Pattaya Bowin on an R26


Jun 28, 2007
Had to go down there on a B-trip by plane and as alone I had no means of transportation. So a very good Thai friend had me borrow his 57 years old BMW R26 which I used just for a day, but this later.
First trouble started when I wanted to kick her alive; my friend didn't run her for a year and had still some petrol in it which had already dissolved into a foul smelling brownish mix. So filled her up with Regular 95 and tried again, after some 20 kicks she came alive only to die on me 10 seconds later, so cleaning of carbs was the next one, just open what can be opened without removing the carbs and then she started.
No smoke, so the rings were ok.
Went on her for a meeting in Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate and did around 85 km/h cruising there. She has enough power to keep up with good scooters but 2 up would have had me struggle on hills.
Here's some fotos of the vintage beauty:




She's registered and the book up to date too, which is very rare as some owners just run them around their houses and stopped a long time ago to pay any taxes or compulsory insurance or also called Por Ror Bor.
I did enjoy this bike although the seat is not original and like a wodden board but did not enjoy at all close to Bowin and especially in Pattaya.
So when coming back I asked my friend if I could swap for his KLX125 as in Pattaya I wouldn't ride this classic bike, first of all for fear of missing some parts while parked and second even more important, because of that incredible traffic down there.

When I left Pattaya in 2004, you could still do a 10 minutes run from North to South via let's say 3rd Road, nowadays it will take you at least 35 minutes because of the traffic situation. It's bad everywhere you go, especially the tour busses are clogging the roads up big time and on closer look I saw many of them with just some 10-20 passengers. The situation gets only worse with all that Songtheaw mafia or Bahtbusses cruising in a 'stop and go' way around even the smallest Soi just to look for customers. Hundreds of small scooters criss-crossing at any moment without indication or looking and for this I decided the R26' brakes were not up to the task at all and just imagine the engine dies at a traffic light in searing heat........
So I brought the classic one back and hopped onto the small but lovely KLX125 which gave me a little more fun between the parked cars & busses everywhere. Rode her for some 300 kms as this bike had only done 2,500 so far, was then really disappointed when the front fork seals blew and she spilled oil onto the disc brake. Then one day I couldn't remove the key from the tank filler cap, not even SONAX helped, but finally I managed, the speedo shows some speeds that are not true, she didn't start up one morning for no reason, the original tyres were crap and slippery and so on and on........

And the end of this short trip told me one thing: avoid Pattaya and Bowin at all costs next time I go there, will stay in Rayong from now on. Never buy a cheapo bike even if manufactored here. Get my DR250 done and dump her at my friends place to have some means of transportation for my frequent trips in Eastern Thailand. Cheers, Franz


Oct 16, 2011
Franz, too true about Pattaya traffic and the buses.. just crazy now.
If your heading south from Pattaya leave early and go down Thappaya all the way you can and then thread up toward Sukhumvit. If your going north from Pattaya at any time still head south to start on Thappaya and then towards Sukhumvit on Theppasit and avoid 3rd road/ klang and all of that nonsense....if coming into pattaya on the highway turn off before the last overpass and follow the railtrack road for about 7 kms then turn right and it will bring you out near Theppasit. Theppasit at times is bad but noweher like Nua or Klang or third road...