British Dealer News April 2024

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key business information for the UK motorcycle and scooter industry Key business information for the UK motorcycle and scooter industry • April 2024
Chell calls it a day after 66-years in the business of motorcycles. Read the full story page 18 CYRIL BIDS FAREWELL INDUSTRY NEWS UK NEWS INDUSTRY GREATS WHOLESALE NEWS FUCHS and Triumph lube up Kawasaki Dealer Days announced Yamaha dealer awards ClementsMoto plugs into Peugeot Manufacturers Trade Talk More misery for MCE Insurance
Sulley: Tops for charisma BDN Exclusive 01670 856342 VECTOR II CARBON ALWAYS AHEAD
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April 2024 : Issue 273


Andy Mayo:


Roger Willis:


Colin Williams:


Maurice Knuckey:


Roger Willis; Dan Sager; Alan Dowds; Rick Kemp; Adam Bernstein; Brian Crichton


Mark Mayo:


Alison Payne: tel 07595 219093

Paul Baggott: tel 07831 863837



Albert Yang, Pro Media Co:; tel +886 4 7264437


Colin Mayo:

British Dealer News, 10 Daddon Court, Clovelly Road Industrial Estate, Bideford EX39 3FH


the business

Copyright © Mayo Media Ltd: All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part by any electronic or mechanical means without express permission is strictly prohibited. Mayo Media Ltd can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by advertisers. Printed by S&G Print Group. the news 20 66 ON THE MONEY Market analysis by Roger Willis 67 INTERNATIONAL SHARE PRICES A snapshot of global performance 68 NEW REGISTRATION DATA MCIA and ACEM statistics 70 REGISTRATIONS ANALYSIS By Glass’s and the NMDA 72 USED BIKE DATA From Auto Trader and MCN 74 MARKET WATCH Market report by cap hpi 32 4 Yet more misery for MCE Insurance 6 Fernandez flicks the Ignition switch 8 Spindogs’ new digital deal with Triumph 9 Fowlers adds S100 cleaning range 10 Harley-Davidson dealer awards 11 NMC joins FIM discussions 12 Yamaha awards for last year’s top dealers 13 Kawasaki Dealer Days announced 14 Springtime auction sensations 16 The man from Honda - Lap 2 18 Cyril sells Stafford business 19 Suzuki fun in the sun 20 ClementsMoto plugs into Peugeot 22 Obituary – Andre Waszczyszyn 23 BDN JobScene and Dealer4Sale 24 What Labour means for business 26 Manufacturers’ Trade Talk 32 Is it easy being Dainese? 33 Lacey Ducati up for sale 34 International news 36 On the Move 37 Reaction - readers air their views 38 Electric news 40 Alternative power registration analysis 42 Off-road news the knowledge the team
BUSINESS BEAT Mitigating the risk of wrongful trading
INDUSTRY GREATS – ERIC SULLEY: PART TWO Tops for charisma and best-ever for sales
MARKETING MATTERS You’re having a laugh – from disaster to triumph 54 THE BUSINESS ESSENTIALS Unfair dismissal: A key cause of trouble
PRODUCTS Latest retail profit opportunities with Colin Williams
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Yet more misery for MCE Insurance

The woes of bankrupt specialist motorcycle insurance broker MCE –once a self-styled candidate for largest bike insurer in the market – continue to grow.

After MCE went bust in July last year, insolvency practitioner Crowe UK was parachuted in as administrator by the Financial Conduct Authority. Crowe’s first report on MCE affairs appeared in September 2023. This projected assets of £2.5m against liabilities to preferential creditors of £1.6m. The latter were split between some 77 unremunerated and now redundant MCE staff members, and HMRC. There was also an estimated £32.3m in unsecured claims, leaving an absence of £30.6m after preferential creditors had been paid in full.

Since then, Crowe has received a further £155.7m in unsecured claims from trade and expense creditors, mushrooming upwards from the original £32.3m estimate. And

adding to MCE’s misery with more HMRC vengeance, in January this year the taxman filed a second preferential claim worth, around £600,000, and issued an additional £35.8m unsecured claim.

To make matters even more confusing as to the total of unsecured creditors, a company called Qubic Trustees intervened, in its role as trustee of the MC Edwards (Insurance Brokers) Limited Employee Trust, making a claim based on another version of the £32.3m figure. It also transpired that MCE had been involved with a now-insolvent Danish insurer Alpha, losing a court case in Denmark which could potentially result in legal claim judgement of somewhere between £1m and £20.1m.

The collapse of MCE’s Gibraltar-based underwriting arm MCE Insurance Company, which folded in November 2021, hasn’t gone away either. Now remonikered in administration as Green Realisation 123, it has

approached Crowe with an outstanding claim on MCE of £51.5m.

Separately, when the offshore MCE Insurance Company failed, its MCE broker parent had appointed leading UK motor insurer Sabre Insurance Group as exclusive underwriter for motorcycle policies. Following MCE’s recent grief, administrator Crowe didn’t anticipate any claim from Sabre. But it’s got one anyway. On the back of the underwriting agreement termination, Sabre is now looking for £9.3m in compensation.

In the face of so many multifarious claims, some of which are probably conflicting, overlap or won’t bear close scrutiny, its unsurprising that Crowe now thinks it may be necessary to extend the administration period considerably, before initiating a liquidation process. The ghost of MCE Insurance’s gruesome BSB pitlane character “Big Ed” may live on for a while yet.

FUCHS Silkolene lubes for Triumph

TRIUMPH HAS LAUNCHED A NEW collection of officially approved oils, greases, and maintenance products produced by FUCHS Silkolene. The new range, branded Triumph Performance Lubricants, is being launched for the new season alongside a deal to supply lubes for the ‘first fill’ of oil at the factory.

FUCHS Silkolene say it has developed superior formulations with ester compounds, specifically designed to offer optimum protection and performance for Triumph’s wide motorcycle range. “The Triumph Performance Lubricants range of top-tier fully synthetic and semi-synthetic engine oils has been meticulously developed for amplified power, optimal engine protection, and unwavering reliability in all riding conditions,” claims the oil firm.

The workshop maintenance and cleaning products range includes brake fluid, chain lube, cleaners, grease, and copper paste and will be available through official dealers. The new product range will also be marketed through sponsorship of the Triumph motocross race team.

Triumph CEO Nick Bloor said: “This collaboration with FUCHS Silkolene will help us deliver an even better and more premium standard of customer service and maintenance, as well as

ensure our motorcycles deliver the very best performance and value. It is part of our Total Care offer for customers, where we strive to deliver an exceptional ownership experience for all our customers through our trusted dealer network, promising premium service and genuine products.

Triumph Performance Lubricants will now be the only lubricant products recommended by Triumph Motorcycles.”

Stefan Fuchs, CEO of FUCHS SE, added, “We are very proud to announce our partnership with a prestigious and iconic brand such as Triumph. Working in partnership with the Triumph R&D team, FUCHS has developed the range of Triumph Performance Lubricants, utilizing the very latest technology that will ensure Triumph motorcycles maintain optimum engine performance and protection throughout their lifespan.”

22 VECTOR 22 26 VECTOR FF811 26 4 APRIL 2024 Business news
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To the manor swarm!

THE SECOND EDITION OF THE Motorcycle at the Manor gathering – open to everyone who loves motorcycles and scooters, old, new or ancient – will happen on 30 June from 11am. Larry Riches’ stately pile is the venue, at West Ashby, two miles up the road from Horncastle, Lincs. Riches, who loves anything ancient, will be remembered for selling his Lintek wholesale business for a small fortune back in the late 1980s. He has support for the one-day event from VE (UK) , H&H Classic Auctions, The Classic Motorcycle , Old Bike Mart and Scootering magazine.

Riches promises a display of significant and rare race bikes, including his 1960 Ducati 250cc powered F4 race car, and plenty of VIP guests, including former racers Derek Chatterton, Mark Phillips, Chippy Moore, Derek Phillips, Brian Maxted and more.

Entry is by donation to the neighboring All Saints Church, and LIVES, an emergency responder charity based in Licolnshire. Free club stands are

Fernandez flicks the Ignition switch

Mike Fernandez (pictured right) will be wellknown to many dealers from his time at Oxford Products. Now, he has struck out on his own with a new distribution firm called Ignition Agencies.

His new company has signed distribution agreements with a number of quality bike kit brands, including Syntol bike lubricants, MotoMate bike dash cams and action cameras, Büse clothing, boots, and helmets from Germany, and Motoairbag, the Italian maker of mechanically activated motorcycle airbag vests and jackets. And as BDN went to press the company had also signed new distribution agreements with

Marushin Helmets and Rusty Stitches clothing.

Ignition Agencies has also taken on Zandonà body armour as its latest client. According to Fernandez, “Zandonà, one of the true pioneers of limb and back protection, has been producing high-quality back, chest, and limb protectors from its production facilities in Italy for more than 25 years. Possibly the most complete collection of European-made motorcycle armour, Zandonà has a wide range of solutions for road and off-road riding, with specific products, fitments, and sizing for men, women and children.”

Ignition is looking for new dealers for the full range of brands.

Mind the GAP?

UK GOVERNMENT REGULATOR, THE FINANCIAL Conduct Authority (FCA), has shut down the operations of multiple insurance firms that were operating Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance in the automotive finance world. In a statement, the authority said, “The FCA is concerned that the product is failing to provide fair value to some consumers. In September, the FCA wrote to firms providing GAP insurance products, asking them to take immediate action to prove customers are getting a fair deal. After assessing the responses to this request, the FCA was not satisfied and, as a result, has agreed a pause in sales with these firms. As part of this agreement, they have committed to making changes to their GAP products to provide better value for customers, which is in line with FCA rules.

“This action follows findings in the FCA’s latest fair

“Dealers interested in knowing more about the range should contact me,” said Fernandez.

Ignition Agencies

firms paying out 70% of the value of insurance premiums in commission to parties involved in selling GAP policies.”

Sheldon Mills, FCA executive director of consumers and competition, said: “I welcome the agreement by firms providing GAP insurance to pause sales while they work on improving value for customers. GAP insurance can provide a useful service to customers, but it does not offer fair value in its current form, and we want to see improvements.

“We will continue to work closely with firms as we carry out further engagement to resolve these issues and ensure customers are getting fair value products that meet their needs.”

The FCA added that it has identified concerns with the design of GAP insurance across all distribution channels and is requiring firms to make changes. The regulator

Business news


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Gareth Bright is working hard to overcome injuries from two bike crashes and is aiming to take part in a gruelling 12-hour endurance race. Bright, who now runs his own events agency, Woodcote Events, suffered life-changing injuries in crashes in 2019 and 2022, and is using the Dawn to Dusk enduro event in August as a rehabilitation target.


WE’VE ALL HAD PIZZA DELIVERED BY A SCOOTER, but now you can have a pizza that’s actually been baked in a scooter! British sidecar firm Watsonian has built a Vespa GTS300-based custom outfit, complete with pizza oven and prep area, for restaurateurs Thom and James Elliot, founders of the Pizza Pilgrims pizzeria. “Since the company was founded in 1912, we’ve built thousands of tradesmen’s outfits for all sorts of jobs, including ice cream sellers, milkmen, and even firemen”, says Watsonian MD Ben Matthews. “A tiny pizzeria is definitely a first, and something totally unexpected.”


SUZUKI’S NEW PARALLEL TWIN 800 platform has been a big hit, and the latest GSX-8R is no exception, earning plaudits on the press launch last month. Part of the appeal comes from the premium OE tyres: Dunlop’s Sportsmart TT (TT stands for Track Technology, apparently). The firm claims its new tyre was “engineered for versatility across road and track riding, and is expertly placed to highlight the advanced capabilities of the GSX-8R, with both products demonstrating the ability to strike an impressive balance between sporty, track riding and comfort.”

Triumph secures new digital deal

Cardiff-based digital agency Spindogs has agreed a new two-year deal with Triumph which will see the company continue to develop digital services and data systems for the Triumph brand globally.

Spindogs has previously worked with the Hinckley firm on various digital tools and projects, first partnering in 2017, and has been responsible for developing a global first in the two-wheel industry with an online service booking tool. The partnership has already led to developing and deploying a cloud-based platform for Triumph across 800 dealers in 35 countries worldwide, including

a direct Dealer Management System connection to more than 600 dealers.

Malcolm Healey, global aftersales director at Triumph Motorcycles, said: “We’re hugely excited to continue our working relationship with Spindogs and to build on our existing digital platforms that will continue to provide cutting-edge solutions to our dealers and customers all over the world.”

The new partnership will see the two companies continue to develop digital systems for Triumph’s global dealer network to support the brand’s growth and customer service objectives.

Established in Cardiff in 2004, Spindogs employs 70 staff in the city and remotely across the UK. In the year ending October 2022, Spindogs reported a turnover of £3.8m.

Managing director at Spindogs, Liam Giles, said: “Renewing our partnership with Triumph underscores our shared commitment to digital innovation. Our collaboration has already set new benchmarks in the motorcycle industry, and we’re excited to keep that momentum going. Together, we’ve pushed the boundaries of digital excellence, and this new agreement reflects that success.”

New marketing man for Piaggio

THE PIAGGIO GROUP HAS A history dating back more than 140 years. The group includes heritage brands Moto Guzzi and Vespa, and a high-performance brand in Aprilia, which has a trophy cabinet stuffed with world championships.

Yet those brands have underperformed in recent years, particularly in the UK. There’s a new marketing manager at the British office, though: Antonio Mineo. BDN spoke to him at the launch of the new Moto Guzzi Stelvio and V85 models.

Mineo joined Piaggio from the Stellantis car firm, but his heart is firmly on two wheels. “I am a biker, but not a professional biker; speed is not my best skill, but I enjoy it.”

We asked about the state of play for Piaggio’s brands in the UK. “All four brands are separate, and appeal to different market demographics,

which makes my life very busy,” said Mineo. “At this moment, we have many challenges because the market looks to be struggling. We had a fantastic 2022, which was a rebound from the pandemic. We had a lot of stock, and had a record year. But of course, it is difficult to repeat the same performance.”

What about the UK dealer network? Does Mineo see a need for changes there? “We have between 25 and 30 dealers for Aprilia and Moto Guzzi, and roughly 40 dealers sell scooters. There is some overlap; and some dealers are what we call Motoplex, so they retail all four brands.

“We’re looking to add roughly 15 more dealers as quickly as possible. But we also have to look at the current network. There might be some changes, because we want to get to the next level, and we

want quality dealers. We have people that have worked with us for decades, but now it may be time to change because we want to give the customer the best experience.”

Mineo is positive but points to the various hurdles that the whole industry is facing, including (again) Brexit. “Just as we thought we were out of the tunnel with the pandemic, then came Ukraine, and now we have the trouble in the Middle East, so it’s non-stop. And honestly speaking, I don’t think Brexit is doing good for the UK.

“We have plans for the future and want to get to a better position. Also, as a personal challenge, we have the lowest market share in Europe as Piaggio UK, so that is something I definitely want to improve.”

Interested in becoming a Piaggio group dealer? Contact Pete Cleverly:

8 APRIL 2024 Business news
AXXIS HELMETS HIT MOTOGP NEW LID MAKER AXXIS HAS ANNOUNCED A NEW sponsorship deal which will see its products used in MotoE racing this year. The brand will sponsor riders Miquel Pons and Óscar Gutiérrez in the MT Helmets-MSi team. AXXIS helmets are imported into the UK by exclusive distributor Bickers . Spindogs managing director Liam Giles (left) with Malcolm Healey, global aftersales director at Triumph

Fowlers cleans up with S100 range


Fowlers, has taken on the Bavarianmade S100 cleaning products line, replacing Motohaus as the official importer.

The S100 range is a premium product, its cleaners regularly performing well in product tests.

The manufacturer, Dr O.K. Wack Chemie, also supplies high-profile OE brands, including Porsche, BMW and Rolls-Royce. It’s now exclusively available from The Key Collection at Fowlers.

Launched more than 40 years ago, S100’s Complete Motorcycle Cleaner was the first of its kind.

The spray-on/rinse-off formula was developed by German scientist Dr

Oscar Wack, an industrial chemist, who wanted an effective way to clean dried-on mud and chain grease off his sons’ motocross bikes.

The firm claims its success is due to high levels of research and development. It claims to have the highest percentage of R&D staff in the industry and invests more than 30% of its turnover in developing and testing new products.

The range includes: S100 Moto Wash, S100 Chain Lube White, S100 Visor and Helmet Cleaner. The complete range is available now from The Key Collection.

The Key Collection 0117 971 9200

Dig deep for Tin Lizzie

Larry Riches, former owner of Lintek, is busy fundraising for charity with a forthcoming attempt to drive a 101-year-old Ford Model T from Gibraltar Point in Lincolnshire to Gibraltar, a journey of almost 2000 miles through France and Spain. He will be accompanied by his wife Christine, and by Ralph Kemp and Margaret Sowerby. They are hoping to raise more than £7500 for Cancer Relief.

The team will also be offering voluntary donation rides in the 1923 Ford Model T after arriving in Gibraltar, which is expected to be on or around the 6 May. Their progress will be tracked on the Cancer Relief social media platforms for arrival times.

Riches said: “In the 1920s, half of the cars on the road were Ford Model Ts. This car really put the world on wheels – more than 25 million were manufactured between 1908 and 1926, and we are hoping our vehicle will be on public display in Casemates Square on 8 May.

To donate, head to:

Triumph Dealer of the Year is Lings Norfolk

They have been around since Triumph was relaunched in the early 1990s. And now East Anglian founder dealership, Lings Norfolk Triumph, has scooped the 2023 Triumph UK Dealer of the Year award, 32 years after taking on the Hinckley brand.

According to Lings, that partnership has flourished, thanks to “a mutual commitment to quality, performance, and customer satisfaction”. The retailer has worked hard to promote Triumph’s bikes to riders across the UK, hosting community events and supporting motorcycle enthusiasts at all levels. It was previously recognised as Triumph’s Dealer of

the Year in 2016 and 2018.

Reflecting on the achievement, Lings Triumph's brand manager, Scott Lock, said: “We are deeply honoured to receive this recognition from Triumph UK. This award is a testament to our entire team's hard work, dedication, and passion. Our success is built on a foundation of trust and relationships, not only with Triumph, but with every customer who walks through our doors. We share this accolade with our loyal customers and the wider motorcycling community who have supported us throughout our journey.”

Record fourth award for West Coast Harley-Davidson



Better’ once again at the annual HarleyDavidson European Dealer Forum in Germany last month. Because the Hillington-based Harley retailer West Coast Harley scooped up the UK and Ireland Dealer of the Year award for the fourth year in a row. Legendary Glasgow dealer principal Don Rutherford, and his team topped the charts for customer service and performance – and the dealer also picked up another four 2023 gongs.

David Hackshall (pictured right), MD at West Coast Harley-Davidson commented: “West Coast have always been dedicated to delivering exceptional service in all areas of our motorcycle business; receiving recognition for this service truly puts the icing on the

cake and is the perfect way to start 2024, our 25th anniversary year.”

Michael Niblett, Harley-Davidson UK country manager, commented on the success of all the category winners: “All dealer staff across our dealership network offer great customer experience – to secure a finalist place in our 2023 dealer awards demonstrates elevating this even further. The award winners take this to a truly exceptional level, and I thank them all for their dedication to delivering for our iconic brand.”

10 APRIL 2024
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From left: Devron Boulton general manager Triumph UK; Matthew Barwick, finance director; Jamie Curtis, dealer principle; Jemma Squire, aftersales advisor; Scott Lock, brand manager; Gareth Jones, technician; Chris Jary,

NMC joins FIM discussions on the future of biking

The FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) controls the rules and regulations for twowheeled motorsport. However, the international body also advocates for motorcycling more broadly, covering safety, licensing, and other statutory matters.

The UK’s National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) has recently been participating in the FIM’s 2024 Commission’s Conference, taking a British voice to the international meeting alongside 380 other delegates.

The three-day conference covered topics including a sound reduction campaign, phase two of the helmets’ homologation programme, airbags, and concussion detection and management. Updates on the competitions featuring motorcycles with electric and internal combustion engines, as well as on the E-bike Technical Steward seminar were shared. The first ever FIM Medical Summit was also held on day two of the conference.

Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA), FIM Europe and the NMC. The commission defends the rights of motorcyclists as citizens and consumers. The commission also deals with the safety of riders on the road and the quality and safety of products used in motorcycling. It advises FIM management – particularly

This was an intensive two days of dynamic discussions about a range of issues

promotion of rider training. The ACU is also strongly represented on other FIM commissions. Got all that?

Craig Carey-Clinch, executive director at the NMC, is a member of the FIM’s Commission for Mobility (CPM), where he represents the Auto Cycle Union (ACU) and the NMC as part of the joint partnership between the Federation of European

Carey-Clinch said: “This was an intensive two days of dynamic discussions about a range of issues which affect riders internationally and are often very similar country to country. It was an opportunity to exchange best practices, experiences and public affairs strategies from both global and regional groupings and individual countries. With 2024 being an election year in so many places around the world, this was clearly an important session, as motorcycle sports organisations and riders groups continue to develop plans for the future.”
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EASTER MONDAY IS ON 1 APRIL THIS YEAR, AND the Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show promises to roll away the giant stone of bank holiday boredom with a host of classic, vintage and veteran machinery on show. It’s based at the Ashford Livestock Market in Ashford; more details:


JAPANESE BATTERY MAKER YUASA, HAS extended its sponsorship with the factory Honda MotoGP race team. Theo den Hoed, of GS Yuasa Battery Europe, said, “Renewing our partnership with the Repsol Honda Team, especially with talents like Joan Mir and Luca Marini on board, is a proud moment for us. This collaboration is a cornerstone of our brand’s presence in MotoGP, showcasing the pinnacle of battery performance through the Yuasa brand.”


THE ORGANISERS OF THE KICKBACK CUSTOM, classic and stunt bike show have announced that the show will double in size this year. The Malvern, Worcs, event will fill two exhibition halls at the Three Counties Showground from 13-14 April. Visitors are promised more than 250 custom and classic show bikes, as well as a thrilling stunt show, club displays, trade stalls, Harley-Davidson test rides and best bike awards. More info:


AFRICAN HEALTHCARE CHARITY TWO Wheels for Life, has been selected as the official charity partner for the 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Goodwood owner Charles Gordon-Lennox, Duke of Richmond, said: “We have chosen Two Wheels for Life for the 2024 Festival because it not only provides essential, and much needed, support for people in remote areas of Africa, but also because they use motorcycles to reach those in need.”


IT’LL BE HERE BEFORE WE KNOW IT, AND THE 2024 Isle of Man TT has seen a few more high-profile racer announcements. Manxman Conor Cummins will line up on the Glencrutchery Road for the Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles team, having agreed a deal to ride on Honda machinery with the Batley-based team for an eighth successive year. Meanwhile, Josh Brookes and Mike Browne will run Yamaha R6 supersports bikes for the Boyce Precision Engineering by Russell Racing team. The TT kicks off on 27 May for a fortnight of practice and race action.

Yamaha awards for last year’s top dealers

It’s the time of year for the Oscars, BAFTAs, Golden Globes and the Brits. And the annual dealer conference season in the bike trade has also seen many manufacturer award events. Yamaha was no exception with its recent dealer conference.

Yamaha included an awards presentation for outstanding sales, after-sales service, customer care and marketing achievements. Highlights included the Excellence in Marketing Engagement award, which went to Crescent Motorcycles for exemplary marketing campaigns across the board. Multi-product dealer MES Powersports scooped the best marketing event award for its launch day, which saw BSB stars take part in the celebration to launch the opening of a new

showroom in Deeside. Mott Motorcycles was awarded the Excellence in Salesforce Engagement award, while Tamworth Yamaha won a prize for its exemplary implementation of the latest Yamaha Visual Identity.

Veteran dealer Flitwick Motorcycles was awarded the Parts and Accessories Sales Achievement accolade, while Tinkler’s Motorcycles was recognised for Yamalube sales. Alf England (Motorcycles), Saltwater Solutions (Power Products) and Stirlings Powersports (Power Products) were all awarded the Yamaha Training Academy Distinction award for engaging their staff in Yamaha’s training programmes.

The Outstanding Customer Service Award, voted for by customers, was presented to

Alford Bros (Motorcycles), NWS (Marine) and Quadbikes

R Us (Power Products). Finally, Raceways Motorcycles was awarded the Outstanding Brand Ambassador award as their sevenyear tenure as Yamaha Motor UK’s official British Superbike team came to an end in 2023.

12 APRIL 2024 Business news

Kawasaki extends Dealer Demo Days event into 2024

The complexion of the retail market has undoubtedly changed over the past 12 months, with most people in the trade claiming that it takes more work to get each sale. Punters, who faced stock shortages in 2021 and 2022, now have a veritable smörgåsbord of new bike options, so marketing drives, finance deals and price promotions are the order of the day once again.

As are demo rides. Factorybacked test ride events are a solid sales tool, helping dealers get buyers onto demo bike saddles and helping to clinch deals. No surprise then that Kawasaki is bringing back its Dealer Demo Days, with a test bike roadshow travelling around the country this summer.

This year’s events will run between April and September

and will see the roadshow visit dozens of dealers across the country. Each event will see an array of machines for riders to book test rides on, including the new Ninja 7 Hybrid and Z7 Hybrid machines, the Ninja ZX-4RR, the Z500 and the Ninja 500. Alongside these new models, bikers will also be able to try the ever-popular Ninja 1000SX and Versys range.

Craig Watson, sales and marketing manager at Kawasaki Motors UK, said, “With the better weather just around the corner, the excitement to get out riding again is definitely building! Our Dealer Demo Days have been a huge success in recent years, so we’re pleased to be bringing them back again for 2024, offering bikers a chance to experience some of the latest and exciting machines in our range.”

Ben Spies chooses R&G for stateside campaign

THE RAHAL DUCATI MOTO TEAM, LED BY EX-MOTOGP AND WSBK star Ben Spies and IndyCar racer Graham Rahal, has chosen R&G to protect its bikes this year. The team is running three Ducati Panigale V2s for its inaugural season in the MotoAmerica Supersport class, and the Hampshire firm will supply engine case covers, carbon fibre shark fin sprocket guards and tank grips for the bikes, ridden by PJ Jacobsen, Kayla Yaakov and Corey Alexander.

The new partnership further strengthens the British brand’s presence in America. R&G is currently a sponsor of the MotoAmerica series and the chosen crash protection supplier for Team Hammer Inc. and 2023 Superbike Cup National Champion Nolan Lamkin.

R&G MD Simon Hughes said, “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Rahal Ducati Moto in what is set to be a very exciting inaugural year for the team. We see working with Rahal Ducati Moto as pivotal to our ever-expanding marketing and development program in North America, and everyone at R&G wishes them the best of luck for the 2024 campaign!”

APRIL 2024 13 or RECEIVE 5 LITRES FOR THE PRICE OF 4! Available in the following viscosities visit: or call: 01484 641 073

Springtime auction sensations

The springtime auction scene – the busiest period of the year – sees some extraordinary lots come to the auction block, including a 48-cylinder special and an Aston Martin V-twin!

The most flamboyant is a 48-cylinder special. Yes, 48 cylinders – all from Kawasaki 250 two-stroke triples. Arranged in triple decks on both sides, this 4.2-litre edifice of cylinders has to be seen to be believed. A highlight at the main classic sale of the year by Bonhams at the Stafford Classic Motor Cycle Show (2021 April), Tinker Toy carries a £40,000-£60,000 estimate.

At almost three times that estimate – £120,000-£150,000 –a Vincent Black Lightning 1000cc V-twin is Bonhams’ April star lot in value terms. The 14th of 34 Black Lightnings made by the Stevenage, Hertfordshire, factory up to 1955, this classic speed god has the auction world holding its breath in anticipation.

Italian exotics appearing at the Bonhams bonanza include a baroque-style 1959 singlecylinder DOHC Benelli Grand Prix racer. One of three, it is reckoned to be the only runner in existence. Estimate is £40,000£60,000. Last year Bonhams

grossed over £3m at this sale. Did you know that Aston Martin has put its name to a motorcycle? You could have one for an estimated £150,000-£200,000. The eighth of 88 made in conjunction with Brough Superior in Toulouse, France, it comes to auction at Iconic’s Shuttleworth aircraft museum sale on 7 April. This 997cc V-twin is reckoned to give 225hp. It looks sensational, like Aston Martin’s F1 cars, and comes in the same colours.

Other big bucks and interesting Iconic lots include a 1939 Brough Superior SS80 V-twin with Brough sidecar (estimate £60,000-£70,000) and a Japanese 1959 Colleda 250 TT twin-cylinder two-stroke (£12,000-£14,000). A forerunner to the Suzuki marque, the Colleda is reckoned to be one of only a dozen survivors and the only one known outside Japan.

Factory and bespoke custom bikes came out tops at the Bristol Classic Show Dore & Rees auction (Shepton Mallet, Somerset, 25 February). This is indicative of a widening horizon on the auction scene. An American Confederate X132 Hellcat Combat V-twin cost its new owner £27,600, blowing more traditional classics out of the water.

Backing it up in second and fourth spots were a 1972 Triumph X75 Hurricane triple styled by American Craig Vetter (£22,250) and a 2011 Harley-Davidson

1200 V-twin custom (£13,225) by Battistini of Bournemouth. Prices include premium and VAT.

Aston Martin Brough

In America, a market trend in rising values for Japanese models was evident when a 1977 Yamaha XT500D single made £17,407, and a 1975 Kawasaki H2C 500 two-stroke triple made £26,131. The XT500 could be an auction record, and the Kawasaki 500 is up there with Z1 900 values. Also rising to new heights was a Spanish 1969 Bultaco Sherpa T 250 trials bike at £21,776. These prices were made by Mecum at Las Vegas, Nevada, in January. The top seller was a 1928 fourcylinder Indian Ace at £174,217.

As well as the big-money bikes, there are now plenty of bargains at auction. Most auction houses are persuading more and more sellers to enter machines at no reserve. This ensures a result and entices buyers to pitch in. The classic auction scene has matured to the point where there are, in effect, more bikes than buyers.


As a result, it’s difficult to predict what will sell and for how much. That said, the auction scene hasn’t lost its confidence and continues to adapt and surprise. This includes more online sales.

12 Oct Bonhams Stafford

16 Oct Mathewsons online, Pickering

17 Oct BCA online

17 Oct Fleet Auction Group, Loughborough

18 Oct Cheffins, Sutton, Cambridgeshire

30 Oct H&H, National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, Birmingham

31 Oct BCA online

10 Nov Iconic, Shuttleworth Aircraft Museum, Bedfordshire

14 Nov BCA online

21 Nov Fleet Auction Group, Loughborough

27 Nov Mathewsons online, Pickering

28 Nov BCA online

12 Dec BCA online

19 Dec Fleet Auction Group, Loughborough

Further dates to be announced

14 APRIL 2024 Business news
Apr BCA online
Apr Iconic, Shuttleworth Aircraft Museum, Bedfordshire 18 Apr BCA online 18 Apr Fleet Auction Group, Loughborough 19 Apr Cheffins, Sutton, Cambridgeshire 20 Apr Bonhams, Stafford Showground
May BCA online 16 May BCA online 16 May Fleet Auction Group, Loughborough 30 May BCA online 30 May HJ Pugh, Ledbury, Herefordshire 12 Jun Mathewsons online, Pickering 13 Jun BCA online 20 Jun Fleet Auction Group, Loughborough 27 Jun BCA online
Jul H&H, National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, Birmingham 6 Jul Spicers, Goole, E Yorks
Jul BCA online
Jul Iconic, Shuttleworth Aircraft Museum, Bedfordshire
Jul Fleet Auction Group, Loughborough
Jul Cheffins, Sutton, Cambridgeshire 24 Jul Mathewsons online, Pickering 25 Jul BCA online
Aug BCA online 15 Aug Fleet Auction Group, Loughborough 22 Aug BCA online
Aug Newark Motor Auctions, Nottinghamshire
Sept Mathewsons online, Pickering
Sept BCA online 19 Sept BCA online
Sept Fleet Auction Group, Loughborough 3 Oct BCA online
Tinker Toy: 4.2 litres, 48 cylinders. Estimated to go from £40k upwards!

With an expanding model range, increased market share, high customer satisfaction, and excellent customer retention, our partners are revelling in the benefits of being a Suzuki dealership. As we continue to grow our network we have key open points, nationwide.

To partner with one of the biggest brands on the market and enjoy all the benefits it affords, contact:

The man from Honda

Last month, we spoke to Honda UK's head of motorcycling, Neil Fletcher, about his background and how he sees his role. In the second part of our interview, we ask about his plans for the future – and how that affects its dealer network in the UK. Alan Dowds reports

Most senior management jobs are focused on the future. If you’re the head of a big operation, in whatever sector, it’s vital that you’re thinking not just about what’s happening now but what’s coming around the corner in a year, two years, or even longer.

That’s certainly true in the bike world, where we have an industry facing a couple of major uncertainties in the medium and long term. The demographics of UK motorcycling are well-known: we’re a bunch of older men generally, with all that brings, for good and ill. And with an upcoming agenda that includes decarbonisation, self-driving vehicles, road safety drives and increased regulation on things like speeding, biking has enough troubles and does not need to seek out more.

So, it was this future-gazing aspect of the job that we started with when we discussed Honda UK’s dealer network plans with its head of motorcycling, Neil Fletcher. “My first impressions coming into the job? Well, I was quite worried, if I’m honest, about both the age profile of the people who owned the businesses that were selling our bikes and the age profile of some of the customers. To be honest, I thought, where is this going to go in five years’ time?”

Dealing with the age profile of bikers is an industry-wide issue, of course, and something that has no easy answer. But when it came to the dealer network, Fletcher could act. “We had probably something like 90 dealers, and I looked and thought, well X% of these guys are not going to be here [with Honda] in five years, though I’d hope they are still enjoying life and everything else! And I needed to understand what the picture looked like. It was interesting: I talked to some business owners, and they wouldn’t have thought about [their future]. They were busy running a seasonal business, which is their passion.

“At the same time, Honda has plans and ambitions for growth. You’ve seen that in the last two or three years with the growing model line. So I could see the retail network that we had was very competent but not necessarily going to be there in the long run. And some probably weren’t going to be big enough businesses to put in the investment needed.”

Fletcher also saw a problem in terms of profitability. “We weren’t making enough money in the motorcycle business, either as the dealer network or as Honda UK. And it was clear that we were going to have to

Honda has plans and ambitions for growth. You’ve seen that in the last two or three years with the growing model line
Neil Fletcher

refresh a lot of the retail sites. So we set out on a mission to go and change that, and, very simply, the mission is to have fewer dealers. That’s the trend, and it’s going that way. But also to make sure that you have dealerships with a succession plan, suitable premises and everything else and then give them a bigger area of responsibility, which means they can get a bigger return.”

Fewer dealers, each making more money, from having a larger catchment area then? “It’s as simple as that. It is quite scientific inasmuch as you’ve got to work out the numbers. We’ve got a very clever bit of software for ride and drive times, and we’re generally in the very high 90% [of population within a reasonable travel time].”

What is the ideal size for this new Honda dealer network, then? “We’ve currently got approximately 60 outlets, and that’s not far off where I think we should be in terms of numbers. I think we have four key [geographical] areas where we haven’t got the right representation, or none, at the moment. So you could say it might go from 60 to 64. Or it may go to 58 before it goes to 62 or something like that, but it’s in that area.”

Where is Honda currently looking to place new retailers? “The big area is in the south coast – we’ve got Bournemouth covered, and we’ve got Pevensey Bay all the way over there, and then we have Crawley (P&H) and Doble in Coulsdon, and then Kent we’ve got covered. So it’s sort of Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton and towards Brighton, that coastal strip.

“That’s probably the biggest one. We’ve had a bit of a change around there, and we’re not rushing it because it is really a prime spot. We’ve effectively got two continuous territories, and we’re still pondering whether we should have one or two operators in that space because you could do it with one, but is that enough? And it would help if you were in the right place. It’s no good having one on the edge of the territory, so that’s an interesting one. We’ve had lots of different options on that, but we’re just biding our time.

“We’ve just got a new dealership in Aberdeen, Shirlaws, and I’m really pleased with that. That is an excellent example for me: it’s a new investor coming into the industry, taking over a very well-established and successful family business. There’s a Shirlaw still in the business. And that’s what we’ve been trying to do. We’ve been trying to attract either new or existing investment to do these things.

“One area where we don’t have any representation is South Yorkshire. We’ve got operators around it, but we don’t necessarily have one in the right place. And there are

16 APRIL 2024 Business news

probably two other areas. “

The other side of the network development coin – often ending long-term business relationships – is more brutal, of course. And Fletcher is keen to stress how much effort he and his team put in there. “There are three businesses at the moment that we’re trying to help with a dignified exit. I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and say, have we given each of our existing dealers a clear direction? Do they know our expectations, and have we been fair and equitable? Now, I’m sure some of them would argue that we haven’t. But we’ve always tried to do that, and while I am in this role, I’ll always try to do that.”

Is it fair to say that some of this change would be inevitable anyway? Is Honda’s strategy simply speeding up the inevitable evolution of an industry which has had too many retailers in the past? It seems likely. “If you go back before my time, there were hundreds of dealers. There was a Honda dealer in lots of market towns, and that just isn’t viable in today’s world,” said Fletcher. “But I think there are dealers who we’ve helped move to whatever they want to do next, and they would say if we hadn’t had the discussion, they wouldn’t have done it. We’ve tried making it as palatable and reasonable as possible.”

And Fletcher insists that he and Honda have both been transparent throughout. “Before we did anything, in 2018, we said, ‘This is what we’re going to do; the long-term future of the network is to have fewer dealers to sell more bikes’. We started that whole conversation, and basically, we were saying don’t be afraid to come to us and say, ‘I’m thinking of selling the business’, or ‘I need to retire’ or whatever.

“And I think there was a reticence, a concern that we would turn around and say, ‘Right, well off you go then’. But that doesn’t do us any favours because we’ve got customers who want continuity and all that sort of thing. So we tried to literally work out what the strengths and the weaknesses were in each case. That might be, is there a succession plan? Is the family or the management team happy to take it on after the incumbent dealer principal or owner? Is there enough funding in the business?”

Not long after this process had begun, though, the tsunami of Covid-19 hit, and all bets were off. However, the effects of the pandemic were more complex to interpret

at first, as Fletcher relates. “Firstly, the industry did very well in Covid, and it put a lot of money back in the coffers of some businesses that hadn’t been doing so well, which was good. It put them on a more solid footing to make better decisions. But it also then drove people to think about the future. I mean, I think we all did. What am I doing waking up at 6 o’clock in the morning to do all this stuff? And some of those conversations we were having became a bit more real and a bit more poignant.”

Who manages the network change processes? “I personally have to sign off all the decisions, so in the end, it’s me. It’s me, together with Richard Schofield, who runs the sales side of

I’m also very conscious that we are the market leader, and if we do the wrong thing, I think that can send all sorts of signals out there
Neil Fletcher

the business, Andy Mineyko and Craig Horne, our franchise development managers. And we also involve the area team because they’ve got much deeper knowledge than me.”

And what percentage of Fletcher’s time does this take up? “Increasingly, it’s become quite a big thing for me. I think there isn’t anything much more important that I could be doing with my time, apart from my team and putting effort into them. A lot of it is discussion; what are you thinking? I mean, I’ve got one conversation going on at the moment, which I feel quite awkward about because I’m pushing hard for that person to think about what they’re going to do with their future. It’s their money, it’s their business, I respect that massively. But I know that they need to make a decision, for them as much as for Honda. And so I’m investing a lot of time and effort trying to make that happen. Honestly, am I pushing it too far? Am I not pushing enough? That’s the bit I have to keep asking myself.”

It’s clear that the man from Honda is deeply involved in this process and takes it very seriously on a number of levels. “What I want to get across is this: none of these have been knee-jerk decisions. Some of the discussions

are more amicable than others, let’s put it that way and some of the very clear signals that we put out there are ignored, and that can only go on so long because, in the end, I’ve got to do what’s right for Honda. But it’s a tricky one. I like to think that my team at Honda are peopleorientated: it’s a people business and a small industry, and we’re trying to do the right thing.

“I’m also very conscious that we are the market leader, and if we do the wrong thing, I think that can send all sorts of signals out there, and that’s not good because the big thing I’m very keen to do is get in new investment. I think what we’ve demonstrated to the dealer network, and I think they’re seeing that, is that Honda cares, for want of a better word.”

When all is said and done, though, Honda will still have – and wants – a fair degree of continuity in the network. “The vast majority of the dealers we’ve got are dealers that we have had for years,” says Fletcher. “Take Mark Smith up in Chester, for example. They’ve consolidated into Honda and built a new showroom with a new corporate identity, and that’s them nailing their colours to the mask for the next 10, 15, 20 years, whatever it is. And that’s great, and that’s what I want. Ideally, we want the people that we’ve already got to be able to be the people that are still here in 20 years’ time. We’ve actually put together a significant multi-million-pound investment fund of our own, which the dealers get towards the development of new facilities. We’ve proven the profitability is there if you do it, and we are also putting our money in to help out. It won’t cover all of it, but we believe in it, and I think that’s important.

“So look, I’m not trying to put a picture of us being perfect. But we have had really strong profitability nationally; the strategy we’ve followed has borne fruit in the sense that those 60 dealers, if you look at the growth of their profitability over the last five years, it’s grown and grown and grown.”

A future, surely, that every senior manager in the bike world would want to see…

APRIL 2024 17 Business news
Grafton Motorcycles, Miles Kingsport and Firstline Motorcycles (above) all celebrated 45 years with Honda this year Grafton Motorcycles Miles Kingsport

Cyril sells

After 66 years in the twowheel trade, 54 years trading as C.G. Chell Motor Cycles and 30 years as EasyRider Europe, Cyril Chell is now calling time. His Marston Road, Stafford properties are being sold to another motorcycle dealer in a deal to be announced shortly.

As with many long-established motorcycle businesses, there were very humble beginnings, and behind it was a proprietor who was not only driven and extremely hard-working but also an entrepreneur with an excellent eye for a business opportunity or a good deal.

Chell’s journey in the two-wheel motorcycle trade started in 1958 at Halfords in Stafford. Moped repairs were Chell’s thing, and in those days, they were Raleigh mopeds – made in Nottingham – and German NSU motorcycles. Chell was at Halfords for four years before going to work at

all aspects of the trade. When the family sold the business, it allowed him to start out on his own, but it wasn’t easy, and he worked the night shift at GEC while running the shop during the day to make ends meet!

Originally, Chell sold mainly used parts for British bikes, with Hondas coming from Bill Smith in Chester. He then took on the Triumph, Norton and BSA franchises, which proved very successful and firmly established the firm. Within six months, C.G. Chell had secured a direct franchise with Honda, and this marked the start of a 45-year relationship which only came to an end in 2014.

The recent decision to sell up means all the stock – bikes, parts, engines, tyres, accessories, clothing, helmets, fixtures and fittings, point of sale, workshop, and office equipment is for sale, together with classic clothing, posters, pictures, and books.

intellectual property for the UK, EU, China and India. Anyone interested will be put in touch with his agent.

Cyril, a former TT rider, European Grand Prix competitor and speedway rider, thanks his customers and suppliers for their many years of support and says he is looking forward to some extensive travel plans once the sale details have been finalised.

The full story and an exclusive interview with Cyril will appear in the May issue of BDN

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Cyril Chell won the BDN Trade Personality of the Year Award in 2017

Suzuki fun in the sun

You might think Japanese bike maker Suzuki had done enough for its dealers of late, with a slew of successful new models and burgeoning market share over the past 18 months. But the Milton Keynesbased importer wanted to give its dealers a little extra. So it took a group of them to the roads around Valencia, Spain, for some product familiarisation on their new season’s machinery – the GSX8R and GSX-S1000 GX, as well as a refresher course on the other recent hits: GSX-8S and V-Strom 800 models.

Leaving behind a dull, frozen, and grey Blighty for the sunkissed Mediterranean coast, dealers enjoyed a welcome dinner, took in some classroom sessions the following day, and hit some pot-hole free roads in the hills behind the city.

Suzuki GB head of motorcycles, Jonathan Martin, said after the event: “Annual dealer training events form an important part of our sales strategy, allowing us to demonstrate where we see the products sitting in our lineup and in the wider market, as well as giving our dealership partners the opportunity to try the bikes for themselves. We have hosted them at Mallory Park in recent years, but it was nice to get back

to Spain and to the sunshine to experience the bikes to their fullest on excellent roads. It’s also a great opportunity for us to ride together, as it's important to remember that we do what we do because of our shared passion for motorcycles.”

Joe Woodvine, franchise manager at Bulldog Suzuki, said: “The trip to Valencia to ride the GX and 8R was my first with Suzuki GB. Riding the two new models in the Spanish mountains was amazing, with great preplanned routes and coffee stops. Whilst being a great opportunity to gain product knowledge in the classroom and on the road, it was also great to get to know other dealers in the network and build relationships.”

5-Ways Motorcycle Centre dealer principal Gareth Robinson added: “Riding the new bikes through the incredible winding roads of the Valencia hills was an exhilarating experience that embodied the bikes’ characteristics perfectly. It was a blast.”

And Mark Handy, general manager at Motech, said: “It was a great few days. Many thanks to all at Suzuki for organising the trip. It was definitely one of the best riding experiences I've ever had.”

R&G backs US series

IT HAS PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE SUPPORTING RACING AT THE HIGHEST levels and now Hampshire-based bike protection firm R&G Racing, is helping out at a more grassroots level, with backing for the US-based Build Train Race series (BTR). BTR is a Royal Enfield project that supports women in two race series: one dirt flat track and one road racing, with riders on custom race-prepared International 650 and Continental GT 650 twins.

This year will be the fifth season of the BTR program, and UK-based R&G is sponsoring the entire series this year. The new partnership means that each competitor will receive a host of crash protection for their machine, including engine case covers, cotton reels, exhaust protectors, fork protectors, brake lever guards, toe guards, and tank traction grips. These will help riders get the most out of their bikes on track and keep them protected in a spill.

Simon Hughes, MD at R&G, added, “It’s been fantastic watching the Build Train Race initiative grow over the last few years and develop a truly inspiring community of female racers. We are really proud to be joining them on their journey for the 2024 season, and we can’t wait to see how this year’s competitors get on!”



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ClementsMoto (CM) is best known as the UK Fantic importer, with a range that incorporates on- and offroad motorcycles and e-bikes. The company’s portfolio also includes the Far East-manufactured Zontes range of motorcycles and scooters, from 125cc to 350cc, all of which are said to represent value for money rather than just being cheap. The addition of Peugeot should neatly round off the CM brand offering.

Peugeot is a name that everyone knows, even though the two- and four-wheel products are entirely separate.

Peugeot is a European manufacturer with over a hundred years of experience producing powered twowheelers. It is well known for

Peugeot gives us a different range that doesn’t directly clash with any of our existing products

its quality, performance, cuttingedge design, durability, minimal environmental impact and, importantly, value for money. The Peugeot range offers 50cc mopeds,

125cc scooters, large capacity two- and three-wheel scooters, as well as 125cc motorcycles. ClementsMoto MD, Dean Clements, got the call from Peugeot just before Christmas when the then distributor was having difficulties. “Peugeot had spoken to me back in 2020 when Three Cross Motorcycles went into administration, but for various reasons, we didn’t proceed with it back then.

Things are a little different this time, and Peugeot could see things

more from our perspective. The first thing we did was to secure all existing stock as we didn’t want it on the market going cheap. Then we needed a more UK-focused range and better colour options.”

CM did what it needed to do to retain the existing dealer network, including the retention of Pete Scott, who’d been in the aftersales department at Three Cross for a couple of decades and has a huge amount of product knowledge and dealer liaison ability.

“Peugeot gives us a different range that doesn’t directly clash with any of our existing products. We gave all the existing Peugeot network the opportunity to stay on board, and about 90% took up the offer. The remaining few weren’t selling much anyway. Some were just using the brand name because Peugeot, to the non-motorcycling public, is a good household name. A parent walking into a motorcycle or

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scooter showroom to buy their 16- or 17-year-old their first bike will recognise the Peugeot lion logo and be reassured about product quality etc.”

Establishing the Peugeot network has had brand crossover benefits for CM with Zontes. Quite a few Peugeot dealers have taken Zontes as well, because the model ranges are compatible. The reverse has occurred with existing Zontes dealers.

Clements isn’t too smug about the situation, though, and says that there are still a lot of empty spaces on the firm’s dealer map, which he will be looking to fill over the coming year.

“The new sites have got to be stock holding, fully supporting dealers. The network trading terms had been allowed to slip with the previous distributor. We’ve not made any radical changes, just trimmed a few price points. There was an issue with the PM-01 125cc, which marked Peugeot’s return to motorcycle production after many years and was previously priced at four grand. Now we’ve got it down to £2999. Plus, we’ve shaved a few quid off some other models.”

The Peugeot range includes

more 50cc models than most, but the company is mindful that the moped sector will be first for the chop when decarbonisation regulations are eventually implemented and is already producing electric scooters such as the E-Ludix. However, Clements doesn’t feel the time is right for the UK market. After an upturn during the lockdown for the urban delivery sector, e-scooter sales have dropped in favour of e-bikes, which are better suited to short journeys and urban traffic restrictions. Should the market change, Peugeot will have tried and tested electric products available.

ClementsMoto had a webinar for the existing dealer network where the new deals and the way forward were mapped out. So far, Clements is pleased with progress, and the warehouse is filling with stock and spares, but, as Clements says, “it’s still early days.”

“We’ve had some immediate sales from dealers with whom we already have a business relationship, and we will be happy to talk to all interested dealers around the country. Scooter riders don’t want to have to travel too far to get their scooter serviced or to buy clothing and equipment, so we’re looking to grow the network overall.”


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Peugeot E-Ludix Peugeot Kisbee 50 Street Line

John Doe joins Parts Europe portfolio

IT MIGHT SOUND ALLAmerican, but the new clothing brand from Parts Europe is 100% European. The John Doe firm, based near Mainz in Germany, offers a range of premium classic-styled riding gear that incorporates advanced materials and manufacturing processes. These include the firm’s in-house XTM-Fiber Kevlar/Lycra mix for maximum protection and comfort and its own XTM PU armour, which is CE-approved.

The styling is aimed at fans of the casual urban look, centred around protective riding jeans and shirts, plus jackets, boots and other accessories. An initial selection of kit is available to Parts Europe dealers now, and the full range will be available later in the summer.

OBITUARY Andre Waszczyszyn 1956-2024

Andre Waszczyszyn, owner of Webbs Motorcycles with showrooms in Lincoln and Peterborough, died on 15 February. He was 68.

A well-known personality in the motorcycle industry, having been a retailer for 40 years, he was a man whose professionalism, kindness and sense of humour made him popular with suppliers and other retailers.

Webbs Motorcycles was founded in 1960 by Eddie Jago and his wife Betty. In 1975 they were appointed as the Yamaha dealer for Lincoln. In 1984, Andre, together with his brother-in-law Stephen Jago, took out a loan to purchase the business from them. By this time, Andre had met and married Sue Jago, the daughter of the founders.

In 1988, the business moved from its premises in Lincoln town centre to its current purpose-built premises – at that time a very big move! Over the next 35 years, they continued to build the business and, in 1992, were appointed as a founder dealer for Triumph.

The Peterborough store was added in 2003, and together Andre and Stephen developed both stores, winning the Triumph Customer Service Award three times – the only company in the UK to achieve this.

Andre’s greatest achievement, though, was building a strong team at both of the Webbs stores. Their loyalty to him is testament to his commitment to them.

In addition to the business, Andre had many other interests, including travel and dining out with his wife and daughter, often with their many friends. He also enjoyed attending concerts, and he was particularly keen on David Bowie.

The last words about Andre come from his wife, Sue, and daughter, Jo. “He loved the world and created experiences for us throughout our lives. He would notice and appreciate everything. He loved people and wanted to share the pleasure of his life’s experiences with everyone. He gave to life and will be sadly missed.”

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What Labour means for business

Time marches on and soon the country will be in the midst of another general election battle. As to when it’ll be, we don’t know, but at the very latest, unless Rishi Sunak asks the king to dissolve parliament beforehand, it will dissolve automatically on 17 December this year with an election held around 25 days later, excluding weekends and bank holidays.

Not unsurprisingly, political parties are already jockeying for position, but none has yet published a manifesto upon which they will stake their claim on the keys to Number 10.

Of course, it’s not over until the fat lady sings, but the view of the man on the Clapham Omnibus seems to be that it’s odds-on that the next government will be left of centre. That’s not to say that Labour are guaranteed a win, as the events of the early part of February indicated, with three electoral candidates either being removed from the party ranks or being admonished for their alleged anti-semitic views.

A year or so ago, Sir Keir Starmer unveiled his “Five Missions for a Better Britain”, which outlined what the Labour Party seeks in its move towards a “mission-driven government.” Naturally, being this far away from an election, the document was short on detail, but it sought productivity gains and new jobs for growth, along with a stronger hand on net zero. But those keenly digesting the media will

have heard that in early February Labour walked away from its green investment policy on the basis that the country couldn’t afford to borrow around £28bn to fund such green investments. The party, of course, laid the blame at the door of the Conservatives for spending so much during its 14-year tenure. However, sight shouldn’t be lost of what the government did to keep the economy alive during Covid, and that didn’t come cheap. Regardless, Labour’s retraction didn’t look good.

Will it become the party of old where it seeks to tax and spend?

Soon the Labour Party manifesto will be ready, but until it’s published we can only guess at what it’ll include. Will it become the party of old, where it seeks to tax and spend?

At the annual party conference in October last year, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said that Labour will focus on economic growth, not higher taxes and that “Labour will tax fairly and spend wisely.” With a background as an economist and roles at the Bank of England, British Embassy in Washington and once having interviewed for Goldman Sachs, it’s hoped she knows what she’s talking about!

In fact, she has previously gone on record stating that she’d support a 2p cut in income tax if the current government proposed it. And also, in January 2022, Reeves said a Labour government would be pro-business and committed to fiscal discipline.

Labour has said that it would want to further fund the public sector and increase investment through a new national wealth fund. It would reform planning rules to build an extra 1.5 million new homes and invest in infrastructure.

As for new sources of money, those who pay for private education or who qualify for ‘nondomiciled’ tax status will find life more expensive; the former will become subject to VAT and the latter will be abolished.

Notably, Rain Newton-Smith, chief executive of the (scandaltarnished) Confederation of British Industry, has said businesses would be “encouraged” to hear Labour “speak so ambitiously about driving up business investment and committing to tackle some of the key blockers.”

Of course, there are still issues to resolve – the NHS, the green economy and immigration. That is beyond this column. But if Labour want to win more than one term – and be viewed with the same rose-tinted optics as Tony Blair’s New Labour of the late 1990s – the party must stay well away from Corbinite socialism it espoused not that very long ago.

Manufacturers Manufacturers

It’s that time of year again – the weather is picking up, the new reg plate is on the streets, and the trade is limbering up for a decent riding season. Which means it’s time for British Dealer News to talk to manufacturers and importers about this season’s prospects.

Alan Dowds spoke to a cross-section of senior leaders on the supply side of the industry to talk about how they see this season and also about what changes are on the way?

Oh, and how did last year turn out for them?

There is one unusual aspect to this year’s new season.

It’s fair to say that there’s a bit of a ‘phoney war’ going on about many aspects of life at the moment. A general election is on the way within the next nine months and, even if you’ve no interest in party politics, the paralysis in government affects you. That’s shown in the bike world by the lack of any movement at all on bike licensing rules and e-scooter legislation – but it’s also shown at a much more concrete level by things like the silence on Euro 5+ derogations. Industry people we spoke to are desperate for a steer from Westminster on vital matters like this, sadly in vain, it seems.

But we start by looking backwards a little. 2023 is gone, but it’s worth examining how it all went now the dust has settled. It was a year when Covid finally faded away as a factor, but was replaced by other woes: energy crises, massive rises in inflation and then interest rates, and the continuing war in Ukraine – with tensions also exploding in the Middle East last autumn.

Howard Dale, general manager at Kawasaki UK, recalls a good year, but it was not easy. “Last year was very different from 2022, there was a massive change. We went into 2023 unsure if all of our supply chain issues had been resolved. The network had been starved of product, but then it

came back on tap very quickly. So it was a very different market and a bit of a culture shock from the Covid years. It was a good year, though, and all indications are that this year will be reasonable too.”

Simon Roots, marketing manager at KTM UK, was also upbeat about last year. “We don’t often look back at the previous year at Pierer Mobility, but if forced to, we can reflect on a strong 2023. Retail sales were good, our dealer network was significantly bolstered, and the incorporation of our new brands, MV Agusta and CFMoto, had really positive effects on the business. With the announcement of exciting new products for our existing brands this year, we have transitioned into the new year in good health and in

typical KTM fashion – on full gas.”

Adam Kelley at Yamaha was also pleased. “We had a better year last year,” he said. We outperformed the market, and we are up 11%, but we’re not in the strongest position we would like in terms of sales. We know we need to increase sales, but what’s important to us is the dealers and their performance.”

One part of that success was the NMAX 125 scooter, which Yamaha finally had in good supply. “We had extremely strong sales, number one in the delivery market last year, with the NMAX. That ‘last mile delivery’ market is still very strong for us, and that’s

We had extremely strong sales, number one in the delivery market last year, with the NMAXs

good business that many of our dealers enjoy, both for owner-rider delivery guys and fleet contracts. Those sales are also going through dealers, and that’s an important part of the business. We have a number of dealers that have contracts with various fleets and delivery people, but these are two different markets. The fleet buyers, for example, pizza delivery companies, buy 20 or 30 bikes, but a large number of single owner-rider guys are buying through a dealer. And that’s good business for them because they also buy parts, accessories, and spares.”

Why is the NMAX doing so well in that sector? “It seems to be the scooter to have. You can imagine with that amount of sales there’s a big community out there, and for all the right reasons, the NMAX hits the spot with its durability, reliability, styling and connectivity. It’s everything you need as a workhorse.”

Adam KelleyYamaha

And Yamaha’s putting extra effort into building that buzz around its cool scoot. “We’ve actually started marketing directly to that sector, with digital marketing trying to target those people,” added Kelley.

One brand that experienced an incredible turnaround in performance last year was Suzuki. From a firm which had to issue a

26 APRIL 2024 Trade Talk

going out the door.

I think we were up by around 35% in Rob Woolley

press statement denying it was giving up on motorcycles not so long ago, there’s been a huge product-led turnaround, with the new 800cc parallel twin bike range and the expanded GSX-S1000 range both providing strong sales. Paul de Lusignan, general manager of Suzuki GB Motorcycles, was a happy man when we caught up with him. “If I start from last year, we had a strong year. We moved our market share from 3.1% to 4.8%, which is very significant, that’s an additional 1750 bikes. Getting the volume back to where we would like it to be was a significant move. We said to our dealers that, over a two-year period, we would double our sales, and we’ve pretty much done that.”

Scott Grimsdall, marketing manager at BMW Motorrad UK, summed up a good performance in its centenary year. “Last year represented 100 years of BMW Motorrad, and was celebrated by a record year of sales both globally and in the UK. BMW Motorrad delivered 209,257 motorcycles globally in 2023, 3.1% more than the previous year and the highest sales figure in the company’s history.”

At the other end of the market, the top small bike importer, Llexeter, is usually a good barometer of the industry’s health. But it bucked that trend last year, with supply problems causing poor results compared with the market. Sales manager, Rob Woolley, took

The 1100s, which normally are our bread and butter, suffered, especially the Tuono.”

Mineo is hopeful for 2024, with the new Stelvio and V85 models and a good supply of them. “Supply is not an issue across the whole range. There might have been a moment when the V100 Mandello S was

 01273 595746

restricted because there was so much demand, especially from the US and the Far East, and some versions of the Vespa are more difficult to get, but I wouldn’t say there’s a supply issue.”

Comparing the general economic situation in March 2024 with March 2023 suggests that broader factors might be helping the bike trade out. The view is much rosier now:

• Inflation is half what it was at its peak

• Energy prices are falling

• Interest rates look to be going in the right direction

• Consumer confidence seems more sanguine

Howard Dale echoes this but with some qualifications. “Some

of the economic indicators that were a big concern have eased – inflation is down and set to reduce further, energy costs that were at an extreme level have abated, but of course, mortgage costs have risen drastically due to high-interest rates, which are the Bank of England’s key weapon against inflation. I am hopeful that in late spring/early summer, we should start to see a downward shift in interest rates and corresponding mortgage costs. None of this is helped by the recent news that we’ve gone into a technical recession, and the usual media noise surrounding this is certainly not helpful.

“All early indications for March are strong for us,” Dale added. “Dealers were building their order books during January and February, and now we can see

For 2024, customers can look forward to numerous world premieres, highlights, and events BMW

Scott Grimsdall

the results. We didn’t insist on demo bike registration before 1 March, which means the dealers get much better value with the demo bikes [on a 2024 plate]. We had a strong market share in the first seven days of March, and an encouraging model mix.”


The mood from dealers was strong in March; their confidence is high, probably because we just announced the price of the E-clutch models

That model mix is perhaps even more interesting from Kawasaki this year, with some unique offerings, like the ZX-4RR and new Hybrid 7 range. “The new season’s models are performing very well,” said Dale. “The ZX-4RR so far has been a revelation: it’s the second-best-selling bike in our range, both calendar YTD and in March. The ZX6R is also selling well, and together with the ZX-4RR, it is proving that the demand for supersport bikes is not quite dead yet!

“But the real impact

for 2024 is yet to come. The new 500s, both Z and Ninja, have been victims of the Red Sea delays but are starting to arrive as we speak, and, by the time this is published, will be making their presence felt in the market. The hidden gem of the trio so far is the Eliminator 500. It’s very competitively priced and surprises everybody who rides it with how accomplished it is – true value for money.

“Hybrids will be with us soon, and again, this provides a unique opportunity for dealers to sell to different types of customers, those you might call technophiles, early adopters of new tech, and those with one eye on environmental issues, but who still want a motorcycle they can use in a conventional way. It’s all very exciting.”

ONE POSSIBLE FLY IN THE OINTMENT APPEARED earlier this year when Houthi rebels in Yemen began attacking cargo ships heading through the Bab-elMandeb straits in the Red Sea towards the Suez Canal. Container firms have been diverting ships south around Cape Horn in South Africa instead, adding around ten days to the journey between the Far East and European ports like Felixstowe and Rotterdam. Have these delays affected the bike trade? A little seems to be the answer. “We’ve had a few of our ships diverted,” said Suzuki’s Paul de Lusignan. “It’s causing inconvenience, but it’s not causing any stock shortage problems, so we’re managing it really. It’s not the kind of disruption we had during Covid, so it is easier to plan for. If it goes on longer, we might have to

think about having some longer lead times.”

“We haven’t seen a major issue with Red Sea logistics,” said Vmoto’s Clive Mann. “At the moment, it’s just adding a little bit extra time, so it’s not seen as a huge issue.”

But Howard Dale says he could do without it. “Red Sea logistics is frankly a pain – it has increased lead times and transport cost, but the situation is consistent, and unlike Covid, there was a lack of containers, vessels, port workers, and everything else. While there is disruption in the Red Sea, we just have to work an alternative normal – longer lead time and higher cost, but supply as such is not affected.”

Scott Grimsdall at BMW, also points to the launch of exciting new products and live events as a strength. “For this year, customers can look forward to numerous world premieres, highlights, and events – including a return to the iconic GarmischPartenkirchen for the annual BMW Motorrad Days festival, as well as new models including the introduction of a second electric model in the urban mobility segment, the CE 02, the allnew adventure middleweight F 900 GS, and the third M model in the BMW Motorrad range, the M 1000 XR.”

That sentiment underlines a broad sense of a good season ahead. Neil Fletcher, head of motorcycles at Honda, sounded like a happy man when we spoke to him in the middle of March. “We’ve had a good start to the year,” he said. “Certainly, market share-wise, we’re still around 22 point something, so we’re only a bit ahead of last year, but we are ahead. The time the bikes arrive always makes a difference, so I’m very happy with that, bearing in

28 APRIL 2024 Trade Talk


LAST YEAR SAW THE BEGINNING of a whole new brand network in the UK, with Pierer Mobility taking on the distribution of CFMoto across all of Europe and essentially relaunching the Chinese marque. Simon Roots took us through how that went. “We made giant leaps in building our CFMoto network, starting almost from scratch at the start of 2023 when we formally took responsibility for the motorcycle side of the business and building throughout the year to the point where we now stand at 32 dealers.

“The aim is to get to 50 CFMoto dealers as soon as possible, so we’re still in the dealer recruitment phase with the brand.

“With regard to the brand and its offering, first and foremost, dealers have been really impressed with the product and specification. Next comes the price point, build quality, four-year warranty and competitive finance deals – the package has impressed dealers and is all backed by everything we can offer at KTM. With products like the new and anticipated 450MT and the recent reveal of the new 675cc inline triple engine, along with Team Aspar running CFMoto branded bikes in

Moto2 (featuring Jake Dixon) and Moto3, as well as appearances at EICMA, Motorcycle Live and the MCN London show, CFMoto will be on the lips of many more riders in 2024.”

Pierer has also taken on MV Agusta, of course, and that seems to be the next project. “We’ve worked hard to create a bespoke MV Agusta network,” said Roots. And the final few showrooms to take us to a network of around 15 are close to being finalised.”

And as if that wasn’t enough, Pierer is set to launch another new brand: this time, an electric urban mobility product. “While we continue our work across all brands, from a dealer perspective, we need to focus on CFMoto and its new EV sub-brand, Zeeho, throughout 2024,” said Roots. “Zeeho is dedicated to being ahead of urban mobility trends in the delivery of a compact range of electric motorcycles, and as such, we are looking for dealers who can deliver this experience to urban customers. The press launch and product landing both happened in March, so we are happy to accept inquiries on either brand via david.”

While we continue our work across all brands, from a dealer perspective, we need to focus on CFMoto

Simon Roots

mind that we have only had a few days of registrations.

“The mood from dealers was strong in March; their confidence is high, probably because we just announced the price of the E-clutch models and the price of the new Blade. So they’ve got everything they need, and the E-clutch is only £100 more than our standard bikes. I think all of these things are why people are feeling reasonably good. What it needs more than anything else is just a week of normal spring weather; that’s what we need to sprinkle a bit of magic into the mix.”

That stronger performance is even more encouraging because Honda’s got hardly any of its new models in stock yet: this year’s Fireblade, Hornet 1000, 650 E-clutch bikes, revamped 500 twins and relaunched CBR600RR are still to come. “We’ve got the 2024 Africa Twin in, and we’re not far away from the 600 and E-clutch bikes,” said Fletcher. “Clearing stocks of 2023 models is going well, and that’s helped the numbers. One of the reasons sales are strong is that we’re running out of the previous models. Backing





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 APRIL 2024 29 Trade Talk
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They’re actually going quite nicely because there’s a little bit of a price differential between the old model and the new model. Maybe if you have the choice between the new one, which is better, and the current one, that’s a bit less money, it is a good choice for some customers.”

Yamaha’s Adam Kelley reckons consumer confidence is heading in the right direction, too. “We all know what we’re hearing in the news at the moment; there’s a lot

pretty good, and dealers are feeling fairly positive about this year.”

Derogation is the biggest problem we’re facing at the moment
Neil Keeble Kymco UK

of talk about the economy, and of course, we’ve got political instability with the election this year. But the signs seem to be that people are still buying, there is still a lot of confidence, and we’ve got lots of dealers taking pre-orders, which is a good sign. And generally, you can see from the figures that the market is up. We’re already through the Covid recession, and we know that we have cost of living challenges, but the signs still seem

Kelley also has some strong new products on the way, backed by reliable supplies. “Supply is much better. The warehouse is full; we are still selling out 2023 stuff now. We’ve got some new models that have yet to arrive, the MT-09, which is due to arrive this month, and the XSR900 GP which will land around May/June time, and that really has hit the spot. Most of our dealers have taken several pre-orders, so that’s looking really good.”

It’s not just flash high-end kit that Yamaha is working on, though. “The other new bike I want to point out is the new RAYZR scooter, which is really competitively priced. Dealers are

Electric View

LAST YEAR WAS VERY MUCH A YEAR TO forget for the battery-powered sector. Sales plummeted at both ends of the sector, with highpowered machines and smaller urban mobility products badly impacted. I spoke to Zero and Vmoto, the leaders in those sectors, and heard the story from wounded but resolute viewpoints.

Dale Robinson, UK country manager at Zero, was frank. “Last year was very difficult. When you look back you can trace a decline in EV sales to the government stopping the plug-in grant in December 2022. That made electric motorcycles less affordable, and removing that support sent the wrong message. Then the invasion of Ukraine pushed up the price of electricity, and there were dramatic

rises in the cost of living. As motorcyclists, we all love bikes, but you don’t always need one, and if you’re really struggling to pay your bills, a new bike doesn’t always go down too well. People were keeping their cash in the bank.”

Robinson also points to the UK government’s decision to push back the phase-out of petrol-powered cars to 2035 as another move that undermined the EV sector. “Then the government didn’t announce a ban on ICE motorcycles, and it put the car plan back five years. So there’s uncertainty out there. We had a lot of negative EV publicity, which is still going on, so we’ve been doing really well despite that for the past few years. There’s been a proliferation of bad news for EVs. A lot of it isn’t true, but it’s getting through.”

excited about that because it will give us an entry point for scooter riders with a more affordable product. It costs £2200, and that’s a price band that’s been strong for some of the other brands out there, so it gives us a chance to really come back and get some share and get some more customers into the Yamaha family.”

Paul de Lusignan also sounds confident about Suzuki’s performance this season. “For the year ahead, we’ve got lots of fresh products to excite customers, and now we’re passing the baton from the factory to the dealer network. We need to get the bikes into the hands of the customers now, and we are here to support the dealer network, so let’s make it happen!”

However, we heard of one possible political red flag for the industry later in the year from Kymco’s Neil Keeble. Keeble pointed out that the government still needs to tell bike firms what

We were still able to retain the number one spot and were in the top 25 brands in the country registration-wise

Clive Mann of Vmoto backed up much of this: “Results-wise for 2023, it was disappointing for everyone in the electric market, unfortunately. It was 50 to 60% down for most, but despite that, we were still able to retain the number one spot and were in the top 25 brands in the country registration-wise, which was really good despite a lack of stock. So, it was a tough year, but a

positive one, which puts us in place for 2024.”

Both Zero and Vmoto are hoping to get out of the doldrums via a mix of new products, pricing changes and some cunning marketing. “2024 is a really exciting year for us,” said Mann. “We have a reset of all of our pricing structure starting from 1 April, and then we have the arrival of our Pro models and the long-awaited Stash, which is a fantastic bike. We think it is going to bridge the gap between commuters and riders who want a higher performance point for an electric vehicle.”

“This year is kind of a recovery year,” said Robinson. We’re pushing for growth of about 30%. We’ve got new learner-legal motorcycles that look like full-size motorcycles, you can ride them on a CBT, and they look great. That’s going to be the bulk of our sales this year; they’re already close to being sold out to our dealers.”

30 APRIL 2024
Trade Talk
Kymco UK national sales and marketing manager, Neil Keeble, left, with Datatool regional manager, John Singleton Vmoto Dale Robinson, Zero
The ZX4RR so far has been a revelation: it’s the second best selling bike in our range

level of derogation will be allowed when the new Euro 5+ emissions regs kick in at the end of this year. That derogation will enable firms to sell a certain percentage of their sales as Euro 5 bikes for another year, giving a smoother phase-out of old bikes.

“I think we’re all going to be affected by Euro 5+,” said Keeble. “And derogation is the biggest problem we’re facing at

for everyone in the trade: the increase in bike supply and stiff competition, with lots of new models, means dealers must work harder for each sale. “The market is running very hot – everybody is promoting. We have to do the same, and there are some stark differences from recent Covid years. Back then, we had short supply, meaning higher profits per unit. Now, there are plenty of bikes but strong competition and lower margins. We have to work harder for deals, but history tells us the motorcycle market is always cyclical, and feast always follows famine until we arrive at the next cycle.

For the year ahead, we’ve got lots of fresh products to excite customers

the moment. The MCIA says the government won’t rule on derogation until probably July. Even the big players are going to have a lot of non-Euro 5+ stock, so what are we going to do with it? Do we pre-register it? Does the dealer register it? At the moment, they’re not saying if it will be derogated and, if it is, what percentage of your annual sales it will be. It’s certainly going to be a challenge. At this moment, we’re doing a bit of a juggling act to get rid of Euro 5 bikes and deciding at the NEC bike show time what the Euro 5+ lineup looks like.”

Paul de Lusignan
Suzuki UK

On the whole, though, there’s a lot of positivity out there. But Kawasaki’s Howard Dale warned that life would be challenging

“Life in the motorcycle industry is never perfect, but we have to adapt to prevailing conditions and ensure that we are competitive and attractive to prospective purchasers. The issue this time round has been the speed of change from a product-starved marketplace to one of plentiful supply and high competition. We really have gone back to the days where phone, prospecting and going out to proactively seek your customer is replacing showroom walk ins – it’s a big adjustment to make in a short period of time.”

 APRIL 2024 31 Trade Talk
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Is it easy being Dainese?

Istarted by asking about Sanchez’s biography and how he got here. “I am Spanish, and my background is economics. I worked at Procter & Gamble and did consultancy, but I have been in the food business for most of my life. I ended up running a €1bn company in Italy, which is why I speak decent Italian! But then I started working with private equity, and I’ve been doing that for the past nine years.”

And it’s this background in private equity, rather than a motorcycling background, that led to his role at Dainese – which is majority-owned by Carlyle, the American private equity group.

“In July, I got a call from Carlyle, which I respect as a company. I had some people on the inside who told me about Dainese, and I could not believe it because I’d been a fan for more than 15 years. One of the first things I did when I came here and met Lino Dainese was to bring him my 20-year-old back protector for him to sign for me!”

However, Sanchez knew the brand not from two wheels but from “sticks and poles”. “My background is from the skiing side. I always used to go to the slopes with full protection.” How big is Dainese in the skiing world? “It is tiny, but it is growing. We grew 20% last year, and I think some strong opportunities exist. We also do things with cycling, so there are other sports, but motorcycling is the most important.”

Does Sanchez ride a bike then?

Dainese announced Angel Sanchez as its new CEO at the end of last summer. Alan Dowds spoke to Sanchez to hear about his background and plans for the future, including AGV helmets and TCX boots which are included in Dainese’s portfolio

“Absolutely, I ride a motorcycle, though only a 125. But I am taking lessons, and at Dainese, we do what you call experiences, and we have a whole team that takes clients on amazing trips. And now we are pushing what we

the new generation of innovation, and MotoGP is key for us to learn to do these things and then bring it to the public. MotoGP is where you have the maximum limits, and that is where we will try and help people reach their limits safely.”

We are not changing direction. The company is doing well, so I don’t need to change the direction
Angel Sanchez, Dainese CEO

that is coming soon this year, and it is not a subtle change. It is a step change.” Does Sanchez have any visions for changing the company’s structure, with the AGV and TCX brands? Perhaps, seems the answer. “Multi-brand works. We have total protection from the helmet down, so Dainese has full protection. AGV is the helmet. TCX is for the boots/ shoes, so it works. We are private equity, and we do what private equity does. So, there may be more action, there may not be.”

And for the UK, the firm also has big plans. “The UK market size is not where we want it to be. It’s a very important market, but our presence there is not up to the level we wish: not that we are doing bad, but there are clear opportunities, and we are working with [UK distributor] Nevis.”

call Dainese safety, guided safety riding lessons. I will be one of the first learners; I’m already involved with that.”

One big question is how Dainese plans to adapt to the changing market, with sports bikes declining in importance relative to touring and adventure bikes. Will the firm stick to its MotoGP roots, for example? “MotoGP for us is very important for several reasons,” said Sanchez. “There is one obvious one: advertising where you see the name of Dainese. But what’s also significant for us is the learning experience and all the innovations in the sector. So we are working with the riders for

So, is there no big direction change for the brand? “We are not changing direction. The company is doing well, so I don’t need to change the direction. We need to double down in some areas, and Carlyle and I want to double down on innovation.”

Does that mean new products in areas like airbags? “I wish I could talk to you about the new airbag developments! Things are coming relatively soon. We are trying to make airbags more accessible, and that can be done in two areas. The first is pricing, and the second is coming up with a better product to make it more accessible and easier to wear for everyone. This is something

Sanchez also re-iterates an increasingly common complaint about Brexit. “After Brexit, there has been a very strange situation, not only for our brands but for many others in terms of importer pricing and different taxes that are creating a little bit of chaos, which needs to settle down.

“We are working on that but must listen more to our dealers. Dainese is a great company, full of people with a lot of passion who are very proud to be in this company. But one of the areas that we can do better is listening to our dealers and helping them to do better business with us. So yes, we are committed to better business with Dainese UK.”

32 APRIL 2024 Business news

Lacey Ducati up for sale

Renowned Ducati road and track single-cylinder engine expert Nigel Lacey and his wife Edina, are selling their Lacey Ducati spares business.

“It’s a vibrant business, specialising in engine components for overhead cam, bevel-drive Ducati singles from the late 1950s to the 1980s,” says Lacey. “Turnover has doubled in the last ten years, and it’s still growing.

“Edina, who looks after day-to-day running, is now approaching the time she would like to retire. I want to carry on running the engineering side [Lacey Engineering] developing new parts and carrying out engine repairs, crankshaft rebuilds, and tuning.

“We have been running Lacey Ducati for 26 years, the last 16 years online. The business has approximately 3000 customers

worldwide, including in America, Australia, and Europe. Most of the trade is now for road singles, which are gaining popularity as more owners look for stylish, lighter machines with a pedigree. The wide-case models, especially Desmos, are particularly in demand.

“The spares business has more than 1000 product lines. These are primarily small items, so the business can be run from anywhere with 35-40m2 of space. In addition to service and replacement parts, we make and provide bespoke parts that have been proven under racing conditions.

“We are willing to allow the buyer to use the Lacey name for a transition period, and we would be happy to be consultants during that period. The parts sale would include drawings, intellectual rights, customer database, website, and domain.

We want to see Lacey Ducati continue to thrive.”

The business was established in Portland, Dorset, in 1998. A trained engineer in the nuclear research industry, Lacey’s love of Ducati singles came from owning road models and successfully racing them. The race side raised his business profile.

Among supported riders using Lacey-prepared engines is Nigel Palmer, who won the 2001 Classic Racing MC 250 championship, going on to score

more championships and wins in the UK and Europe over a 15year period. Other well-known Lacey riders include Doug Snow, the fastest Ducati single cylinder rider on the Isle of Man Mountain Course.

Edina, an IT and accountant professional, set up the online sales site in 2008 and upgraded it in 2020. In 2015, the business moved to mid-Wales, near Rhayader, Powys.

Lacey Ducati 01597 870 444

APRIL 2024 33 Business news
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With financial editor Roger Willis

Full year results


After a hundred years of practice, BMW Motorrad should know how to polish a turd! And the biker brand definitely added a decent shine to thin 2023 results. Its annual revenue increased by just 1.2% to £2.746bn. Operating profit managed an even weaker 0.8% rise to £221.3m, with operating margin static at 8.1%. RoCE (return on capital employed) declined to 22.1% from 24.3%.

Pre-tax profit fell by 4.1% to £220.5m. The official excuse was that sales volume growth and positive pricing were offset by unfavourable product mix effects and higher material costs, plus a negative impact from interest expenses. Never mind. The woes of BMW Group as a whole were much greater, as combined net profit spanning all of its activities plunged by 34.5% to £10.395bn.

Naturally, to mark the brand’s centennial year, new BMW Motorrad supremo Markus Flasch and his head of sales and brand Stephan Reiff needed some record unit sales data in 2023 with which to justify an outpouring of effusive twaddle. And they achieved that target by a fairly narrow margin, 3.1% up to 209,257 motorcycles and scooters sold. This claim was marginally corrected to a 3% rise to 209,066 in full financial reporting – but that was still the largest annual headcount in their company’s history. Annual production, incidentally, had grown by 2.8% to 221,988 units.

European retail volume delivered the biggest slice, rising by 4.7% to 116,011. But although Germany’s domestic performance was the strongest, with customers riding away on 24,176 bikes, that represented a gestural increase of only 0.2%. More notable markets in Europe were France, Italy and Spain, with respective gains of 2.1% to 21,668, 3.3% to 16,179

Tin-tub thumping about their 2023 success stories among the European powered two-wheeler manufacturing elite – BMW

Motorrad, Ducati, and Piaggio

–is rife. But actual gains have been much slimmer than they would like to admit, and future advances are open to question

and 1.7% to 12,716. UK input, based on BDN calculations from MCIA registration figures, put on 8.7% to 9435. A relative side-note was the more than doubling to the rounded number of 6000 bikes sold into unspecified Eastern European countries. Public sector contract?

Elsewhere, Asia saw sales lift slightly by 1.6% to 47,061. This total included Chinese consumption 2.8% up to 15,832 and India rising by 20.4% to 8768. Brazilian sales apparently improved by 8.1% to a “record”

tally had risen by just 1.6% to reach 60,535. So R1250 GS uptake was probably flattening prior to the upgrade, bolstered by suspicions of discounting to minimise remaindered stock before the much-trumpeted R1300 GS actually arrived in showrooms, and an aberrant Q3 operating loss.

BMW’s sporting four-cylinder segment was certainly an earner. Now spanning S1000 RR and M1000 RR superbikes, M1000 R and S1000 R roadsters, and the S1000 XR, sales stacked on 7.5% to 25,194. Given M-series bikes at

14,106 and Mexico advanced by 6.8% to 7088. However, BMW Motorrad sales into the previously substantial US market continued to shrink, 3.8% down to 17,017.

As for successful model assessment, a vague tendency crept into the brand’s premium boxer GS range’s scale of contribution. Sales of R1250 GS and R1250 GS Adventure models amounted to 56,007, without detailing year-on-year growth or shrinkage. Once deliveries of some 4528 new R1300 GS models sold in Q4 were added, the annualised

deliveries apparently booming by 44% to 7,177.

On the back of all this hubris, Stephan Reiff ran away with his mouth, spouting an optimistic outlook for 2024. “The sales record in our anniversary year is both an honour and obligation,” he enthused. “With numerous new models, we will do everything in our power to build on this and further consolidate our leading position in the premium segment.”

€-£ currency translation at forex rates applicable on 21 March


Ducati chief executive Claudio Domenicali basked in glory, after his German proprietor Volkswagen Group released reasonable annual performance details for the brand in 2023. But a 154-page report and 31-page supplement from Brand Group Progressive, the alternative moniker for a luxury corporate medley now encompassing Audi leadership plus Bentley, Lamborghini and Ducati, took a more circumspect view of some pertinent figures.

the higher end of this spectrum start at above 30,000 quid, Markus Flasch must be laughing all the way to his Bavarian bank. Admirable PR forelock tugging extended to less glamorous ranges as well. F-series parallel twins were applauded for 3.2% growth to 62,834. The F750 GS, with sales 15.6% up to 11,064, was highlighted. G-series singles from India were also hailed for a “significant contribution”. And finally, global market leadership for the CE 04 electric scooter was cheered, its year-on-year retail

To be exact, Ducati’s fullyear revenue was 2.2% down to £910.4m, while operating profit increased by a fairly modest 2.3% to £95.7m. Operating margin grew very slightly, from 10% to 10.5%. However, production during 2023 had plummeted by 21.4% to just 55,226 motorcycles. Incidentally, 45,621 of these were made in Italy at Bologna. A further 7646 were assembled in Thailand, 1337 in Brazil and 622 in Argentina.

In the previous year, Ducati had made 70,295 machines, a phenomenon described by Brand Group Progressive beancounters based at Ingolstadt in Upper Bavaria as “due to positive pandemic-related recovery effects”. Only 61,562

34 APRIL 2024 International news International news

bikes were sold to customers in 2022, though, therefore a sharp reduction was required to “optimise inventories”. The knock-on effect was 2023’s 5.4% retail sales decline to 58,224.

Ploughing through those output cuts, Scramblers got off lightest with shipments 8.8% lower at 8593. Diavel, Monster and Streetfighter models were slashed by 25.7% to 16,969. Hypermotard, DesertX and Multistrada tackle took a 27.4% dive to 18,749. Availability of premium Supersport and Panigale models sank by 10.8% to 10,915.

Deliveries to customers worldwide, through lack of stock or demand, or both, were spread in a vaguely different pattern. Scramblers dropped 3.2% to 8226. Diavel, Monster and Streetfighter sales were 5.4% down to 18,718. Some 5.1% fewer Hypermotard, DesertX and Multistrada purchases, amounting to 20,370 bikes, left showrooms. And the sporting sector copped a 7.6% loss on 10,910.

Ducati has always been shy about detailing global retail destinations for its wares and this year was no exception. Europe took the credit for 57% of sales, up from 52%. The USA flatlined on 14%. China, including Hong Kong, was the biggest loser, down from 8% to 5% – suggesting the brand is yet another victim of Asia’s economic grief and the geo-political challenges other manufacturers are constantly bleating about. A further 25% went to anonymous regions, falling from 26% in the previous year.

Among the revenue to unit sales growth streaks of fellow VW Brand Group Progressive members, there were only two losers. Besides Ducati, Bentley was the other, dropping by 13.2% to £2.511bn, with retail volume of its trademark limousines 10.6% down to 13,560. (To be fair, Bentley’s operating profit also slumped by 16.7% to £503.2m – still five times bigger than Ducati’s effort.)

Obviously eager to offer a helping hand, Ducati presented the Diavel for Bentley, a

500-strong and £58,000 a pop limited-edition motorcycle fleet inspired by the Bentley Batur grand touring motor car. You can imagine Bentley-owning Brexiteer toffs like Jacob Rees-Mogg tossing aside their top hats and tails to get a leg over one of these Italian stallions. Or, perhaps, founding father Walter Owen Bentley turning in his grave.

Of course, Ducati thought otherwise, eulogising the bike as: “A collaboration that only a motorcycle manufacturer like Ducati can propose and which unites the two brands in an affinity of vision made of

Group performance was sullied by shrinking sales volume and revenue

technology and style.” Please pass the sick bag.

€-£ currency translation at forex rates applicable on 19 March

PIAGGIO: PRESSURE ON Europe’s largest powered twowheeler purveyor has celebrated an all-time record bottom line in its 2023 annual results. But Piaggio Group’s performance was sullied by shrinking sales volume and revenue, owing to economic downturns afflicting much of the Asia Pacific region.

Consolidated group revenue during the full year actually fell by 4.4% to £1.707bn. Turnover in Europe and the Americas had remained stable. And a recovery for Piaggio light commercial vehicle operations in India provided a 14.9% revenue boost from that direction. But contributions from China and South-East Asian countries slumped by 23.8%.

On a brighter note, operating profit was 13.8% up to £154.6m, with operating margin increasing to 9.1% from 7.6% in the previous year. Pre-tax earnings rose by 6.4% to £115.8m, capped by net

profit putting on 7.3% growth to a best-ever result of £77.9m. However, net debt also grew, rising from £315m at the end of 2022 to £371.3m on 31 December 2023.

During the past year, Piaggio sold 436,300 scooters and motorcycles worldwide, a 15.5% decline versus 2022. Related revenue was 8.8% down to £1.314bn. This figure included spares and accessories, the turnover from which added 1% to £134.4m. Specifically, PTW revenue was 0.9% higher across Europe and the Americas, with the Italian market notably improving by 8.7% and North American sales delivering a 3% gain. Sales in both India and Asia Pacific slowed.

In the scooter sector, Piaggio claimed a 22.4% share of the European market and a 29.7% share of the North American market. It also made its usual unsubstantiated claim of continued consolidation for the Aprilia and Moto Guzzi brands in North America’s motorcycle market. Also in the motorcycle sector, Piaggio says the market responded strongly to Moto Guzzi’s V100 Mandello model and showed clear interest in prebooking for the new Moto Guzzi Stelvio. Again, no supporting data whatsoever was provided.

Commenting on his first annual results presentation since getting the top job, Piaggio’s rookie chief executive Michele Colaninno said: “With each quarter, the global macroeconomic scenario is becoming more difficult to interpret and very unstable, and this will continue through the current year.”

€-£ currency translation at forex rates applicable on 5 March

APRIL 2024 35 International news
Piaggio CEO Michele Colaninno
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Norton signs on MV Agusta’s R&D guru

Getting the right minds into a revamped organisation is vital. And the new Norton management team has taken a big step forward by poaching Brian Gillen from MV Agusta. Gillen has spent more than 15 years at MV Agusta in charge of R&D, and he also played a big part in the Italian company’s various efforts in Superbike and Supersport racing. BDN has met the American engineer at a few MV Agusta press launches over the years, and he’s

an impressive character, combining indepth technical knowledge with humour and charisma.

Working as the new chief technology officer at Norton, the firm says Gillen’s primary role will be to “drive the development of its premium motorcycle range and strengthen the company’s commitment to technological innovation and engineering excellence.”

New commercial director at WSG



WARRANTY Solutions Group (WSG), has appointed Neil Monks (below) as its new group commercial director. Monks has a wealth of automotive experience in both the UK and international markets, having worked at the highest level within WMS Group, LeasePlan and BT.

Formerly the sales and customer service director of WMS Group, Monks was responsible for managing the sales and customer service transition from WMS to its new parent Opteven.

Monks said, “WSG has big ambitions and a tremendous entrepreneurial business with fabulous people. We are very privileged to have great customers. In my opinion, the next few years will bring great opportunities and challenges. I look forward to some incredibly exciting times ahead.”

Steph Newbery, group director of WSG added: “Neil’s impressive industry experience will serve the business well in the coming years, combined with a clearly defined strategy to keep WSG growing and investing in both its people and customers.”

DF Capital add Thomson to their director lineup

DF Capital, the Manchesterbased specialist bank providing inventory finance solutions to dealers and manufacturers, has appointed Sean Thomson (right) as managing director of business development, to support the bank’s growth aspirations.

Reporting to Garry Frew, DF Capital’s chief commercial officer, Thomson will provide strategic direction, planning and execution of business development activity, focusing on introducing the bank’s existing commercial lending products within new market sectors.

to help advance the strategic vision and help grow the business.”

Prior to joining DF Capital, Thomson built the Investec Capital Solutions business in the North West. He also spent time at banking firm Aldermore and financial services company Bibby in various sales and business development roles.

Thomson said: “I am excited to join DF Capital, it has a strong reputation as a leader in the inventory finance space. I look forward to working with the team

Frew commented: “To support our ambitious growth plans, we are thrilled to have Sean join us to lead our efforts in developing new market opportunities. He brings a wealth of corporate and commercial finance experience, and a consultative approach. I am confident that his expertise, particularly in product management and strategy, will play a crucial role in helping us meet our goals.”

Omercik joins the NMDA

Murat Omercik has replaced Adam Weeks at the National Motorcycle Dealer Association as public affairs officer having previously worked in the legal sector. Omercik will play a pivotal roll in relaying NMDA information and data services to dealers, including the upcoming Spring Dealer Attitude Survey (DAS) and monthly newsletters.

07385 097714

36 APRIL 2024 On the move


Your thoughts and opinions on the trade’s top topics

Breaking the braking problem

Iread with interest that rider training schools in the EU are teaming up with university research departments to improve safety through better tuition (BDN February).

Last year I was asked by the National Young Riders Forum to advise on the specific dangers to young riders, having designed and delivered post-test training courses in the past for young riders for Safer Roads South Yorkshire.

That was a few years ago, so I was looking to update the data. I immediately found the new illegal step-on e-scooter problem, in particular, that they take so long to stop, an obvious design fault, as they tip up.

This led me to look at PTW braking in general. I have been aware of a problem with some riders, going back to when I first started posttest training 14 years ago. When I started road

Down memory lane

WHAT A GREAT READ FOR ME, AND probably many others, was Eric Sulley’s Industry Greats profile in the March issue of BDN . I liked the comment: “Sulley had the charisma, the balls and, of course, the budget to make things happen”, and also the reference to PTWs, motorcycles and scooters now being called units rather than what they are, exciting, fun, products of adventure and convenience.

Yes, it certainly gave me lots of memories. An example: In my late teen years in the 1950s, I was delivering motorcycle accessories to North West dealers from local wholesaler Leonard Heys, based in Blackpool, and continued to do so into the 1960s as a budding sales rep, meeting dealers like Tom Loughridge and Bill Smith. What a character Bill is. A straight-faced bullshit exponent, as well as a clever, talented guy, well ahead of his time.

racing many years ago, I found at first that most other riders could brake far later than I could, but I had no idea of the extent of the braking problem on the road or how serious it was.

Research has found the average rider can't quite meet Highway Code stopping distances, with the difference between the best and average riders braking from 60mph is stopping in time or a 30mph impact, or a 40mph probable fatal collision for the worst riders.

The DVSA advice on emergency braking makes no sense and is different from the advice in Police Motorcycle Roadcraft, which is also misleading. Riders need to immediately apply both brakes and keep the front brake on, only releasing some pressure if the rear wheel leaves the ground.

Research also found 50% of riders skid and fall in an emergency, and 35% don’t brake at all!

In response to the research, I’ve proposed a new safety campaign, “Brake like a Pro”, which I'm hoping the DVSA and training industry actions.

I don’t think we train or test riders to brake effectively from higher speeds, and this needs to be addressed immediately. It could significantly reduce KSIs.

There is a free smartphone app, iAccel Lite, which everyone, including riders themselves, can use to check themselves. 0.67g is the Highway Code standard, 1g is the limit as bikes also tip up eventually, and 0.8g is achievable with practice.

Any help getting this message across will be much appreciated.

I went on to ride a 350cc Triumph for the police, complete with fairing and blue light. It could get to around 70mph tops – not quick enough to keep up with a Yamaha 250 or any of the other Japanese two-strokes that were killing or injuring a lot of youngsters before Lynda Chalker stepped in.

How we beat Honda

IT WAS INTERESTING READING ABOUT ERIC Sulley in last month’s BDN. Even at 95 years old, I still do well remember the vibrant Eric. He didn’t cause us any grief, but certainly kept us on our toes all those years ago. The great challenge was market share. Honda was always top, which caused us some concern.

I said to Peter Agg, “We have to beat Honda’s registration figures”, and he agreed it would be a great thing to do. We did it by reducing our prices and the delivery charge, and re-organising our dealer network. Within two months, we were

I still live in Lytham St Annes, where Phil Newbury, a young budding entrepreneur, set up Tower Carriers in the late 1950s, quickly spotting the potential for a dealer to double his, then around fifty quid, sales margin on a Lambretta or Honda C50 with a carrier, crash bars, top box and whatever else could be bolted on. It took years for the Japanese importers to wake up to the bolt-on potential.

Before they did catch on, I must have delivered and taken orders for thousands of Lambretta backrest carriers at £4 19s 6d each, and the deal was a baker’s dozen!

Really enjoyed the read and the way Mayo is portraying Eric. Looking forward to part two.

Featherstone, Lytham St Annes

number one on registrations – much to Eric’s great concern. He thought we were fiddling the books. Unlike Honda, we did not favour our bigger dealers with extra discounts or lower prices. Much to our amazement, the formula worked, and we had top registrations for three months. Eric was cross and concerned and tried all sorts of things to beat us. He was a likeable character and did an awful lot of good for the motorcycle trade back in the 70s and 80s. He, of course, followed on from Jim Harrison, who handed him Honda on a plate.

As I say, a very likeable character. On one occasion, I well remember he said to me:

Unscripted interruption!

I SENT THE VERY ENTERTAINING ERIC Sulley story (BDN, March) to Harry Harper, who was Honda’s North West area manager during Sulley’s era. He points out that Eric’s “finest chapter” slogan was misquoted. It should be, “The finest chapters have yet to be written.”

Also, the caption to the picture of Eric with his secretary “Kaye Brown” was incorrect, the lady he is with is his long-suffering wife, Muriel.

I worked with Harry at Honda from 19892009 as the area manager for the North East and Scotland. During our time together, we exchanged many hilarious “Eric” stories.

At one of his seminars, he introduced Honda’s CB250 Super Dream as a Yamaha RD250 beater, and Alan Mountain, the York dealer, shouted out, “Fuuuucking hell, you could buy two Yamahas for that”! That one was definitely not a scripted interruption!

Eddy Good, DJG Racing/EBG services, Whitley Bay

BDN has already apologised to Kaye Brown for the caption error. Ed

“Maurice, let’s take a few of the dealers out to dinner tonight”. I agreed and we met up at some classy place and sat down for the evening meal. Before we started Eric said “I will buy the food you buy the drinks”. When the wine waiter arrived, I asked Eric what he wanted. He said, “I only drink the best champagne.” It was £65 a bottle! He was a crafty bugger!

There were a number of occasions when we crossed swords, we had our dislikes and likes, but nevertheless we both sold a lot of bikes and had a lot of fun doing it. Eric was a very likeable rogue.

Maurice Knight, Former Suzuki sales director

APRIL 2024 37 Reaction Reaction
thoughts and opinions on the topics that make the trade tick are always welcome: BDN, 10 Daddon Court, Clovelly Road Industrial Estate, Bideford, EX39 3FH
40 MARCH 2024 Industry Greats Dealers loved it – BSA never provided them with entertainment like this! My first impression on meeting Eric Sulley was of a rather reserved, almost studious man! Golden man of motorcycling’s golden age Eric Sulley, Honda UK 1970 through 1984, was walking, talking contradiction of man. brilliant salesman, marketeer communicator, came to dominate motorcycling and turbulent years. During the course of years, he came pretty close to destroying Honda had built through an insane but calculated policy in which discounting became a way and chaos ruled. Literally move- the-metal – at any price. first before joined Honda when was selling Capri scooters (thousands of them) Scootermatic, official distributors appointed by Honda, Japan, to handle sales the UK. Along with Honda, they were also distributors for Agrati scooters Garelli’s best selling Owned by Burton- on-Humber bicycle manufacturer Elswick Hopper, whose managing director was Douglas Mayo (no relation), Scootermatic launched Honda Show two models, the 50cc C100 retailing at 97 guineas (£102) and the C102, electric start, additional seven guineas (£8). Alongside on were the latest models from and Garelli. That Eric left Scootermatic up his own company as distributor for Laverda. then, Laverda’s range comprised 200cc twin versions Mini Scooter, designed for the ladies’ market. Up against Triumph’s Tina scooter, the were tough sell. expensive than the sales were poor, so poor almost bankrupted them. revenue from not even covered tooling costs! The Tina, most reliable come out of Meriden, went on to sell 20,000 five-year production run. It’s hard believe now, but first impression on meeting Eric was of rather reserved, almost studious certainly no salesman. On reflection, have been the problems he was having flogging made that particular day not day! His next Raleigh Industries, where his previous success selling Capri scooters plus his earlier American headquarters (something was extremely proud could be put to better At the time, Raleigh was the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles, Nottingham factory employed around and, as well as dominating the UK market, was exporting vast quantities of bicycles to America the rest of the world. Harrison, main director, ran the operation, and it was for Big went to work new motorised division, was then selling Motobecane- engined Wisp moped had launched in 1961, along with small range of conventional mopeds. Raleigh later closed its motorised division after five years, citing poor Well aware motorcycle industry, then the biggest in the world, would do everything it could to Honda from getting foothold in its own backyard, Honda Japan it would be almost impossible to achieve volume sales through the existing motorcycle dealer network as quickly as wanted. It had to find another route into the High Street. Bicycle retailers were obvious alternative, Harrison the obvious to head new operation. Big joined Honda in 1962 director of sales, setting first UK sales office in Nottingham. Two years later, he offices to Road, Chiswick, leaving spares and service depot in Nottingham. In total new annual registrations were British Dealer News publisher Colin Mayo reflects on the life and times of the most controversial and successful motorcycle salesman of time all of them British scooters and on the 236,687 registrations achieved previous year. this time (1963) that Eric got the call from his boss at Raleigh, not the Honda sales sort out spares service issues at the Nottingham depot, later to be moved to Chiswick. These days, Eric frequently credited with setting up Honda in the but was Big Jim the spade work and very capably, too. When Honda in 1970 registrations year were 106,058, with many of them and this was achieved despite weakening economy, various oil crisis sales diving to only 85,412 1969. When Jim left Honda to Moore Large, and later to Douglas Vespa, Eric in. With the responsibility (and the benefit of 10-year apprenticeship under Big Jim), a more confident character emerged, one remarkably similar to Big Jim’s. Like he was big man big voice, and he volume to good effect when he needed command attention, often! They both a drink too! SEMINARS Eric’s early years leading the sales team were magical. Although Honda’s product reliability and advertising had already thousands to commuting on powered two wheels from and buses, sales and marketing talent that really got things moving. It is exaggeration to say his regional start-of-season seminars inspirational. of seven kicked off the season, when he Honda’s first campaign. Those seven was later claimed, netted 16,000 sales. Back in days, many dealers signed on for Honda had been selling bicycles from lockups run-down shops. had been to turn profit selling British motorcycles, where they had been contending inept management and mostly sub-standard After the dead hand played by the Brits, Honda and Eric were pure oxygen. It’s true to say that early seminars helped inspire re-motivate dealers, desperate for an alternative way. Those seminars didn’t by accident. He would engage the best creative agencies to create theme event, which Dallas, the American TV soap, and the The models employed to entertain guests included Dinah who was Miss GB in 1976. seminar format become legendary throughout the trade. Immaculately attired in sometimes ‘assisted’ by nubile model two, he’d start by introducing the season’s new running through features and prices, When he had explain new technical innovations, he’d have ‘Technicals’ his strengths, so to relieve the boredom, make a ‘mistake’ about what the new gizmo or was for. He’d get a very loud bollocking from a dealer in much to the other dealers. Invariably, the interruption had been pre-planned, the dealer later rewarded or two Alan Mountain, dealer in York, was frequent performer. After the fun, would get into the stuff, berating and praising, in turn, his wide- eyed audience. Dealers loved it BSA never provided them with entertainment regions Honda’s market had, maybe, slipped, dealers: “Failure is springboard to success, but to get there you’ve work harder, so get there and sell, sell, Another favourite aphorism his was: “The next chapter has yet to be written, make sure you are in it”. Inspired by the new the season’s new promotion plans and the always present Priority Order dealers left having ordered more bikes than had intended, but equally important, motivated the season ahead. Sad to say, later, the discount war raging, the word and sullied, with dealers attending only under orders; others just stayed away. Everyone who him had their Sulley story to tell. he had retired, when a group of dealers got together, Eric’s exploits would be recounted, EricSulleyaccompaniedto dealeropen byhissecretary, Brown

The initial Zeeho range comprises three bikes: the AE6+, AE8 S+ and City Sport.

The AE6+ is a lightweight 7.5hp, 50mph machine with one or two batteries, while the AE8 S+ is a full 125-spec scooter with nearly 17hp peak power, a 62mph top speed and dual batteries. The City Sport is a Sur-Ron or Talaria-type off-road-styled bike, though it is road legal, with 80kg weight and 30mph top speed.

The City Sport costs £2899, the AE6+ is £3099 with one battery or £3799 with the optional second battery, and the AE8 S+ is £4699

CFMoto launches Zeeho

The electric two-wheeled sector might be in a bit of a hole at the moment, but plenty of companies are betting that the situation will change soon and are launching new battery-powered brands, especially in the urban mobility sector.

Only a few, however, have the potential and backing of Zeeho. It’s a sub-brand of Chinese bike manufacturer CFMoto, which means it has the support of the Pierer Mobility group, owners of KTM.

BDN went along to Zeeho’s European launch in Barcelona to try out the new scooters and hear about the firm’s plans. We spoke to CFMoto brand director Samantha Liu, who looks after the whole Zeeho project. She’s been at CFMoto since 2006, starting work there as an intern straight from university, and has headed up Zeeho since it was launched in 2018. She’s also in charge of CFMoto’s motorsport activities in Moto2 and Moto3, and she’s been to the Isle of Man TT to watch the CFMoto WK650 race bike take fourth place in the 2016 Lightweight TT.

How does the Zeeho brand operate, then?

“It’s a wholly owned subsidiary and has around 150 employees,” said Liu. The business unit is more for the front end, from sales and marketing to product planning and R&D. But CFMoto as a group has an integrated ‘new energy’ department that develops, designs, and tests batteries.”


Does Zeeho production happen alongside CFMoto? “Yes, production is shared in the same facility as CFMoto motorcycles and also next to the CFMoto/KTM joint venture.”

Will Zeeho be the firm’s only electric bike brand? It seems not. Zeeho will be the name for CFMoto’s urban mobility electric products, and the main brand will produce bigger, more powerful ‘fun’ battery-powered machines. “CFMoto has already developed and presented several electric vehicles. Last year, we released a ‘leak’ of a prototype electric motocross bike under the CFMoto brand.”

David Edwards is the dealer development

manager at KTM UK and is overseeing the Zeeho dealership rollout. “A small demo fleet of Zeeho bikes is coming from Barcelona to the UK,” he told us. “As soon as we get them, we will visit interested dealers for them to see and evaluate, with a view to becoming dealers. Zeeho is open to any dealer in the UK: it’s a standalone brand.”

Where does Edwards reckon the brand will do well? “I think it’s going to be much more urban. The leads I’ve got at the moment are much more skewed to the South East, so inside the M25 and surrounding counties.”

Zeeho is also putting together a special EV package for new dealers that includes safety training and kit, plus workshop equipment, visual identity, and point-of-sale materials.

Edwards outlined the advantages for existing KTM and CFMoto dealers. “CFMoto parts come from the same warehouse in Austria, and dealers will be familiar with the systems and processes if they’re already a KTM dealer. It’s proven and well tested.”

Email David at

Electric news Electric
header - 1 12/03/2024 11:36

Vmoto gets its Stash out

If you believe that the motorcycle trade works in cycles, then electric bikes should be due a comeback in 2024 after suffering a torrid year in 2023. And the top selling brand in the batterypowered sector, Vmoto, is launching a new bike it hopes will help things along. The Stash is, according to the firm, a more middleweight machine, which “bridges the massive gap between low-cost, lowpowered electric scooters and bikes and the high-performance big budget electric ‘two-wheel Teslas’”.

The Stash is a 125cc-class 11kW nominal output machine that’s A1 licence-friendly, but offers the maximum performance available in that sector thanks to a 15kW boost mode available for short periods. It weighs 143kg, has an impressive claimed range of 93.2 miles (150km) on a single charge, a compact wheelbase of 1373mm, and a comfortable seat height of 830mm.

Vmoto UK CEO Clive Mann said: “We couldn’t be more excited about the Stash. This initiates a new era for Vmoto, bridging the gap between electric and ICE and providing not just high-quality, but great-value, learner-legal vehicles. This year will see a huge push for us as a brand in the UK and worldwide, and this is just the beginning.”

The Vmoto Stash is priced at £6299 + OTR for launch only, and is available in black or blue colourways.

More information:;

Yamaha invests in Indian EV firm

CONFUSION OVER THE ROLE OF BATTERY POWER IN MAINSTREAM motorcycling continues. But firms like Yamaha seem to be hedging their bets, investing in a variety of different possible technologies with an eye on the future. So, the tuning-fork brand has announced a new investment in World of River, a startup that manufactures and sells electric scooters in India. The investment is for River’s Series B round of funding through a third-party allotment.

In India, the world’s largest market for electric two-wheelers, River has established River Mobility Private Limited in Bengaluru as a group company that offers electric scooters.

According to Yamaha, the Indian government is supporting moves to electrification to combat environmental issues as well as to promote domestic manufacturing, and the Japanese firm reckons the market for electric two-wheelers is growing rapidly. Yamaha Motor Group’s environmental plan 2050 has set a goal of reducing CO₂ emissions from its products by 90% by 2050 compared to 2010. The River investment is aimed at helping achieve this goal.

APRIL 2024 39
Electric news
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Cake crumbles further

TROUBLED ELECTRIC BIKE maker Cake, already in administration, has been hit with more problems. The firm has announced a safety recall on all of its 2018-2023 Kalk production motorcycles.

The recall centres on the battery packs which, according to the firm, “may fail under rare conditions that may occur during charging. These rare conditions have until now only been observed when charging outside of prescribed instructions. Battery cell failures occurring during charging can potentially result in the development of smoke and/or fire.”

More details available at:

Zapp secures investment

UK-BASED ELECTRIC URBAN mobility firm Zapp has announced a new cash injection, which it says will allow production and roll-out of its new i300 electric scooter. There’s an initial investment of $1.5m from Yorkville Advisors Global LP via a standby equity purchase agreement, with a possible further $8.5m available via share issues over the next three years.

Swin Chatsuwan, founder and chief executive officer of Zapp EV, said: “Our design and engineering teams have delivered an exceptional product. With this vote of confidence from a renowned investor, we have the financial resources for the expected rollout of i300s this year.”

Registrations data

Alternative powered two wheeler registrations for February 2024

Following January’s spark of unaccustomed positivity, February battery electric PTW registrations slumped back into the sector’s normal gloom. Monthly market share declined from the 4.6% realised a year earlier to just 3%. Total headcount plunged by 31.4% to 155 units. Some 139 of these resided in the core up-to-11kW mobility slot, falling overall by 26.8%. Within that, up to 4kW mopeds actually increased by 28.4% to 86, and 13 samples of the 2.5kW Yamaha Neo’s scooter claimed best-seller gong, pursued by nine Sur-Ron Light Bees.

Another unlucky 13 figure featured in

the A1 category for 4-11kW machines boasting approximate 125cc equivalence, which fell by 56.9% to a mere 53. Best-sellers this time were Vmoto Super Soco CPx scooters.

Dire straits were the watchwords henceforth. The 11-35kW segment contained precisely nothing whatsoever, down from two 15kW BMW CE 04 maxi scooters in February last year. And then a solitary example of the evocatively entitled Zero Motorcycles SR/S ZF17.3 occupied 35kW-plus territory. A further two exempt and nine unknown products plumped out the total tally.

40 APRIL 2024 Electric news
Alternate power rolling year Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 2022/23 2023/24 1. Sur-Ron Ultra Bee 52 2. Sur-Ron Light Bee 33 3. Vmoto Super Soco CPX 32 4. Yamaha Neo’s 16 5. Lexmoto Cypher 14 BEST SELLING MODELS 2024 YTD Registration statistics supplied by the MCIA; tel 02476 408000; 2024 / 2023 Registrations by style MOPEDS Feb 2024 Feb 2023 % Change MOTORCYCLES Feb 2024 Feb 2023 % Change Adventure 3 0 0.0% Adventure 0 1 -100.0% Competition 24 30 -20.0% Competition 8 12 -33.3% Custom 0 0 0.0% Modern classic 4 26 -84.6% EPAC 3 0 0.0% Naked 10 22 -54.5% Modern Classic 0 0 0.0% Road sport 0 0 0.0% Naked 7 6 16.7% Scooter 34 91 -62.6% Other L-Cat 3 0 0.0% Unspecified 0 0 0.0% Scooter 46 30 53.3% TOTAL 56 152 -63.2% Unspecified 0 1 -100.0% TOTAL 86 67 28.4% TOTAL REGISTRATIONS Feb 2024 Feb 2023 % Change TRICYCLES Feb 2024 Feb 2023 % Change 151 220 -31.4% TOTAL 9 1 800.0% 2024 / 2023 Registrations by power band Year to date Highest registering model by power band Feb Regs POWER BAND Feb 2024 Feb 2023 % Change Feb 2024 Feb 2023 % Change Under 4kW 86 67 28.4% 192 150 28.0% Yamaha Neo’s 13 4-11kW 53 123 -56.9% 171 227 -24.7% Vmoto Super Soco CPX 13 11-35kW 0 2 -100.0% 5 5 0.0% Over 35kW 1 2 -50.0% 10 3 233.3% Zero Motorcycles SR/S ZF17.3 1 Exempt 2 7 -71.4% 5 13 -61.5% Electric Motion Epure Race 2 Unknown 9 19 -52.6% 21 23 -8.7% TOTAL REGISTRATIONS 151 220 -31.4% 404 421 -4.0%
APRIL 2024 41 Electric news

Off-road news

With off-road correspondent Rick Kemp

Alpinestars claims world first for Tech-Air system

Alpinestars recently launched its new Tech-Air Off-Road, which it claims is the world’s first dedicated off-road airbag system, simultaneously in California and Italy.

This FIM-homologated airbag is specifically designed to handle the rigours of fast off-road riding and rallies and provides upper body protection on the trails.

Developed and tested since 2017, with input from hundreds of professional rally racing and Dakar riders, racing in the most gruelling conditions on all types of terrain, the Tech-Air Off-Road system was used by 107 riders in this year’s Dakar Rally, including the full podium of Ricky Brabec, Ross Branch, and Adrien Van Beveren, as well as the rest of the top eight riders.

With more than 10,000 hours and millions of kilometres of logged riding data, TechAir Off-Road’s crash detection algorithms

have been fine-tuned, allowing amateur and hobby riders to use the same protection as top professionals. The Tech-Air Off-Road has three riding modes: Enduro, Rally and Street, allowing users to easily and quickly select the most suitable algorithm based on their chosen type of terrain or style of riding. A two-second vibrating haptic alert notifies the rider when the system is activated or deactivated. Riding modes are easy to navigate while on the move via an LED display located on the front of the system or via the Tech-Air app.


CE level 1 back armour and removable armour at the shoulders and elbows.

The system comes installed with two gas inflators, providing riders with two airbag deployments before they need to replace the gas inflator canisters. In addition, if the airbag bladder has not been damaged during a deployment, the bladder is certified for up to four individual deployments before requiring service.

When deployed, the Tech-Air protects the rider by delivering CE Level 1 – Active Airbag full chest and back protection, plus coverage to the shoulders, neck, and collarbones, in the event of a crash. The system is integrated with Alpinestars’ Off-Road Protection jacket equipped with a CE level 2 full chest protector,

OSET announced as ACU Youth National sponsor

THE ACU YOUTH NATIONAL SERIES, home to some of the best young trials riders nationwide, will be sponsored by off-road electric bike brand OSET Bikes in 2024.

The trials brand has been busy over the last 18 months, during which it was acquired by Triumph and launched the new TXP range.

OSET founder Ian Smith said: “Some of the world’s best trials riders started their careers on OSET bikes. The likes of Harry and George Hemingway, Harry Turner, and my own son Oliver, all now compete at world level. It’s now time for the next generation of riders to grow, and we are delighted to support this championship and the sport we love.”

The brand plans to attend all rounds of the series to offer encouragement and practical support in the form of spare parts and advice.

“We’ll be on hand to help ensure

every OSET rider has the opportunity to ride at the highest level in the UK,” Smith said. “We would add that it is possible to participate in just your local round – a bit like a taster – to get a feel for how championship events differ from a normal trials event. For families that have ridden OSET Cup North, we would say if you can ride the red route, you can compete at national level.”

Elaine Connor, representing the ACU, said: “We are delighted to welcome OSET on board. We are all working hard to encourage as many riders as possible to participate in trials competition at a national level.”

Championship dates

• 27-28 Apr : Surrey Schoolboy

• 18-19 May : Scarborough

• 1 June : Hookwoods trials

• 6-7 July : Alton MCC

• 10-11 Aug : Non-Stop Trials MCC

• 28 Sept : Earl Shilton

The Tech-Air is a pretty complex piece of kit as it stands. Add to that the fact that it’s Bluetooth-enabled, allowing riders to update their system via the app, and rides can also be recorded on Google Maps. You’ll also need customers with suitably deep pockets, they won’t get much change out of a grand!

New Kawasaki capacity

Kawasaki has introduced a new capacity option for younger riders this season, the KX112 – a classic twostroke, water-cooled, single-cylinder bike with a 19in front and 16in rear wheel combination.

The new model features a six-speed transmission and is supplied with Dunlop MX33 tyres. Additionally, Ergofit functionality gives an adjustable handlebar mounting system, allowing riders to choose from six possible positions, which is handy given the varying size and shape of youth riders.

With a seat height of 870mm and a weight of just 77kg, the new KX112 could be an exciting new practice and track day option for discerning young riders. It should be available later this month, priced at £5049.

Off-road news

Yamaha gets ‘em while they’re young

YAMAHA MOTOR UK IS RAMPING up its commitment to supporting the rising stars of tomorrow by shifting its primary focus to providing support to youth motocross. The Japanese manufacturer will focus its 2024 efforts on bolstering its YZ bLU cRU programme.

Spearheaded by former motocross rider, and experienced team manager, Jeff Perrett, Yamaha’s YZ bLU cRU programme offers comprehensive support to riders of Yamaha’s YZ65, 85, and 125cc models throughout the

upcoming race season. It gives youngsters access to coaching, technical support, and mentoring from some of the biggest names in off-road.

Enrolment into the YZ bLU cRU comes with various added benefits, ranging from a free collection of Paddock Blue clothing and graphics kits to discounted prices on YZ bikes and parts at participating Yamaha Off-Road Dealerships (subject to racing in an ACU-approved championship).

Yamaha divisional manager Matt Taylerson commented:

“We feel incredibly proud to offer valuable support within various aspects of youth motocross in 2024. Bolstering talent that floods from the UK is a huge priority. Continuing our widely successful bLU cRU programme is another area of great interest for Yamaha, as we aim to drive and encourage progression for riders who compete within the ranks of European and

global motocross. As we aspire to create a lasting impact on the future of the sport, we believe we must open as many doors as possible, allowing emerging racing prospects the opportunity to showcase their abilities and push them towards achieving their career aspirations.” yz-blu-cru-cup

Bickers backs two MX teams

Bickers has announced it will continue its support of two British off-road teams for this season, including the supply of Maxxis tyres, RK chains, Supersprox sprockets, and a variety of Motorex lubricants.

The SJP Moto KTM teams will consist of a six-rider line-up featuring Jayden Haigh, Josh Vail, Harvey Collins, Leo Wilson, Jimmy Boxall and female rider Libby Chatburn.

Vail, the Triple Big Wheel 85cc champion in 2023, moves up to the 125cc class, and this year will focus on the Dirt Store ACU British Motocross Championship as he looks to clinch the title that the SJP Moto team has won for the last three seasons. He will also compete in some rounds of the European EMX125 Championship, the Fastest 40,

and the Bridgestone Masters.

New faces Harvey Collins in the Big Wheel 85cc class, and Leo Wilson and Jimmy Boxall in the small-wheel 85cc class, will all be riding in the Dirt Store ACU British Motocross Championship. Libby Chatburn will be targeting the Acerbis Nationals and AMCA Championships.

As well as backing SJP Moto, Bickers will continue its rider support for Chambers Racing. Never a team to stand still, Chambers will be contesting the debut season of the Nora Pro Championship. Dan Thornhill has come on board for MX1, and Arthur King recently took first place at round one of the British Youth Motocross Qualifiers in the SW85 class to get his season off to a cracking start.

New 10Ten RS is set to shock

THE NEW 10TEN MXE-RS IS A YOUTH-SIZE electric motocross model scheduled to arrive on these shores in June.

Importer Dualways describes the new bike as “cutting-edge” and says the electric-powered machine has been developed over a two year period with Dualways’ in-house development team based in the UK. The company says its focus was to “deliver unparalleled quality and performance to the club racing and leisure riding sectors, all at a remarkably competitive price”.

Whether it lives up to those lofty ambitions will be revealed in the summer, but the Bafang 5.5kW motor and controller, combined with a premiumquality LG battery, should provide a powerful and exhilarating ride for youngsters.

The MXE-RS comes in both 12in/12in and 14in/12in wheel size configurations, with both sizes available in grey/black and red/black.


01623 708607

APRIL 2024 43 Off-road news
Chambers Racing SJP

Business Beat

Wrongful trading is a potential minefield for company directors and requires preventative action if they’re to avoid personal liability for company debts

On concluding that a limited company is insolvent, it’s vitally important that directors shift their focus away from generating profits for shareholders towards protecting the interests of the company’s creditors. In practical terms, this means the rigorous monitoring of, and control over, the company’s financial affairs, in particular, ensuring that no further liabilities are incurred and that any asset disposals are conducted with a view to maximising returns to the creditors.

With a combination of professional advice, appropriate changes to business strategy, and prudent decision‐making, the company may well weather the storm and return to a position where regular payments to suppliers, lenders, and HM Revenue and Customs can resume.

However, to simply plough on in the same manner, as debts continue to mount, will bring with it a number of risks, including culpability for wrongful trading, a form of misconduct under Section 214 of The Insolvency Act. For directors, the consequences may be a lengthy ban from acting as a company officer and a claim against their personal assets by any appointed liquidator.


The term “balance sheet insolvency” refers to a situation whereby a company’s liabilities exceed the value of its assets; whereas the “cash flow” definition of insolvency applies where a company is unable to pay its liabilities as and when they fall due. Arguably, the latter is of more immediate concern because


a failure to maintain payments to creditors as required, is likely to lead to recovery action being instigated and, ultimately, if the liability remains unpaid, compulsory liquidation via a winding‐up order made by the court.


The Insolvency Act states that wrongful trading occurs “where a director knew, or ought to have concluded that there was no reasonable prospect that the company would avoid going into insolvent liquidation”.

After reaching the point at which a reasonable person would have halted the company’s trading activities due to worsening

financial circumstances, a director could become personally liable for any debts subsequently incurred while insolvent trading continued. This may also apply to any de‐facto directors (those that assumed the role of director without being appointed) and shadow directors (those at whose direction a governing majority of the board is accustomed to act).


In order to establish liability for wrongful trading, an appointed liquidator will attempt to determine a date at which the company was balance sheet insolvent and then gather

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evidence and information to show that it was unreasonable for the directors to continue trading after this date. Steps will then be taken to recover the appropriate level of monetary contribution from the culpable director(s), which may involve making an application to court for an order to enforce payment. The liquidator will also report any potential wrongful trading – in addition to any other possible, identified misconduct – to the Insolvency Service for consideration as regards disqualification proceedings. Depending on the severity of the misconduct, directors can face a ban of between two and 15 years.


There are a number of measures that directors can take to reduce the risk of being responsible for wrongful trading, but, as a first step, it is strongly recommended that advice is sought from a licensed insolvency practitioner as soon as difficulties in servicing regular debt repayments arise.

In addition to providing guidance specific to the company and the situation in question, professional advice is likely to include a number of general points of good practice.

Directors should maintain detailed records of key financial decisions, ensuring that the minutes of board meetings are in sufficient depth. These records will assist if the company subsequently enters liquidation, and the directors need to explain their rationale for any particular actions that the liquidators may wish to investigate.

The cash flow position should be regularly and closely monitored and compared to any cash flow projections. Cost control measures, the progress of supplier discussions, and trading performance should also be closely monitored.

Directors should be prepared to adapt or replace any recovery strategy in the face of unexpected events (such as the loss of a major contract). It is advisable to discuss any material changes to strategy with an

Directors should maintain detailed records of key financial decisions, ensuring that the minutes of board meetings are in sufficient depth

insolvency practitioner before proceeding with a new approach.

The focus of continuing trade should be to minimise the losses to creditors, therefore, the completion of ongoing works and the receipt of payments from customers should be one of the main priorities.

All staff should be aware of and follow the recovery action plans. Directors will ultimately be accountable if employees engage in any practice that may constitute wrongful trading.

If it becomes necessary to sell fixed assets in order to pay creditors or sustain trading, professional valuations should be obtained beforehand to avoid selling at an undervalue. Detailed records of the rationale behind the sale and how any proceeds were utilised should be maintained. The circumstances behind any recent sale of fixed assets will be scrutinised if the company enters liquidation, and recovery actions taken against the directors if appropriate.


It’s worth reiterating that obtaining professional advice is the key to improving the prospects of a struggling company and, in the event of liquidation, minimising the risk of a wrongful trading allegation with its potentially severe impact on personal finances and career. 


Ade Furniss is a senior insolvency administrator at BRI

Business Beat Cloud-based Dealer Management System Blue CloudDMS Cloud-based Dealer Management System DeepBlue CloudDMS Web Phone 020 8541 4131 Email
Adam Bernstein


Tops for charisma and best-ever for sales

Shortly after Eric Sulley departed Honda in 1982, he phoned asking if I would visit him at his Nuneaton home. He wanted to present his perspective of events during the great Honda discount saga. Armed with tape recorder – all interviews were taped and published in Q&A form to avoid any later disputes about what had, or had not, been said – I was welcomed by a very affable and sober Eric. About halfway through the Q&As, I asked if he had any regrets about what he had done to dealers over the years. He didn’t answer, but there were tears in his eyes.

It seemed he was genuinely sorry for what had happened on his watch. But an ego the size of Mount Fuji would never allow him to admit it!

Following the interview contact between us was sporadic, but unlike some industry leaders who retire to the golf course never to been seen again, Eric remained in touch with his friends in the trade, as well as some of his old staff at Honda, thus keeping himself well

informed about what was going on. In 1984, when monthly new bike registrations were in freefall, he called me again; “Colin my dear boy, what are Motor Cycle Dealer (MCD) and you going to do about the crisis we’re in? I was stunned. I can’t remember my exact words, but it was along the lines of: “That’s rich coming from you. You are part of the problem!”

1984 (down 31.98%).

Eric’s “Action Plan”, published in MCD’s September 1984 issue, demanded a £3m (minimum) national TV campaign he calculated would increase sales by around 25% at a cost of £21 per bike (based on that year’s expected 140,000 registrations).

It came as no surprise that the MCIA and its directors, who thought themselves the ruling

It seemed he was genuinely sorry for what had happened on his watch. But an ego the size of Mount Fuji would never allow him to admit it!

“Well let’s not get into that dear boy, come and see me, we can talk about what needs to be done.”

So I went, and he didn’t pull any punches. He was scathing in what he saw as “rampant apathy” on the part of the importers and the industry association (MCIA), in allowing registrations over the previous two years (1982-83) to fall from an average of 203,483 to what was looking like 140,000 in

authority on industry matters, were less than happy that Eric had come back from the dead to undermine what they considered was their exclusive right to determine what was (or wasn’t) to be done about plunging sales.

Not so the dealers. Eric’s plan received an avalanche of support from the men at the sharp end. MCD’s phones were constantly ringing with calls of support, and its letters pages were alive with the words of dealers who wanted action. They included letters from the late great Harold Fowler (Fowlers of Bristol); George Lloyd, at that time easily the North’s biggest bike dealer, trading as Lloyd Brothers (Glasgow); Graeme Chatham, an important dealer in Edinburgh; and Alan Baker of Lamba Motorcycles, Carshalton, South London. Stan Shenton (Boyers of Bromley), chairman of the Motorcycle Retailers Association (MRA, previously the

MAA), took a more considered view. He advocated market research before going ahead with a campaign in which TV “would have a part to play.”

As intended, Eric’s call for action caused much angst within the MCIA hierarchy who were by then only too aware that they needed to be seen to be doing something about the remorseless decline of new bike registrations. And they did. Within months of Eric’s call for action, details of a jointly funded campaign, centred on national TV for the 1985 season, was announced by the association.

No doubt any reservations they may have had about splashing the cash (and they did) were well and truly squashed when a group of West Country dealers, fed up with waiting for some action, decided to run their own regional TV campaign in Devon and Cornwall. Organised by Alan Damerell and jointly funded by the majority of West Country dealers and some suppliers, the £50,000 campaign (£210,000 in today’s money) proved beyond doubt that TV worked. Over the June-September 1985 campaign period, registrations in the West Country went up by 3%. Over the same period in the rest of the country, registrations fell by 17%!

Peter Sheen, self-appointed Director General of the MCIA, ex-RAF and Shell (didn’t say which forecourt) announced that an industry TV campaign would commence in May 1986. Saatchi and Saatchi had been signed-on, and a £2m (in today’s money, £8m) campaign would be jointly funded by a dealer levy of £6.50

46 APRIL 2024 Industry Greats
How the MCIA wrecked Eric Sulley’s TV campaign plan, and how two of its directors forced BDN’s publisher into early retirement. Colin Mayo completes the Sulley story A bearded Eric Sulley (fourth from right) relaxes with his sales and promotion team in the summer of 1975

per bike and an importer levy of £12.50, a total of £17 per new registration. The campaign was targeted to reach 80% of 15 to 19-year-olds with a core message of “Motorcycling is Liberating”. Supporting the central TV part of the campaign would be nationwide press advertising running from July-September and a five-week cinema campaign with a 30 second commercial “guaranteed” to reach an audience of ten million. All the above phases of the campaign were to be re-enforced with an 18 million letter box leaflet drop and lavish supporting point-of-sale material for every franchised dealer.

The signs (pre-campaign) were encouraging, with registrations in April 2% up. However, after the campaign kicked-off in May, feedback from dealers was not good. Many thought the TV commercial’s message, which cost £120,000 to make, was too subtle. It was also criticised for being colourless and dull, comparing unfavourably with the West Country’s much cheaper effort, which cost just £5000, (£115,000 less than the Saatchi production) and had a far more compelling message!

Dealer’s doubts proved all too right. June registrations plunged by 22% and by the same again in July with seven-month January-July registrations down by 16%. Registrations in the campaign year (1986) finished up at 123,552 against 143,764 the previous year (down 14%).

Inevitably, Eric got some of the blame for a very expensive fiasco entirely of the MCIA’s own making. At the post-campaign inquest, it turned out that Peter Sheen (a very personable man, but totally out of his depth) had been put in sole charge of campaign planning and liaison between the MCIA and Saatchi and Saatchi.

With a very expensive lesson learnt, a committee was formed to run the following year’s campaign for the 1987 season, for which the budget was cut to £1m and the registration levy reduced to £6.50 per bike for importers and £3.25 for dealers.

It was a much-changed campaign. No TV, but national and local press advertising and a school’s bike safety promotion in which the late Dave Taylor (probably best remembered for wheelieing a bike around the TT course!) would tour schools with the safety message that bikes, ridden responsibly, did not kill. He did a brilliant job of it too, but new registrations at the end of the year were still down at 103,530 from 123,552 the previous year (down 16.2%).

Alongside his legendary riding skills, Dave Taylor did a superb job teaching bike safety in schools

In the years following, the MCIA’s Institute of Motorcycling (IMC) was assigned the task of promoting and defending motorcycling. It made a reasonable fist of it too, given the original low budget initially allocated to it. However, by 1990 the IMC’s budgeted spend had grown significantly to £835,000.

Back at Honda, Gerald Davison had taken over from Eric as director of sales. In a special TwoWheeler Dealer (TWD) Honda supplement published in July 1983 (the 21st anniversary of Honda UK), Davison reassured dealers that his main priority would be to restore Honda’s integrity and credibility: “What dealers need to see is a period of time in which we are credible. They will then believe we are a company of principle”. Aside from re-establishing the brand’s credibility, he had more immediate problems. Honda sales over the first six months of the year had fallen by 32%.

Gerald had an excellent track record at Honda, where he had launched the Hondastyle clothing and accessories range and the Hondacare insurance scheme, got Honda spares distribution properly set-up through a national network of dealer distributors, and then sorted out a growing problem of non-genuine spares being sold into the trade in lookalike Honda packaging.

Gerald had been after Eric’s job for some time. In 1978, when I was the editor of consumer magazine Motor Cycle Mechanics, he accompanied a UK party of three journalists to the launch of Honda’s CBX1000 in-line six. On the train journey from Honda’s Tokyo HQ to the Suzuka circuit he beat my ear (after it was agreed the conversation would be off-the-record) about the problems Eric was causing at Chiswick. It surprised me that Gerald, always a very loyal Honda man, should be so outspoken. Poles apart in everything, it was inevitable he and Eric should dislike each other intensely –Eric called Gerald ‘Teflon Man’ (“because he sticks at nothing”)

A very capable, ambitious and articulate man, Gerald made it clear that the sooner Eric went the better. It was to ➥
“Action Plan”, published in MotorCycleDealer in
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Following a 32% sales dive, Eric Sulley came back from the dead to demand action from the MCIA. Eric’s
was not popular with the association, but had the desired effect of kicking it

be another five years, and with the considerable help of Eric, that he finally got his wish!

Surprisingly, Gerald’s stay at Honda was comparatively short lived: after three years at the top, he resigned and took up a job as managing director of a Jersey newspaper publishing group. He was then followed by Roger Etcell as head of bike sales. Roger, a great admirer and student of Eric, also only did three years before leaving to open The Bike Studio, a solus Honda dealership in Harrow, West London.

To get back to Eric... in 1981 he attended the MAA’s traditional Christmas lunch in Leeds as guest speaker. More than 100 dealers and their staff listened intently as he revealed that, at long last, Honda was working on a two-year dealer agreement to replace its original 90-day agreement of 1977. He also said there was nothing he could do to stop the “pirate” dealer problem (see Part One, BDN March issue).

Replying on behalf of the MAA, Alan Dix, its director general who had previously been with Volkswagen, where he had run its highly successful American operation, was not impressed. “I am not satisfied that the pirate problem can not be fixed here

and now,” he said, adding “I await sight of your new dealer agreement with interest.”

A couple of months later at the season opening Honda seminar in London, things started well when Eric announced an extra 1% discount on three moped models, taking the margin up to 21.5% (eat your hearts out!). He also hinted that further discount increases could be on the way. But the best was yet to come! In a sideways reference to the

went on to boast that total value of Honda sales, excluding used bikes, in 1980 was £80m against £310m for the entire industry!

In the following month’s issue of TWD, Kevin Kelly, the MAA’s motorcycle manager, asked: “Are you dealers or kids? Some of you dealers beg to be treated like children. Others are very business-minded and savvy and have more brain power than all the importers put together.” (He was right too. Some very convenient bankruptcies were

Eric must have known “Killer Jap” was coming for him and he wanted him, and me, to know he couldn’t give a damn!

discounters, he said: “We can guarantee you gross profit, but net profit is up to you,” adding: “Sell on service. S stands for service”. It was then that an obviously seriously aggrieved dealer loudly interrupted the party shouting, “And P stands for pirate”. Not at all happy, Eric roared back: “Take that man’s name”. His audience loudly let him know of their disapproval, forcing Eric to acknowledge that the pirates were causing difficulties. “We are looking very closely at the problem”. He then

appears to do is give Honda more protection.”

costing Honda hundreds of thousands).

In June, Honda’s response was news of its biggest-ever TV campaign, scheduled to run for 11 weeks. In July an opinion piece in TWD headed; “£oyalty Japanese Style”, said the two trade associations (the National Association of Cycle and Motorcycle Traders, and the MAA) needed to merge to create a single dealer body even Honda would have to listen to. The opinion piece concluded with the comment; “The only thing the Japanese understand is the bottom line.” In the same issue, Hugh Palin, chairman of the MCIA, warned that the feud between Honda and its dealers had to end, “Or we are doomed”, going on to warn that impending legislation would “bring the enemy to our gates. Fight them not each other!”

Not long after, Honda issued its long-awaited Variation Agreement for solus and multifranchise dealers extending the then 90-day agreement to two years. The MAA was not impressed, claiming; “All it

After the fun and games at its seminar back in February, Honda announced it would run three trade shows in London, Manchester and Nottingham the following year. Clutching my invitation to the London show at the Cunard Hotel, Hammersmith, I arrived early hoping to have a chat with El Supremo before he got busy. On entering an almost empty conference room I spotted Eric talking with a group of his reps. “Colin my dear boy, good to see you.” We shook hands, but Eric didn’t let go, instead leading me to a table where a solitary Japanese chap sat doing paperwork. Eric introduced me to Honda UK’s newly arrived MD, saying: “I believe you two have something to discuss.” And walked off. The man looked at me and carried on with his paperwork. To break the ice, I said something soft like: “How are you settling in”? Silence, he carried on with his paperwork. We parted company without any conversation taking place. I had already been told the man with the sealed lips had been sent from Japan to get rid of Eric without loss of face to Honda. Remember, Eric had been made a director of Honda UK by Mr Honda himself. Eric must have known “Killer Jap” was coming for him and he wanted him, and me, to know he couldn’t give a damn!

Early in 1982 Eric was made president of the MCIA. Accepting the presidency at the association’s AGM he promised: “Fireside chats” with the two trade associations. “Co-existence and profitability are vital to the trade”, said Eric with a grin. He had been playing the two trade associations off against each other for years, but had nothing much to grin at, full year registrations in 1981 were down 18% and 1982 had not started well with the first two month’s sales of 250s down 27% and mopeds down 40%.

Eighteen months later “Killer Jap” had done his job and Eric was gone. I can’t say I was sorry to see him go, but remain an admirer because, like no other, he believed passionately in the product he had sold so much of and also because he had done such a remarkable job in “re-launching” Honda after taking over from Big Jim Harrison back in 1970.

48 APRIL 2024 Industry Greats
Sulley’s successor Gerald Davison (right) sweet talks EMAP boss Robin Miller at an annual Two Wheeler Dealer trade show Alan Damerell, the man behind the successful West Country TV campaign, goes into Jethro mode at a Honda awards evening hosted by Gerald Davison. Alan’s wife, Angie, gets ready to run! Edinburgh dealer Graeme Chatham was a vocal supporter of Eric Sulley’s Action Plan

In May 1987, with registrations down six years on the trot to 103,530 in 1986, and with Eric very much in mind, Motor Cycle Dealer (previously TWD) launched its own campaign under the banner “Act or Die” To ram the message home it used a hangman’s noose logo bearing the words: “cut out and save for future use.” Run in four consecutive issues, the campaign included a questionnaire with eight tick-box questions for dealers to respond to and then return to MCD. At the conclusion of Act or Die exactly 100 companies, including 75 dealers, had voted. Unsurprisingly 95 of those companies wanted national press promotion of motorcycling to attract new starter bike customers, combat poor image, and promote safety, fun and freedom, as well as biking’s lowcost transport advantage.

Act or Die did not go down well with the MCIA, which later responded with a conference at its Coventry headquarters inviting all in the industry, including dealers, to debate what was needed to recover plunging sales. Ray Ross, boss at Yamaha, opened the conference with a few words of welcome and then, completely out of the blue, invited me to

the rostrum to speak. Totally unprepared, I said a few words and went back to my seat. The object of Ross’s exercise was to make me look a fool. He probably succeeded, I certainly felt like one!

MCD’s “Act or Die” campaign and the MCIA conference achieved nothing. Registrations in 1987 fell 15.7% to 87,179 (down from 103,530 in 1986). The following year registrations were down again, by 1.24% to 86,093. In the following four years registrations averaged only 73,619 and the big four Japanese manufacturers were still spending all, or most, of their budgets on advertising in the specialist press or on racing in their ongoing battle to steal market share from each other.

The next time Ross and I crossed swords was in 1993 when, in yet another attempt to get the MCIA and its members off their collective arses, MCD launched “Let’s Get Radical” (LGR), a campaign aiming to raise at least £20,000 to fund research into the reasons people were not buying bikes. The research would be directed at people who didn’t own a bike,to find out why they didn’t. This was unlike most industry research at the time, which was done almost

exclusively with bike owners, and was therefore useless in pinpointing what the underlying problems were. Real research was desperately needed; 1992 registrations had again gone titsup at 52,452 (down 18.04% on the previous year’s 64,003).

Launched in MCD’s November 1993 issue, with registrations now heading towards the lowest ever recorded at 46,724, Let’s Get Radical was intended first to identify the problems through market research, and then to fund a promotional campaign targeted at those problems. The campaign was to be funded by money pledged from companies right across the industry with a minimum fund target of at least £20,000 for the market research. Training schools and individuals were asked to pledge £100, dealers £250, and others (wholesalers etc) £600. An all-industry action conference was scheduled for February the following year (1994) to which those who had pledged and those who wanted to pledge would be invited. In the December issue of MCD it was reported that £16,000 had already been pledged with other assurances of support easily doubling that. Heron Suzuki boss John Norman, pledged to pay 25% of the total of pledges made over £20,000. In the event, pledges of £60,000 were made, with more to come, so Suzuki was committed to at least £10,000!

Once again, the MCIA saw Let’s Get Radical as a challenge to its authority. At that December’s NEC show dinner – Ross, now president of the MCIA, stood up and said: “Its time we got radical with the people who are talking the industry down and punched them on the nose”. Unbelievable! “Talking the industry down”? Sales were so far down they were in Australia, yet here was a man at the head of an association whose very existence was about promoting motorcycling, rubbishing a campaign for trying to do what his association should have started doing at least three years earlier! What an absolute moron! (I would put the F word in front of moron, but I’ve been told it’s not PC!).

Attended by more than 250 people from right across the industry (including Ross), February’s day-long Action Conference was co-ordinated by Peter Laughton (of Frank ➥ TOP

Thomas), Larry Riches (who had long since sold his Lintek wholesales business, but had nevertheless pledged £5000 to LGR), and myself.

Discussion groups of up to 15 were asked to agree what the fundamental problems were and then, subject to LGR’s research findings, suggest ways in which they could be tackled. Postconference playback was good, most who took part agreed that the brainstorming session had worked and went away happy that, at last, something was being done to halt the remorseless decline of new bike sales.

Sometime in March 1994, and weeks after the LGR conference, I was called into MCD’s publisher’s office to be told that the magazine was to be sold and at 54-years-old I was to be pensioned off. I was surprised, but not very surprised. The magazine was barely breaking even and with EMAP, its owners, now a FTSE 100 company (with a market valuation £2.5bn), MCD was but a pimple on its arse. I drove home to Devon, signed on the dole and started a NVQ course in carpentry and joinery.

But the Let’s Get Radical campaign was not dead yet. MCD’s publisher called me to ask if I would attend a “working party” meeting to discuss how LGR could be moved forward. It turned out I had been invited only on the insistence of Larry Riches. Held in Stamford, where a committee comprising two MCIA representatives, EMAP’s National Publications MD and MCD’s publisher, plus a couple

of LGR supporters, including Larry Riches and myself, sat down to discuss how LGR could be progressed. On the long drive home following the meeting I decided the MCIA/EMAP men were going through the motions and LGR was going nowhere. I wrote a letter of resignation saying exactly that. To my knowledge, no further meetings of the working party took place. And that should have been that, but a couple of months later I was told that an article in Motorcycle International, a monthly magazine published by Myatt McFarlane, claimed I had been sacked by EMAP because

board, the managing director of EMAP National Publications and MCD’s publisher. At the meeting the MCIA men had threatened that unless Mayo went, the MCIA board members were prepared to reduce or pull-out altogether their advertising from Motor Cycle News and National Publication’s eight or so motorcycle monthly magazines.

At the time, EMAP Nationals was vulnerable. Car Week was making substantial losses since its launch a year earlier and was being heavily subsidised by the revenues from EMAP National’s motorcycle publications. In the event, EMAP/MCIA did not sue

The biggest problem the bike industry now faces is getting new bums on motorcycle, scooter or moped seats

they had been coerced into it by the MCIA. At that time, Roger Willis wrote a monthly industry news column for Motorcycle International. Alongside that, he did some freelance work for MCD and now, of course, is BDN’s financial editor and his On the Money column appears every month. Had Roger, for it was he who claimed I had been coerced out of my job, blown a fuse and gone nuts? Did he want to spend the rest of his life paying off MCIA/EMAP and their libel lawyers? Roger confirmed his sanity to me and said no way was he going to be sued. The meeting had definitely taken place between two representatives of the MCIA

Roger or his publisher in what would have been an open-andshut case of libel, had Roger’s assertions not been true. EMAP’s National Publications publisher threatened to sue, but instead settled for a letter published in the July issue of Motorcycle International, claiming Roger’s offending column was a “work of fiction.” In other words, Roger’s coercion claim was true. The MCIA did not, so far as I am aware, make any threat to sue.

I relate this tale because it has niggled me for many years that unprincipled chancers can get away with pretty much anything, if it suits their crooked purpose. It happens almost every day

New motorcycle and scooter registrations 1974-2023

now where smoke-and-mirrors politicians (not all of them) say and do what they like, if it fits their own devious agenda. And politicians, unfortunately, provide a lead from which others of similar ilk follow.

Back in the real world, the biggest problem the bike industry now faces is getting new bums on motorcycle, scooter or moped seats. It’s a tough one. It would seem the industry is comfortable to let annual registrations run at around 110,000 without doing anything to ensure they at least run at that level over the long term. Given the average biker age is now 55 years, unsustainable is the word that best fits the current picture. There are no born-agains waiting to come to the rescue, and no magic fix as to how you get youngsters and the 23-40 age group onto bikes. Given the ultra-Byzantine route required to get a biking licence and the cost of training (if wouldbe car drivers were made to jump through similar hoops it would cost any government votes), it’s a problem with no easy answers. And one the government isn’t going to help with, probably the opposite because it sees PTW users as fodder to drive onto mass transit (but more likely cars), and an unnecessary cost against the NHS, conveniently forgetting mass transit only really works in high centres of population, and not in urban and rural areas.

How to reach youngsters has always been a problem, even more so now. They don’t watch TV, and don’t read, but there are

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Industry Greats
After the stratospheric highs of the late-1970s and early 1980s, new PTW registrations fell to just 46k in 1993. Over the ten years from
2014, annual sales have averaged

people out there who do know how to engage with them, and these are the guys someone (MCIA/NMDA?) need to be talking to.

Maybe some radical thinking and action is needed? How about an industry-funded scheme that gives a £500 (or more) incentive to cover part of the cost of training for those who get a full licence? Payout only to be made AFTER a full licence is gained and to be put against the cost of a new bike. On past form collective action is unlikely, but there is nothing to stop, say, Triumph or Honda doing something on their own and, when successful, force other brands to join the party.

Another avenue seemingly unexplored is the DfT “gift” of allowing full licence car drivers (circa 40 million of them) to ride a moped without L-plates, and to ride any PTW up to 125cc with L-plates, as long as they complete CBT. But how many of those 40 million know about it?

While the MCIA appears to be doing a fair job in protecting the industry from the bureaucrats, product promotion to the vast non-biking community is nonexistent. Has it been forgotten that the base from which most big bike sales start is the sale of a lightweight? Given the everincreasing age of new bike buyers, it is vital for the long term that lightweights are promoted. But where? A thinly spread dealer network means that to see a lightweight in the flesh a wouldbe buyer may have to travel 50 miles or more. And they don’t. What’s the alternative? One is the manufacturers’ websites but most, if not all, are less than inspiring to a newbie looking for convenience and to save money. Could it be the major importers are not that interested because low margins make no sense to them? Last year, registrations in the 50-125cc engine band totalled 41,382; in the peak Covid year (2021) they were 51,038, a difference of 23.3%, so the potential is there!

Long-term planning in the bike business seems to be alien to an industry geared to shortterm fire-fighting. To spell it out, a percentage of 50cc and 125cc buyers will eventually trade up to a big bike (just as they did in the mid 1990s) and that’s when the profit is made.

Because they have more to

lose, dealers generally look to the long term a lot more closely than the manufacturers, so if the manufacturers can’t be bothered, maybe it’s dealers who should be promoting the fact that lightweights can save a fortune in getting to work or the shops etc. in their local press or on social media. In these days of empty wallets and purses, it could just ring bells!

Eric Raymond Sulley died in 1997, just after the born-again led recovery of bike sales started in 1996. He would have enjoyed that and, no doubt, claimed some of the credit! At his funeral on the 15 April at the Heart of England Crematorium, Nuneaton, the place was packed with family, friends, dealers, Honda staff and even rival importers, who had come to pay their respects to a remarkable man. As his coffin left the building, Sinatra’s My Way was played.

In today’s corporate grey world of conformity there will probably never again be men with the vision, balls and experience to do it their way. In motorcycling we’ve been very lucky, there have been some outstanding post World War II examples of men who did just that: Edward Turner (Triumph), Jim Harrison (Honda), Ted Wassell (W.E.Wassell), Eric Brockway (Douglas Vespa), Tony Taylor / Steve Clifford (Feridax), Harold Fowler (Fowlers of Bristol), Peter Agg / Maurice Knight (Lambretta/Suzuki), Bill Smith (Bill Smith Motors), John Norman (Kawasaki/ Suzuki), Wilf Green (MZ), Peter Laughton (Frank Thomas), Alec and Andrew Hammond (Oxford Products), Peter Bolton (Steyr Daimler Puch), Cyril Chell (C.G. Chell, Stafford), Colin Appleyard (Appleyard Motorcycles, Keighley), Graeme Chatham (Chatham’s, Edinburgh), Sir Robin Miller and Keith McGee (Motor Cycle News / EMAP plc), Larry Riches (Lintek), Rick Lloyd (TranAm), George Lloyd (Lloyd Lifestyle), John Bloor / Bruno Tagliaferri (Triumph), Alan Damerell (Damerells Motorcycles), Andy Smith (Yamaha), Giuseppe Tranchina (Piaggio) and, of course, right up there with them, Eric Sulley, certainly the most charismatic and controversial Industry Great of them all. I am proud to have known him. ■


Expert advice to improve how you promote and sell productsyour servicesor


It is said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. This month Dan Sager investigates a famous public relations failure and asks what could have been done to avoid it?

Iconic is an overused and frequently misused word, but in this case, I think it is deserved. The item in question is a caterpillar-shaped cake called Colin, which became entangled in a legal dispute between two supermarkets in 2021.

Introduced by Marks & Spencer in 1990, more than 15 million of these cheerful chocolate cakes have been sold, making them a regular feature at parties for children and the young at heart.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and most of the major supermarket chains now offer something similar, including Cecil at Waitrose, Clyde at Asda, Morris at Morrisons, and Wiggles at Sainsbury’s. The British public clearly cannot get enough of these larva-shaped desserts.

Colin co-existed peacefully alongside Cecil, Clyde and the other caterpillars, but all that changed when Cuthbert appeared on the shelves of discount supermarket chain Aldi. M&S claimed that Cuthbert was so similar in

Rather than attacking their rival, they used gentle humour to make the litigation appear ludicrous

appearance to Colin that Aldi was infringing its trademark and launched legal action in the High Court. They demanded that Cuthbert be withdrawn and that Aldi should not sell anything similar in the future.

The gloves were off. How would Aldi respond? While the lawyers thrashed out a deal behind the scenes, Aldi’s PR team were quick off the mark. Working with

creative agency McCann Manchester, they launched a social media campaign to build public support. Rather than attacking their rival, they used gentle humour to make the litigation appear ludicrous.

Their opening tweet lampooned M&S advertisements; “This is not just any court case, this is… #FreeCuthbert”.

It hit the right note, and people got the joke. Soon, Aldi was trending on Twitter, and the mainstream media had picked up on the story. Courtroom sketches imagining Cuthbert in the dock followed, along with spoof live reporting from the proceedings. A huge amount of coverage was generated – Cuthbert even appeared on a TV panel show. In the end, the retailers settled their dispute, and you can still buy Cuthbert the Caterpillar from Aldi.

Aldi emerged with its reputation intact, possibly even enhanced, and as an added bonus, #FreeCuthbert won the Marketing Week Masters award for social media.

Humour can be a very effective way to diffuse a potentially embarrassing situation, but it’s not without risks. Misjudge the mood and you could appear to be uncaring or arrogant. A light-hearted response generally works best when your customers can join in with the joke. Hiring some professional outside help, like Aldi did, provides a fresh perspective, so you can choose the best way to respond to events that could harm your reputation. 


We will be looking at market research. How much do you really know?

52 APRIL 2024 Marketing Matters
DAN SAGER FOUNDED THE FAB-BIKER PR AGENCY IN 1996 AND HAS been advising businesses in the motorcycle industry on marketing matters ever since. Here he shares some of the most important lessons he’s learned during that time.

Unfair dismissal: A key cause of trouble

Dismissing an employee may be necessary but the process is littered with mantraps

Regrettably there are times when an employer needs to dismiss an employee. But just as there are options in life so there are correct and incorrect ways to dismiss; those that go about the process the wrong way will undoubtedly find themselves before an Employment Tribunal.

Indeed, mistakes can be costly with the typical award for unfair dismissal being an average of £10,812. It makes sense then for employers to understand the law, what constitutes an unfair dismissal, what can make a dismissal automatically unfair, and what a fair dismissal procedure actually looks like. And with cases involving the motor sector on the government’s Employment Tribunal website, a good understanding of the law is essential.

Mistakes can be costly with the typical award for unfair dismissal being £10,812


According to Alexandra Farmer, head of team and a solicitor at WorkNest, a fair dismissal procedure consists of two essential components – having a valid reason to dismiss and acting reasonably in the circumstances.

The Employment Rights Act of 1996 outlines five potential justifications for dismissal. The first of these is dismissal for misconduct such as theft, fraud, bullying, or negligence. As Farmer says: “This could

be either one serious incident that warrants dismissal for a first offence, known as gross misconduct, or a series of more minor offences, such as persistent lateness.”

The second reason is a termination based on qualification or capability. This might also involve performance or a long-term illness absence.

Next comes redundancy, or the closing of a business.

Fourth on Farmer’s list is a statutory restriction. Here Farmer says “this might apply if continuing to employ the person would break the law, such as a driver losing their driving licence or a worker without the legal right to be employed.”

The fifth and last, is known as “some other substantial reason”. For Farmer, this is a category that employers can fall back to

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if none of the other potentially fair reasons for dismissal are relevant. She says that this may apply if, for example: “An employee is handed a long prison sentence, their conduct outside of work brings the employer into disrepute, or they refuse to accept changes to contractual terms.”


An Employment Tribunal will look at a number of factors when determining if a dismissal was fair and reasonable, including whether the employer properly investigated the issues and considered any mitigating circumstances; informed the employee in writing of the issues and the possibility of dismissal; conducted a hearing and gave the employee a chance to respond; allowed the employee to attend any hearings accompanied; informed the employee in writing of the decision to dismiss; and gave the employee a chance to appeal.

In addition to these components of a fair dismissal procedure, a tribunal will consider whether the decision to dismiss fell within the band of reasonable responses. For example, even if the employer does have grounds for dismissal, this doesn’t mean that it was reasonable to take this step; would an informal discussion, letter of concern or written warning have been more appropriate in the circumstances?

It should be remembered, as Farmer highlights, “there is no legal definition of ‘reasonableness.’”

The tribunal will also take into account whether the employer had detailed performance and conduct guidelines; whether it was reasonable to expect the employee to understand the consequences of their actions; and whether the employer applied its thinking reasonably and consistently to similar offenses.

In essence, Farmer says “it’s important to remember that even if the employer follows a fair dismissal procedure, the employee may have certain characteristics that still renders a dismissal unfair.”


In contrast to the above, “a dismissal,” says Farmer, “will be considered unfair if the reason does not fall under the scope of one of the five potentially fair reasons for dismissal outlined above; the employer did not follow a fair disciplinary or dismissal process; and/or the decision to dismiss was outside the range of reasonable responses open to the employer.”

Employers who fail to follow a fair selection or consultation process, may find that the dismissal is deemed unfair

This makes it important that employers follow the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures in cases of misconduct or concerns about performance. Farmer warns that an Employment Tribunal will take this into account when assessing whether an employer has acted reasonably.

A similar process is applied to redundancies where there are three fundamental elements to a fair redundancy process. And Farmer outlines them –“warning employees of redundancies; the creation of and application of fair and non-discriminatory scoring criteria; and consulting with employees and exploring suitable alternative employment options.”

She continues: “Employers who fail to follow a fair selection or consultation process, may find that the dismissal is deemed unfair. If this is the case an employee with at least two years’ service may be able to submit a claim to a tribunal for unfair dismissal. Such claims must generally be submitted within three months of the date the employee’s employment was terminated.”

Employers also need to be aware that some dismissals (or redundancies) will be automatically unfair. These include an employee who is pregnant, on maternity or paternity leave, or is exercising any of their statutory rights in relation to that.

But Farmer warns about other protections for employees. These relate to making a protected disclosure, known as whistleblowing; having a concern for health and safety and subsequent refusal to work or perform certain tasks; attempting to assert a statutory employment right; having part-time status; participating in trade union activities, including taking part in industrial action or acting as an employee representative; or making a request to work flexibly. In any of these situations selecting or dismissing an employee would be automatically unfair.

There is some relief for employers says Farmer: In normal circumstances, employees must have two years’ service to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. However, she notes that “in cases of an automatically unfair dismissal, the usual time constraints don’t apply. This means that if any of the above apply, an individual can usually bring an unfair dismissal claim irrespective of length of service, and regardless of whether an employee has acted reasonably or not.”

As a result, when an automatically unfair dismissal occurs it will be almost impossible for an employer to justify or defend the matter which makes it much easier for an employee’s claim to succeed. And as Farmer explains, “unlike ordinary unfair dismissal, there’s no maximum compensation limit if the dismissal is automatically unfair, greatly increasing the financial risk to employers.”


Dismissals happen. But just because they need to be made doesn’t mean that employers need to increase the odds of appearing before an Employment Tribunal. Very simply, following the law and guidance will markedly reduce the chance of a claim being made. 

APRIL 2024 55 Business Essentials Essentials
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It is made from a scratch-resistant 5mm-thick sheet of PMMA plastic, is adjustable, and can be locked in either low or high positions as required. Dimensions are 300mm wide by 325mm high, and it comes in a smoked grey colourway for €179.90 SRP. Wunderlich; +49 2641 3082-703;

Husqvarna street clothing 5

HUSQVARNA HAS LAUNCHED A NEW FUNCTIONAL STREET RANGE OF CLOTHING designed to complement the firm’s Svartpilen and Vitpilen naked motorcycle models. The Spark 2 full-face helmet, made by Airoh, headlines the range and is equipped with a drop-down sun visor and quick-release interior liner. Working downwards, there is the Pilen V2 jacket, followed by the Pilen V2 pants. Both are for use in warmer temperatures, with the jacket made from knitted technical fabric with a mesh liner and the pants made from a Kevlar-reinforced cotton. D3O armour is fitted in the usual places, and reflective trims are added to improve visibility. The jacket has an SRP of £272, the pants are £182, and the Spark 2 helmet is £189. Husqvarna Motorcycles UK; 01327 850320;

Blinc comms

HELMET MANUFACTURER VCAN HAS LAUNCHED A new version of its H128 lid with integrated Blinc S7 communication systems. The Blinc A4 wireless comms system is factory fitted and includes a pair of high-definition stereo speakers, a built-in microphone with noise reduction, and a long-life rechargeable battery. It connects to mobile phones and GPS systems via Bluetooth to provide music, calls or navigation instructions, or can connect to other Blinc devices within a 650m radius for bike-to-bike intercom. The H128 Blinc in matt black is £179.99 SRP, or in carboneffect Venom livery is £189.99 SRP. Midwest Marketing; 01527 574422;

56 APRIL 2024

Oxford exhaust protector 4


protector won’t really help if you highside at Brands Hatch, but it will prove its worth if a bike or scooter falls off its stand or is involved in a low-force impact. It’s designed to fit a wide range of end cans from 300mm to 620mm in circumference, and simply clamps on with a Jubilee fastener and some protective silicone bands. Stainless steel plates then clip on to provide the protection. SRP is £49.99.

Oxford Products; 01993 862300;

CFMoto 450SR S

THE ADDITION OF AN EXTRA LETTER TO A model name usually implies some extra goodies have been fitted, especially if that letter is the evocative ‘S’. In the case of the new CFMoto 450SR S, the extra letter on the fairing shows that the owner is enjoying a new single-sided swing arm, an underslung shorty exhaust, improved rear brakes, upgraded forks and better aerodynamics from the revised fairing winglets. In addition, there is a new 5in TFT dash display, which includes controls for the fitted-as-standard traction control system and automatic headlights. The 450SR S comes in a choice of Zircon black or Tundra grey for an SRP of £6499.

CF Moto;

Ducati feet

Puig exhaust protector 3

PUIG’S NEW EXHAUST PROTECTOR won’t really help if you highside at Mugello, but it will prove its worth if a bike or scooter falls off its stand or is involved in a low-force impact. It’s designed to fit a wide range of end cans from 170mm to 600mm in circumference, and simply clamps on with a stainless steel strap. Polyamide sliders on a silicone base are then fitted to provide the protection. SRP is €49.99.

Puig; 0034 938 49 06 33;

WHEN IT COMES TO SIDESTAND FEET FOR ADVENTURE machines, the mantra is “go big or go home”. Wunderlich’s latest enlarged supports for the Ducati Multistrada are designed to make sure owners don’t get that sinking feeling when they park up on soft ground, or even hot tarmac. They are machined from aluminium in Germany and given a black anodised finish for durability.

Serrations are milled into the edges to make it easier to put the stand down with a boot heel without risk of slipping. Two versions are offered – one for bikes fitted with the optional centre stand and one for those without. Both retail for €59.90 SRP.

Wunderlich; +49 2641 3082-703;

APRIL 2024 57
Product news
CLEANING PRODUCTS AWARD WINNING A carefully formulated, award winning range of specialist cleaning products to make your pride and joy ‘best in show’ Chain Cleaner OC200 1L Bike Wash OC100 SCAN HERE TO SEE MORE Or visit the dedicated website AWARD WINNING CLEANING PRODUCTS

AJS Bilston 5

Alpinestars Moflow Air Tech

WITH THE COST OF LIVING INCREASES SHOWING NO SIGNS OF COMING TO AN END, there could be an increase in the number of people looking to swap from a second car to something cheaper to run for the daily commute. The AJS Bilston is primed to cater for that demographic, as it’s an affordably-priced geared 125cc capable of up to 128mpg. Named after a steelworks which supplied metals for the original AJS factory, the Bilston features practical touches such as LED lighting and a rear rack, as well as components designed to perform through everything the British weather can throw at it, such as a gold O-ring chain and a stainless steel exhaust. It comes in Sundown red, Steel blue or Foundry black, all enhanced with gold pinstriping and logos, for an SRP of £2349. AJS; 01264 365103;

Dainese Suburb

ALPINESTARS HAS A NEW ARMOURED HOODIE ready for the summer heatwave. The Moflow Air Tech hoodie has been designed with ventilation in mind, with a lightweight mesh material used throughout –even the hood is mesh, which would seem to nullify the point of having a hood in the first place. Stretch panels are fitted on the sides and along the arms to improve comfort and provide a better fit, but there is no liner, to allow more airflow and make the hoodie even more light weight. Nucleon Flex Plus CE level 1 armour is fitted at the shoulders and elbows (which are in external pockets to make the armour easy to remove), and there is a pocket to take an optional back protector. Practical touches come from a pair of zippered pockets, a waterproof internal pocket, loops to attach to jeans, and an anchoring thumb hole on the sleeves to stop them riding up. It comes in a choice of black or white, for an SRP of £239.99.

Oxford Products; 01993 862300;

DAINESE HAS LAUNCHED THE SUBURB WP AND SUBURB AIR, CASUAL-STYLE BOOTS THAT OFFER comfort at both ends of the weather spectrum. The Suburb WP is made of suede and abrasion-resistant fabric with a waterproof membrane to keep feet dry in wet conditions, whereas the Suburb Air has a ventilating microfibre and mesh upper to keep feet dry in hot, sweaty conditions.

Both have rigid inserts on the malleolus area, soft D-Foam on the inside, and a PU shifter guard. They are also both fitted with an Ortholite footbed and a grippy Grountrax sole. They come in men’s sizes EU39-47 in a choice of three colours, or in ladies’ sizes EU36-42 in two colour options, for an SRP of £169.95 for the WP and £129.95 for the Air.

Nevis Marketing; 01425 478936;

New Track colours 5

RUROC HAS ADDED THREE NEW graphics to its range of track-focused Atlas 4.0 Track helmets launched last year. The lightweight carbon-shelled race lid is now available in flag-themed liveries representing the UK, Italy and the USA for riders wanting to express their national pride. The Track comes with both clear and tinted visors and a Pinlock 120XLT in the box for an SRP of £550.



HJC C70N 5

THE ENTRY-LEVEL FULL FACE HELMET IN HJC’S RANGE HAS BEEN given an update to bring it up to the latest ECE 22.06 standard. The C70N has a new lightweight polycarbonate composite shell, which comes in three sizes to optimise fit. Inside is an ACS ventilation system for front-to-back airflow and a removable and washable moisture-wicking anti-bacterial liner. The visor is a quick-release type, with a tool-free replacement system to make cleaning easier, and there is also a drop-down sun visor. It comes in solid black, white or matt black for an SRP of £129.99 or in a range of graphic options for £149.99. Oxford Products; 01993 862300;

Street racer Indian


Roland Sands Design has resulted in the launch of a titivated limitededition FTR. The (deep breath…) Indian Motorcycle FTR x RSD Super Hooligan features metallic black paint adorned with graphics inspired by the firm’s race machine from the US-based Super Hooligan series. The red frame and wheels, and a selection of sponsors’ stickers for optional application by the owner, complete the look. When it comes to the oily parts, there is a veritable who’s who of premium brands: Öhlins suspension front and rear, Brembo brakes, an Akrapovič exhaust, and Gilles rearsets, bar ends and engine caps. Only 300 examples, all individually numbered on the tank, will be available worldwide, so anyone interested will have to get in quick. SRP is £18,395. Indian Motorcycle; Product news



THE 2005-2010 SECOND GENERATION OF Aprilia’s mighty RSV1000R, including Factory and Nero versions, and the equivalent period Tuono models, have been sized up for a set of protective engine covers. The alternator cover is £95.77 SRP, the clutch cover is £78.59 SRP, or they are available as a pair for £165.65 SRP. GBRacing; 020 8275 2630;


PIAGGIO HAS ANNOUNCED UK PRICING FOR its new Moto Guzzi V85. The adventure touring style machine comes in three versions – the urban and touring-biased Strada with alloy wheels, a low front mudguard and three riding modes is £11,200; the more adventurous TT has tubeless tyres on spoked wheels, four riding modes and cornering ABS is £12,000; and the fully-equipped TT Travel with hard panniers, heated seat, and a bigger windshield is £13,300.

Piaggio Group; 00800 818 29800;


THE STREETFIGHTER-STYLE HJC I20 HAS BEEN given a distinctive new Furia graphical treatment. The removable mask and jetstyle polycarbonate shell are adorned with a weathered and windswept paint effect to evoke a feeling of movement and dynamism. Features include a drop-down sunvisor, Supercool interior material and comms-ready design. It comes in a choice of silver/black or yellow/black for an SRP of £199.

Oxford Products; 01993 862300;

LS2 Feng 5

LS2 HAS ADDED A NEW SPORT GLOVE TO its growing range of apparel. The Feng is made from full-grain cowhide and goatskin and features carbon fibre armour on the knuckles, fingers and palm, which also has Superfabric reinforcement for added abrasion resistance. TPU protectors on the wrist and metacarpal area provide further protection and help the Feng achieve a CE KP1 rating. Elasticated stretch panels on the fingers and breathable mesh inserts throughout improve the fit and provide cooling airflow, and touchscreen-compatible fingertips allow for the operation of smartphones and GPS. SRP is £99.99.

LS2 Helmets UK; 01670 856342;

Puig mirror


OK, it doesn’t have quite the suavity of 007 making his introductions, but the new bar-end mirror would at least let James see his adversaries in hot pursuit behind him. Puig says the Bond is suitable for anything from nakeds to retro-style bikes, with its convex mirror providing a wide-angle view. It is machined from a single block of aluminium before being anodised in either black or silver. SRP TBA. Puig; 0034 938 49 06 33;

Scorpion RA exhaust 6

SCORPION EXHAUSTS HAS DEVELOPED A 38MM/1.5IN FULL exhaust system for the Royal Alloy GT125 and GP125 air-cooled models. Available in brushed stainless steel or black ceramic finishes, the manufacturer promises a power increase of 2hp and a reduction in weight over the OE system of 0.92kg. The system is said to produce a deeper and sportier sound, and is road legal as long as the supplied dB killer is fitted. SRP is £359.99, including a lifetime guarantee.

VE (UK); 01159 462991;

Ducati Urban 5

DUCATI HAS TEAMED UP WITH SPORTY luggage brand Ogio to produce a new Urban line of backpacks and holdalls. There are three bags in the range, all made with a 100% polyester waterresistant outer shell featuring discreet branding. The Urban duffel bag has numerous compartments, an external pocket especially designed for shoes, and comes with a detachable shoulder strap. The backpack has a padded internal compartment for a laptop, as well as several zipped pockets and a mesh back to allow better ventilation. The PC bag also has a padded internal laptop compartment, a hidden front pocket for valuables, a removable shoulder strap and concealed shoulder straps to turn it into a backpack. Prices are £99 SRP for the duffel bag and backpack, £74 SRP for the PC bag. Ducati;

Urban duffel Urban backpack Urban PC bag

Knox Union Quilt 5


Quilt is actually an insulating jacket that can be worn under an armoured jacket while riding, or just as everyday casual wear around town. It’s made with an outer layer of down-proof fabric with an internal lining of Thermolite Plus insulation, which uses hollow fibres to create a layer of warm air trapped within the garment. Available only in black, the design includes a soft collar, elasticated ribbed cuffs and reflective zip pulls. It comes in men’s sizes S to 4XL for an SRP of £99.99. Knox; 01900 825825;

Shock-free bench

AS MORE BATTERY-POWERED ELECTRIC PTWS ENTER THE MARKET there is obviously going to be an increase in the number coming into dealerships for maintenance. This leads to concerns for technicians working on these machines, due to the risk of electric shocks. To counter that, RS Workshop Equipment now has the ISOL8 electric motorcycle workbench, which combines the usual requirements of sturdy construction and resistance to knocks, scratches and various solvents with a speciallyformulated, highly electrically insulating coating to prevent shocks and short circuits. An insulating safety mat on the floor also helps to ensure that the technician doesn’t inadvertently become a part in the earthing chain, and retractable safety tape and posts stop anyone unwittingly wandering in to the area.

There is a lockable six-drawer unit, a lockable cupboard and a unit with power and air hose reels. An integrated lift control is also provided to operate a range of optional hydraulic lifts, which are given the same insulating and protective coating. Bespoke versions are also available. Due to the customisable nature of the package, prices are on application. RS Workshop Equipment; 01832 741007;

APRIL 2024 61 Product news
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Ventura on a Meteor

ROYAL ENFIELD’S SUPER METEOR HAS been given touring credentials with the addition of a fitting kit for Ventura luggage. Owners not wanting to spoil the SM’s cruiser lines with a collection of plastic boxes on its rear end can instead opt for a more discreet Evo rack with two bespoke brackets that fit to the bike’s frame. The rack can then accommodate any pack from the Ventura range, which extend from 12-litre capacity all the way up to a 60-litre behemoth. When not required, both pack and rack can be quickly removed leaving just the brackets, which can be further disguised by fitting an optional grab handle. L-brackets for the Super Meteor are £187.95 SRP, and an Evo rack is £96.95. The optional grab rail is £25.95 SRP. Motohaus; 01256 704909;

GS spray guards

PYRAMID PLASTICS HAS DEVELOPED TWO OF ITS MOST popular practical add-ons to suit the new BMW R1300 GS. The Extenda Fender fits onto the front mudguard to reduce spray thrown up on to the engine casing and exhaust downpipes. Made from ABS, it adds an extra 140mm in length to the mudguard and can be fitted either using adhesive pads, or plastic rivets for those who don’t mind a spot of drilling. SRP is £21.99. At the rear, a Splash Plate performs similar duties, reducing water spray and the amount of grit and grime thrown up by the back wheel. It’s made from powder coated aluminium with a textured finish and fits beneath the number plate. SRP is £34.99. Pyramid Plastics; 01427 677990;

Slinky stanchions 4

SLINKY GLIDE HAS GOT A NEW OPTION FOR WORN FRONT SUSPENSION units in the shape of new fork rebuild kits. The kits include a pair of stanchions with a heavy chrome coating for durability and corrosion resistance, Teflon-coated inner and outer bushes, a set of rubber fork seals, seal retainer clips and dust seals. Stanchions and seals are available to suit a wide range of machinery from most major manufacturers – Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, Royal Enfield and many others. POA. WMD; 01273 595746;


62 APRIL 2024 Product news
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Dainese Axial 2

THE AXIAL 2 IS AN UPDATED VERSION OF Dainese’s long-serving, top-of-the-range Axial racing boot, as used in MotoGP and other race series. The updated version promises improved protection from its high-density twisted nylon uppers with nylon-faced elasticated inserts, which are said to be better than leather. To achieve their CE level 2 rating the boots also include a carbon fibre Axial Distortion Control System, replaceable magnesium sliders and a removable heel slider to allow repair of the main zip, should it be necessary. The Axial 2 also feature Dainese’s patented “suit to boot” fastening system which joins the two garments with wide Velcro straps to improve impact resistance as well as aerodynamic performance. The Axial 2s come in a choice of black, black/red or black/fluro, in sizes EU39-47, for an SRP of £589.95.

Nevis Marketing; 01425 478936;


Touratech seats 5

HONDA’S ADVENTURE ENDURO TRANSALP 750 IS GREAT for munching the miles on all sorts of terrain, but the designers at Touratech think that they can make it a bit more comfortable on the posterior for those long-distance rides. So they have developed a new Comfort seat, which comes in three different thicknesses, to replace the OE one. The foam core of the new seats has been carefully selected to improve support, and is shaped with a longitudinal groove to reduce pressure on the coccyx and contoured to even-out weight distribution. The seat angle has been chosen to optimise the angle of the pelvis for correct posture. Over this goes a textured material cover that uses Fresh Touch technology to reduce the seat’s temperature in sunlight by up to 10oC. The cover is waterproof, and the sealed seams have been positioned to avoid chafing and pressure points. The three different thickness seats give a height of 55, 57 or 59cm when fitted on the bike, which compares to the original height of 54cm. SRP is €440.

Touratech; +49 7728 9279-0;


APRIL 2024 63 Product news
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On the Money

The cost-of-living crisis is no longer headline news, although it most certainly hasn’t gone away. And the general impact on motorcycling wallets has been glaringly obvious over the past couple of years.

But nothing quite matches reality. Take the boom in sales of modestly priced A2 bikes during this period, for instance. Can we assume such a phenomenon represents hordes of new riding recruits, safely past their 19th birthdays and now freshly qualified in the A2 restricted licence category spanning 3347bhp machinery? Sadly, not.

Clocking the assembled throng at your local weekend biker destination gives the game away. Mine is infested by wrinkly Royal Enfield owners, astride shiny new steeds ranging from 350 singles to 650 twins, all of them A2 bikes employed by mature and long-experienced full licence holders for whom limited budgets have become crucial. Such is crisis cruising. A smattering of KTM 390 Duke and BMW G310R products join in. Same motivation. Affordability to the fore.

Triumph’s recent entry into this league with cost-conscious Speed and Scrambler 400 singles proved to be an instant success, its Speed 400 model promptly capturing best-seller status in both the modern classic style category and 126-500cc capacity bracket in

January 2024 MCIA statistics. The first Speed owner I came across on the road turned out to be a fellow septuagenarian who probably couldn’t remember his name, let alone whenever he originally acquired a full motorcycle licence and patently didn’t give a toss.

Sharp-eyed budget focus also increasingly extends far beyond the bottom rung of cheap and cheerful’s ladder, though. A “new normal” has emerged to snatch the reins from previously dominant higher-capacity bikes typically featuring four cylinders. A rash of economy-priced roadster

platforms tend to reappear in similarly built-to-budget middleweight adventure models, such as Honda’s XL750 Transalp, Suzuki’s V-Strom 800DE and BMW’s F900 GS. Their reconfigurations usually add at least an extra grand to OTR prices.

And an aberrant addition to the “new normal” genre has to be Triumph’s best-selling cheapo Trident 660, and its slightly more adventurous sister in budget frivolity, the Tiger Sport 660. Both are based around the same 80bhp triple-cylinder motor. OTR prices for the former start at £7895, and

Our motorcycling public at large has lost its formerly voracious appetite for price-inflated horsepower worship

parallel twins, roughly pivoting around 800cc and eight thousand quid OTR markers, signifies bargain thunder.

The list is long. Yamaha’s basic 689cc MT-07 costs £7510. The Honda CB750 Hornet asks only £7299 from penny-pinching punters. A Suzuki GSX-8S requires £7661. The KTM 790 Duke has a 799cc lump and a somewhat flexible price tag of around seven grand. Even BMW Motorrad manages to moderate greed and qualify with its F900 R for £9090.

All these parallel twin-engine

for the latter, £8975.

That’s enough gratuitous advertising. The bulk of our twin-pot catalogue of desire for impecunious motorcycle enthusiasts fits into the MCIA’s annual 2023 registrations yardstick covering 751-1000cc products. Unsurprisingly, it posted by far the biggest growth of any segment last year – 24.3% up to 19,665 units – while overall internal combustion registrations stagnated on a 0.4% decline. Fewer and fewer had four cylinders or more. Maybe it’s time

to pinpoint the losers.

I would contend that our motorcycling public at large has lost its formerly voracious appetite for price-inflated horsepower worship. Look at the rapidly disappearing supersport and superbike market, from which some manufacturers are performing a full-on Pontius Pilate hand-washing act.

Topical conversation in that department centres on Yamaha’s recent admission that its flagship R1 and R1M superbikes won’t be progressed to the Euro5 Plus homologation standard. From 2025 onwards, they will, therefore, only be sold in Europe for track use – a fate that has already befallen the brand’s R6 supersport machinery.

Suzuki didn’t bother to address Euro5 emissions compliance for the GSX-R1000R superbike at the end of 2022, deleting this long-lived elite product from its European catalogue. And the likelihood of similar Japanese machines of this ilk soon being consigned to oblivion on the streets of Europe and the UK is verging on the inevitable. Despite upgrades for 2024, the days of Kawasaki’s ZX10RR Ninja and Honda’s CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP have to be numbered. Survivors, if there are any, will be confined to low volumes and minted prices for purely track or race deployment.

International Share Prices


The Federal Reserve admitted that US consumer price inflation had risen for a second consecutive month in February. Initially, investors tried to ignore this embarrassing news, having grown used to the idea that interest rate cuts were imminent, and trading remained positive for a while. But confidence soon crumbled, and all major Wall Street market indices had turned negative by Friday’s NYSE closing bell. Both blue-chip S&P 500 stocks and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid into 0.1% arrears, S&P’s MidCap 400 incurred a 1% loss and the NASDAQ Composite was 0.7% down.

Harley-Davidson shares continued to maintain significant impetus, but its electric spin-off LiveWire brand endured a fifth week of uninterrupted punishment, having now lost more than 40% of its value over that timeframe.


Responding to the return of inflationary woes in the USA, eurozone traders began to revise their own bets on when the European Central Bank would cut interest rates. But pressures upon markets on our side of the Atlantic were still essentially mild.

A greater influence came from the mounting threat to Russian oil refineries engendered by some successful Ukrainian missile strikes deep within Vladimir Putin’s home turf. Rising oil prices promptly helped energy-heavy European indices gain ground. So Frankfurt’s Dax Xetra edged 0.7% higher and the FTSE MIB in Milan rose by 1.6%.

BMW and Volkswagen share prices fell in the face of growing input from cut-price Chinese electric cars, and KTM parent Pierer Mobility’s value continued to drift based on profit warnings.


Tokyo and Osaka’s Nikkei 225 index fell by a firm 2.5% as Bank of Japan policymakers argued about how to raise interest rates out of negativity for the first time since 2006 without causing turmoil.

Quite how the end of this “cheap money” era will impact is perplexing the BoJ mightily. And equities investors have got their knickers in a twist over potentially deleterious consequences.


With the general election dates now announced for April, Indian business life will be beset by strife for several months. A decision by India’s central bank to maintain an inflationbusting 6.5% interest rate until the votes are counted, hasn’t contributed to calm.

66 APRIL 2024 On the Money

And while the remaining moneyed classes in our midst might still be prepared to splash their ill-gotten cash on highend sporting baubles like BMW Motorrad’s M-series missiles or Ducati’s equally puissant Panigale V4 variants, a lot more of their surplus loot is actually squandered on over-priced posh poseur adventure bikes from these respective premium sources.

R1300 GS output pays the wages at BMW, not its M1000 RR vanity project, even though every top-spec M bike starts at £31,000 before lavish M accessories are attached. The same goes for Ducati, where long thousands of plush Multistradas put Panigale volume in the shade.

Casting his own aspersions on the superbike decline, MCN news editor Dan

Sutherland recently opined that “an ageing demographic and speed-conscious society” was to blame. He hadn’t seemed to notice that an increasingly impoverished demographic, irrespective of age, has become incapable of propping up sufficient berserker sportsbike sales. And as for Sutherland’s “speed-conscious” jibe, that state of affairs has been around since before he was born.

Maybe he’s blithely unaware of long-established UK speed limits. For the record, a maximum 70mph restriction, now only applicable on motorways and dual carriageway roads with central reservations, was first introduced in 1965. A much wider 60mph

maximum limit on singlecarriageways arrived in 1973. Now, 40mph and 50mph signs also pepper the landscape in many locations. Most A2 bikes with their throttles pinned are capable of getting one’s collar felt by the constabulary in all of these circumstances. The aforementioned “new normal” parallel twins can manage far greater licence-losing velocities. So wicked delinquency is still possible without expensive superbike/supersport input.

Going back to where we started, I suspect the only sector attracting transient fresh meat to motorcycling

society is the gig economy, semislaves on zero-hours contracts whose riding qualifications will only ever extend to repeatedly passing CBT and sticking L-plates on metropolitan fleet delivery scooters. Few of them will be bitten by the biker bug. Most aren’t even that young, being typically in their mid-20s, and will hang up their helmets as soon as a proper job comes along. I cannot imagine anybody trapped in the mobility basement actually takes incentive-free AM or A1 tests. Why would you bother? If the motorcycle industry wants to keep on earning enough dog biscuits to buy decent sets of golf clubs, it needs to keep those price points lower and be a lot nicer to old gits like me. 

Mumbai’s S&P BSE Sensex 30 and NSE Nifty 50, both fell in the past week, respectively 2% and 2.1% lower. Shares in all five major indigenous motorcycle manufacturers declined in value, to greater or lesser extents.


As the Chinese National People’s Congress concluded, announcement of a huge raft of economic stimulus measures was cheered by assembled Communist Party members.

Investor activity eased market indices upwards. Shanghai’s SSE Composite added 0.3% and the Shanghai/Shenzhen blue-chip CSI 300 put on 0.7%.

Recovery for shares of most bike manufacturers was evident, and the majority have now managed to claw back much of their losses from the market crash just prior to the Lunar New Year holiday.

APRIL 2024 67 On the Money Market analysis with financial editor Roger Willis A snapshot of share performance across key manufacturers and markets Contact 01237 422660 or Share performance as of 19 February 2024 Price Week Month India (rupee) Hero MotoCorp 4585.30 -1.5% -6.3% Bajaj Auto 8350.70 -6.0% +0.3% TVS Motor 2066.45 -8.6% -3.4% Eicher Motors 3745.65 -1.0% -4.7% Mahindra 1799.50 -5.2% -2.0% China (yuan) Qianjiang 13.55 +5.9% +24.7% Zongshen 6.51 +9.9% +17.5% Sundiro 2.82 +24.8% +38.9% CETC (Jialing) 12.76 +1.8% +10.2% Lifan 3.30 +5.4% +7.1% Loncin 5.84 +10.4% +27.8% Linhai 8.01 +5.4% +21.9% Guangzhou Auto 8.87 +2.9% +2.8% CFMoto 112.21 -5.4% +15.5% Xinri E-Vehicle 10.77 +8.0% +31.2% Price Week Month USA (dollar) Harley-Davidson 41.00 +6.6% +8.3% Polaris Industries 91.86 -0.9% -0.2% Textron 92.91 +0.8% +8.4% Ideanomics (Energica) 1.05 -0.9% N/A Niu Technologies 1.78 +2.9% -7.8% LiveWire 6.08 -25.8% -42.3% Europe (euro) BMW 105.68 -1.4% +1.8% Volkswagen 131.90 -1.8% -2.8% Pierer Mobility 45.50 -2.4% -7.1% Piaggio Group 2.84 +1.1% -10.1%
(yen) Honda 1782.5 +1.0% +1.7% Yamaha 1330 -0.1% -3.5% Suzuki 6160 -1.7% -8.3% Kawasaki 4643 -3.9% +22.6%
68 APRIL 2024 0 200000 400000 600000 800000 1000000 1200000 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 738643 807531 862511 862756 921396 906953 1015084 3304 5853 12263 18007 28084 43484 34764 Elec ICE MOTORCYCLE REGISTRATIONS Jan-Dec 2017 Jan-Dec 2018 Jan-Dec 2019 Jan-Dec 2020 Jan-Dec 2021 Jan-Dec 2022 Jan-Dec 2023 ICE 738,643 807,531 862,511 862,756 921,396 906,953 906,953 Elec 3,304 5,853 12,263 18,007 28,084 43,484 34,764 Total 741,947 813,384 874,774 880,763 949,480 950,437 1,049,848 Jan-Dec 2017 Jan-Dec 2018 Jan-Dec 2019 Jan-Dec 2020 Jan-Dec 2021 Jan-Dec 2022 Jan-Dec 2023 ICE 269,773 181,661 194,284 221,151 191,683 170,063 132,134 Elec 24,134 35,146 52,061 59,289 73,124 85,846 61,011 Total 293,907 216,807 246,345 280,440 264,807 255,909 193,145 0 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000 300000 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 269773 181661 194284 221151 191683 170063 132134 24134 35146 52061 59289 73124 85846 61011 Elec ICE MOPED REGISTRATIONS New registrations New scooter and motorcycle registrations for February 2024 UK registrations International registrations Registration statistics supplied by the MCIA; tel 02476 408000; Highest registering ICE model by capacity Feb 2024 registrations Peugeot Kisbee 50 14 Honda PCX125 309 Triumph Speed 400 58 Yamaha MT-07 ABS 62 Suzuki GSX-8R 57 BMW R1300 GS 61 2023 / 2022 ICE Registrations by capacity Year to Date ENGINE BAND Feb 2024 Feb 2023 % Change Feb 2024 Feb 2023 % Change 0 – 50cc 172 220 -21.8% 423 476 -11.1% 51 – 125cc 2213 1997 10.8% 4444 4248 4.6% 126-500cc 894 817 9.4% 2150 1823 17.9% 501 – 750cc 442 487 -9.2% 936 1135 -17.5% 751 – 1000cc 654 487 34.3% 1457 1076 35.4% over 1000cc 580 586 -1.0% 1335 1400 -4.6% TOTAL REGISTRATIONS 4955 4594 7.9% 10745 10158 5.8% 2023 / 2022 Registrations by style Year to date Highest registering model by style Feb 2024 registrations MOPEDS Feb 2024 Feb 2023 % Change Feb 2024 Feb 2023 % Change Moped Naked 26 24 8.3% 61 49 24.5% Lexmoto Cypher 5 Moped Other 49 65 -24.6% 117 135 -13.3% Sur-Ron Light Bee 9 Moped Scooters 183 198 -7.6% 437 442 -1.1% Peugeot Kisbee 50 14 TOTAL MOPEDS 258 287 -10.1% 615 626 -1.8% MOTORCYCLES Adventure 834 625 33.4% 1962 1603 22.4% BMW R1300 GS 61 Competition 300 446 -32.7% 726 912 -20.4% Beta RR 2T 300 16 Custom 248 260 -4.6% 510 535 -4.7% Royal Enfield Meteor 350 36 Modern Classic 502 47 17.6% 1133 951 19.1% Triumph Speed 400 58 Naked 820 946 -13.3% 1919 2088 -8.1% Yamaha MT-07 62 Road Sport 451 324 39.2% 866 723 19.8% Suzuki GSX-8R 57 Scooter 1545 1379 12.0% 3135 2826 10.9% Honda PCX 125 309 Touring 76 90 -15.6% 156 231 -32.5% BMW R1250 RT 21 Unspecified 18 6 200.0% 43 15 186.7% TOTAL MOTORCYCLES 4794 4503 6.5% 10450 9884 5.7% TRICYCLES Other 16 14 14.3% 26 39 -33.3% Carver S+ 8 Scooter 38 10 280.0% 58 30 93.3% Yamaha Tricity 300 23 TOTAL TRICYCLES 54 24 125.0% 84 69 21.7% TOTAL REGISTRATIONS 5106 4814 6.1% 11149 10579 5.4%

Top Ten Manufacturers

February 2024

1. Honda ............. 1085 (+15.9%)

2. Yamaha ............. 734 (+16.5%)

3. BMW .............. 377 (+16.7%)

4. Triumph ............ 341 (+63.2%)

5. KTM ............... 255 (-11.5%)

6. Lexmoto 252 (+20.0%)

7. Suzuki 189 (N/A)

8. Kawasaki 179 (+50.4%)

9. Royal Enfield 158 (-9.7%)

10. Piaggio 124 (+0.0%)

Rolling Year Comparison

Registration statistics supplied by the MCIA; tel 02476 408000;

Full motorcycle registrations data from key European markets

Euro market maintains steady position

ACEM’S END OF YEAR RESULTS for 2023 show that the European PTW market fared well, hitting the highest level for at least eight years.

Total registrations recorded across Europe’s biggest motorcycle markets – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – were up by a healthy 10.5% to a new peak of more than one million. Much of this was thanks to a bumper 18% improvement in the number of PTWs sold in Italy –Europe’s largest market by volume. The UK market was, in contrast, the poor relation, with a 2.5% fall in 2023 registrations being the only negative performance.

Moped sales across Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain (the largest European markets for sub-50cc bikes) did not fare well, reinforcing concerns of how the younger generations are moving away from two-wheel transport. The market overall was down by almost 25%, with Germany and the Netherlands in particular suffering, with drops of more than 40% each.

Electric-powered machines proved a tricky sell in the UK in 2023, and this experience was mirrored across Europe with every single market seeing hefty falls in sales, whether motorcycle or moped-spec.

New stock boosts winter sales

THE EARLY ARRIVAL OF NEW stock is generating more showroom footfall than many dealers expect during what is still supposed to be the depths of winter. BDN financial editor Roger Willis is confident they won’t be complaining.

According to MCIA data, total registrations in usually bleak February were 6.1% up to 5106 units. Motorcycles rose by 4% to 3249, and over-50cc scooters put on 12%. Trikes surged by 125% to 54. Only mopeds were a disappointment, 10.1% down to 258. Within the headline count, petrolhead products were dominant, stacking on 7.9% to 4955. Battery-electric steeds swerved back towards oblivion, 31.4% in arrears on a mere 151 units sold.

The mobility segment up to 125cc added 7.6% to 2385 units. Honda got this month’s fleet delivery prize, L-plating 309 PCX125 scooters and pushing against early Yamaha NMax domination. The 126-500cc slot, notionally populated by a lot of A2 bikes which are not necessarily ridden on A2 licences, continued to grow, 9.4% up to 894 machines. Triumph’s Speed 400 was a best-seller once more, although dealers report that the Scrambler 400X version of this refreshingly new 400cc singlecylinder platform is in hot pursuit.

The only disappointment of any significance was for 501-750cc ware, which were 9.2% down to 442. Yamaha headed up this depleted tally with a batch of best-selling MT-07 ABS twins. But weakness was probably attributable to a paucity of stock for some popular niche brands.

The same cannot be said for the booming 751-1000cc range, a wholesome 34.3% up to 654. Supplies of Suzuki’s latest GSX-8R parallel-twin entrant into this budget bonanza arrived a month prior to expected delivery for the

March new-plate season opener –and promptly snatched best-seller laurels.

Finally, premium 1000ccplus contenders held station, just six bikes down on February last year, and headed up by the already consistent best-selling BMW R1300 GS. We assume Motorrad dealers are rubbing their hands together in expectation of a fully-loaded Adventure version at an even higher price point once leftover R1250GS Adventure stock has been exhumed from showrooms.

February’s top-ten brands chart kicked off with four leading manufacturers on double-digit percentage gains from a shabby performance 12 months earlier. Honda was in charge and boasted a 15.9% advance. But to be fair, almost a third of its tally comprised the aforementioned PCX125 fleet. Runner-up Yamaha added 16.5%, and BMW Motorrad rose by 16.7% in third. Then Triumph thoroughly redeemed itself in fourth, a muscular 63.2% up, thanks to an ongoing influx of desirable new model availability.

KTM was the first dunce, dropping by 11.5%. Then Lexmoto improved by 20%, although that only amounted to 42 additional bikes. Suzuki was no doubt relieved to actually be in the chart, after a no-show last February. Kawasaki followed at the front of three tail-enders, with a nevertheless useful 50.4% gain. No such luck for Royal Enfield, apparently soft on inventory and 9.7% down in ninth spot. Piaggio slid in dead last and dead flat, exactly repeating its February 2023 total.

For the two months of 2024 to date, total registrations are 5.4% higher on 11,149 units, with the petrolhead firmament 5.8% up to 10,745. Over-50cc scooters put on 10.9% to 3135, motorcycles grew by 3.6% to 7315 and trikes added 21.7% to 84.

APRIL 2024 69 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 18000 20000 Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb
New registrations
For registration statistics for alternative power two-wheelers, see page 40
2022/23 2023/24
February 2023 1. Honda 936 2. Yamaha 630 3. BMW 323 4. KTM 288 5. Lexmoto 210 6. Triumph 209 7. Royal Enfield 175 8. Piaggio 124 9. Kawasaki 119 10. SYM 115

PTW registrations experience continued growth

With February being the wettest on record it is encouraging to see that registrations of new two-wheelers are experiencing continued growth. Following on from a positive January, which saw registrations rise by 4.8%, February has seen growth of 6.1%. This is even more surprising when you consider that February is the last month before the introduction of the new ’24 number plates, which, no doubt, some buyers will have been holding out for,” says Symon Cook, head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA).

In February, total registrations increased by 6.1% to 5106. Moped sales were down by 10.1%, whereas motorcycle sales increased by 6.5%.

The various motorcycle categories saw a range of growth and contraction this month. The adventure and modern classic categories grew by 33.4% and 17.6% respectively, whereas the competition and naked categories saw contractions of 32.7% and 13.3% respectively. Road sport machinery saw the greatest change, with growth of 39.2%, going from 324 units last year to 451 this year.

ICE motorbikes continue to dominate their electric counterparts, with electric registrations falling by 31.4% from 220 to 151 in contrast to ICE registrations, which witnessed 7.9% growth from 4594 to 4955. In terms of capacity sectors, 751-1000cc bikes saw the most significant growth, with an increase of 34.3%.

Honda remained on top for overall sales, with 1085 registrations, followed by Yamaha with 734. BMW was in third place with 377 new registrations. Piaggio, again, rounded off the top ten with 124 registrations.

Cook concluded: “These figures come in the wake of the spring budget this week, which was an altogether deflating experience for the automotive sector. The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced that he would continue the freeze on fuel duty for another year, but there was not much else on offer for the industry.

“Most notably, the chancellor neglected to mention any incentives for the implementation of electric vehicles (EV). Therefore, it is not surprising to see a contraction in the electric motorcycle market, although a contraction of 31.4% is still concerning.

“February looks to have picked up where January left off with another successful month for motorcycle registrations. As the country continues to face economic and political uncertainty and an onslaught of rain, it is positive to see that the public’s desire for new two-wheelers has not dwindled.”

Glass’s motorcycle market overview

DATA PUBLISHED BY THE MOTOR CYCLE Industry Association (MCIA) showed that registrations in February grew by 6.1%. Following growth in January, the positive start to the year continues, and it will be interesting to see how registrations perform in March as the season gathers momentum. As with January, modern classics, adventures and scooters continue among the leading categories.

Despite registrations being ahead of last year, recent feedback from dealers was mixed. Some reported buoyant sales and enquiries during February, whilst others found the market to be challenging. However, March should give a clearer picture as to how the season may shape up. Strong manufacturer promotions continue with outgoing 2023 models and the imminent arrival of 2024 models.

and like the NEC Show in November, the vibes were positive. In view of the political backdrop and the rising cost of living, manufacturers are cautiously optimistic for 2024.


Strong manufacturer promotions continue with outgoing 2023 models and the imminent arrival of 2024 models

Used sales and enquiries have also been mixed recently, with some dealers having a strong February, whilst others reported enquiry levels to be variable. Many dealers remain well stocked, and purchasing activity remains lower than normal for the time of year, with some only taking in part exchanges. Demand was consistent across most segments, particularly smaller to mid-ranges, with Japanese machines being the most sought-after.


The Yamaha XSR900 GP and new MT-09 are generating strong interest, whilst the new Ducati 698 Hypermotard has been well received.

The Devitt Insurance MCN London Motorcycle Show took place at its usual location, the London ExCeL, between the 16-18 February. Friday was well attended,

Despite February being the warmest on record for England and Wales, it was also very wet, with riding conditions far from ideal. However, March has started on a drier note and with the clocks moving forward at the end of the month and daylight hours rapidly increasing, riders can hopefully look forward to some better riding conditions. Glass’s expects residual values to remain firm across all segments in the coming weeks.

Ducati’s new 698 Hypermotard single has generated showroom traffic Yamaha’s XSR900 GP and MT-09 have ridden the wave of interest in sporty mid-capacity machinery
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Used bike data

What’s hot and what’s not in the used-motorcycle world


KTM HAS BEEN THE BIG WINNER ON THE MCN website over the past month. The company’s Super Adventure R is the single most popular bike for sale on our platform, followed by a quartet of Hondas: the Africa Twin, Gold Wing, NC750X, and VFR800.

Over in Bike Reviews, KTM’s new metal accounts for all three of the most popular naked bikes – the 990 Duke is top, followed by Super Duke R and 390 Duke.

When it comes to sportsbikes, it was mid-capacity models that received the most interest. Suzuki’s GSX-

Bikes for Sale

Most viewed models

1. KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

2. Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin

3. Honda GL1800 Gold Wing

4. Honda NC750X

MCN Bikes for sale views by sector/type

5. Honda VFR800

6. Yamaha R1

7. Honda CB500X

8. Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa

9. Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

10. Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200

MCN Reviews

Most viewed brands

Review views by sector/type



Top 5 Bike Reviews by type

8R remains the most popular, with the second-place BMW S1000 RR being the only litre bike in the top five. CFMoto’s 450SR was third most viewed, followed by a couple of veterans – the R6 and the original CBR600F.

The new Honda NX500 is the most popular adventure bike, followed by the 2024 BMW M1000XR and the Suzuki GSX-S1000GX.

0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25%
Adventure Sport Custom Naked Scooter Sport / T our Supersport T ouring Retro T rail/Enduro Supermoto Percentage of views by type 2024 2023 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25%
Adventure Sport Custom Naked Scooter Sport/Tour Supersport Touring Classic Retro Dirt Bike Percentage of views by type 2024 2023 Used bike data
Adventure Sport 1. 2024 Honda NX500 2. 2024 BMW M1000 XR 3. 2024 Suzuki GSX-S1000GX 4. 2024 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 5. 2014 Honda NC750X Sports 1. 2024 Suzuki GSX-8R 2. 2019 BMW S1000 RR 3. 2023 CFMoto 450SR 4. 2017 Yamaha R6 5. 2000 Honda CBR600F Naked 1. 2024 KTM 990 Duke 2. 2024 KTM 1390 Superduke R 3. 2024 KTM 390 Duke 4. 2021 Triumph Trident 660 5. 1996 Suzuki GSF600 Bandit 1. Honda 17.5% 2. Yamaha 11.0% 3. Suzuki 10.8% 4. BMW 10.2% 5. Kawasaki 9.0% 6. Triumph 8.7% 7. Ducati 6.4%
KTM 5.4%
Harley-Davidson 3.1%
Royal Enfield 2.7%
Motorcycle Auctions


AFTER ENDING THE YEAR WITH A FLOURISH, WITH used bike sales growing throughout the final quarter, that sales positivity has continued through January and into February.

The volume of used motorcycles and scooters sold was up by 12% compared to the same month of 2023, matching January’s increase. The amount of time taken for a bike to sell was also heading in the right direction, dropping from January’s 12-month high of 63 days to 55 – merely the second-longest time in the past year.

Commuter and learner-friendly machinery dominated the chart of fastest-selling motorcycles and scooters, with a duo of mini-sportsbikes from Lexmoto and Kawasaki edging out Honda’s MSX125 “Grom” pit/ monkey bike to fill the top three positions. The only non-125cc bike managing to break into the top ten was the Honda CRF250L soft-roader. Further back, big tourers proved popular with Honda’s Pan European and the Yamaha FJR1300 entering the chart just outside the top ten.



DECEMBER’S LONG AWAITED move into positive territory for the market health metric – a calculation comparing used motorcycle demand from consumers with the supply of secondhand machinery to the trade – after more than 12 months of negative numbers prooved to be a short-lived celebration, as the graph turned downwards again in both January and February. Consumer interest dropped off markedly at the beginning of the year, no doubt in part due to the rain-sodden roads, and the metric was further impacted by an increase in the amount of used stock available.

-15% -1% -20% -22% -20% -18% -15% -11% -7% -11% -8% 9% -5% -7% -30% -20% -10% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Jan 2023 Feb 2023 Mar 2023 Apr 2023 May 2023 Jun 2023 Jul 2023 Aug 2023 Sep 2023 Oct 2023 Nov 2023 Dec 2023 Jan 2024 Feb 2024 Yearonyear change in market health Used bike demand YoY Used bike supply YoY -20% -15% -10% -5% 0% 5% 10% 15% Feb 2023 Mar 2023 Apr 2023 May 2023 Jun 2023 Jul 2023 Aug 2023 Sep 2023 Oct 2023 Nov 2023 Dec 2023 Jan 2024 Feb 2024 Change in yearonyear sales volume 45 38 36 30 30 27 29 33 33 37 48 63 55 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Feb 2023 Mar 2023 Apr 2023 May 2023 Jun 2023 Jul 2023 Aug 2023 Sep 2023 Oct 2023 Nov 2023 Dec 2023 Jan 2024 Feb 2024 Average number of days to sell Used bike data
The fastest selling bikes on Auto Trader in February Average number of days advertised before sale 1. Lexmoto LXR125 6 2. Kawasaki Ninja 125 10 3. Honda MSX125 10 4. Yamaha XMAX 10 5. Benelli BN125 11.5 6. KTM 125 Duke 13 7. Honda PCX125 13 8. Yamaha XSR125 15 9. Honda CRF250L 15 10. Kawasaki Z125 15.5 11. Honda ST1300 Pan European 16 12. Honda CB125F 16 13. Yamaha FJR1300 16 14. Yamaha MT-125 17.5 15. Royal Enfield Himalayan 18 16. Yamaha R125 18.5 17. Honda XL750 Transalp 21 18. Piaggio MP3 21 19. Honda CBR600F 23 20. Kawasaki ER-6N 23 21. BMW M1000 R 23 22. Suzuki GSX-S125 23 23. Harley-Davidson Dyna 23 24. Honda Forza 125 23

Market Watch

Trade & industry report with cap hpi motorcycle editor Alan Elsworth NEW MARKET


expectations for unemployment levels to remain flat and pay growth to slow to a lower 5.7%, the latest Office for National Statistics figures show an unexpected 0.1% unemployment increase in January from 3.8% in December. In the same period, annual average wage growth, including bonuses, fell 0.2% from 5.8%. The better news is that GDP, which was very slightly negative in the last six months of 2023 (theoretically putting the UK into recession), has turned around for the first month of 2024 with growth of 0.2%. Another positive is recent surveys showing UK businesses are regaining confidence in the economic outlook.

In an industry where disposable income is a significant driver for the success of suppliers to people spending on its goods, the news that between November and January 9.2 million people aged between 16 and 64 years old were not in work or looking for a job) is a matter for concern. This is an increase of more than 700,000 since the coronavirus pandemic.

Painting a slightly rosier picture, the latest new registration numbers from the MCIA show a February increase of 6.2%, with the two months of 2024 up 5.4%. We have to avoid trying to suggest trends from just two months’ figures, but it’s a small sign that the wider economy is showing some sign of improvement.

Another positive is recent surveys showing UK businesses are regaining confidence in the economic outlook

The electric-powered market re-alignment continues as the Coronavirus effect washes out of the rush it had in the market. EV decline appears to have stabilized somewhat after 2023’s crash, but as well as the financial woes besetting the Swedish electric manufacturer Cake, its bikes have been subject of a recall over battery concerns. More widely, there have also been significant list price reductions in the EV market. Longterm concerns for residuals persist, with a significantly lower price prediction in the long term.


There is a glimmer of hope as the days draw out and gradually become warmer, with reports of slight increases in consumer activity. The feeling could be likened to a wedding buffet, where everyone is waiting for the first person to make a move, and then there is suddenly a stampede. Trade purchasing is based on supply and demand, so as more consumers want used bikes, the price will start to increase. It’s not rocket science, but identifying the right time to run for the chicken legs is difficult!

There are more positive vibes around the trade, with buyers more willing to purchase now, ready for the imminent riding season. But there is little in the way of signs suggesting any significant changes in used valuations is justified. Consequently there have been no positive price changes, and indeed there has been re-alignment downwards for some models, as our research suggests in this month’s data.

The moped sector has been in decline


A SLIGHT CHANGE IN THE TAKEup of entries in the latest round of auctions saw 45% of the 130 entries sell in the first BCA auction of March, 23 of which were carried over to the company’s second sale of the month, which saw 63 machines on offer. This resulted in an overall average performance of just over 90% of CAP figures.

In the Midlands, a Fleet Auction Group sale of mostly Honda Finance and Suzuki direct entries finished in a similar price position, with 49 of 60 entries finding new owners.

since the pandemic, with few signs of it returning to a pre-pandemic type of model mix. There was a 10.1 % decline in moped registrations for February, but a smaller fall of 1.8% for the two months of the year. To provide some scale, 258 units were sold this February compared to 323 in February 2020.

Adventure and road sport categories are both starting the year on a high, with best sellers in class being two recently introduced models – the iconic, and perhaps inevitable, R1300 GS from BMW and, possibly more interestingly, the Suzuki GSX-8R, with its slightly less than all-out sports parallel twin. This is just the latest example from several manufacturers that might just stir up some interest in a sporty-looking machine without the race-focused engine and associated cost going forward.

It is still too early in the year for “summer toys” to significantly affect the overall numbers, which leads to a healthy half of the new market going to commuter-friendly scooter classes.

There are no big surprises in top performers this month, as the usual suspects appear in both model categories and manufacturer chart. The exception to the rule is a showing in the tricycle category of a model that few have seen as yet – a three-wheeler from Carver which is not only fully enclosed and electric-powered, but also tilts when going around corners. The single wheel at the front perhaps will remind older members of the industry of the Reliant trikes of the past. Are we seeing the start of a new interim mode of transportation slotting somewhere between bike and car? The availability of a version for 16-yearolds, allowing for dry commuting, could have a strong audience, but one with deep pockets, as they are not an inexpensive alternative.

74 APRIL 2024 Market Watch
Fleet Auction’s sale was mostly populated by Honda and Suzuki finance entries DEALER DISCOUNT OFFER 50% Contact Alison on 01237 422660 or SEE PAGE 23
The Carver S+
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Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd is a company registered in England, Company No. 3897329, registered address: Unit 21, Hopper Way, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4NG. We have several exclusive schemes only at Lexham! Scooters & Mopeds Motorcycles 3-Wheelers Quads Electric motorcycles Electric scooters Delivery rider & Delivery fleets Specialist UK insurance team 22 years of providing specialist motor insurance Dedicated iOS & Android apps From one-man businesses to large multi-outlet dealerships, we can help! 01379 646 506 TO FIND OUT MORE JOIN THE DEALER DIRECT PARTNERSHIP WWW.LEXHAMINSURANCE.CO.UK Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, firm reference number: 303917. Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd is a company registered in England, Company No. 3897329, registered address: Unit 21, Hopper Way, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4NG. We have several exclusive schemes only at Lexham! 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