Last year was momentous for Malaysia and Malaysians, with the change of government after 61 years and and a new spirit felt all over the country. While changes are still happening, some for better and some for worse, the Malaysian motorcycle market reached a plateau of sorts with fewer new models released but many companies stepping up marketing efforts.

Some events did take the market by surprise, such as the sudden closure of Demak and the disappearance of a MV Agusta from the local market. In other events, a couple of big brands – Harley-Davidson and Aprilia – changed distributors in 2018, along with the resurgence of Italian brand Moto Guzzi.

As for bike posts, paultan.org readers showed a particular preference for motorcycles on the smaller displacement end of things which is not surprising, really, considering the trying economic times we all live in at the moment. Yamaha’s 150 cc offerings had a lot of readership, reflecting the popularity of that displacement class in Malaysia.

Other notable news was the emergence of Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin as a mid-pack contender in MotoGP with the Tech 3 team under Herve Poncheral. The team’s move to KTM with Hafizh given to opportunity to ride the KTM GP16 was indeed a surprise to many, considering Tech 3‘s 20-year history with Yamaha.

Malaysian brand Modenas also returned to the market with several new models re-badged from Indian manufacturer Bajaj, notably the Pulsar series and the Dominar 400 based on the previous generation KTM 390. Here are the 10 most popular motorcycle articles with paultan.org readers in 2018.

10. 2018 Yamaha MT-09 now in Malaysia – RM47,388

Yamaha’s MT-09 has been a firm favourite with Malaysian riders since its launch in 2014, giving a balance between cost and performance. Whilst much has been said about the lack of suspension performance from the MT-09, a mid-model update brings some adjustment updates and adjustment. The addition of a quickshifter and revised traction control was icing on the cake.

9. 2018 Honda EX5 cub in new colours – from RM5,150

Honda’s evergreen EX5 Cub has been soldiering on since the 1980s with minimal updates save small bumps in engine capacity and new colours and graphics. However, there is a lot to be said for basic, reliable transportation although some readers balked at the money Boon Siew was asking for the 2018 Honda EX5. Not that the market cared much as the EX5 is still a best seller for Honda, especially in the northern states.

8. 2018 Harley-Davidson Malaysia prices – from RM56k

After the announcement the Harley-Davidson franchise for Malaysia was moving to new holders Didi Resources after almost a decade with Naza Prestige Bikes, pricing for the 2018/2019 range of American iron drew a lot of interest from fans. While the range started at a fairly affordable RM63,000, the most expensive of Harley-Davidson’s range of motorcycles topped out at RM302,000 for a CVO Road Glide touring rig.

7. Honda CB650F, Kawasaki Z900 ABS, Triumph 765S, Yamaha MT-09 – which RM50k bike is best for you?

In these trying economic times, spending your hard-earned cash is a difficult decision and we decided to see what RM50,000 would get you in the local motorcycle market. The quartet of motorcycles we gathered together reflected slightly different design philosophies but all would serve well in the role of daily commuter, naked sports bike or light touring machine. The post contains what we found out.

6. 2018 Modenas Dominar 400 in Malaysia – RM14,615

The introduction of the Modenas Dominar 400, a re-badging of the Bajaj J400 Dominar, itself derived from the last generation MTM Duke 390, was a symbol of the Malaysian maker’s entry into the “big” bike market. Coming with a very market friendly introductory price of just below RM15,000, many showed interest in the Modenas offering.

5. 2018 Honda CB1000R and CB250R in Malaysia – priced at RM74,999 and RM22,999, available from July

Many have said Boon Siew Honda, official distributors of Honda motorcycles in this country, preferred to concentrate on the kapchai and scooter market to the detriment of the bike bike market. All that changed in 2018 with a concerted marketing effort from the Penang firm, including the establishment of Honda Big Wing showrooms, to showcase its large capacity two-wheelers. This included a media ride of the RM1,100,000 Honda RC213V-S race replica.

4. 2018 Honda Dash 125 in Malaysia, from RM5,999

Another one from Boon Siew Honda’s kapchai catalogue, this time the Dash 125. Popular amongst the younger riding crowd, the Dash 125 represents a slightly sportier alternative to the more conservatively styled EX5.

3. 2018 SYM VF3i 183 cc supercub in Malaysia – RM8,467

Here’s one that made local kapchai riders sit up and take notice, the SYM VF3i with its segment beating 183 cc engine capacity. With 17.7 hp on tap, the VF3i handily beats its market rivals, notably the Yamaha YZ15R and Honda RS150R.

2. 2018 Yamaha M-Slaz 150 in Malaysia by mid-year?

Early in 2018, we asked if the 150 cc Yamaha M-Slaz would come to Malaysia, perhaps replacing the long in the tooth FZ150i but it looks like no news is, indeed, no news. What we did get, though was the Yamaha YZF-R15, which does the job for the younger rider, albeit a little differently.

1. 2018 Yamaha YZF R15 now in Malaysia – RM11,988

Which brings us to the post which garnered the most interest from readers, the 2018 Yamaha YZF R15. We recently reviewed the Yamaha YZF R15 and found a lot to like about the little sports bike, not least of which was its ability to do the job in a fuss-free manner and elicit a grin from the author at the same time.