A popular option
If you are planning a long roadtrip, or one that doesn’t start and end in Hanoi, it’s likely to be more economical to buy a motorbike rather than rent. Here’s a rundown of where to buy a secondhand bike in Hanoi. Do remember that if you don’t have a local license, your travel insurance may be invalid — do check ahead of your trip. Here’s a rundown of where to buy a secondhand bike in Hanoi.
A good place to start in Old Quarter is Ngo Huyen, the lane that runs between Ly Quoc Su and Phu Doan streets. Home to a number of backpacker-style hostels and guesthouses it’s a popular place for new arrivals — at the end of their adventure — to park their trusted steeds and stick up a FOR SALE sign.
Also check hostel noticeboards and do ask around – enjoying a few beers with other travellers will likely bring you into contact with someone selling a bike.
Some vendors, including expats, will also post an advert on TNH (Hanoi’s primary expat website) so keep an eye on the classifieds there.
It’s useful to have a phone with a local SIM card to facilitate contact, as most people will only leave a phone number and it’s quicker than sending an email.
A few motorbike rental places also sell bikes from time to time and may be a safer bet than buying off the street. Rentabike regularly sells on old rentals, which are listed on its website and come with a one-month warranty. They’re mostly Waves and Nuovos. VIP Bikes is primarily a rental and repair place but very occasionally refurbs classic bikes or has old rentals for sale.
Off Road Vietnam is a tour and rental place which apparently sells on old rentals, but none were available when we last got in touch. Also check out the eastern end of Luong Ngoc Quyen — near the Irish Wolfhound — where a few bike tour places are located.
If you’re after something custom built or refurbished, contact Kub Cafe: it might take some time to get exactly what you want but if you’re not in a rush the end result will be worth it.
The most common bikes found for sale are Minsks and Honda Wins (manuals), Honda Waves (semi-automatic) and Yamaha Nuovos (automatic). They’re all quite different in terms of driving style and comfort, so before searching for a bike think about what type of bike will best suit your needs. Make sure you get a registration card when you buy the bike too — it won’t be in your name but you will need it if stopped by police.
It’s possible to buy a new Honda Wave for under US$1,000 but registration can take some time and requires a lot of paperwork plus the bike will devalue notably as soon as you drive away from the showroom, so secondhand is the more practical option.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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