Bikes, Honda Motorcycles, International Bike News

2020 MotoGP: Repsol Honda Team – brothers in arms


Having its first world presentation last week in Indonesia, the Repsol Honda Team presents its racing livery for the 2020 MotoGP Season. During the Winter Test in Sepang, brothers Marc and Alex Marquez, race numbers #93 and #73, respectively, showed strongly.

However, despite what is shown in the gallery below, the Spanish brothers’ RC213V may yet change configuration ahead of the first race in Qatar, notably in aerodynamics as well as technical specification. The first race of the 2020 season takes place at Losail circuit on March 6 to 8 but there is still one more test session to go.

For this season, reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc is joined by younger brother Alex. Alex is a two-time champion in his own right in Moto2 and Moto3.

According to Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig, it is still too early in the season to tell how the team will do. Marc has said his wish to is win the world championship but is aware the competition has improved over the previous year and closing in on his heels.

Marc is recovering from a shoulder operation after aggravating a shoulder injury during the Jerez test in 2019. As for Alex, Puig said he is showing daily improvement which will, from his experience, be good for a sixth or seventh place in the championship although it is early days yet.

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Bikes, Honda Motorcycles, Local Bike News

2020 Honda EX5 kapchai – new graphics, RM4,783


Evergreen icon on Malaysian roads, the 2020 Honda EX5 is back with new graphics. Now coming in Pearl Nightfall Blue and Pearl Magellanic Black, the graphics on this year’s EX5 harks back to the previous generation EX5.

For both versions, customers can opt between the spoked rim version at RM4,783 or the tubeless alloy rim version at RM5,009, with prices excluding road tax, insurance and registration. Main difference between the spoked and alloy wheel versions of the EX5 is the alloy wheel model comes with chrome headlight surround and passenger grab rail.

The EX5 is powered by a single-cylinder, air-cooled, 110 cc mill fed by PGM-Fi. Mated to a four-speed automatic clutch gearbox, the EX5 puts out 8.5 hp at 7,500 rpm and 8.62 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm.

Fuel for the EX5 is carried in a 4.3-litre tank with drum brakes front and rear. Suspension is with telescopic forks and twin shock absorbers at the back with electric and kick starting as standard.

Pricing as mentioned earlier is recommended retail and may differ from the dealer’s offer. The 2020 Honda EX5 comes with a two-year or 20,000 km manufacturing warranty.

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Bikes, Harley-Davidson, International Bike News

GALLERY: Harley-Davidson Sykes Sportster Customs


During a Harley-Davidson media ride in Antequera, Spain, recently to which paultan.org was invited, on the riding menu were a dozen custom Sportsters built by Sykes Harley-Davidson in the UK. The 12 Sportsters were actual customer bikes, road registered and built to specification.

Styling for the Sykes custom Sportsters covered a range of styles, from the, compared to the other bikes, somewhat “normal” bobber to dragster style, ape hanger and flat-tracker. Each Sykes Sportster was unique, some having intricate paint jobs, others finished in bare metal.

Others sported a variety of handlebars styles, from the aforementioned “ape hanger” to flat bars and everything else in between. Engines were similarly dissimilar, with the V-twin configuration adorned with cut-off exhausts, shorties, open pipes and the like.

What was common amongst all the Sportsters that were ridden by the assembled media to dinner was all exuded that Harley sound. After two days of riding stock standard Harley-Davidson Softtails and another totally silent machine in the mountains around Antequera, was something of a welcome change.

With the admonition that the bikes we were riding belonged to someone else and would have to be returned in the condition in which we received them, the ride progressed through the old part of the town of Antequera. Replete with cobblestones, steep inclines, pedestrian traffic and slippery manhole covers, the gaggle of journalists had a whale of a time cruising the streets.

In Malaysia, the Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200 comes in Custom, Roadster, Forty-Eight and Iron flavours. Pricing starts from RM75,400 for the base model Forty-Eight and goes up to RM85,800 for the 1200 Roadster in Two-tone paint.

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Bikes, International Bike News, Yamaha

2020 MotoGP: Monster Energy Yamaha YZR-M1


For the 2020 MotoGP season, it appears that Monster Energy Yamaha will be using the same graphics as in the previous year. However, during an interview satellite team Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) principal Datuk Radzlan Razali, paultan.org was informed the 2020 YZF-R1 is an all new race machine, with new chassis and engine.

This means factory team riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales are on all new bikes with carbon-fibre fairing and swingarm, as is Petronas SRT rider Fabio Quartararo, who posted fastest time in the Winter Test at Sepang. Meanwhile, Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli is riding a 2019 YZR-M1 with “improvements”, said Radzlan.

With Rossi and Vinales still in the first team for 2020 and as is known, Vinales has signed on 2021, fan favourite Rossi is still undecided on his future plans. Rossi’s contract with Yamaha ends in 2020 and he has been quoted as saying he would wait till mid-season to decide his future in MotoGP.

Rossi’s place in the Monster Energy Yamaha team will be taken by Quartararo with speculation that Rossi might move down to the satellite team, stay on as a Yamaha test rider or retire to concentrate on his VR46 race team. In other news, Jorge Lorenzo, who had a dismal and injury-hit season with Ducati on the Desmosedici GP19 – injuring his back with a bad fall in Assen last season – has come on board with Yamaha as a test rider.

Last year, Vinales placed third in the overall rider standings while Rossi managed seventh. For Vinales, this is his fourth season with Yamaha, while “The Doctor” has been racing for Yamaha for 15 years.

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Bikes, Ducati, International News

2020 Ducati Panigale Superleggera V4 – RM414,000


The latest addition to the Ducati Panigale V4 range is the 2020 Ducati Panigale Superleggera V4, coming in at the top of the Borgo Panigale firm’s superbike lineup. To be produced in a limited run of 500 units, the Panigale Superleggera V4 is priced at USD 100,000 (RM414,000).

The Panigale Superleggera V4 joins the Panigale V4, Panigale V4S, Panigale V4S Speciale, Panigale V4R and Panigale V4 25th Anniversario 916 in Ducati’s catalogue. According to Ducati, the Panigale Superleggera V4 is the epitome of its design and engineering prowess, being its most powerful and technologically advanced superbike.

Setting the Panigale Superleggera V4 apart is the use of carbon-fibre in the frame, swingarm and wheels, and it is designed to be road-legal. Carbon-fibre is also used in the fairings and bi-plane wings, drawing on Ducati’s experience in racing aerodynamics in MotoGP.

At 270 km/h, the Panigale Superleggera V4 produces 50 kg of downforce, 20 kg more than the Panigale V4 and V4 R. In standard trim and with the road-legal Akrapovic exhaust in place, the Panigale Superleggera V4 V-four, 998 cc mill is capable of producing 224 hp at 15,250 rpm and 118 Nm of torque at 11,750 rpm.

Adding the race kit bumps this number up to 234 hp at 15,500 rpm with a maximum torque of 120 Nm at 11,750 rpm while reducing the Panigale Superleggera V4 power plant’s weight by 6 kg from the standard Panigale V4 engine, giving a power to weight ratio of 1.4 hp per kg. Overall, the Panigale Superleggera V4 weighs 159 kg dry, 16 kg lighter than the base Panigale V4.

Naturally, the Panigale Superleggera V4’s electronics suite has been upgraded in line with its racing identity. Aside from the three ride modes, the rider has five custom modes available. This complements the lap timer which also stores GPS co-ordinates for five circuits.

Lightness pervades throughout the Panigale Superleggera V4 with lightweight Ohlins suspension that uses a titanium spring in the rear monoshock. A special touch are the Brembo Stylema R front brakes with ventilation holes in the callipers. All in, the Superleggera V4 laps the Mugello circuit in the hands of Ducati factory rider Michele Pirro with a time of 1:52.45, or just under two seconds slower than the Panigale V4 R SBK World Superbike contender.

Purchasers of the Panigale Superleggera V4 will get the chance to ride the actual Panigale V4 R used by the Ducati Corse team in the World Superbike Championship during the Ducati Superbike Experience, along with gifts of a carbon-fibre helmet and Dainese D-Air race suit, exclusive to the Panigale Superleggera V4.

Meanwhile, 30 lucky customers who purchase the MotoGP Experience will, under the supervision of Ducati Corse technicians, get to sample the actual MotoGP Desmosedici GP20 as raced by Andrea Dovisioso and Danilo Petrucci.

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Bajaj, Bikes, International Bike News, Triumph

2022 sees Triumph enter sub-750 cc market with Bajaj


A non-equity partnership has been signed between Triumph Motorcycles and Bajaj Auto to produce middleweight motorcycles, entering the market in 2022. Manufacturing will take place in Bajaj’s plant in Chakan, India and will cover motorcycles from 200 cc up to 750 cc with pricing starting from 200,000 Indian rupees (RM11,300).

While no details have been made public on quantity, the Bajaj plant in Chakan, which paultan.org visited in 2017, has a daily production capacity of 100,000 units a day. Distribution and sales in India will leverage on Bajaj’s dealer network throughout the sub-continent.

However, motorcycles produced under the manufacturing partnership will also be sold worldwide via Triumph’s international dealer network. Under the agreement, the sub-750 cc two-wheelers will be developed jointly by Triumph and Bajaj with Triumph overseeing the design, ride and handling, reports website ndtv.com.

Addressing the issue facing the global motorcycle market about attracting a younger rider demographic, Triumph chief executive officer said, “This is an important partnership for Triumph, and I am delighted that it has now formally commenced. As well as taking our brand into crucial new territories, the products that will come out of the partnership will also help attract a younger, but still discerning, customer audience and is another step in our ambitions to expand globally, particularly in the fast-growing markets of South East Asia, but also driving growth in more mature territories like Europe.”

“The Triumph brand is an iconic one the world over. So, we are confident that there will be a huge appetite in India and other emerging markets for these new products. We look forward to working alongside such a famous motorcycle company and to leveraging each other’s strengths and expertise to make the relationship a success for everyone,” said Bajaj managing director Rajiv Bajaj.

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Bikes, Ducati, International Bike News

2020 MotoGP: Mission Winnow Ducati Team


In a presentation in Bologno, Italy, Ducati Corse unveiled the 2020 Ducati Desmosedici GP20 in Mission Winnow Ducati Team colours. Ridden by Andrea Dovizioso (#04) and Danilo Petrucci (#9), this year’s Desmosedici GP20 comes in red with black and chrome accents.

Last year’s racing season saw Dovizioso come in second in the world championship standing with 269 points and two race wins. Team mate Petrucci was sixth in the championship with 176 points and one race win.

For 2020, Luigi Dall’Igna, Ducati Corse general manager, said the team is still not satisfied. “We can’t say that we are completely satisfied as our ultimate goal remains the same: winning the championship title. 2020 will be even more intense and demanding with 20 races scheduled in the calendar, and our rivals will be even more competitive,” said Dall’Igna.

Speaking about Ducati’s racing efforts and the trickle down effect on Ducati’s road-going performance machines, Ducati Motor Holdings chief executive officer Claudio Domenicali said racing is a fundamental part of the company’s DNA and will remain so. “If we sum the R&D done for the production line, for racing and the assets needed to produce new models, the global Ducati R&D is worth more than 10% of the revenue,” commented Domenciali on Ducati’s investment in racing technology.

The Desmosedici GP20 will make its debut at Sepang International Circuit on February 7 to 9 for the official MotoGP test. The 2020 Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix will be held on the weekend of November 1.

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Bikes, Cars, Local Bike News, Local News

Ops Selamat shows drop in accidents for 2019 – PDRM


With Ops Selamat 16, Malaysia’s annual traffic safety campaign held during the major festive seasons running from January 16 to February 1, Kuala Lumpur police chief Commissioner of Police (CP) Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said awareness amongst motorists has contributed to a decrease in accidents. During his officiating of the launch of Ops Selamat, CP Mazlan said it is shown in police statistics for 2018 and 2019, where the number of accidents recorded showed a drop of 6.7%, a decrease of 174 incidents, fatal or otherwise.

For Ops Selamat 14 in 2019, police recorded 2,400 accidents, with nine accidents involving injuries and three fatalities. During Ops Selamat 12 for the corresponding festive season in 2018, 2,550 accidents were reported, with 28 incidents of injury and eight fatalities. With the percentage drop in accidents across two years, CP Mazlan expressed hope that the 2020 numbers would be even lower with motorists taking more care on the road.

In terms of total number of summonses issued during Ops Selamat 2018 and 2019, there was a drop of 13.6%, from 25,757 to 22,243, respectively. For 2020, police would like to see accident statistics drop further and CP Mazlan advised motorists to ensure their vehicles were in good repair and safe to drive, avoid speeding and using the mobile phone while driving and obey all traffic rules and directions from police.

Those returning for the festive season are advised to notify the police station nearest to them by filling in a “Balik Kampung” form. This will allow local police to monitor and patrol low occupancy areas under their jurisdiction during the holidays.

Aside from the notification form, CP Mazlan said the public can also use the Volunteer Smartphone Patrol (VSP) app to notify police and request assistance. For the coming year, CP Mazlan also said police response time key performance indicator (KPI) is now eight minutes, down from the previous 14 minutes, following feedback from the public.

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Bike Reviews, Bikes, Honda Motorcycles

REVIEW: 2019 Honda CBR650R and CB650R – inline-four middleweights for every rider, from RM43,999


Inline-fours, the iconic engine layout for what most people would call a ‘superbike’, have been with us for over forty years now. At one time, anything with four pots and overhead cams was a superbike, to be admired and respected, like the 2019 Honda CBR650R (RM45,499) and CB650R (RM43,499) on review with paultan.org.

But with advances in material and engineering technology, it is easy enough to get enough power from two- or three-cylinders, with the associated weight savings and handling benefits. After all, if your engine configuration is not as wide as a five-barred gate, the bike becomes nimble and easy to handle.

However, there is something about the silky smoothness of an inline-four mill dropped into a motorcycle frame. The author cut his teeth on one and truth be told, the engine layout missing from his personal stable is an inline-four since the sad demise of his Honda CB750K.

Lots of Vees, in two- and four-cylinder format, a couple of triples, some singles. But no inline-four with the closest the trigger came to being pulled was for the BMW Motorrad S1000RR last year.

So, to redress the situation, Boon Siew Honda, after letting us have the pair of CBR1000RRs, let us ride the CBR650R and CB650R for an extended period. Here’s what we thought about Honda’s four-cylinder middleweights.


paultan.org had previously sampled the CB650F during the RM50k bike shootout where the Honda’s middleweight 650 was put up against the Yamaha MT-09, Kawasaki Z900 and Triumph 765S, all of which, at the time, were available at a recommended retail of below RM50,000. That the previous model CB650F felt dated was readily apparent.

Things have changed with the CB650R and CBR650R though. Styling is bang up to date, LED lighting abounds and the CBR650R mimicking the looks of the CBR1000RR, in body style and graphics, makes it very attractive.

Getting the numbers out of the way, both the Honda 650s put out 93.8 hp at 12,000 rpm and 64 Nm of torque at 8,500 rpm. For riders of pure superports machines, these might seem a little tame but these the author feels is a good, middle of the road, power figure. Honda’s PGM-Fi does the fuel metering and a six-speed gearbox and assist and slipper clutch gets the ponies to the road.

So far, so good, the CB and CBR tick the correct boxes for what is a middleweight sports bike, with or without clothing. Seat height is a very approachable 810 mm, making the pair suitable for a wide range of riders though taller riders might feel a little cramped inside the CBR650R.

At the first approach, the styling for the CB650R follows the CB1000R Neo Sports Cafe very closely. This styling is also reflected in the CB250R and truth be told, we like it.

It conveys a very functional message to the rider, saying the CB650R is all about the business of riding a motorcycle and no nonsense. In practice, as we swung a leg over the CB650R’s saddle, we found the bike to be a good fit and motorcycling at its very basic.

This is not a fault, while many manufacturers – both two- and four-wheeled – seem to be on a unending quest to load their products down with bells and whistles, the CB650R goes the other and keeps things simple. Inside the cockpit, the LCD instrument panel shows everything the rider needs to know.

However, the LCD display is a monochrome unit, with white numerals on a blackground. We did have issues reading the panel in bright sunlight and more especially when using a tinted polarized visor.

The fuel gauge bar display itself is minuscule and as for the odometer readout, no chance. So, for us ‘senior’ riders who might be on the CB650R and CBR650R, don’t forget your bifocals.

Riding the CB650R around, we noted the engine was very eager to pull through the gears, rapidly reaching highway speeds and above, with few issues. The mill did run out of puff at the very top in sixth gear, limiting what its potential top speed might be and we have our suspicions there might be more to be gotten out of the 650 engine.

Needless to say, used as a daily runabout, the CB650R performed well, once we got used to the rather soft power delivery. Much, much better than the previous generation CB650F but still there was that niggling feeling this engine is capable of a whole lot more.

Since, in many cases, we test bikes in stock form or if we’re very lucky with a performance exhaust fitted – track and race bikes excluded – we think Honda has deliberately made the pair of 650s more road oriented and for the rider less concerned with pure speed as opposed to all round performance.

This is borne out by the mileage we got from the 15.4-litre tank, which was almost at 250 cc level. We didn’t keep any accurate figures but something like six or so litres per 100 km would not surprise us because both 650s went a long way between fill-ups.

With no wind protection, the CB650R is obviously going to give the rider a hard time with wind blast, especially with the throttle wound wide open. Something from the aftermarket will definitely be needed if the CB650R is going to be pressed into daily commuting service, including boxes, all of which are available from local suppliers like Givi.

Coming to the CBR650R, we earlier mentioned the family resemblance to its bigger sibling, the CBR1000RR. Looks aside, the CBR650R carries the same engine and frame as the CB650R and we expected performance to be about the same give or take a little allowing for the weight difference, the CBR650R being 207 kg and 5 kg heavier.

In on road riding, there was a noticeable lag in power delivery for the CBR650R, with the CB650R being much more eager in throttle response. We have no idea if this might be down to mapping or something else inside the ECU since neither bike has selectable ride modes, only traction control.

But for handling manners, the CBR650R had no vices, mainly because cut and thrust riding is not its forte despite the looks. For real sports bike handling, you’re going to have to look at the CBR600RR and the like, which is very much a track weapon but makes few concessions for street riding.

In this case, what the CBR650R is, and more so the CB650R, is a motorcycle designed for easy handling manners and road-going comfort. This is done with the Showa SFF upside-down 41 mm front forks, non-adjustable with compression and rebound in separate legs and the rear monoshock with 10-step preload adjustment.

This lack of adjustability reflects the mid-range pricing of the 650s and while not necessarily a fault, does mean the rider who is intended to purchase either bike wants something as fuss-free, reliable and simple as possible, something which Honda motorcycles are good at.

As stated earlier, both 650s are more than capable of breaking the speed limit, but at a less frenetic pace that what track heads are used to. But what exactly does this mean?

What it means is, the 650s are all rounders and despite its looks, the CBR650R is not a track weapon. In that respect, the brakes let it down, more so than on the CB650R.

Don’t get us wrong, with ABS and twin discs in front, the radial-mount Nissin four-piston callipers do a perfectly adequate job of slowing the bike down on the street but these are not racing brakes. A strong pressure was needed on the front brake lever if you’re a proponent of single-finger braking (like the author) with best results coming using the entire hand.

At no time was there a danger of flipping the bike over, Honda having designed the brakes to be linear and predictable. Again, something done to make the CBR650R and CB650R accessible to any level of rider.

This is also reflected in the choice of OEM rubber, Dunlop Sportmax for the CBR650R and Mezteler Roadtec 01 for the CB650R. Both tyre choices fit well with the character of the bikes and in the case of the CB650R, the Roadtecs did sterling service on the road, giving a lot of confidence and feedback.

The pairing of the tyres and suspension was, for the author, well matched, showing that Honda did put some thought into who would be riding these bikes and how. As it is, when ridden inside the envelope at highway speeds, there was nothing that would unduly upset the rider, newbie or otherwise.

Taken to the edge, of course, the tyres would rapidly demonstrate discomfort, leading to a rapid loss of traction on the front wheel for the CB650R, the rear for the CBR650R. Since most riders will never do what the author does when reviewing motorcycles, suffice it to say there is more than enough grip and suspension performance here for 90% of riders and if you’re one of the 10%, Honda did not design this bike for you.

For comfort, the riding position of the CBR650R, despite the full-fairing and clip-ons, is not as extreme as a pure sports bike, with enough room in the sear and handlebar rise for a rider to make themselves comfortable though those long of leg will have problems. The upright seating position of the CB650R means getting a cosy perch is a no-brainer with the wide bars allowing for full control of the bike.

So, who needs a Honda middleweight, either a naked sports like the CB650R, or a sports bike like the CBR650R? For riders trying to decide between the two, it comes down to a matter of looks as both are primarily street bikes and the only question that needs to be answered is, “what colour preference does sir have?”

In the market, competition comes from the Kawasaki Z650 and Ninja 650, priced at RM35,609 and RM37,189 respectively, although these two are parallel-twins and only produce 68 hp. Perhaps this is not a fair comparison, which leads us to look at the Triumph 765 S, priced at RM49,900 and the Yamaha MT-09 at RM47,388 but these are triples producing above 100 hp and there is no full-fairing version sold locally while the Yamaha MT-07 at RM38,388, two-cylinders and 73.7 hp is in the same class as the Z650.

If, like the author, you find the smooth revving of an inline-four motorcycle addictive and are on something of a budget, the Honda CBR650R with full-fairing and the naked sports CB650R are perhaps the only game in town. When pushed to make a choice by some riding buddies, the author’s hand was placed, quite deliberately, on the CB650R.

GALLERY: 2020 Honda CB650R

GALLERY: 2020 Honda CBR650R

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Bajaj, Bikes, Kawasaki, Local Bike News, Modenas

Modenas and Kawasaki team up for assembly JV


Following the increase of Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) Japan’s stake in Malaysian motorcycle maker Modenas from 19% to 30% last year, news has emerged that Modenas will be assembling Kawasaki motorcycles soon. Although no specifics were given as to the models or capacity of the Kawasaki models likely to be assembled, we were informed by a source inside Modenas that “the business plan is still being finalised.”

Modenas has an assembly plant in Gurun, Kedah which currently assembles a variety of Modenas rebadged models. Modenas currently sells a variety of motorcycle models, including the Dominar D400, the NS200, RS200, NS160 and V15, all rebadged from Bajaj.

Other models in the range include the Kriss 110, Kriss MR2 and CT115S kapchais, as well as the Karisma 125 and Elegan 250 scooters. The Elegan 250 is a rebadged Kymco scooter, sold alongside the Kymco Downtown 250i.

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