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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

News Briefs

The EPA’s announcement of higher ethanol blends could mean trouble for motorcyclists. The AMA says that “none of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in use in the United States are approved by the EPA to operate on ethanol blends higher than 10 percent. Using higher ethanol blends in those vehicles is illegal and may cause engine and fuel system damage and void the manufacturer's warranty. Increasing the ethanol is going to result in higher ethanol blends, such as E15, at more pumps and stations. The widespread availability of E15 and higher ethanol fuels increases the risk that owners will inadvertently misfuel their motorcycles." E15 fuel is a blend of 85 percent gasoline and 15 percent ethanol and represents a 50 percent increase in ethanol over the common E10 blend most Americans currently use in their vehicles.

‘Ken’s Factory’ has announced that its parts and accessories designs have been picked up by Drag Specialties and will be appearing in the 2017 ‘FatBook’.

Rocket Harley-Davidson of Madison, Alabama, one of six Harley stores owned by Scott Fisher, has been sold to Josh Russom, and re-named Redstone Harley-Davidson. Russom is owner of the Harley dealership in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Sturgis City Council has passed a resolution standardizing the official start date of the Rally as being the first Friday of August, continuing through the second Sunday. The 2017 start date will be Friday August 4 (through Sunday 13); in 2018 it will officially start Friday August 3; Aug 2 in 2019; Aug 7 in 2010.

Aficionados of the legendary Norton brand will be interested to know that current Norton owner Stuart Garner has confirmed plans to start hand-building an initial limited edition of 200 72-degree 1200cc V4 Ducati challengers at its Donnington Hall, UK facility next Fall in advance of a hoped for lower cost, higher volume “standard version” thereafter.

Troubled Italian manufacturer MV Agusta has signed a “binding agreement” for an undisclosed “capital increase” with NYC based asset manager Black Ocean Group. The recapitalization is one stage in a restructuring plan that the company needs in order to implement a restructuring plan by the end of 2016 in order to meet the terms of its “Composition" with its creditors”. The company has long since burned through the $20m dowry left to it by Harley-Davidson, amassed at least $55m of additional debt, spent the $30m that Mercedes paid for a 25 percent, and subsequently spectacularly fallen out with an investor who is reluctant to increase its exposure without being able to take a controlling interest – something that CEO Giovanni Castiglioni is adamant will not happen. Six months ago there were informal talks between MV Agusta and Polaris, but they ultimately came to nothing (so far!).