If ever there was a day to get onto a motorcycle, World Motorcycle Day and the summer solstice, marking  the longest day of the year, feels like the perfect opportunity, (weather permitting of course!). From the 1860 original steam powered model to the now electric powered bikes, what does the future of the motorcycle industry hold?

Iconic motorcycle brand set to return

On June 17th, the UK Government has announced £43.7M joint industry and government funding to support the development of the latest green automotive technology – welcome back Norton.

 Two initial projects were awarded funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Collaborative Research and Development competition, which supports the development of innovative low carbon automotive technology. The first of these centres upon the development of an electric motorbike and centres on an iconic British motorbike brand, Norton.

Project Zero Emission Norton, Solihull, West Midlands is a £17.2 million (£8.5m funding through the APC) project that aims to develop an electric motorbike that delivers a high level of race performance and touring range, not only enhancing workforce capabilities and securing local jobs, but helping to strengthen the UK’s competitive supply chain

Norton is not the only famous motoring brand on-board with the project. Delta Cosworth – the electric powertrain division of the famous Midlands engine builder – will be developing the essential battery pack. They will be joined by WMG, University of Warwick, who have previously collaborated with Norton on a TT Zero race bike. They will take on battery technology, modelling and toolchain development.

As inflation bites, the small scooter market grows

The rising cost of commuting and the appeal of the flexibility of two-wheel motorised transport have combined to help a particular motorcycle market segment.

Smaller capacity scooter registrations remain buoyant, with a 20.4% year on year increase in volumes of  traditional petrol and fully electric two wheelers.

CAZs/LEZs and the implications for PTWs

For those suffering acronym overload, Clear Air Zones (CAZs) and Low Emission Zones’ (LEZs) are dedicated areas, largely urban, where the aim is to keep vehicles that cause a lot of polluting emissions out.

High polluting vehicles are not forbidden from entering these zones, except in Scottish cities. However to access the area, drivers may have to pay a daily charge when driving in the zone; except in Scotland where the daily fee is replaced by a fine.

Not all PTWs are exempt from these news zones and there is the challenge that these zones do not operate to a consistent standard, which includes the reality that some may attract fees/fines for polluting vehicles, others may not.

The general rule is that motorcycles need to at least meet Euro 3 emissions standards for NOx. Most motorcycles are likely to meet this standard because manufacturers have been reducing emissions and the Euro 3 standard came into force in 2007. Generally, Euro 3 engines registered with the DVLA after July 2007 fall into this category. However, there are some cross/over exceptions as the ULEZ rules are enforced on declared emissions of the vehicle as opposed to the age. 

Electric motorcycles

Electric motorcycles emit no NOx or CO2 from the tailpipe and therefore emit no emissions and are completely exempt from CAZs/LEZs currently.

Classic Motorcycles

Motorcycles built more than 40 years ago and classified in the historic vehicle tax class then you will be exempt from ULEZ charges. 

Whether it's on World Motorcycle Day or any other day, there’s something that can’t be beaten about being on two wheels!

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