Bikesrepublic

Wahid Ooi

  • Many countries in the world seek to stop producing petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, latest

  • India, along with Norway take the charge to achieve by 2025

  • Malaysia targets phased electrification by 2030

Two months ago, the world’s automotive industry was rocked by the news of the UK government seeking to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles beginning 2040.

France, and cities such Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have also announced the same, while Scotland seeks to phase out internal combustion engines on their roads by 2032. Norway will transition to fully electric by 2025. China, the world’s largest auto producer (30 percent of the world’s cars), is considering a similar move.

Charging stations in Oslo, Norway

But it is India’s manufacturers – Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, TVS Motor, Mahindra Two Wheelers, Yamaha, and Bajaj Auto –  who are pushing hard to introduce mainstreams electric motorcycles by 2018, ahead of the country’s ambitious 2030 deadline.

Hero Photon

India is currently the largest market for motorcycles, with 17 million sold in 2016. Electric motorcycles (including scooters) however, only sold 4,500,00 in the past eight years.

The biggest hurdle for electric motorcycles is the very thing that gives it mobility – the battery. Lead acid batteries are widely available and inexpensive but they have shorter lifespans and take longer to charge, as opposed to lithium-ion batteries. However, li-ion batteries are expensive.

“It will take some time for electric cars to be sold en masse,” said Sohinder Gill, Director of Society of Electric Vehicles. “With cost of li-ion batteries coming down, performance has improved and more manufacturers have started work in the segment, which will give more choices to the consumer.”

Battery packs in a Brammo

Other than the cost, driven up the price of li-ion batteries, consumers will also face the lack of public charging stations. As such, TVS Motor will offer both hybrid and fully electric options.

Honda and Yamaha have been selling electric motorcycles outside of India, and are seeking to lower costs and ensure adequate infrastructure to support. Honda has been investing in electric vehicles for the last two decades.

Honda RC-E

How about us Malaysia?

Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili said in April that Malaysia is moving towards becoming the marketing hub for electric vehicles. The ministry targets electrifying 100,000 cars, 100 motorcycles, 2,000 buses and the installation of 125,000 charging stations by 2030.

Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili

That means our nation’s vehicles will not be fully electric by 2030, if everything goes to plan. Implementation will most likely begin in urban and built-up areas.

Typical charging station in a shopping mall parking

In the meantime, Treelektrik is marketing the T-90 electric scooter in Malaysia. Buyers can choose between lead-acid or lithium-ion battery. Click here for more details on the Treelektrik and other fuel efficient motorcycles.

Treelektrik T-90
  • Ducati’s signature Desmo valve system owes its genesis to Fabio Taglioni

  • Ducati was making bicycles and scooters before Taglioni joined

  • Ducati has been using the Desmo system since 1968

Starting from today, Bikes Republic shall bring you a new series called Top Motorcycle Designers. These designers were the ones behind some of the most iconic motorcycles of our time. A few styled the bikes, while a few were engineers who designed the mechanicals of those motorcycles. For Part 1, we bring you Fabio Taglioni.

The Ducati brand is so synonymous with high-performance motorcycles – resulting from their racing successes in the 70’s, utter dominance in the World Superbike Championship in the 90’s and recent success in MotoGP – that it’s probably hard to imagine they were a state-owned motorcycle manufacturer which produced cheap, low-powered scooters and motorized bicycles.

1952 Ducati Cruiser

Well, that was before Fabio Taglioni, better known as “Dr. T” came onboard.

Taglioni started at Ceccato as a design consultant in 1950. The small manufacturer specialized in 75 cc and 100 cc sportbikes. He would go on to join FB Mondial in 1952, before making the fated jump to Ducati in 1954 to head its technical, planning and experimental departments.

1950 Mondial 125 Turismo

Taglioni didn’t waste time and the 100cc he designed, known as the Marianna went on to win three successive Motogiro road races from 1955 to 1957.

Ducati Marianna

Then in 1957, he created the system that’s at the heart of every Ducati: Desmodromic valve actuation, or simply, Desmo. Although desmo wasn’t invented by Taglioni, it was he who successfully applied it to motorcycles.

The Desmo system

Metallurgy wasn’t as advanced in those days, so impurities in metal made them weak and the hardening processes for engine valve springs made them brittle. There was also the phenomenon called valve float that springs had to contend with, in which the springs go beyond their elastic state and are unable to return the valve its closed position, particularly at high RPMs.

This effectively capped maximum engine RPM, hence power.

However, the desmo system doesn’t require springs to act directly on the valves to open and close them. This meant Taglioni’s engines could rev higher and produce more power.

Schematic of the 1956 125 Desmo valvegear

The desmo system made its debut in the single-cylinder, 125 Desmo. Ducati had used the system exclusively in race bikes only up until 1968, when they featured it in production models, too. But it wasn’t just the simplicity of the valve gear that Taglioni designed, but also the elegant towers encasing the bevel gear shaft which sent power from the crankshaft to the head.

125 Desmo

Taglioni went on to build the Mach 250, which broke distance and speed records. The early 70’s saw Ducati’s 90-degree V-Twin – called L-Twin by Ducati, as the front cylinder is almost fully horizontal – contributing to Paul Smart’s win at the 1972 Imola race and Mike Hailwood’s comeback victory in the 1978 Isle of Man TT race.

Paul Smart at the 1972 Imola GP
Mike Hailwood at the 1978 Isle of Man TT

From that point on, all models built in 1980 and beyond were desmo.

Taglioni with the 1982 600 Pantah TT

The predecessors of Taglioni’s Desmo 90-degree V-Twin engines would go on to dominate World Superbike Championship, winning an unprecedented 14 titles in 21 years, from 1991 to 2011, and thereby launching the Ducati marque as a premium motorcycle maker.

Andrea Dovizioso at the 2017 Austrian MotoGP

Recent developments to yield more power for racing in World Superbike will see Ducati switching to the V-Four format in their superbikes, but Dr. T’s Desmo remains a feature in the racebikes and all road motorcycles. (Click here for our report on the V-Four Ducati.)

  • Kawasaki’s motorcycles are famously popular for many reasons

  • Kawasaki has historically produced the most potent and great looking motorcycles

  • Click here to visit Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia)’s website for the comprehensive list of models

Kawasaki motorcycles are manufactured by the Motorcycle & Engine Division of the Kawasaki Heavy Industries juggernaut. Kawasaki motorcycles have come a long way since their inception in the early-60s to become what it now one of the Big Four out of Japan.

Here in Malaysia, it was Kawasaki who paved the way for large capacity motorcycles as mainstream bikes, instead of being just the toys of the rich. Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. are also supplying motorcycles to the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM).

But what made Kawasaki a popular brand? While Kawasaki does have a proud heritage, that alone doesn’t guarantee a brand’s success.

We’ve put together the top reasons why you should own a Kawasaki, and these are a few of those factors that have made Kawasaki a force majeure.

1. History of Engineering Excellence
Kawasaki Heavy Industries which includes Kawasaki Motorcycles Co., Ltd. has its roots in shipbuilding since 1896. Started by Shozo Kawasaki, it went on to become an industrial juggernaut, involved in building ships and submarines, railway rolling stock, aircraft, steelworks, robotics, space vehicles, and motorcycles.

The very first Kawasaki motorcycle engine – the KE-1 – in 1952 were designed and built by Kawasaki’s aircraft engineers to aircraft technology. It would mark Kawasaki’s motorcycle pedigree ever since as employing groundbreaking technologies

Those technologies would in turn affirm that Kawasaki motorcycles as the fastest production motorcycles, in their classes, if not in the world. They would soon turn into icons and legends. Case in point are a long list of Kawasaki models such as the H1 Mach III (1969), Z1 (1972), KZ100R (1981), GPz900R – the first Ninja (1984), GPz600R (1985), ZZ-R1000 a.k.a. ZX-10 (1988), ZXR750 or ZX-7 (1989), ZZ-R1100 a.k.a. ZX-11 (1990), ZX-12R (2000), ZX-10R (2004), ZX-14 (2006) and, of course, the H2R and H2 (2015).

And we haven’t even touched on the other ranges, ATVs and watercrafts yet!

2. Racing Heritage
Kawasaki had cut their teeth in competition, from Japanese endures in the early-60s to Anton Mang’s victories in the 250cc and 350cc world championships. Reg Pridmore’s 1977 win at Pocono on a Kawsaaki Z1 marked the first AMA Nationals win on a Japanese motorcycle (he took the 1977 and 1978 AMA Superbike titles, too). And who could forget Eddie Lawson’s dominance of the 1981 and 1982 AMA Superbike Championships on the Kawasaki KZ1000R. “Steady Eddie” would go on to be a four-time World 500cc Champion.

Kawasaki has also won four World Superbike Championships, three of those in the last four years. Tom Sykes won in 2013, followed by Jonathan Rea in 2015 and 2016 on the Kawasaki ZX-10R. Rea is currently leading the 2017 championship and looks set to the third successive title.

While there’s no doubt that MotoGP enjoys the bigger audience, WSBK is important nevertheless as the series is based on production motorcycles. It means that those bikes being raced in WSBK are the same bikes you and I could purchase at a Kawasaki dealer.

Experience gained from racing success translates to technologies being adapted to road bikes available to the public.

3. Cutting Edge Technology
Kawasaki has always pushed the boundaries of engineering and technology to deliver the most potent and fun motorcycles. Rider safety is paramount, as such, Kawasaki’s motorcycles feature traction control, ABS, ride modes, high-end brakes, good suspension, etc. In fact, Kawasaki was the first Japanese manufacturer to adopt traction control, called K-TRIC (Kawasaki Throttle Ignition Response Control) on the 1400GTR. Let’s not forget the supercharged H2R and H2!

4. Cutting Edge Design
Kawasaki’s motorcycles have historically broken the mould of styling conventions to deliver stunning and distinctive designs, for example the GPz900R, ZX-14, ZX-10R, H2, among others. They not only receive admiring stares from other bikers and general public, but a riding a good-looking motorcycle is both gratifying and confidence-building.

5. Availability of Genuine Parts and Accessories
As there are greater numbers of Kawasaki motorcycles in the market, that also means spare parts and accessories are readily available, at relatively lower costs. Coupled with the availability of authorized Kawasaki dealers and workshops around Malaysia, a Kawasaki owner can be assured of quick turnaround times when repairing their bikes.

6. Large Authorised Network
There are currently 80 authorised dealers and 32 authorised spare parts dealers all across the country, including in East Malaysia. This means easy access to not only new bikes, but also for maintenance, parts and accessories. Click here for the complete listing of the nearest authorised dealers. The personnel at the Kawasaki Exclusive Service Centres (KESC) are fully trained professionals, as with those at authorized dealers.

7. Wide Range of Models
Kawasaki Malaysia’s model range (click here and select PRODUCTS) is comprehensive and covers every segment of every capacity and size, subdivided into Ninja (sports), Z (naked, standard, sport-touring), Versys (adventure touring), GTR (premium sport-touring), VN (cruisers and full-dress tourers), W (modern classic), Street (motards), KX (motocross and supercross), KLX (enduro), and J (scooter).

There are also watercraft (jetskis), ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), and Mule (utility vehicles).

Whether it’s for your first bike, only bike, an upgrade or additional bike, you can find anything that suits your needs.

8. Reliability
Truth is, Kawasaki motorcycles are reliable and provide lots of trouble-free fun. Maintain your bike well and any modern motorcycle is just as reliable at the other. As mentioned in an earlier article (click here), this writer’s Kawasaki has not encountered serious problems, apart from normal wear and tear. Many of this writer’s friends also own Kawasaki motorcycles of various models and no one has had a breakdown, unless wrongly operated or had performed modifications that are not recommended by Kawasaki.

  • Rossi explained his enduro crash

  • Comeback at Motorland Aragon is out

  • Hope to be back in Motegi

Racers always have this advice: When in doubt, give it gas. But perhaps life has a sense of irony, because it seems that bad injuries happen when they’re riding slow, instead.

Many a times have we seen a crash where a rider was flung metres into the air and then down the track, only to get up and walk away unharmed, while his bike self-destructed by tumbling itself into pieces of carbon fibre and metal biscuits.

Yet, we’ve also witnessed innocuous-looking crashes when for example, the tyres slid out from underneath the rider but he had to be stretchered off into an ambulance.

Triple World Champion, “Mr. Perfect” Wayne Rainey’s tragic lowside at Misano in  turned him into a paraplegic, and the late Nicky Hayden was fatally hit by a car while cycling on public roads.

And it’s the same for Valentino Rossi, although thankfully not as bad as the other two gentlemen.

He wasn’t racing when he had his enduro crash, “Unfortunately, I was with all my friends on an enduro bike, making a tour around the centre hills behind Urbino in the countryside. It’s a thing that I’ve done since I was 18 together with my father for a long, long time. Very close to the end, in one downhill section at very low speed, I lost the steering, and to not crash I put my foot on the ground. But it was a bit downhill, and all the weight of the bike went on my leg and it broke.”

Speaking during the Misano round, Rossi knows his hopes of returning to the track in three weeks after his surgery is unrealistic and has to concede the Aragon round as well. Rossi had suffered a similar injury in 2010. A broken leg a Mugello caused his to miss three rounds – resulting in his first missed races of his entire career. Jorge Lorenzo won his first MotoGP title that year.

It’s from that experience which Rossi drew his conclusion from. “I learned from the other time that in this phase of the recovery, you have to live day by day. It depends very much on how the leg feels, how much pain there is. We’re already working and we’re trying to come back as soon as possible though. The next race after Misano is Aragon, but I think it would have been very hard to be back for there because it’s 22 days after the injury – just three weeks.”

Rossi also added that he’ll be back in Motegi.

We first reported about Rossi’s accident here, and Michael Van Der Mark replacing Rossi at Motorland Aragon here.

As I sit here, grounded at home this weekend due to a babysitter who’s probably kidnapped by aliens (no show, no answer. I hope they run “experiments” on her), so all I could do is to watch a motorcycle movie (after posting this article, of course).

There are many memorable bikey movies, of course. The first ones to spring to mind are classics such as The Wild One (1953), The Great Escape (1963), Easy Rider (1969) – which had also launched the song Born to be Wild into a cult stature. Others are full-length documentaries such as On Any Sunday (1971) or the masterpiece Why We Ride (2013).

I’m no film critic, but I can sure tell a good movie from the likes of lying babysitters! It seems that the producers had wanted to capitalize on this mysticism of motorcycles and the human desire for conspiracy, and ended up creating some of the worst, not only bike movies or bike scenes, but truly bad movies.

So, should you get stuck at home this weekend while your buddies are hammering around Karak, here are the biker “movies” you should stay away from.

10. THE WILD ANGELS (1966)

You know what? I’m getting tired of watching movies that “portray” biker gangs as nothing but uncouth and unwashed barbarians. The Wild Angels was the start of it all. Well, you may argue that the rebel biker movie began from The Wild One, to which I agree, but The Wild One didn’t have Marlon Brando and gang sexually assaulting women everytime they got off their bikes.

The studio, American International Pictures (AIP), was interested in making a movie about an outlaw motorcycle gang after seeing a Life Magazine picture of a Hell’s Angels funeral. They then approached director Roger Corman to helm the movie.

Peter Fonda plays the Prez of the fictitious Hell’s Angels San Pedro chapter, along with Nancy Sinatra (yes, the daughter of Frank Sinatra) as his squeeze.

The movie consisted of nothing else but drugs, alcohol, fights, sexual assault, scrapes with “The Man” (cops) and loud choppers being trashed around.

Film critic Leonard Maltin called the movie, “Ok after about 24 beers.” It opened in the 1966 Venice Film Festival to tepid response. Corman revealed in a 2009 interview that the US State Department had attempted to block The Wild Angels from being shown in Venice, citing that it “did not show America the way it is.”

9. HELLS ANGELS ON WHEELS (1967)

Panned by both critics and audience, Hells Angels on Wheels tells the story of a gas station attendant who finds a “more interesting” life after joining the Hell’s Angels outlaw motorcycle club.

Yes again, another motorcycle outlaw club flick. It makes you wonder what other motorcycle movie theme did the studios come up with in the 60’s and 70’s apart from Easy Rider.

Hells Angels on Wheels had bad dialogue, no real plot, bad acting, crappy music – just more senseless fights, alcohol, drugs and all that. Most biker audiences couldn’t even watch it past 30 minutes. Most were also surprised that the great Jack Nicholson was in this movie.

Notably, however, was the cameo of Ralph “Sonny” Barger, the president of the Oakland, California chapter of the Hell’s Angels in the film. He was credited as a consultant.

8. SHE-DEVILS ON WHEELS (1968)

She-Devils on Wheels tells the tale of a gang of Harley-humping ladies known as the Man-Eaters, vicious vixens with an appetite for “riding” (the other variety) and an even bigger craving for carnage. These hardcore honeys ride around in pastels and Capri pants, race for their pick of available studs, and generally cause havoc in small towns.

Nothing much really happens in the film. Director Herschell Gordon Lewis frequently leaves his camera stationary as the girls mill around their parked bikes, chattering inaudibly about nothing in particular and keeping the plot from going anywhere. The vaunted races were remarkably slow-paced. The fight sequence between the Man-Eaters and a male hotrod gang was poorly shot and specific shots and soundbites were repeated multiple times. There´s a dull, unappealing orgy scene involving the mostly fully clothed Man-Eaters and of male groupies who apparently wait around all day in a rundown house for the bikers to come and get serviced.

Even the best scenes of a gang member dragging her helpless boyfriend around behind her bike to prove her loyalty, and high-speed decapitation by a metal wire can´t rescue the film from fatal monotony.

Few of the cast members of She-Devils on Wheels went on to appear in any other film, and it´s not hard to see why.

7. COOL AS ICE (1991)

This movie starred rapper Vanilla Ice, who’s become the butt of everybody’s white-boy jokes. The studio had hoped to capitalize on his fame at the time and came away with a dirty snowflake, instead.

Loosely based on James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause, the story follows Johnny Van Owen, the leader of a motorcycle gang (again), who’s also a rapper travelling from town to town, who fell in love with Kathy, a girl whose family is under the Witness Protection Program.

Oh, brother…

While Vanilla Ice performed all the stunts himself, his acting was so stiff they might’ve just used a block of ice (pun intended). And it’s downright criminal to have used that beautiful Suzuki GSX-R1100 (M) in this movie!

Cool as Ice went on to receive 7 Golden Raspberry Award Nominations, with Ice winning the Worst Actor award. Even director David Kellogg disowned the film.

Word has it that the role of Kathy was first offered to Gwyneth Paltrow but her father forbade her as he believed it may hurt her future career. So here’s a good example why girls should listen to their Dads!

6. BIKER BOYZ (2003)

The movie’s plot is bad to start with: A man fights for respect on the streets, to be Numero Uno. More like Fast & Furious on motorcycles. It even starred Laurence Fishburne, for goodness sake!

To its credit, Biker Boyz was well-made artistically, with great music, cinematography, action shots and beautiful bikes but it starts to meander into something similar to Lost.

But worse was how us bikers would be portrayed to plebs who have no idea about motorcycles and motorcyclists, much like those reality vs. what others think I do memes.

Check out this infamous “Joyride” scene.

Nevermind about a couple of them wearing café-racer style helmets on sportbikes, but no glove, pulling stunts on public roads, etc., leaves us to decry why we bikers get no cred, yo.

5. TORQUE (2004)

The premise sounds like a kungfu movie.

A biker named Cory decided to stow away bikes with crystal meth hidden in their fuel tanks. Sure enough, those bikes belong to the drug lord, Henry. You’d think they’d name a drug lord with something sinister – like, Spider, or Diablo, or your spouse’s name – anything than the guy who files your taxes.

Anyway, Henry (groan) kills Junior (I give up!), brother of Trey, who’s the honcho of a malicious biker gang called The Reapers and blamed it on Cory. So begins chases by Henry’s henchmen, The Reapers, and the FBI.

Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Well, wait till you watch this battle scene between Cory’s squeeze and another female biker.

The producers had no qualms about promoting PepsiCo’s products so much throughout the movie; one wonders why the actors don’t just wear A-boards in every scene.

4. HELL RIDE (2008)

Promoted under the “Quentin Tarantino Presents” banner, there were lots of hope for Hell Ride, because not only was it produced by the Tarantino who directed Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglorious Baterds, Hell Ride starred legends such as the late-Dennis Hopper, late-David Carradine, Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, too.

Director Larry Bishop, who acted in the film as the protagonist, had wanted to create a gritty revenge tale as an homage to the classic biker gang films, but ended up creating a convoluted droll, complete with clichéd dialogue and senseless violence.

Hell Ride currently holds 10% approval rate among critics in the movie aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes.

3. DHOOM TRILOGY (2004 – 2013)

The Dhoom movies were certainly entertaining, as reflected in their success at the box office. Packed with over-the-top stunts, races, acrobatics, gadgets, explosions, chases, hot chicks, music, cool bikes, and more hot chicks. What’s there to not like, right?

Sure, I personally don’t mind leaving logic at the door to just enjoy a movie, but I wouldn’t stand my intelligence being insulted when it comes to scenes involving motorcycles. Like how a bike brakes from 60 to 0 mph in 0 second without throwing the rider off and snapping everything on the bike. Or riding at speeds above 120 mph without helmet and sitting straight up. Or when a bike rides a tightrope between two buildings.

Please Bollywood and Hollywood, some realism when it comes to bikes.

2. GHOST RIDER AND GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (2007, 2012)

Boy, talk about squandering the talents of an A-list cast. The first film stars Nicholas Cage, the ever-stunning Eva Mendes, Sam Elliot and omnipresent motorcycle movie actor, Peter Fonda.

Let’s not even talk about the plot of the movie. It all descended into a morose, clumsy and messy affair. Most fans walked away disappointed, and pointed out that it Eva Mendes was who was on fire, not Cage and the Ghost Rider. Cage’s performance earned him a Razzie Award nomination for Golden Raspberry Award for the Worst Actor.

Yet, the first movie was mysteriously a box office success, earning $228.7 million on the back of a $110 million budget, which encouraged the studio to spawn an even more hellish sequel called Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance.

Reception for the sequel was even worse, with campy CGI and terrible acting throughout. Cage went on to win the Rasperry Award for the Worst Actor and the film won the Raspberry for Worst Remake, Rip-off or Sequel.

1. MEGAFORCE (1982)

We leave the worst for last.

Sure, sure, the 80’s was full of cheesy movies, but Megaforce has to be the Limburger (Google “limburger”) of the lot. Heck, even Hong Kong movies of that era had better special effects, acting and dialogue.

Megaforce holds a 0% rating in Rotten Tomatoes.

Megaforce follows the story of a crack military team which is called upon to save democracy of a small nation, led by the protagonist complete with a hair band. And yes, while it’s not a motorcycle movie per se, there is one scene that threw this so-called “movie” into the annals of motorcycle infamy.

Nice hair-metal theme song, though.

  • Iron Head Motorcycle Group is a chapter based in Chukai, Kemaman, Terengganu

  • They also operate a workshop called Iron Head Garage in the same town

  • They are very active in the motorcycle scene

Motorcycling opens the doors to hanging out with your like-minded buddies, among other things and the tribe instinct soon takes hold to create your own clique. As more ideas flow forth, the clique soon becomes a club.

Iron Head Motorcycle Group (IHMG) has just celebrated their first anniversary in a huge party last night (15th September 2017), at G Hotel, Jalan Tun Razak.

IHMG had sent out invitations to other Motorcycle Groups (MG), Motorcycle Clubs (MC) and Harley-Davidson owners chapters, hence hundreds showed up for the party. They included long-standing chapters such as Violent Storm, Exile, and many more. The chapters then exchanged plaques with IHMG as a token of friendship and mutual support.

Malaysian superstar Datuk Awie also attended the event together with his chapter, Wings Society.

The presence of hundreds of bikers in their “colours” (black leather vests adorned with their chapters’ emblems) may seem intimidating to some, but the overall atmosphere was one genial event where friends and buddies came together to celebrate camaraderie and comradeship among fellow bikers.

IHMG was founded on 11th June 2016, by Mr. Bob together with 8 members. Based in Chukai, Kemaman, Terengganu, IHMG also owns their own Iron Head Garage, located in the same city. The workshop was registered on 23rd February 2016.

The MG’s charter lists, “To share the motor sport passion among local motorcycle riding fans,” and it’s apparent that these guys love to ride.

Mr. Bob’s Harley-Davidson Road Glide is fully customized, complete with pinstripes by Rolling Ink, and made an appearance at Art of Speed (AOS) 2017 (click here for the coverage).

As of September 2017, IMHG’s log lists 16 official activities in which they have participated, including prestigious events such as the East Coast Harley Day and Terengganu Bike Week in March, Sungai Golok International Bike Week in April, Kelantan International Bike Week and the aforementioned AOS in July, and the recent Port Dickson International Bike Week. Mr. Bob had also ridden to the Himalayas in July.

As for the Iron Head Garage, it provides maintenance services, engine tuning, customizing and selling chopper parts. The workshop also has a computerized diagnostics system for troubleshooting, and provides breakdown vehicle recovery service.

You can click here for the Iron Head MG and click here for the Iron Head Garage’s Facebook pages.

PICTURE GALLERY

  • Motorcycle sales in Japan has dropped precipitously

  • Sold only 338,000 in 2016 compared to 3.285 million in 1982

  • Hardest hit is the moped segment

Yes, you read the title correctly.

Ironic as it seems, sales of motorcycles in the birthplace of the many motorcycles around the world have been dropping for many years now.

The Japan News reported that the decline is due to the increasing popularity of low-cost minicars and electric bicycles. Moped sales are the most affected as manufacturers focus on the middleweight and open class motorcycles.

The moped market had to contend with electric bicycles that are less than half the cost. In 2016 alone, there were 540,000 electric bicycles sold, compared to 338,000 motorcycles. The number is a far cry from the 1982 peak of 3.285 million motorcycles sold. In view of this, Honda and Yamaha will join forces to develop a low-cost moped, while still allocating more resources to large capacity motorcycles for export.

Japanese industry observers expressed fear that the emphasis on larger machines will turn away the younger buyers, since big bikes can cost up to six times more than mopeds. The numbers don’t lie: A Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) in 2015 reported that the average age of a motorcycle buyer was 53 years old, a 1.5-years increase over the past two years.

On the other hand, sales for 126- to 250cc machines have increased by 20 percent in 2016.

“If we can provide the younger generation with the fun and excitement they’re expecting, they’ll come back to us,” said Noriake Abe, chief officer of Honda’s motorcycle operations.

Are we seeing the same shift towards bigger motorcycles here in Malaysia as the population gets older, and the availability of affordable large capacity motorcycles?

  • Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. and GIATMARA signed the MOU in November last year.

  • The collaboration seeks to bring up future Kawasaki superbike specialists.

  • Graduates will stand the chance to work with Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia)

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, 14th September 2017 – Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (KMSB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GIATMARA Sendirian Berhad on 1st November 2016. Today’s event serves to witness the exchange of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and officially launch the Superbikes Training Program, which is the result of the collaboration between GIATMARA and KMSB.

The collaboration between the two parties is aimed at enhancing the skills and entrepreneurial mindset for the Malaysian superbikes industry. GIATMARA is the ideal platform as a technical and vocational skills training institute which will enable trainees to gain valuable experience and expertise of KMSB in the field of superbikes, this collaboration will prove to assist and achieve the objectives mentioned earlier.

YB Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob will officiate the upgraded workshop for the trainees to obtain four months of skill training at GIATMARA Batu. Furthermore, selected trainees will undergo three months industrial training at the Kawasaki Exclusive Service Centre (KESC) in Glenmarie, Shah Alam. Upon completion of the training they will have the opportunity to start a career at either KMSB or an authorized Kawasaki dealer, if selected.

Their industrial training at KESC, will provide exposure to the trainees about the real working environment such as how the service centre operates, besides studying on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the KESC.

Additionall, KMSB will also contribute in terms of input in this collaboration. KMSB hopes that this program will assist GIATMARA in enhancing the image of the industry and producing skill manpower in the motoring sector, especially superbikes.

Present at the even were YB Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Bin Yaakob, the Minister of Rural & Regional Development; YBhg. Dato’ Haji Azian Bin Haji Osman, the Chairman of GIATMARA; En. Ahmad Faez Bin Tan Sri Yahaya, Executive Chairman, Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.

PICTURE GALLERY

  • The provisional 2018 MotoGP Championship calendar has been published.

  • Thailand will host MotoGP for the first time.

  • The 2018 season will start one week earlier and end an extra week later than usual.

Dorna has released the provisional 2018 MotoGP calendar. The dates and rounds are as follows:

  • Round 1: 18 March Qatar* Doha/Losail
  • Round 2: 8 April Argentina Termas de Rio Hondo
  • Round 3: 22 April Americas COTA
  • Round 4: 6 May Spain Jerez de la Frontera
  • Round 5: 20 May France Le Mans
  • Round 6: 3 June Italy Mugello
  • Round 7: 17 June Catalunya Catalunya
  • Round 8: 01 July Netherlands TT Assen
  • Round 9: 15 July Germany Sachsenring
  • Round 10: 5 August Czech Republic Brno
  • Round 11: 12 August Austria Red Bull Ring
  • Round 12: 26 August Great Britain TBA
  • Round 13: 9 September San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Misano
  • Round 14: 23 September Aragon MotorLand Aragon
  • Round 15: 7 October Thailand Buriram
  • Round 16: 21 October Japan Motegi
  • Round 17: 28 October Australia Phillip Island
  • Round 18: 4 November Malaysia Sepang
  • Round 19: 18 November Valencia Ricardo Tormo-Valencia

As expected, Buriram, Thailand’s addition brings the total number of rounds to 19. Malaysia still hosts the penultimate round but the date has been bumped to 4th November, instead of the customary late-October slot.

The Thai round will be held on 7th October, with the next weekend off, before resuming the usual three rounds in a row – Japan, Australia, Malaysia – beginning 21st October.

It’s a wise move by Dorna to give space between Thailand and Malaysia, lest the crowd be split between two neighbouring countries.

The extra round means shuffling the customary dates. Qatar will begin a week earlier than usual, and hopefully miss the unexpected rainstorm which wreaked havoc on this year’s race schedule. The 4-week summer break between July and August will be cut to just two. The 2018 MotoGP Championship ends one week later at Aragon on 18th November.

The venue of the British round has yet to be confirmed, following the Circuit of Wales fallout.

A few riders had raised concerns about the championship featuring too many rounds, citing the possibility of not receiving enough rest between races. Finland is set to join the MotoGP calendar in 2019, bringing the total to a manic 20 rounds.

  • Indian Motorcycles shows off 16 models for 2018

  • Lineup includes the new Scout Bobber, Chieftain Limited, Springfield Dark Horse and Roadmaster Elite.

  • Indian Motorcycles’ sales grew by 17% this spring alone.

Polaris axed its Victory brand in January this year in order to fully concentrate on its Indian Motorcycles concern, and the move has started to see positive results. It has been reported that Indian’s sales grew by 17% while Harley’s shrank by 7% in the past spring alone. Production has surged to more than 25,000 units at the time this article went live.

Indian Motorcycle’s 2018 lineup consists of 16 models, with 4 added to last year’s. Indian has added new features and new colours to several models.

2018 INDIAN SCOUT

There are three Scout versions, all sharing the same physical and mechanical features, except for engines and corresponding transmissions.

Indian Scout Sixty

The Scout Sixty is identical to the 2017 model, with the addition of two new colours and ABS corresponding to certain colours. Thunder Black and Polished Bronze are without ABS, while ABS is standard for Indian Motorcycle Red and Thunder Black over Titanium Metallic.

The Scout Sixty uses the 61 cubic-inch (999 cc) engine which produces 78 bhp, mated to a five-speed transmission.

Indian Scout

The Indian Scout received overwhelming response and was quickly sold out in Malaysia. For 2018, the Scout’s forks are upgraded to cartridge forks, Pirelli tyres are fitted and best of all, a leather pillion seat.

The Scout uses the 69 cubic-inch (1133 cc) engine which punches out 100 bhp, sent through a six-speed transmission.

Thunder Black and Metallic Jade colours are without ABS; Willow Green over Ivory Cream, Brilliant Blue over White, and Burgundy Red are with ABS.

Indian Scout Bobber

New for 2018, the Scout Bobber is styled as blacked-out and stripped down. The footpegs were moved moved back for a more cruiser style placement. The handlebars have been replaced with tracker style bars. The blacked out wheels are shod with knobby tyres and the suspension lowered by 25mm.

2018 INDIAN CRUISERS

Indian’s cruisers are distinguished from their bagger brethren by not having luggage fitted as standard.

Indian Chief Dark Horse

The Dark Horse comes only in matte black with blacked out detailing, accented by chrome. The valanced front and rear fenders are standard, of course. The Chief’s keyless ignition remains.

Indian Chief

The standard Chief comes in Steel Gray, has more chrome and cruise control compared to the Dark Horse.

Indian Chief Classic

The Chief Classic is distinguishable by the white walled tyres, spoked wheels and chrome hand controls. Plus chrome and more chrome.

2018 INDIAN BAGGERS

Baggers are motorcycles with baggage, whether saddlebags or hard panniers, and Indian’s lineup has more baggers than any other manufacturer’s.

Indian Chief Vintage

The Chief Vintage has standard leather seats, saddlebags and removable windshield. To complete the classic look, Indian gave the Chief Vintage whitewall tyres and spoked wheels. Removing the windshielf and saddlebags turn the bike into a boulevard cruiser.

Indian Springfield

Basically unchanged from 2017, there are new colours for 2018. Features such as the detachable hard panniers, detachable windshield, highway bar, keyless ignition, tyre pressure monitoring system and ABS remain standard.

Indian Springfield Dark Horse

The Dark Horse version is new for 2018, featuring matte black paint with gloss black detailing. Instead of the standard Springfield’s valanced front fender, the Dark Horse uses an open fender over a 19-inch cast wheel. It also includes a detachable windshield and hard panniers.

Indian Chieftain

The front end of the Chieftain has been replaced by the new open fender and 19-inch cast wheels. The windshield is powered and include driving lights. Other features include ABS, cruise control, keyless ignition, highway bar, hard panniers, and 7-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth and USB input.

Indian Chieftain Dark Horse

The 2018 Chieftain Dark Horse comes with the fully loaded Ride Command infotainment system which includes GPS. The front end has also been replaced by the open fender and 19-inch wheel.

Indian Chieftain Classic

The Indian Chieftain Classic looks more traditional with the valanced fenders, 16-inch wheels and leather seat with fringes. But new for 2018 is the Ride Command infotainment system.

Indian Chieftain Limited

The Chieftain Limited is top model of the Chieftain family. The front end features a contrast cut 19-inch wheel with open fender.

2018 INDIAN TOURERS

Indian’s Roadmaster family is unmistakable, featuring saddlebags or panniers with large top cases. Best choice for long tours.

Indian Roadmaster Classic

The Roadmaster Classic is the entry point into the Indian touring family, yet it brims with all the necessary touring features such as luggage and the Ride Command infotainment system.

Indian Roadmaster

With hard panniers and top case, the Roadmaster looks more contemporary then the Roadmaster Classic. There are also hard wind deflectors ahead of the rider’s shins. The sound system is bumped up to 200 watts.

Indian Roadmaster Elite

The Roadmaster Elite is the Big Chief of Indian Motorcycle tribe.

It comes only in Cobalt Candy over Black Crystal, which is individually hand-finished in more than 30 hours. Real 23K gold leaf badging is then applied to the tank and engine components.

The Ride Command infotainment system packs a 300-watt punch. There are armrests for the passenger. The rider and passenger footboards are billet aluminium. A premium touring console tops the fuel tank.

  • 2018 Yamaha X-Max 125 shows great looks and promise

  • The X-Max 125 is a worldwide best-seller

  • Part of Yamaha’s “MAX” scooter family

Yamaha has unveiled the new X-Max 125 scooter ahead of the release of their 2018 model line up.

While we do not see the X-Max in Malaysia, the model has sold more than 140,000 units worldwide.

The 2018 model will be EU-4 emissions compliant, hence the 125cc, single-cylinder engine is fed by electronic fuel injection which has low fuel consumption. Such prospects would make the X-Max popular in our country, due to the rising fuel prices.

Both the X-Max 125’s brakes feature ABS as standard. But it goes beyond that, as there is also traction control.

Yamaha has also upgraded the 2018 X-Max 125 to be even more practical. Case in point is the underseat storage space which could accommodate two full-face helmets. That large screen is adjustable, so are the handlebars. It also has a 12V power outlet, like in the NVX, which is fast becoming a pre-requisite.

Speaking of the NVX, the X-Max 125 also uses the Yamaha Smart Key as the former’s. The X-Max’s distinctive dual LCD instruments panels remain.

Yamaha has also started to imbue its family of scooters with a sense of familial ties through the design of their headlights and tail lights. One could instantly tell their make with just one glance.

Will the X-Max 125 ever make it here? Who knows. But it does show that Yamaha is serious about the scooter market.

But if you really want a scooter, check out the Yamaha NVX we tested recently. Click here to read the review of the NVX. 

  • BMW Motorrad Malaysia brought Nightfuel to Penang.

  • BMW Motorrad Malaysia launched the new R nineT Urban G/S, S 1000 RR, R 1200 GS Rallye and K 1600 Bagger.

  • Hundreds showed up despite the heavy rain.

One of the best parts of motorcycling is the lifestyle. Now, while the word “lifestyle” usually describes fashion, a motorcycling lifestyle goes deeper than the superficial.

A motorcycling lifestyle encompasses loving the motorcycle you own, loving to ride whether going solo or with your buddies, strengthening the bond amongst your riding buddies while making new ones, and many more latent personal reasons. It’s a way of life, regardless of your level of passion and to what lengths you express that passion.

But there is one inescapable aspect of every biker’s life and that’s the weekly get-together, called TTS for Teh Tarik Session, among Malaysian bikers.

That’s why BMW Motorrad Nightfuel roadshows play an important role to not only showcase that lifestyle but also to present it as part of BMW Motorrad’s “Make Life a Ride” way of life. Featuring “friendly gathering, food and music,” attendees can be assured of the best TTS in their calendar.

BMW Motorrad Nightfuel visited Penang on 9th September 2017 and it was the first outside of the Klang Valley. The event site was situated just off the on-ramp to the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge (better known as “The new Penang Bridge.

There were already hundreds of bikes when we arrived, consisting of BMWs and a good number of other brands, as well.

Pretty girls smiled sweetly and welcomed us at the BMW Motorrad Nightfuel registration desk despite the heavy rain blowing into their tent. Kudos, girls. Each participant received a BMW Motorrad dry bag and ticket for the lucky draw. There was already a long line for the food – typical of us Malaysian bikers!

In the main pavilion, tables and chairs were laid out to surround the centre stage, flanked by BMW motorcycle display stands. The Penang channel and bridge provided the breathtaking backdrop.

Head of BMW Motorrad Malaysia, Owen Riley, welcomed attendees and launched BMW Motorrad Nightfuel Penang.

One of Malaysia’s most famous sessions band, NRG, made sure everyone got rocked by expertly belting out famous hits such as Highway To Hell, Highway Star, Sweet Child O’ Mine, Sejati, among others.

Speaking about the food, the row of stalls served iconic Penang street food such as ais kacang, cendol, Penang assam laksa, rojak buah, char koay teow, and satay. There was also a mini BBQ. The laksa was among the best this writer has ever tried (I had three bowls!).

There was also a Ride & Style Shop operated by Auto Bavaria Penang which sold BMW Motorrad riding gear and paraphernalia.

The site was buzzing with high octane activity, despite the rain still crashing down. Many more motorcycles continued to appear through the maelstrom.

Soon enough, it was time to launch the new bikes, starting with the updated S 1000 RR superbike. Although the engine and design are untouched, the new S 1000 RR now features ABS Pro for more secure hard braking in corners. It is priced from RM 106,900.

Next was one the most anticipated motorcycle, the new R 1200 GS Rallye. Priced from RM 105,900, the GS has been redesigned with new radiator flanks. The engine remains the same (why fix something not broke), backed up by six comprehensive Ride Modes.

The night continued with more great food and music as old friends hung out together and made new ones. A few rounds of lucky draws were held as BMW gave away a few amazing gifts such as sets of Lego R 1200 GS.

The other two bikes were unveiled soon afterwards.

The R nineT Urban G/S harks back to the design of the R 80 G/S of yesteryears but with a modern twist. Built upon the R 1200 engine and R nineT’s frame, the Urban G/S is given longer travel suspension, tapered handlebar, 19-inch front wheel, and the classic headlight fairing to complete that classic enduro look. It is priced from RM 87,900.

Soon, it was time to unveil the main star of BMW Motorrad Nightfuel Penang – the K 1600 Bagger.

As what BMW Motorrad Malaysia’s Product Specialist said during the presentation, a bagger means a cruiser which features touring gear and luggage. Built on the K 1600 engine and touring frame, the K 1600 B uses the platform’s impressive size and is given a sloping tail end to great effect, turning it into a beautiful motorcycle which only the best customizers could dream of building. But don’t be fooled by its size: The K 1600 series consists of superbly agile motorcycles! Priced from RM 159,900, it is not cheap for most of us, but that pricing is competitive when compared among high-end baggers in the market.

The Nightfuel party carried on until late and we bid our goodbyes. As mentioned before, this was the first BMW Motorrad Malaysia’s Nightfuel outside of the Klang Valley and it turned out to be the best. Not even the big storm could derail is status.

Well, rain is part of the biker’s lifestyle.

Click here for more on the new models launched during event.

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