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  • 2016 BMW Motorrad G310R – more prices in Europe

    BMW G310R preview 1

    After the revelation of the UK price for the 2016 BMW Motorrad G310R on dealer Blade BMW’s website, autoevolution has reported German and Swiss prices for the upcoming entry-level bike into BMW’s motorcycle range. While it can be expected that pricing will be at much the same level across the various EU member countries, give or take, there are some major differences.

    In Germany, the 2016 G310R goes for 4,750 euros (RM21,244) in base form, while in neighbouring Switzerland, eager buyers can expect to pay 5,350 Swiss francs (RM21,948). In the UK, as revealed two days ago, the baby Motorrad retails for 4,290 pounds sterling (RM23,246).

    As is expected from BMW Motorrad, the 2016 G310R, which was developed in conjunction with BMW’s Indian partner TVS, comes with a set of factory optional accessories. In the list are a rear-rack with two topcase options – a standard 29-litre case, and a 30-litre topcase that comes in Granite metallic grey.

    An inner bag for the topcase is also available, along with two seat versions – a soft seat, which we assume is a form of gel-seat, and a lower seat for vertically challenged riders. Other options include a centre-stand, LED turn signals (we remarked on this during the G310R’s showing in Bangkok) and a 12-volt socket for powering accessories and charging gadgets.

    Coming standard with ABS, the 2016 BMW Motorrad G310R carries a 313 cc liquid-cooled single cylinder engine that pumps out 34 hp and 28 Nm of torque at 7,500 rpm. Weighing in at 158 kg, the G310R is designed by BMW to be marketed world-wide as an entry-level bike for the young rider, or as a lightweight commuter.

    Rivals to the 2016 BMW Motorrad G310R in Malaysia include the KTM Duke 250 at RM21,021, the Benelli TnT300 at RM20,129 and the Kawasaki Z250SL at RM15,389.

    GALLERY: 2016 BMW Motorrad G310R on display in Malaysia

     
     
  • APWorks Light Rider by Airbus – the world’s first three-dimensional printed electric motorcycle

    Airbus APWorks Light Rider - 10

    The traditional form of the motorcycle – a frame, two wheels, an engine – translated itself into the electric bike world without much change. Using either an electric motor with a belt-driven wheel, or hub-mounted motor, any e-bike has a familiar silhouette to the observer.

    This however doesn’t apply to the APWorks Light Rider. The metal tubes and beams of the traditional motorcycle frame are gone, replaced with what is claimed to be the world’s first 3D-printed motorcycle frame. As a division of aviation company Airbus, APWorks is in the advantageous position of having access to manufacturing technology others can only dream of.

    In the case of the Light Rider, a 3D printer was used using Altair’s OptiStruct algorithm to yield the e-bike’s skeletal Scalmalloy (an aluminium alloy) frame that looks like it was organically grown. It weighs just 6 kg, with the entire machine clocking in at 35 kg. Powered by a 6 kW electric motor, APWorks claims the Light Rider gets 60 km of range on a single charge.

    The top speed of the Light Rider e-bike is 80 km/h, and acceleration is a brisk zero-to-45 km/h in three seconds. Using components taken from downhill mountain bikes for the suspension, the e-bike sports Rockshox forks and coil-over rear shock with remote reservoir at the back.

    APWorks will be putting up a limited production run of 50 Light Rider e-bikes for sale, with deposits of 2,000 euro (RM9,000) being taken. In case you’re interested in purchasing one of these unique machines, the estimated price of the Light Rider is 50,000 euro (RM225,151), and we reckon the cheapest components are the off-the-shelf suspension, wheels and brakes.

     
     
  • Honda axes CBR600RR sportsbike from 2017 range

    CBR600RR

    CBR600RR

    As the machine that was instrumental in developing the 600 cc supersports category, the Honda CBR600RR, from its first iteration back in 1986 as the CBR600F – called the “Hurricane” in the US – did more to develop the middleweight sports class than any other bike. The CBR600RR was also one of the first bikes to bring almost pure racetrack geometry to road riders, and spwaned an entire industry making racing suits for road use.

    However, the end of an era has arrived, and Honda has said, according to a Motorcycle News report, that there will not be a CBR600RR supersports bike in its 2017 line-up. With Euro 4 emissions regulations coming into force in January 2017, Honda says that the cost of developing a Euro 4-compliant engine for the CBR600RR would have been prohibitively expensive.

    Unlike other manufacturers who fund engine research and development from the source, i.e. at headquarters level, Honda develops engines with each market contributing to the engineering cost. In the case of the CBR600RR, Honda Europe looked at the declining sales of the CBR600RR, and decided not to contribute, while Honda US had no interest in forking out money to develop an engine that would have no relevance in its market.

    “It’s not been an easy decision to make for some at Honda, because the CBR600 is a bike that has had a great deal of importance to the company over the years, but the fact is this model isn’t selling in the numbers needed to make it viable for another model to be developed,” a Honda spokesperson said.

    CBR600RR

    CBR600RR

    “The work needed to get this bike through Euro 4 is expensive and there is a lot of detail work to be done to make the bike legal. In order to keep the character of the CBR600RR intact and keep it legal requires a lot more work than it first appears,” added the unnamed source.

    It should be noted that developing a Euro 4 engine for the 600 cc category would cost about as much as a compliant 1,000 cc engine, with not that much difference in horsepower and weight. Add to that the fact that Euro 4-compliance would mean added weight to the bike, which would have to be made up with a weight reduction elsewhere on the CBR600RR. So, its easy to see why Honda is taking the decision to axe the CBR600RR.

    For now, it looks like the CBR650F will have to carry Honda’s middleweight sports bike torch, along with the CB500R. While the four- and two-cylinder bikes are capable in their own right, nothing beats the scream of the Honda CBR600RR’s inline-four.

     
     
  • FEATURE: Dangers of the Federal Highway bike lane

    A recent statement by police that all motorcyclists, regardless of the size of bike they are riding, must use the motorcycle lane along the Federal Highway or face a fine, drew comments and criticism from the riding public that the motorcycle lane was unsafe to use. Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director SAC Maha­mad Akhir Darus said using the dedicated lane instead of the main carriageway would prevent accidents involving motorcycles.

    SAC Mahamad Akhir said no exemption would be given to riders of larger capacity motorcycles, adding that “engineers have done their research and designed the lanes to accommodate all types of motorcycles” and riders who refused to do so were providing “a lame, unacceptable excuse.” This provoked a response from motorcyclists who use the lane, with many saying it was not safe to ride, especially in the tunnels, more so at night, or in bad weather.

    With this mind, we decided to see if there was any basis to these claims, and see for ourselves what the fuss was all about. By way of explanation, the author last rode the motorcycle lane on the Federal Highway a little less than 10 years ago, preferring to use alternate routes instead.

    Mounting a camera on our long-term test bike, a 2016 Triumph Street Triple R, we planned a route that began at the Jalan Utara entry to the Federal Highway bike lane, turning around at Mid-Valley, then heading towards Klang, and returning.

    Federal Highway motorcycle lane - 127

    The first thing we noticed on entering the bike lane proper was how narrow it was. Barely wide enough to accommodate two kapchais side-by-side, the Triumph Street Triple we were riding, while not considered to be particularly large as big bikes go, did require some quick judgement calls while overtaking.

    Another thing we noticed was the road surface, which was patched in many areas, and very rough and uneven. Some of the feedback we received was that the surface was not kind to motorcycle rims, with many saying that they had suffered rims bent from accidentally riding into potholes.

    Others had said that the uneven and pot-holed surface, together with tree roots breaking through the tarmac, required them to take evasive manoeuvres, and we found this to be true. Quickly changing direction to avoid some of these hazards was not always an option in the narrow – and during rush hour, crowded – bike lane.

    Federal Highway motorcycle lane - 128

    Construction abounds along both sides of the Federal Highway, and the works have encroached into the bike lane proper, which means riders are sharply diverted into the emergency lane of the main highway itself. While this might be an accepted practice in terms of traffic management, we found the traffic barriers in the diversion lane made it very narrow, with zero room for error, or stopping.

    This hazard was found in many cases to lack of proper warning signage, or warning lights, while construction debris was found scattered through much of the lane. If you’re riding a motocross bike, sand can be entertaining, but not so funny if you’re riding a scooter with small wheels, or a big bike with some weight behind it.

    Riding into the tunnels revealed several other hazards, first among which was the lighting. In some tunnels, the lights were not functioning, or partially lit. The other issue was the level of lighting. Riding in bright sunlight, entering a tunnel means the rider is effectively blind, due to the low light level in the tunnel.

    Federal Highway motorcycle lane - 106

    Eyes take time to transition from bright sunlight to darkness, and the light level inside the tunnel is inadequate to compensate for this, even when riding at a speed of between 60 to 80 km/h. The road surface inside the tunnels, which we assume is concrete because we couldn’t stop to check, was uneven and bumpy.

    While the bike we were riding had adjustable suspension that is compliant and works well, we wondered how riders of cheaper, lower capacity machines coped with riding this kind of a surface, day-in and day-out. The other issue was with the entrance and exit of some of the tunnels.

    In many cases, riders had to take a sharp turn to enter the tunnels, with a sharp exit waiting on the other end. Coupled with the temporary loss of vision from entering the darkness, this made for some very exciting exits during our ride along the bike lane.

    Federal Highway motorcycle lane - 117

    Another issue was the number of water hazards we encountered, and we’re not playing golf here. We found standing water at several points during our ride, and according to feedback we received from paultan.org readers, flooding in the tunnels during heavy rain is a common occurrence, with many saying that they had ridden into the tunnels to suddenly find themselves knee-deep in floodwater.

    Some sections of the Federal Highway bike lane were undulating and curvy, almost like riding a roller coaster. While some might consider this fun, doing this on a daily basis for a work commute rapidly grows old. Add to that the lack of width and emergency run-off space on the lane, and you have an accident waiting to happen.

    Corners on the bike lane were the cause of some concern. While certain corners were nicely radiused to match the speed limit, other were 90-degree challenges to a rider’s low-speed bike handling skill. The narrow confines of the lane, coupled with retaining walls and fencing on both sides, effectively made the lane a single-track.

    Federal Highway motorcycle lane - 110

    When you consider the amount of bike traffic in the lane, especially during the morning and evening rush-hour, what you get is a bottle-neck. Some riders have said that when the bike in front of them brakes hard for the corner in front, or a hazard, they have found themselves having nowhere to go to avoid a collision.

    This sometimes results in a multi-bike pile-up, along with the fact that everyone’s day is ruined. Speed bumps along the lane are also somewhat over-sized, and we saw the result of this in an accident that happened when a rider lost control of his machine after hitting a speed bump.

    Overtaking in the lane is a somewhat dicey affair. At certain stretches, like near Shah Alam, overtaking is easy, with a clear, straight lane and adequate run-off space. Other places, like at Angkasapuri or Sunway, overtaking means having to have good judgement, and hoping that the bike in front doesn’t suddenly decide to change direction.

    Federal Highway motorcycle lane - 107

    That the guard-rails along the lane come close to edge, coupled with big edifices being built right up to the edge of lane itself, means a rider has absolutely no chance of escape in case something happens in front. All the rider can do is brake hard, and pray.

    Speeding up doesn’t solve anything, since the margin for error is so thin, and slowing down means you start to hold up traffic behind you. We rode the lane at an average pace of 55 km/h, according to our GPS, increasing speed slightly in clear sections.

    Other hazards we saw during our ride include pedestrians crossing and walking in the lane, and a car crossing the lane. Direction signboards were also somewhat lacking, and exits from the bike lane were not clearly marked.

    Federal Highway motorcycle lane - 116

    While it is possible to ride a big bike on the Federal Highway bike lane, it is somewhat hazardous. If a rider doesn’t pay attention, or is taken by surprise, an accident can easily result. In some places in the bike lane, the only thing that saved the author was decades of riding experience, and a capable motorcycle.

    So, from a safety standpoint, are the police right in enforcing the law and making riders use the Federal Highway bike lane? Yes, the law is the law, and not obeying the law leads to anarchy and chaos. The lackadaisical attitude of many Malaysian road users, both four- and two-wheeled, is proof of this.

    But, is it fair for motorcyclists to be subject to some of the hazards of riding in the bike lane, when the infrastructure and maintenance is clearly lacking in many areas?

    We hope that this video, along with constructive comments and opinions from our readers, will spur the authorities to make improvements not just to the motorcycle lane, but to road and highway design as a whole, so that we can all have a safe drive or ride.

     
     
  • 2016 BMW Motorrad G310R: RM23,246 in the UK

    BMW G310R preview 1

    The 2016 BMW Motorrad G310R’s price for the UK has been revealed by Motorrad dealer Blade BMW, and the newest addition to BMW’s stable is going for 4,290 pounds sterling (RM23,246). The price of the single-cylinder, entry-level bike was shown on Blade BMW’s website, and is expected to go on sale in October.

    Much anticipated after news first broke last year that BMW was producing its first small-displacement motorcycle in nearly 60 years, the 2016 G310R was developed in conjunction with BMW Motorrad’s Indian manufacturing partner, TVS. The G310R comes with a 313 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that has a claimed 34 hp and 28 Nm of torque at 7,500 rpm.

    With the cylinder orientation reversed, the G310R’s intake faces forward. This lets the engine be tilted a little further forward to place weight over the front wheel, while giving the exhaust a straight path to the rear.

    A six-speed multi-disc wet clutch transmission, which allows for a 0-100 km/h time of just 7.85 seconds, gets the power to the ground via chain drive. Other bits include adjustable rear suspension, with up to 10 levels of adjustment. A fully digital instrument cluster also displays, aside from various other functions, the current gear selected.

    Weighing in at 158 kg, and with ABS as standard, the G310R is designed by BMW to be marketed worldwide, meaning that there may not be market-specific variants in terms of 250 cc engines to meet local licensing requirements. Rivals to the 2016 BMW Motorrad G310R in Malaysia include the KTM 250 Duke at RM21,021, the Benelli TnT300 at RM20,129 and the Kawasaki Z250SL at RM15,389.

    In Malaysia, BMW Motorrad has begun displaying the 2016 G310R in local dealerships, but has not been forthcoming about a release date or pricing.

     
     
  • Zercado auto-adjustable motorcycle rear-view mirrors – seeing things differently on the road

    Zercado smart motorcycle mirror - 1

    One of the traditional bug-bears of riding a motorcycle is the view – or lack thereof – that a rider gets from the rearview mirrors. Due to the width of the handlebars, and the rider’s seating position, motorcycle rear-view mirrors can sometimes have large blind spots, or provide less than a proper view of what’s behind the rider.

    Zercado, a start-up founded by Bartosz Ambrozkiewicz, may have the answer in the form of an automatically adjustable mirror that changes the viewing angle based on the rider’s position on the bike. Since riding a motorcycle calls for a lot of physical movement from the rider, the rider’s viewing angle changes changes constantly in relation to the mirror position, and can sometimes result in blind-spots appearing, or becoming larger.

    This, of course, increases the risk of an accident, especially when the rider doesn’t know what is going on behind him or her. Using sensors built into the rider’s jacket or a smartphone in the rider’s jacket pocket, the Zercado mirror adjusts the mirror lens to provide the best possible rearview for the rider.

    Using an aspherical mirror, the Zercado mirror “almost completely eliminates blind spots,” claims Ambrozkiewicz. The mirror also incorporates turn signals, and is designed to be fitted to a multitude of sports and naked bikes using the standard rearview mirror mounts.

    Currently moving into raising funds on Kickstarter, the Zercado mirror has gone through second prototype phase, and won the Microsoft Imagine Cup design competition in 2015. Pricing is estimated to be USD250 (RM1022).

    What do you think? A boon for riders and motorcycle safety or another gadget that looks better than it works? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions.

     
     
  • 2016 BMW Motorrad G310 R: BMW Motorrad goes graphic with motorcycle superhero comic book

    2016 BMW G310 R - Riders in the storm graphic novel crop

    The interest surrounding the impending release of the 2016 BMW Motorrad G310 R has raised anticipation amongst the local motorcycle riding crowd, but, aside from a viewing tour recently where a single G310 R was put on display, not much else has been forthcoming from BMW Motorrad Malaysia. However, the marketing hype surrounding the G310 R now goes in a different direction, with the release of a graphic novel titled “Riders in the storm”, featuring the G310 R.

    Produced in collaboration with publisher Panini Verlags, the graphic novel is written by Darko Macan, and illustrated by Riccardo Burchielli. Drawing on real-life personalities for inspiration, Riders in the storm illustrates the adventures of policewman Makani – based on tattoo-model Makani Terror – and her companions, racing rider Eve, street artist Nikki Animah and a wolf with super-powers.

    BMW_G310R-1

    Naturally, the heroes will be riding “suitable” motorcycles from BMW Motorrad’s range as they battle the mysterious Black Riders – also based on real people, according to Hermann Paul, managing director of Panini Verlags. Scheduled for release in October, Riders in the storm is a work of passion for Burchielli, who is an avid motorcyclist and previously illustrated for DC Comics, Marvel and Dark Horse.

    Burchielli says riding a bike is “how you relate to your natural surroundings and the landscapes you pass through. It’s a feeling of freedom that comes from your ability to move freely in the world like a cowboy. It’s also about your connection with your motorcycle, which is rather like a loyal friend. And not least it’s about total relaxation. When you’re riding your bike, that’s all you’re focused on. There’s no room for anything else in your head – you’re totally free at that moment.”

     
     
  • Malaysian transport minister: road-users attitude to safety is poor, changes in helmet law being considered

    2016 Yamaha Road safety -1

    The attitude of Malaysian road-users towards safety campaigns held during festive seasons in Malaysia to raise safety awareness and prevent road deaths was critisised by Transport minister Datuk Sri Liow Tiong Lai. Speaking at the Yamaha “Balik kampung road safety campaign” held in Bentong, Pahang, Liow said despite the ministry and other related parties holding yearly campaigns, the death toll on highways and roads during the festive season has not changed.

    “We hold these campaigns every year, and yet we still see a high number of accidents on the roads, especially during the balik kampung rush,” said Liow. “This has to change, and starting this year, we are going to increase enforcement, in cooperation with other agencies such as JPJ.”

    Liow also mentioned that helmet use was poor, especially in rural areas, and said that many riders were using helmets that were past the shelf-life. “There are riders using helmets that are 10-, 15-, even 20-years old. Helmets have a shelf-life, and should not be beyond five years.”

    Changes to the present helmet law are being considered, according to Liow, and the ministry is looking into making it mandatory for helmets to be “retired” after a certain period after manufacture. “We are considering this. When riding, the only real protection is the helmet, and an old helmet will not provide much protection.”

    Enforcement will also be stepped up this year, with the involvement of related agencies in joint operations, according to Liow. “We are going to come down hard this year on law-breakers, and we shall be conducting joint-operations. For example, if JPJ is conducting an operation, then the police will also be involved to conduct checks on the drivers,” he said.

    With the theme of “focus on the road, not on your hand”, this year’s Yamaha road safety campaign also illustrated the danger of using the hand-phone while driving. This was illustrated by a simple demonstration of a video of a person driving, looking down at the phone, and being involved in and accident in a split-second.

    During the road safety campaign which is held at four locations – Bentong, Pahang; Sungai Dua, Penang; Sungai Petani, Kedah and Shah Alam, Selangor – riders can take advantage of safety checks conducted by Yamaha mechanics and 500 lucky participants will exchange their old, unsafe helmets for new KHI helmets.

     
     
  • REVIEW: 2016 KTM Adventure 1050 – an alternative to BMW Motorrad’s invincible Gelande/Strasse?

    KTM_Adventure_1050_01

    When the concept of the heavy-duty, long-distance, touring motorcycle was put into regular production as the Gelande/Strasse by BMW Motorrad over three decades ago, no one could have fore-seen what was basically a niche product for European riders wanting to cruise the sand dunes of northern Africa becoming a worldwide phenomenon. These days, all the major manufacturers have a big dual-purpose in their line-up, to cater to every sort of rider.

    From BMW Motorrad’s GS-series bikes of today, to Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 range, the big ‘adventure’ styled motorcycle is not going to go away anytime soon. Not wanting to be left out of its share of the large-capacity off-roader market is KTM, with its “Adventure” series of dual-purpose bikes.

    Most adventure-type bikes are typified by a tall saddle height, over-sized fuel tank, upright seating position and the provision for mounting hard-case bags. Styling of the bodywork tends to be on the edgy side, and the sub-frame is usually exposed, since it will be covered up with the saddle-bags anyway.

    KTM_Adventure1050_02

    In the case of KTM, the Austrian company drew on its roots in moto-crossing and motorsports history to come up with four different versions of the Adventure bike in its range. Starting with the top-of-the-line 1290 Super Adventure, to the 1190 Adventure and Adventure R, there is a KTM Adventure bike to suit everybody.

    Which brings us to the 2016 KTM 1050 Adventure. Positioned as the entry-level dual-purpose bike in KTM’s Adventure range, the 1050 Adventure is a big dual-purpose meant to be affordable, but no less capable, than its bigger-engined siblings.

    Read more after the jump.

     
     
  • 2016 CMC Italjet 125 scooter in Malaysia – RM6,996

    2016 CMC Italjet 125 -12

    Italian brand Italjet is known for its range of urban scooters that are stylish, but easy to ride and maintain. After a 10-year absence from the Malaysian market, the Italjet brand is being re-introduced by Chear Global with the 2016 CMC Italjet 125 that retails for RM6,996 and is designed for city use.

    The CMC Italjet 125 carries a 125 cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine that puts out 8.8 hp and and 8.6 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm. The automatic transmission uses a V-belt, as is common of scooters in this capacity range, and net weight is claimed to be 106 kg.

    Rolling on 13-inch wheels, the 2016 Italjet 125 has disc brakes at both ends, and a non-adjustable fork with a single shock absorber adjustable for pre-load in the rear. A generous under-seat compartment holds personal items and is capable of swallowing a full-face helmet.

    Lighting is with LEDs front and rear, and DRLs are included, a nice touch at this price point. Two colour schemes are available – Chilli Red and Sporty White.

    Retailing at a price of RM6,996 including GST, excluding road tax and insurance, the distribution of the 2016 CMC Italjet 125 will begin by the first week of July. Interested customers can register their interest with CMC dealers throughout West Malaysia and get delivery of the CMC Italjet 125 before the Hari Raya holidays.