December 3, 2015

2015 Bangkok Motor Expo

The 32nd edition of the Motor Expo in Bangkok opened its door today for the public. It goes without saying that I had to be there at 12 o'clock as one of the first visitors.

Cars and motorcycles were present, but I obviously focus mainly on bikes. I only made one exception for this car. No further comment necessary.

After buying several pairs of motorcycle jeans online and repeatedly getting the size wrong, I finally found a pair of Kevlar jeans that don't look designed by elderly Chinese women (Komine) or Korean teenage hipsters (UglyBros). Badass Jeans are made in Thailand and look almost like my regular pair of jeans. I wore them on the way back home and I can say they are very comfortable. My main fear was they would be too hot, but at 5pm in heavy Bangkok traffic, I barely noticed any difference. These jeans are made with the Kevlar already woven into the fabric and come with a pair of CE knee pads and a pair of hip pads. All this for the honest price of 5.700Baht.



The historic motorcycle builder Royal Enfield has gained much attention in the past few years for somehow modernizing their classic bikes. Particular interest was evoked with the Continental GT, a factory cafe racer that seemed to tick off all the right boxes and from next year RE will be officially available for the first time in Thailand.
Last week I kind of raised a few points regarding the build quality that to me seemed a bit rough, especially compared to another retro bike: the mighty Yamaha SR400.
I still stand behind what I said previously regarding the overall quality and finish. This time however, I was able to get up close and sit on all models, and I have to say that they somehow grew on me. Reservations gave way to a warm fuzzy feeling when I sat on the Classic model with all that chrome and the single seat. All in all, I give RE the thumbs up and hope to see lots of them on the Thai roads.

The Bullet will set you back 199.900Baht.

The Continental is available in red, black and yellow. Power is 29.1hp. Price is 239.900Baht.

That super ugly hook under the seat is there to help you raise the bike on its centre stand.
The good news is you can take it off.

My personal favourite RE: the Classic 500. 27.2hp and very shiny indeed. It comes in 7 different colors. Normal colors cost 209.900Baht, while chrome colors are 219.900Baht.
It comes with a standard single seat, but a pillon seat is also available as an optional.

Something that needs getting used to....that gargantuan muffler!



Suzuki is lagging a bit behind all other manufacturers when it comes to updating their line up. The GD110 is last year's news and was only preset at the show in form of a rather strange custom bike.

Nearly the same thing can be said about the VanVan....

Oh Lord, when the Predator look becomes a mainstream design feature, it's best to retreat into 'retro heaven'.

The revisited GSX-S 1000F looking alright  in black and red.

The Boulevard going for a decent price.



There was one bike I really wanted to see at Benelli's stand, the new Leoncino we saw at EICMA 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately, my hopes were rudely crushed when I looked around and worse, when I asked the only sales rep there, the only answer I got was a blank stare. "Where is the new Leoncino?" I asked. Stare. "You's a new has a little lion on the front fender" Stare. "It's a new Benelli FFS". Answer"Yeees, Benelli...gooood". Stare (mine).
For me, Benelli has been lingering on the brink of producing a good bike for quite a few years. One that doesn't come with awkward design solutions like the 2 massive cooling fans or the flying ant head as headlight on the TNT.
And when they finally seem to get it right, it goes right under the sales rep's radar. Sad.

Reminds me of the Elephant man...

Do these mufflers remind you of another bike?
MV F3 anyone?

I think Benelli's are all called TNT. Here's another one..definitely one that's a bit easier on the eyes.



GPX is a Thai company who's been quite active in the past 5 years or so. Several parts are still manufactured in China, but more and more are being produced in Thailand. The design team is based in Thailand as well.

A ridiculously big muffler cover.

The Demon is one of their latest bikes, heavily inspired by some Italian bike (ehm ehm Monster ehem ehem). I even asked the sales rep if they won't get in trouble for plainly copying the Monster, but he didn't think so. Oh well...all good then.

See what I mean?

Despite possible copyright infringements, I have to say that the Demon looked very well made, with lots of attention to details. The price seems pretty good too.

Another copy of an icon.

The Legend is their latest creation. The sales woman had the audacity to compare it to a Triumph, but I forgive her because I like the bike. Expo price is 65.900Baht, while normal retail price is almost 70.000Bht.

GPX seems serious with the design and development of their line up. I was quite impressed and see a definite improvement from the past few years. Good luck to them!



One new bike at Yamaha's stand caught my eye. A little street fighter (I thought street fighters were a thing of the 90's?) called M-Slaz. M-Slaz...really? Sounds like a word you'd find in some Japanese Manga. Weird.
I tried sitting on it. When I say 'tried' I really mean tried! I'm not a big guy, quite the opposite, but this bike seemed even too small for me. The riding position felt very cramped with nowhere to go. Might be alright for testosterone fueled little Thai teens, but definitely not my thing.

Stepping up the game...the MT-07.

And the riding position was much better.

MT-09 in comparison.



Looking quite alright for a cruiser.

Kawasaki's best seller: ER6n.

The 'mini' Z, Kawasaki's answer to the Honda MSX(Grom), which was Honda's answer to Kawasaki's popular KSR. Now almost every manufacturer has a similar pit bike for sale.

That headlight cluster is doing my head in. Big time!



One of the biggest 'ahaaa' moments for me was when I entered Triumph's stand and saw the new Street Twin, a successful blend of a classic bike with modern design features.

This could be it for me. The only other bike I would consider buying would be the Ducati Scrambler Classic and if someone asked me to choose between the 2, I think I would get stuck in an endless feedback loop.  Really like that color and the 17" front wheel.



Vespa is one of those things that can change just enough to stay alive and never let loose of its origins. The only hiccup in the many years of production was the Cosa (the "Thing") in my opinion, but thankfully that's a 'thing' of the past. See what I did there?
To contrast utter ugliness of the past, how about this stunning futuristic Vespa?

My head started to spin when I saw how many models and model variants there are.



 Not arguing the quality of KTM's bikes, but the angular bodywork is not for me. If it's for you, you are in luck, because they just reduced their prices considerably.



Honda had several other models on display, but I refrained from taking pictures out of fear my camera would break. If you feel masochistically inclined, I suggest you go there and see for yourself.

Not the most popular color combination at the moment...



 BMW had a new and for them, unusual bike at the show. A small displacement street bike that looks just like the Z250, the ER6n, the CB500, the ....well, you get my point. It's rumoured to cost around 200.000Bht.

One that doesn't copy anyone else: RnineT



Ducati has the new 62, which is a smaller version of the Scrambler. Half the displacement and about 100.000Bht less.

A Scramber customized by Ducati Thailand. I still hate them for having sold the Paul Smart Scrambler to VIPs only. Damn you.

Here are a few pictures that compare the full sized Scrambler with the baby Scrambler.








PS: Harley Davidson was there also, but thankfully my camera battery died just in time.
PPS: Edited to include brochures and price lists.
Sorry, still no HD pictures.
HD doesn't stand for High Definition, by the way.

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