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  • 2018 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk II “Airforce” by DMOL

    While many know the name Moto Guzzi in connection with a very eclectic collection of tranverse V-twin motorcycles, less obvious is its connection with aviation, in the person of its co-founder, Giovanni Ravelli. To acknowledge this fact, and commemorate Ravelli’s birthday 130 years ago, Death Machines of London (DMOL) has released “Airforce”, a custom cafe racer based on the Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk II.

    Starting with a 1982 Le Mans Mk II, DMOL – previously featured on with the Triumph-based DMOL02 “Up yours copper”, a tribute to journalist and author Hunter S Thompson – rescued it from a yard in southern Italy, where it had been lying after a disagreement with a truck, rusting away outdoors in the sun and salt air.

    Finding the engine to be in fairly good condition, DMOL replaced the bearings, seals and gaskets, with the cylinder heads completely refurbished and gas-flowed. A pair of 36 mm Dell’Orto carburettors were fitted, coupled with velocity stacks and open slash cut headers made in-house.

    Attention then turned to the legendary Moto Guzzi “Tonti” frame, which, in its day, rated right alongside Ducati’s famous trellis for handling prowess. A custom head stock was made, increasing the rake by 3 degrees to 30, and a Moto Guzzi California swing arm was braced and mated to the frame with a cantilever monoshock.

    Bodywork for Airforce is hand-built and custom-made, and the entire affair was then coated in “Airforce Grey”, a custom colour created specifically for this build. The wheels are from California hubs in 21 x 3.00, and modified to carry a hand-spun aluminium cover on the rear wheel.

    The front end is taken from an Aprilia RS250, highly modified, customised, re-valved and re-finished, while the rear monoshock is sourced from suspension specialists Hagon. For front end braking, Airforce uses Brembo four-piston callipers, coupled with an RCS master cylinder, clamping custom 300 mm diameter steel discs made by DMOL to resemble a drum brake.

    As with everything DMOL makes, the devil is in the details, and the specifications list for Airforce is very extensive. As is their wont, DMOL makes a lot of stuff in-house, including the clip-on tubes, grips, and internal throttle, along with pegs and controls working on a modified Stucchi gear change linkage.

    Reverse levers, also made by DMOL and dubbed Inverse Levers IN01, are precision machined from aircraft grade aluminium, and will soon be available for purchase from the DMOL catalogue. Inside the cockpit, the speedometer was redesigned, then precision etched in nickel silver and brass, with dimmable radial illumination and starting Airforce is done with a quarter-inch guitar jack with immobiliser.

    Going old school for the bodywork, all the aluminium panels on “Aircraft” are hand-beaten on wooden bucks, in the traditional manner. All the bodywork was left unfinished to show the dimples and dents left behind by hand-forming, something usually covered up with body filler and paint.

    However, the inside of the front-fairing was painted in high-gloss, and the concave lower of the fuel tank is polished to reflect this. A double-skinned belly pan covers the exhaust pipes, and an Italian leather seat features a hand-stitched with an air-flow pattern to give the impression of movement.

    In Malaysia, Moto Guzzi, located at The Gasket Alley in Petaling Jaya, carries the V7 III Stone (RM66,900), V7 III Racer (RM81,900), V7 III Special (RM71,900) and V7 III Anniversario (RM80,900). Also available is the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer at RM73,900 and V9 Bobber at RM74,900.

  • 2018 CFMoto MT650 sports-tourer in Malaysia soon?

    In the Malaysian middleweight motorcycle segment, there is a multitude of choices for the rider, and a rumour has emerged that a new model will be entering the scene, the 2018 CFMoto MT650 adventure-styled sports-tourer. Originating in China, the MT650 is made by Zhejiang CFMoto Power, located in the Yuhang Economic Development Zone in Hangzhou.

    Carrying a 649 cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin, CFMoto claims the MT650 puts out 71 hp at 8,750 rpm and 62 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm, fed by EFI. Power gets to the ground via a six-speed gearbox and chain final drive, and the whole package comes in at 213 kg, wet.

    Suspension uses upside-down forks with 140 mm of travel, and a monoshock with a 45 mm stroke is located asymmetrically at the back, with twin disc hydraulic brakes. Rolling on 17-inch wheels, the MT650 carries fuel in a 18-litre tank – range is claimed to be 400 km – and seat height can be set at 840 or 820 mm, which is user selectable.

    From the CFMoto website, there are two colour options for the MT650 – Royal Blue and Pearl White. Inside the cockpit a monochrome LCD instrument panel is installed, split into separate readouts for engine and road speed in one panel, and other information on another.

    It is not known if the MT650 will come to Malaysia with fitted luggage, although it is shown on the website, and a USB charging port is standard fitment. From what has managed to find out, the 2018 CFMoto MT650 will come to Malaysia in April, and will be priced below RM30,000.

    In the local market, direct competition for the CFMoto MT650 will be the Kawasaki Versys 650, priced at RM38,869, including GST. Another option in this weight class would be the Honda CB500X at RM31,893, with ABS bringing the price up to RM35,391.

  • 2018 Ducati Desmosedici GP revealed – winter testing at Sepang Circuit, Malaysia this January 28 – 30

    Coming tantalising close to winning the 2017 MotoGP championship, Ducati presented its 2018 Ducati Desmosedici GP race machines at its Borgo Panigale factory. Despite an awesome effort by Italian Andrea Dovizioso, who eclipsed his team mate Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo with 261 championship points to 137, Ducati is making an evolution, rather than a revolution, in the GP bike’s design.

    Now clad in a red and grey livery, the Desmosedici GP is said to bear a close relationship with Ducati’s top-of-the-line superbike, the recently launched Panigale V4. Gone are the aerodynamic winglets from the previous two seasons, on grounds of safety, and the wings on the Desmosedici GP are now faired into the bodywork.

    “Last year was a superb and very successful one, and we also learnt a lot of things on which we can continue to work this year,” said #4 rider Dovizioso, who finished with six wins last year. “Our bike still had certain characteristics that made life difficult on several tracks and for 2018, we have focussed on improving these aspects because we must always be in a position to fight for the podium, at every circuit,” he said.

    Meanwhile, three-time world champion Lorenzo, who rides the #99 Desmosedici GP, failed to impress in 2017, managing only two third places and one second place finish. “2017 was quite a difficult year for me, because I didn’t even win one race and at the start of the championship I wasn’t able to fight for the podium,” said Lorenzo. “I’d like to repay the passion and the support we receive from Ducatisti all over the world with lots of wins and, if possible, with the world title,” he continued.

    Going into the 2018 MotoGP race season, winter testing is being held at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) on January 28 to 30. Season proper begins with the Grand Prix of Qatar on March 8, and the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix will be held on October 28.

  • REVIEW: Triumph Street Triple 765RS, 765S and 675R

    In its middleweight naked sports range, Triumph has had resounding success with the Street Triple 675, since its launch in 2007. Riders found a lot to like about the 675, with its light weight and nimble handling.

    Last year, the boys from Hinckley followed the 675 up with the Street Triple 765 and raised the performance stakes a notch with the RS version, designed with an eye to track use. Triumph did not forget the “normal” rider though, producing the 765 in R and S versions.

    But, curious minds want to know, what is different? Are there enough differences between the S and RS as to justify the almost RM18,000 price difference between the base and top models, at RM49,900 and RM66,900 respectively?

    Moreover, is the performance gap between the new all-singing, all-dancing 765 RS that much better than the previous-generation 675 R, which was, in itself, no slouch in the handling stakes, both of which made the Top Five bikes list two years running.

    Here’s the thing, and it is full disclosure time, the author has the Street Triple 765 RS in the stable, and the 675 R was a recent resident. So, when Triumph Malaysia gave us the Street Triple 765 S for review, the riding writers from took the chance to put all three side-by-side, to find out what was what.

    Read the full review of the Triumph Street Triple 765 RS, 765 S and 675 R after the jump.

  • 2018 Honda CB300R and Super Cub Thailand launch

    2018 CB300R

    With annual sales in Thailand for 2017 reaching 1.42 million units, from a market total of all brands of 1.82 million units, AP Honda has cemented its position as Thailand market leader for the 29th year in a row. Building on this success, AP Honda has launched the 2018 Honda CB300R and Super Cub.

    Taking design cues from the Neo Sports Cafe concept motorcycle and the soon to be released CB1000R, the CB300R carries a 286 cc DOHC, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder power plant fed by PGM-FI. The thumper engine puts out 30.9 hp at 8,500 rpm with peak torque rated at 27.5 Nm at 7,500 rpm.

    Power gets to the ground via a six-speed gearbox, and wet weight is claimed to be 143 kg. Fuel is carried inside a 10-litre tank and Honda claims the CB300R will get over 300 km in range from a full tank.

    Honda’s big bike technology has trickled down to the CB300R, in the form of 41 mm diameter upside-down forks and radial-mount four-piston brake caliper, with single floating brake disc. Two-channel ABS is standard and driven by inertial management unit (IMU), technology taken from Honda’s superbikes.

    Inside the cockpit an LCD display displays all the necessary information and lighting is with LEDs front and rear, including turn signals. Seat height is a rider friendly 799 mm and the CB300R offers lower maintenance requirements in the form of low-friction piston rings, high-density core radiator and iridium spark plug.

    As for Honda’s evergreen Super Cub, this motorcycle has soldiered on from the fifties, and is developed for the market under the “Japanese Forever Retro” design concept. Dubbed the Super Cub 110 in Japan, this utility motorcycle carries a 109 cc air-cooled engine that produces 7.89 hp at 7,500 rpm and 8.5 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm.

    Fuelling is by Honda’s PGM-FI and power gets to the ground via a four-speed centrifugal clutch gearbox and chain final drive, with drum brakes front and rear. The seat is a two-piece assembly, allowing the rider to remove the pillion seat, turning the Super Cub into a solo mount.

    GALLERY: 2018 Honda CB300R

    GALLERY: 2018 Honda Super Cub

  • 2018 Yamaha M-Slaz 150 in Malaysia by mid-year?

    In Malaysia, the 150 cc motorcycle segment is extremely popular, as can be seen by the demand for the Yamaha Y15ZR and Honda RS150R supercubs. But one model that 150 fans have been waiting for is the 2018 Yamaha M-Slaz, and we speculate it will be in Malaysia around the middle of this year.

    During several visits to the Yamaha plant, as well as conversations with industry insiders, it can be surmised the replacement for the long-serving FZ150i will be launched “sometime this year, probably before mid-year.” The M-Slaz was launched in Thailand and Indonesia in 2016 and targeted at the beginner rider as well as the commuter.

    Carrying a 149 cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder power plant that is claimed to produce 16 hp at 8,500 rpm and 14.3 Nm at 7,500 rpm, the M-Slaz gets power to the ground via a six-speed gearbox. Rolling on 17-inch wheels, fuel is carried in a 10.2-litre tank, and weight is listed as 135 kg.

    Inside the cockpit, the M-Slaz carries a multi-function LCD instrument panel, with digital speedometer and bar tachometer. Non-adjustable upside-down forks are fitted in front, with a monoshock adjustable for pre-load mounted on an aluminium swing arm in the back.

    LED lighting is used for the headlight and tail light, and the rider is placed 805 mm above the ground, with seating is a two-piece affair. Yamaha Indonesia‘s website shows three colour choices for the M-Slaz – Army Green, Matte Red and Silver White.

    While Malaysian riders await the impending launch of the 2018 Yamaha M-Slaz – it might get a different name for this market as it is known as the Xabre in Indonesia – no details have been given on pricing. From the Yamaha Indonesia website, retail price is listed at 30.3 million rupiah (RM8,990).

    In other news, it appears like the very popular Yamaha YZF R-25 250 cc sports bike will be getting a mid-model update for the Malaysia market. During conversation, was told the R-25 might see a launch during the latter part of 2018, with perhaps the inclusion of ABS.

  • 2018 Yamaha X-Max 250 preview – in M’sia end March

    In a surprise reveal during the launch of the 2018 Yamaha MT-09, the covers were thrown off the 2018 Yamaha X-Max 250 scooter, which will enter the Malaysian market at the end of March. Manufactured in Indonesia and coming in as a CKD unit, the X-Max 250 scooter does not have any official pricing as yet, pending approval from the authorities.

    Carrying a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled 249 cc power plant, the Yamaha claims the X-Max 250 puts out 20.12 hp at 7,500 rpm and 21 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. The engine follows Yamaha’s Blue Core design specifications for efficiency and is fed by EFI and transmission is a conventional automatic gearbox with V-belt drive.

    Starting is electric and fuel is carried in a 13.2 litre tank, while storage space for two full-face helmets can be found under the seat. While the full specifications of the Malaysia market X-Max have not been revealed, the European X-Max comes standard with ABS and traction control, along with keyless start.

    Inside the X-Max 250’s dashboard cubby is a 12-volt outlet that can be used for charging electronics and twin analogue clocks with an LCD panel for other necessary information. LED lighting is found throughout the X-Max 250, including LED position lights.

    Rolling on a 15-inch wheel in front and a 14-incher at the back, the X-Max is braked with a single 267 mm diameter disc in front, and a 245 mm unit in the rear. No word on colour choices as yet, but the two 2018 Yamaha X-Max 250s shown during the reveal were dressed in white and burgundy.

  • 2018 Yamaha MT-09 now in Malaysia – RM47,388

    After a public unveiling last year at EICMA, where featured the 2018 Yamaha MT-09 SP, the 2018 Yamaha MT-09 has been launched in Malaysia and priced at RM47,388 including GST. This updated naked sports bike now comes with a quickshifter, traction control, three riding modes and adjustable suspension.

    Still carrying the 847 cc, inline-triple, the MT-09 produces 115 hp at 10,000 rpm and 87.5 Nm of torque at 8,500 rpm. Power still gets to the ground via a six-speed gearbox, with Yamaha’s Assist & Slip (A&S) clutch that reduces clutch lever effort and prevents rear wheel slip during hard downshifts.

    New for for 2018 is the LED projector headlamp assembly that resembles the unit from the MT-10 litre-class naked sports bike. Also revised is the rear tail light assembly with LED lighting in two rows.

    ABS and traction control are now standard on the MT-09, along with a quickshifter for clutchless upshifts. Suspension on the MT-09 has also been upgraded, and now features both compression and rebound adjustment in the 41 mm diameter upside-down forks, while the rear has a monoshock adjustable for pre-load.

    Fuel for the MT-09 is carried in a 14-litre tank, and seat height is set at 820 mm. Braking is done with dual 298 mm diameter brake discs in front and a single disc at the back, with wet weight claimed to be 193 kg.

    Described as the “ultimate streetfighter” by Datuk Jim Khor, managing director of Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia, the MT-09 represents a renewed thrust into the local big bike market by the official Yamaha distributor. Citing market figures showing Yamaha having 28% of local market share of motorcycles above 200 cc locally, Khor said Yamaha Malaysia is evaluating the market demand closely for big bikes.

    During a press conference, Khor said the MT-09 is a CKD model, allowing for competitive pricing. However, the upgraded MT-09 SP, as well as the MT-10, would not likely be brought in due to it being a CBU model and unlikely to have competitive pricing in the local market.

    The same answer applied to the last of the supersports machines, the Yamaha R-6, which is the last currently available pure sports bike in the market after the demise of the Honda CBR600RR and Suzuki GSX-R600. “A lot depends on market demand, and whether we can support the bike properly as a CKD unit, so we shall see,” said Khor.

    In the Malaysian market, the 2018 Yamaha MT-09 goes up against the Triumph Street Triple S, priced at RM49,000, Kawasaki Z900 at RM49,158 and the Honda CB650F at RM44,995. The 2018 Yamaha MT-09 will be available at authorised Hong Leong Yamaha dealers at the end of January.

  • 2018 BMW Motorrad R nineT gets Dab Design ER Kit

    Retro racers have now been around long enough that some are beginning to get a feeling of ennui, looking at similarly styled motorcycle over and over. Dab Design, from France, was founded by Simon Dabidie, who wants to resuscitate some of that early excitement of retro machines with the ER Kit, intended for the BMW Motorrad R nineT.

    While the R nineT is a striking motorcycle in and of itself, with its air/oil-cooled 1,170 cc flat-twin “Boxer” engine, and 110 hp and 119 Nm of torque on tap, the Dab Design kit does turn BMW Motorrad’s Heritage-series bike into something else. Resembling a cafe racer as might be dreamed up by science-fiction artist Chris Foss, the ER Kit, as its name suggests, is currently in concept stage and comes as a bolt-on kit using standard handtools.

    Preserving the frame, engine and rolling gear of any R nineT from 2014 on, the ER Kit – ER standing for “Enhanced Racer” – comes in 13 parts, all designed to be installed using the bike’s standard mounting points. Currently raising funds on fund-raising site Indiegogo through pre-orders, the kit was born out of a series of custom motorcycles built by Dab Design in 2017.

    Individual components of the ER Kit is the bodywork, fork head and support, mud guard, rear seat cowl and side covers, with a little electrical knowledge needed to install the headlight and LED DRLs. A unique touch is that aside from bodywork options in fibreglass or carbon-fibre, you can also choose natural flax fibre and the kit can be fitted to the R nineT Pure and Racer with some modification to the forks.

    The fibreglass ER Kit comes in a choice of standard BMW Motorrad colours of R nineT Pure, Black, Silver and Racer, with other colours on request. For the carbon-fibre ER Kit, the buyer has a choice of gloss or matte varnish, as does the flax fibre kit.

    Pricing for the Dab Design ER Kit for the BMW Motorrad R nineT is at a super early bird 50% discount on Indiegogo at 1,995 euro (RM9,509), while the carbon-fibre and flax versions go for 3,375 euro (RM16,086). Shipping is extra, and delivery is estimated to be June 2018.

  • 2018 MV Agusta restructuring to focus on Brutale 800 RR, return of Cagiva brand name as adventure bike?

    With a tumultuous 2016 – 2017 financial season behind them, Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta, based in Varese, Italy, seems to be reconsolidating its product line and focusing on the future. With the injection of fresh capital from the Black Ocean Group, owned by the Russian Savarov family, it seems MV Agusta has been given a new lease on life.

    Not much news has been coming out of the house of Castiglioni, but with the very low-key launch of the new Brutale 800 RR last year, it can be assumed that production will focus on the Brutale 800 triple engine. This will probably take the form of some special issues and limited editions focusing on the Dragster 800 RR.

    Looking forward, the rumoured Brutale four-cylinder looks to be gaining traction, as told to during the EICMA by a source inside MV Agusta. From what was discussed, it looks like the new Brutale four will make a public appearance towards the end of 2018, and in RR and RC forms.

    It also looks like the Brutale range will be expanding, seeking to bring in new riders to the MV Agusta fold. The Brutale has always been known as a focused, high performance naked sports bike, and it seems MV Agusta wants to spread the love with a possible A2 license friendly, de-tuned Brutale.

    This would make some sense, as building brand loyalty from the beginning with entry-level and returning riders has worked for brands such as Ducati and Triumph, and BMW Motorrad has now entered the fray with the G 310 R and G 310 GS machines. One thing missing from MV Agusta’s range is an adventure-touring bike, a niche it currently addresses, somewhat, with the Turismo Veloce.

    All being well and good with the Turismo Veloce, it is still very much a sports bike at heart, and lacks something for the true overland rider. Thus, there might be a case for MV Agusta to bring back the Cagiva brand name.

    Cagiva is currently owned by the Castiglioni family as a brand name, and used to make a range of sports and adventure bikes. Malaysian riders will be most familiar with the Cagiva Mito, a seven-speed 125 cc two-stroker, styled by Massimo Tamburini, that used to tear up the streets of Kuala Lumpur. Might 2018 see the return of Cagiva? Time will tell.


Latest Fuel Prices

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EURO 5 RM2.42 (0.00)
Last Updated 18 Jan 2018