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Christian Skoda is a German Traveler with a "Rat Race History" of 14 years in a big European ITC firm up khổng lồ VP & Director level before finally calling it quits. He retired aged 34 to live his dream - a Nomadic Lifestyle in Asia - Singapore, Thailand, Goa/India and currently commuting between his favorite paradise locations in Bali/Indonesia & the Philippines.
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When living a while in one location, you establish a base, from where you can travel lớn other places. What mode of transport you prefer, is up to you, in Asia’s equatorial weather, for me the best way to get around is by motorcycle.
Driving 20.000 km around Bali và surrounding islands over the last 2 years, I used a Honda Vario 110ccm CBS, which was a great way lớn use as my day-2-day vehicle. So when Honda came out with the 2012 model, I naturally had to take a closer look. Here is what I think about that bike after using it for 1 month and app. 1.000 kilometer:
Indonesia – a biker’s paradise
Indonesia is a vast country, consisting of more than 15.000 islands with diverse natural settings; mountains, hills, beach, curvy slopes, ride paddies with quite a modern road infrastructure, compared to other, less developed Asian countries.
I prefer riding an automatic Scooter here, which offers the best ‘bang for the buck’, while still having sufficient performance to lớn master, what nature throws at you. Also your feet are protected from spray water & you have lots of storage space và a hook, to lớn transport at least 4-5 full Carrefour plastic bags all in all. & who needs manual gear shifting in this day và age?
You can rent or buy scooter motorcycles here from Yamaha (Mio, Nouvo), Suzuki (Skywave) or Honda (Beat, Vario), which offer more or less the same features & compete in their respective categories. Of course, there are higher powered bikes available as well, which usually come with manual gears & more ccm, lượt thích Yamaha Byson & Vixion, Honda Tiger or lớn a lesser extend, street- and offroad Kawasakis. Some chinese copies (Minerva) thrown in và you are quite spoilt for choice, if you are not too tall và of ‘normal’ size.
Why I chose Honda
My previous Vario didn’t give me any troubles over the last 2 years, except that I didn’t lượt thích its CBS (combi-brake-system), which basically automatically breaks 70% the rear và 30% the front wheel, when pulling the left break handle. While this is definitely an advantage for lazy drivers on smooth roads, on gravel, slippery và sandy surfaces that could lead to lớn disaster. I had a few instances, where the front wheel was breaking out on me & one incident, where I slid off road when breaking in a dark rainy night, thankfully nothing serious happened.
I rode before some rented Yamaha Mio and Nouvo, but for me they always felt more lượt thích toys, undermotorized & with inferior build chất lượng compared to the more sturdy Honda Beat or Vario. My friend Micha road a Suzuki Skywave while visiting here for 10 days và while it had nice acceleration, the plastic feel of it didn’t tempt me too much. Suzuki also doesn’t have the wide dealer and support network, especially on smaller islands. Kymco pulled out of Indonesia a couple of years ago & while there are still bikes sold under this brand, the service và maintenance situation remains unclear at this point.
So I went with Honda again, couldn’t go wrong, as any mechanic in the smallest garage in Indonesia can service và help you, when anything is wrong with your bike.
The newest mã sản phẩm Honda Vario Techno 125cc PGM-F1 Matic, which was advertised since January 2012, has the following advantages over the old model:
125ccm instead of 110ccm
While the jump lớn 125ccm doesn’t seem much, the new Vario definitely reaches higher over speeds. My previous one maxed out at around 80 km/h or maybe 90 km/h, when driving down a hill with the wind coming from the back. This new one can go 90 km/h easily, on straights reaching 100 km/h with 2 people & my feeling is, that I didn’t even reach the max tốc độ yet. Definitely a plus when riding longer distances on long, empty roads.
Acceleration seems khổng lồ be unchanged, at least I didn’t notice any improvements here, but no decrease either. If at all, there is a slight kick, when accelerating faster than trăng tròn km/h, speeds below seem to lớn work with lower revolutions (rpm), maybe to lớn save gasoline when driving in thành phố traffic. But the speed & power is there, you just have to turn the acceleration handle at will. Nice!
This was my biggest gripe with the previous model, the small tank, which could only hold around 3.5 liters was the reason for a relative short range of about 75-90 km with one tank-filling.
The new one can hold more gasoline (5.5 liters) & that combined with the new ‘esp system’ (which means ‘enhanced smart power’ in Honda Jargon) makes for an almost doubled range of 150-160 km. I’m definitely happy with that!
The seat is a bit wider this time, because the room underneath was expanded as well. That has 2 advantages, you can ride longer distances without getting ‘bum pain’ & finally even lock your helmet in the space under the seat (a feature that other scooters had quite a while already), thus avoiding direct exposure to rain & dust for your helmet or even to thieves (who love lớn just cut off the helm bands) when parking it somewhere. The previous pins to attach 2 helmets under the seat are still there, although moved more to the middle, making it a bit more fiddly lớn attach them there.
Longer Service Intervals
Honda seems khổng lồ be quite confident with the new Vario engine. The service manual now asks for you to vị regular service checkups every 4.000 kilometers. The first should be done when you reach 1.000km (previously 500km), then next at 2.000km (previously 1.000), then 4.000km & every additional 4.000km only. Alone for warranty reasons this is great, as you have khổng lồ visit a garage less often to lớn maintain your initial warranty in the first years of owning the bike.
Other ‘improvements’Those are the main improvements, rather gimmicky is the new digital odometer & gasoline gauge, at least the latter doesn’t seem to lớn be very accurate. The former could be a concession against manipulation of km numbers, but I don’t know for sure, if the new odometer isn’t manipulated just as easily.
Also the headlights can’t be switched off anymore (the switch is missing), probably to enforce Indonesia’s new traffic laws, that bikes have lớn drive with headlights on even during the day. Not a big problem for me, though. The switch to dip the headlights further is still there, though.
The side mirrors have a more rombus shape now, which makes for smaller mirror area và better design. Definitely a plus for young Indonesians who seem to despise rear mirrors (who even drive without mirrors in the small kampungs & areas with less police presence). For me, it’s a big minus, as I love to lớn overtake and knowing – what’s going on behind me by checking my mirrors is therefore essential. Call it different mindset, but hey, something’s got khổng lồ give, right?Another new gimmick is the seat/saddle release lớn access the tank và under-seat storage – it now can be opened with the press of a button next to the ignition, which makes for less fiddling khổng lồ find the saddle keyhole in a dark night. Also saves you from bending over too often, when opening the saddle storage, which is quite convenient.
The sound of the horn changed as well, sounds more deep & full now, but the sound might have less range at higher speeds, not sure about that yet.
The overall build quality of the Vario seems khổng lồ be a bit less đứng top notch than the previous model, some gap dimensions are bigger than necessary (like the seat/saddle, where it’s almost possible to lớn reach under with your hand, even when closed properly). Or the seat cover has some hollow space under it, let’s see how long that will last. The board where you park your feet also has a more plastic feel và even creaks, when stepping too hard on it.
– 125ccm, higher end speed with similar acceleration– Bigger/wider seat, more space for storage và helmet– Bigger tank, making for higher range và less stops at Pertamina– Longer service intervals during warranty period, make for less spent time at the garage– Digital Odometer/Fuel Gauge, Snap Release for opening under-seat storage seem rather positive– New không lấy phí helmet and rain jacket as a goodie, when you purchase a new Honda bike, unchanged but still welcomed
– Build/assembling chất lượng slightly decreased, but nothing lớn cry foul about– Smaller mirrors– Lack of headlight switch (maybe a point for someone, who wants khổng lồ escape some corruptors in the dark)
Overall, the new 2012 Honda Vario mã sản phẩm with 125ccm is a great overhaul compared khổng lồ the old one. The useful improvements outweigh the disadvantages by miles. I’m the happiest biker with my new ride và can’t wait to lớn go on another 1-week long drive around Lombok within the next couple of weeks.