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  • 2017 KTM 390 and 250 Duke launched in India – priced at RM15,001 for 390 Duke and RM11,534 for 250 Duke

    Updated to Euro 4 and now sporting a TFT LCD dashboard, the 2017 KTM 390 Duke has been launched in India at a price of INR 225,000 (RM15,001). Launched alongside the revamped 390 Duke was the 250 Duke, at a price of INR 173,000 (RM11,534).

    Both single-cylinder machines in the previous generation Duke have proven to be very popular in the Indian market, and deliveries of the new generation models begin in March. Notable difference for the updated Dukes is the exhaust exiting on the right side, replacing the the previous model’s under-belly can.

    The KTM 390 Duke has a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled 373.2 cc engine fed by EFI. There is no change in the engine for 2016, with power remaining at 44 hp, and dry weight at 147 kg. Ride-by-wire is now standard, along with a multi-function TFT LCD.

    As for the KTM 250 Duke – which made it to our top five list of motorcycles in 2016 – the power plant is the same, but the exhaust, like the 390 Duke, exits on the right. An LCD screen and ride-by-wire is also standard equipment.

    The middle-weight and quarter-litre Dukes still use a trellis frame, with the rear sub-frame now a bolt-on unit. The somewhat lacking fuel tank of the previous generation Dukes, at 11-litres, has now been replaced with a more useful 13.4-litre unit.

    A bisected LED headlight now adorns the front of the 390 Duke, complete with LED DRLs, while the 250 Duke makes do with the previous generation headlight for the Indian market, for cost reasons. Also for cost reasons, the 390 Duke gets Bosch ABS, while the 250 goes without.

    Revised graphics and colours are also much in evidence for the 2017 KTM 390 Duke and 250 Duke, which are rather more “aggressive” than previously. A chat with our source in KTM Malaysia revealed that the 2017 KTM 390 Duke and 250 Duke will not arrive in Malaysia “anytime soon.”

    GALLERY: 2017 KTM 390 Duke

    GALLERY: 2017 KTM 250 Duke

  • 2017 Kawasaki Z650 ABS price confirmed – RM35,609

    Launched in Malaysia during Kawasaki Motors Malaysia (KMM) annual dealers’ dinner in January, the price for the Kawasaki Z650 ABS is now confirmed at RM35,609, including GST. As announced during the dealers’ dinner, Datuk Jeffrey Lim, general manager and director of KMM said the price of the naked sports Z650 would fall below the RM37,000 mark, and has delivered on the promise.

    This would mean the full-fairing Ninja 650, with an estimated price of RM38,000, would not too far away from the Z650. With the 2017 Kawasaki Z650 ABS coming at RM35,000 and change, this makes this middleweight machine a touch more attractive, specifications wise, than its closest rival, the Yamaha MT-07 – sans ABS – at RM36,795.

    Carrying a 649 cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin that puts out 67.3 hp at 8,000 rpm and 65.7 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm, Bosch 9.1M ABS is standard for both the Z650 and Ninja 650. A welcome inclusion to the spec-sheet is an assist-and-slipper clutch, which prevents rear-wheel hop and chatter on hard down-shifts.

    Also new for the 2017 Kawasaki Z650 is a monochrome LCD instrument cluster, and fuel is carried in a 15-litre tank. Wet weight is claimed to be 187 kg, and the seat height is a rider-friendly 790 mm.

    The Z650 is Kawasaki’s successor to the best-selling Er-6n, which took the Malaysian market by storm with its affordability and ease of use. There are two-colour schemes available for the Z650 – Lime Green or Titanium – with availability in Kawasaki Authorised Premium Dealer showrooms at the end of February.

  • Yamaha R1 Caferacer Lazareth – Back to the future

    Remember French customiser Lazareth and the insanity that was the Lazareth LM847? Well, Ludovic Lazareth and his crew are back with another of their amazing custom builds, this time based on a Yamaha R1 and dubbed “Caferacer Lazareth – Back to the future”.

    Taking a 1999 Yamaha R1 with some history behind it – it was customised by Lazareth, filmed, and crashed, on the set of the Vin Diesel movie “Babylon A.D.” – he decided to have some fun with the R1, building it his way. Since the original front telescopic forks were missing, gone to another project, Lazareth designed and fabricated a single-sided swingarm front end for the Caferacer, much like the Lazareth LM847.

    Swingarm front-ends are not new of course, with several manufacturers putting forward designs for the mass market over the decades. Ultimately, the cost, complexity and weight of swingarm front suspensions meant a lack of market acceptance, save for specials and custom builds.

    For Back to the future, Lazareth, with no customer constraints on the build spec, clad the entire machine in carbon-fibre. The carbon-fibre fuel tank encloses an actual aluminium unit underneath for safety reasons, while the original R1 frame is retained, with modifications for the front swingarm mount.

    A pair of wheels from a Triumph 955 in 17-inch diameter are used front and rear, and the swingarms are mated to absorbers sourced from TFX Suspension. Chopped up a little at the rear-end, a new floating link system gives the rear suspension the necessary movement.

    The exhaust is a single pipe, surrounded by LEDs that function as brake and rear lights. Everything else on Back to the future that could be moulded out of carbon-fibre is, and Brembo supplies its usual high-quality braking system.

    In the cockpit, a set of arrow-straight drag bars provide something for the rider to hang on to, and an Acewell digital speedometer supplies all the necessary information. Further kit on this Lazareth custom is taken from the Rizoma catalogue.

    By all accounts, Back to the future handles “like any other street bike”, but we do wonder how the front turns in with that 180-section tyre. If you are interested, Lazareth will build you a machine just like Back to the Future, at a price starting from 50,000 euro (RM234,961).

  • Free petrol for motorcyclists every month, for a year

    Free petrol? According to Bernama, the Federal Territories Barisan Nasional Youth wing will be giving free petrol to motorcyclists at every parliamentary constituency in Wilayah Persekutuan every month, from April onwards.

    The wing’s chief, Datuk Mohd Razlan Mohammad Rafii said the assistance was to ease the burden of motorcyclists, and that they have targeted 117,000 bikers at 13 constituencies to enjoy the free petrol programme for a year.

    “We will give to all regardless of their background and political standing. We understand that quite a number of motorcyclists are underprivileged and the government is concerned over its people,” he said

    Mohd Razlan was speaking to reporters at the ‘Free Petrol Top Up for Motorcycle’ programme organised by the FT MyPPP Youth Movement yesterday night, where about 600 riders of motorcycles 150 cc and below received free petrol at a station in Taman Seri Rampai. Details of the free petrol programme would be announced soon, he said.

  • 2017 Triumph M’sia pricing released – from RM58,900

    Pricing for new models in Triumph Malaysia’s range of motorcycles has been announced, and there’s some good news going forward, especially for fans of the 2017 Street Triple 765. Having recently attended the international media ride for the Street Triple 765 RS in Catalunya, Spain, pricing for Triumph’s three-quarter litre naked sportsbike – which comes with Showa BPF front fork and Ohlins rear suspension – is RM66,900.

    Sitting a little down the Street Triple Range is the 765 R LRH which comes at a retail price of RM58,900. LRH stands for low ride height and the 765 R LRH does away with the premium suspension and two themes of the RS’ multi-function LCD, but comes designed for riders short in the inseam department.

    In the pipeline is the entry-level to Triumph’s Street Triple range, the 765 S, which is expected to be priced below the RM50,000 mark. If this indeed happens, then the Yamaha MT-09 will see some stiff competition this year, as will the Ducati Monster 821 and the MV Agusta Brutale, which go up against the 765 R and 765 RS, respectively.

    On the Modern Classics side of things, the 1,200 cc Triumph Bonneville Bobber can be had at a price of RM74,900 for monochrome paintwork and RM75,900 for the two-tone colours. The Bonneville Bobber is an extension of the T120 range of retro-styled machines, and gives the rider a custom motorcycle out-of-the-box.

    Further down the range are the Bonneville T100 and T100 Dark, which retail at RM63,900 for the Jet Black colour scheme to RM65,900 for the dual colour schemes. Mimicking the look of the 1950s Triumph Tiger and Thunderbird, these classic-looking machines come with all mod cons, including ABS and traction control.

    Also in the list of 2017 Triumph models to be released in Malaysia is the Street Cup, a 900 cc cafe racer, at RM65,900. Bookings are now being taken for Triumph Malaysia’s new 2017 models at its Petaling Jaya flagship store, branch in Johor Bharu, Johor, or its dealer branches in Georgetown and Bukit Mertajam in Penang, as well as Kuching, Sarawak and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

  • 2017 Triumph Street Cup now in Malaysia – RM65,900

    Triumph’s Modern Classics range – retro-styled street bikes with a modern twist – have been very much a sales success in Malaysia, and the range is now joined by the 2017 Triumph Street Cup. Taking cues from the cafe racer styling of the Thruxton R, the 2017 Triumph Street Cup retails for RM65,900, including GST.

    Based on the Bonneville-series 900 cc SOHC, eight-valve, parallel-twin engine, the Street Cup produces 54 hp at 5,900 rpm and 80 Nm of torque at 3,250 rpm. Fuelling is by multipoint EFI, and power gets to the ground via a five-speed gearbox.

    Styling for the Street Cup is very much based on the cafe racers that tore up the ring road outside of London in the sixties, with “Ace” bars and single-seat cowl. If you’re curious as to why they’re called Ace bars, the name is taken from the legendary Ace cafe, located on North Circular road just outside Wembley, where bikers have hung out since 1938, and street races would start and end.

    Designed to be approachable and easy to ride, the Street Cup comes with a torque assist clutch system the lowers lever effort, and the ride-by-wire throttle ensure precise control and fuelling. ABS is standard, and liquid-cooling is now practically compulsory for Euro 4 compliance, despite how loud the purists might scream.

    Switchable traction control is also standard, something of a rarity for most manufacturers in what might be considered the “beginner” area of a model range. Aiming to make ownership as fuss-free as possible, service intervals have been extended to 10,000 km.

    A nice touch is the underseat USB charger, which is, today, something of a necessity for everyone. The Street Cup has over 120 accessories available from the official Triumph catalogue, and we assume the after-market will not be far behind.

    There are two colour options for the 2017 Triumph Street Cup – Racing Yellow/Silver Ice (pictured) and Jet Black/Silver Ice. Priced at RM65,900, including GST, but excluding road tax, registration and insurance, the Street Cup is now available at Triumph Malaysia’s Petaling Jaya showroom.

  • 2017 MotoGP championship: the teams and the bikes

    With the 2017 MotoGP world championship looming large, and the opening round in Qatar on March 26 drawing ever closer, lets have a look at some of the race bike livery and riders for this year. 2016 saw the MotoGP title wrapped up in Motegi, Japan, by Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda, three rounds before the end of the season.

    Coming into 2017, the usual game of rider musical chairs has been played, with some established riders switching teams, and others moving up the ranks from Moto2. Chief among these is Jorge Lorenzo’s move to Ducati, walking away from a nine-year tenure with Yamaha.

    This perhaps comes as no surprise, considering the rumoured acrimonious relationship the Spaniard had with fan favourite Italian Valentino Rossi, who remains at Yamaha. Rossi had, last year, come out to say that he was being teamed-up against by the Spaniards in MotoGP, notably Lorenzo and Marquez. Lorenzo’s spot is taken by Maverick Vinales, who moves over from Suzuki Ecstar.

    Newcomers to the top flight are Alex Rins, who joins Suzuki, and Sam Lowes, making his MotoGP debut with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini. 2016 Moto2 champion Johann Zarco joins Monster Yamaha Tech 3, partnering Jonas Folger, another first-timer in the top rank.

    MotoGP rookie team KTM, with the all-new RC16 race machine, has Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro in the stable, both of whom left Tech 3 Yamaha. Coming back to MotoGP is Karel Abraham, who rejoins Aspar Team after a season in World Superbikes (WSBK).

    Dropping out from MotoGP are Stefan Bradl and Eugene Laverty, both of whom move to WSBK for 2017, while Yonny Hernandez is relegated to Moto2, after being left without a ride for this season. Andrea Iannone has moved to Suzuki, leaving Andrea Dovizioso to partner Lorenzo in the Ducati team.

    Ducati remains the prominent presence on the grid, with one factory and three satellite teams. The Ducati Desmosedici GP17 will be used by both the factory team and a single unit by Octo Pramac Yakhnich, ridden by Danilo Petrucci, while Reale Esponsorama Racing and Pull & Bear Aspar Racing use a mix of Desmosedici GP16s and GP15s.

    Honda has three teams in the MotoGP, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS and LCR Honda complementing the Repsol Honda Team. Riding the RC213V, Repsol Honda’s campaign will be driven by Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

    For Yamaha, Rossi will be its superstar for 2017, riding for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP with the YZR-M1, while satellite team Tech 3 Yamaha backs-up the first team. Suzuki and Aprilia each have a single team on this year’s grid, with Team Suzuki Ecstar and the GSX-RR and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini with the RS-GP, respectively.

    Rookie team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will be campaigning the RC16, which we had a close look at during winter testing in Sepang recently. So, there you have it, the key figures and teams for the 2017 MotoGP championship.

    Who do you think will win? Will the Spaniards gang up against Rossi? Will Marquez start whining? Will Pedrosa finally get both feet on the ground? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions, below.

    GALLERY: 2017 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing RC16

    GALLERY: 2017 Ducati Desmosedici GP17
    GALLERY: 2017 Movistar Yamaha YZR-M1
    GALLERY: 2017 Team Ecstar Suzuki GSX-RR
    2017 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini RS-GP
    GALLERY: 2017 Repsol Honda Racing RC213V

  • California Superbike School with BMW Motorrad – how to hone the craft while taking it to the edge, in safety

    Having ridden and raced motorcycles for over three-and-a-half decades, there are many who ask me for tips and guidance on how to ride motorcycles. To the many such requests I get, I usually decline, pointing them to a superbike riding clinic. But the best of the riding schools, bar none and sworn by riders and champion racers alike, is the California Superbike School (CSS).

    Founded by Keith Code in 1980, perfection of the art and science of taking a motorcycle at high speed around a corner featured prominently in the syllabus. Some riders may scoff at this, thinking they know all there is to know about riding because they can get their knee down.

    Having previously attended CSS back in the 90s and early 2000, when BMW Motorrad Malaysia offered us a place in CSS at Sepang International Circuit (SIC), we jumped at the chance. Perfecting “the craft”, as we call it, requires constant practice, as well as instruction to iron out bad habits that riders pick up along the way.

    Split into four levels, CSS takes riders from the very basics of learning how to ride fast, what to see, and how to see it, all the way up to precision honing of specific advanced skills. No matter who the rider is, world champion or newbie, everyone starts at Level One.

    The beauty of CSS is that students, after finishing all the levels, can revisit each level at will, in order to perfect areas where they feel their riding skills are weak. Some don’t go up to Level Three or Four, preferring to further hone their level one and two skills before progressing further.

    Levels in CSS are split into modules, with Level One teaching the importance of lines, turning points and looking where you’re going. Most of the drills in Level One and Two limit the rider to one or two gears, and no brakes, so that the rider concentrates on throttle and bike control, rather than outright speed, and students go out on the track after each module to practice what they have learned.

    We attended both Level One and Two, and the second stage develops the rider’s visual skills. One of the key lessons in this level is it gives you a sense of how big the track actually is, where your lines are, and how to process the visual information your brain is receiving.

    At the end of the two days for Levels One and Two, students were allowed out on track with a “no limits” final session. This allowed all students to combine and practice what they learned throughout the level, in a safe and controlled environment.

    Through the entire session, the S1000 RR performed well, and was sure-footed and confidence inspiring on the Pirelli Supercorsa tyres. The 2016 BMW Motorrad S1000 RR retails for RM104,900, and puts out 199 hp at at 12,500 rpm and 113 Nm of torque at 10,500 rpm.

    CSS is organised in Malaysia by Singapore-based SBR Trackdays, and there could be another session of CSS at SIC later this year. In addition, CSS is also held in the Philippines and Indonesia. Attending CSS in Malaysia will cost you USD 1,600 (RM7,132) per two-day session, not including a suitable motorcycle, with one level on each day. Rental of track bikes is available through prior arrangement.

  • REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS – media road and track test in Catalunya, Spain

    Replacing a very successful model in a manufacturer’s line-up can be an exercise fraught with worry. The incoming replacement model, at the base of it, simply has to do everything its predecessor did, but better.

    Different is not necessarily a good thing, such as when Honda replaced the sports-oriented VF-series with the touring focused VFR1200, and made it ugly as hell. So, what happens when you have a middleweight motorcycle that’s had a good sales record for a decade like the Triumph Street Triple 675?

    Having sold over 50,000 units since it was first launched in 2007, the Street Triple 675 offered the middleweight motorcycle market value for money, with ABS and adjustable suspension, items usually found in machines at a third more the price point. With that in mind, we came to find out what could top the Triple 675.

    The answer, for Triumph, is the 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 series. Coming in a set of three, instead of just using the same engine and suspension and adding items to push the individual bikes “up-the-range”, as it were, tailored each engine and suspension to suit the demands of each machine’s intended market.

    To showcase the capabilities of its new middleweight, and prove that it was, in every way, better than the outgoing Triple 675, Triumph held the international media ride of the Street Triple 765 in Catalunya, Spain, and invited This comprised of a ride through the countryside of Seva, in Catalan and first crack at the newly redesigned Circuit de Catalunya.

    Read the full review, after the jump.

  • Dego Ride motorcycle taxi ‘won’t be legalised’ – Liow

    The government may have legalised the likes of Uber and Grab, but it has no plans to do the same for motorcycle taxis. This is because of the high number of road accidents involving motorcycles in Malaysia, said transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, reported by The Star.

    “Even when SPAD tables the amendment, they (Dego Ride) will not be legalised. We are not against Dego Ride, but we are against this mode of transportation, where motorcycles are being used to take passengers. It will create higher risks for road users,” he said, adding that over 60% of road deaths involved motorcycle accidents.

    “During the Chinese New Year Ops Selamat this year, 151 deaths out of 257 on the roads involved motorcycles. Although the number of deaths is fewer than the 158 recorded during the same period last year, it still accounted for over 60% of accidents, which remains a worrying figure,” Liow continued.

    Dego Ride – which provides a Whatsapp-based “taxi-motor service” like those seen in Jakarta and Bangkok – has so far been defiant, previously saying that it would continue operating in KL, and that there were no laws to prevent it from doing so.

    The minister said Dego Ride should not try to “challenge” the law, adding that there were laws such as Section 23 of the Road Transport Act that bars motorcycles from being used as taxis.

    “Under this Act, our enforcement officers can take action against the motorcycle rider. We will even pose as passengers to catch them in the act. Section 16 and 47 of the SPAD Act states that any company wishing to set up a taxi service must have a commercial licence from SPAD. Dego Ride does not have a commercial licence. It has never contacted us and never applied for it,” he stressed.

    In response to the stop order, Dego Ride wants a chance for it to show its safety record, which it claims is flawless. The company’s founder and CEO Nabil Feisal Bamadhaj said they had not had any accidents since operations started three months ago. “If the issue is about safety, until today there is no accident involving Dego riders,” he told mStar Online.

    Last month, deputy transport minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi sung the same tune. “So far, no licences have been issued for motorcycle taxi riders, if they conduct such a business, it is illegal,” he said, adding that riders who provide such services could be charged for misusing their personal motor vehicle licences for commercial purposes.