Just to share some experience after a solo on the N-S highway to/from Cameron Highlands (C-H).
1) Bloody speed demons! They weave in and out from fast lane to slow lane and back like F1 drivers and comes in small (cars) and big sizes (trucks/coaches). If any of these demons hits me, I can be sure it will be a hit and run case!
2) 110 km/h is a joke for these speed demons, 140km/h is just a snack for them.
3) As my phantom is slow, I try to keep close to road shoulders as in riding just beside the white line. I ride within the road shoulder at times but on many occasions find my view blocked by a long vehicle near bends and suddenly 50m ahead there is a stationary vehicle just in front (even more dangerous at night!)
4) I try to be careful when overtaking slower vehicle from right outer line. Everyone on the N-S highway is faster than my phantom. I usually had to go full throttle when overtaking from right even then my phantom is like a snail. So I usually prefer to overtake from road shoulder instead.
5) Take frequent breaks. I ride my phantom at 100km/h (based on the speedometer but real speed is slower) for 100 km plus or minus then stop at R&R for short breaks.
6) I tail a slightly slower vehicle at night (keep 20m to 30m behind) to use its headlights for luminance (while riding close to the road shoulder line). Phantoms headlights are pathetic and N-S highway is pitch black at night. So best is don't ride phantom at night on N-S highway!
7) Watch for any temporary traffic signs that indicate danger (like exclamation sign or the word 'AWAS'). Be prepared to slow down but don't slow down just yet! Although the traffic signs will indicate the appropriate speed limits and due to road works, a 3 lane highway become 2 or even 1 lane, most Malaysian vehicles ignore these speed limits and never slow down! One time, I had to throttle hard as the vehicle behind breathe down on me.
8) Occasionally, as I am overtaking from road shoulder, some long vehicle drivers will eat into the road shoulder as well. I don't know if it is deliberate or not. I will horn and try again. (Happened at least twice). I don't know if signaling my intention (left signal) when overtaking on road shoulder helps but I saw this Malaysian biker doing it. Any ideas, anyone?
9) I realize it is best not to climb C-H at night. It is cold even with full jacket and gloves (I wish I had my leather gloves on instead) and to be exact it was actually evening (around 6+ pm to be precise) when I reached one of the peaks.
10) I try to scan the side mirror for trailing vehicles when going up or down C-H. I will then signal left, ride into the left shoulder and let the faster vehicle pass. That way there is no stress for me to go fast on an unfamiliar mountain road.
11) Even though I don't speed, I still mis-timed certain curves on the mountain roads and eat into the other lane on a few occasions....luckily for me!
12) If the speed is too fast while navigating the curves on C-H, one danger is point 11, the other danger I realize is swerving too far out into the left as there are sands and gravels just besides many of the roads (perhaps a result of soil erosions) and changes of skidding is high.
13) I used a lot of engine break to slow down. I realize when unsure about the speed while approaching a bend on the C-H, just close throttle and engine break first. If too slow, I can throttle a bit. If still too fast, I can then apply the brakes. Once, I was behind a landrover when coming down C-H, it was terrible to smell the burnt rubber.
14) I used the Simpang Pulai exit to go up C-H, it is the newer road and supposedly with a more gentle slope. Never tried the Tapah route but it is reportedly more steep. Looking at the map, it seems the Tapah route should be shorter. Any comments from those who tried both?
15) I realize with my phantom I need 12 hours to/from C-H. So to make full use of the daylights, it is best to start the journey before 6 am.
Cheers and safe riding!
P.S. - For those who think riding to C-H is dangerous, think about taking a coach bus at night to C-H. It is probably speeding at 160/170 kmh in the pitch black highway, up the equally pitch black mountain roads. The only consolations are you got convenience and comfort, and if anything happens you probably only realize it when you wake up in heaven.