Thursday, 11 December 2014

New Motorbike

That's my brand new Kymco "Grand King" motorbike outside my little house yesterday, with the old Sanyang "Legend" in the background.

What happened was that last Sunday, whilst bombing around up in the mountains of Namaxia and Jiaxian on the old bike, I got a flat rear tyre. Since the old bike uses tyres that require inner-tubes, this meant that I could putter along in first gear for about ten minutes before the tyre completely gave out - after which I was left pushing the thing along. As it was I was stranded about twelve kilometers outside of the main town of Jiaxian and with it being Sunday and well out in the sticks, it was highly unlikely I'd find any repair shops open. Luckily, a couple  of delivery guys who were coming back from Namaxia with a broken fridge in the back of their truck saw me and gave me a lift back to Kaohsiung city. I left the bike at a repair shop that was open Sundays (hard workers!) and took the train down on Tuesday morning to pick it up.

However, I had been thinking about getting a new one for some time and I made the decision and put the order in on Monday morning. The new bike was delivered on the Wednesday (yesterday) and I picked it up in the afternoon. The chief advantage of the new bike over the old one is that it has tubeless tyres, meaning that even with a flat I can keep puttering along in first or second gear until I get to somewhere, rather than risk getting stranded in the middle of nowhere. Other than that, it is a somewhat larger and stronger bike with a slightly bigger engine (a 150cc as opposed to the 125cc) and double rear suspension; the previous models of this bike are widely used in Taiwan and have been popular with farmers, postal workers and delivery companies for decades. Like most bikes of this design (i.e. modern variants of the shape popularized by the Honda CB in the early 1970s), it is relatively simple in design though it does have the now government-mandated feature of a fuel-injection system rather than a carburetor. I prefer the carburetor for a number of reasons but I'm curious as to how this bike will handle at altitude with the colder, thinner air.

First impressions: the seat is higher up than on the Sanyang and the handlebars lower down which means that your riding position feels very different - much higher. Unlike the Sanyang, the new bike's handlebars are also curved inwards to a greater degree meaning that your arms are not stretched as much as they are on the Sanyang. I'm not sure if this is an advantage or not as at the moment it just feels weird, though I expect I'll get used to it. The double rear suspension probably also makes the new bike more comfortable, but the comparison is not entirely fair because the Sanyang is old and its' suspension is not quite as good as it used to be.

This is the sixth bike (and third motorcycle) that I've bought in my time in Taiwan, and the second one (after my white scooter) that I've bought brand new from the store. Four of the other bikes I've had were all second-handers. What I'll do with it for now is keep it in my garage and take it out on weekends around southern Taiwan. Eventually, I'll start driving the black Sanyang north again to take on the northern reservoirs once more. I'd rather leave that one parked outside under a flyover somewhere since it is much less likely to get stolen than the new one. In the meantime, I'm going to have the big green scooter scrapped or sold for parts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is now in place, as of April 2012. Rules:

1) Be aware that your right to say what you want is circumscribed by my right of ownership here.

2) Make your comments relevant to the post to which they are attached.

3) Be careful what you presume: always be prepared to evince your point with logic and/or facts.

4) Do not transgress Blogger's rules regarding content, i.e. do not express hatred for other people on account of their ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.

5) Remember that only the best are prepared to concede, and only the worst are prepared to smear.