• Day Two of the KMOG/KTM Malaysia Weekend Adventure with Chris Birch saw us going for an offroad ride.

  • The objective was to consolidate the lessons from yesterday’s clinic into real-world riding situations.

  • The participants soon learned how good were the lessons and that their KTMs could withstand great abuse without even one breaking down.

Although am not proud of it, I’ve done well so far in this KMOG/KTM Malaysia Weekend Adventure with Chris Birch event. I wasn’t as fast as the fast guys, to be honest, but I wasn’t that slow either. I’ve always had a phobia for deep mud, but Chris’ advice to keep looking forward, while leaving body, core muscles and arms loose paid dividends. The bike wiggled around underneath but it went where I placed it. The KTM 1050 Adventure proved that it could hack it in offroad conditions.

 We’ve now arrived at a deep laterite mud (what we commonly call “red mud”) section. It was 500 m long, wide and flanked on both sides by young oil palm plants that were about metre high. I saw the marshals up ahead signaling to our trailing group to stop and wait. Having tackled deep mud all day, I had good feelings, so I dubbed it a friendly name as the “Mud Spa.” 

The BMW R 1200 GS Adventure went first. Just 3 metres up and its front wheel deflected fully to the left, dumping the rider into the dirt like a sack of potatoes. He got back on to his feet while the marshals lifted the bike onto its wheels. He got on and tried again but was promptly back in for another “treatment.”

Before I could move, a KTM 690 Adventure hopped ahead. Chris Birch was now beside us at the “start line” and he called out “Full gas. Keep it pinned.” 

The KTM 690 rider did just that, but his forward momentum disappeared almost instantly when the front wheel was swallowed by the ochre monster. Still, he kept it pinned. The spinning rear wheel pirouetted around to the left in slow motion, pointing the bike perfectly facing up a steep hillside. He stopped, put more weight on the left side of the bike and gassed it. Now the rear slid around to the right, pointing him directly into the wide plantation area on what had earlier been his left. However, he kept trying while the rear slid right, left, right, left up the trail. He made it through without dropping it.

It was my turn now. Seeing how a bike with offroad tyres could do it boosted my confidence. Chris Birch advised, “Aim for that rut, once the front tyre gets in there, just follow it and keep the throttle open.” I nodded and headed out.

The front went full right lock in just 2 metres later and the rear tyre went sideways. Instead of keeping the throttle on and slipping the clutch slightly, I chickened out closed the throttle. The bike almost toppled over but I somehow kept it up. I straightened the front wheel and tried again.

But I had misjudged it and the front tyre went past it and into deeper mud. It snapped to full left lock in the blink of an eye and my stupid survival instinct intervened to chop the throttle. I went down faster than a KO’d boxer, and the bike trapped my left foot underneath it. Thank goodness Iman from KTM Malaysia had advised me to wear motocross boots instead of adventure-touring ones, otherwise my left foot would’ve been crushed to a pulp.

Following the intensive offroad clinic coached by Chris Birch and Chris Whitehouse the previous day, the KMOG/KTM Malaysia Adventure Weekend with Chris Birch headed into the offroad trails surrounding Bukit Beruntung and Serendah, for er… adventure. It was a much-welcomed follow-up as we could practice what we learned. (Click on the link below for the Day One report.)

KMOG and KTM Malaysia Adventure Weekend with Chris Birch (Day One)

The morning started with us leaving the Ratu Rening Residency for Bukit Beruntung to rendezvous with the marshals. They were all riding KTM’s off-roaders including the KTM 250 EX/C-F, 350 EX/C-F, 450 EX/C-F enduro bikes, while Gabit Saleh rode the KTM 1290 Adventure T as he had to ferry the official photographer/videographer.

Iman presented the briefing, saying that we had an 80-km ride ahead of use, almost all of it off-road. The offroad regulars smiled while we neophytes stopped. For me it was a mix of excitement and trepidation. You see, I popped my off-road cherry riding a Benelli Trek 1190, during the GIVI Let’s Get Dirty Adventure Ride in 2014, coached by Rob Armstrong. Not only was it heavy, it had large panniers and a top case on. If that’s not bad enough, it had half-worn Pirelli Angel ST sport-touring tyres! But I somehow survived that day without a single fall, so the KTM 1050 Adventure equipped with Metzeler Karoo 3 fully offroad tyres ought to do way better!

Despite the previous night’s heavy rain, the trail started easy, with light and loose sandy surface with the occasional patches of water and mud through an oil palm plantation.

The fast guys flew, sometimes splashing water on us poor slow guys while making their way to the front. It was good fun. Keeping vision as far up ahead the trail as possible and standing up the way Chris had thought, the bike just flowed. We were a having a braaping-good time.

Offroad riders have long told me about the many beautiful sights when riding off the highways and trunk roads. It was certainly so as we rode past small lakes, fish cultivation ponds, lifestock and water buffalos.

Soon, we arrived at the first challenge. It was a small downhill trail which led downhill to the right and back to the left to cross a small stream and back up the other side onto another trail. Everyone made it through safely, although there were a few small spills.

We rode on as the sun was fully up by this point, however, we were lucky that overhead branches shaded us pretty much of the way.

Further on, we crossed a rickety wooden bridge, a metal bridge and rode adjacent to a river and lake. We noticed a few locals fishing.

The trail started to get muddier as we went on. Sand gave way to reddish brown mud and it got progressively deeper and softer, until we reached the super challenging section in the aforementioned above.

We finally made it through after the hardworking marshals including Gabit and a number of more experienced riders like Charles Loo (Seng) of CA Cycle and multiple Rimba Raid winner Bee Wong, assisted in riding out the few bikes where the riders had found it just too daunting.

Compared to the earlier parts, this area was wide open and the sun started to bake us. We continued onto a much narrower trail passing a beautiful large lake. The surface was now hard packed so the speeds picked up. A few participants took this opportunity to also remain seated to rest their tired bodies, especially the thighs and backs.

While the forward group stopped for a break, Chris performed powerslides and powerslide U-turns on his 2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure Sto everyone’s amazement. He made it look so effortless.

The convoy turned back into a narrow trial, once more under the shade of oil palm trees, and we soon encountered uphill and downhill sections. Although appearing reddish brown, we were glad that the surface was more hard-packed instead of being muddy. Parts of the trail was covered with crushed granite, too. Again, the going was made bearable by Chris’ instruction to keep looking to where we wanted to go, instead of just a couple of metres in front of the bike. Doing so avoids surprises, thereby increasing confidence and ultimately resulting in smoother riding. Besides that, we covered the clutch with two fingers and the front brake with one. Heading downwards, all I needed to do was to allow the bike’s engine braking to control my descent. If it started to go too fast, a little dab of clutch and front brake kept the speed in check. The rear brake was used to stabilize the bike, or to lock and drag the rear wheel down the steep slippery slope to bleed off some speed.

But as we headed up a steep hill, the bike immediately ahead of me slowed suddenly. I steered to the right to avoid him and the rear wheel dropped off the side of the trail. The soles of my boots were still covered in mud and the shock of the drop cause my right foot to slip off the footpeg, leaving me hanging over the right side of the bike like a MotoGP rider who’s about to DNF spectacularly. “The look ahead, give gas” advice kicked in and I did just that up the slope. I managed to pull myself up when I reached the top. There was however, a sharp pain in the right leg just above the top of the boot.

It hurt like heck but I just kept going. (It turned into a huge bruise when we got back. Badge of initiation, I called it.)

The trail connected to a tar road, where we parked at the sides for a short break. Most participants were hungry and thirsty at this point. A few faces were so red they looked like they had just left the sauna. One of the marshals had ridden ahead to look for a place for refreshments and called back that he had found one. He jumped back on and rushed to a small community sundry shop and food stall.

We parked our bikes in a hurry and almost raided the shop like a horde of Vikings. We proceeded to clear out the fridge! We had covered half the distance thus far. We had only stopped for a too-short 15 minutes before hitting the road again.

We arrived at an area which seemed to have been logged in the past and was told to ride on an uphill footpath. It looked benign from afar, being covered in thick foliage, however the ground was soft mud. The progress was slow-going as many had to either spin their rear wheels vigorously or risk tipping over, while being grabbed by the plant branches and leaves on either side. Chris Birch demonstrated that he could just blast his way up by using his higher momentum. The hot sun bashing down on us started to take its toll as more and more guys started making uncharacteristic mistakes.

It was the last challenge of the day, thankfully. The group stopped for a few moments when they arrived at a tar road. As with throughout the day, both Chris’s found themselves surrounded by participants who wanted to learn more as soon as the engines ticked off. But both guys never minded sharing their skills, thoughts and some hilarious stories of their adventures.

We adjourned back to the track at Sungai Buaya for lunch. After short speeches from Chris Birch, Chris Whitehouse and Iman, the participants demanded that Chris perform one last riding demonstration. Chris isn’t one to show off, that’s for sure, but the crowd started chanting, “Chris! Chris! Chris!”

How could he say no. He suited up, grabbed the 450 EX/C-F ISDE Six-Days and went off to pull steep hillclimbs, powerslides and unbelievable climbs over a large boulder!

With that over, he headed back to the resort for dinner. Everyone was so pumped from the day’s experience. With adrenaline suppressing whatever discomfort, as they jested with each other, sharing their experiences.

A line formed leading for Chris Birch’s autographs on pictures, T-shirts and helmets with him and Chris Whitehouse.

It has to be said that  those who spotted us riding large-sizes covered in mud stared in disbelief, but the owners themselves were no less impressed to discover that their large KTM adventure bikes could withstand the rough and tough stuff, without breaking down into a million pieces.

Through the many spills, no one was hurt and that was a testament to offroading being vastly more enjoyable and fun without the need for huge speeds. Besides that, being able to overcome obstacles and get away unscathed definitely hoisted confidence and moods to a new high. If you’re a rider who craves gratification, go offroading today. It’ll work its way into developing your riding skills for the road, too, we promise you.

In the meanwhile, however, everyone one of us has become Chris Birch’s greatest fans, thanks to KMOG and KTM Malaysia.

Tune in tomorrow for our exclusive interview with Chris Birch!

Click on the link below for Day One of the KMOG/KTM Malaysia Weekend Adventure Ride with Chris Birch.

KMOG and KTM Malaysia Adventure Weekend with Chris Birch (Day One)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch this space as we go trail riding tomorrow!


The just-completed KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 was truly memorable in many ways. it covered cities and villages, great roads and broken roads, mountains and sea, heat and rain, as the participants encountered excitement and exhaustion.

But as of every ride, it’s not only the journey or destination that truly makes a mark, it’s also the people and what they experience on their bikes. That’s right, rides or convoys as we like to call them in Malaysia, is what motorcycling is about.

It’s also worth mentioning the hard work and dedication put in by members of KMOG (KTM Malaysia Owners Group) and KTM Malaysia in ensuring the success of the ride.

So here is a collection of our favourite photos to relive the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017. It’s a shame that we could not follow the ride to its ultimate destination in Kuching, Sarawak.

The KMOG Committee members awaiting the arrival of participants and more importantly, the bikes!
Among the hardworking KMOG and KTM Malaysia crew
Kudos to this McDelivery rider (in GIVI rainsuit) who sent the food in heavy rain!
These guys have many kilometres of touring experience
Pretty Sabahan girls welcomed us to the dinner
All smiles as the participants were welcomed with traditional bead necklaces
Couldn’t wait to the ride to begin
Ong Soo Yong delivering the ride’s briefing
The KTM factory racing shirt was signed by KTM’s factory riders and presented to Soo Yong, who put it up on lucky draw
Participants visited the Tip of Borneo 2nd November – by bus – as the bikes have yet to arrive
Group photo at the special plaque
One for the moment
The current may be a bit rough but it was clear
Group shot with the cove in the background
I’m the Queen of the world!
We’re here!
Great view of the sea from the rocks below
Down at the cove
The Milky Way (our home galaxy) is visible on clear nights


Romantic setting
The third and final container of bikes arrived just as returned to the hotel!
The guys got right to work
Up and over!
Outside the hotel at Kundasang
Phillip Ho and his roaring 900R Adventure
Mount Kinabalu. Note the evidence of landslides due to the 2015 Ranau earthquake
Group photo before continuing on the ride
Stopping at the Sabah Tea Plantation for tea…
…and pictures
At a restaurant in Sepilok
The owner of restaurant treated us to the UFO cake
At the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
These guys couldn’t help monkeying around
Wefie time
We were told to stay out of this guy’s way
Waiting for feeding time
The orangutan is waiting to be fed
Stopping fuel on the way to Tawau
Stopping for lunch in Tawau
Got hammered by heavy rain just after we left Tawau
Stopping to fuel up the 990R Adventures
Still time for a wefie
Visiting the loo
Outside Keningau after a 12-hour and 600km slog
Riding over the famed Crocker Range not far from Keningau
Coming off the Crocker Range
Refuelling at Kuala Penyu before lunch
A great view should not go to waste
Kuih Kelupis
We were welcomed by a traditional band
Butod (sago tree weevil larvae) – a local delicacy
A group photo before we moved on
On the ferry to Labuan
A group shot on the ferry
The quicker way to Labuan, locals call these boats “flying coffins”
Full view of the ferry like the one we boarded
The marina behind the hotel
Another great setting for a KTM

Please click here for Day Five and Wrap Up of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.

Please click here for Day Four of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.

Please click here for Day Three of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.

Please click here for Day Two of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.

Please click here for Day One of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.

  • Day Five of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 took us from Keningau to Labuan.

  • We rode over the Crocker Range and on to Menumbok for the ferry to Labuan.

  • Labuan is the end of the first leg.

Keningau, Sabah, 5th November 2017 – We had thought we’d be allowed to sleep in today after yesterday’s “adventure”, but we were told the briefing will be at 7am.

The early flag-off time was because we had planned to ride over the Crocker Range in the early hours when it was covered in mist and possibly fog. Needless to say, riding here was an item in my bucket list.

I’ve heard much about riding across the Crocker Range from riding enthusiasts, so I dragged my ragged body out of bed at 6am into the bathroom to freshen up for breakfast. If anyone thought being a motojournalist is easy, consider the fact that I had slept at 4am in order to work on the previous day’s story. Plus, the food from last night’s dinner didn’t seem to be on agreeable terms with my stomach.Anyway, breakfast done, we loaded up our bikes for this beautiful day. But everyone took their time, no doubt still feeling the effect of yesterday’s hammering.

It seems that the Crocker Range was just in Keningau’s backyard (no wonder it was so cold in the middle of the night). We had travelled less than 10km before the road started climbing into the hills – and corners(!).

The road here was beautiful, a stark contrast from what we have ridden on so far. The road surface was smooth and grippy, but more importantly and surprisingly, the corners were positively cambered.

I’m sure everyone in the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 smiled as we started sweeping through the curves, cool breeze in our helmets and through our riding gear.

We reached a vantage point and shot photos with the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 banner. Hills in the yonder were clearly seen. The mist had started to lift.

We had so much fun covering this route that it was over before we had warmed up, especially for me on the 1290 Super Duke GT, and it was its natural home. It’s the first time I’ve switched to the SPORT Ride Mode and SPORT Damping.

With the cinnamon city (Keningau means “cinnamon” in the local dialect. It’s where the spice is grown and exported) and Crocker Range behind us, the heat started coming back first gradually, then to very hot. Yet, I didn’t feel sleepy or stuffy because the air around Borneo is pretty fresh.

We rode on until it was time for lunch. Pauline from Borneo Excursions had caught back up with us at Kuala Penyu town and we were led to Jonathan Freddy P. Bagang’s home at Kuala Penyu. Jonathan is Penang’s Director of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia.


There to welcome us was a gamelan band and members of Jonathan’s family and friends, who had prepared a special lunch, which Bear Grylls would’ve been elated.

The lunch was special alright, which included what the locals called butod, the larvae of the sago tree weevil (beetles). These giant larvae were white in colour giving the appearance of monster maggots. They were alive and wriggling in a dish. There was another dish beside that had them fried in soy sauce. It’s a delicacy around here and a 100% source of protein.

Also shown to us was a large Horlicks jar containing a cow’s stomach, mouse deer embryo, pangolin embryos and other “stuff” soaked in a colourless liquid. That liquid turned out to be rice wine. The family had kept that recipe for 50 years, topping up the wine when it ran low.

Of course, there were other dishes too, including vegetables, fowl and fish. Fresh fruits were especially tasty, no doubt due to being grown in places of low pollution. I downed cup after cup of Sabah tea and Tenom coffee.


Jonathan’s neighbours Raineh and her husband also came by to assist and they invited the participants to take part in their traditional Sumazau dance performance.

Soon it was time to say goodbye. KMOG President Ong Ten Sun presented KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 memorabilia to Mr. Jonathan and family.

We rode on to the Menumbok Ferry Terminal and spent some time awaiting our turn to board the ferry to Labuan. It was quite a wait as the ferry operates on fixed intervals.

The ferry was large and could fit all 38 bikes at one go, and still had room for other large vehicles. There was an air-conditioned deck for passengers above the vehicle deck, where most of the participants retreated to.

The ferry ride took one-and-half hours. As we got closer to Labuan, we could see many ships of different fit outs, but the majority serving the oil and gas industry at Miri. Our hotel, Billion Waterfront, was situated right next to the sea.

Dato’ Chia Beng Tat, Chief Executive of KTM Malaysia had joined us for dinner that night. We sat at the table with Captain Ganesan, the tough pilot set a Guiness World Record by riding his motorcycle continuously for 5600 kilometres over four-and-half days straight! He had also ridden 1,500km from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu for the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 briefing on 1st November! We are not worthy!

Labuan signaled the first leg of this epic journey, and it was also the location where a few of us had to say goodbye to the rest of the participants. I had to fly home on the 6th to prepare for another engagement on the 9th. The group stayed over for another night before departing to Miri through Brunei.

At the time this article went “live,” they had arrived safely in Miri.

The KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 had been an astounding success on many fronts.

Firstly, it provided an important activity for KTM motorcycle owners to experience the KTM lifestyle firsthand. Secondly, it would’ve extinguished any doubt about the reliability and capabilities of KTM’s motorcycles to not only the owners themselves but also to the world at large, since not a single bike broke down. Thirdly, it provided an enjoyment unlike any other, as participants experienced every aspect of riding and the environment in which they rode through. Fourthly, participants experienced the many wonders of Borneo, in terms of the roads, weather, environment, sights, culture, people, food.

But most of all, the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 participants experienced the freedom of being on the road (and also off) on the orange-coloured machines from Austria.

Please click here for Day Four of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.

Please click here for Day Three of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.

Please click here for Day Two of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.

Please click here for Day One of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.


  • Day Four of the (KTM Malaysia Owners Group) KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 consisted of the longest route.

  • We rode through everything from hot weather to heavy rain, flat land to the mountains, good roads to “no-roads,” from slow corners to fast flowing ones.

  • Not a single KTM broke down despite the trashing.

4th November 2017, Sandakan, Sabah – Anticipation, excitement, fear, doubt, sleepiness was on the faces and in the smiles of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 participants as we gathered for breakfast at 5am.

As mentioned in the earlier parts of our coverage, this was possibly going to the most epic day of this epic ride. We were to cover more than 640km today, first from Sandakan to Tawau past Lahad Datu, and finally to Keningau through Kalabakan.

While 640km is an easy target for seasoned Malaysia-Thailand riders, it’s not about the distance that scared us. Instead, it was because of the road conditions we have encountered thus far, in an unfamiliar territory.

Indeed, Ong Soo Yong had briefed us during the welcoming dinner that this would be the toughest leg of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.

For the first time, we left the hotel when it was still inky black. But the sun came out soon enough and we were seared by the sunlight by 9am. A few riders were concerned about having to ride under such weather for the remainder of the route. The road was thankfully smooth between the two towns.

We reached Tawau at 11.30am, well ahead of time, which took the restaurant owner by surprise. The staff scrambled to ready the tables and chairs, while the cooks jumped into overdrive. They didn’t even have water or Chinese tea in the beginning.

The sun had come out in its earnest by then, hitting 41 degrees Celcius, and no one could stand out in the open for more than five minutes. We charged into the restaurant like a swarm of angry bees.

One of the bikes had picked up a puncture, which sent the owner and Chris O’Connell out on a hunt for a tyre shop. So, all we could do was wait until they returned.

When we left the restaurant and out of Tawau, the sky ahead had turned ominously black and we hit a heavy rainstorm about 10km from the town. We stopped at a petrol station further up the road while taking shelter at the same time.

With every bike filled to the brim, a few of us donned our rain gear, while a few didn’t because they didn’t bring theirs. We pushed on anyway, all the while being lashed by the relentless rain.

The rain stopped after a few kilometres but dark clouds still dominated the horizon, so I kept the rainsuit on despite getting hotter and hotter underneath.

We were led by the marshals through a small village and ended up at an old Petronas station in Kalabakan.

It looked as if it had been built when Petronas first started business and has never been refreshed. The two 990 Adventures had to top off their tanks, unless they run out of fuel just outside Keningau and this was the last petrol station.

It started to drizzle again as we left the station. We rode through an oil palm plantation and it was offroad. The route was pockmarked with so many holes it looked alien.

We rode along at a brisk pace. I noticed the scenery and vegetation had started changing from flat farmlands to high hillsides.

Soon after I noticed an orange coloured sign that said, “AWAS. KAWASAN TANAH RUNTUH,” (CAUTION. LANDSLIDE AREA.) followed by another sign of the same colour with just the exclamation mark. The lead marshal started pumping his left arm up and down furiously, and it soon became apparent that the road had become “no road.”

An entire section was nothing but gravel and mud, as if the tar seal had been scraped off. Through MX training, my instinct kicked in and stood up. The 1290 Super Duke GT’s semi-active suspension was still set to “STREET” and I feared it may be too bumpy.

Instead, the bike which was meant to be a road-only sport-tourer took it all in its stride. I took it painfully slow in the beginning but it soon showed itself as being more capable than that as it allowed me to swerve past water filled potholes. It rolled over the loose gravel and mud as without drama. (It also helped that I stood up, of course, so do that when you have to ride over poor surfaces. Check out our tips for adventure riding here.)

It was tarmac again after that, followed by another no-road section, and another, and another. And it started to pour down again. This route is often used by logging trucks, hence the level of damage we encountered.

The rain came on and off as we slogged through one section after another until I lost count.

I started to experiment with the GT as we rode along. I had switched the WPs to “COMFORT” to let it soak up the bumps better and RIDE MODE to “RAIN,” for a smoother torque output. In the tougher no road sections, I left the transmission in third gear, let go of the clutch and regulated the throttle.

However, as a fast as I went in the offroad section, this was where the KTM adventure models truly stood out. There was a good mix consisting of the 990 Adventure, 1050 Adventure, 1190 Adventure, 1290 Adventure T, and both the new 1290 Adventure S and 1290 Adventure R. All of them, for want of a better word, flew through those sections.

Let’s also not forget that KMOG had organized training classes called Defensive Riding Program (DRP) to prepare their members for this type of adventure. (We covered a DRP session a few months back. Click here for DRP Vol. 2 Day One and here for DRP Vol. 2 Day Two.)

In the meantime, the rain had gone constant by now. It’s nearly 5pm and light’s starting to fade. I’ve stopped to record a video as a few bikes passing through a rough section and I was now left alone (although the last man was well behind).

I came up to an area where it appeared to be a small stop for the logging trucks. A dog wanted to cross the road from left to right, but it stopped when it saw me, so I swerved to the right to give it some room. But it suddenly bolted into the middle of the road and into my path. I grabbed the front brakes and the bike slowed so hard I felt like I was doing a push-up with 200 kg on my back. Even then, the brakes didn’t lock and trigger the ABS, plus there was still much room left for braking. Amazing!

Believe me, I was tempted to stop. My Dainese Rainsun jacket has two thick layers and the rainsuit over it but it was still cold. I could only imagine what those without rainsuits were going through.  And for the first time in Malaysia, I switched on the handlebar grip warmer to HIGH. However, I pushed on as I didn’t want to be riding out here in total darkness.

I soon saw a bike ahead and made it out to be the 1290 Adventure T ridden by Captain Nanda. We buddied up. There’s a certain relief to ride together with someone else, sometimes even with complete strangers when the going gets tough.

We finally made it to Keningau’s city limit. We stopped and waited for the rest to catch up.

The final leg into Keningau was awesome, featuring cambered sweeping turns. All of us cut loose. The Super Adventure S in front of me kept throwing sparks from its panniers through the corners!

We stopped for dinner at the beautiful Mee Woo Resort & Spa’s restaurant, but the service sucked. Yes, you read that correctly. First, they directed us to park at the entrance, then chased us away to park elsewhere after we’ve sat down to eat. Apart from one sweet usher, none of the crew ever smiled or greeted us. But never mind, because we were dirty, hungry and tired. The mood became increasingly jovial as hot food and drinks entered our systems. Everyone was relieved that toughest part of the journey was over.

From there it was a short three-minute to the hotel.

We did a final tally. Not a single bike had broken down despite all that trashing. Apart from a minor crash due to distraction (rider okay), no one had gotten hurt and that was the most important news.

Then all of us crashed into our beds.

Click here for KMOG Borneo Ride (Day One).

Click here for KMOG Borneo Ride (Day Two).

Click here for KMOG Borneo Ride (Day Three).

















Artikel oleh: Wahid Ooi Abdullah


  • KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 memulakan Hari Ketiga.
  • Kami menunggang dari Kundasang, melalui Ranau, ke Sepilok sebelum berhenti di Sandakan.
  • Tempat-tempat menarik yang telah dilawati adalah seperti ladang Sabah Tea dan Pusat Pemulihan Orangutan.


  • The KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 entered entered Day Three.

  • We rode from Kundasang, through Ranau, to Sepilok before stopping at Sandakan.

  • Highlights included the Sabah Tea plantation and Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

Kundasang, 3rd November 2017 – Day Three of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 started from the Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort & Spa in Kundasang, for Sandakan. Today’s ride reminded us the meaning of “adventure riding.”

Click here for Day One of the KTM Malaysia Owners Group’s (KMOG) Borneo Ride 2017. Click here for Day Two of KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.

As usual, we got early for a simple yet hearty breakfast at the hotel. The exception though, was the crisp and chilly mountain air, which accompanied us. Almost everyone went outside afterwards to draw lungfuls of it.

As we arrived after dark last night, we couldn’t see what was beside the roads. Well, Kundasang didn’t surprise at the break of day. The hotel was situated on a hilltop tall and was surrounded by tall pine trees looked. Looking around below, were lush valleys, interspersed with little houses.

However, there was a pathway which led to a viewing platform just outside the restaurant, and there, we stared at Mount Kinabalu’s crown.

Ranau, the site of the devastating 2015 Sabah earthquake, was just 20km away. Looking up the side of the mountain, there were massive patches of light-coloured rocks, evidence of landslides due to the quake. Still, the mountain was beautiful and I could only wished we had scaled it to the top during this trip.

The KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 convoy pushed off at exactly 8.30am, the efficient marshals made sure of that.

It took just a few kilometres out of Kundasang for us to realize that the road was very narrow, much like the old Gombak-Genting Sempah road, without the landslides (and cyclists).

Traffic was wonderfully light, except for a number of big trucks we encountered.

However, the road’s condition increasingly deteriorated the further we rode. Many sections were uneven with plenty of potholes and patches thrown in. Legacy of the earthquake?

KTM Malaysia had graciously loaned the 1290 Super Duke GT to me for this ride. There was another GT ridden by Mr. Kan and we pulled away from the middle pack to enjoy the corners. I rounded a corner and came face-to-face with section which resembled a motocross double jump! I clamped down on the brakes hard and triggered the ABS but I was too close, so I the brakes go and yanked on the throttle, because I didn’t want the rear to kick up hard and endo me into road.

The bike flew but the “landing zone” was badly rutted. I caught a rut and it drove me to the road’s shoulder. I gave the bike some gas and the bike recovered itself smartly.

I had set the riding mode to STREET and the damping for the electronically-controlled semi-active WP suspension to COMFORT. However, the road surface was so bad it caused the bike to wallow in midcorner. Switching to STREET helped somewhat, it was too harsh in the rough sections. Going faster than 120 km/h, helped though.

I watched with jealously as the 1290 Adventure Duke T and the 1290 Super Adventure S’s suspension (also electronic) soaked up the bumps as if they weren’t there. A few riders could even relax one arm while riding.

We rode past the town of Ranau, but there wasn’t time to check out the view as we concentrated on the road and traffic.

We reached the Sabah Tea Resort Restaurant 36km away without incident. We got the real taste of freshly brewed Sabah tea.

It was lovely. Good aroma with a full body and just the right amount of acidity. Slightly sweet, slightly sour, but not bitter. With a great view to boot!

We rode back down the hill, whose road was a no-road. It was an unpaved gravel road with some big rocks. The GT did well, never threatening to throw away a tyre despite being more of a sport-tourer, with the emphasis on sport.

It was a straight shot to Sepilok from there.

We reached the Banana Cafe just in time for lunch.

The food was simple yet tasty, and enjoyed the great hospitality. The restaurant’s owner had even treated us to the “UFO tart,” unique to Sandakan.

From there, it was a quick jaunt to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

The facility is located at the fringe of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, and as apparent from its name, it rescues orphaned orangutans and rehabilitate them for life in the wild.

It opens at certain hours to the public called, during feeding time. The orangutans are fed twice daily.

The facility features a boardwalk raised above the swampy land below. It leads to the main viewing area, where the orangutans get together for their meal time.

That done, we got back on our bikes and made our way to the hotel in Sandakan.

We were given a couple of hours to freshen up before we headed out to dinner at the famous Tai Lau steamboat restaurant.

“Dinner” was the inappropriate word for it. It was a 10-dish feast as KMOG had ordered a multi-meal course consisting of steamed fish, squid, mussels (lala), braised vegetables, kung pow chicken, stir-fried green vege, prawn platter, crabs fried with salted egg and fruits for dessert!

With our tummies full, it was time to fill up the bikes ahead of tomorrow’s long leg. The final stop is Keningau, but instead of riding back through the route we had come in on, we are going to ride south to Tawau, before turning west, over the Crocker Range. It promises to be the most epic part of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017.



Artikel Oleh: Wahid Ooi Abdullah

  • Hari Kedua KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 membawa kami ke “Tip of Borneo” dan Kundasang.
  • Kumpulan terakhir motosikal peserta tiba tepat pada masanya untuk perjalanan dari Kota Kinabalu ke Kundasang.
  • Konvoi ini akan membuat hentian pertamanya di Kawasan Perlindungan Orangutan di Sepilok, dalam perjalanan ke sandakan.


Artikel oleh: Wahid Ooi Abdullah

  • Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 1 November 2017 – KMOG (KTM Malaysia Owners Group) Borneo Ride 2017 bermula semalam.
  • Tunggangan ini akan bermula Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, menuju ke Kuching, Sarawak dalam masa sepuluh hari.
  • KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 ini akan menguji kebolehan dan reliabiliti motosikal adventure KTM.




  • Kawasaki Motors Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (KMSB) cukup terkenal sebagai penggiat aktif dalam beberapa buah program dan aktiviti sebagai salah satu cara mereka menyumbang kembali kepada komuniti.
  • Pelbagai acara dari kempen keselamatan jalan raya hinggalah ke Rumah Terbuka Hari Raya, KMSB telah menganjurkan beberapa buah program sebagai sebahagian daripada Tanggungjawab Sosial Korporat (Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR) mereka.
  • Kawasaki Malaysia juga teramatlah aktif dalam tahun ini dalam menganjurkan sebuah jelajah tunggang uji istimewa di seluruh negara di mana mereka menawarkan tunggang uji model terkini mereka dan juga pemeriksaan motosikal secara percuma.


Kawasaki Motors Malaysia Sdn Bhd (KMSB) is known for being actively involved in several activities and program as a way to give back to the community.

Events from road safety campaigns to Hari Raya Open Houses, KMSB has organised a number of programs as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Kawasaki Malaysia is also very particularly active this year in organising a special test ride road show across the country where they offer test rides plus free bike inspections.

Most companies nowadays are focused on bringing in the best products to the market as their main method of earning an income. It’s no different for Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (KMSB) and their extensive list of outstanding bikes currently on sale. Apart from the bikes, did you know that Kawasaki Malaysia is also very active when it comes to giving back to the community? (more…)

KMOG DRP moved to the UniMAP Circuit for Day Two. 

Programs concentrated more on real world riding scenarios.

KTM Malaysia continued their support.

Day Two of KTM Malaysia Owners Group’s (KMOG) Defensive Riding Program (DRP) Vol. 2 activities continued at the Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) Circuit further up north from Jitra.

The day’s programs included hard braking, emergency avoidance and high-speed riding techniques, necessitating the move to the circuit.

KTM Malaysia’s support crew were on-site and brought along an air compressor. They performed checks on KMOG participants’ motorcycles to ensure that they were in the proper riding condition on the track. They also lowered the tyre pressures on the participant’s bikes for high-speed riding later in the day and re-inflating them before the riders rode home (hence the compressor). KMOG had also called upon an ambulance and paramedics to standby at the track.

The rearview mirrors on the motorcycles were turned to face forward, to avoid the KMOG participants from glancing behind while tackling the circuit.

The day started off with the program briefing by Ong Soo Yong, before proceeding to the Emergency Braking module.

The term emergency braking will surely bring back memories of our motorcycle license exams. We were taught to slam down on the rear brake only to skid the tyre to a stop, without applying the front brake and without an explanation to its purpose. Conversely, DRP’s module taught the riders to lock up their brakes to activate their motorcycles’ Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) to familiarize themselves to the sensation of a pulsing brake lever and pedal.

The class adjourned to another section of the track afterwards for the Emergency Avoidance portion.

The drill called for the riders to follow a pre-marked line into a corner, where two mannequins were placed further into the curve, directly in the motorcycles’ path. There was a final marking on the road before the dummies where the rider could only brake and swerve away at the point.

This exercise illustrated the techniques of braking and avoiding unexpected hazards on the road. It was appropriately carried out after the emergency braking session, as they could then apply the lessons learned.

Next was the module named Analyzing Apex, Entry & Exiting Turns, Acceleration & Braking Points. As the name suggests, it sought to hone the participants’ skill of determining the correct lines they should take through corners, besides how to accelerate when exiting and brake as they approach corners. The UniMAP Circuit was a great setting for learning this set of skills as it featured corners of every type, plus elevation changes.

The plan called for the factory riders Ahmad Idham and Muhd. Izham to lead the riders, and Gabit in the trailing position. The participants will then trace the riders’ braking points, lines through the corners and acceleration points. To provide equal opportunities for the participants, the group of 17 were broken into 3 groups. Participants trailing the leaders were rotated by letting the last two overtake to the front of the pack, behind the factory riders.

But first, Gabit, Ahmad Idham and Muhd. Izham hit the track for a demonstration run. It was an awesome display of speed and riding skills, while serving as a practice session for them, since this was the first time they’ve visited the track.

KMOG’s riders went out on track after lunch. Each group was allotted five laps per session of the circuit.

Gabit Saleh then went on track to perform in a stunt show, wowing everyone with his variety of incredible burnouts, stoppies and wheelies.

The track was reopened for free practice to allow the KMOG members to familiarize themselves to the track and apply the lessons learned throughout the previous sessions. The participants were apparently fast riders and went increasingly faster as the session wore on. There’s no better pleasure than the opportunity to ride around a windy piece of tarmac where there are plenty of space for mistakes, and no road hazards such as wayward traffic, pedestrians, animals. Only a racetrack could offer such luxuries.

They were soon called back to the paddock for a rest before the last event of the day, known as the KMOG-GP began.

Another round of briefing followed prior to the KMOG riders were let loose on the track. Although named KMOG-GP, it was to see who could complete the most laps in the allocated 30 minutes. It was hence an endurance rather than an all-out sprint “race.” KTM’s factory riders also joined in.

While seeing large capacity motorcycles screaming around a racetrack is a common sight these days, watching tall, relatively heavy adventure bikes achieving gruesome lean angles was a sight to behold. Perhaps DRP also successfully highlighted KTM’s Ready To Race mantra, by accident or design.

Prior to the end of festivities, prizes were awarded to the participants, although everyone received the gold-coloured course completion sticker.

There was much anticipation, laughter and enjoyment among the KMOG participants throughout the event. The KMOG riders were a friendly lot. Perhaps it is not wrong to say that not only did they improve on their riding skills, but also their camaraderie.

It was also revealed that KMOG members will be expecting a ride in Borneo, from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah to Kuching, in Sarawak in September 2017. If so, KMOG’s Defensive Riding Program will surely equip the riders with fresh sets of skills and confidence to tackle the ride.


KTM Malaysia Owners Group (KMOG) organized this program to keep their members’ riding skills sharp. 

KTM Malaysia pitched in with professional riders and logistical support.

Day One consisted of slow-speed programs and maneuvers.

There is no doubt that modern motorcycles are continuing to be ever more powerful. For comparison, the groundbreaking inline-six Honda CBX1000 in 1978 produced 105bhp but weighed a massive 272kg wet. The 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure, on the other hand, produces 123 bhp, and weighs a lithe 228 kg wet.

Corresponding to the increase in engine power and performance, rider training and skills become even more critical. While it’s true that most modern big capacity motorcycles feature rider aids such as ABS, traction control, stability control, electronic suspension and so forth, but the basics and dynamics of riding a motorcycle remains the same as riding one produced forty years ago. A mistake may risk the rider being thrown off, or worse.

In this sense, it’s only right that manufacturers and rider groups take proactive steps in promoting advanced rider training.

KTM Malaysia Owners’ Group (KMOG) have been organizing events for their buddies ever since its inception. They have just completed an offroad training clinic and ride not long ago, and are now following through with a riding clinic on tarmac.

Called the Defensive Riding Program (DRP) Volume 2, the event was held over 18th to 19th August 2017 weekend. As the name suggests, the clinic seeks to improve the riding skills of KTM owners even further, through the understanding of their bikes’ capabilities and correct basic motorcycle handling skills.

KTM Malaysia recruited three special guests for the event. They were the 2016 FIM Asia Supermoto Champion, Malaysian MX Champion, and KTM Malaysia’s factory rider, Gabit Saleh; and the top two 2017 KTM RC Cup Asia contenders from Malaysia – Muhd. Izham, better known as Boi-Boi; and Ahmad Idham Khairuddin, the younger brother of Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin. The crew at KTM Malaysia also pitched in to assist in the program. KTM Malaysia’s Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Chia Beng Tat was also present throughout the day to lend is support.

Day One was held at KTM Malaysia’s factory’s compound in Jitra, Kedah.

A total of 18 participants showed up on various KTM motorcycles, including the 1050 Adventure, 1190 Adventure S, (the previous) 1290 Adventure S and Super Duke R, 1290 Super Duke GT, the newly launched 2017 1290 Adventure S. There was a rare 990 Adventure also, and the currently one and only 2017 1290 Adventure R in Malaysia.

The day started with the program introduction and briefing by KMOG committee member, Ong Soo Yong; alongside KTM Malaysia’s Mohd. Nor Iman and Gabit Saleh.

First lesson was called Bike Balance. Or more specifically, balancing a static motorcycle by holding it up with just one hand. Each participant was taught to grab or hold any one point of his motorcycle to feel the machine’s point of balance. Armed with that knowledge, the rider will know where he should position his body for the optimum weight distribution when the bike is in motion, especially at crawling speeds.

Next on the program was called Full Steering Lock Turn. The participants were taught on how to position their bodies and to riding loose when performing sharp turns with their steering turned to full lock at slow speeds. This skill is indispensable when performing U-turns and slipping through traffic. A box was marked on the ground and the riders need to complete their turns inside it.

The Show Maneuver Techniques program was next. Participants rode up a set of wooden shipment pallets, arranged as a zig-zag shaped platform. It taught the owners how to balance their bikes while moving at slow speeds.

Lastly, all the techniques learned throughout the day were incorporated in the Time Trials. The owners started by riding over the platform and into the full steering lock turn area, to complete the “course.” Although it called a time trial, the objective was not to find the fastest rider. The slowest rider wins.

All the lessons emphasized slow-speed handling, because the motorcycle is more stable when its speed picks up due to the gyroscopic forces in the moving wheels, like what racers say, “When in doubt, give it gas.” However, it is through slow-speed riding and maneuvering that riders learn finesse and dexterity to enable them to ride better when travelling at higher velocities.

There were a few spills throughout the day, but the owners didn’t dwell on scratching their beautiful KTMs. Instead, they just laughed it off. Everyone had a great time and no one was hurt.

KMOG Defensive Riding Program Volume 2 continues tomorrow (Saturday, 19th August) at the Unimap circuit, where the riders will be taught hard braking techniques, cornering line selection and more.

Surely, everyone is looking forward to it!



KTM Malaysia successfully hosts 111 bikes in annual group ride into Thailand.



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