The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has published the list of bikes to comply with revised licensing laws that take effect next year. The main difference is in category A2 – for younger riders and those tested on a 125cc machine. Currently, those aged under 21 have to take the A2 test and ride a bike of no more than 33bhp for two years before getting the full ‘A’ licence.
Under the new proposals the age restriction has risen to 25. The power limits have also been raised – A2 bikes must now be between 33bhp and 47bhp. The bad news is that all the current machines that manufacturers have specifically built to make just under 33bhp are no longer eligible.
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So if your kids (or grandkids) are approaching 17 and fancy a bike, you have two choices. Get them through the test now, even if they don’t want a bike yet – it’ll be simpler (and cheaper) to pass this year than next. Or, take them to the Stafford show in October (www.classicbikeshows.com for details) and get them interested in cool classic machines. Most British twins now qualify as do the 1970s Japanese middleweights. Pick up a metal flake 70s Suzuki GT550 for £1500 (see our buyer’s guide on p86) and they’ll be the coolest kid in their college.
But the most bizarre part of the whole process is that sitting on the official DSA list, halfway down the first page of recommended bikes, in the A2 category, is a Brough Superior. Yes, really. Well, it fits the bill at just 45bhp and a power to weight ratio of not more than 0.2kw/kg and, somewhere out there I guess there might be a wealthy parent for whom £100,000 is small change to buy their kids a bike.
But we can’t help but feel that the DSA is being somewhat biased against the Vincents and Gold Stars of this world.
CBG applauds the DSA for its broad mindedness and we really do hope that the new law promotes a growth in classic biking. But we feel sorry for the manufacturers, who have less than 10 bikes between them in the new A2 regulations, and the current owners of 33bhp machines, whose bikes are going to be worthless at the end of this year.Enjoy more Classic Bike Guide reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.