Vietnam Motorbike Tours
Dirtbike Travel is specialized in organizing custom motorcycle tours covering every destination in Vietnam. We offers trips to suit every rider with different preferences such as laidback sightseeing tours, intensive enduro tours and everything in between.
Welcome to the Dirtbike Friends Club (DBFs)
"Have you ever tried an alternative to traveling by bus, train or airplane? For example, jumping on the saddle of a racing motorbike? Today, VOV will take you to discover an interest in traveling rough highlands roads by motorbike among members of a club called Dirt Bike Friends. You can call it an extreme sport or a crazy hobby, but insiders think differently.
Now popular on the Trai Tim Vietnam Online forum, where travel-lovers in Hanoi share their experiences, Dirt Bike Friends was founded in February, 2006, by Nguyen Manh Hien, a 33-year-old office worker. But the name Dirt Bike Friends has only become well-known in the last two years. Dirt Bike Friends call themselves ”off-road enthusiasts”, people who are passionate about driving on rough streets and bad roads full of mud, rocks and holes. These roads are often in the forest or are abandoned roads. As leader of the club and a mature driver, Nguyen Manh Hien shared the feelings of a free traveler:
Voice insert: Hien DB
You have to be on a racing motorbike to feel that freedom. It’s not like traveling by car or airplane. I don’t like traveling by passenger car ‘cause it’s very confined. To be honest, it’s hard to say which way is more exhausting but when I’m on a racing motorbike I feel more freedom : I can take rest whenever I want, I can control the speed, I can choose where to sleep and eat. It’s much more freedom. The ultimate purpose of the club is to travel, not to show off and our line of motorbikes is not for motor racing performance. Motorbikes that are for performance are different.
The Dirt Bike Friends club now has its own website and has appeared on TV and in magazines. The club owns a collection of photos taken by members on trips to highlands or mountain areas. Besides traveling, they sometimes do charity work for poor people in the highland provinces. The Dirt Bike Friends club says its name comes from the dirt that covers the wheels and bodies of the motorbikes after driving through muddy stretches. The club has different types of racing motorbike and they are not cheap. Each of them costs 3000 to 5000 USD. Hien talked to us about each type of motorbike:
Voice insert : Nguyen Manh Hien 1
There are many types of motorbike to suit different drivers. There are extremely tall motorbikes such as the Bajar or Djebel which have a saddle height of 86 to 90 cm. They require a driver who is at least 1m75.However motorbikes like the Tricker, Serow, or Sherpa have a with saddle height of only 81 to 83 cm.
There are 20-30 regular members and most are Vietnamese who come from different backgrounds. The oldest member is 47 years old and the youngest is only 18.Ha Thi Minh Huong, the only female in the Dirt Bike Friends shared with us why she chose to join such a club, usually considered to be for males only:
Voice insert : Huong DB
People always say that big displacement motorbikes are only for guys, not for girls. I’ve loved big displacement motorbikes for a long time. The major problem for girls is that they don’t know anything about fixing motorbikes or engines. But when traveling as a group, if anything happens they can ask the guys in the group for help. When traveling on extremely rough roads, I will let a male in the group lead the way through that part for me.
Dirt Bike Friends offer a class for anyone, including foreigners, who wish to join the club. The class lasts several days, depending on the aptitude of the students. Beginners must start with easily-controlled motorbikes like automatic scooters or semi-automatic scooters to get familiar with Vietnamese traffic. After that they can drive a racing motorbike on flat terrain, and then rough terrain to get used to the feeling. Then they can finally join a tour with the club. Expenses are shared equally among members. Dang Duc Thang, a member of Dirt Bike Friends who joined the club two years ago, describes how he came to know about the club:
Voice insert: Thang DB 1
A very close brother of mine introduced me to Dirt Bike Friends as a person who loves what Dirt Bike Friends has. In the Dirt Bike Friends Club, most members are married, and the club does not care how old you are, or if you are single or married, or what occupation you are in. In the club, we are like family.
One benefit of being a member of the Dirt Bike Friends club is that if a member does not have enough money to buy his own motorbike, he can borrow or lease one of these fabulous racing motorbikes from another member. The borrower must pay for the maintenance of the motorbike. That’s the way they support each other. Each year, the Dirt Bike Friends enjoy several long holidays that allow them to go for more than 3 days. Otherwise, they go on one tour each month which starts on Friday afternoon and returns to Hanoi on Sunday night. The Dirt Bike Friends always travel as a group so the members can protect each other. Riding all day through mountains, crossing rivers by raft, and staying in stilt houses of ethic minority people creates wonderful memories for an adventurous traveler."
By Quynh Hoa - VOV5