With a new party in office in the UK, the MCIA wastes no time in urging new motorcycle legislation and fixes to existing policies.
With the recent UK government elections now just another chapter in the political history books, the UK Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) is now calling on the new Government to urgently address the current problems with motorcycle licensing and to start taking motorcycling seriously in all existing and new Government policies.
“Despite the implementation of a ‘motorcycle strategy’ by the previous Government little has been done to visibly ‘mainstream’ motorcycling in headline transport and business policy. The previous administration did not seize the opportunity to maximize biking’s potential for society.” So says the MCIA.
In a recent submission, they point out that an economic survey found motorcycle support services, that includes leasing, publishing, insurance, couriers and training, contributes £940 million in Gross Added Value to the UK economy. An analysis of the hire and leasing sector suggests that this sector alone has an annual turnover of around £38 million, just over half of which is estimated to be GVA (£20 million). Another big sector is still the motorcycle courier industry which despite the Internet, still has an annual turnover of almost £800 million, with added value of over half of that at £480 million providing employment for 20,000 people. It is also estimated to provide a tax contribution of almost £200 million and so it goes on.
The MCIA also highlighted once again the 2009 introduction of the new European motorcycle test which, as we have repeatedly reported here, has been little short of a disaster. The Parliamentary Transport Select Committee was highly critical of the Driving Standard Agency’s (DSA) handling of the new test and once again the MCIA is calling for the new Ministers to work with industry to sort the situation out ASAP.
At the same time as they were making this approach to government, news emerged that a motorcycle test site was closed for a week after a learner crashed through a fence during a practice session, suffering serious injuries. No official releases have been made about this incident, but it is thought that the rider was a young woman in Nottingham, practicing maneuvers for the so-called Module One test.
James Toseland brings home a lot of bacon, the English rider the only motorcyclist on a Sunday Times Top 100 UK Sports rich list.
A large number of the crashes that have occurred (now thought to be hundreds in the last year) have happened during this part of the test and some injuries have been life altering. This incident will of course increase the pressure to get this and impending legislation from Europe in 2013 thrown out, or modified.
Finally before moving onto news from individual countries perhaps the MCIA should employ two-time World Superbike champion James Toseland to help promote motorcycles as providing a source of earning potential and business opportunities. According to the prestigious Sunday Times rich list, he is currently worth £10 million. He was however the only motorcyclist in the newspaper’s Top 100 UK Sports people rich list, but he was ranked the 16th richest UK sports person under 30 years old. Apparently each world championship moved his earnings up a notch, but it was MotoGP that really increased his earnings from sponsorship payments despite not achieving any podiums!
A lot of BMW’s popular adventure bikes will have to make their way to dealerships after a brake recall issued three years ago will require a new fix.
Once again BMW is hitting the headlines thanks to a recall, rather than its stunning progress in the sportbike market with new models. It has just announced a recall of 122,000 bikes worldwide over brake problems saying there is a risk of brakes leaking on boxer-engined models.
Models affected are the R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure, R1200R, R1200RT, R1200ST and K1200GT.
The recall affects bikes built since August 2006 and according to the factory brake leaks can result from vibration on the above models. The Bavarian firm has said : “We already had one technical service campaign three years ago, when we brought in new brake hoses for the respective bikes, but over time we realized that the outcome by using these new brake lines was not as good as we expected, so we developed a new solution.”
Meanwhile, BMW has officially denied the existence of a 600cc bike, or even the development of one based on the all conquering S1000RR despite news emerging that BMW actually owns the internet domain name www.s600rr.de. The factory claims this was done purely to protect the rights to the name because someone else was trying to use it in Germany!
An official statement from BMW in Germany read: “Developing a 600 supersport bike is more or less as expensive as a 1000cc superbike; the production costs aren’t very much lower, but the retail price would be.” It goes on to state that: “Therefore, trying to recoup development cost for such a project would be much more difficult. Now BMW already has developed a successful superbike there are other market sectors for us to concentrate on that offer a better return on investment.”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of BMW’s R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure – two bikes that have dominated a niche and carried the weight of BMW Motorcycles on their broad backs.
Protesting too much? We shall just have to wait and see!
On a BMW good news front, amazingly it was way back in the autumn of 1980, that BMW unveiled the R 80 G/S. Nobody could have known then that it was a bike that was to pioneer the Adventure Motorcycling machine. Now to celebrate 30 years of the iconic ‘Gelande-Strasse’ (on/off-road) range, BMW has announced a “30 Years GS” special edition version for the BMW R1200GS, the R1200GS Adventure, the F800GS and the F650GS. The special edition “30 Years GS” models will be painted in BMW Motorsport colors of the eighties. As well as the retro color scheme, each “30 Years GS” model has a range of additional features and equipment above standard specification.
If you are a fan of Biaggi and have deep pockets, Aprilia will be releasing a nearly identical Biaggi World Superbike replica with a hefty $50,000 price tag.
Inside sources suggest that Aprilia will launch two new adventure bikes on the GS Adventure theme at the Milan bike show (EICMA) later this year. It is thought that the 750 Shiver motor will be used for the smaller machine and a new 1200 V-Twin motor will power the bigger machine. No names or any other details have emerged.
However, expect a RSV4 Biaggi replica costing around $50,000 to be available soon. It will be as close as possible to the bike that ‘Roman Emperor’ rides in WSB. Weight will be pared to 385lbs, a digital dashboard, race spec Ohlin’s front and rear, along with race spec brakes. Advanced electronics will include traction control, braking adjustment, a quick-shifter, the list goes on. All will be adjustable by an Aprilia Palm computer that will be part of the deal!
Launched at Assen during the fourth stage of the World Superbike Championship, Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli has introduced the first motorcycle tire you can customize with your own initials, or name, individual words, whole messages, images and even logos. These can then be applied to the tires’ sidewalls with special labels, which are stuck to the sidewalls of the new Diablo Rosso Corsa tires.
Apparently the rider creates six unique tire labels by accessing the dedicated Pirelli site: www.pirellityre.com/drc which has logos, banners and letters in different colors. It is then a case of designing your own labels and they are then sent to your home with all the glues needed to attach them to the tires.
It could be good news for all bikers and car drivers, after car driver Andrew Fowler embarked on a landmark legal case to prove the readings from Gatso speed cameras could be wrong in sub-zero temperatures. During the recent extreme cold weather the electrical engineer was photographed allegedly doing 41mph in a 30mph, but he was sure his speedometer was reading 30mph. He believes at low temperatures timing circuitry slows down, resulting in the timing slowing and the machine thinking you are going faster than you actually are.
If Fowler wins it will open the floodgates to appeals from all sectors of the motoring public caught speeding during sub –zero temperatures and could prove very costly to the government in refunds and administration costs!
Racing could return to the famous Donington Park soon, as a new group has taken on the task of upgrading the track and bring everything up to code.
Pictures and news continues to pour out of the new Norton concern based at Donington Park race track regarding the £15,995, 961 Commando SE. With over 20 having already been delivered to customers from the 30 strong work-force, just over 18months after the company was rescued by Stuart Garner, the knockers are having to eat their words . Work is apparently already underway on the next generation machines and the firm is already recruiting additional design, engineering and assembly personnel to make this happen.
Bike and car racing could resume at the historic Donington Park as early as this year after an agreement was reached to lease the blighted circuit to the Adroit group. The 25-year lease allows plenty of time for the group to bring the circuit “back up to a world class standard,” according to MD David Broome.
“The entire site needs attention whilst much of it will require a total overhaul from the track itself to the medical centre, hospitality suites, phone, radio and PA systems, IT systems, CCTV and general ground work” he continued. “£1.5-2m has already been earmarked to be spent on the track by the year’s end.”
The tack lost its license after attempts to bring it up to modern standards ran out of money, leaving Silverstone to host all UK rounds of MotoGP and World Superbike events.
Yamaha is starting to show signs of recovery from the economic slump as it posts a 7.51 billion yen profit for Q1 of 2010.
Despite a tough time for sales in the UK one brand seems to be doing well at the bottom end of the market. Kymco’s sales have accelerated, if you will pardon the pun, in every respect, as it reports healthy growth in its 50cc and 125cc scooters and motorcycles. Compared to April last year the firm states sales are up by more than 16% on the same period last year, when other major brands are struggling showing maybe price is key at present!
Rest of the World
Good news for a change from at least one of the Big Four with Yamaha Motor posting a net profit of 7.51 billion yen for the first quarter of this year to March, compared to a 15.76 billion yen loss for the same period last year. It puts this down to increased sales in Asia and states sales in Europe and the US still remain weak and remain pessimistic about overall yearly sales figures.