What do the Euro 4 Rules mean to you?
If you’re considering buying a new motorcycle then you’ve almost certainly heard someone mention ‘Euro 4’ or ‘E4’ to you.
The Euro 4 regulations are mostly concerning the emissions from your scooter or motorcycle and in real term most riders won’t notice the difference between a Euro 3 and Euro 4 motorbike. However there is one big change that riders will notice and that is that all motorcycles and scooters over 125cc must come fitted with ABS (Antilock Braking System) and anything under 125cc will need either ABS or a Combined Breaking System (CBS).
ABS has been around for years and the name says it all really, it is a system that stops the brakes from locking the wheel and causing it to skid.
CBS (sometimes called Linked Braking System) links the front and rear brake together so if you pull just one brake it activates both brakes. The exact way this system works will vary between manufactures but the system will be basically the same across all new bikes.
Lastly a big change as a result of the Euro 4 regulations is the end of 2 stroke engines for most manufacturers. Almost all of the 2018 model bike that have been released have been 4 stroke and a lot of the 2 stroke ranges have been dropped. KTM is standing strong with its 2 strokes for 2018 but there are few other manufacturers doing the same.
In the real world if you go from riding a modern but non Euro 4 motorcycle or scooter and then jump straight onto a new Euro 4 bike then you probably won’t be able to tell the difference.
Are your tyres letting you down?
A basic maintenance issue that we see more often than we’d like is bikes with incorrect tyre pressure and/or worn tyres.
The way a car and a motorcycle use their tyres is very different, and you can get away with a lot more poor maintenance on car tyres than you can with bike tyres.
First you’re more much involved with the riding of a motorcycle, you feel the grip and the motion of the bike as you lean into a corner or accelerate out of one, so for your own riding pleasure looking after your tyres is a really good idea or even treat yourself to a set of upgraded higher performance tyres.
Secondly, underflated or bald tyres can be dangerous, so looking after your tyres is really looking after yourself.
Thirdly, if you are caught with tyres with illegal tread wear then you can face a fine of up to £2500 and 3 points on your licence, and a policeman walking past a parked bike can see the tread depth much more obviously than on a car.
To avoid this there are two very simple basic checks you can do on your tyres in less than 5 mins. 1. Check the tyre condition & wear.
The current law states – “The legal limit of tyre tread depth in the UK for motorcycles over 50cc is 1mm across ¾ of the width of the tread pattern and with visible tread on the remaining ¼. For motorcycles up to 50cc the law requires that all the grooves of the original tread pattern must be clearly visible.”
So to check the condition and wear of the tyre, firstly you want to give the tyre a visual inspection, just look for anything like cracks, bald spots, lumps, thorns, nails etc anything that looks bad. Then you need to check the remaining tread depth, using a proper gauge, or a ruler or the edge of a coin. If you’re not sure it the depth is legal then it’s probably time to get some fresh tyres on.
You also want to look at the profile of the tyre as unlike car tyres, motorcycle tyres will “square off” meaning that instead of being a nice smooth arc as you look straight along the tyre, the tyre will wear flat and become more ‘square’. If this starts to happen you’ll feel it when you ride and it’s time for new tyres.
2. Check the tyre pressure.
Again because you’re so much more involved with the ride and the feel of a bike, having the correct tyre pressure makes a huge difference to a bike. To find the correct pressure for your tyres you should consult your user manual, or contact your dealer or manufacturer. To check the pressure you can do it at a petrol station but be warned the gauges there aren’t always very accurate. You can invest in a digital tyre pressure gauge, (Oxford sell one for £14.99) and it has a nice easy digital display and will tell you exactly what your pressure is. If they need topping up then you can do it are the petrol station, your local garage, or a decent upright bicycle pump will be more than enough.
If you do a quick check on your tyres once a week, it takes no time at all once you’ve done it a few times, and will keep you safer and happier.