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SAM Weekly Newsletter – 12th January 2024


It’s been a very busy week as we ride into the New Year. Last Saturday, despite the very cold weather, there were a lot of members riding out. There were also a couple of new associates. It was great to see that bikers can still ride when conditions are less than perfect. 

In the motorcycle news this week, Yamaha, despite partnering to produce a hydrogen powered bike, will not be going into production. Electric bike sales are down. This is probably due to a combination of factors including increased production costs, difficulties accessing components, conflict causing re-routing of available supplies and constraints on consumer spending. In addition, there is some  disillusion with the lack of performance and products not living up to the marketing hype. Some developments in electric bikes have taken place. Niu has produced an electric dirt bike. There is a Honda Gyro e trike with swappable batteries. For ICE machines there is good news that fuel prices have dropped, but some retailers are keeping their prices high. Shop around. 

Bennetts Social has an article on the best disc locks to buy. In custom bikes there is a very good looking Honda Monkey bike with a sidecar. You can also read about the hand-built Ferrari F355 motorcycle. Piaggo has won a trademark dispute with a Chinese company. The iconic Vespa scooter is now a protected design and cannot be produced or imported into the European Community by any other manufacturer. Sales of Vespa scooters are very strong in Europe.

IAM CEO Anthony Kildare sent a New Year’s message. He thanked all members, volunteers and groups for their continued support. The challenge for the coming year comes from rapidly developing technology, an ageing population and the need to attract younger drivers and riders into IAM RoadSmart. The aim is to future-proof the work of IAM RoadSmart. A new media section has appeared on the IAM website. You can vote for a new IAM RoadSmart film in the Charity Film Awards. There is a new article on ‘Expanding Your Horizons’, suggesting things to aim for in the coming year. The petition to remove VAT from air vests has now received 11,000 signatures. There are 12 weeks left to get to 100,000 signatures to trigger a parliamentary debate. Other items of interest are driving with hearing loss and opportunities for motorcycling in the forthcoming election. 

Adventure riding and motorcycle history are my favourite topics. Itchy boots had a heart-in-the-mouth ride through the Cameroon jungle to Yourban. A broken windscreen and loss of another wing mirror are all caught on camera. The muddy, wet, rock strewn ‘road’ makes for very challenging and skillful riding. Saffy Sprocket has it much easier. She is sitting at her computer reviewing an affordable travel camera. Freddie Dobbs covers a wide range of topics including the copying of motorcycle designs – read cloning, finding a sidecar outfit for a biker with a disabled child and ensuring that bikes last for 100,000+ miles. 

Since reducing the role of SYSRP (South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership) it is difficult to get a cohesive view about road safety in South Yorkshire. The five metropolitan authorities all seem to have different priorities. Sheffield reported that after 12 months since the introduction of the ‘Clean Air Zone’, the use of higher polluting vehicles, travelling through the city, is down by two thirds. There is still a Financial Support Package to help people upgrade their transport. Most of the road safety output in South Yorkshire is still of the ‘don’t do that’, or ‘we are waiting to catch you’ genres. There is no current strategy that includes powered-two-wheel transport, nor any recognition of its valuable contribution to a transport plan.

Kevin Williams continues his new series on using quotes from famous people to illustrate how they can apply to motorcycling. He has also started a series of articles looking at the self-development of riding skills. These are aimed at beginner, intermediate and advanced riders.

Finally, the history slot tells the story of the first recorded motorcycle production in Australia. Sylvester H. Opper’s ‘steam velocipede’ began production in 1869. It’s a fascinating story. Happy reading.

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