RedQualia

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  1. "He said that 90 kilometers was too fast but if there was a cap on that speed as well as a campaign to slow motorcyclists down to 60 kilometers an hour that would have a dramatic effect on the figures. "He suggested that arguments that motorcyclists need high speeds to overtake were groundless." Before these yayhoos get to pass any new rules or laws, they need to spend at least six months riding motorbikes around Bangkok, making sure that they do not exceed 60KPH and always stay to the extreme left side of the roads, avoid flyovers, and stay off bridges prohibited to motorbikes, and etc. After those six months, maybe they can try riding a bike from Bangkok to Pattaya, or perhaps Kanchanaburi or up to Nakhon Sawan. Do those things and then we can talk a bit about what laws need to be changed, and whether any new ones are required.
  2. Sounds nice in theory. However, one of my banks always lowballs the exchange rate. Significantly lower than the logo rate. The other bank usually provides an ever so slightly better rate than the logo rate. I won't pretend to understand the mechanics of the matter. Only reporting what I've experienced.
  3. A bit of a late reply, but even so, worth noting that some foreign banks provide better terms than others, and/or, that some provide some really horrible terms for international use. The card may appear great in one's home country, but when used overseas can include the bank's own crappy exchange rate (DCC may offer a substantially better rate), an immediate foreign transaction fee (per transaction), as well as pretty high interest rates that begin to accrue immediately, such that when using some credit cards overseas, the cost will automatically be what? -- 10-20% more than it should be. Too, restaurants and such that cater to foreigners here in Thailand will also often carve out the 7% VAT as well as a 10% service fee to charge separately (restaurants not specifically catering to foreigners often will not do so), so if using a credit card, those fees are also being financed by the bank back home. And it is not uncommon to see Americans also offer a 10-20% tip on top of these costs, because hey -- Americans. So add the cost of any tip to the amount being financed by the bank back home. If the eatery or whatever then also charges 2-4% for credit card use, well... Things can become quite expensive pretty quickly. Personal preference: I generally only use a credit card in Thailand for major purchases at larger shops, and/or for hospital expenses, and etc. The credit cards I use here offer an excellent exchange rate as well as no foreign transaction fees, so I always ask to be billed in Thai Baht. Whether I would agree to an additional surcharge would vary depending on circumstance. I would never use a credit card in a restaurant or for paying for small day to day things. Others might. See list of hidden charges above, though perhaps I missed a few.
  4. You're talking condo and I've no idea of what arrangement you have there -- whether you rent short term, long term, have a lease, own or what. Other posters here are talking routers and what not, and so if you're in a long term situation, that's surely the way to go. But I've run into this problem myself of late at a couple of different hotels. Management gives their guests only one login ID, even when there are two guests. Kinda chickenshot, IMO. In each case, they could have (and should have) given us two login IDs and passwords to use from the browsers we each might have. Reading this thread, though, I've only just remembered that my phone has hotspot capabilities, and I've sometimes used that to allow others to connect to the internet through my phone. I imagine I could do the same in a hotel room so that both my wife and I could have basic browsing and chat capabilities, though I'm not too sure the speed would be enough for anything involving heavy internet traffic. And might work for you as well. Again, any long term solution should probably be dealt with as described by one or another of the above posters. But if a slap-dash approach would be enough to get you over the hump sometimes and if you have a phone offering hotspot support, might be worth a try. My phone (at least) offers encryption and passwords, etc,. for hotspot use. Yours probably does as well, so no worries about neighbors piggybacking onto your connection. Just a thought...
  5. In fact, while I can't tell if it's the same one from the pic, Christian had been trying to sell a motorcycle for the past few weeks. Unsure as to whether he succeeded or not. Trying to sell and actually selling are two very different things.
  6. Disappointed recently when taking a truck load of donations to Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai. There were barricades across the entrance with a sign saying that foreigners had to go to another gate, where they would have to pay admission for entry. "The principle of the thing" applies here as well, only more so. Asking for a donation is one thing. But one should not be forced to pay to worship, or to enter a spiritual house. There are a few other temples, at least, where one must pay to enter... Wat Po, in Bangkok, and Wat Phra That on Doi Suthep come to mind. These temples have very much been reduced to nothing more than tourist attractions. I am disappointed that secretary (the abbot is very old) at Wat Chedi Luang has decided that temple also, is nothing more than a tourist attraction. It seems we will not be visiting there anymore, nor taking donations to that particular temple.
  7. The Similan Islands have certainly gone down hill over the past few decades. Yes... Too many divers out there, but not really their fault so much as the endless line of fishing boats dragging their nets through the waters, scooping up everything and anything, all day, every day. Not so many big fish out there as before. I've no interest in diving there, but really, not much interest in diving anywhere around Thailand. The last time I got on a boat in Pattaya, it was shallow dives only with student divers. One of whom was tremendously excited about having actually seen a fish! (Singular.) Appears one must go pretty far for really good diving in SE Asia these days. Palawan's OK, though there's lots of fishing there as well. Sipadan is worth visiting as well. Perhaps more so, since there's actually conservation going on there. Vietnam? Can only speak to Nha Trang, where lots of fishing boats were anchored in the marine preserve. I saw zero fish there over the course of three days.
  8. I loved my Nortons, too. All of them. The one in the pic above was my last, and was a revived basket case. Had to order a lot of parts from Nova Scotia, Canada. It was an OK bike, but never as good as the previous Nortons. Gotta say that I didn't much care for going super fast on any of the Nortons... Seemed like up around 105-110MPH, I could see God and hear Mr. Scott complaining that things were going to fly apart. The Ducati in the background of the pic just started to come alive at 90MPH, and was comfortable at speeds of 140-150MPH. Thus far, I've only ridden an MT-09 to speeds of 130-135MPH (215-220KPH). I can say I felt quite comfortable at that speed, and imagine it will feel OK at faster speeds, if/when I ever get around to trying. Some complain it feels light, but seems extremely stable to me. In a straight line, anyway. I broke a mirror on my wife's Sym motorbike a couple of months ago. She ordered a new one. Still hadn't come in a month ago. Oddly, the shop in Chiang Mai had no Syms or Keeways in stock when we visited. Only Stallions. No word from them for a while, so she tried calling a bit ago. All numbers disconnected now, it seems. Can't say for sure, but looks kinda like no more Sym/Keeway support in Chiang Mai anywhere, and maybe not even in Thailand by now. Will have to research further. That would be my fear regarding the purchase of a Royal Enfield, as previously mentioned. One RE shop in Thailand. Who knows how long it will remain open? The same applies to the one Norton dealer in Bangkok. I think Legendary Motors, or whatever it's called, must sell more than just Nortons. Even so, how long will their doors remain open? How good is a bike you can't get serviced or repaired? It seems entirely possible to spend 1.4 million Baht on a Norton, and end up having to keep as a living room decoration. Much as having a Norton sounds nice, would actually pass when it came down to it. I was very happy with the Kawasaki Ninja's reliability and service availability throughout Thailand. I am fairly optimistic that service and repair for the MT-09 will not be a problem in Thailand at all, either. I may not be that fond of the Yamaha dealers I've dealt with, but I don't think they're going to go away. Honda is likely to keep its doors open as well. Other brands? Thailand ain't the states, nor the EU, or even Oz. You pays your money and yous takes your chances...
  9. You may not be able to see it all in the previous photo, but there was a fair amount of gold plating on that last Norton I owned. How nuts is that...
  10. A bit of a digression, but I once rode a Norton 750 Commando from California to North Carolina and back -- coast to coast, maybe, but really, I did kind of a figure eight across the states, visiting Denver and Nashville and New Orleans and Chicago and etc. I think it was 12,000 miles in all. An internet search says that was about 19,300KM. Did it solo, as all my Harley riding friends thought I was nucking futs. Maybe I was, but their loss, me thinks. I had a great time, and that's certainly a big contributing factor to my preference for riding solo rather than in groups. Not much Norton service out there in the wilds of the states, and I distinctly recall feeling that if the bike broke down for any reason, I'd just have to push it as far off the road as possible and hitchhike from there on. Not too many problems, really, A footpeg vibrated off a bit before Denver. I made do with cruiser pegs for the rest of the trip. Had to replace the clutch hub at some point... Limped in to Greensville, NC, for that one. The replacement lasted back to California, but had to replace it again there. Indeed, I ended up replacing the whole engine at that time. I dunno that I had to do so, but I managed to trade a Velocette basket case for a new 750 racing engine, so that's what I did. I could be a bit sad about that, but seemed unlikely that I'd ever find all the parts to put the Velocette back together again, so what the hey? I've owned lots and lots of Norton Commandos over the years... Generally preferring the 750s over the 850s. More power from the 750s, it seems. I did do a search, and found that yes, Legendary Motorcycles in Bangkok apparently sells Nortons. Seems tempting, but also unlikely that I will pay 1.4 million Baht for such here in LOS. Also not sure if the 1.4 million Baht item is the 961cc Norton, or the newer V4. Regardless and gosh... I do miss Nortons. And I wonder a bit at my insistence on being able to find parts and service here in every province in Thailand. Maybe that just comes from being old or something... You think?
  11. I didn't say that. Far from it. But everyone's entitled to their opinion... :)
  12. I greatly loved the Ducati I had back in the states, and was a loyal Ducati owner for several years. Nothing better, in my opinion. At that time, and that place, anyway. But times and places change, and both Ducati and I have changed. How has Ducati changed? To start with, they no longer make many of the kinds of bikes they were making 10, 15, 20 years ago. There are no more 916's, 998's, 999's, nor even 750SS's or 900SS's. Too, they no longer seem interested in winning any races. They instead appear most interested in producing "consumer motorcycles." Fashion statements, maybe, that appeal more to the masses. Of course they do still make the Palingales, but those suckers are hella expensive here in Thailand. I can't (or won't) afford one of those! An 858 streetfighter is kind of appealing to me, but those were running 550,000 Baht here, and either they're no longer making them, or no longer importing them. The Monster whatevers don't really appeal to me so much. That is, they do not seem particularly like they're Ducatis, IMO. The Scrambler seems even less of what I consider a Ducati should be. It's like many/most of the bikes designed by Ducati these days are designed by committee... Bean counters, maybe. All plasticky. I've read that in the absence of any real racing effort, engine construction has become a bit more... What? Odd, maybe? Or perhaps more "traditional old Italian?" No concern over widely varying bolt sizes was one criticism I recall. Regardless, and again, in my opinion, Ducati Corporation, and its goals, have changed quite a bit since I was riding Ducatis. But secondly, there is the matter of geography, taxes, the ability to find proper maintenance, and all that. Ducati shops first came to Thailand maybe 4-5 years ago. There were no Ducati shops here prior to that time. Though I greatly wanted a Ducati back when I first came here to stay, my concern was who I could find that could actually, and reliably, work on Desmodromic valve trains. I just wasn't inclined to allow any ol' Somchai to take a wrench to such a bike. All seemed quite problematic to me, but not only for Ducati... The same problem exists for Benelli, for example. Back in the states, I was also quite fond of Suzukis, and had several. But Suzuki literally left Thailand several years ago. There was no one here selling or supporting even their little motorbikes that they'd sold so many of in previous years, and my wife's Suzuki Smash was damned hard to start. That turns out to be a common problem here in Thailand... There is remarkably little support for the old Tiger motorcycles these days, either in terms of parts or service, and the little motorbike shops don't usually know how to work on them. Sym and Keeway motorbike/scooter support appears to be going the same way at present. It's getting more and more difficult to find parts and service for those things. A bit surprised that Lifan is still around... Two bonus points for them, I guess. Suzuki is back in Thailand now. What's it been... Two years since they returned, maybe? At most. Honda "big bikes" are here now too, of course. They've also been here only maybe 4-5 years. I recall well when the CBR250 was first introduced, and all the Thai people started going "Ohh!!! Ahh!!!" Back in the states and Europe, there are typically plenty of Ducati shops everywhere. Harley and maybe Triumph, as well. But Thailand isn't the states, and it isn't Europe. Whole brands, from small to popular, can be here one day and completely gone the next, whether Tiger or Lifan or Suzuki or Sym or Keeway or (presumably) Benelli. And suddenly, owners of such bikes may as well be owning an Edsel... Looking for parts from other countries on eBay. Maybe Ducati will stay in Thailand. They appear to be meeting with some success. And yet, finding negative reports on Ducati service and high cost and expensive things somehow not covered under warranty is no problem at all, offers of two years of free maintenance aside. Now, I did look at Ducatis here... And rode both a Scrambler and a Hypermotard. Neither of those appealed to me at all. The Scrambler seemed relatively underpowered to me, and I didn't much care for the riding position. The power delivery from the (second hand) Hypermotard seemed relatively untractable to me. Difficult to manage. So, given the apparent changes in the goals of Ducati management, that the Ducatis I actually rode here were unappealing to me, along with concerns over maintenance here in Thailand, and too, how long Ducati might remain in Thailand, it was easy for me to rule them out. That's my assessment, personally, as a long time Ducati owner and fan, now living in Thailand. If you are a current Ducati fan, then I completely understand! Only, I just can't go there with you at this time and place in the world... So what's left? Not Suzuki! I'm not buying a bike I love that completely left Thailand for several years, and that has only been back for maybe two! Nope! Not me. You do that. Let me know how it goes. Kawasaki? That's probably my favorite motorcycle brand here in Thailand. Kawasaki big bikes have been here longer than any of the other big bikes. In fact, they mostly only sell real motorcycles. I can't recall ever seeing a Kawasaki scooter nor motorbike kind of thing. They appear to have one of the largest and most established dealer/service networks, available pretty much everywhere in Thailand. And I rode a 650 Ninja for several years here. Loved it. But time for an upgrade... Most of the bigger Kawasakis are simply too expensive for me. The Z800 might be viable, but it's almost 100 pounds overweight. A real fat boy, at whatever the price. Too... What's up with Kawasaki 650 owners "upgrading" to a Z800, only to turn around and sell the Z800 a short time later while keeping the 650? Something isn't right there. Time to look at other options... Triumph? My first ever motorcycle! Warm spot in the heart... Well, there's a dealership in Chiang Mai, and another in Bangkok, and another in Phuket. And that was it, at the time I was looking. I read that there was once another somewhere (Lopburi?) but that it closed... Too, the new Triumphs just aren't like the old ones. Think I'll keep looking. Royal Enfield!!! Gosh, I love old British iron. Sure wish there was a Norton dealership or five in Thailand. Or even any new Nortons to buy, for that matter. There's none of that. But there IS a Royal Enfield dealership at long last! Not much power, but what character! Alas, there is one Royal Enfield dealer, in Bangkok, maybe 1-2 years old. I live in Chiang Mai and have a habit of riding everywhere in the country. So once again -- pass. Benelli? Get outta here... Harley? Possibly, but then I haven't been a Harley kinda guy for a few decades, at least. BMW? Grossly overrated, IMO. Expensive, generally, with their auto dealerships pressed into service as motorcycle service centers as well. Order parts from Europe and wait six months? And then hope they're the right parts??? Honda? Another bike designed by a bunch of MBA bean counter types, it appears, and again, they've only had a big bike presence in Thailand for 4-5 years. But they are Honda, after all... Might work, truly. Wonder why no Honda salesperson ever came to talk to me when I went into any Honda dealerships. I mean, never... Not once... I think I'll keep looking for other options once more... So what's left? Yamaha. Which isn't a particularly bad choice... They've been selling big bikes in Thailand for quite a while. Sometimes a bit iffy on availability, but they've been here probably second only to Kawasaki. So what do they have? An SR400 for 279,000. An MT-07 for 299,000. An MT-09 for 399,000. An MT-09 Tracer thing for 479,000. And various versions of the Bolt, for I think 435,000 and up. And that's how I arrived at the MT-09. It's a comfortable bike, really, and plenty of power. Great gobs of it for Thai roads, actually. I remain unconvinced as to whether it's a particularly good looking bike. Sometimes I think yes. Sometimes no. A really detest the fake air ducts on the sides of the fuel tank. They serve no purpose at all. That might be my biggest complaint on styling. The newly redesigned MT-09 with that litter hanging off the swingarm is even worse, IMO. Yamaha is now apparently selling the XSR900 here in Thailand. That's essentially an MT-09 with a different fuel tank and seat. Same engine and frame. More conservative and traditional, I guess. I might be willing to pay an extra 26,000 Baht for the better looking XSR900 over my current MT-09. I would certainly buy the XSR900 instead of the redesigned MT-09! Hands down. I mean, it's only my opinion, but the MT-09 I have is iffy in terms of looks, and the redesigned MT-09 is butt ugly compared to the XSR900. Wonder if I could get an XSR900 fuel tank for my MT-09. Hmm... In any case, that's all how I arrived at deciding to buy an MT-09 instead of any of the other things available here. If I've offended anyone, or slighted someone else's favorite brand, I apologize. I assure you offense was in no way my intention. Ya'll be gonna buy whatever the heck you want to buy, using logic at least somewhat similar to my own. That is, you'll assess where you're going to get the best bang for your buck, either short term or long term, and get whatever you want. I am merely reporting how I arrived at deciding to buy an MT-09. Footnote: I am generally unimpressed with the Yamaha sales and service I've dealt with thus far. There was no reason for them to hold on to my green book and plate for four <deleted>' months, other than the fact that they're run by Thais and do whatever "in the Thai way." I might go to them for oil changes, and so perhaps for warranty work. But anything serious or outside warranty -- I would probably go to Piston Shop in Chiang Mai instead. Even so... I do have an expectation of being able to find at least somewhat reliable Yamaha service in most of the provinces of Thailand.
  13. The 796 certainly seemed underpowered when I rode one, so aside from the Ducati 400, that would seem the closest one might come in the current Ducati line to a beginner's bike. What's a beginner's bike? Motorcycle magazines often appear to be paid to constantly push up the size of what one should consider a beginner's bike. They are quite likely to say that the CBR650 would be a fine beginner's bike. The Z800 would be a fine beginner's bike, and etc. I'm sure they'd be happy to tell everyone that the Diavel would be a fine beginner's bike. The EU has now defined what the different beginner's bikes might actually be like. After completing "Compulsory Basic Training" for bikes, 16 year olds can apply for am "AM" moped license. 17 year olds can apply for an "A1" license, which allows them to ride motorbikes up to 125cc and to carry a passenger. Those age 19 or older can apply for an "A2" license. This allows the riders to ride anything up to 35KW (46.6HP), which means that a Yamaha MT-03 would be permitted, as would an older Triumph 650 Bonneville, but at 49HP, one of the newer Honda 500 twins would not be allowed. Riders over age 21 can get a category A unrestricted license in a few different ways... Either by having an A2 license for two years, or by being at least age 24, completing the Compulsory Basic Training, and then passing both theory and practical tests. Those with A2 and A licenses do not have to display "L plates" front and rear. Others are typically required to display such plates to notify other drivers around them that they are learners. But of course, this is Thailand, and not the EU. There is no shortage of guys here who feel the need to report that their testicles are among the biggest in the world. There is also no shortage of other drivers on Thai roads who behave as if they literally do not care whether you live or die. The roads are full of people who think nothing of crossing a solid double yellow line on a curve over a bridge, to pass that Toyota Yaris that is passing a pickup truck that is passing a motorcycle that is dealing with a pickup coming at him the wrong way on the side of the road, oncoming traffic be damned (they'll get out of the way, if they want to live). And I've seen exactly that kind of situation occur many times. Indeed, I've been involved in a few like that. Thailand is also perpetually among the top 4-5 countries in the world when it comes to traffic fatalities. I think I've read that 75-80% of the fatalities are people on motorbikes and motorcycles. These things said, can a beginning rider start out on a Monster 821 or Diavel whatever? I'm sure at least several have, and that those who are not dead happily, proudly and continually report that they are still alive. Until they're not. And of course, no negative reports from the dead ones, so must not be anything to worry about, yes? And people shouldn't have to wear helmets, either. How annoying... If you do buy a big Ducati or Z800 or Diavel or whatever, I wish you the very best of luck. But I cannot personally recommend such a bike to a beginner, and especially here in Thailand. https://www.yamaha-motor.eu/ie/products/licences/index.aspx
  14. You are correct. I sometimes get my "N m" and my "ft.lbs." confused. Copied from the wiki page, stock figures for the MT-09's torque are 88 N m (65 ft.lbs.) at 8,500 RPM, and 82 N m (60.5 ft.lbs) at 8,360 RPM at the rear wheel. Quite a bit more than an 883 Sportster, but not as much as the 1050.
  15. If you really are a beginner, you have no business buying either an MT-09 or a Monster 821. It's not necessarily that the bikes have too much power, but that the power they have can often be difficult to control. That said, the Monster 821 costs 80,900 more than the MT-09 according to the Ducati website. Based on the comments of Ducati owners here in Thailand, maintenance will also generally be more expensive. http://www.ducatithailand.com/bikes/pricelist.do