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Tougher Emissions Standards for Street Motorcycles

An Overview by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation
October 25, 2001

1. What Do Street Riders Expect in the Rule?

First, we believe EPA will set tougher standards than the current California standard.

  • Current California: 1.4 g/km Hydrocarbon Only.

  • Expected EPA Standard: Similar to California's future plan, 1.4 g/km HC plus Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) for most street bikes to take effect in 2004, followed by 0.8 g/km HC + NOx in 2008.

Second, we believe EPA will restrict personalization by device or decree.

Third, EPA will take steps to move the nation toward adoption of the World Motorcycle Test Cycle (WMTC).

2. What's Wrong with Tougher Standards?

First, street bikes are cleaner than ever - market-driven. Examples ( 2000 model year):

Aprilia "RSV Mille R" - 1.4 g/km HC - Fuel Injection
BMW "R1200C" - 0.7 g/km HC - CAT plus Fuel Injection
Harley-Davidson "SofTail " - 1.5 g/km HC - Carburetor
Honda "Valkyrie" - 1.9 g/km HC - Carburetor
Suzuki "Hayabusa" - 1.1 g/km HC - Fuel Injection
Triumph "Sprint RS" - 2.0 g/km HC - Fuel Injection
URAL "Patrol" - 0.9 g/km HC - Carburetor (Note: 649 cc)

Second, street bikes are responsible for a miniscule portion of the pollution inventory attributable to street motor vehicles of all kinds. (In California, 0.006% -- or the equivalent of -inch of a football field.)

Third, tougher standards will shock the $14 billion industry and - especially if coupled with tougher "anti-tampering measures" or enforcement -- devastate the industry's most fragile element - the aftermarket, some 10,000 custom shops nationwide and small-volume motorcycle makers.

Fourth, tougher standards WILL REDUCE MOTORCYCLING IN AMERICA. The Fallout: Sales declines and unemployment; and, as riders turn to passenger cars, more gas consumption, more road wear, more gridlock, hence more pollution.

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