Unless you’re now an unwitting star of YouTube after buying and binning a new R1 in the space of a few hours, no-one jumps on a big bike on day one of their biking career. We all may want to skip a few steps and leapfrog on to the bike of our dreams, but the reality is that money, experience and insurance are all barriers to getting something bigger and better. And you can add a new obstacle to the list now; legislation.
Unless you’ve been stuck in Timbuktu (who knew that was in Mali until recently?), you’ll know that changes to the system have been introduced. Thanks to the EU, new licensing laws mean that you’re biking life will be neutered until you’re 24 when you can then pass your A2 test or take a Direct Access course. You can probably guess what we think about this. No matter that you can vote, drink, have kids and become an MP by 18, and that there are no such restrictions for car drivers, you have to wait an additional six years to ride something as innocuous as a an unrestricted SV650...
But we’ve got to face up to the new laws – manufacturers have. Our weapon of choice to date would be the Kawasaki Ninja 300, but there’s a new kid in town. Honda’s opening salvo in the battle, the CBR500R, is the most significant bike in this new market to date. Offering CBR heritage and looks to the modest legal power levels imposed by the class and a built-to-a-budget chassis is about as good as it’s going to get. It may not be as entertaining as the FZR600 that I earned my stripes on or as potent as the original baby ‘Blade (the CBR400RR) but as Alastair found out on the launch of this crucial machine, perhaps you can judge a book by its cover.
Rant aside, it’s warming up, get yourself on a bike and start this year’s adventures off now! Enjoy.
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