What does your scooter say about you? Tell me what you ride, I’ll tell you how you socialize

By Pham Van, Lam Le   May 4, 2016 | 06:25 pm GMT+7

You are what you... ride, especially in Vietnam, where one in two people owns a motorbike.

Super Cub

Super Cub

Super Cub.

Super Cub (sometimes called 82 in Vietnam): Old ladies who can’t take the fall, or young upstarts to whom the unknown land of the past is all-time euphoria. The cub used to come with a three stage gearbox, but it was never a problem because those who put safety first always traveled in top gear, and those who couldn't stand being a runner-up were always somewhere between first and second, waiting for the chance to shift up and go full throttle.

Dream

Dream: the choice of stuntmen.

Dream: the stuntman's choice.

The most practical bike ever and once a dream for almost every Vietnamese, this vehicle is one more brick that consolidates the position of “Honda” as a general noun to refer to any two-wheel vehicle powered not by a human in southern Vietnam.

Wave

Riding the wave of... Wave

Riding the wave of... the Wave

Wave: A tsunami in disguise, anyone lucky enough to be in Vietnam before the helmet era must remember what happened in Hanoi whenever the football team did something positive. Scores of ‘wave’ riders circled Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter at MotoGP speed with all the protective equipment of a game of chess. What a scene!

SH 

Rich kids of 2000s

Rich kids of the 2000s.

Not short for So Hot, rather a larger-than-life wannabe show-stopper. At the time of its introduction to motorbike-dominated Vietnam, the SH was the immediate luxury package. In the ‘helmet era’, SH owners are a prime target for traffic cops, who kindly spare other (cheaper) bikes safe in the knowledge that SH owners can easily afford the fine.

Nouvo 

Foreigners are, according to them, not affected by Vietnam's helmet regulation.

Some foreigners seem to think themselves immune to Vietnam's helmet regulations.

Nouvo (reads like ‘nouveau’ in French, literally ‘new’ in English): Perfect for first timers in Vietnam craving a two-wheel experience but still too scared to jump on a bike with gears. The Nouvo, now sadly mostly old, appears to be the most popular among the expat community.