Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
Motorcycle dealers in England will be allowed to reopen from Monday 1st of June under the latest Government lockdown rules.
There will be careful social distancing rules in place to keep customers and staff safe, as well as regulations covering hygiene and cleaning, but most dealers are keen to get back to the business of selling bikes.
We’ve asked all the main manufactures about their plans for reopening and, while not all have come back to us with details of their plans yet, it’s already clear that nobody is planning to hold back on opening any more than necessary.
Yamaha told us: “We would expect all dealers to reopen very quickly – although a few may still be putting final measures in place to ensure they are able to fully comply with social distancing guidelines and new safety measures for their staff and customers.”
Suzuki’s position is similar. A spokesperson said: “We are working closely with our dealers to help them prepare for the re-opening of their showrooms. However, as our dealers are independent businesses it is obviously up to the individual dealers to decide when and how they re-open, but we currently expect that most if not all will re-open on 1 June.”
BMW was slightly more circumspect, putting the onus on individual dealers. The firm explained: “Our retailer network will be providing customers with the support they need while abiding by regional and national government guidelines. Customers will need to contact the retailer directly to find out the services they currently offer.”
Harley-Davidson said: “All authorised Harley-Davidson dealers in the UK & Ireland are working to reopen their showrooms as soon as possible, in line with local Government guidance. To provide the best customer experience this is being recommended on an appointment-only basis and we’d advise all customers to contact their local dealer to make individual arrangements and understand safety procedures in place before making a trip.”
Although dealers will open, there will be specific measures in place to ensure safety so the experience won’t be quite what any of us are used to.
As well as social distancing, we can expect hand sanitiser for both staff and customers and there may be restrictions on what you’re allowed to touch or, in the case of clothing, try on.
Harley-Davidson explained: “The safety of our staff and customers has been of the highest importance when considering whether to advise dealers to re-open. In line with this, all dealerships will be using appointments to reduce the number of people using their facilities at any time. All dealers will implement their HSE STAYING COVID-19 SECURE policy with clearly marked customer areas and each site has PPE and hand wash stations. Dealer staff have received training on regular cleaning of hands, surfaces and motorcycles for maintenance of hygiene standards. Clothing and helmets can be purchased and, where possible, dealers will be encouraging online and mail order services. Shared facilities such as changing rooms, waiting areas and refreshments will not be available to customers until guidance allows.”
Suzuki’s position was similar, with the firm explaining: “We have been working on plans for the safe re-opening of our dealers over the past few weeks in preparation for when they can re-open. All our dealers have been provided with the latest government and industry association guidelines and advice, and we have provided details of suppliers of the necessary PPE, social distancing /hygiene/sanitising signage and materials so that dealers can prepare their facilities and staff in order to ensure the safety of customers and staff when they re-open.”
Since showrooms have been closed since 24th March, the lockdown coincided with the start of the riding season and a period when several new models were due to go on sale for the first time. That means the reopening on 1st June will be a first chance for many people to see some bikes in the metal.
Lockdown occurred just as the first handful of Yamaha Tracer 700s appeared in dealers, for instance, so that bike will be appearing in many shops for the first time as soon as they reopen.
It’s the same story when it comes to the Suzuki V-Strom 1050, with its DR Big-inspired looks and updated technology. The firm said: “V-Strom 1050 had started to land in showrooms as lockdown hit, so many customers or potential customers won’t have had a chance to visit their local dealership and see them in the metal, which they’ll now be able to do.”
Harley-Davidson says the end of lockdown means it can start deliveries of the sold-out Fat Boy 30th Anniversary, and says the new FXDR Limited Edition will also arrive in dealers as they reopen.
Triumph is marking the 1st June reopening with a six-week social media onslaught, dubbed ‘TFest at Home’. The firm explains: “Each week TFest at Home will seek to give riders and fans a detailed look at newly launched models, families or best sellers. This will be presented through a series of Q&As, product walk arounds, behind-the-scenes footage, media reviews, influencer content and exclusive videos on individual bikes.
“In addition to the content being hosted on Triumph UK’s Facebook and Twitter channels, selected dealerships will be hosting Facebook Watch Parties. This new feature enables dealers to host a screening of their favourite videos shared during TFest at Home, inviting customers to join a live chat as they watch together”
When asked for a statement, Kawasaki advised us that “The decision to open will be at the discretion of individual dealers and in doing so they have been instructed to operate under strict protocol to help ensure safety of customers and staff due to COVID-19 risk. We recommend that customers contact their Kawasaki dealer directly for more information on operating hours.”
Honda advised us that "From 1st June, Honda dealers will start to fully reopen their showrooms and service centres. Our dealer network will be operating in the best interests of their customers and their employees and will be following government advice and guidelines around social distancing to ensure everyone remains safe. We are advising customers to contact their local dealer ahead of making their journey to make an appointment.
Dealers will be happy to discuss the health and safety measures they have in place if you require and for your own safety, where possible, we encourage you to minimise the number of people in your party when visiting the dealership. Each dealer will have their own measures in place to protect staff and customers, which may include clear signage and floor-markers ensuring all customers and dealer staff keep to the recommended 2m social distance. Where necessary and in line with Government guidance, there will be one-way systems for entry and exit for the showrooms.
If you wish to test ride a scooter or motorcycle, please contact your local dealer to discuss and to make arrangements that suit both you and the dealer staff. The safety of our customers and of our dealer staff is our main priority and we will continue to follow recommended government guidance on social distancing to protect everyone.
June will see the opportunity to view our latest 2020 models including our pinnacle Supers Sports and Adventure bikes, the CBR1000RR Fireblade and CRF1100L Africa Twins respectively as well as the new CMX500 Rebel and SH125i."