Editor's Note: And
now for something completely different! An
interesting review of the wild 'n' wacky Momos Sachs
MadAss 125...scooter/motorcycle/two-wheeled conveyance.
What is it? A category-buster for sure! And
just for good measure, a
tour of the Mofaz factory in
Kuala Lumpur, with a gaggle of photos of more
two-wheelers that defy convention. Thanks to Yahaya Abdullah and the Mofaz staff for this report!
I remember reading a financial self-help book a long
time ago (when I was quite young) and one of the
nuggets of advice the guru imparted was this very catchy
phrase: "Trend is your friend".
I didn't quite fully
understand how this could help improve my finances, but
ten years later and
in the current down economy, with premium priced
transport and soaring fuel prices, one look at the new
Momos (Sachs) MadAss 125 made me remember those words...and another
look at the MPG figures
got me understanding that trend CAN be your friend!
First Impressions When I first saw photos of the MadAss 125 in a
magazine a few years back, I was stunned. Collecting myself for a
few seconds, I then thought "Naaah, this is just a
prototype or DIY project that someone with a lot of time
on their hands built in their garage!"
But after more research, I discovered that it was a real production bike and
it was already for sale in Europe! Never would I
imagine that such an outrageous looking machine will
arrive on Malaysian
shores. Well, thanks to
Motosikal Sdn Bhd ,
it has -- and as the factory is located just down the
road from where I
live, I took the opportunity to ride one the moment I
discovered that they
hung up the bike's advertising banner!
I was expecting to find a mini bike, styled for small
teenagers or vertically challenged people, closer to the
famous Honda Monkey or Kawasaki KSR with small wheels
and hidden-between-traffic-seat height.
the Mofaz Factory, I was greeted by Mr. Nizam Selamat,
the Sales Coordinator and Race Team Manager, and Mr. Ahmad
Rizal, the Assistant Sales Manager. They wheeled out the
bike and BOOM! I was completely caught by surprise at
my first live view! Definitely not a mini bike at
The MadAss 125 is full sized and climbing aboard, I confirmed that
it's actually sized for normal people. I am 5 feet 11 and a half inches
and sitting on it was quite on the tall side, with my
feet stretched to the ground from the very plush
padded wide seat.
Mr. Nizam realized my surprise and to
assure me of the well engineered sizing, he jumped
behind to sit on the rear seat and looking in the wall
glass reflection, was quite all right!
Details and Style
The first thing that jumped out to me, or rather not
jumping at all, was the instrumentation. I was searching
for the speedo/tacho/fuel meter but couldn't find any!
There was an LCD dash -- much like a bicycle cyclo
computer -- and that's it! The usual blinking and lights
indicators were there but nothing else.
Sparse is the word
here and later on while riding I got to understand the
reason, maybe even intended by the designers. Standard
switchgear for the turn signals and lighting were there,
and the LCD dash was showing all the necessary info;
speed, clock and trip, so I guess it was quite enough.
The front end of the bike is unique, due to the stacked
ellipsoidal headlight. The lower light is for normal
use, while the upper light is the high beam. Both
are projector-type lights.
They are really bright and sharp, even in broad daylight,
making the bike very visible. The rear brake lights, with LED bulbs,
are not only trendy, but bright and safe to look at --
beautiful even, when the brakes were pressed.
also trendy-looking, with three wide spokes in their 16 inch
diameter. Before I go
on, I would like to contain my excitement first, because
the next few details really blew me away!
and Concept First let me describe the fuel tank. There is none! The
frame main tube acts as the fuel holder and can hold
5.1 litres of petrol.
There have been other bikes with
this concept (namely Buell) but it seems so seamless and
neat on the MadAss, you may see it as mind-blowing or wonderfully
bizarre, almost understated.
The seat tube is connected
straight from the frame (like a beam frame bicycle) with
bolted on brackets holding the plush and comfortable
seat. Really weird looking, but eccentric and eye
catching at the same time.
The rear triangle is made of
double bent tube banana swingarm on both sides that
looks just like the real fruit! A monoshock is bolted to
a mounting between the spars of the frame and seat tube
With an exposed single cylinder air cooled
engine, the air filter snouts cling to the bottom of
the fuel tank, looking like a wild predatory animal's
nose. The most prominent feature though, is the
stainless steel under seat exhaust with conical muffler
and large swept cut silencer tip! Can you say Ducati?
in all, the build is very solid, with all fasteners,
screws and pieces held together very neatly, and fit and
finish is very high quality. I could say that this bike
gave me a good feeling about it, even whimsical in fact!
"Hmmmm, where do you insert the ignition key?" I mumbled
to myself, trying to locate the switch. Mr
Nizam, sporting a polite smile, directed my
hand towards the left side of the bike, in between the
stacked front lights.
Luckily I was looking the other
way, as the red on my face was as evident as a tomato. Thumbed the starter, made my self comfortable on the
saddle, I reached for the bars.
Now I am going to tell
you of another flashback to yesteryear. If you have
ever ridden a "Chopper' style bicycle, you will know exactly what I mean. The
ergonomics of the MadAss is almost as eccentric as the
styling. The seat slopes forward gently, just enough to
make you want to grip something with your knees, but
there isn't any tank!
And something else that's weird about
the riding position -- the bars are swept back gently, almost like a
cruiser, making you push your body backwards on the seat.
Kind of a Ying and Yang situation here, where both ends
are trying to compact you in the middle.
riders might have some issues, but coupled with the
plush seat and wide bars, it felt quite comfortable.
While on the move (more on this later) the fairly
forward feet placement and soft rear suspension, turned
the seating position very ideal for comfort and control.
This bike gets weirder by the minute!
Here We Go!
I live in a very hilly area, so testing the power
characteristics is ideal. Prior
to our proposed ride destination, I rode the bike in the
factory compound. Leaving the showroom in a rather
gentlemanly manner so as to not upset Mr. Nizam, I took
to the ascending and tight left right lanes heading
towards the storage compound.
It was raining lightly at
that time and I have to say at normal speeds the bike
felt good and planted even in the wet, with enough
torque to push forward up the ascends without any sudden
dips or jerks in power to make me lose confidence.
was the initial feeling that I had, and it felt good
that the MadAss behaved very well in the wet. I revved
up the throttle, expecting an over-revving, shrieking
sound to wail on me, but on the contrary, the engine
was very smooth and sounded muted. Too smooth for a
small displacement single cylinder engine.
Dropping the shifter down a gear and revving the throttle
resulted in smooth and jerk free acceleration. At the
higher end of the rev range, the power never felt like
winding down; it just stayed there, both in sound and
thrust. I repeated this sequence in all gears and the
sensation as the same, no urgency yet no lost steam too.
It almost felt electric powered and doesn't distract
when gliding along the road. My first impressions (which
were confirmed later on) were that the bare nakedness
and sparseness of the bike was intended by the designers
for the rider to enjoy the road ahead.
Getting back to the factory area I decided to let Mr.
Nizam take the controls, while I evaluated the passenger
capability of the bike.
The showers had stopped and
luckily most of the roads we were travelling on were not
so damp due to the many trees shielding them from the
rain. If you look at the photos, both of us aren't
exactly the slimmest guys in the world but I was quite
comfy on the thickly padded rear seat with good feet
clearance and stretch to the rear foot peg.
On the way
to our ride spot I noticed heads were turning at us. The
drivers, riders and by-standers were displaying amazed
faces not at our size, but clearly ogling at the alien
looking machine we were on.
Being quite compact but with
wide bars made slashing through traffic a breeze and the
light cable actuated clutch never grabbed so as to
disrupt the comfort of the ride. Mr. Nizam took us to a
scenic and hilly back road where there were fewer cars,
winding up and down the lightly wet road produced no
drama at all.
The mechanical grip and tyres were
surprisingly good at riding at a brisk pace. Cornering
two up at 40 mph speeds (I was glancing all the while at
the speedo) on the ascending-descending and winding road
didn't faze the 16 inch CST tyres and the suspension were
in their optimal stroke range.
Sudden braking while avoiding
pot holes, water patches and cars didn't bottom out
either end of the suspension, evidence of good spring
rates and well thought out design. We finally reached
our destination, where I can say that engine performance is
fine for a 125 cc bike, with minimal vibration and plenty
of torque, moving up the hill at a comfortable and
Handling and Cornering Prowess Upon arriving at our intended spot, I rode
solo while Mr. Nizam took a breather at the road side --
beautiful strip of road, secluded with even more winding
sections to test the handling.
I left Mr. Nizam with a
promise to be back soon, in one piece, and away I
zoomed! Going through several "S" section corners,
downshifting a gear to get into the ideal power range,
the chassis was very composed.
Riding solo proved the
bike was very flickable through the fast flowing
left-right-left, with the suspension never wallowing or
bottoming under hard braking for corner entry. I stress
again the spring rates for both front and rear shocks is
surprisingly spot-on with rebound just nice enough for
feel and control.
For adjustability, only the rear shock
is adjustable for preload, and -- get this -- with air
compression. You can actually fill the rear shock with
air at your local gas station with the standard air
The front right-way-up forks (in Indonesia
they a have an upside down equipped MadAss!), although
not adjustable, was behaving extremely well, compressing
and rebounding very comfortably and firmly. In my
opinion they didn't need any adjustment.
I know the MadAss wasn't made for racing or sport riding, but the
suspension and chassis took my racer boy antics in
stride, with a quality usually missing in cheap small
Foot pegs, although a bit forward
and low for comfort, had plenty of ground clearance and
I don't think they'll ground even with hard cornering manoeuvres. Again, the MadAss had really good grip and
charging the corners at 55+mph speeds felt good and
stable. Two thumbs up for such a good set-up, providing
good feel and mechanical grip, resulting in sure footed
Engine Power and Characteristics
Riding two-up on ascending and descending
winding roads quickly shows the power and
character of any bike's engine.
The MadAss performed
really well with minimal amount of vibration and buzz
going up the hill at the upper rev range and hard gear
changing through the corners. Exploiting the 6 KW power
at 8400 RPM and 9 Nm of torque at an early 5400 RPM gave
some gusto to conquering the hills with not so much as a
Charging harder on the throttle always managed
to keep the engine in the sweet spot, with enough thrust
to keep the rider out of trouble. Downshifting gave a
just nice amount of engine braking for extra grip,
without the usual shrieking and wailing and the rear
wheel didn't snake and fish tailed much even with my
racer boy's shenanigans.
Riding solo showed that although the engine was
willing to be revved, keeping it at peak horsepower and torque made for a seamless and light
feeling engine that felt sporty and fun, never intrusive
in sound and vibration.
The cable actuated clutch was
ultra light with good feeling, shifting through the 4
speed tranny (1 down, 3 up) proved very precise and
light. I never missed a shift and neutral was very easy
The exhaust note is very quiet, really
contrasting to the bare mean look, and in the higher
revs just gave a muffled thumping sound that you'd be
hard pressed to keep your ears on. All in all, a sedate
engine that is definitely rider friendly, but spritely
and brisk enough to keep you entertained.
Braking Performance One area which took me by surprise is the power of
the front brake. A single disk gripped by a twin-piston
caliper stopped very abruptly even with a little touch
to the levers.
My complaint is that the feeling is good
but initial bite came almost immediately as soon as the
lever is squeezed. It took me quite a few tries to
grips with the ferocity of the bite, so safely braking
takes some practice.
The rear brake, a single disk
with single piston caliper, was a little soft and
coupled with a low feel brake pedal it made a squeamish
combination, where I needed to stamp my feet hard on
the pedal, while also trying to be gentle as possible so as
to not lock the front. But for what its worth, the
brakes will stop the bike, only that maybe you'll need a
racer's braking finesse to stop the bike safely and
Freeway Frantics Finishing up on the performance evaluation of the bike, I
decided to bring the MadAss to a rider's real world
situation and environment: the freeway.
With me at the
controls and Mr. Nizam now pillion, we zoomed through the
remaining twisties and turned into the freeway. It was
rush hour traffic and we were caught right smack in the
Entering the freeway we had a bit of a distance
of less traffic, and chugging along at an indicated
75 KM/H (46MP/H), the MadAss was comfortable. The lack of
fairing and bodywork gives a sense of nakedness, yet it
wasn't a feeling of invulnerability, just an uncaged
feeling of freedom since there's no restricting view of
the whole road and other vehicles.
At these speeds it
stayed with traffic very well and the tallness of the
bike made for a high visibility ride for both the ride
and traffic. There was no mini-bike feel to make
the rider seem
hidden and engulfed, and I saw several drivers trying to
make out what was zipping alongside them, bright yellow
The wide and slightly swept back bars were
comfortable, and upon reaching the thicker and denser
traffic helped sift through cars and other four wheelers
safely as my hands were tucked in more, with a high
level of leverage. The mirrors, which were slightly buzzy while I was corner carving at high revs earlier
were perfect in this situation, being wide enough to see
rear conditions, while tucked in enough to not get
caught on car's side mirrors.
Let me tell you that even
with both of us heavyweights on board, the bike's low
weight of 100 kg, coupled with midsized 16 inch wheels and
high leverage handling, the MadAss easily carved up
traffic with nary a twitch. It is very composed at tight and
sudden low speed turns and lane switching, as it was
earlier shooting through the twisties at barely legal
The meter was showing the speed in very clear,
easy-to-see-at-a-glance look and now I understand the
sparseness of the design is intended so as to not
intrude with the naked uncaged feeling of the barebones
for the rider to enjoy the road and ride!
Video: MOMOS Sachs MadAss 125 Review
That's a Wrap!
We turned out of the freeway and U-turned at a traffic
light heading back to the factory. One thing that was
obvious is that the bike is definitely a head turner.
Everywhere there was traffic, I could make out drivers
and passengers eye-balling us, and riders and
pedestrians were literally turning their heads with
trying-to-control-myself expressions and smiles of
The bright banana yellow colour really helped
and in case, but in case you'd like your MadAss in a
different eye-catching colour, red, silver and black are
We reached the factory and I quizzed Mr. Nizam on
the top speed, fuel consumption and basic maintenance. The figures are 65 MP/H, 180 KM for 5.1 litres of fuel
(!), and minimal costs for service such as engine oil
and chain lubrication and adjustment.
Another thing to
take note here is that there is absolutely no storage
space whatsoever, maybe in keeping up with the barebones
concept and feel, so you might have to bolt on a storage
box if you are always carrying things.
Mr. Nizam told me
that he has been long term endurance testing this bike
since October last year prior to its market release and
is happy to report that there has been no failure on any
of the parts yet.
Special Thanks to Mr. Nizam Selamat and Mr. Ahmad Rizal!
Coming back to the advice of that financial guru,
“Trend is your friend", it really made a lot of sense to
me now to get something that:
Makes me look like latest
With its outrageous design, gives
me a big
grin every time I ride it;
Is also economically trendy
because the fuel consumption is a
planet-saving 180 km for 5.1litres (+-140MPG!!);
Is maintenance trendy as this is following even MotoGP
and F1 rules, where the engine has to be long-lasting and
requiring less maintenance, resulting in less wear and
tear of both machine and rider (pocket/wallet);
And the most important trend to follow, this bike made me feel like a college kid again, deducting at
least 15 years of my age! Now I can throw out all those
vitamins supplements and anti aging cream and hair colourings!
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "J.C." (7/10): "I've always
thought the Sachs XTC was one of the most beautiful
bikes made. If they put this engine in the XTC
frame and bodywork, I'd buy it in a heartbeat."
From "K.M." (7/10): "I just saw your
review of the MadAss 125. Here in the USA they are
imported by Peirspeed and sold through local dealers.
The seating position is indeed unique and I also found
myself looking for a tank to grip. The seat height
is quite high for me at 5' 7", but there are two bolt
holes for the shock to mount and the bike in the
pictures is currently on the upper. Moving the
shock and adjusting the preload lowers the seat about
The bike is fun to ride around town (86+ mpg) and got a
lot of looks when I took it to the local bike night.
It is limited to about 55 mph, so no freeway driving,
but at 290 lbs I can easily load it in the back of my
shortbed pickup and take it anywhere.
There are a variety of aftermarket parts for the bike
from rear sprockets to complete engine swaps.
Thanks for reviewing the bike. I have a lot of fun on
mine and I hope more people will get out and try one!"
From "G.C." (7/10): "I just read
your review of the BasAss125. The bike immediately
appealed to me because it reminds me so much of my first
bike; a 1970 CT70h. Both bikes share the same
engine (the Sachs is a dead-ringer of the Honda design),
a similar frame design and a fun-to-ride spirit.
While I have always held a special place in my heart
for my CT70h, I've outgrown the design. The BadAss
125 just may up-size the design enough that I'll have to