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Archive for June, 2016

Reigning WorldSSP Champion sets new benchmark in native Turkey

30 Jun

Photos courtesy of WorldSBK.com

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The most successful World Supersport rider of all time, Kenan Sofuoglu, recently had his sights set on a new and different kind of record – the land speed record on a motorcycle. With many practice runs and attempts to get ready for the final push, the Turkish rider had been expecting to go for the record at the opening of a new bridge across the Gulf of Izmit, 50km away from Istanbul – before research concluded that an early morning attempt would have the most chance of success.

The WorldSSP Championship leader rode a Kawasaki Ninja H2R for the rescheduled 5am record attempt, complete with winglets, and had a special leather suit made. To lower the risk of a tyre blowout, the speed was to be reached in less than 30 seconds, and the Turk visited the bridge numerous times and at different times of day to check the conditions – such was the depth of his preparation for the tightrope task. Having judged early morning as the best time for the attempt, the record was then broken just after dawn, two days before the official opening ceremony for the bridge.

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“I reached 400 km/h, the maximum speed that this motorcycle could have, after a 4 long months of training,” commented the WorldSSP superstar just after breaking the record. “I do not remember where I got this idea of the record from first, but when I signed the agreement on 2016 with Kawasaki, I liked and wanted so much this special edition bike. When I asked for the motorcycle, Kawasaki said its maximum speed was 380 km/h and that their dream was to reach 400km/h. The first time I rode it, I felt its huge power and speed, and I made small changes to the motorcycle – keeping its original settings – and did not modify it. I reached 390 km/h in my last trials and today I beat this and reached 400 km/h. I was planning to do this speed attempt for the opening but we had to catch the best weather conditions and so we did it at 5:00 am. The top speed we get to in the world championship races is about 300 km/h, so 400 km/h is a really high speed. It was a dream to reach this speed and thank god I made it. I currently hold the top place in the World Championship, and my next dream is taking the World Champion title the fifth time.”

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Sofuoglu will be back in his Kawasaki Puccetti Racing colours at Lausitzring in Germany from the 16th-18th September after WorldSSP enjoys its summer break – counting down the Rounds in his attempt to achieve a fifth World Supersport crown.

Watch the video of Souoglo’s record attempt below:

 
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Posted in Motorcycling

 

It’s “Double Double” via YES 4G LTE Plans with YES Altitude 4G LTE Smartphone

30 Jun

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When YTL Communications had unveiled its YES 4G broadband back in late 2010, I was among the early adopters of the plan, albeit a few months later. Even then, the brand itself faced criticisms from rival telcos and non-users alike who brush it off by telling consumers that the wireless system used by YES 4G wasn’t a true 4G spectrum but a marketing gimmick to entice users to sign-up.

I was shifting to a new home where Telecom Malaysia’s (TM) Unifi service was yet to be made available in early 2011, and the YES 4G plan was an excellent choice for me while waiting for Unifi or Time.com’s broadband service to be ready. Technically-speaking, the area of my new home is located within the latter’s broadband network but the service is still not available even today while TM’s Unifi made its debut approximately 2 years after I had moved in.

In the meantime, my Internet needs was taken care of by YES 4G’s prepaid service which I had subscribed via its compact dongle system for 10GB of data per month. Unlike Unifi, which is unlimited data, the YES 4G module was enough for my usage then as I did not download movies nor music since my occupation is related more towards receiving/sending images to clients as well as uploading them to this blog and Facebook. And sending/receiving email.

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Being new, events organised by YTL Communications for its YES 4G broadband then had only attracted small groups of tech media and guests in attending. Today, just 6 years after its broadband first rolled out, the company is ready to launch its full-fledged wireless 4G network, and the crowd is definitely bigger, enough to fill the entire Grand Ballroom of the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur!

With the official launch, consumers across Malaysia can now experience blazing fast Internet data speeds services with an impressive 85% nationwide coverage. The 4G brand under YTL Communications is also the first mobile operator in the country to introduce Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) capability for high-definition, crystal clear calls. At the same time the YES Altitude, the newest, high quality Android device developed by YES, was unveiled as the most affordable VoLTE smartphone in the Malaysian market, allowing more consumers to access high speed LTE Internet.

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CEO of YTL Communications, Wing K. Lee enthused about building the most advanced 4G LTE network on top of the existing YES 4G broadband that has reached a nationwide footprint in Malaysia: “We started the journey with 4G Mobile Broadband and are now excited to complete the journey with the launch of 4G LTE together with the country’s first VoLTE service. We are proud to help Malaysia leapfrog to a high income economy through the provision of these new services.

“We are also proud to launch the country’s first Double Data bucket price plan that allows all users access to both 4G LTE and 4G Broadband networks with a single service plan, at RM70 per month, where consumers will get 24GB of data (16GB of 4G LTE and 8GB of 4G Broadband) complete with a free Yes Altitude smartphone. There is simply no comparable offer from any other telco in Malaysia, said Lee.”

With the “Double Data” feature of YES 4G plans, whether consumers prefer to have more 4G LTE data for smartphones or more 4G Broadband data for tablets and laptops, the new YES LTE plans will cater to the full spectrum of user needs.

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The YES Altitude is a full-fledged 4G VolTE smartphone for seamless mobile LTE connectivity. The phone sports a 5-inch HD IPS on-cell display and supports VoLTE for High Definition voice and video calls which are up to 3 times and 6 times better quality than calls made on 3G/2G networks. Its dual-sim functionality allows users the convenience and flexibility in managing their SIM cards for the best data and best voice call rates in the market. With a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM399 inclusive of 6% GST, is is the lowest priced VoLTE in Malaysia. The YES Altitude comes in 3 colour variants – gold, white and silver.

For YES “Double Data” plan sign-ups, consumers can visit any YES Store, YES Exclusive Retail Partner or authorised YES dealer across Malaysia. Alternatively, they can visit the YES Online Store at www.yes.my/store for more information.

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The Mill BlackBird Car Rig for automobile commercial

27 Jun

Wonder which car company will accept the idea of not using its line-up of cars available when shooting a commercial aimed at promoting the specific model? That is a question a lot of their managers and executives will be asking, and to help make it easier, a new tech company has came up with a solution as the answer to the question.

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The tech company is called The Mill, and it has come up with a sosphiticated car rig known as The BlackBird, which is designed to take the place of any automobile required for a commercial shoot. According to The Mill, until now, automotive content has often been dictated or hampered by car availability, model revisions, limited access to locations and footage that can quickly become irrelevant. In collaboration with JemFX, Performance Filmworks and Keslow, The Mill has created its BlackBird car rig, which is set to transform the way automotive advertising is made – it’s a car rig that can be shot at any time, in any location, without the need to rely on a physical car.

The Mill BlackBird is able to quickly transform its chassis to match the exact length and width of almost any car. Powered by an electric motor, it can be programmed to imitate acceleration curves and gearing shifts and the adjustable suspension alters ride height, rigidity and dampening to replicate typical driving characteristics.

Two years in development, The Mill BlackBird was hand built by the world’s top technicians from JemFX in the very same hanger that the BlackBird SR-71 supersonic jet was once manufactured – the car rig’s name is a nod to this legacy of stealth design.

The Mill BlackBird is able to capture quality footage and data due to its camera array and tailor-made stabilisation unit, engineered in collaboration with Performance Filmworks’ legendary, multi award winning technician, Lev Yevstratov. A combination of high dynamic range imagery and 3D laser scanning generates a virtual version of the environment, producing 100% realistic CG renderings. The Mill has taken this a step further, developing a bespoke BlackBird AR application that allows you to see the intended vehicle in CG, tracked live over the rig on location.

Whether for automotive advertising content or visualising the latest advances in car design, The Mill BlackBird inspires and expands creative opportunities, offering a truly flexible production tool without sacrificing any quality or direction.

Alistair Thompson, International Executive Vice President of The Mill comments: “We can unequivocally say that The Mill BLACKBIRD® is a tool to solve real problems for the advertising industry.  It is no vanity project.  It was the genuine needs of our advertising clients that made the Blackbird happen and their constant support and input has shaped its design and made it the game changing innovation that it has become.  The Blackbird journey has only just begun though and the technology and the thinking behind it will evolve.  We hope it will continue to provide inspiration for the whole industry and most importantly, in turn, our clients will create ways of using it that we have not even comprehended yet.  This is what excites us the most!”

See the video below of how the car rig works during when shooting a car commercial.

 
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Posted in New Products

 

Jack Miller wins Assen MotoGP, Marquez 2nd and Redding 3rd

26 Jun

Photos courtesy of MotoGP.com and Repsol Honda

The start of the MotoGP World Championship race would be wet. With the track soaked, the rain eased and riders headed out onto the grid with wets fitted. Conditions were far from ideal, Eugene Laverty falling on his sighting lap. The lights went out with riders knowing a flag-to-flag race was likely, Valentino Rossi grabbing the lead out of the first corner as they tiptoed around the first corners.

Riders looked set to consider a change to intermediate or dry tyres but then the rain returned with a vengeance. Dovizioso was able to catch up to Rossi once again. The rain only got heavier and allowed Scott Redding to join the battle for victory, Yonny Hernandez’s fall turning their battle into one for victory. But then with 12 laps to go the rain was ruled to be too severe and the red flag was brought out due to the weather conditions.

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Not long after the race was restarted, run over 12 laps. The grid was based on the finishing positions on lap 14 and the quick restart rule made its first appearance in the premier class. As such Dovizioso lined up on pole with Petrucci and Rossi completing the front row. Redding led the Repsol Honda Team pairing of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa on the second row, Jorge Lorenzo lined up in 19th after a disastrous start in the first 14-lap race.

Andrea Dovizioso, who had led the restart, lost the front end as he attempted to stay with Rossi. He took a heavy roll through the gravel but sustained no serious injuries. This granted Rossi a comfortable lead until he crashed out at Turn 10 a lap later. Disaster for ‘The Doctor’ in a race which could have saw him right with Marquez in the championship.

Known for his ability in the wet, Jack Miller made steady progress off the line and soon found himself in second behind Marquez. After an injury hit start to the season Miller seized his chance and took the lead of the race at the final chicane on lap four. Marquez tried to close down the Australian but Miller kept his cool. Miller’s victory is the first MotoGP win by an Australian since Casey Stoner’s final victory in Phillip Island. He also becomes the first rider on a non-factory bike to win a race since Toni Elias won the infamous Portuguese GP in 2006.

Marquez was aggressive off the line, leading into the entry of Turn 1 but dropping back as he ran wide and sliding to third. But the Spaniard soon found himself in first as Dovizioso and Rossi fell. He had an important decision to make when Miller went past him, risk it for victory or settle for 20 points with his main rivals having a disastrous weekend?

Championship ambition won out and Marquez settled for second place, extending his championship lead over both Lorenzo and Rossi by a significant margin. The battle for third was one of the closest on track, Pol Espargaro and Redding finding themselves in podium contention due to the falls ahead. Espargaro could smell his first podium but Redding had a point to prove. Redding muscled his way past his former Moto2 rival to return to the podium for the first time since Misano in 2015.

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The wet gave Yonny Hernandez the perfect chance to show his skill; with nothing to lose the Colombian took the lead of the race on the third lap. He’d extend his lead out the front until he fell on lap 12; his dreams of a miraculous first win gone as he retired before the red flag.

Dani Pedrosa’s weekend went from bad to worse as he crashed at Turn 9 on lap one of the restart. Cal Crutchlow followed soon after at Turn 12.What had been a dream Sunday for Petrucci ended in disaster as the Italian’s Ducati died on the second lap, his hopes of a Silverstone repeat over.Bradley Smith also fell from the race, conditions proving trickier than before.

Michele Pirro, Aleix Espargaro and Tito Rabat all suffering falls. Several were able to remount, solid points on offer due to all the crashes.

 
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Marquez rides a Honda scooter back to pits for spare bike during Assen QP2

25 Jun

Photos courtesy of MotoGP.com

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Saturday was a very challenging day for the MotoGP World Championship as rain came and went at the TT Circuit Assen, the track rarely fully wet nor fully dry. During Free Practice 3, Marc Marquez managed the second fastest time. It wasn’t a straight forward session as he suffered a massive moment heading into Turn 1, calling on all his skill and a bit of luck to save a fall. The near crash was so violent that the airbag in his leathers went off. When the rain came for Free Practice 4 Marquez quickly adapted to the situation and topped the session. It seemed certain that Q2 would be wet, but just how wet remained an unknown.

By the time they hit the track for Q2 the rain had stopped and the circuit was left in a difficult state, some areas closer to being dry than others. Marquez was pushing hard on his first flying lap when he made a mistake and crashed at Turn 8. He didn’t even check his bike, sprinting straight to the service road where he found a scooter not in use, racing back to the pits. He had a moment to catch his breath as his mechanics finalised the wet setting on his second bike, Marquez charging to fourth place with a 1’46.430. All things considered, fourth place is a very solid result.

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Marc Marquez: “In free practice this morning we were able to do a good job in dry conditions. We managed to maintain a good pace and try out several things with the bike. We went back to the previous setup and it worked well. Later we had to deal with Assen’s typical ‘surprise factor’—we all know that it can rain at any time here—although FP4 went well for me. I made a mistake in qualifying and crashed on the second lap. The marshals were a bit far away, and I saw a scooter with a key in it and nobody around. When I took it, I saw that it belonged to a photographer, but he let me go. I wanted to get back to the pit as soon as possible, so honestly I would’ve taken it even if he said no! Thanks to the great work done by the team, I was able to get back out on track for two laps and we managed to finish fourth. The important thing is that I feel comfortable in the dry, not superior to the others but at ease enough to fight. In case of rain it will be kind of a lottery, as always.”

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REVIEW: Riding the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R on twisty roads

24 Jun

It was nearly 5pm when I rode the new Ninja out of Kawasaki Malaysia’s office, and found myself joining the start of the evening rush hour traffic. “What perfect timing it was – a chance to verify if the 2016 ZX-10R is as good as its predecessor in navigating the congestion” – I thought. I made the decision to head towards Sungai Buloh town to gauge further how the Ninja would respond in that kind of situation. The 2015 bike had very little issue with filtering thru rush hour traffic, both in the city and suburbs. But the 2016 bike does have a minor problem with this, though. More on this minor issue later.

This is strictly a review on public roads. For my review of the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R at Sepang Cirucit, you can read it here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/philip-chong/riding-the-2016-ninja-zx-10r-at-sepang-circuit/1039750096072858

Me astride the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R powering along the start/finish straights of the newly-resurfaced asphalt of Sepang Circuit

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All the new features and improvements in the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R over the 2015 edition have been covered everywhere else on the Internet since the motorcycle was officially launched in October 8, 2015 by KRT’s (Kawasaki Racing Team) WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes in Barcelona. This review will just focus on how much of the benefits do those features translate into improvements in actual riding on public roads over its predecessor. Among the improvements of the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R is the slightly higher position of the rearview mirrors installed on the newly-designed full fairings, making it impossible to negotiate rush hour traffic as the new position would come into contact with rearview mirrors of stationary cars caught in the congestion. This is the “minor” issue mentioned earlier.

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The higher position is designed to enable the mirrors to be closed without hindering the steering ability of the bike as the older model’s lower angle would prevent full steering maneuvering when both sides of the mirrors are closed, blocking the path of the handlebars’ turning angles. The closing function of the rearview mirrors, available with most sportsbikes above 500cc, is to prevent them from being intrusive when the bike is parked at crowded parking bays but most riders nowadays would simply closed them to filter thru congested traffic.

As mentioned, on the older bike, the closed mirrors would prevent full movement of the steering angle but on the new Ninja ZX-10R, they are above the intrusive point but leaving them on default level makes it a hassle in lane splitting the bike during rush hour traffic. The alternative option is to close either one or both mirrors fully to cut thru the traffic but as the bike is quite new, it wasn’t that easy to do so while riding. The opportunity came when the Ninja bike and me were forced to remain idle for a few seconds, and that enabled me to close both mirrors and got the Ninja making its way thru once the traffic had resumed movement. The lower position of the mirrors on the 2015 Ninja allows it to cut thru traffic easily as neither side would grace the mirrors of idle vehicles caught in a congestion except for cars like Perodua Kancil and Kelisa models.

Having cleared the rush hour traffic, I was able to accelerate the ZX-10R out of the congested area towards the main road leading to Sg Buloh town. But the idea of tackling the old twisty roads from the town which would take the bike and me to Rawang town and back was cancelled as it was getting late, and decided to ride the bike home after the first “pit-stop” in Sg Buloh town itself.

Below is the map of where I had started from “Stage 1” – the Petron station in Taman Sri Sendayan/Metropark

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Riding towards Kepong/Batu Caves via MRR2 expressway from Sg Buloh town was another opportunity to test the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R’s ability in conquering a different type of rush hour traffic, a slow moving variant that could stretch all the way till Ampang or Cheras but which most motorcycles particularly kapchais, scooters and 250cc models would have no problem navigating thru regardless of the situation. The 2015 ZX-10R had no issue either thanks to its lower positioned rearview mirrors. It was just perfect to find out if the 2016 version could accomplish similar navigation easily as compared to the trickier situation I was in earlier.

Fortunately, the entire MRR2 journey was a smooth flow for the Ninja ZX-10R as the traffic, although congested as usual between Setapak and Cheras sections, lane filtering wasn’t a problem as the gap in-between the slow-moving vehicles was wide enough for the bike to go thru easily, and its acceleration power also enabled it to overtake most kapchais and other slow moving motorcycles with ease whenever there’s a lull in the traffic formation.

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The following day, which was the period I spent riding the Ninja ZX-10R for over 308km distance with a fast thinning Bridgestone Battlax rear RS10 tyre (20% thread pattern left). The day started with a brief ride to the Glenmarie Industrial Zone area, from which I headed towards Elite Highway. Was toying with the idea of refueling the bike at the Caltex Elite station but decided against it as I would like to find out how many kilometres the bike would last since it was only filled up to 15 litres when I collected it from Kawasaki Malaysia. Like its predecessor, the new ZX-10R has a 17-litre tank. It had managed to do 191km when the low fuel warning lights up, and the nearest station, a Petron, along the routes I was taking is still 31km away!

Of course, there are other stations nearby but they are not located along the routes so I resumed my ride on the Ninja towards the direction of the intended fuel stop. Like its predecessor, there’s 4 litres remaining the moment the low fuel warning lights up, and the 2016 Ninja would only consume approximately 1.5 litre for the ride to the intended station, at faster speed, or just a litre if riding at economical mode, with 3 litres remaining. But I decided to give it a good run, knowing very well there should be 2 litres left by the time the Ninja reaches that petrol station. I was right, as 15 litres were enough to fill the tank to its brim!

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With fuel no longer a concern, it is time to experience what the new Ninja ZX-10R could do. One obvious difference of how fast the new bike reacts is the shorter time it took to complete Stage 1 (Petron Sendayan) of the route since leaving the petrol station, and arriving at Stage 3 (Rantau) within 11 minutes from Stage 2 (Siliau), reduced from the usual 16 minutes it took with the 2015 bike! From Stage 3 towards Stage 5 took another 20 minutes to complete as there were a few traffic lights junction in-between but the speed with which the new Ninja was able to negotiate the twisty bends within Stage 3 and 4 (Mambau) was remarkable as the suspension and engine responded precisely to what I wanted them to do. Riding from Stage 3 to 5 is a combination of 3rd to 5th gears, with 1st and 2nd only used to resume the ride on each interval.

Stage 5 was a bit complicated as it involves entering and exiting Seremban city towards Kuala Klawang/Jelebu area (Stage 6), with the occasional city traffic, indecisive motorists and a few more traffic light junctions. But the new ZX-10R handles everything that came its way with ease. In fact, the handling is so smooth and precise, it is even easier to ride than its smaller siblings such as the Ninja ZX-6R and Z800! Within 8 minutes, I was already out of the city and heading towards Kuala Klawang on Route B6, which took another 21 minutes to reach!

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The ride between Seremban and Kuala Klawang, it is obvious the ZX-10R is benefitting from the newer Showa suspension, electronics and RS10 tyres as the older model took nearly 29 minutes to complete the same distance a few months earlier, with weather being excellent and near zero traffic condition. After spending approximately 10 minutes finding the best angle for a photo session of the Ninja ZX-10R with the town’s fruits icons, the journey of Stage 7 began, which was to ride to Titi town, known for its sweet pineapple orchard, a distance of 8km away aka 5 minutes but actually took me close to 12 minutes due to some slow traffic.

At Titi, the ZX-10R was parked next to some murals in the town centre for some photos as memories of completing Stage 7 before resuming with Stage 8, which is the twisty road to Pekan Batu 14 Hulu Langat (end of Stage 9) in Selangor via Semenyih Dam (end of Stage 8). The twisty route took about 24 minutes to complete (till the Dam), just 5 minutes faster but the asphalt for this segment has been resurfaced with approximately 60% completed since the last time I rode thru it with the 2015 Ninja ZX-10R.

Below (top photo) is the 2015 Ninja ZX-10R parked at the same spot as the 2016 but photographed from the opposite angle as the murals were behind me. The bottom photo is of the 2016 Winter Edition Ninja ZX-10R.

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Stage 9 to Pekan Bt 14 Hulu Langat took just 12 minutes to complete, and the final sprint (Stage 10) to MRR2 via Jalan Kuari and Route B62 was another 14 minutes, thanks in part to a couple of traffic lights in-between after reaching Taman Putra in Cheras. Route B62 is an uphill twisty segment when riding from Hulu Langat town towards Cheras or Ampang area, but a downward cruise vice-versa.

The uphill sprint was fun to ride with the new Ninja ZX-10R, still set to S-KTRC Level 3 and mostly at 3rd/4th gear adventure as the asphalt is sometimes scattered with leaves, becoming greasy or damp due to mountain dew but the traction control was able to take care of the hassles of riding thru this segment despite the rear RS10 tyre was running thin for its thread pattern in the middle but still OK at both edges!

Reaching MRR2 means completion of Stage 10, and I would say the new Ninja ZX-10R finishes the journey with approximately 30 minutes faster than its predecessor. The overall time could be at least an hour better as certain segments along the routes were not conducive for faster cornering as the rear Battlax RS10 was already running thin with its thread pattern wear!

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Posted in Motorcycling, Reviews

 

Chear Global Sdn Bhd Unveils CMC Italjet 125 Scooter

24 Jun

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CMC2The competitive local market for kapchai and scooters below 150cc is set to be more exciting with the debut of the CMC Italjet 125 scooter, which was launched by Chear Global Sdn Bhd, the sole importer and distributor for the Italian-designed, China-made brand in Malaysia.

However, the sporty and agile Italjet 125 scooter, being the latest addition to the CMC line-up of motorcycles which include the XY400 Classic, All-Terrain Tekken 250, SK200 Street bike and Regal Raptor range of choppers, is locally assembled in Malaysia so it can be sold at a competitive price.

The CMC Italjet 125  scooter, given its size and engine capacity, looks set to appeal to the younger generation of riders who are passionate about riding and pursuing an exciting lifestyle while still maintaining the fun factor. The new CMC Italjet 125 scooter is available in a choice of two colours – Chili Red and Sporty White with a Sales Price of RM6,996 inclusive of 6% GST.

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Locally-Assembled BMW X5 Hybrid Makes Malaysian Debut

23 Jun

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I have lost count of the number of times I was overtaken by surprise via hybrid cars, mostly BMWs previously while riding my bike. It didn’t occur to me then those were hybrids, other than remembering the vehicles were mostly the German carmaker’s brand where most of the owners driving the cars tend to be aggressive and fast, not only on the highways but also on lanes suburbs and rural areas. Of course, I have came across hybrids from Honda Insight and Toyota Prius but their drivers are more considerate.

Most of the time, I would be riding my bike on the middle lane close to the fast lane, and those BMW hybrids were mostly out-of-range from being visible on the rightside rearview mirror. Due to their near-silent operation, it left me wondering where and how did those cars manage to crept up and overtook me by surprise without making a noise? The only thing that prevented me from veering into their path last minute is because I could felt a bit of wind draft coming from behind me even though the car’s no longer in the mirror’s angle-of-view.

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On the way to BMW Malaysia’s launch of the X5 Hybrid, did it dawn upon me the reason why I got caught by surprise most of the time by those BMWs is they are either hybrid or electric cars. Occasionally, I did return the favour to other motorists and bikers when riding new bikes on review due to the near-silence operation of the standard exhaust pipe’s note. Those original exhaust pipes give out noise level that almost similar to hybrid cars, for as long as the speed is anywhere between 40 and 145km/h.

The launch venue was dimly lit but it posed no issue to the EOS 80D DSLR I was using to capture the moments. I had the Speedlite 430EX III-RT with me but decided against using it, and set the camera to ISO 4,000 and shot whatever took place with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM kit lens.

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At the launch venue, the motoring media was informed the new BMW X5 xDrive40e is assembled in Malaysia, and it is the 11th model to join the portfolio of locally-assembled vehicles at BMW Group Malaysia’s Assembly Facilities located at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park. Furthermore, the new BMW X5 xDrive40e leads in the next chapter of BMW EfficientyDynamics, by delivering exceptional performance as well as all-electric mobility with zero emissions and introduces a new form of commanding driving experience with a combination of pure electric and dynamic driving in a sports activity vehicle, according to Han Sang Yun, Managing Director and CEO of BMW Group Malaysia.

The most noticeable feature is the charging connection for the high-voltage battery located in the left front wing. Blue light effects appear here at the start of the charging process to indicate the flow of energy. The exhaust system on the new BMW X5 xDrive40e meanwhile, has a twin-tailpipe design with trapezoidal tips. Besides the model badge at the front of the vehicle’s flanks, the “eDrive” logo already familiar from the BMW i models graces the tailgate with their blue background colour as well as the centre console.

Further accentuating the dynamic character of the new BMW X5 xDrive40e is the M Sport Aerodynamic Package featured as a standard. In distinction to the Adaptive LED headlights, the new BMW X5 xDrive40e also features LED fog lights. Its body is dressed with BMW Individual Exterior Line Aluminium satinised and is equipped with 19-inch M Double-spoke light alloy wheels with mixed tyres.

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The intelligent hybrid powertrain control and permanent all-wheel drive together, makes for an utterly effortless performance and supreme efficiency out on the road. The new BMW X5 xDrive40e has a drive system comprising of a two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and a synchronous electric motor integrated in the 8-speed Steptronic transmission. The new BMW X5 xDrive40e is also fitted with a 2.0-litre combustion engine, which has already won the coveted title of “International Engine of the Year” three times, and features a TwinScroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and variable camshaft control on both intake and exhaust sides.

As the most powerful four-cylinder petrol unit in the BMW Group’s engine portfolio, the new SAV is powered with delightfully free-revving performance and highly refined characteristics. It generates a maximum output of 245 hp and 350 Nm of peak torque. The electric motor meanwhile, delivers an output of 83 kW with a maximum torque of 250 Nm, instantly available in typical electric drive fashion. This boosts the engine’s output for increased responsiveness with absolutely no delay when accelerating from stationary, as well as providing strong performance whenever a quick burst of speed is required.

Together, the new BMW X5 xDrive40e completes the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in just 6.8 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 210 km/h and 450 Nm of peak torque. In all-electric mode meanwhile, the new SAV is able to travel at a top speed of 120 km/h. The exceptional dynamic acceleration of the new BMW X5 xDrive40e is accompanied with lesser fuel consumption of 3.3 litres per 100 kilometres and C02 emissions of just 77 grams per kilometre.

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The vehicle set-up and powertrain control can be configured as desired with the Driving Experience Control switch and eDrive button. The latter, located on the centre console allows the driver of the new BMW X5 xDrive40e to rotate between the default AUTO eDrive setting, MAX eDrive setting, or the SAVE Battery setting. In the AUTO eDrive setting, both engine and electric motor works in tandem highly efficiently. The electric motor alone is used for setting off with normal power requirements, while the engine cuts in at around 70 km/h or when the driver wishes to accelerate very sharply.  In this mode, the intelligent operating strategy determines the most efficient drive combination at all times and switches to it automatically.

When switched to MAX eDrive, the driver will travel in all-electric mode, in which the vehicle is powered solely by the electric motor. This mode is designed for comfortable driving with zero local emissions without the engine being activated. It offers a maximum range of 30 km at a limited top speed of 120 km/h.  The third mode, SAVE Battery, allows the driver to save or build-up the high-voltage battery’s energy reserved for a later point in time. When driving on the road for instance, the state of charge can be kept constant or even boosted in order to use the high-voltage battery’s power for all-electric driving in urban areas later in the journey. This way, the stored energy can be selectively deployed exactly when required.

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Additionally, the new BMW X5 xDrive40e also comes as standard with a Driving Experience Control switch which activates the vehicle set-up modes COMFORT, SPORT and ECO PRO. Each has an effect of altering the throttle mapping, the steering characteristics, the responses of the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, and the characteristics of Adaptive M suspension with it’s sport suspension setting, specifically tuned Dynamic Damper Control and air suspension equipped as standard on the new SAV.

The modes selectable with the eDrive button and the Driving Experience Control switch can be combined with one another at will, allowing the powertrain control and vehicle set-up to be tailored precisely to the prevailing situation and the driver’s personal preferences. This consequently allows for further comfort, sportiness and efficiency to be combined with high-intensity hybrid driving as desired.

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Under the umbrella of BMW 360° ELECTRIC, customers are offered the ChargeNow service, comprising of a ChargeNow card that grants straightforward access to partner charging stations, ChargEV, offered through BMW Group Malaysia’s partnership with Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia). The ChargEV stations are already operational in 19 strategic locations throughout Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Kedah, Melaka, and Johor.

The new BMW X5 xDrive40e is available in the exterior colours of Glacier Silver, Mineral White, Space Grey and Carbon Black with upholstery choices of Leather Dakota Terra or Leather Dakota Black.

The retail price (on the road, without insurance, with BMW Group Malaysia’s latest 5 Years Unlimited Mileage Warranty, Free Scheduled Service Program and BMW Tyre Warranty Programme) is:

The New BMW X5 xDrive40e – RM 582,800.00

Government Approved Hybrid Incentive
Retail price without insurance – RM 388,800.00

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WorldSSP Champion Sofuoglu to Attempt 400km/h World Record

23 Jun

The most successful rider in World Supersport history has set his sights on a new challenge, as the Turk gets ready to attempt 400km/h on the new Osman Gazi Bridge. The Izmit Bay Crossing Bridge will soon be opened for the first time in an event attended by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expected to take place on the 30th June, and the opening has been named as the stage for the new record attempt.

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Sofuoglu has already tested and reached speeds of 396km/h in preparation for taking on the world’s 4th largest mid-span bridge, and more testing is to happen soon to assess wind and other ambient factors before the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider climbs aboard the Ninja H2R to try the attempt proper.

“I want to try the attempt at the opening of Osman Gazi Bridge. We spoke on the phone with our President and he gave his support for this speed test,” said Sofuoglu. “I need to reach 400km/h in under 30 seconds. Afterwards it poses a risk of rupturing the tyre so prior to this, we will apply the cooling method. We will also prepare a special leather suit. I have been working for 3 months for this record, and it will not be easy.”

The WorldSSP grid are now on their summer break ahead of the next Round of the 2016 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Lausitzring in September, with the Pirelli German Round forming Sofuoglu’s next challenge on the 16th-18th September.

 
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Jonathan Rea did the Double for Misano WorldSBK round, Sykes 2nd and Giugliano 3rd

19 Jun

Photos courtesy of WorldSBK.com

Kawasaki Racing Team rider Jonathan Rea has completed a double at Misano World Circuit, stalking teammate Tom Sykes until pulling away with 5 laps to go and crossing the line with a 3 second margin in an impressive display from the reigning World Champion. Davide Giugliano made amends for a home crash in Race 1 to complete the podium for Aruba.it Racing – Ducati.

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Sunday dawned in Misano with blue skies despite the threat of rain, and the weather held off for another incredible Race on the Riviera di Rimini. Rea got the jump on Sykes off the line as Yamaha’s Alex Lowes tried to muscle through on the inside of the Yorkshireman, before Sykes swopped around the outside to take back P1 and the KRT duo started to pull a gap on those behind.

An early, spectacular incident saw Althea BMW rider Markus Reiterberger highside out of the race on the first lap in a midfield tussle at Turn 8, with the German walking away from the incident unaided. A further fall on Lap 3, this time a lowside for Chaz Davies, then interrupted the midfield rhythm again as Honda rider Michael van der Mark was forced to shut off the gas to try and avoid the fallen Ducati, making contact enough to cause the Dutchman to fall before both were able to get back on their bikes. Van der Mark then faced a fight back through the field, as Davies was forced to pull into the pits. The Dutchman put his head down and pulled back the deficit to the points, then focusing on the top ten and crossing the line in P10.

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Davide Giugliano, after having suffered a similar crash in Race 1 to that of his teammate in Race 2, began to pull away from Barni Racing’s Xavi Forés in a bid to add another podium finish to his tally in 2016, keeping a healthy gap to the Panigale R behind to cross the line in P3 for some home glory. Forés followed the Italian home in P4 in an impressive ride, ahead Lorenzo Savadori for IodaRacing.

Savadori, who has won the last two ST1000 races at Misano, was able to show the potential of his Aprilia after having his Race 1 cut short, coming home in P5 for another impressive rookie result, and a great haul of points at the home Round of rider, team and manufacturer. Althea BMW rider Jordi Torres had a solid ride into P7 in the tightly packed mid-field, just losing out to Honda rider Nicky Hayden as the American took the Spaniard with two laps to go.

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Alex Lowes came hom in P8 for Pata Yamaha at Pata’s home Round despite still suffering the aftereffects of his broken collarbone in Sepang, ahead of stand-in teammate Niccolo Canepa, who collected another impressive top ten in P9, ahead of charging van der Mark.

MV Agusta Reparto Corse rider Leon Camier, after an interrupted Race 1 followed by an incredible comeback, was sadly unable to finish Race 2 at the team’s home Round after a technical problem caused his retirement on lap 13. Anthony West got more points for Pedercini in P11, ahead of Roman Ramos for GoEleven in P12 and San Marinese rider Alex De Angelis in thirteenth. Milwaukee BMW pairing Josh Brookes and Karel Abraham completed the points positions in P14 and 15 respectively.

The next Round of WorldSBK will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California, from the 8th-10th July in USA.

 
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