Story: Will Yap
Photography: Will Yap
It is well known that Singapore’s strict rules and regulations as well as the COE system viciously weigh down the motorcycling community in Singapore. As motorcycle prices increase understandably every year with the latest technologies, unforeseen circumstances and reactions to new rules in 2017 caused fluctuating COE and taxes to increase slowly but surely, achieving never before seen prices.
On another front, while the confines of the housing estates may be thankful for the peace enforced by LTA adopting European exhaust volume regulations, bike builders and custom build seekers are further restricted by other regulations. No handsome bikes, less options for performance and aesthetic upgrades and ever increasing ownership costs make for a very grim future of motorcycling in Singapore don’t they? A dealer once told me “motorcycles are a sunset industry in Singapore”. That saddens me. I’m sure it does the same to many of you too.
That being said, every happening in Singapore, from model launches to trade shows, to charity drives to emerging and thriving publications, is a strong victory in the face of adversity. And aside from the publications, they all happen on, if you guessed by now, The Weekends. Yeah, those magical days of the week when many of you and I are either resting or spend half a day on Saturday in the workplace just waiting for lunch. Although our motorcycle trade shows don’t span a week, neither do our rallies and charity rides (this country is small enough that it generally doesn’t require a full week), each and every happening comes about from a pool of dealers, restaurateurs and individuals pooling resources together to make it happen.
Take the recent Bell Moto Asia ride on 16th November 2017 , which started off as an idea conceptualized over coffee by folks from Motovation Accessory and JR Pte Ltd sometime in October centred on 3 reasons,
1) An event by ladies for ladies
2) 2017 was a depressing year of rising motorcycle ownership costs with the additional tier to ARF and Zero COE Growth announcements, and
3) An avenue to conduct a soft launch for the Adventure before dementia initiative.
Thus an organizing committee revolving around these 3 criteria was born, comprising an A-Team of JR Pte Ltd, Motovation Accessory and Handlebar, who together with Mah Pte Ltd covered major event costs in full, while Handlebar provided the venue, food and refreshments. Not stopping there, more events are in the pipeline to continue promoting Dementia awareness along with the “Adventure before Dementia” initiative as dementia statistics are on the rise and living actively can help decrease the likelihood of contracting the disease.
Another recent milestone, was 9tro celebrating its 8th anniversary at the Carros Centre, on 17 November, 2017, the very next day after Belle Moto Asia. It may seem strange to some of you, featuring another publication here. Well, with the market so small in Singapore, honestly I believe every success with regard to the preciously small and limited industry is worth celebrating. Yes, many Singaporeans turn to international media for their automotive reading but there is a small, dedicated handful of people here, whose hearts beat with passions for all things that explode dinosaurs internally. While the government of the day aims to control the motorcycle population via targeted taxes, these dedicated few will continue to publicly profess their love and deep seated desires for the machines that put their circulatory systems on overdrive and hopefully encourage non-riders to pick up motorcycling in turn.
With the Wicked Wallop 2018 just around the corner, slated for the first day of the first weekend of 2018, 6 January 2018, an international gathering of 2 and 4 wheeled lovers who love 2 wheelers will descend on Singapore for just 1 day to celebrate their passion for the machines that make their hearts pound and the decades worth of culture built around them here in Singapore.
Indeed the horseless carriage and the motorized bicycle with their dedicated following, from the executives who dream up these machines, to the engineers who develop them, the designers who craft them, the rider who er.. rides them, have helped forge a deep passion for those for whom they suite more than just a need or a lifestyle, machines that engage, connect and integrate themselves into their dreams, these are the people who will continue to drive the industry, even if the sunset does one day arrive on Singapore’s sunny shores.