Top 10 A2-restrictable motorcycles

The best brand-new models for power-restricted riders

EUROPE'S mind-boggling licence laws are creating subdivisions of motorcycle ranges as manufacturers strive to satisfy both fully-fledged riders and the ever-growing numbers forced to endure power restrictions for extended periods of time.

As a quick recap, riders on an A2 licence are restricted to 35kW (47hp). They can use power restrictors, but only on machines that didn’t make more than 70kW (94hp) in standard form. Oh, and there’s a power-to-weight limit of 0.2kW per kg, too, so a bike with the full 35kW can’t weigh less than 175kg while lighter machines each have to have their maximum restricted power worked out depending on their weight (it’s still unclear as to whether that weight includes fuel, and different manufacturers interpret it in their own ways). Because it just wouldn’t be a proper European regulation if it was simple and easy to work out, would it?

So among the headline-grabbing new models like Kawasaki’s H2 and Yamaha’s R1M (we don’t need a calculator to confirm that no, you won’t be able to ride them on an A2 licence) there’s been a spate of new-for-2015 bikes that can be restricted to fit the A2 class.

10. Triumph Bonneville T214

Ok, so it’s a bit of a fudge to put the Bonnie on there, since there really aren’t any changes for 2015 other than the addition of a couple of special edition models like the T214. But if you’re an A2 rider lured to the attraction of two wheels via a rose-tinted view of the past, the Bonnie is still perhaps the ultimate retro bike on sale today.

9. Harley Road Glide

You'd have to be insane to opt for a £20,000, 385kg Harley Road Glide as a beginners’ bike. And madder still to restrict the engine to sub-35kW to comply with A2 licence laws. But by the letter of the law, the stock H-D’s power output is less than twice the 35kW limit so it’s legal to restrict it to A2 levels. At least the power-to-weight restriction isn’t going to be an issue… Who knows? There just might be some A2 riders out there who are rich enough and want nothing other than that particular slice of the Harley dream. I think they’re called bankers, or something that rhymes with that.

8. Benelli BN600R/BN600GT

You might have thought these Benellis were launched a year or so ago, but the R has been tweaked for 2015 – with a new swingarm – and the GT, although it was shown back in 2013, isn’t due to reach production until mid-2015. Both have the same four-cylinder, 600cc engine making 84hp, which means they’re low-powered enough in full-power form to be legally restricted to 47hp for an A2 licence holder to ride. And there aren’t many 600cc fours that fit that category.

7. Kawasaki Vulcan S

It might be stupid to opt for a massive Harley as an A2 bike, but Kawasaki’s new Vulcan 650 is perhaps the ideal machine for A2 riders with cruiser aspirations. Based on the ER-6 platform, its transformation into a cruiser is far more appealing than you’d expect – with a hint of Ducati Diavel in the stance. Meanwhile, being based on one of the all-time-great new riders’ bikes, it should prove easy to handle and simple to restrict to A2 levels.

6. KTM Adventure 1050

When we first heard KTM was making an Adventure 1050, we wondered if there was really room for a 1050, an 1190 and a 1290 in the firm’s range. The truth emerged when the bike was launched at EICMA in Milan, when the bike was launched with 70kW (94hp) – spot on the limit for A2 restriction to 35kW/47bhp. That’s light years from the 1190’s 148hp or the 1290’s 160hp, but in a bike that has the same practicality and style.

5. BMW F800R

The F800R could be a great choice for restricting to A2 form. As standard it’s making 90hp, so it’s just under the top limit, power wise, to be restricted. The tweaks for 2015 are mainly cosmetic, but the switch to a conventional headlight instead of the lopsided original means it’s a much prettier machine. 

4. Yamaha MT-07 Moto Cage

The Moto Cage might be simply an MT-07 in a party frock, but it’s quite a looker thanks to its stunt-inspired design and red highlights. Again, it’s low powered enough at 74hp to be legally restricted for an A2 licence – something that can’t be said of the bigger MT-09.

3. Yamaha MT-07

But while the Moto Cage is the newer machine, the basic MT-07 – despite being launched a few months ago – is still officially a new-for-2015 model. So it’s got be included on this list, and thanks to a bargain price and brilliant ability, it’s got to take a podium place.

2. Ducati Scrambler

There aren’t many Ducatis that A2 licence holders can opt for, and while the Monster will always be a favourite the new Scrambler is sure to attract plenty of riders. The marketing campaign might have been over the top, but the bike itself – available in several versions (Icon, Urban Enduro, Classic or Full Throttle) each with their own niche to fill – is an attractive little thing. And with 75hp in full-power form, it’s ideal for restriction (and derestriction, of course, once you’ve gained your full licence.)

1. Triumph Tiger 800

We've just ridden the Tiger 800 in its latest form and we’re impressed, particularly by the road-oriented XR version. The updated model gets loads more electrickery than its forebear – traction control, multiple modes – and revised styling, and Triumph has always been good at offering affordable A2 restrictor kits for its bikes.

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