ABR’s resident expert of all things two-wheeled answers your questions.

I know we should carry a set of spare light bulbs when riding in France, but my Triumph Tiger 1200 has all-LED lighting. I presume if one bulb fails, the light unit needs to be replaced, and therefore it’s impossible to carry spares. As more and more new bikes (cars too) change to LED lighting have you any advice for this issue? 

Davey Littler 

Hi Davey,

It’s a good question which I’m afraid I have no definite answer for. A spare bulb kit is mandatory for France but strangely not neighbouring Spain. We recently featured an article on the ABR website by our own James Oxley. I think it’s worth repeating here: 

What you need to ride in France 

  • Valid UK driving licence – you’ll need to be over 18 to ride 
  • Proof of ID (UK passport) 
  • Proof of vehicle ownership – this is your vehicle registration document, known as a V5C 
  • Proof of insurance 
  • GB sticker on your bike 
  • A hi-vis vest or jacket – you must wear this in the event of an emergency by the roadside • Spare set of motorcycle bulbs 
  • A road legal vehicle which must be taxed in the UK 
  • Spare pair of glasses (if you wear spectacles) 
  • Breathalyser – while this law does not seem to be enforced, we’d recommend taking one 
  • CE-approved gloves – if you’re caught without them you face a fine 
  • You must also display dipped headlights when moving.

What you need to ride in Spain 

  • Valid UK driving licence – you need to be 18 years old to ride a motorcycle over 75cc 
  • Proof of ID (UK passport) 
  • Proof of vehicle ownership – this is your vehicle registration document, known as a V5C • Proof of insurance 
  • GB sticker on your bike 
  • A hi-vis vest or jacket 
  • A road legal vehicle which must be taxed in the UK 
  • Spare pair of glasses (if you wear spectacles) 

The only suggestion I could offer is carry a spare bulb set, but make sure it doesn’t state the vehicle fitment, I’m sure even the French police wouldn’t be so diligent to check the bike fitment. 

In my day job, I call into quite a few vehicle garages and service centres, it seems that failing LEDs are cropping up quite often. Rather than replace the whole, expensive unit, kits are now available to repair them, either with adhesive or solder. 

All of these sophisticated electrics may make for safer, more comfortable riding, but they don’t make it easy for us home mechanics, plus a roadside repair is unlikely! 

Got something to ask Dave?

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