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....