Back to Cameron Highlands Again
My wife and I took a week off for a holiday in Malaysia last week. We decided to return to Cameron Highlands and Melaka again. I was a bit wary because of the back breaking experience on the GSXR last year. However, we finally decided to go ahead and since, I have new suspension on the bike and the Convertibars fixed, the ride should not be as bad, or so I hoped.
The packing for this trip was about the same as last years’. The good old Bagster Sprint saddlebags contained our clothes and toiletries. The other bag that we used was my day to day Rough and Road tank bag. Both bags are expandable and could contain quite a bit. My wife is a great packer and could squeeze in a lot with very clever packing techniques. As the Sprint’s rain cover was torn and thrown away a while back, I have resorted to putting my everyday use mesh jacket inside a trash bag before stuffing it in them. This method works very well and my jacket stays dry even after heavy torrential rain. It beats buying replacement rain covers which cost half the price of a new set of Spring saddlebags!
For this trip, I decided to bring 2 alarm U-Locks (a Taiwan made Fa Yan alarm U Lock – same as Bully Lock’s and an Oxford Boss U Lock) and a heavy Oxford chain along. The chain is about 1.5 meters and probably weighs 5-6kgs. In Malaysia, Johor Bahru has a notorious reputation for crime. There have been quite a few motorcycles reportedly stolen in the city. Though we would not staying in JB, I thought that it was better to bring them on the trip all the same.
The problem is that they are HEAVY. My guess is that the tank bag with the tools that I intend to bring probably weighs about 15kgs. I cannot use the handles or the back straps without tearing them.
My wife suggested that instead of stopping at Melaka first, we should zoom up to Cameron Highlands and during our return to Singapore, we would stop over at Melaka for 2 days. Her logic was that I would be less tired at the start of the trip than at the end. We are using the Malaysian North South Highway again and entering the country using the 2nd Link. Below was the plan for the journey:
Singapore to Ayer Keroh Overhead Bridge Restaurant
We left home just after 7 am and the ride to the 2nd link was uneventful. Our 1st stop was just after the border at the Gelang Patah petrol station. Since we were in Malaysia, I decided to support the national oil company, Petronas, and by passed the Shell station. As petrol is relatively cheap I decided to splurge a little by giving The Diva the best – 97 Octane Petrol. It cost RM 2.70 per litre. However, after a couple of fill ups, I realised that I could save a bit more by giving her the 95 Octane Petrol instead. It cost RM 1.90 per litre.
The 200+Km ride up from the border to Ayer Keroh’s Overhead Bridge Restaurant was uneventful but not exactly comfortable. As I realised after the trip, my suspension settings were too hard both front and back and the bike was hammering at me from both ends. After the rest stop at Ayer Keroh, I decided to reduce the front compression setting by 1 click and that made life much more bearable.
At the start of the trip, I was soon reminded of the vibrating right handlebar. It was numbing my fingers especially at about 5,000 to 6,000 rpm, which was about 130-140kph I think. I had forgotten about this problem from the last trip and now it became my constant companion.
During the ride, I was again reminded of how powerful and capable The Diva is. Overtaking at any gear is not an issue. With her heavily loaded with luggage and a pillion on board, she will still accelerate like a bat out of hell at a twist of the throttle. 160kph is where she just starts to yawn and blink her eyes.
Reaching such speeds and higher is not a problem. The problem was that we were unable to sustain at such speeds for long periods of time due to the discomfort (and also due to the fear that we could be caught by the police). With a big tank bag in front, I was unable to crouch and hide myself fully behind the windshield. I was also worried that my precious wife who’s riding behind me being blown off the bike. Hence, a fast and still comfortable cruising speed would be around 150kph to 160kph. At this speed, one was already breaking the speed limit and would be overtaking most vehicles on the highway.
We passed the exit for Melaka and zoomed past the 1st Ayer Keroh rest stop. Just 5km after that, we reached the Ayer Keroh Overhead Bridge Restaurant. I decided to reduce the compression damping by 1 click. While inspecting the drive chain, I noticed that the rear preload adjuster was dangling. The 2 bolts holding the hydraulic adjuster was shaken loose by vibration. Hmm…I thought only Harley Davidsons do that.
Luckily the 2 allen bolts were still on the preload adjusters and I only had to get out my allen key and tighten them down. But it wasn’t fun when I burnt my arm on the exhaust pipe. Ouch!