Repairs, Maintenance, and Spare Parts
I was worried about this, but it ended up not being a problem. The bike will break down, but the good news is that since most people in this part of the world travel by motorcycle, there are tons of little repair shops everywhere and they are usually pretty good. They can fix tires, replace chains, fix electrical problems etc. They also usually carry a wide assortment of filters, hoses and the like.
Sometimes, you might have a breakdown that requires a spare part that can't be found in the country you are in (Laos, Cambodia...) Usually, if the part isn't inside the engine, the handyman might just make one for you. I had a wreck and destroyed one of the handlebar clamps as well as the plate that holds the wheel lock nut on my rear frame. The guy at the shop just made one out of scrap metal and it worked great.
Costs of Repairs
Very cheap. I got brake pads (parts & labor) for something like $5 USD. Chains might cost you about $20, but you won't go through too many of those (be sure to buy rubber O-ring chains.) I think tires were about $20. Electrical, alignments and those types of services are usually less than $10. In short, it's cheap so carry cash.
Personal Daily Life
|Small towns in SE Asia & China have lots of repair shops and restaurants|
Stay connected to your family and friends back home. There is email all throughout China and SE Asia (sometimes in smaller Chinese towns, access is tough though.) Bring a good bike lock from home. The ones you will find in China are cheap and rust VERY quickly and fall apart. ASK your guesthouse if they will let you park it in a gated area - usually they will. Sometimes they even let me park it in the kitchen! Keep it locked: Loop the chain through the back frame, not the tire, and lock it to something iron or concrete. Make sure you bike is too much of a pain in the ass to steal! Keep your goods near you - especially your passport and important papers. That being said, I never once had a problem.