A costly lesson learned...bike repairs in Phnom Penh


Oct 6, 2006
A Costly Lesson - Adventure Moto Bike Shop - Phnom Penh

Adv. Motos is, by far, the most expensive bike shop in PPenh. Their hourly repair rate, which is prominently posted in the shop, is $15-US/hour. The fully equipped shop is run by two Americans, Brady and Jeff, with backgrounds as aircraft mechanics. They are also avid riders and rent bikes, with Suzuki DRZ400's starting at $50/day.

I'd met the owners in January 2007, right after they opened their shop on Street 136, near Sisowath Quay. A personable pair of guys.

Last month (Dec 2007), I rode to Cambodia to attend two weddings. Enroute, I missed a shift, over-revving the engine, and developed a loud tappet noise. In the past I've used Vay's or Flying Bikes shops for repairs, but thought I'd give Adv-Moto a try. I asked Brady to adjust the valves [a '01Suzuki Djebel 250]. He said they currently didn't have the proper valve shims, but he'd adjust the valves. He also changed the oil and filter and made a minor adjustment to the shifter. The bill was $58-US, which included $45-US labor (3hrsx$15-US). The tappet noise was remedied in the shop but re-appeared as loud as ever, 3km later, as I was heading to Sihanoukville to attend one of the wedding.

After two weeks in Sihanoukville, I was going to Battambang for the second wedding. In Phnom Penh I stopped by the shop and told Brady that his efforts didn't remedy the tappet problem. He said they had just received the proper shims and I asked for them to re-adjust the valves. This time both Brady and Jeff worked on the bike. The work performed was just the valve adjustment, nothing else. They also discovered that my cam timing chain was worn and the cam chain tensioner was at its maximum adjustment. I asked how much it would cost to replace the timing chain. Jeff said it would cost 'about $30 for a quality Japanese D.I.D. chain and require about 10-hours of labor'. Wow, I thought, that's $180-US total!!!. The bill for the valve adjustment was a horrendous $72, which included 4-hours of labor ($60-US) and $12 for valve shims. I asked Brady why did it take 4-hours of labor for the same job as you performed in 3-hours? I was simply told 'two of us worked on the bike' and my complaint was brushed aside!

I left the shop and went out for breakfast, feeling in shock about the bill as well as Jeff's estimate for replacing the timing chain. After breakfast, I rode to Vay's bike shop [located on Confederation de la Russie (str 110) at 51st Str]. Vay's quoted me $38-US (parts and labor) to replace the timing chain with a Japanese chain. He said they would have the work completed that afternoon, which surprised me as the engine was still hot. Vay called me 2 1/2-hours later, saying the work was finished and the bike was ready. I asked Vay 'how did you do the work on the hot engine'? He said they cooled down pretty quicky with some fans. My old bike now runs better than ever. I'm both pleased with Vay's and acknowledge my costly error in not initially going to either Vay's or Flying Bikes as I have in the past!!

A costly lesson learned!

P.S. - In fairness... Adv. Moto is popular and their work is well regarded by some of the farangs that reside in PPenh, but those customers likely have 'deep pockets'. The shop also has some equipment that none of the other shops have, such as a plasma welder, etc.


Mar 29, 2004
Seems a bit rough you had to pay full rates the second time round for the vavle adjustment at adv-moto.
Aug 7, 2003
Vay's has always done good work for me at a reasonable price. Everything from a complete engine rebuild on a XR650 to just tyres etc. Keep his card handy, if he knows you he will send parts anywhere is Cambodia and you pay him when back in town. Can't say enough for him.

Harri XR650R