Vietnam is one of the most breathtaking places in Asia. Its natural beauty has been reeling in tourists who want to experience nature’s gifts. The exotic scenery urges people to explore its wonders up close and personal. An adventure ride around Vietnam would be a fine addition to any adventure rider’s bucket list. However, before booking a ticket for a Vietnam adventure ride and packing up an entire mountaineer’s worth of gear and equipment, here a few things would-be adventure riders may want to take a look at.
Though Onyabike Adventures offers a variety of riding gear and equipment appropriate for different riding styles for rent and for sale, riders must know what to prepare for and what to bring with them before beginning the trip. The type of gear needed will depend highly on the type of riding to be done, and knowing what gear one will need would surely make the experience easier and much more enjoyable.
Finding the Right Gear
Luckily, motorcycles and motorcycle equipment are task-specific. People can find the appropriate gear for almost any situation and destination. It’s all a matter of finding the right combination of gear that meets specific needs.
Motorcycle “culture” and safety awareness is not as popular on the locals in Vietnam as it would be in some countries like the U.S. or countries in Europe. A lot of people just wear normal, everyday clothes and a helmet.
That being said, a foreigner may have a bit of trouble looking for the right gear for the adventure. There are gear rental shops in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh but finding a one-stop shop or a shop with good options and good quality gear can be difficult.
Most locals wear cheap plastic lids that look like baseball caps that are only good for avoiding tickets. Helmets are required by law in Vietnam so for those who don’t plan on getting decked out with gear, helmets are the bare minimum.
Some locally manufactured helmets do have Department of Transportation (DOT) approval and some even have certification from the Snell Memorial Foundation (a.k.a Snell certified), but most expensive helmets for sale in Vietnam are open face helmets. Full-face, high-quality helmets are rare due to heavy import tax.
Traffic is slow in Vietnam. The speed limit is around 70kph on the open road and city driving averages around 20 – 50kph. The dense traffic paired with reckless drivers makes driving fast an actual hazard. So some would argue that a decent half-face could be enough. Even when out on the trip, on long country roads, there are still pedestrians and animals that come out of nowhere. Also, cops are keen on watching for traffic violators so it would make sense to take it nice and slow.
Slow city driving, bad drivers, speed limits, and expensive full-face helmets all contribute to why some prefer just riding with a decent open-face helmet. Helmet preference is of course up to the rider and the type of riding they’ll be doing. Some riders are fine wearing local half-face helmets while others still prefer expensive imported brands.
Onyabike Adventures offers the HJC DS-X1. This dual-sport helmet is a joy to ride both on and off road. Its aerodynamic design keeps the helmet stable and prevents lift when at speed on the highway, lessening neck fatigue. The sun peak, large chin bar, and air vents also ensure the rider stays cool in slow off-road crawls.
If you feel the need to look around for more before making a final decision, check out Viet Full Face for more helmet options.
There are a lot of motorcycles in Vietnam, but finding a person in an adventure ride with a dedicated riding jacket and riding pants is like spotting a unicorn. If good quality helmets are scarce in Vietnam, riding pants and jackets are even more so.
Leathers are great for slides but not the best for off-road bumps and impacts. On a Vietnam adventure ride, where most of the riding consists of cruising on long country roads with a bit of off-roading, riders may want to take a look at mesh and textile jackets.
Onyabike Adventures offer two choices of jackets: The Hevik Paride perforated mesh summer jacket, and the Taichi RSJ710 waterproof textile jacket. Both jackets provide adequate protection for the journey and are perfect for Vietnam’s climate. The Hevik Paride jacket is made of mesh, making it light and allowing for ample airflow. Great for those hot summer months. It also comes with armoring and a bit of adjustability.
The Taichi RSJ710 is an all-weather jacket complete with armor, active and passive air vents, and a removable inner liner. The jacket is also coated in a water-repellant material keeping the rider dry and comfortable in Vietnam’s unpredictable weather.
People tend to throw out their hands out to break a fall. It’s basic human instinct to protect the head and face from injury. The problem is that hands are very sensitive to pain and they’re easy to damage. It would be absolutely disappointing and a little embarrassing to have a Vietnam adventure ride cut short after a minor tumble just because the hands took most of the blow.
Onyabike Adventures gives the option to choose between three gloves: The Alpinestars Spartan, the Alpinestars SMX-1, and the Hevik California-R. All gloves have armor for protection and 3D inserts for comfort and cooling. The Spartan and the California-R have what some might call basic protection: both gloves have hardened knuckles and provide great air flow but miss out on features like leather reinforcement and palm sliders.
Stepping up to the SMX-1 would give riders a full leather palm construction and beefed up knuckle and finger protection while maintaining the mesh 3D inserts for airflow and comfort.
Vietnam boasts a beautiful tropical mountainous and exotic scenery, but what riders might want to focus on is the ‘tropical’ part. Vietnam’s climate consists mainly of hot dry summer months and wet cold monsoon months. However, it can get unpredictable at times. Warm, sunny mornings sometimes turn into wet, cold afternoons.
Rainy months include September to around January and locals use cheap $5-or-less rain ponchos. These may work for slow city driving but not at adventure cruising speeds. In addition, rain ponchos only function to keep a person dry and will do nothing to keep the cold out. A dedicated waterproof riding jacket with insulation is a good bet.
As for raincoats, if you think the cheap poncho isn’t enough, you’re probably right. Luckily, Onyabike Adventures offers a GIVI rain shell riders can wear on top of their gear. The GIVI waterproof rain suit is made from Ripstop nylon so it’s extremely durable. It comes with vents, a foldaway hood, pockets, and cinch straps so it won’t flap around at speed.
Going on a trip for several days or a month would require chucking luggage on a bike. What to bring and how to bring it is completely up to the rider. Some people bring a few clothes and wash what they wear at every motel. Others prefer bringing a whole closet.
Whichever way people may want to bring their stuff, riders could never go wrong with a tank bag. Tank bags are great for several reasons:
- They sit high up on the tank so they don’t mess up the riding dynamics too much.
- Tank bags provide a good place to store a phone, a GPS unit or a map for navigation;
- They are in the front so you’ll have eyes on them all the time, adding a bit of security; and,
- They’re a practical, easy-to-access storage bag especially in long rides with lots of pit stops.
Onyabike Adventures has three tank bags available for rent and sale. All three are by GIVI and range from a small basic 5-liter bag to a 20-liter one. Other than size, all three are basically the same having map or GPS pockets, waterproof lining, rain shells, and straps and magnets.
If the 20-liter tank bag isn’t enough, most bikes at Onyabike Adventures also have a luggage rack where you can stash up to about 15 kg of luggage. Still in need of more storage? Onyabike Adventures also offers a 40-liter waterproof soft bag that can be securely strapped onto the pillion seat.
If the combined 60 liters of storage from both the tank bag and the tail bag still isn’t enough, feel free to check out GIVI Point for your baggage needs.
PANTS & SHOES
The legs suffer a lot during a fall too. A fall at any speed can cause injury and in some cases, riders’ legs get pinned down under their bikes as they slide on the road. The feet are in no way more secure than the legs especially in an off-road scenario where riders may find themselves sticking their feet out to support themselves on uneven terrain.
Unfortunately, the Vietnamese motorcycle market isn’t too big on riding pants and boots so this could be an area where riders would look towards bringing their own gear. There are, however, alternatives. Biker Shield offers a great selection of gear and equipment for those looking for more options. They also have an awesome retro cafe where you can chill out while browsing through their selection.
Alternatively, riders can find cheap strap-on knee and shin protectors, turning any pair of 501’s into McGyvered off-road jeans. As for shoes, an alternative could be a sturdy pair of leather work boots. Most work boots come with ankle protection, steel toes, and a reinforced sole so they can work as off-road boots.
GET ONYABIKE AND ADVENTURE!
The hassle of carrying five pieces of bulky motorcycle gear and lugging it along wherever is too tedious for some and thus they prefer bringing nothing and renting the gear once they arrive. The quality of the gear is an important consideration. Gear from countries outside one’s own may have different manufacturing and safety standards.
They say it’s best to pack light when going on a Vietnam adventure ride and carrying a huge bag around with all the gear may not fit everyone’s cup of tea. If you can bring all of your gear, then by all means. Some say it’s still one of the best options but others think it’s not the most convenient. If you think you’d be more comfortable renting or buying once you arrive, then Onyabike Adventure has you covered.