Cheap Chinese Moto en Paraguay

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LrnFzx, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Who hasn´t wanted to buy a Yamazuki in some little known country? It´s been my dream for many years. So I finally did it:

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    They even delivered it to the house, albeit with low tire pressure and a headlight that illuminates the front fender after two minutes of riding. But it´s really not too bad. I´m 6´5´´ so the bike looks even smaller than it is.

    $730 out the door. I got that price quote and crossed the street to a Honda dealer where the lowest Price was about $3000. Four for the price of one! And a Honda makes you a target for theft.

    It´s about the cheapest new bike I could find. Kenton is sold by Chacomer which has the biggest dealer network and best parts availability of any Chinese Brand here. Honda is the only Japanese dealer I could find and the place was really small with no dealer or parts network.

    The plan is to give it to my father-in-law (my wife´s in red above) to replace his bike when we leave for the states in three weeks:

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    The boys are our contribution to the in-laws´ grandchildren.
    #1
  2. rbsride365

    rbsride365 Hi-Viz

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    Brian! I'll be keeping up w/ this. It will be nice to get a little better feel for what goes on down there all summer! :rofl Looks like it's small enough that even your kid can just about reach the pegs. Another couple of weeks and he'll be driving it! Have fun. Post some adventures!
    #2
  3. lburners

    lburners Adventurer

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    Whats that section up front on the second bike? Is that storage?
    #3
  4. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    That, my friend, is what they call a ´mataperro´ - a ´dog killer´

    Apparently a motorcycle so equipped can quickly shrug off a dog attack; perhaps even gently brush aside a cow or a horse in the road. I hear accounts of lives saved by the mataperro in the ancient folk stories of the indigenous peoples here.

    It´s where you would mount your forward pegs if anyone used them here - tubular steel bolted to the frame. My father-in-law shoves his plastic thermos filled with ice water in there after he wraps it with a plastic bag to keep all the sand and diesel fumes out. He also wraps some bailing wire and straps some inner tube pieces to it just in case something falls off.

    It really is, by the way, called a mataperro and the proper translation truly is dog-killer.
    #4
  5. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    The gear indicator is to remind me that I´ve already reached top gear (often at 30 mph or 50 kph).

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    Top speed so far is 90 kph. 55 mph. I kinda have to lean forward against the wind so I can keep my arms slightly bent for better control.

    The roads are sometimes quite poor and there are often unpainted launch ramps they call lomadas. Speed bumps in our world. Accidental air is painful.
    #5
  6. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Using Occam's Razor

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    I like that...."accidental air is painful"

    I'm gonna put that one in the quotable quotes book. :deal
    #6
  7. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    I always thought it was a joke until I saw these bikes about 5 years ago.

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    In the foreground is my Kenton GL150 with its new trunk and the ubiquitous Renault Clio. The little white truck is also one of many unknown Asian brands, most of which have three or four letters for names. I actually love the Yamazuky symbol.

    Notice the sand everywhere. It gets into everything. Always. Sand in your sheets, your shoes, and sometimes your underwear.

    The other competing moto brands are Taiga and Leopard and Star (They say ´estar´) and probably some others. All basic cheap copies of old Japanese bikes with a máximum displacement of 200 or 250 cc.

    Proximamente: street and traffic stories.
    #7
  8. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    I never knew there was such a thing as a quotable quotes book. Now I´ll have to invent all kinds of pithy aphorisms.
    #8
  9. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    I went to the supermarket. I know, it´s not nearly exciting as the open air markets where the cows have donated their organs for open display and sale, but at least there was motorcycle parking.

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    I saw three bikes parked in front of a WalMart in my hometown of Pittsburgh and I was impressed. Here I counted 60 motorcycles. You read that correctly, sixty! 85 cars.

    I thought about parking in the section near the building but then I saw some guy trying to get his bike out and I figured some moron (thanks, Ben) would knock my pretty, new bike over and Pee Wee´s Big Adventure would start all over again.

    They even had security watching over the lot.

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    Motorcycles are, of course, the effective equivalent of compact cars fit for the HOV lane.

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    Even if you have kids, you can use a motorcycle. I´ve seen families of five. From front to back it´s a 4 year old boy holding the handlebar, Dad driving, 8 year old girl, and Mom with newborn bringing up the rear. Pretty rare, so I´ll try to get a pic.

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    At least the parents have helmets.

    And if the family gets too big, you have a business, or you just want to drive around and pick up crap off the street, you can get one of these:

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    All that for less than the price of a Honda. Cargo and assistant not included.
    #9
  10. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    I usually stick to paved roads around here since the bike I bought isn´t destined for me. Next time I´ll have to buy something off-road capable since sometimes the pavement just ends.

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    The buses and the bikes slow down a bit but they just keep on going. Bouncing and jouncing, stressing old suspensions and weary backs.

    You have to really be careful since there is so much sand everywhere. Sometimes the streets are full of it. This looked like an interesting street so I took it.

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    I have no idea why the huge tree trunk is sitting in the road, but once I reached the top of the hill, I realized where all the sand came from.

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    Every rain brings more of it down the hill. The sand got deeper and deeper, the ruts more pronounced, and after 300 m I had to call it quits. My neck hurt and both wheels were squirming everywhere.

    On the way back I took another street that was recently paved. As you can see, they don´t cut down trees. I waited a moment for the cow to enter the frame when suddenly a dog ran toward it, barking furiously, and chased the cow into the street.

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    Sometimes a horse will leap out from behind a tree in the road or a cow will rise up from behind an unmarked speed bump. And that´s what they call normal.
    #10
  11. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Since I have such limited world experience and many of you have traveled far more extensively than I ever will, I have to ask: After you´ve finished your business, are you supposed to put the soiled toilet paper in the toilet or in the garbage can next to it? In Paraguay, it goes in the can. The one next to the toilet.


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    Some say it´s because the pipes are small - but some poo is pretty big and it travels the pipes with no problems. Others say that the toilet paper is the problem - it doesn´t dissolve easily and causes problems in the septic system. Still others have never considered it - ¨What? You throw your toilet paper in the toilet

    Whatever the reason, various international airports and bus terminals in the southern cone of South America have signs telling you to put your poopaper in the garbage can, NOT the toilet.

    So what´s the answer where you have traveled? Garbage can or toilet? (´left hand´ is an alternate answer)
    #11
  12. rbsride365

    rbsride365 Hi-Viz

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    Great thread, Brian. I'm finding this first hand account by someone I know to be particularly interesting. (The poo thing might be something I don't car to think too hard about though! Who draws the short straw and gets to change the can?) I am really curious about the road w/ the trees left right in the middle of it. There is even a center line and the trees are pretty clearly in the middle of the right lane! I hope no one steels those HUGE reflective yellow markers off it. :huh I suppose it'd be hard to miss. Hopefully everyone isn't driving around 20 kph over the limit texting on their phone like everyone is around here. It would be a real bummer to not see the tree coming! Does everyone even have phones? It looks like you drive on the left side of the road down there? If so is that hard to adjust too? Keep up the good work! Later.
    #12
  13. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    I just came back from a night ride. It´s 6:30 and it´s been dark for an hour in the southern Winter where it reaches a low of 37 degrees and a few days later soars to 88 degrees.

    Anyway, the motorcycles have an off switch for the headlights. Most people leave them off pretty much always so as not to burn out the bulb. You get used to looking for invisible motorcycles in the dark.

    For some reason, I must have switched off the headlight. Stupid move. There was enough light on the city streets that I never noticed it until I was almost home. I was riding like I was a lot more visible and I´ll have to be more careful.
    #13
  14. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Yes, Brian, everyone has cell phones. Infrastructure is lacking and very expensive so most people don´t have land lines. I´ve seen texting from men driving horse-drawn carts and bus drivers with packed buses during rush hour. I followed my father-in-law out to his mother´s house in the dark on his motorcycle and he pulled his phone out about five times to check it. It's just one more thing to watch for on the crazy streets here.
    #14
  15. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    The maximum speed that I have gotten out of this bike is the same as the best on my bicycle on a good downhill - 55 mph. Since it´s seriously cheap, everything is questionable and you´re always wondering what is going to fall off. Most people don´t drive nearly that fast since they bought the bike for basic family transportation and they want it to last.

    Low Beam

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    High Beam

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    The low beam is yellow and illuminates the road relatively poorly even at reasonable speeds. At 45 mph, it just shows you what´s about to throw you off the bike. The high beam is brighter and whiter and definitely does a better job, but other drivers don´t like it in their eyes. Combined with the headlights of oncoming traffic, no painted lines or reflective markers anywhere, wandering livestock, and drivers not using any lights, every night ride is is a pretty exhilirating experience.

    We drive on the right side of the road. Most of the time.

    And yes, the tachometer above does indicate that my little thumper idles at above 2000 rpm. It tends to stall at lower speeds.
    #15
  16. selzbytes

    selzbytes Adventurer

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    In China, and many parts of Asia it's soiled paper into the garbage can next to toilet. That is IF they provided paper. Lots of "bum guns" in Asia - frankly not a bad way to go once you get the hang of it.

    #16
  17. Rabble

    Rabble mountain boy

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    In all of Latin America, except for high end hotels which cater to gringos, toilet paper goes in the can and it's burned at the end of the day. Although this can be an adjustment for norteamericanos it makes sense. Why clog the septic system with stuff that takes forever to break down?
    #17
  18. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    On December 8, thousands of pilgrims gather at the Cathedral to be blessed by the Virgin of Caacupé. I happened to travel route 2 on December 7, 2003 and saw hundreds of people making their way on foot up the hill to pay homage. Last week I decided to do the same by bike.

    Home is about 10 km outside the capital city of Asunción, in the outskirts of San Lorenzo. Here was the original plan: Route 2 to Caacupé and return.


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    40 km each way didn´t seem too bad. It was 4:30 and the sun sets at 5:30 so I figured an hour of riding in the dark on the return trip would be fine.

    This is the intersection of Routes 1 and 2. Although a major intersection, the stop sign is a recent addition and I don´t know whether or not to take it seriously.


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    I turned right, passed through Capiata, and arrived at this intersection. 33 km remaining and the sun was quickly plummeting toward the horizon. I wanted to see the sunset, but I just wasn´t in the right place.


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    Next was Itaugua and then Ypacarai. So far, everything was quite familiar since I had traveled it all by bicycle. After Ypacarai was this toll station. I had no idea whether to put myself in line with the trucks or pass by on the right - that´s what motorcycles often do. I waited for another motorcycle to pass and show me what to do while I took the picture.


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    I didn´t even notice dogs until after the upload.

    Five minutes and not a single moto. With the police after the toll booth on the right, I didn´t want to take a chance so I put myself in line. The street vendors immediately motioned to me that I was to bypass the whole thing. I proceeded as instructed and the police didn´t even look at me with my hi-vis vest, bright helmet, and headlight on.

    Then it was up the 3mile long hill, passing everybody on the way. 45 mph is fast around here, apparently. I parked the bike on the edge of the well-lit city plaza, and walked two blocks to the catedral where the child vendors immediately approached and tried to sell me something. Most will walk away after ´gracias´ and a shake of the head.

    One little 7-year old girl had a different approach. She gave me the gift of a rosary. When I refused, ´How can you refuse a gift? All I ask is that you buy one of the other rosaries I have here.´ I said ´gracias´ again and she got more whiney and more aggressive. Apparently the approach has worked before and it worked for me. I returned her rosary after I dug a couple of coins out of my pocket and gave her a gift of my own. She walked off to give another rosary to another tourist.

    There was, of course, a mass in session and I snapped a pic of La Virgencita of Caacupé.


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    I figured it was time to eat something and an hamburguesa completa was calling my name. That´s a hamburger with a fried egg, fried ham, and whatever type of salsa you choose. It´s seriously good. Better with cheese. My wife makes them for me sometimes.


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    I figured that was it. I´d already sent a text to my wife telling her that I was leaving Caacupé and I´d be home in an hour, barring any misadventures. It didn´t turn out like I thought it would.
    #18
  19. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    YES. They burn everything. All day. If you hang your clothes out to dry, watch out, somebody in the neighborhood is going to start a fire and if you leave the clothes out downwind, they´ll stink of smoke.

    On my first long night ride, I had to slow down to 25 mph on a straight country road since the smoke lay like a thick fog over the little valley from various small fires. At least four neighbors within 50 m start a fire like this every day.

    Garbage pick-up exists, but you have to pay. If you don´t pay for a couple of months, they don´t take your garbage. If they don´t take your garbage, you still have to get rid of it somehow so some burn it and some pile it in one location with all the neighbors´ garbage, perhaps hoping that the municipality will pick it all up some day.


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    Notice the creek in the foreground and the park in the background. When somebody mentions that North Americans pollute the earth, remember this. It´s relatively common even in the capital city.

    But also keep in mind that poverty is deep and real here. It affects the way you think and act in every moment of every day.
    #19
  20. rbsride365

    rbsride365 Hi-Viz

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    Nice post B. Next time were in town for dinner I'm voting for hamburguesa! :D
    #20