I have just returned from my second motorcycle ride in Malaysia and am even more impressed.
This latest trip was a bit impromptu, deciding just a week or so before to go somewhere and Malaysia came straight to mind. I flew direct to Kuala Lumpur from Australia with Air Asia.
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Yes you can rent a full size bike in Malaysia and the place to go is The Big Bike Shop in Puchong. To get to the shop I took the KLIA Transit train to Putrajaya then a taxi. I brought a Google map print out with me yet the taxi counter at the station still over charged me and taxi drive had no idea how to get there. Eventually we set off and fortunately along the way I sighted the shop. (note – no longer able to rent from this shop)
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I rented a Kawasaki ER6N for this trip. A big thanks to the guys at The Big Bike Shop for looking after me. That’s the boss Mr Ibrahim Bin Abdul Samad above with me who is a top bloke.
Leaving Puchong I rode East as I was thinking not to ride through Kuala Lumpur city.
My chosen route was East on rural roads B19 and B32 however the B19 road had collapsed down the hillside into the lake and the GPS was unable to calculate a detour so I headed off on what turned out to be about a 90km detour but the roads where quite enjoyable.
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Had t stop and hydrate a few times as it was super muggy.
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Route 9 heading north.
I rode to Karak and back along the Karak highway and turned off towards Genting Highlands.
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With the sun starting to dip I made my way up the Western climb to Bukit Frazer. This is another superb selection of twisty corners as you climb back up another high mountain. Bukit Frazer is a quiet mountain retreat somewhat in decay and I was one of just a handful of visitors.
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Last time I stayed at the relaxing Shahzan Inn (the building in the background above) but this time went for the cheaper Puncak Inn which I regretted.After a poor sleep at the noisy Air Asia Tune hotel in KL and a short nap on the overnight flight from Gold Coast I was feeling rather fatigued the next day leaving, which is never a good thing on a motorcycle.

Riding east and down from Bukit Frazer the next day I was the only vehicle on the roads for a long way and it was nice to stop and take in the morning. Next I headed north to revisit what was my favourite road from last time the C156 and again it was wonderful. I was given a compact Canon camera recently so took it along on this tour and on occasions took it out of my pocket to snap a few shots on the fly which didn’t really work with the button set for right hand operation all the photos were sideways.IMG_0274[3]
At the top of the climb was some road works and a detour and I had a serious brain fade from being so tired. Workers were waving scooters past and I did not stop to check it out ahead and before I realised was on a slippery side track and well to cut a long story short I stopped to allow an oncoming scooter pass rolled back and fell over. Being dirt saved me and having crash knobs saved the bike but foot peg broke clean off.
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I was assisted by road workers to get the bike up and back to the road and by a small repair shop in a tin shack to wire the foot peg on temporary. It was such a good job that I could continue my journey if I did not weight the peg more than just my leg while seated. I got a pack of large zip ties from a hardware store later and used them to further strengthen the patch job.
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I enjoyed an early light lunch overlooking the tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands then rode from Ringlet to Tapah on route 59. This is a very twisty descent from the highlands which while good would be more enjoyable coming up and with less vehicles.
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Then I blasted up the motorway to just before Ipoh where I turned off onto route A181 which climbs back up to the Cameron Highlands. This road … wow wow WOW! it is just astonishing, if you think of Burringbar range in Northern NSW then imagine it going for about 40km you might get some idea of how good this road is.
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The combination of this and the 156 plus the tight twisty road that connects in between really offers just about any type of corner and all a rider could want. Next I rode down route 185 the North East descent to Gua Musang. More superb riding.IMG_0377[3]

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There were virtually no cars on this road which gave me the impression that I was really out on my own but then a new Skyline GTR blasted past me enjoying the road. With the super tax levied on imported vehicles in Malaysia the owner must have been a millionaire. Todays route here.

Gua Musang is a regional town and not much to see however I was the only westerner in town and I always like being away from the tourist trail. The accommodation was again very noisy and nowhere open to get breakfast the next morning so a yogurt and iced coffee from the 7/11 will do.
Today I ride north to Jeli, nearly on the border with Thailand. The D29 road up was easy riding, not heaps of curves but never boring, this then became Route 66, nothing like the famous one in the USA but some interesting road signs all the same.
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After Jeli I turned West riding to Gerik on route 4. The first half of this road is a superb ride up and along a mountain range which eventually lands you at a huge lake. I stopped at the Belum Rainforest resort on Banding island for lunch for a much needed rest as the curves just keep on coming, about 100km of this.
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The ride into Gerik and back down the motorway was nothing special but I still had one more treat in store. I was staying in the Cameron Highlands tonight so I would get to ride up the A181 for a second time. What a great finish to another wonderful day of riding. Todays route. IMG_0424[3]
The road climbs then hugs the mountains for about 30km of wonderful riding. Hard to capture, you can see the road in the distance.
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Next time I ride here I will base myself in one of the villages in the highlands for a few nights as every road from there is terrific. The ER6N was a good pick for this this ride, the addition of the Akrapovic muffler really livened the engine up compared to the one I rode in Thailand and gave it some character too with a few pops and bangs on over run or change of gear. The rear top box fitted was big enough to swallow my travel bag whole and the small screen fitted deflected the wind effectively.  Enough power to pass yet light and easy on the fuel, I never felt like I needed anything more from a motorcycle for this ride at any time during the trip.

Last day and nothing open for breakfast in the town I stayed at. I should have purchased something light the evening before from bakery perhaps oh well, I head off in some heavy fog and it was quite cold being up high.
And to end the ride I chose to revisit what I called last time one of the best road I have ever ridden, I can’t begin to cover how good the 156 is, you have to go.
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50 odd km of grinning so much it hurts!

I had a trouble free ride back to KL. Approaching the outskirts of the city I noticed some real heavy clouds and seemed to skirt around them at one stage but then I got caught in a small storm. I joined other riders in tea shop, purchased a coffee and waited it out which took no more than 30 minutes. Most riders seem to travel without wet weather gear here.
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As I mentioned on my last ride in Malaysia, underneath all the road over passes is always a dedicated parking spot for riders to stop in rain which I again forgot to photograph but its a nice touch along with riders being exempt of all tolls on the motorways!

KL expressway has some mega junctions, I took a wrong lane at one point and was stuck heading off in the wrong direction for about 7 km. I had some difficult navigation to do from there to get back on my route because I had no actual address so I kept zooming the GPS unit out to get a birds eye view and following a rough route to the general area I was heading to in a big loop. That’s where a phone is far less useful trying to pan and zoom while riding and wearing gloves. Last day route here.
Back in KL I relaxed and enjoyed the great food.IMG_2214[10]
Looking forward to going back.
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2018 note – alas there is no big bike rentals in Malaysia now that I know of so I am yet to return.The photos taken with an iphone 4 ‘are what the are’ – not much more I can do to improve them.

33 Comments

  1. The Big Bike Shop web site seems to be down but they are operating as normal so google and you will find their phone number or they are also on Facebook.

  2. HI,

    I just followed your blogs.
    It seems like you are a solo rider.
    I have just got myself a versys 650. Nothing much in my touring list, but I have just concluded a tour with my wife, covering 850km in two days to South of Penisular Malaysia.

    If you are coming again to Malaysia, you may drop me an email, perhaps we could ride together.

    Cheers!
    Jeff

  3. Hi… i was just wondering about the gps maps that you used when you were in Malaysia. Was it a map specifically for motorcycles (thereby showring all the bike lanes) or was it the normal automobile road types?

    • I used the standard Garmin SE Asia road map and the bike lanes showed when zoomed in however I was routed via main road at toll booths since that was how I plotted it in RidewithGPS using Google maps. When approaching a toll gate slow down early and get over to left, the bike bypass lane can be well before the toll gates.

  4. Hello,

    Its difficult to get hold of big bikes – would you mind sharing the cost you paid for your bike – maybe a daily or weekly rate.

    Thanks in advance

  5. Any idea how to book with the big bike shop considering their website is down? I am trying to make travel arrangements right now and wanted to find out pricing and availability.

    Thanks, love the blog and will be using this post as a guide for my own malaysia solo ride.

  6. Actually I cannot recall what it cost. More than Thai rentals but still less than rentals outside of Asia was my thinking at time

  7. Google the shop and it appears in some business listing type sitrs with phone number. l'd call them on Skype.

  8. I sent them a facebook message and will give them a call. Thanks for the response!

  9. Next time maybe u can try our service. We provide a harley davidson rental in Kuala Lumpur. Visit our website http://www.klezbike.com

  10. Hi Iron Chef,
    You have amassed a treasure trove of information over the years. Lot of us ride but we are lazy and do not give back to the community.
    Need help in fixing a ride in Malaysia. Do you know of any other bike rental place in KL? They have only 1 ER6n and there is 2 of us who need bikes!
    Thanks!

  11. Thanks! Wrote to them so lets see.

  12. Iron Chef,

    Thanks again for posting this one, my father and I just finished a 5 day Malaysian ride taking a similar path but broke east from Gua Musang (8-1744-185, and 185 was a very close second to the 102 in Cameron just a little hotter and a few asphalt patches as opposed the the near perfect roll of the 102… Also the lake area has spectacular views)

    Very rewarding to hit the beach at the East Coast and get refreshed at the Swiss Garden in Kuantan, also where I was chased by a herd of bulls who I suspect had escaped a nearby Ramadan event and CLEARLY had less appreciation for the roar of the HD 883 Iron I was riding than I did. Which BTW, I rented from KLEZBikes in Petaling Jaya for 450MYR p/d, and dad had a 1200. His was a bit low on brake fluid out and oil, and the rear tire was worn but within reason. All in all the bikes were in good shape… I would recommend contacting in advance and making sure they have what you want, doing the standard maintenance check when you first see them, etc… Btw the shop fella did not even do a return check on the bikes before giving us the deposit back and waving goodbye, if ever… All in all the only hardships we had were the behaviour of the TomTom GPS through Kuala Lumpur (pick itinerary marks on highways and plot a course off the side streets!) and getting the address of the shop straight with any and all taxi drivers, who are from this experience, consistently the worst and shiestiest in all of Asia, but do it all with a smile… And they are about dirt cheap so best to take it in stride unless you're on a tight schedule. Also, travelling at Ramadan has the mixed blessing of less traffic and less food shops open. Personally I prefer less traffic and there were enough places to eat if you are fine with Curry Houses or eating after sundown. Lastly, it only rained ONCE the whole week, at about 10pm, torrentially for about 20 minutes.

    I still prefer the Golden Triangle which I did solo a few years back, but this was also a great run and recommended for anyone who can deal with the heat/humidity and culture of the land.

    Chad-California

    • Hi Chad, good to hear your ride went well.

      Yes the taxi's in Malaysia are not the best. I took a print out of google map showing The Big Bike shop location and then used a taxi stand with office where you pay in advance the fare and get a coupon – supposedly to not get ripped off – but the driver had no clue and got lost and the coupon turned out 3 times the actual meter rate I got on return in honest cab. Oh well it still beats some of the taxi experiences I have had in Philippines.

      I also had difficulty navigating through KL however my problem was knowing which lane at major expressway junctions when not able to see which way the split in the road went. I got lucky couple times but then the route on the GPS appeared to go left at one point so I stayed left at the split to find the two sections crossed over on other side of a spaghetti like flyover junction and I was stuck going the wrong way for 10 km. Lane assist would have helped but I had none on the GPS at the time. Actually I should have returned the way I left the shop which was riding east avoiding KL.

      Thanks for all the feedback!

      Regards, IC

  13. Anonymous

    Just found your website and loved reading this one on Malaysia especially. I lived in KL for 5 years (2005-2010) and rode many of the same roads. Frasers Hill was a Saturday morning staple. Thanks for sharing, brought back many happy memories for me. Now I live in Switzerland and have to make do with the Alps as my back garden 😉 – but would move back to KL in a heartbeat! Thanks for sharing. Happy Riding. JB

  14. Hi there I was wondering what you did for accomodation, did you pre book or just winged it as you travelled along. I'm going to Malaysia in September and would like to do a 4 day ride.

    • I like to have something booked mostly so end of day I can just arrive and check in and be walking distance to shops which is what I did here. It does lock you in to a plan but then on a small ride of only few days or a week I rarely have spare days. Hope your ride goes well, i very much want to return there myself.

  15. Hi mate,
    When is your next ride in Malaysia?
    May I recommend more interesting routes:
    Going North: Start from Exit 143 Kuala Kangsar, through E76, A6, Mahang to Sik, E175 and K402 to Thai border.

    Going East: Start from Ampang, make way through B116, B32/N32, E10, C8 and E82 to Pekan. From there you can continue east towards Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu & Kota Bahru through coastal road of E3

    As for GPS maps, I recommend using malfreemap, which as above average details on trunk roads and trails.

    • Sorry for the very late reply (and publish of comment – google automatically put your message into junk mail by mistake and I only found it now)

      At present I am unable to find a rental motorcycle I can afford in Malaysia. I want to ride again but price is prohibitively expensive.

  16. Update – well there seems to be no big bike rental in KL anymore nor anywhere in Malaysia that I can find which is a shame as I would love to return to ride some more.

  17. Update – end of 2018 still not aware of any big bike rentals in Malaysia. However there are new rental options in Singapore so there may be a way.

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  19. Young Lee

    Hey Warren,

    How would you compare riding in Malaysia compared to northern Thailand? I have ridden around Mae Hong Son and Nan but not sure what too expect for Malaysia’s Cameron highland region.

    Cheers,
    Young

    • Hi Young,

      Biggest difference is the food! haha, I love Malaysian food so that is good start.
      But seriously the roads I liked best were those well surveyed sweeping bends either side of the highlands and these were wider and more flowing rather than the more technical bends in MHS or Nan. Then the other difference would be the views of the tea plantations and former British colonial buildings in some places like Frazers Hill.
      I’d like to go back but cannot find a rental now in KL.

      • Good to know the differences. Although I’m a Malaysian (currently based in Singapore) I’ve sadly never ridden in Malaysia before, but that’s about to change as I’m planning on riding there in June haha. Definitely gonna ride up Cameron highlands a couple of times that’s for sure, and based on your report seems like the roads might equal or surpass those of northern Thailand 😀

        There’s a few bike rental options here in Singapore but still none in KL. If you don’t mind the 3.5 hours’ ride up to KL then renting in Singapore is the way to go…

  20. Hey mate,

    Loved the blog. Partner and I want to do a 3 week trip after loving our 4 week trip in Vietnam via motorbike.

    Have you heard of “Nakride”? Seems to be a newish company of peer-to-peer renting. We are struggling to find any rental places as people have said above. Would be interested to hear your thoughts if you’re familiar with it. (Trying to find a bike that I can ride pillion on!)

    • Hi Anna, I am not familiar with this company but I am with the bike share concept, it’s already taking off in the USA.
      I guess the concern I have is insurance, which I believe is an issue limiting rental options in Malaysia, but this may be a solution. I will monitor and let us know if you use this.

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