The monthly news round-up, brought to you by the BMF

Meetings and issues addressed by the BMF in July:

*PACTS Meeting: The Vehicle Design working party looked at the Ford Mustang’s cruise control system which allows the driver to take their hands off the wheel, monitored by an in-car camera. Anna Zee was assured that if a motorcycle cut in in front of the car they would not be run into.

*ROSPA Committee: Light segregation devices. Cycling and motorcycle groups agree there should be better guidance on the use of these and perhaps other cycle path separation devices.

*Motorcycle Strategic Focus Group: Discussed the results of two workshop meetings on the gig economy and licensing.

*Road Tax: Anna Zee (BMF) and Craig Carey-Clinch (NMC) met with HM Treasury officials – should be the start of an ongoing dialogue about road tax.

Top of the news in July was that the National Motorcyclists Council, including the BMF, has joined with Transport for London, the MCIA and a range of road safety charities and other transport authorities to call on the Government improve CBT. Several changes were agreed back in 2016 and formally announced by the DVSA the following year, but since then little has been done. They are urging the Government to put the essential changes, which include a training course to enable upgrading of motorcycle licence entitlements, into practice as soon as possible.

In other news:

Bike thefts are falling, something we can all raise a glass to, down 2.6% on last year in January-May. And the recovery rate is soaring, with nearly 6000 of just over 9200 bikes recovered (though not necessarily in pristine condition). Mind you, a sobering thought from Dr Ken German (ex-Met Police stolen vehicle squad) who has calculated that one million bikes stolen since 1973 are still missing. This could be partly why the Ace Café has decided to close early on Fridays until September – one rider there was arrested in charge of a stolen bike.

Barely a month goes by without some sort of record being broken, and in July we saw two, with new records for speed (by steam-powered bike) and distance without refuelling. Yorkshireman Graham Sykes hit 163mph at Elvington on his steam bike (that’s steam jet powered, not Thomas the Tank Engine). Meanwhile, a team from Acerbis rode a modified Honda Grom from Italy to North Cape (2600 miles) without refuelling – extra big tanks did the trick.

Ducati Easy Lift, available on the latest Multistrada, allows riders to lower the seat height at the touch of a button, by softening the suspension. Shorter riders who like big adventure bikes, step this way. Still on technology, the Competition and Markets Authority has recommended that the Government allows a real-time petrol price finder, enabling riders to find the cheapest fuel locally without travelling. And the National Motorcycle Museum has put its entire range of Bruce Main-Smith reprints (old handbooks, manuals and the like) online – just pay to download the pdf.

News came in July that MCE Insurance has gone into administration, though MCE’s underwriter Sabre Insurance reassured customers that their policies remain in force. Talking of going bust, it seems investors in Stuart Garner’s Norton could get some of their money back – about half, according to one estimate.

Want a no-nonsense off-road bike with two-wheel-drive? The UBCO Ultimate Adventure could fit the bill, thanks to an electric motor in each wheel. Limited to 30mph, it’s festooned with racks and mounting points for extra equipment.

And finally, back to Norton with the Nemesis V8. No, the new TVS-owned Norton isn’t bringing this outlandish hyperbike into production, but it’s the latest project of Allan Millyard and Henry Cole – Allan’s got it running, and they’re planning to attack a speed record. Watch this space.


Written by Peter Henshaw – Editor BMF