Any Russian Minsk afficianados out there?

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by snw2srf2stt, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. snw2srf2stt

    snw2srf2stt New Member

    I just picked up a Russian Minsk to do a South-East Asia tour. The thing is in pretty bad disrepair and I am a shade tree mechanic so enjoy the process of fixing things. This is a bit different though as the Minsk is such a localized item in SEA (North-west Vietnam). I was wondering if there is someone out there that I could throw some questions at. I am just doing basic fix-ups at the moment to just try to get the thing road worthy and then direct lineing it to Vietnam where I hope to be able to pick up some hard parts.

    Thanks if anybody out there can help. I just finished doing a year in India on a Royal Enfield Bullet which included going over five 5000+ Meter passes during the tail end of winter. In total around 15,000kms so ahve basic experience with out of date bikes.

    Some basic questions to start?

    -Are any of the cables interchangeable with the similarly styled old Japanese bikes ie. Suzuki, Yamaha?

    -How necessary is that Minsk tool which seems to be made to loosen/tighten a few important pieces? Is it possible to have one made or will other tools get the job done. I haven't actually seen it.

    -The chain adjustment has been maxed out. Can a link from the chain be taken out to tighten or is there another chain that will work, again old Suzuki.

    Those are some basic ones that I am pondering at the moment but will definitely have more if someone is available.

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  3. danwhite

    danwhite Ol'Timer

    The Minsk...... Great little machine. But out of its own pond in Indo-China its a little bit risky in terms of repair and parts (Bit like the Bullet out of India as well in fact). In Vietnam they are ubiquitous (or used to be).

    It might be a good idea to contact the Minsk enthusiasts and groups in Hanoi of whom there are quite a number with their own operations I believe.

    Your Minsk equivalent in TL is the two stroke Kawa GTO...... Simple, speedy (especially when you doctor the carb) and can be fixed anywhere for nowt across TL, Cambos and Laos. VN as well no doubt except you can't take Thai registered bikes across as far as I know despite their cc rule. An unglamorous, proletarian workhorse. They rattle.

    I have seen a couple of minsks around the north over the years..... But the guys riding them must be in it for love not convenience..... And good on them. Great fun bike.
  4. snw2srf2stt

    snw2srf2stt New Member

    Thanks for the info Dan. I just did my first ride from Bangkok to Pattaya on my way directlly to Saigon (for parts). Surprisingly it runs pretty good and can keep up with traffic rather easily. I will check out the Kawasaki to see if the cables and levers might be adaptable. If they are I think I will just switch completely over and forget trying to mismatch.

  5. danwhite

    danwhite Ol'Timer

    Yes.... Worth a try. Is it Thai registered or VN registered? VN is a tricky country on entry with a motorcycle apparently. I picked up a bike there.

    Are you going through Cambos or Laos? If Cambos the Koh Kong, Srey Ambal, Kampot crossing into VN at Ha Tien route is a real winner. You then have a nice ride through the Delta to Saigon. If you go through Poipet and then either side of the Tonle Sap and then through the Parrots beak its a much less interesting ride every step of the way. If over from Mukdahan into Laos through Xepon and then down the hills past Khe San you are in for treat. The Minsk will certainly be in its element.
  6. KZ

    KZ Ol'Timer

    How about a picture of a Minsk? I've never seen one. Is it a copy of an old two-stroke 250 Suzuki? I've seen some of those around.
  7. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Search for the posts by Matt Ward on the Laos Forum and you will see some Minsks in action.
  8. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

    Dump it now! Save Yourself! Get a real bike instead of a rolling piece of junk!

    Actually, if you take care of it, it should run but expect problems and keep spare parts with you at all times. Consult Digby's manual for the Minsk from the Minsk Club Hanoi pages. I've run many km on them but no more unless it's some kind of torture ride for old time's sake.
  9. snw2srf2stt

    snw2srf2stt New Member

    I've gone from Bangkok to Saigon on a fifth hand Minsk and it did fine. It needed work when I got it so when I got it fixed in Saigon it even got better.

    The bike was registered in Vietnam so taking it back was a breeze. I spent 15 minutes at the Thailand/Cambodia border (Thai side had to process the Customs paperwork/Cambodia just waved me through). Cambodia/Vietnam was same wave through as I did the new Ha Tien border crossing.

    In regards to getting a better bike, I think for what I have done am going to do even the Minsk is overkill. If the point is to look like a Westerner then getting a big Western style bike or Expensive off roader might be required. If it is about common sense then taking a bike that makes you a target, is expensive to maintain (if even possible to), can't be utilized or won't be, it just doesn't make sense.

    I learned enough from traveling through Africa where the Westerners had to have Land Rovers/Cruisers while locals used mini-vans like my mom.

    To each his own.

    Oh, here is the repair info from the only Minsk Mechanic in Saigon.

    Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) – Tran Hoa
    $1US = 16,000D

    Generator casing – 250,000
    Signal lights (4) – 120,000
    Foot pegs (2) – 40,000
    Sprockets – 95,000
    Front brakes – 50,000
    Clutch cable wire – 18,000
    Clutch lever and bracket – 75,000
    Front brake lever and bracket – 45,000
    Tire – 205,000
    Tube – 60,000
    Spare clutch lever and bracket – 75,000
    Labor – 145,000 Above and adjust chain, replace front shock seals, adjust gear box, replace fuel tank bolts/washers, rear brakes, and tighten exhaust.
    Welding – 50,000 (front/right foot peg, rear brake rod)

    Mechanic: Tran Hoa
    Address: 223/2H Pham Viet Chanh
    Q1 – TPHCM
    Directions: From Pham Ngu Lao Area (Backpacker/cheap hotel/tourist area)
    Head west on Pham Ngu Lao to the main round about. On the far side of the roundabout take Cong Quynh road west. The first left is Pham Viet Chanh. The street is lined with moto repair shops. Tran’s shop is half way down on the right.
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Good to know you had a successful trip.
    Any chance of a bigger contribution - some photos & brief outline on where & how you went?
    Many thanks in advance.
  11. danwhite

    danwhite Ol'Timer

    Depending on what you want I always think local bikes that can be fixed by local mechanics are good. In Vietnam I had great fun on the Minsk (light practical machine), the Jawa and then the Bonus...... Enfields in India the same.... Here in Thailand the same.... Parts etc.

    Interesting about your VN crossing ....... Did you see any non Vina reg bikes on the way past the border?

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