Warning: Important Safety Notice for rentals


New Member
Nov 8, 2008
For all those concerned, DO NOT RENT FROM ST MOTORCYCLE in Chiang Rai. They do not service their bikes.
My girlfriend and I set out the explore the GT by bike. I rented a motorbike through the front lobby of a local guesthouse, Chat House. Two hours into my trip while descending a steep and windy road just past Doi Mai Salong, the brakes from the bike – both front and back – completely gave out. It was only by sheer luck that we where able to avoid a serious crash and steer into a nearby driveway. We immediately phoned the bike company and where told without any regard to drive the bike back to Chiang Rai – downhill with no breaks. It was only after a local coffee shop owner was able to call the company for us and straighten out this nonsense that we were able to get the bike fixed in town. Upon inspection the local mechanic revealed that the front break pads had been completely worn out, down to the metal, while the back pads where not catching because the back tire was severely bent, something which could have easily been fixed had the bike been regularly serviced but which was undetectable otherwise. We where told by both the mechanic and the coffee shop owner to show the bike shop owner the brake pads as it was completely negligent to be lending out a bike in such condition.
The next day we set out back to Chiang Rai when again the breaks gave out, this time seriously injuring my girlfriend who was a passenger and who had to be taken to the hospital. Apart from ruining our trip, her entire calf from foot to knee is scared and she is in a lot of pain. Some locals who had stopped to help us out and road the bike afterwards reconfirmed what the mechanic in Mai Salong had said, that the breaks where faulty and that the bike should not have been on the road.
When we finally returned the bike, both the owner and agent where completely unremorseful, extremely rude, and refused to refund our money. Moreover, they tried to tell me that the accidents where somehow my fault, that the brakes had overheated. Again, this is complete nonsense as the first accident occurred right after a long break for lunch and the second after about a half hour accent. Furthermore, they appeared ready to rent the same bike out again.
We are very lucky that we escaped with the injuries that we did and it could have been much much worse and I very much fear for the safety of future clients.

Safe riding everyone.


Feb 16, 2007
Man, that sucks. I hope your GF is OK and not too scarred up, but you guys are very lucky. I was talking to an Aussie girl in Pai who dumped her scooter. Knocked out 2 of her teeth and had her arm in a sling. Skinned up from foot to hip and looked like bloody hell. How people ride without proper gear is just stupefying to me.

I agree there is some marginal (to put it politely) equipment out there. I passed up quite a few before settling on one. But this is Thailand and its always buyer beware. Hopefully this experience hasn't soured you on riding here again as it is about the best I have seen yet.


May 5, 2008
Feel sorry for both of you, BUT you should not drive that bike after the first accident, and you should check a bike before you rent or drive it, i think that second accident should not have happened
And if you knew about this site maybe rented one from a recommended shop.


Aug 27, 2008
Surely they have an obligation to put descent brakes on a bike.
Especialy around the GT area. If the engine breaks down it's not really life threatening is it. But no brakes is a different matter. They certainly know how to charge in the GT area for hiring rates. At least they could give you brakes.



Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Sorry to hear about your misadventure & your girlfriend’s sore leg. I hope she is recovering.

Your post catches me by surprise as ST has a reputation for being reliable & honest, plus you are the first one to complain about them.

I don’t doubt the validity of your complaint & that the brakes were gone after the two spills.


I do wonder about the severity of the poor condition (non-existent brakes?) of the bike when you rented it.

When you rent a bike, you should always test it first to be satisfied & if there’s anything wrong with the bike complain & / or ask for another bike.

The fact that you reached Doi Mae Salong, 70 kms away & 1,000 metres up & down from Chiang Rai, without problems would seem to indicate that the bike & brakes were ok - acceptable when you took off.

Indeed, if the brakes were so bad in the first place, how did you manage to reach Doi Mae Salong without noticing anything?
How were you able to stop satisfactorily at the many traffic lights in & around Chiang Rai city?
Surely if they were as bad as you claim – totally shot - they were dodgy from the start & you would have noticed something, particularly riding two-up – a heavy load - on a 250?

The Doi Mae Salong roads are notoriously steep, tight & twisting – and hard on brakes, especially if you don't know the roads & are inexperienced.
I suspect you are somewhat inexperienced riding in those conditions & carried too high a gear & / or used the brakes excessively to wear them out / cook them? Especially riding two-up, it's hard on brakes!
So I wonder was it the bike, or an inexperienced rider, riding two-up, cooking the brakes descending in too high a gear, or a combination of both? Probably the latter I’d say.
Also an alert rider would normally feel the brakes starting to go off, & back right off to let them cool down, before "hooking into it" again. I don't think that they suddenly just pack it in without warning.

You’ve obviously had a bad experience & want everyone to know about it, joining the GT Rider forum specifically to give ST a right bollocking. However without any other contribution – how was the trip – you have a bit of a credibility problem. But thank you anyway for the tip off & warning.

I have advised ST of your complaint; but as a first post & anonymously at that, simply slagging off a generally highly regarded rental shop does not have total credibility.

Over the years I have heard complaints about every rental shop – Mr Mechanic, Joes Bike Team, Tony’s Big Bikes, Jaguar, CP, Pop. The list is almost endless - they ALL have their good & bad days; & not everyone is listed or recommended, but I don’t believe in blacklisting any shop because of one anonymous complaint from a first time contributor.

ST will continue to be a recommended motorcycle hire shop in Chiang Rai, and if there is a better shop would some of the knockers & lurkers who think they know better please tell us.

Kafetroll’s post does not deserve the dignity of a response. (We know who he is.)


Apr 24, 2003
first off sorry to hear about your gf getting hurt! and wish her a speedy recovery!
bikeing in any country has its risks and its up to the rider to give the bike a good look at before he/she takes one out!, i spent a long time looking for a bike before finding my xr250 at st motorcycles and they have been 100% reliable for me.
hope this dosent put you or your girlfriend off touring on a motorbike!.
get good kit, check out your chosen bike and give it a go!,there are many more shops out there for you to try.