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Smelling the coffee??

February 18, 2011


Lairg, Scotland – Ah ha the Eurosceptics are back…..

Europhobia rules ok and it’s catching! The latest victim seems to be the UK’s Prime Minster, David “call me Dave” Cameron.

Our Dave has spent considerable energy over the past few days blaming Brussels for most of the UK’s current ills. Be it giving prisoners the vote, or paedophiles rights over the sex offenders register Dave’s got a real burr under his saddle Euro wise. Could it be that he has realised that the only things he actually controls are the schools, the National Health Service, the tax system and the security services. Let’s face all the rest is controlled, via comitology, from Brussels.

Has the real Euro World we now live in finally penetrated Dave’s old Etonian demeana. Maybe while stroking Larry, the new Number Ten Downing Street house cat, Dave’s recalled the days of Merry England, the Empire and of Conservative values and craves their return. When we did not take any crap from foreigners, simple sent a gunboat, and the only asylum available was the type that housed those who were considered mentally ill.

But could it be that Dave is using that well-known political ploy, always handy in hard times, i.e., blame someone else for your problems. In his case he has got 26 other countries to blame, so come on Dave get stuck in there are at least 375,000 Daily Express readers who are right behind you. Europhobia is alive and well!

On the subject of Europe, Brussels and legislation. Thanks to friends over at Right to Ride EU – not just people with a computer – people who actually know what they are talking about, hence they seem to err get right up the noses of the so-called established rider lobby groups. BRR has come by a copy of the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) presentation relating to the TRL research project, L Category vehicles: Powertrain tampering prevention & Durability.

Commissioned by the EU Commission this research will look into cost-effective durability issues and powertrain tampering prevention. It will present recommendations for cost effective measures to stop you tampering with your bike. It is, surprise surprise, part of the background work for the EU Framework Regulation(s) on motorcycle anti-tampering and modification measures.

The durability thing seems pretty sensible, we expect a car to run to 100,000 miles so why not a motorcycle or scooter. OK most of the mechanical bits of a bike are on the outside so more exposed than on cars. But still if the EU want to pressure manufactures to make our mode last longer I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

It is the anti tampering (AT) that is THE issue. The research study is going to assess tampering prevention measures associated with modifications of powertrain systems and components that have detrimental affects on: – Functional safety of the motorcycle or scooter, Environmental emissions and Environmental noise.

This AT issue is simple huge, in fact so wide-ranging I wonder if the Federation of European Motorcycle Associations (FEMA), guardians of our “rights” in Europe, has actually grasped the implications.

Just think of the field day that the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) will have with roadside checks and MoT’s.

Scenario – buy a bike say in 2018. Change the sprocket(s) to improve the top end cruise, Use type approved parts. Get stopped or go for a MoT and the bike fails because a performance enhancing modification has been made. Change the brake pads to improve braking performance, same thing. Presumable if stopped for a roadside check its get a fine and a prohibition notice till the bikes back in the same type approved shape it was when it left the factory time.

This is ridiculous how can you choose what is and what is not performance enhancing. Most modifications are made for one reason i.e. to go faster. More to the point who chooses? An EU uber motorcycle committee perhaps! Either you allow modifications of you don’t. Is this another EU soft start?  In three to five years in we get a new tighter directive and then ad infinitum until you get taken out the back and shot for putting in the wrong LED in the back light.

And the industry. They must be rubbing their hands together. Why? Because if anti tampering gets through the EU legislative process every time you want to progress up the new licence chain to an A licence you will have to buy a nice new bike, cos you won’t be able to derestrict the old one!

Question is are we heading for a typical Euro outcome. Where the politicians get to do what politicians do i.e. legislate and the rider’s rights people, FEMA, do a “well it could have been worse” routine. While of course protecting the interests of FEMA, so that by the time the next directive comes along everyone will have forgotten what a balls up they made of it this time and they can the same again.

Enjoy your riding!

© Back Roads Rider 2011

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Teapot permalink
    February 18, 2011 3:18 pm

    Stop us ‘tampering’ – NO! But having a bike that would last 100K Miles? Yes, please!

    Now, I’ve had bikes that have done over 70K, but I’ve also spent the winter watching my exhaust rot, despite barely riding the bike. And that’s not the only part that’s gone rusty. Consider that you can buy a car for around £6K that has a six year warranty and we’re getting seriously short changed in the biking world. I thought we were supposed to be the answer to all known urban transport problems? But with high initial cost, expensive kit (seen the price of a replacement visor for an Arai recently?) and expensive + frequent servicing costs, all combined with disappointing mpg and high depreciation we’re all being taken for a ride.

  2. Snitch and Snatch permalink
    February 18, 2011 8:54 pm

    We believe that FEMA and its National Organisations have missed an opportunity to prevent the legislation on anti-tampering that the EU Commission (DG Enterprise) aims to introduce as outlined in their proposal “for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles”.

    The study that TRL is conducting, is effectively an update on the TUV study (2003) which demonstrated that there was no widespread evidence of tampering, while the MAIDS report supported by FEMA, demonstrated that tampering was widespread – although without mentioning the specific instances.

    The scope of the TRL study is limited to assessing tampering prevention measures associated with modifications of powertrain systems and components that have detrimental effects on:

    – Functional safety of a vehicle; and/or

    – Environmental emissions; and/or

    – Environmental noise.

    In our opinion, the most opportune way to argue against the need for anti-tampering measures would be to consider European wide Periodical Technical Inspection (RWT) as an option, which would have a number of advantages – especially if it is extended to every 2 years (at present in the UK it is every year) as proposed by the European Commission.

    Cars are currently tested for emissions, so the argument for testing motorcycles should be based on the same premise.

    Road Worthiness Testing or PTI, (MoT) would be able to include emissions testing and other issues related to the power train and therefore the whole argument about anti-tampering would be unnecessary.

    Given that the safety argument has been flogged to death, it would appear that this issue (safety) is only part of the Commission’s reasoning for introducing anti-tampering measures.

    At the ACEM conference, Mr Jean from DG Enterprise in fact pointed in the direction of enforcement as a solution to illegal tampering.

    What would be far more helpful for motorcyclists, in our opinion, is to have input into the criteria for Road Worthiness Testing so that the examinations are not excessive and expensive such as those systems already in place in some EU countries e.g. Germany, rather than having to react to a fait accompli.

    While we agree with FEMA regarding the principle, which is that the choice of PTI should be left to member states, the reality is that the member states are already preparing for a harmonised PTI system. Therefore, shouting “we don’t want no PTI” is in our opinion, unhelpful, indeed, we believe that the FEMA PTI campaign is counter-productive and is giving a weapon to the Commission to introduce draconian anti-tampering legislation.

    Finally, we wish to point out that as representatives in Europe of the c.180,000 members of the national organisations that make up FEMA, they are of course entitled to their opinion, however, we would like them to understand that they do not represent our views nor do they have the authority to speak on our behalf, we are perfectly capable of doing that for ourselves.

  3. Dave permalink
    February 21, 2011 9:22 am

    Anti-tampering would only cover things like engine mods or possibly illegal race exhausts as they change the BHP.

    Things like sprockets, tyres, brake pads etc don’t change BHP so shouldn’t be affected. Where a K&N air filter fits into this is anyones guess but I suspect that as long as you get work carried out by an approved dealer (industry: tick) who uses approved parts (manufacturers: tick) then you’ll get a nice certificate or something that will conform to what the EU want to achieve (EU: tick).

    So virtually everyone is happy apart from the end user who now has to pay everytime anything needs doing to the bike from adjusting the chain to a full service.

    But what does that matter?

    • Snitch and Snatch permalink
      February 22, 2011 9:26 am

      Nah – yer wrong – the anti-tampering proposals (although they are still waiting on the TRL study to give them a reason to impose restrictions) aims to cover the power train – including spark plugs and even tyres.


  1. El Camino – The Road

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