Why do people ride falling apart bikes...?

It always bewilders me that some people choose to ride bikes that are litterally falling apart. Just yesterday I borrowed a secretary’s scooter at work. The rear suspension was in such a bad state of disrepair that taking any corner at almost any speed caused the bike to bounce up and down. If the bounce got much worse the front tire might lose traction all together on the corner. The majority* of foreigner/co-workers bikes I have ridden were actually in worse shape than that bike.

It amazes me how people put their life in the hands of something that isn’t even road legal and wouldn’t be able to pass the least of safety inspections. I often get critized for riding too fast, but I’d rather do a 100 on a well maintained bike than 50 on the death traps many people ride.

It’s cheap as hell to fix bikes here…so just bring your bike to someone that you trust or get a referral and…tell them to fix it all.

*majority: means anywhere above 50%…not all. So for all you retards getting ready to flame me saying how good condition your specific bike is in…save your breath.

I could’t agree more. While out the other night I had to shoot to 7 -11 so I borrowed a friends scooter. As I approached an intersection I braked and wholly shit! Nothing happened! When I got back (amazingly)! my friend said “yeah, the brakes have been like that for ages” WTF?
For the cost of the last couple of beers that they had had, they could have had it fixed.
Like Mordeth says, mechanics are so cheap here so there is no excuse.
Take note slackers!

I think it’s slowly getting better…

One thing that always frustrated me was getting a group of foreigners together for a mountain romp and having their junk break down half way to wherever you’re trying to go. It got so bad that I’d check the machines first and if they didn’t look up to snuff I wouldn’t invite them.

For most of the foreign (I didn’t say all) community, riding motorcycles is a newfound discovery upon hitting Taiwan. This means that maintenence is also new, and often ignored. I also think that scooters are worse in this regard, as it’s a hop-on and go machine with most of it’s machinery clad in plastic.

I’ve been riding in the mountains here for 18 years, and other than one broken clutch cable, have never experienced a mechanical failure in the boonies. I like to ride solo, and this means I’ll spend some time with the bike before each trip and make sure it’s tip top before setting out. But the pre long-ride checklist is something drilled into me from childhood, ingrained to the point of second nature. For new riders, it’s a habit forced upon them, and if the trip is more important than the machine, often overlooked.

Not to defend those who ride poorly maintained scooters, but one possible reasons for not maintaing a scooter might be theft prevention. Why fix it up nice if that will attract attention and get it stolen? In fact, I’ve seen some people spray paint spots on different parts of their scooters as some sort of cheap (and ugly) anti-theft method. Of course, as mentioned earlier, just letting your scooter go to pot is dangerous; the bike can look crappy on the outside but certain things (like brakes) should probably be properly maintained. :wink:

I don’t think it is just a foreign population thing. I’ve seen plenty of Taiwanese riding around on scooters spewing exhaust. Sometimes, their scooters have been held together with rope or duct tape. The scooters groan and whine as they limp along from stoplight to stoplight. I can only guess that maintenance of the scooter might not be in some people’s monthly budget–and then after it has gone too far and become too expensive to fix anything, some people just try to get by with what they have. I’d say there is a fair amount of people–local and foreign alike–who don’t mind riding around on poorly maintained scooters.

Another possible explanation, at least for some foreigners, might be the difficulty in finding a mechanic who can communicate with them (or with who they can communicate). I know that there is at least one English-speaking in Taipei (Jeremy at Bike Farm). However, some people I’ve met are afraid of getting ripped off if they just go down the street to the friendly neighborhood mechanic. True, it is cheap to get a scooter repaired, but if you’re constantly being overcharged, it could add up.

Anway, jut my two cents . . .

I agree with the OP. My bike looks like shit, but the brakes, tyres, suspension etc are all in top order. I wouldn’t even get the price of the tyres if I sold my bike, but they have saved my bacon many a time.

You’re asking this question about people who don’t even glance at the oncoming traffic when pulling out into or across a main road. People who don’t turn their lights on at night.

“It’ll never happen to me” is the answer to your question.

Bikes are poorly maintained here. I think its like going through red lights.

“Everybody else does, so I will too.”

YAY! I made a post a got multiple replies with no flames… :slight_smile: Someone dance with me. I feel loved.

Yeah, one of my coworkers just sold off his beautifully-maintained scooter. There was some sort of problem with the fuel mixture; I don’t remember what it was, and didn’t understand when he explained it, but anyway. He had taken it in to other shops half a dozen times, each time explaining to the “mechanic” exactly what needed to be repaired. Each time, they ignored him, made a cheap fix to something else (which sometimes had a temporary effect on the real problem), and returned it. It wasn’t that the “mechanics” didn’t understand him (in at least some of the cases), it was that they didn’t want to bother with it since it was a pain in the ass to take off all the parts to get to the piece that they had to fix.

He finally took it to Jeremy, who listened to him, fixed the problem as described, and returned it. No more problem.

Well, I still love ya Mordeth, but I’m going to disagree with the majority statement about foreigners and bikes. Not sure what evidence there is to support that claim. Some new foreigners buy the cheapest ride they can get. So perhaps those are the ones you see with the dilapidated rides.

As for myself, I ride a scooter that’s only about 6 months old. I bought new because I wanted a reliable and safe ride. I got sick of all the repairs on old ones. I follow the recomended maintenence schedule.

I think alot of rides look much worse than they are mechanically. We all know parking here often involves others cramming their bikes in next to (or practically on top of) yours. This does in the appearance of a bike in fairly short order. Still others prefer their bikes not look too shiny as they feel a nice bike is a magnet for thieves.

I think some locals don’t have a nack for maintenence. Perhaps they simply don’t have the money or sometimes its a feeling that maintaining something that isn’t new isn’t worth it.

Yeah, I’m not talking about making the bike look nice…just run well. One of my bikes is a 50cc scooter. It is pink with a basket. And I’ve lent it to many people to learn on. It’s been crashed about 4 times that I know of. I use wires to hold the frame together. But all that aside…mechanically it’s perfect. I bought the scooter for 4000 n.t. off a girl as a favour…because the person who was supposed to buy it changed their mind. So she asked me to buy it. I bought it and then didn’t ride it for about 2 years. Then I got a dog…needed something to get around on with the dog. I spent about 14k making it run perfect. But I’ve never washed it or fixed the body damage. It’s fun when I beat scooter punks on their brand new black 50cc jogs. On my 15 year old beat up pink scooter.

Maybe it’s because these mopeds are mostly just junk anyway – I don’t do much to my bikes but just run 'em into the ground, which takes, what, five or six years? By which time you’re wanting a new one anyway. So you lose a few grand on the used value, but so what?
I do like to have brakes that work, though, although I’ve still to spend NT$20 on a new back light bulb. It’s been more than a month now. :blush:

I think straight forks, alright tyres and ok brakes are the bottom line. My friend’s scooter had bent forks, rubbish tyres and largely ineffective brakes a year ago. Until last month when he thankfully scrapped it, he rode it every day in that condition.

I don’t do anything to my bikes myself apart from oiling the chain and putting in 2-stroke oil. I’m lucky to have a well-qualified mechanic with whom I can communicate. I get my oil, fluid and filter changes and my tyre pressures checked regularly. That’s a very good thing about living in Taiwan – routine maintenance is very cheap and quick.

What is the checklist, out of interest? It will include checking tyre pressures and tyre condition, oiling the chain and checking brake fluid levels I suppose. What else?

Adjust and lube chain.

Check and lube clutch cable.

Top off two stroke oil. (reset my odometer to zero to moniter usage)

Tire pressure.

Check remaining fluids.

Full tank of gas.

Good to go… :sunglasses:

Local mecanics make very little money on most repairs and most of them are not even real mecanics. Where they make good money is on eversizing engines. A 2 stroke scooter cost about 2500 to rebuild the upper part of the engine yet, they pay about 600 for a new piston and rings, oversized sleeve, crankshaft bearing and all required gaskets. They can do it in about 3 hours. I fix motorcycles for my friends all the time. The last one, the girl was told she needed a new engine, so she asked me to look at it. She had a fouled spark plug and a clogged air filter. 220nt. later the bike was like a new bike.
My advice is this: if you don’t know about bikes, don’t buy an old beater because the worse it looks and the older it is, the less the mecanic are interested to find the problem and they’ll just say your engine is too old. Once they oversize it and realize that it still runs like crap, they have no choice but to find the real problem in order to deliver you a bike that actually runs better than before since they’ll want over 2k from you. Old bikes also make your clothes and hands dirty everytime you ride them and I agree, they are not as safe. I think it’s better to just buy a good bike (25 to 50k)and sell it when you leave, you will loose a bit on re-sale but so would you on an older bike. (not to mention repair costs)Then you get to look good…, ride safe and when you have a trouble, mecanics will not try to oversize your motor for no reason. I’m not saying all mecanics are bad. I’m saying it’s a gamble and the language barrier adds to it in many cases. Just make sure you lock your new bike.

[quote=“hexuan”]You’re asking this question about people who don’t [snip…] turn their lights on at night.

For the most part they do turn them on, just the darn things are poorly maintained and don’t work :laughing:

Leo, I haven’t come across this situation of mechanics wanting to rebuild engines unnecessarily. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but I’ve never heard of it. Anyway, even if a mechanic does charge 2500 for an engine rebuild, the parts are 600 (really?) and it takes 3 hours to do, that’s still just over 600 an hour for labour. You’d pay an awful lot more than that in the U.S. or U.K.

I think what is a more common situation is stuff like just tightening the brake cable when actually new pads are needed, and things like that. That’s because there’s a bit of a culture of keeping bikes running without really renovating stuff that needs to be renovated. Amazing how long bikes can keep on going on this kind of minimal maintenance, but as above posters have noted there is a cost in safety.

Your point about buying a decent bike in the first place is an interesting one. Generally I agree but Hexuan made some good points in this thread;

[quote=“Leo”]Old bikes also make your clothes and hands dirty everytime you ride them and I agree, they are not as safe. [/quote]My bikes are 11 and 10 years old. They do not make my hands dirty and they are as safe as new bikes.

I had an old bike before and I “fixed it up.” The mechanic tried to dissuade me from refurbishing it because it was too old. I think Leo has a point there. Some mechanics don’t want to fix an old bike. Also, I’d say you need to develop a good relationship with a mechanic you trust. A lot of mechanics do half-assed jobs and sometimes make things worse. They very often will opt for the bubblegum in the whole approach to fixing a bike. My old scooter broke a drive belt one day. I pushed it to the nearest bike shop and had a new one put in. Problem was, as I found out later, he put the wrong belt for my bike in. This screwed up the continuously variable drive on my bike, causing me to always start in high “gear.” When I finally had the right kind put in, alot of damage had been done to the “transmission.”

I guess I agree with Leo. We should be very careful about buying a used bike. I even bought mine from a shop where they had claimed it was refurbished. Nonsense. The thing was always giving me trouble.

I recommend buying new if at all possible. Maybe some expats who only intend to be here for a year won’t want to. But for everyone else, it’s a much safer way to go.

I once spent over 20,000 n.t. on trying to fix a carburetor. 14,000 of that comes from the time when I told them to rebuild the engine and they phoned me back saying “The engine is fine, it’s the carburetor”…I said “Well, I’ve already spent 6k on the carbs I don’t think it’s them.”. They said “No, you need to replace the whole carbs.”. So fine…14,000 n.t. and two carbs later…no improvement to bike…and about two months later the engine blew. I am of course talking about a “big bike” and I took it to a “big bike” shop.

When I get my next big bike…I’m going new. And I’ll sell it after a couple of years, and go new again.

Having been a mechanic myself for a number of years, I can completely relate to this.
I used to call old run down stuff “midas machines” - everything you touch turns to shit. And then the owner gets pissed off with the overall cost to fix it, so you can’t win.

The mechanic I had been using for years refuses point plank to touch my FZ, even though the brakes, tyres, clutch, gearbox are all in proper nick. He just reckons it’s too old. So Jeremy tinkers with it now. But it’s fine. One day soon the engine will go bang, but it’s 13 years old. Actually only the engine is 13 years old. The rest of it has been rebuilt more times than I can remember. There’s a Fireblade’s worth of rebuilds in there somewhere. :blush: