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Reliable

 
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biliana



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Vietnam

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:47 am    Post subject: Reliable Reply with quote

I've had an SH and a Wave, now I've got a Piaggio.

Tonight's the second time the Piaggio has let me down in the rain. My previous bikes have been through floods up to my knees with no problem. This was only heavy rain with light flooding today. Seems I'm going to either go back the way or take any suggestions you folks might throw at me.

I'm contemplating a Lead.

Any thoughts?
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drpangloss



Joined: 21 Mar 2012
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a Suzuki semi-automatic previously and it never let me down.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 779

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:26 am    Post subject: the problem is Reply with quote

The problem is we are doing something these machines are not designed to do. It does not matter too much what you drive in high water, it is not good for it. Yeah, some more modern machines may have a little better shielding on the electrical system and so not have quite as early failure when inundated, but the bad part of that is the more modern bikes are more expensive to buy and to repair.

My general thoughts to guys facing the motorbike and rain issue are as follows: This is a terrible environment to get around in during the rainy season, and in some areas, we even have flooding with no rain, the flood tide! Amazing to see. It is getting worse, not better, due to a variety of reasons. Some areas are worse than others. Low lying areas obviously. Thu Duc, 2, 9, Tan Binh, have some areas and major roads that very commonly flood. Probably every district has their own flood points. Take a look at the canals, and the discharge from some of these factories. Imagine what is flooding into the streets. It bothers the hell out of me to drive my beautiful xe in that toxic semi liquid. It bothers me even more to have to step in it.

If you are in the position of having to scramble from one job to the other in this and you are driving your moto, you sure need to have an alternate route figured out if you get floods blocking you. Unfortunately, you often do not realize this til you are on the way, in the rain, without a lot of extra time. Most locations do have back ways around the floods if you know your area well enough. Sometimes it is a matter of following the traffic and trusting to fate. I do notice that a lot of the VN are pretty cavalier about just driving thru high water. Or should we call it sewage or industrial pollution?

If you are the kind of person who just drives thru it, good luck, most of the time you will get thru if everyone else is. If not, you are stuck with a moto that is not running, and maybe a missed assignment. If you do drive thru it, I recommend you get your moto's wheels removed and the bearings looked at. You can grease the old ones or just replace them, we have early failure on bearings here because of the rain, going thru the floods really accelerates this failure. This kind of service is pretty cheap on a chain driven bike. The more modern bikes are going to cost a lot more for drive train failure.

So really, seems to me, the big question for us is what kind of moto to buy to begin with. The modern bikes without the chain are more expensive, flashier, higher theft targets, usually faster, and have the locking storage under the seat, so there is good and bad. A new one should give you a lot of good service, but the flooding abuse is not good for any bike. On the other hand, the Honda Cub and its variants are widely recognized as the best moto ever made in the history of the world. The Cub gets the title, but many of these chain driven Hondas share most of the same technology, so it does not have to be a Cub to be simple, efficient, inexpensive, easy to get parts for, easy to fix, and very dependable. Of course, with these bikes, you have to know how to shift gears. My preference is the 67 style, they are attractive, can be modded for performance, share most of the features of the Cub, get a lot of looks, have good resale value, but you also have to know how to use a clutch, which can be a real pain in stop and go if your clutch is not set properly, which very few mechanics know how to do. The biggest downside I see to these Cubs and their relatives is the VN have seen them for so long that they are not coveted (maybe a lower theft target there), also they do not have the top end of the new stuff (not that you ever use that in the city anyway) and they do not have the built in storage under the seat. Most repair jobs for these bikes will run a dollar or two, if you are trying to fix every little thing as it pops up and not wait til it is a huge problem (VN style is to wait til it quits running). I had a friend who had a top end overhaul for like 20 bucks or so, which is just incredibly cheap to get inside an engine and rebuild it. In my opinion, in this environment, the chain driven Hondas based on this technology are the way to go. It helps to know that it is considered the greatest moto ever made, and some consider it to be the most important vehicle ever made, or maybe even the most important machine. I would have to scratch my head a bit before agreeing with that last one. I know when I have to get out in the rain, the Cub comes out, my 67 takes a break. For more notes on motorbikes, we have an earlier thread where I go into a lot of detail on the Cub and its relatives, and we also have some other great contributions on modifying these bikes for additional performance.

One final note, one big change in the moto scene recently is the constant selling of the Honda Win on Craigslist. While you do not see too many of these in the south (they have a manual clutch and are more common and suited for the hills and highways in the north and outside of HCMC), they seem to be what is mostly sold to the guys who go from HN to HCMC. So there is a cottage industry that sells to this group, usually about $300 or so. Then the guys make the trip and will sell the bike on CL for a bit of a discount just to get rid of it, as they never intended to keep the bike long term. One can get them for less than $200 sometimes. Most of these bikes are not made in Japan, and the VN recognize the discount that implies. So a true Japanese Cub (or anything) is worth more than a Chinese model. Any of these Hondas with a manual clutch can be converted to auto by the way, you still shift, but no hand clutch (swap to centrifugal instead).

We are really getting it today, aren't we? Bet it is flooding all over the city today.
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biliana



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Vietnam

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for that.

And yes, I'm not looking forward to the drive home.

I'm thinking of keeping a Wave spare now for the rainier days.
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Jbhughes



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 254

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reckon you've got to go with the Wave yeah. Like Mark says, anyone can fix up a cub and the Wave is simply the newer version. At least if you get a Wave, it'll start out with less problems than one of the older ones that Mark likes, although you'll spend a lot more buying something brand new (and fixing up the older one will be cheap, too). Of course you being here a while, biliana, you'll be aware of most of this already. I'm surprised you strayed from your Wave at all.

Have you mainly been renting, or just gone through a lot of second hand bikes or family bikes or something? SH, Wave, Vespa, Lead, that's quite a list!

I'm still going with my Future, love her to bits, but she needs some TLC. I find that the brakes seem to work quite poorly after being in the rain, I went to a mechanic briefly and he said it's because the water is getting into the brakes. We didn't get very far, but this seems weird and my disk brakes on the back are actually performing worse than the old drum brakes used to!

Has anyone tried one of those HID headlights? I've been tempted by one for a while, but I read an article about cheap ones starting a fire in the bike's electronics! Also, I wonder how much they actually help the rider, they look very bright, but I wonder what it's actually like behind one.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 779

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:16 pm    Post subject: lights Reply with quote

If you can find someone to upgrade to the better lites, let us know. I spent some bucks on upgrading on my old stuff, it was an improvement, but not anything like the new bikes crank out. I think it is theoretically possible to do, but most of these guys are just able to fix regular problems, they are not really that knowledgeable about substantial upgrades. Racing Boy might be worth a try, and also that street in 1, To Ki, there are some better shops down there.

Of course, we get most of our stopping power from the front brakes on a motorbike. I sometimes get on my brakes too hard and lock up my rear brake, seems like the foot brake is easier to hit than the front. The front is what should be most important. That is why lots of these newer bikes have disk brakes on front and drum on back.

We should also all remember, just because a mechanic tells you something does not mean it is true, esp over here. They rarely want to say they cannot fix something, and almost never want to say they do not understand the problem. But it has been proven to me thru experience many times that they often cannot fix something because they do not understand it. This is esp frustrating when it is your favorite mechanic who usually does good work for you, but as I said, it does happen. Gotta have more than one mechanic for this reason, esp on older stuff. Not that the older stuff is complex, just sometimes they do not have the experience on it, ESPECIALLY on a manual clutch.

Final note, if you are increasing displacement on a 50 cc, see the earlier discussion here on the issues surrounding this. They mostly do not understand about bore and stroke increasing together, and they are lying about the increased size when they do bore a 50. You never double displacement by boring, or even boring and stroking, you would have to change engines to get that increase. Very technical discussion already put out there.
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biliana



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Vietnam

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jb

First bike was a Wave, I bought it new. Later a friend of mine was complaining about the amount of fuel their SH was using so we swapped. After a couple of years another friend was buying a car and wanted rid of their Piaggio so I gave him $1500 and passed the SH back. The SH and the Wave are both in regular use now so I won't be asking for my Wave back.
Total outlay over 9 years: 12 million for the Wave and $1500 for the Piaggio, not that much really.
I've looked at the Lead and I like the storage space.

Now you've got me thinking about the Future. I think another Wave will probably suffice however.
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peter50



Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Brisbane/Australia

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

drpangloss wrote:
I had a Suzuki semi-automatic previously and it never let me down.


Because Suzuki is cash deposit and reliable as well...
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