Sunday, December 2, 2007

Buying a motorcycle in Dumaguete

I spent a good amount of time researching this subject here in Dumaguete. I have purchased two new motorcycles since moving here. Buy new, unless you are inclined to fix the headlights, brakes, and put the muffler back on. Seriously, good and used here can not be used in the same sentence unless you personally know someone selling a bike. There are a few used shops selling overpriced junk. Some of the dealers offer used bikes, go that root if you must buy used. New bikes are so cheap it makes sense if you plan on keeping it any length of time.When you come here everyone will tell you have to buy a Honda. They are assembled here in the Philippines mostly from Chinese made components.

I highly recommend Rusi motorcycle shop. They sell rebadged Lifan, Losin, and a few others. These are Chinese bikes assembled in the Philippines. What impressed me was not so much the quality of the bikes, but their excellent customer service. Both bikes I purchased I got from them, they provide fair pricing and negotiating is allowed. I first bought a 125cc trail motorbike, called Ramjet. Not enough power so I traded up to a 150cc lightweight bike used primarily for conversion to tricycle (the motorcycle with side car used for taxi service). It has a Honda clone motor that has been trouble free for well over one year. I did have issues with the rear hub, and electrical system. They replaced both no charge under warranty.Prices for this type of bike range from 35,000- 45,000 Pesos, depending where you buy it.

A 150 cruiser type (not available at Rusi) will run almost the same and higher, 200cc-250cc cruiser 75-85,000. There is a new dealer for Motostar, which are reputedly good Chinese bikes, near the market next to Benardo's electric. Sorry can't remember the shop name.Again, I like Rusi because they have a large service shop with good mechanics. See June Marie, she is a peach to deal with, although she is the service manager, there are other girls in the sales dept, all equally friendly and helpful.There are many new shops in town, all selling a variety of bikes, few have what I regard as a good service area. But I am picky.

There are roughly speaking 4 grades of bikes here in the Philippines.

1. Branded (Japanese) bikes who's parts are made in China, Japan(few parts), India, Malaysia, and assembled in the Philippines. There are no new Japan manufactured motorbikes here, they would cost too much for the Philippine buyer. There are surplus Japanese big bikes, 400cc up. In Manila and surrounding area you can buy new any kind of bike you want including a BMW, Honda 1000cc road racer, 750,000 to 1M. not sure that these may be grey market. A different market than we speak of here. We are Talking small affordable motorbikes, cycles.

2. Bikes with a name brand made in another third country, example Indian made Japanese bikes.

3. Chinese manufactured bikes sold in the Philippines.

4. Rebadged (renamed) Chinese bikes made to a particular design spec. some partially assembled in the Philippines to make them cheaper.

Most of the motors for the small 100-125cc bikes come out of the same factories in China. Including Honda. It is the assembly of the bikes and the spec to which the small accessories parts are held. That makes the difference. You can go to any motorcycle shop, find 4-5 nearly identical 150cc tricycle bikes with different names on them, including Honda TMX. The Honda may have slightly higher quality minor components, and less expensive other components, painted fender vs. chrome on the Chinese bikes. My advice: Choose the dealer not the bike if you buy new. If your choice is new or used, just take one minute, and think about what you want to deal with, a few small problems fixed under warranty, or doing a major overhaul.

The Rusi Ramstar 150cc has the feel of a real motorcycle, not a motor bike. I replaced the gearing with higher ratio for 100kph cruising, I removed 2 of the four rear shocks. I replaced the Chinese rear hub with a Suzuki original(drop in replacement), I bought a quality drive chain, and put an Izumi semi knobby tread on the rear, and put a halogen headlight in requiring a new capacitor.. I can cruise to Bacolod in 3.5 hours, or drive to the Twin lakes with no compromise. It's what I wanted in a bike. If you plan only to drive around the city, or only on good roads, then something else might be better and much cheaper.

There are two places to buy Motostar here in Dumaguete. EMCOR San Jose St. I think, and the new dealer I mentioned which is named MSS Motor cycles. I have priced bikes at EMCOR, They have limited service area, but will negotiate price. I know someone who purchased one of the Motorstar Z-200 racing style bikes for a rental, he is happy. These bikes are getting good reviews on motorcycle Philippines forum. MSS is new, a dedicated motorcycle shop (no appliances). I stopped in and asked them some questions. They have a spot on the floor for a service area so far, they say they hope to rent a space next door in the future for service. They are not stocking the Magnum or Predator right now, these are the cruisers. 150cc and 200cc. They do have a nice looking Off road style 150, many 155cc Tricycle type motor cycles similar to the ramstar 150. Cash price 45,000 Pesos. Also available, the Z-200 and new whizbang 250cc overhead cam balanced motor cafe racer type bike. FYI Motostar is at the top of the Chinese food chain. You would do well to visit Motorcycle Philippines forum to see what riders are saying.


lmagazzeni said...

I was shocked to find out (during my stay in Dumaguete last September) that the Yamaha 125 - enduro type - is not available anymore in the P.I. - I couldn't believe it ! So now if you want an aff road bike you're stuck with the Honda - and that's it !

RHB said...

Actually, the Rusi pictured at the top of the article is comparable to the Honda XRM and represents quite a value. Granted its Chinese manufacture, but a good bike for the money

Frazer said...

What sort of bike is the second one? I'm not very knowledgable on motorbikes, and I like that one.

RHB said...

The second picture is a RUSI 150cc Ramstar.(Chinese manufacture)built in the Philippines. It is a 150cc cloned roughly from the Honda 155cc pushrod engine. I still have this bike after three years, still starts every morning and gets me around.

David Whittall said...

Nice report and refreshing to ride unbiased opinion on Chinese Motorcycles.

You will no doubt be seeing more Chinese Big Bikes on the streets this year!

Chinese Motorcycle Manufacturer 'BASHAN' became MVDP Registered< here in the Philippines.

(This means they can ship KD Kits of Motorcycles for Assembly here in the Philippines, with a Philippine Company - RACAL is the Company they signed with, these Bikes will very low prices, for the Features/Specification).

So this means ore Big Bikes of Dual Sport, Super Motard and Cruisers of 125/150/200/250cc.

You may have already seen it with Motostar bringing in Zongshen CYCLONE range - IQ-155Z, Moto R155, Moto X155 and TRLAX 200

Rusi now have the KR150 and all sold out in less than 1 month!

RACAL have launched the '150 Sport'