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Wahid Ooi

  • KMOG and KTM Malaysia put together an adventure weekend with world enduro pro and champion Chris Birch.

  • Day One consisted of an intensive off-road riding clinic coached by Chris Birch ad Chris Whitehouse.

  • The participants went away with some great wisdom and experience.

Stepping up their charter to bring the best to their members and customers, KTM Malaysia Owners’ Group (KMOG) and KTM Malaysia organized an off-road clinic and weekend adventure ride featuring the world’s enduro pro rider and coach extraordinaire, Chris Birch.

That’s one of the best thing about having a world champion as your brand’s factory rider. However, Chris Birch is of a different ilk which only a small number champions who could teach and impart his experience of many years effectively to plebeians like you and me. Besides that, Chris is still competing actively, ensuring that the experiences she shares aren’t from 1972.

The KMOG/KTM Malaysia Adventure Weekend with Chris Birch event drew at total of 20 participants. KTM Malaysia introduced Chris Birch and his assistant, Chris Whitehouse at Lifestyle Showroom in Kota Damansara to a rousing welcome. Many of the participants couldn’t help themselves but requesting for selfies and autographs with the “rock star.”

The Chris superduo introduced themselves and KTM Malaysia’s Nor Iman took over to brief the participants on the itinerary of the three-day program. We then mounted our bikes and rode to KTM Malaysia’s off-road and MX course in Sungai Buaya, Rawang.

Day One consisted of a riding clinic coached by Chris (Birch) and assisted by Chris (Whitehouse).

The first lesson taught by Chris was on setting up the bike for offroading. The bike’s controls such as the handlebar, hand levers and foot levers were adjusted to offer better accessibility while riding.

Chris also shared his experience about using the correct tyre pressures for offroad duty. He then adjourned the students to perform the necessary adjustments, but instead of standing by and lording over them, Chris and Whitehouse actually got their hands dirty to assist.

However, before the participants were allowed on track to ride, they were called back to the tent for a briefing about body position, particularly on how to stabilize the lower body by clamping the feet, legs knees and thighs to the bike, while allowing the upper body to ride loose. Standing up the footpegs is the hallmark of off-road riding, so additionally, we were also taught on the correct technique of standing up and how to position the body for optimal weight distribution. Weight distribution affects the bike’s chassis balance hence traction and control.

Chris then showed how it’s done by riding on the 1290 Super Adventure S out on the course. He broke the participants easy by having them trail him around the course, before setting them loose while he and Whitehouse instruct from the sidelines. We were called in a for critique a result from what both instructors saw and sent back out again to practice. (The clinic operated this way throughout the day.)

The weather had gotten really hot at that point and the clinic stopped for lunch.

Instruction continued afterwards, moving on the techniques of turning the bike. Getting a bike around a corner in the dirt is different from doing on tarmac. Whereas road-centric riders lean their bodies into a corner, off-roading calls for sitting up on the highside and pushing the bike down into the corner. It’s done so to place the rider’s weight onto the tyres for more traction. Apart from that, it’s much easier to control a slide. By the way, the sharper turns are taken sitting down, while the rider could choose to either sit down or remain standing for the gradual stuff.

But more importantly, Chris stressed on the need to look ahead to where we intended to go, instead of just in front of the bike. Target fixation – whereby the rider keeps staring at an obstruction or dangerous situation – will ironically cause him to hit that very object he wanted to avoid. “Look where you want to go,” is something which every motorcyclist must practice.

Next on the card was how to balance the rider’s weight on the outer footpeg when when standing up to negotiate slow turns and control the bike.

Chris stressed that the rear brake should be used in off-road riding, rather than using the front only. The rear brake is used to stabilize the bike, while the front is used to slow it down.

Progressing to the next stage, we were instructed on how to clear obstructions such as an extra slippery (read: muddy) section or logs. The technique is to look as far forwards as possible, then power before the offending section, and rolling off to let the bike’s momentum carry it through. Chris first demonstrated on one particularly deep mud patch before moving over to the tyre ramp.

Participants powered up the leading face then rolled off their throttle just as they’re about to ride over.

With this lesion covered, we moved over to the hill climb. There’s a steep hill at the near end of the Sungai Buaya course. Chris presented four different body positioning techniques that one could use for different situations. However, before letting the participants to ride up, he demonstrated on what one should do if the bike stalled on the way up. It was an eye-opener for everyone from the newbies all the way up to the experts.

The hill climb was the final lesson of the day. There were a few get offs but the paramedics stayed under the tent marvelling at the type of riding everyone did and the bikes.

In conclusion, all the four aspects of good riding habits were taught i.e. body positioning and control, throttle control, brake control, and vision.

We bedded down for the night at the beautiful Ratu Rening Residency resort. Everyone was upbeat, despite having ridden in first hot weather then under heavy rain. Riding with and learning from a multiple champion has a tendency to do that.

Watch this space as we go trail riding tomorrow!

PICTURE GALLERY

  • Riding with a pillion is great way to share the wonderful world of motorcycling.

  • Done right, your passenger will love motorcycles and riding.

  • It’s best to brief your passenger if he/she is a newbie.

Riding with a pillion is inescapable, especially if you commute by motorcycle. Whether it’s your other half or office buddy, it helps to understand a few tips about carrying a pillion.

Done right, they will enjoy the experience. Done wrong, they’d most likely to think of motorcycles as torture racks, or you’ll see the prospect of your romantic goal disappear. Or worse, touch wood, end up in a heap on the ground.

It helps to ask your passenger if he/she had ever ridden on bike. You could then brief him/her on what needs to be done or need not do. Convince them that you’ll take it easy and keep your word.

Right, let’s ride.

Gear up

We’re sure you’re always geared up when riding. However, do ask your would be pillion in advance if they have any proper riding gear and bring your spare jacket, helmet and gloves if they don’t. Their safety is your responsibility as soon as he/she climbs on.

Getting on

If your pillion is a newbie, take a few minutes to demonstrate how to get on. No, you don’t have to completely climb on, but a few physical pointers will be enough.

Let he/she know to climb on from the left side (away from the traffic), then stand straight up before swinging the right leg over the seat. He/she should then settle down onto the seat as gently as possible, otherwise the abrupt slam-down may cause you to lose balance.

Picture from amcn.com.au

This is especially important if you ride a tall adventure- or sport-touring bike, as they could be top heavy from a full tank of liquid gold, in addition to panniers and top case laden down with durian. Do remember to brief your pillion about the panniers. You should also remember to compensate for some rocking around at the rear while the pillion finds a sure footing.

Do remember to let your passenger know to alight the bike only when you say so.

Picture from pinterest.com

Hold on

Request that your pillion hold on at all times, rather than allowing them to place their hands on their thighs. Your passenger may find it more comfortable to hold on to the grab bar, if he/she doesn’t want physical contact. That’s fine.

Picture by motorcyclenews.com

However, if your passenger doesn’t mind it, request that he/she hangs on to your waist or tug on your pants’ belt loops. The best way to ride is for the pillion to place his/her palms on the fuel tank. That way, both your masses become one for more stability instead of being displaced. He/she will feel more secure too, without the sensation of being thrown off the bike.

Picture by totalmotorcycle.com

We found a great solution while browsing through Hodaka Motoworld. This Komine Tandem Riding Belt AK-322 attaches to the rider’s waist, while the pillion holds onto the handles. For just RM 180 before 6% GST, it’s a worthy investment.

Let them know to tap you on the shoulder should they need help or to pull over. If he/she holds on to your neck, it means that you’re riding too fast.

Keep both feet up

Do let your pillion know that he/she should keep both feet up unless it’s time to get off. He/she may mistakenly think it’s their job to help keep the bike up at traffic lights and cause a loss of balance.

By the way, you know that you can’t carry a passenger if your bike doesn’t have passenger footpegs right…?

Corners! Charge!

Wait! No, hang on. It may be exciting for the rider, but corners are usually scary stuff for the passenger, experienced or otherwise. Suck it up and take it easy, you still have the opportunity to ride from BHP Gombak to Karak in less than 12 parsecs next time.

Brief your passenger from early on to stay relaxed, especially in the waist and torso, and lean with the bike. He/she doesn’t have to assist by leaning in more, and definitely not by leaning the other way.

However, that also depends on your riding to a greater degree. Take it easy with your corner entry and mid-corner speeds to allow him/her to stay relaxed.

Don’t fidget

Your passenger should be relaxed but not as so relaxed to start squiggling around at the back to take selfies while filtering through the weekend traffic jam at Bentong. Or when riding offroad. Or applying makeup.

Picture from pinterest.com

Adjust your bike

Increase the rear tyre pressure and shock preload to compensate for the extra weight. Too low a tyre pressure will cause the rear to wobble. Too little preload will cause the rear to squat, taking weight off the front.

Also, you should adjust the headlamp should it shoot into space.

Change of performance

Keep in mind that the pillion’s extra weight will also cause a difference in performance, when attempting an overtake and the extra distance required to brake. Additionally, turning and avoiding hazards would also be more sluggish.

Be sensible and smooth

There’s no point in trying to show off your skills to your pillion. Unless of course, you’ve just met an adrenaline junkie.

EEEEEK!!!!

Don’t blast off or chop the throttle abruptly. Fight the temptation to charge through a corner after being inspired by Marquez. Take it easy and the ride will be a breeze.

Let them feel that riding is actually exhilarating and that you’re a cool guy, if you’re trying to woo the opposite sex.

Picture by 1reason.com
  • Modern motorcycles cannot run without a battery.

  • Their technology has advanced much over the years.

  • Finding out about how they work is just as important as choosing one and maintenance.

There was a point in time when a motorcycle didn’t require a battery to start, relying instead on points and condenser ignition system, but now batteries are getting ever more advanced in order provide power to starter, lighting system, electronic ignition (ECU) and coils, riding aids, other electrical and electronic systems and accessories.

It’s the battery that’s powering all those systems at the start and when the motorcycle’s charging system can’t provide enough power for example when the bike is idling for a long time at the traffic lights.

Furthermore, the battery also needs to protect the delicate electrical and electronics by absorbing voltage surges and spikes.

BASIC WORKINGS OF A BATTERY

What exactly is a battery? To put it simply, it is an electrochemical device which converts chemical energy to electrical energy.

A basic 12 Volt (V) battery is made up of:

  1. Six cells that typically produce approximately 2 volts each (depending on type of cells), producing between slightly above 12.0 to 13.2 volts, in total.
  2. Each cell consists of alternatively charged positive and negative lead (Pb) plates i.e. positive, negative, and so forth. The more plates in a cell, the more current (flow of electricity – Amp) and energy capacity (ampere hours – AH).
  3. Insulators that are placed between the individual cells.
  4. The cells are then connected to each other.
  5. Electrolyte (commonly known as battery acid) which is a sulfuric acid and distilled water solution, is added to the flood the plates.
  6. The lead plates react chemically to the sulfuric acid, lead sulfate, while the acid is turned into water which in turn is split into hydrogen and oxygen.
  7. The chemical reaction releases electrons from the negative plates. The electrons (which are negative in charge) flow to the components they need to and return to the battery’s positive terminal and plates. This is what’s known as the electrical current.
  8. The electrolyte will eventually be diluted through discharge i.e. electrical usage.
  9. Charging reverses the chemical process.

TYPES OF BATTERIES

1. Wet cell

Also known as the flooded lead-acid cells battery, it was invented way back in 1859. As the name suggests, the cells are inundated in electrolyte and needs to be checked and topped-up as required from time to time, especially in our hot and humid weather.

When stored in a discharged state, the heavier acid molecules sink to the bottom of the battery, causing the electrolyte to stratify (separating into layers of water and acid). When the battery is used again, most of the current will only flow around this area, wearing out the bottom parts of the plates.

Adios soon enough.

Being filled with liquid also requires the battery to be fixed in an upright position to prevent spillage. While being gradually being phased out as OEM fitment for motorcycles, they are still widely available due to their low cost.

2. Absorbed glass mat (AGM)

The AGM battery is the most common type of OEM fitment nowadays, usually produced by Yuasa for our market.

If you’ve ever replaced your OEM battery to another “maintenance-free” type, especially if it’s from Yuasa or Koyoko, chances are that it’s an AGM.

In an AGM type, the electrolyte is absorbed by a glass fibre mats that sit between cells. The mats greatly reduce evaporation and doesn’t require topping up, consequently. The electrolyte becomes the separator material, allowing the plates to be compressed together, increasing energy density compared to wet cells or gel batteries.

To reduce gas pressure build up in the casing when overcharged or discharged, the AGM battery includes a one-way blow-off valve. Due to that feature, AGM batteries also belong to the group called “valve regulated lead-acid” (VRLA) designs.

Another advantage of the mats is that the electrolyte is held in place and doesn’t slosh around or stratify like in wet cells, which means the battery could be mounted in different positions.

AGM batteries arguably have shorter lifespans since they have higher acid contents to increase standby voltage and lower water loss rate. If your AGM battery shows more than 12.56 V in an open circuit (battery not connected to anything on the bike), it means there’s more acid content. Again, while this is normal for the AGM type, it may not live long.

3. Gel battery

A gel battery, also known as gel cell, is A VRLA battery uses gellified electrolyte. Sulfuric acid is mixed with fumed silica, resulting in an immobile, gel-like mass.

Since there’s no liquid involved, it doesn’t need to be kept upright, electrolyte evaporation is reduced, there’s no spillage and corrosion problems. Besides that, it is more shock and vibration resisitant.

4. Lithium-Ion

Li-Ion batteries are all the rage now, despite not being fitted on a widespread basis due to cost. To describe the functions of a Li-Ion battery requires an entire article by itself!

To surmise, however, the advantages of the Li-Ion compared to VRLAs are mainly substantial weight savings and better cranking pressure (CCA – Cold Cranking Ampere). Cranking pressure denotes how much stored energy is available for cranking up the engine, besides supporting the electronics and electrical systems and accessories.

Disadvantages of Li-Ion?

A discharged Li-Ion battery can’t be brought back to life unlike a VRLA. Additionally, you need to use chargers that are compatible with Li-Ion batteries, although you may also use that charger for VRLA batteries.

That’s it for Part 1, the basics. We’ll cover the subject of maintenance in the next edition.

  • How much do you have to pay if you get pulled over for a traffic offence?

  • The guide below is standardized among the PDRM, JPJ and DBKL.

  • Remember that “The more you delay, the more you pay.”

Ever wondered how much is the summons rates you need to pay if you get nicked by the traffic police for an offence? We’ve put together this PDRM Traffic Summons Rates as a general guide. You may always check to see if you’ve been summoned at the Polis DiRaja Malaysia’s (PDRM) official site or through portals such as MyEG.

First category offence Vehicle type Standardized summons rates (RM) Examples of offences
1 – 15 days 16 – 30 days 31 – 60 days
Offences relating to primary cause of accident, safety or road users, traffic congestion and public safety. All types of vehicles incl. motorcycles below 250cc 300 300 300 1. Driving above 40 km/h faster than speed limit.
2. Failure to stop at red light.
3. Using mobile phone
4. Not wearing a helmet.
5. Going against traffic.
6. Using the emergency lane except for emergency purposes.
Second category offence Vehicle type Standardized summons rates (RM) Examples of offence
1 – 15 days 16 – 30 days 31 – 60 days
Offences relating to negativve behaviour of driver and vehicle technical problem that activelu contributed to the accident, traffic congestion and public safety. All type of vehicles 150 200 300 1. Driving below 40 km/h faster than speed limit.
2. Perforing U-turn where it is prohibited.
Motorcycles below 250cc 100 150 300 3. No driving license.
4. Stopping inside the yellow box.
5. Not adhering to “No Entry” sign.
Third category offence Vehicle type Standardized summons rates (RM) Examples of offence
1 – 15 days 16 – 30 days 31 – 60 days
Vehicle technical problem which passively increases the risk of an accident, traffic congestion and public safety. All type of vehicles 100 150 250 1. Lights not working.
2. Brake light not working.
Motorcycles below 250cc 50 100 150 3. Light is not turned on.
4. Side view mirror not installed.
5. Transporting unsuitable object on vehicle.
Third category offence Vehicle type Standardized summons rates (RM) Examples of offence
1 – 15 days 16 – 30 days 31 – 60 days
Other offences not contained above that did not contribute to accident, traffic congestion and public safety. All type of vehicles 70 120 150 1. Expired driving license.
2. Did not change vehicle ownership.
Motorcycles below 250cc 50 100 150
3. Not displaying “P” sign.

 

As you can see, traffic offences are divided into four main categories. However, certain offences don’t appear as clear cut. Take for example if a motorcyclist is riding a 1000cc motorcycle without a B (full-B) bike license and a full-B “L” license either. His offence is categorised as “having no valid motorcycle license.” If he has an “L”-license but didn’t display the L-stickers, his offence should fall under Category Four.

Another offence motorcyclists should take not is about not riding on the motorcycle lane where available. The offence is considered not adhering to a no entry sign.

Image by thestar.my

There are non-compoundable offences, of course, such as riding with expired road tax. That would automatically mean that one is riding without insurance coverage. It’s an offence that sends one straight to the Majistrate’s Court and subject to the judge’s mercy.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could result being fined up to RM 5,000, a jail term and your license being revoked.

However, what kind of offence also depends on the issuing officer. So be nice if you get stopped.

Another thing to note is that the rates are standardised among PDRM, JPJ and DBKL. To encourage quick settlement of outstanding summons, the government has put the “The more you delay, the more you pay” initiative in place since 1st July 2013.

 

  • We motorcyclists always complain about car drivers.

  • But car drivers always complain about bikers too.

  • Let’s be fair to ourselves and everyone we share the roads with.

If you’ve ever commuted during the rush hour, you’d encounter all sorts of Malaysian driving and riding behaviour. Well, thing is, motorcyclists blame car drivers and drivers blame motorcyclists. It seems that Malaysian road-users don’t take responsibility and accountability of their actions, resulting in this mess we call “Malaysian traffic.”

Yes, yes, I agree, there are drivers who shouldn’t even get out of their houses, much less drive, but when I drive do I see why car drivers always blame motorcyclists for every tit-and-tat.

Take for example at the famous Pandan Roundabout. I see bikes shooting past red lights everyday – one almost got run over by a 4X4 last night, but similarly, my wife and I were almost t-boned by an Exora last week.

Let’s be fair to ourselves and society.

1. Not stopping

Number One on the list is definitely no other than this. Red means stop. Full-stop. Period. End of story, end of argument. It doesn’t matter if the roads are empty like a zombie apocalypse.

Red light: STOP.

On the other hand, a traffic light that has just turned green doesn’t make it necessary to go right away. No, it’s not a racetrack. A green light signifies that it’s go when it’s safe to do so. One should look out for another vehicle that ran the light on the other side, before moving.

And hey, car drivers, stay off your freaking horn. Green means go only when it’s safe. Jeez!

2. Riding in Large Groups

Yes, I do enjoy group riding but please, leave some room for other traffic too, unless the ride is marshalled by the traffic police. It’s just best to ride with a lead marshal, one or two runners and the last man (sweeper), while leaving the group to ride in a loose formation.

3. Pipes too loud

The “loud pipes save lives” concept is still a much-debated subject, but I’ve noticed how a slightly louder than stock exhaust is enough to announce your bike’s presence to other road users. But problem is pipes that are so loud they’ll wake the dead. What does it prove? Loud equals fast? Loud equals fun?

Sheesh. An exhaust that’s too loud will only annoy the public. There’s this group of idiots who like to blast up and down the main road in our taman, scaring old folks and babies. In Indonesia, the kampung folks will throw rocks at these guys.

4. Jumping queue

Oh, this happens all the time.

We’re a lucky bunch that traffic filtering is allowed. But we have to do it intelligently. How many times have we seen motorcyclists who’d just cut in front of car to go into the other lane without signaling or giving adequate time to the car drivers? But when a car driver does this exact same thing, these same motorcyclists get upset. Ironic.

5. Headlights too high

The motorcycle’s headlights are pre-adjusted in the factory for the majority of riders. But if you’re a heavier rider or carry a passenger and luggage, you’d best remember to adjust the headlights.

If you notice road signs are brighter instead of the road in front of you, that’s a sure indication of the need to adjust it. Adjustment is simple as the headlight adjuster is easily accessible to most bikes.

6. Tailgating

Do we really need to tailgate cars to intimidate them out of the way? Most drivers don’t understand our bikes’ performance and think they’re already faster than everyone else on the road. Tailgating them may annoy them enough to “brake test” you.

It’s easier to just more productive to overtake them quickly on their left and leave them behind. It’s not the correct thing to do but let’s not waste our energy and time.

7. Scaring car occupants

As with tailgating, let’s just pass other cars even if they hog the lanes. Passing closely on purpose or giving them an Akrapovic- or SC Project-salute (blasting of the throttle to scare them) isn’t necessary. If a car driver pissed you off, honk, overtake to the front, and just roll your head. I would dare to bet my last Ringgit with you that 99.999999% of all drivers have no idea of what wrong they did, so it’s a waste of time.

8. Riding too slow

There’s definitely nothing wrong if you ride slow, but take the left lane and stay there, allowing traffic to pass on the right. It’s common to see a slow bike occupying the overtaking lane, holding up all the traffic. It’s as unsafe as much as it’s damn annoying.

9. Riding too fast

The safest way to filter through traffic in between two slow-moving lanes is to ride no more than 30 km/h faster. That means there’s enough room for emergency avoidance and braking, while the bike is still maneuverable since it’s moving.

But when we blast past traffic at much higher speeds, the safety margin becomes slimmer and slimmer. Many car drivers have complained aobut bikers not giving a damn and continuing to blast past, despite having signaled much earlier. Why? Because the bikes were travelling way too fast. Of course, there are braindead drivers who signal and turn in right away without checking what’s behind, but that’s a different story.

10. Pulling stunts

This is totally unacceptable and unforgivable. Pulling stunts in traffic or in public is the surest way of being branded as hooligans. And humans have this propensity to brand everyone as being the same just because of a small number of miscreants.

Stop it! Pull stunts in private spaces or on the track.

  • The clutch is what allows the engine to either engage or disengage drive from the engine to the transmission.

  • How a clutch functions is simple and straightforward.

  • We also discuss how slipper, besides assist and slip clutches work.

For those who are currently riding motorcycles with manual clutches i.e. with a clutch lever, we’ve learned to use it from that very first time we rode one. We’ve gotten so used to it: Clutch in, shift a gear, clutch out and continue riding or stop.

But how does the clutch actually work? And more recently, what is a “slipper clutch?” To take it even further, what is an “assist and slip clutch?”

A motorcycle, or automotive clutch for that matter, is a mechanical device that engages or disengages the drive from the engine to the transmission and ultimately to the rear wheel.

Think of the clutch as being the middle man, between the engine and transmission. Or a fuse between two electrical circuits. No fuse to connect, no electrical transmission.

Truth is, the operation of a clutch is simple.

BASIC CONSTRUCTION

A clutch consists of a few basic parts. Referring to the picture below, we’ll use the corresponding numbers:

  1. Primary drive gear. This gear is driven but another gear attached to the crankshaft’s output shaft.
  2. Primary driven gear and clutch basket assembly. The gear is driven by the primary drive gear (1), which turns the clutch basket, along with the friction discs (3).
  3. Friction discs. These discs have “teeth” on the outside to fit into the clutch basket. When the clutch is engaged, the material on the either side of the faces “grip” the steel clutch plates (4).
  4. Clutch plates. These are usually made of steel and have their surfaces either “dimpled” or smooth. Their teeth are on the inner circumference and mate to the clutch centre (5).
  5. Clutch inner, where the clutch plates (4) mate to and is splined to the transmission’s input shaft.
  6. Clutch springs. These apply pressure to the pressure plate (7) to “press” it against the friction plates (4).
  7. Pressure plate, which is sometimes called the clutch cover.

Items (3) to (4) make up what’s called a “clutch pack.” Let’s skip forward to the next parts:

  1. Clutch lifter rod or pushrod; and

(Unnumbered) Clutch wire joint.

When you pull the clutch lever, the clutch lifter rod (9) pushes the pressure plate (7) outwards against the springs. The pressure plate now sits slightly above the frictions discs (3) and clutch plates (4). The decrease of pressure means the clutch plates (4) is able to slip against the friction discs (3), which means the clutch inner (5), hence the transmission’s input shaft also spins freely. In turn, the engine’s drive is disconnected from the gearbox, and it’s this instant when we say the bike’s “freewheeling.”

When you let go of the clutch lever, the lifter rod moves back in place, allowing the clutch springs to compress the pressure plate onto the clutch pack. The friction discs, as the name implies, produces friction against the clutch plates and they rotate together in unison, as with the clutch inner. The engine’s power is now fully transmitted through the clutch assembly to the transmission.

SLIPPER CLUTCH and ASSIST & SLIP CLUTCH

We’ve covered on the functions and benefits of the slipper clutch before. Please click here for the full article.

To recap, a slipper clutch, what was more commonly known as the torque limiting clutch, allows the clutch to “slip” when there’s too much engine back-torque resulting from overzealous downshifting or chopping the throttle especially in the lower two gears, to avoid the rear wheel from hopping or locking up.

Slipper clutches work on the same principles when under power. However, in a slipper clutch, there are “ramps” built into the basket’s inner hub and pressure plate. Under hard engine deceleration, the ramps are forced together which then pushes the pressure plate off the friction plates and clutch plates; in effect decoupling the engine and transmission.

As for the “assist and slip” clutch, used by KTM (which they call Power Assist and Slip Clutch – PASC) and a few other manufacturers, the ramps in the pressure plate are also made to compress harder onto the clutch friction discs and clutch plates during acceleration. This allows the use of softer or fewer clutch springs. Consequently, the clutch lever needs a softer pull.

 

CONCLUSION

Before we close, a wet clutch is bathed in oil for cooling and lubrication. As we mentioned in an earlier article, DO NOT use automotive oil in a motorcycle engine as the clutch will start to slip and wear them out abnormally. Please use engine oils with MA or MA2 rating.

You may also wonder why cars use only a single pressure plate and friction disc compared to motorcycles. The answer is space. It’s either we use larger-sized plates or multiple smaller plates in order for the clutch to absorb and transmit the engine’s torque sufficiently.

  • We’ve shown how a four-stroke engine works, now it’s the two-stroke’s turn.

  • Production has been phased out but there are still many on the roads and in competition.

  • A two-stroke is simple hence lighter in weight.

We’ve covered how a four-stroke engine works and even took a peek inside the combustion chamber of one previously (click here for the article and here for the video), so it’s only right that we show how a two-stroke works this time.

While production of new two-strokes has been fully phased out, there are still many on the road and in competition. Fans this engine format love the simplicity, light weight and most of all, the power.

A two-stroke performs all the necessary functions of intake, compression, power and exhaust in one up-stroke and one down-stroke of the piston, within one complete 360o revolution of the crankshaft (1 RPM). A four-stroke, on the other hand, completes all four tasks on each separate stroke in 720o revolution of the crankshaft (2 RPM). This means the two-stroke produces twice the power stroke of a four-stroke in every 2 RPM.

Consequently, a two-stroke is twice as powerful as a four-stroke of the same capacity. In theory, anyway.

Let’s watch the video below:

As you can see, a two-stroke engine does not utilise poppet valves like in a four-stroke. That means it doesn’t require a cam chain or belt, camshafts, buckets, shims, springs, etc. in addition to the valves. That equals simplicity and weight savings.

The type seen in the video is the simplest variety, which uses the crankcase and underside of the piston as charge pumps. As such, this arrangement is called a “crankcase-scavenged two-stroke.”

When the piston rises on compression, the bottom of the piston creates a partial vacuum in the crankcase. The piston uncovers the intake port on the cylinder wall and the combustion mixture rushes in to fill the crankcase.

As the piston nears top dead centre (TDC), the sparkplug fires and combusts the mixture. The pressure of the combustion drives the piston back down, transferring the energy to the crankshaft.

On its way back down, the piston now uncovers the exhaust port, allowing the burned gasses to exit the combustion chamber. The piston also compresses the mixture in the crankcase simultaneously.

As the piston travels further downwards it starts to uncover the transfer port. The pressure created by the piston pushes the charge (combustion mixture) into the combustion chamber via the transfer port.

The process then repeats, with the piston first closing the transfer port.

Because the charge is constantly pumped through the crankcase, this makes it impractical to lubricate the crank and piston using pumped oil circulation like a in a four-stroke. The lubrication had to be therefore premixed i.e. lubricating oil mixed with the fuel or injected into the crank bearings with a metering pump such as Yamaha’s Autolube system. Yes, this is the 2T oil you and I are familiar with.

One more thing! Keeping the throttle closed while the engine is revving high will kill it. The oil pump is actually attached to the throttle, which means no 2T gets through when its closed. That’s why the 2T is mixed directly to the fuel, but this may cause sparkplug fouling, on the other hand.

Because the oil is mixed with the fuel, very little of the oil is actually combusted. This leads to the oil being ejected into the atmosphere, hence the pollution. Additionally, some of the fresh charge (unburned fuel) gets mixed with the exhaust gases and escapes through the exhaust. This is why you’d see two strokes having a sheen of black oily goo surrounding the exhaust header and exhaust pipe’s tip.

This is why two-strokes are phased out. There have been many developments over the years to make two-strokes cleaner but they have yet to be made practical for motorcycles.

One last thing: If a two-stroke is supposed to be twice as powerful, why are the 500cc two-strokes slower than 1000cc four-stroke bikes in MotoGP?

Running the engines on a dyno to produce high power output is one thing, but it’s another in real-life applications. A four-strokes generally spread their power throughout a wider range in the powerband but a two-stroke’s powerband is usually limited to a very small range, hence called “peaky.”

For a rider, a wider powerband means he could use it to exit corners easier. This translates to better lap times and higher top speeds, since he could open the throttle earlier. Well, this is just part of the story. There are many other aspects in play, also. We’ll save that for another article, so stay tuned!

  • Azlan Shah is the 2017 ARRC 600cc Champion.

  • He didn’t sustain bad injuries in the accident although his tongue required seven stitches, besides losing his phone and money.

  • Azlan is slated to begin his 2018 season preparation soon.

2017 Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) 600cc champion, Azlan Shah was involved in a traffic accident later yesterday.

“I was travelling home from Sunway. The road was very dark and I suddenly hit a lorry. I blacked out immediately and realised I was in the hospital when I came to,” said the rider when speaking to Malaysian daily, Berita Harian.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bd5QhHggxdY/?taken-by=azlanshah25

Onlookers rushed Azlan to the Selayang Hospital after witnessing the crash which totalled his Toyota.

“I’m thankful that I escaped relatively unscathed, although I’ve lost my cellphone and money,” he continued. He received a deep cut to his tongue for which it received seven stitches. “I could eat or talk much due to the multiple stitches. It’s only porridge for me at the moment.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bd4_sCCAW0B/

Azlan will be heading to the Chang International Circuit at Buriram, Thailand to being his pre-season preparations today.

“The accident will not affect my focus on defending my championship this year. My determination and motivation remains unchanged from last year. It’s going to be more competitive this year but I believe I could still put up a big challenge.”

Azlan will be riding for the Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki Racing team from Indonesia this year.

 

Aaah… What a wonderful weekend it’s been, brought on by perpetually cloudy skies, light showers, hence low temperatures. There’s finally time to catch up on a few movies with the family.

‘Let’s watch something entertaining. One without needing to be analyzed,” said the Missus. Darn, I was just thinking about The Arrival. Ok, something entertaining. Let’s re-watch Deadpool, then. It’s a great movie. It’s got plenty of good ol’ action rolled in together with (slightly perverse) romance, over-the-top clashes, and of course, the off-kilter humour expertly executed by Ryan Reynolds.

I’ve probably watched the film more than five times and still love it, except for a little detail during the first car chase scene on the freeway.

Why? Hollywood, Bollywood (especially!) and almost all filmmakers have always got things wrong when it comes to motorcycles. Don’t any of these producers or directors ride?

Engine note

The Ducati Panigales in Deadpool sounded like inline-Fours, the Triumph Speed Triple in Hitman’s Bodyguard was like a small V-Twin despite having an Arrows pipe, John Connor’s Honda XR100 four-stroke single in Terminator 2 had a two-stroke sound, both Suzuki four-stroke dirtbikes in Black Rain sounded like Suzuki GSX-R’s, the two Ducati 916s in Fled alternated between the Desmo V-Due and ZX-11, the ZZR-250 in Kill Bill sounded like a ZZR-600….

However, Harleys sound exactly like Harleys.

Turbocharged + supercharged + hypercharged cars

The hero gets on a sportbike or high-powered bike and takes off. But the bad guys in crappy cars always catch up despite traffic that rivals Bangkok’s during rush hour. They must have fitted turbochargers, superchargers, NOS and teleporters in their cars. Naughty bad guys.

Custom transmission

You can hear the bikes upshifting again and again in almost every chase scene which involves motorcycles. Motorcycles don’t have 18-speed gearboxes like those on big rigs. This phenomenon applies to car movies, as well, for example in the Fast & Furious series.

Bikes can jump over everything

Yes, they’d jump over traffic, people, fences, and spaces between buildings, but inexplicably without ramps, and still end up perfectly okay after landing. The X-Fighters riders can learn something here.

No helmet, no problem

The rider in attention, regardless if protagonist or antagonist, could ride at high speeds and still see without a helmet. The Dhoom series of movies took it further, as the riders rode to nearly 300 km/h without helmet, safety gear and while sitting fully upright. Try riding your bike at 140 km/h with the helmet’s visor open and see how it feels like.

Self-stabilizing bikes

Back to Terminator 2 and the thrilling chase scene where the T-1000 drives a big rig to hunt down John Connor on the two-stroke sounding XR100. The killing machine managed to ram the motorcycle a couple of times, but our hero stayed up. Hello, we’d go down like nangka busuk even if whacked by another bike, what more by a truck!

Transform and roll out!

No, we’re not talking about Michael Mann’s abomination, but road tyres that to transform to offroad tyres and back, depending on the road surface. This was clearly apparent in Mission Impossible II.

  • We published an article earlier about how a four-stroke engine works.

  • We understand how the gas flows but what if we could look inside?

  • Video below is copyright of Smarter Every Day.

Remember our earlier post on the basic working principles of a four-stroke engine? (Click on the link below to read more.)

How Does a Four-Stroke Engine Work

We came across this nugget of a video while scouring through the thick web surrounding YouTube videos and thought it’ll be interesting to share with our Bikes Republic followers.

Destin Sandlin, the owner of the YouTube channel SmarterEveryDay (SED) had heard about some guys – Phil, Mike and Everett – who created a transparent engine head cover and visited them to truly see what actually goes on in the combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine.

The builders took a 1920’s Briggs & Stratton side-valve engine and replaced the stock head with a thick perspex cover. Destin then shot the action at 20,000 frames per second.

Let’s watch the video below:

The video clearly shows the four distinct strokes of a four-stroke: Intake, compression, power and exhaust. But what’s really apparent are the movements of the fuel/air mixture, combustion flame propagation and exhaust gas evacuation.

Remember that we also spoke about the spark being introduced before the piston actually arrives at TDC (top dead centre – where the piston is at its highest point in the cylinder) during the compression stroke? Well, you could see that here too.

  • The Yamaha MT-09 has been a popular choice for those who wanted an aggressive big bike since its launch.

  • The new MT-09 has been facelifted and given a number of performance enhancing features.

  • Priced from an attractive RM 47,388 (inclusive of 6% GST but not on-the-road).

The Yamaha MT-09 has been a popular model for those who seek an aggressive bike and exciting riding experience ever since it was launched in Malaysia a few years back, and a facelift or upgrade has been expected to be forthcoming.

Well, wait no more because Hong Leong Yamaha Motor Sdn. Bhd. (HLYM) has launched the new Yamaha MT-09 tonight. Dato’ Jim Khor, the Managing Director of HLYM calls the new bike, “The Ultimate Street Fighter.”

Looking even more aggressive and radical than when its predecessor first hit the roads., the new model was inspired by its bigger brother, the MT-10.

Dato’ Jim continued, “Arrival of the new MT-09 marks another significant milestone for Yamaha towards its aspiration of becoming the desired lifestyle and recreation motor vehicle brand.

The engine is still the proven liquid-cooled, 847cc, inline-Triple but has now been hotted up with:

  1. Quickshifter
  2. Assist & slipper clutch
  3. Traction control
  4. Front and rear ABS
  5. Fully-adjustable front and rear suspension (inclusive of compression and rebound damping).

The most striking features of the new MT-09 however, are the new LED headlights and taillights, leaner and sharper overall styling and components. HLYM will offer the new MT-09 in two colours called Night Fluo (Grey) and Tech Black. It will be available from Yamaha Big Bike authorized dealers from February 2018.

HLYM has set the selling price at a competitive RM 47,388 (inclusive of 6% GST but not on-the-road).

HLYM also previewed the Yamaha Xmax 250 during the event. It is slated to be officially launched in March 2018, and no price has been provided yet.

PICTURE GALLERY

  • Riding into Thailand is painless but do prepare the necessary documents beforehand.

  • Failure to provide the necessary documents means refusal of entry.

  • There’s no such thing as trying to kaotim.

During the GIVI Golden Triangle Adventure ride in 2017, I rode to Pattaya, Thailand from Kuala Lumpur with a buddy.

We were excited for sure. Since I’ve ridden to Thailand many times, it’s a great opportunity to experience what those two other countries had to offer. As for my buddy, it was the first time he’d be riding to Thailand, let alone Cambodia and Vietnam.

As we approached the Malaysian-Thai border at Bukit Kayu Hitam, we pulled into a stop area to purchase the third-party Thai insurance and prepare other necessary paperwork. I obtained the insurance in no time at all, but my buddy was stuck.

It turned out that the manufacturer had balked in providing him with just one document – the Form 49 – and that meant the insurance could not be processed and issued.

He made a flurry of calls to the manufacturer and they insisted that he could actually cross the border with what he had in hand. The clerk at the layover suggested that we tried speaking to the Thai authorities at Sadao.

The Thai authorities had none of it and it was either that he submitted that one missing document or he had to turn back. Pisang. Does it mean that we’ve ridden for nearly 500 km only to be refused entry?

 

Another flurry of calls had the form Whatsapped to him. He got it printed, submitted the documents again and we were finally on our merry way, after almost three hours.

 

So, to avoid any such thing from happening to you, these are the necessary documents if you wish to ride into Thailand.

1. Malaysian International Passport, valid for at least another six months from your date of entry into Thailand. Malaysians are not required to apply for visa for entry into Thailand.
2. Driving license recognized in Thailand. It’s best to obtain the International Driving Permit (IDP) from JPJ or AAM.


3. Bike’s road tax (photocopy is fine), make sure it’s valid and not expired.
4. Vehicle registration card/geran (photocopy is okay), even if it’s held by the financial institution you’re servicing your loan with.

This is where it gets a little “interesting” in terms of the vehicle grant. If it does not specify your name on the card while you’re servicing your loan, you will need two additional documents:

5. Authorising letter from the financial institution authorizing you to ride the bike into Thailand. The letter must include his/her full name and NRIC number, in addition to your full name and NRIC number/passport number (I usually choose passport number thus I don’t have to dig out my NRIC).
6. Form 49 if it’s your financial institution that authorized you, which details the company’s register of directors, managers and secretaries.

With the documents in hand, look out for any shop displaying “THAI INSURANCE” or “INSURANS THAILAND” anywhere from north of Gurun to Changlun to Bukit Kayu Hitam.

Hand all the documents to the clerk and he/she will provide and fill in the necessary Thai forms such as:

7. TM.2 Information of Conveyance. There will be 2 copies of this.
8. TM.3 Passenger List. Also 2 copies but only if you’re riding in with a passenger, otherwise it’s unnecessary.

Courtesy of ridechris.com

9. TM.6 Arrival/Departure Card. Also known as the “White Card.” You will need to sign the card, and best to provide the name of the hotel you’ll be staying in (the clerks will usually fill in Grand Plaza Hotel or Lee Garden Hotel).


10. Third party Thai vehicle insurance. It’s not expensive, usually less than RM20 for 9 days.

Please check and double-check if all the documents are in place and filled before heading to the border checkpoint.

Malaysia has constructed a new border checkpoint complex. Follow the sign for motorcycles and hand your passport over the counter to the Immigration Officer.

Further up the road, the Thais have also constructed a new immigration centre to stamp passports, so park your bike and head over. There is (usually) no charge during office hours. The officer will retain the arrival part of the TM6 card, stamp the return portion and hand it back to you together with your passport.

Having stamped your passport (do check!), head over to the booths where you see vehicles heading through. Look for the correct counter (ask the Thai guards, they’ll be more than happy to help), wish the person inside Sawadeekahp and hand over the documents.

He/she will ask for a small fee (again less than RM20) and point you to the counter in front. Queue or wait here until called, where you will be given the Thai Temporary Import/Export form. You’re required to write down your vehicle’s registration number and sign your name in a large book.

Done! You can head into Thailand to experience the Land of Smiles.

But, for the live of you, DO NOT lose the copies of the TM2, TM3, TM6 and Import/Export forms as these need to be returned when you cross back to Malaysia. Failure to return the Import/Export form will see the vehicle being levied a THB 1,000 fine per day to a maximum of THB 10,000, which needs to be paid when you ride it to Thailand again in the future.

So, that’s it. It’s a very simple process for Malaysians to enter the Kingdom, but remember to adhere to traffic laws at all times and BE HUMBLE. And oh, don’t stop traffic for your friends to pass.

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