Choosing a LAMS approved motorcycle
The choice of bikes you can ride on a learner licence is wider than ever. Here’s some advice on navigating the choices.
The Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS) has opened all sorts of choices for learner riders. Riders on a learner or restricted licence can ride any motorcycle under 250cc except for a list of prohibited, highly-powerful machines. You can also ride any bikes with an engine capacity under 660cc, or with an electric motor, that don’t exceed a 150kW per tonne power-to-weight ratio.
First off, many of the same criteria apply as with any motorcycle. The most important are:
LAMS choices range from easy-to-control machines that are perfect for novice or less-experienced riders through to high-performance middleweight bikes that will challenge any rider.
So it’s important to be honest about your experience and skills, then choose accordingly.
For example, a typical learner rider would benefit from something like a 125-350cc machine with a conventional riding position (a naked). Sitting upright gives more control, vision and confidence, especially in low-speed manoeuvres, and you’ll generally find it easy to get both feet on the ground for balance. Machines of 250cc or above will also have plenty of performance.
At the other extreme are machines pushing the limits of capacity (650 or 660cc) and power-to-weight ratio. Make no mistake: these bikes are powerful and best suited for experienced riders, eg those who ride off-road, who want to get their road licence and keep a machine for ongoing use.
Be honest about your experience level. If you’re relatively new to riding choose a simple, inexpensive learner machine.
Whatever LAMS bike you decide on, make sure you check it fits current regulations and that it hasn’t been modified in any way that would breach them. An aftermarket exhaust, for example, could produce more power and reduce weight, thereby exceeding the 150kW/tonne limit.