Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, GSX1400, two-up

Discussion in 'Malaysia - Road Trip Reports' started by E3L0, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. E3L0

    E3L0 Ol'Timer

    Day 1
    Bangkok to Hua Hin in pouring rain.
    There's no stopping us.
    Hotel: Sofitel Centara Grand

    Day 2
    Day off. Easily stopped.

    Rained again this evening so that the centre of Hua Hin flooded. It was fun coming back, wading and sheltering as best we could but it doesn't bode well for tomorrow and that's another set of clothes soaked.

    Day 3
    Chumphon
    , 284km according to Google maps.
    Started day with fantastic children's breakfast of cold pizza. The sun is out and our stuff is all mostly dry after another night on the balcony. I adjusted the suspension a bit yesterday so let's see if it makes any difference and, more importantly, whether Helen notices.

    Hotel: Novatel

    Ride was easy and pretty fast, so fast I'm thinking I need to check my speedo; there's probably an app I can download to do that.

    Roads were in pretty good condition and traffic was as light as I've seen it in Thailand; probably because of the election.

    Suspension was a big improvement. It was tending to bob up a bit after bumps but more rebound damping has sorted it. The bike is sputtering a little when going from closed to open throttle. I should have checked the spark plugs before I left. No chance of that now. I might fill up with 91 instead of 95 gasohol to see if a change of fuel helps.

    Android phone keeps shutting down when on the ram mount. Not sure if it is the vibration or battery killing gps. Will get a charger sorted asap and see if that helps.

    Day 4
    Chumphon to Krabi
    Great fast riding. Got to hold the bike wide open in top long enough to ascertain that the fully-loaded top speed is in fact 230km/h and not "230km/h with plenty still left to go" as my inner seventeen-year-old has always maintained. Fully loaded means Helen, backbox, flappy soft panniers, tankbag and a virtually bolt upright 6'4" me on the front. 230km/h is indicated by a generous to the point of sycophancy speedo that is only labeled to 180km/h.

    Day 5
    Krabi
    , another day off. This is like being on holiday.

    Had a look at the air filter and found it disappointingly clean. This would have been an easy fix for the spluttering.
    [​IMG]
    Checked spark plugs 1&4 (the easy ones). Electrodes are fine but lots of corrosion on outside so bad the crush washer has disappeared from no 4. May get them changed in Malaysia if I get the chance.

    [​IMG]

    Day 6
    Malaysia!

    This is the big day! We motorbike to a new country for the first time in six years! I'm told this is the 22nd country I have ridden to.

    We made good time on the Thai side. I was slightly sobered to see road signs for all the places that appear in the Thai news because of bombings and other religious violence. What a waste and what nonsense.

    Both sides of the border were easy. We made a point of finding the insurance place on the Malay side and paid RM72 (THB720) for one month's insurance. The insurance lady then directed me to the government vehicle tax place where they took a while to look at the bike (an excuse for a fag) then issue me a certificate without charge (I think they might have forgotten to charge me).

    We then rode on and on for hours on boring motorway to get to the island of Penang. Well worth it! Even tired after a long day and searching for the hotel (usually a good time for frayed nerves) Georgetown looked great. We got an Indian (third night in a row) and a Tiger beer then had an early night.

    Day 7Still Penang
    Ate at the Maharaj, at the top of Chulia. Can't recommend this place enough. Staff are friendly, food great and he place looks like a grotto, inside and out. It may be best not to park immediately outside, though, as there is a Bollywood cinema next door, you can see it in the photo, and patrons appear to have a habit of lounging on parked bikes while they are waiting to go in. Unless you're really cool with this sort of thing, best to park on Chulia then cross the road on foot, over the traffic island.
    [​IMG]

    Day 8
    Still Penang

    Day 9
    Cameron Highlands

    Hotel De La Ferns, between Tanah Rata and Berinchang. You can probably do better! Staff couldn't find booking, tried to overcharge and were generally unhelpful.

    From Penang to Cameron Highlands you have to do some motorway at first. We tried to follow an alternative A road, not least to make use of the new satnav, but the road surface was appalling.

    At Ipoh we left the motorway and met appalling traffic which petered to nothing as we left the town. On the left there was a very welcome Starbucks at a busy mall. The attendants understandably wouldn't let us park in front of Starbucks because a million other bikes would then follow suit. After a while, though, they relented and let us park in a chained-off area just long enough for us to grab a coffee.

    Straight after Ipoh, the fun road begins. Much wider and more swoopy than I expected (I pictured something like Khao Yai in Thailand) the road was fast and well-surfaced. Roads like this are why I always choose touring bikes with at least a little bit of sporting pretension. Recently tweaked suspension was superb and my choice of tyres meant I could concentrate on my line, and on the traffic, without having to worry one little bit about traction. I use the same tyres on my Fireblade at Bira circuit. In fact, the same tyres often get squared-off by the Suzuki before being transferred to the Honda to get their edges frazzed.

    We were travelling on a Saturday which was not ideal as there was lots of weekend traffic. We had plenty of spells with nothing around where we could have some fun but we would inevitably catch a convoy every now and then, headed by a slowcoach (literal or euphemistic). This leads to plenty of uphill overtaking and requires a bike with a bit of performance in it. Although the GSX1400 makes only a modest 106bhp, this is irrelevant as it has a whopping 125Nm of torque (for comparison, a VFR800 makes 80Nm). Overtakes were a breeze and I think we found the GSX1400s natural habitat.

    Day 10
    Cameron Highlands day off

    Day 11
    Belam rainforest resort, near Gerik.
    Came down from the highlands using the older, more northern road. It's nicely bendy but the condition is poor and I'd advise anyone on a sportsbike to use the more southerly road that goes to Ipoh instead.

    We blasted up the north south highway, I gave up on the speed limit ages ago and will just pay the fines when necessary. We then turned onto the 76 expecting another nice road. What we got was an endless A road that was too fast for its own junctions. We saw two accidents.

    In Gerik we managed to find some vegan food without having to stoop to fries at the KFC. Found veggie fried rice at friendly cafe.

    Photo shows GSX1400 grazing with local bikes.

    Attached files [​IMG]
     
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  3. E3L0

    E3L0 Ol'Timer

    Bike:
    2001 Suzuki GSX1400 Japan spec
    ECU from UK bike so you can stuff your 200 km/h governor
    Yoshimura 4:1 with titanium end can*
    YSS rear shocks
    Givi backbox
    Soft panniers
    Diablo Rosso rear tyre
    Rosso front

    Dave:
    Air flow jacket over separate armour skeleton
    Jeans + knee pads
    Carbon fibre HJC
    Doc Martens
    One-piece waterproofs**

    Helen:
    Air flow everything
    Regular HJC
    Goretex bike boots (cow)
    One-piece waterproofs

    Gadgets:
    Android phone
    Ram mount
    Google Maps
    On-bike charging TBC
    Stuff that lot. Bought a Garmin Zumo 660 as soon as we got to Penang. Fed up of the phone force-closing and killing its battery.

    *A bit crinkly since it was hit by a bus on Sukhumvit about a year after I put it on.

    **What's this? Waterproofs have ripped, almost in half, at the back, where a belt would go if one was accessorising. I have only had them about fifteen years but they will have to be replaced. Hopefully they can hang on till KL.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Hua Hin

    Hua Hin Ol'Timer

    Which route did you take out of Bangkok to Hua Hin?

    I need to make the trip from Ramkhamhaeng Soi 150 on the 12th. I'll have my garmin mounted on the bike for the trip.

    Dwayne.
     
  5. E3L0

    E3L0 Ol'Timer

    Howdy Dwayne,
    We went Rama IV - Rama III - Krung Thep bridge, this is the southern-most bike-legal bridge I am aware of. Alternatively, you could use the ferry, which is a laugh.

    After that, you fight your way to the 35 using your Garmin.

    Dave
     
  6. E3L0

    E3L0 Ol'Timer

    Hi Colin

    Yep it's good to be on the road again. We've ridden to Samui and Phuket before so we're looking forward to getting further south where we haven't been.

    Dave
     
  7. Hua Hin

    Hua Hin Ol'Timer

    I think we will try the ferry route. The other guy I'll be riding with was a fisherman in a previous life so it should be good for a laugh.

    Is the road to the ferry 3113 or 3114?

    Dwayne.
     
  8. E3L0

    E3L0 Ol'Timer

    Fairly sure it's the 3113. I don't think you'll go too far wrong, anyway.

    I trust you and your mate have a running joke about Fisherman's Friends.
     
  9. E3L0

    E3L0 Ol'Timer

    Monday 4 krabi
    Tuesday 5 krabi
    Wednesday 6 penang
    Thursday 7 penang
    Friday 8 penang
    Saturday 9 taiping
    Sunday 10 ipoh
    Monday 11 cameron highlands
    Tuesday 12 cameron highlands
    Wednesday.13 cameron highlands
    Thursday 14 cherating
    Friday 15 cherating
    Saturday 16 cherating
    Sunday 17 taman negarra
    Monday 18 teman negarra
    Tuesday 19 Malacca
    Wednesday.20 Malacca
    Thursday 21 K L
    Friday 22 K L
    Saturday 23 KL
     
  10. burnjr

    burnjr Ol'Timer

    e3l0,
    pls call me if u arv kuala lumpur we can have dinner together.
    012-2568742.c brothers
     
  11. E3L0

    E3L0 Ol'Timer

    Hi Dude, cheers
    Sorting a new sim today so will be able to contact you when in KL in next few days. We are fussy eaters (vegan) so a beer may be easier than a meal!
    Dave
     
  12. west55

    west55 Member

    Hello Dave and Hellen

    Happy Bike day, days....

    Cheers West
     
  13. west55

    west55 Member

    Cyclist, cheese... i wish they would upgrade my profile a nudge, at least to Rider or is the next one Biker. Biker means you're in a bike club and really may not be riding much,la... i do it all!

    So there an extra post towards my goal. How do you add a Happy Face?
     
  14. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    Hey Westy, if you brought another bike making the total number of owned bikes 11 maybe GTR may consider you serious about biking 555 555.

    Stay safe and upright
     

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