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EURO 5: THE EMISSIONS STANDARDS THAT ARE MESSING WITH YOUR MOTORCYCLE

Euro 5 emissions standards effect all bikes including this KTM 890 Adventure R
Euro 5 affects every bike sold in Europe and as we accept those same models, it then affects Australia too

The Euro 5 standards, introduced in 2020, represent the latest chapter in an ongoing effort to create cleaner air for Europe and save the Icelandic Puffin from the minuscule output of a Husky 701 Enduro.

While Australia is not a signatory to the Euro 5 standards, we feel its effects through imports that are subject to the strict rules on emissions – which is essentially every bike – and as such we basically play by the Euro rules.

Let’s take a look at the nitty-gritty of Euro 5 – which isn’t just about what comes out of the pipe – and its impact on motorcycles.

Is your bike making the Icelandic Puffin sad?

A LEGACY OF CLEANER AIR: THE EURO EMISSION STANDARDS

The Euro standards are a series of progressively stricter regulations that limit the amount of pollutants motorcycles can emit.

The journey began in 1999 with Euro 1, and each subsequent iteration (Euro 2, 3, 4) has tightened the noose on emissions.

Euro 5 marks a significant leap forward, bringing motorcycle emissions in line with those of Euro 6 compliant cars.

What’s in the Euro 5 Toolbox?

So, what exactly does Euro 5 demand from motorcycle manufacturers? Here’s a breakdown of the key elements:

Reduced Exhaust Emissions: Euro 5 establishes stricter limits for several key pollutants:

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO): 1,000 mg/km (milligrams per kilometre)
  • Total Hydrocarbons (THC): 100 mg/km
  • Non-methane Hydrocarbons (NMHC): 68 mg/km (a particular challenge for manufacturers)
  • Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx): 60 mg/km
  • Particulate Matter (PM): 4.5 mg/km
Chinese bikes are not exempt from Euro 5

Engine Overhaul: Optimizing Combustion for Cleaner Emissions


Advanced Engine Management Systems: Precise control over fuel injection, ignition timing, and valve operation is crucial for Euro 5 compliance. This often involves more sophisticated engine control units (ECUs) that can analyse various parameters and adjust engine behaviour in real time for optimal combustion efficiency. This meticulous control minimizes emissions from pollutants like CO, HC, and NOx.


High-Tech Combustion Chambers: Some manufacturers have redesigned combustion chambers to improve fuel-air mixing and burning. This can involve optimizing piston shapes, intake and exhaust valve configurations, and spark plug placement to ensure complete combustion and reduce unburned hydrocarbons escaping into the exhaust.

Exhaust System Upgrades: Filtering Out the Bad Stuff


Enhanced Catalytic Converters: Euro 5 mandates more complex three-way catalytic converters with increased efficiency in converting harmful pollutants. These converters may contain additional precious metals like palladium and rhodium to handle the higher exhaust temperatures associated with Euro 5 engines.


Secondary Air Injection Systems: This technology injects fresh air directly into the exhaust system just before the catalytic converter. This additional oxygen promotes more complete combustion of unburned hydrocarbons and CO in the exhaust stream, further reducing emissions.

WEIGHT REDUCTION: EVERY KILOGRAM COUNTS


Lightweight Materials: Manufacturers are increasingly using lightweight materials like aluminium, magnesium, and high-strength steel in the frame, swingarm, and other chassis components. This weight reduction not only improves handling but also helps offset the additional weight of Euro 5 compliant exhaust systems.


Compact Designs: A focus on tighter packaging can be seen in engine layouts and exhaust systems. By minimizing wasted space, manufacturers can shave off kilograms without compromising performance.

ONBOARD DIAGNOSTICS (OBD) SYSTEMS: KEEPING A KEEN EYE ON EMISSIONS


Advanced Monitoring: Euro 5 demands a more sophisticated OBD system that continuously monitors various engine parameters like air-fuel ratio, oxygen sensor readings, and catalytic converter efficiency. These systems can detect malfunctions or potential emission issues early on, alerting riders through warning lights on the dashboard.


Self-Diagnosis and Repair: Some OBD systems might even have the capability to initiate self-diagnostic routines or enter a “limp mode” if they detect critical emission control problems. This can help prevent excessive emissions and potential damage to the engine.

Eventually, we’ll grow motorcycles in the woods to meet environmental standards (joke)

THE POWERTRAIN BALANCING ACT: MAINTAINING PERFORMANCE WHILE CLEANING UP


Fine-Tuning Engine Performance: Meeting Euro 5 standards can come at the expense of some horsepower and torque figures.

However, manufacturers are working to minimize these performance sacrifices. This might involve optimizing cam profiles, intake and exhaust systems, and utilizing advanced engine mapping to retain a thrilling riding experience while adhering to stricter emission regulations.

COMPLY OR DIE


Motorcycles undergo a multi-step process to demonstrate compliance with Euro 5 emission standards.

This process is the same for bikes made in Europe or abroad. If you want to sell a bike in Europe, you must meet Euro 5.


  1. Emissions Testing: The core assessment involves running the motorcycle on a dynamometer, a machine that simulates real-world riding conditions. This test follows the Worldwide Harmonised Motorcycle Testing Cycle (WMTC), a standardized program that replicates various riding scenarios like urban riding, highway cruising, and accelerations.

  2. Pollutant Measurement: During the WMTC test, exhaust fumes are captured and analysed to measure the exact amount of pollutants emitted, including carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and particulate matter (PM). These measurements are then compared to the strict Euro 5 limits.

  3. Evaporative Emissions Test: Beyond tailpipe emissions, Euro 5 also considers evaporative emissions, which are fuel vapours escaping the motorcycle’s fuel system. A separate Sealed Housing for Evaporative Determination (SHED) test isolates the motorcycle and measures any fuel vapour leakage to ensure it meets the standard.

  4. On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) Check: Euro 5 mandates an On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system (Stage II) for motorcycles. This system continuously monitors the engine and emission control components. During testing, the OBD system is evaluated for its ability to detect and report malfunctions that could lead to increased emissions.

  5. Durability Assessment: Euro 5 goes beyond the initial test. Manufacturers must demonstrate that the motorcycle can maintain its emission performance over its expected lifetime. This may involve running long-term durability tests or using simulations to predict emission levels after a certain mileage.
    By successfully completing these tests, manufacturers obtain certification that their motorcycles meet Euro 5 standards. This allows them to sell their bikes in the European market.
This kind of fun is getting more expensive and Euro 5 plays hand in that

WHAT’S NEXT?


Because it never ends right?

Euro 5+ will take effect from 2025. It’s largely the same as Euro 5 but with more of a focus on durability.

Emissions limits remain the same as Euro 5. This means no significant changes to engine design or power output are expected to meet the base emission standards.

CATALYTIC CONVERTER TESTING:
Euro 5 allowed a calculated deterioration factor to estimate a converter’s lifespan.
Euro 5+ demands real-world testing, with motorcycles travelling over 35,000km to prove their catalytic converters’ effectiveness over time. This can involve on-road tests, dyno runs, or a combination.

ON-BOARD DIAGNOSTICS (OBD):
Euro 5 had a partially implemented OBD system. Euro 5+ mandates a more robust OBD system. The Engine Control Unit (ECU) will continuously monitor the catalytic converter’s health at least 10% of the time the motorcycle is running. This allows for earlier detection of potential issues.

POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL CHANGES:
Noise Regulations: Euro 5+ might introduce stricter noise emission limits, though details are still under development.

OVERALL IMPACT:
Euro 5+ aims to ensure motorcycles comply with emission standards throughout their lifespan, not just when new.

This likely translates to more sophisticated engine management systems and potentially higher development costs for manufacturers.

For riders, the impact might be seen in increased motorcycle prices due to the more rigorous testing procedures. Yay…I hope the Puffin is happy.

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