I've recently moved to Chiang Mai from Europe (and very happy about it too!) and I'm looking to buy a motorbike. I have taken a look at the Kawasaki D-Tracker but it's just not the bike for me as I'm not really in to that kind of styling.
Some one suggested to me to buy a used Honda FTR from one of the local bike shops. It does come much closer to what I would feel comfortable on and it seems quite a good bike for and driving around the city as well as in the countryside.
Apparently (but please correct me if I have received the wrong information), the Honda FTR shares many of the components of the locally made Honda Shadow so getting it repaired in more out of the way places here in Thailand, should be easy and cheap. As I drive long distance around the countryside a lot, this is a big criteria for me as I don't like wasting my time waiting for parts to arrive or having my bike hauled to the nearest large city with a Kawasaki dealer for repairs.
If I can get a well maintained (or professionally refurbished) Honda FTR, how would you rate it against the Kawasaki D-Tracker in terms of reliability, ease of maintenance and driving experience?
I won't be doing any real off-road trips but I do drive down the occasional dirt path in the mountains. I was told that there's a large selection of (cheap) tyre types for the Honda FTR available.
I hope that some one can shed some light on this matter!
All Honda motorcycles, especially the lower displacement engine models are mostly illegally imported into Thailand, they often revert to as "grey-bikes", this was never a huge problem as nothing else was available.
But now-a-day with the change rules of motorcycles, the Thai police and customs is getting much stricter on the paper work of bikes on the Thai roads.
As alternative to the single cylinder Kawasaki D-tracker you can look at the Tiger Boxer 250 RS, I understand that it is not a motard style motorcycle, but the up-right riding position is very comfortably similar.
Are you saying that all Honda FTR's are "grey bikes"? I have understood from one shop, that the Honda FTR he could sell to me, would have have been officially imported and would come with the proper papers.
Sure I can guarantee you that that 99% of all Honda FTR 250cc motorcycle on the secondhand market will pass as 100% illegal.
To explain, Honda or any legal representative did never imported any motorcycle into Thailand for Thai domestic sale. As the Honda FTR 250 is not known at the Department of Road Transport as a valid vehicle it is impossible that any motorcycle of this model is registered legally in Thailand (this with the exception of ex-government or military vehicles, but I'm not aware that the Thai government nor the Thai army ever operated Honda FTR 250 motorcycles).
I'm aware that some Honda FTR 250 are in Thailand, but the two I know of are registered as Honda XR250 Baja's which is a complete other motorcycle and will fail at a serious police / custom check point.