January 24, 2017

Triumph Street Twin - BoosterPlug Review

I've done nearly 800km since I got the bike last month. Not much admittedly, but enough to get a feel of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of this bike.
Nothing ugly, a little bad and a whole lot of good to be honest.

The Bad for me are the rear shocks, which when riding 2 up, quickly show their limits. For now I will change the setting of the spring compression to make them harder, but sooner or later new shocks (probably YSS) will have to be installed.

The Good is obviously the look, but most of all the pleasure I get from riding it. The smooth and relaxed way it weaves through traffic, but also the grunt coupled with a satisfying sound when you open the throttle in a more decisive manner.

So far I haven't done much modifying on the bike, and I don't intend to do any major work on it. For that I have the Yamaha SR. I added a few cosmetic bits, but mostly practical touring add-ons, like a SW-Motech GPS holder and Motech semi-rigid saddlebags.

The only performance enhancing change was the so-called BoosterPlug, which seems to get very good reviews online. In short, the BoosterPlug is a small device that fools the ECU into thinking that ambient temperature is 20degrees lower than it is in reality, thus enriching the air-fuel mix. This offers several advantages, but more about this later.

 The BoosterPlug came 10 days after ordering it on ebay. The price is nearly 148$ (free shipping), but the declared value was about 50$, which I thought was a nice touch. You never know how customs feel about your stuff and how much they're going to rob you.

Packed contained the plug, instructions and promotional material.

Installation was super easy and done in just 5 minutes. Basically, just unplug the sensor on the air box and put the BoosterPlug in line. Finally find a place for the new sensor that is not close to heat sources like the engine, radiator or exhaust pipes. Done

Original sensor on the air box
New sensor. I placed it here because it fits nicely. Not sure if it's aerated enough...maybe worth trying different placements.
Result: After installing it, I went on a short ride (about 10km) to see if there were any changes.
I can say that I share what most other reviewers said about it. I found throttle response to be smoother and more responsive, the bike seems to run smoother and "rounder" and torque feels stronger.
What I didn't feel, was smoother gear changes, contrary to what several other users said. I think (hope) I will get that when I change to oil for the first time this week.
Someone commented about the increased fuel consumption. Yes, it will use more fuel, but not all the time. The company claims that it only enrichens the mix when you really need it: when accelerating. During constant cruising speed, the air-fuel ratio turns back to normal.

VERDICT: Although the changes are not drastic, they are noticeable and improve the bike's performance. The price could be a bit lower to be honest, but if we compare it to other such devices (see sticker), there's not much to complain about. 

December 25, 2016

A Merry Christmas Indeed!

Christmas 2016 will go down in (my) history as one of the most memorable of all Christmasses, ever!
I'll tell you why.

During the past 4 weeks I've been hard at work moving to a new and bigger place. You can't imagine how much stuff got accumulated in 10 years of living here in Thailand. My plan was to finish with the move, get my visa sorted and then go to Triumph and buy a brand new Street Twin.

To celebrate the successful move, my wife and I invited our best friends and threw a BBQ party. The food was good, the drinks were plentiful and the company exuberant. We just finished eating the dessert when my wife walked up to me and asked to help her with something. So, being the good husband that I am, I stood up and followed her to the front of the house.

Next, something happened that can't be really put in words, but I'll try nonetheless. I walked around the corner where a dream became manifest: there she was, a brand new Street Twin, waiting for me!
I have to admit that I shed a few tears, not so much for the bike (which I was already set on buying anyway), but for the great lengths my wife must have gone through to get the finance approval and to get the bike there in time for the party.

What can I say? I'm truly a lucky guy to have a wife like that. A wife who knows how to make her motorcycle crazy husband happy.

2 months ago at the Triumph dealership in Bangkok

The moment I got the delivery

First selfie

Wiping the tears of joy :-)


The very first ride out with my 2 big loves

December 8, 2016

2016 Motor Expo - PART 3 + PRICE LISTS

After telling people for months that the YAMAHA XSR wouldn't come to Thailand, here it is. Go figure...

The M-Slaz is a big seller amongst the Thai teenagers. No changes for 2017 apart from a new color scheme.

Honda's big news, or should I say little?, comes in the form of a new model of 500cc (300cc also planned) called Rebel. Not really new actually. The Rebel was a small cruiser of 250cc made in the late 80s. But like I said before, small bikes are back in fashion and are starting to steal the show from their bigger brothers.

Benelli is the Rocky of motorcycle brands. You can knock her down, but she will inevitably stand back up and deliver a fearsome uppercut to her adversary. The one bike I wanted to see though, the Leoncino Scrambler, wasn't there unfortunately.

I'd be curious to know how much that weighs...

MV Agusta's design inspirations don't just affect Benelli, wait for it.

BMW presents the G310. Price is 199.000Baht.

This is what makes my heart beat!

Vespa's PX125 2 stroke, yours for a mere 199,900Baht!

And if you ever wondered what an 8 million Baht bike looks like, here it is.

Here are all the price lists I could get. Enjoy

December 4, 2016

2016 Motor Expo - PART 2

Another welcome addition on the Thai market is the Kawasaki W800. Funnily enough, the W800 (as well as the Yamaha SR400) has just been discontinued on the European market due to the new EURO4 emission regulations, but both are alive and kicking here in Thailand. I tried to find out how this is possible, since Thailand has very strict emission laws, but I couldn't get a straight answer from the Kawasaki people. Nevermind, it's not like I'm complaining, quite the contrary actually.

Local Thai bike manufacturers/distributors GPX and Stallions continue to expand their range with some remarkable little bikes. They've both come a long way in the past couple of years, both in the design and the technical department. If I think that 10 years ago, the only bikes over 150cc were grey import 400cc Honda CB Superfour and the 200cc Tiger the police used. In fact, that was my first bike here in Thailand.
Small displacement bikes seems to be back in fashion if we look at all the 250 and 300 cc offerings from Honda, Kawasaki, KTM and now even BMW.

GPX has a new bike called "Gentleman", no doubt inspired by the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride. A nice mixture of classic and modern styling. The front end is particularly impressive with its USD forks and double disc brakes. Seating position is aggressive yet comfortable. Some plastic bits are not very convincing, but for the price you can hardly ask for more.

The recent success of Yamaha's M-Slaz has sparked the pens of a several copycat designers.

Stallions has a few nice bikes too...for example the 'Buccaneer', a 250cc V-twin Scrambler.

There were very few ladies this year due to the passing of HM King Bhumibol.