Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

LAMs Explained.

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by pete the freak, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. There's been alot of discussion lately about LAMs and how crap the bikes are, and why you should just by a CBRrrrrrrrr instead because they're the fastest learners bikes around etc etc....

    So I thought I'd do a little informative thingy about what LAMs is really about and what it's good for.

    The whole concept of LAMs (Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme) is to get more people onto more appropriate bikes. The idea is, there's no reason to limit someone to a 250 when a moderately powered bigger bike might suit their needs better. For some people a 250cc simply isn't physically big enough for them, for others, they might live in a remote area and want something better for long haul riding, others might be more safety conscious and don't want to be limited to the very basic range of new 250s or the endless supply of about-to-fall-apart grey imports.

    LAMs is not about getting you onto bigger, faster bikes, it's about getting you onto bigger, more appropriate bikes. Sure you can still go out and get a race replica 250 and fang it to your hearts content, but not everyone is after the fastest damn thing on two wheels, and it's these people that the LAMs system caters for.

    Now, the usual argument is that all the 260+cc bikes that are LAMs approved are either cruisers, vintage or just plain crap. This is simply not true. Let's have a bit of a looky at some of the shining stars of the LAMs line up:

    (In no particular order)

    1.) We'll start with the Ducati M620ie. This is a fully fledged Monster, it has a throttle restrictor (I believe - happy to be corrected) that reduces the power to within LAMs spec. The beauty of this is you can buy you dream Ducati straight away, and when your restrictions end you simply take it to the dealer to get it unrestricted, and you've got a full powered Ducati ready to go... Speaking of power restrictions, how about the:

    2.) Hyosung GT650R. Issues about Korean quality aside, you don't much better bang for your buck than with this little gem. Powered by what is basically a Suzuki SV650 engine, these guys have a restrictor in the carburettor that brings it into line with LAMs. As with the Ducati, all it takes is one simple trip to the dealer when your restrictions end, and you get a full powered mid-range V-Twin sports bike all for your very own. While we're talking all things Hyosung...

    3.) What about the Hyosung GV650? Sure it's a cruiser, sure it's only a 650, but it looks good, goes fast (even in restricted form), and when it's de-restricted it makes as much power as the GT650, which is miles ahead of any other mid-range cruiser on the Australian market.

    4.) Next up is arguably the king of the LAMs line up, the mighty, mighty Honda RVF400. Not to be confused with it's twin brother the VFR400 (which isn't LAMs approved - larger carbs I believe), this little beast just scrapes in under the LAMs limit. This bike might not be for everyone, it is a grey import and it is VERY sports focused, but if you are a racer boy who is wavering on that CBR, ZXR or FZR purchase, then maybe you should be looking at the RVF.

    5.) Pure sports bikes not your thing?? Want something a bit more versatile?? You can't go wrong with an Aprilia Pegaso 650. An all roads bike, the Pegaso is a brilliant little machine, plus it comes with added Italian chic...

    6.) Italian chic not enough for you eh?? What about precision German engineering?? The BMW F650GS is the way to go then. If they can race it from Paris to Dakkar every year, I'm sure it'd ba able to handle anything a n00b learner can throw at it...

    7.) Another great adventure style bike that is LAMs legal is the Cagiva Canyon 500. A big thumping 500cc single that comes with even more of that essential Euro styling.

    8.) Honda NTV 650 Revere - like the Spada's bigger brother, the Revere is a mid size V-twin with a nice trouble free shaft drive. While getting a bit ling in the tooth now, it eventually evolved into the...

    9.)Honda NT650V Deauville. While not the most exciting bike around, the Dullsville is a very capable tourer with excellent storage capacity. Be careful though, the 2007 model has been upped to 700cc, and is not LAMs approved.

    10.) And last but not least on my top ten LAMs bike list is the Yamaha SZR 660, another big single like the Cagiva and the Aprilia, but this time with a bit more focus on sports. A beautifully finished bike and rare enough to be cool even though it's only from Japan.

    So that gives you a bit of a clue that not all LAMs approved bikes are boring, dull, old or just crap. Of course there's still the full range of 250cc bikes out there to choose from (excluding the RR 2 strokes), but the beauty of LAMs is that you don't HAVE to get a 250 any more. There are plenty more to choose from, the RTA (NSW) even has a comprehensive list of what you can buy under the LAMs scheme. Have a look, go sit on some bikes, then come and tell us all how crap all these LAMs bike are...

    What would be good now is if anyone would like to post their own reviews/or experiences with these LAMs approved bigger bikes, jsut to see how these guys actually fare in the real world...
  2. I agree, especially with the aprilia pegaso. I rode my uncle's while i was over in NZ, and it had more than enough grunt for the type of bike and the type of riding people would normally be doing on it. Sure it didnt have enough top end power to do a 400m wheelie, but had more than enough low torque to zip past cars on the twisties i took it through. Only downside is that it was slightly too tall for me (i'm only a short arse 172odd cm though).
  3. Pretty much agree with your list and would share the same number one :cool:

    Would have thought that a "general" list would include a motard or two :? I'd put two in there, being the DRZ400 and Husky SM610. The SM610, from my calculations, doesn't even make it legal :p

    The Pegaso and BMW650 are also fairly similar bikes, and possibly be harder to resell the Aprilia.
  4. Don't know too much about motards so I stayed away from them, but you've got a good point. That DR-Z is beast of a machine.
  5. +1 a nice DRZ would make a great first bike :cool:
  6. Nice, considerate, good laid out post. Something I wouldn't have the patience to do with my pain and stuff. Props to Pete and hopefully this is a sticky/easily seen post for those in a LAMS state and wanting a (new) bike.

    :grin: :biker:

  7. Have ridden the dual sport version ( "e" model has a bit more power) and yes great fun. Only downside is their relativly light weight gets them pushed around on the freeway when passing big trucks. Good bike up to 120kmh though but bit vibey above 100kmh.

    And only other one on your list I've ridden is the 650GS - very smooth and excelelnt fuel economy and IMHO the Dakar model (21" front wheel and extra travel) would be my pick.
  8. Great post Pete. Here's my experience... Even though I went through Qride and went straight to my open license I chose a bike which just happened to be on the LAMS list (shock horror!). I'm probably reasonably typical of the average rider who is coming through the LAMS system, pretty young, easily bored, very limited prior road riding experience (but a fair bit of dirt riding), and after something fun with a bit of a hooligan factor.

    I bought a KTM 525EXC in October last year. It's a reasonably highly strung enduro bike with fifty and a bit horsepower in a 120kg soaking wet frame. I shopped around and found some 2nd hand 17" wheels and a 320mm disc for it nice and cheap in some online classifieds. I stiffened up the suspension, fitted handgaurds, and wrapped the rims with some nice sticky rubber. The perfect street hooligan bike. Brilliant to grow quickly accustomed to tarmac riding for someone like myself, and fun fun fun. A deadset wheelie machine... which leads me to having 1 point remaining on my licence in just a few short months (I did say I was pretty typical). Fun on the road ends, fun on the track begins.

    Started doing supermoto trackdays earlier this year. Never done motocross before, so hitting my first berm and tabletop on slicks was an interesting adventure. Throwing it around on the tarmac sections didnt feel natural to me either, but with a bike you can crash over and over and over with zero damage (perfect for a netrider :p), the learning curve is very steep.

    Entered my first race on the saturday/sunday just gone by, 3rd round of the Qld Titles running in Novice. Most fun I've ever had, and finished the day with a couple of nice placings, coming 5th overall for the day. It's just too good, so I'm off to Lismore this weekend, and Sydney the weekend after for the 1st round of the Aus Titles.

    Just to add a bit of perspective back into the post, this is still on an almost standard LAMS bike (wheels and brakes). It'll go to the shops, clutch up a wheelie at 80, and head to the track and be more than competitive on the weekends. Obviously not everyone's cup of tea, but riding the pants off any bike is a lot of fun. I'd love a Duc Monster as well.

    Happy Snap, Happy Snap, Happy Snap

    [/my LAMS experience]
  9. Comming from a background of never initially owning a sub-calibre bike, I find the logic and issue around a LAMS program somewhat perplexing and a bit comical.

    I concur that as a learner, what is needed for the first 5-10 hours of riding is a bike that is light (eg. your able to support its weight on one leg) and only powerful enough to get you used to the basics. By this I mean u-turns, cornering, stopping, counter-steering etc.

    Once someone has obtained these skills (usually in a training park) the bike they buy should be one that they are able to support structurally, not power.

    In my experience, the power of a machine is irrelevant. I as the rider have full control of the throttle and once confident with the basics. The rest is just road craft and more finesse in control handling.

    Where as a new rider one comes unstuck, is the mass of the bike. Here as a newbie, if you grab a handful of brake with the steering turned, the bike goes down. On a light 250 or small bike, recovering this without dropping the bike is much more likely than crunching it. Same for u-truns and parking / handling.

    Therefore (just based on my own and others I have known experince), giving people access to heavier bikes, without the power is a load of junk.

    You will find that most accidents involving bikes occur at low speeds in medium to dense traffic and road enviornments. This takes out the model of the bike in the equation, other than the riders ability to handle its mass!

    And guess what, LAMS is giving you the more unwieldy mass, with the cost of halving the power output.

    Lets face it, the government has tried to solve problems around inexperienced riding by adopting a theory that engine capacity is directly responsible for accident rates. Rather than ensure that people are thoughly trained and skilled before letting them on the road.
  10. You could drag it into a discussion about whether LAMS is a solid concept or not, but I figured this thread was more about making the most of what's available and breaking the narrow mindedness that requires a learner bike to have RRRR's.

    I wholeheartedly agree though, power is irrelevant, though perhaps not in the way that you meant it.
  11. Someone here has experiance and someone is just talking crap.
    You decide which is which.
  12. I forgot to mention that in my opinion the bike I bought would be BAD BAD BAD for a first time rider. With the 18/21" wheels on it with knobby tyres it will spin up the rear on dry bitumen at 80km/hr. With sticky road rubber, it'll just put you on your back like a turtle in 1st, 2nd or 3rd. I was simply trying to help break the stigma that all these bikes are duds.

    To be honest, I'm not entirely sure if you're having a go at me or just trying to make a point, or perhaps do both simultaneously. Bike reviews, not rider review. :LOL: :wink:
  13. I wonder how many people that recommend the 620M have actually ridden one.

    I'd rate the GS500 higher myself.

    And as to the RVF, it's way too dear for it's age these days. The reality is you'd be pay $4-7k for something that is a whole world of trouble.

    Unfortunately there has been a lack of small-mid capacity bike in Aus for 20 years now, which means there aren't many bargains to be had. I do wonder is the Japanese importers are going to respond now Victoria has seen the light.

    There were some interesting bikes in japan during the mid-90s that we will never see as grey imports because the cut off has been set at 1989
  14. so,....why do you keep going on that your CBR250RR puts out more ponies than other LAMS bikes?

    I happen to know a number of tall, largely built guys who would fit a lot better on a LAMS cruiser than on a Honda CBR250RR.

    that's who LAMS is for. People can still buy smaller 250 bikes if they want, they're on the LAMS list too.
  15. It's one aspect but not all. The riding position probably has more impact, as does a peaky power delivery.

    I would argue that a 250/4 sports bike would be more dangerous for a learner to learn on than most of the non 250 LAMS approved bikes.

    As to not owning a "sub-calibre" bike, I thought you owned a CBR250?
  16. Not having a go at you at all....
    My point is that you pointed out that a LAMS bike is
    "The perfect street hooligan bike"
    "A deadset wheelie machine"
    Meaning that Pro-Pilots assertion that they are underpowered is a total load of crap.
  17. I did have a chuckle at "sub-calibre".

    All good Falcon-Lord. :grin:
  18. Happy Snap #1 is simply awesome!
  19. It is an observation based on this magic 150kw/tonne model. Why would you want a bike that has equal to less power than a 250 with the mass frame of a bigger bike.
  20. As I stated, this is my opinion. I have owned about 15+ bikes in my time, and feel confident about my assertions.
    Happy to debate this Falcon. May I know which bikes you have owned?