Young blood Honda’s CB300R is testament to the new breed of well-prepared biker
Latest generation of motorcyclist better equipped to deal with hazards of the road thanks to rigorous compulsory training regime
Riding a motorcycle has got significantly safer in recent years.
The number of fatalities has continued to fall and interestingly the demographic of those who are having accidents continues to increase in age.
This, it would appear, is due to the change in the licencing and training requirements. Anyone who wants to get on a bike these days has to do a certain amount of training, both practical and theoretical. This wasn’t always the case.
When these rules were first introduced, confusion reigned. Bikes that were built within the power-to-weight ratio were pretty awful and bigger bikes that were outside the allowed range could be restricted.
Where both are concerned, that’s no longer the case. Getting insurance cover on an A2 licence is only available for bikes that are built with less than 35kW of power. This must not exceed 0.2kW per kilo of the bike’s weight.
According to the licensing authority here in Ireland, an A2 bike must also have an engine capacity of at least 245cc with a power output of between 20kW and 35kW. While it can be derived from a more powerful unit, it must be done by the manufacturer and cannot be derived from an engine that originally had double the power allowed in the A2 class, so aftermarket power limiters are out. And under no circumstances are side cars allowed.
To learn to ride a bike in this category you need to obtain a learner permit. You’ll then need to obtain all your personal protective equipment (PPE). This kit must include a high-viz vest with an L plate displayed on both the front and back.
The theory test, meanwhile, is computer-based and includes questions on topics such as risk perception, eco-driving, hazard awareness, safe driving behaviour and the rules of the road. Once you’ve passed this theory test, you get a certificate which entitles you to an A2 learner permit.
Once you have the permit, you’re then entitled to ride a bike within the power category as listed above. You’re still not allowed to carry passengers, ride on a motorway or ride a high-powered vehicle. The same rules apply to everyone regardless of what other class of licence you might already hold.
You must take a structured motorcycle training course. The days of getting your buddy to show you how it works and heading out on the road are well and truly over.
This new way of doing things is called an Initial Basic Training (IBT) course that runs to a total of 18 hours or 11 hours if you already have an A1 licence. This last part is called progressive access and recognises the training you’ve already done on a motorcycle.
The driving test itself is still a combination of questions and practical and usually takes a little less than an hour. What we are seeing is a very high pass rate. This would appear to be as a result of the compulsory training that must be completed in order to take it.
Once you’ve passed it, you have access to the motorway network and the ‘L’ vest is replaced with an ‘N’ vest. You’re now perfectly poised to proceed with training to obtain a licence to ride a full-power machine. You can do all of this from the age of 18.
Apart from the welcome development of fewer motorcyclist fatalities, the great news is that the manufacturers are building bikes with all of the above in mind and as a result some of the machines are quite remarkable. One of these machines is the newly revised CB300R from Honda.
The bike has been updated with a host of small changes. It’s powered by a 286cc single-cylinder engine and weighs in at just 144 kilos. That’s with a full tank of fuel.
The suspension is by Showa, while the ABS is controlled by the bike’s IMU and it even has ‘big bike’ four piston callipers.
The instruments are a full LCD affair and the lights are LED units all-round the machine. There are two new colours for this year and prices start at €6,499 from your local Honda dealer. Contact Megabikes on 01-4784200 to order yours.
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