Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

The European Motorcycle

I have been a serviceman in Germany (USAF 1991-1994) and owned motorcycles (1986 GSX-R 1100). When I returned to the states, it wasn’t the headlight that had to be replaced at all since most are centered on the road anyway. Something you want while going 150 MPH on the Autobahn. It was the license plate holder that holds a much different shaped plate in Europe and also the tires. The tires that came with the motorcycle were not DOT approved being from a European manufacturer. (Metzler)

To top it off. The English do not consider themselves European. They consider themselves from England. An Island off the coast of Europe. This throws off the puzzler off even more.

I say tires are the thing that has to be changed to legally drive the motorcycle in the States.

Click and Clack, correct this continental conundrum of continuity in continuing to confuse the consensus!

I answered “headlight”, but I think it’s a moot point anyway since the show has gone into re-runs with Click and Clack’s retirement. My guess is the puzzlers are all re-runs too. Obviously I didn’t win.

I just took a good look at the headlight lens on my recently acquired BMW R1100RT. It is definitely not made to throw a symmetrical beam. It throws a really nice beam down the road on HI and dips to the right on low beam. I suspect that in the era that KJam (the OP) was stationed in Europe headlights were not the same as they are today.

I also know that drivers takinig their cars through the English Channel tunnel (AKA Chunnel) are encouraged to reset the dip of their headlights. It is adjustable on some cars in Europe. A touring article I read a few years ago noted it on a VW New Beetle.

Metzlers are one of the most highly recommended tires for BMW motorcycles today. Times change. Tires change, and so does the DOT.

And here, from a Ducati forum, is another answer in agreement with Click, Clack, and MG McAnick:

Whatever, but I got tires last week and after registering them, started looking up the plant code to see what plant they were made in and if in USA. It was clear that any tire that does not have a DOT code stamped on it is not legal for the US.

Is the DOT code the one that’s melted into the sidewall that includes a manufacturing date and serial number? I just looked at a Michelin tire on one of my cars that I could not find a code number on. Shouldn’t it be on BOTH sidewalls? I don’t see a country of origin on it either.

Then I looked at a Yokohama tire that say’s made in USA on it. (?) It has a date code too.

Isn’t it a federal requirement for all tires to have a date code/serial number? I don’t think a high dollar Michelin would be illegal to sell in the USA. I don’t know about 30 year old Metzlers. Did they date code tires back then?

@MGMcanick Its the 10, 11, or 12 digit jumbo of letters and numbers right after the “DOT” and ends with the stamped in four digit week and year of manufacture. The first two digits are the plant of manufacture. The number doesn’t have to be on both sides of the tire just one. So on the other side of the tire they can just have “DOT” on it. The link below list all of the plant location codes for all of the manufacturers. My Generals were made in Illinois and the Michelins in So. Carolina.

I was like Tommy, I thought it was the mirror. The only trouble with my line of thinking was that on the only motorcycle I ever had, it had mirror on both sides of the handlebars. Sigh.

Aseular, it’s controlled by U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. Any motor vehicle that’s imported must conform to them as if it were manufactured here, and that often requires modifications. Sometimes extensive.

It is very common for motorcycle headlights to be different in the U.K. than what we get over here in the U.S. At least when a headlight is located in a frame mounted fairing the low beam does indeed point in a different direction for right hand drive or left hand drive.

This is easy to confirm by looking up parts for the bikes.