Bikesrepublic

Wahid Ooi

  • Andrea Dovizioso beat Marc Marquez at the last corner to win the first 2018 MotoGP race.

  • Pole sitter Johann Zarco had to contend with 8th place.

  • Valentino Rossi fought hard and finished 3rd.

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso made it count when it matters by winning 2018’s opening MotoGP race at the very last corner.

It had looked like France will have her first premier class winner since Regis Laconi in 1999 but the other riders had other plans. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider and pole sitter Johann Zarco had taken the holeshot from the start and held on tenaciously, fighting off the intentions of first Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda, then Valentino Rossi on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP.

Johann Zarco – from MotoGP.com

Rossi then followed Zarco around for a great number of laps until 10 laps to go when he decided to pass Zarco into Turn 1. Unbeknownst to him, however, was Marc Marquez slipstreaming up the inside. When both Zarco and Rossi overbraked into Turn 1, Marquez capitalized and overtook Rossi.

Valentino Rossi – from MotoGP.com

Rossi then either lost his rhythm or made further mistakes and got kicked back to as far as 5th, where he had to battle hard against Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Alex Rins (ECSTAR Suzuki), Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Ducati) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda).

Alex Rins – from MotoGP.com

Dovizioso had fought all the way to the front soon, passing Marquez but couldn’t find a way past Zarco for a few laps, until 5 laps to go when got into the perfect slipstream position. Dovizioso outbraked Zarco into Turn 1. Marquez was smart to tag behind Dovizioso, counting on the Ducati’s speed to also blast past Zarco.

Dovizioso held an small gap going into the last lap, but Marquez pushed hard to get back onto the back of the Ducati within three corners. As the pair braked for the final turn, Marquez went wide at the exit and Doviziso had a better drive to the finish line.

Marc Marquez – from MotoGP.com

By now it was visible that Zarco’s tyres were cooked as he started fading backwards. Rossi retook third and finished in that position.

Cal Crutchlow had been fast, fought with everyone in the group and held on to fourth at the flag.

Cal Crutchlow – from MotoGP.com

Danilo Petrucci, who had been equally as impressive as the top guys all weekend couldn’t find a way up higher than 3rd and ended in 5th.

Danilo Petrucci – from MotoGP.com

Dani Pedrosa looked promising at the start but fell behind in quick succession by midpoint to come home in 7th.

Dani Pedrosa – from MotoGP.com

Poor Johann Zarco who had worked so hard was packed all the way back in 8th.

The biggest comeback, however, belonged to Maverick Vinalez (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on the factory Yamaha. He had a difficult weekend, only managing to qualify in 12th, where he pushed all the way back into 6th.

Maverick Vinalez – from MotoGP.com

Hafizh Syahrin had a great start to the season as he finished 14th in his first MotoGP race to earn Malaysia’s first two points in the class.

Hafizh Syahrin – from MotoGP.com
Pos. Points Rider Nation Team Bike Time/Gap
1 25 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 42’34.654
2 20 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.027
3 16 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.797
4 13 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +2.881
5 11 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +3.821
6 10 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +3.888
7 9 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +4.621
8 8 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +7.112
9 7 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +12.957
10 6 Jack MILLER AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +14.594

 

  • Francesco Bagnaia held off Lorenzo Baldassari to win the first Moto2 race of the 2018 MotoGP season.

  • Poleman Alex Marquez had to accept third place due to a brake problem.

  • Other than that, the race had been processional.

Just when the first Moto2 race of the year seemed like another procession, a mechanical problem threw the race open.

Francesco Bagnaia, Lorenzo Baldassarri and pole sitter Alex Marquez (younger brother of Marc) took off into the lead a few corners after the start as the rest fell behind.

Bagnaia managed to pull out an early gap and started riding at a consistently high pace, leaving Baldassarri and Marquez to battle it out. Indeed, the pursuing duo started to trade places, including three times in one lap before Marquez prevailed. He started chasing down Bagnaia.

Alex Marquez – Pic from MotoGP.com

With just a handful of laps to go, Marquez went straight past a corner, letting Baldassarri through. It was soon apparent that Marquez’s rear brake was glowing red hot, signaling that it had jammed.

Baldasasarri then hunted down Bagnaia; catching and then passing into the lead on the last lap. But he went wide at the exit and Bagnaia repassed and held on all the way to the finish line to win.

Lorenzo Baldassari – Pic from MotoGP.com

Marquez continued to struggle with the stuck rear brake and was in danger of falling victim to Mattia Passini. Fortunately, the glowing went away in the last two laps and Marquez pulled away to maintain his third place on the podium.

Behind him, Passini finished in fourth, followed by the KTMs of Miguel Oliviera and Brad Binder. The much-fangled late charge of the KTMs due to their rear tyre preserving qualities failed to materialize.

Miguel Oliviera – Pic from MotoGP.com
Pos. Points Rider Nation Team Bike Time/Gap
1 25 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex 40’19.802
2 20 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA Pons HP40 Kalex +0.112
3 16 Alex MARQUEZ SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex +5.625
4 13 Mattia PASINI ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +6.657
5 11 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM +10.296
6 10 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM +10.344
7 9 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex +11.419
8 8 Xavi VIERGE SPA Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex +11.516
9 7 Luca MARINI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex +20.690
10 6 Jorge NAVARRO SPA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +20.961
  • Jorge Martin wins the first Moto3 race of the 2018 MotoGP season.

  • Unlike last year’s race where as many as 17 riders fought for victory, the leading duo broke away from the chasing pack.

  • The Malaysian Petronas Sprinta Racing riders finished 8th and 11th.

Jorge Martin held on to edge out compatriot Aaron Canet to the line, to win the first Moto3 race of the year.

The pair had broken away from the pursuing group from early on to establish a two-horse race. The Losail International Circuit has the longest front straight of any circuit on the GP calendar and Canet had trailed Martin out of the last corner to set up a slipstream pass. But Canet could only show his front wheel alongside Martin just as the latter crossed the line first.

Aaron Canet – Pic from MotoGP.com

The real spectacle, however was the manic battle for third among those in a group of ten riders, including eventual third-placed finisher Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Niccolo Antonelli, Ayumu Sasaki, John McPhee, among others. Gentlemanly racing soon gave way to argy-bargy and paint-swapping hard moves with two laps to go, John McPhee was among the casualties. It was heartbreak for the Scotsman having fought up through the field into the fight for the final podium position.

Ayumu Sasaki – Pic from MotoGP.com

Ayumu Sasaki of the Petronas Sprinta Racing team fought tooth and nail to come away eighth at the checkered flag, having gone as high as fifth. He had lost the slipstream to the group midway through the race but had managed to fight back into the group. Adam Norrodin languished in the 15th to 16th positions all days, but crashes up ahead promoted him up to 11th at the finish.

Adam Norrodin (#7) – Pic from MotoGP.com
Pos. Points Rider Nation Team Bike Time/Gap
1 25 Jorge MARTIN SPA Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda 38’18.207
2 20 Aron CANET SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda +0.023
3 16 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA Leopard Racing Honda +6.746
4 13 Niccolò ANTONELLI ITA SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda +6.791
5 11 Gabriel RODRIGO ARG RBA BOE Skull Rider KTM +6.850
6 10 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda +6.916
7 9 Kaito TOBA JPN Honda Team Asia Honda +6.946
8 8 Ayumu SASAKI JPN Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda +6.998
9 7 Jakub KORNFEIL CZE Redox PruestelGP KTM +7.156
10 6 Andrea MIGNO ITA Angel Nieto Team Moto3 KTM +7.699
  • Johann Zarco captures Pole Position for the 2018 Qatar Grand Prix.

  • Him, Marc Marquez and Danilo Petrucci all broke the old record to qualify in the Top 3.

  • The previous record had stood for ten years.

We had been expecting a thrilling 2018 Qatar Grand Prix Q2 final qualifying session, but we had no idea it was THIS exciting that we forgot to breathe! And this was only the first MotoGP round of the season.

It all came down to the last 2 minutes when Jorge Lorenzo went out onto the track. He had posted the fastest times through the first three sectors but somehow lost time to qualify 4th fastest, up from 9th. He had a troubled weekend and was seen stomping into the Ducati pit on many an occasion.

Pic from MotoGP.com

But the real action was behind him as Zarco, Marquez, Rins, Petrucci, Rossi ran in a tight group to gain some advantage by slipstreaming their rivals. Zarco managed to break away and posted 0.382 second faster than his previous best as he passed Sector 3. Meanwhile, Marquez, stuck behind Alex Rins and Danilo Petrucci who was some ways behind the group had also went some 0.300 second under their earlier times.

Pic from MotoGP.com

The TV commenters went rabid like the speakers at a political ceramah as Zarco crossed the line with a time of 1’53.680”, smashing the outright fastest qualifying lap of 1’53.927” held by Jorge Lorenzo since 2008 when he was on a Yamaha, during the time when Michelin supplied supersoft qualifying tyres that sacrificed their lives in two laps.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Marquez slingshot past Rins to end up second fastest, 0.202s behind at 1’59.882” while Petrucci recorded his fastest time of 1’59.887”, a mere 0.005s behind.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Yes, the Top 3 went under Lorenzo’s record.

Cal Cructhlow rode clear of traffic to finish fourth, 0.392s adrift of Zarco at 1’54.072”.

Pic from MotoGP.com

What about Andrea Dovizioso who had led the way into Q2? He had actually bested his FP2 time, recording 1’54.074” but the extremely hot pace set by the front four meant he will start from fifth.

Pic from MotoGP.com

It was a similar scenario for the impressive Alex Rins, who had been posting the third fastest times through most of the practice sessions up to FP4. He found himself blocked by slower traffic in the early part of the session and was then hounded by Marc Marquez in the closing moments, pushing him to ride defensively and ending Q2 in sixth.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Dani Pedrosa had a quiet weekend so far, qualifying seventh fastest.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Valentino Rossi had consistently posted the eighth and ninth fastest times and there’s where he finished, in eighth. It’s evident that Yamaha couldn’t solve the issue with lack of rear end grip on their factory bikes.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Lorenzo may have thought that he had fourth in the bag but was kicked all the way down back to ninth in the very next lap.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Jack Miller had been promoted to Q2 after posting the fastest time in Q1 but was visibly disappointed to end up in tenth with a time of 1’54.449”.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Andrea Ianone on the second Suzuki had traded fastest times with his teammate during the opening part of Q2 but was relegated all the way back to eleventh.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Rossi’s teammate and winner of the 2017 Qatar Grand Prix, Maverick Vinalez, had also complained incessantly about lack of rear grip, putting him in Q1, after FP2, prompting his team to shift his bike’s chassis balance to put more weight to the rear tyre. The adjustment saw immediate benefits as he was one of the quickest riders during the untimed FP4. He had initially gone fastest in Q1 but was upstaged by Miller at the end. Vinalez finished in a forlorn twelfth position with a time of 1’54.707”.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Zarco was emotional when interviewed after his record pole time. As if there’s no end to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 saga, rumours had started circulating that Honda is after him to replace Dani Pedrosa, who had been in the team since 2006. There were also other rumours that said he could be going to the KTM factory team. Zarco had been the strongest contender to Rossi’s factory Yamaha seat should the latter retires, but Rossi had just announced the renewal of his contract for another two years. Zarco had also crashed heavily in FP4 and was fortunate to walk away unharmed.

Pic from MotoGP.com

It is also good news for us Malaysians as Hafizh Syahrin impressed many to qualify 15th fastest in his very first MotoGP qualifying, one spot behind Franco Morbidelli as the second fastest rookie rider.

Pic from MotoGP.com

As the clock strikes 2am on this Sunday morning, all we could say is that the qualifying sessions were worth staying up for. If the qualifying had been so competitive, we hope it’ll carry on to the race tomorrow, and the whole season.

  • Andrea “Desmo” Dovizioso was the fastest man in both FP1 and FP2.

  • Danilo “Petrux” Petrucci was second fastest after being 0.006 second behind Dovizioso.

  • Biggest surprise were the Suzukis in 3rd and 5th.

  • Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Cal Cruthlow and Valentino Rossi were 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th separated by just 0.001 second from each other.

  • First to fourteenth spots were covered by less than 1 second.

The 2018 MotoGP season is underway with Round 1 at the Grand Prix of Qatar, held at the Losail International Circuit.

Pic from MotoGP.com

The Ducati Team must be elated with the Dovi’s performance as the Italian hadn’t posted many quick times in pre-season testing (although he was consistent with his lap times) except in Sepang, Malaysia. Dovi had been quickest in the earlier FP1 with 1’55.366” for an average speed of 167.8 km/h and hitting a top speed of 348.8 km/h, before improving to record 1’54.361” for an average speed of 169.3 km/h and top speed of 350.7 km/h.

Interviewed by Dorna, the soft-spoken Dovizioso said, “It’s really good, and we’ve confirmed the good feeling from the test, which I’m really happy about. The speed is there but we need to manage the tyre in the best way, it’s the key to manage it for 22 laps.”

Pic from MotoGP.com

Temperatures have been hotter than usual in Qatar, as the race had been moved forward to make way for the additional round in Buriram, Thailand later this year. The air was 31o C, while the track was 39o C during FP1, before cooling down to 25o C and 27o C respectively in FP2. Did Michelin bring tyres that are more suited to lower temperatures? Well see.

Dovizioso continued, “The tyre worked well, like in the test. I’m not too worried, but in every race, you have to work on the details as there are a lot of riders with good pace.”

Pic from MotoGP.com

Danilo Petrucci, riding for the Alma Pramac Racing team, had been a revelation in 2017, coming close to winning his first MotoGP a number of times before having to settle second in the closing stages. His performance had impressed the Ducati factory that he is riding the same GP18 bike as the factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo. “Petrux” as he’s popularly called finished 9th in FP1 with a time of 1’56.265”, 0.079 second behind Dovizioso. He improved in FP2 to record 1’54.367”, a mere 0.006 second behind.

The time surprised even Petrux himself, “I didn’t think I could do a lap time like this, but we are here and happy.”

Pic from MotoGP.com

Even bigger surprise perhaps was Suzuki. Both riders had been showing impressive form throughout the off-season tests and it was again the returning Alex Rins who showed the way. It was the opposite in FP1 when Andrea Ianone went 4th fastest with a time of 1’55.816”, 0.450 second off Dovizioso’s pace, while Rins was in 8th with 1’59.557”, 0.631 second from the front.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Then Rins turned the tables on his teammate in FP2 by recording a blistering time of 1’54.458”, now just 0.097 second behind Dovi, and 0.373 second in front of the second factory Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo. That’s a massive 5 seconds improvement! Ianone still did well put himself in fifth, by also improving his fastest lap time to 1’54.841”.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Now that we know who are in the Top 5, where are the rest of the usual suspects?

The three top Hondas were locked together. Defending 2017 champion and Repsol Honda rider, Marc Marquez was third fastest in FP1 but found himself kicked down to sixth in FP2 despite having gone faster with a time of 1’54.850”.

Pic from MotoGP.com

His teammate Dani Pedrosa also suffered the same fate, recording the seventh fastest time. The “Little Samurai” went faster in FP2, finishing 0.001 second behind Marquez in 1’54.851”.

Pic from MotoGP.com

LCR Honda Castrol rider Cal Crutchlow was eighth after clocking his fastest time of 1’54.852” – again, 0.0001 second behind the man in front of him.

Pic from MotoGP.com

As with the Hondas, Yamahas were running together, too. Valentino Rossi of the factory Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team had been second quicket in FP1 but finished ninth in FP2; his fastest time was 1’52.853”.

Pic from MotoGP.com

0.059 second behind him was Johann Zarco on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike. The Frenchman still holds the fastest race lap record last year when he led the field, before crashing out.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Last year’s winner at Qatar, Maverick Vinalez seems to be struggling (purportedly due to tyres), going only eleventh quickest in both sessions. His improved time in FP2 was 1’55.195 – a massive 0.854 second off Dovi’s and 0.283 second behind Zarco’s.

Pic from MotoGP.com

To illustrate how competitive the times were in FP2, the fastest (Dovi) to fourteenth fastest (Jack “Jackass” Miller) were covered by less than 1 second.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Positions fifteenth to twenty-fourth consisted of the five MotoGP rookies, led by Takaagi Nakagami.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Our Malaysian hero, Hafizh Syahrin and new teammate to Johann Zarco rode steadily in FP1 to finish in an impressive fifteenth fastest with a time of 1’56.544” which was 1.178 seconds behind Dovi. That’s a truly commendable achievement (not because we’re being biased) as he had been consistently 2 seconds slower in the two tests first at Buriram and then at Qatar. He improved on his time slightly in FP2 to 1’56.454” and was relegated to twenty-second position. While detractors may say that wasn’t a significant improvement, Hafizh is being consistent with his times as he unlocks the secrets of his bike and equipment.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Without going into too much of the technical stuff, it could be said that FP1 was a fimiliarisation run by the riders and teams, as reflected by the lap times that were “everywhere.” The times are “combined” from FP1, FP2 and FP3; meaning the fastest lap from any one of those sessions will be used to determine the spots in final qualifying.

Pic from MotoGP.com

Thus, the riders and teams need be on their best game to qualify as the Top 10 to automatically make it into Q2, as the 11th through to 24th fastest need to run in Q1 much like a “last chance shootout” for final grid spots 13th to 24th. The fastest two riders in Q1 will be promoted to Q2 where the times will determine grids positions from Pole Position to 12th. Needing to contest in Q1 means especially the eventual 11th and 12th fastest riders will burn through another set of tyres, hence there’s talk of Dorna allocating an extra set of tyres to those two riders. But it also means their bikes have to go through some extra “torture.”

The final timed Free Practice 3 (FP3) will begin at 7.35pm, while Qualifying 1 (Q1) starts at 12.20am (midnight Sunday), followed by Q2 at 12:45am. All quoted times are Malaysian times.

So, prepare your dinner and supper early. It’s time for the 2018 MotoGP season.

Pic from MotoGP.com
  • The brakes are often misused – they are not only for stopping.

  • The modern brake systems are there to assist the rider in many ways.

  • But it is the rider who has to use them correctly.

Of all the rider inputs, braking is often the most misunderstood or wrongly performed.

The main reason for this is due to how significant deceleration forces work on the rider’s body, in addition to how his bike’s behavior when the brakes are applied. As such, riders are often confused by how tiny fingers could slow a 300+ kg mass (the combine weight of the motorcycle and rider) from 200 km/h down to 50 km/h in a heartbeat.

1. Use the brakes to set your target speed

Start thinking of the brakes as a tool to help you set your target speed for a corner. For example, if you’ve ridden through your favourite corner on a daily basis, brake and note the speed before you enter the corner. Doing so will allow you to adjust braking point, braking force and entry speed as well as the turn-in point. Too slow through the corner? Apply the brakes later or release sooner. Too fast? Brake earlier or apply more braking pressure.

It doesn’t help to charge into every corner based on “feel” or “mood”. More often than not, too slow a corner entry will force the rider to add too much throttle in mid-corner, thereby risking the tyre breaking traction suddenly. Too fast into a corner will cause the rider to panic and jump on the brakes, causing the front tyre to either break traction and slide under (low-side) or the bike to stand up and head straight toward the outside of the corner (overshoot).

2. Use both brakes

There’s a myth that the rider shouldn’t touch the rear brake pedal unless he’s coming to a stop. Now, unless you’re braking so hard to lift the rear tyre completely off the ground like Marc Marquez, using the rear brake keeps the chassis stable, even if you should feel that using it does not decrease your stopping distance.

If the rear brake is truly defunct in its purpose, why do manufacturers equip their bikes with it in the first place, or lately, the rear-wheel lift mitigation (RLM) electronic rider aid? As the name suggests, it keeps the rear tyre on the ground, allowing the rider to utilize the rear brake. In fact, this rider aid is used extensively in MotoGP (to different degrees among different riders).

Courtesy of Sport Rider

Dragging the rear brake softly while leaned over in a corner helps the bike maintain a tight line. Besides that, it slows the bike slightly without rolling off the throttle or tapping the front brake lever, thus not introducing major abrupt inputs to upset the chassis balance and tyre adhesion.

3. Squeeze, don’t grab

Brakes should be applied progressively (gradually) and not not grabbed or stomped on.

Progressive braking transfers the motorcycle’s and rider’s combined weight progressively to the suspension and tyre. Conversely, abrupt braking causes the wheel to lock. Additionally, mass is slammed forward and eats up suspension travel, causing the front wheel to hop over road irregularities.

If abrupt braking is bad when the bike is straight up, it’s even worse when it’s leaned over on its side. The tyres are already loaded with cornering forces and doesn’t need much more overbraking to overload them. The tyres will either break loose, resulting in a low-side or have the bike standing up and going straight.

So, stop treating the brake levers as ON/OFF switches.

4. Ride loose

Using the arms to support the torso when braking “locks” up the wrists, arms, elbows and shoulders. This in turn means that the rider could only take so much braking forces and gets fooled into thinking that he’s already braking too hard.

Besides that, he would not be able to steer his bike through the corner or out of harm’s way. Ever notice some riders braking hard and still go wide or overshoot a corner?

The trick is to always clamp your thighs onto the fuel tank. That’s the reason why motorcycle designers create knee cutouts (depression) on both sides of the tank. So, clamp your knees onto the tank, and leave your torso and arms as loose (relaxed) as possible. If you’ve never done so during hard braking, you’ll soon discover that you could actually brake so much harder than before, while still being able to steer the bike.

5. ABS helps, not avoid

With all this talk about braking techniques, how does ABS (anti-lock braking system) figure into the equation? Or more accurately, doesn’t ABS take away the need to learn the fundamentals of braking? Oh yes, I’ve had people tell me, “The bike has ABS. The bike will never crash.”

Let’s review what ABS does. Braking is strongest at the point where the tyre is about to break traction. However, that margin between full braking and losing traction is very thin, and once the tyre loses traction, there’s no telling what’ll happen next. When a tyre loses traction, ABS relieves the braking pressure just enough to let the tyre roll then reapply pressure to brake caliper pistons (this happen many times per second).

via GIPHY

That’s all good and nifty. However, riders who are unaccustomed to the brake levers pulsing during ABS activation may actually let go of the levers. So, it all comes back to square one: Learn the basics of braking without intervention.

BONUS TIP: Have faith

Frame, chassis, tyre and brake engineering are so advanced these days; more often than not surpassing the skill levels of the majority of road riders.

This is not a criticism of your riding skills, but it serves as a reminder that the limits of the said components are so high, hence there’s plenty of room to go to save your skin at the time when you thought there’s no hope. The point is, have faith in your tyres, suspension, and bike in general and perform the correct actions when you get into trouble, rather than just giving up and letting fate decide.

  • The Triumph 3HW was one of Triumph’s motorcycles produced for the military.

  • It served throughout the Second World War.

  • This particular example belongs to celebrity Wak Doyok.

You’ll never know what kind of treasures will show up at the dealerships of classic motorcycle marques. Well, Triumph Motorcycles is the world’s second oldest motorcycle manufacturer, after all.

We were picking up the 2018 Tiger 800 XCx from Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia in Petaling Jaya for testing and review, when we spotted a “baby blue” vintage motorcycle sitting in the cargo bay of a 4×4 pickup. Imagine our surprise when it turned out to be 1940s Triumph 3HW, belonging to the popular celebrity Wak Doyok!

The Triumph 3HW wasn’t only a vintage bike but it had a significance in the history of motorcycles.

When World War II broke out in September 1939, the War Office requisitioned (sapu habis, in local speak) Triumph’s entire stock of civilian motorcycles. Triumph, based in Coventry at the time, went on to develop the 3TW specially for the military.

But on the night of 14th November 1940, the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) conducted a bombing raid on the city and devastated the Triumph factory along with the production of the 3TW. Many records of Triumph motorcycles since its heydays were also destroyed.

Triumph converted an oil foundry in Meriden, Warwickshire and started producing two single-cylinder motorcycles – the side-valve 3SW and the overhead-valve 3HW. The 3HW was based on the Tiger 80 sport roadster.

The 3HW’s rocker boxes were cast integrally with the cast-iron cylinder head, as opposed to the Tiger 80’s separate aluminium allow rocker boxes. The engineers resorted to cast iron as aluminium was in short supply.

Being more powerful than the 3SW, the 3HW eventually saw service in dispatch duties and general liaison for the Royal Navy in North Africa, India and Greece. In fact, the Greek Army used the bike from 1942 all the way to 1952.

The 343cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine had bore X stroke dimensions of 70mm X 89mm, a compression ratio of 6.7:1, and produced 17 bhp at 5200 RPM, pushing the bike to a top speed of 115 km/h.

Wak Doyok’s bike here shows the 3HW serial number stamped on the crankcase, but the fuel tank/instrument cluster could’ve been replaced with a 3H Deluxe model’s. Regardless, it’s still one awesomely beautiful motorcycle. Watch this video of Wak Doyok riding the bike, posted on 29th September 2017. Thank you Wak Doyok for letting photograph your bike!

PICTURE GALLERY

 

  • Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. has initiated a Safety Recall Campaign to replace the old brake fluid of certain models.

  • The models involved are 2008 TO 2011 TOURING, CVO TOURING AND V-ROD MODELS WITH ABS.

  • The new Malaysian Harley-Davidson dealership, Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya will carry out the campaign.

The Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. is conducting a Safety Recall Campaign for its motorcycles worldwide.

In an earlier article of ours, we mentioned that the motorcycle’s brake fluid needs to be replaced every 2 years, regardless of mileage and appearance.

This is because brake fluid is hygroscopic (a description for something that loves moisture) and will absorb moisture right out of the air. It is even more critical in our country where the climate is hot and humid. Moisture in the fluid will lower the latter’s boiling point, causing brake fade.

Old vs new brake fluid

As for this Safety Recall Campaign, the models involved are 2008 TO 2011 TOURING, CVO TOURING AND V-ROD MODELS WITH ABS.

The Motor Company notes that the brake fluid should be flushed and replaced with fresh fluid every two years, as per the H-D Owner’s Manual and Service Manual. Prolonged usage of the old fluid may cause it to gel and leave deposits on the brake components. Should these deposits continue to form over a prolonged period on the apply valve of the ABS Hydraulic Control unit, the valve may stick and cause a loss of braking function.

The new Harley-Davidson dealership in Malaysia, Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya (HDPJ), will carry out the campaign for all the affected motorcycles, regardless if they were purchased through the official channel or grey importers. And there is also good news for owners of grey import Harley-Davidson’s, as the new dealer no longer charges an exorbitant “activation fee” for the technician to simply work on your bike. All Harley-Davidson’s are now welcome at HDPJ regardless of where you bought your bike.

Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya is located at The Gasket Alley

As such, the Motor Company will communicate the affected VIN (vehicle identification number) to HDPJ. However, as HDPJ is still new and there are many grey import Harleys in Malaysia, owners of 2008 TO 2011 TOURING, CVO TOURING AND V-ROD MODELS WITH ABS are advised to contact HDPJ and provide their VIN for verification. HDPJ will immediately confirm if the motorcycle if affected.

The new Harley-Davidson Platinum Label DOT 4 brake fluid will be available for ordering from mid-March 2018, thus HDPJ will schedule appointments for the affected units.

Only the replacement of brake fluid is covered and no further parts will be replaced under the campaign. Replacement of the brake fluid will be carried out using the Digital Tech II apparatus, as the bikes are equipped with ABS. Please be advised that the machine will instruct the ABS hydraulic control unit to fully flush the brake fluid and residue, hence replacement of brake fluid without the Digital Tech II machine is erroneous and potentially dangerous.

The task will take 1.5 hours and is free-of-charge.

Please get in touch with Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya at +603-79559399. You may also call Service Advisors Lingesh at +6018-9861229, or Naqid at +6018-9891229. HDPJ are open from 9.30am to 7.00pm Mondays to Saturdays and, closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Please click here to visit the Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya’s FB page.

Also, as a side note to parallel importers who import Harley-Davidson’s, the official dealer at Harley-Davidson Petaling Jaya will also conduct software updates and bike resetting to prepare the motorcycle for local sale. While importers had to previously fork out money to previous H-D technicians to conduct “localization” and resetting, the official dealer can and will reprogram the bike for you with all the right tools and machines needed to service the bike. This is great news for grey importers as they can now have their machines better prepared for sale, while buyer’s can now rest easy knowing that their machines have been worked on by official Harley-Davidson technicians.

According to Juan Chow Wee, who is the General Manager of Didi Resources Sdn Bhd, the importer and distributor of Harley-Davidson in Malaysia, the new Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya is opening its doors to all owners of Harley-Davidson regardless of whether it was bought through the official channel or through the grey market.

“We want to be accessible to all Harley-Davidson riders, and we will not practise two standards. The love for Harley-Davidson runs in everyone working for Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya and we are showing this by not charging any localisation fee for any Harley-Davidson bike. The price of bikes, parts, accessories and merchandise has also been adjusted to ensure competitiveness, and we are proud to continue the Harley-Davidson brotherhood which was recently put on display at the Grand Opening ride and party.”

  • Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya launched the new HOG Petaling Jaya Chapter.

  • In conjunction with the launching, they organized the HOG Petaling Jaya’s Inaugural Ride.

  • The ride began at the new dealership at The Gasket Alley to Tanjung Malim and back to the branch.

Petaling Jaya, 10th March 2018 – Along with the launch of the new Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya (HDPJ) dealership at The Gasket Alley on 9th March 2018 (for the media), it was also announced that the dealership will create the new Harley Owners Group (HOG) Petaling Jaya Chapter.

Please click on the link below on our coverage of the launch.

Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya Officially Opens for Business

Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya then called on Harley-Davidson owners to congregate at The Gasket Alley for the Chapter’s inaugural ride.

Harley owners began arriving at the dealership from as early as 7 am despite a morning downpour. They were seen wiping down their beloved steeds of steel soon after. But the owners started arriving en masse after the rain and they descended in droves –solo, with a passenger, in small groups, large groups.

As Harley-Davidson motorcycles appeal to a wide range of customers and fans, the riders were equally colourful in their demeanour, not to mention their bikes and clothing. There was a guy who arrived wearing a Red Indian bonnet (headdress).

Touring models were converted to baggers, Softails to show bikes, Sportsters to bobbers, Dynas to drag bikes, and anything else to the customers’ imagination.

Besides that, as with the saying, “No two Harley’s are alike,” many had been expectedly customized. There was one Street Glide with custom paint with a hog (since Harleys are also called “hogs”) as a fender ornament. There were others with tall ape hanger handlebars, drag bars, boulevard bars. The favourite modification is, of course, the exhaust, since almost all owners love to “liberate” the sound of that Milwaukee V-Twin. There were short (and loud) dual straight pipes, huge bazooka-like pipes, fishtails, and everything else in between.

The owners also showed up in their respective “colours,” as in which sub-Chapter or bike club or group they ride with. Thankfully, there wasn’t any who showed up with the “1%er” badge – denoting their outlaws.

It was apparent that they liked seeing their riding buddies – a familiar face or faces in a sea of people evokes a sense of belonging. Hugs, warm handshakes and secret handshakes were exchanged.

In the meantime, HOG’s Road Captain, marshals and PDRM Traffic Police outriders huddled for a briefing.

Soon, the emcee called for the owners to move into the hallway in The Gasket Alley, for the official launching of the dealership. By then, more than 500 bikers had shown up, inundating the compound and spilling out into the streets.

Mr. Juan Chow Wee, General Manager of DIDI Resources Sdn. Bhd., announced the Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya open and also launched the Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya HOG Chapter. Mr. Rewi Hamid Bugo, Chairman of DIDI Resources and Mr. Goh Kian Sin, Chairman of Goh Motorcycles Sdn. Bhd. would join the ride. Mr. Juan finally called out, “Let the good times roll and wished they participants a good ride.”

The massive convoy fired up to a heavy metal thunder and probably causing the Meteorological Department to panic in locating a mild earthquake in Petaling Jaya, to AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” nonetheless.

RELA personnel and the Traffic Police outriders controlled traffic as the Iron Horses rolled onto the road towards the sleepy town of Tanjung Malim in Perak. The riders pushed head in a smart two-by-two column.

The Police along with retired Traffic Policemen and HOG Marshals guided the long convoy along the North-South highway toward their destination with aplomb and professionalism, while signalling other traffic to pass, so as not to cause a massive traffic jam. As such, not one incident occurred along the way.

The group descended upon the small town, probably waking up anyone was still asleep during the hot morning and stopped at Sarang Art Hub for refreshments. The venue was an old bungalow and consists of a collection of antique wares. The hungry and thirsty (mainly thirsty) riders queued up for food and drinks.

The hosts put on a live band show, helmed by a singer who sounded uncannily like “Papa Rock” Ramli Sarip and backed up by an awesome band, in barefoot on the stage. He belted out classic hit after classic hit to the delight of the participants. A few started calling out a fellow biker to sing as he tried to hide away. He sportingly got up on stage and sang Guns ‘N’ Roses’s super hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and the ladies got up and danced. He even gyrated like Axl Rose, complete with a red bandana.

Soon, it was time to head back to Petaling Jaya, led again by the Traffic Police and marshals.

The ride back was brisk, but again, everyone arrived safely for more drinks and food for lunch. The Gasket Alley had also set up the Gasket Bistro, consisting of food and drink vendors in the compound. The party ran all the way to midnight.

Looks like Harley-Davidson owners in Malaysia have a great new Chapter and home.

PICTURE GALLERY

  • The new Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya dealerships has been officially launched today.

  • It is the first dealership since Harley-Davidson’s refreshing exercise.

  • More dealerships around Malaysia are on the way.

Petaling Jaya, 9th March 2017 – The Harley-Davidson Motor Company and DIDI Resources Sdn. Bhd., the newly-appointed sole distributor have officially launched the new Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya dealership, situated at The Gasket Alley.

The new dealership is the first in a “refreshed” independent dealer network in Malaysia; and since Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya (HDPJ) is located at the Gasket Alley, the showroom will be operated under the care of Goh Brothers Motorcycles Sdn. Bhd. Goh Brothers Motorcycles Sdn. Bhd. is part of Goh Brothers Capital, who are well-known specialists for several automotive brands in Malaysia.

The 20,000 sq. ft. (1858 sq. m.) dealership will offer the complete range of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, consisting of the 2018 Softail family, Road Glide Special and especially the limited edition 115th Anniversary. The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is celebrating its 115th anniversary this year. A Harley-Davidson dealership is incomplete if without offering official merchandize, Motorclothes, parts and accessories.

Harley has always known that great bikes must be supported by great aftersales service. HDPJ promises the best-in-class aftersales service, besides the complete inventory of parts. Additionally, there are six fully-equipped service bays, together with a body and paint centre. The technicians at HDPJ all are trained at the Harley-Davidson University.

Customary to Harley’s dealerships, HDPJ is set to announce the formation of a new HOG (Harley Owners’ Group) Petaling Jaya Chapter Malaysia. It’s through HOG that Harley owners maintain their brand loyalty and share a common interest, hence building a sense of camaraderie. HDPJ will organize more rides, activities and events in the future, starting with 500 riders joining the Petaling Jaya Chapter Malaysia’s inaugural ride tomorrow (10th March 2018) from HDPJ to Tanjung Malim. There’ll be another 1,500 Harley-Davidson owners who will celebrate the opening of the new dealership upon their return from the ride.

At today’s launch catered to the media, the luminaries present were Mr. Johan Kleinsteuber, Managing Director of Harley-Davidson Asia Emerging Markets (whom we’ve interviewed previously); Mr. Rewi Hamid Bugo, Chairman of DIDI Resources Sdn. Bhd., and Mr. Goh Kian Sin, Chairman of Goh Brothers Motorcycles Sdn. Bhd, along with a large number of Harley owners.

The media was given the first look of the completed showroom, where the first three owners of the motorcycles purchased from HDPJ unveiled their bikes. They then adjourned to the service reception and the workshop afterwards.

Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya is located at The Gasket Alley, Lot 15, Jalan 13/6, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan.

PICTURE GALLERY

  • The Kawasaki Z900RS is inspired by the 1972 Z1.

  • Was it classic or classy?

  • Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) gave us a brief taste of the bike.

Hot on the heels of the Kawasaki Z900RS’s launch on 27th February 2018, Kawasaki Motor (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (KMMSB) organized a Kawasaki Z900RS Media Ride during these three days. Please click on the link below for our coverage of the launch.

2018 Kawasaki Z900RS officially launched in Malaysia! RM67,900

KMMSB started the occasion by taking us through the bike’s concept and specifications. There were a few interesting bits we discovered during this briefing.

For example, the Z900RS Project Leader, Seiji Hagio expressed, “(Our goal was to) Design a retro-naked model that enriches riders’ lives and leaves its imprint to inspire future generations to dream.” It may be a little difficult to paint a picture of his statement, but that direction was incorporated into Kawasaki’s TVC for the bike.

The entire Z900RS is full of references to that legendary 1972 Kawasaki Z1, which was the first Japanese large capacity four-cylinder production motorcycle that featured dual overhead camshafts (DOHC). The Z1 was incidentally a 900cc bike too and that monster engine of its time took it to 210 km/h. Some may scoff at this figure these days, but do bear in mind that motorcycles had skinny bias ply tyres, dual rear shocks, frames that resembled small gauge water pipes, non-floating brakes and, what ABS? The Z1 was the fastest production motorcycle when it was introduced. (Read more about the Z1 in the link below for our feature on classic Kawasakis.)

Kawasaki – Old versus New

The front forks of the Z900RS are fully adjustable, while the cantilevered rear shock is adjustable for preload and rebound damping.

Many design cues of the Z1 were brought over to the Z900RS, including the teardrop-shaped fuel tank, duck-bill tail section, dual gauge nacelles, headlamp and taillamp, cooling fins on the engine cylinders, clutch and alternator cases, so forth. Even the font in those round analog gauges are of the same type font and size as the Z1’s.

But the Z900RS is modern through and through with accoutrements such as two mode K-TRC traction control, ABS and four-piston Monobloc front brakes.

Although the 948cc, liquid-cooled, 16-valve, inline-Four engine was derived directly from the Z900 naked sportbike, the Z900RS’s engine has a different head design, which lowered its compression ratio. The gearbox ratios are identical from 2nd to 5th gears, but 1st is shorter while 6th is longer on the Z900RS. The longer ratio is good for comfortable cruising and better fuel economy. The changes on the bike was to produce more midrange torque as opposed to all-out horsepower.

KMMSB had prepared four bikes per each session: Two each of the orange/brown Special Edition and matte green Standard models.

The exhaust note was lively enough. Kawasaki was quick to point out that the sound had been tuned – probably to sound like the Z1. The Z900RS’s stock 4-in-1 exhaust system sounded loud enough. Aesthetically, the downtube and canister had the same sweep angle as the Z1’s, although the Z1 had 4-into-2-into-4 megaphones. Wish the Z900RS had those four pipes but they were probably omitted to save weight and cost. But hey, who knows if the aftermarket has something available.

KMMSB had equipped the Z900RS with a lowered seat for an 800mm seat height for the Malaysian market (stock is 835mm). The stock seat is available as an option.

Lifting the bike up off its sidestand and pushing it around revealed how light it felt, despite looking hefty at 214 kg dry in the spec sheets. The low seat height also helped matters.

It felt even lighter when we started riding. The engine’s torque was right in our faces as the bike kept raring to go and prompted us to use higher gears for slow speed cruising around Putrajaya. The high torque caused the bike to surge and the throttle was a little snatchy when first cracked open. It took a lot of concentration to modulate the throttle with more finesse, initially.

The good news was, all that torque meant you could afford to be lazy with the bike. A little less than 2000 RPM in sixth gear produced 60 km/h.

We rode from the Putrajaya Lake Club first to the gates Prime Minister’s office, from one red light to another, and slow corners. The Z900RS was remarkably agile and felt like a much smaller bike. But it would just take off as soon as you gave it some throttle.

From there it was to the Palace of Justice for another photoshoot before a brisk highway blast.

The chassis was composed during that high-speed run, but the forks’ standard settings had too much compression damping in them and they hopped over bumps. They would work fine on smooth roads, but some twiddling with the settings should sort them out. The rear shock didn’t pogo up and down when pressed through long corners but just as the forks, big bumps were transferred directly to the rider.

If there’s one aspect I’d wish Kawasaki improve on the Z900RS were the “simple switchgear,” to give the bike completely premium feel. Anyway, it’s a personal thought as the switchgear didn’t impede on the bike’s performance.

The Kawasaki Z900RS is a good bike overall, from our brief ride. Stay tuned for the full review.

  • Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia had just officially launched eight new models: Bonneville Bobber Black, Bonneville Speedmaster, and six Triumph 800 variants.

  • We had the chance to test ride the Bobber Black, Tiger 800 XCX and Tiger 800 XRX.

  • The Tiger 800 XR is now offered at a special price of RM56,900 (basic selling price incl. of 6% GST).

Life probably couldn’t get any sweeter than this. Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia launched not just one, but eight new models at one go: Bonneville Bobber Black, Bonneville Speedmaster, and Tiger 800 XCX, XCA, XR, XRX, XRX LRH (Low Ride Height), XRT variants.

The launch coincides with the Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia’s Grand Dinner at the Berjaya Bukit Tinggi resort area. Some 400 Triumph owners attended the event, in addition to us motojournalists.

Please click on the link below for our coverage on the event.

2018 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black, Speedmaster & Tiger 800 launched! From RM56,900

Motojournalists gathered in the early morning to sample the ensemble of new bikes – Bonneville Bobber Black, Tiger 800 XCX and Tiger 800 XRX. We rode from the Colmar Tropicale Convention Center down to the first security check point and back up to the Colmar. Each journalist was assigned a certain bike on the way out and exchanged for another for the return trip.

Anyone who’s ridden up and down Bukit Tinggi will attest to the challenging nature of the road. The lanes are narrow, the corners are sharp, bad road condition in certain sections and there are parts where dirt has been deposited by heavy rains. It’s a real good place to test the handling characteristics of any bike.

Image courtesy of PR Kraft

Although the test ride sessions were brief, it was enough to draw some preliminary verdicts as we’ve ridden the previous models, a few for more than 500km. However, rest assured that we’ll run extensive tests and reviews in due time, so stay tuned!

Let’s get to it.

BONNEVILLE BOBBER BLACK

First and foremost, the Bonneville Bobber Black isn’t the successor to the massively popular Bonneville Bobber, which happens to be the best-selling model in all of Triumph’s 30-year history.

The “original” Bobber launched for 2016 was already a wonderful bike by all means, featuring modern attributes such as ABS, traction control, Ride-by-Wire throttle, torque assist clutch among others. The highlight of the Bobber is of course the floating rider’s seat. One word sums up the Bobber’s styling: Attitude.

The Bobber Black, however, takes it further. Triumph calls it, “Darker. Meaner. Stronger.” therefore the stance is now more muscular and aggressive.

The 19-inch front wheel has been replaced with a 16-incher, shod with 130/90-size Avon Cobra tyre, specifically developed for the bike. To support the larger tyre, you’ll massive 47mm diameter Showa cartridge forks (like those you’d find on a high-end sportbike) vs. 41mm conventional ones on the Bobber.

Additionally, there are now dual disc brakes clamped by Brembo calipers. The Bobber Black also sees cruise control added to it which is actuated is by a single button. The headlight is now fully LED with Daytime Running Lights (DRL).

The other distinguishing features of the Bobber Black are the blacked-out theme: Fuel tank, side panels, fork tubes, exhaust, engine, handlebar, levers, wheel hubs and so on.

The original Bobber with its 100/90 front tyre would of course feel more flickable around Bukit Tinggi, but the Bobber Black was surprisingly almost as good too. The brakes were a little on the softer side in the initial pull but they do get progressively stronger further into the lever’s stroke. I suspected that the brake pads haven’t bedded in fully yet.

The front suspension was predictably awesome as it soaked up road irregularities and didn’t dive like a submarine under hard braking. They didn’t pogo back up when the brakes were released, either.

The rear mimics a hardtail, but that’s the key word: mimic; for it felt natural. It worked well over all road surfaces, except deep depressions and potholes, but it’d probably be worse for other bikes (except the Tiger, of course). By the way, the name “Bobber” eludes to the chopped styling, not the bike “bobbing” up and down – which the Bobber Black and Bobber never did.

Triumph left the 1200cc, liquid-cooled, 270o crank, HT (High Torque) engine alone. It performed brilliantly, punching the bike out of corners, while Triumph’s trademark linear throttle response gave you the confidence to crack open the throttle sooner. All the while being serenaded by a deep, throbbing exhaust note.

Want a factory custom which exudes all the style and character, plus good handling? Look no further than the Bonneville Bobber Black. Oh, I almost forgot: There are more than 300 items in Triumph’s accessories catalogue to fully bling out your Bonneville, so get bobbing today.

TIGER 800 XRX, XCX

We loved the previous Tiger 800.

We had ridden the previous Tiger 800 XR and XC versions on many occasions and it was our favourite 800cc adventure-tourer, by far. It was well-rounded in its performance, filling a wide range of riding styles and needs. It was so good that we wondered how Triumph could actually improve on it for the new model.

Well, it wasn’t just a facelift, that’s for sure. Not Triumph. Uh-uh. The Hinckley, UK-based manufacturer poured in more than 200 revisions just to the chassis and engine. That’s not including changes, upgrades and revisions to the componentry, bodywork, ergonomics.

Starting from the front, the Tiger 800 now has a new windscreen which is adjustable for five positions. That’s not all, as the screen is now mounted on four points, instead of two to eliminate buffeting at the top. It is now a one-handed operation. Additionally, wind deflectors below the screen channel wind away from the rider.

As for rider ergonomics, the handlebar is now 10mm closer to the rider. Standing on the footpegs to simulate off-road riding, all we saw was the instrument cluster. This is a good aspect of an off-roader, meaning that the rider could put more weight onto the front tyre.

The seat had felt much more comfortable than before, since seat compound is new, with a “3D mesh technology.” The rider’s seat is also adjustable for two heights.

Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia had prepared both XRX and XCX versions for the media on this occasion. As such, both bikes had the new 5-inch, fully-colour TFT instrument panel, a la Street Triple RS. The panel displayed every bit of information a rider would need, including a fuel range metre that ran down to zero, instead of annoying us with the number of kilometres travelled from whence the low-fuel warning began (found on other bikes). The TFT display also has an Auto Contrast feature which adjusted its brightness according to ambient lighting.

Since the TFT display was similar to that of the Street Triple RS, Triumph had also transplanted the hand controls to the Tiger 800, putting everything within easy reach of the  rider’s thumb. Switching riding modes or toggling through the data is through a 5-way joystick. The rider no longer had to reach forward into the instrument cluster to change settings.

The cruise control has similarly been revised, now without an ON/OFF master switch.

Moving downwards the front brakes are Brembo items. They were progressively strong but not grabby. Grabby brakes are the last thing you want if you’re riding off-road.

The 800cc, inline-Triple engine has been revised with a more mass centralized cooling system, lower 1st gear ratio, lighter and freer flowing exhaust, lighter alternator, and the removal of the backlash gear in the transmission.

Where the Tiger 800 differs are the intended usage, which consist two versions: The road-oriented XR and the adventure-oriented XC (Cross Country). Each version is then split into further sub-variants depending on the level of accessories and equipment.

The XR lineup consists of four models: The base XR, the mid-tier XRX, the XRX LRH (Low Ride Height), and flagship XRT. The XR range uses cast 19-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear, instead of the spoked 21-inch front and 17-inch of the XC range.

The base XR gets all the new changes except for the Brembo brakes, TFT display, cruise control and riding modes, although it does have ABS and traction control.

The middle XRX version has 4 ride modes, cruise control, full colour 5” LCD, LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and turn indicators, switchcubes and 5-way joystick, Brembo front brakes, 5-position windscreen and aero deflectors and handguards.

The bells and whistles version with fully-adjustable Showa front suspension, all-LED lighting, backlit switches, 5 riding modes, additional 3 LCD screen styles and auxiliary LED lighting is the XRT.

On the XC side, the base XC model had been eliminated and so had the XCX LRH. The lineup now starts with the XCX as the base model, instead.

Triumph Motorcycle Malaysia revealed that the manufacturer is looking to expand their influence in the off-roading world, hence the Tiger XCX and XCA have been given a few important updates.

Apart from the main features of the XRX, the XCX features 5 riding modes, including the new “Off-Road Pro” mode. In this mode, traction control is switched off as is the rear wheel’s ABS. The front wheel’s ABS remains active. This feature allows the rider to lock the rear wheel while still allowing for maximum braking pressure in the front tyre to retain the ability to steer the bike. It’s most useful to lock and drag the rear wheel while heading down a steep off-road slope, besides sliding the rear wheel around a turn in the dirt.

Also standard on the XCX are engine protection bars, aluminium sump guard and radiator guard.

As for the XCA, it shares the XCX’s features with a few additions. There are 6 riding modes, including one which is programmable by the rider; all-LED lighting; a total of 6 screen styles in two themes; and heated grips and seats.

So, what do these massive number of changes yield in the new Tiger 800?

The new engine sounded different from the outset. Whereas the previous bike’s exhuast sounded a little muted, the new bike’s was boomier. The engine is now quieter too.

The seating position felt similar, but the arms don’t feel so stretched forward. The previous Tiger 800 had been supremely flickable and that trait has been brought forward to the new model. However, the newer bike felt more stable, planted and suspension action was “tighter” when quick-flicked into a corner. Changing lines in the middle of corners were done even without being a concern to the rider. Think it and the bike does it.

Most tall bikes with long travel suspension don’t enjoy being trail-braked into corners, especially those with “manual” suspension. But not the new Tiger 800. You could be as aggressive as you want but the bike never seemed fazed.

Fueling was superbly linear and the engine revs up. But it was the availability of torque everywhere in the rev range that was truly additive. So much torque in fact that I just left it in 4th and 5th gear while riding around Bukit Tinggi. 3000 RPM in 5th gear equaled 60 km/h, but the bike could pull cleanly off from below 2000 RPM without juddering.

The third-generation Tiger 800’s engine was really smooth for a three-cylinder, but it’s even smoother on the new bike. Besides that, it felt like the bike had a slipper clutch although it didn’t, due to the removal of the backlash gears. Consequently, corner entries and midcorner attitude was super smooth.

Those confidence-inspiring traits were what endeared us to the third-generation Tiger 800, but the new bikes are absolutely even better now. It wasn’t only us who found the new Tiger 800 amazing, for every motojournalist gushed over them.

The new Tiger 800 is set to take the world by storm.

As a footnote, Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia is currently running an introductory promotion for the new Tiger 800 XR. It’s priced at a mouthwatering RM56,900 (basic selling price incl. of 6% GST) so hurry over now for a test ride.

For more information, please visit Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia’s FB page.

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