Category Archives: Motorcycles Suitable for Thailand

This category is all about motorcycles and motors scooters that are suitable for driving in such Southeast Asian countries as Thailand. Due extremely high duties on imported bikes that can nearly double the prices charged in Europe and the U.S. comments about bikes that are prohibitively expensive here, lack parts availability and that are suited chiefly for high speed interstates in Western countries are of no interest here.

2018 Triumph Street Twin why I’m selling this 900 classic

Although I still have reservations about selling my 2018 Triumph Street Twin, I’m doing it because the 2024 model’s green.

picture of 2018 Triumph Street Twin I'm selling
My 900 c.c. Triumph Street Twin at the car wash.

My 2018 Triumph Street Twin’s been practically flawless for five years here in Pattaya. And with its high torque 900 c.c. engine it’s a lot more bike than I need. As I’ve mentioned here, my 155 c.c. Yamaha Nmax is the perfect bike for this city and its environs, so why should I sell my 2018 Triumph Street Twin? The decisive reason is the new 2024 Triumph Speed Twin’s being offered in a green color that’s reminiscent of classic British racing green.

The 2024 Triumph 900 Speed twin at the Pattaya Triumph dealer.
There’s hardly any difference between the 2023 Triumph Street Twin and the 2024 900 c.c. Triumph Speed Twin, except the colors. Both have 64 900 c.c. engines. However I associate the name, Speed Twin wiih 1200 c.c. engines that produce over 90 horsepower. So I find the name change to be interesting from a marketing standpoint.

So what does the color green have to do with my selling my 2018 Triumph Street Twin?

On the left is Dad’s 1956 Buick Roadmaster. On the right his 1955 Roadmaster.
The 1954 Chrysler New Yorker. Although I don’t know what year my Dad got his New Yorker. I don’t think the 1951-1953 Chrysler New Yorkers would do 120 mph because in those model years the 331 cubic inch Chrysler New Yorkers produced 180 horsepower whereas in 1954 they got a serious bump in power to 235 horsepower. My memories always been a bit dim when it comes to that New Yorker of his. But seeing that his first Buick was the 1955 model it makes sense that he traded his New Yorker for the much prettier Buick Roadmaster.

A lot more than anyone reading this can begin to imagine. It all goes back to 1963 during the Indianapolis 500. And even before that in 1956 when my Dad bought a new 1956 Buick Roadmaster before selling his nearly identical 1955 Buick Roadmaster.

In 1956 I was 9 years old. So I remember Dad trying to get his new 1956 Buick Roadmaster up to 120 miles an hour. But I don’t recall his pulling the same stunt with his 1955 Roadmaster. The 1955 Buick had disappointed him because it wasn’t as fast as a Chrysler New Yorker he had own earlier.

But I don’t remember his Chrysler New Yorker at all. So I can’t say for sure what year he bought it. But Dad kept telling me that it topped out at 120 miles per hour.

It’s likely it produced either 180 horsepower or 195 and possibly even 235 horsepower had he bought the 1954 New Yorker delux.

Even if he had bought the 1954 Chrysler New Yorker delux that produced 235 horsepower, his new 1956 Buick Roadmaster had 255 horsepower–20 more than his New Yorker. While his 1955 Buick Roadmaster developed 235 horsepower which was the same his Chrysler New Yorker had.

So what does my Dad’s fixation on the top speed of so many of his cards have to do with my wanting to buy the 2024 Triumph Speed twin in any color so long as it is in green? And selling my 2018 Triumph Street twin?

Just like my dad I’ve always been performance orientated whether I’m evaluating a car or a motorcycle’s performance.

And bottom line, the 2020 to 2023 Triumph Street Twins significantly outperform the 2016 to 2019 Triumph Street Twins. The 2015 Triumph Street Twin had a 5555 engine that produced 66 horsepower, but in 2016 Triumph reduced the horsepower of the Street Twin to only 54 horsepower.

But in 2016 Cycle World gave a rave review to the 2016 new 900 c.c. Street Twin calling it the best standard motorcycle of the year.

Even though the 2016 Triumph Street Twin had ten fewer horsepower that the 2015 model, Cycle World contended that it was a much faster bike real world driving conditions due to the huge torque advantage it had than the earlier model.

But in 2020 Triumph tweaked the Street Twins engine and found 10 more horsepower that can be used at higher rpms.

I talked to the manager of my Triumph dealership about trading my 2018 Street Twin for the new higher horsepower model. But he scoffed at the idea, and told me, “we live in Pattaya. Your bike goes more than fast enough here. Why on earth do you want to go even faster?”

I was also watching videos from Tec that claim my 2018 Triumph Street Twin can easily reclaim 10 horsepower with the simple replacement of its cam with an improved cam sold by Tec. But when I bought an aftermarker center stand from Tech that proved to be very poorly engineered I scuttled any further thought about purchasing their cam.

Nevertheless, there’s not a single doubt in my mind that the engine of my 2018 Triumph Street twin is seriously de tuned.

My 1970’s vintage Honda 450 had 45 horsepower, and 450 cc’s is just half the engine displacement of my 900 Triumph Street Twin. So when we compare apples to apples my 900 c.c. engine should be producing at least 80 horsepower, and certainly not the only 54 ponies Triumph gave it.

So yeah, getting ten more horsepower from my 2018 Triumph Street Twin seemed like not asking too much.

On the other hand, I rarely take my Triumph over 4000 rpms and that’s where the extra power comes from. In the real world my Triumph is very fast. I just need to be constantly shifting to be getting maximum acceleration out of it. Which is very easy to do because the shifting, and clutching of my Triumph is butterfly smooth.

So why on earth should I be even thinking about getting more power from my 2018 Triumph Street Twin or replacing it for a newer model?

Because the new 2024 Triumph Speed Twin’s green. That’s why. And this color of green is very close to classic British racing green, only it’s even more beautiful.

The car I learned to drive on was a 1958 English MGA. The only problem with it was it had been repainted silver instead of the classic English racing green. Then my mother traded it for an MGB which suffered from the same problem. It wasn’t British racing green.

I finally bought a 1993 Mazda Miata sports car when I was in my forties whole I was divorcing my wife. While between 1993 and 1995 I was writing my first novel, Death on the Wild Side.

In Death on the Wild Side, I have the book’s protagonist having a one of a kind sports car being built for him.

My protagonist or book’s main character buys a used MGB and has his mechanic drop a V-8 engine into it. Then the mechanic supercharges the little car’s engine. But by this time I’m living life in the fast lane on a nearly parallel course with my book’s main character. My 1993 Mazda Miata sport’s car’s engine develops only 116 horsepower out of its 1600 engine.

So like my protagonist of Death on the Wild Side, I try my dead level best to extract the maximum performance I can get out of my little sports car. It as a no brain er changing the exhaust to get an increase of 5 horsepower. Then I tried a special intake that rammed cold air into the engine whose manufacturer claimed would get another 15 horsepower out of the engine. Perhaps it did. But I wanted to get a lot more power from the little four cylinder engine. A Sebring supercharger that should deliver a 40 percent increase in power was my answer.

My 1993 supercharged Mazda Miata sports-car. Note the air intake where the car’s left headlight pops up.

To give my supercharged Miata’s chassis and wheels to handle all that extra horsepower I had my car lowered to accommodate significantly larger wheels and tires. My crowning touches were a new cold air intake close to one of the car’s headlights, a header and a roll bar.

My supercharged Mazda Miata’s top speed increased from 118 mph to 140.

The engine now felt like a V-8. But I eventually blew three engines trying to get the Miata to top out at more than 140 miles an hour. The car had the horsepower to do it. The car was still accelerating at 139 miles an hour. I’d say it had the power to weight ration to top 150 miles per hour. But the car had a rev limiter at would shut the power off at the Miata’s red line of 7300 rpm. The effect was immediate. I’d be getting the sports car up to 140 miles per hour at 7300 rpm and suddenly the engine would stop pumping fuel to the car’s 4 cylinders.

Meanwhile my father had bought a new Toyota Lexus that had a 250 horsepower V-8 stuck under its hood. Dad was trying to do the same thing I was doing. Each time he tried to max out the car’s top speed all he could get out of it was 150 miles an hour. He finally managed to get 151 miles an hour out of it. He was 80 years old then.

By the time I was 16 Dad had shared his keen interest in the Indy 500 with me.

In 1963 I started to get very excited about Ford Motor company’s teaming up with Lotus, which was then producing the fastest car in Formula One Grand Prix. In the early 1960’s Lotus had the best technology of it’s day. With its formula one racing cars using a lightweight monocoque construction with its engine in the rear. While its competitors were still putting their engines in the front of their race cars.

Jim Clark at the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 in his winning Ford powered Lotus racing car. This beautiful Lotus with its lightweight body weighed only 1130 pounds.

At the same time Lotus was creating the fastest formula one cars, Ford Motor Company started getting into racing in a very big way. And Ford had the Indy 500 on its targeted list that it sought to dominate. I still remember reading about how Ford had developed a 375 horsepower engine that it installed into a pair of Colin Chapman’s Grand Prix Lotuses that Lotus and Ford would pit against the Offenhauser powered Indy cars that had dominated Indy 500 racing with their engines in front of the driver.

Ford and Lotus then got Dan Gurney to agree to drive one of the cars, and Jim Clark from Scotland, perhaps the greatest grand Prix driver of his era to drive the other. In 1963 the Offenhauser engines produced a lot more than the 375 horsepower Ford engines. But the Lotus grand prix bodies were much lighter. And better handling.

Gurney and Clark’s Lotus’s with their Ford engines did not win in 1963.

But in 1964 Dad and I drove to the Indy 500 together to watch Jimmy Clark and Dan Gurney dominate the field.

Dad and I watched Eddie Sachs and Dave McDonald get killed on lap number three. We were so close to the flames that we could actually smell human flesh burning. The officials stopped the race, then restarted it once the flames had cleared. From then on Jimmy Clark simply blew everyone away until mechanical problems took him out of the race.

But I will never forget that beautiful car of his, that light weight very agile Lotus painted British racing green.

Jimmy Clark would go on to win the 1965 Indy 500 while becoming the dominant driver in Formula one competition in his green Lotus. In 1968 he was killed in a totally inconsequential formula 2 race. But by then British racing green was the color for me when it came to sports cars. And now that I’ve been driving my Triumph motorcycle for the past five years, an a total fan of Triumphs, I just have to have my next Triumph in green to help remind me of my father’s and my forever infatuation for fast high performance cars.

Click here if you are interested in watching my thirty minute test drive of my 2018 Triumph Street Twin.

If you want to find out more about the 2018 Triumph Street Twin’s phenomenal fuel economy, click here.

Click here if you want to watch “Jim Clark, the quiet Champion.

Click here if you want to watch the Legend of Jim Clark.

Yamaha Nmax Recall: for reliability problems, 2021 new model

I am creating the Yamaha Nmax recall to emphasis key points in my two reviews of the old model and the new model.

Yamaha Nmax recall is of the new model, not the old one
I am invoking the Yamaha Nmax recall on the new model, not the old Nmax model I presently own.

Yamaha did not invoke this Yamaha Nmax recall. I did. And I did it to give you, the prospective buyer of the old model Nmax versus the new one, the information you really need. To make an intelligent decision on which model to buy. Old versus new.

I am the first to drive Rory’s new Nmax from the dealer’s. While Rory followed behind driving my old model Nmax. I was immediately impressed how smoothly the new model Nmax drove out of the dealership. Because there’s one negative issue I’ve noticed found with the old model. The bike’s engine runs roughly at parking lot speeds.

I knew right off that Yamaha had corrected any remaining negatives prospective buyers might have that would keep them from buying a Yamaha Nmax. Which I believe to be the absolute finest all around small bike one can buy for the kind of driving conditions we encounter in Thailand.

So what gives me the right to publicize my very own Yamaha Nmax recall?

I have lived in Pattaya Thailand for the past 16 years. Where I drive my two motorbikes, my Triumph Street Twin and old model Nmax 365 days a year. Rain or shine. Here a motorbike is an essential took. Just as the car is a necessity for everyday living most places in the United States. Whereas here in Pattaya a car is totally unnecessary except for those who need it to make a living. Or golfers who cannot be touting their golf clubs on a motorbike.

Although I will admit that big motorbike reviews from Cycle World and MCN are very thorough, interest and worth reading. Internet reviews of small motorbikes in the 125 to 150 c.c. class leave a lot to be desired. The good ones from countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, etc where English is not the dominant language. Which leaves the English speaking world in the dark. Whereas those reviews in English are nearly always limited to the new features being introduced in the new models.

In Thailand the most important feature of any motorbike is reliability while the second most important is safety which alerting all prospective buyers of either the new or old model Yamaha Nmax about certain reliability problems that have surfaced.

Both the old model Nmax and the new model offer the utmost in motorbike safety three thousand dollars can buy. My Yamaha Nmax recall is due the new model Nmax not living up to the old model’s reliability.

In my two reviews of the old and new model Yamaha Nmax bikes I mentioned my misgivings over the reliability of the old model. But two weeks after I completed both reviews, the need for announcing my Yamaha Nmax recall suddenly came to me.

My pal Rory is a very successful engineer who has a very practical mind. But he has put nowhere close to the mileage on motorbikes as I have. He’s a tech kind of buy who appreciates the advantages that high tech so often beings.

Rory has a keen appreciation for such features as key less ignition and automatic stopping and starting at stoplights bring to the table.

But when I announced my Yamaha Nmax recall to my closest friends Rory finally agreed with me. Telling me, You have been right all along.

A few years ago I bought my girlfriend a brand new Honda PCX 150. But it didn’t take long for the key less ignition system to go bad. We had to call the nearby Honda dealership to have someone come out to fix our problem.

After having to buy an expensive new Honda remote to get the PCX started again, I viewed keyless ignition as a liability ever since.

If your bike has a keyless ingnition system if anything happens to your remote. Even if you’ve only misplaced it. You are done.

But Rory’s been out of town for a few weeks. And when he lent his new model Yamaha Nmax to a friend of his, his friend was unable to start Rory’s six month old new model Yamaha Nmax.

The friend put a new battery into the remote. The small red light that indicates the remote is working comes on. But for some reason the remote is now unable to communicate with the rest of the keyless ignition system.

Yamaha has built into its new model Nmax a safety system that makes it difficult for anyone to steal the bike.

There’s a main switch one uses to start the bike, open the seat up or open the fuel tank. Which sounds like a great idea. Unless something malfunctions with the bike’s electronics that enable this main switch to be turned.

I’ve tried on two occasions to get the main switch to turn. While learning later on that the remote either disarms or disarms protective model for the main switch. And that a very audible click can be heard when this self protective mode is turned off.

Rory’s friend has told me that the Yamaha dealership Rory bought his bike from refuses to come out to look at his bike. Which leaves the friend with just one option. To either rent or borrow a pickup truck so that he can haul the bike into the dealer’s shop. Which is why I am publishing my very own Yamaha Nmax recall.

I am not a big fan of the idling automatic starting and restarting systems on either the new model Yamaha Nmax or Honda PCX

I know that this sounds like a great idea. Because particularly in a city such as Pattaya there’s a lot of long waits at stoplights. Which wastes a lot of gas. Or so it might seem. But in the real world of 125 to 155 c.c. motorbikes most bikes are capable of getting 120 miles to the gallon. So the small amount of gasoline wasted at stoplights is not going to make much difference in the bike owner’s pocket book.

I know if’s annoying to hear that engine idling for five minutes whenever you pull up to a red light. Which it’s so reassuring to hear that engine stop and then to be able to start up instantly by pulling back on the throttle as soon as the light changes to green.

The problem is all that automatic starting and stopping puts a very significant toll on the bike’s battery and other electrical components driving that automatic stop start system. Which makes the bike significantly less reliable over the long haul.

Am I telling you not to buy the new model Yamaha Nmax? No way because it’s still one helluva bike. But if you are thinking of trading your old model Nmax for the new model with all its bells and whistles you might just want to keep your old model.

In spite of what I’m caliing my Yamaha Nmax recall on the new model. Even if you are not too concerned about the reliability issues I’ve mentioned you might prefer buying a used mint condition old model Nmax to the new model for other reasons I’ve mentioned in both of my Yamaha Nmax reviews.

Triumph Street Twin three years ownership in a thirty minute review

Driving my Triumph Street Twin three years should make all the difference to those deciding between the 2016 series or its successor.

My Triumph Street Twin next to a Yamaha Nmax
Behind my 2018 Triumph Street Twin is my neighbors Yamaha 155 c.c. Nmax, In my opinion the 155 c.c. Yamaha Nmax is the absolute finest all around motorbike money can buy for Pattaya Thailand’s driving conditions. You can learn all about the superlative Yamaha Nmax in my Yamaha Nmax bike review in which I compare the new model Nmax to the older model pictured here. So why on earth would anyone buy a Triumph instead of a Honda, Kawasaki or Yamaha if one just has to have a much bigger bike? Because it’s a Triumph and there’s nothing like a Triumph as you will soon be finding out when you watch this latest review.

Although I might be exaggerating a little by claiming I drive my Triumph Street Twin every day. It’s true that I’m driving either my Triumph or my Yamaha 155 Nmax close to 365 days a year. While I give equal time between my two motorbikes, my three years driving my Triumph Street Twin should provide useful information you probably won’t be getting anywhere else.

Such as should I buy a 2016 to 2020 model Street Twin or the latest and greatest model that came out in 2021? Or should I buy either over competing Japanese bikes?

Driving my 2018 Triumph Street Twin three years is why you should be wading through my thirty minute review from start to finish. If you want to get the right answers to such critical questions as to reliability, cost of maintenance, comfort, and riding enjoyment over the long haul.

For example, if you live close to the ocean, humidity can transform a heavily chromed motorcycle into a maintenance nightmare. I live just 200 yards from the Gulf of Thailand

My white Yamaha SR 400 was a gorgeous bike. But unfortunately due to my living just 200 yards from the Gulf of Thailand, I was constantly having to paint over a lot of its chrome or polishing other chrome parts that I didn’t want to cover with black pain.

where the humidity kept turning my Yamaha 400 SR into a rust bucket that constantly needed attention. But when I traded it for my Triumph Street Twin I quickly found out that my Triumph needed hardly any attention whatsoever.

My 900 c.c. Triumph Street Twin develops just 54 horsepower while the upgraded 2021 model gained 10 more horsepower when the Triumph engineers gave the new model 500 more rpms. That’s almost 20 percent more horsepower, which should give the new model a very significant edge. But does it really? In the real world?

I can almost guarantee that when you watch my Triumph Street Twin review you will change your mind about how much difference that extra 10 horsepower really makes.

You might have never thought about it, but tires can make a huge difference in a bike’s performance. Or how much faster can you go if you pay $2000 for better brakes. Close to the end of my Triumph Street Twin three years driving experience, I upgraded my tires from the stock Pirelli Phantom tires to Pirelli Scorpion. At the end of this review you can watch how well the new tires perform on a sandy deeply rutted trail. And learn how an investment in high performance Brembo brakes can help you go a lot faster.

But in the end a Triumph is a Triumph. Its styling will never go out of date. While nothing sounds as good as a Triumph.