The 2017 Yamaha MT-09 - Best Made Better

They say that at the heart of every good motorcycle is a great engine, and Yamaha thoroughly nailed that theory with the very first Yamaha MT-09 back a few years. Its inline 847cc triple-cylinder, or CP3 as Yamaha call it, is a pure gem.

Since then the Yamaha MT-09 has sold as fast as dealers could get them and Yamaha have gone on to produce the MT-09 Tracer and retro looking XSR900, both of which share that same wonderful engine. The Yamaha Tracer was awarded a prestigious ‘Best All-Rounder’ award in 2015 and the Yamaha XSR900 has won numerous road tests. And their success has largely been down to that brilliant Yamaha CP3 engine.

However, the original Yamaha MT-09’s performance was undermined by poor fueling and under-damped suspension. It has three engine modes to choose from and in the sportiest A-mode the throttle response was lively to the point of being abrupt. In a 2016 model update Yamaha smoothed out the fueling and added traction control for the first time, both of which were taken from the Yamaha XSR900 retro version. And now for 2017 they have gone one step further, changing the suspension both front and rear and adding more adjustment to the forks while a shorter sub-frame and facelift completes the visual upgrade.

There’s also a new quickshifter, just for a welcome bit of extra bling, and a subtle alteration to the riding position.

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The 2017 BMW G310R - BMW's First Small-Capacity Motorcycle

BMW, long perceived as a brand of expensive, exclusive motorcycles reserved for the most discerning and accomplished riders, is set to break from that tradition with the introduction of the all-new BMW G310R, perhaps its first, genuine entry-level motorcycle. The new machine reflects an attitudinal shift not just for the German, Bavarian brand, but the general direction of all manufacturers, indicating small displacement (under 500cc) and urban mobility represent an important market for the future of motorcycles.

With shades of its S1000R big brother, the BMW G310R cuts an impressive stance, the wedged bodywork, bold paint scheme, upside-down gold anodized forks and grown-up-looking mechanical granting it a much more substantial presence than its smaller displacement would suggest. The engine is a liquid-cooled, electronically fuel-injected, 313cc single-cylinder with four valves operating off two overhead camshafts. The engine has a dynamic rear-tilted cylinder with the intake on the front and the exhaust header exiting the. Claimed power output is 34 horsepower at 9,500rpm.

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The Honda SH150i Scooter - Perfect Commuter for Bangkok

I’m usually a ponderer, taking weeks mulling over an idea before parting with cash, but after getting stuck in yet another traffic jam om my commute I snapped. Time to get an easy to ride two-wheeler.

I’m usually no fan of scooters following an embarrassing holiday mishap 10 years ago (the usual stupid tourist, never been on a scooter before, almost ending up down a cliff) but I thought I’d give one a shot and a one year old Honda SH150i, in shinny white color, caught my eye. With Givi 30 liter topbox and Honda’s reliability it was the ideal commuter. It even came with a Ermax wind shield.

A quick once-over revealed light scuffing on the fairing plus a crooked front brake lever. I had clearly had a minor spill and I’m pretty sure it was one of the contributing factors to the sale, although the owner denied all knowledge. With its recently fitted Yuasa battery the scooter started first time.

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The Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer - The Cafe Racer with a Touch of Modernism

The first thing that popped into my mind when I first saw the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer from the Italian manufacturer was Well, another company that tries to woo nostalgic hipsters and baby boomers. Yes another variation of the retro coffee racer theme. A small fuel tank, a beautiful almost rectangular and flat saddle, rolled up handlebar, the whole package.

But I also remembered that Moto Guzzi is a brand that pays an almost obsessive attention to details. They have been building this kind of motorcycles for a long long time.

Sitting on the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer and lifting it from its side stand, I found myself in front of a simplified cockpit but with an obvious touch of modernism. The different control buttons are… simply beautiful. Funny to say it struck me. The emergency stop switch is not the usual big red button but instead a nice little push button. Everything about the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer is a modern nod to the past.

First the simple, slightly rolled up and chromed handlebar brings the grips just under the hands naturally. This feels not only natural but also ensures no pressure is felt under the hands. The weight of the rider’s upper body then rests on the buttocks rather than on the shoulders. A big plus for longer rides.

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The Kawasaki KLX110 - Perfect Tool for the Kids

Sports are one of the best activities a person can indulge in. They are fun, entertaining and a great way to spend time. Regular indulgence in any sport also leads to a healthier and an active lifestyle. It is also a great career as proven by so many people around the world.

It is vital for anybody to start early in life to be a world class player. After all, it can’t be easy to make an impact at a global level.

Motorcycle racing is one such sport which can be one of the best examples to highlight the benefits of starting early. Kids as young as 3 to 4 years old begin training on motorcycles that are specifically meant for children. Just think about the level of skills they would develop by the time they are big enough to ride a proper motorcycle.

As a renowned manufacturer Kawasaki has great involvement in various forms of motorcycle racing. Full of interesting vehicle line-up, one particular motorcycle catches our attention and no, it is not a powerful Ninja or a terrifying Z naked-bike. It is the Kawasaki KLX110.

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The Yamaha Nmax 150 - Urban 150cc Scooter with ABS and Variable Valves

The Yamaha Nmax 150 scooter is a urban commuter, with standard antilock brakes (ABS) and variable valve actuation.

The engine uses Yamaha’s ‘Blue Core’ approach – basically, a fancy way that Yamaha has chosen to say it is making compact engines that offer good fuel economy but are fun to ride too.

The 150cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine produces near 15 horsepower and just under 12Nm of torque. The Yamaha Nmax 150 is the first Yamaha scooter to feature a four-valve cylinder head with a newly developed variable valve actuation (VVA) for a strong, linear feeling when rolling back the throttle.

The VVA system works via a mechanism that shifts between two different intake cam lobes depending on engine speed. Valve timing normally uses just one lobe that is a compromise between low speed torque and high speed power, but this, says Yamaha, offers the best of both worlds.

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The 2017 Kawasaki Z650 - The New Naked-Bike from Kawasaki

The new Kawasaki Z650 is basically an updated ER-6N. If you compare the ER-6N with the new for 2017 Kawasaki Z650, you can’t help notice the similarities, with both the outgoing and incoming motorcycle using what is fundamentally the same 649cc parallel-twin engine, and obviously filling the same spot in Kawasaki’s model line-up. But you can’t argue with how different the new Kawasaki Z650 is , too – the transformation is total.

The attractive Kawasaki Ninja H2-like green trellis frame is new, and is considerable lighter than its predecessor’s saving a massive 10 kilograms. The swingarm is also new, and contributes a further weight saving of 2.7 kilograms. The shock now has a linkage, and is conventionally-mounted centrally in the swingarm behind the engine, unlike the ER-6N side-positioned, direct-mount unit.

The clocks and instruments are all new; the brakes have been uprated with ABS also being standard, and the engine is now able to pass the latest exhaust emission standards. It may have lost a few horsepower at the top end, but Kawasaki have focused on low to mid-range power – where you want it on a naked-bike – and the new Kawasaki Z650 has a greater spread of torque than the outgoing Kawasaki ER-6N.

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The Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Now Available in Thailand

The Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber is as cool as it get. After all, all of history is witness to the Italians knack for making things look good. And when theat natural flair for style comes to bear on an American old-skool of minimalist motorcycle design, you get a modern-retro design with a transverse V-twin twist. A bobber is supposed to be low and short enough to make even its name seem unnecessarily long. And Moto Guzzi’s effort at factory-building a custom style of motorcycle is delightfully stubby to look at. What’s more, even its switchgear look cooler than any combination of sunglasses and beards you’ve ever seen.

Moto Guzzi did get the American aesthetic pretty right. A bit too right, perhaps, because the Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber does manage to make more than a few people with fancy haircuts exclaim, ‘Harley!’ Never mind that the cylinders are pointing the wrong way. Nonetheless, I quite like the way Moto Guzzi engine look, especially how they cylinders rise up to hug the fuel tank. Reminds me how stubbornly horizontal those BMW cylinders are. In any case, whether it’s Italy or Germany, there is something to be said for a company’s insistence on sticking to an engine format until the identities of each merge into the other.

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The Yamaha M-Slaz - Yamaha Entry M-Serie Naked-Bike

There’s not doubting the Yamaha M-Slaz visual appeal; at first glance it could easily be mistaken for an up-spec version of the Yamaha MT_03. The sporty single-cylinder, liquid-cooled 150cc engine is, borrowed from the YZF-R15, might only make just over 17 horsepower and 11Nm torque.

The chassis of the Yamaha M-Slaz has a heck of a cast list: upside down front forks, radial four-pot brake caliper, Deltabox-style steel frame, beefy asymmetrical swingarm, Y-shaped thin aluminum-alloy spoke wheels and a fashionable grey primer finish as per the Yamaha MT-10, MT-09 and MT-07.

With the superior exhaust design, a closer-fit belly pan and neater fuel tan, seat and tail unit, the Yamaha M-Slaz looks in a different class to some rivals.

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The Lifan KP150 - 150cc Liquid-Cooled Commuter

When I was asked to look at the Lifan KP150 I didn’t have great hopes for the around 59,000 THB 150cc single-cylinder naked-bike. How can they possibly produce a good motorcycle for so little cash?

The liquid-cooled 150cc single-cylinder, four-stroke engine runs a conventional carburetor, which means you have a manual choke and even a fuel tap – just like the motorcycles from yesteryear. In its favor over some other 150 to 200cc motorcycles in the same price range, you have good working disc brakes front and rear, a single rear shock with preload adjustment, and they’ve even tried to make it sporty looking with a small top fairing, and some nice looking aluminum alloy wheels.

The fueling might not be as perfect as some fuel-injected engine, but there is a pleasing bark from the single exhaust pipe. The exhaust note is actual a bit reassuring, with some of the latest small-capacity motorcycles I have a hard time figuring out if the engine is still running, of course I can open the throttle but opening the throttle on a 150 to 250cc motorcycle waiting at the traffic lights being my age would seriously look strange...

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