Pros and Cons of a Big Bike in the 'wan

Pros of a red-plated moto:

  1. Use of expressways
  2. Probable (under study): use of National Highways
  3. Power and torque (hmmm, good :lick: :lick: ) for … overtaking buses and trucks in the mountains.
  4. Moto-touring without crawling up mountain roads (related to item 3)
  5. Can make left turns where scooters must turn right then go straight

Cons of a red-plated moto:
A) Expense of initial purchase
B) One year wait for big bike endorsement on driving permit
C) Lower mpg
D) Must park in car stalls, not in scooter stalls
E) Higher annual fee for license plate
F) Higher risk of theft
G) Higher cost for tupperware
H) Must not filter through lanes in stopped traffic

I’m sure I will get shit for this, but really IMO there are not many if any pros for anyone to purchase a “big bike” right now in Taiwan. I think maybe in the future when the prices come down, when people can actually ride them on the freeways, and when the streets become safer and the cops actually start giving people traffic citations is when it would be more practical. As of now, the majority of the Taiwanese that own “big bikes” have money to blow, or just like the attention. Not many people even know how to ride them properly here.

As a long time big-bike rider (and having honed those skills on a track and as a courier) I would only ever ride a scooter in Taiwan, or a bicycle. Any big bike in taiwan (city or mountains, and there’s precious little else) is a fast ticket to lots of trouble.

I would not recommend getting one to anyone.

Congrats folks, you have finally merged into Taiwan Logic.

It’s dangerous to ride a big bike with strong brakes, reliable handling and good visibility but it’s much safer to ride a scooter? :doh: Or even better a bicycle, with just slightly better road presence than a cockroach. :doh:

While we’re talking about safety, don’t forget that red plate bikes are allowed (required) to ride in car lanes and don’t have to use the scooter boxes.

I have seen people buying certain brands of white plate bikes for $70-90k and up then ending up disappointed with them. My bike was not outrageously expensive and I get a huge amount of pleasure and utility out of it. I would even go so far as saying that my life would be a lot more empty without it.


Hauling touring gear through the 'wan mountains on a 150cc farmer’s bike is not pleasant. Hauling the same gear on a Tenere on the same roads is a religious experience. Speaking from my personal Big Trailie altar.

errrr… maybe you were thinking of profane motos, like Blackbirds, 'busas, gixxers… yeah, those have no place in the 'wan. :wink: :wink: :wink:

If you’re competent on big trailies, IMO the 'wan is one of the best places in Asia to have one, and with mountain road surfaces, long travel suspension is a plus (the most common big bike I see more than an hour’s ride from Taipei is a beemer R 1200 GS). Runner up places are the Japanese Alps and Hokkaido, and Jeju-do in KR, but Japan lacks the “adventure” element, even in the mountains. IMO, Japan is generally better on a velo than a moto.

Pros of riding big bikes in Taiwan;

  • excellent scenery
  • generally good road surfaces
  • proximity of destinations

Cons of riding big bikes in Taiwan;

  • dangerous road users
  • traffic can be heavy (depending on destination and season)
  • not allowed on Freeways
  • cops generally don’t know the laws regarding red-plate bikes. Can be a problem in case of an incident.

and [url]Drunk driving ex-con almost kills Forumosan in car smash

I put in lots of miles between my first bike purchase inTaiwan (Yamaha R6, no plates) in 2001 and my R1200GS (destroyed in 2006), and I loved every minute of it. I’d be back on a bike if I was still single and without a kid…

Like any other place in the world, it can be as safe as you make it and it can also go very wrong despite your efforts. It’s not a luck thing either. It comes down to circumstances and coincidence, which are can’t really be determined in advance. Get a good machine for what you want to do, wear proper gear, be smart and you’ll have a good time…

thanks for the belittling comment, there, llary.

big bike riders relying on gobs of power seem to me to have the worst road sense of all users, apart maybe from Ama and her scooter overloaded with cabbages.

one of the main benefits of a scooter vs a big bike in Taiwan is that you CANNOT go fast. All you right wrist tossers who think that power delivery will save you every time are just big accidents waiting to happen, especially when mixing it up with most of the riders I have seen in Taiwan.

Taiwan is not a good country for big bikes. Try Italy, Australia, even Japan or the US. Do not get one for Taiwan, but rather a 150 two stroke or a CB400 or something. Owning a Hayabusa and so on in Taiwan is just dangerous posing, and you probably deserve the repair bills and the condolence money you’ll ultimately end up having to fork out.


Do you have a scooter now? Maybe you should take it up Yang Ming Shan one night, or to Ping Xi on a nice weekend, you’ll see other riders on big bikes you can talk to ( mostly locals ), and you’ll get of sense of what you can do with one in North Taiwan.


Do you have a scooter now? [/quote]
Yeah, I’ve been riding my new 18-year-old scooter for about a month now. Apart from its superior comfort, so much nicer to ride in the rain, decent luggage-carrying ability, faster away from the lights, ease of parking, quietness, a bike blows it away every time! :laughing:

Nice to see the villagers teaching those idiots a lesson, hope it happens more often.

Its not right to do that though as someone could be killed. I dont think the villagers mean to kill.

i went thru one of em oil patches, but lucky in my car and i did a 360. I cant imagine what thats like on a moto.

Maybe a big cruiser like a HOG is the answer for Taiwan. I would say sports bikes …nyet… hogs…OINK !!

Its not right to do that though as someone could be killed. I dont think the villagers mean to kill.

I don’t think the tiny-penised halfwits who blast through those tiny sidewalk-less villages on their day off actually “mean” to endanger the inhabitants, either. :wink:

Exactly my sentiments, you endanger other peoples lives on your weekend ‘leisure’ trips with your THIRTY buddies (including mine when they drive towards me on those mountain road), well you deserve it back.

Except for the innocents who get caught in the crossfire.

How would they get caught? They’d be driving slowly enough to avoid oil patches. If they aren’t, then they deserve what they get. I never drive so fast that I can’t avoid oil, wet leaves, frail wee grannies, etc.

I would hope you’re right sandman, but it is a gamble.


Do you have a scooter now? Maybe you should take it up Yang Ming Shan one night, or to Ping Xi on a nice weekend, you’ll see other riders on big bikes you can talk to ( mostly locals ), and you’ll get of sense of what you can do with one in North Taiwan.[/quote]

Thanks for your recommendation , I don’t even have scooter in Taiwan only Giant XTC HB3, I ever rented in Hualian when I was arrived there and just roll around, I understood it’s can be predict what going to happen in next second on the road but so far I still thinking about that :unamused:

If you’re in decent shape, the ride toward ping xi is awesome on a bicycle.
There is a cafe on the way were motocyclists and bicyclists a love to hang out, I don’t remember the name but you wouldn’t miss it.

Wu zhi shan is another great place to cycle, and there are always some big bikers at the cafes up at the very top. Bicyclists come up from the shi lin side, and the motorcyclists usually come up from xi zhi or zhi shan.

Yang ming shan is doable on a bicycle, but there are too many big bikers and scooter punks racing up and down to make it pleasant. Lastly the tea shops up at mao kong make another good bicycle ride, but not really appropriate for big bikes, of which you are unlikely to run into up there.

It’s possible to take a folding bike in a bag on the Maokong gondola when it’s not crowded, then ride the velo down. Esp. in the summer.

In the long run, I think more people are going to die riding that gondola than motorcycles.