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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lost Cartographer, Mar 27, 2019.
Already loving this report and the humour. It really looks awesome.
It was shot down December 27th 1972.
Are you guys nutz? Vietnam? Yes, you are doing what we SHOULD have done in 58! Be tourists instead of joining a civil war that had been raging for over 500 years. Please continue to delight us all! Is this a great forum or what!
This looks great so far.B52 lake? That has to be the most interesting and unusual thing on the forum today.
Just got to Ha Giang, going to take a rest day tomorrow.
A couple days late on updates, here's a teaser:
So about our bike:
The motor is pretty impressive - tons of torque, good low rpm drivability, EFI calibration is decent (a little bit of throttle snatch, but not as bad as my africa twin), and it still pulls strong up top too.
This bike is a hot rod here, we can pass anyone we want, at any time, on any grade, even while 2-up.
The transmission has seen better days. In the morning when it is dead cold the shifting is really notchy, but it works.
Once the bike comes up to temperature things get a bit dicey. Sometimes I have to rock the bike fore and aft to get it to drop into 1st gear.
The 1-2 shift only happens about 25% of the time; it ends up being a 1-N shift followed by a N-2 shift. When I try the 1-2 shift it feels like it engages 2nd properly, but in reality it's in neutral.
2-3 and 3-4 are the opposite - the shifter feels like you found a false neutral, but it is actually in gear.
4-5 and 5-6 shift much better.
No issues on downshifts in any gear.
It's not popping out of gear (yet), so I've put it out of my mind for now.
I'm 6' tall, 200#. Wafer is 5'2" (or so she claims) and 115# (also or so she claims).
If Wafer was piloting the bike and I was a dead pig strapped sideways across the back seat then the ergonomics would be fine.
As it is, I'm squished into the front of the bike, Wafer is squished behind me. Our dry bag is squished up against Wafer's back.
The panniers hold all (most) of our heavy stuff. I was very meticulous about keeping the weight minimized, and placed low and forward.
I didn't want any weight behind the rear axle.
I failed. So did Honda. See next post....
In. I ve been living in Hanoi for ages but haven't been up north yet, will do some day.
This chassis sucks for adv riding.
Apparently Honda decided they wanted to build a Grand Prix scooter, then sell it in Vietnam and the rest of southeast Asia.
Let me explain using an equivalency example:
(In the US) = (In rural Vietnam)
Compact car = bicycle
Midsize car = scooter
Luxury car = new scooter
Compact SUV = scooter
Full size SUV = scooter
Minivan = scooter
Pickup truck = scooter
Full size van = scooter
Delivery truck = scooter
Semi truck = scooter with trailer
Airplane = bus
As you can see from my carefully researched stereotyping, people here need a scooter that does everything well, including hauling:
- a family of 4
- cages full of chickens and/or ducks
- cages full of dogs
- sturgeon <-this is not an autocorrect error
- 5th wheel trailer
- giant bags of rice
- etc etc
The Honda Winner 150 has none of these abilities.
- The wheelbase is super short, more than 2" shorter than a SYM 150
- the seat is very tall
- the geometry is very aggressive
- the rear shock fades within minutes, even on pavement (although I'm sure we are over the GVWR of this thing)
1-up this thing turns like it is a GP bike, it snaps over into turns.
2-up it still turns amazingly well.
It is NOT stable. Smooth roads are fine, but on rough roads it is very twitchy, even unloaded. Even on smooth roads if you take your hands off the bars and it starts to headshake. It is just too aggressive for this market.
Of course, this could have something to do with the weight distribution.....
This is Wafer standing next to my AT. Note her pequeno size:
This is Wafer on the Honda Winner 150. Note that she is now a giant, and her weight, along with the luggage, is behind the rear axle:
You can't add load to this bike without screwing up the stability. The front end is REALLY light. When I whack the throttle open it just wheelies, which is normally lots of fun, but not so fun on a bumpy road when you are trying to get out of the way of a bus that just came around a blind corner and is inexplicably driving on his left, which is straight into oncoming traffic.
Anyways, this bike sucks for rural Vietnam. I know that it's not just me either, because I have seen ZERO other Winner 150s here.
@Tazui1982 do you see these bikes in the city?
Day 3, Saturday 30-Mar, Vu Linh to Bac Ha
We followed our intended route to Bac Ha, all was well. Highlights included beautiful roads, beautiful scenery, lots of schoolkids yelling "Hello!" to us (in English) as we passed by. The local industry is tree farming for plywood, they were drying the wood on the side of the road. The last leg of the climb was thru terraced rice fields, but it was pretty socked in.
Skipping ahead - this is what envy looks like:
Last time I was in VN I rented an xr150. It was completely clapped out and on its very last legs.
It was one of my all time favorite bikes.
Why didn't I rent one this time? Because this is a 2-up trip, and we needed the panniers that are available on the Winner 150.
Hindsight being 20/20 I should have done research to see if it would be possible to do 2-up with rackless luggage on the xr150.
(back to 30-Mar Saturday evening)
We made it into Bac Ha about 4pm, with sore asses. Unloaded the bike, then went tooling around town.
We randomly found the Hoang A Tuong Palace; a local rich guy / fuedal lord built this place in 1921. It was tough to miss, being a ~43,000 sqft complex.
Also the sun set that night:
After the palace, but before the sun set, we went to the market to try to fix our sore asses.
The seat is too narrow and the pannier rack mounts protrude up to the same level as an uncompressed seat.
Wrap the rack mounts in t-shirts. Result: much better, but doesn't fix the narrow back of the seat.
2nd try: Go see the pro.
There was a nice lady selling blankets, rugs, and pillows. We rolled the bike up to her stall, pointed at the seat, pointed at Wafer's butt, and she knew exactly what to get us - a memory foam pillow.
It set us back 40,000 dong, but it was totally worth it.
BTW, 40,000 dong = $1.73
That's the Pillow Lady and her wonderful pillow stall in the background.
Very, very cool. The photos are fascinating, especially the ones of the train tracks running between the buildings. A fascinating place, by the looks of it...
After the palace, after the pillow, and after the sunset, we went in search of food.
We found a restaurant that was full of people and went in. Nobody habla'd english at all, which is what we were looking for.
Using google translate, we asked 'what is the specialty of the restaurant?' and got the reply 'Sturgeon soup and horsemeat'. I've never had horse before, but Wafer doesn't eat nonstandard meat (more on that later).
Anyways, we could see hotpots on other tables so we ordered the sturgeon soup. Hotpot is a good safe bet here, because everything goes into boiling water.
As we were enjoying our hot pot, the local pescador rolled in with a fresh load:
Check out those panniers - I wonder how many sturgeon will fit in my Giant Loop RTW bags...
Seafood tank at the restaurant. *Most* of the fish were right side up:
Unrelated photo - there was a toad crossing the street that night too: