Our last blog ended with us having made the decision to attempt the Mongol Rally… on postie bikes!
Postie bikes are manufactured by Honda. The ‘new’ model is the Honda Cub 110 (‘NBC 110 Cub‘ Peter tells me is the formal name). Peter has an ‘old’ model postie, the Honda CT 110, and he has ventured forth into Central Australia and Tasmania on similar insane adventures. I, however, am quite happy with my desk, ergonomic chair and air conditioned office…
In a nutshell, postie bikes are like no ordinary Honda (or motorcycle) – in fact they’re fondly known as The Greatest Machine Ever Made. They are especially designed for Australia Post to withstand tough conditions and carry heavy loads (we Aussies love our snail mail!). Peter assures me they’re ‘ideal’ for the conditions we can expect to expect whilst traversing 1/3 of the Earth’s surface from desert to alpine. And of course, at 110cc, they meet The Adventurists’ (aka Mongol Rally organisers’) requirements!
Problem #1 – the ‘new’ postie is made in China, not like the ‘old‘ postie which was made in Japan. Everyone else (aka every Postie we are able to flag down and interrogate), is dubious about the reliability of these Chinese beasts. Peter is not, and I’ll go with him… as far as the bikes will take us?
Problem #2, is that posties aren’t on sale to the general public. You have to be, well, a postie! The only ‘legal’ way to get your hands on one is to buy it second hand through an auction. By ‘second hand’ I mean one that AusPost no longer wants because of accident damage or, most commonly, have reached their ‘use by’ date being 3 years of age or approximately 30,000km. Our grand plan? We’ll buy several, Frankenstein them, and hopefully get two good ones!
And so begins our Postie Procurement adventure.
Enter Peter, our resident auction frequenter and mechanic extraordinaire…
Postie #1 – purchased for about AU$600 – advertised as having ‘engine and gear box problems‘ 24,000km … SOLD! Colour: Green (Peter really wants a red one! He refers to AusPost’s decision to deviate from the traditional red and provide greed options as ‘a travesty’.)
Posties #2&3 – purchased for about AU$1,000 each – advertised as ‘good go’ers‘ 28,000km and 33,000km … SOLD! Colour of both bikes: Green (Peter really wants a red one!) (Update – bikes arrived with no keys…)
Postie #4 – purchased for AU$700 – advertised as ‘repairable write-off‘ 8,000km … SOLD! Colour: Red (Finally – we can stop buying bikes!) (Update 29.11.16: Peter tells me he bid on another one today! Save me!!)
So, all in all, with the grand expenditure of about AU$800 on spare parts and $3,300 on bikes… we have
two four fantastic postie bikes!
- new timing chains, tensioners and gear parts
- new pistons
- new rings
- full set of gearbox bearings on bike #1 (Chinese replaced with genuine Japanese ones)
- repaired panels, shock absorbers and repairable write off inspection for bike #4
- straightened bent wheels (Peter says this is ‘realigning‘)
- oil change
- general TLC (Peter says this is a ‘service’)
Next step…. I need to learn to ride a bike… we have four – any one will do?