It is warm and humid. The industrial smell of machinery and engine oil is in the air. Dust Floats hectically in between the sun rays. And there she is. A beauty. Blue. She will be mine. My first motorcycle in Thailand.
Actually, it's not a motorbike, it’s a scooter, a 125cc moped. In 2005, we moved from Germany to Thailand, and after a few weeks of settling in, I caught the desire to get mobile and see everything I could of this exotic place.
Well, I had a motorbike experience in Germany many years ago, and my father's sentence “Everything that starts with MO is a NO” is still in my ear, meaning motorcycle, moped, motorbike, etc.
But now, here we are in Pattaya at the little Honda dealer buying one as a family (a son, 2 years old). A scooter, not a car. Also, just right away and all kinds of things were said about my sanity, friends spoke of Midlife Crisis, but of course that is nonsense.
In contrast to Germany, there is no ice, no snow and it is rarely cold. Also, the weather just invites you to ride a motorcycle.
In Germany, it is very unusual that you only have a motorbike and no car. Not so in Thailand. Here, every family actually has one or more motorbikes and, if they can afford it, a car. Furthermore, motorcycles in Thailand are used like bicycles. Just like the bikes in Holland, they are seen everywhere.
It is much easier to drive through the streets on a motorcycle and explore your new home instead of doing that by car. Turns into dead ends, small narrow streets, or the ubiquitous traffic jams in Thailand's cities make a motorbike the first choice of transportation.
Yes, a motorcycle in Thailand is suitable for families. In addition, there are child seats - similar to bicycles in Europe - for motorbikes, and a brain bucket for children. It's ideal for us as a “mini” family. Also, we bought a top box later for carrying things.
Buying a motorcycle in Thailand was easy, and in contrast to other countries, you don't need a driver's license in Thailand to buy a motorcycle. Also, the price of around 1,000 euros (48,000 THB) was fair for the top model with injection technology and 125cc.
In comparison, today's street price is 55,000 THB which corresponds to almost 1,500 euros at the 2020 exchange rate - which has changed a lot. And now, 15 years and 100,000 km later, it turned out that it was a good decision to buy this Honda Wave 125i.
It has not let me down all these years. It has adapted well with all my conversions, and apart from changing tires and regular oil changes, the motorbike has never seen a workshop.
Ever since then, I have been riding a motorcycle in Thailand and have become an avid rider. Besides, the longest tour with this motorcycle was with a friend from Phuket to Pattaya in 2010. 1300 km in 4 days. This sparked my love for motorbike touring through Thailand, but more on that later.
In the meantime, our family has grown. My 2nd son was born in Pattaya. There was only one solution to ensure that both children had a good place on the motorcycle. A side hack was needed - another common MC accessory in Thailand.
So, in 2011, we had a side hack manufactured and mounted on this motorcycle and it is still there today. More about the sidecar in another post.
In 2019, the children were much older. Thus, the opportunity arose to travel in pairs or just me alone with a larger motorbike.
In addition, I have been working in Bangkok for some time now, and my wife in Pattaya uses the car with the children to go to school. I usually had to commute back & forth on the weekends by bus.
So, a larger weekend warrior, more comfortable seats for the longer distance looked like a good option.
Thailand's big bikes are actually not big bikes in our European understanding. Anything over 200cc is called a big bike.
Also, motorbikes that are imported cost a huge amount of money compared to Europe or the USA. For example, a Harley Davidson Road King costs around $ 20,000 in the US, which at today's rate is around 600,000 THB.
The Harley dealer in Bangkok sells them for 1,400,000 THB - almost Triple the price! Other bikes like the Goldwing or BMW 1200RT are also considerably more expensive in Thailand. This led me to look for a motorbike in Thailand that has a more reasonable price/performance ratio. After searching hard, it became apparent that the ones produced in Thailand made more sense.
At the beginning of 2019, I borrowed a motorbike from a buddy in Bangkok to get from A to B quickly. It was a Honda Forza, model 2014. Honestly, from the outside, it’s an “ugly” motorcycle in Thailand (sorry, that's my opinion).
But I was impressed by the driving behavior in Bangkok, lane splitting between the cars in a traffic jam with excellent handling despite the size and weight. Then, I went down to the local Honda dealer to see a Honda Forza, and lo and behold, a new model, a new beauty!
And that’s the start of my motorcycle journey in Thailand. I will post more regular updates on my latest Thailand tours and short trips around Bangkok.
There are still so many roads to explore. Just start off, and let the adventure carry you away!
So, until next time... Rumble on!
Hi, I'm Big Bear. I love to hit the road with the motorbike for the long haul. Join my adventure in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
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