Prepare to Lose a LOT of Motorcycles


Recently I talked about the upcoming Kawasaki KLX300 and how it isn’t coming to Australia or Europe. One of the main reasons it isn’t, is because the bike does not have an anti-lock braking system or as you may know it, ABS. In 2017, Australia passed law that all new motorcycles MUST have ABS. And guess what, that time is nigh people. The legislation is coming into full effect this year and because of that, we are going to lose a ton of motorcycles.

The ABS legislation initially came into effect on November 2019. This bought Australia in line with Japan and Europe. Simply put, all new road-registrable motorcycles must have ABS as standard. The new legislation was implemented based on research that states that ‘ABS can reduce motorcycle related trauma by more than 30 per cent’. And, there was no real kick back to this new legislation. I mean, even in 2017, a large number of bikes already had ABS as standard.

Where things do get tricky though is, as of the 1st of November this year, the legislation is being fully implemented. Why? Because the November 2019 date, was only for new model vehicles. Whereas the November date this year is for ALL vehicles. What this means is all those bikes that haven’t been updated in a long time or don’t have ABS, are on the chopping block.

Unfortunately, the motorcycles that are going to be most affected are dual sports, our bread and butter people. And there are going to be some big casualties.

To rattle off a few of the bikes that will be culled, there is the Suzuki DR-Z400, E and SM models, DR-650SE, Kawasaki KLX250S (my bike), Yamaha XT250, KLX150 and some agriculture bikes. And that’s nowhere near all of them, there’s also a fair few street bikes.

Probably the biggest losses here are the DR-Z400 range, DR-650 and the KLX250S. The DR’s are still some of the highest selling bikes in Australia; they keep selling them by the butt load. And without the KLX250S, Honda is going to have free reign and sell sooooo many CRF300L’s.

Here’s the thing though, there are some exemptions to the ABS laws. This means some bikes don’t need to have ABS, so we might not lose all of them. Adventure bikes must have ABS but it can be switchable (it has to default to on every time the motorcycle is started. So that’s why on your KTM’s, Tenere’s etc. you have to turn it off all the time).

Could the DRZ400 be discontinued?

But let’s bring up the ADR legislation to see what we can find. Having a look, enduro motorcycles and trials motorcycles are exempt. What is a trials bike? That’s pretty self-explanatory; they are the funny little bikes that are made to go up rocks and hills, so we won’t dig into that. What makes something an enduro bike is interesting though. Looking at the rules an enduro bike needs to have a seat height of 900mm or more, ground clearance of 310mm or more, be 140kg or lighter and have no seating position for a passenger.

Of the bikes that I listed earlier, none are currently classed as enduros. The only bike that could be is the DR-Z400E. Looking at its specs it does qualify, so Suzuki may have it redesignated from a dual sport, to an enduro. The DR650 is pretty well stuffed. It can’t be classified as an enduro because of its specs and it certainly isn’t a trials bike. There is another exemption category though and some bikes might be able to sneak in with that.

If a bike has a seat height of 810mm or more, 285mm or more ground clearance, a 21 inch front wheel, is less than 250 cc’s, weighs 150kg or less and cannot take a passenger, it doesn’t need ABS. Well, that rules out the DR650, but the KLX250 could sneak in with some very minor mods from the factory. Hell, I think they’d only need to remove the passenger foot pegs and it would be sweet. But considering they won’t even put ABS on the KLX300, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

What will be interesting to see is will companies be updating existing models. Everyone is DYING for a new DR-Z400 or DR650 and if they’re not allowed to sell em…their hand might be forced. And if you do want to buy a motorcycle that doesn’t have ABS, I would check to see if there are bringing out an updated model, for e.g. the Honda Grom is being updated with ABS or you might have to snap up current stock. In any case you’ve got a little bit of time or hell; Suzuki might announce a DR-Z450 (not bloody likely!).

So are there any bikes that you don’t want to see go or you think should be updated? Let me know in the comments.

Recently I talked about the upcoming Kawasaki KLX300 and how it isn’t coming to Australia or Europe. One of the main reasons it isn’t, is because the bike does not have an anti-lock braking system or as you may know it, ABS. In 2017, Australia passed law that all new motorcycles MUST have ABS. And guess what, that time is nigh people. The legislation is coming into full effect this year and because of that, we are going to lose a ton of motorcycles.

The ABS legislation initially came into effect on November 2019. This bought Australia in line with Japan and Europe. Simply put, all new road-registrable motorcycles must have ABS as standard. The new legislation was implemented based on research that states that ‘ABS can reduce motorcycle related trauma by more than 30 per cent’. And, there was no real kick back to this new legislation. I mean, even in 2017, a large number of bikes already had ABS as standard.

Where things do get tricky though is, as of the 1st of November this year, the legislation is being fully implemented. Why? Because the November 2019 date, was only for new model vehicles. Whereas the November date this year is for ALL vehicles. What this means is all those bikes that haven’t been updated in a long time or don’t have ABS, are on the chopping block.

Unfortunately, the motorcycles that are going to be most affected are dual sports, our bread and butter people. And there are going to be some big casualties.

To rattle off a few of the bikes that will be culled, there is the Suzuki DR-Z400, E and SM models, DR-650SE, Kawasaki KLX250S (my bike), Yamaha XT250, KLX150 and some agriculture bikes. And that’s nowhere near all of them, there’s also a fair few street bikes.

Probably the biggest losses here are the DR-Z400 range, DR-650 and the KLX250S. The DR’s are still some of the highest selling bikes in Australia; they keep selling them by the butt load. And without the KLX250S, Honda is going to have free reign and sell sooooo many CRF300L’s.

Here’s the thing though, there are some exemptions to the ABS laws. This means some bikes don’t need to have ABS, so we might not lose all of them. Adventure bikes must have ABS but it can be switchable (it has to default to on every time the motorcycle is started. So that’s why on your KTM’s, Tenere’s etc. you have to turn it off all the time).

But let’s bring up the ADR legislation to see what we can find. Having a look, enduro motorcycles and trials motorcycles are exempt. What is a trials bike? That’s pretty self-explanatory; they are the funny little bikes that are made to go up rocks and hills, so we won’t dig into that. What makes something an enduro bike is interesting though. Looking at the rules an enduro bike needs to have a seat height of 900mm or more, ground clearance of 310mm or more, be 140kg or lighter and have no seating position for a passenger.

Of the bikes that I listed earlier, none are currently classed as enduros. The only bike that could be is the DR-Z400E. Looking at its specs it does qualify, so Suzuki may have it redesignated from a dual sport, to an enduro. The DR650 is pretty well stuffed. It can’t be classified as an enduro because of its specs and it certainly isn’t a trials bike. There is another exemption category though and some bikes might be able to sneak in with that.

If a bike has a seat height of 810mm or more, 285mm or more ground clearance, a 21 inch front wheel, is less than 250 cc’s, weighs 150kg or less and cannot take a passenger, it doesn’t need ABS. Well, that rules out the DR650, but the KLX250 could sneak in with some very minor mods from the factory. Hell, I think they’d only need to remove the passenger foot pegs and it would be sweet. But considering they won’t even put ABS on the KLX300, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

What will be interesting to see is will companies be updating existing models. Everyone is DYING for a new DR-Z400 or DR650 and if they’re not allowed to sell em…their hand might be forced. And if you do want to buy a motorcycle that doesn’t have ABS, I would check to see if there are bringing out an updated model, for e.g. the Honda Grom is being updated with ABS or you might have to snap up current stock. In any case you’ve got a little bit of time or hell; Suzuki might announce a DR-Z450 (not bloody likely!).

So are there any bikes that you don’t want to see go or you think should be updated? Let me know in the comments.

12 Comments

  1. Welcome to the glorious utopian beauty of the State relentlessly protecting us from ourselves. The unwashed masses cannot make risk decisions for themselves. In order to create a world where individuals are free from the consequences of their bad choices, you must legislate away their freedom to choose activities that do not align with the collective drone existence. We are frogs in ever-heating water… mandatory ABS is just one stick in the fag that feeds the fire. Motorcycles of all types, ATVs, sports cars, non-self drivingng cars and any related thrill sources will soon be relegated to the endangered species list. Im getting my KLX 300 ASAP and will just hope they dont ban it via a mandatory buyback proram before Ive had a few years to enjoy it. Love your blogs btw. Thanks for the work.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s sad. I wonder how many of the pols who voted for this actually ride. IMO, ABS is just one more thing to go wrong, while adding weight and needless expense. I get why some riders like it, but it should be an option, not something mandated by the government.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ABS is a brake upgrade. I’m sure there were people whining when they added front brakes, “oh the weight, the complexity”, If you want to ride on the road, the equipment will need to keep up with the times. I really miss those wooden wheels.

    Like

  4. I feel your pain. I live in the UK and have a klx250 now. I would love a 300, but it’s not available for all the reasons you cite above.
    I wondered if emissions also played a part in this cull.
    Either way – as you say – the crf300 has a free hand…and that’s depressing 😕

    Like

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