Imagine this scenario, you’re riding with your best mates to a far away location for the weekend and there’s kilometres after kilometres of open road ahead of you. The clouds are providing the cover you need from the scorching sun, the air is cool and you are just relaxing and enjoying your ride without a care for anything else.
And then it happens. It starts with a tiny vibration from under your seat, and then you feel it in the foot pegs, and then it becomes audible and becomes louder and louder. You experience a loss of power, and then there is nothing. The engine shuts off, you clutch in to coast to a stop and that’s the end of your beautiful weekend ride.
You are in the middle of nowhere, your buddies can’t help you, you lot can’t figure out what’s wrong with the bike even if your life depended on it. Simply put, you’re screwed.
Now besides the fact that you are stuck out in the boondocks, there is the other thing to worry about, fixing your bike. How much is it going to cost? Are there parts available? How long is it going to take? Where should I send it to? Are they qualified to fix this bike? This are just some of the things that you are probably going to be stressed out about.
So what next? The next thing would be to think about your insurance and warranty of course.
Hopefully you paid a little more for your insurance policy so that you are able to enjoy 24 hour road side assistance. In that case you have nothing to worry about, and you will be well on your way in an hour or two. If not, it would probably be good to start thinking about finding a flat bed tow truck.
Your next problem, warranty. Fixing bikes can be expensive business. Modern day motorcycles are criss-crossed with enough electronics to take you to the moon, and this means it needs specialised skills to repair should anything go wrong. So don’t expect ‘Kedai Moto Din, Raju and Keong’ to have the tools required to open up your brand new BMW RT, in fact don’t even let them get near your bike!
If you bought your bike from a grey market dealer, you’re again screwed. Chances are your bike did not come with any official warranty, and no, a warranty from Opal doesn’t cut it either.
Opal is great if you just bought a used bike that you have just spent thousands on restoring, but sadly the company will not cover any bikes that are more than five years old or have over 100,000km on the odometer. It is also great if you do not care who maintains your bike because under an Opal warranty, you can only ever get it repaired at an “authorised workshop”. Whether this authorised workshops have the necessary skills, tools and specialisation to maintain your RM200,000 Panigale or BMW HP4 is something to carefully think about.
And the company’s website also says that it will not fix your bike if it has been damaged by a number of things like a war, nuclear radiation and even a sonic boom. Though it is hard to fathom how an audible force like a sonic boom which is basically an “impulsive noise that is similar to thunder” can ever damage your bike remains unclear. Unless it is so powerful that it literally drops your bike from the stand, but even then the plane will have to be flying 50 feet off the ground and no more than 300 feet away from you. The company will not even cover your bike if it finds the damage was caused by a navigation system, and it does not matter if the navigation system is standard or after market.
In fact, the only items that are covered by the warranty are, according to its official website, the engine, gearbox, braking system, fuel pump, fuel injectors, ECU, starter and the stator. The list of items that are not covered by the warranty however is extensive and includes the petrol tank, body panels, tyres, batteries, hoses, radiator and cooling oil, exhaust system, wiring, suspension system, the clutch. The company won’t even cover any conditions such as noise, vibration, oil seepage and water seepage. Though all this is understandable on the part of Opal, it just goes to show that a full manufacturers warranty is still the most sound offer.
But it is worth pointing out that a manufacturers warranty is only offered for new bikes, and Opal’s warranty packages can be bought to cover used bikes. So credit to them there.
Anyway, the point here is, an official warranty is important, buying new and official bikes is important and there is no other way around it if you want that all-important peace of mind.
Manufacturers offer impressive warranty coverage these days just to keep you, the customer, happy. Ducati for example offers a two year unlimited mileage warranty and then tops it up with a one year extended warranty. And the best part is, the warranty only activates when the bike is delivered to your doorstep. And then there are the recalls and software updates that plague many modern machineries like cars and bikes. The warranty programme that bike makers offer these days even covers that. The Ducati warranty we are using as example even offers recall programs on latest upgrades and updates and even includes safety features.
And then there’s the question about aftermarket parts. Being bikers, we all love to customise our bikes to some extent. Whether it is an exhaust can or intake filter, we love it. And yes, the manufacturer warranty covers this as well. Ducati for example, offers a two year warranty on all its Ducati Performance parts and that is great stuff for Ducatisti because who doesn’t love the blare of a Termignoni?
BMW, KTM, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki all offer great warranty coverage on new bikes, in fact there is a war raging on who offers the best warranty coverage. It is not immediately clear who is winning.
So there really is no reason to buy grey and deal with aftermarket warranty programmes. Companies like Opal are great for bikes that don’t have an official presence in Malaysia, or if you really do not mind who touches your bike, but in all honesty, almost every bike builder in the world is well represented in Malaysia. And this means we have access to manufacturer warranties, so why risk an expensive repair bill when you can just buy official and rest in the knowledge that your bike is well covered?