On the eve of the 1st Phnom Penh Bike Week on May 26, the Post caught up with Chhan Raingsey, a 31-year-old big bike enthusiast, Cambodia Biker Club member and marketing manager at INTRA Co, to discuss his thoughts on the growing big bike trend in Cambodia.
When did you start liking big bikes?
I started liking them since I was about 10 years old. I bought my first big bike, a Honda Hornet with 250cc, in 2009. I bought it at a reasonable price – only US$2,500.
Some Cambodian people dislike big bikes thinking that those who ride them are gangsters. Why do you like them?
I like them because of the fast speed. I don’t like to ride around town without a helmet and proper jacket like other people who just want to show off. A Honda Hornet with 250cc can go 70km/h on the road, compared with my Yamaha R1 2011, which can speed up to 270 or 280km/h. For me, I don’t ride my big bike around town or short distances. I only ride it on some occasions like going to a picnic or up to Bokor Mountain resort with my family or with friends who own big bikes. Sometimes we ride together in a big team to the beach or elsewhere to raise money for charity.
Have you seen the big bike trend increase in Cambodia?
Yes, now in Cambodia more people are increasingly interested in owning big bikes, both locals and foreigners. Even the high school boys from rich families also ride them around town.
Besides your hobby in riding big bikes. Do you have any business relating to it?
I also sell big bikes, accessories and some spare parts. There is a price range of big bikes $5,000 to $20,000.
What are the setbacks of owning a big bike? And what about repair services and spare parts? Is it difficult to fix?
Since I’ve have experience with this kind of bike, I’ve never had difficulties in terms of handling on the road or fixing it. I’ve never had any accidents because I’m always careful. About the spare parts, they are available in local markets or you can order from abroad. Repair services are increasingly available.
Could you recommend a place where big bikers can go to buy and fix their bike?
You can buy a big bike at an automobile garage named Heng Yuat in front of Echo Karaoke, or at some shops near Toul Sleng High School and near Sompove Meas Pagoda roundabout, and also in areas of Toul Tompong commune.
If you want to find repair services, I recommend Raksmey Mechanics along Russian Boulevard and Precision Motorcycle Repair.
Are you a member of the Cambodia Biker Club? What do you do there?
Yeah, I am. I joined the club and we help the organisation Operation Smile to raise funds to provide free surgery for children who were born with cleft lip and palate.
What is your advice to big bikers regarding road safety?
Big bikers have to have a set of motor accessories, like a helmet, safety kits, socks, gloves, etc. If you are not so good at riding, don’t ride so fast. I would just remind big bikers that they must wear a helmet during their travels anywhere, and to behave well when they are riding - like not to make loud sounds when they’re shifting gears.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhim Sreyneang at [email protected]