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.


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.


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” 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:


  • “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.

There are several important aspects we look for when we buy a motorcycle helmet: Style, safety, features, comfort, price, although not necessarily in that order. There is another factor: Wind noise. Or more ideally, a completely silent helmet. Is that possible?

Continued exposure to exceptionally high levels of wind noise results in severe consequences such as permanent hearing loss. And no hearing aid and amount of surgery can bring that hearing back. Problem is, hearing damage creeps up progressively but early symptoms include the ears feeling “stuffy.” If unchecked, this damage will continue until the ears start ringing, a condition called tinnitus.

Additionally, wind noise distracts you from fully concentrating on your riding, besides tiring you out quicker.

Let us cut to the chase: Is there a completely silent helmet?

The law says NO

To be blunt, helmet regulations do not allow for a completely silent helmet. See the picture below, which is a page taken from the ECE R22 regulations pertaining to helmet tests.

Paragraph 6.4.5 states:

The helmet shall not dangerously affect the wearer’s ability to hear.

In other words, the helmet must not filter out environmental sounds and putting the wearer in a bubble of Zen. It is for safety purposes as you may imagine as aural cues keep us safe as we know if there is a vehicle in proximity. Additionally, ride long enough and we listen to the engine’s note as when to shift gears or gauge our speed.


Premium helmet makers would already have the technology to produce a silent helmet by now. But since it is dangerous to do so, there are ways of making helmets as quiet as possible by:

  1. Ensuring a better fit. A better fitting helmet provides less room for air to move around inside the helmet. This fit also goes for the chin curtain which reduces airflow from underneath the helmet.
  2. Better visor seal. Ensuring the visor sits flush with the rubber seal around the helmet’s aperture (face opening) keeps wind out. A side benefit of this keeps water out, too.
  3. Better aerodynamics. The main function of motorcycle helmet aerodynamics is to reduce or eliminate helmet movements due to air pressure at high speeds, and to elevate the wearer’s safety and comfort. An aerodynamically “slippery” helmet also alleviates some of the stresses on the wearer’s neck muscles. A benefit of this is a quieter helmet.

In closing

There are ways in which the wearer can reduce noise, given the absence of a completely silent helmet. One is by wearing earplugs. There are “smart” earplugs that filter out the harmful frequencies and noise while allowing certain important sounds through such as speech, engine note, some environmental sounds through. This writer has gotten so used to wearing earplugs that he cannot ride without them. Cutting out wind noise helps with concentrating on riding, too.

Another is of course by wearing a full-faced helmet. It is absurd to compare the wind noise in an open-faced helmet to a full-faced helmet.

We all do it: Browse through a motorcycle’s spec sheets to look for the engine’s power above everything else. But why do more and more spec sheets use the unit kW for engine power instead of HP? Why do not we settle on just one power unit?

The short answer is about accuracy and a standard measurement, as we shall see below.

Where did HP (horsepower) come from?

It all goes back to the invention of the steam locomotive.

Thomas Newcomen was the inventor in 1712, but it was James Watt (familiar name, is it not?) who improved the design in 1776. Then, Watt devised the method of comparing the power of his locomotive to the equivalent of how many horses to promote the power of his locomotive on a more relatable scale. Hence, horsepower.

Since then, this value has been adopted for rotary motion for trains and through the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, the value stuck for motorcycle and car engines.

Watt’s mechanical horsepower is defined as a horse lifting a 550lb. load 1 foot in 1 second, which equals 32,549 ft-lb of work per minute, or 4,500 kilogram-metres per minute.

Okay, so why Watt?

However, Europeans prefer to adhere to SI units or in other words, metric units. This is where the discrepancies creep up.

See, Imperial horsepower measures as 745.7 Watts, while the European SI metric horsepower unit also known as PS (Pferdestärke) or CV (Chevaux-Vapeur) is only 735.5 Watts.

This is why while some spec sheets pronounce an engine to produce 70 PS, it actually produces only 69 HP.

These different units i.e. mechanical HP, metric HP, PS, CV only created confusion to vehicle buyers, so in 1972, the kW replaced PS as the SI unit for engine power through EEC directives. But as of 1 January 2010, the EU only permits HP as a supplemental unit to kW.

How is kW calculated?

Kilowatt is a function of torque and revolutions per minute (RPM)  and is calculated as following: Power (kW) = torque (Nm) x speed (revolutions per minute, or RPM) / 9.5488.

The calculation is actually the same for horsepower: Power (HP) = torque (lb-ft) x speed (RPM) / 5,252.

However, to convert published kW to HP: Horsepower = 1 kW x 1.34. Thus, an engine which produces 12 kW of power equals 16.1 HP.

Let us talk a bit about the single sided swingarm, especially considering a video that went viral recently.

The footage showed a rider and his pillion on a bike when the pillion suddenly became agitated. The camera then panned right to show their bike’s rear wheel running next to the divider and overtaking them. It concluded with a Ducati Hypermotard on its side sans the rear wheel.

Netizens were quick to provide their own comments of the incident. Some were just pure banter, some were jokes, some were derision, some were er… post-mortems.

One such comment in our sister site, MotoMalaya attracted our attention. The commenter said, “That’s the disadvantage of the single sided swingarm.” The comment was followed by plenty of derision.

Like it or not, that comment has some truth. However, before we proceed further, we would like to state that such occurrence is very rare. And it is not only Ducatis that are fitted with single sided swingarms as several other manufacturers do so, too. For example, BMW, Honda, Moto Guzzi, KTM, CFMoto, MV Agusta, Triumph, and of course scooters!

The main advantage of the single sided swingarm

The primary advantage of the single sided swingarm is quick and easy rear wheel removal and installation. Remove the tightening nut or bolts and out comes the entire wheel without upsetting the chain tension and rear brake as the rear sprocket, brake disc, and brake caliper are mounted on a carrier.

There is a very short and stout axle to hold the wheel in place. Thus, one only needs to reinstall the rear wheel and retighten the locking nut or bolts and not bother with chain tension and axle alignment.

In fact, this was why Massimo Tamburini designed the seminal Ducati 916 with a single sided swingarm. It was thought that Ducati had wanted to enter the 916 in endurance races. Tamburini himself said that he drew inspiration from the Honda NR750. Other contemporary rivals were the Honda RC30 and later RC45 – both also sported single sided swingarms because they were raced in endurance events.


However, Tamburini did also mention that aesthetically, the rear wheel appears as if it is floating and not connected to the bike. It then became the signature of high performance Ducatis and continues to be used until today.

The double sided swingarm, on the other hand…

Conversely, a double sided swingarm requires an axle/spindle to be inserted through the center of the wheel to connect both sides.

One needs to pull the axle out, take the chain off the sprocket, and pull the brake disc away from the caliper.

The drive chain requires tensioning and the entire rear end needs realignment when the axle and wheel are reinstalled. The tensioning and alignment process needs time and care. An improperly aligned rear axle will result in abnormal tyre, chain, and brake pad wear, besides handling issues.

But should the lock nut break loose and depending on the design of the rear of the swing arm, the chain can hold the axle in place albeit misaligned. Similarly, the brake caliper bracket or holder helps to keep the axle and wheel from sliding out.

Then again, there are incidents where the rear wheel came off double sided swingarms. Point is, it takes a longer time for the rear wheel to slide out and there will be plenty of warning symptoms if the axle nut was improperly tightened or had come off, such as the rear of the bike pulling to one side.

In a nutshell

So, is a single side swingarm inherently dangerous?

All engineering practices consist of compromises. That is why the rear wheel is locked with a large nut and pin or several bolts. Therefore, the proper tightening torque is essential, so use a torque wrench, for crying out loud!

We would like to state again that this was a very uncommon incident. In any case, always inspect your bike before riding.

The 2023 Asia Harley Days was undoubtedly a success. We attended the event and enjoyed the atmosphere. But despite being held in what can be described as the party capital of Thailand, Pattaya, with all of its potential and reputation for great parties, could have been better. But that is not to say we did not enjoy ourselves, we certainly did.  

Perhaps the chosen location, Legend Siam, was too far from the town of Pattaya, which meant only those who were attending Asia Harley Days were there. For the regular person, Asia Harley Days remained inaccessible due to its distance from the town. 



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