A historic journey of a father and son on their Triumph bikes touring the Peninsular in 4 days

Not to forget their awesome company, a Golf GTI singly driven by the mother

It was a great delight and a sigh of relief as both of us arrived in front of the house gate on Thursday evening at 7.34pm on two Triumph bikes (a Street Triple and a Bonneville T214), shortly followed by the Golf GTI. A duo of father and son who have just completed 4-day tour of Peninsular Malaysia, accompanied by the rest of the family driven by their mother on a Golf GTI which acted as a backup vehicle as well.

Altogether we rode a total distance of 1668.5km, starting from Petronas Hulu Klang covering the following destinations:
Parit Sulong, Batu Pahat – mother’s house
Kampung Maju Jaya, Skudai Johor – Sekolah Islam HIdayah & nearby homestay
Mersing Jetty & town
Cherating Pahang
Dungun Trengganu
Sungai Tong, Trengganu
Jeli, Kelantan
East-West Highway stop at Royal Belum Resort
Gerik, Perak
Ipoh Perak
Yup, we missed Perlis, Kedah and Penang completely! though the initial intention was to stretch the route northworth covering the three states, however due to some circumstances, we changed plan in the last minute…nevertheless this was a fascinating experience and a real breakthrough in my relatively new riding history. Prior to this, I had never been out on a long ride longer than two days.


The machines, that have made history…Triumph Bonneville T214 and Street Triple ABS. The car, as you know Golf GTI

The inception
No big activity could have taken place without proper planning. I have been dreaming of taking this Peninsular tour for quite a while, and waited for the best opportunity to invite the son, Harith to join. This was going to be our, two of us, ride. Well, other people might join or be invited, since I always wanted assurance and guidance in tackling such an arduous journey. Bearing in mind, we had never toured the Peninsular by any means, including cars, for the whole lenght of my life. This was a history.


The Route, courtesy of Route4Me iPAD version, this apps greatly help to chart your journey, draw as many checkpoints or stops and you can edit or change the sequence as you like

The son was just finishing his works at the Espresso lab, so the timing was just right. This also coincided with the wife having a meeting among school principals in JB. Then I needed to visit the mother in Batu Pahat. I have always wanted to do this Peninsular tour on the bike, but time never permitted. With a little bit of adjustment here and there, I thought all can be accomplished this time at once. Knowing from friends who have done the road tour, three days is a good duration for quick, light tour – longer time needed depends on the particular purpose of the tour, say if for tasting local delicacies and enjoying scenic views on every town then you definitely will need a week or so.
I began by drawing the plan, starting from home, each of the major checkpoints drawn up. The route was constructed using an app called Route4Me, downloaded on the iPAD – it came on similar version on Android, though not as flexible. My aim was to follow as much of the trunk road that run along the coast – on the East especially, as I had never been through this route before (well technically, yes I did once or twice before, on a car, driving – between Johor and Trengganu).
The big issue is tackling the unknown. I have done several long trips alone before, therefore have a good confidence of my endurance and patience on the road. The machine – be it the Street or the Bonneville, both have been tested and I have good confidence in them for long distance ride, they are not dedicated touring bikes, but they are rather ideal day to day  bikes, and now I would like to take my day to day machine for a long distance tour, why not? In fact I had taken the son along once or twice, that’s apart from other group convoy with the MyIkram Bikers that he joined. Therefore, I have a good feel of how to deal with the different roads on a long journey. What I mean by the unknown, in such a long trip (exceeding 1000km), you have to be ready to face issues like correct timing, where to stop/overnight, what are the roads like, and more importantly potential technical problems with your bike.
There is nothing more convenient than consulting friends/groups in order to reassure yourself of the plan. Immediately after I have drawn the route, I posted the map on MIB facebook, asking the members for advice and feedback. Many were pleasantly surprised at my intention – they had always been teasing me as a frequent traveler on the two wheels despite my insistence that I mainly ride for work (!). They offered advice and helped to refine the plan. Some gave advice about preparation – emergency kits (basic tools including puncture repair kits – which would only work for the tubeless Street tyres), where best to stop or eat, which best route to take or even offering to meet up if I pass by their towns.


Both riders and bikes were tested riding various terrains and weather over the 4 days period

Though I have driven on some of these roads before, riding is a totally different game. This is where experienced friends come in handy. They told me what the each of the routes are like and what special precautions need to be taken on each of the route, especially the coastal road between Johor Bahru-Mersing-Kuantan. Then the famous East-West highway linking Kelantan to Perak, which I had never traveled by in the past.
Two most important concerns were the timing and distance to be covered so that I could complete the journey within the intended time. In general my aim was to cover not more than 500km a day, may be slightly more or less. Technically 500km can be tackled within a full 5 hours riding, add in the stopping time for refuelling and rest, this would come to at least 7 hours total time, easy riding that is. Syed hinted that the optimum speed would be 130-140km/hr which was my target too, though I aimed slightly less when riding at night time, or through the more challenging route, it would be safer to ride at your own comfortable pace. On a long journey like this, high speed would only make you tired faster especially with strong wind gust, furthermore most of the journey was going to be on trunk road, giving less chance for speeding anyway.
In the beginning we left the checkpoints very flexible – having fixed the first two which was Batu Pahat and Johor Bahru, the subsequent one could be anywhere as near as Mersing or as far as Kuala Trengganu! I had a little concern though about the East-West highway, and because the Golf is part of the team, we have to consider the traffic condition to suit our plan. I asked the friends what would be the best time to start the journey from the East so we could reach Grik before night time. At this moment there was some anxiety and uncertainty, from hearing the story of other people who have traveled the road during night time. The particular hazard or fear was with wondering elephants! And now one friend said we may encounter the beast even during the daytime. That prospect worried us a bit, so I sought a workable solution by asking if Su Yan (Wan Sufian, my wife’s uncle) who is a biker, to accompany us. We could not confirm this until we met him during our night stay at his house. As a precaution we changed plan a bit so that we shall start crossing the highway by 3pm – giving plenty of time for the Golf in case there would be long traffic ques along the way.
The two machines – Street and Bonneville have been known to be reliable, no major mechanical problems thus far. The only thing that ever immobilised the vehicle – the Street Triple in this case, were tyre punctures and flat battery. With over 20,000 km clocked on both, I had full confidence that both bikes should be able to tackle the entire journey with a breeze. I brought the Street for a quick check at Fastbike PJ, in case of any anticipated issues. Everything seemed fine, I was told, nevertheless the brake pads were a bit more than halfway worn (40%), which should be safe enough to proceed the journey without replacing. I brought the emergency puncture repair kits (plugs) and a home manual bike pump which we loaded into the car due to its large size. I also took a set of electronic jump starter (worked with a power bank). We have contacts in case the vehicles encountered serious problems that required towing.

The Round Tour began
Night riders…Ampang-Batu Pahat
Distance 225km. Travel time: 3 hours 10 minutes (25 minutes break)
It was not the intention at all, but partly may have been due to poor planning plus fatigue. I had planned to begin the journey on Sunday evening, immediately after the meeting that took place at the Space Bukit Jelutong, aiming to complete the ride before dark, mostly. This proved impossible, as the meeting ended past 5pm, we have to ride back home, get the kids ready and only then start the trip. Then I was feeling drowsy due to lack of sleep the previous night, so on reaching home I took a quick nap, woke up at maghrib time. In the end we did not start moving until 9pm. Yes despite my earlier worries and trying to avoid riding at night, here we were pressed by circumstances, so around 9pm we started the ride from Petronas Hulu Klang. The Golf had started slightly earlier, we caught up with them somewhere past Cheras, both bikes cruised handily amid the traffic congestion.
Leaving at this hour, with much to catch up, I tried to keep everything calm and told Harith to take his time. We got all the gears ready, refueled and quietly began the ride. Traffic was heavy but both riders were used to this kind of situation, we moved smoothly, applying the skill of lane splitting. Occasionally we had to slow down manouvering along tight vehicle gaps. Once passed the Sungai Besi Tol things were fine. Weather was good and the cool night time temperature allowed us to enjoy the ride better, though I kept the speed down, increasing it gradually as the traffic eased off. Riding on the PLUS highway down South has been a fairly regular affairs for me, not less than 4-5 times before, and perhaps a hundred times driving, therefore this section of the road was among the most familiar to me, including the B road from the Pagoh exit to Parit Sulong. This probably was the main reason for having confidence to begin the journey at night, besides the time factor.


As it goes, the only obstacle to smooth and straight riding on the highways is the volume of traffic, plus those fast lane parkers nuisances – even at the four lane highway between Seremban-Melaka, we still have to ride between cars on fastlane, which did affect the speed somehow. We took a stop at Ayer Keroh for refuelling and quick bite. The wife decided to continue with the journey hence we were left for a good distance behind.
The most tricky part of the ride at this hour was the B road on exit at Pagoh. Most part of the journey was unlit, with not so much of sharp corners, and few slopes. We took it easy, maintaining speed between 100-120km/h (at corners the speed might drop considerably due to poor vision!). For Harith this would be considered his first experience of long ride at night, he seemed to be doing fine, closely following behind. I kept track of his movement every few minutes by glancing at the side mirrors, when I spotted the double spotlights (or ‘bug-eyes’ trademark of the Street Triple) that meant he was there following close behind.
We arrived at Parit Sulong and rode further, climbing the famous tall bridge crossing the river and took the right turn at Parit Jalil. Kampung Parit Abdul Hadi is located somewhat in the middle between Parit Sulong and Tongkang Pechah. The turn to the village was a narrow tarmac runs along a canal, but there was no highly visible signboard to the village, and shamingly even after having passed by this route for hundreds of times I could stll miss the turn to my own village! It was not difficult for me to realise I have gone too far from my mother’s kampung turn, as the road (Jalan Parit Jalil) leading to the village is all a straight one, once the road started turning I instantly knew I have well passed it! So off we went, made a U-turn and slowly rode back up toward the village, keeping close eyes on the barely visible signboard and hut facing the village.
Riding on the small tarmac road along the canal, only a few seconds before turning right to ride on gravel towards my mother’s house. Earlier my sister in law warned us of a fallen log (from the dead palmtree) blocking most of the road. Indeed there was just a narrow passage around it, it did allow a car to pass with most of the body has to roll over the grass. This should be a job for me in the morning, I reminded myself.


At mother’s house we rode both bikes under the shelter for the overnight parking. This was not the first time father and son arrived here on the bikes, yet my mother was still baffled as usual, she must be impressed how the little boy had grown up fast and now able to bring himself to travel the distance to visit the grandmother. This was the first mission – visit the mother, pass her some medicine for my brother, met by younger brother, and the next morning used my bare hands to lift that big log that was blocking the road. My younger brother left for work early in the morning, so I did the job removing the log mysef and all the women were pleased now the passage is clear.

Ride 2 – Batu Pahat – Johor Bahru
Distance 123km. Time: 2 hours (10 mins break)
Since we did not have to be in Johor Bahru so early I took the morning time to rest, had a nap and only started the journey at 1pm.
We followed the Jalan Parit Jalil-Tongkang Pechah heading to Yong Peng towards the Yong Peng Tol Plaza to join the PLUS highway JB direction. We stopped at Machap for refuel, again the Golf left us. We followed the highway passed Skudai exit, towards Kempas tol plaza then followed the B road heading to Sekolah Islam Hidayah. This time we arrived slightly ahead of the Golf, as we parked the bikes across the road we spotted the Golf coming from the opposite direction driven straight to the school ground.
This was mission 2: accompany the wife attending school Principal’s meeting, and the daughter Nawal attending the Musleh school competition. We stayed at a homestay nearby, this was a village slightly bigger and developed than my kampung. In the evening we rode around the village to the nearby warong. There was a nearby Surau which I went for the maghrib prayer, and at Subuh I joined the congregation at the mosque nearby the Hidayah.
There was nothing peculiar about the ride, highway was straight road with modest traffic. We did not have to pass by the very dense and crazy traffic of Johor Bahru since we zoomed straight after the Kempas exit to the Hidayah school, the road were small and fairly busy with many potholes here and there. Going the homestay direction was even smaller tarmac road, and turning in toward the homestay we rode over rough gravel gently manouvering the healy and uneven surfaces with rocks splattered everywhere, this could be some hazard to the tyres if we were to press hard. Fortunately the passage was fairly short and we mostly used the car to go in and out of the house. Yes, I admit, this is an advantage of having a car in the convoy without which your movement would be much different perhaps.


Ride 3: Johor Bahru – Mersing- Pekan – Cherating – Dungun
Goal 3: Visiting Wan’s uncle. Goal 4: Coastal ride Mersing-Dungun Goal 5: Meet up Ahmed (not done)
Distance 493km. Travel time (minus break): 7 hours 40min
This was the longest ride covering three states of Johor, Pahang and Trengganu all in one day. First of all I was a bit exhausted from lack of sleep the night before. We stopped for two and a half hours at Pekan Pahang, for prayers, quick bite and long nap. With the exception of short stint at Kuantan-Cherating bypass, all the other rides were not highways, this has given us a unique experience on the bikes, the car had to cope much with traffic and narrow road forcing Wan to go at slower speed I believe. Throughout the journey the rides have given advantage over the car I supposed, when we consistently arrived earlier than the car, if not much earlier. Hilly roads, bends and rough surfaces at many points especially JB-Mersing route, we kept speed below 130km/hr mostly, traffic was quite busy, at times we were forced to sneak through the narrow ‘motor’ lane (technically hard shoulder!), which was the only option for overtaking. When doing this I ensure the boy can see enough (me) in front of him, speed is kept low, and I tried to spend as little time on this hard shoulder. On small road like this there was always the possibility of encountering vehicles including motorbikes parked over the hard shoulder therefore blocking smooth access, or even caught us by surprise – in order to avoid this hazardous situation, I always try to stay on the hard shoulder (when necessary) on the straight part only, whenever there is a bend, I quickly moved in. One more, all these hard shoulders tend to disappear or get extremely narrow when it comes to a bridge, so you are well advised to move in on sighting a bridge ahead. Here I start to sense the boy has developed his own instinct, which he sometimes did not follow my tempo completely, like going over the hard shoulder, though I noticed he would not go over the hard shoulder by himself, means he has made sense of the potential danger.


We left around 8am heading towards Mersing. I made one stop for refuel. We headed towards the Mersing Jetty then made a round and stopped by at Chamek cafe for breakfast. Wan who arrived a bit later parked the car in front of Chamek to join us. The cafe is facing the Mersing river. We had nasi lemak for breakfast which lasted almost an hour. I intentionally gave a longer break, anticipating a long and undulating journey ahead. Then we realised the car was parked at the town council spots and before we managed to do anything the uniformed staff had issued a summonse ticket! I later rode to their office and paid the summonse of RM10 (discounted), there you go, RM10 for an hour parking in Mersing was a bit much you guessed! Wan left earlier, so we took a round towards the beach, took a photo snaps, then hit the road towards Cherating.

mersing beach

The Mersing-Pekan route was a fascinating coastal ride, the roads were much wider and smoother, with quite a few bends in between. Here we enjoyed empty roads at several parts, lovely views and at certain points we could clearly see the blue sea on the right. We arrived in Pekan town, rode slowly passing the modest traffic and stopped at Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah. Here we had a long break, allowing the afternoon hot weather to subside. It was adjacent to the royal cemetery and the historic muzeum. Then we crossed the Sungai Pahang and rode the remaining of the coastal road heading to Cherating.
Though the initial plan was to follow the coastal road all the way, the Gmaps had somewhat mislead me to follow the Kuantan bypass instead. Here we rode past the reminiscent of red bauxite mining site, the pollutants can still along the highway. Pekan-Cherating was a good 2 hour ride, almost.
We stopped at Petronas Cherating for refuel and evening tea. At 6pm we hit the road heading the destination for the day in Dungun. This was slightly less than 90 minutes ride along the scenic route of Jalan Kemaman-Dungun. We stopped at the oil depot to capture the evening sunset view of the area. It was near sunset, we continued riding and arrived at the mosque nearby Su Yan’s house just when the Azan was called. Here we stopped for maghrib and isya prayer combined, after which we rode the bike to Su Yan’s house. Now everyone was almost flat after enduring such a long ride or drive. We chatted for a while, mostly about bikes and rides. Su Yan is a season rider, he currently owns a BMW GS1200 (latest version with low seat). Prior to this he started with an ER6, then a Yamaha FJR, then Honda VFR before changing to the GS. After much persuasion he agreed to accompany us for part of the journey heading to Gerik. We agreed now to skip Kota Bahru (therefore dropping Goal 6: visiting Wan’s grandmother).

Miracle of a sick child
The day did not just end there. In fact the day did not end, it was another sleepless night when our daughter Nawal complained of severe stomach ache. She had it for two days, I have tried some medicine and today we bought some other medicine for antispasm and sickness. She did not settle completely but I saw her falling asleep so we left her in the other room. Suddenly just past midnight she came awaking us crying, seemed to be the worst one. All the medicines were given. Hmmm a bit more paracetamol, I groaned. She never stopped sobbing. I woke up and sat beside her, told her to drink water. But she refused saying that the pain got worse when she drank water. I immediately summoned the wife to look for milk, there was no fresh milk in the house, so we went out to the nearby 7-eleven, get some milk and bread, noting that Nawal had not eaten much during the day. We gave her the milk and prayed she will get better. She slept for a wink then awoke and complained again. Now its a failure of a home doctor, and time to move on to next step. We take her to the hospital then, I said to the wife. It could be appendix, I murmured (recalling the past experience how I diagnosed my wife of having appendicitis, she successfully underwent the operation).
Many things came in mind then, maybe, I thought, this is the end of the tour then. We have to scap everything and focus on getting our daughter treated. The wife even suggested she drove home straight away, bring poor Nawal to a local hospital in KL where it will be near our home, and furthermore better facilities and experties. I on the other hand, as a doctor, thought we should get her diagnosed then make plan after discussing with the doctors.
We asked the young girl to put on her dress and tudung, meanwhile I asked my wife if we have her birth certficate or Mykid for identification when registering. Both negative. So, I sat down while browsing my old emails and folders contained in Gdrive, after a little while found her birth cert and passport scanned. Hmm that will do I thought. As we were doing all that I asked Nawal about ther pain. Kind of sharp and in the middle of her stomach, earlier on I felt no tenderness, now there was some tenderness. I pressed a bit to elicit rebound but negative. Then pressed again…and read Al Fatihah and prayers. Then not long after she felt asleep. Just as we got up and ready to move, she was lying in bed, deep asleep. So I thought, maybe we can wait, if she did not complain anymore we can take her in the morning. I woke up just at Subuh, and Nawal was not there, apparently she went back to her room. Later when I asked how she was, she said fine, and asked me a strange question: Ayah, what did the doctor do last night? Taken by surprise, I paused a while, and quizzed her: Did you remember going to the doctor? ‘Yes, his name so and so….and he said I did something wrong and has to pay a fine or something…’ that was a bit baffling. We kept asking her later and she told us of having a dream and met this nice doctor who had done something that cured her.
I kept close eye on her daily, and she never complained of the pain anymore, the severe stomach ache had completely gone! Praise be to God.

Ride 4: Dungun – Sg. Tong – Gerik (Royal Belum)
Distance: 362 km Ride time: 4.5 hours (Dungun-Sg. Tong 3 bikes including GS)
We started a bit later than planned, at 0730 we were ready on the bike and the Golf left after a brief photo session. Su Yan asked me if I wanted to ride the GS and he will ride my Bonneville. That will be great I thought. This is a low version GS and I could comfortably reach both feet on the ground, tip toeing that is. Otherwise I was quite familiar with the bike, in term of handling at least, as I had already done a test ride previously at Motorrad. We first rode to nearby petrol station for refuel of the two Triumph. The GS has got a near full tank when I started it, with one bar less on the fuel indicator. Su Yan lead the journey heading towards Kuala Trengganu/LPT.

I stayed in the middle, and soon could not cope with the temptation, so once we hit the highway I cruised passed Su Yan revving the throttle hard, and soon the speedo topped past 180km/hr. But I could not last long, as I have to wait fot the two bikers anyway. Harith attempted to follow suit whenever I sprinted at speed. The GS is a wonderful machine, it is light, powerful and quick. I have to be careful with the throttle, in fact there was less of a feel as to what speed you are, that happened when I hit past 200 mark and the bike did not show any sign of fatigue. It was a real breeze, putting the Bonnie in shame I supposed. By now, I guessed Su Yan may be wondering why he bothered switching bike! I tried to tempt him by riding close, and he did reach close to 160km/hr, thats it, no sign he is going faster, indeed he kept his speed around 150km/hr, so I had to follow his pace, and sprint ahead once in a while, then slowed down to wait for them again.

As I experienced before, standing still you could feel the vibration from the twin cylinder engine, it has got short gearing for first to third, a third one could take you to 100plus and good for rolling slowly, feels steady and fourth can take you all the way beyond 160 though screaming exhaust notes will come fast, so you better take from the 5th gear onward. Sure its a speed demon, with an average of 180km/hr is reportedly the ‘normal’ speed for all those GS users. What more, the new bike has a sleek design, the pannier bracket is hardly visible if you take out the pannier boxes. And it is designed to take loads, plus passengers, and can cope well with various terrains! Other less able competitor, from Triumph like the Tiger XC or XR, of a smaller capacity of course, and does not have that high sprinting ability (as far as I have tested the Tiger which was great for ‘lower speed’ travel per se, understandably with lower cc). The Triumph Explorer would be the matching competitor, though not available yet, and no guarantee it can fit my height. Or Sports touring, which again I will be faced with height contraint… The only lacking in GS, its not a sportsbike, a little lack of characters, thats it. So for now, I can only dream….yup, I have got two wonderful Triumph bikes now about proving their worth by completing this tour.
We had tasty local breakfast Trengganu style (nasi berlauk – rice with fish) at Sungai Tong. Here I took the wife for a quick spin on the GS, she seemed a bit scared with the high sitting position and could not adjust herself comfortably, well maybe I went a bit rough on the ride, trying to push hard to a high speed too fast on that small and bendy road!
Now we parted with Su Yan and continued our journey heading to Gerik, via the LPT. We stopped at Jeli for refuel – this is a must since there will be no refuel station between Jeli and Gerik (about 124km). The ride was kept at much lower speed due to high traffic volume and small road, hardly any hard shoulders. We were stopped twice at the Police roadblocks – cleared on both occassions and I had to apologise to the cops for not having P plate on Harith’s bike, they seemed not bothered by that…so when we stopped at Petronas Jeli, I bought two pairs of P plates and put them on both bikes front and rear.

From Jeli, we exchanged bikes – I rode the Street Triple and Harith the Bonnie. That was a world difference riding a sportsbike going around corners, well, the Street is the perfect answer for those brave enough, I was only half brave, yet it was definitely more enjoyable, keep at low gears and the bike roared loudly snapping corners one after another. I noticed Harith was left far behind, and on a few occassions I had to stop on the roadside and wait. This did not happen when he was riding the Street, well, maybe familiarity, that also proved the boy is a careful rider, he knows how to suit the ride according to the bike.
The fantasy ended as we reached the R&R (banjaran Titiwangsa), we changed back to our own bikes. I was still able to manouver the corners nicely with the Bonnie of course, in a slightly different style. Riding this highway is fun, and perhaps the only way you can pass by the congested road caused by many heavy vehicles like the military trucks. We started at the same time with the Golf as we left the R & R, soon the Golf was left behind along with the strings of vehicles. There were quite a few overtaking lanes along the way thankfully, but the big difference for the bikes, we did not have to wait for those lanes! Whenever there was little ‘clearance’ we could march forward for quick overtaking, especially most of the vehicles were going at fairly slow pace around the corners.

triumph bikes

The two beasts standing proudly ever willing to take the owners anywhere they wish…

Overtaking at corners can be a bit tricky though, one has to aim for the correct timing and good throttle control otherwise you are looking for for an overshoot soon. I did have that once (almost) when, without realising, after passing a corner the road surface suddenly changed to a much irregular one with some gravel here and there….the bike kind of veered straight heading to the ditch, I quickly countersteered to lean on the opposite site. That remedied the situation but with one other problem. The boy who followed too close behind was caught by surprise and had to swerve rightward to the opposite lane (by inches), lucky the road was clear or no speeding junkies coming from the opposite! Since my policy was to give ‘room’ for escape everytime I passed other vehicles, that did help to keep us clear of the potential hazards.
Perhaps due to the preoccupation with tackling the bends, we missed the next checkpoint at Royal Belum resort! and when I realised, we were already 30km away…you are just 15mins to Gerik town, sir, the girl at the BHP station told me. They have however run out of petrol so we could not refuel. But no urgency as yet, we still have over 100km to cover with the tank half full, so we made a U turn heading back to the Belum. This time I put on the GPS, which was not used earlier, due to poor network signal.

At the Belum Resort, night with elephants and all that…
The most important reason to stay in Belum, is its scenic view which only from the resort viewing plane you can enjoy the beautiful landscape of the forest, mountain and the lake (Tasik Temenggor). Besides, you can stay till midnight when it is time for elephant watching, if you wish. We did that, drove out around the midnight heading towards the R & R, and spotted the elephants on the way going and coming back.

Apart from this, the resort is quite decent, perhaps a 3-4 star quality, food so-so, its got a lovely yet shallow pool, and quite ‘isolated’ from all amenities, which is not less than half an hour away if you are talking about Gerik. The cost? very dear at close to RM400 per night. For us as a family, and first time experience traveling via this highway, it was just the perfect solution for an overnight stay, for the above purposes.

Ride 5: The journey home
Due to the elephant watching, we had so little sleep at night, therefore we started the next day a little late. Starting at 10.30am, we had another stint of cornering lesson, and stopped at Rahim Mydin restaurant for breakast.
Our next destination was Ipoh, with a brief stop somewhere past Gerik town for refuel. In Ipoh we visited Wan’s friend who just lost her 19 year old son out of a sudden (sudden death). There were discussion with the family who were still grieving the loss, and a bit of medical consultation about screening the family members took place.
From the house we visited, we headed towards the highway (PLUS) and rode till Ulu Bernam for prayers, late lunch and refuel.
It was not till we passed Tapah (the refuel was in Tapah R & R) when heavy rain started, both of us were drenched! This was the only rain experience throughout the ride. I was quite used with dealing with rain, wore a rainproof gears (leather jacket/trousers) though this time was a real heavy, forcing many vehicles to move slowly (below 80km/hr! though some remain in fastlane which was a big nuisance), we still have to observe every caution when the rain became too heavy somewhat impairing good visibility. Though I managed to keep dry my socks were half wet, that needed change at the stop.
We only managed to leave Ulu Bernam R & R around 6.30pm, and reached home at 7.34pm (the Golf followed suit a little later).

Successful tour, 3 awesome machines accomplished the mission!
We spent in total just over 24 hours on the bike from the start to the end.
Both bikes, the Triumph Bonneville T214 and Triumph Street Triple have proven their worth and reliability for completing the tour without any problem at all. They have afforded the riders so much thrill and adventure.
Not to forget of course, similarly the Golf GTI driven by an unbeatable woman, a strong performance car giving endless joy and comfort
Thanks God, everyone was safe and sound and back as welcome heroes after completing the challenging journey.

(For short video depicting our experience click here)

A TRIUMPH-fan life….from naked Street to a classic rider…

A not so fast review of Triumph Bonneville T214
A bike too many? Here comes a Triumph fan who bought two Triumph machines within a year.
Almost. Exactly 14 months since I owned the first Triumph which is the Street Triple, a radical decision to purchase another of Triumph product, this time classic Bonneville special edition T214 Blue-white.
As it normally goes, a big bike owner usually will upgrade to a bigger bike, or bigger cc bike. In my case it is true by the displacement figure, though power wise, it can be considered a downgrade (from a 105bhp Street Triple to a mere 68bhp Bonneville).
The Bonneville T214 is in principle the same as Bonneville T100 with some make-over to commemorate the historical achievement made by Johnny Allen when he set world record as the fastest motorcycle with his Triumph-powered Texas Ceegar Streamliner, clocking 214.4mph (read it correct, yes 214.4 miles per hour or 343km/hr!). The occassion took place at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats back in 1956 (I suppose where they got the name of the bike then). Of course the special edition Bonneville T214 does not have the same performance as the Ceegar, and it is now equipped with modern fuel injected engine (parallel twin).

Why a classic?
It is a magnificent classic bike. It brings along with it the history, the build, the retro look, and yet its a modern bike disguised in a ‘old’ looking machine.
There is no denying that the greatest reason of buying the classic bike is its look. Yup, I like the retro bike from first sight, but decided against it the first time, for some practical reason. Then I made attempt to come close again, just 9 months after acquiring the STreet, I hired the Bonneville for a trip to Tanjung Piai Johor to ‘test’ the machine, and were impressed by its rideability and easy handling. What more, the special edition comes with a beautifully crafted, hand painted white and caspian blue colour scheme, with predominantly black painted metal instead of pure chrome colour. No doubt it’s an eye catcher anywhere I go there would be people who stopped me and started asking about the bike. Mostly the middle age or older who have experience the nostalgia of the 60’s.
The second reason, which is the most important driving factor, is the desire to ‘slow down’. Ever since I had the ‘accident’ with the Duke, many thought have come to my mind as how I can improve safety further. While speed is not everything, one thing I realised with riding a naked sportsbike is the temptation to sprint fast, indeed it’s a kind of people’s expectation to a naked bike rider, hence the term ‘ride the bike as if you stole it’…With the Bonnie, I would be under no pressure to speed up, if I ride ‘santai’ (Malay word for easy riding), I will not feel ‘guilty’ as the bike is not made for performance anyway. Having said that, the bike is capable enough of sprinting to some extent, enough to keep up with most machines on the road, or during convoys (I had tested the bike performace wise, you see, during the above trip to Tanjung Piai, indeed a few friends were pleasently surprised at its steady performance).

first bonnie
Practicality and ease of riding and handling has to be a big factor too, and this I have testified from the long distance test ride. Since I began serious riding (as you know by now, my main ride interest is commuting to work and short rides), I always yearn for a practical, easy to handle bike that more or less behave like a motorcup (‘kapchai’), however has a big personality. Suitable for public appearance like visiting relatives, frequenting the mosque or other public places and meetings. It has to be highly capable of manouvering daily traffic jam. The bike comes with short rack and trail making it easy to manouver in corners, in fact I had more confident with cornering since riding this bike.

My personal perspective
Aesthetic & build
It is a beautiful bike, if you have a classic mindset, ie for someone who appreciate the build, will be an instant attraction. On the road, it easily turned many heads. Indeed when I first visited the Fastbike hunting for the STreet Triple, my eyes immediately fell on one of the Bonneville. But not everyone likes it, particularly young people. There were a few young lads who really were impressed, but majority of them, given a preference, would rather adore the sportsbike, in this case they would go for the Street.

It is not a superbike
Yeah, it can be considered a big bike, but no way a superbike, in look, handling, performance or any part of it. Though, on the road it could easily catch up with the big bikes, it does not handle like one. If you ride it to a bike festival, the parking staff will instruct you to park along ‘others’ apart from the Superbike. They would lump it along with the Harleys and other easyriders.
So, if you are out looking for a superbike, you will be disappointed.

It certainly is not a sprinter. Though on the road, it would outdo a 250cc Sportsbike, or those low-medium powered 4cylinders 600cc bikes, but it doesn’t feel anyway near a sportsbike. No loud engine hum, it’s not as agile, and it has no ABS – though the brakes are very reasonable and satsfying. On a highway, it would happily cruise to 140-150km/hr anytime. 160km/hr is possible to do in a comfort style once I have fitted the windshield. Beyond that you are asking for too much. I had continuously ridden it at 170km/hr plus, even with two passengers (felt better in fact!), and occasionally could reach 180km/hr or beyond if you are lucky. That will require full throttle shift. What separates it from a sportsbike, is the sprint capability, it could go fast, but wont be as fun as a sports bike. As such, reaching a 180km/hr spee would have made a headline, whereas on a sportsbike, it considered a routine stuff.
Cruising at modest speed of 110-130km/hr is where it is best, you feel comfortable at its upright sitting position, keeping between 4th. to 5th. gear. Settled at 5 between low speed of 50-60km/hr it could sprint all the way beyond 140 without needing any downshift, however if quicker pace is needed, starting at 3rd to 4th. would give better pick up.
What it is good at?
If all you want to do is get from point A to B in good style, smoothly filter the traffic, on a machine that does not look overly agressive (like many of the superbikes), a go-anywhere bike that can blend in a variety of crowd or events, for a short to medium distance convoy ride in a relaxed manner, it offers you the perfect solution. Or having a pillion passenger that can sit truly upright at same level with the rider, then this is the bike. What more it handles easily, good at cornering and capable to keep up with modestly high speed traffic. If sports performance and speed is not your concern, this bike suits you well.

Over 12,000 km fantastic journeys
Within 8 months I have clocked over 12,000km.
Most routine use of the bike – commuting to work. Its just a perfect bike, it does not tire you, due to an upright and low sitting position. This particularly helpful during heavy congestion, maneuvering lane splitting is a doddle, and with its lowish seat height, it gave me more confidence to ride at crawling speed. I would have to play with the clutch more at low gears (comparing to the Street), and the ‘jerk’ that came occasionally would be controllable once you are used to it.
Next is doing a bit further like attending functions, events, lectures and conferences etc which involves riding into the city or a medium distance ride. With its generous luggage capacity I could conveniently carry most of my need. It certainly is less cumbersome to ride into the parking with this bike comparing to a more intrusive sportsbike with loud pipes and agressive look. Occasionally, for very short distance and ‘easy’ riding, I could do without any accessories leaving my gloves, heavy jackets all in the saddle bags, just the helmet and riding boots, making for an open air ride, cool – this is not to be done seriously or at high speed obviously. This kind of ride is often done within the confine of the ‘village’ such as going to the mosque, neighbours or nearby shops.
I had done a number of long rides – Sg. Petani, Alor Star, Kuala Kangsar, Kuantan, Batu Pahat, Malacca. On state (sub-urban) road it performed as a capable and smoooth cruiser, would happily keep up with other riders or drivers, and I had no problem to sprint ahead of the ‘competition’ to keep myself clear of the crowd of vehicles. Negotiating turns and corners is a pleasure which can be accomplished often with much less efforts.
At highways, it is equally capable at moderate speed up to 140-150km/hr. Going beyond this, the windblast is too strong, and sometimes feel impossible. Since I fitted the windshield it felt much more stable, and I was ablet to push my luck beyond the 160km/hr, though a lower speed keeping it below 150km/hr is best for smooth and relaxing ride. At this steady speed I could go on for up to 200km stretch which is just enough distance to be covered before the next refuel.


The dark side?
Am I missing something? Yeah, the fun of a sports or big bike. It doesn’t feel at all like it. Not in performance, appearance or feel. That’s it, it gives you fun in a different manner.
It also gets hot quickly. Since there are many exposed metals especially the long exhaust pipes, I had suffered various kind of burns to my skin, clothes, shoes etc. I like to hang shopping bags on the handles when riding to the neighbouring groceries. Once I hanged a loaf of bread on the handle, without realising, as result of it dangling over the top metal pipe, I reached home to find a perfect roasted slices of bread!
It felt like ‘old’ bike sometimes. The gearshift, the choke, fake carburators, of course the classic looking lights and indicators. On a bad day, you could feel like coming from the 60’s getting lost in the middle of civilisation…surely many of those onlookers who were amazed with the bike retro look could equally be puzzled with the aging bit.
Though I mentioned the bike was easy to handle and ride, it is not so at stationary. It took some effort to move the bike (awefully heavy at 220kg), and trying to manouver it can be very tiring. The stand, which is too much leaning to the left, may be a bit tricky to straighten up the bike at rest, once, I nearly lost control and drop the machine, saved only by the left leg, which felt horribly sore after that!
If I were given a choice to redesign the bike? Well, I keep the classic look, its good enough. All I like to see is a Bonneville fitted with a Street engine perhaps, wow that would amplify the fun in riding this classic machine, though I bet it would make the retro machine rather awkward and kind of out of place. (I am aware of the new Vulcan S easyrider bike from Kawasaki, which is fitted with a sporty engine of ER6). A classic is meant to be ridden like one, or else you might as well ride a different class of bike!

at smds

Whether a short relaxing ride or a medium long ride, you will enjoy a great company with this Bonnie…so long you do not expect too much out of it…

Verdict *****
Great bike once you are prepared to accept it as it is. Then you get endless joy, magnificent looking machine which is so easy to ride and control. Will I keep it – yes, for now, and for a fairly distant future I say. Would I buy another classic bike, hmmm that would give the answer in negative. Yes there are now the more powerful engines and more radical look, and performance from the same line (newer series of classic bikes from Triumph) – but I have to excuse myself as I think owning one is more than enough for now, either I will keep it forever, or trade it in for another class of bike (unlikely), but not for the newer version.

Specs: (adapted from Topspeed.com)

year: 2015
price: RM69k (got special discounted price)
Engine: Air-cooled, DOHC, parallel-twin, 360º firing interval
Transmission: 5-speed
Horsepower @ RPM: 68
Torque @ RPM: 50
Energy: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Displacement: 865 cc

Weight: 220kg

Triumph Street Triple Endurance Test – for the bike or the rider…?

I had said it many times how good the Street is, however, I must admit that it takes the arrival of another bike in order to fully appreciate the value of one you already have! As mentioned above there was this reluctance to take the Street for a long ride, for the fear of excessive back pain as result of forward leaning position.

Though I have ridden more than 15000 km, not till now I begin to appreciate this machine more and more

Though I have ridden more than 15000 km, not till now I begin to appreciate this machine more and more

Since having the Bonnie, I had already undertaken a two series of long ride to the North on it(read the review here). It was fine with the exception that the Bonnie is ‘happier’ to be ridden rather gently, and best to stay at or below 160km/hr. You can push it to 170/180 (its not that I do it regularly you know…) but it would be a hard struggle and impossible to keep even at 160km/hr for too long. Another is it’s slightly less agile due to the rigid suspension, sometimes you loose that feeling of harmony with the bike, when the rear tire feels sort of waning a bit once you do an extreme manouver like switching lane aggressively. When you need that performance ride and the extra umphh then the Street is the definite choice.

I was right, and once I made up my mind to take it for a long ride to Trengganu – I was fully satisfied, indeed the STreet gave more than I expected.

Taking the Challenge
I was set to accompany two friends to Kota Bharu, as part of their journey across the border with the rest of MIB team. I did not join the trip due to local commitment. They were the two riders who could not join the team who have left earlier in the morning. Then, as we met at the RV point at BHP Gombak, we found out that the other guy, KZ had to cancel due to pouring rain in his area at Shah Alam. Initially we were quite taken aback, but thinking about it, then I thought there is no way we can force people to ride (despite the weather), we can force someone NOT to ride, and not the other way. So, I was left with no choice, have I not gone ahead to accompany R, there would be a strong possiblity he will back off, and I could be the guilty party then.

I had a meeting early morning the following day. The wife just left with two kids to the camp, means, my other two kids are left at home overnight without big adult…means, I have to come back home by hook or by crook. Thinking about the prospect of riding over 400km and then turn back home, alone, made me almost sweat…knowing the brothers in MIB, they will most likely advise against doing it for safety. So I was torn in between.
So I made a deal with R, I will not be able to ride all the way to KB, but I shall accompany him to a point he feels comfortable to proceed. And to him, its Kuala Berang, near his home town, where he will have the opportunity to rest there, or proceed to KB if we arrive early enough. And Kuala Berang is just over 400km away!

We began the journey around 3.30pm after a cool lunch and refuelling. I was riding the Street and R his Sym Evo 250i, what a missmatch you may think. Knowing R, he is such an efficient rider, at open highway he will ride at constant speed of 130km/h plus, but thrown into a traffic congestion he is the king, and will not waste a second to project himself ahead of others. However today, for some reason I initially did not know, he decided to keep himself at a lower speed below 130. That was pain (oops).

Huh….as the Street began its cruise along the Karak highway, I kept at 4th gear, anticipating series of corners ahead, I started to feel restless. Not a few seconds pass and R was nowhere can be seen behind. Never mind I thought, he will catch up when I got to those tight bends – since I am quite hopeless with them. Suddenly just as we approached Genting Sempah, I saw vehicles slowing down as a long que started to build up. I had just begun enjoying the corners with this ‘new’ approach when the traffic came to a halt. I was caught once when I tried follow the emergency lane (gravels and soils on the road, waited clearance to join the first lane gap, and R quickly launched ahead leaving me struggling with lane splitting behind.

Not long after the congestion started to ease off. I must say the STreet is well capable of tackling those tight gaps, but I am talking about tackling it at high speed, of course a no no when met with mixtures of tailgating plus tight corners, no choice but I had to take it easy. Once I was clear, I began squeezing the throttle fast, the machine just complied with no sign of stress at all. Now comparing with the Bonnie, it was a breeze to enjoy streaming at 160-170 or 180plus (occasionally) smoothly. Yup, its such a muscular machine, and I felt comfortable despite the foward leaning position. In fact the position is ideal for dealing with wind and high speed riding. In no time I caught up with R and took the lead again.

At one point I was overtaken by this Z1000x I thought, I quickly caught up just to remain closely behind the rider, maybe he realised he was being followed. When it came to tight gaps, I felt I could do better and once freed, I squeezed the throttle hard almost to full, very close but I decided not to overtake him, I know he owns a more powerful machine! no wonder the guy is riding a litre bike which is no match to my Street, though almost! (Well I supposed, the game would have been entirely his when we come to corners huhu).

How does it compare to my Bonnie T214?
Most amazing, comparing to the Bonnie, both being naked bikes, the STreet did far better at higher speed. At 140 cruising is a doodle, you hardly feel the wind resistance (keeping in mind my Bonneville has no windshield yet). Even stepping up to 160, 180 is a gem, and the humming sound when you get beyond 150km/h is seductive. In contrast to Bonnie (quite viby at high speed), steady ride at 160 is a pleasure, I could squeeze to 170 and beyond without feeeling any vibration or instability, yes a confidence steady ride at such a speed, as long as I am on a stright line. On a high speed corner, it is possible to maintain a 150 plus without any trouble. Ooops, I forgot about my friend, now I definitely could not trace his shadow…so I had to practically stop on the roadside and wait. That was good, coz i could take the time to stretch out, walk back and forth straighten my back and exercise my neck. 160km on, I stll felt good.

Two Triumph bikes side by side....well it poses a dilemma when I want to start the journey as to which machine should I take?

Two Triumph bikes side by side….well it poses a dilemma when I want to start the journey as to which machine should I take?

We took two stops, one at Gambang, and another … not another. From Gambang it was a straight long, almost boring ride. R said we could go all the way pass Kuantan, but I almost made mistake at the Kuantan Tol booth when R came behind signalling me to make a U turn which took us back to the LPT (I was slow enough then R could see me). From then on, straight ride till we reached the Kuala Berang exit. My fuel reserve indicator had long come up but I managed to keep going and the reading was 220+ when I reached the refuel station.

Home with happy mileage…
We stopped for maghrib prayers and then made a U turn and ate at a nearby restaurant – simple menu (that took a while to arrive!) consisted of fish Tomyam and Kailan ikan masin. Due to the long waiting, it took us a total of 90 minutes or more rest before started riding again. By now R had decided that he is ok to go alone, indeed he was near his house, but proceeded straight to Kota Baru, which was just over 180km. I headed back to KL which was another 400km plus, alone.
Now this is the most challenging part of the ride. Riding at night, a long straight ride, and it began to rain. God knows how nervous I felt in the beginning. One of the MIB members asked on the Whatsapp group how I plan to spend the night. I left the question unanswered.

Bidding farewell...after riding together for more than 400km, we were ready to bid farewell, each proceeding to own destination...and my ST awaits happily to take me home

Bidding farewell…after riding together for more than 400km, we were ready to bid farewell, each proceeding to own destination…and my ST awaits happily to take me home

Riding gears on, I started the bike, ahead of R, we both headed the same direction till the beginning of the highway that separated us according to the direction. I bid farewell to R & prayed to God for his safety. Just as I about to enter the highway, there were a number of young guys riding RXZ acting suspicious as if they are going to rempit. I speed away and did not see any sign of them again. Now onto the highway, I felt warm and my confidence grew. Amazingly I did not feel tired, even after that long ride. My back felt normal, though my neck hurt a bit. I built up the speed, 140, 160 plus…and the bike kept going nicely. Then came to the unlit part of the highway, I suspiciously slowed down a bit, when the ran began to pour quite heavy. I had to take it easy this time indeed quite a number of time I just kept it at 120-130km/hr. Being a naked sport, its not easy to keep a constant speed, and despite the rain I could not avoid passing the 130 mark. In total I travelled under the rain for almost one hour, covering over 100km of highway, when the weather began to get clear. Now I was on to the better part of the highway, though most part were still unlit – which I despised this shortfall. My aim was to reach Gambang, distance in total about 220km. Now I kept to a constant speed between 140plus to 160, or more sometimes especially when coming to a well lit area I could squeez more juice out. The road was rather quite in most part, that was not very desirable, since I had no clue what it was like, except that I had to rely on my own vision. My eyes fully focused on the road and surroundings, watching for any signs of puddle or any unusual objects. It is known that sometimes animals like monkeys or foxes could cross the road at this time, and I am definitely not going for the kill or else I would be the one troubled.

Off to Gambang, there was jubilation and excitement, knowing I only had less than 200km to go. I rested a bit, drank coffee, refuel and check tyre pressure before resuming my journey.
Gambang KL was much more civilised with the traffic began to build up once I passed Karak tol. The worst part was tackling the curves in total darkness, I almost gave up, slowed down a lot and only picked up my pace when the lighting got better. I kept wondering how the authority have the heart of leaving such dangerous bendy road unlit, in fairness it is not very safe even for cars and other vehicles. All I could do was slow down and refuse the temptation to follow other, more experience or daring riders. Passing Bentong there were better lighting and I felt more confident going at speed. The rest of the journey was smooth and thank God, I arrived after spending in total about 3 hours 40 minutes (including stops) of return journey.

Arriving home, it was all for a happy ending after breaking the record of doing over 800km ride within a day!

Triumph Street Triple ABS One Year Experience – Life in the fast lane continues…

14 months ago, celebrating the arrival of Triumph Street Triple ABS
After a long research I came to a conclusion that the best and most practical bike for my daily use is a naked bike and I chose the best, if not one of the best naked bike that was Triumph Street Triple ABS. I decided to go for the ‘ordinary’ Street without ‘R’ to keep thing simple and cheap. The result: 14 months of fabulous and rewarding ride with over 15,000kms completed.
Though Triumph brand is popular across the globe, in Malaysia people especially from the older generation remember it by the existence of the old classic. Truely the brand have only been revived in the country since the last 5 years or so. Then came Fastbike promoting all range of the bikes to Malaysian customers. The three most popular got to be the Street (naked), Bonneville (classic) and Tiger (touring).
When I first entered the world of riding, I only knew one thing, that is any big bike is a superbike. Anything with the capacity of over 250cc or so will be regarded as a superbike. So when I decided to pursue riding hobby and upgrade my KTM Duke 200, I started looking for a ‘mid-range’ bike. This means any bike with the capacity of 250cc to 800cc. Not a litre bike, that belongs to different league. A mid-range would be the most suitable next step, allowing me more grunt aka power to move around, faster acceleration and higher speed, or even better safety features such as ABS. That was meant to give me more comfortable ride to work and further, short to medium distance rides.
20150211_115516The Street is agile, quick and ‘muscular’. Though not as aggressive as the like of Kawa Z8, Ducati Monster or Yamaha R6 its 105bhp is enough to propel me from 0 to 100 in less than 6 secs, and keep upshifting the gears, I could reach 160-170 in no time, on a clear road of course. This is not a speeding manouver per se, but it certainly is a necessary capability of the bike especially in dealing with certain circumstances. I like the smooth engine, I could crawl quietly with 1st or second letting the clutch released freely – a manouver that I frequently adopt when approaching home along the quiet neirbourhood, or at the basement parking at work. In fact, so smooth that someone said you could trod along the street all day with the 1st gear! At higher gears, I could reach well above 120km/hr remaining in 3rd, and with 4th. will take me up to 140-150 when the engine roaring becomes excessive. The 5th. could easily bring me up to 180, when engine strain can be felt. To accelerate beyond 180, at 6th. of course, will happen at special occassion only as the windblast becomes unbearable. But yes, when the time is right you could take it beyond 200 with no complaint (best to keep it short…), and there is yet more power left to be exploited. But I will never be a speed maniac on this machine, no. If I were to speed beyond 200, I will take my Golf GTi which I could do it with more confidence, but again, these days, I don’t really get excited with this prospect anymore, it is enough if you have done it once…and hence can claim the accolade, oh yeah, I had done it before!
As a capable street bike its three-in-line engine is smooth allowing filtering through the city traffic an enjoyable task. Its tyres strong grip can be appreciated when manouvering corners and bend – I am a hopeless rider with corners and most of the time I will lose out to other quicker riders, however as times goes by I begin enjoying the lean and countersteering manouver more and more, now the wife, who joins as pillion from time to time started complaining of my new excessive ‘leaning’ habit…

Precision is the word…
I remember my first day experience. It only took me a few minutes to feel at home with the bike and there I was happily cruising along the busy traffic of PJ and Federal highway, no fuss. I could filter the traffic congestion with confidence, despite it was first time riding (I did not test drive the machine before buying it!). On to a clear road, the temptation is so strong to blast the wind and top the speed, just knowing that I had to take it easy during the run in period that slowed me down a bit. With this beautiful street bike, nothing stopped me.
Its precise, sharp acceleration, sharp breaking, confident handling and beautiful engine note is a joy to own and ride. A truly capable machine having plenty of juice to satisfy everyday need and beyond. Sneaking between traffic feels solid and you could almost pass any gap as long as you have the gut to. Flexible side mirrors (folds inward allowing the mere width of handlebar to pass narrow gaps) helps the sleek manouver. I felt I was good, and in full control even in tight traffic, till one day my confidence shattered – following the accident with the KTM Duke 200. Since then, I had to tone down, to regain my confidence. Seems like things could never be the same, at least you know that you do not have the luxury to make second mistake! Nevertheless, the machine complies with your riding style, its all up to you. Best move would be keeping to 3rd or 4th gear, when you still have strong engine braking, while having that umph to accelerate briskly, when the engine roars aloud, producing awesome noise. Plenty of muscle yes, its all down to your own bravity as to how much you are willing to push it to the limit.
I had that few occassions when I really needed the power and precision. I had 15 minutes from home to the hospital in a dire emergency. The machine happily delivered me on time, it smoothly took on the road filtering the night time modestly busy traffic without fail. On this occassion I kept to 4th gear mostly which gave a perfect balance between punchy ride and precise breaking that was greatly aided by the engine.
Indeed it is a bike to be enjoyed at any speed. For a good while its engine smoothness became an addiction, when I feel like sitting on the bike all day to enjoy that fabulous sweet engine note.

Daily Ride
A bike should be good to ride as well as easy to handle, during motion and stationary. Thats what this machine is about. With its fairly light body – just around170kg, pushing the bike is not a problem. To turn the bike while parked, I could simply spin the body using the stand as the pivot, tilting the bike to the side – mostly left side – a trick I learned from season bikers. Therefore not much space needed for turning, but tilting the bike will need a bit of confidence and experience or else you end up dropping it.
Pushing the bike back or forth, while sitting on it is not that easy, and never do it on a slope!. I used to be able to do it better when it was lowered (usiing the lowering kit), but later I decided to undo the lowering kit, therfore the bike felt taller and more difficult to steer in some way. When the bike was fitted with lowering kit, I got another problem, that was, the stand was almost vertical when opened, therefore there was a feeling of instability when the bike is parked. I made a mistake once, of pushing the bike backward, while the stand was opened, due to its almost vertical nature (making it stick out longer than the base clearance of the bike…), it caught a grilled drain cover and I was caught unprepared. The bike jolted to the right with extrem tilt, and I ended dropping it on the ground. No major damage though, apart from the indicator light on the right hand side which later need replacing.
That was the learning period, the experience dropping the bike was an expensive one, and I never repeated the same mistake ever. There was only once near fall moment while coming to a stop, this time with a pillion passenger at the back. It was a rainy day, I decided to pull over for a shelter under the bridge, the hard shoulders were lined with gravels, hence it felt unsteady and as I came to a stop, the bike tilted to the right, I used all my might to hold the bike from falling, using my right leg. The wife managed to get off and the situation was under control.
The main use of the bike is for work. That’s it. And it suits this purpose very well. Not so big profile, brisk acceleration, smooth engine allows comfortable ride all day no matter how good or bad the traffic condition. Even when it rains, I know the ABS works well and the great handling, plus full complement of rain gears allowed me to continue riding in most rainy occassions.

The joy can be shared with a pillion too...though may not be the most comfortable way for a long ride!

The joy can be shared with a pillion too…though may not be the most comfortable way for a long ride!

There is still a teething problem with storage. I settled with the tank bag (complement of free voucher from Triumph Fast Bike).
Right from the first day, I took the bike daily to escape the traffic congestion along MRR2. Lane splitting is an art, and one will do it without fail, God willing, once you observe several basic rules. You just need to be good in controlling the bike physically, and your ownselves. And never get intimidated by erratic kapchai riders or other hasty superbikers who treat the road like a racing track. Honestly, on daily commuting experience, I rarely see crazy superbikers, though I see those hasty kapchai riders everywhere.
ST smooth engine, beautiful exhaust note, superb handling all makes it one of the best bike to ride through heavy traffic. Slightly inclined posture could make you tired when dealing with extremely tight congestion, but most of the time it is still manageable, as long as you keep yourself cool.

Long Ride
Unfortunately there was none (not till early this month – see The Street put to test of endurance). If you consider long ride means anything beyond 500km, then I had not done it. The most was approximately 400km return trip Ampang(KL)- Merlimau Malacca-Shah Alam- Ampang on the same day. Another was a return trip to Batu Pahat Johor (return the following day). Few other journeys including convoys can be considered rather short rides – average of 200-300km returns. Shame, yes I have not truly tested the machine for long journey. The thought is, being a naked bike, its too taxing to subject it for a long ride. Unfortunately I have not tested it, so how did I know?
I have made a rule, when riding to stop at every 1 hour. Lately I had done longer, a distance up to 190km, with the Bonneville. With this Street, after a full one hour ride, you definitely need a break, at least to stretch out and straighten the back. The return journey to Malacca was quite a taxing one, I felt like, with this naked machine, 400-500km is perhaps the longest that I could cover in a day.
The good thing, the bike is agile, punchy and feels very stable even at high speed, making it such a pleasant companion. Right from the moment I flicked the first gear and go, it takes no time to launch to a ecstatic speed of 140km/hr, and keep revving, in no time you already reach 180, that I consider my top speed which I will only consider reaching on a clear road. Beyond 180 it takes a little longer and you need to shift to the highest gear. But even with 6th., I can still comfortably overtake without downshifting, provided I keep my speed above 110km/hr or so.

Convoy ride is one way I learn the art of riding from the more experienced friends

Convoy ride is one way I learn the art of riding from the more experienced friends

For a comfortable long ride, a speed between 130km/hr to 160km/hr is very sensible and fun. These days it may not be very easy to maintain this speed due to high traffic volume. I would drop my speed to between 120-130km/hr to pass between vehicles when lane splitting on the highway.
Regarding fuel consumption, average full tank will cover 250km/hr. Fuel light will come once you touch 200 mark, a little more when riding on highway, that depends on your speed.
The riding position is a little forward incline, therefore, long journey can be tiring, one will need to get used to. But this is perhaps the best riding position, balancing between comfortable posture a sense of urgency as one would feel when riding a naked bike – that sort of ‘unsettled’ feeling – as one rarely feels good to stay at a particular speed. Rev a little more, and you already pass the 160-170km/hr, when windblast is too strong you won’t last too long at this speed. But chopping the acceleration a bit, there isn’t hardly any speed by which you feel you can maintain to a happy end. It seems like, being a naked street bike, it is made to go faster and faster as you progress, its that feeling that you always have to vary your speed, slower when things look tight, or you get tired, and faster when you want more fun or get challenged by those occasional erratic drivers or other riders (huhu, I don’t do that often, you know).
The bike’s quick pace is a very useful ‘safety’ features when maneuvering tight traffic on the highway, this is where the machine feels so solid and strong, fantastic handling that will not fail you. Why I said so, you definitely need that strong torque when passing another vehicle at high speed (talking about 160km/hr or above), and also when trying to escape from danger such as some lunatic who tried to tailgate behind you. I have rarely failed to keep ahead of any cars, except a very few occasions, when one or two crazy prestige car drivers decide to floor their accelerator to a speed beyond 200km/hr. I backed off, sorry I don’t participate in road race.
What more, it takes corners willingly, you just have to learn the art of cornering. I admit this is one of my weakest link, I rather slow down and take it easy. But lately I am enjoying corners more and leaning and controlling the machine on corners has been fun. Long or double or even triple corners, still a big challenge that I need to refine my skill further.

Read my other post Endurance Test – for the bike or the rider…? my real long ride experience with the Street Triple that has changed my riding perspective. The bike delivered, and beyond, awesome

Problems? Not really.
Once I failed to start the bike. I have kept the gears neutral, undo the stand, pull the clutch as usual, tap the ignition and nothing happen. There I did it again and again and it refused. I checked, there was still a good amount of petrol in reserve. So I left the bike cold for one hour, went out to sip coffee with friend, came back later with a bucket of petrol and topped up the tank, just in case it was fuel problem. This time I managed to start the bike no problem – it never happened again, and the guys at Fastbike had no clue of what whent wrong when I told them the story.
I still get annoyed with the failure to strike the gear from neutral, it happened quite a number of times, especially when I flicked the gear gently. If I snap it hard, it worked all the time. But who knows, it all depend on the mood, and it is annoying or even embarassing when what you use to do everytime to engage the gear, suddenly fail – not once but many times. Again, no help from Fastbike despite my bitter complain.
As regards fuel consumption, generally satisfactory, though I could be happy with more. 200km is standard for a tank, I have ridden beyond 220km and fuel indicator estimated 30km plus left. However, the fuel reserve indicator tends to light up rather early sometimes, especially on long rides, indeed it started to lit at 170km plus! I kept riding and managed to reach the next refule at 220km with no problem. In fact at this point I could only top up about 13-14 litres, means there is still plenty of reserve left. Therefore, a good practice is to top up once you reach 200km, in order to avoid the shock of running empty tank.
Others, hmm no really, I could have not asked for more I guess, it is such a fantastic bike and I felt very lucky to own it. I wish I am an inch taller that I could handle it better at stationary, and I do need a bit more of lesson in cornering.
Windblast is a certain problem, just with any naked bike. I got the short flyscreen, which is not too protective I think. Despite this I can still push the bike to 160/170km/hr and feel steady most of the time. Wearing the right gear and keeping yourself light (no heavy luggages etc) will help.

Verdict: One year (or more) experience with Triumph Street Triple ABS
Satisfaction: 4.5/5
Met expectation?: 4.5/5
Build quality & look: 4/5
Will recommend to others: 5/5

Bila hati merasa resah….pengalaman seorang otai biker

Coretan dari seorang otai biker Dr. Azmi. Hmmm biarpun beliau seorang yang berpengalaman luas sbg rider, ada juga perasaan ‘gementar’ pagi tadi. Rupanya memang banyak cabaran juga bila bermotor seorangan apalagi untuk jarak yang jauh di waktu malam atau awal pagi. Malang memang tak berbau. Disebabkan ‘instint’ beliau yang kuat, alhamdulillah beliau telah selamat sampai di destinasi.


Bangun awal pagi ni… masih teringat2 dua arwah yg jatuh helicopter tu… ikuti penuh proses kebumi mereka… moga Allah ampunkn mereka …sempat juga gi tengok kubur Dt Azlin.. al-maklum pernah berinteraksi dgn mereka sebelum ini…
….sambil2 tu slowly ke bilik air… fikiran masih terfikir.. kenapa rasa semacam pagi nih.. perasan rasa kurang senang utk ride bike pagi ni… walhal bike sudah siap dgn fuel penuh.. barang2 pesanan dr kg dah siap dlm tong bike.. helmet, glove, jacket & suit and shoe siap disusun mlm tadi…oh. tak boleh jadi .. perasan kurang enak.. !!
Selesai bersihkn badan…. terus sapa.. “Ummi.. tak jadi naik bike pagi ni… , naik kereta je lah… rasa macam. …”… “Sokong2, lebih baik drive.., naik si Merah tuh”… sapa isteri…. setelah siap pakaian, solat lebih kurang, tepat jam 5.00 am..bersalaman.. terus pandu… ke lebuh raya…
…. pandu melepasi Sg Besi… masuk KL… kelihatan kereta agak byk di awal pagi… beberapa driver memandu dlm keadaan bahaya.. ah… ini perlu lebih careful pagi ni.. melepasi jln duta, masuk Plus, terus pandu dlm speed biasa..melepasi Jln Duta -Rawang perlu hati2, byk roadworks. No radio… kereta lebih byk dr biasa…. lorry macam biasalah.. penuh & keluar masuk lane spt raja…sampai d antara Serendah – Sg Buaya…. dalam kegelapan & agak laju kelihatan seolah-olah objek besar terhenti d highway. … applied emegency brake… fuhhh.. terus ambil kiri.. sebuah treler panjang terlentang sepanjang highway… kesan tyre jelas kelihatan… aku membrek beberapa kali supaya kereta belakang perasan dgn emergency braking… Alhamdulillah…. lepas satu Xcident…. mungkin ini juga sebab kenapa perasan agak semacam pagi ini.. ( tak pernah dirasai sepanjang menunggang motorcycle )…

Belum habis… rehat dulu… ada 3 lagi … 😳😳😳😳
Dlm… calculations jika membrek emergency dgn bike … rasa terlalu bahaya esp jika berada di fast lane… kurang pasti dgn fungi ABS…. mungkin ngam2 atau cium badan treler sikit… 😱😱😱… ok.. perjalanan diteruskn… tetapi hati terus terfikir… mungkin ada orang lain ada buat panggilan kecemasan… aku terus drive… perlahan d Slim River 110 km/j … AES d KM276…sampai RR Tapah tepat 6.15 am… solat subuh. .. pagi ni entah hati memang kurang tenang.. masuk Surau terlihat kump Jemaah XX ni… kenapa la solat jemaah subuh di Saf belakang2.. patutnya terus ke depan buat Saf molek2 ( hati terus complaint )…
Patutnya aku perlu syukur… dpt juga solat Subuh berjamaah walaupun masbukh…

Selepas breakfast & top up T&G yg dah kekeringan nilai !!!… aku teruskn driving.. baru beberapa KM, kelihatan lori memperlahankn kenderaan ditepi jalan… ohhh kenapa? Aku perlahan kereta… kelihatan sebuah kereta putih terbalik dlm longkang.. mungkin pemandu cuba beri pertolongan… Adakah ianya Nissan Levena yg memandu laju sejak dr Rawang tadi!!! Hairan juga aku kenapa MPV kecil begini dipandu laju melebihi had design… Aku kurang pasti, .. Mungkin pertolongan sudah diberi.. punca mungkin mengantuk & mengelak sesuatu di highway yg masih gelap… 6.50 am…
…. terus.. beberapa km di simpang keluar Tapah.. kelihatan 2 biji lorry berhenti.. seolah-olah memeriksa sesuatu… mungkin juga terjatuh sesuatu dr lorry… mungkin juga kereta tadi terbabas mengelak sesuatu dr lorry ini… 😱😱😱
Perjalanan diteruskn…. melepasi Ipoh… sedikit renyai2.. jln basah… mendaki selekoh menuju Terowong Menora… (tempat yg paling best bagi bikers utk test cornering skills… other than Karak highway )….aku terus pandu dgn full focus…. tetiba di sebelah opposite highway, kelihatan sebuah kereta tersasar lagi… nampak Plus Ronda baru tiba…. mungkin jalan licin..😰😰😰😰
…keluar terowong… perlahan kenderaan kerana byk kereta & lori.. sesekali pecut juga…tetiba dlm kabus pagi… ternampak emergency flash light… ohhhh.. kelihatan staff Plus Ronda berla
…lari.. beri bantuan kecemasan pd semua Axia baru…. front side terus hancur… parts tertaburan aras highway… kelihatan seorang pemandu & budak Cina berdiri di luar highway… kelihatan selamat… Aku pun teruskn perjalanan…. fuhhh sudah 4 xcident yg berlaku pagi ini dlm jarak perjalanan 300km dlm beberapa jam saja…

On…. radio… dengar info trafik… “Highway Plus KM417” ditutup utk semua kenderaan… kesesakan teruk berlaku kerana kemalangan maut disitu.. semua kenderaan diarah keluar melalui Bkt Tagar… ikut arahan Trafik…. “…
Hati ku berkata ini mesti kes ada kenderaan melanggar lorry yg terlentang di Highway 2 jam lepas… memang bahaya…
Aku teruskan perjalanan.. tepat jam 8.00 am exit d Bandar Baru.. menyusuri jalan kampong Lubuk Buntar, Serdang, Sg Ular… perlu extra focus dgn lori2 tanah, kereta2 tua& separuh usia, motorcycle, kanak2 melintas, pekerja estet dgn galah panjang etc etc… Alhamdulillah aku sampai d Kulim Hitech tepat jam 8.30am… Clock in d Unikl-MSI 8.39am… 😄😄☺😄


Terima kasih Dr. Azmi atas perkongsian tersebut. Kekadang, kita kena mendengar desiran hati mungkin ada sesuatu. Apapun, memang kita perlu sentiasa berwaspada dan dalam pemanduan terutamanya motosikal, perlukan konsentrasi penuh sepanjang masa. Jika dikuatiri tak dapat berbuat demikian, atau hati tak sedap, baik lupakan saja, bawa kereta lebih selamat. Amalan saya, bila hati kurang senang, atau dalam kecelaruan, saya akan pandu dengan lebih perlahan dan kurangkan sebaran ‘manuver’ yang berisiko. Bila keadaan dah reda, baru kembali pada praktis asal. Tapi kalau keresahan tetap tak hilang, atau lepas berlaku atau menyaksiakan satu peristiwa trauma, saya ‘take it easy’, rehatkan diri dari menunggang, gantikan dengan memandu kereta, lebih relaks & konfiden lagi. Biar apapun caranya, tawakal pada Allah dan minta perlindungan dariNya.

Pengalaman emergency braking…memang amat mencemaskan. Situasi hampir sama telah saya hadapi satu ketika semasa mula memandu meninggalkan rumah untuk bermusafir ke Johor, waktu malam. Sedang dalam kelajuan agak sederhana, sepanjang MRR2, menghampiri jejambat Kampung Pasir, pada waktu tersebut saya sedang rancak berborak dengan isteri. Tiba2 isteri menjerit, menarik perhatian saya pada seorang lelaki yang berdiri di tepi jalan melambai2 tangan mengarahkan kenderaan melencong laluan. Saat berikutnya baru saya terkejut melihat sebuah kereta terdampar di laluan pantas (lorong paling kanan di mana saya sedang memandu!). Nak melencong ke lorong tengah, di sebelah betul2 sebuah treler sedang meluncur agak laju, memang tak cukup masa untuk mengelak. Terus saya mengepam brek, beberapa kali. Memang kereta dapat dihentikan tepat2 di depan kereta rosak tersebut…tetapi baru saya perasan di belakang beberapa kenderaan menunda saya secara dekat, termasuk seorang penunggang motor, yang telah menyedari saya membrek kecemasan, lalu beliau membrek cemas, sehingga motor terpelanting dan beliau berguling di atas jalan. Mujur tidak cedera parah, dan mampu bangun lalu saya bantu beliau mengangkat motor. Rasa amat bersalah…tetapi itulah hakikat dalam suasana cemas, mungkin kita dapat menghentikan kereta dgn sebab brek ABS yang canggih, jangan lupa ada kenderaan di belakang, mungkin selamat berhenti, tapi risiko dirempuh kenderaan belakang pula, atau dalam hal ini menyebabkan orang lain jadi mangsa.

Oh, I crashed my Duke

It is ironic. But I resigned to the fact that it was destined, and God only knows the wisdom behind.
Just over a week since a close friend passed away as a result of a horrible motorbike accident. And an accident happened to me. I survived it unscathed, just minor pains here and there, but the bike was badly damaged. Sometimes I felt embarassed as if it was from my own shortcoming (despite it clearly was the fault of the car driver!), but I cant help to feel inadequate. Is something wrong somewhere…? How I could ensure it will never happen again? How I could convince anyone to be my pillion passenger, again? Am I fit to ride to work, bustling the traffic congestion on daily basis, again?
Everything happened so fast…beyond thinkable…well it was going to be like any other normal day coming back home from work. …except a different route via Jln Tun Razak traffic congestion, and I was riding the Duke 200 for a change. Work ended early so I took the opportunity to send the bike for quick service at Pudu. Riding on the way home, post service (and removal of cut off point) I was a little too eager at times perhaps trying to test bike while forgetting that I had not ridden it in dense traffic for quite a while. Not that this was a problem, indeed Duke’s smaller profile made it easier to manouver, except, the absence of ABS for emergency braking. Suddenly I was confronted with an emergency situation, requiring sudden and forceful braking – the Myvi infront switched to the fast lane out of a sudden, without indication. 
Perhaps the less forgiving nature of Duke’s braking system coupled with a little harsh ride led to less than ideal reaction time, added by a major fault from the car in front that took a sudden lane switching without prior warning. Whatever, it had been fated that I ended up with a loud bang and the next thing I was thrown on the tarmac. The bike was badly damaged but I was fine. A number of bikers stopped to give help. A guy picked the bike and pushed it to the road side.
The driver was a lady accompanied by her daughter. She repeatedly apologised and promised to work together to settle things. 
It turned out to be a three hours plus of waiting, towing the bike (assistance by Motoaid) and settling things at McDonas Auto. As late evening set in I laid down my jacket and stood up to perform Asar prayer on the roadside. The next prayer which was maghrib done at the workshop that needed me to climb up two flight of stairs in pain. It was not till the towtruck arrived I began to feel excruciating pain on my hips, which worsened when climbing.
I tried to act strong in front of the wife and pretend I could walk normally but it didnt take too long to notice my predicament…even with multiple doses of analgesia the pain just became slightly more bearable…
Thank God, things could have been much worse, it was solely with His Mercy I escaped the death.

A most unlikely selfie...a shot taken shortly after the unfortunate accident

A most unlikely selfie…a shot taken shortly after the unfortunate accident

Reaction, overeaction?
I first alerted my bikers group – many responded worrying, wanting to know how I was. I reassured them that I was ok. I had to use the best of words to communicate to the wife of my situation, this did not come by till a little later. She called my handphone and I answerd calmly, telling her the bike had a breakdown, as a result of a minor accident – that I hit a car, nevertheless I was completely fine whilst the bike sustained serious damages. She understood and we made plan to meet at the workshop after the bike was delivered by the towtruck.
I did not post to the FB till the next day, I was thinking initially not to, more for the shame! and fearful of ‘hostile’ responses from some people. Many of them were taken by surprise when i posted my selfie taken immediately after the accident. That instantly gave the message that I wasn’t seriously hurt.
Most of them expressed sympathy at the tragedy. However, as anticipated there were a number who advised to give up riding or the like, such as:
Maybe it is time to consider going back to driving…
My cousin has lost his leg from the same motorcycle. Better abandon such dangerous activity!
If you love your wife/family, then no riding!
Superbike is good for ego but not for family at home…
The Head of Emergency Department doctor advised me against riding…

I chose to remain silent over the comments. Most of them are people I knew, who I know well do care, so thank you brothers and sisters. Anyway, up to now I have not the slightest thought of laying down my machine. Well, I may, on a serious note, get rid of the Duke soon, and go for a new ABS equipped machine (perhaps a scooter?, not certain yet).

Giving up on the Duke?
It does not in any way, mean that I am recalling all my previous compliments on KTM Duke 200. By now I realised, one of the most read posting in my blog are those on the Duke 200, and some people must have been influenced by my opinion. I still believe it a good bike, perhaps better with the ABS in action. Everything I said about before is still relevant. However, all in all, I don’t think anyone sensible would go back riding the same machine that had caused them to crash whatever it is. Just as much as one tries to avoid going through the same spot where he had the accident, not at least for the first few months. One will try as much as possible to wipe away the memory of the incident rather than keeping it close by, which may only raise your anxiety and affect your confidence level.
Having said that, let me make a little comment on the Duke’s behaviour that I thought may have been partly contributing to the incident. First the ABS. I have had three 2 near crash incidents in the past, resulted from sudden braking. I thought this had improved vastly since I practised the new braking technique (front brake more than rear, or mere front brake), while emergency braking requires both. However, with the Duke, sudden braking had always turned horror. My first experience of this was during rain, when I suddenly found myself approaching a 4 wheeler too close, on a wet road. So I tap the brakes firmly (rear more than front this time), and instantly the rear tire started to shake violently, my bike felt unstable, I thought I was going to fall, luckily there was just enough distance before I managed to stop, and the gap was quite wide. The second incident, also when the road was slightly wet, this time I was close, very close to a car when it suddenly came to a halt, I stomped the brakes and the tire wobbled again madly, I was about to hit the car, the bike skidded a bit which indeed took me a little away from the body of the car and I was saved.
The third instance was this time, when it resulted in a real, unfortunate accident.
No I don’t blame the bike, it just, maybe, didn’t suit my riding style (anymore). While I had been on the new bike, the Triumph STreet Triple for a year now, I have had no such encounter so far, thank God.
On the hand, I admitted, that I have lately been having a thrill with the Duke’s slick handling around corners, with its small body no doubt it still makes one of the best bikes at heavy traffic. Just you need extra caution when braking in wet condition, or when applying emergency brakes.
Yes, I do need to improve my riding skill futher, and meanwhile I should perhaps stick with ABS system to be safe.

Whose fault? Introspection, reflection on my riding
It didn’t take long before I felt I was ready to ride. In fact a week later I was back on the wheel, and two weeks later I joined a short convoy with friends from the MyIkram Bikers. Did I change my riding style? Not a bit…indeed as usual I remained the front runner with occasional sprint beyond a 170km/hr (yes, sounded nervous wrecking for a newbie who had just crashed his bike…!). As I was tracking along MRR2 nearing the exit to PLUS highway, suddenly I was caught at this particular tight bend, at a slightly higher speed, when the road felt unusually slippery. I nearly lost traction and let the bike verged to the extreme left, before picking myself up and regained speed. That was a nightmare and anything nasty could have happened that very moment, I thought…well, perhaps the absence of vehicles in the immediate surrounding had caused me to underestimate the danger and let the bike slipped rather wildly. Maybe, this sort of carelessness should not be repeated if I don’t want to see another mishap.

I looked back at my riding history – two years plus, almost 30,000kms, still relatively new as a rider, I would not claim myself as having enough riding experience. So, why being overconfident? Perhaps, I should rather take it easy, set a few rules to keep my ride safe and sound.

Speed is certainly a big thing. While cruising speed of over 140km/hr is an acceptable standard during group ride, perhaps a solo ride, during a relatively busy traffic should be limited to below this figure. While a densely busy traffic such that in MRR2 should not be filtered with anything more than 90-100km/hr. ‘Aggressive manouvers’ such as sudden lane switching, racing with other riders (the temptation is always there), or overspeeding while doing lane splitting, should be avoided. Lastly protective gears is an all time must.

Then, defensive riding skill should be sharpened. Special group training on handling the bike may also help

Riding remains a highly risky activity?
Sometimes, there is the inner feeling of fear, timidity, restlessness, as if something bad going to happen. Uncertainty reigns. Holding on to the bike, with my short stature, and ahead of me, hostile drivers, maddening traffic congestion – all conspired to shake my confidence. But once on the bike, throttle on, the confidence rose as the bike accelerates.
Once I sat down with those seasoned guys from our club MyIkram Bikers – on them indeed I found calm faces, who have blasted the wind, crossed the borders, filtered the depth of most tortuous roads in the country, swamped the darkness of the night with their bikes grazing thousands of miles of rough journeys. Years of riding experience, many falls, lost directions, breakdowns in the middle of nowhere – and with all that, no signs of regret nor fears. They spoke about how riders went on a serious mission, in the middle of night, risking their lives – they have done it years in, years out, many survived such priceless experience – yes they got big hearts. You don’t do such thing if you have no heart, no gut. Just sit at home and enjoy cozy and warm sofa. But the riding world is something different. Surely the bikes are not made for the faint hearted. You, have the heart. You are made of different materials. So be there, for the action. Fear of your life? Don’t you trust God?
Finally, once again, I made the resolution. I am a rider, and will always be. May God save me and help me to enjoy the riding while keeping myself in His rememberance.

Antara bikers, hobi, santai dan dakwah….

Adakah bersantai dan kelab rekreasi satu yang cocok untuk Pendakwah? Atau hanya untuk orang biasa sahaja? Pada hari Ahad lepas, Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (IKRAM) yang terkenal dengan tradisi Dakwah & Tarbiyah telah meraikan kelahiran sebuah kelab ‘santai’ di kalangan ahli yang terlibat dalam dunia permotoran, yang digelar My Ikram Bikers.
Sebagai ahli kelab MIB yang baru, saya agak teruja, sebab dalam MIB ni ramai ota-otai yang cukup skil dan pengalaman bertahun, malah berpuluh tahun bermotor. Motor pun bukan calang-calang, ramai yang lebih 1000cc. Malahan kebanyakan ahli memliki bukan satu, malah dua atau tiga biji motor berkuasa tinggi di rumah. Tidak kurang yang saling bertukar motor (upgrade) dari satu model ke model yang lain. Aktiviti mereka pula memang hebat – ramai yang telah menjelajah seluruh negara, malah sampai ke Thailand, Vietnam dsb, dan tahu selok-belok serta tempat-tempat yang menarik. Jadi apabila dipertemukan dengan Syed Ghazali Hasan yang lebih dikenali dengan panggilan Tuan Syed atau Beret Hijau, kira-kira setahun lepas, saya merasa fasa baru dalam kebersamaan saya dengan organisasi Ikram. Tuan Syed terus memasukkan saya dalam Whatsapp group MIB – pada masa itu saya hanya miliki KTM Duke 200 yang berkapasiti 200cc. Kebetulan memang dah ada niat hati meng’upgrade’ motor pada masa tersebut, cuma menanti permit dari ‘Kementrian dalam negeri’ (ini istilah popular di kalangan bikers sebagai penghormatan pada isteri).
tuan syed style

Tuan Syed, Presiden MIB dengan gaya sendiri. Moto beliau yang femes - Race the rain, ride the wind, chase the sunset, only a biker understands

Tuan Syed, Presiden MIB dengan gaya sendiri. Moto beliau yang femes – Race the rain, ride the wind, chase the sunset, only a biker understands

Walaupun pada asalnya, buat saya berjinak-jinak dalam dunia superbike ini lebih kerana keperluan (menunggang untuk pergi kerja), tetapi bertemu dengan sahabat-sahabat sefikrah dan dapat melihat skop bermotor yang lebih luas, menyebabkan saya mula menanam minat sedikit sebanyak. Lebih-lebih lagi kerana menyertai kumpulan seperti ini dianggap bermanfaat – untuk belajar dari pengalaman otai-otai tentang keselamatan, teknik menunggang yang baik dan tips-tips lain yang berguna. Di samping itu, bikers secara umumnya dilatih untuk menjadi berani dan kental – atas sebab menunggang motor itu sendiri mendedahkan seseorang dengan berbagai risiko dan bahaya, hanya yang berani, berhati-hati dan memiliki hati yang kental serta waras dapat bertahan, ini merupakan kualiti yang baik dan perlu dalam hidup, apa lagi dalam dakwah. Bikers umumnya orang yang mudah meluang masa (TTS boleh berlaku bila-bila dan mereka sanggup menunggang jauh untuk tujuan tersebut), jadi melatih seseorang untuk berkorban. Walaupun begitu, pada saya memang sesuatu aktiviti itu disertai samada kerana ia bermanfaat buat diri sendiri atau orang lain, dan bukan hanya setakat ‘fun’ semata-mata. Sebagai bikers pendakwah, ciri ini memang sentiasa ada di kalangan ahli MIB, biarpun mereka kadang dilihat santai, rileks dan seolah-olah menghabiskan masa dengan motor…sebab itu jika bertts dengan ikhwah, insyallah segalanya bermanfaat.
Antara keunikan bermotor juga kerana secara tabii merupakan aktiviti yang berisiko tinggi, sebenarnya menjadikan seorang rider lebih berhati-hati dan sentiasa insaf, rasa dekat dengan kematian. Memang itu hakikat, tetapi dengan bermotor tu seseorang lebih mampu merasa dekat dengan kematian. Dengan ini juga membina sikap simpati dan faham pada masyarakat terutama yang kurang bernasib baik, yang hanya mampu bermotor sebagai kenderaan utama. Selanjutnya antara rider lebih mudah terjalin persahabatan, kalau berhenti memandu di mana-mana lebih mudah untuk bertegur sapa dan berkenalan antara bikers. Selain membolehkan ‘networking’ yang mungkin membantu dalam banyak urusan dakwah masa depan.
Semenjak bersama MIB memang tak lekang dari bicara bike. Isteri pun dah naik jeles, rupa-rupanya perlahan-lahan beliau pun terminat juga, sampailah saya memecah tradisi MIB dengan menyertai TTS bersama isteri, julung kali kami setai TTS MIB iaitu di Bagan Lalang.
Antara TTS awal yg saya sertai. Masa ni tak ramai, otai-otai yang sama juga yang selalu hadir. Ini di depan masjid Putrajaya

Antara TTS awal yg saya sertai. Masa ni tak ramai, otai-otai yang sama juga yang selalu hadir. Ini di depan masjid Putrajaya

TTS bersama MIB ini agak unik kerana berbagai latarbelakang ikhwah dan pengalaman bermotor, juga jenis jentera yang berbeza. Selalunya kami akan ride bersama, Dr. Azmi/Tuan Syed sebagai ketua konvoy dan Aidil sebagai ‘sweeper’, perjalanan dalam kelajuan biasa, dan kalau ada ahli yang memecut ke depan, akan bertemu di satu checkpoint, selalunya memang jaranglah ada yang dapat terkedepan dari Dr. Azmi, memang itu kepakaran beliau dan setakat memandu 140-160km/j memang kelajuan biasa beliau- biarpun dalam MIB kami lebih suka ride secara santai sekitar lebih sedikit dari kelajuan nasional. Keselamatan diutamakan, ukhuwwah dipelihara, keceriaan pun dapat.
TTS demi TTS lama kelamaan timbullah suara-suara mahukan kelab ini bergerak ke hadapan secara lebih serius. Tapi isu ahli-ahli yang amat sibuk (dalam organisasi & dakwah), di samping tugas, menyebabkan TTS ini selalu berlaku secara ad hoc, dan disertai oleh jumlah yang agak kecil. Sebagai syarat sekurang-kurangnya 5 orang ahli perlu serta setiap TTS, tetapi kadang-kadang bilangan yang lebih kecil. Ini menyebabkan ramai yang kurang puas hati, sehinggalah otai-otai (ahli-ahli yang senior & berpengalaman) mula menuntut ahli-ahli komit, dan berlakulah pertemuan TTS di Putrajaya pada bulan Ogos lepas – dihadiri oleh 8 ahli – rekod terbaik setakat ini. Pada TTS tersebut ahli-ahli telah berpakat untuk melonjakkan lagi keujudan MIB ini dengan mengaktifkan ahli-ahli. Antara perancangan utama ialah melangsungkan program ‘long ride’ sebab dirasakan bila ada kesempatan bersama dalam waktu yang lama (sekurang-kurangnya sehari semalam) ini akan merapatkan lagi taaruf dan ukhuwwah. Saudara Ammar telah dilantik sebagai setiausaha (walaupun waktu itu tiada lagi jawatan ketua atau Presiden dan lain-lain). Kami juga setuju untuk merekrut lebih ramai ahli.
TTS bersejarah di Putrajaya, sembang 'halatuju' MIB

TTS bersejarah di Putrajaya, sembang ‘halatuju’ MIB

Bermula dari itulah kami telah mengembangkan keahlian dan mula merancang aktiviti bulanan. Isteri-isteri pun makin resah kot, sebab lebih kerap suami keluar pula. Tapi kami ada sebab yang menasabah, keluar bersama ikhwah, dan ikut istilah IKJ, usrah bikers.
IKJ ni pula manusia yang tak boleh duduk diam. Sejarahnya, beliau dari awal memang dalam Whatsapp MIB, tapi entah macamana bertukar handphone menyebabkan beliau tidak menerima sebarang pesanan. Lewat Ogos beliau turut serta kembali aktif, sebagai bekas presiden Kelab Skuter Malaysia dan banyak lagi NGO serta PIBG sekolah, IKJ telah membawa warna baru dalam MIB. Beliau telah ‘membakar’ semangat ahli dan ‘buat kecoh’ di Whatsapp group, lalu Whatsapp group kami bertambah aktif, pendek kata setiap malah setiap jam ada saja isunya.
Tapi bukan IKJ saja, seperti yang saya sebut di atas, ramai lagi otai-otai yang hebat, boleh dikatakan semuanya berpengalaman dan mahir, kecuali sayalah yang setahun jagung bermotor ni. Tak lupa pula, mereka semua adalah profesional dalam kerjaya – Konsultan, Pilot, Doktor bedah, Professor, Professional Caterer, ahli Perniagaan dan lain-lain.
Dari TTS Putrajaya juga diputuskan untuk melibatkan diri dalam aktiviti kebajikan seperti Aqsa Syarif, dan merancang untuk merekacipta logo dan moto serta Tshirt MIB. Moto ‘Riders are brothers’ telah dipilih, secara simbolik melambangkan aspirasi MIB untuk menjadikan aktiviti ‘riding’ sebagai landasan memperkasakan ukhuwwah.
Biarpun yang menyertai projek ‘Long ride’ ke Kelantan International Bike Week tersebut hanya tiga orang sahaja, tetapi mereka telah mendapat sokongan moral kesemua ahli, dan ‘flag off’ pada 26 September lalu telah disertai oleh 8 orang ahli.
Dalam TTS Rawang di awal September (selain 10 ahli, 2 orang akhawat turut serta menemani suami) – telah diputuskan untuk melakukan lawatan ‘santai’ tak resmi ke kediaman Presiden Ikram. Seterusnya ‘komiti bayangan’ yang diketuai Presiden Tuan Syed telah dibentuk. Biarpun ramai yang berada dalam senarai belum mengesahkan pencalonan, tetapi keujudan senarai tersebut melambangkan komitmen ahli-ahli untuk terus memajukan lagi kelab ini.
santai dgn presiden

santai dgn presiden aku

Ziarah Presiden Ikram di Bamboo Village

Ziarah Presiden Ikram di Bamboo Village

Alhamdulillah hari Ahad lepas berlangsung ziarah Presiden Ikram di Bamboo Village Hulu Langat. Sebelas orang ahli telah berkumpul di masjid Kariah Cheras – Tuan Syed, IKJ, Dr. Azmi, Dr. Alamin, Aidil, Kamaruzzaman, Madhadzir, Ammar, Dr. Hafiz, Nasir dan saya. Dr. Alamin terpaksa bergegas ke hospital kerana ada kes pembedahan, maka sepuluh orang ahli bertolak (tayar golek) dengan motor masing-masing ke restoran Bamboo Village. Tidak dijangka juga restoran ini agak terpencil dan susah ditemui, selepas berlegar-legar di sekitar Sungai Serai/Jalan Hulu Langat dan menalipon tuan kedai, akhirnya kami diarah memasuki satu lorong yang sempit dan berdebu. Malahan jalan yang sempit, berliku dan dipenuhi lopak dan batu ini agak mencabar untuk superbike yang kebanyakannya memakai tayar jalanan biasa. Kami tiba agak lewat dari dijangka dan Presiden IKRAM Dr. Parid dan ahli JKP akh Mahazir sudah sedia menanti.
Mencabar...jalan yang berliku dan lopak ditempuhi menuju Bamboo Village...

Mencabar…jalan yang berliku dan lopak ditempuhi menuju Bamboo Village…

Kami menyusun motorsikal dengan bantuan kepakaran Dr. Azmi – rupa-rupanya ada skil tertentu nak pusing dan tolak motor dengan mudah, sekali lagi terserlah keistimewaan ahli-ahli MIB ini. Pertemuan (TTS) ini memang secara tak rasmi, santai, apa lagi restoran Bamboo Village yang lebih berupa resort dan kami duduk bersila (kesemuanya bersila kecuali saya yang hanya sempat membuka kasut dan duduk di tangga kerana ruang yang agak terhad. Kami bertaaruf dan bersembang. Tuan Syed sebagai wakil dan Presiden MIB telah memberikan pengenalan MIB dan apa tujuan keujudannya. Beberapa aktiviti kebajikan termasuk projek ‘From Bikers to Gaza’, serta contoh-contoh peluang dakwah juga telah disentuh. Presiden IKRAM telah bertanya beberapa kali samada MIB ada apa-apa permintaan khas, tetapi Tuan Syed & otai-otai lain hanya menyatakan ‘kami hanya nak ziarah, taaruf dan kenalkan MIB’. Presiden IKRAM telah menyebut beberapa perkara mengenai peranan yang boleh dimainkan oleh MIB terutamanya dalam menarik golongan muda, ada cadangan untuk bekerjasama dengan belia contohnya Gema dll. Alhamdulillah pertemuan ini telah membuka ruang dan fasa baru dalam MIB – sebagai satu badan tak rasmi yang mendapat ‘restu’ dari Presiden IKRAM. Ada yang telah mewar-warkan peristiwa ini sebagai ‘pelancaran’ kami pun terkejut juga, walau apapun ini mungkin satu kredit dan petanda penerimaan baik kepimpinan Ikram terhadap minat dan kecenderungan ahli-ahli.
Cekal dan kental...inilah wajah-wajah profesional dan pakar-pakar yang menganggotai MIB...bersedia untuk ziarah Presiden

Cekal dan kental…inilah wajah-wajah profesional dan pakar-pakar yang menganggotai MIB…bersedia untuk ziarah Presiden

Selesai ziarah Presiden, kami telah bertolak ke pantai Morib untuk bertemu ahli-ahli Ikram Hulu Langat yang mengadakan rehlah di sana (kecuali IKJ yang pulang awal). Rupanya ini satu peluang untuk promosi, dan sekali lagi Tuan Syed telah memberikan satu ucapan ringkas tetapi amat memberangsangkan terutamanya untuk anak-anak muda yang tentunya ramai minat dunia permotoran.

Menyertai rehlah ikhwah Hulu Langat di pantai Morib

Menyertai rehlah ikhwah Hulu Langat di pantai Morib

Dari respon Whatsapp dan Facebook, memang ramai yang menunjukkan minat, dan kini dah ada desas desus untuk memulakan chapter ‘kapchai’ pula untuk membolehkan ahli-ahli terutamanya yang muda, turut serta di masa depan.
Akhir sekali, kami ingin merakamkan sejuta penghargaan kepada Kapten Azland, yang telah menempah banner MIB khas untuk lawatan Presiden Ikram, biarpun beliau sendiri tak dapat bersama kerana dipanggil bertugas. Juga ikhwah lain yang tidak dapat bersama atas sebab-sebab yang tak dapat dielakkan.