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  • REVIEW: 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 – riding the UJM

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    In the 1970s, Honda came out with a rather interesting concept. Parallel twins from the English motorcycle manufacturers were in vogue during the post-war years, and that was accepted as “suitable for road-going use.”

    Taking the idea of the twinning two four-stroke parallel-twins, Honda designed its first road motorcycle with a multi-cylinder engine. With the creation of the Honda CB750, with its inline-four engine and overhead camshaft, the Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM) was born.

    Other Japanese manufacturers quickly followed suit, Kawasaki with the Z900, and Yamaha with its XJ and XS series bikes. But, in the late 1970s, the undisputed of the four-cylinder UJM, was Suzuki.

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    Beginning with the eight-valve GS-series bikes, then upping the ante with the DOHC, 16-valve GSX-series, Suzuki Gixxers ruled the roads, and endurance racing. Nothing could hold a candle to the GSX, or even if they tried, like Honda with the CBF-series, that candle was quickly melted down in the thermonuclear furnace of the GSX engine’s performance.

    Which brings us to the present day, forty years on. The current Suzuki iteration of the UJM is the 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000, an inline-four in the traditional manner. The Suzuki inline-four has had a decades-long reputation for being bullet-proof, and we were eager to see what this current engine generation would be like.

    Read the rest of the 2016 GSX-S1000A review after the jump.

     
     
  • Johammer J1 e-bike functions like a Tesla Powerwall

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    Electric motorcycles (e-bikes) are looking to be the wave of the future, with even major manufacturers like Honda and Yamaha putting e-bikes on the drawing board, along with dedicated makers like Zero, Energica and Malaysian company Treeletrik. Austrian company JoHammer has joined the fray with the J1 e-bike.

    Designed by Leonie and Jean-Marie Lawniczak of design studio Yellow and built in-house at its Leonfelden works just north of Linz, Austria, the Johammer J1 puts one in mind of a beetle or insect of some sort. Motive drive comes from an 11 kW rear-wheel hub single-speed maintenance-free motor, that goes up to a peak power output of 16 kW.

    The motor, as is the lithium-ion battery pack, is air-cooled, and the entire e-bike is encapsulated in 7 mm thick polypropylene made in Italy by a company that specialises in modular plastic furniture. Corrugated lines in the bodywork remind the author of the World War II-era Junkers Ju.52 “Tante Ju”.

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    There are two models available – the J1.150 with a range of 150 km, and charging time of two hours and 20 minutes for its 8.3 kWh battery pack, and the J1.200, that gets 200 km range from its 12.7 kWh 1,200 cell battery pack that takes three and-a-half hours to charge. This drops to 80 minutes with an industrial cable and power supply.

    Both Johammer e-bikes are electronically-limited to a 120 km/h top speed, and the J1.150 weighs in at 159 kg, while the J1.200 tips the scales at 178 kg. Aluminium is used exclusively for the chassis and running gear of the hub-centre steered Johammer J1.

    This includes the frame, which also houses the front and rear suspension, front and rear forks, and well as both wheels – a 19-incher in front and a 17-inch hoop at the back. Braking is with standard hydraulic calipers grabbing 300 mm discs, and the J1 also allows for regenerative braking, letting the battery be topped-up while slowing down.

    Seat height is a low 650 mm, about the same as most cruiser motorcycles, with adjustable handlebars and footrests. The J1 has two foot positions for the rider – a “feet-forward” position, like a cruiser, or a swept back position for the rider who wants a sporty seating attitude.

    All information relevant to the rider is displayed in the rear-view mirrors – speed in the left mirror, range, battery status and temperature in the right. Currently the Johammer J1 only comes as a single-seater, but there are plans to produce a sidecar version.

    When in storage, the J1 can function as a power storage unit for domestic use, much like a Tesla Powerwall. There is enough stored charge in the J1’s battery pack to power an average home for two days.

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    Battery service life is guaranteed to 200,000 km, or four years, with a residual capacity of at least 85%. Johammer provides an exchange option for battery packs as new or more efficient battery technology becomes available. The exchanged battery packs are re-used as storage modules for solar panels for at least 20 years before disposal, in keeping with Johammer’s corporate philosophy of having a minimal impact on the environment.

    Activating the Johammer J1 is via a keyless remote which is worn on the wrist like a watch. Five colour options are available – Silver, White, Blue, Yellow and Green, with custom paintwork an extra-cost option.

    Price for the Johammer J1.150 is 22,900 euro (RM108,758), while the J1.200 goes for 24,900 euro (RM118,256). Full- and half-day guided tours are available on the Johammer J1 via Frohlich Sport, that takes the rider across Upper Austria and Southern Bohemia during May to October.

     
     
  • Ducati and Dainese team up for custom Corse C3 suits

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    Italian firms Ducati and Dainese sit right at the top of their respective market segments – Ducati for refined performance motorcycles, Dainese for premier rider protection. While Dainese and Ducati have long teamed up for the range of Ducati-branded racing wear, a new custom Corse C3 suit has been unveiled for 2017.

    Coming in both race and two-piece versions, the Corse C3 suit allows the customer to choose between four base colours, as well as personalised lettering or logos at four areas of the suit – two in front and two at the back. Standard sizes range from Eur 48 to 60, and there is also an option for perforation.

    For those customers who fall somewhat outside the norm, a customisation service is available from Dainese for the Ducati race suits. The panels of the suits are laser cut, with bi-axial elastic sewn in to allow for rider flexibility and movement.

    CE-standard protective armour is sewn into the suit, and covered with a Nanofeel liner for comfort. Aside from the Ducati Corse C3 suits, there is also the Ducati Corse Lady suit, and the D-air racing Ducati Corse suit, with built-in airbags.

    As can be assumed, such a suit from Ducati, made by Dainese, is not cheap, and price is on application. As an indication, the Dainese Laguna Seca D1 suit retails in Malaysia for RM5,299.

     
     
  • Kawasaki Versys-X 250 now in Indonesia, from RM20k

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    Quietly announced by Kawasaki just under a month ago, the 2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 250 has now made it to Indonesia. Sold in two versions, the Versys-X 250 City and Tourer, Kawasaki’s Indonesian website lists the prices at 61,900,000 rupiah (RM20,397) and 72,700,000 rupiah (RM23,956), respectively.

    Both dual-purpose styled machines carry a 249 cc liquid-cooled parallel twin with DOHC and eight-valves. No power figures were provided, but we assume with the Versys-X engine based on the Kawasaki Ninja 250R, the numbers would be close to the 250R’s 29.9 hp at 10,500 rpm and 21.7 Nm torque at 10,000 rpm.

    Fuelling is done with EFI, feeding twin-throttle bodies equipped with dual throttle valves. Power gets to the ground via a six-speed gearbox and slipper clutch, with spoked 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels.

    Braking is with a single-disc, 290 mm front and 220 mm rear, with Nissin hydraulic calipers. Fuel is carried in a 17-litre tank, and a 41 mm telescopic fork props up the front end, with Kawasaki’s Uni-Trak single gas-charged absorber at the back.

    For the Versys-X 250 Tourer, a brush guard comes as standard fitment, fitted with twin auxiliary driving lights. Hand guards and rear panniers are also standard on the Tourer, while the City version does without.

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    Two colour options are shown on Kawasaki’s Indonesian website for the Versys-X 250. Candy Lime Green/Metallic Graphite Gray and Candy Burnt Orange/Metallic Graphite Gray for the Tourer, while the City gets Candy Lime Green/Metallic Graphite Gray and Metallic Graphite Gray/Flat Ebony.

    What do you think – should Kawasaki Malaysia bring in this quarter-litre dual-purpose machine into Malaysia, or will Thailand and Indonesia get all the best stuff while we have to wait before machines such as the Honda CBR250RR come to our shores, if ever? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions, below.

     
     
  • Bosch demos motorcycle ABS at Global NCAP Sepang

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    Safety is a pressing concern for all road users, more so with motorcyclists. After bringing its initial version of motorcycle ABS – based on the ABS system in a car – to the market in 1995, Bosch began development of a motorcycle-specific ABS system.

    Understanding that the requirements for ABS in a motorcycle are very different from a car, Bosch today has its ABS9 motorcycle ABS, along with the ABS10, developed for bikes up to 250 cc, being 30% lighter and 45% smaller than the system for large-displacement motorcycles.

    A practical demonstration of the Bosch motorcycle ABS system was given at the Global NCAP “Stop the Crash” campaign and ASEAN NCAP Roadmap, being held at Sepang International Circuit this November 29 and 30. A motorcycle ABS test rig was set up on a scooter, with single-channel ABS.

    During the demonstration, the scooter was ridden across a wet surface, to show that with the single-channel ABS switched on, the rider was able to maintain traction and stay upright while coming to a safe stop. With ABS off, the front wheel slid out the moment the rider applied the front brake.

    It has also been shown that when applied properly, motorcycle ABS dramatically reduces stopping distance under most road surface conditions. “In Europe, any new motorcycle or scooter above 125 cc is equipped with ABS. This is because it is the customer who demands it, so the manufacturer includes it,” said Christian Grouger, general manager for Motorcycle Application Safety, Bosch Japan.

    “Some of this requirement (for motorcycle ABS) comes from the market, but also legislation,” said Grouger. “I feel that motorcycle ABS is necessary for any motorcycle, from a safety point of view, since I also develop these systems, and personally push this forward,” he said.

    For Malaysia, ABS for motorcycles is not a compulsory requirement, though most large displacement motorcycles as well as scooters such as the Kawasaki J300 and Vespa 150 come with ABS as standard. According to a source, the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), is still in discussions with manufacturers about making motorcycle ABS compulsory in Malaysia, but there is no fixed date as yet.

     
     
  • 2017 Honda EX5 Dream Fi Limited Edition – RM4,874

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    A limited edition 2017 Honda EX5 Dream Fi has been launched by Malaysian Honda motorcycle distributors Boon Siew Honda. Retailing at RM4,874.94, this special edition kapchai comes in a special paint job, along with other embellishments.

    Unique to the EX5 Dream Fi Limited Edition is a pair of factory-fitted alloy wheels, shod with tubeless tyres. This is a popular aftermarket upgrade with EX5 Dream riders, as the tubeless tyres are more puncture resistant than the standard tube tyres on spoked wheels.

    Being a mainstay on Malaysian roads since the 1950s, today’s Honda EX5 Dream Fi is the culmination of 50 years of kapchais, with its air-cooled, single-cylinder 109.1 cc engine. Fed by Honda’s PGM-Fi, the EX5 Dream puts out a claimed 8.35 hp at 7,500 rpm and 8.4 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm.

    With this limited edition kickstart only version of the EX5 Dream Fi, Boon Siew intends to start a trend of collectible cubs for fans. In this case, the Honda EX5 Dream Fi Limited Edition also comes with chrome logos, as well as chromed passenger grab rail and headlight garnish.

    Retailing at RM4,874.94, including GST, the 2017 Honda EX5 Dream Fi Limited Edition will be in dealerships from today, beginning in Penang and Kedah, followed by the rest of the country. The standard model Honda EX5 Dream Fi – with spoked wheels and tubed tyres – is sold at RM4,715.94 for kickstart, and RM4,959.74 for electric start.

     
     
  • 2017 Modenas Karisma 125, Elegan 250 and Kymco Downtown 250i scooters launched – from RM5,278

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    After its recent announcement of the appointment of Edaran Modenas (Emos) as the official distributor of Taiwanese scooter brand Kymco, Modenas today launched the 2017 Modenas Karisma and Elegan 250 scooters, as well as the Kymco Downtown 250i. The new models are part of Modenas’ expansion to capture at least 10% of the 125 cc and 50% of the 250 cc scooter market by 2017.

    Smallest of the new Modenas scooters is the Karisma 125, which carries a 125 cc, single-cylinder engine that puts out 9.4 hp at 7,500 rpm. Featuring a USB port for charging electronic devices and a multi-purpose key control system, the Karisma 125 comes in two colours – Bright Red and Pearly White – and retails at RM5,278, including GST.

    Second of the Modenas scooters is the Elegan 250, which takes over the mantle from the Elegan 200 which was launched back in 2010. Sporting a SOHC 250 cc single-cylinder power plant fed by EFI, the Elegan 250 has 22.1 hp at 7,000 rpm on tap, and is liquid-cooled.

    Braking on the Elegan 250 is done with hydraulic disc brakes front and rear, and there is a cavernous compartment under the seat. An LCD dashboard completes the cockpit, and the rider can choose between Matte White and Matte Black. Retail price for the Elegan 250 is RM13,599, including GST.

    First of the the Kymco scooters to hit the Malaysian market is the Kymco Downtown 250i, assembled at the Modenas plant in Gurun, in CKD form. A smaller version of the RM31.5k 2016 Kawasaki J300 – which in turn is based on the Kymco Downtown 300i – the Downtown 250i retails for RM22,790.

    As part of its sales and support strategy, Emos will be leveraging on a network of 200 dealers nationwide, alongside its own service centres in Gurun, Ipoh, Subang, Johor Bharu and Kuantan. Kymco scooters will be sold in these Modenas dealerships, as well as 30 new Kymco dealerships across the nation. The new Modenas and Kymco scooters are expected to hit showrooms in early 2017.

    GALLERY: 2017 Modenas Karisma 125


    GALLERY: 2017 Modenas Elegan 250
    GALLERY: 2017 Kymco Downtown 250i

     
     
  • 2017 SYM CruiSYM 300i – in Malaysia next year

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    First shown at the Intermot show in Germany last October, the 2017 SYM CruiSYM 300i is a scooter designed for urban personal transport, and the ability to cruise on highways. SYM Malaysia – via official distributor MForce Bike – has confirmed the CruiSYM 300i is coming to the Malaysian market in the second quarter of 2017, at a price of between RM15,000 to RM20,000, depending on currency conversion.

    Carrying a single-cylinder, four-valve 278.3 cc liquid-cooled power plant, the 300i is fed by EFI, and power gets to the ground via a CVT gearbox. LED position, turn and rear lighting features on the CruiSYM, and 3D-hexagonal projection headlights adorn the front of the scooter.

    Braking is done with hydraulic calipers front and rear, with a 260 mm and 240 mm disc, respectively. ABS is a standard feature on the 300i. Three are three ride modes available – Cruise, Normal and Sport – which are user-selectable to suit riding conditions and mood.

    Underneath the seat, there is enough space to store two full-face helmets, and fuel is carried in a 12-litre tank. No real surprises in the suspension, with a telescopic fork up front, and swingarm suspension.

    The 2017 CruiSYM 300i rolls on 14-inch front and 13-inch rear wheels, and two colour options are available – red or matte grey, with faux carbon-fibre accents. An adjustable windscreen is provided, as are folding rear view mirrors.

    Additional features on the CruiSYM are air vents in the fairing and riding camera recorders under the SYM logo in front and taillight at the back. Also included are a glove box, USB ports for charging electronics and a 12-volt power outlet.

     
     
  • 2017 Honda BeAT scooter in Malaysia – RM5,565

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    Targetted at the utility scooter segment in the 100 cc category, Boon Siew Honda, official distributors for Honda motorcycles in Malaysia, has launched the 2017 Honda BeAT. Designed for the young rider wanting basic, but sporty looking, transport, the Honda BeAT is priced at RM5,565.

    Carrying a 108.2 cc single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled engine, the Honda BeAT puts out 8.77 PS at 7,500 rpm. Transmission is via an automatic gearbox and V-belt.

    Up front, a telescopic fork is used, while the rear end is suspended with an integrated swingarm suspension unit with non-adjustable single shock absorber. Braking is with a single hydraulic disc on the front wheel, while the back uses a leading-shoe drum brake.

    New for this run-about scooter is Honda’s combined braking system – called Combi Brake System – which applies both the front and back brake when the brake lever is pulled. This has the effect of shortening braking distance, and was first seen on the 1983 Honda GL1100 Gold Wing.

    Both electrical and kick-start is provided on the Honda BeAT, and the machine rolls on 14-inch wheels. Fuel is carried in a 4.0-litre fuel tank, and all up weight is 94 kg, with a 742 mm seat height that will accommodate all riders, especially the distaff side.

    There are four colour schemes available for the Honda BeAT – Vital Metallic Blue, Pearl Magellanic Black, Viva City Red, and especially for the ladies, Angel Pink. Priced at RM5,565, including GST, the 2017 Honda BeAT comes with a two-year or 20,000 km warranty, whichever comes first.

     
     
  • Spirit Motorcycles GP-Sport and GP-Street unveiled

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    A pair of motorcycles have emerged from the works of British maker Spirit motorcycles, featuring race-ready styling and carbon-fibre clothing. Based on the Triumph Daytona 675 three-cylinder engine, the Spirit GP-Sport and GP-Street feature a fully-adjustable frame, in line with its sporty design.

    Taking the 675 cc triple from the Triumph Daytona, Spirit have taken the capacity up to 750 cc, and the mill now produces a claimed 180 hp at 14,200 rpm. How they have done that is something of a mystery, as the triple crank from the Daytona doesn’t lend itself to stroking, nor is there enough place to bore out the cylinders.

    Compression has been taken to 13.8:1, and the engine is controlled by a Motec M130 ECU. Suspension is done by K-Tech, using its top-of-the-line KTR 2 fork and a 35 DDS rear shock absorber, both of which are fully-adjustable.

    Everything is tied together in a hand-brazed steel tube frame, with carbon-fibre bodywork cladding the GP-SPort, while the GP-Street is the naked version. Bosch provides an electronic slipper clutch, and the kit is completed with a full-titanium exhaust system.

    A full suite of electronics comes with the bike, and PFM takes care of the braking. The whole package, in its “R” specification, weighs in at a very light 145 kg – wet. This is helped by the carbon-fibre wheels that grace the Spirit.

    Spirit Motorcycles is a collaboration between renowned Triumph Daytona 675 tuner Tony Scott via his firm T3 Racing, and custom builder Spirit of the Seventies, both of whom are based in the UK. Pricing for the limited edition Spirit Motorcycles GP-Sport R – of which only 50 will be made – is 65,000 pound sterling (RM355,725), while the base version will set you back 45,000 pound sterling (RM246,721).

    For the Spirit Motorcycle GP-Street, there are two models available – the GP-Street R and base GP-Street. The GP-Street R costs 70,000 pound sterling (RM383,089), and the base model will set you back 45,000 pound sterling (RM246,721). The 2016 Triumph Daytona 675 is priced at RM74,900.