100% Biker 159

100% Biker 159
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I don’t think a lot of people realise how lucky we are as builders and modifiers of motorcycles here in the UK…

In just about every other country in Europe, and in Australia, custom bikes are highly regulated as to what you can and can’t do. Here in the British Isles all they have to be is capable of passing a once-a-year safety inspection, the MoT, which to be quite honest a bike should be able to pass anyway really, shouldn’t it? I mean, it’s okay to ride a weird-looking motorcycle, but you wouldn’t want to ride an unsafe one, would you? Well, unless you’ve tired of life and are seeking an automotive way of shuffling off this mortal coil… in which case could I ask you throw yerself under a train or a bus or summat, please? Don’t add to our accident figures, please, they’re high enough as it is, ta.

Sorry, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, modifications ‘n’ stuff. Yeah, we are lucky here in Blighty, we really are. A mate of mine lives in Spain and he rides a big Yam vee of some sort (Wild Star? Drag Star? Porn Star? Summat like that…) that he’s made his own.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing special (although he loves it, of course); it’s got different ’pipes, a few engine mods to pep up the performance, modified mudguards and ’bars, a different seat… you know, the sort of things we do to a bike without even really thinking about it. For him, though, each modification requires a bundle of paperwork, an inspection by the authorities, and of course, a fee. I won’t tell you how much his bike has cost him to get it as he wants, because, well… that’s his business really, isn’t it? But suffice to say it’s enough to make most folk who hear it wince and exclaim something along the lines of “HOW MUCH?!”

Similarly, when I was down in Australia last year on me Mad Max adventure on the Future Bike, a friend took me up to the local Harley shop saying, “they’ll have a shit fit when they see your bike!” And he wasn’t wrong – they couldn’t believe that you could legally run a bike with radical frame and suspension mods on the road here in Blighy, as over there, just running an undeclared non-standard exhaust system can get your bike confiscated by the powers-that-be.

Do you now get some idea of what life will be like if Type Approval gets in? Good. It’s time folk wise up…