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  • 2017 EICMA: KTM 790 Duke “The Scalpel” – but is the KTM 790 Adventure R off-roader coming in 2019?

    During the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan, Italy, it was expected that the KTM 790 Duke, also known as “The Scalpel”, would be on display. We had a look at it, and as a successor the 690 Duke, we certainly feel it looks the part.

    Using an all new LC8 parallel-twin, The Scalpel is claimed by KTM to put out some 103 hp at 9,000 rpm, and 85 Nm of torque at 8,000 rpm. Coupled with a wet weight of 189 kg, the 790 Duke would be fun, scary, but fun, to ride.

    KTM’s new design language of a split headlight with LED DRLs is there, along with a TFT-LCD dashboard in the cockpit. Other standard equipment includes an inertial measurement unit (IMU) driven traction control, like those found on top-end superbikes, cornering ABS, launch control and up-and-down quickshifter.

    Showing a finger to the nanny state, the Scalpel also comes with selective switching of its traction control, where the rider can turn off the rear wheel ABS for sideways, locked-up rear wheel cornering action. After all, the original Duke was a hooligan bike, and it would be a shame if the 790 Duke did not carry on the tradition.

    Suspension for the 790 Duke, as is typical for KTM machines, is done by WP Suspension, with a 43 mm upside-down fork in front and monoshock at the rear, with braking using KTM OEM callipers. KTM has confirmed that the 790 Duke will be coming in 2018, but as a 2019 model, so expect the Scalpel to start rolling out worldwide in the later part of next year.

    More interestingly, KTM has revealed the Scalpel’s sibling, the off-road oriented 790 Adventure R. Standing taller than the 790 Duke, KTM’s adventure bike offering goes right up against the BMW Motorrad F850 GS and the Triumph Tiger 800.

    What is notable is the 7980 Adventure R is not any bulkier than the 790 Duke, due to the fuel tank being located lower in the engine room. This allows for better mass centralisation – important when riding a motorcycle fast on sketchy surfaces – and coupled with a motocross style slim seat, allows for the rider to get close to the bike’s centre of gravity.

    We would expect to see a pre-production prototype of the KTM 790 Adventure R sometime in 2019, but from the press pictures issued, it looks pretty close to being a production model. This will be one adventure bike we’ll be waiting to get our hands on, as KTM does have an enviable reputation for making serious motorcycles, but with a sense of fun.

  • Valentino Rossi gets Yamaha XJR1300 and it’s “Mya”

    While 2017 will possibly go down as one of the worst years in multiple MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi’s career, here is a little something to cheer up “The Doctor” this Christmas, in the form of the now discontinued Yamaha XJR1300. Given the flat-tracker treatment by Rodolfo Frascoli, this very special XJR 1300 is named “Mya” and was presented to Rossi by his posse at VR46.

    Carrying the 1,251 cc inline-four from the XJR1300, Mya is now decked out in matte black and yellow fluo, with a look somewhat reminiscent of a motard. Claimed to produce some 105 hp and 108 Nm of torque, the FJR1300 was discontinued due to its air-cooled engine – which had its beginnings back in 1984 in the FJ1100 – not being able to meet Euro 4 regulations.

    With its final iteration as a retro-styled sports bike, the FJR1300 that finds its way to Rossi’s Christmas stocking is decked out with the best the aftermarket can offer, naturally. Ohlins does the suspension front and rear, while one front brake disc has been removed for the authentic flat-tracker look.

    A large central air intake sits below the front number plate, with the deleted central headlight replaced by a pair of LED projector units taken from a Yamaha R-1 located on either side of the forks. 19-inch spoked tubeless wheels with block-pattern tyres are installed, again for authenticity, and the overall styling of this Rossi Special follows the lines of Yamaha’s TZ750 flat-track race bikes.

    Akrapovic supplies the custom built 4-2-1-2 exhaust – monogrammed with Rossi’s ’46’ race number – which terminates in a pair of short shotgun barrels on the right side of Mya. A motard-style flat seat tops off the build, and the fuel tank is relocated under the seat, with a filler cap in the tail piece.

  • 2021 to see Ducati enter scooter and e-bike segment?

    Although Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati previously denied claims that it would enter the small bike segment – something its competitor BMW Motorrad has done with the G310 R and G310 GS – it appears that a Ducati scooter as well as an electric motorcycle is on the cards. This ties in with its parent company’s “Roadmap E”, an ambitious plan that sees all vehicles produced under the Volkswagen group to be fully electric.

    Speaking to Edouard Lotthe, managing director of Ducati Western Europe, French website reported there are plans for both a Ducati scooter and an e-bike, but it is unlikely that such machines will come to market before 2021. However, Lotthe said that Ducati’s present priority is to concentrate on the upcoming Euro 5 emissions standard which comes into force in 2020.

    Additionally, a 30,000 square meter facility will be established in Bologna, Italy, in early 2018, to manage spare parts inventory for both Ducati and Lamborghini, along with the VW group’s other Italian interests. “We benefit directly from the partnerships signed between the German manufacturers and some suppliers like Bosch. And then, we were able to access the tools already present in the group, at the level of finance or insurance for example,” said Lotthe.

    Commenting on the quarter-litre segment, a market which is booming in Asia, especially in regions such as Indonesia, India and Thailand, Lotthe emphasised that Ducati has no plans to build a 300 cc motorcycle, unlike BMW Motorrad. Previously, Ducati project manager Frederico Sabbioni said such a small motorcycle would “be too small… and damaging to the brand’s prestige.”

  • REVIEW: 2017 Triumph Street Scrambler – RM65,900

    So, everyone and his uncle wants a retro-styled motorcycle these days, and bike manufacturers are more than happy to fulfil this need. It is a matter of meeting market needs and generating profits, after all.

    I mean, what’s so difficult about it? You take an engine, throw it in a steel cradle frame which is cheaper than any sort of aluminium beam frame you can design, grab a design from the sixties or seventies and there you have it.

    A little astute marketing, sell the image, and you will have droves of hipsters lining up to buy these things, which are then sold for a premium over motorcycles that cost less, but perform better. But, sometimes, just occasionally, the sweet spot is hit, and you do get a retro machine that delivers what is asked for in image, and can actually go round corners in an interesting fashion.

    Case in point is the 2017 Triumph Street Scrambler priced at RM65,900 including GST, which follows on from the “Modern Classics” range. The earlier models in the lineup took Triumph’s classic design style, and put it on the T120 and Street Twin machines, which, unsurprisingly, have become best sellers.

    While we have previously ridden the Triumph T120 Dark and Bonneville Bobber, along with other retro bikes such as the Ducati Scrambler Icon and Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Racer, the Street Scrambler intrigued us, as we have always been a fan of stripped-down motorcycles with an eye to performance. As we were to find out, the Street Scrambler is the same as, but different from, the current crop of retro bikes on the market.

    Read the full review of the 2017 Triumph Street Scrambler after the jump.

  • 2018 Honda BeAT scooter now on sale – RM5,724

    Aimed at the younger crowd especially senior high school and college students, the 2018 Honda BeAT comes with new graffiti graphics and is priced at RM5,724, including GST. This is an increase of RM159 over the previous year’s price of RM5,565.

    Power for this budget segment scooter comes from a 108.2 cc single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled mill fed by PGM-FI, which produces 8.77 PS at 7,500 rpm. Transmission, as is typical of scooters in this category, is an automatic gearbox and V-belt.

    The BeAT comes with a Combi Brake System which applies both the front and back brake when the brake lever is pulled, shortening braking distance. Suspension is conventional on BeAT, with a telescopic fork in front and single absorber in the rear, both non-adjustable. Additional safety is provided with a side stand cut-out switch.

    Braking is with a single hydraulic disc on the front wheel, while the rear wheel comes with a leading-shoe drum brake and Smart Lock keeps both wheels locked for safe starting or parking. Both electrical and kick-start is provided on the Honda BeAT, and the machine rolls on 14-inch alloy wheels shod with tubeless tyres.

    Fuel is carried in a 4.0-litre fuel tank, and all up weight is 94 kg, with a low 742 mm seat height, making the BeAT accommodating for shorter riders. There are four colour options for the 2018 Honda BeAT – Vital Metallic Blue, Pearl Magellanic Black, Viva City Red and new for next year, Space Magenta Metallic.

  • MSF Superbikes: Trackdays are simply more fun

    Every sports bike rider is eager to push the limit of his or her motorcycle, and MSF Superbikes provides an avenue for that to take place in safety. Scheduled for Saturday, December 2, the MSF Superbikes Trackday will be held in conjunction with the final round of the Malaysia Speed Festival at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) on December 2 and 3.

    Attending a trackday allows for riders to find the limits of their machines, or test modifications such as suspension setups, at the track in a controlled environment. For the MSF Superbikes Trackday, motorcycles are limited to 400 cc displacement (minimum), with an exception being made for the KTM RC390 and Duke 390.

    MSF Superbikes Trackday riders are divided into three classes at RM350 per rider – Group A for riders who clock below 2:26″ a lap at SIC, Group B for riders clocking below 2:36″ and Group C for riders above 2:36″. The trackday runs from 9am to 1pm, and each group is allowed a 20 minute session in rotation.

    A safety briefing will be held at 8.15am at the SIC South Paddock, and attendance is compulsory for all riders. Riders are required to wear full-face helmets with leather riding suits – single or two-piece – as well as gloves and boots. Using a back protector is strongly recommended.

    Riders should also ensure their motorcycles are safe for use, with no obvious oil leaks, and tyres and brake pads should have adequate wear left. Most of all, all MSF Superbikes Trackday attendees are reminded that this is not a race, and to be considerate to other riders on the track.

    To book yourself a slot in the MSF Superbikes Trackday online, head here. To learn more about the MSF finale happening on 2 and 3 December, head over to MSF’s official website.

  • EICMA 2017: Triumph Tiger 1200 and Tiger 800 – XC and XR versions, lighter, faster and more power

    Looking to usurp the king of adventure bikes, Triumph has brought out the brand-new 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 and Tiger 800, in XC and XR versions. The Hinckley, UK-based firm claims the new Tiger 1200 is up to 10 kg lighter than the previous generation model, and delivers improved manoeuvrability and better off-road agility and handling.

    The biggest make-over has come with the Tiger 1200, boasting of up to 100 improvements over the previous generation Tiger. Weight loss on the big Tiger was achieved with savings made in the engine, chassis and exhaust system.

    According to Triumph, this translates to better responsiveness and dynamic capability both on- and off-road. In the engine room, power output from the 1,215 cc inline-triple is now 141 PS, with drive getting to the ground via shaft.

    A full-colour TFT-LCD panel now graces the cockpit, and a full suite of riding aids is offered, including traction control with “Pro off-road” mode, optimised cornering ABS & traction control, hill hold, ride-by-wire throttle, and up to six riding modes. Other creature comforts on the Tiger 1200 are an improved seat with new foam compound -the seat can be set in two positions, 835 and 855 mm, and a 815 mm low seat height option is available.

    Also in the equipment list is an electrically-adjustable windshield, LED lights with Adaptive Cornering Lighting, keyless ignition and cruise control. Braking for the Tiger 1200 is by Brembo with four-piston Monobloc callipers in front with integrated braking, and WP Suspension provides the semi-active front forks and rear monoshock.

    For the Tiger 800, improvements for the 2018 model year include a full-colour TFT LCD in the cockpit, Brembo front brakes, and adjustable Showa front and rear suspension. Triumph says over 200 revisions have been made to the Tiger 800 series of adventure bikes, and one key change is the shorter ratio first gear for improved control and traction off-road.

    Power from the 800 cc inline-triple mill is now 95 PS, and engine response is now improved. For rider comfort, a new five-position adjustable windscreen and aero diffusers is standard equipment, and a new seat compound gives all-day riding comfort.

    The seat on the Tiger 800 is two-position adjustable for height, and both rider and passenger seats are heated. To add to rider comfort and control the handlebars are adjustable by up to 10 mm fore-and-aft, with cruise control now operated by a single button.

    For Malaysia, the 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 is expected to hit our shores some time in February or March, while shipment of the Tiger 1200 is pending. No pricing is known as yet, and will be determined in due course.

  • PETRONAS & MSF Racing to showcase everyday racers, kicking off with housewife Sharina Ramlle

    Sharina Ramlle is just a normal, hardworking person like you and me, swimming against the stream of life to help create a better world for herself and her family. The 36-year-old housewife and mother of three spends most of her time focusing on her children ensuring that they get the best care and education.

    While the above might indicate that Sharina’s family is her sole focus, one would be surprised to learn she is a strong and aggressive licensed racing driver. Yes, Sharina always had an eye for motorsport. This interest fuelled her to part in small amateur karting events since 2014.

    Normally, to move further up in the motorsport chain one would require a huge investment, but with the help of the Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF) – which focuses of keeping racing affordable, while entertaining and safe at the same time – Sharina managed to leap into the saloon car racing scene.

    Powered by a race-spec turbocharged Toyota Starlet, Sharina currently races against her opponents in MSF’s Street Tuned Limited category. With her children and husband as her inspiration, Sharina races in all championship rounds, fine tuning her race craft further and further.

    Her story has caught the attention of many, and with this PETRONAS and MSF has, for the very first time, teamed up to help highlight Sharina and more like her. The three-part video series featuring these individuals will be released over the next two weeks starting from today, leading up to the MSF Finale event happening on December 2 and 3 at the Sepang International Circuit.

    The last race of the 2017 season will feature an array of motorsport activities encompassing MSF Racing Series, where up to 177 cars race door-to-door in exciting 5-lap races. For the first time, there will be a new MSF Superbikes category for superbikes taking to the track, while the new MSF Drift Gonzo will feature a target-style drifting competition, the first in Malaysia.

    Also taking place is MSF MegaLAP, a Time Attack competition showcasing some of the quickest single-lap cars in the country, as well as the Mcclubz Car Show with 150 cars. Grandstand access is free for all, and there will be a free mini waterpark for all kids to enjoy, supported by food trucks and stalls. As for Paddock access, tickets will retail at RM10 on Saturday and RM20 on Sunday.

  • 2017 EICMA: Kawasaki H2 SX – 200 PS supercharged sports-touring from the green machine

    One of the stars of the show at the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan this year is the 2018 Kawasaki H2 SX, Kawasaki’s supercharged superbike now tamed for sports-touring duties. More than just a model make-over, the H2 SX comes with a revised frame, a new engine and a riding position halfway between the ZZR1400 and Z1000 SX.

    There are two versions of the H2 SX, the base model and the SE, which both carry the same four-cylinder, liquid-cooled, supercharged power plant mated to a six-speed gearbox. However, the H2 SX comes with an extensively redesigned engine, with enough changes made to call it entirely new.

    The supercharger impeller and intake system are completely reworked, with new pistons, cylinder head, cylinder, crankshaft and camshafts. Other all-new items include the throttle bodies and exhaust system, now 3 kg lighter, and the gear ratios have been revised to suit sports-touring use.

    Power has dropped to 197 hp, but mid-range torque has been punched up to suit the SX’s role as a highway mile-muncher. With the redesigned intake and new throttle bodies, the H2 SX boasts of better fuel mileage, which means the 19-litre fuel tank should give more distance compared to the sports-oriented H2 and H2R.

    Seating is now a two-seat affair, with the rear passenger given a wider and comfortable seat, while the rider gets more padding for extra comfort. There are two optional seats available – a comfort seat with more padding that offers a relaxed knee bend, and a low seat that drops the rider 15 mm closer to the ground.

    Braking for the H2 SX is done by Brembo, using the top-of-the-line M50 callipers as per the H2, while suspension is fully-adjustable, front and rear. It would have been nice to have semi-active suspension on a machine of this calibre, perhaps in a future model.

    New to the H2 SX is of course the panniers, which are sold as an optional accessory. Designed to complement the lines of the bike, the mounting points for the panniers blend visually into the bodywork, ensuring that the H2 SX still looks good with the panniers off.

    While looking visually pleasing, it should be noted the panniers do make the H2 SX rather wide in the beam, despite the fairing having been slimmed down from the H2. We got on the H2 SX for size, and were very aware that the panniers stuck out a fair way on either side.

    Unique to the SE model are several items, amongst which is launch control, a first for a Kawasaki sports-tourer. Also standard equipment on the SE are LED cornering lights, a three-element unit mounted on the left and right sides of the fairing that are activated when the bike is leaned into a corner, with the number of lit elements determined by the lean angle.

    Inside the cockpit the H2 SX comes with an LCD screen, while the SE version comes with a full-colour TFT-LCD unit that has two user selectable modes – Touring or Sport – that displays different parameters for the type of riding being done. Also fitted to the H2 SX SE is launch control and a quickshifter.

    Other differences between the SX and SX SE are steel braided brake lines on the SE, a 12-volt DC socket, larger windscreen, centre stand, heated grips and wheels and rear-hub with machined accents. Both SX models come with Kawasaki’s standard suite of riding aids, including traction control, cornering ABS, cornering management, electronic cruise control and engine braking control.

    It should be noted that some of the equipment fitted to the SE version of the H2 SX cannot be retro-fitted to the base model, thus the buyer of the SX has to make a decision at the point of purchase as to which variant he or she wants. There are only two colour options available – Metallic Carbon Gray/Metallic Matte Carbon Gray for the 2018 Kawasaki H2 SX, and Emerald Blazed Green/Metallic Diablo Black for the H2 SX SE.

  • VIDEO: JKJR shows the need to use proper helmets

    This public safety video by Road Safety department (JKJR) Perak shows why using a proper and certified motorcycle safety helmet is important, and necessary for saving lives. A cheap half-shell helmet is subjected to a blow by a hammer, and immediately shatters.

    The other open-face helmet, with SIRIM (formerly known as Scientific and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia) stamp, is subjected to the same hammer blow, but stays intact. While this test is hardly objective and empirical, it serves to illustrate the difference in quality between a SIRIM certified helmet, and one that lacks any kind of certification.

    It is even shown in the video that the half-shell helmet has a “Not for motorcycle use” sticker on it. However, this does not stop many motorcyclists, notably those from the lower income group, from buying such cheap helmets merely to fulfil the requirements of the law.

    What about you dear reader, especially those who ride a motorcycle or scooter on a regular basis? Do you buy the best helmet you can afford, with proper certification such as SIRIM, CE, SHARP and the like?

    Are you aware that helmets have a shelf life? That helmets that have been subjected to impact be replaced? What say you? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions, below.


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Last Updated 16 Nov 2017