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Thread: Will emissions regs make bikes just like cars?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Will emissions regs make bikes just like cars?

    The smog police have finally caught up with motorcycles - until recently, the last bastion of relatively unregulated internal combustion.

    The Environmental Protection Agency has come down hard on bikes during the past couple of years; beginning with the 2006 models, all motorcycle manufacturers had to reduce the evaporative and nitrogen oxide emissions of their machines bikes by 60 percent. That meant the end of carburetors, catalytic converters across the board - and the rise of modern engine management systems.

    Which in turn has made new bikes not only more expensive but increasingly, beyond the ability of the average owner to service (beyond basic maintenance).

    Just like modern cars.

    True, smog equipment has been installed on motorcycles for years. But the gear involved until quite recently was minimalist and and easily defeated in comparison to what new cars have been fitted with since the 1980s.

    Most obviously, the motorcycle industry has been able to continue using carburetors - even on large cc bikes - until just the past year or or. Carburetors haven't been used on a passenger car since about 1987 - more than 20 years ago. Why? Carbs make great power, are simple and easy to tune - but they do not have the ability to meter fuel as precisely as electronic fuel injection (EFI), which means less efficient combustion, which means higher exhaust emissions.

    So, they're history. Other than a few small cc machines, virtually all new/2009 bikes are injected.

    Of course, computers are necessary to run the EFI; that means an array of sensors, switches and wiring. Time to add such acronyms as MAP and MAF to your vocabulary. Goodbye jets. Hello fuzzy logic and laptops.

    Eventually, the aftermarket will catch up and offer smog-legal replacement pieces - but don't expect it to come cheap. The added complexity and development/certification costs will be reflected in higher prices for such things as mufflers and full exhaust systems. But the worst part is that most of us will have to turn the job of tuning our bikes over to the $75-per-hour pros - just as most cagers have had to do.

    Catalytic converters are here, too. These chemical exhaust scrubbers are built into the exhaust system. And as with new cars, it is more difficult to modify the stock exhaust system, as well as expensive. It's also illegal - though as yet bikes don't have to come in for a smog test.

    Yet.

    Right now, bike owners don't have to get their machines "smogged" every couple of years to get or renew their registration - as most car drivers must. But inevitably attention will focus on motorcycles - particularly as regards the politically charged issue of "tampering" - you know, defeating or rendering inoperative any part of the factory-installed emissions system.

    Right now, this is common practice - and supremely easy to get away with - because no one's looking. There are no physical inspections, no "tailpipe sniffer" test to worry about. Most bike shops will still - with a wink and a nod - gut whatever smog gear a new bike comes with as part of the tuning process and the quest for maximum power. Just as it was circa 1977 when t came to cars.

    But just try that with a car today.

    Very soon, motorcyclists may face the same harsh reality. Not only will it be harder and more expensive to make any changes to our rides, bike shops will want no part of doing anything that might cause the EPA's hellhounds to descend. And we may soon find ourselves waiting in line to get "smog checked" alongside the cagers.

    The irony of it all is that bikes represent a tiny fraction of the daily-driven vehicle fleet - about 2.2 percent of all registered motor vehicles in 2001; 0.34 percent of total Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) by all registered vehicles in the United States. Sure, that number has increased lately as gas prices have made bikes more appealing - but not by much.

    The fact remains that motorcycle emissions are a small percentage of the total, relative to cars and trucks. Focusing all this attention on them is hardly going to affect the air quality equation one way or the other.

    All it's going to do is make riding a motorcycle more like driving a car - expensive and filled with hassles.


  2. #2
    DonTom
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    Re: Will emissions regs make bikes just like cars?

    "That meant the end of carburetors"

    Great news!!!

    -Don-

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Will emissions regs make bikes just like cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "That meant the end of carburetors"

    Great news!!!

    -Don-
    I kinda knew you'd say that.... :

  4. #4
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    Re: Will emissions regs make bikes just like cars?

    I would bet that lawn mowers & leaf blowers contribute more smog than motorcycles. Even the four-stroke ones.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Will emissions regs make bikes just like cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    I would bet that lawn mowers & leaf blowers contribute more smog than motorcycles. Even the four-stroke ones.

    Chip H.
    Yep - and did you know they are putting cats on them?

    Check the price of a new smog-compliant mower....

  6. #6
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    Re: Will emissions regs make bikes just like cars?

    This article has been posted on the main site with pictures:




    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...8&Itemid=10920


  7. #7
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Re: Will emissions regs make bikes just like cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric

    .... Which in turn has made new bikes not only more expensive but increasingly, beyond the ability of the average owner to service (beyond basic maintenance).

    Eventually, the aftermarket will catch up and offer smog-legal replacement pieces - but don't expect it to come cheap. The added complexity and development/certification costs will be reflected in higher prices for such things as mufflers and full exhaust systems. But the worst part is that most of us will have to turn the job of tuning our bikes over to the $75-per-hour pros - just as most cagers have had to do.

    Right now, bike owners don't have to get their machines "smogged" every couple of years to get or renew their registration - as most car drivers must. But inevitably attention will focus on motorcycles - particularly as regards the politically charged issue of "tampering" - you know, defeating or rendering inoperative any part of the factory-installed emissions system.

    Right now, this is common practice - and supremely easy to get away with - because no one's looking. There are no physical inspections, no "tailpipe sniffer" test to worry about. Most bike shops will still - with a wink and a nod - gut whatever smog gear a new bike comes with as part of the tuning process and the quest for maximum power. Just as it was circa 1977 when t came to cars.


    Very soon, motorcyclists may face the same harsh reality. Not only will it be harder and more expensive to make any changes to our rides, bike shops will want no part of doing anything that might cause the EPA's hellhounds to descend. And we may soon find ourselves waiting in line to get "smog checked" alongside the cagers.


    All it's going to do is make riding a motorcycle more like driving a car - expensive and filled with hassles.

    Within the fog bound brains of the EU there have been several moves to make the fitting of any automotive part, other than those manufactured by the manufacturer of the particular vehicle, illegal. Consideration has also been given to making servicing/maintenance the sole province of mechanics and fitters trained and certified by the relevant vehicle manufacturer. So far these attempts have not been successful - but this does not mean that they have gone away!

    I doubt whether these boneheads, so wrapped up in their political correctness, green, and health and safety thinking, (I will not give these ludicrous activities the benefits of capitalisation) have ever considered the effect this would have on a member country's economy. Aftermarket manufacturers, many producing better quality items than the OE fitments, would be out of business on day one. The purveyors of aftermarket goodies - and there are thousands of them, would be out of business. The small, low cost, local garage, offering good service to local people at a fraction of the cost of the Dealership workshops, would be out of business unless they could afford to be factory trained on every vehicle they might work on. All related staff would be unemployed and looking for non-existent jobs. Anyone with a problem on their vehicle would have to wait until they could get it towed to a registered workshop for repair - woe betide someone who thought he could quickly change his brakepads etc.

    No sane person would ever contemplate these moves but these idiots are actually paid by us the poor EU proletariat who, in many cases, didn't vote them into power in the first place.

    Added to all this nonsense we have the great raft of British bureaucrats, who seem to be paid by the amount of paperwork they generate. A three line edict from Brussels can be swiftly turned into a four hundred page document containing a plethora of new regulations, requirements, standards, measurements and targets (not forgetting the cross references to hundreds of other regulations) that were never intended in the first place and are systematically driving our small businesses to the wall. >

    Ken.

    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

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