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THE Motorcycle, Moped and Electric Bike Thread (merged)

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Re: Who needs a truck in Vietnam?

Unread postby FreakOil » Wed 23 May 2007, 14:14:09

FreakOil wrote:
I see this stuff all the time in Guangdong province, China. I once saw a guy transporting at least three dozen live chickens in cages on a motorcylce on a busy highway during rush hour. You wouldn't believe the crap I've seen on rural roads in India. You folks in the developed world are missing out on some great entertainment.


What are you doing in China? I taught English in Guangdong (Zhuhai) for three years.


Hello Newseeker. I work as a freelance marketing consultant, copywriter and writer. I'm studying Chinese intensively with the goal of getting back into journalism. Zhuhai seems nice, but I don't know it very well. I just went there for a few hours once for a conference. I did a few part-time teaching gigs after I got fcuked over by a trading company that I later found out was run by a former diamond smuggler who was wanted in a few dozen countries. Just another run-of-the-mill foreigner-in-China story.
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Re: Who needs a truck in Vietnam?

Unread postby cube » Wed 23 May 2007, 16:48:11

FreakOil wrote:...I did a few part-time teaching gigs after I got fcuked over by a trading company that I later found out was run by a former diamond smuggler who was wanted in a few dozen countries. Just another run-of-the-mill foreigner-in-China story.
I hear that foreigners have much to learn about how things are done "differently" in China. *delicate cough*

Getting a bit off-topic.....There's no shortage of western companies who got the shaft pretty hard thinking they could open up shop in China and sell to 1 billion customers. The most successful consumer product westerners ever sold to the Chinese was opium *sad but true*

anyways back on topic:

I can't imagine Americans adopting the Vietnamese transport way anytime soon. I think this country will turn into Iraq before that happens.
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Re: Who needs a truck in Vietnam?

Unread postby I_Like_Plants » Wed 23 May 2007, 17:09:24

Yeah I like the guy carrying the dead shark, not bad - two saddlebags making a bit flat surface on top, for a bigger item.

I've been seriously considering selling my car even though I'll have to put the loss on a credit card, and getting a small motorcycle. Virago 250 to be precise. Even though yes I'm going to finance that, the payments will be something like what I'd pay for a cable bill if I had cable. The bike in total and keep in mind this is a new bike I'm considering, will cost the equivalent of 6 mos. car expense and should get better mileage than the car too (prius).

Plus, well, sometimes it's fun to ride a bike. Parking, while not as easy as for a bicycle, will be an order of magnitude easier than for a car.
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Re: Who needs a truck in Vietnam?

Unread postby gg3 » Wed 23 May 2007, 22:54:53

I used to do that while working my way through college as an independent telephone geek. Toolbelt around my waist, two milk crates stacked one atop the other on the back of the motorbike, one with the telephone sets and the other with the spools of station wire and misc. hardware. I'd pull up to clients' houses (the extracurricular gigs were all residential cases) and they'd say "Hmm! Pretty good!"

Couldn't do it today: service calls for commercial PBX systems require carrying too much gear.

Though, go here: http://www.bajajusa.com/3%20Wheelers.htm

175cc 4-stroke motor, top speed 40 mph, fuel efficiency @ 60 - 70 mpg. The only flaw in the design is the lack of solid lockable doors on the sides of the cab (I've written to them about that issue). Carries a half-ton payload; could probably be converted to electric or PHEV without too much trouble.
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Re: Who needs a truck in Vietnam?

Unread postby gg3 » Wed 23 May 2007, 23:28:44

On the other hand, check this out:

http://www.bajajusa.com/Accessories.htm

Scroll down and look for the front and rear cargo racks for the motor scooter. Very interesting, says I. While I don't have space to park a second truck (the 3-wheeler above), I could find space for a scooter with cargo racks. The rear rack fits the Chetak scooter only, so the Chetak is the one to get if going for both front and rear racks.

Chetak specs: 150 cc four-stroke motor, EPA rated 110 miles per gallon (!). Price of the scooter, new, about $3k. Hmm!

http://www.bajajusa.com/Bajaj%20Chetak.htm

And now for the bad news: they aren't making them any more, though there are still some available new. Rats!

On the other hand...

http://www.zapworld.com/zapstore/detail.aspx?ID=389

Zap Vehicles "Zapino" scooter: 30 mph, 30 mile range ($3,000), upgradable battery pack to 75 mile range. Appears to have a rear carrying rack. Doesn't look as if a front rack could be added, but still interesting. Hmm...
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Re: Who needs a truck in Vietnam?

Unread postby I_Like_Plants » Thu 24 May 2007, 01:01:44

I've been torn between the Virago 250 or the Vino 135 scooter, but think I'll go with the m/c.

Much of what I do is like being a small time delivery driver. I'm not carrying tons of stuff at any one time.

I'm still on the fence though because as gas goes up, the Prius may turn out to be a decent investment (at least as any used car goes) and it can sure haul shit. I find myself thanking my lucky stars I have the thing often, very often.
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Re: Who needs a truck in Vietnam?

Unread postby I_Like_Plants » Thu 24 May 2007, 01:02:23

Oops the Vino 150......
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Motorbikes?

Unread postby Chris25 » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 03:58:14

Just about to buy a Honda XR125. This bike is a off-road-style, 4-stroke 125cc which can manage 100mpg! If driven conservatively.

As oil prices start to creep up, it is seeming like a very attractive option compared to my car which manages 40mpg at best.

In a peak oil world, running a car will be immposible. Where will the tar come for the roads? How will you be able to fix the latest computer CPU driven cars of today without the complex system which does this in place?

Then there's petrol prices. But of course, the bike will only be used in times of need, commuting will be a thing of the past.

Anyone else have any plans to switch to motorbikes or other transportation?
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby Blacksmith » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 04:14:28

I drove a honda scouter back in the sixties and did about 10,000 miles.

(1) Stay of highways or places with high speed traffic.
(2) Ware a good helmit.
(3) Drive as if no one sees you, they don't.
(4) Take judo lessons so you know how to fall, I when right over the handle bars when my front tire got stuck in a trolly track.

Oh and good luck
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby PraiseDoom » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 09:03:02

Chris25 wrote:Just about to buy a Honda XR125. This bike is a off-road-style, 4-stroke 125cc which can manage 100mpg! If driven conservatively.

As oil prices start to creep up, it is seeming like a very attractive option compared to my car which manages 40mpg at best.


To heck with "start to creep up", they already have, and I'm already in action with my motorbike. But it only gets 55 mpg. I'm thinking of a scooter next.

Chris25 wrote:
In a peak oil world, running a car will be immposible.


Lets not get too carried away, we're already 2 years into the Post Peak world and the only problem which is showing up are higher gasoline prices, which appear to be more refinery related than lack of crude supply related. Don't ask me why....but its here, and past, and people still drive SUV's.

Chris25 wrote:
Where will the tar come for the roads? How will you be able to fix the latest computer CPU driven cars of today without the complex system which does this in place?


Dunno. But look around, all those things are still happening. Bummer huh?

Chris25 wrote:Anyone else have any plans to switch to motorbikes or other transportation?


Done deal. I'm envisioning smaller and smaller motorbikes until the Doom finally arrives.
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby canis_lupus » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 10:03:55

Am thinking of converting my Yamaha YZ400f dirt bike to run on the streets. Problem is, unless you're way hardcore, Chicago isn't much fun for bikers between November and March.

I was in London in 2000 and was thrilled by how many scooters / bikes there were...until I saw the gas prices. Then it just made sense.

I think that scooters are going to become more popular and as their numbers go up on the road, the roads will become safer for them with less cars.
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby strider3700 » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 11:40:30

I'm actually trying to sell my bike. It's just another toy that isn't going to help in the long run and in my mind won't even help much in the short term.

As prices have gone up drivers seem to be getting more and more agressive on the roads. Riding a bike around here has gone from dangerous to borderline suicide. I can't imagine all those people unable to fill up their SUV's are going to be smiling and waving as you put along on your bike on your way to work.
shame on us, doomed from the start
god have mercy on our dirty little hearts
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby TommyJefferson » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 12:21:33

Chris25 wrote:Just about to buy a Honda XR125. ...it is seeming like a very attractive option compared to my car which manages 40mpg at best.


If you mean "attractive" in financial terms, no, it's not.

It's more expensive to use a motorcycle to go from A to B than to use a small car. This is because small cars are specifically designed to serve as low-cost transportation and motorcycles are not.

Run this formula for both your last motorcycle and your last small car...

( (purchase price - selling price) + maintenance + insurance + fuel / miles driven )
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby WisJim » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 13:03:34

Two-stroke engines are notoriously dirty, spewing lots more nasty stuff in the air than 4 strokes. A good small car can get almost as good of gas mileage as the average cycle, also, and may last many miles longer. Having said that, I ride a 1973 Honda CB350 to work most days, as it only cost about US$500 including new tires and other parts, and it is fun to ride. It only gets abour 40mpg though, and both my wife's Chev Metro and my son's Honda Civic VX get about the same mpg in town. But using it is cheaper on a weekly basis than buying another small car, and license and insurance are cheaper too. My son has a nice little Honda CB125 that gets 60 to 80 mpg, I think, and was also purchased at a bargain price (cheap!), so it ends up being a cheap way to get around town when he doesn't want to use his electric bicylce, regular, bike or to walk.

But I don't think I could justify any kind of new motorcycle on the basis of cheaper transportation. That could change if they actually made a good mid-sized (300 to 500cc) cycle designed for fuel efficiency, and sold with an effective windshield/fairing--but it would also have to be very reasonably priced and get 100+mpg on the freeway to appeal to me.
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby Pixie » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 13:27:15

Chris25 wrote:Anyone else have any plans to switch to motorbikes or other transportation?


http://www.peakoil.com/modules.phpname= ... ic&t=29545
Just another tofu-munching bike-riding Rambo(/Rambette)
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby Pixie » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 13:31:43

Carpooling is even more effective than switching to a motorbike. A motorbike gets at best 100mpg and carries one passenger. A honda civic gets 35 and carries 4. That's equivalent to 140 mpg for each of those 4 people. Prius gets 42-44 mpg (forget the hype, this is truth). Put four people in there, and you've got 170mpg for equivalent.
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby Chris25 » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 13:45:52

TommyJefferson wrote:
Chris25 wrote:Just about to buy a Honda XR125. ...it is seeming like a very attractive option compared to my car which manages 40mpg at best.


If you mean "attractive" in financial terms, no, it's not.

It's more expensive to use a motorcycle to go from A to B than to use a small car. This is because small cars are specifically designed to serve as low-cost transportation and motorcycles are not.

Run this formula for both your last motorcycle and your last small car...

( (purchase price - selling price) + maintenance + insurance + fuel / miles driven )


My car costs-

£1000 insurance (only been driving for 2 years)
£140 tax
£40 MOT
£80 Service
+ petrol and repair

My bike will cost-

£100 insurance
£15 tax
£20 MOT
Free service

£10 of fuel in my car gets me about 70 miles
£10 of fuel in the bike would get me almost 200 miles
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby davep » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 13:50:47

This diesel motorbike gets 120mpg and is a great alternative to a quad in a rural environment. They even have a biodiesel version. For the doomers amongst you, it's apparently as easy to service as a lawnmower.

http://www.ecorider.com/
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby TommyJefferson » Fri 01 Jun 2007, 16:19:52

Chris25 wrote:My bike will cost-


You are not looking at the Total Cost per Mile. You are only looking at a few variables.

You left out depreciation cost: ( purchase price - selling price )

You left out service life (car 150K miles, XR 40K miles)

Maintenance on your bike will not be free unless someone is purchasing your tires, filters, chains, and other consumables.
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Re: Motorbikes?

Unread postby Roy » Sat 02 Jun 2007, 08:15:48

TJ makes a good point about maintenance costs. Often overlooked maintenance items on a m/c are:

chain and sprockets
tires

They wear out pretty fast if you buy the cheap versions, and the long lasting types are fairly expensive.

That said, I have a little dual purpose Honda XR250L that I picked up for $1300.

It gets about 60mpg and is fine for running errands and short trips. I wouldn't want to ride it 35 miles each way to work for example.

One thing I do like about it is its versatility. It can go just about anywhere with an experienced rider aboard, and can carry a passenger. Detiorating roads don't pose much of a problem for it.

I see motorcycles as having a time-window of usefulness at some point during our slide down. Ultimately they'll be useless just like every other fossil fuel burning vehicle. But there will be a time when motorcycles will be the ideal IMO.

The questions are when and for how long.

In the meantime its fun to ride for recreation and it pretty low cost to operate. And air-cooled Honda singles are legendary for their reliability.

To the OP, in today's driving conditions, I wouldn't go anything below a 250cc. In India the Hero-Honda 125cc is one of the best selling street bikes. You wouldn;t catch me driving a 125 on any road where there are a lot of cars, as the top speed would be somewhat limited, and cruising at 55 would probably be too close to its limits. Of course larger displacement bikes wouldn't have that problem.

On converting off-road bikes for street: its not that expensive, for example Baja Designs sells conversion kits for about $500 for most types of off road machines. The caveat is that some states make it damn near impossible to get a conversion registered, while in others it is quite simple. Colorado comes to mind as a state where the process is simple. Most states in the nanny-state Northeast make it exceedingly difficult, or so I have read.

A good forum for off-road and dual purpose bikes:

www.thumpertalk.com

If you're interested in fourstroke bikes and dual sport conversions, there are lots of knowledgeable folks there that are pretty helpful.
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