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Buying Motorbike Thailand

  • guernseydan

    Joined Travelfish
    26th December, 2010
    Posts: 42

    Im wanting to buy a 2nd hand motorbike to travel around northern thailand,

    i was thinking of looking around chiang mai, but im not sure if its possible as im only entering on 2 x 60day visa's

    any info much appreciated!

    #1 Posted: 1/1/2011 - 19:18

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6374
    Total reviews: 10

    Sorry, no joy. You need a one year visa with a residence to buy a bike here.

    #2 Posted: 1/1/2011 - 20:25

  • guava_girl

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2010
    Posts: 252

    As madmac said, you need to have a one-year visa and a work permit or residence to buy a bike. Best to just rent one for the time you need it. You can get a good deal if you rent by the month.

    #3 Posted: 2/1/2011 - 07:48

  • CrankyCarrot

    Click here to learn more about CrankyCarrot
    Joined Travelfish
    24th March, 2010
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 662

    You can buy and trade 2nd hand bikes off the books. Someone offered me a 2nd hand scooter for about 10,000thb.

    I declined of course. I wouldn't want to break the rules in ...Thailand

    #4 Posted: 2/1/2011 - 10:25

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6374
    Total reviews: 10

    For sure you can get a black bike bike here. But there is some risk in that, because if you have an accident, the outcome might be negative. And if the police check your papers at a checkpoint, they will probably confiscate the bike. Not high risk, but not negligeable either.

    #5 Posted: 2/1/2011 - 11:10

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Actually, I'd say it's a high risk in places like Patong where the BIB are itching to find some reason to fine you.

    That aside, I was involved in an accident in Krabi where they neither checked bike papers or my license. That was on a rental though, with the other party (a couple of speeding 14 year olds on a souped up bike) was completely at fault.

    I don't know if I'd want to chance the loss of a 10,000thb investment. Would they seize the bike permanently or just fine you 300thb or something?

    #6 Posted: 2/1/2011 - 15:28

  • guernseydan

    Joined Travelfish
    26th December, 2010
    Posts: 42

    thanks guys, i was planning on coming and going a few times in the next year, also doing some bike travel perhaps into vietnam also,

    i read somewhere that its sometimes possible to register a bike on a short term visa if you have a thai address which you can use!

    i have also considered renting a bike as it is probably cheaper in the long run as im sure the re-sale value for a farang is low!

    however i would feel much more confident travelling on a bike that was my own responsibility and belonged to me!

    i was hoping to do much of my travel on a bike something small, perhaps a 125cc but nothing to flash, defiantly something 2nd hand which is easily fixable!

    im keen to do the Mae Hong Son loop but im sure this is possible on a rented bike especially as it begins and ends in Chiang Mai!

    I have a Thai friend who would be willing to put the bike in their name but obviously this is risky i got stopped for any reason, however in my experience of renting bikes in the past in Asia anytime i've been stopped i've only ever had to show a driving license and act polite!

    decisions decisions! Fortunately im sure whatever i decide the result will be good times!

    #7 Posted: 2/1/2011 - 18:59

  • CrankyCarrot

    Click here to learn more about CrankyCarrot
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Thailand
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    Go Honda Click! ...or for a little extra room under the seat, Yamaha Nouvo. Or, if you want to embrace your feminine side, I hear the Fino is pretty popular...

    #8 Posted: 2/1/2011 - 19:50

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    Hey Crank.....Honda has the Scoopy now. Myself I wouldn't be caught dead on anything called a Scoopy.

    #9 Posted: 3/1/2011 - 08:10

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6374
    Total reviews: 10

    "I have a Thai friend who would be willing to put the bike in their name but obviously this is risky i got stopped for any reason,"

    Actually this is the best approach and not risky at all. Using the bike registered in a friends name is completely legal. So unless your friend intends to cheat you when you resell it, there is no legal risk to this course at all. If you get stopped, you'd be 100% legal. Once a bike is legally registered, anyone can ride it. And it can be insured for you as well. My wife owns my sons bike.

    As for what kind of bike - if you plan on touring from province to province, I recommend the Honda Phantom. Still small and light (200cc), it's got a comfortable saddle and rides well. The little 125cc bikes get a lot of vibration at higher speeds, the saddles are not very comfortable and they are often topping out at 80 or 90 - which on the highway isn't adequate to keep up with the pace of traffic. Even in rural Thailand, a pace of around 100 kph minimizes the number of vehicles passing you (which is where accidents are most prevelent). I do a lot of biking in rural Thailand, and I always drive between 90-100 (or more) unless the road conditions don't support it.

    #10 Posted: 3/1/2011 - 10:19

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  • guernseydan

    Joined Travelfish
    26th December, 2010
    Posts: 42

    Thanks heaps for the good info! Registering in someones name seems like the way to go for me!

    A Phantom would be great, apart from perhaps being a bit costly, around 50,000bhat would be the absolute maximum i would wanna spend!
    something cheaper around 30,000 would be ideal, i guess ill just have a look around when i arrive!

    Suppose its an investment though if i take care of it!

    #11 Posted: 3/1/2011 - 17:02

  • guernseydan

    Joined Travelfish
    26th December, 2010
    Posts: 42

    Any thoughts on Honda Dream 125cc

    You think i can get away with 1 of these, maybe i could pimp 1 out to get it upto the magical 100kph mark!

    #12 Posted: 3/1/2011 - 18:00

  • CrankyCarrot

    Click here to learn more about CrankyCarrot
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    @Neo - Yeah, I've seen the Scoopy around. It sort of looks like a Fino for guys... guys who occasionally like other guys maybe. The name is pretty funny. Makes me think of Snoopy, or a scoop for picking up dog waste (ha, maybe Snoopy's dog waste). I'm sure that's what the marketing people had in mind.

    #13 Posted: 3/1/2011 - 18:39

  • CrankyCarrot

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    @guernseydan - "Thanks heaps" There's a nice bit of Aussie lingo.


    "maybe i could pimp 1 out to get it upto the magical 100kph mark!"


    I think Madmac's underselling the scooters a bit. I've rented my share of Clicks, Nouvos and Air Blades and I've never had one that couldn't hit 100km. That said, I'd usually only go at that speed for a minute or two in places like Phuket (where I've done most of my driving) because long flat out stretches of road are so rare there.) Only the real crappy older bikes with something like 40,000+ km's on the clock had the shudder prob at high speed... and also at low and medium speeds.


    @Neo again - Come to think of it, I DID rent a Scoopy in Phuket Town. It looked okay, but had some real girlie mats stuck to it. That's what you call those decorative things were you put your feet, right? These ones said something like "Cowgirl" and had Tiny Toon bunnies with guns and lipstick on it. It was pretty undignified. At least it was red.




    #14 Posted: 3/1/2011 - 21:20

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6374
    Total reviews: 10

    Ceanky
    I own a Honda wave - which my wife drives. And I would drive that thing at 100 kph anywhere. The killer for me is the small tire width - brutal.

    #15 Posted: 4/1/2011 - 00:31

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Tire width, oh yeah... I've seen some ridiculously fat tires on the more eccentric looking bikes. Some of them are practically tank treads. Be good for a lil off road racing though.

    #16 Posted: 4/1/2011 - 11:34

  • CrankyCarrot

    Click here to learn more about CrankyCarrot
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    Another reason to wear shoes like you always say MadMac would have to be for gear changing on the manual bikes, right? If it's anything like kick starting, it'd be a real pain with thongs/flip flops on.

    #17 Posted: 4/1/2011 - 12:14

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6374
    Total reviews: 10

    A friend of mine does it. He says his feet got used to it. But from a safety perspective, it's just not a good idea.

    #18 Posted: 4/1/2011 - 17:14

  • guernseydan

    Joined Travelfish
    26th December, 2010
    Posts: 42

    @CrankyCarrot 2 years in Aus has taught me HEAPS of slang words hah, im pom though and my visa finished so getting kicked out!


    those scoopys are pretty naff i reckon, best for me to stick with a Dream or a cheap phantom!

    #19 Posted: 4/1/2011 - 19:29

  • CrankyCarrot

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    I know "naff" - that means bad.

    Did you see a Scoopy? They look sort of elegant. Like a swan on wheels.

    I drove a manual bike today for the first time - a Honda Wave in fact, just like Madmac's missus. It was pretty easy after a few runs around the block. And I tried driving it with thongs on. It wasn't so bad, except the part near the foot rests gets pretty hot and can burn you, although not as bad or as unexpectedly as the unshielded exhaust pipe.

    The kick-starting I was talking about is dif to kickstarting the manual. With the autos, when they won't fire up you have to pop this extra little stand, then stomp right down on the kick starter. And it's way harder to do than on the manual. You practically have to jump on it to get it going. Beats pushing the thing to a mechanic though.

    #20 Posted: 4/1/2011 - 21:07

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6374
    Total reviews: 10

    Cranky
    On the Wave the gears shift down, but on normal bikes it goes upward...

    #21 Posted: 5/1/2011 - 01:14

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    I bought a Ryuka made by the Zongshen group from China. It's more of a western style bike. Reminds me a lot of a Harley Sportster. It's only a 125, but like you MM I usually cruise at 100. Took it up to 130 one time then remembered I was riding on Chinese tires so I backed off. It's got a large gas tank also. I love the way it handles. Definitely not a rice paddy bike like the scooters though. But it only set me back 41,000 baht.

    #22 Posted: 5/1/2011 - 08:14

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6374
    Total reviews: 10

    Neosho
    I test drove a Ryuka, but found it a bit too light. I much prefer the Phantom in just about all respects. But the Ryuka is cheap and has a decent layout with a reasonable saddle. Still, not a bad bike if you want to go on the cheap end. Much preferable to a Honda wave and like bikes.

    #23 Posted: 5/1/2011 - 11:03

  • CrankyCarrot

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    MM - other manuals shift up? As in you have to click the gears with your heel instead of the front ball of the foot?

    I didn't have too much trouble shifting down on the Wave in thongs either... it's just the heat from the gearbox or whatever that thing is next to the foot rests.

    #24 Posted: 5/1/2011 - 12:00

  • guernseydan

    Joined Travelfish
    26th December, 2010
    Posts: 42

    Carrot
    Seen the Scoopy ie the Swan on wheels, sure you could impress a few ladies with that bike, showing your femine side haha

    I remember renting something similar that was only 100cc, forget the name but it was flat as a pancake and pretty embarrassing getting blown away by old grannies on the main roads!

    I tried riding up the big hill to Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai and only just made it!

    Then on the way down i was overtaken by some crazy cyclers!

    #25 Posted: 5/1/2011 - 16:45

  • CrankyCarrot

    Click here to learn more about CrankyCarrot
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    Location Thailand
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    That's it. I'm going cruising for babes on a Scoopy (and not the kid you have to pay either) next chance I get. I'll take that challenge.

    #26 Posted: 5/1/2011 - 18:01

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6374
    Total reviews: 10

    A scoopy? You're kidding right?

    And Cranky, you shift up with your toe... it rests under the gear shift. Which is why bare foot it isn't much fun.

    #27 Posted: 5/1/2011 - 22:28

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    Madmac.....I agree that the Phantom is a better bike if you want to spend the money. Especially for longer trips and cruising. But for the money I'm happy with the performance of the Ryuka so far. Plus I still get the same reaction from the locals as I would on a Phantom.

    #28 Posted: 6/1/2011 - 07:58

  • CrankyCarrot

    Click here to learn more about CrankyCarrot
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Thailand
    Posts: 662

    Mac - I would only drive barefoot on an auto. Minimum for the manual is a bit of rubber thong.

    I was thinking of your pro-shoe stance yesterday when I got stuck halfway up monkey mountain (in the Historical park on the militaly base at PKK) with no shoes whatsoever. I'd ditched the thongs because I didn't want to break them, and then the route became tougher and tougher with jagged rocks and everything. Try hiking up a 65 degree inclined slope with sharp rocks and barefeet some time. It'll make you re-think your whole life.

    #29 Posted: 6/1/2011 - 12:15

  • nedz

    Joined Travelfish
    14th September, 2008
    Posts: 26
    Total reviews: 2

    Someone, last year got an old dog honda dream, with electric start, for 7000bt spent 3000bt fixin it up dirt tyres n all. but because they spend years goin there, a friend put in in their name and no worries its looked after. another 2000bt for a motor rebore, n rebuild, and shell do the mountains, no worries.

    #30 Posted: 12/1/2011 - 19:13

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    To buy a bike you need proof of ID - your passport and a "residence" cert from the police (immigration). That' just a bit of paper with an address on it - not that hard to get.
    You may well get this without a non-immigrant visa - certainly 90 days not a year and some have bought on tourist visas.
    I'd give it a try and see what happens - it is the proof of address that is important and a passport not so much the visa.

    you might try to get a driving licence too - a bike one.
    If you're "coming and going" you might as well get a multiple entry "O" visa anyway.

    #31 Posted: 12/1/2011 - 23:47

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