The terminology words in bold are in both English and Vietnamese that you can use to show the local mechanics in Vietnam if they don’t understand what you talk about. Not all Vietnamese mechanics understand motorbike terminology and they usually fix bikes based on their own experience! Therefore, Vietnam Motorbike Rental hopes the terminology helps with explaining the problems if anything is not right.

Terminology - Know and understand your bike, terminology and talk to mechanics in Vietnam


Air filter (Lọc gió) prevents abrasive particulate matter from entering the engine’s cylinders, where it would cause mechanical wear and oil contamination. Known as Engine air induction systems (AIS), they are typically constructed of paper or felt.

Air/fuel ratio (Tỷ lệ xăng/gió) The mixture of fuel and air produced by carburetor or fuel injection. In other words, a comparison between the amount of air and the amount of fuel going into the combustion chamber.


Bearings are notched (Vòng bi hỏng, vỡ) Ball or roller bearings can get worn spots on them that are felt easily. Those are flat spots.

Brake pads & shoes (Má phanh) A disc brake uses pads for the friction material and a drum brake uses shoes.

Brake squeal (Phanh kêu) A loud squeal coming from the brake. Certain models are more prone to this malady.

Brights (Đèn pha) The high beam of the headlight.

Brushes (Chổi than) The carbon electrical parts that rub against the commutator.

Bump start (Đẩy nổ) A way to start a motorcycle by turning on the ignition, placing it in gear, disengaging the clutch, then running alongside the motorcycle, jumping on and engaging the clutch suddenly. Hard on the drive train and clutch but will start a bike with a dead battery when no one is around to provide a “jump”. In many cases, this is a very important terminology you should know.

Bungee Cord (Dây chun) A stretch cord for attaching things to a motorcycle.

Burning rubber (Đốt lốp) Starting out quickly and spinning the rear wheel.


Carb (Chế hòa khí or bình xăng con) Short for the carburetor, the part that mixed fuel and air on older motorcycles.

CDI unit (Con IC) Ignition control module.

Center stand (Chân chống đứng) The mechanical stand that holds the motorcycle vertically upright.

Choke (Le gió) A device to assist in starting a cold engine by making the fuel/air mixture “richer” in fuel.

Choke/enrichment circuit (Cần kéo le gió) The part of a carb used for cold starting.

Corrosion (Ăn mòn) Oxidation or rust on a part.

Counterbalance (Đối trọng) A weight that balances another.

Crankshaft (Biên) The main shaft of an engine to which the piston connecting rods attach.


Damper, or Dampener (Bộ giảm sóc) Commonly a hydraulic piston or friction assembly used to lessen vibration or oscillation.

Diode, or diode board (Đi ốt một chiêu) An electrical device that allows current to flow in one direction only. Usually as part of the diode board and the rectifier of the alternator system.

Dipstick (Que thăm dầu) The long slender piece of metal that goes into the oil collection point of an engine, or sump, to check the oil level.


Engine casing (Bưởng máy) The external case that encloses all the parts of an engine.


Faulty ground (Mất chân mát) A poor ground (earth) connection.

Feathering the brake (Bóp phanh nhẹ nhàng) Gently applying the brake.

Feathering the clutch (Nhả côn từ từ) Gently allowing the clutch to engage. This makes for a slow smooth start.

Footpegs (Để chân) The resting place for one’s feet on a motorcycle. The passenger footpegs often will fold up and out of the way.

Forks (Giảm sóc trước) The mechanism on the front of a motorcycle that holds the wheel, allows steering, and provides shock absorption.

Four (4)-Stroke (Động cơ 4 thì) A four-stroke engine is one with four strokes, or movements up or down, per cycle.


Gasket (gioăng) A paper, rubber, or cork part that goes between two metal parts to become a seal.

Gearbox, transmission, tranny, box (Hộp số)

Gear lash (Trượt số) The play between two gears.

Ground (Dây mát) The return path of an electrical circuit, “Earth” in Brit speak.

Grounding the plugs (Thử đánh lửa chân bugi) During certain ignition tests, one must remove and lay a plug against the engine. This is to observe the existence of a spark.


Handgrip (Tay nắm) The rubber grip on the handlebars to make a more comfortable hand control.

Headlight bucket, or shell (Giá treo đèn) The enclosure that holds the headlamp, usually metal.

Head (Đầu bò) The portion of the engine that sits atop the cylinder. It is the part that holds the spark plug.

Heavy floats (Sục xăng) Carbs have floats to regulate the fuel level. They can become soaked with gas and sink. That is a heavy float.

Hub (Moay ơ) The central part of a circular object (as a wheel or propeller)


Idle mixture (Chỉnh ga răng ti) The fuel/air mixture at a low rpm called idle.

Idle stops (Ốc chỉnh ga răng ti) The mechanical part of the carb that keeps the idle up high enough so that the engine doesn’t quit.

Ignition leads (Dây mô bin or dây cao áp) The special wire that connects the ignition coil to the spark plug. Also called high tension lead.

Intermittent shorts (Điện lúc có lúc không, chập chờn) About the worst type of electrical problem to have, as it is usually hard to diagnose.


Jet needle (Kim ga) This is a carb part that meters the fuel going through a jet, or hole.

Jump starting (Câu ắc quy) When the battery is too low to start the engine, one can jump start it from a good battery. It takes a pair of large size electric cables and some knowledge to do so safely. In many cases, this is a very important terminology you should know.


Kick start (Cần khởi động) Before motorcycles had electric starters, they all used kick-starters. A lever that one would kick to turn the engine.

Knock (Gõ biên) Just as in cars, it usually refers to a noise made by a loose rod. Not a nice noise to find. It usually means expensive lower-end work.


Lash (Khoảng trống, khe hở) A term for play or looseness, often related to the valve adjustment.

Lean (Thiếu xăng) A carb mixture that doesn’t have enough fuel in it.

Leaded/unleaded petrol (Xăng có chì/không chì)

The lower end (Bụng máy) An engine is usually considered in two parts, the top end and bottom or lower end. The lower end is the crankshaft and related parts.

Lube, grease (Mỡ bôi trơn)


Main Bearing (Bi cơ) A large bearing which supports a portion of the crankshaft.

Main Bearing Journal (Ca bi cơ) The part of the engine case where the Main Bearing attaches.

Mudguard (Chắn bùn) A shield over or behind a vehicle’s wheel to prevent mud or water from splashing onto that vehicle or the following vehicle. Also called splash-guard.

Muffler (Ống xả, pô) A device to deaden noise; especially one forming part of the exhaust system of an automotive vehicle.


OHC (Trục cam đơn trên đầu bò) Acronym for Over Head Camshaft. Having the cam overhead means that it is located above the head, rather than in the lower end. It reduces the reciprocating mass and allows higher rpm.

Oil filter (Lọc dầu) A filter to remove contaminants from engine oil, transmission oil, lubricating oil, or hydraulic oil.

Oil pump (Bơm dầu) A part of the lubrication system that pressurizes motor oil for distribution around the engine.


Petrol, gasoline, or just gas, Benzine (Xăng)

Pinging, Pinking (Kích nổ sớm) It is the ignition of fuel too early in the combustion chamber. In most cases, it sounds like a tinkle or minor rattle. This is not good for the piston.

Piston slap (Quả hơi gõ) The noise a cold piston makes as it hits the cylinder sides. It is usually because the piston skirt is too small for the cylinder. Often it goes away when the piston expands due to heat. In severe cases, it never stops making the slap.

Plugs fouled (Muội bu gi) If the fuel isn’t fully burned during combustion, then it is common for the unburnt carbon to deposit on the spark plugs. This can short out the ignition spark and stop the firing of the cylinder. The plug must be cleaned and the reason for it to foul found out before all things are right.

Popping the clutch (Ép côn) Letting the clutch out quickly to make a fast start.


Renovation (Đại tu) A bike that is renewed mechanically/cosmetically and hopefully in good taste. Often improved over original and frequently called a restoration, but that is an error.

Resistance (Điện trở) An electrical term and measured in Ohms.

Rectifier (Xạc) A device for converting alternating current into direct current.

Relay (Rơ le) An electromagnetic device for remote or automatic control that is actuated by variation in conditions of an electric circuit and that operates in turn other devices (as switches) in the same or a different circuit.

Rich (Ăn xăng, thừa xăng) Usually refers to the fuel/air mixture when it has more fuel than desired. In many cases, this is a very important terminology you should know.

Ring(s) (Séc măng) A number of rings surround a piston to seal the combustion gasses from escaping past the piston. Worn out rings will allow the engine to burn oil.

Rocker arm (Cò mổ) A center-pivoted lever to push an automotive engine valve down.


Setting timing (Chỉnh tầm nổ) Adjusting the ignition timing to occur at the best time in the engine cycle. In many cases, this is a very important terminology you should know.

Short circuit (Chập mạch) A term meaning that a hot electrical wire is a touching ground or another part of the circuit. Not a nice thing. In many cases, this is a very important terminology you should know.

Silicone (Si li côn) A type of plastic rubber commonly used by Silicone James (inside joke) to fix just about anything.

Piston Caliper (Tổng phanh) For disk brakes, the caliper holds the abrasive brake pads so that they are on either side of the brake disc. Hydraulic pistons in the caliper squeeze the pads against the disc causing braking of the disc’s rotation.

Spoke tension (Độ căng nan hoa) Referring to how tight a nipple is tightened on a wheel spoke.

Sprocket (Nhông) A toothed wheel whose teeth engage the links of a chain.

Standing on brakes (Phanh gấp) Application of a lot of braking power, usually in a panic stop.

Starter dragging (Trượt đề) This refers to an electric starter that has high internal resistance due to bearings or bushings. They must be replaced to return to easy starting.

Stoppie, stoppy (Bốc đuôi) Stopping so quickly with the front brake that the motorcycle rises up on its front wheel. A reverse Wheelie.

Stripped threads (Chờn ren) Threads that have been damaged and are mostly gone or won’t hold.


Tachometer (Đồng hồ tua máy) A meter showing the number of revolutions of a shaft. Usually the revolutions per minute of the crankshaft.

Tank (Bình xăng) Gas tank or fuel tank.

Throttle return (Dây hồi ga) This refers to the system for allowing or preventing a throttle from returning to idle automatically.

Tire direction (Hướng lắp lốp) Unlike car tires, motorcycle tires have an arrow on the sidewall showing the direction of travel.

Top-end (Đầu máy) This refers to the portion of the engine that is above the crankshaft. The cylinders, pistons, and heads make up the top end.

Torque (Mô men xoắn) A measure of how tight something is or should be, as in turning a bolt or nut.

Trickle charging (Xạc chậm) A way to slowly and gently charge the battery.

Triple tree (Vai giảm sóc trước) A part of the motorcycle fork assembly.


Valve clearance (Khe hở su páp) Also called valve adjustment or valve lash. This is the space between the valve stem and the rocker arm.

Valve tuliping (Su páp mòn) This refers to a process of failure of the valve head. Soon the head may fall off and greatly damage the head and piston.

Viscosity (Độ đậm đặc của dầu nhớt) The measure of the thickness of any oil. One must use the proper viscosity for different times of the year due to temperature changes.

Wet clutch (Ly hợp ướt)

Wheelie (Bốc đầu)

Wires are fried (Dây bị chập, cháy) Some, or all, of the wires in the wiring harness were overheated and burned up the insulation. Usually, it must be replaced.

Wiring harness (Bộ dây điện) The term for the collection of wires that are usually bundled up in some protective tubing.

Vietnam Motorbike Hanoi Rental - Terminology. Know and understand your bike, terminology and talk to mechanics in Vietnam

If you have any terminology to add please feel free to contact us. You can help our customers to have a better motorbiking experience. Many thanks.

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