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Thursday, 5 January 2017

News Briefs

Kawasaki says it is to start developing motorcycles with AI Technologies - next-generation motorcycles that can “grow along with the rider”. Making use of ICT (Information and Communications Technology), including AI (Artificial Intelligence), the motorcycles being developed will use the Emotion Generation Engine and Natural Language Dialogue System - a form of artificial intelligence that “enables man and machine to communicate with technology capable of recognizing emotion by the sound of the speaker’s voice – a platform currently being developed by SoftBank Group subsidiary cocoro SB Corp.

American Heritage Motorcycles (AHM) has announced that it has closed all its stores. AHM was a five-dealership group started in 2014 that had five Indian, Victory and Slingshot dealerships - two in Illinois and three in Ohio.

Harley-Davidson have taken 5th place from Kawasaki in the market share rankings in Germany, having sold 10,743 units for a 10.7 percent share of a market worth 104,733 units for all brands overall in the first 10 months of 2016. The German motorcycle market was +7.33 percent YTD through September 2016. Harley’s top seller in Germany through the first 10 months was the Softail Slim (1,376 units), followed by the XL 1200 X (987).

The AMA has sanctioned snow bike racing, which features competition off-road motorcycles modified for snowy terrain. The inaugural AMA sanctioned series will be the Championship Snow Bike Series, promoted by Big Nasty Hillclimb LLC, an AMA-chartered promoter out of Boise, Idaho, that has experience promoting hill climb and hare and hound events. The snow bikes swap out wheels and knobby tires for a ski up front for steering and a high-performance snowmobile-style track in the rear - they will compete on a motocross-inspired half-mile track of jumps, banks, right and left hand turns, and whoops and dips.

The latest data from European motorcycle trade association ACEM puts new motorcycle registrations in EU countries at +7.5 percent (700,098 units) for the first 10 months of 2016; Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the UK - the “GISFUK” bloc - Europe’s “Big Five” motorcycle markets represent some 80 percent of the European total.

The Buffalo Chip campground and entertainment complex is to host an AMA Pro Racing Flat Track race during the Sturgis Rally. It will be staged on a new seven-time Grand National Champion Chris Carr blueprinted half-mile track to be built in the center of the venue’s amphitheater. The track area will be transformed back into the Wolfman Jack main stage infield immediately after the Sunday August 6 slated “Buffalo Chip TT”. The race will fall under the Chip’s Moto Stampede umbrella of events, which has previously included the Roland Sands Design Super Hooligan races and the Buffalo Chip Street Drags.

Charlotte, NC based Paul Aiken, owner of parts and accessory manufacturing business Aeromach, has joined the 200 mph Club on a Ted Rich prepared Turbo Hyabusa. The run came at the Mojave Magnum event, held on October 8 & 9 at Mojave Air and Space Port in California - the run of 202.4 mph in the mile and a half course “was achieved after correcting the GPS speedometer. It had been set on kilometers per hour, reducing my first run to just 107 mph.” Stick to CNC mills Paul!

The attendance at this year’s Sturgis Rally was expected to be down after 2015’s 75th anniversary event, but at -37 percent (463,412 estimated attendees; 739,000 estimated in 2015) it was the lowest traffic count in 25 years, according to the South Dakota Department of Transportation. Another measure used locally to gauge attendance is the volume of garbage shifted during the Rally – this year the city says it hauled 537 tons (down from 812 tons in 2015!). At only 2.32 lbs per visitor, it sounds to us like a lot of people are heading home with a whole pile of crap – but then, isn’t that what the rallies are for anyway?!