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Old 11-19-2012, 01:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default It's a great time to ride a motorcycle!

There are many factors which are contributing to a larger number of riders on the road. Economic conditions (price of gas, price of vehicle) are contributing to a growth in this sport/lifestyle whatever you want to call it.

It's interesting, the growing number of "beginner" or "intermediate" bikes on the market. In years past it was only Kawi at the 250cc market, but recently Honda came in with the CBR 250R. Kawi upped the performance to 300cc with other upgrades, DFI, slipper clutch.

Now Honda is adding a middle-weight CBR 500R and variants to compete against Ninja 650.

As much as I love my 07 Ninja 650R, if I were to buy a new bike in the next month, I have no idea what I would go for. A 300 just for fun or a CBR 500 for practical reasons. The CBR500($6000) vs Ninja650($7600) is an interesting matchup considering the price difference. I'm not sure I would be willing to spend extra $10/cc for the 650 although I do love my 650.

I have a feeling we might see Suzuki jump in this class since they have nothing at the moment (they actually have SV650, but no faired bike). And Yamaha has the fz6r still.

So with all these beginner/intermediate bikes on the rise, as well as increase in fuel price, I expect motorcycles to grow in popularity. I seem to see them out on the road more than in the past. Maybe it's because I also ride now, but who knows.

Exciting time to be in the market, that's for sure, but for now, I'm very happy with my 650R.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I remember when I was starting out there wasn't much out there and the difference from 50 cc - 125 was minimal... there were few 250s and that was where Yamaha set a precedent with the Virago. The next step up was the 400 range such as the Suzuki GSXR.

I think that with increased amounts of traffic on the road, increases in population and places like London setting congestion charges for commuting on commonly used routes, bikes are becoming ever increasingly popular. The number of newbies we get posting on this forum every day is a clear indication of this.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It's only anecdotal, but I see less bikes than I used to. In London it seems easier to find a motorcycle parking spot than it was 5 years ago. I see fewer bikes on my daily commute and I've sometimes recently done a couple of hundred miles on the motorway without seeing a bike at all. Maybe it's just the effects of the recession

In the EU the new licencing regs are going to impact on the market for middleweight bikes - actually all bikes other than sub 125cc sub 15 bhp bikes - and will over time limit the number of middle aged returnees who are the only people really able to afford the really fast bikes. In cities most bikes are small ones - twist and go 'peds are very common.

And my middleweight bike costs a lot more to run than my car.

I can't remember a time when all the mainstream manufacturers didn't have at least one 250 and one 125 in their range. The Europeans were an exception (Triumph and BMW). The licencing regs now have removed the market for 250s and fast 125s in the EU. Kawasaki's response was the 300, and Honda has three new 500s sharing an engine at just below the new 47 bhp limit. If there is going to be growth in the EU it'll be in this new A2 licence category. This category is likely to be popular in the States as well, removed friom the stigma of riding a 250 'learner' bike, but still more manageable than the 600/650 class which ego or peer pressure pushes a lot of new American riders on to.

Rob
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by williamr View Post
If there is going to be growth in the EU it'll be in this new A2 licence category. This category is likely to be popular in the States as well, removed friom the stigma of riding a 250 'learner' bike, but still more manageable than the 600/650 class which ego or peer pressure pushes a lot of new American riders on to.
What are restrictions of A2? Is that under 300cc? Do you have another one for under 500 or 600cc?
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm curious to see how the new regs will affect us here in Gibraltar. I've heard that the licensing laws are changing soon and in my opinion its a welcomed change, if it works. There are far too many youngsters who get bought a bike when they turn 17, all they need do is fill out a form and they get a provisional which is valid for 3 months. At the end of 3 months they can either renew the provisional or take the test.

The test consists of a theory which is one on one with an examiner and if the person taking the test knows the examiner it can be over very quickly.

The practical is even easier. They hop on their bike and ride around the outskirts of the town for an hour while being followed by the examiner. They get back to base pay their 25 quid and hey presto they are licensed to ride anything up to a 125cc!

Admittedly I had it this easy when I took my test 10 years ago, to the best of my knowledge the system hasn't changed since. I'm in that category of the minority who actually learned to ride having passed the "test".
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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What are restrictions of A2? Is that under 300cc? Do you have another one for under 500 or 600cc?
Under the new regs (from January 19th) there are 6 classes of licence.

Three are moped licences, AM, and I think the others are P & Q. Sounds complex, but it's because older mopeds were rated at 31 mph instead of the new EU 28 mph rating (AM licence) and riders with 31 mph entitlement will keep it. In some EU countries there is a 14 mph 'ped which needs no licence. We don't have that in the UK, but the 28 mph licence, by some quirk of European law, doesn't cover the 14 mph 'ped so we have an extra licence for that. You get it automatically with the other 'ped licences so it's only a technicality.

The A1 (light motorcycle) licence is for bikes no bigger than 125cc and 15 bhp.

The A2 (intermediate motorcycle) licence is for bikes of under 47 bhp. The test must be taken on a bike of at least 400cc. A more powerful bike can be ridden as long as it's restricted to 47 bhp, but it must be of no more than 95 bhp in its unrestricted form and the restrictor can't be operated by something like a switch.

The A licence is unlimited. The test must be taken on a bike of at least 600cc and 56 bhp.

If you have two years experience on a bike of the next category down the test is a shortened one just to prove that you can manage the bigger bike. The minimum age for the A licence is 24, unless you have two years experience with an A2 licence. The minimum age for an A2 licence is 19.

With any motorcycle licence you automatically get the licences for all the lower categories.

The provisional licence covers all vehicles, as a learner, with different conditions applying according to the vehicle.

For 'ped and A1 bikes you can ride them with no restrictions on use except that you can't use motorways or carry a passenger and you must display L plates. For all other vehicles you must be accompanied by a qualified driver or instructor (instructor in radio contact for bikes) as well as displaying L plates.

Chris - the rules on provisional licences are local rules and won't be affected unless Gib decides to do something. The practical test has to meet minimum EU standards, but there's a fair bit of local discretion. There has to be a control and maneouverability test which includes figure 8s, controlled and emergency braking and a swerve test as well as the road test. Do the new rules come in on the same date in Gib?

Rob

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Old 11-30-2012, 06:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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What do the tests consist of?

I can break 30 mph (briefly) on flat ground on a bicycle, 45+ down some of the hills here.

The U.S. system is a bit screwy. I took a Basic Rider Course on a 250 Rebel, and within days had a license in my hand which would have allowed me to legally hop on a ZX-10R. I opted for a Ninja 250, but some others don't, and we get to hear about their demise on the local news.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Chris - the rules on provisional licences are local rules and won't be affected unless Gib decides to do something. The practical test has to meet minimum EU standards, but there's a fair bit of local discretion. There has to be a control and maneouverability test which includes figure 8s, controlled and emergency braking and a swerve test as well as the road test. Do the new rules come in on the same date in Gib?
I believe so, Im not sure. Mostly Ive just heard rumors. All I know for sure is that the licensing laws here are going to change to become stricter. Whether or not they implement it at the same time as the rest of Europe, I have no idea and whether it will mirror the rest of the continents legislation or true to form in Gib it will be a barely recognisable bastardisation of itself I do not know, though I suspect the latter.

As is always the case here the law changes and us Bobbys are the last to know lol
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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What do the tests consist of?

I can break 30 mph (briefly) on flat ground on a bicycle, 45+ down some of the hills here.

The U.S. system is a bit screwy. I took a Basic Rider Course on a 250 Rebel, and within days had a license in my hand which would have allowed me to legally hop on a ZX-10R. I opted for a Ninja 250, but some others don't, and we get to hear about their demise on the local news.
Not only this, but many people buy motorcycles used from cl or other private sellers, they do not even have a moto license at all.

My neighbor for example, has ridden dirt bikes and such, then purchased a honda shadow 1100cc (i believe) and drove it for a few months before attaining his license.

I might be alone in this, but i think the best thing to do in US as far as motorcycle licensing and safety would be: 16-20 yrs old limited to 300cc, 21-25 limited to 800cc, 26+ no cc restriction. Any of these tiers would require MSF course to obtain license.

The only problem is this doesn't fix the problem of unlicensed riders... I'm not sure how to combat this.
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