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What is a LAMS bike?


Okay, a few weeks ago we ran through how to get your motorcycle license, easy peezy, no drama there. Lately, I’ve been hearing a few people questioning “what is a LAMS bike” and “is it still approved with an aftermarket exhaust that the dealership put on” and “what can I do to make my LAMS bike better for me”… So I thought I’d take the time to point out some facts and fictions, and hopefully answer some of these questions along the way.



First off, a LAMS motorcycle, or “Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme” bike, is a motorcycle that has an engine capacity between 251cc and 660cc, and has a power output of less than 150 kilowatts per tonne (measured at the motor). Basically, there is a list on the Government website that states, model by model, what bikes are “approved” in this range, for riders on their Learners and Restricted motorcycle licenses. There is also a list of bikes less than 251cc that are prohibited that make too much power. All other bikes less than 251cc are allowed to be ridden by learner and restricted license holders, including scooters. Simple, right?



But wait, there’s more. The rules state you cannot modify your LAMS bike in any way that alters the power to weight ratio from what the factory specifies. That means, sorry, No you can’t ride a bike that the dealership has fitted with a cool aftermarket exhaust, even though they are the Authorised Dealer. Aftermarket exhaust systems are considered to both decrease weight and increase power output. Now, we all know this isn’t always true, but try proving that to the Police Officer that has just pulled you over on the side of the road!



You can, however, fit different branded tires, better compound brake pads, or pretty much anything that doesn’t change the power to weight ratio of the bike. Personally, if you want to make your bike look different to every other one on the road, go for it. Small things like aftermarket grips and some stickers aren’t going to upset the Constabulary. The rules even state you can change the suspension for a “direct fit” replacement, if you want to! Use some common sense though, bar end mirrors and shorty levers are in fact lighter than the factory equipment, and blatantly obvious to any official onlooker.



There are some other technicalities to think about too. Fitting a top box makes the bike heavier, which is again breaking the rules. The power to weight ratio can’t be increased OR decreased. It seems a bit strange, but that is the way it is. Also, if your bike has a built-in “restrictor” that limits the power, which can be removed when you get your full license, it must stay in place until then. If, by chance, you have an accident and your insurance company discovers you’ve removed the restrictor, they don’t have to pay out! Remember, the rules are there for your safety, to help you get to your full license.



When you do get your full license and remove the restrictor (Yay!) you also have to recertify it as a full license bike. This means taking it to your local inspector, filling in some paperwork, and getting it changed in the government system. Then it is legally no longer a LAMS bike. You as the rider are responsible for making sure you are on the right bike for your license requirements.



I hope this helps answer some of the questions I’ve been hearing lately, let me know if you’ve got any more in the comments section below!


– Scott




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