Day Trip: The MHS Loop on a Honda Dream.

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, May 9, 2003.

  1. DAY TRIP: The 600 kms Mae Hong Son Loop on a Honda Dream.

    DATE: Saturday 3rd May 2003.

    WHY: A challenge to see how long it would take, and if we could actually do it in a day – just for FUN. Its too easy on a big bike – been there & done that a few times already, so why not do the “dream ride” on the “dream loop”, of a 1,000 hair pin bends.
    If you’ve ever done the MHS loop, then you might know that on the tight winding mountain roads, you often are only doing 40-60 kph, and that’s perfect riding for a small bike like the Honda Dream.

    THE BIKES: (1) John’s got his hot Honda Dream 110 with trick rear shocks, & front disc brake. (2) I’ve cheated a bit & got a big Honda Wave 125, but drum front brake & bog standard suspension. (I thought this was fair with my extra 20 kgs weight over John!) My machine’s hired sneakily, from Mrs Mechanic, while she was away on holidays – the staff don’t believe I am taking it out for a 600 kms thrash, just for the day!

    THE PLAN: Simple. Depart at 6.00 am. Ride non-stop except for fuel, quick photo & drink stops. Be back by 7.00 pm at the latest. A piece of cake for experienced riders – (1) John who normally rides Suzuki GSX1100 & (2) David an Honda Africa Twin 750.

    THE ROUTE: Anti-clockwise direction. Chiang Mai – Mae Malai - Pai – Soppong – MHS – Khun Yuam – Mae Sarieng – Hot – Chomthong – Chiang Mai. ‘We” decided this is the better way to go, as returning to Cnx from Mae Sarieng is easy – fast flowing roads, and especially from Chomthong to Chiang Mai it is basically all flat straight 4-lane “super.” There will be no tight steep winding stuff at the end of the day, when we might be getting a bit tired. Also if we get caught in the dark, the lights on the Dream are not exactly rally standard, and again it will be easier coming down the 4-lane super into town rather than riding on steep & winding mountain roads on route 1095, and wondering where the road has gone as you go round a bend in the dark.

    THE WEATHER: was perfect hot, dry and clear. The forest is starting to green again from the early rains. And that’s good news for wonderful views and pretty scenery.

    THE DAY: Get up on time at 5.30 am, & make a phone call to John to say I’m on my way to his Jonadda Ghouse


    for a quick brekky & hit the road, by 6.30 am at the latest. Now getting up at 5.30 am did take a bit of effort as I only got to bed at 2.30 am, after a night out at Rudi’s sax Bar, with the girlfriend singer, but I don’t know who was leading who on in the drinking stakes.
    I don’t quite feel so bad, when John’s not exactly ready for action & it takes us a bit longer than anticipated to get going.

    After a couple of pics outside Ghouse we get on the road at 7.45 am, not quite the 6.00 am start as planned.

    Once we hit the super route 107 & the 4-lane, its flat stick all the way out to Mae Malai, 33 ½ kms out. By the time we get there its 8.15 am, which is not such a bad time considering the time of day; the spark plugs are nice and clean and we haven’t even been passed by another vehicle yet. Not bad going at all. Can we keep this pace up, and will the bikes last the distance you might think too - there’s only another 570 kms left?

    Once you turn off at Mae Malai its onto route 1095 and into the hills. The first bit is through quite a few villages, and John gets away from me quite easily somewhere at the start and I only catch him up at the first fuel stop.
    This is a pattern that is kept up most of the day. The bikes are so evenly matched, that if one rider gets a gap of a few hundred meters it is difficult to haul him back in. You really do have to tuck in, keep your head down, keep the throttle full on, and don't stuff up any corners or gear changes. Bloody good fun I can tell you!

    John too, is the better rider with his race experience down-under, and he takes faster lines through the all corners. His trick is to go out wide, then cut back in & sweep thru the corner, cutting it out nicely; something I was not so keen to do on the wrong side of the (public) road. This way he was able to carry much more speed and corner a lot faster - at least on the blind left-handers.)

    We almost mixed the first fuel stop


    & in fact John went past it, only just remembering that he could not get to Pai on a single Honda Dream tank of fuel. Time was 8.45 am, & we had been riding for an hour. Not being a normal long-distance Honda Dream rider, I was unsure of how far you could go on a tank, and wanted to leave the 1st "splash & dash" fuel stop for him to pick. As a precaution, I carried 2 litres of fuel in a plastic 4-litre oil bottle stashed in the front basket.
    After the 1st fuel stop around Mae Lao it is up into the steep hills and the switchbacks just before Mae Sae. It was in these steep switchbacks that we actually got passed for the 1st time, the Dreams did not have enough power, and we were stuck in 1st gear at last. But not long afterwards we caught up to the naughty vehicles & slipped past them in the twisties that run along the ridgeline.

    Pai was soon upon us & the 2nd fuel stop at the PTT gas station. The time in Pai was 10.06 am, so it was 2 hrs 21 mins from Chiang Mai to Pai – not bad eh?
    After Pai it is right up into the mountains with that long climb up to the ridgeline and Sala viewpoint. We got overtaken again by a couple of vehicles in the steep stuff, but soon caught up to them in the down hill section!
    A quick photo stop


    was called for at the Sala viewpoint & I noticed that not only were the Lisu still out and about, but so where some Israelis on yet another 4WD jeep tour. Time is 10.48 am, 3 hrs 3 mins from Chiang Mai.
    Next stop is yet another splash & dash for fuel in Soppong. Time is 11.13 am.
    Both bikes are running well and almost identically – fuel cost each time was just on 40-50 baht per bike, & the bikes never differed by more than 5 baht.
    Soppong to MHS is only 64 kms to straight onto MHS it was, albeit broken by 2 photo stops. One more for entertainment value, to round–up some water buffalo on the side of the road for a photo session, but this did not quite work out so well, and the buffalos outsmarted us


    (perhaps not so difficult either you might say?)

    We arrived in MHS “on time” at 12.33 pm. Not bad at all I thought, only 4 hrs 30 mins, including fuel & photo stops, from Chiang Mai.
    I thought we were doing very well, but it was here in MHS that the plot went all wrong.
    Trying to be a bit smart, I decided that we could have a 45 mins foot massage during our break. The theory being, we could lay back in a nice comfy lounge chair, get pampered, fed & drink ALL at the same time. Then get back on the bikes nice & fresh, to finish off the loop, in quick time. Simple.
    However someone decided to have a full traditional Thai massage, - it was better for you, than just a foot massage. However this also means you have to change clothes, (get out of your riding gear), plus cannot eat or drink at the same time, and so you generally use up a lot more time.
    It was back on the bikes at 2.30 pm, after a mere 2 hrs, as opposed to the planned 45 mins stop.

    You lose all your rhythm taking extended breaks, and we missed the next fuel stop, which caused us to slow down & conserve fuel, until we could fuel up 30 kms out of Mae Hong Son.
    After this it was a gentle cruise for the rest of the way home, as we’d blown our non-stop ride & travel time test.
    In Khun Yuam I popped into a Ghouse (Ban Farang) to briefly say hello.
    Next fuel stop was Mae La Luang at 4.30 pm.
    Then it was Mae Sarieng for another bite to eat, & check out an Africa Twin for sale.

    We got away from Mae Sarieng at 6.25 pm & switched on the ol Honda Dream headlights before we made it to the top of the 23 kms climb up out of Mae Sarieng. I managed to get right away from John in this long climb, just using 3rd gear, which seemed to have the most pulling power. In this section John tried to pull 4th a lot on his bike, but the bike could not hold it, so back down to 3rd again it was, but by which time I was still pulling away strongly in 3rd.
    However once on the ridgeline John soon caught up, & got in front of me, pulling away effortlessly. I then re-fueled from the fuel can in the front basket, tossed the fuel can, and chased him down. The problem being the light from the headlight was reflecting off the fuel can up into my eyes & I could not see clearly.
    I had a moment when riding with my visor up to see more clearly I got stung by a bee/ wasp. For the next 45 mins, half my upper lip went numb, but otherwise I was ok and rode with my visor down!
    Next fuel stop was at Kong Loi, and after that Hot at 8.28 pm.
    Riding in the dark from Mae Sarieng to Hot, we got passed regularly by other vehicles, the theory being that our "rally" headlights were not quite up to standard, & we had to ride slower. You cant beat the lights on the big tour buses, and riding a Honda Dream you can’t quite tuck in behind and follow them either!
    The last drag from Hot into Chiang Mai was fun, as there was more light on the roads & we were able to carry a bit more speed = ride the Dreams at full throttle. Once on the 4-lane from Chomthong to Chiang Mai no other vehicles passed us, and in fact we did all the overtaking. Not bad eh?
    At 9.35 pm we hit the Chiang Mai super.

    SUMMARY: I’d love to do this ride again, but minus the massage in MHS, and habitual smokos, that come with each stop. Riding with a smoker, you should allow 10 mins extra per stop for a quick fag. Overall I estimate total smoko time to have been around 1 ¼ hrs.
    None of this takes from the quality and enjoyment of the ride.
    Riding “identical” bikes" is awesome fun, with plenty of slip streaming to get a break on the other ride. I can’t recall riding with a grin as wide as the ones we shared trying to out drag each other every few kms. Riding a Honda Dream on the MHS loop truly is serious FUN!
    One last note, neither bike burnt any oil or failed to perform at maximum capacity on the whole loop. I was amazed!

    Keep the power on
  2. Your report David is pretty good but you stuffed op the specs on my bike,its 100 cc and no disk brakes other than that great.
  3. Dr G
    Excellent idea - the 1st weekend of May in 2004, the MHS loop on Honda Dreams.
    But just to make it even more interesting, why not start & finish from Rudi's Sax Bar? Even Rudi might join the Dream gang?

    Keep the power on
  4. Hey you guys are having too much fun - stop it.
    Have 'weathered' the tornado's around here the past two days. Lots of damage, some loss of life all just 45 miles to the north - just missed me by a few minutes in tornado-time. Still can't find Toto though.
    StanGayuski in SouthWest Missouri

    PS: For Greg: Gees what a guy. Finally went to your home page and spent the last hour reading your journeys. I think I know that guy in Puerto Angel Mexico. One of my fav spots as well except for the ugly gringo women.
  5. John not ready on time, how familiar that is!

    When we'd go away camping in Aus, John was never bloody ready on time.

    Cheers guys sounds like a good ride.[:D][:D][:D][:D]
  6. Well its about time again.
    Who's riding this time?

    Keep the power on
  7. Just in from Lahu New Year / Mae Hong Son & seeing the MHS Loop road's in such good nick (the best it's ever been) I was just wondering would anyone.............
  8. This is called necro-ing a thread... reviving a long dead thread...

    I read the story and didn't realise that it was 5 years old... couldn't recognise John, but I am going to say that is because of the haircut and angle of the photo...

    I was wondering at what point in time you thought "well, the idea was good, but after 8 hours on a Honda dream..."

    Reminds me of the 'Isle of Mercury Street postie bike TT'... a mate was a truckie for Aussie Post, and one of his jobs was to driving around swapping out the CT100 postie bikes... when a mate has a truckload of identical postie bikes at his house (in Mercury Street) there is only one thing to do... grin :D ...

    It will be interesting to see how many starters you can get... or if they are all soft from riding around on their fancy Tigers, and Scamblers, and Bonnie's, and ATs, and GSs, and NSR150s :D ...

    wonder if you can get it organised before Capn Slash dashes off...

  9. Why Not!!! I can take my Tiger, But the one Made in Thailand (125) not the One Made in England :wink: Or Should i say Assembled in England before someone starts Splitting Hairs :twisted:
  10. Ian
    I'm up for a ride real soon, but dont have enough brownie points for an overnighter alone (it's time for happy go lucky to go on a trip again), so was thinking maybe next Monday 7th April??
  11. I'd love to join but cannot be free until sometime after May 12th. Go for it before if it fits best for you guys but if you want to wait........ ;)


  12. Would Love to But away with the Kids on 5th to the Beach back about the 10th. After that i am Free apart from ANZAC Day Trip 24th to 27th. I definitely want to be a part of it though. Should be a Blast. A Party after our Return? :D
  13. Anyone interested in another one?

    Depart sometime in the next 7-10 days?
  14. Really makes me wish I lived nearer CNX - sounds like a fun day out! We have a Honda Wave 125 electric start & front disc brake & the little thing is amazing. Have measured fuel consumption a few times over many tanks & never less than 165 mpg (imperial gallon) Sorry to the "metric" guys - my main language is in old fashioned mpg!! It cruises at an easy 90kph & can manage to hold 100kph once you get it there.It would certainly be a challenge & I'm sure the sense of achievement afterwards would make it worthwhile. :mrgreen:
  15. If it happens in June I would be up for this

  16. David, I have a Step 125, fully automatic which could haul my bulk around, still home one week....... Just call me because that would be fun !!!! cheers, Franz
  17. Well if I get any serious riders I propose either
    Wednesday 5th, or
    Thursday 6th
    Depart 6.15AM.

    I have a dentists appointment on Tuesday 4th May & cant go.

    Any later than next week & I think there will be rain around.

    To be decided
    1. place of departure
    2. direction
    To the guys who've offered to tag along on bigger bikes - sorry no go.
    Only "step throughs" or moped automatics. No CBR150s, or small Kwackas.

    Silverhawk, Moto-Rex, Schackster, Bungy, why not?

    As encouragement perhaps I can rope in some of Mr(s) Mechanics female staff to join us for the day.

    It's only a day ride on a step through.....
  18. David if it's this week I'm in. Fiu came back from Phrae yesterday that's why I wasn't at Gary's place, now he can at least shower & dress himself so I'm ready to go.
    I propose Wednesday the 5th !! Will take the Step and be a little slower than the Waves especially uphill, but that doesn't worry me, only concern is the petrol consumption of this bike, hell she's a thirsty one.......cheers, Franz
  19. I like this bike, because it is the best one in the world.
    Sometimes i drive from phuket to samui, about 330km, never problems.
    Only one time, on a 2000km trip, i forget to look the oil then the engine was broken.
    But: Only 2 days and 2700 Baht and the motorbike run.
  20. Sounds like fun, and I would like to join up. The 6th is the day of choice for me, but will start to make way for the 5th.

    John did a good job selling this trip as a lotta fun.

    Mr Mechanic can rent me a Dream or Wave, which would be better? No way I'd take the Click, too slow.
  21. Confirmed
    1. David Unk
    2. Franz
    3. Miss Yui (from Mr Mechanic)
    4. Fishenough

    Anyone else?
    Bungy .
    Schackster are you in - its only a day trip.
    Moto-Rex you can rent a bike from Mr Mechanic & escort Miss Yui.
    Silverhawk, bring your Yamaha spark.

    Currently leaning to Wed 5th, but will confirm tomorrow.
  22. Fishenough, I wouldn't worry about the Click, my Step has to haul my 100+ kgs up the mountains is also an 125 automatic-belt driven, only thing I need to care is some 4 lts spare petrol as this one's a real guzzler. Anyway see you all on Wed or Thu at 06:00 in front of the Kafe, cheers, Franz
  23. Make it Wednesday & I am in for the trip on a Wave125i

  24. Perfect Ally, was just waiting for this post :mrgreen: :smile1: :clap: , Art (Blister) called me, if he reads that you are with us it might tip him also in the same direction, even on an old and battered Wave or Dream, told him no Tracker this time as David stated :D :wink: ........cheers, Franz
  25. Moto-Rex is in. Wave 110s will be the go from Mr Mechanic.
    Art - Blister join in the fun.
    Wednesday seems to be the goer, unless we get more guys who can only go on Thursday.

    Go in a southerly direction: Chiang Mai - Mae Sarieng, to get the boring bit out of the way & not at the end of the day.
    End up at the X-Centre, if Bungy comes. :smile1:

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