Manual clutch touring bikes are not popular in Vietnam. 90% of bikes are either automatic or semi-automatic. In addition, most local mechanics are honest but like anywhere on this planet, some are very dishonest. That’s life, you can’t avoid it. Knowing motorbike mechanic basics would be essential and helpful in many ways. Vietnam Motorbike Rental offers a few tips, advice and basic things you need to know about our rental bike fleet.
When you collect your rental bike(s) from our shop in Hanoi, Vietnam Motorbike Rental will provide a tool kit and important spare parts (ignition coil, control module, spark plug, clutch cables, throttle cables, levers, inner tubes and brake pads or shoes etc.) which weight about 5kg. You will be able to fix it in the middle of nowhere or have parts for the local repair shops to replace for you. Some motorbike mechanic basics will also be instructed if you request.
Understand What The Requirements Are For Repairing Motorcycles
First and important thing, you need to make sure that you know what you are getting into. You need to know how to identify the problem(s), repair, maintain, adjust and test all the components of a motorcycle.
All of our touring bikes use carburetors, fuel injection is not really good with poor quality fuel in Vietnam, especially in remote areas. If you have a problem starting the bike in the morning (on cold days), make sure you use the “choke”. After the engine starts, hold the throttle to warm up the engine and slowly accelerate. Put the “choke” to off position after the idling is good. Normally, the “choke” is at the low position, the middle is half and top is a full choke. Some customers forgot to turn down the choke and they burnt the engine head components.
If you are riding and the engine stops, hold the clutch and get to gear 3 or 4 and then release the clutch and see if it can start again. If this works then ride on, otherwise pull over to the right side of the road and check the ignition and fuel. You may not need to remove the spark plug as the engine is normally very hot, use a spare one to test. If there is ignition, then check the fuel and see if you have enough gas. When you finish with “on”, turn to “reserve” and find a filling station immediately.
If you still can’t start the bike, bring it to the nearest bike repair shop (sua chua xe may) and put us on the phone. There can be more complicated issues like dead battery or alternator, bad spark plug or ignition coil or control module or even watery fuel!
Flat tire(s) is likely the most common problem you have on the road. Use the inner tube we provide and the tool kit and the pump to replace the tube inside. If you can’t fix it, ask a local to give a helping hand or push the bike to the nearest motorbike repair shop. Most mechanics in Vietnam inflate the tires with more pressure than required (4-5kg/cm3!!!). Make sure they put in 2kg/cm3 or 33psi or the tubes may explode.
Replacing a snapped cable is simple but you need to know how to do it. We will show you if you never do this before. A snapped cable is very annoying when you are riding but luckily this rarely happens!
Daily check and service of your bike is also very important.
All of our touring bikes need oil for the drive chain every day. You can do this once a day in the morning and the best way is at a local mechanic shop. Pay them about 10,000 VN Dongs each bike and they will oil the chain for you. If chain tension is needed, you pay about 1$US per bike.
Engine oil is very important because if it’s low, the engine head makes noise due to inadequate lubrication and you may even have it totally burnt or damaged. Check the level on the dipstick and make sure you have enough engine oil. Every 1,000 – 1,500 km you need to change the engine oil and this is best at a local mechanic shop (sua xe may in Vietnamese)
Last but not least, stop every hour for about 10 minutes to refresh yourself and let the engine cool down. All of our touring bikes are air-cooled, not water-cooled. Most customers stop every 30 minutes or less for photos, direction etc.
For more information about Motorbike Mechanic Basics for your Vietnam motorbiking, please contact us.