Thursday, 27 September 2012

A guide to winter motorcycling - part 1

Batten down the hatches

Well autumn upon us now, the denial finally has to end and it's time to start thinking about whether to put the trusty steed away snugly for the winter or to keep riding on through.  Some autumn and winter days will be perfect for motorcycling with crisp sunshine and sparkling light and some will be grimmer - let's leave those to the imagination or reactivate the denial on a temporary basis for them.  Whatever you decide there are a series of things which are a good idea to make your choice the best possible one for you and your bike.  We have compiled a guide to autumn and winter motorcycling with a what to do list for you and your bike.  We have also asked our staff and readers for their tips which will be appearing in  part three - some of which may sound bizarre or unorthodox, but try them and you will see the bikerly wisdom for yourself.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

India's women bikers

India is already the second largest motorcycle market in the world after China and, according to SIAM (The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers),  13.4 million two-wheeled vehicles were sold last year - that's a pretty impressive figure by anyone's standards.  Motorcycles are hugely popular in India because they are so much cheaper to buy, and then to run, than cars. They are also good because they can negotiate India's heavy city traffic without getting snarled up - although the riders do need to have nerves of steel!  The two-wheel market has in fact increased since last year by 14%, and out of that estimated 350 million riders, one third of those riding scooters, and 5% of bigger bike riders, are women.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Touching the World

A Blind Woman, Two Wheels 25,000 Miles

A new book was published in August about a motorcycle trip with a difference - the motorcycle pillion was blind and travelled with her partner, who is now her husband, on a 25,000 mile one year trip round the world.

Cathy Birchall,  who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, has been blind since her late 20's (she's 55 now). However this has not dampened her adventurous spirit and in 2008 when her friend Bernard Smith asked her if she wanted to go along on a round the world motorcycle trip she said yes!



Monday, 24 September 2012

Bumpy Ride

Obviously not tyred yet

The Dirty half dozen...


 If you are a motorcyclist or aspire to be one, have you ever had a go at off-road motorsport before? If you are into motorcycles, are looking for a challenge and are wondering what you are really capable of in the thrills, skills and spills department, then look at off-road motorcycling and look no further - you've found it!

Off-road motorsport includes a range of different disciplines so here is a brief guide to getting started and what's out there for you to try.  Here is some information about six different types of off-roading, should you be interested in having a really good time, testing your abilities and your nerve, getting fit and having the most fun possible on a dirty weekend - on a motorcycle in the mud that is.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Bike Experience

The Bike Experience is a charity which was set up in 2011 to help motorcyclists who have been disabled or paralysed get safely back on to a bike.

The charity was the idea of self-confessed adventure addict Talan Skeels-Piggins who became paralysed from the mid chest down after an accident in 2003.  Despite only being given a 30% chance of survival after the accident he left hospital after six and a half months (instead of the predicted 18 months!) and headed home to restart his life.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

BMF Show last weekend


The BMF show was held at Tailend in Peterborough last weekend and was very successful by all accounts.  The weather was kind which attracted over 15,000 people to the show over the weekend and they were treated to lots of great motorcycle events.

 Here's how it went...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

A little bit more on Wheels2Work


In the beginning...

Here's just a little bit more about the origins of Wheels to Work and how successful it has been to date.  It was originally trialled in Shropshire by the Countryside Agency with Rural Transport Partnership funding.  It started with 50 bikes and had crystallised into a workable form by 2002 when a best practice guide was written.

Nurburgring Superstock winner

Braking the sound Barrier 

Sylvain Barrier on the podium at Nurburgring
It's those WRP brake pads again - Team BMW Motorrad Italia, who use WRP Brake Pads on all their Superbike and Superstock bikes, have had another winner with the French rider Sylvain Barrier who won the German round of the Superstock 1000 World Championship race, held at the historical Nürburgring circuit last weekend.

Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet Team) was always in the running to win, but was finally victorious after three of his main rivals fell one-by-one. In the championship Barrier is second with a six point gap from the current leader La Marra.

Wemoto stock WRP Brake pads

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Dawn To Dusk 2012 - They Were There...


Dawn to Dusk Enduro event was by all accounts everything it was billed to be - for a bit of background to this illustrious event, have a look back at our previous post about it and the D2D website - links at the bottom of the page. The race results and what happened at this year's event are also on the D2D website.

We have a bit of a personal and unusual take on the event from the Marshals who worked so hard at the coal face, from one of the competitors who did the 24 hour enduro (on his own!) and from one of the spectators at the event. They  have all been kind enough to give us their thoughts and experiences from the Wales weekend, so thanks very much to them for this:

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Keep it up your sleeve!

Stay Cool

It's nice to know that Britain is still turning out inventors and innovators who put their minds to solving problems and come up with solutions!

One such person is Martin Warren from Huntley who was featured on radio two's innovations programme last week speaking about his neat invention for motorcyclists.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Brighton National Speed Trials

Speedy Gonzales

This Saturday, 8th of September saw the Brighton & Hove Motor Club National Speed Trials run on the sunny seafront at Madeira Drive near Brighton pier. Frosts have been sponsoring this event for the last 21years and the event has been running for 107 years in total - an impressively long time!

The event attracts a huge diversity of weird and wonderful motorcycles and cars - you name it, it's there and quite a few you couldn't even dream up as well! The weather was kind and huge crowds had made their way to Brighton to watch this exciting and exhilarating

event - either from the street above with a great view down onto the course or from next to the course at the start line or along the track.  Our Wemoto reporter was right next to the start line to see the riders and drivers set off and the best way to tell the story of the day is in pictures.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A Nod to the Quad

Ok if you are confused about the law pertaining to Quad bikes and ATVs - ie what licence you need to drive one, where and how to register or categorise one,  hopefully this may help...

Quad rules!

First thing to do when you get you shiny new Quad bike, once you have got over just feeling the love and are ready for action, is to register it with the DVLA, get it some number plates and a nice tax disc which need to be displayed.

Like a car it must have an MOT if it is over 3 years old and you are intending to use it on the road - obviously the MOT is pretty much a catch-all, necessitating lights, indicators, road legal tyres, horn, speedo, mirrors and everything else which your Quad will need to make it road legal.

Type approval


If you are buying a Quad as an individual, it will probably already be type approved and have a certificate of conformity, as it is generally the manufacturer or importer who is responsible for this because of the level of testing required. If it is not type approved though, don't worry as Individual, or Single Vehicle Approval is possible and affordable.

And what is type approval again?

Type approval is a testing process to check that all vehicles in the UK meet both European and domestic safety and environmental standards in line with European Directives and UN ECE Regulations.

It should be type approved, in line with one of the following categories:

*European whole vehicle type approval system (ECWVTA)
*Uk national type approval (small series)
*Uk motorcycle single vehicle approval system (MSVA)

If you want more information about type approval have a look at this website:

businesslink website 

Once your Quad or ATV is type approved it can be registered and taxed with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Definitions of a Quad bike


Just in case you want to plumb the complicated murky depths of type approval even further, (if not then you have permission to skip to the next section before you fall asleep....) there are two categories of Quad bike for type approval purposes, each with its own definition. These are called category L6e and L7e.

Category L6e
This category is a light four-wheeled Quadricycle with:
  • an unladen weight of not more than 350 kilograms
  • a maximum speed of 45 kilometres per hour
It must also have one of the following:
  • a maximum spark ignition internal combustion engine capacity of 50 centimetres cubed
  • a maximum power of any other internal combustion engine of 4 kilowatts
  • a maximum electric motor continuous rated power of 4 kilowatts
Category L7e
This category is a four-wheeled Quadricycle with:
  • an unladen weight of not more than 400 kilograms (or 550 kilograms for a goods carrying vehicle)
  • a maximum net power, whatever the type of engine or motor, of 15 kilowatts
Four wheeled vehicles that fall outside of these two definitions would need to be type approved, registered and taxed in another category.


What driving licence category are road legal Quads? 


This has been the subject of much debate at Wemoto as it is very unclear  whether you need a car or a motorcycle licence to drive a Quad. But we have finally come up with the answer after extensive, and totally  confusing research, culminating in this information being unearthed and verified by a very helpful man at the DVLA in Wales.

Quads and ATVs can fall into categories B or B1 for driving purposes - ie:

B = it has 3 or 4 wheels and weighs more than 550kgs unladen but not more than 3500kg

B1 = it has 3 or 4 wheels and weighs less than 550kgs unladen

If you have a B category road legal quad bike which is over 550kg unladen weight, you can only ride it on the road with a full car licence NOT a motorcycle licence.

Equally, if you have a motorcycle licence issued after 1st February 2001, you will NOT have been given  category B1 automatically with that licence. You will need to pass a driving test in a car to get category B or B1 in order to drive a Quad or ATV on the road.

Just in case you thought that was too clear and easy, the plot thickens, if you passed your bike test before February 2001 and have a motorcycle licence from before that date it WILL include category B1 and WILL entitle you to drive a road legal Quad or ATV on the road...Oh yes....and that has been confirmed by the same very helpful man at DVLA!

Protective clothing


It is not a legal requirement to wear a crash helmet or protective clothing on a Quad bike but it is strongly recommended by the Ministry of Transport.


Registering a Quad as an agricultural vehicle


If you are getting a Quad for use as an agricultural vehicle you will need to register it in a different way from a road vehicle and will have to go through the DVLA. You will need to ring them or email them to get form V55/5 with guidance notes - don't worry if a lot of the questions don't apply to agricultural use quads - just leave them blank.

Their contact number is: 0300 790 6802 to ask for the form or get further clarification on anything.

To get more information and order a V55/5 application pack and guidance notes - the section on registering and taxing a vehicle is the one you need to look at - use this link to the form-ordering service:

Once you have filled the form in send it to your local DVLA office with your payment of £55 and ID and etc, you may then receive a letter asking you to present your quad for inspection

At the inspection they will check the frame and engine number if it has one and hopefully then in a few days time they will send you your registration number and your free road tax disc. You should then be able to take this registration number to your local garage to get your number plate made up and away you go to the fields! Yipee!

And finally...

Well there we have it  - hopefully this is all you need to know to enjoy your  Quad - the only other useful information you might want is that Wemoto sells parts for quad bikes so if you need any, check out our website.

Licence not to thrill

‘heavy-handed mistreatment of bikers’

This was MP Steve Baker's comment in parliament this week, with reference to proposed EU legislation regarding motorcycle construction and changes to licensing, which are due to be imposed on the UK by the EU next year.

Former EU directives have had an adverse effect on motorcycling in the UK in the past, and the MCI (Motorcycle Industry) has been involved in advising the government on damage limitation and how to attempt to influence future legislation favourably for UK motorcyclists.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Gene Genie - born to be wild!

Born to Ride 

It's official - the desire to ride a motorcycle is in your DNA there's no escape!

What a great man. NS to be there!
Bennetts the Bike insurance company has done a study into motorcyclists to see if there is a genetic propensity for 'motorcycling' behaviour and they think there is - how cool!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Grant to expand Wheels to Work

It's A Wheely Good Idea

It was announced today that the Motorcycle Industry has been awarded a grant of £50,000 by the Department for Transport (DFT) to 'grow' a national 'Wheels to Work' network.The idea behind the scheme is that some young people, due to where they live and lack of funds, find it difficult to get to work as public transport is always expensive and often non-existent or minimal.

Final Friday at the Manx GP


And Finally...

And Finally the big exciting last day was here at the Manx Grand Prix - the culmination of a fantastic week of racing - bit lumpy and bumpy due to some inclement weather and rocks and fog and rain and floods - but all in a day's work for Manx Grand Prix racers and all part of the general excitement which goes with the event.