Asbestos Surveys | Classic Motorcycles

EMS were commissioned to undertake a large volume of asbestos surveys on classic motorcycles in late 2022 prior to their exportation to Australia. The bikes, over 80 in total, were a mix of vintage and classic including well known such as Harley Davidson, Triumph and Norton. The collection also included some Great British classics like BSA, Douglas, Excelsior and Matchmaker. The oldest bike dated from 1906! These bikes were all bought from auction by one collector for his own private collection.

The surveys included road bikes, track bikes and also some speedway racers. The most interesting find was a leather gun holster attached to the side of a motorcycle! EMS were assisted by an experienced motorcycle mechanic to ensure we could access of areas of the bikes including opening drum brakes and in some cases accessing battles in the exhaust systems. Some asbestos was identified, mostly gaskets within the components and brake shoes, which are common. The most interesting were asbestos brake pads on an early 1900’s BSA.

The surveys were undertaken on behalf of our client Shippio, one of the largest vehicle exporters in the UK. Shippio have over 25 years of experience shipping vehicles and motorcycles internationally, as well as management procurement and customs brokerage. Their UK operations are conducted through depots at London Heathrow, Ashford (Kent),Northampton and Manchester and international operations conducted through specially selected car & motorcycle shipping agents.

Asbestos was commonly used in the motor industry in the twentieth century due to its fantastic thermal properties and adaptable and flexible range of uses. Asbestos possesses the unique ability to both insulate and prevent heat transfer due to its fantastic thermal properties. This makes it ideal for use in a wide variety of automotive applications which are centred around the internal combustion engine and friction-based brakes. It was also used significantly in classic motorbikes made throughout the twentieth century for exactly the same reasons.

AnAustralia-wide ban on the manufacture and use of all forms of asbestos took effect in 2003 and at the same time, a border control to prevent the unlawful importation of asbestos, and goods containing asbestos. For this reason, the importer of any vehicle which could contain asbestos into Australia, must be able to demonstrate the vehicle is asbestos free, before it is shipped. This applies whether the importation is for commercial or private purposes, or of a temporary or permanent nature.

EMS provide a comprehensive surveying service and tailored report for each individual vehicle surveyed, and in this instance, motorbike surveyed. This report also included a sample certificate demonstrating any samples taken, their location, purpose and whether they are asbestos containing.

Common areas where asbestos can tend to be present in vehicles and motorcycles include brake pads & shoes, clutches, hood liners, heat shields, paint coatings, body construction, heat seals, gaskets and engine components.

EMS successfully completed all surveys on time in batches, allowing the bikes to make their shipment to Australia where they were accepted by the border force with the satisfactory documentation to demonstrate they were asbestos free.

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