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Riding at night can be a lot of fun.

Several friends, myself included, prefer to ride at night for several reason. Among them, there is less traffic to contend with, the air is cooler, and no one calling you about work.

Unfortunately, most road accidents happen at night. But there are ways to mitigate the risks. Here are several tips that could make your night-time ride safer and more enjoyable.

#1. Visibility to others

Forget about those motorcycle ads that show a rider clad in all-black gear riding a black motorcycle at night.

Motorcycles have smaller cross-sections thus the headlights are closer together. A car driver who has never ridden a motorcycle could easily misjudge a motorcycle’s. It is therefore important to wear gear that enhance our presence, from a brightly coloured helmet, to a fluorescent yellow safety vest with large reflector panels, and several pieces of well-place reflective stickers on the bike and around the rims.

Trust us when we say that other road users will take better care when they see a human figure on a motorcycle, rather than just the rear light which makes them dismiss it as “just a soulless machine.”

#2. Visibility for us

Make sure you replace the headlight’s bulbs every couple of years or so (except if they are LED). Even the best halogen lightbulbs deteriorate over time, but they do so very progressively at an unnoticeable rate.

There are riders who say there is no issue with replacing the halogen bulbs with LED bulbs, but there are also who found the LED bulbs damaged their headlamps and/or electrical systems. As such, do approach this with care.

We understand that some motorcycles’ headlights are dimmer than a torchlight’s. However, installing auxiliary lights i.e. spotlights is against the law in Malaysia, but use them responsibly if do install them anyway. Make sure they are pointed down the road and not upwards into traffic and blinding other road users.

#3. Do not stare into oncoming headlights

The headlights on cars and even some motorcycles are awfully bright these days, most probably due to misalignment. Staring into bright lights will degrade your night vision, and your eyes will need time to readjust. This is especially dangerous if you are riding around curvy roads.

Avert your eyes from oncoming headlights and concentrate on your path ahead. Let the vehicle pass you if its headlamps are blasting into your rearview mirror, or turn the mirrors to different angles for a moment.

#4. Slow down

This may be further down the list but it is no less important. Riding at night like you do during the daytime just increases the risks as it is much harder to spot hazards. At the same time, open up your other senses such as smell to pick up scents of rubbish water or fuel spills.

#5. Scan your surroundings

Make sure you scan your surroundings all the time. You can never know if another vehicle is approaching you at a high speed without lights. Do not just rely on the mirror – also look over your shoulders from time-to-time.

#6. Stay comfy

Make sure your jacket is sufficient in keeping out the cold, especially when you are riding after a rain spell, on a country road or up a mountain. Shivering in the cold robs you of your concentration and you need 100% construction every time we ride, especially at night.

The first thing that comes to mind when engine oil is mentioned is lubrication, keeping moving parts from grinding each other into dust. Part of that image is reinforced by ads that show oil circulating around the pistons and cylinders, and nowhere else.

However, the engine oil plays other equally important roles, like the amazing co-stars of a movie that were overlooked.

So, here are the 5 main functions of engine oil.

#1: Lubrication

Okay, this is the main use for engine oil. As we mentioned earlier, the oil film separates two surfaces, to keep them from coming into contact. Without oil, the surfaces, especially moving surfaces such as bearings, cam lobes, piston rings, etc. will scrape against each other, create intense heat, and seize.

#2: Cooling

Oil was the cooling medium before liquid-cooling became the in-thing. Oil has the capacity to absorb heat, lots of it. However, the liquid used for cooling an engine only circulates around the engine block and head, but does not reach the nether regions of an engine such as the crankshaft, camshaft, transmission, clutch (for motorcycles). These are moving parts and they are exposed to the heat from fuel combustion. So, it is the oil’s job to lubricate and cool them.

#3: Cleaning

How do you clean soot on the cylinder walls that resulted from fuel combustion? You cannot design a piston with brushes on its side. So, it is the oil’s job to carry this soot away and into the sump. This is one reason why an oil turns darker.

#4: Preventing oxidation and rust

Oil keeps parts from rusting which is a layman word for oxydation. The oil film keeps oxygen and water vapour away from the metal’s surface.

#5: Sealing

The oil film plays an important role in sealing gaps among certain engine components, such as between the piston rings and the cylinder wall. Without this 1 molecule thick oil film, combustion gases will blow straight through into the crankcase, resulting in power loss.

Oil is also a great seal for gaskets so that the oil itself does not leak out.

BONUS: Lubricating the clutch

This only applies to motorcycles, the majority of which uses the “wet” clutch. The engine oil is circulated around the clutch pack to keep the plates from having too much friction, therefore making them cooler and lasting longer.

Every four-stroke engine is equipped with an engine oil filter. Question is, do you change it during every oil service?

We brought this up as there are owners who say they only do so during every alternate service or it depends on the type of use oil they use i.e. mineral, semi-synthetic, fully-synthetic.

Let us take a look at what the oil filter does before we proceed further.

The functions of the engine oil filter:

As its name suggests, the filter traps impurities and foreign agents in the engine oil. It does so that these foreign objects are not circulated around the engine together with the oil.

Oil is pumped through the filter and the filtered oil exits it to continue circulating around the engine.

The sources of impurities and foreign objects include:
  1. Metal shavings due to surface interactions of moving parts. Some of these shavings may be very fine or even microscopic for the eyes to detect.
  2. Carbon, soot, acidic compounds resulting from combustion of fuel. This is one reason why the oil turns dark.
  3. Fine dust that made its way through the air filter.
What happens if the filter is not replaced?
  • An old filter will get clogged from too much dirt, impurities, and foreign objects.
  • Consequently, oil flow gets blocked from flowing through the filter.
  • Loss of engine power since there is not enough lubrication.
  • Some of the impurities end up being sent around the engine, resulting in accelerated wear.

When to replace the filter?

It is best to adhere to the recommended intervals set by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Besides, the old oil left in the old filter will corrupt the new oil, resulting in less protection for your engine and the new oil breaking down quicker.

Conversely, the oil and filter must be changed regardless of mileage if you take your bike out for an extreme excursion, such as a race, trackday, or off-road riding.

Do not overlook the importance of the oil filter. And do use a genuine filter. It does not cost as much as an engine rebuild.

It is true that riding in a convoy has its appeal such as camaraderie among friends who have the same love for motorcycles. However, there are times when riding solo is more fun. Everyone needs some time away, anyhow.

1. Alone with our thoughts

This is the main reason some bikers like to ride solo. It is time to get away from the toxic partner, the screaming kids, the unappreciative boss, etc., etc. Riding solo gives you a clarity of mind and who knows, you may discover the answer to that nagging problem.

2. No peer pressure

Peer pressure is real during group rides and it is not confined to riding fast, but also riding too slow. It is not uncommon for the faster riders to berate the slower ones (who chose to ride at a relaxed pace), or vice versa. We may even get riders who seem to challenge us to a race. Such group dynamics create a dangerous riding environment. Riding solo does away with peer pressure.

3. Our own pace and schedule

Riding solo means we ride at our own pace and adhering to our own schedule (or not). There is no one to harass us if we put on our gear slowly. Or stopping every few minutes. Or having to chase someone else’s schedule.

4. Stop whenever we want

We decide when we want to stop. Or pull over whenever you see a beautiful view such a sunset. Or a green carpet of paddy fields. Just stop, take in the view. No one will complain.

5. Start whenever we want

As much as we like taking our own time, we also hate those who take too much of our time. Strange but true, is it not? We will ALWAYS find that one friend who takes forever to gear up (only to stop the entire convoy because he forgot something). Or that guy who needs to stop and pee every 15 minutes. Or the group that constantly stops to eat even before the engine is anywhere near lukewarm. So instead of taking 4 hours to reach your intended destination, it took 8 hours. The answer? Ride solo.

6. Idiot riders

Sometimes riding in a group sets a rider’s ego loose to show off such as pulling wheelies. Or teasing the local ladies and earning the ire of the residents (It actually happened on one of our trips to Thailand!). Or some guys who decided to go another way, getting lost, and holding up the entire group by hours as we go look for them while they look for us.

7. Safety

The safety aspect is derived from not riding with idiots. We can mitigate our own risks instead of putting our lives and limbs in the hands of others. You may get one rider who constantly speeds up then slotting in, another rider who insists of riding several centimetres from you like as if it is a Blue Angels’ display. Ride solo and ride relaxed rather than worrying about the safety of the others and ours.

8. Change of mind

Imagine riding and you suddenly get a craving for food you have not eaten for some time. Or decide to spend the night in a nice town that appeals to our fancies. Just do it because you do not need to consult with anyone.

BONUS: Practice your riding skills

Trying to practice your skills during a group ride is not a smart thing to do since there are other bikes around. Also, we can bet there will be several others around to impart the wrong advice which would be detrimental to our riding and safety. Riding solo lets you practice your own skill sets.

As we posted earlier, Lambretta is making a comeback to Malaysia and it has since showed lots of interest, not to mention sparking nostalgia among ex-Lambretta owners and fans. In fact, my late-Dad rode a Lambretta in the 60’s and he was like a rock star among his peers!

However, one comment had us thinking too. “Is the engine made in China?” one of our followers asked.

So, we decided to do some digging.

The beginning and peak of Lambretta

Let us start with the history of Lambretta, because we do not know where we are and where we are going if we do not know where we have been. 

Italy was in ruins after World War 2, and her people were looking more affordable forms of transportation. Vespa was the first to recognise the opportunity and began in 1946. A year later, Dr. Ferdinando Innocenti who owns an iron and machinery works in Milan which made steel tubings, realised that it was indeed a great time for his firm to profit. He ordered his technical staff to design a two-wheeled vehicle to be produced at a low cost.

Instead of going the Vespa route, the Innocenti staff drew inspiration from the Cushman Model 53 foldable scooters used by American and British airborne troops when they landed in Italy during the war. Hence the single downtube frame to which  everything else is connected to.

Now they needed a name and in the age-old Roman/Italian fashion, they chose one after the mythical water sprite that lived in the Lambro river near where the company was located. Lambretta was born.

This was the age of pioneering engineering and manufacturers looked for distinguishing features rather than copying and pasting them like they do these days. Again, Lambretta did not want to follow Vespa’s methods, such as connecting the engine directly to the rear wheel. Instead, they sent the engine’s power through a three-speed gearbox and a sealed oil-bath chain. The engine and gearbox were placed along the frame’s axis.

This designed was what started Lambretta’s success and their fan’s fierce rivalry with Vespa. Lambretta riders mocked Vespa’s off-centre construction (the engine’s to one side) which made them “look like sailboats.”

So, to make the story short, Lambretta released several groundbreaking models such as the LD in 1950, followed up by an evolved LD in 1951, and the LI series which began in 1958 until 1973.

Other great Lambrettas include the 175 TV Series 3 which became the first scooter equipped with a disc brake in 1962.

The peak of the Innocenti company was the 1969 with the 200 SX 200/200 DL Electronic, which featured electronic ignition, disc brakes, and an 11 hp 200cc two-stroke single. It was the most powerful engine in a scooter at the time. Heck, even the current 2024 Ysuku (Yamaha Y15ZR) does just 15 hp.

The decline of Lambretta

The brand actually outsold Vespa for many years but ran into a crisis when cheap cars such as the Fiat 500 started becoming more prominent.

Vespa, on the other hand, weathered this critical juncture partly due to aggressive marketing and unchanging image. Lambretta sought to market their bikes as more sophisticated and upscale products and even hired Italian designers such as Bertone (who designed Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Lancia, Citroën, amongst other famous marques) to refine their bikes. However, this only added costs, while the majority of buyers were still seeking cheap modes of transportation.

Innocenti sells Lambretta

The production lines to the Indian government, who in turn created Scooters India Limited (SIL), who used the Lambretta name until 1998. SIL produced the LI 150’s derivatives, Lamby and GP150 for export. We have seen many Lamby in classic Bollywood movies.

SIL then sold Innocenti to BMC (British Leyland), who began producing the Mini in Italy, shortly after. The Italian market responded positively, and BMC planned huge investments to increase manufacturing capabilities.

But it did not occur to BMC that Fiat is the taikor (big brother) in Italy, which had the Italian government blocking BMC’s projects. As such, BMC Innocenti went bankrupt.

The company’s assets were transferred to one Alessandro de Tomaso who had connections in the Italian government. Yes, the very same Tomaso of the legendary De Tomaso Pantera. However, just as other de Tomaso firms, Lambretta suffered and was shut down for good.

Lambretta has a new owner

The following years saw the Innocenti and Lambretta brands going around from one court to another embroiled in the fight for ownership.

Finally, a longtime Ductch Lambretta owner and investor Walter Scheffrahn got hold of both brands. He went on to establish a new operative headquarters called Innocenti SA in Lugano, Switzerland. Innocenti SA finally launched three Lambrettas, the V50, V125, and V200 in 2017 that received success in Far East markets.

This led to a partnership with Thailand’s Gaoking company. So, to answer our readers: the current Lambretta’s headquarters in Switzerland is home to their R&D department under Scheffrahn’s personal control and leadership. The Thai partners are in charge of manufacturing.

Lambretta Returns to Malaysia

Is there a waterproof rating for rain suits? Or do we just trust the maker? Or do we keep changing them until we find one that works? And NO, THIS IS NOT A PAID OR SPONSORED ARTICLE.

We admit, buying a motorcycle rain suit is not an easy task, especially when every maker claiming to make the best rain suit, usually along the lines of being “fully waterproof” and “breathable.” Just head to online shopping platforms such as Shopee and Lazada and you will see what mean. (And we have not begin to touch on fake ones yet.)

So, back to the question: Is there such a rating? Well, yes.

Fabric waterproof ratings
Waterproof Rating (Water column in mm)  Level of water resistance Conditions
0-5000 mm No resistance to some resistance to moisture. Light rain, no pressure.
6000-10000 mm Rainproof and waterproof under light pressure. Light rain, light pressure.
11000-15000 mm Rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure. Moderate rain, light pressure.
16000-20000 mm Rainproof and waterproof under high pressure. Heavy rain, some pressure.
20000 mm+ Rainproof and waterproof under very high pressure. Heavy rain, high pressure.

Please refer to the table above.

So, the higher the water column rating, the more waterproof that fabric is.

“Pressure” as described above is the force which presses the water column against the fabric, which simulates wind. This is why certain rain suit and/or winter clothing makers specify their fabrics’ waterproof rating in PSI (pressure per square inch). The conversion rate is 1 psi = 704 mm of water.

How is the fabric tested?

The technical term is hydrostatic pressure test.

First, there is a reason why the rating is called “water column.” It refers to a vertical tube filled with water and graduated in mm, thus resembling a column.

Photo from nwt3k.com

A piece of fabric is pulled taught, like the skin of a drum, and the tube is placed on top of it. Water is then added into the tube until its pressure permeates through the fabric.

For example, if water starts to permeate at 3250mm, that particular fabric has a waterproof rating of between 0-5000mm, hence it is somewhat resistant to water and suitable for very light rain.

Photo from nwt3k.com

Simple so far.

Problem is…

However, not all manufacturers publish their rain suits’ rating. There are those who mimic (ahem) or utilise the same materials used by other manufacturers to create their own.

There are several resulting eventualities here:

  • A rain suit that has no waterproof rating, but is really waterproof due to good materials and design. You will be surprised to find certain branded rain suits that are rather thin and light yet offers great waterproofing and lasts for many years.
  • A rain suit that not only lets water in, but it is as much water as not wearing a rain suit. It could be due to a bad design such as no velcro seal, no “rain channel” to cover the jacket’s zipper, or bad seam seals (especially in the crotch area), or bad materials, or the combination of any or all these factors. And good luck trying to get your money back from the Shopee seller you ordered from!
  • But… there are also manufacturers who actually tested their rain suits yet they leak like a sieve. Clock these up to bad design and materials.
So how do we know?

The best bet, unfortunately, is to experiment with rain suits from several brands. Our favourites thus far are from RS Taichi and Komine. The former does not have its waterproof rating published, while the Komine’s level is 32000mm. They are light, long lasting, breathable, and very waterproof. NO, THIS IS NOT A PAID ARTICLE, instead it is from our own experiences of having owned several rain suits.

You may have seen or noticed that some gadgets are being touted as being IP this, or IP that, and “waterproof” or in particular with numbers such as “IP67.”  dust and waterproof. So, what does IP rating mean, actually?

In our opinion, the IP rating is not something to be taken lightly unless you do not care about whether your purchase can stand up to the environment.

THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT
What is IP rating?

No, “IP” does mean “intellectual property” in this case. Instead, the term stands for “Ingress Protection.” The rating measures how well a device stands up to dust and/or water incursion.

Good news is, the IP rating is not conferred by manufacturers arbitrarally (although some may unscrupulously do so). The device must be tested by an official lab according to the EN 60529 standard by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in order to be certified for international markets.

The rating is specified as:

IPXX

Generally, the rating actually consists of three parts:

  1. IP – Ingress Protection.
  2. First X – For protection against solid objects including dust and stones.
  3. Second X – For protection against water.

Please refer to the chart below.

Therefore, if your gadget has the IP67 rating, it is protected against dust and water incursion.

On the other hand, and “X” in the rating means it does not confer that kind of protection or it was not tested as such by the manufacturer. For example, a product with IPX4 rating means it is not rated for protection against solids but is protected against water splashes. This rating is usually for water-resistant (if not waterproof) bags.

Speaking of rainsuits, they may or may not be tested for IP ratings. Instead they are tested through waterproof rating or breathability rating. We shall touch on this in the next article.

We have decided to put together these 8 main reasons for traffic congestions in Malaysia, following the worst traffic congestion ever during last week’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri exodus.

There were news that some motorists were trapped on the road for up to 20 hours. Think of it… that is almost an entire day.

As usual, one person faulted this, another faulted that, so that why we thought of putting the main reasons down in one list. Yes, we know we kind of look like Captain Obvious here, but we wish to highlight these in case the authorities pick it up. It is a pipe dream, but who knows? Do let us know if we missed a point, or two.

1. Too many darn vehicles

One netizen said correctly that there are just too many vehicles for our roads to sustain, especially when everyone is travelling everywhere during festive seasons.

We only have to look at the number of new vehicle registrations (called Total Industry Volume/TIV) per year. A whopping 799,731 new vehicles went onto the roads in 2023, alone. That was a massive increase over the 720,658 in 2022.

Let us crunch some numbers. There are some 24 million active vehicles in Malaysia, while the total distance of paved roads in Malaysia is 160,392 km. (These numbers are approximate, of course, since the authorities did not publish the exact numbers.) So, 24,000,000 ÷ 160,392 = 149 vehicles per km. Let us add in the total sales from 2023: 24,799,731 ÷ 160,392 = 154 vehicles per km.

Of course, not every vehicle will be on the road at the same time in the same place, but let us average it out and assume 30% of all vehicles do hit the roads at once:

(24,799,731 x 30%) ÷ 160,392 = 7,439,919 ÷ 160,392 = 46 vehicles per km.

It is alarming to say the least.

2. Driver attitude

Okay, coming back to the road: Road hoggers, selfish individuals, unskilled drivers, or drivers with just no common sense are still plaguing our roads. Some drive with completely zero concept of assisting smoother traffic flow. Some drive like they own the roads. Some drive with no tolerance. Then there are the queue hoppers. There are just too many to list here.

3. Toll plazas

Toll plazas are relics in this days and age. Traffic has to slow down and fan out to multiple lanes, then converging back to fewer lanes thereafter. How many times have been caught waiting for hours to beep through only to get stuck again on the other side? Why the authorities are still dragging their feet to create a smooth flowing toll system like Singapore’s ERP is beyond us.

4. Not enough roads

We will come right out and say that adding more roads or highways is not an end to and end. Roads and certainly highways take time to build, usually over years. As more and more new vehicles are added to the system each year, the new roads will still be inadequate by the time they are completed.

Certain areas around Kuala Lumpur are so crowded with on- and off-ramps for multiple highways that even navigation goes haywire.

5. Lack of a cohesive public transportation system

Talking about infrastructure, the government has been spending billions of Ringgit to upgrade, if not build more public transportation facilities. Yet, it is not enough. Compounding the problem is the lack of a cohesive system. To paint a broad picture, only certain areas are covered, while a majority are not. Public bus schedules are like some bad joke although the consortiums are promising higher frequency but their buses are caught in the jam. There is no proper last-mile (or km, if you wish) connectivity once one gets off the train and heads to the office. Heck, there is no proper pedestrian walkways 100 metres away from most stations, apart from those at hotspots.

So, what do people do when they are faced with these problems and more? Buy a car or bike!

6. Construction/Over-development

Road works or construction projects are no doubt another culprit that cause traffic to back up. This is also why we said that building more roads is not the final answer. Then add large construction projects that need to divert traffic and you have a congestion.

Apart from that, housing projects are being pushed further and further out of the city. (And ironically, every project flattens the jungle and then the developers call them “Eco.”)

Since these projects are way outside the reach of existing public transportation, residents will continue to use their own vehicles, if not adding more. Public transportation development could not catch up with so many projects going on everywhere.

7. Roads that do not favour smooth traffic flow

Some roads seem to exist merely because a road is needed. Unfortunately, some of these roads are the arteries that connect to main roads and they consist of many intersections, traffic lights, roundabouts, and speed bumps.

There are so many roads that see shoddy patching over potholes, that makes you think your car has just hit a hill or mountain.

8. Weather

Granted, we cannot control the weather, but some drivers seem to be petrified of rain despite having four large contact patches and a roof over their heads, as if the road is covered with ice with engine oil as icing. Cars do not just slide off as soon as the road is wet. Please.

To be fair, there are places on our roads that grow huge deep puddles in thunderstorms and these can cause aquaplaning if approached too fast. Besides that, there are flash floods such as one a few days ag0 at the super busy Berjaya Times Square intersection. The water was as deep as the car’s bumper.

Conclusion

So there you have it, some of the major causes of traffic congestions in our country. There should be more factors, but it is already getting to long. We will see some suggestions for solutions in a future article. Ride and drive safe, everyone.

One of the biggest question asked among motorcycle owners is, “Does synthetic oil cause my engine to leak?”

The question is especially asked for those who own high mileage bikes (and cars), above 200,000km. But does it really happen?

What is synthetic oil?

To recap, a synthetic oil means its base oil was made from some source other than petroleum. “Base oil” on the other hand, refers to the origin of the oil before additives are added to it. There are several sources for synthetic base oils including PAO (polyalphaolefin) and ester.

A mineral base oil originates from refined petroleum, so synthetic base oil was synthesised.

The origins of this myth

The earliest synthetic engine oils were made from ester and entered the market in the early 80s. Prior to that, engine oils were mineral based.

1. Synthetic oil cleaned out sludge left by mineral oils

Sludge is that ultra sticky brown to dark brown goo, seen in poorly maintained and/or old engines. Once sludging has set in, getting them out is no easy task, even for the engine flush.

This sludge blocks gaps and holes in oil seals, stopping the oil from leaking.

Now, synthetic oils have better flow, detergence, and anti sludging properties which went ahead and cleaned out that sludge that stopped the leak. Therefore, the engine began to leak, when it was already waiting to leak in the first place.

It was not the oil’s fault, because a diligently maintained engine, regardless of age, is not supposed to leak at all.

2. Ester

Ester has some great properties such as resistance to high heat. However, the earliest ester-based synthetic oils were said to have caused oil seals to swell and break.

Oil producers have since overcome this by using better additives to counter that side-effect. This can be seen partly in oil service standards as it progressed from the earliest SA to SN, SN+, SP, SP+ now. The API service standard corresponds to an oil’s compatibility to the latest engine tech.

3. Synthetic oils have even sized molecules

Petroleum consists of many substances and that cannot be refined out completely. Some molecules are small, some are medium, and some are large.

As such, larger molecules will clog all the niches in the engine, including places or gaskets that have actually leaked. So when synthetic oil is used, it seeps through these gaps.

Conclusion

So, go ahead and use synthetic engine oil. I have been using it in my motorcycle and car, which both have gone above 200,000 km will no ill effect.

They may make some of the most emotionally stirring bikes, but MV Agusta seems to be in dire straits (again) as they continue to struggle with finances. Only 1,823 bikes were delivered globally in 2023.

Back in 2018, they sold 2,748 units before the Black Ocean Group from Russia took over in 2019. Their investment saw some needed restructuring, with the promise of hitting 10,000 sales in 2-3 years thereafter. Unfortunately, the plans were scuttled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yet sales in 2020, 2021 and 2022 fell short of the intended target despite the global motorcycle market’s recovery following the lifting of quarantines. In any case, 2022 saw nearly 3,000 sales but that was less than 50% of 2015 sales.

KTM Group stepped in to buy 25% of MV Agusta’s stakes in 2023, going on to handle the two strategic areas of purchasing and distribution. KTM was keen to bring the brand under their wings, but MV CEO Timur Sardarov had resisted vehemently, by including strongly worded statements to the press.

The Austrian giant’s investment gave MV the funds to expand their production capability, and indeed, a new line to produce 1,000 units per day was set up at the end of 2023.

Yet, they only sold the aforementioned 1,823 units, representing a precipitous 42.5% drop from the previous year.

MV Agusta had partnered with Loncin in 2019 on the premise of building more affordable 350cc – 500cc bikes for the Asian market, but there is no mention about this plan anymore.

Instead, MV had partnered with Chinese giant QJ Motor in 2020. Indeed, the Lucky Explorer 5.5 and Lucky Explorer 9.5 adventure bikes made their debut at EICMA the next year. They have also launched the Lucky Explorer 9.5 Orioli for 2024, which is a luxury version.

It has to be said that the MV Agusta brand, although a legend, had changed hands many times and none seemed to be able to help it. There was Cagiva (1991), Proton (2001), Harley-Davidson (2009), and finally Black Ocean Group (25% in 2016, full ownership in 2019).

It seems that MV is hurting themselves by producing ultra-limited, hence ultra-expensive motorcycles like the Superveloce 98 Edizione Limitata (main picture) that could only find a limited audience.

But that is MV Agusta. Their business exploits are as legendary as their achievements on the racetracks.

Crashing on a motorcycle is unfortunate, dangerous, and definitely not fun. We do not like deriving entertainment from the misfortune of others, either. However, someone had decided to stitch bizarre crash videos together from CCTV and dashcam footages. Add a rousing soundtrack and sound effects, and voila! These otherwise scary crashes turn into something even more bizarre, if not funny.

This video montage has been shared so much on so many Facebook pages and even Tik Tok that no one knows who the real creator was. Do inform us if you know the original creator this montage.

The majority of these accidents appeared to have been recorded in China, with one exception at 0:35 which was from Indonesia. But all of them showed mishandling, poor judgment, and lack of skills of the motorcyclists involved. Still, some managed to press the horn button when they lose control of their vehicles. You could also see that none wore protective gear apart from a few with only a helmet. Most were riding bikes were electric scooters and bicycles.

So, if there are lessons to be learned from these videos:

  • Always wear protective gear. It is better to have it than not need it, than not have it when you need it.
  • Always ride within your limits. Going too fast for your thoughts to catch up 3 minutes later is never good.
  • Always be vigilant. Know your surroundings. Look ahead, look behind, look left, look right. Think of yourself as a radar that scans 360-degrees. Built a “sixth sense” that allows you to have “a feeling” about something in proximity without even needing to look at it. (No, we didn’t mean dead people, rather, other vehicles.)
  • Always review your riding. Think back to what you did when you rode the last time. What were the things you had in control, what you did not, and how you can be better.
  • Always ride with some paranoia. Do not trust other road users blindly. They may want to swerve away from a pothole, or be distracted, or anything else between.

Needless to say, brake pads are part of what makes the brake system as a whole operate, and it is true for regardless if it is a hydraulic or drum system. No brake pad, no brakes! So, what are the standards for brake pads?

So, what is/are the standards?

Firstly, we must always start by determining the need for standards.

Standards call for repeatable testing methods that usually resonate with advancements. Standards also ensure that any tested and approved product meets a certain set of requirements – usually for safety benefits to consumers. On the other hand, manufacturers could do anything as the please to the detriment of consumers. The best example is the motorcycle helmet.

So, for brake pads, especially imported ones, are tested and approved through:

ECE R90

  • “ECE” stands for Economic Commission of Europe. Also sometimes marked as “CE” for Conformité Européenne.
  • “R” stands for Regulation.
  • “90” is the number of the standard. (Remember that motorcycle helmet falls under R22?)

Virtually any product sold in the European Union countries must be test and certified to their respective standards.

How about Malaysia?

Malaysia has her own standards for brake pads, namely:

MS1164:2015

  • “MS” stands for Malaysian Standards.
  • “1164” is the standard’s number.
  • “2015” is the year of the revision.

And which standard should I go by?

The MS1164:2015 came into effect as of 1st November 2015 and brake pads made in Malaysia must have these letters printed on the pads’ backing plate.

Imported pads should have the ECE R90 standard printed on them. But the importer or producer may also seek the approval of the MS1164:2015 standard.

Best to go for brake pads that are certified to ECE R90 or MS1164:2015 or both. DO NOT compromise on brake pads or any brake component, for that matter, because they involve yours and your loved ones’ safety.

We shall touch more on the tests involved in the near future.

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