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  • Bangkok 2017: Honda shows 150 SS Racer concept

    In Thailand, the Honda MSX 125 mini-moto – known as the Grom in some markets – has proven popular with the younger set, especially the ladies. The land of smiles being what it is, this means a plethora of mods and customs abound on Bangkok city streets.

    For the 2017 Bangkok motor show, Honda Motorcycles Thailand showed the Honda 150 SS Racer, a mini-moto with big wheels based on an engine taken from the CBR150R. It’s hard to tell from this futuristic build, and no information was forthcoming if it was a concept motorcycle, or something destined for production.

    Taking a closer look at it, though, we feel this is more of a concept study. The sculpted fuel tank is somewhat reminiscent of the MSX 125’s unit, and the LCD instrument panel certainly looks if it come from the MSX.

    Fitted with Metzeler Racetec racing slicks mounted on solid-disc wheels with a carbon-fibre skin, the 150 SS Racer looks like it would fit in well on a movie set, perhaps like “Ghost in the Shell” which featured another Honda machine, the NM4 Vultus. Anodised blue accents litter the Honda 150 SS Racer, along with lots of shiny alloy, to complete that sci-fi style.

    A huge megaphone silencer graces the underside of the bike, and the chopped rear end brings to mind the abbreviated butt of the Kenstomoto MechaStallion. What appears to be a rear view camera tops of the rear seat cowl, and a front-facing cam mounted in the instrument panel cowl, with perhaps the feed being displayed on the LCD panel.

     
     
  • Ride impression: 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650 and Z650

    Despite a softening motorcycle market in Malaysia, Kawasaki Motorcycles Malaysia has taken the bold step of introducing not one, but four new models for 2017. These are the Kawasaki Z900, the Versys X-250, and for the middleweight market, the Ninja 650 and Z650.

    The previous iteration of Kawasaki’s middleweights, the ER-6n and ER-6f, proved to be solid performers and best-sellers locally, due to the very attractive price and easy-to-ride performance. But, both models were showing their age, and the new Ninja 650 and Z650 are designed to fill that niche.

    At the face of it, it appears as if the new Ninja and Z are merely facelifted models of the previous parallel-twin engine, but this is not so. Coming with an all new engine, frame and swingarm, plus the addition of ABS, the 2017 Ninja 650 and Z650 are all-new models in Kawasaki’s line up.

    Biggest difference between the two new 650s from Kawasaki is of course the design. The Ninja 650 carries a full-fairing with design cues taken from the ZX-10R litre-class sports bike, while the Z650 is a naked sportsbike with Kawasaki’s “Sugomi” design style.

    During a media ride organised by Kawasaki Malaysia, we were given the opprtunity to take both machines out for a short run on a mix of country roads and highways, to see what improvements and changes were made to the new middleweights and what has been improved, or not, as the case may be.

    Read the full impression, here.

     
     
  • REVIEW: 2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT – so, what’s a nice bike like you doing with an engine like this?

    There is a certain segment of the motorcycle marketplace which wants to have its cake, and eat it. Instead of a hyper-focused high-speed machine, a rider of this sort wants a fast bike, great handling, and to carry everything, including the kitchen sink.

    We are, of course, referring to the sports-touring motorcycle, where versatility and the ability to munch the highway miles in comfort is the prime criteria. The caveat is that the high-speed side of things is not to be denied, and, indeed, comes up high on the list of desirable traits.

    There was a time when the undisputed king of the sports-tourer was the BMW RT. An 1,100 cc machine, with Krauser panniers on either side, was considered to be the core of a sports-cruiser.

    Right up till someone decided that a dual-purpose styled bike, suitably kitted out, offered more in terms of versatility and ease of use. Which brings us to the KTM Super Duke GT, a cruise missile from Mattighofen, Austria.

    Having previously ridden the 2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200, which is practically the KTM Duke GT’s direct competitor, we were in a position to see how the two sports-tourers stacked up against each other. That the two are both V-twins is a given, but what do the bikes do well, and what sets the Super Duke GT apart?

    Read the full review after the jump.

     
     
  • PG Bugatti fixie – RM176,580, and you can’t ride it out

    If you’ve bought a bicycle lately, especially if you’re shopping for a high-end, lightweight two-wheeler, some of the prices might have given you sticker shock. In the case of the PG Bugatti fixie – a fixed single-speed bicycle – you will pay USD 40,000 (RM176,580) and PG won’t let you ride out to show-off to your buddies.

    Working together with bicycle designers PG – who count Orlando Bloom, Lady Gaga, Christoph Waltz and Bryan Adams as customers – Bugatti has commissioned 667 examples of this carbon-fibre framed fixie, designed to match the Bugatti Chiron. What sets this bicycle apart is it is touted to be the lightest bicycle in the world, at below five kg.

    Manufacturing of the PG Bugatti is done in Germany by Bernd Kussmaul, and the rest of the builder’s list reads like a who’s who of the European bicycle industry, including carbon wheel specialists Lightweight, component maker THM-Carbones and Schmolke Carbone. The frame of the PG Bugatti is built by Italian Formula 1 carbon-fibre experts Merelli.

    “We had the vision of building the ultimate bicycle to go with the ultimate car. Ultimate in design, workmanship and performance,” says PG chief executive officer Manuel Ostner. Upon request, customers of the supercar builder can have their bicycles matched to their own Bugattis.

    This extends to special paints, carbon-fibre in various colours and numerous types of leather. The caveat though, as the PG Bugatti is the “lightest special urban bike in the world”, PG’s websites states “the special bike is a piece of sports equipment which is not intended to be used on public roads.”


     
     
  • MyPrihatin to help urban poor get licensed from Apr 15

    Motorcyclist

    The Road Transport Department (JPJ) will be helping the urban poor obtain a motorcylce license with the help of MyPrihatin. The programme will be launched on April 15, according to a report in The Sun.

    “The programme targets Malaysians aged 16 and above to obtain the B2 motorcycle riding licence. We (JPJ) are collaborating with driving institutes to implement the programme in assisting the people, especially school students, to obtain a B2 licence at a discounted rate of RM299 compared to the regular rate of RM360,” said JPJ director general Datuk Seri Nadzri Siron.

    More touch points will also be introduced for those to assist those with are not able to afford a license, Nadzri added. A total of 141,369 people – mostly students – took part in the MyLesen programme up to December last year, which was part of a people-centred civil service initiative launched by the transport minister in September 2015.

    The report added that the MyLesen programme has also been extended to aspiring lorry and bus drivers looking to obtain a Goods Vehicle Driving License (GDL). “The demand for lorry and bus drivers is high and for those who have the GDL, we assure they will be able to find employment as lorry and bus drivers,” Nadzri said.

     
     
  • 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 power figure released – 116.7 hp

    The last man standing in the supersports 600 class, the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6, has had its horsepower number officially released – 116.7 hp at 14,500 rpm. This is coupled with a claimed torque figure of 61.7 Nm at 10,500 rpm, all coming from a 599 cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four.

    With Honda removing the CBR600RR from its line-up this year, and Suzuki following suit with the GSX-R600, only Yamaha and Kawasaki are left from the Japanese big four that still offer a pure 600 cc supersports machine in the catalogue. With the Kawasaki ZX-6R overdue for an update, Yamaha has been pro-active and done this to the YZF-R6.

    Coming with six-mode traction control, and an additional “off” mode for track use, Yamaha has built-in traction control to suit all levels of rider. The software is designed to eliminate any unnatural feeling when it intervenes, and also compensates for rear tyre wear to give consistent performance.

    This is coupled with the YZF-R6’s up-shift only quickshifter, to give efficient acceleration through the six-speed gearbox. Up front, the R6 gets a front end with styling cues taken from Yamaha’s flagship superbike, the YZF-R1.

    On the suspension side of things, 43mm YZF-R1 type front forks with YZF-R6 specific settings are installed, working together with 320 mm diameter YZF-R1 type front brakes with radial four-pot calipers. Suspension is fully-adjustable front and rear, where the back is suspended with a KYB monoshock.

    New for 2017 is an aluminium 17-litre fuel tank that shaves weight on the YZF-R6, while also aiding rider movement and at the same time giving the rider grip when in the racing position. A magnesium sub-frame shaves more grammes off the YZF-R6, reducing weight by 1.2 kg over a similar steel assembly, and bringing wet weight to 190 kg.

    This weight-loss also extends to the magnesium engine head and case covers, and the aluminium frame and swingarm. A titanium exhaust end-can caps off the Yamaha YZF-R6, emphasising the reason for this machine is performance and handling.

    Coming in Race Blu and Tech Black, the YZF-R6 will come with an extensive range of official performance accessories, some of which are intended for racing purposes only. The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 will be released worldwide in April. However, our source in Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia has confirmed that the YZF-R6 will not be officially imported.

     
     
  • 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS official Malaysia price – RM49,158 for Z900, RM50,959 for special edition

    The official Malaysian price for the 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS has been released, and it has been set at RM49,158, including GST. Joining the Z900 ABS is the 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Special Edition, which goes for RM50,959, including GST.

    As the replacement for the Kawasaki Z800, the Z900 ABS is an all-new machine, which shares little with its predecessor except for general styling. The Z900 carries a 948 cc liquid-cooled, inline-four engine that puts out 124 hp at 9,500 rpm 98.6 Nm of torque at 7,700 rpm – 13 more hp than the Z800.

    Adding to the improvements made to the previous generation Z800, the Z900 now comes standard with a slipper clutch that stops wheel hop and chatter during hard downshifts. The instrument panel is now an LCD screen that shows the three ride modes, along with a shift-light incorporated into the tachometer.

    The base model of the Z900 comes in Grey, while the Special Edition is available in Blue. The Special Edition Z900 ABS comes equipped with a single seat cover, meter cover, DC outlet, radiator screen, sliders, engine covers, front-axle sliders and special graphics.

    Also included in the special edition version are OEM Kawasaki tank pad and knee pads. The 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS will be available at GT World Ninja, Ninja Shops and Kawasaki authorised premium dealers on April 8.


    GALLERY: 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS
    GALLERY: 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS US version

     
     
  • 2017 BMW Motorrad K 1600 GT in M’sia – RM159,900

    BMW Motorrad’s uber-luxury grand touring motorcycle, the BMW K 1600 GT, is now in Malaysia. Retailing at RM159,900, including GST but excluding road tax, insurance and registration, this touring machine is the epitome of big six-cylinder motorcycles.

    The K 1600 GT’s power plant is now Euro 4 compliant, with new catalytic convertors, and puts out a claimed 160 hp at 7,750 rpm and a maximum torque of 175 Nm at 5,250 rpm. The inline-six engine is said to be the lightest in its class, at 102.6 kg, and comes with new engine mapping and a fuel system with carbon canister for fuel tank ventilation, cutting down on emissions.

    Introduced worldwide last year in October, the 2017 K 1600 GT now comes standard with BMW Motorrad’s Dynamic ESA, standing for electronic suspension adjustment. This semi-active suspension borrows technology from BMW’s M-series cars – the internal valves are shared with the M3 and M4 – and provides optimum suspension damping in all riding states and regardless of load.

    This gives the K 1600 GT two ride modes – the standard “Road” setting which gives optimum comfort and traction, and “Dynamic”, which provides a tighter damping setup. Modes can be changed with the press of a handlebar button, and spring pre-load can be adjusted independently of damping.

    More convenience is given to the rider with the inclusion of reverse assist and Shift Assistant Pro. On the K 1600 GT, reverse assist is activated by pressing a switch on the left handlebar pod, and holding on the starter button, while Shift Assistant Pro allows for clutch-less up- and down-shifts, giving quicker gear changes and eliminating that “jerk” when the clutch is pulled.

    Setting off on the BMW K 1600 GT is with Keyless Ride, and starting and unlocking can be done with a button or using the transponder key. Adding to the ease of riding built into BMW’s big tourer is Hill Start Control, that allows the rider to stay in control when riding off on an incline without having to balance the brake and throttle.

    On the right side of the fairing, a small lockable storage compartment conceals a USB charging port, while the instruments incorporate a colour TFT LCD screen along with a separate navigation system. The windscreen is an elecrically powered unit that raises and lowers at the touch of a button.

    There are three colour options available for the 2017 BMW Motorrad K 1600 GT – Black Storm Metallic and Mars Red Metallic. The third option, Lupine Blue Metallic, sees the K 1600 GT’s drivetrain finished in black.

     
     
  • South Australia starts motorcycle lane-filtering rules

    Motorcycle lane-filtering is to be allowed on roads in the state of South Australia, beginning April 15, 2017. This change in road rules is implemented by the South Australia Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) on safety grounds, in order to reduce a rider’s “risk of being hit from behind by an inattentive driver.”

    The move is to improve safety for motorcycle riders as it will allow greater control over exposure to traffic, particularly from vehicles following behind. From the DPTI website, “South Australia is aligning our laws with similar laws interstate. Lane filtering is currently allowed in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, and is being trialled in the ACT.”

    There are several restrictions in place for motorcycle lane-filtering in Australia, foremost amongst which is only full motorcycle license holders are allowed to do so. Other restrictions include filtering only when traffic is at 30 km/h or less, and no filtering at school zones and pedestrian crossings, or between parked or moving cars and a kerb.

    Learner riders and P-permit holders are not allowed to lane-filter, and riders are forbidden from using bicycle, bus or tram lanes to filter. Failure to abide by these lane-filtering rules will attract an AUSD 363 (RM1,232) fine, and three demerit points on the rider’s license.

    In Malaysia, and a lot of other ASEAN countries, motorcycles splitting lanes in traffic has been accepted practice for decades. However, with the increase in traffic density on urban roads, the margin for error has diminished, with the resulting increase in collisions and broken wing mirrors.

    Kapchai riders are notorious for this, weaving in between cars at unsafe speeds. On the other hand, as an experiment, the author tried riding Kuala Lumpur city roads the same way he would in, say, Europe or US states, excluding California, where lane-splitting is legal.

    What was found is that Malaysian drivers are unused to this, and the fear factor of being rear-ended by an inattentive driver playing with the mobile phone increased tremendously.

    What do you think? Is the attitude of both Malaysian drivers and riders in need of improvement? Should lane-filtering continue to be accepted traffic practice locally? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.

     
     
  • 2017 Honda Wave Dash Fi launched – from RM5,860

    Accompanied by a fashion show by Tarik, a hip-hop dance ensemble and a parkour demonstration, Boon Siew Honda Malaysia launched the 2017 Honda Wave Dash Fi at the eCurve Mall in Petaling Jaya. Facelifted for 2017, the Honda Wave Dash Fi comes in two variants – the single disc brake Type S model at RM5,860.74 and the two-disc Type R with disc brakes front and rear at RM6,178.74, including GST.

    The Wave Dash Fi carries a 109 cc single-cylinder air-cooled four-stroke engine mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox with centrifugal clutch. Power is claimed to be 8.6 hp at 7,500 rpm, dan 11.61 Nm torque at 6,000 rpm, up from the 8.38 hp and 8.42 Nm torque of the previous year’s model.

    Fuel consumption for the Wave Dash Fi has also seen an improvement, now rated at 1.63 litres/100 km, from the 2016 figure of 1.70 litres/100 km. The 4.0-litre fuel tank is located under the seat, as is a small storage compartment that can hold miscellaneous items.

    Weighing in at 102 kg for the ‘S’, and 104 kg for the ‘R’, the Wave Dash has a four-speed gearbox and final chain drive. Honda offers the Wave Dash Fi with a 20,000 km or two-year warranty.

    The standard ‘S’ and ‘R’ model Honda Wave Dash Fi comes in three paint choices – blue, black and red. A Wave Dash F1 ‘R’ in special Repsol paint scheme is available at RM6,337.74, including GST. All prices exclude road tax, insurance and registration.