A lot of people believe that a Class 2A motorcycle is good enough for daily commuting use. It’s true as the stalwart Honda Super Four (400cc) has been the most popular mid-range bike on our Singapore roads for the few decades. Even my aunty asked me why I don’t ride “that bigger Honda bike”.
However, this could be the class of motorcycles where bike dealers can squeeze buyers most effectively. If you are looking for the best deal in Class 2A, you may only want to buy used, and not new motorcycles.
If you are bidding for a Singapore licence plate for a car or motorcycle, you’ll probably be wondering how the Land Transport Authority comes up with the last alphabet of every plate. For example, the “L” in SKR22L or the “Z” in SJN555Z. It’s some complex formula I won’t go into, but here’s a nifty online tool to find your ideal plate number combo for future series of plates.
First off, this post could be disagreeable to both car drivers and motorcyclists alike, so please hear me out first. I have spent a lot of time writing about motorcycles and how to stay alive as a biker, but I know many bikers won’t bother until they get into situations where they truly understand the risk.. or maybe it might be too late by then.
This week, apart from the awful haze from Indonesia, a lot of Singaporeans were stunned by the news of a young 25-year-old Ducati rider who was killed by a big truck on the Pan Island Expressway at the Kallang area. The accident was grisly and bikers pleaded with others on Facebook not to distribute graphic photos of the accident.
The 50-year-old driver of the truck was arrested and many keyboard warriors assumed it was his reckless driving that killed the biker.
There is this adage that it’s not how much you earn, but how much you can save that matters. As I get older, I get more focused on saving where possible because the cost of living only goes up over time. My current philosophy on “wiping the material life” has also helped sharpen that focus a little bit more.
Unlike most articles on the web, I’m not here to write about which bank savings rate you should invest in, or how to calculate your retirement earnings. You may not live long enough to retire anyway, who knows right?
I’m more concerned about staying alive each day and ensuring I am healthy so I can use my hands and brains to work. I’m not going to dwell on property or car choices either, since those are highly debatable on needs versus wants.
So on a daily basis, there are simple small practices (or lifehacks, as is the current lingo) that many people already practice, and that you might find useful for your lifestyle. Our expenditures are often a case of death by many small cuts, so where can we avoid getting hurt?
The mainstream media covers the rise and fall of the Singapore car industry extensively, but motorcycle sales statistics largely get ignored. So being the usual kaypoh that I am, I pulled out some public documents from the Land Transport Authority to show you what’s happening with the local motorcycle market.
If anything, it’s good information for bikers who want to know how their favorite brands are doing in our small market, and it explains why the mix of of motorcycles on Singapore streets is changing gradually towards the high-end.
Yamaha’s motorcycle division is on a roll. Over the past few years, they’ve trotted out one futuristic-looking motorcycle after the other like no other Japanese manufacturer.
Their latest neo-retro XSR700 is almost steampunk, achieved with a few clever tweaks of the recently launched mid-range MT-07 motorcycle to attract the younger crowd.
Bikes like this are quickly setting the benchmark for other mainstream motorcycles. Some say the XSR700 is a hipster design, but I think this is a bike that fits the visual zeitgeist of our times – a desire for visual rawness and mechanical detailing and yet simplistic in actual performance. Also, it’s an obvious marketing offensive against the Ducati Scrambler (which is also trying to rock the neo-retro vibe) but with more angular and aggressive lines.
I’m glad for bikes like the XSR700 because most standard motorcycles in Singapore look boring to any observer. This situation is steadily changing as more high-end Class 2 bikes roam our streets due to high car prices and the range of designs above 400cc are now staggering. That’s also why I encourage every biker to get to Class 2, instead of staying in Class 2B or 2A.
The Germans and Italians may have sexy motorcycle designs, but I believe Yamaha – the biggest motorcycle brand in Singapore – is shaping our streets to look like Future Tokyo.
The article presented most sides of the transport problem in Singapore – a growing desire by commuters to wean themselves off cars, yet they face perennial issues of inconvenience or sometimes, the sheer impracticality with the state of public transport in Singapore.
However, like most conversations around transport in Singapore, the article did not address what it really takes to solve a long-standing problem of getting around in this tiny city state. Or at least, getting more people to stop driving.
Let me tell you what I think it takes – immense courage and conviction at all levels of society to actually make things happen.
As Singapore turns 50, I see less and less of the mindblowing bravery that our early leaders demonstrated to bring us from third world to first. These days, I observe too much hemming and hawing in the public sphere. Policy decisions seem to be made to desperately preserve the status quo, not to truly transform Singapore for the next stage of its existence.