Someone challenged me to remember all the make and models of the bikes on today’s Sunday Morning Ride. Hmmm… Let me try…. We’ve got a Yamaha XJ6, 1 Honda Super 4, a MaxSym 400i, 1 Triumph Street Triple, a NC750X, 1 Honda CBR150R, 5 CB400X’s, and a Pulsar 200NS. Yup! A dozen bikes on this morning’s ride!
And today, we’re headed to a dirt track off the J173 enroute to Tg Sedili. Yup, 12 riders on street bikes attempting the off-road = helluva crazy fun! As it has been raining in Singapore over the past couple of days, we all prayed that the weather will hold up nicely on Sunday. Thankfully, we had one of the best weathers for riding – cool, cloudy and breezy, and not a hint of rain. Our prayers were answered!
I’m not gonna attempt to describe how much fun we had. Instead, I’m just gonna let the video do the talking…
6 bikes – 2 Honda CB400X’s, a Yamaha XJ6, one Honda CBR150R, a Triumph Street Triple and a Pulsar – gathered for a Sunday Morning Ride. Today, we planned to head to Gunung Pulai waterfall. Again, we gathered at B-Point and had a light breakfast before moving off. This morning, however, the weather wasn’t treating us too well, and it was raining lightly just as we were about to push off. And so we performed a quick routine rain dance to don our rain gear, and before long, we were wrapped up and prepped to go!
Thankfully, the skies cleared up a little and the rain stopped shortly after we moved off. And soon, we were greeted with awesomely great roads like this…
At 55,000km on the odometer, my 4-year old Pulsar was due for an oil change. So after returning from a short Sunday morning ride to JB, I went to LAB and got myself some Motul 7100 15W50. Changing engine oil is a relatively simple maintenance procedure, and I’ve almost always been doing it myself. But today’s oil change was anything but typical.
As I drained the used engine oil and removed the magnetic oil strainer, my heart skipped a beat when I witnessed this:
For those who have been following my blog, you’d probably know that I experienced an engine breakdown due to a catastrophic camshaft bearing failure less than 1 year ago. In fact, I was almost stranded in Chiang Mai, Thailand, some 2,500km away from home where there wasn’t any Bajaj dealership in the country at all. I had to FedEx the engine parts up from Singapore to get the bike fixed. Similarly back then, the magnetic oil strainer caught a massive amount of metal shavings from the grounded down camshaft bearing.
My Pulsar has just reached it’s 4-year mark, and it’s certainly showing signs of its age. I was just at Universal Motors yesterday for a gear lever replacement. And when I got home that evening, I noticed that the left side of my radiator assembly was shaking loose.
The 200NS radiator is held in place by four mounting points. And to damp it from the motorcycle’s vibrations, each of these four mounts are coupled with a rubber “silent block”. Turns out that TWO of the FOUR mounts were broken! One at the rubber damper, and the other was a metal fracture on the radiator itself! GASP!
During my recent Sunday Morning Ride to Layang-layang, I experienced a gear shift issue on the Pulsar. Well, for some time now, I thought the gearshift on the 200NS felt strange. After the recent 2,000km run to Betong, Thailand and back, I thought that the gearshift felt kind of harsh. Initially, I attributed it to possibly spent oil. Although it was a mere 2,000km, I was running at high RPM’s for extended periods of time. And so when I returned to Singapore, I performed an engine oil change. Unfortunately, even the fresh oil – Motul’s fully synthetic 7100 – didn’t bring me the once-familiar super-smooth gear shift experience.
During the Layang-layang ride, it got worse.
At a juncture, I couldn’t downshift my bike! And I was forced to pull off from stationary on gear 2. Oh gosh! I hope it isn’t a gearbox issue. Now, THAT will be expensive repair.
The Pulsar 200NS comes with an adjustable nitrox-charged monoshock rear suspension. Although the damping is not adjustable, the spring preload is.
At my recent tour to Betong, and because I was riding with a group, I realised that when it came to corners, I seem to hesitate quite a bit more than the other bikes. It could be a case of chicken, or that my Pulsar was the most underpowered bike. But when I was discussing this issue with a fellow biker, he suggested that it could be due to the suspension setup of my motorcycle.
The Pulsar 200NS rear gas-charged mono suspension comes with NINE (9) levels of adjustment settings, with 1 being the softest and 9 being the hardest spring preload. The factory default setting is a very soft level 2. While this may be suitable for most “average sized” solo riders, heavier riders (like me) or riders with pillion and / or luggage should increase the preload for better damping.
It’s the Good Friday long weekend and we decided to ride up to Betong, Thailand. The distance between Singapore and Betong, Thailand is approximately 740km, and the plan was to start riding through the night and arrive at the Malaysia-Thai border by morning.
DAY 0 (13 Apr, Thu) – overnight ride.
We rendezvoused at Petronas Gelang Petah on Friday, 0000h-0030h (Thursday night, really) to gather for a pre-ride briefing. At 200cc, my Pulsar was the only “small capacity” bike with the rest of the bikes (2A and CL2 big bikes) having multiple times my engine displacement, and so, the plan is for me to push off first as an “advance party” with Sufi and Siu Hon with their Honda CB400X and Yamaha XJ6 Diversion as my riding buddies (aka “escorts”). The plan was to link up with the rest of the group at R&R Sungai Perak (approximately 580km) in the morning. The big bikes will be traveling at a faster pace and should catch us up as we near Sg Perak. Continue reading “Long Weekend Ride to Betong, Thailand”
This is crazy… At the Sunday Morning Ride, I was just talking to a fellow biker about carrying an extra bottle of engine oil for a long trip. And when I returned home after the ride, washed and waxed by bike, I realized that my oil inspection window was… EMPTY!
I had initially thought it was still “warm” after the ride and allowed some time pass to allow the oil to flow back down. But checked the oil window the next morning, still empty – no matter how I tilted my bike. 🙁
So I thought the high RPM run on Sunday might have something to do with it. No external oil leak was observed. So my worst fear was an internal engine oil consumption – aka oil “burning” up. Was it an engine gasket issue? Perhaps a valve oil seal failure? But it was only 17,000km since my engine was rebuilt in Chiang Mai, and I’d be very disappointed if an oil leak or oil consumption occurred.
Woohoo! Another Sunday Morning Ride! This weekend, we headed to Renggam in Johor! It was the same three bikes of three different license classes again – my Pulsar 200NS, a Honda CB400X, and a Yamaha XJ6 Diversion.
As usual, we met up at B-Point for breakfast, geared up, set our GPS’es to avoid motorways and toll roads, and off we went!
And we all agreed that this was one of the nicest ride we had together as a group. It had everything – from the cold morning, to foggy roads, to nice scenic fields, to train crossings, to some easy twisties, fantastic straight roads, factories, prison, army camp, and a beautiful weather!