good second hand parts. Ignoring the basic maintenance of a bike or doing up a bike just to make it look good, this is when the bike can become unsafe and dangerous.
    The price of the bike is often bumped up to tourists by a substantial amount in some cases over double the price of what a local would pay! The average price for a second hand Win being sold to a tourist is $350 to $400 and notice how the price is always similar and not priced on the condition, mileage and model, but apparently they have all had rebuilds, which I hope, but doubt they have used brand new parts and only rebuilt it once. The true value should be judged upon each individual bike and can start from $50 to $550 for a brand new one! You can always get a deal from a backpacker trying to sell their bike. However, if you have no maniacal knowledge, you are buying blind. In my experience I have seen bikes being bought for about $80 from a backpacker and then sprayed with paint to look new and only a few minor adjustments have been applied and then resold as a rebuild for $350 sometimes even $400.

    When you purchase a Chinese Honda Win from a buy and sell shop you might be offered a guaranteed buy back at the other end through a connected company. A lot of times the customer would be told that they would buy it back for about $250. However, if you manage to find the other shop, I can assure you they will not be buying it back for $250 but most probably $50 to a maximum of $150. They will point out and find numerous problems with the bike and explain because it wasn’t look after they cannot pay the full amount that was promised. You might get lucky and be able to sell it to another backpacker.
    There are a lot of comments on forums of people claiming that they brought and then sold the bike and they lost hardly any money and this does happen. However, in my experience it’s not often and what a lot of people fail to mention is the true amount they had to spend to keep it running during their trip. This can add up to much more than the true value of the bike.

    History of the Honda win.
    Honda stopped making real wins in 2000. Soon after the Chinese copied it. It’s really hard to come across a real Honda win these days and often most people believe that their bike is a real Honda when in fact it is a bad copy. The Vietnamese copied it 7 years ago and make a slightly more reliable version which is called a sufat.

    So what’s the solution to all this?
    Take your time when buying a bike; don’t be pushed into buying something that you are not 100% sure about. Check the mileage, Look at the bike to see if it has been spray painted to cover anything up and Don’t buy into any promised buy backs.
    Renting from a trusted rental shop is always a better option. However, if you want to buy a Win you can buy a relatively new Win in very good condition with low mileage for about $300.
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  3. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

    Thank you for this illuminating post! Would you recommend buying NEW Wins for "$ 550"?

    Cheers, Chris
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Bump for Justin Dyer.
  5. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    I would recommend buying a brand new Win Sufat. It's still no Honda or Kawasaki. However, it's a lot saver and reliable than a lot of the beat up, old Chinese Win death traps, that people are buying. The Sufat is a Manual 110cc and are manufactured in the very North of Vietnam. The price varies from $550 to $700

    You can also rent it on a one way rental - Pick up / Drop off in Hanoi or HCMC.

  6. fly-away

    fly-away New Member

    Im owning honda win and its really not bad choice. Only two facts little bit dissapointing for me
    1. Not so high max speed. For my motorbike its about 85km/h by gps on flat surface. I would like to have it around 110km/h :D
    2. Suspension is really bad, rear shock absorber espetially.

    There is a lot of shock absorbers on the motorbike part markets for 10-15$ but looks like it all the same - quite rigid.
    Any ideas about it?
  7. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer


    An original Honda Win 110cc, made in Japan, in good condition is not a bad buy at all. However, I would never do any touring on it. I would want to keep a good original in pristine condition and only drive it around the city, weather permitting.

    Old, unreliable, unsafe Chinese Honda Wins 110cc are being sold to backpackers in Vietnam.
    Shops are coming together to make an agreement to only sell the Wins at $350???

    Unless the bikes are almost brand new, this is the biggest rip off going!
    Most of these bikes true value are roughly $50 to $120 and are complete death traps!
    They are being bought and sold to and from the same shops and to and from backpackers.

    People should avoid buying these bikes at all costs. They are not reliable, certainly not safe and are being way over priced and you could stand to lose most or even all of your money.

    Shops will mainly buy from backpackers and sell the same bikes back to the backpackers. They claim they are rebuilds, which is complete nonsense. The bikes are being bought back at their true value, they are then just normally spray painted to look good, some basic repairs are made but the sellers almost always claim they are rebuilds and sold on for $350.

    The Western Face

    Don’t be fooled by the Western face. I can assure you that most of them don’t have your best interest at heart but are more concerned about what’s in your pocket. Most of the Westerners work for a Vietnamese on a commission basis and some own their own shops but anyone who is selling an old Win for $350 or more should not be trusted. They use the fact that they are Western to gain your trust. I’ve listed below some of the things that they will say to win you over and pocket your money.

    “It’s a rebuild” – I doubt very much it's a re build. The hidden truth is, most probably they repaired it as cheaply as they could; only replacing parts that must be replaced. Most of the time they use old used second hand parts. Two bad bikes don’t make a good bike.

    “Expect problems with the bike but know we have done our best to repair as best we can” They are covering their backs by making this statement. When the bike constantly breaks down and you call their so-called 24hr ass to complain and hope for some help, you will hear, “we told you that you where never getting a perfect bike and what do you expect for $350?” All they will do is tell you to go to the nearest mechanic who will no doubt over charge you. I would expect a hell of a lot more for $350.

    “We offer a guarantee buy back” You will be told they have a shop at the other end or even a contact that will or might buy it back depending on the condition it arrives in. if it’s in the same condition as it was sold in, they will only deduct $100 and give you $200. If there is such a place that will buy the bike back from you then the next step is to find as many problems as possible and to give you as little money back as they can; $50 to $120. So this is when the vicious circle comes in to play. They buy for anything from $50 to $120 and then do as little work on it as possible and sell it for $350. During the time it’s with the new owner, they are very likely to be forking out cash on a lot of breakdown repairs. A lot of these repairs should have been done originally by the bike shops but instead are being done by the buyers. No bike is indestructible and especially the Chinese Win. So when the bike is completely knackered and the engine completely fails it leaves the circuit and is only good for parts.

    Ownership papers – Fake/Stolen - Police impound the bike and will fine you

    With a lot of bikes the engine number and frame number don’t match. The Wins are sold to and from so much that often the ownership papers are lost and replaced with a new number plate and ownership papers, which do not match the engine and frame. The Chinese Wins are very easy to steal. In fact 1 in 7 keys made will fit the Win, which makes it easy picking for thieves, who also like to sell bikes to the shops, who will sell on to the backpackers. Again this would mean that they would need to change the plates and ownership papers. If the papers don’t match the bike has lost most of its value and depending on the condition, it’s completely worthless. If the papers do not match and the police stop you it is a very likely chance that the bike will be impounded. You can always pay the police off for failing to have a Vietnamese license and insurance but the one thing they will not accept is no ownership papers or if the bike papers don’t match the engine and frame number.

    Buying from a Local Vietnamese outside the backpacker circuit can be a good idea.

    The Westerners trying to sell bikes will often tell you, not to buy from a local Vietnamese because they buy from backpackers and have not made any repairs to a satisfactory safe Western standard. They will say you might be able to buy it cheaper and claim you won’t get all the benefits that they offer. The truth is you’re much better off buying from a Local Vietnamese “outside the tourist area”. They still might over charge you but you will get the equivalent bike or a much better bike at a more realistic price that isn’t inside the backpacker circuit. Almost everyone selling the Chinese Win 110cc claim they didn’t buy it from a backpacker but this is very unlikely especially in the tourists areas. Some even claim they have a secret supplier from the villages in the surrounding areas.


    Accidents accrue often because the bikes are not safe. The bikes have been so badly repaired, that the most basic parts have not been fixed. Often the wheel bearings are worn out, which leave the wheels unstable and can cause you to fall off. Breaks are a big issue as they are normally tightened to the end and are not as effective. The back racks have been welded so far back on the bike it lifts the front wheel up, which is very dangerous as you lose traction. One service that is never offered is to send the unnecessary backpack luggage to the other end to free up the heavy load on the bike. Too much weight is not ideal. It’s a small engine and can’t cope with all the weight and is dangerous on a fragile welded back rack. When I see backpackers in Vietnam take of with a huge heavy load it makes me cringe. You can see the bike wobbling and the driver struggling with the weight. I always wonder what are the chances they will make it down with out any accidents.

    The new Chinese Honda Win 110cc Deal – Not all that it's made out to be

    Some places are even selling Wins for $400??? This is unbelievable. They claim all bikes are bought outside of the backpacker circuit and they are very reliable and that’s why they are priced so high. That $400 is only short from the price of a brand new one. They offer to wire the money to you in Hanoi or HCMC providing you put the bike on the train and ship it down to them. The scam here is that they offer you $250 for the bike and it costs $60 to ship it back to Hanoi or HCMC. n order to ship it down you will need a Vietnamese translator to help make the arrangements or you don't have a hope in hell. If you manage to ship it back and post the receipt with the ownership papers, which will take up to 4 days and of course the bike will need to be checked to ensure its in the same apparently good condition it was sold in and if it is and you get the guarantee money back, then you lose a whooping $190 on a bike that is most probably only worth $50 to $120 and that’s not taking into count the amount spent on breakdown repairs. The other catch here is that they claim to only buy from outside the backpacker circuit but how can that be if they are purchasing their own bikes back, which means they are in fact within the backpacker circuit.

    I believe the police are going to crack down on it soon as they are having to deal with to many accidents but in the mean time buy safe or rent.
  8. bilson

    bilson Member

    Hello everyone :)

    I am thinking about buying abovementioned Sufat Win. I heard that its not easy to buy brand new moto being a foreigner. Is that true? Maybe motorbike dealers can help with that?

    I read that the easiest way is to let vietnamese person to buy it for you but im not exactly sure how does that work.

    I can imagine that vietnamese "owner" can come few days later with police and say "you have my bike, give it back", right? :)
  9. chrisynok

    chrisynok Ol'Timer

    Hi Bilson,

    To put a bike in a foreigner's name they would need to be a resident in Vietnam and then NN plates (Foreigner plates) can be issued. For tourists visiting Vietnam and wanting to buy a new bike, then the only option is to find a Vietnamese who would be willing to register the bike in their name. If you know of a Vietnamese person you trust, you can ask them to help you.  Most dealerships would offer to register the bike in their name to help with the process and normally at no extra cost.

    At Flamingo Travel we are more than happy to help buy new bikes for our customers or we tend to always have some second hand newer models for sale but still in very good condition.

    This year we have invested in more Win Sufat 110cc and Detech 125cc 2015 models, and have been trying to push our one way rental package to the budget travels. We are very serious about providing young inexperienced riders with safe reliable bikes to complete their tour in Vietnam. Our one way rental package allows you to drop off or pick up in either one of our two locations in Hanoi or HCMC. The package comes with our full support, it includes helmets, a saddle bag and we can help send any excess luggage to one of our two locations, which will lighten the load of a heavy backpack allowing more room and a safer experience.

    We have deliberately made the price rock bottom and we gain very little financially from this special offer, but our aim is to push the market forward in a positive way because the market would have no option but to grow by providing better quality bikes in order to remain competitive. We hope in the future the backpacker buying and selling motorbike market will have better, safer and more reliable bikes to offer still at an affordable price!

    For more information about our one way rental package please follow the link below

    Win Sufat 110cc - Detech 125cc ( US $185 / 21 Days)

    For those beginner riders wanting to learn in a calm relaxed atmosphere, then follow the link to one of my previous posts about learning to drive.
  10. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

    Thanks again to Chris for this post.

    There is a clear pattern of systemic fraud when it comes to these blasted Wins and the shops peddling them.
    • Take the reviews on Tripadvisor. Praising the personality of the owner, repeatedly?
    • So there are all these people riding from Hanoi to Saigon or the other way. Thousands of kilometers. => Assurances of utter reliability and "oil changes every 500 km"? Yeah, right.
    • Who would buy a SUFAT if there is a WAVE 110 cc for sale at 4-5 Million VND more?!?
    • Backpackers seem to use a template for the wording of for sale ads for "Honda" Wins.
    Quality matters. (Take power supplies for notebooks: bought many no name ones and they failed after weeks! Charger for my cell phone: the battery became bloated with gases due to overcharging. And there are feaux leather gloves and rucksacks which may last a week, Socks which will last a few days only... etc.)

    I met a guy who was riding pillion in a Win when its brakes failed. A pretty bad crash and a ruined trip. Pain instead of fun.

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