Thursday, 6 December 2018

A Disappointing Experience With Revology Bike Shop - Flawed Dash Cam Installation Before Breaking My Fairing


When it comes to product/service reviews, I will write and share about it as it is, from my personal experience, sponsored or not. This is something that I openly inform my clients too before they decide to engage me for an honest review task because this is how I'd like to work with integrity and at the same time keep the promise of credibility to my readers/followers as well.

After all, how can anyone recommend something negative that they receive or experience right?


This time, I'm about to share how a simple dash cam installation kindly offered by a particular bike shop that turned into almost messing up my baby Ducati big time before breaking my fairing.




To my friends, family, and basically everyone else, I've always encouraged having an in-built dash cam installed on your vehicle, whether you're driving or riding.

pc: yahoo!news

Ever since years ago where a couple of shocking fatal accidents recorded on in-built dash cams surfaced on the net, providing full clarity on what exactly happened, the demand for such cameras soared rapidly.

pc: google plus

Key benefits of installing one includes safeguarding yourself against any legal liability in an accident because when everything is recorded, the case is clear; it silences speculations, saves all that finger-pointing and unnecessary arguments.


Also, when other road users are aware that you have a dash cam, they will tend to be more mindful of their actions and be more careful when they drive/ride, encouraging a safer road environment for everyone.


This October, I got my friend a dash cam as a birthday present as I noticed that he didn't have one on his BMW1200GS.



Someone recommended Revology @ Synergy Kaki Bukit to me for the installation as he had a pleasant experience with them when they installed their in-house dash cam on his Yamaha XMAX scooter.

At the same time, I was also thinking, how difficult can a dash cam installation be right?


pc: motoprocam

Connect the DVR unit to a power source, place the DVR in a safe compartment of the vehicle especially if it's not waterproof, locate and securely mount the camera on both front and back of the vehicle with the best view.

That's it.

Any mechanic with adequate experience should be able to do the job.
(Later on, I found out I was wrong).


So off we went to Revology to get the dash cam installed on my friend's BMW1200GS.

It took 4 hours and the installation cost $60. To be honest, I didn't expect camera installations to take that much of a time...


During my visit, Revology introduced their in-house dash cam called AMACAM S860 to me. It boasts to record in 1080p @ 60fps, 130 degree waterproof wide angle lens and supports a memory card of up to 128GB so there's plenty of storage for footage.

Sold by the high specs and being an advocate for onboard dash cams, I swiftly booked an appointment to have the camera installed on my Ducati 899 Panigale.



Ok now back to my friend.

After the long wait, he took his bike, feeling more confident now that he has a second pair of eyes to help keep watch on the roads, he rode off.

pc: youtube/photo for reference only
Barely 5 minutes later, he noticed a warning sign that indicated low-tyre pressure appearing on his dashboard, and...

pc: motorcycleinfo/photo for reference only
his BMW's fog lights were automatically turned on, unable to turn off. So he U-turned, returned to Revology to rectify what went wrong.


Unfortunately, Revology insisted they did not touch his fog light wire or anything else other than connecting the DVR to a power source.

But c'mon, if your bike was fine before the camera installation and right after that, something cocks up, of course we would naturally think the mechanic might have accidentally meddled with a wrong wiring that cause the problem, right?

pc: sgcarmart
Not wanting to spend any more time at Revology (as he has already spent 4 hours) and since they said they didn't touch anything, my friend rode his bike to BMW's official distributor Performance Motors (PML) to get things sorted. The mechanics there then told him that his wiring was indeed tampered on, which caused the fog lights to turn on permanently. Thankfully it was nothing major, they fixed it within minutes and everything was OK.

Still, it did inconvenient my poor friend :(



Next, it's my turn.

On the 18th October, I rode down to Revology to have the AMACAM S860 installed as per my appointment fixed previously.

A little concerned after witnessing my friend's not-so-smooth experience, I asked Revology if their mechanic knows his stuff. They assured me that my chromie darling is in good hands, adding on that their mechanic was previously from Ducati Malaysia.

"The camera installation is actually a very simple process, nothing to worry, we have installed this on many other bikes and has had no reported issues". 



If you know me, I NEVER let just any bike shop or mechanic touch my Ducati. Why? Because not everyone is skilled enough to handle this delicate Italian machine. Simple engine oil or filter change is fine, but for other major Desmo servicing, I only trust Ah Beng from Bikeworkz and Raymond from Bike Harbour.

Camera installation should be easier than engine oil change right? Should be alright.. or so I thought.

Front Camera
After 3 hours or so, the installation of the AMACAM S860 was completed on my Ducati 899 Panigale.

Rear Camera


The DVR unit has a screen with Menu options where you could review the recorded footages/pictures, set the date and time, and other miscellaneous setting. It is not waterproof, so it is placed underneath my seat cover.


Part of the AMACAM S860 is this tiny white button that is placed on the top clamp here, and it's red blinking light indicates that the camera is recording while you are riding.


Ok and we're good to go! I happily rode my bike off.

This is where the problems started. 


The following day, I rode out and noticed the red light button not blinking like it should be. The red light just seems to be permanently on, or completely off, indicating that the camera isn't recording.


I called Revology Bikes up and they advised it could be the SD memory card issue.

Erm, ok.


So I drove down to their shop to get an SD card replacement, thinking this should solve the issue.

Went back home, went to my bike, replaced the SD card and.... the AMACAM still doesn't work!


Checked the DVR unit, the screen doesn't even turn on. It's like really faulty or something.


Again, I called Revology Bikes and they told me I need to format the SD card.

Ok.. whatever to get the device to work, because.. what good does a dash cam with all that impressive specs do if IT DOES NOT RECORD RIGHT?? It would basically be useless.

I reformatted the SD card, and tried again..

This time, the red light is blinking and I thought "great, it's finally working".


Who knew, 3 days later, the camera hung again.

Checked the footage and realized on the days where the red light button was seemingly blinking, the camera actually wasn't recording properly at all! Some clips recorded 0.1 second of footage, some 1 minute, and some 15 minutes. All the footages were jumbled up, and they were not recorded consecutively at all.


Making things more worrying, more than an hour after I've turned my bike off, the camera remained hung in its "turn on" mode (the red light remained on, not blinking). Texted Revology Bikes about this during their operation hours but there was no reply or call from them.

Busy with work and travel, it was pretty tough having to find time to go down to their shop again, and I gotta say their customer service recovery was low.

There was no sense of urgency observed. Almost never any immediate respond or update on the camera issue when reported, sometimes even no reply.

Sigh~

Their regular social media postings are always up which made it more disappointing to see them not take the slightest bit of effort to reply a customer facing an ongoing issue with their faulty device.

1.5 Months Later

On 4th December (this camera issue on since October), I went down to their shop for a device replacement as they suggested I may have unluckily gotten a faulty unit.


After 3 hours, all I saw was my poor Ducati baby stripped open with both my delicate chrome fairing on the ground, wires hanging out, nuts everywhere, and their mechanic looking not one bit sure of what he was doing.

This was supposed to be a very simple camera installation, why did things turn out this way? Which are the other wires of my bike tampered on?

Now it is strongly discouraged to let an inexperienced mechanic meddle with a bike that runs on a lot of electronics because one wiring issue can cause some sensor to go off and result in the bike not working properly.

Revology told me they are still figuring things out because there's some power source issue about my bike that's why they are having trouble installing the AMACAM.

Seriously?

I called up 3 other motorcycle workshops and none felt what Revology said made any sense. If my bike had a power source issue then I wouldn't be able to start it and ride out in the first place.

What do you think?

Upon seeing that their mechanic is clearly not experienced with even the simplest installation of their own in-house dash cam, I tried to maintain a calm face (sorry if I failed to because I was actually fucking upset by now), told them to remove the dash cam, and put everything back like it was before.

Right side fairing gap after collecting bike from Revology Bikes
Having spent almost 4 hours at the shop, I rushed to my next work appointment that was already delayed, and on the way, I noticed my fairing not fitted back properly. There were gaps which never existed.




When I brought it up to Revology, they initially denied responsibility... until I sent them before/after photos of my bike fairing. (I happen to take plenty of photos/videos of my bike every other day so luckily the photos came in handy for you-say-I-say situations like this)

Before bike sent to Revology Bikes

Not cool at all.

pc: the conversation

First, it was my friend's BMW GS1200, and now, my Ducati darling.. sigh...


So I brought my bike down to my trusted workshop to get it checked.


Upon removal of my bike's fairing, to my horror, we discovered that IT IS BROKEN.

Due to the broken part, the fairing is not able to fit properly, causing the gap.

There is a proper way to remove the delicate fairing. When not handled with care or knowledge, forcefully removing it would result in damages like this.



Started up by a pair of young entrepreneur guys about 2 years ago, Revology Bikes is fairly new and though they may have received positive reviews for simple products sold off their shelves, their lack of experience in certain other areas could somewhat be understandable too.

However, what I found unacceptable was their undesirable nonchalant lack of customer service recovery and refusal to admit mistakes that caused frustration to the customer, huge inconvenience after having to go down to their shop 3 times (still) without resolving the issue, and needless to say, much precious time wasted.

Smooth transactions happen when things are handled carefully and correctly, from product, to service. But the trust and reliability of a workshop will be put to the test when we witness how they efficiently and promptly recover something that went wrong.

In this case, I'm sad to say, Revology Bikes has utterly disappointed and under-delivered the trust of service I placed in them :(

I sincerely hope we could all learn from this and genuinely hope no one would encounter such a negative experience with them.


Now, let's figure out how to get my chromie baby back to what it was before..

Thursday, 29 November 2018

8 Tips To Stay Alive on A Motorcycle Wherever You Are



Singapore is blessed to be able to have a really organised traffic road system where most road users obediently abide by it, don’t you think?




After all, we are taught to drive/ride diligently in driving schools, not having mention the law that heavily enforces traffic rules and regulations.


PC: CDC
If you don’t already know, our country is proud to have one of the highest and strictest standard of driving / riding tests which isn’t easy to pass, before we can painstakingly achieve our precious license.



To legally ride a motorcycle above 400CC, the process would take a minimum of 2.5 years and could even stretch to 3.5 years if you fail to pass the test on first attempt.



But does all that really make us “good” road users?


PC: Traffic Police
Apart from the respective authority organisations patrolling our roads regularly, making sure everything’s in place, we are also lucky to rarely witness a traffic light malfunction, a broken signboard left on the highway, or struggle with directions and lanes not marked properly.



In a foreign land, on the other hand, things might be (or most certainly) a completely different story.



You may see animals crossing the road whenever they feel like it, non-functioning traffic lights that no one obeys even if it is working, fast-paced traffic going in all direction etc.


PC: onemotoring
Now, do you think there is a possibility where we Singaporeans are too pampered with our organised system that causes us to subconsciously slip into rigidity? So much so that the minute something slight goes out of order, or if we drive/ride overseas where we’re unfamiliar with the traffic flow, we'd be thrown into a state of loss, increasing our risks of getting involved in an accident?



It may not be much.. but having ridden/driven in over 40 different cities across 15 countries, I’d strongly advise you to adapt quickly to your surroundings because every country, every city that we travel to, may face different traffic and road conditions.

Observe, learn and try to blend in as much as possible.  


Here are 8 defensive riding tips I picked up that I hope could help keep you alive on a motorcycle wherever you are:




1. Do Your Research

Before you start your holiday, it’s definitely wise to do some research; like where to go, what to eat and do etc. 

Similarly for road trips, say if you’re going to rent a motorcycle and ride in the foreign country, it’s good to find out if it’s left-hand drive because when we Singaporeans get too used to right-hand driven roads, it could get a little confusing when all the turns and signs are on the opposite.  You may like to check out the list of countries that are left-hand drive here for reference.




There are a couple of countries that does not permit motorcycles on highways, such as Bangkok and certain states in China. 

Then, there are countries like Taiwan that permit only motorcycles above a certain capacity to enter expressways, while smaller capacity bikes are forbidden. 

It would be helpful to learn the terms used in the respective country and know the differences between highways, expressways and motorways because each may have a different rule of its own.



Not proud to share that I’ve been stopped by the police in Taiwan before for riding on the highway as I wasn’t aware that motorcycles weren’t permitted, and I hope that you guys could learn from my mistake!




2. Do Not Speed

If you want to speed, be it locally or overseas, head to the tracks. Otherwise, I’d advise you not to although I must admit it can be pretty tempting when the roads are so long and straight, like it almost never ends.

From a safety aspect, especially riding in a foreign place where you are unfamiliar with the surrounding and traffic conditions, speeding is the last thing you want to do simply because it doesn’t give you enough time to react to something you did not expect. And trust me, when you’re on the roads overseas, ANYTHING can happen.




Take note of speed limit signs around too, and abide by it because unlike Singapore where sometimes grace is extended to those who exceed the limit by 5km/h – 8km/h, other countries such as Australia has zero tolerance for it.

There was once I was driving along the Great Ocean Road towards the Twelve Apostles where the speed limit was 50km/h, I received a fine of AUD200 for a speed recorded at 52km/h. 

Yeap, don’t say I didn’t warn you.




3. Do Not Hog Either

Speeding kills, but hogging can get you into trouble too. If you’re unsure about directions, it’s better to stop your vehicle at some place safe and figure it out before getting back on the roads. 

When you’re traveling at a speed too slow that other road users don’t expect, they might hit into you or overtake you dangerously, which increases your risks of getting into an accident. 

Falling back to what I highlighted earlier, try your best to adapt and blend into the traffic flow to avoid any unwanted disruptions.




4. Anticipate

This is a major key factor in riding defensively which could significantly reduce your risks of  getting involved in an accident. When you’re able to anticipate what is about to happen, you can take certain measures to avoid it. 

For example, if you realize the vehicle in front of you is drifting left and right, identify the danger where the driver may have dozed off or is using his mobile phone, and steer clear by overtaking swiftly.

It is beneficial to practice high level of anticipation towards other road users, considering the multiple possibilities of their actions while observing their driving behavior, then only you will be able to make a decision that can land you in the safe zone.




5. Blind Spot

Unless you’re roaring down the streets with a Harley Davidson, we bikers unfortunately have lower road presence due to size and we tend to fall into the blind spots of drivers who may make an abrupt lane switch without even knowing you are there. 

Never stay in their blind spots. Let's help prevent the driver from unintentionally killing you, yeah?




6. Take Breaks

I thoroughly enjoy my road trips and sometimes they can stretch up to 700KM a day. With so much to focus on the roads, being subjected to different weather conditions such as the unbearable heat during the day, it is good to take a short 5 – 10 minute break at regular intervals to hydrate and freshen up before hitting the roads again.



Careful not to spend too long of a break as your body may settle into lull state and that would require more effort to get all energized again, which could result in more fatigue in the end.




7.  Avoid Riding At Night

I know of many bikers who enjoy the night breeze as much as I do, where traffic is less busy and the roads are quieter. Back home, I frequently take my bike out for a late night spin or quick supper runs as and when I feel like it.



However if you’re on a road trip overseas, I would advise avoid riding at night. 

Apart from lower visibility considering some areas that may not even have street lamps, night is also a time where big industrial trucks commute as they usually want to avoid getting congested in traffic during the day. It’s always better to avoid riding along such vehicles as they may drop debris on the way and that tiny piece of metal or something could be consequential to us bikers.


8. Be Insured

Lastly, or should I say, firstly, before you even start your trip, always be insured when you’re traveling to safeguard yourself from any unforeseen circumstances.



If you are riding, always ensure that the travel policy you’re paying for covers leisure motorcycling like what DirectAsia offers, because there’s no point getting the highest coverage yet it does not cover personal injury while riding overseas, resulting in an unsuccessful claim should an unfortunate incident happen during your ride trip. 

As for riding locally, you can be covered with an NCD Protector Plus by DirectAsia motorcycle insurance because your NCD is protected and advanced the following year even with 1 at-fault claim! How cool is that?!

Knowing that you are sufficiently covered gives you an assurance that helps you have a more confident ride on the roads.


Now that you’ve picked up some tips on how to stay alive on a motorcycle whether you’re in your hometown or overseas, go forth; Feel the winds on your skin, embrace that invigorating sensation of freedom unleashing on wide-open roads, sing within your helmet and enjoy the road trip of your life!


Have fun, be safe, and let’s live another day for another ride!