Euro Gossip July 2010

July 6, 2010
Ian Kerr
Contributing Editor | Articles | RSS | Blog | Blog RSS

Our man in Europe, Ian delivers a monthly dose of those tasty rumors and hearsay from across the pond that make up our Euro Gossip column.

Thankfully we can start this month’s offering with some good news and some that may even give you some faith in politicians! Recently released UK Government figures show that deaths of all road users dropped by 12%. More importantly for the motorcyclist, fatal and serious injury motorcycle casualties fell to 20,703, or put another way showed a fall of 4% in 2009 despite a 2% rise in bike traffic. Actual fatalities dropped from 493 to 472 and serious injuries fell from 5556 to 5350.

With a new party in office in the UK  the MCIA wastes no time in urging new motorcycle legislation and fixes to existing policies.
The Motorcycle Cycle Industry Association has requested a review of the current testing procedure in the UK.

So good news there followed by an announcement that the motorcycle test is to be reviewed following all the recent problems we have often highlighted in these reports. In keeping with pre-election promises, the new Transport Minister, Mike Penning MP has ordered a review of the two-part test which was introduced in April 2009 as a result of European regulations.

After a specially-convened meeting involving the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA) along with rider groups MAG and BMF and after visiting a test center to look at the testing procedure in more detail, he has ordered that a full-scale review be carried out. In doing so he has also asked for input from all motorcyclists as well as concerned and involved bodies such as those mentioned above.

The review will look at the maneuvers carried out in both modules, the first being the off-road test and the second on-road part of the test to see whether these maneuvers could safely be conducted as part of the on-road test. It will also look at other related motorcycle testing and training issues, including the options for training and testing for progressive access under the third European driving license directive which will come into being in 2013. Hopefully this will prevent a repeat of the confusion and loss of jobs, not to mention lack of test take-up that has happened recently.

More good news for all motorized road users really, the same Transport Minister, Mike Penning, has said that the government will stop handing millions of pounds in grants to local authorities for new speed cameras. He has told them to find other measures for pursuing road safety strategies within their various geographical areas. The number of speed cameras has tripled over the last 10 years, and raise around £110 million a year in income from speeding motorists.

It is figures such as this that has caused the motoring public to view them as another tax source for the government and see them as having done nothing for road safety. Penning has said that local authorities will still be able to install new cameras; however, the funding will have to come from council tax.

Mr. Penning said, “’The public must be confident speed cameras are there for road safety, not as a cash cow. Under this government it will not be so.”

So with the news that the new government might well be road user friendly and have some empathy with motorcycling, coupled with decreasing casualty figures and move to get away from cameras being used for revenue collecting, it all looks good over here in the UK. There is even a rise in sales figures to go with the long awaited sun!

Things too have picked up a bit over Europe, so time to take a look at what else is newsworthy on the motorcycle front here and abroad.

2010 Peugeot Vivacity 125
Peugeot reveals a new 125cc gas sipping nimble scooter, with the Vivacity 125 claimed to receive up to 60 mpg.

Peugeot Scooters have just announced the new 125cc Vivacity scooter which they claim is “compact, agile, well-equipped and comfortable and a real cost-effective solution to urban mobility”. Coming in three color options, the bike will cost in the region of $2400 with a two-year warranty. Power comes from a 125cc 4-stroke motor producing 8.5 hp complete with the usual ‘twist and go’ transmission train to the rear wheel. Peugeot claim the machine is capable of returning over 80 mpg while emitting 30% less CO2 than a small car.

Thanks to its compact dimensions the Vivacity should prove ideal in towns and cities throughout the world. A low seat height of 31in combined with leg room of 17.3in should, the makers claim, make it a comfortable ride for the whole range and size of rider. Hydraulic forks and twin rear shocks provide the suspension and the bike rolls along on 12-inch alloy wheels fitted with sports profile tires for good handling characteristics. Braking comes a combination of a 200mm dual piston caliper front disc brake combined with a rear 130mm rear drum brake.

To ensure that both the shopper and business user are catered for, there is a 22-liter storage bay beneath the seat and a 13-liter compartment in the front. Charging on the move for the personal electronics package is possible thanks to an integral 12v power socket.


The Inline Six configuration has been used extensively throughout the Bavarian marques automobiles  but is now showcased on the two-wheeled side - 2011 BMW K1600GT
The Inline Six configuration has been used extensively throughout the BMW’s automotive line, but is now showcased on the two-wheeled side in the K1600GT.
BMW continues in its efforts to completely change the image of the brand led, of course, by the S100RR. But, while BMW is obviously not ditching the touring tag, its latest machine spied undergoing testing is very different from what has come before.

The K1600LT is six-cylinder Inline tourer with shaft drive and very modern looks. The motor was of seen last year at the Milan show in the naked concept machine. As rule, six cylinder machines are very smooth and powerful and given BMW’s expertise in the car world, you can bet this is no different and probably very fuel efficient as well. Read more on the new BMW Inline Six K-series tourers in our 2011 BMW K1600GT First Look.

Meanwhile, BMW has just launched a two-tone metallic K1300GT Exclusive Edition featuring many of the company’s normal options fitted as standard. Costing around $22,000 purchasers will get a bike powered by the reliable 160-hp engine. Riding comfort is provided by heated grips and seat heating for cold days and an electronic cruise control. An on-board computer to provide travel-related data such as range, outside temperature and average fuel consumption will keep the techno freaks happy.

Even more comfort and safety comes in the shape of ESA II (Electronic Suspension Adjustment II), ASC (Automatic Stability Control), combined with ABS and electronic tire pressure control function RDC (Tire Pressure Monitor). Just to ensure the kitchen sink can be taken on tour, in addition to the normal pannier system, this special model also features a large 49-liter top case. In other words, the bike has virtually all the usual touring extras fitted as standard. And just to make sure everyone knows the bike is special it has an Exclusive Edition plate fitted!

BMW C1-E Electric Scooter
BMW has taken the C1-E concept around to various shows in the UK to gauge customer reaction to this newer model in hopes of reviving the C1 line.

While the above may be in your local dealers soon the BMW C1-E concept machine we have mentioned before is definitely not, but it has been seen at selected shows in the UK to gauge potential customer reaction. It has been inspired by the revolutionary C1 scooter that never sold well in the UK thanks to the legal requirement to wear a crash helmet. BMW feel this concept combines motorcycle safety with zero-emissions technology, but there are still no plans for production despite the public showing.

In an effort to breathe new life into the faltering German motorcycle market (showing a fall of 11.2% compared to the previous year) there are calls for the German government to alter existing licensing requirements. The call is for 15-year-olds to be allowed to ride mopeds with a 45-kph limit and car drivers to ride 125cc machines on their existing car licenses. A case of business being seen as more important than road safety?

All the major motorcycle manufacturers without exception will be back exhibiting at the prestigious German motorcycle show INTERMOT this year. More than 1,000 suppliers from 40 countries will fill the 120,000sq meters during the show, which runs from 6th to 10th October 2010 (

Anthony West
MZ has not created any street models to sell as of yet, but it has been participating in the new Moto2 class, with hopes of creating more buzz about the brand.

We mentioned last year that historic MZ factory was back in business thanks to being bought by two top ex-racers, Ralf Waldmann and Martin Wimmer. Unfortunately, we then had to report that it looked like the project was likely to stall with promised funding and loans from Saxony banks where MZ it is based still not forthcoming.

Partial good news is that they now have an MZ branded machine racing in the new Moto2 class in the world championships with proven rider Anthony West on board and doing well. The bad news is that production of road bikes is still not happening for all the same reasons as before. However, with the racing breakthrough thanks to a private investor, it is hoped that this can soon be resolved as the banks realize the potential.

Historic brand Horex is back after 50 years with a radical 1200cc V6 roadster. Under development for the past 5 years the supercharged 200-hp bike will go on sale next year at around $24,000. The original company was based in Bad Homburg and started in 1923, but folded in 1956. The new company obtained the rights to the name in 2007. The new engine uses a narrow 15 degree angle V6 motor which is a first in a motorcycle.


If the Desmosedici wasn’t expensive enough, NCR has a new option for riders, the NCR M16.

If a Ducati Desmosedici is not enough for you then perhaps Italian tuning house NCR ( could be the solution to your problem with their new M16. It uses the engine from the Desmosedici, but various internal changes mean it now puts out in excess of 200 hp.

But, and it is a big but, it is now mounted in a full carbon frame and swingarm, supported by MotoGP spec Ohlins, stopped by Brembo monobloc brakes and ceramic discs. The rest of the bike is hand-made built with the object of weight saving using carbon or titanium for the various components.

The result is a half-faired bike that weighs just 319 lbs, which is 11 lbs less than a current MotoGP machine and 57 lbs less than the Desmosedici you will need to provide as the donor machine. Add another $140,000 or so to this cost and you get what is probably the world’s ultimate Ducati street bike!

Italian giant Piaggio have recently released details on the new X7 Evo which is basically a mid-sized scooter powered by a 300cc 4-stroke motor with a claimed 22.4 hp. Piaggio claims it combines the agility of a small scooter

2010 Piaggio X7 EVO 300
Piaggio has unveiled its new X7 Evo 300cc scooter, looking to bridge the small displacement rides and the larger maxi scooter designs.

with the stability and protection of the traditionally larger maxi scooter. Two color options are available for the machine which costs in the region of $4500. There is an under-seat storage compartment capable of holding two helmets and an electric fuel filler release button on the handlebar that allows refueling without getting off the bike. 

Moto Guzzi are celebrating twenty years of the middleweight cruiser called the Nevada. So welcome the Nevada Anniversario to the line-up – well for Italy only. It has the same chassis and 48 hp, 744cc 90° V-Twin motor as the standard Classic model. However, there are a few changes for the extra money as you would expect these being a new, smoothly-sculptured seat, restyled rear mudguard and side panels, a chrome-plated taillight and pillion grab-handles, lower and narrower handlebars and lastly a two-tone black and grey paint scheme.

After last year’s paucity of major manufacturers appearing at major motorcycle shows around the globe, Yamaha is returning to the Milan EICMA show in November, along with Honda and helmet manufacturer Nolan. The 2010 Milan EICMA show will run November 2-7 and for the first time feature the Official Pavilion of the US Department of Commerce.

Italjet Moto
Vintage brand Italjet has seen some hard times but will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Italian manufacturer Italjet is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Despite a recent rocky past which has seen several owners it is back in the hands of Massimo Tartarini, the son of founder Leopoldo Tartarini, and now has a 650 prototype to go with the small machines for which it is famous.


Difficult to know which country heading to put this piece of information under really, but as Russia is not often mentioned it seemed appropriate given the riders were born there. Russia’s first female-only road racing team is bidding to compete on the road racing world stage. Support is already coming from Italian leather manufacturer Spyke for Nadia Yakhnich and Nataliya Lyubimova, who are both riding for Yakhnich Motorsport, during this season. The team has campaigned in the European Championships for the past two years, but eventually wants to step up a level.

Both ladies have quite impressive CV’s already. Nadia was the first woman to ride in the Russian Road Racing Championship in 2006, finishing in bronze and silver positions in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

She was also the first Russian to participate in the European Road Racing Championships and scooped fourth in the Women’s Italian Championship in 2009. Nataliya Lyubimova won the 2009 STK Women’s championship, finishing second in the Women’s Italian Championships and took silver in the Russian road Racing Cup in 2007.

United Kingdom

Ian Hutchinson - 2010 Isle of Man TT
Ian Hutchison took a win in all five solo Isle of Man TT races, the first rider to do so in the 103-year history of the race.

The Isle of Man TT has been and gone with many records being blitzed, especially with Ian Hutchinson winning all five solo races in the program. Arai too for being the helmet of choice for all the winners on two and three wheels, as well as most of the other competitors.

No doubt everyone in the US is pleased that Mark Miller won the second TT Zero for electric bikes on the home built MotoCzysz EPIC with an average lap of 98.820 mph. However, while it is a TT race, for many die-hard fans it is not a ‘proper’ TT, more a novelty and the race for the first American rider to win a ‘proper’ TT (4-6 laps) is still on.

Having watched Jimmy Moore the past few years and seen his methodical approach to learning the course and gradually improving his times I think he has the real potential to win a TT race. I think he could have made the first electric 100 lap as well!

What do I base this on? Well 33 years watching and observing riders at the TT and looking at his times for each race and speaking to him talk about the race. Take a look at the official TT site and you will see what I mean. Besides he has Motorcycle USA on his leathers, so you should be supporting him!

2010 International Dirt Bike Show
The UK’s Dirt Bike Show has proven it’s all about the name with the addition of “International” it has bumped up 30% ahead of last year’s space sales.

Last month we mentioned that the annual UK Dirt bike show had changed its name to include the word “International” to attract more exhibitors. Well, it seems to be working as exhibition space sales for the 2010 International Dirt Bike Show are already running 30% ahead of the similar period last year according to the organizers. Last year’s show saw visitor attendance rising when other shows saw quite dramatic falls in final attendance figures. The 2010 International Dirt Bike Show is at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, UK from November 4-7 2010.

In contrast the major NEC Bike Show covering all aspects of motorcycling will now run from Saturday November 27th through to Sunday December 5th, two days less than usual.

There is more good news, for London bikers at least, with the announcement that London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced he will continue to allow motorcycles to use bus lanes for the time being. This follows an 18-month experiment that was carried out to see if a permanent arrangement would improve road sa