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 came up with this sign?


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    First, do you have these in your neighborhood? They're all over Western PA and Pittsburgh.

    Second, how does anybody expect my Father-in-Law to know that there are exceptions to the stop sign? ("No English") I'm trying teach him that stop signs are not optional.

    Kinda like English, I guess. I before E except after C. But....
  2. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    When it rains in Paraguay, some streets become rivers


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    and you avoid the roads if you can. Many skip school and two wheels can be not only unpleasant but dangerous in heavy rains.


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    Here's a story of a woman who was swept away and drowned in a heavy rain. http://www.abc.com.py/articulos/mujer-muere-ahogada-al-caer-a-un-raudal-durante-la-torrencial-lluvia-315008.html

    and another of a Brazilian tourist from earlier this year http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/locales/turista-brasilena-fallece-al-ser-arrastrada-por-raudales-1226037.html

    So I raised some eyebrows when I suggested that we ride in the rain. When he found out it was highway and that we'd be riding the big bike two up, he felt a little better.

    First to Coraopolis to respond to an ad for a 2011 V Strom 650 ABS. That 150 I rode last year in Paraguay convinced me that my bike may be too big at 650 lb+. I am thinking of something lighter and newer than my '88 Concours. The fact that I just threw it (gently) to the ground last month in the alley behind my house might have something to do with it.

    Then from Coraopolis to Tarentum to visit Gatto's motorcycle shop


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    and drink some coffee.


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    "You pay how much for coffee?
    And what's a donut?
    It's really good, though, whatever you call it."



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    (This is my Dunkin' Story)


    The full-face helmet made a big difference for him and the road wasn't a river so a rainy day wasn't a problem.
  3. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    We took a ride to Mount Washington to see the city at night.


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    It's really beautiful and that's the best place to see it. If you're coming to Pittsburgh from the south or east, you get to go through a tunnel that ends in another great view of the city. Watch for it when you exit the tunnels cuz it's a great view and you're going fast so it's easy to miss. We went through the tunnel to get out of the city and then came right back for the view.

    This, by the way is an alternate method of wearing a helmet.


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    Common in Paraguay where helmets are legally required, he wanted me to assure you that he never wears it that way. Another method is to shove your arm through the head hole and back out the face hole - an elbow helmet.
  4. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    When I visit Paraguay, the bus system is a bit unpredictable and slow but it gets you there. I started exploring on foot and by bicycle soon after I arrived back in 2003 and my wanderlust continues every time I visit.

    It seems to me that my wife's parents are trapped here at our home. I don't know if they feel it, but I do. So it's been my goal to get the man out to learn the neighborhood by foot, by car, and by motorcycle. Language is an insurmountable problem so he guides himself mainly by getting to know major intersections and significant landmarks - it takes time.

    There's a strip mall and a few nice parks just three miles from here with minimal turns on surface streets where he can take his wife for lunch so we raced to the mall.


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    I am way too big for that tiny scoot


    I ran every light and ignored every sign but I had to wait at one major turn to show him the way. I told him we were going to gas up so he waited for a few seconds at a service station until I saw him and waved him on. We hit the mall side by side. Empate.

    We visited the parks, reviewed the intersections and landmarks, and headed home. Leaving the mall there's no competition - the bicycle wins every time. I reminded him that the route was derechiiiiiito all the way home with just one turn at the end and headed off.

    Then I waited at the only turn on our route.

    And waited some more.

    Crap. He's either on the highway or he crossed the bridge since there's really only one place he would have been tricked into turning off. So I headed back and found him waiting at a corner just before the turns I suspected. The road opened up to four lanes and he stayed in the right lane which turned into a cloverleaf where he realized his mistake. He even backtracked to the mall just to see if he could do it right the second time. No luck.

    Soon he'll head out on his first solo moto adventure. Cell phone included.
  5. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    It was time for some off-road adventures so we went about five miles outside Pittsburgh where the asphalt ended.


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    When I first asked Romu if he was up for this adventure, he asked if the roads were empedrado - that rough, rocky, sand filled road that is 'pavement' even in parts of the capital city.

    There were some nice views.


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    and we found a horse jumping corral with a prancing horse.


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    The girl on the horse, obviously disturbed by our presence, asked "can I help you?" and I told her that we had stopped to see the corral and asked if it was OK if we watched for a minute. "Sure. No problem." Then she pulled out her cell phone and texted her Mom that some weirdos were watching her. We headed to the bikes but the fuse had blown and our getaway was foiled.


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    We found a rutted gravel side road that dropped us into this park


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    and then rode back up the slope. Romu said his bike loses all power on inclines and he wasn't sure he would make it and I told him that my ParaguayChinaBike bike had ascended far worse. No problem ascending for either of us.


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    Sugar cane fields are much more common in Paraguay than this


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    and gun stores are much more common here than in Paraguay - he knows of only two in his 20,000 miles a year and he says the prices are ridiculous.


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    Tunnels abound.


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    I had no idea that Teen Challenge was in the area.


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    All in all we had a great ride. It was mostly pavement with about three miles on roads like this.


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    His little scooter was great on those roads. My monster bike - not so much. Maybe it's time for fuel injection. And ABS. And time to lose 200 pounds (off the bike!)
  6. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    It was time for their first solo adventure. They prepped


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    and that was the really crazy part of the trip. They generally wear helmets, but the gloves and jackets are borrowed - he rarely even wears the armored jacket we gave him a few years ago. I require the gear for all our rides here since they have no medical insurance here and it's my bike. (Insurance of any kind, by the way, is rare in Paraguay and only for the rich.)

    The local 'GetGo' was the landmark for the turn.


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    Landmarks are the key:
    1) There are very few marked roads in Paraguay so he doesn't look for street signs
    2) English road names make no sense
    3) His clocks and odometer generally don't work on his bike so he's not used to using them
    4) No tripmeter on the Wildfire so we can't use that


    A few km later and they arrived at the park.


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    Notice that he parked perfectly between the lines of our "Don't Park Here" markings. Those lines look surprisingly similar to "Motorcycle Parking Only" markings all over Asuncion.

    This is Romu's wife, Gladys.


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    Her legal name is "Ladis." When her father went to register his children's birth, he did so three at a time, didn't insist on proper spelling, and got a birth year or two wrong. She's the fifth of ten kids.


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    "Romualdo" came from a Catholic name calendar. Check the calendar on the day your kids are born and the suggested name is there. He's the ninth of ten.

    From the smiles and stories when they returned, I think they enjoyed it immensely. You'll notice that we have done nothing important on the bikes here - It's all been "Hey, let's go to the park" and that's intentional. The motorcycle is a tool. Like a machete. It's a lot more convenient than a bus, faster than a bicycle, and cheaper than a car. The Chinese imports are crazy cheap and Kenton has a great dealer network and parts availability.

    A park visit is almost a daily thing for us and our kids.

    A park visit is a rare and wonderful adventure for Romualdo and Gladys.
  7. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Romu had shown me a broken bolt from the exhaust but I didn't think much of it since he didn't seem too concerned and there was another bolt supporting the exhaust.

    I guess I didn't quite get what he was saying. Or maybe he didn't say it since he often speaks in suggestions. It was a few days later when I asked why he wasn't riding the bike that he told me he wouldn't ride it until it was fixed. We found some time amid all the family activities and home maintenance.

    The bolts ran through the exhaust bracket just forward of the muffler. Then through this suspension bracket and into those two ears off the rear of the engine case.


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    The ears were threaded on the back side but only half-way through and both the bolts broke just where the ear threading ended.


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    The bolts seem to be original but the whole length is threaded - never a good idea when they're that long and supporting two brackets in shear. They had the markings of a hardened steel bolt but the insides tell a different story.


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    I was able to vise-grip the bolt ends and continue turning them out the back but only after drilling the inside ends a bit. It turns out that those bolts are just some tin wrapped in lead and coated with something that makes them look like steel. I avoided drilling at first, expecting a dulled bit and a damaged case, but they drilled out just like aluminum and looked just like lead.


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    I put in some real bolts,


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    reassembled everything, and we were ready for the next ride.

    'Cheap' is definitely the word I'd use for this Chinese Wildfire. Caveat emptor.
  8. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Cheap Chinese Moto all fixed and ready to go, it was time for another husband-wife solo. Just a few km away is Highland Park with a reservoir, kiddie park, pavilions, fountain, and flowers. Gladys is constantly grafting orchids into a mango tree and she loves flowers so I recommended the park and showed Romu the way a couple of times.

    First they had lunch at a pavilion


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    where a large woman in an SUV came along and tried to communicate with them. "No English." She was apparently trying to tell them that she had reserved the pavilion and that they needed to leave. At least that's what they eventually understood. They moved on.

    Then somebody apparently tried to tell them that they were illegally parked. Or something. That whole language barrier is a serious problem and they're just guessing at what people are trying to tell them by facial expressions and the things at which they point.

    Anyway, it's a ten minute trip and they returned three hours later so they must have really enjoyed it.


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    Fountain

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    Flowers

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    Relaxation
  9. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Our last big moto adventure was a trip to the range - something that just doesn't happen in Paraguay.


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    Yup, that's a new bike. Now I've got to get the Concours ready to sell. 20 years newer, 200 pounds less, and fuel injection were just what I needed. Only now do I realize that I rode that big bike less because I had to wait a few minutes every time I hit the starter. Plus I was always apprehensive that I'd drop it.

    Anyway, Romu was in the military for his "compulsory" military service ever so many years ago so I figured he'd like it. I say "compulsory" because, although it seems to be a current requirement, very few men I know under 35 have served.


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    He loved it. The .22 revolver was his favorite. "No patea"

    And the ride out and back was all untraveled two lane roads with plenty of twisty ups and downs. I'll be sad to see him head back to Paraguay. Anybody want a Wildfire?
  10. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    One last ride before they left. We went to Hartwood Acres since there was a flower garden and we knew Gladys would love it.

    But we took the whole family. In Paraguay you might just put everybody on a motorcycle or two. Sometimes I go to my wife's Grandma's house on a bicycle while her father and mother go on the motorcycle and the rest hop the bus for the long, tortuous, standing room only ride. Because of the wait and walk time I can always beat the bus by a good margin in the 25 mile ride.

    In keeping with American tradition, we took every motorized vehicle we could. Wife and kids in the van. In-laws on the scoot. I on my new ride.


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    It was beautiful and we had a great time.


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    I miss them already.
  11. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    It turns out that I'm glad Romu rides at a maximum of 50 kph. He texts sometimes and his mind wanders and he doesn't generally use his front brake. He almost hit me from behind twice while we were riding together and he almost ran into my wife in the van.

    Unfortunately, he got so accustomed to the total lack of traffic on local roads here that he rear-ended a car on his second day back in Paraguay.
  12. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    I made sure to add at least $700 in 'necessary' accessories to the new-to-me VStrom before they left just to equal the initial purchase cost of my precious Kenton in Paraguay. It didn't take long.
  13. rbsride365

    rbsride365 Hi-Viz

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    Great addition to your previous ride report Brian! Loved seeing and hearing about your families adventures and the time spent with your father-in-law. Making memories!
  14. playsintraffic

    playsintraffic Adventurer

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    Great report! I just returned from Paraguay, I was there on a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip. I so wanted to buy a cheep moto and hit the streets. No time for that on this trip however. I did manage to enjoy a hamburguesa completa after reading your report. Maybe the best burger I have ever eaten in my life.
  15. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Amazing, isn't it? Glad you went.

    Guess where I want to be right now. It's a bit cold outside and it's high summer there.
  16. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    And I loved our ride in September, Brian. Let's do it again.
    rbsride365 likes this.
  17. rbsride365

    rbsride365 Hi-Viz

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    Definitely!
  18. jeffvader

    jeffvader Adventurer

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    This thread is awesome. Thanks rbsride365 for turning me on to it. LrnFzx, was that you I saw at the Camp Horne Home Depot a few weekends ago? Been seeing a Silver Vstrom around the burgh a lot lately!
  19. rbsride365

    rbsride365 Hi-Viz

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    Glad you enjoyed it jeffvader!
  20. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Sorry, I wish I were there. Or on anything with two wheels. Or even allowed to drive. Shoulder surgery has me sidelined for a few more weeks but look for me in late June.