Small is beautiful


Get yer Jaguh runnin’

Easy riding in Malaysia

Hailing from Perak, in Malaysia, these guys are members of the Taiping Easy Riders Cruiser Club. I ran into them at a roadside stop on Highway 4, the East-West Highway. This, incidentally, is a terrific motorcycle road connecting Kota Bahru on the east coast with Penang on the western side. Unlike most Malaysian roads, it is not lined by lots of small towns and villages; it runs through some pretty untouched rainforest.

Thirty of the Taiping Easy Riders were lined up at the truckstop high in the hills. They were on their way to Kuala Lumpur for a weekend ride. At first sight, they looked pretty much like any cruiser club anywhere, making allowance for the fact that a lot of their modifications are clearly home-made. But then I took a closer look — there was something unusual about the scale of the bikes …

Baharuddin, the Prez, confirmed that the club’s bikes ranged from 175 to 750. He rides a Modenas Jaguh (“Champion”) 175 Single, a locally built cruiser introduced in 1999. It’s based on the popular Kawasaki Vulcan bikes (Modenas is part-owned by Kawasaki) and is aimed at riders who like cruisers but can’t afford to own large American or Japanese bikes. It seems there are very high taxes on imported bikes and, even if you decided to go into hock, the banks won’t finance loans on large motorcycles.

But the Jaguh is not, in fact, the most popular or most common bike in the club. That honour goes to the parallel twin Kawasaki Vulcan VN500, a small bike here in Australia but the equivalent of a Harley in Malaysia.

I got our photographer to snap a few of the guys with their bikes to show you what they’re doing with their rides over there. Baharuddin is the one with the blue bike — the others are all VN500s. The red bike is a Jaguh, too, photographed from the other side.

As you can probably see, the Taiping Easy Riders are not what you’d call an Outlaw club. The fluorescent vests are a bit of a giveaway. I suspect the Malaysian authorities would take a dim view as well — and when those people take a dim view, they let the viewee know about it in no uncertain terms. Given the background of their society, these blokes are real rebels!

If you’d like to see more of cruising, Malaysian style, take a look at their website: It’s mostly in Bahasa Malaysia, but what’s Babelfish for …?

Oh, and stay tuned to C+T because we also found some far weirder customisers and we’ll feature them some time soon as well.