Learner bike sales boom­ing

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By MARK HINCHLIFFE

Cel­e­bra­tions for the Land­Cruiser’s 60th an­niver­sary have been marked by the re­lease of the retro FJ Cruiser, but some still yearn for the orig­i­nal.

The di­a­mond-in-the-rough of Toy­ota’s range has a his­tory here and Karin Scan­lon (pic­tured above) has kept her Cruiser un-pol­ished, so to speak.

Mrs Scan­lon and her late hus­band Michael bought ‘‘Milo’’ new in 1984.

‘‘It is plated April 1983 and we kept our eye on it for a while on the show­room floor,’’ she said.

The fam­ily took de­liv­ery of their new off-roader and never looked back.

‘‘Milo’’ is a 1983 Land­Cruiser BJ42 LX model, pow­ered by a 3.4-litre nat­u­rally-as­pi­rated diesel, and is one of the ear­li­est of the breed with a five-speed man­ual gear­box, air­con­di­tion­ing and power steer­ing.

The 42-Se­ries ran from 1979 through un­til 1984, when the FJ/BJ model ceased pro­duc­tion in most coun­tries.

The short-wheel­base 4WD has been used as its maker in­tended, tak­ing the fam­ily to Ti­booburra and Camerons Cor­ner not long af­ter it graced their drive­way.

‘‘In 1985 my hus­band and I and our son took the ve­hi­cle to Mootwingee north-east of Bro­ken Hill, Ti­booburra and Camerons Cor­ner, it was a fan­tas­tic trip and the ve­hi­cle trav­elled fault­lessly,’’ she said.

It’s still only show­ing 143,000km on its clock — there’s a RAV4 that Mrs Scan- lon uses day-to-day — and ‘‘Milo’’ is largely orig­i­nal, al­though some (re­versible) changes were made for a re­cent Simp­son Desert trip.

‘‘It was some­thing that my late hus­band would have loved to have done so I did it for him and thor­oughly en­joyed it,’’ she said.

The con­voy trav­elled from Ade­laide to Roxby Downs, through to Dal­housie Springs, Purni Bore and across the Simp­son Desert to Birdsville , then back to Ade­laide via the old In-

It was a fan­tas­tic trip and the ve­hi­cle trav­elled fault­lessly

nam­incka road, 3500km in 15 days.

‘‘It is not an easy trip . . . but the im­mense sense of sat­is­fac­tion as you sit on top of Big Red, is in­de­scrib­able,’’ she said.

Mrs Scan­lon is con­scious of keep­ing the car as orig­i­nal as pos­si­ble — al­though it seems un­likely to go on the mar­ket.

‘‘ I still have the orig­i­nal wheels and the stor­age sys­tem in­stalled in the rear of the wagon has only used ex­ist­ing holes, no holes have been drilled into the ve­hi­cle — I still have all the rear seats,’’ she said.

cov­er­ing

Toy­ota’s re­cent re-in­tro­duc­tion of the FJ Cruiser has re­newed in­ter­est in the orig­i­nal — the FJ40 Land­Cruiser was seen as a gen­uine off-roader — more than 1.1 mil­lion were pro­duced be­tween 1960 and 1984.

This year the com­pany is cel­e­brat­ing the 60th an­niver­sary of the Land­Cruiser, which be­gan pro­duc­tion in Ja­pan in 1951, and has sold more than 6.4 mil­lion glob­ally, in­clud­ing wagon, mil­i­tary ver­sions and the smaller Prado— more than 765,000 have been sold here since it first ar­rived in 1958. MO­TOR­CY­CLE sales con­tinue to strug­gle, but learner bike sales are boom­ing with even per­for­mance mar­quee Du­cati pro­duc­ing a spe­cial model for Aus­tralia.

Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries mo­tor­cy­cles man­ager Rhys Grif­fiths says Learner Ap­proved Mo­tor­cy­cles (LAMS) are so pop­u­lar they need their own cat­e­gory.

‘‘Cur­rently the mo­tor­cy­cle sales fig­ures do not sep­a­rate out LAMS bikes,’’ he says. ‘‘In the cur­rent re­view of the in­dus­try fig­ures, we have strong in­di­ca­tion from all par­tic­i­pat­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers that they would like to see LAMS as a de­fined cat­e­gory so we can get an in­di­ca­tion of over­all num­bers.’’

LAMS bikes are ad­min­is­tered by NSW’s RTA for all Aus­tralian states and ter­ri­to­ries ex­cept ACT and WA as be­ing all elec­tric scoot­ers plus bikes un­der 660cc with a cut-off power-to-weight ra­tio.

‘‘The only state cur­rently not im­ple­ment­ing LAMS is WA,’’ says Grif­fiths.

‘‘How­ever they are cur­rently un­der­tak­ing a re­view of their li­cens­ing sys­tem, and it would ap­pear that LAM­Sis def­i­nitely on their agenda.

‘‘I would like to see the case for up­ping the cc limit, but I don’t be­lieve there is any work be­ing done in that space. The con­sid­er­a­tion of weight is a fac­tor in go­ing higher in the cc limit.’’

Some com­pa­nies have suit­able bikes just out­side the cc limit that have so­phis­ti­cated sus­pen­sion and ABS brakes, which are con­sid­ered im­por­tant for novice rid­ers.

Sev­eral man­u­fac­tur­ers have also had mod­els with sub-660cc en­gines that have been up­graded with larger en­gines and no longer qual­ify as LAMS bikes. They say Aus­tralia’s mar­ket is too small for man­u­fac­tur­ers to make spe­cific mod­els to suit our LAMSlaws.

Du­cati’s pop­u­lar en­try-level Mon­ster bike is one of those that has grown in ca­pac­ity to 696cc, out­side the LAMS lim­its. How­ever, from May, Du­cati will have a Mon­ster 659 based on the 696.

Ali­son Fraser, spokes­woman for Du­cati im­porters NF Im­ports, says en­gine ca­pac­ity and power out­put were changed to suit our LAMs re­quire­ments.

‘‘It’s been pro­duced specif­i­cally for the Aus­tralian mar­ket,’’ she says.

‘‘Both they and us want Aus­tralian learner rid­ers to have the op­por­tu­nity to ride a new Du­cati.’’

Pro­duc­tion starts this month and they ar­rive in May, but pric­ing is yet to be an­nounced.

‘‘Like all our new bikes it will have a two-year un­lim­ited kilo­me­tre war­ranty and 24-hour road­side and emer­gency as­sist, so learner rid­ers want­ing to ride a Du­cati won’t have to buy an older model any more,’’ she says.

Many rider groups con­sider the small-frame 250cc re­stric­tion for learn­ers as im­prac­ti­cal and un­safe for tall or heavy rid­ers.

‘‘There is now a vast list of suit­able LAMS bikes which you can check out on the RTA web­site,’’ Grif­fiths says.

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