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Friday, 27 March 2020


More From Milwaukee - Two More 'Biggies' This Week...

In line with Wisconsin's emergency ordnance, Harley production in and near Milwaukee is now closed down until around the final week of April.
In another aftershock from the invitation for former CEO Matt Levatich to vacate his post, and maybe also in connection with the shareholder unrest that has now spilled into the public domain, ex-Chief Operations Officer Michelle Kumbier has now also been invited to seek pastures new.
Michelle joined Harley in 2007 as Vice President Materials Management & Quality and garnered a number of resume bumps, including responsibility for Product Development (2010) and VP Product & Operations (2015) en route to, effectively, being Levatich's second-in-command in product and operations terms as COO (2017).

ex-Chief Operations Officer Michelle Kumbier

Harley shares closed at $15.34 at close on Monday March 23rd, having been as low as $14.31 during the day, and before recovering to $20.75 at close on March 26. Polaris shares closed at $41.77 on March 23rd, having been as low as $41.22 - after starting the year at $103.03 on January 1st and having still been as high as $92.48 on March 4th. By close on March 26, Polaris had recovered ground to $53.09 - the market cap. is now $3.27 bn; Harley's is $3.18 bn.
All the major motorcycle manufacturer share prices are seriously down on their respective indexes around the world, with only KTM occasionally showing the flicker of a pulse. From Japan to Italy, China to Germany, there is no, or very little, production of any of the top dozen selling brands of motorcycles or scooters taking place. There is some limited small displacement local model production activity taking place in South America, India and elsewhere in Asia.


Polaris Suspends Production 

Polaris has moved to extend and expand its temporary production operations at "Select Powersports Manufacturing Facilities", expanded its dealer support programs, increased its cash position to maintain its financial strength and flexibility and withdrawn its first quarter and full year 2020 financial guidance.
Scott Wine, Polaris' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented: "As we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, we are focusing on the health and safety of our employees, dealers, customers and the communities where we operate, while also taking bold action to protect our business.
"We have been aggressive with employee safety and supply chain mitigation actions, so our plants have operated effectively to meet the strong retail momentum we saw at the start of the year through the second week of March.
"As anticipated, pandemic concerns ultimately began to impact demand, which dropped suddenly in the middle of last week, and we are adjusting our operations accordingly. Between our Retail Flow Management (RFM) system and our agile workforce, Polaris is built to react quickly during rapidly changing times. 

"However, with no near-term resolution to the COVID-19 related economic slowdown in sight, we expect these events to have a significant impact on our 2020 financial results."
The company is suspending production schedules and plant operations for one week at select powersports plants effective Tuesday, March 24th. The affected plants include:
United States: Huntsville, Alabama; Indian Motorcycle production at Spirit Lake, Iowa; Monticello, Minnesota; Roseau, Minnesota; Battle Ground, Washington; Osceola, Wisconsin; Mexico: Monterrey; Poland: Opole.


Further AFT Postponements

As at March 23rd, the AMA had announced the cancelation or postponement of two more races - the Texas Half-Mile at Fort Worth, originally slated for May 2, and the So-Cal Half-Mile at Perris, California (May 9).
The Sacramento Mile (May 16) had already been postponed to a date to be finalized, currently leaving the May 30 Lexington, Kentucky, 'Red Mile' as the season opener, with the Daytona TT, Atlanta Short Track and Charlotte Half-Mile having already been lost.


Other event cancelations …

As of March 24th, AMD had learned of the postponement or cancelation of the following further events that we list in our ShowZone and on our annual event wall planner, plus selected additional shows…

Harley Euro Fest at Port Grimaud, France 

The Handbuilt Show, Austin, Texas - rearranged for November 13-15

Arizona Bike Week, USA

Toronto Spring Show, Canada

Donnie Smith Custom Bike Show and Extravaganza, Minneapolis, Minnesota - the already revised April date is now also postponed 

European Super Rally, Ă–land, Sweden

META Show, Colorado

Isle of Man TT Races 

Most major races thru May are canceled or rearranged, including MotoGP and World Superbike rounds, Moto America, MXGP etc.

Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC)

MIC Adapts to Changing Times While Efforts Continue

With California in lockdown, the Irvine, California based Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) says that while "staff members are operating remotely and haven't slowed down one bit, in the interest of physical distancing, MIC offices are empty, but the work for association members goes on without interruption."

MIC President and CEO Erik Pritchard)

"Things change, we adapt," Erik Pritchard said. "Our industry is facing a new world, along with everyone else. The association approach stays the same: collective efforts to benefit the powersports business and riders at large. We're well aware that the coronavirus pandemic will affect our members, big and small, but we are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help us all ride it out, together.
"MIC leaders and department heads have canceled or postponed events in March and April, taking all precautions, while still performing critical functions and making plans for projects that can be done without assembling groups of people."

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield, Moto Anatomy Partner for Production Twins Effort with New S&S, Harris Flat Track 650

In addition to its partnership with AFT as the Official OEM Partner, Milwaukee-based Royal Enfield North America (RENA) is to back the Moto Anatomy campaign in the Production Twins class, with decorated flat track racer Johnny Lewis developing and racing a new Harris Performance built Royal Enfield Flat Track (FT) machine.

As the chassis engineers behind the Royal Enfield 650 parallel twins, Harris, which is owned by Royal Enfield and has an impeccable motorcycle race frame pedigree going back more than 30 years, is the ideal partner to build the Interceptor 650 based special edition with support from Royal Enfield and S&S Cycle.
"This racing effort is unprecedented in Royal Enfield's North American history," said RENA's Breeann Poland. "Johnny Lewis is a legitimate contender anytime he's on the track, and we couldn't have picked a better partner in his organization, Moto Anatomy.
"Flat Track continues to garner attention from both a professional and grassroots level and we feel strongly about our extended partnership with AFT and now Moto Anatomy. We are thrilled to bring the Royal Enfield brand to more enthusiasts, and this is a great opportunity to do that on a major scale."
Lewis has risen through the ranks of AFT and enjoyed success at both the amateur and professional levels. The concept Twins FT was first seen at the 2019 EICMA Show and was slated to make its media debut at the Daytona TT in March.
Lewis will then compete with the motorcycle for the first time at the Laconia short track event on June 13 and will run all AFT short track events for the remainder of the season in the Production Twins class. The Royal Enfield FT will also run the Sturgis Buffalo Chip TT and Peoria TT as a wildcard entry in the Super Twins class.
"I'm excited to lead the development of the Royal Enfield Flat Track Twin program in 2020," said Lewis, owner of Moto Anatomy. "Being involved at such an early stage in a brand's racing efforts has been a fantastic opportunity. While our focus is on development, there is great potential in the platform and it's encouraging to see a manufacturer with as much history as Royal Enfield entering AFT.
"It's also great to see Royal Enfield helping grow the sport of motorcycling in North America with its new rider initiatives."
Besides racing, Moto Anatomy will also use the Royal Enfield FT411, a modified variation of the Royal Enfield Himalayan set-up exclusively for flat track use, as part of Royal Enfield Slide School Presented by Moto Anatomy.
This flat track riding clinic will be available to the public at select events during 2020, giving riders the opportunity to learn the basics of flat track in a controlled environment.


Triumph/Bajaj Plan Going Ahead

Indian conglomerate and KTM shareholder Bajaj Auto has confirmed that the non-equity global partnership agreed in 2017 with British manufacturer Triumph to manufacture a new range of mid-capacity motorcycles is still alive and well.
More than two years of radio silence since the initial announcement in 2017, after Bajaj had ended its long-term relationship with Kawasaki, had led some observers to assume that the plans had gone south - perhaps because of India's plans to go all electric by 2030. It would not have been the first time that a planned alliance between Triumph and one of the Indian 'majors' had failed to mature.

However, the company has stated that the first bike under the partnership will be rolled out in 2022 and will carry a starting price tag in India of around €2,550 (£2,150 / $2,800) according to Triumph Motorcycle Chief Commercial Officer Paul Stroud. The new bikes will be manufactured at Bajaj Auto's Chakan facility and be of various styles in the 200 to 500 cc range.
"The Triumph brand is iconic the world over," said Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj, "so we are confident that there will be a huge appetite in India and other emerging markets for these new products."
This is the second time that Triumph Motorcycles has tried to partner up with an Indian manufacturer - a prior agreement some years ago with TVR didn't result in any bikes being built.
New information since the original announcement is that Bajaj will take over distribution of Triumph's UK built large displacement models in India (where it currently sells around 1,000 bikes out of total annual production of around 62,000) and export and sell the new models worldwide wherever it has an existing sales structure.
Indeed, remarks by Triumph Managing Director Nick Bloor in a January 2020 press conference in India appear to suggest that Triumph's own dealer network in Europe, USA and elsewhere could also be 'in-play' when he stated that "the products that will come out of the partnership will also help attract a younger, but still discerning customer audience and is another step in our ambition to expand globally, particularly in the fast-growing markets of South East Asia, but also driving growth in more mature territories like Europe."
International Dealer News predicted that this would likely be the case once the plan matured when the partnership was first announced in 2017.
There has also been some speculation as to whether Bajaj and Triumph might strike a deal to make suitably tuned and compliant versions available through KTM dealers in Europe and North America, however, it is believed that KTM owner Stefan Pierer's brand lust may instead have seen his eye settle upon Norton, which went into administration in the UK in January 2020.
Founded in 1944, the Bajaj Group traces its origins back to 1926. In 2015, Bajaj had a market capitalization of around $10 billion. It employs around 8,000 people and is the world's sixth largest manufacturer of motorcycles, second largest in India (behind Eicher Motors' Royal Enfield brand) and the largest exporter of the Indian two-wheeler giants. Bajaj and Kawasaki ended a 33-year alliance in India in 2017, some months before the first iteration of the Triumph partnership became public. At the time, the split with Kawasaki was widely interpreted as signaling that Rajiv Bajaj’s international ambitions lay beyond his significant stake in, and manufacturing and distribution deals with, KTM.


FOX RSD Signature Series Bagger and M-8 Shocks

Seeking a performance edge on his motocross-racing competitors, Bob Fox designed and manufactured his first motorcycle shocks in 1974 and from these beginnings near San Jose, California, FOX Factory evolved into a major player in the aftermarket suspension business.

These days the FOX shocks range is immense - offering racer and enthusiast suspension solutions right across the powersports industry - from motorcycles and snowmobiles to UTVs, ATVs, trucks, mountain bikes, off-road desert racers and motorsports.
The company is now offering Roland Sands Design signature series shocks for Harley performance baggers and M-8 Softails.
Made in Watsonville, California, FOX-RSD performance bagger twin shocks are remote reservoir, 3-position quick switch (soft, medium, firm) compression and rebound adjust designs for 1993 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Touring models.
13.5" M-8 Softail mono shocks (2018 - 2020) feature a model-specific ride tune and also feature the 3-position quick switch compression and rebound adjust and FOX' advanced high-flow, deflective speed-sensitive damping.