I was wondering if anybody could recommend a good area/street of Hanoi to buy a used/second-hand motorbike. I would like to broaden my search beyond the classified section of TNH =) Any ideas would be very helpful. Thanks!
be very careful when buying a second hand motorbike. When i first got here I went to a big second hand car market and bought a honda wave. i was assured the bike was in great working order, it had been looked after well, only 1 owner etc etc, i took it for a spin and not knowing anything about motorbikes (i drive at home) it seemed to be fine to me. it turned out they swapped almost every genuine honda part in the engine for a cheap chinese alternative.
so if you're going to a 2nd hand seller,do what i should have done and take someone who knows about motorbikes.
You have to be careful with second hand bikes, as LOTS of motorcycle owners disconnect their speedos/odometers to minimise the number of kms logged on their odos. You can be pretty certain that if the bike's over a year old, it's in fact done 10,000+km and not the ~4000km showing on the odometer. There are hardly any genuine "one careful retired lady owner, low mileage" bikes for sale, and a lot of bullshit artists. Just another reason why you really should stretch your budget and buy new.
unfortunately aesthetic holds quite a bit of weight with me so despite the need for function and quality control the products i buy also need to look 'right'. This can make my life more difficult and all too often more expensive than need be. But hey, I like design. Anyway, I'll be after a second hand bike for style and form (it would be great if it worked as well). I like the Honda Chaly for my partner and I'm quite taken with the Honda 67 or maybe a 70s honda cub. Is there anywhere servicing and selling older bikes like these?
@Dorian: Check out this thread for the cub:
Cubs are (and have always been, since the mid 70's) made by SYM in Taiwan. They are "Chinese" in the Taiwan-Chinese sense. SYM was once a subsidiary of Honda. They broke off by themselves--but continued to make Cubs under the Honda name. Now they are making them under their own name. In America, they are known as "SYM Symba". Here, I guess they are called "Little Cubs".
On that thread, one of our members bought a new one for about VND 11 million.
The Chaly is another problem. Why would you do that to your partner? I've seen them only very rarely here.
Besides, girls here like scooters, so their feet stay clean, and they have someplace to put their packages and it's a bit safer to scoot the kids about. Automatic transmissions. Get her a scooter.
A motorbike is a reasonably complex piece of machinery that won't just go 'belly up' - as in it dies and needs to be replaced, like a lightbulb - I guess what you mean is that things start going wrong with it after a year. This may well be so. Still, if you were only here for a year, 7 million dong for a year's transport doesn't sound like too bad a deal, and you could probably sell it for 3 million at the end of the year. Having said that, I'd be a bit wary of testing out the bike's max speed regularly - or even once.
The problem with Chinese bikes is that even though the engines are ok, the other parts are very low quality. Within months the light switches usually need to be replaced, suspension usually goes soft, braking degrades significantly. You'll end up paying more in the long run. At least with a Honda or Yamaha or similar you can sell it when youre finished, because no one will want to buy a 2nd hand Chinese bike.
And yet you see heaps of them on the streets with Honda Wave stickers haphazardly placed over the Lifan/(insert dodgy Chinese brand here) badges. You absolutely could sell one - if the price was right. As I said above, if you bought a Chinese bike new for 7mil, I'm pretty confident you could find someone who'd buy it for half that in a year's time.
OK, I'm certainly not suggesting that these are good bikes - definitely a Honda would be a better bet for most. However, if you're cash-strapped and not planning to spend all that long here, I'd say they're a very affordable option that will do the job for the time they're needed. Just don't do any high-speed testing or push the envelope in any way with 'em. I've heard things start breaking off those bikes when they're stressed.
@nick: all cubs are/were not made in Taiwan by SYM, some were made there but, I think mainly for the Taiwan/Chinese market (which means its quite possible that many here in VN were made there). The SYM Symba, which is being sold in the US, is actually a little bigger than a cub, and not exactly the same, very similar styling. The little cub is a smaller version of the super cub, same engine I believe
there is a large second-hand motorbike market in Cau Giay, a block or too off Cau Giay street on the left as you head away from the centre of Hanoi. it is very well known, find a Vietnamese friend to go with and there is a fair range of options including a section with larger bikes and some old cubs, chalys etc.
Thank you all for your help. Went to see Mr Viet Nguyen at 86 An xa - Phuc Xa St about a bike advertised on THN. Wasn't the one (nice one) in the photo - see 'honda cup' search in Classifieds - and was still $400. talked a good game but talk is cheap until your got. he offered a year gauruntee and free mechanic tuition.. mmm. does anybody have any experience with him?
As with many things in Hanoi it is certainly caveat emptor. As tempting as a guarantee and free mechanic service for a year sounds, if you are a wee bit leery about the guy then you have answered your own question. If you like the bike and it seems like a good enough deal then take it. If you are hesitant then maybe it is for good reason.
Mechanics here are decently cheap if you find a good one. Search through this site and read some reviews.
If you are not in a rush then wait for a while. Also you can ask some Viet friends to check it out, or ask a mechanic (if you know and trust one) to take a look.
Another site to check out is www.choxe.net It is in Vietnamese but prices are all easy to understand and some bikes have photos.
Best of luck to you.
Better to search ads on Internet/newspaper so you can buy directly from the owner, rather than from a 2nd market, which u wont know where it's from, who used it etc., they may replace the parts too. Have a mechanic checked the engine (pay 50-100.000d depends on what kind of bike) for peace of mind. Ask a friend to interpret 4u too,as most bike mechanics on street stores cant speak English.
www.choxe.net turned out to be good to check for vietnam scooter / bike availability (though often in hcmc), though I had to use it with google chrome for some reason - didn't work with windows explorer.
Big C has about 20 bikes out last time i looked, and you can get them on tick there from what i gather. Sym is the brand i saw a lot of. i will pay them another visit since i want to buy a Sym Symphony / Shark 170cc (think i only saw the 125cc version). If anyone knows of one for sale please let me know. d.
There is a bike street/area in Hanoi. Literally hundreds of used bikes, every make, year and model. I bought mine there (papers included) 3 months ago and am very pleased, no mechanical problems at all. If you don't speak Vietnamese take someone who does. It's located on Chua Ha which runs perpendicular to Cau Giay. Good Luck
i want something big - Honda SH big, but don't have the cash for the SH. I'm looking for these things:
1. big wheels that laugh in the face of pot holes
2. a flat floor so i can carry shopping (i have to follow function rather than form, alas)
3. As flickable as possible for a scooter
4. Comfy for 2, though mainly for my commute
5. Needs a bit of oomph - 150cc+ would be nice, though not a show stopper
I can afford 15-20million - your observations will be well received (anyone)
I would go with a Nouvo or an airblade. If you can find a good used one they should fit in around your price range. 150cc is classed as a bigger big here and therefore tends to be more expensive. My 115cc nouvo suits me, being a big westerner, fine. If it is only for commuting mainly then this would be a wise choice
Yikes. You got 20mil to spend? Forget the Shark. It's a crappy ripoff, anyway. A secondhand Honda Lead will see you well. The roads here suck, but the potholes are not so bad that you should bankrupt yourself to ward against them. People get by just fine on rubbishy knockoffs like the Shark on Hanoi roads with potholes and all.
You don't need grunt or big wheels. It's all short distances in Hanoi. Get something that's more or less like what everyone else is motoring around on here and I reckon you'll be ok.
I would personally rent the bike for a couple of days, take it to VIP for a check and then decide. I bought a bike off them last year and it needed some serious tuning. I heard the same thing happened to other people. If it's completely restored I'm sure they will have no problems in you having the bike checked by somebody else. Good luck!
I had helped a Client to buy a pre-owned SYM Attila Elizabeth (white) for total cost of around 10 million VND.
It has a blue card and is in a good condition.
If anyone would like similar service, you are welcome to contact me.