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  • 2017 BMW Motorrad HP4 Race racing motorcycle released – limited edition of only 750, worldwide

    Racing superbikes, derived from the road-going machines that any rider can buy off the showroom floor, are special machines, designed to put more focus on racing at speed as opposed to any pretense of being an approachable motorcycle. For 2017, BMW Motorrad has launched the 2017 BMW Motorrad HP4 Race, intended to be the lightest, most high-tech, race weapon.

    With a limited worldwide production run of only 750 units, each HP4 Race is hand-built by a special team in Berlin, Germany. What sets the HP4 Race apart is the use of carbon-fibre in the frame and wheels, bringing it in at 171 kg fully-fuelled and ready to ride.

    Compliant with articles 6.2 and 7.2 of the Endurance and World Superbike (WSBK) championship rules, the 999 cc, DOHC 16-valve, inline-four puts out 215 hp at 13,900 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 10,000 rpm. A six-speed spur tooth gearbox – with secondary ratios, diverse pinions and sprockets included – gets power to the ground, with an anti-hop wet clutch as standard.

    As is the norm for BMW Motorrad machines, the HP4 Race comes with a full suite of electronics, including 15-level traction and engine braking control. This also includes four ride modes – Wet, Intermediate, Dry 1 and Dry 2 – while an on-board 2D datalogger is included with lap timing and GPS.

    Rounding out the electronics suite is a pit lane speed limiter, launch control, wheelie control, spring travel and brake pressure sensors. The HP4 Race shows its competition orientation with other items such as adjustable eight-position footrests, adjustable handlebars, seat height adjustment, adjustable steering head angle and swingarm centre of rotation, reverse shift pattern and up-and-down quickshifter.

    On the suspension side of things, Ohlins does the job, with an FGR300 Superbike World Cup fork coupled with an Ohlins SD052 steering damper in front, and an Ohlins TTX 36 GP absorber at the back. For endurance racing, the HP 4 Race comes with a quick-release front wheel, with the fork legs being able to be twisted out of the way for fast wheel changes.

    To be expected at this level of performance is Brembo braking, using a pair of GP4-R callipers with titanium pistons and 320 mm diameter rotors in front, activated by a Brembo RCS 19×18 master cylinder. At the back, a four-piston Brembo calliper – also using titanium pistons – is installed, grabbing a 220 mm disc.

    The theme of lightness continues throughout the HP4 Race, with carbon-fibre bodywork and panels, along with a brushed aluminium fuel tank that holds 17.5-litres of the good stuff. Coming only in BMW Motorsport racing colours, there is no word on pricing for the 2017 BMW HP4 Race, but we can safely assume, based on the “standard” HP4’s previously published price of around RM145,000, this limited race machine is not going to be cheap.

  • Modenas confirms Bajaj Auto of India collaboration

    After speculation that Malaysian motorcycle manufacturer Motosikal Dan Enjin Nasional (Modenas) would be tying up with a new strategic partner, it has now been confirmed that it will be collaborating with Bajaj Auto of India. This is part of Modenas plan to strengthen the brand and capture a larger share of the small motorcycle market in Malaysia.

    The collaboration will take place in stages, and includes distribution and technology transfer through the development of a dedicated assembly hub in Modenas’ plant in Gurun, Kedah. Future plans for the strategic partnership include penetrating international markets, such as Asean and beyond.

    “The cooperation is in line with our aspiration to strengthen Modenas as a whole, by offering a wider range for motorcycle enthusiast,” said Datuk Sri Syed Faisal Albar, DRB-Hicom group managing director. “The local market was very receptive to the Modenas joint venture with Kymco in the scooter segment, and the company is ready to embark into a more aggressive market, which is the street bike segment. With Bajaj as our partner, we now have a new segment we can cater to,” he explained.

    Bajaj Auto of India is the world’s sixth-largest manufacturer of motorcycles and the second-largest in India, with a market capitalisation of USD 9.5 billion (RM41.88 billion).

    “There is no doubt that BAL has the experience and technological know-how for this segment. The Bajaj models we are looking to introduce into Malaysia in the coming months have proven themselves globally, and we believe this will be replicated in Malaysia too,” said Syed Faisal.

  • Are motorcycle helmet tinted visors illegal to use?

    Helmets are essential safety equipment for all motorcyclists. Indeed, it is against the law to ride a motorcycle without being thus equipped, but, are they illegal to use?

    Our colleague Hazril Hafiz, of‘s Bahasa Malaysia site, recently spoke to Datuk Ir Haji Mohamad Dalib, director of Road Transport department (JPJ) automotive engineering division. He was asked what is the official JPJ stand on the use of tinted visors on motorcycle helmets.

    “On paper, a visor on any helmet has to have 100% clear visibility. This means any visor darker than that is forbidden from use,” said Dalib. He emphasised this by pointing to his personal helmet that has a 100% transparent visor.

    But, why is it forbidden? When asked if wearing a tinted visor – during daylight – be safer by avoiding eye strain and allowing for better vision and focus on road conditions and traffic, Dalib had this to say.

    “The reason why is to determine who is behind the visor, more so if the rider’s eyes can also be seen,” he said. “This is to allow for eye contact with other road users, especially car drivers,” he continued.

    According to Dalib, this is important to determine the rider’s intention, for example, when intending to exit an intersection. “Look directly at the other driver, and use hand signals before moving. This is most effective and safe, because there has been earlier eye contact,” he said.

    Contrary to popular belief, the ban on tinted visors is not to avoid the committing of crime by motorcycle riders, even if this is the perception of some road users when seeing helmets with tinted visors. The rule on tinted visors is purely to ensure the safety of the rider, with any negative incidents being secondary and isolated matters, Dalib said.

    Most visor manufacturers prohibit the use of tinted visors at night, though. This is due to the reduced visibility, and in the case of heavily tinted racing visors, night vision is almost non-existant.

    There is the argument wearing sunglasses would be necessary if clear visors are used, with the possibility of shards entering the eyes should the glasses shatter in event of accident, although there is the option of using helmets fitted with an internal or external sunvisor. Additionally, if the rider is short-sighted, the use of sunglasses to cut glare is necessary as it is impossible to have a prescription visor made due to the compound curves of the design, though it is possible with goggles.

    Also, if the windows of the car are tinted, eye contact with the driver would be impossible, rendering the point of making tinted visors illegal moot. What do you think?

    Should motorcycle helmet tinted visors be illegal or does it serve a necessary safety function? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.

  • 2017 KTM Super Adventure S and Super Duke R Malaysia launch – RM115,000 and RM118,000, incl. GST

    The previous weekend saw the launch of the 2017 KTM Super Adventure S and the Super Duke R, priced at RM115,000 and RM118,000, respectively, with prices including GST. This pair of big V-twin represent polar opposites of the riding spectrum, and are targetted towards very different riders.

    While both the Super Adventure S and the Super Duke R use the same 1,301 cc liquid-cooled, 75-degree V-twin, power outputs are notably different. The Super Adventure S pumps out 160 hp at 8,750 rpm and 140 Nm torque at 6,750 rpm, while the Super Duke R gets 177 hp at 9,750 rpm and 141 Nm torque at 7,000 rpm.

    Coming standard with semi-active WP suspension, with Brembo four-piston brake callipers in front grabbing 320 mm discs, the Super Adventure S comes with a trail-ready 19-inch hoop in front, and a 17-incher in the back. A complete electronics suite is fitted to the KTM’s tall dual-purpose tourer, with four ride modes – Sport, Street, Rain and Offroad – as well as traction control, ABS and cornering ABS and a 6.5-inch TFT LCD screen that can be customised.

    For an additional RM4,800, riders can choose the option of the KTM Travel Pack, that adds an up-and-down quickshifter, KTM My Ride that has smartphone connectivity to the bike’s on-board display, motor slip regulation (MSR) that adds launch control and hill hold control (HHC) for those uphill starts. Seat height for the Super Adventure S is a lofty 875 mm, fuel is carried in a 23-litre tank and weight is claimed to be 213 kg.

    As for the Super Duke R – a.k.a. “The Beast” – comes with WP suspension from and rear. A smaller TFT-LCD screen displays the necessary information to the rider, and comes with three ride modes – Sport, Street and Rain.

    Similar to the Super Adventure S, the Super Duke R has braking by Brembo, this time with a four-piston Monobloc caliper grabbing 320 mm discs in front and a 240 mm disc at the back. Also standard is traction control and ABS. The Super Duke R comes with two options packages which can be combined – the Performance Pack that adds MSR, a quickshifter and KTM MY Ride and the Track Pack which allows for fuel mapping, anti-wheelie off and MTC slip and launch control – but prices have yet to be announced.

    Colour choices for the 2017 KTM Super Adventure S are black and white/orange, while the 2017 KTM Super Duke R only comes in white. The more off-road capable KTM Super Adventure R while arrive in Malaysia in May.

    Competition for the KTM Super Adventure S include the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S at RM125,999 and the BMW Motorrad R 1200 GS at RM114,900. Menawhile the 2017 KTM Super Duke R goes up against the Ducati Monster 1200 S at RM119,000.

    GALLERY: 2017 KTM Super Adventure S

    GALLERY: 2017 KTM Super Duke R

  • REVIEW: Kawasaki Ninja H2 – power to the people

    More than almost anything else, motorcycles are about speed. Speed in motorcycles, for its own sake, has a thrill that few other vehicles can match, save for the very few supercars that have nose-bleedingly high price tags.

    Thus, for most, motorcycles, despite the inherent danger or perhaps because of it, are always seen as fast to the point of insanity, or in the words of our Head of Editorial, Hafriz Shah, “you fellas are crazy.” But the pursuit of that craziness has yielded machines that are the pinnacle of bike engineering.

    The horsepower wars really started with the Vincent Black Shadow, back in 1948 with the “Series C”. Capable of a true 201 km/h from 998 cc and 54 hp, the Black Shadow’s 150 mp/h speedometer was perhaps a tad optimistic, though it did not stop Russell Wright from clocking a world record 297.46 km/h on a “Series D” Black Shadow in 1955.

    When the nineties rolled around, the speed wars reached a point when the manufacturers called a “gentleman’s agreement” with each other. In a contest begun by Suzuki with the GSX-R1100 H-model in 1986, followed by the Honda CBR1100, Kawasaki’s ZZR1100, in ‘C’ and ‘D’ forms, reigned for most of the decade, till the advent of the Honda CBR1100XX “Blackbird”.

    Things went quiet for over a decade, till 2015 and the launch of the Kawasaki Ninja H2. With supercharging and a claimed top speed of well over 340 km/h, the H2, taking its name from the legendary Mark III H2 750 cc two-stroke triple of the seventies, claimed the crown of the world’s fastest production motorcycle.

    Read the review of the Kawasaki H2 after the jump.

  • 2017 BMW Motorrad R nineT, R nineT Pure and R nineT Racer in Malaysia – prices start from RM82,900

    Launched at the Intermot show in Cologne, Germany, last year, the 2017 BMW Motorrad R nineT Racer, along with the bare-bones basic R nineT Pure, and the updated top-of-the-line R nineT, are now in Malaysia, joining the RM92,900 BMW R nineT Scrambler that was released in October 2016. Prices for the new BMW Motorrad Heritage-series machines start at RM82,900 for the R nineT Pure, while the Racer retails at RM88,900, with the R nineT priced at RM101,900 – up RM2,100 from the 2016 price of RM99,800.

    All 2017 BMW Heritage-series motorcycles come with the traditional air/oil-cooled boxer engine that displaces 1,170 cc and a power output of 110 hp and a maximum torque of 116Nm, with drive getting to the ground with a six-speed gearbox. Now fully Euro 4 compliant, the R nineT’s boxer engine gets new engine mapping, a carbon canister to control evaporative emissions from the fuel and a re-designed catalytic convertor with larger cross-section.

    Designed from the outset as a modder’s machine, the BMW R nineT Pure is Motorrad’s retro-bike stripped down to its bare essence. The Pure has a fuel tank and mudguard finished in Catalano Grey, along with cast alloy wheels, and footrests and foot bridges made from forged aluminium with a clear anodised finish.

    Fitting in with the old school design chic of the Pure is the circular headlamp with sheet steel casing and BMW emblem positioned centrally on the bulb cover, echoing BMW designs of decades past. A circular speedometer featuring an analogue display and integrated indicator lamps is combined with an LCD display that displays time and trip distance.

    Done up in the BMW Motorsport racing colours and coming with e sixties-style Avon fairing is the R nineT Racer. A classic circular headlamp with the BMW emblem is carried front and centre, with analogue instruments in the cockpit.

    The stainless-steel exhaust system with rear silencer positioned on the left-hand side is in classic style, commonly seen in cafe racers of the era. Like the R nineT Pure, the new BMW R NineT Racer comes with light alloy cast wheels.

    Topping out the BMW Heritage-series motorcycles is the R nineT – reviewed the 2015 version – a roadster that epitomises the classic lines of a BMW motorcycle. The 2017 R nineT features a new dual speed indicator and rational-speed sensor instrument with on-board computer with a “Machined” range of accessories that include cylinder head covers, headlight rig, engine cover and handlebars designed in in collaboration with customiser Roland Sands.

    GALLERY: 2017 BMW Motorrad R nineT

    GALLERY: 2017 BMW Motorrad R nineT Pure
    GALLERY: 2017 BMW Motorrad R nineT Racer

  • 2017 Energica Evo and Eva get power boost and Euro4

    Coming with a power increase for 2017 are the Italian-made Energica Evo sports bike and Eva naked sports electric bikes (e-bikes). This is in conjunction with homologation for the e-bikes under Euro 4 regulations.

    Power numbers for the pair of Energica e-bikes are 145 hp, up from 136 hp for the Ego, and 108 hp, up from 95 hp, for the Eva. More telling is the maximum torque, which is increased from 195 Nm to 200 Nm for the Ego, and the Eva gets a bump from 170 Nm to 180 Nm.

    From the current specification sheet, the Energica Ego is limited to 241 km/h, while the Eva has a top speed cap of 201 km/h. While riders used to internal combustion engined sports bikes might scoff at these power numbers, it should be remembered that e-bikes deliver maximum torque from zero rpm, which makes launches from a standstill very interesting.

    Range for the faster Ego is claimed by Energica to be 150 km on a full charge, while the Eva goes approximately 200 km between charges. The 11.7 kWh battery is said to be good for 1,200 charging cycles with a full charge on AC power taking 3.5 hours, and 30 minutes gets the battery to 85% on DC.

    Battery monitoring is provided by a Vehicle Control Unit that uses a multi-map adaptive energy and power management algorithm, even when the bike is switched off, and a multi-colour TFT LCD displays all the necessary information, with Bluetooth connectivity to the rider’s smartphone. Colour options for the 2017 Energica Ego and Eva are Electric Green, Dark Blue and Lunar White.

  • Modenas to choose Bajaj India as strategic partner?

    From left to right: Wee Hong – president of Malaysian Motorcycle and Scooter Distribution Association, Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah, Amirudin Abd Kadir – chief executive officer, Modenas.

    When Malaysian motorcycle manufacturer Modenas came on the scene just over 20 years ago, aspirations were riding high that it would emulate the success of the national car industry then. Catering to the lower range of the motorcycling public, notably with low-cost, value-for-money scooters and kapchais, Modenas did, at one point, corner some 40% of the local bike market.

    During the launch of the 2017 Modenas Kriss MR2 – the third Modenas model to be launched since the Modenas Karisma 125 and Elegan 250 last year – Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah, chief operating officer of DRB-Hicom’s automotive engineering and manufacturing and distribution divisions, said the company is intent on regaining lost market share, slowly but surely. Plans for this include offering the customer something different and better, as well as collaborating with a strategic partner to defray development costs for new products.

    “First of all, in this lower-end of the motorcycle market, what are we (Modenas) doing that is different? We have to offer the customer something more, that sets us apart from the others,” he said. “We are also looking at a strategic partner going forward,” he added.

    And who might this strategic partner be? From China, there is a plethora of manufacturers that could fit the bill, as evidenced by the use of Zong Shen’s ZS110 for the Kriss MR2. However, a little bird whispered in our ear that Modenas’ partner will likely be Bajaj Auto of India, the world’s sixth-largest manufacturer of motorcycles and the second-largest in India, with a market capitalisation of USD 9.5 billion.

    Tying up with a development partner is not a new thing for local industry, of course, as has been shown by Proton and its ringaroundtheroses with various strategic partners and foreign buy-ins. In the case of Modenas, while re-branding and re-badging might be a quick way back into the market, a proper locally developed engine and chassis is perhaps the best way to raise local standards.

  • 2017 Modenas Kriss MR2 launched in M’sia, RM4,123

    After a while of lingering in the doldrums, Malaysian motorcycle manufacturer Modenas is making a strong comeback into the underbone and scooter market, with the launch of the 2017 Modenas Kriss MR2, photos of which were teased a few days ago. Priced at RM4,123 including GST – the MR2’s pre-GST price of RM3,890 was not far away from our guess of RM3,800 – the Kriss MR2 replaces the Kriss MR1, which was launched back in 2011.

    Carrying a single-cylinder, 110 cc, air-cooled power plant, fed by carburettor, the Modenas Kriss MR2 produces approximately 8.3 hp at 7,500 rpm and 8.2 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. Power gets to the ground via a four-speed centrifugal clutch gearbox, rolling on 17-inch wheels.

    Fuel for the MR2 is carried in a 4.5-litre tank located under the seat, where a 6.6 litre cubby storage compartment can also be found. The space will fit a half-shell helmet, folded raincoat or other miscellaneous small items.

    On the braking side, the front is stopped by a single petal-disc, clamped by a single-piston calliper, with a drum doing duties at the back. Suspension in front is with a pair of standard telescopic forks, and the rear-end is propped up by twin shock absorbers adjustable for pre-load.

    There are three colour options available for the 2017 Modenas Kriss MR2 – yellow, blue and red. Dry weight for the MR2 is 94.5 kg and seat height is set at 760 mm.

  • 2017 Indian Chieftain Limited and Elite US launch

    After closing the shutters on Victory, Polaris Corporation – owner of both the Indian Motorcycle and Victory brands – has focused its attention on Indian, in an effort to usurp the current US motorcycle market leader, Harley-Davidson. For 2017, it has introduced the 2017 Indian Chieftain Limited and Indian Chieftain Elite, which retail at a base price of USD 24,499 (RM108,598) and USD 31,499 (RM139,524), respectively.

    Having recently ridden the 2016 Indian Chief Classic, which retails in Malaysia for RM158,000, we can vouch for the fact that Indian Motorcycle is producing some distinctly retro-styled cruisers that actually perform. This includes modern conveniences such as ABS, push-start, and sharp handling in the corners.

    For these big baggers, Indian uses its Thunderstroke 111 V-twin which displaces 1,811 cc. Both the Limited and Elite share the same engine, gearbox and chassis configuration, and while no power figure is supplied, the Thunderstroke 111 mill is rated at 161.6 Nm of torque at 3,000.

    Based on our review of the Chief Classic, this means low-down grunt in any gear you choose, of which there are six. Fuelling is with closed-loop EFI, feeding a 54 mm throttle body.

    A 19-inch wheel in front is fitted with twin 300 mm floating brake discs grabbed by four-piston callipers, while the rear 16-inchers carries a single 300 mm rotor with dual-piston calliper. Front suspension is with a pair of 46 mm diameter telescopic forks with 119 mm of travel, and the rear-end is propped up with a monoshock with Air Adjust that gives 114 mm of travel.

    The Indian Chieftain Elite is differentiated from the Chieftain Limited by the inclusion of LED lighting and chromed billet-machined floorboards compared to the Limited’s standard footpegs. Also standard on the Elite is a Clear Flare powered windshield and 200 Watt stereo, as opposed to the 100 Watt unit installed on the Indian Chieftain Limited.

    Both Indian baggers come with keyless start, cruise control and remote locking hard-case saddle bags. Also common to both cruisers is driving lights, highway bar and tyre pressure monitoring system, along with Bluetooth connectivity, USB and smartphone input for the on-board entertainment system.

    Standard for both the Limited and Elite is Indian Motorcycle’s Ride Command system that uses a seven-inch LCD screen to display navigation information, engine checks and service intervals and ride computer data, along with phone connectivity. The 2017 Indian Chieftain Limited comes only in Thunder Black, while the 2017 Indian Chieftain Elite comes in Fireglow Red Candy with marble accents.

    GALLERY: 2017 Indian Chieftain Elite

    GALLERY: 2017 Indian Chieftain Limited