Ridden: How some brands are using a loophole for mandatory motorcycle AB
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Late last year, new legislation came into force, which meant any new motorcycle entering the New Zealand road fleet had to have an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), or combined braking for bikes under 125cc.
The move was a long time coming for the bike industry, which has traditionally been slow to keep up with advancements in the automotive world; it has had a considerable impact on the Kiwi bike industry.
When the calendar flipped over to November 1, one aspect of Kiwi bike-dom was all but killed off: the road-legal enduro, or “traillie” style isn’t equipped with ABS and in 2021. These bikes accounted for a little over 10 per cent of registrations over 50cc in NZ.
While many of these models are used off-road only, they’re also popular in adventure riding circles. Thanks to their excellent power-to-weight ratios, they make it easier to get to places heavy multi-cylinder adventure bikes can only dream of.
The new legislation offers a chance for these bikes to be registered for the road if they are participating in FIM-approved motorsport events. It is a problematic clause, not only because events of this nature haven’t run in NZ for some time, but bikes would also need to be pre-registered for the road beforehand.
“The rule is largely unenforceable in this respect, as to ride to FIM sanctioned events, you first have to register the bike,” says Motor Industry Association CEO David Crawford.
“The MIA has a view that the rule should have followed the Australian regime where enduro and trials bikes were exempt from ABS requirements. Officials have laterally acknowledged that, given the low number of these bikes, the rule should be reviewed with a view to amending it in line with Australia.
“We are now waiting for the rule to be amended and, in the meantime, enforcement for proper enduros is by way of individuals seeking an exemption or their bike.”
By utilising the existing one-off exemption process, NZTA makes a call on a vehicle by vehicle basis, and this process has already been used to register a number of enduro class machines for Kiwi roads. It is the same application which is commonly used for registering left-hand-drive vehicles, so there are no dodgy dealings going on by dealers here.
The exemption has been used at least 79 times this year alone, but sales are a long way off where they were last year.
While industry backers are still fighting to get these bikes a more clear exemption from the legislation, at least there is a way forward for the growing number of enthusiasts wanting to keep out of trouble with the law for using their preferred adventure steed on the road.
Vespa + Bieber = Ves-ber
Mopeds and scooters are currently experiencing a boom, particularly with younger riders wanting their first taste of automotive freedom. As the OG scooter manufacturer, Vespa already has the cachet to sling its own machines with relative ease, but often a brand needs more than heritage to capture the attention.
Enter the flame-clad “Justin Bieber X Vespa”: a limited run is on its way to NZ.
“I love Vespa, and to partner with such a classic brand is so cool,” Bieber says.
“Ultimately the goal in creating and designing is always to put your own unique spin on things."
He’s certainly put his stamp on the iconic silhouette. Setting the “Ves-ber” apart from the crowd is a completely white aesthetic, from the bodywork, to seat and wheels. The engine cowlings and front guard get white flames and Bieber’s signature. There’s also an accessories pack with a pair of white gloves and white flamed helmet, along with a full-colour TFT display with smartphone connectivity, for those riders who just can’t go for a ride without belting “Sorry” (the video was filmed in Auckland, to man-splain that link/bad joke).