in case you think our licensing system is restrictive for newbies, there are quite dramatic new restrictions coming for licensing motorcyclists in Europe as of 2013.
"From 2013, new licence holders face a raft of new restrictions under the latest European licensing directive. The new rules mean that, among other things, riders over 19 and under 24 will be restricted to 47bhp for two years after passing the test.
They will also face a power-to-weight ratio limit of 0.2 kilowatts per kg, meaning the 47bhp bike must weigh at least 175kg. If they chose a lighter bike, it will have to make less power.
And they will not have the freedom they enjoy under current rules to take more powerful bikes and restrict them with kits – the new rules say the 47bhp machine must not have made more than double that to begin with.
Within these grotesquely overcomplicated parameters, the G650GS offers the absolute optimum performance permissible. It makes precisely 47bhp and weighs 175kg dry. From two years' time, it will be the pinnacle of performance available to riders aged 19-24 who've held a licence for less than two years. At £5000, it’s also likely to be the choice of many."
MCN reckons the BMW G650GS might be 'the choice' for 19-24 year-olds; I'd guess more likely here, the #1 bike choice in a regime such as this would be the much more sporty Kawasaki Ninja 400R: 42 hp, 203 kg wet. Not that we are going to face exactly these restrictions (altho the proposals last year had similar power-to-weight ratios in them), but their application in the EU is going to stimulate a lot of new 350's and 400's in the market, I'll bet... And we might get to see a few of them over here...