Get your motor runnin'

Head out on the highway

Lookin' for adventure

And whatever comes our way.

Steppenwolf wrote the song, we’ve all hummed it in our head, and the rebel in all of us has yearned to live it. Well, Siam Wheels gives you the chance to live that dream.

Formed in 2009, Siam Wheels is a club for people that love motorcycles but are in Thailand for a short period of time or infrequently. It offers the benefits of bike ownership without the hassles.

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Explaining his custom motorcycle business, Managing Director Derek van Pelt says, “The nexus for this business is in the exotic car club model in Europe and in the U.S. featuring Lamborghinis, Ferraris & Maseratis, but I didn’t have enough money to replicate that here, I’ve always loved to ride motorcycles and Thailand is a great place to ride: the roads are good, the weather is excellent, and the people are friendly.

“It’s very expensive to import a motorbike to Thailand (it can cost three times the price of a bike in North America or Europe), so an expat, who comes here on a one-year contract, and loves to ride motorcycles is going to go have down to the Harley Davidson dealer and pay top dollar for a bike. Then he’s going to ride the bike two or three times a month, say thirty-six times a year, then he’s going to have to sell it when he moves on to his new position. By that time, the bike will have depreciated and he’s going to end up taking a substantial financial hit on it - and he’s got to find someone to buy it as well. Siam Wheels is an alternative to all that and you don’t have to worry about maintaining your bike either as we keep all our bikes in prime condition.

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“A member makes a commitment to the club, which starts at Bt3,000 a month (Bt3,210 with VAT), and the member must commit to 12 months. That gets the member a certain number of points (entry level is 22 baht a point), then the bikes have prices in both weekday and weekend points. All you have to pay on top of that is the gas.

“When you join the club, you get a community immediately, you get guys to ride with you as we do at least a ride a month, and we can also network you into the Harley Davidson and Yamaha owner’s club rides.”

Derek stresses that Siam Wheels isn’t a rental company – you are getting bikes in excellent condition – it’s just an alternative to ownership. He also says that your points don’t expire and you can pay it forward - that is you could use of three of your twelve months to take an immediate ride and then only be on the hook for nine months. All the bikes are insured and have a Bt20,000 deductible.

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Derek started with Harley Davidson motorcycles because as he says, “I wanted one, and putting a business around it is a good way to explain it to my wife. It’s also part of the pitch, because many wives won’t let their husbands buy Harleys. Look at the options; one, honey, I want a buy a bike – its US$45,000; or two, honey, I want to join this bike club (at Bt3,210 a month)  and get out of town once a month.  It’s much easier to sell the latter, while the first option will probably have you sleeping on the couch in short order.”   

One recent Siam Wheels ride took members on a scenic overnighter to Pattaya led by a police escort. It’s a club for people who like to ride, not a club for people who like to cheat death. A Siam Wheels trip goes with the traffic, maybe a little faster, but everyone goes together, and if at some point the trip changes direction, one rider will always wait by the side of the road for the last rider to catch up and indicate the route the group has taken.

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Located on Chalerm Prakiet Road between sois 7 and 9 (near the Udomsuk-Srinakarin intersection), Siam Wheels provides easy access to the Bang-na Trad highway, so you don’t have to fight the notorious Bangkok traffic just to start your ride. Derek says you can be in those rice fields in 20 minutes.        

The company has 12 bikes including a 1,450cc 2006 Harley Dyna Glide Street Bob, a 1,250cc Harley 2008 VRSCAW V-Rod, a 1,000cc 2005 Yamaha R1, a 1,000cc 2009 Yamaha RI, a 600 cc 2008 Yamaha R6; a 600cc 2008 Yamaha R6, two 644cc Kawasaki 2010 ER-6N’s, a 1,584 cc Harley Fat Boy, and the three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder, which is manufactured by Canadian company Bombardier Recreational Products.

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Derek says, “Do what you like, and like what you do is my motto and Siam Wheels is a good way to do that.”  Siam Wheels is a motorcycle brotherhood, but not in the Hell’s Angels or Vagabonds kind of way. It’s just a bunch of cool guys who dig bikes, and remember: girls love guys who have hot bikes.

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