Scooligans North Peninsula Malaysia Ride
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Gilera Fuoco. Yamaha TMax, BMW Boxercup, Harley XR1200, GP800
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 63
Location: Malaysia
Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:57 pm quote
Ever since I bought the Majesty 12 years ago, I discovered that a scooter with about 30HP is more than enough to do Touring duty in this region. The RTs, STs, GTRs and GS and the like are cool machines, and all offer a riding experience that will be most satisfying,but a desire to ride fast all the time can be taxing. Riding slowly on these machines is pointless. The Goldwing and other full dressers are too much bike for too little road in Malaysia and Thailand, and too cumbersome at times.

Harleys can be good cruise machines, but the lack of dynamics when a nice corner comes into view will mean that the essence of the two wheel experience will be dulled. The air cooled V-Twin motor, apart from making beautiful music, is accompanied by heat that provides unwanted roasting of the lower body.

Way back in 2000 I rode my Majesty all the way to Kota Bharu, riding alone along the Bentong - Gua Musang road, and although the cruise speed was only 110-120 km/h, the journey did not take much longer than it would have been had I ridden my GS. It took me just under 6 hours to cover 528kms, including rest stops for petrol. And it was supremely comfortable, akin to sitting in an armchair while the countryside rolls past at more than a mile a minute.

Just last June I rode my Fuoco to Southern Thailand, then joined a Harley convoy of about 50 bikes, and the Fuoco was easily the fastest bike in the group, despite it being the smallest, with just a 500cc single pushing the three wheels.

The storage compartment, the comfortable riding position, and the wind protection makes the journey less tiring, and allowed me to enjoy the scenery that would normally be missed when on a more powerful ride.

I floated the idea of this ride to my usual sportsbike riding buddies, and expectedly, they fell off their chair laughing. To imagine that they can tour on scooters where the top speed is less than a litrebike 1st gear at redline is inconceivable. All thought that grass at the side of the highway would grow faster than the speed of the bike. Watching paint dry would probably be more interesting.

But the more we talked about it, the more they warmed up to the idea, and eventually from three people the group grew to 9, with one riding pillion. Perhaps the thought of beautiful roads, the nice places we will be passing through, and the company of friends were the motivating factors.

We departed Friday, 2nd October and returned Monday, 5th October. We all agreed that since we are riding 'wimpish' two wheelers, we will not have more than 4 hours total saddle time, so each segment was not to exceed 400kms. The first day will be from Kuala Lumpur to Cherating, about 300 kilometers. Then it was the coastal road passing rustic fishing villages from Cherating to Kuala Besut. The third day will be a 300 kilometer ride across the backbone of Peninsula Malaysia on the famed twisties of the East West Highway to Betong, Thailand. The final day of the ride will be the journey home, about 360 kilometers on a combination of A Roads and the North South Highway.

No bikes broke down, no one collapsed due fatigue, and we did not take half a year to arrive at our planned destinations. Most importantly, we all had FUN. On very little money. And the little scooters gained a lot of respect.

The Riders and their ride;

Pian, on the smallest of the lot, the Taiwanese made SYM, with a 180cc motor

Don Archer, on his Aprillia Sportscity. His normal rides are the Futura and the RSV

Sean, also on the Sportscity, leaving his K7 at home

Ariff, on his traditional Vespa, but with an untraditional fuel injected 250cc 4 stroke motor....

Amir CR, on a borrowed Majesty, a 12 year old machine that will be restored after this ride is done.

Faisal on his Nexus

Amir Isa and his Fuoco. A series of firsts for Amir. First time riding out of Taman Tun. First Convoy ride. First long distance two wheeld tour. Make that three wheeled.

Me on my GP 800.

Adeeb, who will be riding pillion behind Faisal and me. Most on bike shots are from him, using a Canon Ixus 80 camera.

The Group at Kuala Besut

More to come....
Gilera Fuoco. Yamaha TMax, BMW Boxercup, Harley XR1200, GP800
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 63
Location: Malaysia
Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:01 pm quote
The first thing I did after waking up was to scan the Eastern skies for any sign of rain. While it is so much better to be on a scooter than on any other two wheeler in the rain, nothing beats starting out on a long trip dry.

What i saw made me happy......

The GP800 has a relatively small underseat storage compartment, a problem I solved by installing the tail carrying case on a mounting specifically made for this model. Packing for the trip was dead easy, with plenty more space left unused.

By 0830 I was already at the RV point, a petrol station just after the Gombak toll at the beginning of the Karak Highway.

Ariff, Sean and Don arrived within minutes of each other and they proceeded to pump gas into their tanks.

Amir arrived just after the three

While waiting for the others to arrive, a number of Goldwings arrived. These "Land Yachts" turned out to be going the same way, and when they found out that we are headed the same direction, there was a look of disbelief.
Don, Ariff and Sean checking the Wings out....hile Amir looks on....

Pian and Amir arrived soon after.....

And it was decide that I ill wait behind for the latecomers while the early birds leave early. We agreed to RV at the Temerloh RnR, about 108 kilometers away. Just as we were leaving, the Wingers also left for Temerloh.

The guys left the petrol stations, and I was amused as I watched them pull away on their little scooters on the same road they would be blasting their litrebikes on every Sunday.

The bigger scooter boys arrived about 10 minutes after the early group left. We'd think it should not be a problem for the bigger scooters to catch up.

After about another 10 minutes, the Fuoco, Nexus and the GP800 began our journey.

We took it relatively easy on the straights.....

more to come......
Gilera Fuoco. Yamaha TMax, BMW Boxercup, Harley XR1200, GP800
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 63
Location: Malaysia
Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:02 pm quote
The first batch of Scooligans arrived at Temerloh in just over an hour. The Wingers were slightly faster arriving at the same place.

L-R, Sean, Don, Pian, Ariv, Amir CR.

Despite riding sub 20HP machines, in true Sportsbike Riders' spirit, the arguments about who's faster started as soon as the sidestand was deployed. Clearly the idea of casual riding on scooters were put aside as soon as they departed BHP earlier.

The Wingers

The Megascoots arrived shortly afterwards, greeted by the Wingers with a handshake. The Lady of the group wasted no time handing me a bottle of mineral water. Nice gesture....thanks....

I was being 'racuned' to get a Wing by the Wingers......

Sean was complaining about his Sportcity not being able to keep up with Don, who was on an identical bike. Amir CR then removed the air filter element from Sean's bike, trying to squeeze what little HP the scooter has to offer.

Meanwhile, Ariff was feeling pleased with his Vespa. We expected Ariff to always be last, but he was able to keep pace with the rest.

After a couple of cigarettes, some fuel, we mounted for departure, with the next RV point at the Jabur interchange.

The Sean and Don show.

Ariv on the road....

Behind the faceshield Ariff has probably put on his 'Race Face' that would do justice on the MotoG grid.....

Pian pouring on the coal on his SYM, the smallest bike in the group at 171.2CC.

We had the road to ourselves as there was very little traffic. While it doesn't look like it, these three were at their throttle stops, doing 2 kilometers a minute.

By this time it looks apparent that Don, now renamed Demon Don, is turning into the Valentino Rossi of the pack. However, I cannot be sure whether Demon Don was smiling or if it was the windblast that's reshaping his face.

Sean, who realised his Sportcity is gradually turning into the Sportshitty, had to get serious by adding the racer position into his list of 'Go-Fast' strategy. It clearly worked as his speed increased from 110km/h to 111km/h. He would probably catch the rest by 2010 January......

Eventually, with Don disappearing into the horizon, Sean had no choice but get his KERS power boost system into action.....

With the group strung out over a couple of kilometers, I decided an unscheduled RV at Maran layby was in order to regroup.

Sean who arrived last became the natural BUTT of jokes.....

Ready to depart for Cherating, with another 130kms to go...

The ECE is billiard table smooth...

To make up for his tortoise pace Sean had to stick out his knee while exiting the ECE for Jabur

And despite the Goldwings having more CCs than all the small scooters in our group put together, we arrived at Cherating at the same time....

The Scooligans on the Cherating road


Majestically Classic

Faisal Blacknight


Sportshitty Sean

Demon Don

Amir Isa

After a short ride we arrived at our destination, found by Ariff on the Internet, and led there by the magic of Garmin GPS.....

The 'Lobby", if it can be called that, does not look like much....

It was an amazing first day ride. We arrived at our destination within 3 hours and a bit, including stops, on probably RM20 worth of gas, not at all tired, certainly feeling better that if we rode conventional big bikes. The little scooters, while not fast on the straights were clocked at 129km/h on my Garmin on the straights. We had so much fun along the way, no one had a moment while riding. Amir Isa, who is a newbie to this riding thing was riding like a veteran despite this being his first trip riding ou of the Taman Tun safety zone

As we were checking in, we were all eager in anticipation of the fun we will be having over the next few days......

More To Follow....
Gilera Fuoco. Yamaha TMax, BMW Boxercup, Harley XR1200, GP800
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 63
Location: Malaysia
Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:04 pm quote
Tanjung Inn Resort is smack where the Cherating Tourist belt is. What was formerly rustic fishing villages has now turned into a mini industry to provide tourism services.
None of the resorts in this area falls into the high end segment. A few are downright tacky, but the one we stayed in was very tastefully done, although the front 'office' gave no indication of that being the case.

The Front Office

We were pleasantly surprised on being told that we can ride our bikes right up to the Chalet doorstep. As we rode around the front office, the Resort revealed its well manicured compound...

The pathway to the Chalets was just right for our scooters.

The Chalet I shared with Amir Isa for the night sits at the edge of a Lily pond, with the balcony hanging over the water.

Amir Isa's Fuoco and myGP800.

The view from the Chalet.

Another angle of our Chalets.

The Majesty parked in front of the Chalet shared by Ariv and Amir CR.

The South China Sea, just 100 meters from our temporary domicile...

I really thought that the Lily pond was a nice touch.

After settling in, we jumped on our scooters to get some lunch. again the advantage of the scooter shines through. Normally, after a ride on big bikes, we would be reluctant to ride again as it involves getting into cumbersome boots and riding gear, but on scooters, its just a matter of swinging a leg over, and twisting the throttle.

Sean will pass for a 'Wild Hogs" rider if he had a Harley between his legs.

Makan Time

Don Archer, Scooter Demon, Sambal Belacan eating " I use my fingers" Mat Salleh from Colorado enjoying his food.

We returned to the Chalet after lunch, and the wonders of modern telecommunications meant that Amir Isa can continue with his quest to sue the pants of unwary people at his client's behest ( he's a lawyer you see ), doing so while enjoying the scenery......

Later in the evening, we all walked to the beach, hoping to see the sunset, forgetting that we were in the East Coast. we observed a family of Hornbills instead. There was also the local monitor lizard swimming in the lily pond, and we all sat back to enjoy our National Geographic moment....
The Hornbill.

The Biawak Monitor Lizard

Dinner was at the Duyong restaurant, about 5 minutes away by scooter.

We left at abou 11PM, ready to turn in for tommorow's leg. We will ride from Cherating to Kuala Besut using the coastal highway covering 285 kilometers.

Next; Day TWO - Cherating to Kuala Besut.[img][/img]
Gilera Fuoco. Yamaha TMax, BMW Boxercup, Harley XR1200, GP800
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 63
Location: Malaysia
Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:04 pm quote
Day TWO - Cherating to Kuala Besut.

Fine weather again this morning.

Our two machines; three cylinders, 1300cc, and 5 tyres between the two.

Checking Out

Short Ride to breakfast.

Don shows Amir how to use a bandana. Heaps better than the balaclava he has been wearing so far.


Somehow i got separated from everyone else, and thinking they were ahead, i balsted my way all the way past Kuala Terengganu and stopped at Merchang. I got a call from Faisal and an RV point was arranged

The Rest


Meanwhile....I was here while they pumped gas at Marang.

Knowing that it will be a bout one hour before they get to the RV point, I explored the area. Turns out that this was one of the jetties from which holidaymakers use to get to Pulau Perhentian.

Waiting at the RV point

The guys on their way there

They finally arrived


Back on the road with another 70kms to Kuala Besut

The Penarik road has very light traffic, and very straight and smooth, with no potholes. We made good progress.

Don started the ball rolling by overtaking Sean

Sean again trying hard to beat Don

The rest of us decided to enjoy the view

Sean eventually slowed down and decided to enjoy the view instead

Amir Isa and me stayed behind soaking the scenery.

On reaching Kuala Besut, my cousin was waiting in his SUV to lead us to the jetty for some keropok lekor, a local specialty.

The scooters at rest

While we enjoy our snacks. My cousin is 4th from the left. He later paid the tab and arranged for dinner at a loca restaurant. The menu was fish over charcoal, really good stuff.

Pian, Sean and Ariv.

The Scooligans

Shortly thereafter we proceeded to our Hotel, about 10 minutes away, led by my cousin Jazzlan. He was initially supposed to join us on his 400cc Suzuki Burgman scooter, but the workshop could not fix his bike in time, and he does not want to ride his Beemer or R6 so he aborted the plan.

That night, just as we were about to leave the hotel for dinner it poured cats and dogs, so Jazzlan ferried us in his SUV, making two trips to the restaurant. He also picked up the tab for dinner, real Besut hospitality. Thanks Coz.......

We got back before midnight, looking forward for tomorrow's segment from Kuala Besut to Betong, Thailand, riding the East West highway across the Northern Mountain Range of Peninsula Malaysia, a distance of just under 300kms.
Gilera Fuoco. Yamaha TMax, BMW Boxercup, Harley XR1200, GP800
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 63
Location: Malaysia
Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:12 pm quote
Day 3, Kuala Besut to Betong, Yala. 315 kilometer.

We all woke up fairly early today, looking forward to riding the East - West Northern Route on a beautiful piece of tarmac that winds its way across the Main range. the route today ill be Kuala Besut - Jerteh - Machang - Jeli - Banding - Gerik and finally Betong.

A group photo before we depart.

It was a short ride to Jerteh where we RVed with Jazzlan who led the way to Machang for some traditional breakfast.
Faisal after fuelling up in Jerteh.

On the road to Jeli

Scooligan rules the road.....ahem

The scooliganism was shortlived as the JPJ (local Department of Transport) gave the group a once over.....

After Jeli the road begins to wind its way across the backbone of Malaysia, the air becoming cooler as the altitude gradually increased to a maximum of 4000 ft at the highest point. The Sean and Don show began in earnest, with the rest sticking closely.

Pian was working his big SYM with the little motor pretty hard.....

All the while, the 'lead' between Sean and Don changed hands like Rossi and Lorenzo in a MotoGP round.....

Demon Don, wringing the neck of his Sportscity.

I decided to hang out with Ariv, who was maintaining an " I want to see the view" pace, and wisely too as we spotted a nice place to take some photographs of our bikes at the highest point along the road.

Almost the Sixties if not for the modern bike gear.....

I love my GP800. Faster than a Goldwing in the twisties, just as fast on the straights and sweepers, almost as comfortable, way more useful in town. The world's fastest, most powerful scooter with the world's oldest rainforest in the background.

The group ahead arrived at the Banding Island RV point about 10 minutes ahead of us as they were maintaining a faster pace and did not stop for pictures.
Faisal on his Nexus

Ariff and me arriving at the RV point

Reviewing the photos and talk about how much fun the ride was....and this was probably the only segment we miss our bigger bikes.

Lunch was at the only stall there......

Banding is a "circumstantial" island, previously was the top of a small hill set in the undulating landscape covered by rainforest. Sometime in the late 70s and early 80s a dam was built in the area for hydroelectric purposes, and a body of water larger in size than Singapore was formed. The East West Road cuts across Banding Island which was connected by two bridges, one west and one east. In the past 25 years the lake has developed into a freshwater fishing area, and also provides access into the Belum Forest Reserve, a treasure trove of natural habitat surrounding the lake.

The view of Temenggor Lake, as the body of water is now called.

The East Side Bridge

The West Side Bridge

And another group photo before we ride the other 60 kms to Gerik.

Back on the road, Ariff is on his Vespa heading for the West Side Bridge.

More fun on the road....

We reached Gerik and refueled before RV at a local eatery at the crossroads of Gerik, Pengkalan Hulu and the Jeli roads.

Roskam, a buddy of Amir Isa and me, was waiting at the stall, having driven his pick-up all the ay from Kuala Lumpur.

With another 46km to go to the border, we were pleased to know that the road ahead was more of the same as what we have ridden for the last 110 kms, very light traffic, flowing corners and fairly grippy surface.

A quick photograph

And Amir CR started the ball rolling by acting like a prat on the 12 year old quarter liter Majesty.

Ariff started chasing Pian who scooted off .......

Roskam did sweeper duty in his pick up behind Ariff.

Eventually the Vespa managed to pass Pian. The Vespa rider as pretty happy with this development.....

Pengkalan Hulu arrival, just South of the Thai - Malaysia border.

Amir CR, Sean and Amir Isa arriving at Pengkalan Hulu.

Amir Isa, showing the unique two front wheel steering system of his Fuoco.

The Border marker.

The Immigration and Customs Complex on the Malaysian side.

The Nexus entering Thailand.

Awaiting for the rest to clear Customs.

Adeeb, Amir Isa and Faisal in Thailand.

The entry formalities at the Thai side as all too easy, the friendly Thai Immigration and Customs officers living up to the 'Land of Smiles' reputation, and it took us all of 15 minutes before we found ourselves riding on Thai tarmac.

Betong town was just another 10 minutes away. The evironment there is most relaxed, and although there are helmet laws, the locals gave me the impression that it is merely optional.

A district of Yala Province, Betong is situated on the foothills of the Sankalakhiri mountain range, part of the Titiwangsa that continues into Thailand. Its terrain is mostly mountainous and hilly with forested plateaus. Although claimed to be about 1,900 feet above sea level, I felt the temperature is almost as hot and humid as the lowlands.

Incidently the name Betong means Bamboo in Malay. The population is about 50,000 with the majority being Muslims, whose main vocation is farming.

After passing a couple of streets,

We reached the Hotel that is to be our home for the night.

Parking was VIP style

After checking in, a bath and a change of clothes, we rode our scooters around town, looking for late lunch. There are many restaurants, and i felt at home as the locals speak Kelantanese, a dialect i grew up with.

A typical Muslim restaurant.

Later we split up. and I rode around town looking at whatever sights there were. The town was very quiet and seems devoid of activities. We later learned that the town is a weekend town, and comes alive on fridays, and stays that way right through the weekend.

This tunnel, about 400 meters long links the two parts of town, cutting through a steep hill that previously separated the town into two. the locals used to have to climb up and down steep inclines, now made easy by this new access road.

I rode around the outskirts of town till dusk. Dinner was at another Muslim restaurant.

Tomorrow will be our last sector, which is also the longest leg, just over 360 km back home to Kuala Lumpur, on a mix of A roads and Highways.
We were glad that the weather has been good all the way so far, especially during our slow blast up and down the twisties of the East-West portion.

Now for some rest.........

More to come.

Last edited by roofscoot on Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
Gilera Fuoco. Yamaha TMax, BMW Boxercup, Harley XR1200, GP800
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 63
Location: Malaysia
Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:02 pm quote
Day 4: Betong to Kuala Lumpur. 360 kilometers.

Good times really pass by quickly. Its already time to ride home. Weather still looks good in Betong but a little cloudy in the Southern skies. We hae about 170 kilometers of A Roads to cover, a large portion with nice corners, and 190kms of boring highway that leads to Kuala Lumpur.

We left the Hotel at 10am Malaysian time ( Thailand is one hour behind ) and headed for the border complex.

The Malaysian Border complex.

After covering 40 odd kilometers, we stopped by this restaurant as we saw rain clouds ahead, and decided to have lunch there to sit out the rain.

It poured for about 35 minutes

After an hour we decided to leave

Back on the road

We finally got caught in the rain as we passed the 20 kilometer mark out of Gerik. Thankfully it stopped for a while as we passed by the tranquil Raban Lake.

We continued on towards the next RV point, a fuel station along the North South Highway at Perak River.

The Perak River RV Point.

We departed after a short break

We got caught in the rain again but rode through the deluge to our last RV point before we all go our separate way home.

At Ulu Bernam LayBye, after filling up it was time to split up.


We all agreed it was a good trip, The scooter with the smallest motor, the Taiwanese made SYM, powered by a 180cc motor took to the trip like a walk in the park, never missing a beat. All the smaller scooters performed wonderfully despite being push to the edge of its limits on all sectors of the ride, with RPMs hovering just below redline. The only thin that gave way was the speedometer on Don's Sportscity that stopped working on the way back.

As for the three of us on the big scooters ( GP800, Nexus 500 and the Fuoco ) we were totally taken by our ride, and none of us missed our bigger bikes......

Definitely a big scooter was the way to go for touring, so much so that one of the guys who came along for the trip has put some money down on a 500cc Nexus.

We are now planning to ride from Chiangmai Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, a distance of 1900kms sometime next year. That route will take us throught the road of Thousand corners from Mae Hong Son to Mae Sot.

That'll be one hell of a fun ride.

Cheers from the Scooligans of Malaysia.

2016 Vespa Sprint 150
Joined: 09 Jul 2009
Posts: 351
Location: New Zealand
Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:15 pm quote
Wow! That looks like a really awesome ride you guys had! Thanks for sharing the trip!
GTS 250 i.e. x 2
Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Chile
Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:18 am quote
very cool trip
Great trip and very nice writing, really enjoyed reading the story and felt like wanting to go there to ride.
might some day pass by on my vespa
Molto Verboso
LX150, MP3, Buddy
Joined: 11 Nov 2005
Posts: 1526
Location: California
Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:09 am quote
Thanks so much for posting the photos and trip report. I would love to visit the area someday, and a scooter seems like a great way to see the sights.
Red SYM HD200
Joined: 28 Jun 2008
Posts: 740
Location: Bay Area, CA
Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:30 am quote
Terrific photos and commentary of your trip. Thanks for posting!
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Joined: 18 Jun 2007
Posts: 6163
Location: Acworth, GA
Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:54 am quote
Amazing photos of what looked to be a wonderful trip! Demon Don cracks me up. Interesting helmet he wears:

At any rate, it looks like you guys had a great time - I'd love to be able to do a ride like that some day...
2008 mp3 500, 2013 Suzuki VStrom 650
Joined: 09 Oct 2009
Posts: 58
Location: New Jersey
Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:50 pm quote
gorgeous ride
thanks for posting beautiful pictures! hope to visit your country someday!
Molto Verboso
2007 GT200L Graphite Black
Joined: 27 Jun 2009
Posts: 1869
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Sat Oct 17, 2009 11:51 am quote
What an amazing trip report! I found myself really getting into each segment of your journey. Thanks for taking the time to post the pictures with the terrific write-up!
Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 2

Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:05 am quote
TonyF wrote:
Terrific photos and commentary of your trip. Thanks for posting!
ride across the backbone of Peninsula Malaysia on the famed twisties of the East West Highway to Betong

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Vespa GTV, Moto Guzzi V7 Classic
Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 376
Location: Dublin, CA
Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:43 pm quote
Brilliant! Fantastic narrative and pics. I'm looking forward to next year's pics and write-up
We are now planning to ride from Chiangmai Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, a distance of 1900kms sometime next year.
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