I think everyone has a few crazy pipe dreams; wild fantasies that more-often-than not stay as a whimsical “if only’s”. Well this year is very much a year of going after what I want, so I took the plunge and did something with my pipe dream. I bought myself a Vintage 1972 Honda Cub, and of course my whole daydream about this motorbike evolved around it being a cute pastel pink. So thanks to the lovely guys over at The Honda Cub Exchange in Ho Chi Minh City, I am now the very very proud owner of this little pink cutie.
I think some people might think I’ve been a bit attention seeking to go and buy such an silly pink bike. But honestly, I’ve only had it a week or so and it’s already given me so much joy. What is most special to me, is that a big part of my joy has come from seeing other peoples reactions! Without fail every day someone points at it and says “dep! dep!” (beautiful), or people take videos driving along beside me or photos of it stopped at the traffic lights. Even just the number of people smiling and saying hello while driving alongside makes both me and them smile (part of it might be that I’m always singing tunelessly at the top of my lungs though!)
I’m excited to leave the city and get to more rural parts of Vietnam and see what kind of joy the pink cub can spread there!
The Honda Cub Exchange is a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City specialising in reconditioning vintage Honda cubs and other Honda motorbikes. It’s run by a Vietnamese-English duo, with much of their custom coming from exporting reconditioned bikes to the US, Europe and Australia.
Buying a motorbike from The Honda Cub Exchange
What the Honda Cub Exchange do is take a vintage motorbike frame, fix it up nice and new and then build brand new mechanics for it (new engine, suspension, electrics etc). The result is that you still have a vintage motorbike but it runs like brand new! There were other second hand Honda Cubs I could have bought ready to scoot around on straight away, but the security of having a brand new engine etc really appealed to me. Especially for my motorbike trip all over Vietnam.
And of course, the motorbikes can be custom made! This meant that I was able to not only pick the paint colour and other aesthetic features like the basket and leather for the seats, but also mechanical aspects like how many gears, what cc engine and whether to add an electric start button.
The whole process was really smooth from start to finish! Before finalising my order I went to The Honda Cub Exchange workshop and got to see some of the orders they were currently working and see the quality. I even got a quick tour of the neighbourhood on the back of a Honda Cub as I’d never been on one before!
To get a bike custom made by The Honda Cub Exchange takes anywhere upwards of three weeks depending on how busy they are (mine took just under 4 weeks). For personal safety reasons I’m not going to disclose how much I paid for the bike, but you can message them for prices via Facebook! Certain features like having an electric start button (rather than just the kick start) cost extra.
Once the bike was ready they gave me a lesson on how to use it, from the kickstart to changing gears, as well as so many general maintenance tips! They were really thorough and comprehensive. I then got to practice around the neighbourhood until everyone was satisfied I had adapted enough to drive the bike home!
In the first 24 hours I had a minor issue where the screw cap on the gas tank being too tight suffocating the engine of gas, and they came right to my house to take the bike away and fix the problem! They have also offered to help with any (*touch wood*) issues I might encounter on the road which is really reassuring. Nothing but good experience so far!
I have absolutely zero regrets about indulging in my wild pipe dream of having a pink vintage bike – go on and make your crazy daydreams a reality too!
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For more on Motorbiking in Vietnam:
- Learning to Ride a Motorbike in Vietnam – Need more assistance? Get a lesson from Ride With Me Saigon
- Lessons Learned on my First Vietnamese Motorbike Road Trip