Biking in Thailand - a beginners tale.....

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by geoffgoeff, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. We'd taken the bike down to Chiang Mai to get a full service done by, allegedly, the best big bike shop in the region, a certain Mr Net.We'd left it with him and said "make it perfect". He speaks perfect English and said he would "make it so".
    10 days later he called to say it was done so we went down to Chiang Mai in the car. We stayed with our friends Carl and Nam and their two little girls ( aged 2 and 4 - a bloody handful but fun, a bit).
    We picked up the bike on the Tuesday and, on Wednesday we were set to return home. Fortunately our friend Richard asked if we could takes his wife Jen and 5 year old son Robbie with us which was great as it meant Joy had company driving the car home. The story starts on the Wednesday morning as we set off on our return.

    There is some bad language, well quite a lot actually.
    We're leaving Carl and Nam's' place. Joy is driving the car with Jen and Robbie as passengers. I'm following on the bike cos I haven't a clue how to get on to the highway that takes us to Chiang Rai and then home. Carl and Nam live way out in the sticks surrounding Chiang Mai.

    So, we set off. "Hail fellow and well met. Thank for everything, see you soon we hope."

    Off she/they go in the ute and I dutifully follow on.

    30 minutes later at the dead end of a gravel road she stops, as do I.

    I wait........ finally, she gets out of the car and asks me if I know where we are?

    You know how hot it gets when you're cloaked up in bike gear and sitting in the mid morning sun on a concrete road?

    I respond calmly, 'I haven't a clue." Smile.

    She looks.

    She'd expected tantrums but none were forthcoming so it might be OK to "discuss" the situation.

    Discuss, Discussion ? Bloody discussion? I'm sweating my bits off here and the bike is over heating. ( Yes, i know I should have switched off.) And you said you know where we're going!

    No bloody way and tantrum starts.

    Fortunately an old bloke on a bike rolls up and I bailed him up.
    "Where the **** is Doi ****ing Suck It " ?

    I think he was a bit scared cos he gave gestures to me rather than information to her. Anyway we finally made it to Doi Suck It and turned right onto the highway.

    I let her pull out and followed and then decided to give wee Robbie ( the 5 year old) a bit of a laugh ( his fat little face had been glued to the back window from the start) flashing my lights and blasting my horn I opened her up.

    40, 60, 80, 100, 110, (something isn't right) 120, (still isn't right) 140, ( Ah, it's cured itself) 160, ( no it bloody hasn't) and that was it.

    She (the bike) kept on going but the "hickups" were there, as before, but in all gears at all speeds.

    Then all the electrics failed. indicators, instruments, lights, the lot.

    **** it. I open her up and hammer it. The idea being to get as near to Mr. Chet in Chiang Rai as possible. Mr. Nat has screwed me.

    Overtaking at speed on a curve when the powers dies hurts.

    Horrible ride.

    A very jerky and quite nerve racking hour or so later I got to Ban Nam Ron. Sulphuric explosions of hot water from natural springs in which people boil eggs and buy tourist crap at vastly over rated prices. They also sell cold drinks.

    They arrived 7 cigarettes later.

    I advised them of the situation and they immediately went shopping. I assume they assumed that the nightmare of the bike meant lots of recovery time which was best spent buying crap.

    One's ire was riz.

    Off we go again. The bikes is ****ed, all over the place. One minute I'm accelerating smoothly then suddenly I'm dying. Tense, it was.

    Finally make it to the bakery restaurant place that is really good about 30 km before the Chiang Rai highway.

    Pull in, park up, have a beer.

    They arrive. I explain as best I can that we are going to Mr. Chet in Chiang Rai and the bike will stay there until it's fixed.

    Now, I hadn't clearly thought this through.

    Two Thai ladies and a young Thai lad who wields a mean fork, in a restaurant that does delicious food and fancy cakes and pies and stuff. They've got menus in front of them and waitresses hovering and I'm expecting some kind of attention and response to my bike problem???????????

    I went to the loo.

    I went and looked at the aviary.

    I went and looked at the river that rambles through the grounds.

    I went back to the table.

    The 3 Thai dishes plus the 4 different American type desert pies ( pumpkin, lemon meringue, cheese cake and blue berry and the savoury chicken pie with short crust pastry were nearly gone so I helped finish them off and then presented my plan.

    We call the odious Mr. Nat in Chiang Mai, to whom we'd paid THB 6,600 to make the bike perfect and tell him where we are. Hopefully making him feel a tad guilty and responsible.

    We tell him we're going to try to get to Mr. Chet in Chiang Rai and we'll talk then.

    Mr Nat laughs enthusiastically and say it sounds like a good plan and maybe the master fuse has corroded .............

    I hang up.

    We call Mr Chet who is happy to see us when we like and to let him know if we need rescuing ( He seems a top bloke)

    Joy leads off in the car as I've no idea how to get to Mr Chets'.

    A long way before I'd expected we take a left.

    Bugger, it's a Thai "short cut".

    45 minutes later we cruise blindly past Mr Chets road.

    I slam on the anchors, spin it around and aim for some semblance of commonsense and tranquility.

    Pulling into Mr Chets' yard he appears with a big smile and a glass of ice cold water. I'm in love.

    I strip off the gear and dismount ( the bike, not Mr Chet)

    He looks me in the eye and I give him my technical diagnosis;

    "It's ****ed. I hate the bitch. Destroy it, please. I'll destroy the bloke who sold it to me later."

    I sit down, he walks off and comes back with an ice cold beer. I'm doubly in love.

    He looks me in the eye and says, quite quietly, "no worry, I fix, give me key".

    It was a bonding moment. A moment of pure connection, understanding and, dare I say it, love.

    Then the ladies arrived with the 5 year old boy who's mad about bikes.

    The next hour is a blur. The ladies gossiped, wittered, chatted, babbled and giggled. The small lad poked into holes and gaps, turned throttles and taps, spun wheels and spokes and generally got lost in a circus of bikes and bits.

    I slumped, removed my boots and then my jeans. Sitting in knickers and a t shirt I waited.

    Mr Chet did exactly what I wanted. He took the bike for a spin.

    After all the gossip and helpful translations, technical opinions and sublimely inane comments from my friends he just jumped on it and left.

    Fifteen minutes later he returned declaring that Mr Nat in Chiang Mai was a crook.

    He called Mr Nat.

    Mr Nat said that maybe the carburetor membranes/rubbery bits were corroded thereby causing the erratic performance.

    "You reckon" said Chet "then why the **** didn't you change them?" "By the way" he continued. "Your prices are 3 time mine, why do you persist in ripping off foreigners."

    That was my translation of their telephone conversation. It might not be totally accurate and probably includes certain aspirations and hope on my part.

    Anyway. the bike stayed with Mr Chet. We'll go back in a week or so when he's done a proper job on it.

    Got home safely and will now drink a couple of beers.

    Happy days.
  2. Funniest thing I have read for ages, thank you for that. Oh, I hope it got fixed :)
  3. Nothing like doing things the hard way Geoffrey ;-)

    ...... Anyway ..... reminded me I need to go see this good fellow. I've heard good things about this Guy, he's a living legend in CR but the beer swung me.

    I wonder if this Guy can service my Cb500X so I don't need to trek to CM and Honda Big Disapointment Wing
  4. I have no doubts about him and I'm sure he could service your Cb500x.
  5. Sorry to hear about this Geoff.

    I & many other guys still use Piston Shop for bike service & generally have no complaints.

    Now I wonder about your bike - the bike is 20? years old, has been sitting for a long time unused so is the problem gasohol related?
  6. Hi David,

    Yes, I was a bit disappointed with the CM experience.
    Mt. Chet sussed it out pretty quickly as corroded carbo diaphragms ( The rubbery bits inside the carbo.)
    What annoyed me was that it was so obviously the problem and its hard to believe CM would have missed it.

    Maybe the onus was on me to take it for a test ride after picking it up in CM. I don't know. I would have thought, having been given carte blanche to do anything that was required, that CM would have test driven and found out the problems inherent in a bike that is,as you say, 20 years old and has been standing for a fair old while.

    Still, it's all water under the bridge. :happy2:
  7. Sorry to hear Your Story Geoff but Bloody Funny Commentary! Loved it! Sadly T.I.T. Nearly Impossible to find Decent Service or a Mechanic anywhere. I can Sympathise with Both Yourself and Nat! I have been Advertising for Staff Constantly for probably over a Year and can't find any! That is one Problem Buying an Old Bike here! Forget the Memories and Nostalgia! Best Bet is just Buy a Brand New Bike and away You go! Good Luck Mate!
  8. Over the past 4 months I have had quite a lot of work done at PistonShop, albeit cosmetic work having sent the bits to CM by EMS and then fitting them on return, but then I live 900kms from CM. I'd say I was happy with the work and now the bike is back together it looks a whole lot better than it did before. The only panic attack I had was when Nat told me the chrome and polishing shop had lost my rear wheel spindle but a quick trip soon retrieved it. So to read your tale of woe left me somewhat dismayed. PistonShop had come recommended to me by one of the GTR stalwarts in bike rebuilding and they came as a welcome alternative to the mai mee syndrome of all the bike shops around where I live. ' It takes all sorts to make the world go round ' would seem appropriate here but to give you your bike back without testing it or even worse, to have given you your bike back having tested it and say nothing is not on.
  9. FYI;

    Message from Mr. Chet today.

    Bike all sorted. Carbs stripped down and put back together. Test driven. All good. Pick it up on Thursday.

    All for the princely sum of 500 ( five hundred) baht.

    We are very happy.
  10. We picked up the bike this afternoon and took it for a run.
    Returned to Mr. Chet and told him we were happy.
    With the help of my wife translating ( i'm embarrassingly incapable of speaking Thai) we found out what he'd done.
    First off there was a bee in the fuel line!
    As you said David, the bikes been sitting for 3 years.
    Secondly the carbs were cleaned out and he expressed concern about the replaced fuel lines.
    This had been done in CM as they said they were cracked.
    Fair enough.
    The thing was though they'd replaced the corroded fuel lines with transparent pink colored opaque fuel lines which, according to Mr. Chet were not up to spec on a 750.
    He'd changed them out for some heavy duty grey coloured things that certainly looked a lot better.

    It's all about trust as far as I'm concerned. Whilst I've been riding all kinds of bikes for 40 plus years I'm still a mechanical moron, to my shame.
    So, when you find someone who steers you right they're a gift from which ever deity you hold to.

    Stick to them, and Mr Chet is my man.

    Happy trails.
  11. It would be extremely helpful if you could give us some details of the mysterious Mr card, photo of shop / photo of Khun Chet / contact details.
  12. The shop is located at the green arrow marker on this Google map-
    Degrees Lat Long 19.8707400°, 099.7821300°
    Degrees Minutes 19°52.24440', 099°46.92780'
    Degrees Minutes Seconds 19°52'14.6640", 099°46'55.6680"
    Here is Google Street View of the front of the place and the guy in that view is Mr. Chet himself-

    You can choose satellite view on the map to see other landmarks nearby. You can also see the large lake to the west where the Pot Luck is held during the dry season.
  13. Phone number is 081-671-8565
  14. Further info for Mr. Chet's motorcycle repair shop:
    Phone number is 081-671-8565
    He speaks Thai and he understands English. Super nice guy, super reputation.

    Below are some pics of his place. The first is the approach to his place and the sign on the side of his building as you approach on the road, coming from highway 1211. The last two pics show his sign and one of them shows the little mascot he has welded together next to his sign. Both of those are directly in front of his place, adjoining the road and easily visible. Good landmark to watch for.






    « Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 11:11:59 AM by admin1 »
  15. That should do it.
    Good luck.
  16. I don't know about you.. But I am not very knowledgable when it comes to mechanics on the bike.

    A few times I have said.. Do what ever needs doing and let me know..
    Then wondered why certain things were not done.

    Not only bikes but most things in Sth East Asia..
    You need to direct exactly what you want done.. Even then, you may get most of it or everything done if lucky.

    Even had the same experience at Kawasaki..

    So to be fair.. I try and get a list of essentials I want or need checked from friends and then tell the mechanic.
    So at least for those things.. There is no doubt.

  17. Nothing beats doing it yourself...and with the advent of the internet and google there's no plausible reason not to...

    any problem you're having with your bike, someone has had before you and they've more than likely put it on the internet with step by step instructions and pics on how they fixed it...

    taking a bike that was not made in Thailand to a mechanic(sic) who doesn't even know what google is and expecting positive results is probably another symptom of insanity...

    not all is lost though...

    it does make for interesting and entertaining reading...

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