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Engine development experts Ricardo explain the challenges of Euro5+ emissions regulations

In February, Yamaha announced a significant shift for its R1 superbike in Europe, making it track-only from 2025 due to its decision not to update the 197bhp, 998cc four-cylinder engine to meet stricter Euro5+ regulations.

Euro5+, arriving in 2024, represents the latest iteration of emissions rules, focusing on the long-term effectiveness of a motorcycle’s catalyst and its pollution levels throughout its lifespan. To comply, bikes like the BMW R1300GS are undergoing modifications, including mandatory monitoring via the bike’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU), which alerts riders to any catalyst issues.

MCN spoke with experts from Ricardo, a global engineering consulting firm, to delve into the complexities of Euro5+. Paul Etheridge, with over 40 years at Ricardo, highlighted the importance of robust engine design to prevent catalyst damage from misfires.

Simulation tests, including specialized ovens, help predict catalyst lifespan, crucial for meeting regulatory standards. Catalyst placement and quick light-off temperatures are key, demanding a comprehensive approach to motorcycle design and engineering.

Walther Leardini, formerly with Piaggio Group, emphasized challenges like catalyst poisoning from unburned engine oil, underscoring the need for timely maintenance when warning lights appear to avoid potential MoT failures.

As Euro5+ regulations reshape the motorcycle landscape, meticulous engineering and proactive maintenance become vital for manufacturers and riders alike.

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