If you are thinking of buying a motorbike in Hanoi then here are some hints, tips and information. Whether you are staying in Hanoi for a while and need a motorcycle to run around on or are thinking of traveling Vietnam by motorbike then this page will help you out.
The most common bikes found for sale are Minsks and Honda Wins (manuals), Honda Waves (semi-automatic) and Yamaha Nuovos (automatic)
The old quarter is the perfect place in Hanoi to buy a motorbike.
Chinese motorbikes are sold between $150-400 on the Hanoi streets, whereas rental motorbikes are usually around $200-500 for a journey across Vietnam
Where to buy a motorbike In Hanoi?
For rental companies, there are a select few reputable establishments that operate between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi with long distance rentals. These companies can be found sitting at the top of google searches, Trip Advisor, Facebook and instagram. It is a good idea to check reviews across multiple platforms and see if the company is providing good feedback across the board.
It is not wise to use the small backstreet rental companies, this is where the scams start to happen such as overcharging for scratches. Just remember the good rental companies take their reputation incredibly seriously and the chances of a bad motorbike or a failed holiday are slim.
For Chinese motorbikes the options are Craigslist, Travelswop, Hostels and Facebook groups when looking to buy a motorbike.
Craigslist is mostly the smaller dealers with nearly no reputation promoting the same motorbikes over and over again. They are a quick and easy way to find a cheap motorbike, but it should be expected that the quality is not particularly high. They are mostly flipping motorbikes for a quick buck. The price will be higher than a backpacker to backpacker sale, but even the shady dealers avoid the completely useless motorbikes. Combining the time they save by stocking motorbikes all in one place, and removing the completely broken down rubbish means that there is some value to their service. Keep an eye out for people “delivering motorbikes for free”, this is never going to end well.
A mostly broken and outdated website that still ranks highly in google. The Hanoi companies have manipulated the system so they always appear at the top. This website is now providing nearly no value to help buy a motorbike.
Which Motorbike Should I Buy?
Here I will give you the common motorbike options. In short, the best motorbike in Vietnam for me was the Honda Win, but that might not be to everyone’s liking.
Honda Dream, full-automatic, 100cc scooter. Price Range USD 200-300
Honda Wave, semi-automatic 100cc motorbike. Price Range: USD 200-300
Russian Minsk, clutch 125cc motorbike. Price Range USD 400+
Honda Win, clutch 110-125cc motorbike. Price Range USD 300-400
Although automatics are made by real companies such as Yamaha or SYM, in the $300.
Honda Wave & Honda Dream
If you want to go out looking incompetent and not looking a real biker then you can go for the Honda Wave or Dream. You get a nice comfy seat and a bike that changes gears easy. Really though, where is the fun in that? Would you really have motorbiked Vietnam or just scooter’d it?
The best motorbike in Vietnam is no doubt the Honda Win. It has the best value for money and provides the best riding quality. With the Honda Win, you will be accepted by fellow riders as having a real motorbike. Importantly, the Honda Win will also offer that clutch control needed to ride the high mountain passes in northern Vietnam.
The Honda Win will break down as all motorbikes in Vietnam do. However, in the long run, the Honda Win in Vietnam is truly indestructible. Replacing a chain will cost up to $5 and even blowing up an engine will only cost $50 each time.
What to Check Before You Buy Motorbike Hanoi
If you have never ridden a motorbike in Hanoi, welcome. let me start by telling you that all budget second-hand motorbikes will have been crashed at some point. If you’re being told otherwise, it’s a lie.
Since these motorbikes have been crashed, they’ve been damaged, and not all have been repaired properly. Here are a few basic checks to make before you buy a motorbike in Vietnam:
- Check the rear swing arm is straight, those 2 forks holding the rear wheel in place. If the rear swingarm is bent then your ride will veer to the side every time you pass over a rumble strip or pothole.
- Check the headlight works and is powerful. Riding at dusk or night in Vietnam is going to be one of the most dangerous things you do in Asia. You are not always going to reach your destination in daylight hours, so be prepared.
- Make sure your battery properly charges and holds a charge. This is the steady power supply for your headlight if the battery is no good you’re going to have a weak headlight.
- Double check the horn works. This is your new voice on the road, and you won’t survive far without it.
- Test the front brake before riding to quick. I didn’t, mine didn’t work properly, and I ended up running into a roadside stall before the deposit had even been paid while on the test run.
- Check that the motorbike has it’s Blue Card (registration papers)
Guide to Buying and Renting Motorbikes in Hanoi
You’ve probably seen Vietnam on TV: from travel, cooking or motor shows or even survival experts taking their turn exploring a beautiful country.
Buying vs renting motorbikes in Hanoi is probably a hard decision, many people don’t know what to choose because of many options and availability. Below are the details and facts that we would like to point out to help you decide what is the better thing to do in buying vs renting motorbikes.
- All You Have to Know About Buying a Motorbike Hanoi
- The First-Time Guide to Renting a Bicycle Hanoi
- Do I Need a License to Ride a Motorbike Vietnam?
- The Ultimate Vietnam Motorbike Route
- How to drive a semi- automatic scooter for a newbie?
Some tourists complained about Vietnam having crappy motorbikes. In fact, they selected the wrong (cheaper) choice, trying to save money. There are better choices but like anywhere else you have to stretch your budget!
You must be even more careful checking your bike before purchase. If something like the horn or wheel is not functioning, try to negotiate down the price. You can even have the bike checked by a mechanic to ensure that it’s in good shape.
Want to ride a motorbike along the whole length of Vietnam as an adventurous traveler, or take a short trip inside the city? Don’t wait anymore! Read this article carefully and get ready for your road trip. We will guide you through buying and renting motorbikes in Hanoi.
Typical Cost of Motorbike Repairs Hanoi
There’s no point denying the fact that your motorbike is going to break down. It’s inevitable. Here are some of the common breakdowns and how much you should expect to pay.
Here are the usual prices of the repairs, so you can notice when someone wants to rip you off:
- Oil change with chain lubricating, tightening and brake adjusting – up to 120k
- Spark plug – 70k
- Flat tire (inner tire) – 100k
- Changing the inner and outer tire – 300k
- Battery – 250k – 350k
- Suspension – 300k
- Brake pads – 100k
- Exhaust – 250k
- Front light – 200k
- Backlight – 100k
- Chain – 150k
- Carburetor – 250k
- Cylinder – 400k
- Brake or clutch handle – 70k
- Set of mirrors – 90k
- Changing the clutch – 500k
- Front rim – 300k
- Back rim – 500k
- Complete new gearbox – around 1 mil
- Alternator – 200k
Always ask for the price up front as a mechanic won’t be able to manipulate you on your ignorance. Once the price is set, Vietnamese respect it and they won’t change it. Just take a look at the prices above so you know what’s the usual price for the parts. With that knowledge, you’ll have a good starting point for bargaining.
Motorbike Rental Procedures
For motorbike rental, there are different procedures depending on the rental shop and the length of the rental. If you stay in a hotel and rent a motorbike from the hotel for a few days, the hotel will not require a deposit.
If you rent directly from a rental shop, you need to give your passport to the owner until you return the motorbike or deposit an amount of money (from 1.5 million VND to 3 million VND). Leaving a passport with a shop while you travel the whole country is not ideal, so an alternative can be suggested. Often rental shops will accept a different form of valid identification or even a copy of the passport.
The rental shop will give you the blue registration card for the motorbike if you buy this motorbike. The blue card is enough evidence in Vietnam to prove ownership. However, the name cannot be changed on this card. If the blue card is lost, it can not be replaced. So take special care of it.
Cost motorbike rental and Buy in Hanoi
The rental price per day is around 80-150K VND for a manual motorbike, 150-250K VND for an auto motorbike, and more than 250K for the higher-grade motorbikes. If you rent for one month or more, the price will be lower. By the way, two helmets should always be included in the price.
The purchase price varies, especially for foreigners, 6,5 million VND to 65 million VND (300 USD to 3,000 USD), depending on the old or new model, engine capacity, manual, or auto.
Some motorbike shops deliver the motorbike directly to the airport, train station, or your hotel, but some do not. The list below includes information on reliable motorbike shops in Saigon. You can find a good shop below and contact them before arriving in Saigon a few days in advance to arrange the delivery schedule.
Things to Know When Renting and Buying a Motorbike
You must first decide which kind of motorbike to rent: automatic or manual. Automatic motorbikes are easy to use, for both experts and amateurs alike. Manual motorbikes are a little bit more complicated and require a higher level of motorbike and traffic awareness.
You must check the motorbike before renting. Ask the owner for a trial run. Then, check whether the breaks (handbrake, footbrake), lights, indicators, horn, wheels, and tires are in good condition. At least one wing mirror is required by Vietnam law. Take a video in front of the owner of the bike, this way when you return, you can’t get charged for scratches that were already on the bike.
If you are buying from a Vietnamese local, make sure you have the capability of translating. Some things are very difficult to communicate and you don’t want to miss anything. To also ensure your satisfaction, have a price in your head that is the absolute maximum. Negotiate from this price down, pointing out the flaws and greeting the seller with a smile. Another easy way to buy a bike is to rent first, then negotiate a sell if you truly like the bike. Many rental shops in Hanoi will sell their bikes for a fair price.
Pro Tip: Yamaha Nouvo Scooters are often rented or being sold, these bikes, regardless of model, all have very similar keys. This means that somebody can steal your motorbike very easily. There are key makers all over Ho Chi Minh and other cities that can make keys that work enough in any Scooter Automatic Nouvo.
Buy motorbikes form a backpacker Or a shop?
If you go to any of the backpacker districts in Vietnam, you will find hundreds of people selling their motorbikes. You can usually get a better price for a motorbike off of a backpacker, as they are often short of time when it comes to selling. But don’t be a douche bag and throw out a ridiculously low-ball price in the hopes of screwing another backpacker out of $50. Remember, we are all travellers and should all look out for each other!
Something to keep in mind when buying a motorbike off of a backpacker is that some (not all) try to spend as little money as possible on maintenance and repairs. If a biker tells you they did one oil change in 2000km, their bike is probably going to fall apart on you. You can almost tell straight away from the person and the way their bike looks whether they took care of it or not. Use your instincts.
If you buy a motorbike from a shop in Hanoi they usually do a full service before they sell it. The cost of these bikes will usually be higher, but they often come with a riding lesson and some gear. From the larger and more reputable shops they may even have a guaranteed buy-back scheme at the end of your adventure.
This is not to say buying a motorbike off of a backpacker is a bad idea – they at least know the recent history of the bike compared to a shop that just bought it from someone. Just make sure they regularly maintained it.
Seling motorbikes in Vietnam
Once you have reached the end of your adventure you are going to want to sell your motorbike again. The easiest way to do this is to sell it directly to a motorbike repair shop. You will not get a great price for this, but at least you will get something and it is hassle free.
If you are desperate to get some more cash back for your bike, your best bet is to sell it to another backpacker. Go to a popular hostel in a backpacker district and make a poster. Also make an advert on an online classifieds website such as Craigslist or an expat group on facebook.
With this comprehensive guide to renting and buying motorbikes, bicycle in Hanoi, you can plan your bikes trip now.
Guide to Get the Best Price for Your Motorbike
We can’t say it’s the best guide ever and we can’t guarantee you’ll get the best money following it, but it may help you!
That’s the exact same process we were doing while selling the bikes and we were very lucky and happy with the deal taking in the account that we sold our bikes just an hour before David and Lovel had a flight.
- Start posting on Facebook a few days before you arrive at the final destination since it will give you more exposure and time to negotiate with people. That way you won’t have time pressure and you don’t need to worry about putting the price down. It would be awesome if you have two days in the final destination just for selling the bike!
- When posting on Facebook, don’t hesitate to write a witty and detailed post with pictures and videos of your bike and journey. We took many photos and videos around Vietnam and in our postings, we included many of them. Also, our advice is to talk about the maintenance, breakdowns, new parts, the current condition of the bike and extras you have on the bike. Be honest about the breakdowns, new parts and include costs!
- If you don’t have, invest in a good quality raincoat, luggage rack, a few extra bungees, a bike lock, a good helmet, and phone holder. These things won’t cost you a lot, but it can add up to the value of your bike since travelers need these things to conveniently travel around the country.
- Wash and clean the bike! You can find a bike washer everywhere! Just look for the sign that says “Rua Xe”.
- Change the oil, tighten the brakes and chain and fill the bike with the gas.
- As for at least 30% higher price than your lowest accepting price (buying price), so there is still room for negotiation.
- Offer free driving lessons, route and experience exchange. It goes great with free beers!
That’s basically it!
Just be honest, witty and go into details! People love it and the quality of the posting will definitely catch their attention. Also, they will notice that you’d take good care of your bike which means the condition of the engine is probably good (the most important thing!).
Tags: Buy motorbike Hanoi