The Finest motorbikes for Pattaya and similar Thailand cities

Yamaha Fino
As the picture says, this bike lacks chassis stability. And this goes for any bike with a floorboard. They used to call them motor scooters and as far as I am concerned they still should be to distinguish them from all true underbones which have an upper brace such scooters lack.

The finest motorbikes for Pattaya and similar Thailand cities aren’t the same motorcycles you’d want for America’s highways.  And you can forget about scooters with their floorboards even though Honda and Yamaha are trying to convince you that they are equal to a Honda, Wave, Yamaha Nouvo, or Honda PCX.

But what the hell, if you really want to buy a scooter go for it.  Just don’t expect it to be as stable, safe, or handle anything close to an underbone style of motorbike.  If you really prefer a Vespa with its pygmy tires  or such Vespa Japanese copycats as a Honda Scoopy, Yamaha Filano, or Yamaha Fino buy it.  After all it’s a free world, and if you prefer that old sixty year old technology who are we to stop you.  But before you buy into it, you should first familiarize yourself with what a true underbone is and its terrific contribution to motorcycle technology.

The popularity of motor scooters emerged from the ashes of World War II in the form of the Vespa which helped put Italy back on wheels.  Italy was devastated by the war.  And most Italians were too poor to own cars.   The solution to Italy’s postwar transportation problems  came from the fertile mind of Enrico Piaggio  when he masterminded the Vespa.  It was small, it was cheap to own and operate, and it had cool flowing lines that appealed to both men and women.  Moreover, the engine and transmission was entirely enclosed,  and there was no oily chain resulting in both driver and passenger being able to keep their clothing unsoiled.  Back in 1946 and the next few years, the Vespa had very small 8 inch diameter wheels that gave it the high speed stability of a roller skate.

When I was a boy growing up I thought they were cute.  But I never forgot my Dad’s telling me how unstable those roller skates were due to their small tires.  As a young man, my Dad had owned Harleys, and even though he considered all motor bikes to be dangerous he singled out motor scooters to be the absolute worse of the lot.

Honda 1958 Super Cub
If this 1958 Honda Super Cub looks like a Honda Wave or similar bike from Yamaha, Suzuki, or Kawasaki, it should. This bike’s large diameter tires and upper frame rigidity due to the bike’s strong bracing that is hidden by the upper cowling gave it far superior handling and stability to any Vespa with its floorboard and small wheels. During the 1960’s the Japanese Big Four was able to crush all such rivals with its far superior technology. But people don’t study History. That is why so many uninformed people actually go out and buy Vespas and Vespa Japanese look a likes.

In 1958 Honda introduced its Super Club which would transform the entire worldwide motorcycle industry during the 1960’s.  Until then, the motorcycle market in the United States was dominated by Harley Davidson, Triumph, BSA, and Norton.  It was a relatively small market that had a bad boy image as motor cycles then were associated with tattooed, motorcycle gang types.  In those days both the British marques and the Harleys dripped oil from their chains and other mechanical parts.  The Super Cub looked like a girl’s bicycle with a motor.  It was light weight, extremely reliable, it could get over 200 miles to the gallon.  It would be hard pressed to reach 50 miles an hour.  Honda then went through a 12 year advertising campaign while popularizing such slogans as “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”

The design of the Super Cub was revolutionary.  It had a fully enclosed chain.  Its engine comprised the lower portion of the bike’s frame.  It had large 17 inch diameter tires that were made possible by Honda’s placement of its engine and transmission in a far forward position with the chain driving the rear wheel.  Such was not the case with a Vespa which coupled its back wheel directly to the engine’s transmission.  The direct drive of the Vespa did not allow for large diameter tires, which is why even today Vespa only have ten inch diameter wheels on most of its models.

The result of this revolutionary small motorcycle is that Honda, followed by Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki was able to completely dominate the motorcycle market of both the U.S. and the rest of the world.  Harley, Triumph, Norton, and BSA faced nearly complete extinction.  As for Vespa.  It never was even in the running with the Honda Super Cub or with its descendants from  the Japanese Big Four.

Suzuki FX 125
This Suzuki underbone has its covers removed thus exposing the upper steel bracing that gives such underbones such outstanding rigidity.

Take a good look at the picture above.  Whether its a Yamaha Nouvo, a Honda PCX, or even a Honda Wave, such bikes are simply more powerful improved incarnations of the Honda Super Cub.   In the picture the upper cowling has been removed.  There is virtually no major mechanical differences between the so called “Real motorcycles” and such underbones other than a “real motorcycle” having its gas tank placed directly between the driver’s legs whereas a typical  underbone has its fuel tank placed under the bike’s seat.

An underbone’s large diameter tires coupled with this type of upper bracing gives this type of motorbike far superior handling and stability to a Vespa or Japanese Vespa look alike.  Although it is true that many modern day scooters with floorboards are now able to offer larger diameter tires than a Vespa due to their utilizing belts and chains instead of a Vespa type direct drive system, all motorbikes that have floorboards lack this upper bracing.  What this means is that there is no way that such a scooter can even remotely handle with a true underbone or begin to offer the same kind of stability.

So here’s the bottom line.  All scooters, from the Vespa to a Yamaha Fino, Filano or a Honda Scoopy or Honda Click are just plain inferior to all of these underbones.  Most of them have a single weak rear shock, they usually have smaller tires, and they just plain lack all that upper bracing, and for good reason.  It costs money to put that bracing into a bike or a second rear shock, and in a world where money is number one this means a greater profit per motorbike as long as motorcycle manufacturers can convince enough dumb people to buy such inferior products.

Click here to read Jack Corbett’s Best Motorbikes for Thailand’s Cities

Yamaha Nouvo Elegance vs Yamaha Nouvo SX

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