- Miscellaneous stuff -

Dutch drivers license
Hearing protection
Helmets + Noise
What's the year ?

Postcard from 50 year Honda

dutch drivers license - On the first of June 1996 the last chapter of the new Dutch Traffic Code becomes official. The Drivers License Act that becomes law on the same date contains the elaboration of that chapter and takes care of driving skills and driving licenses. This will make Dutch traffic law in agreement with the other European countries.

The Drivers License Act describes a number of things that in particular the future motor cyclist will want to know. Although the rules are not official yet, it is not to be expected that the following will change.

theoretical exam
Up to and including May 1996 a beginner does not have to take his or hers theoretical exam again of he or she already has a drivers license for cars ('B-license'). This changes on the first of June. Anyone who wants to get a drivers license for motorcycles ('A-license') must have succesfully taken the theoretical exam for an A-license. No matter if he or she already has a B-license. The theoretical certificates dated before June 1, 1996 will be valid for three years. From June 1, 1996 on, in order to take a theoretical exam you must be at least 18 years of age. The theoretical certificate dated June 1, 1996 or later will be valid for one year. You have to have this with you while taking driving lessons and also during the practical test.

practical test
For the practical test for the A-license age is a crucial point. If you are younger than 21 years you must take the test on a bike with more than 120cc, less power than 35kW/47hp. And it must at least be able to run 100kmph/62.5mph. If you are 21 years or older you have a choice. You either use the aforementioned bike and get a restricted A-license (see under 'A-license') or you use a more powerfull bike (35kW/47hp or more) and get a full A-license.

If you take your test with a 'light' bike you get a restricted A-license. This means that you are only allowed to drive a motorcycle with less power than 25kW/34hp. This bike must also have less than 0.16kW/kg (0.098hp/lb) power. Effectively this means that you are not allowed to drive high power bikes and bikes with a relatively high power/weight ratio. After two years you are then allowed, without taking any additional exams/tests, to get whatever bike you want. If you take the test with a bike over 35kW/47hp you get a full A-license, allowing you to ride any bike you want.

Special thanks to the CBR, the Dutch Drivers License Bureau.

hearing protection - If, at 140 km/h (87.5 mph), your ears listen to 102 dB of noise and if everything over 80 dB eventually causes damage, then you know you will suffer from hearing problems in the short/long run. The problem of this is that it is irreversable. Sound is experienced through small hairs in your middle-ear. These hairs are damaged when exposed to excessive load. In contrast to most heads they will never grow back. To prevent damaging your hearing you can get filters. Just like your exhaust you can have a silencer in your auditory canal.

Load Dangerous
80 dB(A) more then 8 hrs
86 dB(A) more than 2 hrs
89 dB(A) more than 1 hrs
92 dB(A) more than 30 min
95 dB(A) more than 15 min

Speed Wind noise Max. load
110 km/h 94 dB 15 min
120 km/h 98 dB 7 min
140 km/h 102 dB 3 min
  1. The yellow 'Noisestoppers', available at drugstores, cause around 15 dB deadening over the whole spectrum. So from low to high pitch tones. Most noise is caused by the high pitch tones so you can use a little more over there. Besides, 15dB is not really a lot if you're used to fast riding. At 140 kmph (102 dB) you're still 7 dB over the safety level. And who does not go for 140 kmph at times. These are polyvinyl plugs that you press together, put in your ear and they expand to close off your canal. They tend to get dirty by earsmear (?) and although you can wash them, you can do that only so many times before they have to replaced.
  2. The Alpine Motosafe silencers are prefab plugs with a built-in filter. They are made of a flexible, soft plastic/rubber and look like two small umbrellas on a short stick. You put it into your ear, umbrellas first and they close off your ear while letting little sound in through the filter. They give a 15 dB (low pitch) to 26 dB (middle) to 19 dB (high pitch) deadening.
  3. The Otoplastics (?) made by Alpine, Earlab, Earmo, Elacin, Irenum and Tympro are tailormade plugs with (replacable) fiter. Filters can be had with different deadening characteristics. An otoplastic is made from a mould. The mould is an exact copy of your auditory canal. To make the mould your ear is filled with something like silly-putty. It hardens and that makes the model of which the mould is made. That mould is very personal. No one else can use it because of differences betwen the canals. This makes it the most expensive type of protection. But the good news is that they wil normally last for 4-5 years. The price-per-km goes down.
    Otoplastics are available in a hard and soft option. Both have their disadvantages and advanages like fit, irritation, cleaning and durability. whether it is pro or con depends on who you're talking to. A set is normally sold in a case, if you like with desinfectant and insurance against loss and theft.They're warranted against mis-fit and being soundproof for two years. But they can last much longer. It is not so much the otoplastics that wear out or age but sooner your auditory canal will change due to getting older. That makes for openings for noise to pass outside the filter which is not what you want.

Manufacturer Telephone
Alpine +31 33 4942600
Audisafe +31 181 328099
Earmo +31 38 4210303
Elacin +31 78 6181400
Irenum +31 299 404449
Tympro +31 181 324910

helmets + noise - Usually you point at your helmet as THE cause for excessive noise while driving. Especially open vizors (?), room around your neck and air inlets get the blame. Unfortunately this is not as easy as it looks. Something about how noise begins inside your helmet. The cause is the friction between the riding wind and your helmet surface. The air flow will cause a vacuum behind the helmet and that vacuum regularly collapses. The vibrations of the imploding air reach the helmet and cause the noise that the wearer thinks is 'in' the helmet. The remarkable part is that an aerodynamical perfectly shaped helmet causes a beautifull vacuum and thus causes the biggest implosions and the most noise. Test for yourself: put one hand on your helmet while driving, the streamline is disturbed and the noise level goes down.

A helmet that has all kinds of irregularities, like air inlets, and vizor mounts is less smooth, has more air resistance but causes LESS noise. Another decrease can be found in changing your head's position. Keep your head a little down or tilted and you may hear the difference.

The influence of fairing is also surprising. Outside is less strainfull on your ears than inside. The engine noises are amplified by a fairing that is open on top because the noise is guided upward. Behind the fairing you'll normally find low pressure and the combination of these things cause a higher noise level behind the fairing than outside.

Special thanks to the ANWB, the Dutch AAA or ADAC.

What year was my bike build in ? - The 'year' is the year in which a number of different parts was assmebled to a motorcycle. If you collect your bike at the factory exit and bring it your house, there is virtually no difference between the production date and the date on your registration. If however your dream bike was shipped in 1989 from Japan, via the States or Canada to a friend in Athens and from there to your house there is a huge difference. You buy it with 0 km/mls and a new registration and you can look forward to a discussion of 'new'.

Most bikes built before 1965 have the actual year listed on a tag on the top-end of the front fork. Some will even show the week of production. In general look for that tag. Sometimes it is punched in the steer-shaft directly. You'll find the VIN-number. Which means Vehicle Identification Number. In my (Dirk) case JH2PDO6O9KM201571. The VIN is maintained by the ISO, International Standards Organisation.

The VIN is a series of seventeen characters and digits. It reveals the continent, country (Japan) and brand (Honda) and model number (2PD) and version (06) and modificationnumber (09). The tenth position (K) shows the year in which it was build. The eleventh position the factory (M) and the rest is serial number. The year starts counting with 'A' in 1980. a 'F', 'K' and 'P' indicate 1985, 1989 and 1993 respectively. The 'Y' is up until now the last assigned year. It is the year 2000.
You can also deduct the year from the imprint in the rim. All rims have a '10-92' alike code in them. One or a couple of months later after this production date the bike was assembled. This is only true for original rims of course.

The 1994 Traffic Code also changed part of the motor cycle registration information. On registrations after 1994 you only find the 'duplicate code'. Which indicates how many duplicate registration documents have been issued for this bike. A '00' indicates none, you're looking at the original. A'09' tells you that the former owners of the bike were pretty careless or got mugged a lot.

From your registration documents part 1 you can also read when the registration was done original. It means that your bike is not younger than that date. It can mean that:

Finally it could be a restored write-off or a severe case of lost registration.

By: Dirk den Hamer, thanks to: de rubriek "meneer verkeer" van ProMotor.