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  • REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Scrambler – RM65,900

    So, everyone and his uncle wants a retro-styled motorcycle these days, and bike manufacturers are more than happy to fulfil this need. It is a matter of meeting market needs and generating profits, after all.

    I mean, what’s so difficult about it? You take an engine, throw it in a steel cradle frame which is cheaper than any sort of aluminium beam frame you can design, grab a design from the sixties or seventies and there you have it.

    A little astute marketing, sell the image, and you will have droves of hipsters lining up to buy these things, which are then sold for a premium over motorcycles that cost less, but perform better. But, sometimes, just occasionally, the sweet spot is hit, and you do get a retro machine that delivers what is asked for in image, and can actually go round corners in an interesting fashion.

    Case in point is the 2017 Triumph Street Scrambler priced at RM65,900 including GST, which follows on from the “Modern Classics” range. The earlier models in the lineup took Triumph’s classic design style, and put it on the T120 and Street Twin machines, which, unsurprisingly, have become best sellers.

    While we have previously ridden the Triumph T120 Dark and Bonneville Bobber, along with other retro bikes such as the Ducati Scrambler Icon and Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Racer, the Street Scrambler intrigued us, as we have always been a fan of stripped-down motorcycles with an eye to performance. As we were to find out, the Street Scrambler is the same as, but different from, the current crop of retro bikes on the market.

    Read the full review of the 2017 Triumph Street Scrambler after the jump.

  • 2018 Honda BeAT scooter now on sale – RM5,724

    Aimed at the younger crowd especially senior high school and college students, the 2018 Honda BeAT comes with new graffiti graphics and is priced at RM5,724, including GST. This is an increase of RM159 over the previous year’s price of RM5,565.

    Power for this budget segment scooter comes from a 108.2 cc single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled mill fed by PGM-FI, which produces 8.77 PS at 7,500 rpm. Transmission, as is typical of scooters in this category, is an automatic gearbox and V-belt.

    The BeAT comes with a Combi Brake System which applies both the front and back brake when the brake lever is pulled, shortening braking distance. Suspension is conventional on BeAT, with a telescopic fork in front and single absorber in the rear, both non-adjustable. Additional safety is provided with a side stand cut-out switch.

    Braking is with a single hydraulic disc on the front wheel, while the rear wheel comes with a leading-shoe drum brake and Smart Lock keeps both wheels locked for safe starting or parking. Both electrical and kick-start is provided on the Honda BeAT, and the machine rolls on 14-inch alloy wheels shod with tubeless tyres.

    Fuel is carried in a 4.0-litre fuel tank, and all up weight is 94 kg, with a low 742 mm seat height, making the BeAT accommodating for shorter riders. There are four colour options for the 2018 Honda BeAT – Vital Metallic Blue, Pearl Magellanic Black, Viva City Red and new for next year, Space Magenta Metallic.

  • MSF Superbikes: Trackdays are simply more fun

    Every sports bike rider is eager to push the limit of his or her motorcycle, and MSF Superbikes provides an avenue for that to take place in safety. Scheduled for Saturday, December 2, the MSF Superbikes Trackday will be held in conjunction with the final round of the Malaysia Speed Festival at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) on December 2 and 3.

    Attending a trackday allows for riders to find the limits of their machines, or test modifications such as suspension setups, at the track in a controlled environment. For the MSF Superbikes Trackday, motorcycles are limited to 400 cc displacement (minimum), with an exception being made for the KTM RC390 and Duke 390.

    MSF Superbikes Trackday riders are divided into three classes at RM350 per rider – Group A for riders who clock below 2:26″ a lap at SIC, Group B for riders clocking below 2:36″ and Group C for riders above 2:36″. The trackday runs from 9am to 1pm, and each group is allowed a 20 minute session in rotation.

    A safety briefing will be held at 8.15am at the SIC South Paddock, and attendance is compulsory for all riders. Riders are required to wear full-face helmets with leather riding suits – single or two-piece – as well as gloves and boots. Using a back protector is strongly recommended.

    Riders should also ensure their motorcycles are safe for use, with no obvious oil leaks, and tyres and brake pads should have adequate wear left. Most of all, all MSF Superbikes Trackday attendees are reminded that this is not a race, and to be considerate to other riders on the track.

    To book yourself a slot in the MSF Superbikes Trackday online, head here. To learn more about the MSF finale happening on 2 and 3 December, head over to MSF’s official website.

  • EICMA 2017: Triumph Tiger 1200 and Tiger 800 – XC and XR versions, lighter, faster and more power

    Looking to usurp the king of adventure bikes, Triumph has brought out the brand-new 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 and Tiger 800, in XC and XR versions. The Hinckley, UK-based firm claims the new Tiger 1200 is up to 10 kg lighter than the previous generation model, and delivers improved manoeuvrability and better off-road agility and handling.

    The biggest make-over has come with the Tiger 1200, boasting of up to 100 improvements over the previous generation Tiger. Weight loss on the big Tiger was achieved with savings made in the engine, chassis and exhaust system.

    According to Triumph, this translates to better responsiveness and dynamic capability both on- and off-road. In the engine room, power output from the 1,215 cc inline-triple is now 141 PS, with drive getting to the ground via shaft.

    A full-colour TFT-LCD panel now graces the cockpit, and a full suite of riding aids is offered, including traction control with “Pro off-road” mode, optimised cornering ABS & traction control, hill hold, ride-by-wire throttle, and up to six riding modes. Other creature comforts on the Tiger 1200 are an improved seat with new foam compound -the seat can be set in two positions, 835 and 855 mm, and a 815 mm low seat height option is available.

    Also in the equipment list is an electrically-adjustable windshield, LED lights with Adaptive Cornering Lighting, keyless ignition and cruise control. Braking for the Tiger 1200 is by Brembo with four-piston Monobloc callipers in front with integrated braking, and WP Suspension provides the semi-active front forks and rear monoshock.

    For the Tiger 800, improvements for the 2018 model year include a full-colour TFT LCD in the cockpit, Brembo front brakes, and adjustable Showa front and rear suspension. Triumph says over 200 revisions have been made to the Tiger 800 series of adventure bikes, and one key change is the shorter ratio first gear for improved control and traction off-road.

    Power from the 800 cc inline-triple mill is now 95 PS, and engine response is now improved. For rider comfort, a new five-position adjustable windscreen and aero diffusers is standard equipment, and a new seat compound gives all-day riding comfort.

    The seat on the Tiger 800 is two-position adjustable for height, and both rider and passenger seats are heated. To add to rider comfort and control the handlebars are adjustable by up to 10 mm fore-and-aft, with cruise control now operated by a single button.

    For Malaysia, the 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 is expected to hit our shores some time in February or March, while shipment of the Tiger 1200 is pending. No pricing is known as yet, and will be determined in due course.

  • PETRONAS & MSF Racing to showcase everyday racers, kicking off with housewife Sharina Ramlle

    Sharina Ramlle is just a normal, hardworking person like you and me, swimming against the stream of life to help create a better world for herself and her family. The 36-year-old housewife and mother of three spends most of her time focusing on her children ensuring that they get the best care and education.

    While the above might indicate that Sharina’s family is her sole focus, one would be surprised to learn she is a strong and aggressive licensed racing driver. Yes, Sharina always had an eye for motorsport. This interest fuelled her to part in small amateur karting events since 2014.

    Normally, to move further up in the motorsport chain one would require a huge investment, but with the help of the Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF) – which focuses of keeping racing affordable, while entertaining and safe at the same time – Sharina managed to leap into the saloon car racing scene.

    Powered by a race-spec turbocharged Toyota Starlet, Sharina currently races against her opponents in MSF’s Street Tuned Limited category. With her children and husband as her inspiration, Sharina races in all championship rounds, fine tuning her race craft further and further.

    Her story has caught the attention of many, and with this PETRONAS and MSF has, for the very first time, teamed up to help highlight Sharina and more like her. The three-part video series featuring these individuals will be released over the next two weeks starting from today, leading up to the MSF Finale event happening on December 2 and 3 at the Sepang International Circuit.

    The last race of the 2017 season will feature an array of motorsport activities encompassing MSF Racing Series, where up to 177 cars race door-to-door in exciting 5-lap races. For the first time, there will be a new MSF Superbikes category for superbikes taking to the track, while the new MSF Drift Gonzo will feature a target-style drifting competition, the first in Malaysia.

    Also taking place is MSF MegaLAP, a Time Attack competition showcasing some of the quickest single-lap cars in the country, as well as the Mcclubz Car Show with 150 cars. Grandstand access is free for all, and there will be a free mini waterpark for all kids to enjoy, supported by food trucks and stalls. As for Paddock access, tickets will retail at RM10 on Saturday and RM20 on Sunday.

  • 2017 EICMA: Kawasaki H2 SX – 200 PS supercharged sports-touring from the green machine

    One of the stars of the show at the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan this year is the 2018 Kawasaki H2 SX, Kawasaki’s supercharged superbike now tamed for sports-touring duties. More than just a model make-over, the H2 SX comes with a revised frame, a new engine and a riding position halfway between the ZZR1400 and Z1000 SX.

    There are two versions of the H2 SX, the base model and the SE, which both carry the same four-cylinder, liquid-cooled, supercharged power plant mated to a six-speed gearbox. However, the H2 SX comes with an extensively redesigned engine, with enough changes made to call it entirely new.

    The supercharger impeller and intake system are completely reworked, with new pistons, cylinder head, cylinder, crankshaft and camshafts. Other all-new items include the throttle bodies and exhaust system, now 3 kg lighter, and the gear ratios have been revised to suit sports-touring use.

    Power has dropped to 197 hp, but mid-range torque has been punched up to suit the SX’s role as a highway mile-muncher. With the redesigned intake and new throttle bodies, the H2 SX boasts of better fuel mileage, which means the 19-litre fuel tank should give more distance compared to the sports-oriented H2 and H2R.

    Seating is now a two-seat affair, with the rear passenger given a wider and comfortable seat, while the rider gets more padding for extra comfort. There are two optional seats available – a comfort seat with more padding that offers a relaxed knee bend, and a low seat that drops the rider 15 mm closer to the ground.

    Braking for the H2 SX is done by Brembo, using the top-of-the-line M50 callipers as per the H2, while suspension is fully-adjustable, front and rear. It would have been nice to have semi-active suspension on a machine of this calibre, perhaps in a future model.

    New to the H2 SX is of course the panniers, which are sold as an optional accessory. Designed to complement the lines of the bike, the mounting points for the panniers blend visually into the bodywork, ensuring that the H2 SX still looks good with the panniers off.

    While looking visually pleasing, it should be noted the panniers do make the H2 SX rather wide in the beam, despite the fairing having been slimmed down from the H2. We got on the H2 SX for size, and were very aware that the panniers stuck out a fair way on either side.

    Unique to the SE model are several items, amongst which is launch control, a first for a Kawasaki sports-tourer. Also standard equipment on the SE are LED cornering lights, a three-element unit mounted on the left and right sides of the fairing that are activated when the bike is leaned into a corner, with the number of lit elements determined by the lean angle.

    Inside the cockpit the H2 SX comes with an LCD screen, while the SE version comes with a full-colour TFT-LCD unit that has two user selectable modes – Touring or Sport – that displays different parameters for the type of riding being done. Also fitted to the H2 SX SE is launch control and a quickshifter.

    Other differences between the SX and SX SE are steel braided brake lines on the SE, a 12-volt DC socket, larger windscreen, centre stand, heated grips and wheels and rear-hub with machined accents. Both SX models come with Kawasaki’s standard suite of riding aids, including traction control, cornering ABS, cornering management, electronic cruise control and engine braking control.

    It should be noted that some of the equipment fitted to the SE version of the H2 SX cannot be retro-fitted to the base model, thus the buyer of the SX has to make a decision at the point of purchase as to which variant he or she wants. There are only two colour options available – Metallic Carbon Gray/Metallic Matte Carbon Gray for the 2018 Kawasaki H2 SX, and Emerald Blazed Green/Metallic Diablo Black for the H2 SX SE.

  • VIDEO: JKJR shows the need to use proper helmets

    This public safety video by Road Safety department (JKJR) Perak shows why using a proper and certified motorcycle safety helmet is important, and necessary for saving lives. A cheap half-shell helmet is subjected to a blow by a hammer, and immediately shatters.

    The other open-face helmet, with SIRIM (formerly known as Scientific and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia) stamp, is subjected to the same hammer blow, but stays intact. While this test is hardly objective and empirical, it serves to illustrate the difference in quality between a SIRIM certified helmet, and one that lacks any kind of certification.

    It is even shown in the video that the half-shell helmet has a “Not for motorcycle use” sticker on it. However, this does not stop many motorcyclists, notably those from the lower income group, from buying such cheap helmets merely to fulfil the requirements of the law.

    What about you dear reader, especially those who ride a motorcycle or scooter on a regular basis? Do you buy the best helmet you can afford, with proper certification such as SIRIM, CE, SHARP and the like?

    Are you aware that helmets have a shelf life? That helmets that have been subjected to impact be replaced? What say you? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions, below.

  • 2017 EICMA: Ducati Panigale V4 – double the fun

    Winning “Most Beautiful Bike” at the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan, the 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 is a major change of direction for the Borgo Panigale firm. After reaching a technological impasse with the development of its V-twin, performance has dictated that Ducati will proceed with the Desmosedici Stradale V-four, moving forward.

    As a production machine, the Panigale V4 follows the lines of the previous generation Panigale 1299 closely, save for the headlights now installed inside the large fairing air intakes. While some have remarked the intakes seem abnormally large, it should be borne in mind the addition of two pistons makes the V-engine swallow more air.

    This increase in volumetric efficiency means the Desmosedici Stradale powered Panigale V4 puts out a claimed “in excess of” 210 hp at 13,000 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 8,750 rpm. These power figures come from the 1,103 cc power plant, which has a hybrid chain/gear drive for cam timing, and Ducati says an ‘R’ version – displacing below 1,000 ccc – is under development will be available in 2019 for racing and track use after homologation.

    As befits Ducati’s premier performance superbike, equipment fit-out is by Brembo and Ohlins for braking and suspension, respectively. Suspension damping on the Panigale V4 is semi-active, and pre-sets are used to determine response and actuation, with a customisable user made also available.

    Inside the cockpit, a TFT LCD screen displays everything the rider needs to know, and selector switches on the left and right handlebar pods allow the rider to select and customise ride modes, traction control and suspension settings. We have it on good knowledge that the 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 will be in Malaysia by the middle of next year, but final pricing has yet to be confirmed.

  • EICMA 2017: Yamaha MT-09 SP, darkness made better

    It cannot be denied that Yamaha’s MT-09 – with over 48,000 units sold worldwide – was something of a smashing success in Malaysia, with many riders liking that inline-triple’s power and very affordable purchase price. But, many have discovered, as we did when we took the MT-09 out for review, the overall package, while competent, was somewhat let down by the suspension.

    We do not fault Yamaha for this, especially when you are building to a budget. Precision suspension components are not cheap, after all, and there is always a price to pay for performance.

    To address this issue, Yamaha revealed two MT-09 models at the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan, the base model MT-09 and the MT-09 SP. Taking a leaf from the MT-10 songbook, the MT-09 now comes with a headlamp assembly with four LED projector lights that mimics the unit on the MT-10.

    On the suspension front, both the MT-09 and MT-09 SP now come with adjustable Kayaba front forks, with the base model making do with rebound and compression adjustment in separate fork legs, while the SP version has adjustability in both. This allows for the SP model to have finer front suspension tuning adjustment.

    The MT-09 SP also comes with an Ohlins rear shock absorber as standard, with remote adjustment. These upgrades are matched to a lightweight aluminium frame and swingarm, along with switchable traction control and quickshifter.

    Inside the cockpit, the MT-09 SP comes with an LCD panel with a white readout on black background, and the levers, handlebar and fork crown are also blacked out. Carrying the 10-spoke wheels from the MT-10 SP, the MT-09 SP comes in an exclusive Silver Blu Carbon colour scheme.

    It remains to be seen if Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia will be bringing in the MT-09 SP, or for that matter, the revised base MT-09, to replace the current model. While we would expect to pay a premium over the MT-09 – currently retailing at RM44,653 – we hope that Yamaha Malaysia will consider bringing in the MT-09 SP.

  • 2017 EICMA: Kawasaki Z900RS – retro sportbike vibes

    As a current styling trend in motorcycles, retro bikes are very much in vogue, and Minato, Japan, based Kawasaki has resurrected the most famous of their older models, the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS. Due to hit the market next year, the Z900RS takes the classic ‘Z’ bike look, and puts it on a modern chassis.

    Not a new trick, of course, and lots of bike makers have tried this, to varying degrees of success. In this case, was invited to the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan, courtesy of the Italian Trade Commission, where we had a close look at this four-cylinder throwback to the seventies.

    There were two versions on display at EICMA, the naked sports Z900RS, and the sportier looking Z900RS Cafe, which was clad in a very attractive shade of Kawasaki Racing Green. Those readers who remember Eddie Lawson and the fire-breathing KZ1000 in AMA Superbikes will immediately see the resemblance.

    Taking the inline four-cylinder power plant from the Z900 naked sports, the 948 cc liquid-cooled engine is detuned from 125 hp in Z900 form to 111 hp at 8,500 rpm and 98.5 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm, with power now concentrated in the mid-range. A slipper clutch, ABS and in the RS variant, traction control, is standard equipment.

    While some might say that the RS is merely a dressed up Z900, Kawasaki detailed in the EICMA press release that the RS in standard and Cafe version come with a re-worked frame to accommodate the fuel tank. The upper frame rails are now closer together, and the frame now tilts foward slightly.

    The steering angle on the Z900RS has also been revised, now coming with the slightly steeper angle and sharpening the steering response. Aside from the paintwork, the major difference between the Z900RS and RS Cafe is the addition of a bubble fairing, closely resembling what sports riders of the seventies would have used on their steeds.

    More interesting is the inclusion of radial-mounted brake callipers on the RS, installed on 41 mm upside-down forks, versus the axial-mount units on the Z900. This might mean that the Z900, somewhere along the way, will get these brakes, along with traction control, something that is currently omitted.

    Inside the cockpit, the single monochrome LCD panel of the Z900 is gone, replaced with twin analogue clocks in keeping with the Z900 RS’ retro styling. A small LCD bisects the instruments, displaying other necessary information.

    LCD lighting is found throughout the Z900RS, in keeping with current design trends, and making the Z900 RS an interesting combination of the old and new. The rest of the RS’ styling follows the design language of the era, with a longish tail section covering the tail light, and separate left and ride side covers.

    No word from Kawasaki Malaysia if the Z900RS and RS Cafe will be coming to Malaysia, but we have a suspicison, based on the interest shown by readers, that this retro bike might just have a strong fan base here, going by the RM50,000 price point of the current model Z900.

    What do you think? Would you like Kawasaki Malaysia to bring this one in? More importantly, would you buy a 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS or RS Cafe? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.


Latest Fuel Prices

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Last Updated 16 Nov 2017