Vietnam: Along the Chinese Border. Real Time Report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lost Cartographer, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa
    Already loving this report and the humour. It really looks awesome.
    #21
    taranaki and CROSSBOLT like this.
  2. That.guy

    That.guy Been here awhile

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    Sep 28, 2018
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    Colorado Springs
    It was shot down December 27th 1972.
    #22
    Halen, Critic and CROSSBOLT like this.
  3. CROSSBOLT

    CROSSBOLT Been here awhile

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    Sep 4, 2018
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    730
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    Hillville, TN
    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!
    #23
    jhonny ro, taranaki, yamalama and 3 others like this.
  4. mark2wheeler

    mark2wheeler Adventurer

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    Dec 23, 2006
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    80
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    Chicago Suburbia USA
    This looks great so far.B52 lake? That has to be the most interesting and unusual thing on the forum today.
    #24
    Macho Man2 likes this.
  5. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    756
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    AZ and CA
    Just got to Ha Giang, going to take a rest day tomorrow.

    A couple days late on updates, here's a teaser:

    Traffic:

    [​IMG]

    Scenery:

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    Attached Files:

    #25
    jowul, Foiler, Macho Man2 and 5 others like this.
  6. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    756
    Location:
    AZ and CA
    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.
    #26
    Macho Man2, jays100 and Critic like this.
  7. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    756
    Location:
    AZ and CA
    Ergonomics:

    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....
    #27
    jays100 likes this.
  8. pointerDixie214

    pointerDixie214 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2015
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    Location:
    PA
    In.
    #28
  9. Tazui1982

    Tazui1982 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2019
    Oddometer:
    35
    Location:
    Vietnam
    In. I ve been living in Hanoi for ages but haven't been up north yet, will do some day.
    #29
  10. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    756
    Location:
    AZ and CA
    Chassis:

    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
    - pigs
    - cages full of chickens and/or ducks
    - cages full of dogs
    - sturgeon <-this is not an autocorrect error
    - refrigerators
    - plywood
    - 5th wheel trailer
    - re-rod
    - 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.

    BUT

    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:

    [​IMG]


    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:

    [​IMG]

    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?

    Attached Files:

    #30
    jowul, BillUA, Macho Man2 and 14 others like this.
  11. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    AZ and CA
    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.

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    Attached Files:

    #31
  12. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    AZ and CA
    [​IMG]

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    Attached Files:

    #32
  13. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    AZ and CA
    [​IMG]

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    Attached Files:

    #33
    jowul, BillUA, Macho Man2 and 8 others like this.
  14. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    AZ and CA
    Skipping ahead - this is what envy looks like:

    IMG_20190401_173204.jpg

    IMG_20190401_173153~01.jpg

    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.
    #34
    BillUA, Macho Man2, td63 and 2 others like this.
  15. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    Attached Files:

    #35
    jowul, BillUA, Macho Man2 and 16 others like this.
  16. Burro driver

    Burro driver dba John

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    Location:
    Montrose, Colorado.
    Beautiful pictures!
    #36
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  17. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    After the palace, but before the sun set, we went to the market to try to fix our sore asses.

    Problem:
    The seat is too narrow and the pannier rack mounts protrude up to the same level as an uncompressed seat.

    [​IMG]

    1st try:
    Wrap the rack mounts in t-shirts. Result: much better, but doesn't fix the narrow back of the seat.

    [​IMG]


    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.

    [​IMG]

    BTW, 40,000 dong = $1.73

    That's the Pillow Lady and her wonderful pillow stall in the background.

    Attached Files:

    #37
    kpinvt, jowul, BillUA and 15 others like this.
  18. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
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    Location:
    Yellowknife and Norman Wells, NWT
    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... :thumb
    #38
  19. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    AZ and CA
    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.

    [​IMG]


    As we were enjoying our hot pot, the local pescador rolled in with a fresh load:

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    Check out those panniers - I wonder how many sturgeon will fit in my Giant Loop RTW bags...

    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    #39
    jowul, BillUA, Macho Man2 and 8 others like this.
  20. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    AZ and CA
    Seafood tank at the restaurant. *Most* of the fish were right side up:

    [​IMG]

    Unrelated photo - there was a toad crossing the street that night too:

    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    #40
    kpinvt, jowul, BillUA and 7 others like this.