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  • REVIEW: HJC C70 sport touring helmet, RM949

    Being a necessity for riding a motorcycle or scooter, the Malaysian rider is spoiled for choice when it comes to helmets. Now in the Malaysia market is the 2019 HJC C70 sport touring full-face helmet, priced at RM949.

    Now, aside from being required by law, we do recognise helmets are a very personal choice and what works for one rider might not be suitable for another. But, we were handed the HJC C70 by local distributors NKS and asked for an honest opinion of their middle-range sport touring helmet.

    Our review unit was a C70 Troky in a matte finish black with white blocks and fluorescent yellow streaks. We also opted for the HJ-20M dark smoke visor, priced at RM173, same price as a replacement clear visor while the RST gold and blue tinted visor options are priced at RM275.

    As a sport touring helmet, the HJC C70 comes with a 5-year warranty and conforms to the ECE-R 22.05 safety standard, which makes it legal for road use in Malaysia. The ECE-R test includes a maximum allowable peak energy of 275 G, 105-degree arc of vision through the viewport and chin strap that resists a breaking force of 3 kN (305 kg).

    Coming with a claimed weight of 1.6 kg in ‘Large’, the C70 is not particularly light as helmets go but for the price point, you cannot complain too loudly. The C70 also comes with an internal dark visor, actuated with a slide switch on the top of the helmet.

    Fitting the visor to the C70 does not require tools, making removal for cleaning or changing the visor easy, though we did find the push tabs to remove the visor a little stiff. Opening the opening is with a tab on the front which gives a positive lock to the visor in the closed position with detents making the visor easy to leave open in one of six positions.

    Inside the helmet, the foam padding is a little on the soft, allowing for a ‘fit’ straight off. We have not used the helmet long enough to determine if the foam will pack down a little more, but we did find the C70 nicely supportive on the crown and cheeks.

    The chin strap uses an adjustable micro buckle for one-handed operation and easy on and off but this precludes the C70 from track use where a ‘D’ ring strap fastener is compulsory. In operation, we found it easy to get a comfortable fit with the chin strap without it digging into the neck.

    Venting on the C70 is done with a vent in the chin bar, opened with a sliding panel, and a single vent on on the top with twin exits through the back of the helmet. Riding around with the C70, we found venting to be quite good at highway speeds and there was enough air entering the helmet at low speed to prevent fogging.

    Wind noise was minimal at high speed and all we noticed was the sound of turbulence at the top left and right sides of the visor. Since there is no provision for adjustment of the visor position fore-and-aft to improve the seal over the viewport, we had to live with the noise, though it was not loud to the point of being more than an annoyance.

    We also installed a Cardo Freecom 4+ as part of a different gear review and the C70 accepted fitting of the comms device quite easily. There was ample space in the ear cups to fit the speakers and running the microphone wires under the removable padding was easy.

    For riders wanting a no fuss, simple helmet with a minimum of fancy bits and pieces, the HJC C70 is a good, value for money choice, priced as it is below RM1,000. There are six models in the HJC C70 range, in both solid colours and graphics, which are available at all authorised HJC helmet dealers in Malaysia.

  • Malaysian motorcyclists restricted to left lane?

    In a bid to reduce the number of deaths amongst Malaysian motorcyclists, the Works Ministry is in favour of introducing a policy which will restrict motorcyclists to the left most lane on highways. The proposed restriction will come into effect during peak rush hour on weekdays.

    This was said by Works minister Baru Bian, as reported by news portal The Mole. Citing accident statistics, Baru said motorcycle deaths during commuting hours had reach “alarming levels,” with over 4,000 motorcyclists in Malaysia dying yearly and many more injured.

    “I think we can apply certain provisions during those hours of the working days like during the high (volume) traffic period that bikers may be limited to ride only on the most left side of the road,” said Baru. However, Baru said implementation of such a policy along highways such as New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) and KL-Seremban Highway would not be soon as all parties would need to be consulted.

    “I think we can apply certain provisions during those hours on working days, that bikers may be limited to ride only on the left-most side of the road. This is perhaps more feasible,” said the minister, “I think any suggestion for the policy to be enforced round the clock is not suitable currently.”

    This was said in response to a suggestion by road safety advocates Safety First Group, advised by Datuk Seri Azman Ujang, for the government to enforce a blanket ruling on such a policy. Earlier this year, the group forwarded a proposal to Transport minister Anthony Loke for bikers to be confined to the left lane.

    The proposal also called for bikers to not only be confined to the left but also be restricted to a speed of 70 km/h. Loke had at the time said such a proposal would have to be reviewed, saying enforcement would be difficult adding he was aware weak enforcement contributed to a rise in road accidents and that enforcement and existing regulations would be tightened.

    Meanwhile, The Malay Mail, quoting a Bernama report, said Azman has called the minister’s support of the proposal “welcome news.” “Despite the highly alarming number of people, especially among the young, killed in motorcycle crashes year in and year out, nothing much has been done to address this very serious issue,” he said.

    The provenance of the Whatsapp based Safety First Group is not widely known, nor the key personnel behind it, aside from Azman, chairman of national news agency Bernama, and founder Samad Rahim, and their advocation for Malaysian motorcyclists to be marginalised and discriminated against. From research, the group was established in 2016 after a fire in the Sultan Aminah hospital in Johor claimed six lives and currently claims to have 500 members.

    Furthermore, it is unknown if the group has actually consulted the primary stakeholders in such a proposal, the motorcyclists themselves, or done any studies to determine the causes of fatal accidents amongst bikers.

  • 2019 Vespa Primavera S 150, Sprint S 150 and S125 Carbon Edition launch in Malaysia – from RM12,500

    New in the Malaysia market is the 2019 Vespa Primavera S 150 priced at RM16,400, along with the Sprint S 150 and S125 Carbon Edition, priced at RM17,400 and RM12,500, respectively. All prices do not include road tax, insurance or registration and the new Vespa scooters are on display at Sunway Pyramid till August 11.

    Replacing the outgoing Primavera 150 ABS, the Primavera S 150 is a Vespa in the classic style, coming with 12-inch aluminium alloy five-spoke wheels. Powered by a single-cylinder 155 cc i-Get mill fed by EFI, the Primavera S 150 produces 12.9 hp at 7,750 rpm and 12.8 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm.

    Front wheel ABS is standard equipment on the 200 mm hydraulic brake while the rear wheel uses a 140 mm diameter mechanical drum brake. Fuel for the Primavera S 150 is carried in an 8-litre tank while seat height is 790 mm with three colours available – New Red Profondo, Black Vulcano and White Innocenza.

    The Sprint S 150 comes with an engine identical to the Primavera S 150 and produces the same power numbers. However, the Sprint S 150 is equipped with a saddle unique to the model in black with light grey piping and three colour options – Blue Vicace, Grey Materia and Black Vulcano.

    Meanwhile, the S125 Carbon Edition is decked out with the Italian Tricolore and carbon-look trim. Rolling on 11-inch wheels, the S125 Carbon comes with a 125 cc single-cylinder engine and two colour options – Black Vulcano and White Innocenza.

    GALLERY: 2019 Vespa Primavera S 150

    GALLERY: 2019 Vespa Sprint S 150
    GALLERY: 2019 Vespa S125 Carbon Edition

  • REVIEW: 2019 BMW Motorrad F 850 GS, RM79,500

    Known for its massive adventure tourers, BMW Motorrad seems to have set the standard for such touring rigs which everyone else attempts to emulate and this now includes the 2019 BMW Motorrad F 850 GS, priced at RM79,500 in Malaysia, on-the-road excluding insurance. While some might say a 50 cc bump in displacement and some new graphics is all it is, there is more to the F 850 GS than meets the eye.

    For many riders, the middleweight adventure touring segment is where the fun is, a balance between affordability and performance. After all, not many of us actually go chasing off across the deserts of North Africa and the author has seen one too many litre-plus adventure bikes with pristine engine bash plates whose riders never go any further into the dirt than to park by the side of the road for a drink of water.

    In any case, the F 850 GS, first shown to the world as the F 800 GS a little over 10 years ago now, has stamped its mark in adventure touring, and there are many who have followed behind it. While we would hesitate to say that it has set the gold standard for the segment, unlike its bigger sibling the R 1200/1250 GS, it has proven to be a capable performer.

    This performance has come at a cost, some say, with the 800 cc parallel-twin mill being inadequate to the task. In this particular case, the author would like to prove such nay-sayers wrong as adventure-touring, especially when the going gets rough, comes down more to the rider than the size of the bike.

    The bike is just a tool and any good tool enhances the wielder’s performance, while a poor workman blames it. When BMW Motorrad handed us the key to the F 850 GS, we entertained thoughts of haring off into the countryside, which did not happen for a multitude of reasons but we did find out exactly what has changed.

    Read the full review of the 2019 BMW Motorrad F 850 GS after the jump.

  • GALLERY: BMW x Heiwa R nineT Scrambler and STG Nautilus – custom build bikes from Japan at AoS

    Shown at the recently concluded Art of Speed 2019 in MAEPS, Serdang, a Malaysian home-grown showcase of custom cars and motorcycles, were the BMW x Heiwa R nineT Scrambler, built with cooperation from BMW Motorrad and the Hot Dock STG Nautilus. Both custom motorcycles originate from the Land of the Rising Sun and have their own unique identity.

    For those not familiar with the name Heiwa, builder Kengo Kimura stamps his own identity on each custom bike he fabricates, with the aim of giving his best to create a great looking motorcycle. According to those who know Kimura’s work, the R nineT Scrambler is very definitely in the mold of a build coming out of Heiwa.

    Items such as the exhaust, seat, fuel tank, wheels and headlight are readily identified as custom parts but there is a lot more under the skin. For the frame, only the front portion is taken from the original BMW Motorrad R nineT Scrambler, while the frame portion holding the engine, seat and swingarm are made by Heiwa.

    Heiwa workmanship has the trademark of being neat and if you were not told this particular bike has a custom-made frame, you might be forgiven for thinking it came out of the BMW Motorrad works in Germany. This vote of confidence was taken on board by BMW Motorrad and the Heiwa build was given official sanction by Munich.

    Wheels for the Heiwa R nineT Scrambler are taken from the GS1200, shod in Metzeler Karoo 3 rubber and shortened handlebars, with control switches replaced by buttons and the instrument cluster relocated low and to the left of the boxer engine. While being a show bike, Kimura says the Heiwa R nineT Scrambler is rideable and hence, simpler than of his other builds.

    In the more traditional custom cruiser shape is the STG Nautilus, the brain child of Hot Dock’s Keiji Kawakita. Kawakita is not just known in Japan but renowned across the world as one of the more innovative builders in the industry.

    The STG Nautilus was actually completed more than 10 years ago but in some quarters, the design is timeless and will continue to be appreciated in the future. At first glance, the STG Nautilus looks raw and industrial with many surfaces and components left in a natural finish of aluminium, copper and cast iron.

    However, the closer you get, the more details catch the eye such as small items like the brake caliper and cylinder head covers adorned with the Hot Dock name, things which are usually overlooked by most builders. Aside from the details, the quality of work shines through on the STG Nautilus.

    GALLERY: BMW x Heiwa R nineT Scrambler at the Art of Speed 2019 Malaysia

    GALLERY: Hot Dock STG Nautilus at Art of Speed 2019 Malaysia

  • 2019 Yamaha Y15ZR and NVX155 Doxou launched at Yamaha Gen Blu Carnival – price from RM8,868

    Launched in conjunction with the Yamaha Gen Blu Carnival at MAEPS, Serdang were the 2019 Yamaha Y15ZR and NVX155 Doxou, its offerings for the premium, sporty lifestyle segment. The Y15ZR Doxou is priced at RM8,868 without road tax, insurance and registration while pricing for the NVX155 Doxou will be announced at a later date.

    The Yamaha Y15ZR standard version is priced at RM7,888 while the NVX155 goes for RM9,988. For the Doxou versions of the Y15ZR and NVX155, buyers will get a premium limited edition gift set which includes specially designed Doxou headphones, keychains and ownership certificate with engine and chassis details.

    What sets the Doxou bodywork apart is the overall matte blue paintwork combined with reddish bronze but even more outstanding is the light blue wheel at back and black with blue stripe in front. This is set off by the bold striping and Doxou graphics.

    Mechanicals for both bikes are similar to the standard models, with a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled mill displacing 150 cc, matched to a five-speed gearbox and producing 15.4PS at 8,500 rpm and 13.8 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm on the Y15ZR and mated to a five-speed gearbox. For the NVX155 a 155 cc single-cylinder power plant pumps out 14.8 hp at 8,000 rpm and 14.4 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm with CVT gearbox.

    Braking for the Y15ZR is done with single discs front and rear while the NVX155 uses a single disc in front and drum brake at the back. For fuel capacity, the Y15ZR comes with a 4.2-litre tank while the NVX155 carries fuel in a 4.6-litre unit.

    The Y15ZR tips the scales at 117 kg and the NVX155 comes in at 118 kg. Warranty for the 2019 Yamaha Y15ZR and NVX155 Doxou is two-years or 20,000 km, whichever comes first and availability of the Y15ZR Doxou in Hong Leong Yamaha dealers is expected to be mid-August, 2019.

    A total of 11,836 Yamaha motorcycles attended the Gen Blu Carnival, making it the largest single make gathering of two-wheelers in Malaysia and earning it a place in the Malaysia Book of Records. Alongside a music concert and celebrity appearances, a lucky draw with a grand prize of a Yamaha MT-09, a Yamaha mystery bike and a Y15ZR Doxou was held on the day.

  • REVIEW: 2019 Honda C125 Super Cub – retro or no?

    As a styling and market trend in the motorcycle market, retro design seems to be going on a while yet, and one contender for the hipster dollar is the 2019 Honda C125 Super Cub, priced at RM13,999. Yes, we can hear the collective gasps from the back row there, RM14K is a lot of moolah to be asking for a 125 cc urban runabout, or in this case, something more of a collector’s toy.

    Here’s the thing, for many Malaysian riders, the motorcycle they first cut their teeth on is a kapchai of some sort and in many cases, that kapchai was Honda’s ubiquitous Cub. This was much the case for the author, whose uncle let him have a go on a Honda C70 back when most of you were running around in shorts.

    So, after moving production of the Super Cub to Kumamoto, Japan, Honda decided what the market needed was a 125 cc version of the Super Cub in ASEAN. Which does go a long way to explaining the heart stopping price Honda is asking for the Super Cub since the model we get in Malaysia is brought in CBU.

    But, as we have mentioned in several reviews of this type of motorcycle, retro is as retro does, but is there enough retro to justify the Super Cub’s existence? On the face of it, combining a classic design of a near indestructible motorcycle with modern conveniences seems to be a good idea.

    Or is it? In any case, Boon Siew Honda, in their infinite wisdom and refusal to believe rumours the author only reviews superbikes, handed us the key to the C125 Super Cub and said, “we’re half afraid of what you’re going to say about this one.”

    Read the review of the 2019 Honda C125 Super Cub after the jump.

  • 2019 Yamaha Y15ZR and NVX155 Doxou versions at the Yamaha Gen Blu Carnival at MAEPS?

    Happening this Sunday, August 4, at the Malaysia Agriculture Exposition Park (MAEPS) in Serdang, Selangor is the 2019 Yamaha Gen Blu Carnival with Yamaha motorcycle related activities, concert, custom motorcycle show, test rides and stunt shows. Also on the agenda, perhaps, is the launch of the 2019 Yamaha Y15ZR and NVX155 Doxou, launched earlier this year in Vietnam.

    Hong Leong Yamaha Motors has dropped a hint in the form of an Instagram post touting the launch of the Doxou with a sub-headline of “Sports Fashion Edition” to be held at the main stage. Following the trend of our ASEAN neighbours getting new releases of motorcycles and scooters before Malaysia, we assume this is the likely scenario.

    What sets the Doxou edition of the Yamaha Y15ZR and NVX155 apart is the matte blue colour scheme, highlighted with copper accents. The wheels are similarly accented, with a blue painted rear wheel combined with a black front wheel adorned with a blue stripe.

    Aside from that, mechanicals for both the Y15ZR and NVX155 Doxou are similar to the standard model. As we know, the Doxou bodykit has been seen on Malaysian roads as well as imitation body kits done up to look like the Doxou.

    In Vietnam, the Y15ZR Doxou retails for 47.99 million Dong (RM8,847) while the NVX155 Doxou goes for 52.74 million Dong (RM9,327). For Malaysia, the Yamaha Y15ZR is priced at RM8,168 with the NVX155 going for RM9,998, without road tax, insurance or registration.

  • REVIEW: Cardo Freecom 4+ bike comm, RM1,188

    Motorcycling is a solitary sport, with every rider alone inside his helmet. Sometimes, though, there is a need to communicate with other riders and in the bad old days, this took the form of walkie-talkies and FM radios, which is where in modern times the Cardo Freedom 4+, priced at RM1,188, comes in.

    Using Bluetooth, the Freecom 4+ sits just below the top-of-the-range Cardo Packtalk and works with any Bluetooth compatible device, including communicators from other brands as well as smart phones. Coming in a smart brick-sized box, the Freecom 4+ unboxing reveals the unit itself, the helmet mount, 40 mm JBL speakers, two microphone options and various velcro pads.

    Installing the Freecom 4+, we opted for the clip mount since it is intended our review unit will be transferred within the helmets in the author’s collection. Slipping the clip into the helmet shell is easy, if a little tight and care has to be taken to slide the clip into the EPS foam and shell.

    If you’re concerned about the finish of your helmet, either put on a little duct tape where the mount will rest against the helmet shell or use a lid you don’t mind scratching up. Installing the speakers into the ear cups will necessitate pulling out the padding and seeing if there is a recess in the EPS foam to locate the speakers.

    This might be missing in pure race helmets, so check before you buy. In any case, we installed the Freecom 4+ in three specific helmets – Shark Spartan, Shark Explor-R and HJC C70 – and faced no issues doing so, with the IP67 waterproof rating giving further peace of mind.

    For the microphone, we opted for the hybrid microphone which is more properly used for open face and modular helmets for ease of installation and transfer between helmets. If you choose to install the corded mic, a velcro pad will be needed to hold the microphone unit in place on the inside of the helmet chin bar.

    Setting up the Freecom 4+, after charging it up, was a breeze. Switching it on a two-button press affair, after which the blue LED comes on. Pairing with Bluetooth devices is easy, just set your device to “visible” mode and scan for the Freecom 4+, selecting it for pairing when it appears.

    Downloading the Cardo Connect app – 18.79 Mb on Google Play – makes setting up the Freecom 4+ easier and allows for full control via the rider’s smartphone. With everything buttoned up, we took the Freecom 4+ out for a first ride. 2,400 km worth across southern Thailand with Triumph Malaysia on a Tiger 800 XRX.

    The Freecom 4+ is a slim design, measuring some 20 mm in thickness with a rotary dial and three buttons giving the rider control over almost all functions including pairing and unpairing. In practical use, we found the Freecom 4+ unintrusive, with barely any added wind noise or buffeting.

    Activating the Freecom 4+ is by one of two methods, the first using buttons, the other with voice command. This takes the form of the rider saying “hey Cardo,” followed by the command to play music, answer calls or access the smartphone – Siri for Apple iPhones, Google for Android devices.

    In operation, once your Freecom 4+ is paired with your smartphone, connection takes place automatically but this option can be disabled if you so choose. Sound quality from the speakers is crystal clear at highway speeds, with the caveat you are using a full face helmet and the visor is closed.

    This will vary tremendously depending on the type of helmet you are wearing, visor or lack thereof and your road speed. Listening to music streaming via the smartphone, the clarity was acceptable and somewhat better than some of the previous helmet comms devices we have used, especially with the Freecom 4+ automatic volume level function.

    While we did not use the Freecom 4+ to make calls – the reason we ride is to be alone, after all – we did have to receive several calls during our time in the saddle. When a call comes in, audio is immediately muted and the call can be answered by pressing a button.

    Connection between comms devices is easy after pairing is done, and the Freecom 4+ allows for four-way communication between Cardo units, letting riders and passengers talk as a group. We did not get a chance to check for distance between units before the signal drops but were informed by the Cardo tech crew it is about 1.2-kilometres with signal quality dependant on physical obstructions such as hills and corners.

    Battery life was very good in our estimation, with Cardo claiming a 13-hour talk and standby time and the unit allows charging on the go. In practice, we only charged our Freecom 4+ once during the five day trip, and only because it was in preparation for a 600 km riding day.

  • 2019 Triumph Rocket 3 R and Rocket 3 GT launched

    Carrying on from the Rocket III, launched in 2004, the latest entry into the power cruiser market is the 2019 Triumph Rocket 3 R and its sibling the Rocket 3 GT. Boasting of the world’s largest production motorcycle engine at 2,500 cc, the Rocket 3 takes the fight directly to the Ducati Diavel and X Diavel.

    In a world where manufacturers frequently boast of superlatives, Triumph’s Rocket 3 comes with 221 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, which compares against the 235 Nm at 4,100 rpm of a 2019 Toyota Camry. Putting it in perspective, the Rocket 3 R weighs 291 kg dry and the Rocket 3 GT 294 kg – 40 kg lighter than the Rocket III – while the Camry tips the scales at 1,550 kg.

    Meanwhile, power clocks in at 165 hp at 6,000 rpm, up 11% from the previous generation Rocket III, all coming from the liquid-cooled triple engine. Power gets to the ground via a torque-assist, hydraulic clutch with six-speed gearbox and shaft final drive with first major service coming at 16,000 km.

    There are two versions of the Rocket 3 on offer, the R and the GT. Main difference between the two is the Rocket 3 R favours the sporty rider while the Rocket 3 GT is meant more for laid back cruising and distance touring.

    Suspension is with fully-adjustable Showa rear monoshock while the front end uses 47 mm Showa forks adjustable for rebound and compression. Braking is done with Brembo’s M4.30 Stylema four-piston callipers clamping 320 mm discs, with cornering ABS.

    Electronic aids abound on the Rocket 3, including Triumph’s second generation TFT-LCD instrument panel, traction control, four ride modes and all-round LED lighting. Also standard is hill hold control, cruise control and keyless start.

    Fuel is carried in an 18-litre tank, while seat height is 773 mm on the Rocket 3 R and 750 mm on the Rocket 3 GT and wheel sizing is 150/80-17 in front and 240/50-16 at the back. The Rocket 3 R comes in Korosi Red while the Rocket 3 GT comes in Silver Ice and Storm Grey with a Korosi Red pinstripe while the Phantom Black paint option is available for both models.


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Last Updated 21 Sep 2019