If you live & work in Klang Valley Malaysia (or any major city for that matter), I’d bet traffic jams drive you insane.
Public transportation? Works in theory, but due to the poorly planned Malaysian public transportation, it takes longer than driving, I feel tired afterward & ironically, it’s not that cheap.
So most Malaysians end up commuting to work by car which causes MASSIVE traffic jams, wasting everyone’s time, energy & money.
Malaysians are frustrated. So much so that my tweet got almost 14,000 retweets:
Beli kereta utk pergi kerja,— Money & Malaysian Living (@HelmiHasanBH) January 17, 2022
Dah beli kereta, kena pergi kerja untuk bayar balik kereta.
Kena SCAM pic.twitter.com/clgqBHlcP2
Translation: I need to buy a car to go to work, but once I have a car, I need to go to work to repay back the car. I’ve been SCAMMED
After many months of comparing & consideration, I bought a used scooter. If you’ve been toying with the same idea, this article will share my reasoning & process around purchasing a used motorcycle in Malaysia.
But first, let’s compare commuting options for the average Malaysian & I’ll be using myself as a case study to represent most Malaysians who are met with the same commuting dilemma:
Comparing My Commuting Options (Time & Cost)
There are 3 methods for me to commute to work:
- Drive a car
- Take the train
- Buy & ride a motorcycle
I’ve driven a car & took the train to work for about a year, and here are the pros & cons of each:
|Commuting Method||Pros||Cons||Est. Cost|
(1-Day, Round Trip)
|Commute Time (Round Trip)||Tiredness|
|Driving||Safe & predictable||– MASSIVE traffic jams|
– Need to maintain a car
– Pay for parking 🙁
|40 mins||Least tiring|
|Train||– Low carbon footprint|
– Healthy by walking
|– Waste a lot of time|
– Not that cheap
– Very tiring
– More laundry from sweating
|Ticket: RM9||1.45 hours||Tiring|
|Motorcycle||– No traffic jams|
– FREE parking
– Sips petrol
|– Higher risk of accident|
– Get wet when it rains
– Need to buy & maintain a motorcycle
|25 mins||Moderately tiring|
On paper, commuting to work via motorcycle is the cheapest, fastest & least tiring method if you live & work in Klang Valley, Malaysia.
Over the past year, I’ve been driving to work like most Malaysians. But after I got married, we sold my wife’s car through Carsome.
After which, I was rotating between working from home & commuting via train. Here are some of the major drawbacks of each commuting methods:
Flaws to Commute by Train
Tiring: The walk to & from the train station is quite far due to terrible city planning. I walk for at least 45 minutes each day. By the time I reach the office or home, my clothes are drenched from sweat & I’m too tired to do anything else.
Not Efficient: The nearest train station for me is the KTM train, but it’s not that reliable & it comes every 30 to 60 minutes during rush hour, so if I miss my train, I’ll be late for work.
Flaws to Commute by Driving
Massive Traffic Jam: With increasing cars on the road, it’s only going to get worst, and if it rains, forget about it.
Expensive: Increasing parking rates, insurance, toll & fuel prices but our salary stays stagnant.
Bad for the Environment: All that petrol & emissions to move 1 person to work. I can’t help to feel guilty.
So after being a year of commuting frustration, I’ve convinced myself to get a motorcycle.
How I Chose & Bought My First Used Motorcycle
License: I already have both a motorcycle & car driving license. If you don’t have a motorcycle, you’ll need to go to motorcycle riding school & expect to pay at least RM400 for a license.
Riding Experience: I’ve often rented scooters when I go on vacation to Thailand & the Philippines. So I know how to ride a motorcycle. I’m just not that confident riding in peak KL traffic.
Buy Used or New? I decided on a used one because I might outgrow my first scooter pretty fast & would want to upgrade in the next few years. So the cheaper, the better.
My criteria for my first motorcycle:
- A nimble scooter with automatic gears & storage space.
- Less than 250cc, enough power, yet tameable.
- Preferably a used bike less than RM7k.
The word got around within my network that I was looking for a used motorcycle & luck would have it that a family member was selling his scooter.
I contacted him & arranged for a test drive. The scooter ticks all the boxes of my requirements & long story short, I now own a Vespa S125 🙂
If you buy a new bike from the shop, they’ll take care of all the paperwork. But if you want to save a bit of money & get one used, I’ll share what I had to go through:
Where to Look for Great Used Motorcycle Deals
There are 3 websites I recommend for used motorcycles in Malaysia:
Even if you don’t intend to buy from these sites, it’s good to browse through them to see the market value for the motorcycle that you want.
Scams are everywhere so be careful & use common sense. If something is too good to be true, it probably is.
However, the best option is to let your network know that you’re looking for a used motorcycle. There’s bound to be someone who wants to get rid of theirs. That’s exactly how I got my Vespa.
What to Look Out for in a Used Motorcyle
Scratches or Dents
These are the telltale sign that the motorbike has been dropped or been in an accident.
A used bike with a great set of tires with plenty of threads means the owner takes care of his safety & his motorcycle.
A good motorcycle owner would keep all the service receipts. Paper records are more believable than verbal confirmation.
Checklist During the Test Drive
I am no seasoned motorcyclist, but here is a checklist of what I tested during the test drive:
- Plenty of tire treads
- The headlight & turn signals
- The electric starter
- The instrument cluster
- Acceleration is smooth
- Full throttling is good
- Go fast & brake hard in a straight line
- Stable when cornering at high speeds
How to Negotiate for a Used Motorcycle
You can use the lack of service records & scratch marks as your best bargaining chips. Try and respectfully negotiate between 10 to 15% lower than what you’re comfortable paying & hopefully, you guys will meet amicably halfway.
I didn’t negotiate much as the guy was selling it below market value & despite having some scratch marks, the scooter was in excellent condition with brand new tires & serviced regularly.
I thought his asking price & the condition was fair. I paid half the amount as a deposit (because I know the guy). Then we proceeded with the paperwork of ownership transfer:
How to Transfer Motorcycle Ownership
If you buy a new motorcycle at the shop, they’ll take care of everything, but if you want to buy a used motorcycle directly from an owner, here are 3 ways to transfer ownership:
- Both the buyer & seller go to JPJ (it’ll cost you around RM3).
- Apply for the transfer at a motorcycle shop (around RM100 charge), and you still need to head over to JPJ to print out the new grant.
- Hire a runner to handle everything for you (this could be the most expensive option).
We originally wanted to save money & transfer ownership at the JPJ office. But one day, the seller was at a bike shop in Kepong, and the shop can help with the ownership transfer. He called me up & I drove up to the shop in Kepong.
Once I arrived, the seller had to give his original grant, insert his IC into the scanner & get his thumbprint. Then, the clerk scanned my IC & thumbprint (the buyer).
We had to pay RM 100 (which was surprisingly expensive). The clerk then gave me the original grant with the online transfer application.
The clerk told me that I have to bring those documents to JPJ to verify it’s me & print out a new grant under my name (as the new owner).
What to do Before Heading Down to Your Nearest JPJ
These are the documents that you need to prepare & bring BEFORE you head over to JPJ:
- The original grant from the previous owner
- The piece of paper stating that the application of ownership transfer was already done online
- What I forgot to do: Buy insurance before coming to JPJ.
Once I was at JPJ they asked me for my motorcycle insurance, and I didn’t have it. The front desk then told me to head over to MyEG office down the corridor & buy insurance there before coming back to JPJ.
I highly recommend you to buy insurance online yourself as it’s MILES cheaper. Read my guide here. I think the MyEg person took advantage of my hasty condition & overcharge my insurance.
Once I have my insurance printed out, I head back over to JPJ. They verified my documents & charged me RM2 for the road tax.
After payment, they printed out my road tax & a new grant stating that I am the new owner of the Vespa. Happy days!
Great, now that I got the paperwork out of the way, there are still stuff I need to buy before I can hit the road:
Additional Costs Before I Can Start Riding
After paying for the motorcycle to the previous owner, there are many things I need to pay & buy before I can start riding:
Below is a table summary of all of the additional costs I have to pay on top of the motorcycle itself:
|Ownership transfer fee||RM 100||This cost will be RM2 at JPJ|
|Motorcycle Insurance||RM 327||Without NCD + unnecessary add ons|
|Motorcycle road tax||RM 2||Dirt cheap!|
|Retro helmet||RM 110||Get it from Shopee or Lazada|
|Motorcycle gloves||RM 47||Get it from Shopee or Lazada|
|Phone holder for motorcycle||RM 43||Get it from Shopee or Lazada|
|Handle lock||RM 16||Get it from Shopee or Lazada|
|Raincoat||RM160||Get it from Shopee or Lazada|
Buying Extra Insurance – Hospital Allowance (FWD)
Since riding a motorcycle is riskier than driving a car, I highly recommend you beef up your hospitalization insurance to help protect you and your family in the event of an unwanted accident.
If you already have a medical card that can cover your medical bills, a hospitalization cash allowance insurance would be a nice compliment to your medical card:
Buying a Used Motorcycle Conclusion
On the day that I picked up the motorcycle from the owner’s house, it was an exciting & frankly frightening first ride in peak KL traffic. But I rode with extra caution & got the hang of it pretty quickly. I rode home, which took about 15 mins & parked the motorcycle at my condo motorcycle parking lot.
So there you have it, my experience purchasing a used motorcycle to commute to work in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I hope this has been helpful & I’ll be creating more content about the Vespa itself and riding tips for newbie motorcyclists such as myself.
My first impressions as a new owner of the Vespa S125:
- Practicality 4 out of 5
- Performance: 3 out of 5
- Street Cred: 4.5 out of 5