The monthly news round-up, brought to you by the BMF
Good news this month, if you’re planning on taking your bike into the EU next year, whether riding it, by van or on a trailer. The NMC (National Motorcyclists Council) has managed to shed some light on this vexed question after several months of lobbying the UK and EU governments, publishing a ten-page document of advice on moving motorcycles in a post-Brexit world. The document (available at www.uknmc.org) covers most scenarios with examples of the forms you (may) need to fill in. And the bottom line for riding your own bike into Europe on holiday? It’s not a problem, but take all your documents with you.
Talking of import/export, Hitchcocks Motorcycles, the Royal Enfield spares specialist, has just brought the mother of all ‘barn finds’ back to the UK from the USA. It came over in five shipping containers containing over 180 classic Triumphs, Nortons, BSAs et al, and a whopping 50 tons of spares – if you want a winter project, give them a ring…
More sombre news from Melksham, Wiltshire, where Avon is to close its motorcycle tyre factory, the last one in Britain. Three hundred and fifty workers will face redundancy next year, part of parent company Goodyear’s global streamlining plan. Still on the corporate news round, we hear that KTM has bought a 25% stake in MV Agusta, and might even make a complete takeover in the future – it could benefit both sides, with KTM having access to MV engines and the Italians to KTM’s distribution networks and buying power. It’s what the business news analysts describe as ‘synergy’, something which also probably describes the latest deal between Hero of India and Harley-Davidson – in this case it’s the use of Harley’s hallowed badge on smaller, cheaper bikes made in India. Harley makes big, expensive motorcycles while Hero’s current range topper is a little 200cc single. Both sides want a slice of the mid-size 350-800cc market so ably exploited by Royal Enfield. First fruit of the deal will be a new mid-size Harley, launched late in 2023.
Now then, how carefully do you check your bike over before MOT time? There’s evidence that we’re all getting more conscientious, with motorcycle MOT pass rates increasing for the last eight years or more. In April-June 2022, 85.2% of bikes passed their MOT first time – 91.5% if you include the retest passes. Back in 2013, one in five bikes failed at the first attempt.
Yamaha announced an ambitious target on 9th November 2022 – it wants, “a world without accidents,” pinpointing three measures which could help. Top of the list is rider aids, such as the radar controlled braking system shown on the latest Tracer 9 GT+. Also links to the Cloud to improve machine and rider safety feedback plus good old-fashioned rider training. Meanwhile, Euro NCAP is to include motorcycles in its testing of automated driving systems. This is good news – there have been instances of cars on ‘autopilot’ not recognising bikes and now at last powered two-wheelers become part of the test regime.
And finally, the quiet revolution continues, with German technology company Vitesco unveiling a petrol/electric hybrid motorcycle. Based on the 400cc Husqvarna Vitpilen, it’s claimed to offer the best of both worlds – the long range and quick refuelling of petrol power with a silent, zero emissions electric motor for city centres. And for maximum acceleration, you can use both at the same time. Leaving us with the US military, which has been evaluating Huck Overland electric bikes for use in reconnaissance, search and rescue, air deployment or medical evacuations. Several other armies around the world have also begun using electric two-wheelers. Stealth bikes? You read it here first.
Written by Peter Henshaw – Editor BMF email@example.com