Same Same, But Different.
April 16, 2009 11:18 AM   Subscribe

The Tuk Tuk is coming to America.
posted by gman (51 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wikipedia claims several other countries refer to their three wheelers as a 'Tuk Tuk', but I've never heard this term used outside SE Asia.
posted by gman at 11:21 AM on April 16, 2009


I won't be complete until I commute to work in the United States by jeepney.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 11:25 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bring it on baby, BRING IT ON!

BRRRIIINGGGG IIIITTTTT! WWWWRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHAHAHHHHHHHHAAAAAAHHHHAHHHHHHHHH!
posted by From Bklyn at 11:26 AM on April 16, 2009


Can't wait to play Tuk Tuk Goose with one of these in my SUV.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:26 AM on April 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


I never heard the term when I lived in SEA; my first exposure was on Gerhard Reinke,

"What time is it when an elephant sits on your Tuk Tuk?
Time to get a new Tuk Tuk"
posted by nomisxid at 11:29 AM on April 16, 2009


Far? Its been traveling far?
...snip...
It's coming to america?
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:39 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I ate a curry there.
posted by Pecinpah at 11:48 AM on April 16, 2009


The music on the Tuk Tuk home page is... incongruent.
posted by hifiparasol at 11:53 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hope it's only coming to the warm parts of America. Travelling in Delhi in winter in an auto-rickshaw (as they are called in those parts) is brutal.
posted by artemisia at 11:54 AM on April 16, 2009


It actually has 'options' including heating, so no worries.
posted by gman at 11:58 AM on April 16, 2009


I like the word "Tuk Tuk".

Tuk Tuk!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:05 PM on April 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


The all-weather-worthiness of a motorcycle but with the style of a hot dog cart!
posted by DU at 12:06 PM on April 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


Perfect for that Fantasy Island theme park I've been seeking VC for!
posted by sourwookie at 12:20 PM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like the word "Tuk Tuk".

It's widely accepted that "Tuk Tuk" is one of only three different names used by every Thai restaurant in the United States.

3. Tuk Tuk
2. Lemongrass
1. Some stupid pun on the word "Thai" (Thai Noon, Thai phoon, Thai Me Up Thai Me Down, etc.)

No, I have no point here.
posted by dersins at 12:25 PM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've always thought of them as a 'bajaj'.
posted by gimonca at 12:27 PM on April 16, 2009


More
posted by gimonca at 12:29 PM on April 16, 2009


My favorite scooter blog 2trokebuzz.com has a nice write up. (including the fact that the picture on the tuktuk site are photoshopped Ape* photos.)
posted by vespabelle at 12:32 PM on April 16, 2009


I would like that tuk-tuk with the little pickup bed. Yes, yes I would.
posted by everichon at 12:35 PM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I associate these almost exclusively with exhausted-verging-on-breakdown Amazing Race contestants.
posted by Skot at 12:37 PM on April 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


gman, they call them tuk-tuks here in Kenya.
posted by lbergstr at 1:03 PM on April 16, 2009


This thing looks like a cross between a golf cart and a classic VW bus. I don't see the application where this would be more useful than a golf cart, except getting to your (nearby, warm, not too windy) destination four times as fast.
posted by notashroom at 1:05 PM on April 16, 2009


Interesting, Thanks. I've never been to Kenya, but I don't remember other parts of East (or Central) Africa having "Tuk Tuks". In fact, I don't recall seeing these types of vehicles in the area. You?
posted by gman at 1:09 PM on April 16, 2009


For a minute I had this confused with Tunak Tunak Tun.
posted by Foosnark at 1:09 PM on April 16, 2009


Tuk Tuk?? The hell with that, I want a technical !
posted by djrock3k at 1:47 PM on April 16, 2009


WANT
posted by brundlefly at 1:57 PM on April 16, 2009


This thing looks like a cross between a golf cart and a classic VW bus.

It's more like a combination of golf cart, a scooter, and a rider lawn mower.
posted by goethean at 2:51 PM on April 16, 2009


Wow, this post has been here for almost four hours now and nobody has commented on how these are going to keep Americans fat. Congratulations, MetaFilter.
posted by Foosnark at 2:58 PM on April 16, 2009


Sure, it's easy to laugh; it's got a silly name, it's ugly, it's only got three tiny wheels.

But what are you going to say when the street tuner kids get their hands on them? It's gonna make the jeepneys look like solemn hearses by comparison, they are going to have spinning rims, hydraulic suspensions, boom car speakers and subs, spoilers that double the ride hight, not to mention the lights, graphics, and tricked out supercharged engines...

Yeah, who's going to be laughing then?

Oh right...


Everyone.

posted by quin at 2:59 PM on April 16, 2009


this is not encouraging:

under options Rear disc brakes: For increased stopping power.
posted by msconduct at 3:09 PM on April 16, 2009


msconduct: do they normally have rear drum brakes?

Most of your stopping power comes from from your front brakes. Take a bike, start going fast and hit the rear brake. You will skid about out of control, but it will take a long time to come to a stop. Get back up to speed, slam on the front brakes, and you may stop so quickly your rear wheel comes off the ground (or even flies all the way over the front and you suddenly are glad you are wearing a helmet, you were wearing a helmet weren't you?)
posted by aspo at 3:25 PM on April 16, 2009


I've always thought of them as a 'bajaj'.

Bajaj is an Indian manufacturer of these vehicles, which in my experience are referred to across the Indian subcontinent as autorickshaws or simply rickshaws.

Like when a Delhi rickshaw wallah physically impedes your progress down the avenue by steering his vehicle into your path and narrowly missing your toe and then you sit there sucking the black exhaust of his two-stroke motor until you can skip around the rear of the thing? He always says, "Rickshaw, sir? Please, sir, you need rickshaw?" Like that.
posted by gompa at 3:27 PM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm from Chennai (south India) and auto rickshaws (tuk tuk's) are known as "autos" and rickshaws refer to cycle rickshaws.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 4:06 PM on April 16, 2009


In Bangkok a tuktuk is a fun and cheap way to get around. Fun, that is, until the driver announces midway that he needs to stop at a place that "you'll like!". Said place is either a souvenir shop or, more likely, a tailor shop. Staff at these shops are for some reason always Indian or Middle-Eastern and have a catalog of suits, which is just pictures cut from GQ or Vogue. They'll custom make anything you want for about $100 US. Which is great if you want a suit, but a frustrating waste of time trying to get to Point B.

Sometimes the drivers are upfront and say "Just go in for a minute, look around, come back and they'll give me a voucher for gas money". And they're easily half the price of a regular taxi.
posted by zardoz at 4:33 PM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tuk tuks are only cheaper than a metered taxis if you're not catching one in spots frequented by farang.
posted by gman at 4:49 PM on April 16, 2009


I would totally own one of these for scooting around town. It's adorable!
posted by dejah420 at 5:16 PM on April 16, 2009


I'm a sucker for dorkmobiles.

I want a Tuk Tuk now.
posted by lekvar at 5:38 PM on April 16, 2009


nevermind tuk tuks, i would love to see some motos here in nyc.
posted by saul wright at 6:23 PM on April 16, 2009


I adore tuk tuks!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:40 PM on April 16, 2009


Awesome!

Then we'll get to see Tuk Tuk chases in the streets, like in the movie Ong Bak.
posted by bwg at 6:57 PM on April 16, 2009


Fun, that is, until the driver announces midway that he needs to stop at a place that "you'll like!"

The trick is, I've learnt, to negotiate the place and the price before getting on to the tuk-tuk. Wouldn't mind paying more for the poor tuk-tuk guy's gas.

Staff at these shops are for some reason always Indian or Middle-Eastern and have a catalog of suits, which is just pictures cut from GQ or Vogue. They'll custom make anything you want for about $100 US.

1000 Baht tops or you're getting ripped off. :-)
posted by the cydonian at 8:07 PM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fun.

But not so good for hilly cities like SF.
posted by godisdad at 8:10 PM on April 16, 2009


Bajaj is an Indian manufacturer of these vehicles, which in my experience are referred to across the Indian subcontinent as autorickshaws or simply rickshaws.

There are also phut-phuts, a six/seven-seater contraption with a Bullet Enfield engine in the front and benches at the back. A Nat Geo article once memorably called them oversized Darth Vader helmets on wheels. :-)

Googling pictures of this is left as an exercise to the reader.
posted by the cydonian at 8:10 PM on April 16, 2009


Tuk Tuk?? The hell with that, I want a technical !

You know the article was about how they'll be having tuk tuks in America, right?

How long could it take?
posted by pompomtom at 8:58 PM on April 16, 2009


I'd been feeling the tuk-tuk sexy until I caught the Ape parallel :(
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:27 PM on April 16, 2009


AWESOME AWESOME!
posted by koeselitz at 10:14 PM on April 16, 2009


I can just picture it.

"Hey, pal, whereyafrom? Great, I gotta lotta pals from there! Hey, seein' as yr a newcomer in town, howsabout I take you on a tour of all downtown Manhattan? Ya seen the Empire State? The Statue of Liberty? Times Square? The Freedom Thingamyjig? No? How long ya been in New Yoik? Only a day? First visit? Great, let me show you round! Only two bucks, all day, no problem!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:59 AM on April 17, 2009


The trick is, I've learnt, to negotiate the place and the price before getting on to the tuk-tuk. Wouldn't mind paying more for the poor tuk-tuk guy's gas.

See, I take a totally different approach to any non-metred private transport. I ask a local what they'd pay from point a to point b. I then get in vehicle x, and pretty much the only thing I tell the driver is where I want to go. I don't make too much small talk so as not to form a relationship and subsequently be disappointed when the driver pretends to be irate by my 'underpayment'. If a local tells me the ride should cost 30 ฿, I give the driver 40 and simply walk off, ignoring his/her bull shit rant.
posted by gman at 6:48 AM on April 17, 2009


When I was in the Navy, the Shipyards had whole fleets of these things.
The yardies guarded them like they were made of gold.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:24 AM on April 17, 2009


and the best thing about that approach, gman, is that the driver will take revenge by overcharging the 'next' israeli backpacker he comes across!
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:37 PM on April 17, 2009


Wikipedia claims several other countries refer to their three wheelers as a 'Tuk Tuk', but I've never heard this term used outside SE Asia.

gman, there are tuk tuks all over Egypt and they definitely call them tuk tuks there . I got to try driving one!
posted by Kirjava at 4:03 PM on April 17, 2009


They work long-distance too.
posted by ornate insect at 11:32 AM on April 18, 2009


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