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  • 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.

  • 2017 EICMA: Ducati Panigale V4 – double the fun

    Winning “Most Beautiful Bike” at the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan, the 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 is a major change of direction for the Borgo Panigale firm. After reaching a technological impasse with the development of its V-twin, performance has dictated that Ducati will proceed with the Desmosedici Stradale V-four, moving forward.

    As a production machine, the Panigale V4 follows the lines of the previous generation Panigale 1299 closely, save for the headlights now installed inside the large fairing air intakes. While some have remarked the intakes seem abnormally large, it should be borne in mind the addition of two pistons makes the V-engine swallow more air.

    This increase in volumetric efficiency means the Desmosedici Stradale powered Panigale V4 puts out a claimed “in excess of” 210 hp at 13,000 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 8,750 rpm. These power figures come from the 1,103 cc power plant, which has a hybrid chain/gear drive for cam timing, and Ducati says an ‘R’ version – displacing below 1,000 ccc – is under development will be available in 2019 for racing and track use after homologation.

    As befits Ducati’s premier performance superbike, equipment fit-out is by Brembo and Ohlins for braking and suspension, respectively. Suspension damping on the Panigale V4 is semi-active, and pre-sets are used to determine response and actuation, with a customisable user made also available.

    Inside the cockpit, a TFT LCD screen displays everything the rider needs to know, and selector switches on the left and right handlebar pods allow the rider to select and customise ride modes, traction control and suspension settings. We have it on good knowledge that the 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 will be in Malaysia by the middle of next year, but final pricing has yet to be confirmed.

  • EICMA 2017: Yamaha MT-09 SP, darkness made better

    It cannot be denied that Yamaha’s MT-09 – with over 48,000 units sold worldwide – was something of a smashing success in Malaysia, with many riders liking that inline-triple’s power and very affordable purchase price. But, many have discovered, as we did when we took the MT-09 out for review, the overall package, while competent, was somewhat let down by the suspension.

    We do not fault Yamaha for this, especially when you are building to a budget. Precision suspension components are not cheap, after all, and there is always a price to pay for performance.

    To address this issue, Yamaha revealed two MT-09 models at the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan, the base model MT-09 and the MT-09 SP. Taking a leaf from the MT-10 songbook, the MT-09 now comes with a headlamp assembly with four LED projector lights that mimics the unit on the MT-10.

    On the suspension front, both the MT-09 and MT-09 SP now come with adjustable Kayaba front forks, with the base model making do with rebound and compression adjustment in separate fork legs, while the SP version has adjustability in both. This allows for the SP model to have finer front suspension tuning adjustment.

    The MT-09 SP also comes with an Ohlins rear shock absorber as standard, with remote adjustment. These upgrades are matched to a lightweight aluminium frame and swingarm, along with switchable traction control and quickshifter.

    Inside the cockpit, the MT-09 SP comes with an LCD panel with a white readout on black background, and the levers, handlebar and fork crown are also blacked out. Carrying the 10-spoke wheels from the MT-10 SP, the MT-09 SP comes in an exclusive Silver Blu Carbon colour scheme.

    It remains to be seen if Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia will be bringing in the MT-09 SP, or for that matter, the revised base MT-09, to replace the current model. While we would expect to pay a premium over the MT-09 – currently retailing at RM44,653 – we hope that Yamaha Malaysia will consider bringing in the MT-09 SP.

  • 2017 EICMA: Kawasaki Z900RS – retro sportbike vibes

    As a current styling trend in motorcycles, retro bikes are very much in vogue, and Minato, Japan, based Kawasaki has resurrected the most famous of their older models, the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS. Due to hit the market next year, the Z900RS takes the classic ‘Z’ bike look, and puts it on a modern chassis.

    Not a new trick, of course, and lots of bike makers have tried this, to varying degrees of success. In this case, was invited to the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan, courtesy of the Italian Trade Commission, where we had a close look at this four-cylinder throwback to the seventies.

    There were two versions on display at EICMA, the naked sports Z900RS, and the sportier looking Z900RS Cafe, which was clad in a very attractive shade of Kawasaki Racing Green. Those readers who remember Eddie Lawson and the fire-breathing KZ1000 in AMA Superbikes will immediately see the resemblance.

    Taking the inline four-cylinder power plant from the Z900 naked sports, the 948 cc liquid-cooled engine is detuned from 125 hp in Z900 form to 111 hp at 8,500 rpm and 98.5 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm, with power now concentrated in the mid-range. A slipper clutch, ABS and in the RS variant, traction control, is standard equipment.

    While some might say that the RS is merely a dressed up Z900, Kawasaki detailed in the EICMA press release that the RS in standard and Cafe version come with a re-worked frame to accommodate the fuel tank. The upper frame rails are now closer together, and the frame now tilts foward slightly.

    The steering angle on the Z900RS has also been revised, now coming with the slightly steeper angle and sharpening the steering response. Aside from the paintwork, the major difference between the Z900RS and RS Cafe is the addition of a bubble fairing, closely resembling what sports riders of the seventies would have used on their steeds.

    More interesting is the inclusion of radial-mounted brake callipers on the RS, installed on 41 mm upside-down forks, versus the axial-mount units on the Z900. This might mean that the Z900, somewhere along the way, will get these brakes, along with traction control, something that is currently omitted.

    Inside the cockpit, the single monochrome LCD panel of the Z900 is gone, replaced with twin analogue clocks in keeping with the Z900 RS’ retro styling. A small LCD bisects the instruments, displaying other necessary information.

    LCD lighting is found throughout the Z900RS, in keeping with current design trends, and making the Z900 RS an interesting combination of the old and new. The rest of the RS’ styling follows the design language of the era, with a longish tail section covering the tail light, and separate left and ride side covers.

    No word from Kawasaki Malaysia if the Z900RS and RS Cafe will be coming to Malaysia, but we have a suspicison, based on the interest shown by readers, that this retro bike might just have a strong fan base here, going by the RM50,000 price point of the current model Z900.

    What do you think? Would you like Kawasaki Malaysia to bring this one in? More importantly, would you buy a 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS or RS Cafe? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.

  • Marc Marquez crowned 2017 MotoGP champion

    In a fairly dramatic season, which saw Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati coming tantalisingly close to taking the MotoGP crown, Spaniard Marc Marquez, riding for Repsol Honda Team, took top honours at the Valencia Grand Prix. Coming in third behind race winner and team mate Dani Pedrosa, and second place finisher Johann Zarco of Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

    The third place at Valencia gives Marquez his fourth MotoGP title, and sixth World Championship win, making him the youngest rider to do so. Second in the championship standings is Dovizioso, while Maverick Vinales of Movistar Yamaha coming in third.

    Marquez took the lead at the tight Circuit Ricardo Tormo Circuit, with Pedrosa coming through the second row to take second place. Pole position rider Zarco was then pushed down to third, while Dovizioso – who had a mathematical chance of winning the MotoGP title – was in sixth position coming off the grid.

    Jorge Lorenzo, on the other Ducati, attempted chasing down Mrquez and Pedrosa, somewhat holding up Dovizioso to do so, crashed out. In a stunning upset, Dovizioso crashed shortly after, losing the bike after running off into the gravel.

    The race win then saw a duel between Pedrosa and Zarco, with Marquez electing to stay in a comfortable third place and preserve his title after the Ducatis crashed out. Pedrosa bided his time till the last lap, when a charge into turn one saw him taking the lead and crossing the finish line.

    In the Moto2 class, Franco Morbidelli is champion, with Thomas Luthi and Miguel Olivera in second and third, respectively. Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin, who recently made the move to Petronas Sprinta Racing from Raceline Petronas, came in tenth with Khairul Idham Pawi at 27th in the rankings.

    Joan Mir took the honours in Moto3, while Romano Fenati and Aron Canet – all riding Hondas – grabbing second and third. Malaysian Adam Norrodin is 17th in the Moto3 championship standings.

  • Boon Siew Honda to open four BigWing stores in 2018

    Importer and distributor of Honda motorcycles in Malaysia, Boon Siew Honda, has plans to open four BigWing outlets in the country next year to complement its existing network, which currently serves models displacing less than 250 cc in engine capacity.

    Touted as a “concept designed to be the destination for riders,” each Honda BigWing outlet is aimed at customers of Honda motorcycles displacing more than 250 cc, and will be made up of a showroom, service centre, parts and accessories retail and a customer lounge.

    The four outlets will kick off with Ee Tiong Motorsports in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, followed by Taycon Motor in Georgetown, Penang, Welly Team Cycle in Petaling Jaya, Selangor and Additional Growth in Skudai, Johor.


    There are plans for more BigWing outlets within the country, including in East Malaysia, though specific details and timelines have not been confirmed, as Boon Siew Honda will decide on further expansion based on market demand, said chief marketing and planning officer at Boon Siew Honda, Koichi Tonouchi.

    Boon Siew Honda charted a 6% growth in sales of high output motorcycles in the first half of this year, with 400 units sold compared to the same period in 2016. With the introduction of the BigWing outlets, the company is aiming to chart a further 30% (1,600 unit) growth for 2018.

  • Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF) to feature its first superbike track day at season finale event on Dec 2

    The season finale of the Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF) will for the first time, offer riders a chance to take their superbikes out on the Sepang International Circuit (SIC). A four-hour full track day on December 2, 2017 is currently being offered at an early bird fee of RM350 per rider for those who register before November 26 (RM450 thereafter).

    The MSF Superbikes track day will be held between 9am and 1pm on December 2, from SIC’s South Paddock facility. To ensure a safe track day experience, all participants will be required to attend a compulsory safety briefing before being allowed on track. Additionally, riders will be divided into three groups (A, B and C) depending on their approximate lap times, to prevent grouping faster riders with slower ones.

    To elaborate, Group A will be for riders with lap times of below 2:26:000, Group B will be for riders below 2:36:000 and for those with times beyond the 2:36:000 mark, you will be in Group C. Each group will be riding continuously for 20 minutes.

    Other events that will be held over the December 2-3 weekend include the MegaLAP time attack, MSF Track Day for cars, car show featuring Mcclubz, BBQ evening party and the new Drift Gonzo challenge on day one (December 2). Meanwhile, on day two (December 3), the second instalment of the MSF Track Day for cars and MSF Racing Series with a Caterham category will be held. Both days will be supported by F&B outlets as well as a fun zone for the kids.

    Access to the main grandstand will be open to public for free on both days. If you want to be closer to the action, tickets for paddock access on Saturday are priced at RM10 per adult, and from RM20 per adult on Sunday for purchases before 11am (RM35 thereafter). Tickets can be bought on-site at the circuit, and free entry is provided to children of up to 15 years of age.

    For more information on tickets or event programme, you can head to the MSF Racing official website. For riders would like to sharpen your track-riding skills, you can register and pay for the MSF Superbikes track day online on the website too.

  • 2018 Yamaha motorcycles revealed ahead of EICMA

    Heading into the 2017 EICMA show, Yamaha Motor Europe has shown what’s in store for its motorcycle and scooter range for 2018. These include updates to the very popular Yamaha MT naked sports bike range, which sees updates for the MT-09 and MT-07, and the addition of the MT-09 SP.

    Receiving the “SP” suffix that Yamaha reserves for its high-performance models, the 2018 Yamaha MT-09 SP features a fully-adjustable Ohlins rear shock coupled with a Kayaba front fork adjustable for rebound and compression. The Kayaba adjustable fork also makes it as standard equipment to the base model 2018 MT-09.

    Finished in a Silver Blu Carbon paint scheme that ties it in with the top-of-the-range MT-10 SP, the MT-09 SP also comes with lightweight 10-spoke alloy wheels with MT-09 graphics. Another SP touch is blue stitching in the seat and blacked-out handlebars, brake and clutch levers, and handlebar crown.

    Also updated for 2018 is the Yamaha MT-07, a model which is very popular in Malaysia due to its price-to-performance ratio. For the new year, the MT-07 gets a completely new seat design which gives an improved riding position for riders of all sizes.

    The new seat now extends to the sides of the rear of the fuel tank, giving increased comfort and visually integrating the look of the MT-07. Adding to ride comfort for the MT-07 are revised settings to the front fork and the rear monoshock now comes with a reworked rebound damping adjuster – something we remarked upon when reviewing the 2016 Yamaha MT-07.

    New bodywork graces the MT-07, wth newly styled “air intakes” and there is a new headlight and the taillights resemble the units on the MT-09. There will be three colour choices for the MT-07 – Night Fluo, Yamaha Blue and Tech Black – and the 2018 Yamaha MT-09 will be available in January 2018, while the MT-07 hits Yamaha Europe dealer showrooms in March 2018.

    On the sports-touring side of things, the 2018 Yamaha Tracer 900 and Tracer 900GT make their appearance, for riders who wish to extend their travel range across a wide variety of riding disciplines. The 2018 Tracer 900 comes with improved wind protection, due to a taller windscreen which nows features manual adjustment.

    The back-end of the Tracer 900 has been given a make-over for 2018, and a newly designed aluminium swingarm as well as revised rear shock settings increase rider comfort. This also extends to rider’s and passenger’s seats, and the rider’s seat now comes with two-level adjustment, while the passenger accommodation features a revised passenger footrest assembly together with the newly designed grab bars.

    Higher up the Tracer model range is the 2018 Tracer 900GT, which takes Tracer performance up a notch with a TFT LCD instrument panel in the cockpit and colour-matched side cases as standard fitment. Also standard equipment on the 900GT is a Yamaha quick-shifter system (QSS) and rear shock with remote preload adjuster, while inside the cockpit, the rider gets cruise control and heated grips.

    It is somewhat unfortunate that riders in Malaysia do not get the Yamaha adventure bike range, as the brand has built a fair bit of its off-roading reputation on the Tenere series machines. At EICMA, we will be getting a first-hand look at the Tenere 700 World Raid prototype, a.k.a. the T7, which comes with a 689 cc Crossplane 2 power plant, and lightweight chassis.

    Closer to the production side of things but still not on general sale, is the 2018 Yamaha Tenere 700 World Raid, which differs from the T7 prototype with steel chassis and lower seat height, with a slightly larger fuel tank to provide more useful range. Carbon-fibre is used for the body panels, and the headlight is a four-unit projector lamp assembly.

    The big boy in Yamaha’s Tenere-series adventure machines is the Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Tenere Raid Edition, affectionally known amongst local riders as the “Super Ten”. For the new year, the Super Ten comes with newly designed dual 37-litre aluminium side cases for 74 litres of carrying capacity, and larger windscreen and wind deflectors.

    Tuned for greater torque, the 1,199 cc two-cylinder mill has a 270-degree crank for higher torque numbers. The Super Ten’s shaft drive comes with clutch and shaft dampers to remove driveline judder, and electronically controlled suspension improves ride handling and comfort.

    Seat height on the Super Tenere is adjustable between 845 mm and 870 mm, while fuel is carried in a 23-litre tank. The 2018 XT1200ZE Super Tenere Raid Edition comes in two colour options – Yamaha Blue or Tech Black, with Raid Edition graphics – and availability in Europe will be in March 2018.

    GALLERY: 2018 Yamaha MT-07

    GALLERY: 2018 Yamaha MT-09
    GALLERY: 2018 Yamaha XTZ1200ESV Super Tenere
    GALLERY: 2018 Yamaha Tracer 900 and Tracer 900GT

  • 2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100 will be shown at EICMA

    Ahead of the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, Italian premier motorcycle manufacturer Ducati has released press photos of the 2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100. In response to customer demand that the 803 cc, 68 hp, air-cooled V-twin Scrambler was a little sedate, the boys from Borgo Panigale have upped the ante a little with a V-twin taken from the old Monster 1100.

    Pumping out 86 hp at 7,500 rpm from its 1,073 cc, oil- and air-cooled V-twin, the Scrambler 1100 is rated at 88.4 Nm of torque at 4,750 rpm. A brand-new steel trellis frame ties everything together, and the Scrambler 1100 rolls on wire-spoked or cast alloy wheels, in keeping with the retro look.

    Standard equipment is Ducati’s Safety Pack, which includes traction control, three-ride modes, ABS and cornering ABS. Inside the cockpit the single round LCD clock from the Scrambler 800 is retained, but with a secondary LCD panel attached on the left, probably for the Safety Pack readouts.

    Fuel for the Scrambler 1100 is carried in a 14.7-litre tank, and the twin exhausts exit under the aluminium sub-frame tail, like the Monster 1100. Forks are now gold-anodised upside-down items, and braking is with a pair of radial-mounted M4.32B Brembos in front.

    There are three versions of the 2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100 – the base Scrambler 1100, the Scrambler 1100 Special which features “custom” bits and the top-of-the-line Scrambler 1100 Sport, which comes with Ohlins suspension.


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Last Updated 23 Nov 2017