Tax-idermy … the art of being stuffed

UK tax disksLet me tell you a little story …. Back in 06 I bought an ST1300 and a couple of weeks later while out with students, I got pulled over by Mr Grumpy the police officer with a charisma bypass. It seemed that his ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) had flagged my bike as not having a valid tax disk. So I pointed it out to him – nice and readable on the front fork leg. He wasn’t interested because “The computer says ………”

The nice lady at the DVLA office (now closed) in Oxford verified it was genuine and that it was all just a silly computer error – that cost me time and fuel to go and sort out, not to mention the embarrassment of being pulled over in front of paying students!

Now the same government will be doing away with the printed tax disk in October, no doubt sucking up the extra millions it saves on printing and distribution. Oh of course we’ll get a receipt when we pay, one that we now have to print out ourselves at our own expense and presumably carry around with us just in case we come across ANPR wielding cyber-cop again …. and would he believe you anyway, because “The computer says ……..”

And let’s not forget one thing, this is the very same government department that shoved its collective fingers in its ears and hummed the la-la song in total denial that they were losing the motorcycle entitlement off licenses being returned for address changes etc. Only when this involved some folks with impeccable and verifiable backgrounds (police/paramedic & motorcycle instructors) were they shoved far enough into a corner to have to admit (begrudgingly) that maybe, possibly they were in the wrong …. but “The computer says …….”

So next time you get pulled by an ANPR wielding digital-do-gooder it’s you against the creaky-leaky government database and you know who’s side Robocop is on.

“The computer says ……”

DVLA data

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - DVLA register of taxed/SORN bikesWell here it is …. the third quarter data for 2012. Including mine (August 2012), the UK has a total of 13 registered Caponord Rally-Raids – that’s a loss of three in the last year. Will 2013 see us drop into single figures? For those not familiar with UK registration, SORN means “Statutory Off-Road Notice” ….. in other words the owner has declared the bike will not be used on the highway, so probably garaged, untaxed and stored for winter. Hence the seasonal fluctuation you see on the graph.

So how about the standard Caponord? Well, 293 are registered altogether, 5 more than the end of 2011 …… ‘new’ old-stock or imports? I wonder.

If you want to see how many of your favorite car or bike are still registered in the UK then pop over to:

Continental blast and re-reg at last!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - Passo del Gottardo

It’s 24hrs since the Capo and I arrived home from our 3,500 mile, three week trip to the UK and bits of me are still aching in new and novel ways. It’s not the Capo’s fault, the day after the trip over to the UK I was up and running around like a spring lamb with a caffeine boost. The return trip was different though, maybe not enough rest prior to the trip, I don’t know. I felt fine throughout the ride, just tired when I arrived. The next day was a different matter. My old right wrist injury, dormant for the past few years, decided to make itself known by swelling nicely and hurting like hell. So I named it ‘Paracetamol Monday’ in honour.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - morning haze ... GottardoThe trip went like a well-wound Swiss textbook, the Capo averaged 48mpg with a gold medal peak of 51mpg and a bronze medal low of 45mpg on the homeward leg – nice.

The tyres (Michelin Anakee 2) are wearing brilliantly, now with 7,500 miles under them, they still have 2.8mm front and 3.6mm tread left to the 1mm wear limit, that’s 25%/45% part worn from new. At this rate the projected life is well in excess of 12k for the rear, unbelievable. The amazing thing is that with so muchAprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - Anakee2 rear @ 7,500 miles profile-killing motorway work, they haven’t started to square-off, only the front shows early signs of ‘cupping’ on the rear edge of the central blocks. On paper, tyres that last this long and hold on to the profile would be so hard as to have sod all grip – not the case with the Anakee’s ……. have I really stumbled on the nirvana of long life and high grip in these tyres? Looks like it!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - back on UK registrationThe trip was for multiple reasons, friends, family, a little rider training and not least because I’d decided to return the bike to UK registration. I couldn’t believe how quick and easy it was. One MOT (cheers Dave Clarke Motorcycles – Oxford), Insurance cover and one simple form. Pop into the local DVLA office and 10 minutes later and just over a hundred quid lighter I had a tax disk and a V948 authorisation certificate so I could go and get a number plate made. I had this done by North Oxford BMW (thanks Matt) as they could do it with the ‘GB’ logo.  The day I was leaving the V5C registration document turned up to complete the set, so FX**G** and I were good to go.

So by the statistics on ‘’ there are currently 6 Rally-Raids declared SORN (off road) and 9 taxed and presumably rumbling around our fair green land …….. as of 2012 Q3, make that 10 on the road!

Finally a few thank yous …….. Jan for holding the fort and doing an amazing job, to Jim at AMI who again managed to keep me topped up with some CBT & DAS rider training, to Lucy and Emidio my in-laws who looked after me, the chap who parked the grassy-Smart car and last but not least there was to be a sarcastic ‘thank you‘ but Jan censored it! Damnation ……