Brussels threat to trailies

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Dual purpose bikes could disappear from the market due to new type approval rules from Brussels, the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations has warned.

The European Commission has refused to let motorcycles have an ABS turn-off switch when the technology becomes compulsory on models over 125cc in 2017.

It means bikes will effectively become unusable on dirt or gravel because the brakes won’t work, and threatens sales of dual purpose machines such as Yamaha’s Tenere and BMW’s GS range.    

The threat to more off-road focused bikes such as Yamaha’s WR250 is even greater because the new rules grant type approval only to machines intended mainly for road use.

According to FEMA, the Commission has not yet established any criteria for deciding whether a bike is mainly for on-road or off-road use.

FEMA’s Campaigns Officers, Hugo Roebroeck, said: “You will have ABS on all the time and there will be no way for users to ride safely on gravels roads.

“Today, with the GS you can switch ABS off but maybe tomorrow you will not. How will they get round that? We have no idea.

“They could have less demand because their used bikes will be more in fashion.

“We can envisage an entire line of products disappearing from the market.”

A Yamaha source said: “Our WR250 is probably one of the best road bikes which people can use off road. Well, they are not going to be able to use it off road because they will lose control.

“It means having to buy a bike either solely for road use or solely for off-road use but not both.” 

FEMA said it was preparing guidance for motorcyclists to write to MEPs before a European Parliament vote in spring. Keep checking MCN for details.

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell