Boom on for learner bikes
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