New Straits Times - - Cars Bikes & Trucks - AMIR HAMZAH

DE­SPITE be­ing a rel­a­tively ob­scure name, Skyteam is not new in Malaysia. The brand was es­tab­lished in 2012 and slowly gained trac­tion as a man­u­fac­turer of small ca­pac­ity hobby bikes, such as the Lady 110 and PBR 110. With a net­work of over 150 deal­ers na­tion­wide, Skyteam (M) Sdn Bhd is break­ing new ground by in­tro­duc­ing an (al­most) full-size mo­tor­cy­cle to the Malaysian mar­ket. Launched at the Elite Speed­way Go-Kart Cir­cuit in USJ Subang on May 9, the me­dia fi­nally got their turn at the new Ace 125.

The Ace 125 café racer is an al­most car­bon-copy replica of Honda’s fa­mous RC rac­ers of the 1960s. The long slim tank and short stubby tail al­lied with tall, slim tyres ren­der a sil­hou­ette that is un­mis­tak­ably RC. The only dif­fer­ence is that the RC rac­ers had low clip-on han­dle­bars while the Ace sports con­ven­tional tubu­lar bars. Af­ter all, the Ace was de­signed for the streets.

Tech­ni­cally, the Ace is a fourstroke, air-cooled OHV pushrod en­gine with a car­bu­ret­tor and CDI ig­ni­tion. The proven en­gine is tweaked (from its Honda CG125 roots) with dif­fer­ing bore and stroke, com­pres­sion ra­tios, gear ra­tios and nu­mer­ous up­dates (like an elec­tric starter) to still re­tain the re­li­a­bil­ity while im­prov­ing per­for­mance. The kick starter is still there in case the bat­tery is flat. Out­put from the 5-speed en­gine unit is 11 bhp @ 8500 rpm while torque is 8.5 Nm @ 7500 rpm. The en­gine is coun­ter­bal­anced to pro­duce very lit­tle vi­bra­tion. The bike is re­port­edly ca­pa­ble of more than 110kph while re­turn­ing a miserly fuel con­sump­tion of 2.1 l/100km. Good fig­ures in­deed to match its good looks.

The track test proved that the Ace is def­i­nitely small. Minis­cule, even. Tall peo­ple (near 6’ tall) would strug­gle to fit the Ace. I found my el­bows over­lapped my knees in a rac­ing tuck, but in a nor­mal rid­ing po­si­tion, the Ace is fairly com­fort­able. The steel di­a­mond frame is con­ven­tional, sport­ing tele­scopic forks up front with twin shock at the rear. A disc brake up front and a drum rear stops the 87kg Ace fairly ef­fi­ciently. The han­dling takes some get­ting used to with the raised “rac­ing style” foot­pegs and light­ning fast re­flexes of the Ace. A set of clip-ons would re­store bal­ance (hint, hint). How­ever, the Ace re­sponds well to sub­tle con­trol in­puts and doesn’t re­quire mus­cle to change di­rec­tion. Over­all, the han­dling is good within the soft sus­pen­sions’ lim­its.

The Ace 125 comes in three colours - Sil­ver/Red, Matte Grey/Black and Racer Blue/Black. It re­tails for RM6,588.00 ex­clud­ing GST or other taxes. War­ranty is one year or 10,000km, which­ever comes first. The café racer seat unit is given for free for the first few units and will even­tu­ally be­come an op­tional item. Beat a path to near­est dealer be­cause this RC clone will sell like hot cakes.

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