You plan on visiting Vietnam, and you feel like an adventurer ? You decided that it was time to let your inner-self out, and show the world how badass you were ? You’ll probably need a motorbike then, but actually even if you just want to save time to go from A to B, you’ll kinda need one too.
If you check on backpackers websites and read their comments, you’ll find thousands of them bragging about how they bought their awesome motorbike for 25bucks, and how they travelled the entire country on their beast. My advice: Don’t believe them. In Vietnam, as much as anywhere else, you get what you pay for. Yes, you’ll be able to find motorbikes as cheap as 200 dollars, maybe even 100 dollars, but don’t expect those things to survive more than a few days. Another advice is never to buy a motorbike from a backpacker. It’s absolutely impossible to know how the bike has be serviced, which parts have been changed and when, and what major problem it could have. Except if you are a motorbike expert of at least aficionados, I would recommend to stay away from amazing bargains from travelers, because when a deal seems to be too good to be true, it’s usually because it’s not true. I would recommend to go to a local shop or mechanic, if possible slightly away from the main touristy streets, and tell them you’ll stay in the city for a few weeks before eventually heading to another spot in the country. That way, even if you unfortunately meet a dishonest mechanic, ( yes, that exists, just as much as in every other countries in the world), they will hesitate a bit ore before selling you crap because they’ll know you’ll be around for a while, and they know you know where to find them in case the bike dies 5 hours after you bought it.
Another awesome thing is to start by renting motorbikes from a hotel, a shop, or a mechanic. That will allow you to try to bike before eventually deciding to buy it, and you’ll also be able to find out the hidden parts of the bike while riding it around days after days. And when you made your choice, make a decent offer to the owner. If they seem not to be happy to sell the bike, that means the bike is most probably in good condition. You can start bargaining, and find a good deal for everybody.
Please note that a 5 million Vietnamese dong « Honda Win » , like you’ll find EVERYWHERE in the touristy streets, is neither a Honda, nor a Win. Those are basic Chinese fake Honda, and once again, you’ll get what you pay for. Under 500usd, you’ll mostly get old beaten-up crap that might cost you more in fixing over the time… Think carefully!