Boom on for learner bikes

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

MO­TOR­CY­CLE sales con­tinue to strug­gle, but learner bike sales are boom­ing with even Du­cati pro­duc­ing a spe­cial model for Aus­tralia.

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

‘‘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 andWA as be­ing all elec­tric scoot­ers plus bikes un­der 660cc with a cut-off power-to-weight ra­tio.

‘‘The only state not im­ple­ment­ingLAMSis WA,’’ Grif­fiths says.

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

Queens­land and WA also al­low driv­ers on a full li­cence to ride 50cc mopeds, while the ACT does not have an en­gine ca­pac­ity ceil­ing for it­sLAMSbikes.

‘‘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,’’ Grif­fiths says.

‘‘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 also have had mod­els with sub-660cc en­gines that have been up­graded with larger en­gines and no longer qual­ify as LAMSbikes.

They say Aus­tralia’s mar­ket is too small for man­u­fac­tur­ers to make spe­cific mod­els to suit our LAMS laws. Du­cati’s pop­u­lar en­try-level Mon­ster bike is one of those that has grown in ca­pac­ity to 696cc, out­side theLAMSlim­its.

From next month, how­ever, 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 mar- ket,’’ 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. Pric­ing yet has 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 any­more,’’ Fraser says.

Many rider groups con­sid­ered 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.

Du­cati’s pop­u­lar Mon­ster bike from next month will have a Mon­ster 659 which will be a Learner Ap­proved Mo­tor­cy­cle

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