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How about a small motorcycle?

When I moved to Nicaragua in 2004 I bought a small motorcycle. A “Brand X” 150cc one that was really a Chinese clone of a Honda 125 with a motor with a bit more displacement. It was a decent bike. As I remember, it cost $1900. It was from the influx of cheap junk motorcycles.
Moving forward, I decided to look at what exists in Panajachel. So, I took some time and looked around. This is the basic look at what you can find.
What I wanted to do was compare the basics so I tended to stick with the 125cc units but will offer a few more data points. First, the name brand units:

  • Suzuki: Q12,000 from Tropigas of Q12,200 from the real dealer.
  • Honda: Q13,345 from the Honda dealer and a bit less from Tropigas.
  • Yamaha: Q11,500 from the dealer.
  • Mahindra: Q10,000 or Q11,000 (two different models) from the dealer

For the “off-brand” stuff, there was a bit of variability:

  • Lifan 125: Q8500 (It might be OK for a local but it had the smallest frame I have ever seen on a 125cc bike.
  • Lifan 150: Q9600 (apparently the same frame)
  • Freedom 200 (dirt bike): Q12,000
  • Other “Brand X” dirt bike: 150cc for Q12,000; 200cc for Q14,000; 250cc for Q15,000

That’ s the research part of the article. Now for the feelings part.

  • None of the Brand X stuff looked like a good answer. Particularly the small lize of the Lifan.
  • Suzuki claims it is made in Japan. When pressed, that just meant the motor. Allegedly, Honda and Yamaha are made in China.
  • Mahindra is from India. They have been importing pickups to Nicaragua and Guatemala for a few years. Everyone I have talked to give them great reviews.
  • The Mahindra motorcycles look like a clear winner. The Q10k one is pretty basic but includes crash bars and rather than rear pegs, has more like a rack for feet. It looks good and makes sense. The Q11k unit had a digital instrument panel and electronic lock. It is also physically larger. If I was to buy a bike today, I would buy the Q11,000 Mahindra. Unlike the other bikes, it also comes with a two year warranty.

I am sure I missed a few bikes but that gives you the general idea what is here and what it costs.

4 comments to How about a small motorcycle?

  • admin

    I was in Sololá today and passed a place with a few used motorcycles for sale. Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda. all 125cc. They had from 13,000 to 20,000 km on them and a few assorted dings. I asked the price (initially of the Honda). The guy pointed to an ad for it new on the wall and told he it was half that price. Not sure where he got the ad but the 125cc Honda was Q15,000 in the ad.

    I wasn’t impressed. I would still buy the new Manidra (even the Q10,000 one if price was an issue) over these very used units.

  • admin

    I am seriously considering a used Freedom 200. For that reason, I went back to take a look at it. It still looks decent. On the way home, I looked into the new motorcycle shop by the main bus stop (the one with the fried chicken place behind it). They have Freedom 200s as well so I chatted a bit and asked about them. No surprise but the muchacho said they were good bikes. The good news is that they only want Q11,400 instead of the 12k Tropigas wants. Plus, they actually do the service.

  • Didi you ever buy the Freedom. I was looking at the 200 vs the 150XR Honda. Freedom is for 11000, while Honda 20000. But some warn that the quality is not good. I’ll use it in Tzununa with no service near by…

    Thanks,
    Doron

  • admin

    I bought the Mahindra partly based on how good the Mahindra diesel pickups you find in Nicaragua are.

    If I had it to do again I would probably buy something a bit bigger. The Mahindra is find “in town” and on the road to San Antonio Palopó (where I now live) but it sorta sucks going up the hill to Sololá with my daughter on the back.

    I think the Honda is a better built bike than the Freedom. I guess it depends on how much you plan to use the bike. I have something like 2500km on the Mahindra in two years,

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