NEWS, TRENDS AND LONG-TERM FAVOURITES

Which motorbike is your favourite brand launching this year? Which helmet is a must-have this season? Here you will find many innovations and trends directly from the Swiss motorbike industry to read up on and be inspired by.

Motorbikes up to 125 cc

1 January 2021 was a day of jubilation for Swiss youth. After long years of waiting, they too, like the youth from the EU countries, were allowed to climb onto modern 125cc four-stroke motorbikes (maximum 15 hp, ABS is a legal requirement) from the age of 16. The time of the whining, rattling and difficult-to-ride 50cc two-strokes thus finally came to an end. No wonder, new registrations of 125cc bikes in 2021 rose almost vertically, and with 8480 units, the 125cc class even catapulted to first place in the sector statistics in its first year, ahead of the big hulks with 750 and 1000 cubic centimetres of displacement. The range of models in the 125cc class is very broad and attractive; in addition to the traditional manufacturers from Japan and Europe, Chinese brands with low prices are increasingly courting young customers.

Motorbikes over 125 cc

Switzerland is a motorbike country. The motorised two-wheeler is exceptionally popular, especially as a leisure and hobby machine. With 35,258 newly registered motorbikes, a new all-time record was set in 2021. In view of the average age of around 45 years, the heavy traffic volume as well as the restrictions imposed by the legislator, the trend away from sports motorbikes and towards a quieter pace has intensified further in recent years. Today, what is most in demand are easily accessible, visually attractive and attractively priced two-wheelers with a comfortable seating position and the latest achievements and gadgets in the world of electronics. Motorbikes in retro style, but which are absolutely modern in terms of technology and riding dynamics, are also very much in demand. For women, who make up up to a third of the clientele depending on the segment, the industry increasingly has models in its range that can be customised.

Scooters

The nimble city runabouts are very popular in Switzerland. In 2021, 18,611 scooters were newly redeemed, with around one third going to female drivers. Around two-thirds of the new redemptions (12,384 units) concern the class up to 125 cm3, which has been accessible since 1 January 2021 from the age of 16 and with the A1 driving licence. Electric technology is slowly but surely making inroads; after all, just under ten percent (1,775 units) of the new "scooters" put on the market are electrically powered. The prices of the e-scooters, which are almost exclusively in the smallest segment (up to 45 km/h), are still somewhat higher than those of petrol-powered vehicles. With more than 3,000 units and thus a market share of twenty percent, scooters with large displacement and powerful engines that are suitable for motorways and long distances are also very popular in Switzerland and represent an alternative to a "real" motorbike for many people.

Electric motorbikes

The motorbike as a leisure and hobby machine is popular in Switzerland. With 35,258 motorbikes, a new all-time record was set for new registrations in 2021. However, only 1.3 % of this figure (471 units) were two-wheelers with electric drive. However, this has nothing to do with motorbike fans being against e-technology. The wallflower existence of the e-bike has other reasons. A motorbike has much less space for energy storage than a car. This limits the range, which is a decisive factor for a vehicle that is used almost 100 % as a leisure and hobby vehicle - keyword: extended weekend trips. In addition, the installation of charging stations is almost exclusively aimed at urban areas and thus the automotive sector. Another decisive factor for the end consumer is the fact that the industry is still hardly able to offer models that can compete with traditional technology in terms of price/performance ratio.

Electric scooter

The future belongs to them: Electrically powered, easy-to-operate and lightweight scooters are a perfect choice for inner-city, hectic and low-speed short-distance traffic. Power, top speed and range play only subordinate roles in these utility vehicles. In addition to the various Chinese manufacturers, the traditional motorbike and scooter brands from Japan and Europe have now also recognised the central importance of this sector and are increasingly bringing neatly styled, high-quality and also competitively priced models onto the market. Small, replaceable batteries and/or batteries that can be recharged at external charging stations are already the norm. Experts believe that in a few years the urban-oriented small scooter sector will be made up almost exclusively of e-vehicles.

Clothing

Whether it's a leather suit, a textile suit or biker jeans: the range of individually combinable clothing is huge. Sport and roadster riders prefer classic, form-fitting leather jackets and trousers that look good and keep the highly effective protectors where they belong. Off-road, long-distance and touring riders swear by the polyvalence and lightness of textile clothing with dozens of pockets and complex ventilation systems. Both variants offer a lot of safety. Electronics have long since found their way into the clothing sector: More and more jackets and suits are either equipped with airbag systems as standard or are prepared for them. Various suppliers also offer heated gloves and boots. The safety standard includes bright, reflective colours throughout; the days of the plain black leather one-piece are long gone.

Helmets

Although all helmets approved for use on the road must meet the European standard ECE-R 06, the price range between the cheapest department stores' head protectors and real premium helmets is gigantic. The former are already available for less than 100 francs, while the most expensive (and demonstrably best in terms of safety) helmets exceed the 1000 franc barrier. The range of fibreglass, polycarbonate and carbon constructions is very large, and there are no limits to the design either; as with motorbikes and clothing, there are sports, touring, roadster, off-road or retro-oriented variants. All well-known manufacturers also offer flip-up helmets for spectacle wearers. Important: Full-face helmets (one-piece, with chin guard) have a significantly higher protection factor than jet helmets (open front, without chin guard).

Tyres

A rubber compound with different degrees of hardness, which usually merges smoothly into one another (multi-compound), is now standard on almost all top tyres, as is a radial structure of the tyre carcasses. Thus, the big tyre manufacturers are increasingly mastering the double balancing act between high "grip" on dry and wet roads and the longest possible service life or mileage. The approach is clear: in the centre of the tread, a hard compound that is as wear-resistant as possible - in which today not only carbon black and rubber, but increasingly also synthetic building materials (silica) are used - should guarantee mileage, while the softer sidewalls promote grip. Thanks to the use of silica construction materials developed in the laboratory, the modern, high-quality tyres offer plenty of grip from the very first bend, even when cold. It is important to choose a tyre that suits your weight, engine power and driving style; a visit to a specialist garage is strongly recommended.

Equipment and accessories

Thanks to or because of the electronic age, the flood of useful accessories and sometimes somewhat less useful gadgets is almost unmanageable. On the motorbike itself, traction control, cornering ABS, headlights that shine into the bends and smartphone compatibility (especially for navigation and telephony) are already mostly standard; currently, distance warning systems with gently intervening brakes are making inroads similar to those in cars. For practically all models, the manufacturers already offer extensive accessory programmes for customising the vehicle. The trend is towards accessory exhaust systems, electronic suspension systems, airbag vests/jackets, complex communication and audio systems for the helmet and head-up displays.

Aprilia RS 660 Limited Edition

Mid-range sports, 2-cylinder, 659 cc, 99 BHP, 67 Nm, 183 kg, from CHF 13,295.–

https://www.aprilia.com/ch_DE/

Aprilia Tuareg 660

Mid-range adventure, 2-cylinder, 79 BHP, 70 Nm, 222 kg, from CHF 12,995.–

https://www.aprilia.com/ch_DE/

Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory

Sporty all-rounder, in-line 2-cylinder, 99 BHP, 67 Nm, 183 kg, price TBD

https://www.aprilia.com/ch_DE/

Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Dark

Sporty naked, V4, 999 cc, 173 BHP, 121 Nm, 209 kg, from CHF 21,195.–

https://www.aprilia.com/ch_DE/

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