Thailand’s New Honda CBR150R FI

Honda CBR150R FI - New fuel injected model for Thailand, 2010.
Image from Honda Thailand press release.

Honda is set to release a successor to the wildly popular CBR 150R, a new bike with similar specs and fuel injection. This new motorbike will be available from October 30th in Bangkok at the Rajamangala National Stadium. Isn’t the Kawasaki Ninja 250 at 100,000 THB? The older Honda 150R’s, new, I’ve seen for 72,000 THB recently.

New Honda CBR150R FI Highlights:

  • cost new is 75,900 THB (about 2,500 USD)
  • fuel injected, better mileage
  • “stronger performance”
  • liquid cooling system and electric fan
  • larger, 13 liter fuel tank
  • illuminated LCD dial featuring engine temperature, fuel, speed, ODO meter, and for the first time digital clock
  • colors: Red, white & blue; X-treme red; Night Black.
  • first 1,000 customers will receive stylist jackets worth more than 2,000 baht (limited items), one-year emergency and medical service package from Honda Roadside Assistance

For more information, contact:

Marketing Communication Department, AP Honda Co., Ltd. Tel: 02 757-6111.
Khun Pracha Chankong ext 2503, E-mail: pracha@aphonda.co.th.
Khun Thanyalak Chaiyapa ext. 2508, E-mail: thanyalak@aphonda.co.

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Thailand Motorcycle Driving: Keeping Your Brain in Your Head

During this morning’s motorcycle trip to a city 170 km away I experienced what was, without a doubt in my mind, the oddest, and maybe most unexplainable thing I’ve ever seen…

Riding down the road – doing 120 kph on the motorbike… through Thai countryside. Sunny morning about 9:30am. Ambulance flies by me doing about 150 kph. Wow. I sensed it was something real bad. I haven’t seen any really bad accidents in about a year in Thailand and I was due.

In 10 minutes I came up to the scene… cars stopped in lane, other lane too. Guy trying to wave people through – but those on motorcycle stopped and wanted to know who was under the blue plastic cover.

I didn’t want to stop – never do. I look quickly, but make sure I’m not going to become another statistic as people have their heads in their arse staring at accident scenes instead of driving.

Strange – there was nothing around. No cross roads, nothing. A rubber tree plantation on the left. Dead Thai motorcyclist in the street, motorbike down and destroyed. Just one.

Everyone was looking at the body and beyond and as I drove by I noticed, just to my left… 1.5 meters from my motorcycle’s front tire was a human brain.

It was intact… but missing the head it went with. It was pinkish red with some blood at the base, and whitish grey I guess… it looked just like a brain in the street.

Now why this part wasn’t covered up and the person’s body was – can only be explained by Thais. I don’t really get it. Everyone was quite curious about seeing the brain in the street though because as I passed I noticed another group of people staring at it and me for my reaction to it.

As I passed it I didn’t react at all. It took 20 minutes to come to grips with it fully. It just didn’t make sense. Not sure what happened but my own brain had a tough time admitting what it just saw.

Motorcycle accidents are horrorshow to some nth power. I’ve seen some real doozies here in Thailand – and seen brains on a couple of occasions. Not whole brains outside the head though. Must have been quite an impact.

So – if you must drive a motorcycle in Thailand think really hard about it – are you a safe rider? This person (male/female?) maybe hit someone from behind that was walking? Maybe plowed into the back of a truck that disappeared immediately after? Maybe hit someone that pulled out in front of them? The tarp was large that covered the body – so it may have covered 2 bodies and the other motorbike for all I know.

But the brain in the street got all the attention.

Drive safely…

Thailand Suzuki Raider 150r is FAST

I’m talking about within Thailand of course – the Suzuki Raider 150 / 15or is quite fast…

The 150r does not have the neck-snapping acceleration the Honda Nova 125 did, but, it has a good strong pull from 3rd gear on, and peaks well above what the Nova 125 used to do for me.

Today I went back to the dealer and gave them the cash for the Raider 150r so I could test drive it. This dealer, unlike almost any other in the country that I’ve asked to test drive motorbikes – lets you.

I test drove the Suzuki Raider 150 with a mechanic from the dealer as a passenger. The bike was STILL fast. The brakes STILL worked well – dual disks, front and rear.

Well today I wanted to ride the Raider 150 by myself and so I had to give them the cash upfront with the caveat that I’d get it returned if I chose not to buy the motorcycle after the drive.

I headed out on the highway and let her rip… damn, it was nice. The most impressive thing was going up a moderate slope and sized hill and accelerating up it – to 130kph. I wasn’t sure I believed it. I did it again, and again. From 90 to 130 the Raider flies… actually, from 3rd gear through 6th it FLIES.

Maximum speed for Suzuki Raider 150r?

I don’t know. I never got there. I chickened out at 130kph because the rear low profile tire says maximum speed 120kph I noticed before I left. It needs some Dunlops.

So – I did some 0-130kph runs and I really enjoyed the speed. The exhaust looks stock and I wonder what a great exhaust would do for it… an open carb…

When I brought it back to the Suzuki dealer I wasn’t sure what I’d say. It took me 10 minutes of considering all the other options to tell them I’d be back possibly. I got the money back, but gave them 1,000 THB to hold it for me for 3 days – and call me if someone else wanted to buy it – I wanted right to buy it first.

So – that was today…

Oh, and the Yamaha MIO I’ve had for 4 years died yet again after fixing at the Yamaha dealer. They ‘fixed’ it for 1,054 THB. I drove away in search of a Honda dealer to find a new CBR 150r. I never made it – the bike died good. I turned around and pushed it back to Yamaha. They said – oh – have to take apart engine… this plastic piece is broken.

“Yeah, no joke!” – that’s what I told them the first time and that was the whole reason for seeing them the first time.  WTF?

So they get in there and look… they call me over to the MIO and say – who did the maintenance last time. I said  – “you.”

They said, no, there are some fake parts in there – we don’t do that. Then I remembered – oh yes, my friend did that when the entire Mio died on me and seized the engine a few months back.

They said the guy put parts in backward, put the wrong timing chain in the bike, etc, etc.

Aw man…

So, they kept it overnight – gave me a junk green one from circa 1974 and told me to come back in 24 hours and pay 3,000THB and it will be fixed the right way this time.

We’ll see tomorrow I guess.

Gotta decide which other motorbike to get quickly here…

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Driving in Thailand: Motorbike, Car, Trucks, GOD.

Driving in Thailand: Motorbike, car, trucks heirarchy

There is a pecking order on the roads…

Here is the order of rank as I’ve seen it

GOD is at the top and it goes downward from there…

Double Dump Trucks – GOD
Single Dump Trucks – GOD
VIP Buses – Think they are GOD, until faced with GOD
City Buses
Large privately owned trucks: Large Toyotas, Nissans, Mitsubishis, Fords
Smaller privately owned trucks
Vans – the Van taxis full of 12 foreigners going somewhere FAST.
Vans – all others
Large cars
Smaller cars
Tuk-tuks
Large motorbikes – Harley Davidson copies from Honda or China no-name
3 Wheeled Motorbikes (cart attached that they sell from)
150cc Motorbikes – a bit larger than 125’s. More reclining forward postures
125cc to 100cc Motorbikes
Bicycles
Pedestrians old or young, no matter – they are the bottom. The roadkill if they aren’t careful.

99% of the time I travel in Thailand for the last year, has been by motorbike. I NEVER take a bus now. After 9 or so scary experiences on buses, the most recent having been on a chartered bus FULL of 14 and 15 year olds going and returning from English camp 250km away from our school, I got smart.

I would MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH rather die or become crippled from my own stupidity than someone elses.

Dying because a bus driver full of kids gets upset that he can’t follow the bus in front of him and makes aggressive passes when he can PLAINLY see oncoming traffic – but he jumps into that lane anyway and forces those oncoming cars off the road into the motorbike lane at the last second… is not going to happen to me.

I’m DONE with buses of all sorts.

I will take a motorbike over a bus any day.

I rode a 10 year old motorbike (Honda 125cc – 2 stroke TENA) from Pattaya all the way down to Surat Thani. I stopped between major cities. I think it was 1000km or so, I figured it out once, but I forget exactly.

Once you learn the rules of the road here in Thailand I don’t think it’s that unsafe driving a motorbike here – except the stupidity of other drivers that are for some reason acting against the usual rules.

Most everyone follows the usual rules. The usual rules are a bit hard to get used to, but once used to them it seems that riding the motorbike can be quite safe.

I’ve noticed a DRASTIC difference between riding in town in Ubon Ratchathani and riding here in Surat Thani in the South. In Ubon there were people that drove fast… and yet they did it in a way that was safer for everyone on the road. They went fast in the right lane which is for fast vehicles.

Here in Surat I’ve noticed the mentally deficient going 120kph on a motorbike BETWEEN me and the curb on the left side. In America, when I saw that jacka$$ at the stoplight ahead I would take the time to get in his face and perhaps beat him if it came to that. Someone that endandered me or me and my g/f while riding in a vehicle in America is going to hear it from me and probably get beat because they may not like what I have to say and give me an attitude about it.

HERE – what am I to do? Foreigners coming here to Thailand have to realize something quickly. The stuff that was done in your home country – beating some sillyfark because he just put your life in danger by being stupid – needs to be overlooked here. Mai pen rai.

My motto in the USA was – I am ALWAYS the winner.

Here – I have to revise it slightly… I am ALWAYS the loser.

In a fight, that is. There is NO WAY to WIN a fight here. Just forget the idea. Even if you win temporarily, they will return and you will probably die. If you run first – you’ll almost be the winner – but, by running and looking behind you – you are also a loser.

So – some kid flies by me and my girlfriend at 120 km per hour on my LEFT side just before I put on the blinker to make a left. It’s an enlightening experience. Death was that close. Yes, I”m certain it would have been death, or worse – permanently crippled and farked for the rest of our lives – or one of our lives.

I was enraged and immediately thought- I will kill this jacka$ before he kills someone else. As I drove on – and found him at the stop light something happened and…

I got smart.

Foreigners don’t WIN here in Thailand when fighting Thais or trying to impose our sense of right/wrong on them. We cannot. Give it up. Get smart or maybe die because you’re not smart.

Being smart is being smart for whatever situation you find yourself in. It’s being adaptable. It’s assimilating INTO the culture that you have joined, it is not expecting that culture to accomodate YOU.

So, as I pulled up behind this kid, my front tire a centimeter away from his back tire… and I realized he was about 18. He was small and I’d have beat him mercilessly for 10 minutes, maybe ending his life… I realized that if I DON’T then, in some small way, I can be a winner instead of a loser that needing to run away from any retribution that would follow.

So – I accepted right there at that moment, like my mom accepting her savior,

we’re all losers here.

Accept it and move on. If you can’t accept it – you won’t do well here.

There are lots of foreigners in the newspapers in Pattaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Samui, Phuket and other places all over Thailand that didn’t know that one truth: we are always losers.

They didn’t know when they were alive. They don’t know now either.

BUT, YOU KNOW and can change now.

When driving – you gotta know who is above you in the heirarchy. You have to know, not because YOU believe it, because in America I was taught that everyone has equal rights on the road, except pedestrians who have the MOST rights.

You have to know because when you hear a horn behind you – and it’s a motorbike horn – you’re probably doing something that scares them and may cause an accident if you don’t conform to usual Thai driving style. Whatever that is for that situation (you must know)

If you hear a horn from a car or truck – it usually means you are in the car lane and you need to move over because they want to go past you. It’s best to move.

If you hear a GOD horn it SHOULD send shivers up and down your spine and neck… because the GODs do NOT slow down, they just give a beep before they get to where you are – if you are not out of the way by the time they get to where you are, they are there anyway and you will die for not getting out of the way.

The GODs do not brake.
The GODs do NOT swerve.

Dumptrucks are not easily driven around motorbikes and cars and so they just go straight and don’t slow down or stop. ANYTHING that is in the way must move. Or die. This is GODs law.

That’s all – just some thoughts this morning…

Here is another article about Driving in Thailand article I wrote at my ThaiPulse.com web site. There are links on the page for Motorbike Riding Tips and General Driving in Thailand Tips also… Enjoy

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