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Minsk motorcycles popular in Vietnam again. Here's why

The Vietnamese are rediscovering the old Soviet motorcycles "Minsk", which were imported into the country since the 1960s, writes CNN website.

"Maybe Hanoi is famous for its scooters, but the urban youth is switching to a different gear today," CNN, begins.

During off-road races in November, young enthusiasts drove around the dirt near Hanoi not on jeeps with all-wheel drive, but on motorcycles "Minsk", left from the Soviet times.

"In 2010, these Minsk bikes again became fashionable among young people, and suddenly the number of events and races increased dramatically," says Steve Christensen, tour guide for Cuong's Motorbike Adventure.

Steve says that the new generation now has a trend: to get away from the values ​​of the consumer society and give in to the spirit of romance and vintage. They find this spirit in "Minsk" motorcycles.

Christensen himself is a member of the "Club of Minsk Motorcycle Amateurs" from the very first day of the club's existence. People call them iron buffaloes. It's hard to start its engine, but if you managed to do this, you will get anywhere on this "buffalo" from Minsk," says the motorcyclist. "When you go, they vibrate terribly so pieces fall off on the way."

"Minsk" for a long time was the most popular motorcycle in Vietnam: everyone used it - from the doctor to the farmer. "Many were imported in the late 1980s by Vietnamese who worked in the Soviet

Union," says Tommy Nguyen, co-founder of Hanoi Backstreet Tours.

Then people bought them cheap and sold with profits. Everything is as usual. But, unlike the Japanese bikes, "Minsks" could be imported into the country with almost no duties.

The Vietnamese remember that at that time they still loved German Simsons, but "Minsk" was preferable because of its greater power and size.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, American, Chinese and Japanese scooters poured into Vietnam, and Minsk, also known as M1A or M1NSK, "settled" in the countryside where motorcycles were used as draft horses. However, now, a group of expats began to rethink the old motorcycles. In 1988, the "Fans' Club of Minsk Motorcycles" was founded. Members of the group began to travel regularly. The local cult of "Minsk" went hand in hand with love for the country and the desire to explore the mountains in the north. For mountain roads, this motorcycle proved to be perfect.

"You can fix it in almost any village. And it should be noted that they require repairs almost all the time," notes Christensen.

But, despite the fact that the old motorcycles are not the most reliable, very loud and, frankly, not very fast - only 30-60 miles per hour, a new generation of Vietnamese loved them.

The reason is that "Minsks" are affordable - about 300-400 dollars for a used bike. Spare parts are easy to find.

According to Christensen, "Minsk" reflects strength and manliness, a departure from consumerism. It is also a journey along the road of remembrance, a memory of those times when the people of Vietnam were following the path of collectivism."

"We try to drive on small roads and paths in the forest. Landscapes around are wild," says Christensen. Such travel is the best way to find out how the locals live. You can always find and communicate with a small company on the road or in the villages, chatting to a cup of rice vodka.

But such trips are not very simple for beginners. You need to have normal uniform. A helmet for three dollars, shorts and slippers is not the best choice.

Minsk motorcycles popular in Vietnam again. Here's why