The big bike culture in Malaysia is growing with more people hitting the highways on 1,000cc plus motorcycles. Locals in Malaysia are very passionate about biking and I saw that on the roads. The country hosts the Moto GP for crying out loud!
The Quint was invited by Honda two-wheelers to participate in its annual motorcycle festival where most of the South-Asian countries participate. The event played host to more than 80 riders (including me) who had to finish a 630 kilometre journey from Penang to Kuala Lumpur on 7 different Honda motorcycles ranging from a CBR 500R to an 1,800cc Honda Gold Wing.
I kicked off with the CBR 650F which is more on the sporty side of the spectrum. The full-faring motorcycle pumps out 82 PS of power and 60Nm of torque, which is ideal for the highways. The winding roads were easy to navigate on this machine.
The most fun of the lot was the 1,800cc Honda Gold Wing which is a car on two-wheels. Most of the traffic marshalls in Malaysia ride the Gold Wing. In India, cops get a Royal Enfield Bullet 350 or Bajaj Pulsar 150. Just saying.
I managed to have a quick chit chat with one of the traffic marshalls who reiterated the importance of wearing a helmet while riding – which many Indian motorcycle riders choose to ignore.
The best part about riding in Malaysia is the sheer diligence and discipline with which the commuters on the roads follow traffic rules. I was confidently switching lanes and bending at blind turns as I was confident that nobody from the other lane would cross into mine.
The 630 kilometre journey of ours ended 3-days later in Kuala Lumpur after which we got an opportunity to see the Moto GP live from the grand stand.
It was a fan boy moment as I got to meet the 2018 Moto GP world champion Marc Marquez who didn't shy from celebrating his win the very next day after whizzing past Valentino Rossi who ran into some misfortune and slipped on the 17th lap to concede the lead to Marc.
Well, Honda Racing was elated to see 'marquee Marquez' finish top of the podium.
Riding in Malaysia was a great experience and I hope that the big bike culture in India grows in the coming days.
It’s true that motorcycle makers in India are slowly shifting focus to giving customers more powerful motorcycles, but what needs to change with the trend in the motorcycle market is the adherence to safety on Indian roads. The cross-country biking culture here will never develop until we have safer roads and commuters respect the rules of the road. Till then, Ladakh it is on a Royal Enfield.
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