Weighing up the COE issue
Some would call it the shifting of goal posts.
But in biker speak, it feels as if somebody had adjusted a motorcycle's handlebar in an awkward forward position and the new riding position feels uncomfortable and unnatural.
Since February's announcement of the new tiered Additional Registration Fee (ARF) structure, many are feeling the pinch.
The rationale behind the new taxation system is to address the fraternity's penchant for costlier motorcycles with Open Market Values (OMV) which rivals small cars.
Under the new system, the first $5,000 of a motorcycle's OMV continues to incur 15 per cent ARF, while the next $5,000 will be at 50 per cent. OMV over $10,000 will incur an ARF of 100 per cent.
What it means is you could now be paying more - between a few thousand dollars and $30,000 - for a new bike.
In principle, the tiered ARF would be helping riders in the market for smaller capacity, commuter-type motorbikes as demand for higher-end bikes drops. But in the face of strong demand for motorcycle Certificate of Entitlements (COEs), premiums have risen to record levels of $8,081 in March's second bidding.
Some industry observers expect COE premiums to dip eventually, citing the end of contributing bike COEs to the Open category. Yet, others believe COE prices will remain high because those who cannot afford exclusive motorcycles simply scale down to "cheaper" bikes, thus remaining in the fight for bike COEs.
Talk of speculation in the bidding process has some bike groups calling for the need for more transparency and safeguards to reflect "real demand".
In the end, it is all about tolerance levels - how much is too much before you sign on the dotted line.
Despite uncertainties for riders and bike distributors who complain about losing customers, our Retro v Rocket motorcycle supplement reflects the vibrancy on the local bike scene.
From classy two-wheelers to the truly demented speed monsters, we are spoilt for choice.
But should each biker adopt a wait-and-see attitude for the best deals? All I hope is that someone with the right allen keys will come forward to adjust my handlebars to a less painful riding position.