Categories
Motorbikes

Honda Ruckus in Kuwait

There is a guy in Kuwait who imports motorbikes from Japan and he has a bunch of Honda Ruckus bikes for sale. I always found the Ruckus to be a very cool and funky-looking bike but they don’t bring them to Kuwait. He’s selling them for 450KD each which is way below retail so they’re probably not brand new. He also has some Honda Monkey’s although I’m not sure how much he’s selling those for since I didn’t ask but they’re also fun-looking little bikes.

The Ruckus is not an electric bike by the way, it’s a proper 50cc scooter and at 450KD it seems like a pretty good deal. If you want one, check out his Instagram @q8_motorcycle. He also has some other interesting bikes for sale.

Update: A reader sent me a picture of his two Honda Monkeys (above) which he bought from a Honda dealer in Thailand. It cost him around 900KD per bike and an additional 391KD per bike to ship them to Kuwait and get all the paperwork done. They’re such great old school looking bikes!

Categories
Motorbikes News

Kuwait to ban delivery bikes from main roads

Kuwait’s traffic authorities imposed a ban on delivery motorbikes on highways and Ring Roads starting from October 3, 2021 due to a rise in accidents. According to the Traffic General Department, the new regulation, issued to ‘streamline the delivery motorcycle service’ in the country, prohibits bikes delivering items to use the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh Ring Roads, in addition to roads 30, 40, 50, 60 and 80, as well as Jamal Abdul-Nasser Road and Jaber Causeway. source

No idea how delivery bikes are going to get around now, maybe just take the Gulf Road to everywhere? What should happen instead of banning them is to make the motorbike license test harder and at the same time enforce traffic rules (for everyone). But obviously banning things is always our go-to fix.

Also for those emailing me asking me to post a complaint about Deliveroo’s new service charge, I’m not going to. It’s a small fee and you can always use Carriage or Talabat if you don’t want to pay it.

Categories
Activities Motorbikes

Dirt Biking with X Kuwait

I’ve been wanting to experience dirt biking ever since I got my motorbike license back in 2006. I had ridden sports bikes, naked bikes, cruisers and scooters but always felt dirt bikes might be more fun. The only reason I never got one is because I couldn’t figure out how to make it financially viable. If I did buy a dirt bike I’d have to take it out a few times a month which sounds doable, but I’d also need a trailer to transport it and that seemed like too much of a hassle for me to end up wanting to do it more than once or twice a month.

Then a few weeks ago, I got a notification on Instagram that one of my Facebook friends is now on instagram as @xkuwaitofficial. A guy I met nearly a decade ago through my blog called Faris Al-Obaid had set up a business called X Kuwait offering extreme experiences one of which was dirt biking based off the photos he was posting on the account. He always was into extreme sports so I thought it was cool that he had set this up. I decided to check out his website see how much one of these dirt bike adventures cost so I could mentally restart the process of considering buying a dirt bike, I figured maybe I could store the bike with them and they could take it out for me whenever I join on one of these trips. While checking their website I noticed that under one of the dirt bike adventures they mention that they provide the bike and gear. Right away I got in touch with Faris to confirm that they provided the actual dirt bikes and he confirmed that was the case. I wanted to book instantly but my back was super messed up that weekend so I waited a couple of weeks before finally booking a 4-hour adventure which I went on yesterday.

It was one of the scariest yet most fun experiences I’ve had in ages.

We met up at an empty lot on the other side of the Sheikh Jaber causeway bridge at around 10am. I got there and the two bikes were already set up and Faris was there getting some stuff ready. They provide the gear so the first thing I had to do was change and put on a bunch of safety gear then the outfit and then the boots, helmet, and gloves. I got a brief of the route we were going to take and then got a tour of the bike. Since I already knew how to ride a motorbike I was familiar with how bike works but just to quickly give you readers an overview, the gear clutch is controlled with a left-hand leaver, the front brakes with a right-hand leaver, then your left foot controls the gearbox (you tap a leaver with your foot up and down) and your right foot controls the rear brakes. But, because dirt bike boots were made of hard plastic and so weren’t flexible (similar to ski boots), I had no idea how I was going to change gears or even feel my feet changing gears. He made me ride around the empty lot for a bit to get myself familiar and I realized changing gears was going to be something I’d just have to get used to.

We then left the parking lot on the bikes and headed off-road. Faris knows the area really well, calls it his backyard so the route he had planned for us would start off easy and get more and more difficult the further we went into the 4-hour adventure. The first part of the trail was mostly flat hard sand with some soft sand spots so I could get a feel for the bike and when he saw I was doing ok he’d take me on a path that was slightly more challenging. We took our first break 15 minutes into the ride so he could check up on me and see if I had any questions. After that, we headed out again and did multiple stops throughout the whole trip at different interesting sights.

I think my favorite part of the trip was a long strip of a closed off highway that was covered in sand. It felt like we were in a post-apocalyptic world where nature had taken over. At that point it was also the most difficult part of the trip since riding on soft sand is super dodgy. You can’t stop, you can’t slow down and you constantly have to be on guard because the rear wheel has a habit of slipping and going sideways.

The hardest bit of the journey was actually right at the end of the trip, a rough rocky terrain that required slow speed and lots of standing up on the bike which I thankfully had gotten used to by that point of the trip. I was exhausted both mentally and physically but the idea that I hadn’t fallen off the bike yet that day kept me going and gave me more confidence. We finally got back to our cars and it felt great getting back into my soft sneakers and comfy car seat.

The cost of this 4-hour experience was KD169 which for me at least was a great deal. It’s much cheaper than buying a bike and I had so much fun. You definitely need to know how to ride a bike to experience this and he does offer lessons although I’m not sure how much they cost. It was much harder than I was expecting it to be and really tough mentally and physically but I’m glad I did the 4-hour adventure and not the 2-hour one since it gave me twice as much time to get familiar with dirt bikes. Currently, Faris can take up to two people per adventure but he might be selling one of the bikes and then he’d only be able to take one person out. If you want to get more info on X Official, their Instagram is @xkuwaitofficial and their website is xkuwaitshop.com

Categories
Automotive Motorbikes

New KTM Showroom

Over the weekend I passed by the brand new KTM showroom in Al-Rai. If you haven’t heard of KTM, they are an Austrian company that produces some of the best dirt bikes as well as the popular track car the X-Bow. Their new showroom is pretty big and composed of two floors as well as a service garage and spare parts area in the rear. They had a brand new white KTM X-Bow RR on display in the showroom (pictured above) selling for around KD41,000.

Other than KTM the new showroom also has Husqvarna and Gasgas motorbikes on display and they also had a large selection of Bell helmets for sale. For a full list of brands they carry click here.

If you’re interested in checking the place out they’re located in Al-Rai on the same strip as Jarir and right next to the newly opened Eureka. Here is the location on Google Maps.

Categories
Motorbikes

Bike Box Bike Storage

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Bike Box is a specialized storage facility for motorbikes. At first I didn’t really understand the purpose of it but after talking to the team behind it I realized why it could be practical for some people, especially those living in residential buildings.

Bike Box is a place where you can keep your motorbike parked and not worry about it. Their facility is safe, clean and air-conditioned. They also provide you with free servicing for your bike, free cleaning, lockers, changing rooms, battery charging, electrical ports, and a fully equipped garage. As a bike owner myself there are a couple things that always concern me, (1) my bike is going to get stolen (happened to my barber recently) and (2) the battery is going to die because I’m not riding the bike enough. Bike Box solves these two issues and more.

The reason I was originally hesitant to post about Bike Box was their price which starts at KD55 a month. But according to them the reason their monthly price is high is because they want to encourage long term customers since they’re hoping to create a community and not just offer a service. If you do decide to sign up for a year, the price drops down to a much more reasonable KD30 a month. I like their way of thinking and at KD30 a month I can see a lot of people wanting to use their facility, so if you’re a bike owner and are interested to find out more, check out their instagram account @bikeboxkw

Categories
Motorbikes

The New Honda Powersports Showroom

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I was recently looking into getting a Honda dirt bike to off-road with this winter season when I found out from a friend who works for Honda that they’ve just opened up a brand new showroom. I saw sneak peek photos of the showroom when it was still empty and it looked pretty interesting so I told them to let me know once they had the bikes on display so I could pass by and check it out.

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The new Honda showroom is located right across from Ace Hardware in Al-Rai. It’s three floors, the ground floor is where they have all their bikes and ATVs, the basement is where they have all their power equipment like lawnmowers and generators while the top floor has all the riding accessories along with a lounge. Theres also a service area in the back as well as their spare parts shop. The place is currently open although when I passed by yesterday they were still working on displaying all the accessories upstairs. The official opening of the showroom will be soon. [Map]

Categories
Motorbikes Travel

My First Harley Ride

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A couple of weeks ago Harley Davidson sent me to Lebanon to participate in their spring ride. They were launching their brand new showroom in Lebanon and invited some media members from around the region to cover the opening and then take part in the ride the following day. My ride with Harley has been a work in progress for probably over a year now since they had invited me to two rides last year. I ended up backing out from both of those rides because I hadn’t ridden a motorbike for a few years and wasn’t sure I’d still remember how to. So Harley offered to hook me up with refresher courses in Bahrain which I managed to conveniently get done during the GulfRun weekend back in January.

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I had never taken part in a Harley ride before or yet alone any kind of ride that consisted of more than two riders so I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy riding with a large crowd. We were around six media members and we all met up at the lobby of our hotel on the morning of our ride. Once we were all there we were taken to the parking lot where we had our brand new Harley’s waiting for us. Before the trip they had asked us to name three Harley bikes we would like to ride and they hooked us all up with one of the bikes on our list, I ended up with a 2015 V-Rod. We took off from our hotel, filled up our bikes with fuel and headed to the Harley dealership which was the meeting point for all the riders.

There were over 200 bikers at the starting point of our trip which was just insane. I didn’t even realize how complicated the logistics of organizing and riding with 200 bikers was until this trip, it’s just mind boggling. Imagine how long a line of 200 bikers is? It’s like a train going through a city. Actually a friend of mine said it better, it’s like a village on wheels and the amount of work that goes behind a smooth ride is impressive.

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Our ride started off in Beirut and then headed south away from the city into the mountains. In addition to the 200+ riders there was a crew of Harley volunteers who would help make this journey as easy and smooth as possible. These members would ride ahead of the main group and block traffic for us or stop at intersections and point us towards the direction we need to go in. Once the group passes they then catch up and head to the front again and repeat the same thing over and over. Even a fuel stop requires a lot of logistics, imagine 200 bikers stopping at a gas station… they literally took over the whole block.

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We had lunch half way through the ride at a scenic spot beside a river. It wasn’t a sunny day and in fact it started raining in Beirut while we were in the mountains so on our way back into the city we all got into our rain gear just in case. We passed through some really beautiful locations along the way but sadly since I was riding I couldn’t take any photos. It was one of those occasions where I just had to enjoy the moment for myself but as a photographer I was hurting inside because I would see a beautiful shot with my eyes but I wouldn’t be able to capture it not even on my phone. Harley Davidson did have a photographer on this ride which is how I got these shots but I honestly don’t think he was great, he missed a lot of beautiful moments and for some reason applied so many random filters on the photos I think he ruined them. I just spent half an hour trying my best to fix them up so I could use them for this post. If I ever go on a ride similar to this again I’m going to figure out a way to take photos myself while riding.

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The V-Rod bike I rode was surprisingly very easy to ride. Even though the bike was big, heavy and had a lot of power, the throttle was very smooth and the bike just seemed so rider friendly and forgiving. Compared to my friends KTM RC8 I was riding a few weeks back, I felt so much more comfortable riding the V-Rod.

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It was a super fun ride and I’m glad I got to experience it. I was honestly never a Harley fan before I started working with them, I’ve always been and still am a sports bike kind of guy. But, riding a Harley and riding in a large group like this has given me a better understanding on why people love Harley’s so much. Even though there were over 200 bikes I don’t think any two were the same because everyone customizes their bikes to their liking. I think people also love the feeling of belonging. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is, once you’re on a Harley you’re automatically accepted into this world and I think thats an amazing thing.

Categories
Motorbikes Reviews

Life with the Vespa – Part 2 – Final Review

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I’ve had my Vespa for over 6 months now and not only have I not gotten bored of it, but I love it even more than ever. It’s by far my best purchase of 2014. As I mentioned in part 1 of my review, whenever I’m riding my Vespa I feel like I’m on a vacation and 6 months later that feeling hasn’t changed one bit.

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I don’t even know where to begin this post because there are so many great things about living with a Vespa. The obvious one is the fact there is no traffic when you’re on a Vespa. Throughout the past 6 months whenever I had any kind of work in the city or Shuwaikh during the day, the Vespa was my go to ride. You would think any motorbike would fair the same in traffic but that’s not true because scooters are much more agile and nimble. In Shuwaikh where there’s lots of road construction taking place the cars don’t really line up properly because the lanes aren’t properly divided. So you could be making your way between the cars in traffic and then get to a point where the cars are just too close too each other and you’re stuck.. unless you’re on a scooter. Scooters are much more lighter and more compact so it’s so much easier to just weave your way between cars in traffic and the fact the Vespa has an automatic gearbox also means it’s quicker and less of nuisance to stop and start. There hasn’t been a single traffic jam yet in which I wasn’t able to make it to the very front.

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Imagine if the roads were empty all day long… thats life with my Vespa.

I own the Vespa Sprint which has a 125cc engine. It’s not that fast, the maximum speed is around 95km/h and I can sometimes hit just over 100 when going downhill. Although that doesn’t sound fast it’s more than enough when riding on the Gulf Road or even the 4th Ring Road where the maximum speed is 80km/h anyway. Vespa do have have different models with larger engines but the bikes themselves are also slightly larger and heavier. My Sprint is usually the first off the line at a traffic light but after that acceleration is fairly slow. But really you don’t need the bike to be faster since it’s not like you’re going to ride the Vespa down to the chalets on the weekend, it’s for city errands and at that I can’t imagine anything performing better. Even though my Vespa isn’t fast I still ride like a hooligan because the bike gives so much confidence. Probably too much confidence because I slid and fell at a small roundabout near my house a couple of months back scratching up the left side of my bike. Luckily my favorite pair of jeans and sneakers were unharmed.

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The Sprint has a good amount of storage space in case you do some shopping. Under the seat you’ve got a large compartment which I use to store my helmet in and you also have a small glove compartment in the front which I use to store my phone and wallet. In case there isn’t enough space under the seat for your grocery bags, there is a small hook that comes out from the seat in the front which you can hang your bags on. I also love the retro looking analogue speedometer since it adds a lot of character to the bike.

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A lot of people have asked me if you need a license to ride a Vespa and the answer is yes, you need a motorbike license to ride one. That wasn’t an issue for me since I got my license years ago when I got my first motorbike, but it’s still worth noting for anyone considering getting one.

With all the traffic issues in Kuwait I’m surprised not more people have gotten scooters. It’s obviously impossible to ride one in the blazing summer heat but there are at least 6 months a year where the weather is great for them. I really don’t have anything negative to say about my Vespa, maybe if there was a built in USB port to charge my phone that would have been convenient but actually thinking about it now, I probably could get one installed easily. Honestly it’s so much fun riding a Vespa I can’t stop recommending it to people. Get one if you can.

Categories
Motorbikes

Cops Got Trikes

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I was in Kuwait City yesterday heading to a meeting when I spotted a Police Can-Am 3-wheel motorbike parked. Not sure when they got them but have been fairly recent since I hadn’t seen a cop version before.

Categories
Motorbikes

Kuwait’s All Female Biker Club

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The popular website Vice have published an article on Kuwait’s All Female Biker Club. The Moto Lady Club as they’re called is the first woman’s club for motorbikers not only in Kuwait, but in the Gulf. Check out the full article on the Vice website [Here]

Thanks Fred

Categories
Motorbikes Personal

Life with the Vespa – Part 1

vespa

Every now and then I’m going to post a series of posts on life with my Vespa. It’s something I thought about doing when I decided to get the bike and I think it would make for some interesting posts. It’s been a month since I got my Vespa and I’ve basically been riding it every day. I’m actually trying to ride it as much as I can because whenever I’m on it I feel like I’m on a vacation. It’s such an odd feeling but it makes sense since the only times I ever ridden a scooter before were on vacations. It also probably doesn’t help that I’m usually in my shorts and a tank top while riding the Vespa (and helmet of course).

I’ve been using the Vespa mostly for trips in and around Salmiya, for example I live in the beginning of Salmiya while my two best friends live on the other end of Salmiya. Previously I used to drive my FJ Cruiser over to their place and get stuck in traffic but now I take the Vespa and it cuts down on so much time and stress. There are no traffic problems when I’m riding my Vespa since I just zip between cars all the way to the front of the pack. I’ve actually practically stopped using my FJ for any Salmiya trip because riding the Vespa around isn’t only much more fun but so much more convenient. Even picking up groceries from Sultan is really doable with the Vespa since there’s a large compartment under the seat which holds all my grocery bags.

I’m also really glad I went with the yellow color, it really looks great on the road even though I end up getting much more attention than I want. I keep getting stopped by people asking me about the bike which is nice but sometimes all you really want to do is just get from point A to point B without socializing so it kinda feels like a waiter opening a conversation with you while you’re trying to enjoy your meal. On more than one occasion I would be at a red light waiting and the person in the car next to me would start making conversation over the bike or after parking the bike somewhere, someone would come up to me and ask me where I’ve gotten it from and how much it costs.

Other than strangers though my friends also ask me about the bike but mostly on the fact if I’ve gotten into any dangerous situations. So far not really, I thought I would have issues with taxi drivers and bus drivers whom I usually detest the most when in my FJ, but turns out they’re actually the friendliest drivers to me when I’m on my Vespa. The only close call I’ve actually had wasn’t related to the Vespa. I was riding down Baghdad Street in Salmiya and the road was empty since I had taken off at the previous traffic light first and all the cars were behind me when I suddenly see an SUV driving towards me. Turns out an old man took the wrong turn at a traffic light up ahead and ended up driving down the wrong way of the street. I slammed my brakes and pulled over to the side quickly (thank you ABS!) while he continued to drive past me only to realize there was a fleet of cars right behind me. That’s when he realized what he had done wrong and stopped his car. Luckily all the cars stopped their cars as well and allowed him to climb over the median strip over to the correct side of the road. So bizarre.

Categories
Motorbikes

Hellow Yellow Vespa

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First of all I know I spelled hello with a “w”, I meant to do that so stay away grammar nazis. So last week I did it and went ahead and bought a Vespa. I was originally unsure if I should get one or not but in the end I realized it’s something I’ve always wanted and so I might as well get it and be done with. I then had the complicated issue of deciding which model and color to get. I was torn between a white Vespa Primavera with a red seat or a yellow Vespa Sprint model. In the end I was leaning towards the white which is why I ended up getting the yellow. I know it sounds weird but I realized I was leaning towards the white because it was the safer option and since I wasn’t buying a Toyota Camry, I decided to go with the much more exciting yellow.

Since I know the dealer fairly well we ended up working out a good deal on the bike. I won’t go into the exact details but I ended up paying part cash and part advertising space on the blog. Plus I’m sure it didn’t hurt the fact that I told them I was going to do a series of posts on life with a Vespa in Kuwait. I’ve only ridden my Vespa around the block so far but I rode it with the biggest smile on my face so I can’t wait to take it out for a night ride later.

Categories
Motorbikes

To Vespa or not to Vespa?

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I love scooters and I’ve loved them ever since I was a kid. Last year when I was in Holland I spent nearly a week riding one around the city and I fell in love with them even more. So, around a month ago I passed by the Vespa dealer in Kuwait to check out what bikes they had available. Originally I wanted the new Vespa GTS 300 but then I found out about the 2015 Vespa Primavera and Vespa Sprint models which appealed to me even more. Turns out they had a new shipment arriving and they told me they’d call me once they arrived.

I finally got the call on Thursday that both the Primavera and Sprint models had arrived to Kuwait and were on display in the showroom. So, I passed by earlier today and checked out a white Primavera and a yellow Sprint and I fell in love with both. Now not only do I have to decide between the two models, but I have a more important question I need to answer, will I be able to ride and enjoy a scooter in Kuwait?

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If you put the weather aside, I think it should be possible. I live in Salmiya and I just want the scooter for running random errands around my neighborhood like getting groceries or dropping by The Foundry or Gia for dinner. I definitely wouldn’t get on the highway with it not even on any of the ring roads, but I would probably ride it on the Gulf Road Friday morning to Cocoa Room for breakfast.

It’s a difficult decision, but definitely just a #firstworldproblem

Categories
50s to 90s Motorbikes Sports

Speedway in Kuwait

Damn, why don’t we have these kinds of races anymore? [YouTube]

Categories
Motorbikes

Kuwait Choppers builds with passion

‘Inside the Middle East’ meets chop shop owner Hussain Salmeen, who builds and customizes bikes in Kuwait.

I’ve seen their bikes in person before and their customization is pretty extreme. [Link]

Thanks Andrew