The Tampered Spirit of Motorcycling

Right To Ride says that the spirit and historic tradition of motorcyclists modifying their motorcycles will be eroded by suggested anti-tampering regulations for motorcycles.

Our latest correspondence with DG (Directorate-General) Enterprise regarding a framework regulation for motorcycles to regulate emissions and the safety of motorcycles, through anti-tampering regulation, has brought important information to our attention.

DG Enterprise, one of several government departments in the institutions of the European Union, accepts that data to provide evidence that “tampering” is a widespread problem in Europe, are lacking.

Mopeds already have restrictions for their riders through licence requirements with illegal modification rules and legislation in place.

However, within this proposed “anti-tampering” regulation, enters the 3rd European Driving Licence Directive which is to be implemented in 2013 as well as forthcoming proposed road worthiness testing across Europe.

The A2 licence category in the 3rd European Driving Licence i.e. the motorcycle (Category C) says that these motorcycles must not have power that exceeds 35 kW and a power/mass ratio not exceeding 0,20 kW/kg and should not be derived from a vehicle of more than double its power.

The motorcycle industry in Europe (ACEM) has proposed details for the introduction of further anti-tampering measures for this class of vehicle that will stop rider modification even after they move to a full A licence.

This also means that riders (as they can presently) will not be able to modify a motorcycle over 70 Kw and to then de-restrict this motorcycle after completing the required two years’ A2 licence – they will have to purchase another one.

Our concern is that further anti-tampering measures for one category could be a gateway to allow the introduction of anti-tampering to all categories of motorcycles.

The ACEM MAIDS report (2004) and other studies continue to be referenced, but none have provided substantial proof that present legal modifications, using (already) type approved parts for road use, may increase emissions or casualties to an unacceptable level.

Road Worthiness testing was not part of the scope of an Impact Assessment from DG Enterprise regarding possible measures related to Type Approval. We have been informed that it will be subject to a separate Impact Assessment, conducted by DG TREN later this year and Right To Ride will be watching carefully to see how this affects MOT testing for motorcycles in Northern Ireland.

Riders not restricted by their licence categories, riding motorcycles that are not restricted by engine size, power or power to weight ratio can at present legally modify the engine, power train and exhaust systems of their motorcycle.

Right To Ride’s position is that anti tampering measures should not be extended, especially that there is no evidence that tampering (in the illegal sense) is a widespread problem.

Until such time as unbiased evidence can be found, hearsay or inconclusive research should not be a reason to introduce legislation that would prevent the tradition of riders modifying their motorcycles.

Full issue – Click Here


1. 35 kW equals 47.95 bhp – 70 kW equals 95.9 bhp

2. Right To Ride – Response to DG Enterprise Part 2 – February 2010 Click Here pdf 275kb

3. Right To Ride – Response to DG Enterprise – January 2010 Click Here pdf 307kb

4. Right To Ride – Motorcycle Emissions – Emissions Based Road Tax Scheme – Why Not? Click Here

5. MCWG – Motorcycle Working Group Click Here external website

6. 3rd European Driving Licence Chart – Click Here

7. MAIDS Report Click Here

8. DG Enterprise and Industry Click Here

9. DG TREN Click Here

The Riders Opinion – Ride The Wild Wind

12th February 2010

Over at Ride The Wild Winds blog the discussion by riders has been started regarding the ins and outs of anti tampering.

The initial article is reproduced below, or head straight over to Ride The Wild Wild to read and leave your own comments on “The Tampered Spirit Of Motorcycling”

Our friends over at Right To Ride have a new article up on the latest European intent to meddle with our machines.

Anti-tampering regulations to stop riders improving or altering their machine are ridiculous and contrary to the very nature of motorcycling, that special bond and trust you make by knowing every aspect of your bike and how it works.

What’s next one wonders, how far will they go to stop you tinkering with your ride?

Perhaps, much like a car engine, they’ll seek to seal up your bike, making it tamper, and tinker, proof. Legislate and regulate to the extent that an owner must return to the dealer for every aspect of bike maintenance and general upkeep.

The potential knock on effect of such an initiative would be to kill off hundreds of experienced bike mechanics businesses, such as our RTWW partner Steve Baker Motorcycles, by introducing machines that they are either physically prevented from interfering with, or in doing so will void the owners warranty.

As legislators seek to make more and more pointless regulation of motorcycles they also stiffle any potential innovation that comes about from modifying and personalizing your ride, perhaps preventing discoveries to enhance the economy and ecological performance of motorcycling.

I know that all sounds a bit doomsday scenario, but the current anti-tamper regulations along with several other mad suggestions over the last couple of years from Europe showcases an anti-bike sentiment, and a fundamental lack of understanding about what bike ownership means to people and what it involves.

All the more important that riders rights organisation such as Write To Ride receive your support to ensure you can keep two wheels on the road.

Rant over, Europe picked a bad day to bug me Grrrrr.

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