Advice on the choice of motorbike for rent in Thailand
First, please note that there is no good or bad motorbike (in this case, we are not referring to the technical condition). Each motorbike has been designed for a specific consumer, and what is considered as an advantage for one, maybe a serious shortcoming for another. Therefore, instead of choosing a “good motorbike based on your friends’ advice” or “something cheaper”, you should buy or rent one that suits your specific purposes.
For starters, we suggest that you answer the following questions:
- Who will ride the motorbike (a girl, a young man, an elderly person)?
- What are the parameters of the rider’s body (height, weight)?
- Where will you be riding (in the city, on a mountainous and hilly terrain, off-road)?
- Will you be riding alone or with a passenger?
Depending on how you answer to these questions, you can determine the scooter model that suits you best according to your needs.
In this article, we will review about 30 models of scooters that are popular in Thailand. We will review only Japanese models of motorbikes, such as Honda and Yamaha, as they have been the MOST RELIABLE and well-established for many years, including in our rental Cat Motors.
Let’s start with those motorbike models that you definitely should avoid.
These motorbikes used to be very popular and very advanced from the technological point of view. However, the production of all these models was stopped around 10 years ago. So, if you rent or buy one of these motorbikes, in case of a breakdown, you will have a huge number of problems, up to the point that you may have to wait for 2-3 months for some spare parts, provided that they are still being produced.
Next models were taken out of production about 6-8 years ago. They should be considered only for renting as the cheapest means of transportation. It is recommended to rent them only in trusted companies. Since these options are the “cheapest” means of transportation, usually there is no special requirement for them, meaning that it’s fine as long as the motorbike is moving.
That said we would like to point out that you can rent these models only if you plan to ride them exclusively in the city. We do not recommend to rent the mentioned models for trips outside the city, for example, in Pai or on the Mae Hong Son Loop route. It’s likely that on such routes, these motorbikes will not be able to pass certain sections of the road with steep, hilly terrain, or simply won’t make it to the end. Although everything certainly depends on the motorbike maintenance. If you rent such a motorbike from a reputable rental company, that monitors and timely maintain the technical condition of the motorbike, then such motorcycle will likely serve you faithfully for a few years to come. Maybe. But it’s much better if you also avoid these motorcycle models.
Well, now let’s move on to the most interesting and informative part.
The next are motorbikes of the same class. The main difference between these models is design. Among other things, the models Honda Scoopy-i New and Honda Zoomer have a storage compartment under the seat with plenty of space, for example, for carrying goods from a shop.
For whom are these motorbikes suitable? First of all, for those who are going to ride a motorbike exclusively within the city limits. The mentioned above motorcycles will suit everyone without exception if the weight carried by motorcycle does not exceed 140-150 kg.
If you are going to ride alone, without any passengers, and your weight is less than 90 kg, then you can use with confidence one of the above models on the following routes: Doi Inthanon, Doi Suthep, Mae Hong Son Loop, Mae Sariang, Ban Rak Tai, etc. However, if your weight is heavier, then such motorcycle model may not simply be able to climb uphill in some places of the route and you will have to push your motorcycle.
So, this is the ideal choice for riding around the city. However, if you are going to ride the mountains, hills, and very long distances, then we recommend you to look at models with an engine capacity of 125cc or more.
Honda Zoomer can also be recommended to those who are very tall (190 cm and above). The seat of this motorbike has a structural feature that allows tall riders to sit comfortably so that their knees will not hit the handlebar, as it’s the case on many other small models with an engine capacity of 108cc. However, this model probably won’t allow putting a passenger in the back, since there simply will not be room for the passenger.
Next three Yamaha models will perfectly suit riders of an average height up to 175 cm, who want to ride not only through the city but also to travel outside of it in hilly areas and for long distances. It is highly recommended for women because these motorbikes are powerful enough, but at the same time, they are not as heavy as Honda motorcycles with a similar engine capacity and power.
Yamaha offers a wide range of Mio models. It’s not just Yamaha Mio, Yamaha Mio 125 (GT, GTX, RR, MX), Yamaha Fino, Yamaha GT125 (do not confuse it with the Yamaha Mio 125GT – they are completely different models, although they are called almost the same), but also powerful Yamaha Aerox. We have put these three models in a separate category. The reason is very simple: their trunk is not very capacious. But at the same time, the motorcycle has a special hook for grocery bags. Also, it has a special hook for a helmet, which is locked to the seat to protect the helmet from stealing in the parking lot.
Special attention should be paid to the Yamaha Mio 125 motorcycle. Its difference from the injection Yamaha Mio 125i model is that it has a carburetor instead of injection, which means that such motorcycle will not always start from the first try (especially after a long parking or in a rainy weather), and it will have a higher fuel consumption than the injected model.
You can easily distinguish the Yamaha Mio 125 injection model from the Yamaha Mio 125i model with a carburetor. Carbureted motorcycle models have light bulbs on the handlebar, and injection models have lights on the edges of the front headlight. Carbureted model rarely exists in rentals, since it has been withdrawn a long time ago.
These are must-rent and must-have motorbike models. They are powerful, comfortable, with enough engine capacity for riding on mountain or hilly road (but not off-road), and they have a capacious storage under the seat as well.
Honda Click125i, Honda Click125 LED and Yamaha Nouvo SX is almost identical models of different manufacturers. The advantage of the Honda models is that it is more reliable, and you can find its spare parts for it on every street corner. The advantage of the Nouvo SX model is that it is very suitable for tall people (from 190 cm and more) and at the same time it has enough space for a passenger; also this model has two rear shock absorbers with a maximum load up to 160 kg and a best-in-class powerful headlight with an excellent angle.
Yamaha GT125i is a new model that replaced the Yamaha Mio model. It has a comfortable and wide driver seat, lightweight with which even girls can deal, a capacious trunk (but the standard “three quarters” helmet will not get into). We can recommend it absolutely to everyone except those who are shorter than 190 cm and have a total weight for both passengers less than 140 kg. This model is good for both types of riding — around and outside the city, including all the popular routes around Chiang Mai.
Yamaha Grand Filano is a very comfortable motorcycle for tall people (from 190 cm), or for those who have a very big butt. But, it will be rather difficult to take a passenger with you, although the same applies to many other models. The big advantage is a huge trunk with illumination. The only but a very big weak point of the motorcycle is that it has a very little ground clearance. Therefore, it is recommended to ride the motorcycle mainly in the city area or on good, almost ideal roads. You should be very careful when riding it, since in Thailand concrete speed bumps are not always painted in a noticeable for a rider color, so if you are not careful on the road, you can seriously damage your motorcycle.
Honda scooters family, which at one time made a splash in the motorcycle market in Thailand as well as in other countries. PCX125 has not been produced for a long time. We do not recommend renting or buying this model since due to its weight the power doesn’t always suffice on steep ascents.
But PCX150 is a very good choice: both the old model of 2012 and the new model of 2014. It easily rides almost on any hill in the public road. If PCX150 was not able to climb a hill, then it means that only an Enduro or a motorcycle with a manual transmission and in the first gear can do it. That said in Thailand, there is almost no such place with a very steep road that at the same time could be of interest to tourists.
The seat of the motorcycle designed in such a way that it gives proper comfort. It is ideal for comfortable riding around the city, and for long-distance trips. However, due to the particular design of the seat on PCX, the motorcycle doesn’t fit riders with a height of 190 cm or higher, since the 2012 model has a separator on the seat, which leans against the rider’s back. This prevents the rider to move backward as he would do, for example, on a Honda Zoomer or a Yamaha Grand Filano. As for the 2014 model, the driver’s and the passenger’s seats are separated by an ergonomic fixed position support, so when you try to move your bottom back you will hit the ergonomic support.
All that we mentioned about PCX applies to Yamaha Aerox as well. Riding a Yamaha Aerox is like riding in an armchair. It has a large convenient seat, a comfortable landing for the rider, a huge trunk and even a charger for mobile phones. But it should be taken into account that PCX and Aerox are not suitable for very short riders, as in some cases reaching to the ground will be problematic for them, which means that there’s a high probability of an accident, even in situations when nothing foretells an accident. So, if you are a comfort lover, then your choice is Aerox.
If you are short and going to travel only in the city areas, you should pay attention to the motorcycle models such as Honda Scoopy-i, Honda Scoopy-i New, Honda Moove and Yamaha Fino (3rd gen).
If your main task is riding around the city, but your height is above 190 cm, in that case, your choice is the Honda Zoomer or Yamaha Grand Filano.
If you are planning a trip out of the city and you are short, then you need to pay attention to the following models: Yamaha Mio 125, Yamaha Mio 125i, Yamaha Fino 125 and Yamaha GT125.
If you are quite tall, but your height is not more than 190 cm, and you are going to ride on hilly and mountain roads (but not off-road), then you should go with Honda.
Click125i, Honda Click125 LED, or Yamaha GT125i is equally suitable for both short and tall riders.
If everything is the same as in the previous line, but your height is more than 190 cm, in that case, you can go with Yamaha Grand Filano or Yamaha Nouvo SX. Grand Filano is the better choice, however, it makes sense to use this model only if you are sure that the roads on which you will drive, are good enough, and there is no serious damages or humps.
If your height is between 175 and 190 cm, and you are a lover of the comfort riding both inside and outside of the city, then your choice is the Honda PCX150 or Yamaha Aerox.
We recommend the Honda PCX125 model only in case you do not plan trips out of the city. Also, since it has been taken out of production for more than 5 years, it may be harder to find, although you can still find it in some rentals.
If you have trouble choosing a motorbike to rent, please feel free to write us and let us know your wishes and the parameters of the motorbike you want. We will do our best to find the ideal option for you.