10 Jul


Honda Motor Co. Ltd had revised its popular trio of CB500-series – the CB500F, CBR500R and CB500X for Year 2016. First announced during the EICMA Show 2015 held in Milan, Italy, the revised trio made their international debut approximately 6 months later and were available in Malaysia since the beginning of September 2016.

All 3 models retained the proven and reliable 471cc parallel twin engine featuring a maximum horsepower of 47 from their original versions introduced back in 2012 for Year 2013-2015. What’s revised with the new trio are better styling, improved brakes, adjustable front forks, new exhaust pipe (except for CB500X) and LED-type headlights.



The trio are available in both ABS and non-ABS versions but for Malaysia, the CB5500X also comes with ABS, hence it is designated as CB500XA. Non-ABS type is also available. Both the CB500F and CBR500R are initially also offered without ABS in Malaysia. This is based on the preference of local riders opting for non-ABS models from the original 2013-2015 editions, according to Boon Siew Honda. However, both models are now available in ABS.

Having the same 471cc engine does not mean all 3 bikes are the same there are differences in terms of handling and performance. For starter, the CB500XA, as reviewed here, is equipped with default trail tyres that are meant for minor off-road riding and touring, as it is designed for adventure and touring, as compared to its 2 siblings which are utilized for sports enjoyment and speed.

In addition, the CB500XA has a taller seat height, and a higher volume fuel tank capacity, at 17.3-litre, which is unchanged from its predecessor to ensure a longer ride without interruption for fuel top-up along the way. Given the fact that all 3 models are fuel economy machines, the CB500XA could go all the way to Alor Setar with just a full tank in cruising mode (110km/hr to 145km/hr) starting from Jalan Duta Toll Plaza, or to Johor Baru.


The default trail-type tyres, are longer lasting than the grippy Dunlop D222 installed on the CB500F and CBR500R. However, this affects the CB500XA somewhat in terms of extreme leaning angle and cornering as the grip level is unable to cope with such a demand. Since these tyres are aimed at touring and adventure riders, extreme cornering is not something they would want to try with the CB500XA.

For those who do, it is just a matter of swapping the default tyres to sporty type which offers superb grip at the corners. I had a moment with the CB500XA when I subjected it to extreme cornering at one of my regular corners – the rear wheel slipped mid-cornering but still managed to upright the bike without any incident. It is not the fault of the CB500XA but the limits of the default trail-based tyres have been reached.

A maximum lean angle of 45-50° will be just right for the CB500XA when cornering with these tyres. The revised 41mm Showa front forks offer adjustment, as compared to its predecessor but only for preload. There’s no provision for rebound damping nor compression. Bear in mind the CB500XA is just an entry-level motorcycle, so the features it has, are adequate for novice riders especially those who have upgraded from riding a moped and 250cc models.

While extreme cornering in the dry condition is not recommended, rest assured the default tyres allowed superior grip when riding in the wet including cornering without any tendency to slide. However, do make sure the rear tyre does not venture into white lines and white arrows on the tarmac when raining as these could cause the CB500XA to wobble or lose grip while riding.

Having said that, it is to be noted that both the front and rear suspension, in their standard settings, delivered superb comfort when riding over bumpy stretches of road surface. I had subjected the CB500XA to a bumpy segment, and unlike a few models from competitors’ which felt those bumps harshly throughout the ride, the CB500XA absorbs all of them in its stride comfortably. A biking buddy of mine who followed me on that journey on his rival brand touring model, had lamented of that segment’s bumpy surface.

As for the brakes, both front and rear used Nissin pads, with a 2-piston caliper supplying the power to stop the single 320mm for the former and a 1-piston caliper on the single rear 240mm disc. A single-sided brake for the front is a bit on the risky side for anything above 300cc, but with ABS, the CB500XA is able to thwart most tendencies to skid when last-minute emergency braking is applied as it ensures there’s no locking of both wheels.

With Malaysian drivers having a reputation for bad and reckless driving, with tendency to change lanes without warning, the inclusion of ABS in the CB500XA is definitely a welcome feature regardless of how most riders may feel about the function interfering with their braking style when riding fast.

On paper, a maximum horsepower of just 47 derived from a 471cc engine sounds like not much where performance is concerned. When the CB5500-series was first announced in November 20102, the trio’s specifications had many bikers and motorcycling media gasping in disbelief. Many of them had their doubt wiped off the moment they tried those bikes for actual riding.

Any doubt about the CB500-series’ performance has been casted away once the rider started the engine, engaged the clutch and rides off. Yes, 47hp is nothing spectacular, to say the least but Honda has tuned the parallel twin engine to maximize the performance out of it. It is super smooth all the way from the moment one accelerates the CB500XA from 0km to its top speed of 185km/hr.


Granted, most bikers cruised at between 120km and 155km/hr on the highways, and relishing the challenge of tackling twisty old roads at speeds between 80km and 125km/hr so the CB500XA and its siblings have been tuned to offer superb acceleration for these kind of rides. It maxes out at 185km/hr – that’s where the 47hp makes the difference, or the limit. Bigger capacity bikes, such as the Honda CB650-series, have twice the power (new for 2017 editions have been revised with 90hp) or the company’s newly-announced 2017-edition of CBR1000RR standard and SP/SP2 models, which feature 189hp!

The higher horsepower of the bigger capacity Hondas allowed them to go beyond 240km/hr for top speeds, in addition to superb acceleration from 0-100km/hr and better feel when cruising at between 110km and 155km/hr on highways and twisty roads!

For riders who have no interest in cruising beyond 200km/hr when riding, the Honda CB500XA is more than enough to meet their needs for a motorcycle during a weekend leisure ride or even as a daily commuting bike.

UPDATED: For experienced riders, the CB500XA delivers the kind of performance and handling similar to bigger capacity models on twisty roads particularly riding at between 125 and 155km/hr. Coupled with the default suspension settings, I found the CB500XA absorbs majority of the bumps with ease, allowing me to ride much faster than bikes with stiffer settings. While ensuring that I do not overdo it at the corners with the CB500XA, the bike is able to handle cornering duties with ease, clearing multiple S-curves with just 4th gear, with the downshifting to 2nd or 3rd when encountering steeper parts or slow bends.

In fact, riding the CB500XA up the Ulu Yam-Goh Tong Jaya road needed 4th gear for ¾ of the ride, with 3rd being the only gear in negotiating the steeper S-curve segment just before the police beat base. The same applies when riding the bike up Fraser’s Hill, only 3rd and 4th gears were utilized to reach the top from Gap point below, with 11 minutes taken for the ride up, and 15 minutes for the way down thereafter.

However, the twisty road towards Sang Lee New Village after riding down from Fraser’s Hill is very bumpy nowadays, with numerous patches and potholes but the CB500XA’s suspension is able to absorb most of them with ease, allowing for a decent speed throughout the ride until reaching the area’s iconic sculpture of a hand holding a durian (photo below).


As noted earlier, the CB500XA is one of the fuel saving motorcycles to ride. I did 2 separate long distance rides with it over 2 consecutive days, the first being a 293km and the other a 375.5km journey. Both rides, the CB500XA was fully filled to its 17.3-litre capacity. The 293km ride only consumed approximately 10.9 litres while the 375.5km trip used up 14.5 litres. I have never been able to clock more than 330km on other brands of motorcycles with engine capacity above 500cc with just a tankful of fuel like the CB500XA is capable of.

The figures mentioned are based on the bike’s electronic sensors – which gave the usual data like average consumption per 100km, average usage on actual riding moment and the amount of fuel remaining – the last part is a more detailed data than the fuel gauge on the LCD speedometer, as it countdowns to the amount of main fuel capacity before switching over to the reserve amount of 2-litre right after 15.3-litre has been utilized. From there, the Cb500XA would calculate the amount of the final 2-litre remaining as I racked up the mileage while looking for nearest station of my preferred brand of petrol – either Caltex or Petron.

The fuel remaining data is very accurate – if it has indicated that I had used up 1.3-litre of the reserve amount, that’s exactly what’s left inside the tank as the next top-up literally filled up with only 16.3-litre. This gave me an assurance I have nothing to worry about when looking for a station as I could push the CB500XA until the 1.8-litre warning mark.

The fuel consumption nature of the CB500XA is a noteworthy feature because it is a 6-speed, liquid-cooled 4-stroke, 471cc parallel twin engine with 47hp. When you compared it to a Kawasaki Ninja 250R, a Z250 and the Versys X-250 variants, all of which featured a 17-litre tank, similar 249cc parallel twin engine with 34hp but good for 395km mileage overall, the CB500XA is the better choice among them, with faster acceleration and top speed (185km/hr vs. 170km/hr for the 250cc trio).


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REVIEW RIDE: Honda MSX 125 aka The Grom and Honda Wave 125i

10 Jul


The MSX 125 aka The Grom (as it is known in North American market) looks corny and cute when it was first announced by Honda way back in 2012. But it quickly became popular in the North American market (USA and Canada) where the popularity also spread to other continents as well, especially in South East Asia region, where it is manufactured in Thailand by AP Honda.

For Malaysia, as usual, takes quite some time for anything new or exciting, to enter its market. First obstacle for the MSX 125’s entry to the Malaysian market is the selling price, which at RM11,128 w/GST, thanks to the various import and excise duties imposed, would make The Grom costing more than a standard 125cc moped from Honda itself – something in the range of twice the price, as in the case between the company’s Wave 125i and The Grom.


Both are fuel injected, 124cc small motorcycles, with 4-speed transmission each. While the Wave 125i, being a moped or Cub, has a clutchless 4-speed transmission, The Grom features a clutch-operated version, with an operation similar to bigger bikes – 1 down, 3 ups vs. the all-forward style used by the Wave 125i.

Additionally, the Wave 125i has a faster top speed than The Grom at 120km/hr vs. 110km/hr – according to their respective speedometers after riding for quite a while at full throttle operation or riding downwards from high-level areas. Actual top speeds for both are 110km/hr and 100km/hr respectively as measured by radar speed guns – riders on either bike are unlikely to be penalized for breaking Malaysia’s speed limits for highways.

In terms of actual riding, one could easily reach 90-100km/hr with the Wave 125i and 80-90km/hr on The Grom, as according to their speedometers, under normal conditions.


For the price it commands, The Grom offers more than just speed. It has better supporting parts over the Wave 125i – full length telescopic front forks vs. half-length type, more rigid rear absorber, and comfortable riding with its plush seat, an advantage over longer distances than the Wave 125i, and wider, smaller front/rear tyres that enable the rider to perform extreme cornering without fear of The Grom skidding or sliding the rear wheel. These features alone made The Grom justifies its higher selling price over its Wave 125i cousin.

For fuel consumption, both the Wave 125i and The Grom are almost equal in performance although the latter can be slightly more guzzling overall especially the comfortable feel of riding it gives the rider the tendency to be more throttle-happy as compared with riding the Wave 125i. The Wave 125i sips fuel at 40km/litre, and with its 5.4 litre capacity, literally takes the rider to a distance of approximately 220km before needing any refill. On the other hand, The Grom has a tank capacity of 5.7-litre and consumes the equivalent of approximately 35km/litre for a distance of nearly 200km. On a round trip review ride for a distance of 315km, The Grom only used up 8-litre of fuel.

I must admit there’s some reservation initially on my part of how well I could ride The Grom as compared to the Wave 125i especially my overall height is nearly 180cm. Any Honda Cub model is not an issue to ride for people with varying levels of heights so there’s no reservation in riding the Wave 125i to anywhere.

Since The Grom has a lower seat height than any Honda Cub, and with my tall legs – the first image I could visualize of myself riding it would look more on the awkward side. Then again, enjoying the ride is what makes motorcycling fun and it doesn’t really matter to me what others think when tall person like me riding a super cute little motorcycle like The Grom around town or going for a long haul ride.


The above photo shows me riding The Grom.

City and town riding aside, the older twisty roads are where The Grom shines as it is able to tackle multiple S-curve with ease, thanks to its superb suspension and small but very stable tyres. It is even better than most Cubs and bigger capacity bikes in this situation. However, slick as it is on those old twisty, the moment the tarmac segment of the next S-curve is connected with a longer straight of 300-500m in length, the bigger bikes would easily out-accelerate past The Grom in reaching the next bend first.

The Wave 125i could do the same but the default tyres may not give the feeling needed to inspire the rider’s confidence to go faster at sharper corners. The Wave 125i’s default tyres are decent and grippy for such a task but their thinner profile may prevent newbie riders from having the confidence to undertake the corners with the utmost confidence.

Upshifting and downshifting the gears between The Grom and Wave 125i are totally different. The Grom behaves like any sports or naked sports featuring a manual clutch lever while with the Wave 125i, a rider just need to step forward for upshifting thanks to its automatic clutchless transmission system. But it is not the same as having a quickshifter or Honda’s own DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) like Honda’s NC750X and Africa Twin 1000 as the jerking moment upon each downshift still occurs, as the Wave 125i is basically a Cub/Moped or as Malaysians would called it – a kapchai.


Using a manual clutch, the downshifting on The Grom is jerk-free thus enabling an experienced rider a much smoother transmission when riding fast approaching a corner particularly on twisty roads. The downside of having a manual clutch is one needs to downshift 3-step to engage Neutral when the bike is idle at traffic lights junction but the Wave 125i only need to step forward once (from 4th) to enter Neutral mode after stopping. This Honda patent was first introduced with the Fame 90 Cub of 1985, and has been featured in every kapchai model Honda has introduced to the local market ever since.

The Wave 125i has many Cub-based rivals in the competitive Malaysian kapchai segment but The Grom only has 1 – from Kawasaki’s Z125 Pro, which was developed to tap into the success enjoyed by the Honda MSX 125 globally. In terms of performance, features and handling, The Grom has a slight edge over the Z125 Pro – LED headlight, better suspension feeling (it’s Showa vs. KYB) and smooth, superbike-like engine/exhaust pipe grunt.


The Z125 Pro sounds very much like a kapchai despite having better features than any of the Moped particularly when it maxes out at full throttle unlike the smoother Grom.

The Wave 125i has one feature that comes in handy over The Grom – a storage compartment underneath the seat, which is a surprise to me as I have not anticipated that as this is a feature only a modern scooter would have, such as the Honda Air Blade or the Honda PCX 150. In fact, I had to double-checked that the Wave 125i is indeed a Cub and not a scooter due to this “discovery”. Since scooters also feature an automatic transmission, the Wave 125i is obviously a kapchai as it does not have a hand-operated rear brake lever on the left handlebar, and upshifting/downshifting of the gears are required despite the absence of a manual clutch lever.

Any limitation to both The Grom and the Wave 125i during my review rides of both?

A few but nothing much to gripe about, really. For The Grom, it is the top speed which come up a bit short than expected. Yes, 100km/hr is a lot to some people but I am expecting it to be able to achieve at a true 110km/hr, given the fact it has much better components than any kapchai, not to mention the selling price, which is more than double in some cases over a 110 or 125cc Cub bike.

For the Wave 125i, it’s the thinner profile for its front/rear default tyres where fast cornering can be a bit daunting. It probably won’t cause the Wave 125i to flip up or skidded while negotiating a bend at faster speeds but the rider could feel the rear’s tendency to slide a bit when doing that, which is due to the rear suspension being a little too soft for that kind of feat.

Last but not least, which bike would I choose between the Wave 1255i and The Grom? If it is for city riding and daily commuting, the former fits the description well. However, if one prefers to do both as well longer trips to another state or as far North to Penang or down south to Johor Baru or across the Causeway to Singapore, The Grom is the better choice as you are unlikely to experience rider fatigue or “fried butt” in the long ride process with it.


The photo above of The Grom was snapped using the Canon EOS 80D at Tanjung Sepat near morib in the state of Selangor Darul Ehsan.

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REVIEW RIDE: Honda RS150R Sports Cub

10 Jul

Four stroke technology in smaller engine capacity motorcycles continues to improve by leaps and bounds. This improvement is thanks in part to participation by the Japanese manufacturers like Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha in the annual MotoGP Championship series where 1,000cc prototypes are entered for competition.


What has MotoGP got to do with the R&D on the performance of such kapchai bikes?

Plenty. Chief among the improvements is the ability to make 4-stroke technology to be as agile and faster than the discarded 2-stroke version over the years after 4-stroke MotoGP prototype bikes were introduced in 2002 to take over the mantle from those 2-stroke-based, 500cc machines in the Championship.

Of course, those MotoGP prototype bikes are 1,000cc beasts, which are doubled the capacity of the 2-stroke 500cc. But that’s needed in order for a 4-stroke version to outperform a 2-stroke bike. However, conventional 4-stroke kapchais are mostly in the 100cc to 125cc range, almost the same for their 2-stroke counterparts.

So how does this translate into better and faster performance over their 2-stroke cousins?


The answer is both Yes and No.

Yes, in the sense the modern 4-stroke version is much faster and agile than those 2-stroke bikes produced during the 90s, and throughout first decade of the 21st Century as not much new development has gone into the latter as the world has more or less embraced the cleaner engine combustion, thanks in part to the compulsory emission control via Euro4 now enforced in Europe, as well as the United States where all kinds of 2-stroke bikes are simply non-legal on public roads.

No, in terms of – if R&D on 2-stroke technology is still ongoing strongly between the Japanese manufacturers, then the modern 4-stroke bikes would have a harder time in beating those speedy and lighter 2-strokers.

For the nearest comparison, it is safe to say all the latest 4-stroke kapchai would be able to outperform any outdated 2-stroke bikes that are still roadworthy in the present day.

Case-in-point would be my ageing Honda NSR150RR – a 2-stroke sportsbike against the latest Honda Cub/kapchai in the market – the Honda RS150R, a 150cc 4-stroke with a 6-speed transmission and bigger tyre profiles for front/rear than a conventional Cub. Oh, that 6-speed transmission is not automatic as a manual clutch lever is needed to operate the RS150R.



Where standard acceleration is concerned, the Honda RS150R is as fast as my NSR150RR. In fact, I came across a rider on the RS150R prior to doing this review, challenging me while I was on the NSR150RR. Of course, tried as much as he could, there was no way he could overtake my NSR150RR on the highway leading to Purtrajaya from Bandar Salak Tinggi located in southeastern area of Selangor. Nevertheless, that RS150R rider was very close behind. The higher top speed of my NSR150RR also prevented him from overtaking me as the RS150R’s top speed maxes out at 145km/hr (on speedometer) while my bike could hit 165km/hr (measured). Yes, it was the NSR’s top speed that prevented the RS150R from being ahead.

Had I came across that rider while negotiating S-curves on twisty old roads, there’s no doubt the RS150R would have outperformed the NSR150RR easily as old 2-strokers are somewhat slower in getting up to speed in such a condition as opposed to riding on wide-open highways.

Honda normally designated its 4-stroke street bikes with the R-code to denotes its racing heritage, such in the case used for its 1988 VFR750R aka the RC30, the RVF750R aka RC45, both of which are WorldSBK-championship winners during their era. The latest R-series street bike with racing heritage is the RC213V-S, a limited edition 1,000cc racer-replica of HRC’s Championship-winning RC213V MotoGP prototype which took Spaniard rider Marc Marquez to the titles in 2013, 2014 and 2016.


So with the 150cc kapchai being given an R-designation in the form of the Honda RS150R, you can rest assured of its intended racing heritage when the standard parts are replaced with race kits. Yes, the RS150R is designed to win the annual Cub Prix Championship in the 150cc category so where performance is concerned, it is definitely not a slouch.

What exactly the RS acronym stands for, I have absolutely no idea but my hunch is it could be for “Racing Standard 150 Racer” or “Racing Series 150 Racer”.

Also, HRC used to have the RS-designation on its line-up of production racer bikes of 125cc, 250cc and 500cc during the 90s era of the 2-stroke championship, each designated as RS125, RS250 and RS500 respectively.


The list of features is extensive, to say the least. Starting with the LCD panel aka as the Advanced Digital RPM meter displays info such as RPM, speed, gear engaged, fuel gauge, odometer and tripmeter in a clear and precise manner that is clearly visible for the rider. Its headlight is LED-based, which gives a brighter illumination at night as compared to tungsten bulbs used by many kapchais in the market. Even the taillight is LED and designed to be stylish while still providing a bright backlight that gives better visibility to other motorists during daytime and night.


Engine-wise, the RS150R is equipped with a 6-speed DOHC 150cc single cylinder engine equipped with a liquid cooled system. The exhaust pipe is made from the same material that is used for the company’s recently-introduced CBR250RR sportsbike built in Indonesia but is yet to be marketed elsewhere other than domestic Japan.

I managed to achieve a top speed above 140km/hr based on the LCD panel readout with the RS150R. And unlike its siblings of kapchai in Honda’s line-up, the RS150R comes with tubeless, high performance tyres, with the rear featuring a 120/70 of 17-inch size, which is the same specification as the front type used in most bikes with engine capacity of 600cc and above.

Despite loaded with mouth-watering features, the RS150R has one limitation. Given the actual engine capacity of 149.16cc, the bike only has a fuel tank load of 4.5-litre, which is less than the MSX 125cc that holds up to 5.7-litre, and enough to last a mileage of more than 200km as opposed to the RS150R, which gets you to nearly 180km mileage per full tank, given its higher capacity and power.


The 20km+ difference will be felt more when you realize the nearest petrol station is 15km away but your bike only has enough to last another 10km or less. This doesn’t make the RS50R a petrol-guzzling beast, it is just the tank capacity is a little on the smaller size given it’s a vast list of features and performance to complement them. To be fair, as long as you are riding the RS150R within the city or from a small town to the next, it shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you are planning a long haul trip, you will face more stops for refueling at those towns along the routes particularly when riding at speeds above 120km/hr.

Overall impression of the RS150R is – it’s the best motorcycle available right now especially if you are looking for a compact, lightweight and easy-to-ride model below 200cc, with power and acceleration factors that are more agile and better than the dozens of kapchais out there.


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Honda EX5 Dream Fi – The Joy of 30 Years

08 Jun

The Honda EX5 100 was first introduced in the Malaysian market way back in 1987. Powered by a 97cc 4-stroke, 4-speed engine, the EX5 became the country’s best selling motorcycle, having sold more than 2 million units since its debut 30 years ago.

In conjunction with the memorable celebration, Boon Siew Honda has introduced an additional type of Honda EX5 Dream Fi featuring cast wheel rims, tubeless tyre, chrome rear grip and special emblem logo design to the existing line-up.

EX5 30 Years


Recommended showroom price (GST included) for the New Honda EX5 Dream Fi starts from RM 4,906.74 (Kick Starter, Spoke Wheel), RM 5,150.54 (Self Starter, Spoke Wheel) and RM 5,404.94 (Self Starter, Cast Wheel) available in three color options of Marianna Purple Metallic, Candy Scintillate Red, Pearl Nightfall Blue and additional cast wheel type in Pearl Magellanic Black, as shown below.

EX5_Mariana Purple Metallic

EX5_Pearl Nightfall Blue

EX5_Candy Scintillate Red

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FIRST RIDE IMPRESSION – Kawasaki Z900 Special Edition

08 Jun


If anyone asked me of what do I think of the recently-discontinued Z800 motorcycle by Kawasaki, my response has always been: “It’s a great bike, smooth acceleration, and smooth exhaust note, sounding more like a Honda than any Kawasaki I have rode previously. But it is heavy when it comes to a stop, or trying to navigate your way out of a rush hour traffic congestion”.

And the above response of mine hasn’t change for the past 4 years since the Z800 was introduced to the Malaysian market by Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (KMSB).

One thing that I have come to understand with most Japanese-made products is: Whenever the first of its kind, whether revolutionary or evolutionary is introduced to the global market, it has some shortcomings-on-purpose, which gives owners as well as potential buyers an excuse/reason to upgrade to the successor model.


The same notion applies to the Kawasaki Z800 especially when one takes into consideration of Kawasaki’s racing heritage over the past few decades, which included bragging rights courtesy of the numerous world championship titles it had won from several classes.

The constantly nagging question for the Z800 all these 4 years is/was: “Why in the world did Kawasaki made a naked sportsbike that have great specifications but also a lot of unnecessary fats (weight) to go along with it?”

The successor to it (if any) should be lighter, more compact and faster with improved horsepower, as the predictions go. Well, for the record, that’s just what Kawasaki did.

Say Hello to the new and improved successor – Z900. Definitely lighter. And faster.

The magic words in the official press release by Kawasaki after the new Z900 was unveiled at the 2017 EICMA Show held at Milan in Italy, were “lighter by some 20 kg over the Z800” – these by themselves, were music to my ears and sights to behold to my eyes, from the official photos released during that annual showcase for motorcycles. Somehow or some way, what I had read from that press release gave me enough reasons to believe it 95% as the truth, with the remaining 5% will be based on my own experience once I get the opportunity to sample a unit here in Malaysia.


Well, that day of reckoning came and went. On April 19 & 20 to be exact, as part of KMSB’s official media test ride for the Z900 as well as the Versys X-250. The invited media were split into 4 different groups of A, B, C and D, with Group A n B on the 19th and Group C and D on the 20th. I was selected for the 20th on Group C. And the first ride of the day in the morning was with the Z900 while Group D was allocated the Versys X-250.

After the compulsory media presentation of the 2 new bikes and safety briefing by the accompanying marshals/traffic police, we were on our way to be flag-off for the ride. The moment I started the engine of the Z900 SE variant, the super smooth exhaust note it unleashes more or less confirmed my hunch the bike is definitely better than its predecessor.

For the first 1/3 of the test ride, I had the Z900 SE mostly on 6th gear – the engine, while super smooth, doesn’t feel weak even when riding at 80-90km/hr, and it could go faster than that just by a mere twist of the throttle without having to reverse the gears a notch or two. In fact, there’s no need to reverse the gear into 2nd or 3rd until the entourage came into a mild congestion area where there were just too many vehicles unsure of when to give way to us, prompting the need to go for lower gears as we went from the usual 80-90km/hr down to 20-30 speeds, and you can’t do that without the bike stuttering or jerking on 6th gear!

Default tyres on the Z900 SE are the same Dunlop Sportmax D214T as fitted to the Z800 and the recently-introduced Z650 and Ninja 650 models. However, initial feeling with the rubber was sluggish, which could be due to them haven’t got up to working temperature or the extra weight of the Z900 SE over the 650 duo had made the former less grippy on slippery tarmac. Couldn’t verify which is which then.

As the convoy ride rules go, the entourage would follow the speed limit set by the lead marshal or traffic police, and the only place where we were allowed to unleash the Z900’s full power would be after entering Latar Highway towards Rawang and back to our base at Templar’s Park Golf Resort. In other words, we were merely cruising with the Z900 for ¾ of the routes.


That isn’t an issue for me as most of the time I would be merely cruising around within medium speeds with any new motorcycle I am reviewing, and there’s no need for a top speed adventure once I reached that threshold if/when the opportunity comes along. Averaging between 127km and 137km/hr once we entered the 2/4-segment of the routes where I could feel that the Z900 SE did live up to what Kawasaki itself has assured potential customers from the initial press release in Milan, Italy.

I am very familiar with the entire route used for the Z900 media test ride. In fact, I was planning to retain whatever speed we were doing on the long straights and using it to navigate the fast corners approaching during the 2/4-stage but that idea was dashed as one member of the entourage got carried away, powered past me and several others to put himself just behind the leading marshals and went from the left side to the right side (which was the path I was in), then realized he couldn’t make the corner at that speed, did a hard braking and I had to follow suit.

That quick reaction on my part prompted the ABS-equipped front brakes to do its work perfectly synched without the Z900 SE wobbling nor attempting to sliding the rear wheel which could cause skidding. And I did that with just the double front brakes, not even applying the rear type. After that, I maintained the 130km+ cruising pace until we reached Pantai Remis beach front for the compulsory group photo session.

Resuming the group ride after the Pantai Remis stopover, it was cruising mode all the way till the entrance of the Latar Highway, the segment where we were allowed to unleash the might of the Z900 Standard and SE variants. Being a naked sportsbike, there’s always the curiosity of the Z900 being able to go faster than 200km/hr as it has no protection against the wind pressure at higher speed. As I was riding the SE variant throughout the entire route, I found it has no issue in dealing with the extreme wind pressure as the bike goes faster than the cruising speed we had been doing earlier.

Whether the Z900 Standard variant is able to counter the added wind pressure remains to be seen as I had no time to sample it on the same ride. But will do a separate ride of it another day. Stay tuned for the update.

How fast did I manage to clock on the SE variant the moment we were allowed to go faster on Latar Highway?

This I am not able to verify as I was concentrating on ensuring there’s stability, vibration (if any) as the Z900 SE easily went from 139km/hr on 6th all the way to beyond 200+km. All I could recalled are two things:

  1. As the Z900 SE picks up speed, everything else became a blur including the surrounding
  2. The rearview mirrors images didn’t suffer any vibration as I could see some of the riders attempted to keep up from behind

The others later informed me that they did between 221km/hr and 230km/hr and still couldn’t keep up with the Z900 SE unit I was riding. That means I was on a faster level than the rest of the entourage put together. All I recalled was the leading marshal ahead of the entourage who was the “distant guideline to judge how fast we could ride on Latar” becoming nearer and larger for as long as I held the throttle open even though there’s still a bit more room to go even faster. Eventually I closed the throttle and resumed cruising mode the moment the lead marshal did the same.


As mentioned earlier, the Z900 SE was stable and smooth all the way despite doing 200+km/hr. While it became lighter as the speed increased, there’s no feeling of the bike being swept aside or the steering geometry turning wobbly due to the extreme wind pressure.

With the full throttle experience accomplished, we had reached the completion of the test ride, and headed back to the Golf Resort upon exiting Latar Highway. I must say the Z900 test ride was much more enjoyable than the what I had experienced with the Z650 model. In fact, the Z900 ride was done within 2 weeks from the Z650/Ninja 650 test event, and I even rode the Z650 collected from KMSB a day earlier for my individual review to the Golf Resort for that Z900 event.

VERDICT: This First Impression Ride was all done on the Z900 SE. Whether there’s any difference in overall performance between the Z900 Standard vs. the SE variant remains to be seen. That will be on another review ride for the near future. The new Z900 is way better than the Z800 in all aspects. Well done, Kawasaki.

Stay tuned for further review rides on both the Z900 Standard and SE variants.

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Posted in Motorcycling


FIRST RIDE IMPRESSION – Kawasaki Versys X-250

08 Jun



Customary Group Photo of the Versys X-250 Media Test Ride

It has been a long time since I ride a dual purpose motorcycle – those that could go off-road as well as conventional tarmac duty. So when the opportunity came to ride Kawasaki’s latest Versys X-250 courtesy of Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (KMSB), there’s no way to decline that invitation.

The Versys X-250 is basically a touring bike, not an adventure type. But it can be utilized for the occasional off-road adventure, as long as the trails are not too extreme. Anything extreme, the rider would have to switch the default tyres on the bike to a proper dual-purpose variant, or else risk dropping the Versys X-250 to the ground or worse, get stuck in the mud and couldn’t go any further deep inside the off-road trails.

The Versys X-250 official media test ride is just one of two motorcycles KMSB have prepared for us, the other bike being the new Z900, in its standard and Special Edition (SE) variant. You can read about the Z900’s First Ride impression here:

My turn for trying the Versys X-250 is set for the afternoon session, with chances of rain being very likely. And it was. The morning session was with the new Z900 where the weather was filled with blue sky and sunshine. In fact, the first hour of the Versys test ride, we managed to avoid the rain as we were moving away from the dark clouds to another district where the weather won’t affect us for another 90 minutes or so.


The first hour was spent on getting to know the Versys better via its acceleration, handling and top speed, which were conducted at Latar highway from our flag-off point in Templar’s Park Golf Resort. Acceleration-wise, it’s a surprise to find the Versys X-250 to be somewhat reluctant to move forward upon the release of the clutch, as compared to its siblings, the Ninja 250/Z250, of which the trio share the same engine configuration – a 249cc parallel twin but with different tuning.

After getting used to the slower-than-expected acceleration, the Versys doesn’t feel like a slouch after all. In fact, at Latar, I was able to eke out a top speed of 163km/hr on the straights while remaining upright. Other media members in my entourage told me they managed to reach 168km/hr crouching behind the windshield (seriously???). Oh well. The next half hour was cruising to the off-road trail segment which was held in an existing oil palm estate popular with regular off-road bikers. It began to drizzle while we were halfway to our off-road destination.

Thankfully, the rain had stopped not long after we reached the entrance to the off-road trail segment but the “damage” had already begun – the dry trail had become muddy, and it would be exciting to see if the Versys X-250 could take our entourage out of the estate with ease. That wasn’t to be.


Personally, I don’t have a lot of off-road riding experience but I do know that “you don’t use the clutch often” in this kind of environment. Many riders regularly fried their bikes’ clutch as they used it too often when faced with uneven surface inside the trail road. The trick to ride such a segment with ease lies with engaging the bike in low-gear, either 2nd or 3rd and just open/close the throttle as when it seems fit, with the engine braking of the Versys X-250 taking care of any braking moment. Technically-speaking, do not use both the clutch and brakes regularly, just let the bike goes as it is while you control the throttle timing.

Before long, just was the case during the initial stage of the Z650/Ninja 650 First Impression Media Test Ride, I found myself pulling away from the rest of the entourage, while keeping the lead pacer/off-road expert in my sight. We had to stop briefly a couple of times inside the trail to wait for the rest to catch up. I was surprised to see the Versys X-250 could be so fast and efficient in keeping up with the lead pacer, who rode an actual moto-cross bike in leading us thru the estate.


I wasn’t sure if he was surprised to see me being the only rider able to keep up with him inside the estate as I got the visor in my full face helmet fogged slightly. The lazy side of me as a rider prefers to manage the Versys X-250 in that kind of situation while sitting comfortably in the seat but as the pacer regularly stands up on the foot-pegs of his moto-cross bike while negotiating the corners, I had to do the same although I don’t see any advantage to be gained from that as we weren’t exactly doing superfast riding.

Suspension-wise, I could feel some of the uneven surface hard from the front end but the rear absorber did its job very well as it wasn’t bumpy at all when sitting on the bike instead of standing on the foot-pegs.

VersysX_8Approximately 2/3 of our entourage found the “excitement” too daunting as the muddy sections proved to be a hassle, and dropped their Versys in the attempt to ride up a muddy stretch. I couldn’t clear the same segment either, as the rear wheel was unable to grip and the bike slipped and went sideway on me. But it didn’t hit the ground as I was able to prevent it from doing so due to my height. I gently put the Versys down, moved out from the bike’s position, and with the help of an off-road marshal, got the bike upright again and cleared the segment. The remaining 1/3 was smarter, they pushed their Versys up that muddy stretch instead of riding up, which spared them the hassle of experiencing a drop.

All the Versys X-250 used in that entourage had entered the trail segment nice and clean, albeit with water droplets all over them thanks to the earlier drizzle. But all of us emerged from the off-road estate with the bikes mostly covered in mud!

On the way back to the Resort, it’s highway all the way in a damp tarmac but the Versys X-250 did it all the way back to base without sliding nor skidding even when some heavy braking was involved due to temperamental motorists that refused to give way to our entourage despite being signaled by the escorting traffic police to do so.

Due to the excitement encountered in the off-road segment, KMSB officials told us each group doing the Versys X-250 ride concluded their respective round much later than those doing the Z900 ride. The rides were conducted over 2 days, with 2 separate groups per day. One group did the Z900, with the other doing the Versys X-250, and switched over for the afternoon session for the 2-day event.


VERDICT: An affordable ad lightweight touring motorcycle that can be considered for a lot of riders planning to get one but do not have the budget for a higher capacity type like the Versys 650 or rival makes in same class. Also great for bikers not possessing a Full B license as only a B2-type is needed to ride one.


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REVIEW: Kawasaki Z650 and Ninja 650 Motorcycles

08 Jun



Up till Year 2010, if one asks any rider riding a bigger capacity motorcycle in Malaysia as to which is the first machine they started with after upgrading from a kapchai and sports model up to 250cc, and the answer is most likely be Kawasaki’s ER-6N. The ER-6N, with its parallel twin 649cc engine, was the most affordable big bike Malaysians could afford, at a time when fully imported CBU units from USA, Europe and Japan cost more than a Proton 1.3 or 1.5 sedan car.




Priced just above RM25,000 when it was first available in Malaysia, the ER-6N proved to be reliable, and was excellent as a daily commuting motorcycle. It was soon joined by its sports sibling, the ER-6F, which featured the same engine configuration, chassis, brakes and suspension but with a full-fairing design to differentiate it from the ER-6N, which was a naked sportsbike.

Together, both of them ruled the entry-level of bigger capacity motorcycles in the Malaysian market up till late 2011 when rival models like the Benelli TNT600 (2012) and Honda’s CB500-series (2013) enter the segment with competitive pricings. The ER-6N underwent a few revisions to make it viable against the competitions, and a 3-year warranty with unlimited mileage, coupled with the adoption of better grade tyres, were offered by Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (KMSB) for Year 2015-16.



For 2017, both the ER-6N and ER-6F have made way for their respective successors, the Z650 and Ninja 650 in Kawasaki’s line-up globally. Featuring a similar 649cc parallel twin engine but revised internal parts and retuned for better midrange and fuel economy as well as a new chassis, revised swingarm and rear absorber, the new Z650 and Ninja 650 have upped the ante for entry-level motorcycles above 500cc.

Depending on who one asks, the older ER-6N is said to have certain limitations, one of them happens to be the handling when navigating tight, twisty roads as the power delivery is deemed too brutal, making it less agile in that kind of situation. Personally, I do not have that kind of feeling when reviewing the ER-6N and the ER-6F a few years ago.

Granted, the ER-series has no electronic aids whatsoever, other than sensors predicting remaining fuel, average consumption and engine diagnosis (when send for servicing), with the comparison often made against naked bikes of rival makes that come with full ride-by-wire aids, such as power modes, traction control, launch control, engine braking and ABS.


Call me old school, where riders of my generation relying on RHTC (Right Hand Throttle Control) than electronic aids to get the maximum out of any motorcycle with ease. There’s no doubt any big capacity motorcycle employing electronic aids is much easier to ride than a model that has none but lacking them won’t make a difference among experienced riders.

User-friendliness with smoother power delivery are what set the new Z650 and Ninja 650 apart from their respective successors. These are made possible by Kawasaki without employing the electronic aids mentioned other than ABS for the brakes!

First of all, both the Z650 and Ninja 650 are lighter than their predecessors, made possible with the use of steel trellis chassis instead of the usual twin-beam type, and better fuel economy via the improved performance from the redesigned parallel twin engine has resulted in a smaller fuel tank of 15-litre capacity from the 16-litre available on the older models, contributing to the weight saving.


The first reaction when a rider sits on either the Z650 or Ninja 650, is the feeling of how light it is. It is like handling a Ninja 250cc or Z250 but with the extra power available thanks to the 649cc powerplant. In fact, the lightweight and compactness of the Z650 and Ninja 650 made it easy for me to navigate a tight corner than a GTR 1400.

During the official media ride organized by KMSB, there was a segment in the routes where the speed limit was just 90km/hr, and I had inadvertently made that tight corner at the same 90km/hr cruising speed while the accompanying marshals and police escorts on their GTR 1400s had to back off, making it look as though I was speeding and overtaken them in the process as I had gone from being behind them to be in front upon completion of that particular bend.

That bend isn’t something new as I had done even faster speeds with it when reviewing other makes but as far as 3rd-party reaction is concerned, I cleared that segment without slowing down. But the Ninja 650 is just so easy to ride that negotiating a corner with it is never a hassle for me. The motorcycling media switched between the Z650 and Ninja 650 during that official test ride, and it was with the latter when the 90km cornering took place.


As usual, an official convoy ride for the media is just a First Ride impression, and the real review of how great a new bike is (or is it overhyped?) could only be known during an individual review ride when the media collected the bikes several days later from KMSB specifically for that purpose.

First off, as mentioned earlier, both the new Z650 and Ninja 650 have unbelievable fuel economy, compared to their predecessors – during my time with the older models, a maximum mileage of 330km (cruising mode) was what I could eke out of them despite both featured a 16-litre tank capacity. The new models, to my surprise, could reach almost 350km (cruising) while featuring a 15-litre tank capacity!


Both bikes, together with the new Versys X-250 and Z900 models, are part of what Kawasaki has grouped them under the “Refined Raw” tagline – providing smoother power delivery, fuel economy, superb acceleration (in their respective class), agility and handling. To top it off, all four models now feature a gear indicator built-in to the digital tachometer, something one normally does not get with previous locally-assembled models or those imported CKDs from Thailand. However, it’s available as an optional accessory for the revised Kawasaki Versys 650 of 2015-17 models.

Both the Z650 and Ninja 650 come fitted with a higher grade default tyre from Dunlop – Sportmax D214T as opposed to the usual Sportmax D222 used on their predecessors. The new tyres are the same fitted on the discontinued Z800 and the latest Z900 naked sportsbikes. Technically, the D214T variant is a dry/wet hybrid offering great grips on the wet and dry. However, being a hybrid tyre, don’t expect it to be as great in extreme cornering ability similar to the rubbers designed for track and sport usage when riding either 650cc bike when the tarmac is dry.


The gripping performance is similar to an intermediate tyre when used in the dry – it grips really well for as long as the rider doesn’t go above the limits to what it is capable of. This includes cornering at speeds above 125km/hr without a worry. With the numerous improvements Kawasaki has put into the new Z650 and Ninja 650, a capable default tyre is essential to help complement the bikes’ handling too. One can imagine the hassle if the tyres and bike do not complement one another when riding. Potential buyers of both models can rest assured there’s no need to switch to other compounds until they have wear out both front/rear set.

Between the Z650 and the Ninja 650, which is the better bike?

This is subjected to rider and individual preference. Both bikes, although the same basically in specifications, their performances do differ. As a naked sportsbike, the Z650 is great for city riding and traveling from one town to the next one, provided the distance is not more than 100km away.

In theory, the naked Z650 should handle traffic congestion in the city much better than the Ninja 650. However, in my review ride, the latter is instead, the better of the two, which is not a surprise to me. The ease that the Ninja 650 slices thru the congestion is remarkable as both the front rearview mirrors are much lower than most cars’ side-mirrors, making it nearly impossible to come into contact with any, unless the idling car happens to be a Perodua Kancil or Kelisa variant.

NINJA-650_9The Z650, as a naked, features a wider, and higher level of handlebars, thus elevating the front rearview mirrors to be on similar height as most cars’ side-mirrors. So in cases of extreme congestion, the Z650 will be unable to lane-filter thru the rush hour crawl but the Ninja would have no issue doing that, and doing it even better than most kapchai riders.

However, to switch lanes during a tight congestion, the Z650 does a better job than the Ninja as the lack of a full-fairing means it could navigate in-between the idling cars as the latter’s fairing would prevented maximum steering movement for that kind of situation.

Speaking of steering angle, both models could do a 1-pointer U-turn within the width of a single road lane unlike the competitions particularly those from the Continental brands, which needed a 3-lane equivalent or several pointers just to make the turn. But I stopped short of subjecting both bikes to cross over the overhead pedestrian bridges for kapchais which can be found in several districts in the state of Selangor.

I have the utmost confidence that the Z650 (but not the Ninja) could get to the other side of the road via the said overhead bridge with ease, but in reality, there won’t be a lot of owners who will try it so it is not necessary to prove it could.

The front suspension and rear absorbers are by KYB. While the forks remain non-adjustable like their predecessors, the rear shock absorber is, with 5 levels. The rear absorber is n longer positioned sideway, it is now placed centrally, providing a much better feeling with the connection of the tyres between tarmac and bike.

Acceleration is the biggest difference in riding a bigger capacity motorcycle – it is the main reason why it is fun and exciting to enjoy riding a 2-wheel petrol-operated vehicle. Outright top speed is reserved for the race track, there’s no way a rider could enjoy riding a motorcycle at or near the top speed on public roads. Of course, there’s the tolled highway but that’s just risking safety and higher chances of being summoned for speeding (but that’s another story altogether).

Both the Z650 and Ninja 650 have the standard acceleration that is useful to power out of tight situations; places that even a kapchai could but the former duo could do it faster and better thanks to the extra “oomph” in their acceleration. And cruising either bike between 105km and 120km/hr is much better than any bike with engine capacity below 200cc. An average kapchai at these speeds would have its engine feel like it is about to self-destruct anytime but the Z650/Ninja 6550 is only utilizing 2/3 of their power in a similar situation.

Between a kapchai and the 650 duo to be used as a daily commuting machine, the latter would be the ideal choice as the overall fatigue will be less or none if the rider commutes to work daily in KL/PJ from places as far as Bentong, Rawang, Klang, Nilai, Seremban and Kuala Pilah.


UPDATED: The price difference between the Z650 and the Ninja 650 is more than just the latter having a full fairing parts and sporty handlebars. The Ninja 650 is much more comfortable in long distance riding/cruising than the naked Z650 – after 70 minutes of continuous riding on the saddle, I had to take a 10-15 minutes break in-between when riding the Z650 while with the Ninja 650, the feeling is comfortable all the way till the 2-hour mark before any butt-fatigue is being felt.

Also, the Ninja 650, being a sports bike as opposed to the naked Z650, the wind protection aerodynamics courtesy of its full-fairing design, allows it to go from cruising at 137km/hr in 6th gear to 178km/hr within 6 seconds! The Z650 seems to struggle in similar capacity as it takes even longer to reach 170km/hr, like 16 seconds or more!

The fairing inclusion also made the Ninja 650 to attain a top speed of 209km/hr with a rider of my height and size, sitting upright. However, with the Z650, I struggled to reach 180km/hr as the wind pressure is just too strong when sitting upright. While I was told by other media reviewers that the Z650 is capable of attaining a top speed of above 190km, getting closer to 180km was the fastest I did with it, and I am not a rider that prefers to crouch behind the handlebars in order to increase the last few available kilometres out of any reviewed motorcycle.

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Bridgestone Malaysia Introduces New Ecopia EP300-series of Tyres

08 Jun

ECOPIA-EP300-1With over 20 years of experience in developing state of the art technologies and technical know-how to design high performing eco oriented products, Bridgestone is proud to unveil the new Passenger Radial ECOPIA EP300 Tyre. EP300 is positioned as next generation ecotyre that offers low rolling resistance and superior wet grip performance while delivering an extended wear life. Through the innovative design concept and engineering solutions adopted, EP300 revolutionizes and redefines the concept of an eco-tyre by bringing it to the next level as embodied in its tagline “When You Want It All”. Demanding Drivers that “Want it all” have now available in the market a product that will fully meet their expectations.

Inherent in the ECOPIA family, EP300 is tested and proven to achieve significant fuel savings of up to 2 liters1 every full tank compared with conventional tyres. In tests comparing EP300 to previous ECOPIA generation2 , the results demonstrate that the new technologies and design concept adopted for EP300 help to achieve an improved fuel savings, while offering drivers additional travelling distance of up to 11.2 km3 per tank and a superior wet grip performance for a safer drive.

“Most drivers desire a way to achieve better fuel efficiency that translates into fuel savings. However, despite how careful drivers can be on the accelerator, if a vehicle is not equipped with the optimum eco-tyres, achieving good fuel efficiency and economy will be a challenge,” commented Tai Kawasaki, Managing Director of Bridgestone Asia Pacific Technical Center. “With the new ECOPIA EP300, we aim to bring drivers the best possible return from their vehicles while allowing them to do their part for the environment, as lower rolling resistance brings reduced CO2 emissions.”


Fuel Efficiency  EP300’s low rolling resistance brings fuel efficiency to the next level. This contributes to daily fuel savings and less CO2 emissions, reducing the vehicle’s environmental footprint.  Compared to previous ECOPIA generation, EP300 offers even further savings by traveling up to an additional up to 11.2 km per full tank.


Superior Wet Grip  EP300 features enhanced NanoPro-TechTM with a new polymer that provides enhanced wet grip due to an increased contact area that grips wet road surfaces with higher frictional force at the micro-level.  In addition, the new tread pattern contributes to anti-hydroplaning performance, better handling and reduced noise.

Long Lasting  Deeper lug depth on the tyre shoulder is designed to strengthen durability and increase wear resistance. EP300 features new tread design to better control tyre deformation and provide long lasting tyre life through a uniform wear pattern.

Sizes Available  ECOPIA EP300 is available in 13 different sizes and will be available progressively in Asia Pacific markets soon.


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Honda CBR250R now available in 2017 colours for Malaysia

17 May


Boon Siew Honda has just announced the availability of the CBR250R in 2017 colours – Millennium Red, Lemon Ice Yellow and Black. They will be available for purchase from authorized Honda motorcycle dealers nationwide from May 18, 2017.



Featuring the same DOHC 4-valve engine of previous editions, the Honda CBR250R comes with a maximum power of 27hp (20.2kW) @ 8,500rpm, 23.3Nm @ 7,500rpm to give riders ample revving power. It won’t be a flying speed machine for sure but it still has the “oomph” factor  needed to overtake slow traffic in the city and the suburbs. The muffler design remains unchanged and still emits the usual super smooth exhaust note.

The recommended showroom price starts from RM 21,940.94 (Black) to RM 22,258.94 (Millennium Red, Lemon Ice Yellow) with GST included but exclusive of road tax, insurance and registration. The model also comes with a two year or 20,000km manufacturing warranty (whichever comes first).



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Canon Announces EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM Lens

06 Apr

Compact and lightweight, the new Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM, announced today by Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is the widest-angle Macro offering in Canon’s popular EF-S lens series. The new lens is designed to help both entry-level and advanced amateur DSLR photographers discover the incredible possibilities of macro photography. Capable of capturing close-up subjects with incredible detail, Canon’s new EF-S macro lens is also the first in the series to feature built-in Macro Lites that allow users to control lighting with ease.

“Macro lenses are an amazing way to explore the worlds that exist all around us, and the new Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM lens is the ideal starting point for amateur photographers eager to capture incredible, up-close details on the go,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “Whether capturing a delectable dessert or the subtleties of a backyard flower, users will be challenged to find new colors and shapes that turn everyday moments into art.”


The new Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM captures stunning images and is a terrific companion lens for entry-level users eager to expand beyond their existing Canon EOS DSLR kit lens. Capable of shooting as close as 30mm from the end of the lens to the subject, aspiring photographers can get up close to a fruit or flower for an entirely new perspective, while capturing high-quality images with beautiful background blur. Additional technologies built into the new Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM lens include:

  • Popular 35mm focal length (56mm equivalent) and wide f/2.8 aperture
  • Hybrid IS system offers up to four stops* of shake correction
  • Smooth Movie Servo AF with Lead Screw-type STM ensures quiet AF operation
  • Full-time Manual Focus

In a first for the EF-S lens series, the new Canon EF-S 35mm lens sports built-in Macro Lites that allow photographers to carefully arrange macro lighting without using special equipment. With built-in LED lights on each side of the lens, users can create compelling shadows on either side of a subject or adjust intensity to give images a sense of dimension. Once the scene is set, the lens uses superb rendering performance to capture high contrast, sharp images.

While specialized for high magnification photography, the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM is still a versatile option for day-to-day use, easily capable of capturing portraits, landscapes or snapshots. As the latest addition to the lineup of EF-S lenses, Canon continues its commitment to providing a wide-range of affordable lens options for photographers of all levels.

The Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM lens is scheduled to be available in June 2017 for an estimated retail price of US$349.99.


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Posted in New Products