Saturday, 30 November 2013

Brake Fluid Maintenance

Changing your motorcycle brake fluid sometimes can be a pain in the ass for some people but with proper tools, it is very easy to be completed. The method I am going to show apply to non ABS and ABS model with ABS model consume slightly more brake fluid because of the system volume. 

Many may just ask, why should I change my brake fluid, well, many times brake fluid maintenance can be the most easily ignore maintenance task for many riders. Brake fluid have to pick up the heat transfer from the brake calipers and eventually it will deteriorate just like any other engine oil or lubricant. Make no mistake, brake fluid is not a kind of 'oil' even it does hold the oil composition in it, it is more like a chemical which is blend to provide force while withstand the heat at a degree. Remember to use the recommended brake fluid grade from your manufacturer else you just gonna burn money on the brake system again. There are DOT 3, 4, 5 and 5.1 brake fluid available, using a DOT 3 on a DOT 5 system will just result in blowing out your brake fluid. The higher the number means the higher the wet(with moisture absorbed into the fluid) and dry(0% water content which is impossible to obtain under normal operating condition) boiling point it can withstand. As a result, check before apply always the important thing before you start.

Below is the method i use to 'reverse' replace the brake fluid from the reservoir, machine used is Kawasaki ER6n

Tools you needed

a)A syringe (as big as you can)
b)A tube (match the syringe end)
c)Brake fluid
 d)Spanner which match the bleeder nut


1)Remove your master pump reservoir cap.

2)Plug in the tube to the caliper bleeder valve and loosen it with your spanner.

3)Started to 'suck' it out from the reservoir through the  bleeder valve. Remember to stop once you reach the level which touches the hole of the master pump(to prevent sucking in air).

4)Tighten the bleeder nut and started to suck the remaining old brake fluid from the reservoir with cloth or paper, clean it. 

5)Top it up with new brake fluid and loosen back the bleeder valve, suck the new brake fluid to flush the system as step 3. Top it up again and normally you will just take 1-2 cycle to flush the system. 

6)When finish, tighten the bleeder nut and top up the reservoir according to manufacturer recommendation (remember not to fill it too high up as the diaphragm will not have enough air to create enough pressure on the reservoir), move to the next caliper or proceed to step 7.

7)Before installing back the reservoir cover, remember to pump your reservoir several times to make sure no air is trap inside the brake line. Install the reservoir cover.

Enjoy your fresh Lemon Tea, do not dispose brake fluid irresponsibly to the environment, it is highly corrosive!!! 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Red Devil

MV Agusta has always been a hot rod in the exotic bike market for centuries; even the all mighty Ducati in some way cannot match. I been riding a MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR for about a week and pretty much understand the concept of what MV has to delivered. Never ridden any of their sport models, either the F3 or F4, it has been a challenge for me to figure out what will I be encountering on these beast. Italian machine has always been an untamed animal for me especially for those V twin beasts. Unlike Japanese machines which always the trademark for smoothness and easy to use, use it everyday concept, it can be a little too boring for some.

Looking in to MV F4 model, since 2005 they had changed their F4 into 1000cc from the previous 749cc range. It has been some problems which impact the riding experience for the last one and two years model, even though it can be very fast on the road, but with an experience on a BMW HP4 before, I belief that the comparison between the two in some aspect will be reliable and trusty. The new F4RR model which I received is the upgrade version from the last year model, upgraded ECU unit, electronic control Ohlin suspension; steering dampers and also monobloc Brembo front brake calipers. Not much upgrade from the R version but these are more than enough to make it into a fearful one, it is hard to make something already good better.

The engine is a 998cc 4 inline DOHC with radial valve configurations, power rating is 195bhp at 13,600 rpm. The new FeRR has a lighter crankshaft, forged titanium connecting rods, revised cylinder head porting and the valves use a single spring instead of two. All are aim to make the engine more rigid and respond more lively, it is indeed very light and agile to be rev along. Compare with previous model, the F4RR receive a better fueling system and even at a lower rev, the engine still running smooth and if to rev it high, power output does  not change abruptly, unlike the F4R, the riding experience is basically ruined by the engine behavior. The quick shifter acts like charm and make spiritual riding even more excited, including the electronic braking, climbing up and down Genting Highland is as effortless as I was on the HP4. Engine throttle respond plays a huge role in maintaining perfect control on the bikes especially on twisty. There are traction controls modes for selection and this come in handy when in slippery condition. While the vibration is quite high compare with others German or Japanese 4 in lines especially at a lower gearing. The engine midrange performance is impressive, low speed commuting is just nice and very minimum throttle adjustment is needed, the tremendous torque at low rev range is so high which make starting in 2nd gear and immediately shift to 4th gear while accelerating happens just a click of an eye. To summarized how the engines compare with its own brother the Brutale 1090RR, the F4RR engine is far more civilized, controllable and forgiving but if it is to compare with the BMW HP4, it can be a little lack here and there and resulted as a more raw, crude machine overall; just not to forget that Italian always make something spicier then plain; in another words, perfection can means no character. If it is to state out the differences between F4RR and HP4, the F4RR is more like a bike which delivers more ‘mechanical feel and vibration’ while the later one is so smooth as you are slicing across butter.

F4RR feel nimble at the corners, totally planted suspension combine with the magnificent Pirelli tires, I just whack across all the corners confidently. The Ohlins suspension does a very good job in keeping this machine stick to the road at any speed and road condition. Basically speaking, it is just another fool proof bike after the HP4, even a fresher able to handle them well thanks to its advance electronic and weight distribution, however the narrow bar and awkward sitting position can make it what I refer as a ’15 minutes’ bike. Steering in and out is precise and swift, braking makes effortless on the monobloc Brembo brake calipers. Good suspension and brakes is the shining point of F4RR, it makes the good handling F4R even more breathe taking. The 191KG weight is somehow a little heavy on this bike because of its slightly higher center of gravity. One of the very good feature is the auto adjust suspension setting, the suspension able to adjust to different mode of riding style, without have to physically set the suspension setting and this apply to the steering damper as well. The styling of F4RR is typical MV Agusta, it is very hard to resist this exotic machine, what I can think of is never bring an MV Agusta to the track but street, it is made to be admired and catwalk in the public, it means everything in fashion.
As a conclusion, this piece of ultimate machine may not be the most comfort or user friendly bike to be ridden day to day but it has the magic for you to take it out for a spin by any of the crappy reason that you can find. It happens to me as I had my wrist aching after half an hour on the bike but the next 3 hours I was wondering around at Genting Highland and having my cup of coffee at the top. The hot Italian girl next door is always an attraction of the crowd and it always does. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013


Honda has recently launch their 500cc trio, follow by the introduction of NC700 series and others budget models, it is no doubt an evidence of Honda down-to-earth attitude. The 500 trio are all manufactured in Thailand, which is first of Honda for such large capacity, that is why the price can be very competitive compare with their rival.

What I get in hand was a CBR500R the sport model of the three. Basically three of the bikes share the same chassis design with a little different tweak to compensate the riding position. The engines all are same, with a 471cc parallel twin double overhead cam opposed to the NC700 single cam which basically a Jazz engine cut into half. The engine has a power output of 47bhp, Honda maximized the engine for inexperience rider, in other words, new comer to the over 250cc category.  The engine is very civilized and smooth, right when you hit the ignition key. Ironically, my ER6n is more like a Japanese version of Ducati in comparison. Unlike others twin engine rivals, vibration is minimal from the handle bar to foot peg. I almost
forgotten that I am in a parallel twin machine, it feels like an in-line 4 in anyway. Engine respond is surprisingly smooth; pulling at first to third gear is like rolling on a 4, there is lack of kick when accelerating, compare with what I experience on other twin bikes. Honda engineer has done a really well and good job on balancing and minimize vibration. Throughout the rev range, I hardly spot any vibration unlike ER6 which had a slightly vibration feel between 3800 to 4000 rpm. Besides so much good comment on the engine, the fuel economy is stunning, a 25km/l is confirm where 27km/l as what Honda recommend can also be archived if you are careful enough on the throttle.
If to choose any flaw on the engine, the only problem is with the power plant which can be a little low if the bike is fully loaded and also finding neutral need a little effort despite gear changing on the bike is top notch. But with a bike possible to do 180+ KM/H , it is more than enough for those new to a sub 500cc bike.

Everything on this bike is made for a purpose of making riding experience joyful and safe. The engine respond is smooth and instant, the engine is easy to control, the bike is light, etc. 

Honda CB500 series focus more on practicality and aim to deliver the best riding experience to most riders. Do not be fool by this low power bike; it is a wolf in a sheep skin. I have no problem riding up Genting Highland, only laid back is a more throttle squeeze is needed when you going to climb some of the steepest part of the road. Riding down has nothing much to do with engine power but tyre grip, stock tyre is not really griping especially when the road is a little wet. With barely 200KG curb weight, it is very easy to bent into corners, the nimbleness compensate to the lack of power, I often find myself accelerate pass some high cc bikes especially at corners.  Besides doing challenging ride at hill side, I also find riding at congested traffic is easy. Light weight and low seat height makes me a small fish in the ocean, I often find myself staying in one gear and pulling all the way to clear the traffic, this is something that you can do on an engine with more than 2 pistons.
Parts used on the CB series not great but acceptable. Not to forget these are budgeted models, cost cutting at a marginal level is for sure. Besides being budgeted, the plastic parts do not look cheap, in the other hand, tolerance is tight and no plastic rattling sound can be observed. As for some of the parts use, finishing might looks a little not on pile with the rivals but consider the price tag, as long as it can function fully without flaw, I do not see any problem on that. Electrical cords are hidden nicely and finishing on the fairing is very well. It is to say that even some more expensive bikes hardly archive this standard. Honda does a good job on reducing waste when manufacturing this bike, the rear disc brake is actually cut out from the front unit and it means that only single piece of metal to be used on the disc brake. Despite being cost down for most of the parts, the bike does has something very impressive, in fact out shine others. It is the single Nissin disc brake which works like charm with only a single finger movement.

 Overall I will say this is a hell of a bike, not in term of power, fashion or design but functionality and practicality. The main point is Honda did provide a very complete package and the package cover every single section of the category for what a new rider needs. It is built in a typical Honda belief and culture and starting at RM28,288. The trio are really value for money, spare parts availability should be no problem seems BoonSiew Honda has a very wide dealer network in Malayisa. I will indeed give a stunning comment on this CB500 series.

Besides CBR500R, there is a X model that my friend got a hand on it. I here by post his review on behalf of him. Wish that this help for those riders who are seriously surveying these Honda machines.

Honda CB500X, Honda’s answer for versatility 
After ridden super sport bikes and cruisers for some time, I get hands on with an adventure bike for the very first time. It was Honda CB500X. Honda lines up their new adventure series into the ongoing success story of CB500R and CB500F series. X denotes for adventure oriented. This midsized bike designed for riders demanding both for a pesky city commuting and also for long weekend escape into the unknown natures in one package. As usual I was waiting for a magical first impression as I walked towards the bike, and yeah it strikes me, the bike was tall, the seat position was very high, almost as high as Kawasaki’s dual purpose line up Versys. To be exact it was 32mm against 33.5mm seat height on Versys. 
Getting on tarmac, I recalled my riding college who always used to say the higher the riding height, the better experience you would get. That quote really nailed me while riding CB500X for the very first minutes. The field of view was wide it was like “I am the king of the road” kind of sensational feeling as cars were literally lower  than you and everything looks small, yeah I am exaggerating it as I am 6 footer. But anyhow the bike is tall.
Honda CB500X equipped with the famous versatile twin cylinder engine. Using the same piston bore size as CBR600RR super sport bike. It has 471cc capacity liquid cooled dual overhead cams engine with Programmed fuel injection PGM-F1 which throws out a handsome 46 Hp and 43 Nm of torque. Riding it along the highway was never boring and excites me in every moment. The bike was light and nimble. All the power was leashed by a six speed transmission that follows the command of the rider without hesitation or numbness.  As the windshield was small and adjustable up to 40mm, I was tempted to test the efficiency of the windshield. Surprisingly it does channels the wind effectively as I squeeze the throttle beyond 150km/h in an open road. While riding in high speed, I had an experience of slight wobbling around 6500RPM when speed was around 145km/h, it might be due to resonant frequency hitting along bike’s natural frequency. Riders out there please take note of this!
Handling wise, Honda CB500X feels very nimble due to its light weight design and yet it retains the big bikes characteristic. It equipped with Long travel front suspension which yields 5.5 inch of travel and Pro-Link rear suspension with 9 stage preload and 4.7 inch travel should make off road maneuverability an easy one even for a beginner. Since I didn’t test the bike off road, I managed to pull out off-road stunt in tarmac as I purposely rammed the bike into decent potholes and bumps. Believe me, it works very well in absorbing all the torture I gave and with Pirelli Scorpion tire sized  120/70-17 in front and 160/60-17 rear, it looks great and good in grip too, well it’s a bonus package!
I was actually confused and worried, why a 500cc with 46 HP bike has only single disc brake on the front wheel. This curiosity leads me to go for a hard break test when possible. Surprisingly front 320mm twin piston caliper and rear 240mm with ABS single caliper does the job well and the stopping power was more than adequate. The seat was comfortable and placed very high which is the DNA of an adventure bike. This bike has a very good upright riding position and the fuel tank was cleverly designed as it offers the ability move your body weigh freely for aggressive maneuver.
In terms of styling, there is nothing much to say. The bike was kind of average designed to a certain extend with an eagle beak alike front cowl. I noticed a slight quality issue with the fuel tank cap where the lid was not in same circumference of the fuel tank opening. But overall styling was not bad as the design was adventure oriented. Through times, I did a mistake by pressing the honk button when about to turn rather than pressing the turn indicator. These repeated mistakes of mine creates a panic situation among other road users. I think it would be much appreciated for the riders if the honk button placed below the turn indication switch as most bikes does. Instrumentation on the Honda CB500X is the one worth mentioning as it adds a fine modern touch. Amber tinted full LCD screen with digital tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge gives rider quick basic information of the bike status. Clock, odometer, trip meter, real-time and average fuel consumption meters, and illuminated engine diagnostic indicators were clearly delivered to the rider who needs extra information while riding via button located on the LCD panel frame. 
As a summary, Honda CB500X is packed with modern technology and sound with engineering qualities. Good upright riding position, superb windscreen that does the job well, Deceiving front single disc brake but has a punch stopping power and comes with ABS, Long travel front suspension and modern featured LCD instrumentation were some of the highlights of this bike. Be it city commuter and long distance travel, CB500X is adoptable for beginner rider who demands for a unique adventure in mind. Go ahead. Grab one, you will be pleased. 
This CBR500X review is done by Rubentheren Viyapuri

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Ducati Hypermotard 821

It has been a while since Ducati launch their Hypermotard model on 2007. It was a 1078 cc 'Desmo' or 'Desmodromic' aired-cooled two-valve L - Twin design by Pierre Terblanche. This model has a capability of up to 200km/h of speed but the purpose of this bike is built to serve the purpose of conquering the urban jungle.  This year, Ducati has upgraded the engine to a 11-degree Testastretta 821 cc unit from the previous 796 cc. Hopefully the upgrade will bring more fun and reliability to the bike.

Having just a few couple hours riding the bike, it is hell of a monster on the road, tearing everything ahead of it into pieces. The throttle fueling is precise, a typical Ducati way but if I am to choose a word to describe it, it will be ‘explosive’. The bike behaves totally like a monster on every squeeze on the throttle. 

The rides by wire throttle system improve throttle experience, for some people, it may be too light. The testastretta 11 has a reduce valve overlap which improved low speed engine respond and also better fuel efficiency. Having different riding modes to choose from, the engine has different power output according to rider needs. Besides riding mode, it has also traction control and ABS, do not worry too much while the performance being ‘explosive’, you will still not be able to lift the front or rear or any kind of stunt. The Brembo brakes at the front are superb, braking is just a simple one finger action for a bike this light (sub 200KG). Handling is good and I find myself keep riding on the legs straight position all the time. Navigating through traffic is just piece of cake; the commanding position is the key to slice through layers of vehicle with ease. 

Fitted with Pirelli Angel GT, the handling is top notch; knee scratching is just the matter of daring. Total experience on this bike is you feel more like a devil then on a Ducati Monster of
some if it’s other model. In fact this is still a super scrambler of urban jungle; the weight is too heavy for off road purpose.
Hypermotard responded in a very brutal manner, just like its name, every open throttle is equal to a big kick on your back. I am rather ‘hanging’ then holding on the bar when accelerate hard. While maintaining speed, I can feel every punch form the twin and the rear tire is struggling to hold the traction; a total different experience compare with others.

As a conclusion, Ducati Malaysia provides Malaysian riders with a good option of motard to choose from. Starting at a Rm68888 price tag, this CKD model is a good news for many Ducati fan or going to be Ducati fan, all is good but watch out on the tall seat height where this bike might be too tall for someone.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Round Trip Malaysia - Proposed 27th Dec 2013 to 1st Jan 2014

  Has been planning this for some time, it might not looks challenging but I am planning to do it on my underbone, aka 'kup chai'. This is the reason that why it needs a few days time. By the way, this ride is open to any of you guys to join, foreigners, locals, whatever, if you are planning a riding trip to Malaysia or plan to rent a motorcycle and ride with us, you are most welcome, schedule may be discussed depends on participants. Ride the way........

Sunday, 15 September 2013

My First Ride On  LX150

  Vespa, a brand with over 60 years of experience in manufacturing scooter. Vespa simply means bee in Italian. Never ridden a Vespa before, it remains a mystery to me. Starting year 2006, Vespa has done some major updated on many of its scooter model, one of the Modern Vespa model is thus the LX150, LX is the Roman numeral for  60,  marking the sixtieth anniversary of the first Vespa scooter in 1946. Sharing the same frame with LX50, the LX150 feature a 150cc engine which is more than enough for day to day usage.

  As a first timer on the LX150, the feeling of getting on Vespa is a little weird, to be honest, I do not like it very much at first sight, except the striking colors. Most people will not like it before putting more time of getting along with the Vespa culture.

  With a 150cc engine onboard, this little thing can be pretty fast for its size, especially with a single rider. I was able to overtook a handsome amount of vehicle on Karak Highway while en-route to Chamang Waterfall, Bentong. It did not slow down too much while climbing uphill, the CVT just keep the engine output in a nice and smooth manner. With a wet weight of not more than 100KG, this light weight machine really ‘dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee’. Unless you are attempting a sport bike cornering, it is still pretty stable at a speed of slightly more than 100KM/H. Riding in traffic is a complete joy for a scooter and the Vespa is so agile to navigate in heavy city traffic, what I have to do is to control the brakes and throttle, no funky gear changing stuff needed.  Fuel consumption of this little machine is pretty good and I am able to get a 30KM/Litre average fuel consumption throughout my ride.

 It is so much joy on the Vespa compare with other scooter. You just look different and there are always someone looking at you with amazement either on the road or traffic light. There are so much to share on the Vespa due to the long ago culture that develops with time. Vespa is a breed of its own, it is different form the others, the antique look but polished with a modern design, no matter where you bring it, to a gathering, to a ride, or even to an auto even, the Vespa itself is already a show, a fashion.  One can always looks good on a Vespa, and he or she might be a public attraction all the time.
  The experience with the LX150 is excellent and at the end of the day, I do have a rush in my head to get one for myself. With a price tag below RM9000, the LX150 consider to be a very good buy for those old or new scooter enthusiasts.  Keep in mind that it was very expensive for a Vespa in the old days; it always cost a fortune to own one. As a conclusion, buying a Vespa is not as simply as buying a scooter, but the culture and most importantly, lifestyle.

Friday, 6 September 2013

ER6n -09 Stator Coil, Brake Pads replacement

Recently having my bike having a weak battery after rides, after check the charging system with a multimeter according to manual procedure, it is obvious that the stator coil is defective. The charging system on automotive consist of two section, the stator coil which is part of the generator assembly which generate electricity and the rectifier which convert the high AC voltage out put from generator to DC voltage.

Basically how we know when out charging system is defective is by first detect the charging voltage with bike running and extra accessories off.

Normal bikes will have a charging voltage of around 14 DCV when slightly rev up and around the battery voltage (most battery have a voltage of 12.7 V when fully charged) when idealing.

If you are not getting the figure, unplug the stator socket, run the bike on battery power and test the AC voltage, a normal stator will have a AC voltage of 30-50 DCV when rev up to mid range which is around 4k or 5k RPM according to bike manual. If the DCV is a lot lower it means that your stator is showing a problem. There is also a possibility of rectifier problem when running the bike on charging voltage but most of the time when a rectifier fail, the unit will instead burnt off and you will know immediately, your machine will dead when the battery drain. Most people are having Stator Coil replacement because unlike car alternator unit which is outside the engine, bikes' alternator have to integrate to the engine and result in a less effective cooling.

Locate your alternator location and remove the stator socket

Unscrew the stator coil cover and remove the cover from the engine housing
Unscrew the 3 bolts on the stator cover and remove the old stator, do remove the wire lead cover also.

Replace the stator coil with a new unit, in my case I use a after market stator from Ricks Motorsport Electronics USA.

After fasten the stator coil, do not forget to apply engine gasket sealent at the stator coil wire lead area.

 Before putting on new gasket at the engine cover, make sure the two points where up and down engine housing meets are applied with engine gasket dressing. Walla your stator change is done. Connect the stator socket and check is the charging system well functioned.

Brake Pads Replacement

It is very easy to do your own brake pads replacement, in fact it is the easiest self maintenance to do.

First, replace unscrew the 12mm bolts which hold the brake calipers

Then use a screw driver to applied pressure to the pads so that the extra spaces make your insert easier.

Remember to remove the pin at the back of the calipers so that you can remove the rod which lock them up.

Replace the brake pads back and insert it in a reverse sequence, walla, you got your new sets of brake pads.

New brake pads, you can see the significant thinkness

Old brake pads, almost worn out