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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

Harley Should Have Gone Private reports that H-D is very likely to go ahead with the closure of its Bawal, India factory and can its Street 500/750 line, with Asia Pacific operations being focused at its Thailand plant.
Meanwhile, talks are reportedly underway with KTM and Triumph collaborator Bajaj, Classic Legends owner (the Jawa and BSA owner) and Peugeot Motorcycles' parent company Mahindra & Mahindra and former Buell Racing owner Hero Motocorp for an alternate manufacturing of CKD (Complete Knock Down) kit assembly solution for the Indian market.
Of the major players in India, it would appear that only TVS, who has a deal with BMW Motorrad and recently acquired Norton Motorcycles, and Eicher Motors, the Royal Enfield owner, are the only Indian motorcycle industry players not currently on Harley's list of potential collaborators for the largest English speaking consumer market in the world.
Following the Motorsport Action Group's (MAG) great 'Unwind', Harley's 'Rewire' is the latest instalment in that favorite corporate parlour game beloved by children and everyone with an MBA - "Ooops, that didn't work, screw the cost, let's try again!"
However, where for children it is an experiential exercise, a learning experience, for a theoretically respected and capable corporate such as Harley-Davidson, it is more of an existential exercise. If Harley gets this wrong, it really will have run out of 'Roads'. I still maintain that the best thing it could do, should have done, is to have gone private again.
Maybe newly minted CEO Jochen Zeitz has that in his playbook, though, in fact, it would be much less expensive to do it while the company is drowning, then cure its problems without stockholders demanding their several pounds of flesh every quarter.
Waiting to cure the problems once back in private hands would have been a way more economical and efficient way to implement a new playbook, and in the medium to long-term a hugely more profitable way for a new owner or owners to be able to get to go back to the bank with a smile on their faces.


"other people's balance sheets"

There were, and still are, plenty of options to navigate back into private hands, and my favorite would be the consortium of dealer owners that could be put together quite quickly. There has been talk of something like that happening, and in the posh seats too - not just the bleachers.
This year's COVID-19 context would have made such a play an even more attractive, practical and effective strategy as it happens, but nobody was to know that.
What I think most people do realize, including the increasing number of ex-Harley executives now populating the aftermarket, is that it was even widely viewed internally as a preferable strategy just as soon as the wait lists evaporated.
Much is made of the 'lost decade' in terms of consumer demographics and the reshaping of the motorcycle industry customer landscape. But for Harley too it has been a lost decade and an entirely inexcusable string of missed opportunities.
There was never anything wrong in principle about the strategy that Harley embarked on in the late 1990s and early noughts to try and add brands to the portfolio.
The fact that the attempts to develop Buell and MV Agusta didn't work out is less a comment on whether or not they were smart ideas, but instead on the timing (which was late and sucked) and on their insistence to meddle in businesses that should have been allowed to evolve their own visions.
When Keith Wandell was hired to replace Jim Zeimer and perform the role of financial crisis company surgeon, it was a necessary evil. But, subsequently under Matt Levatich's watch, when Harley (and the motorcycle industry itself) had failed to mend by 2014/2015, a golden opportunity to get back on the acquisition trail was missed.
In private hands at that stage (surely by far the most sensible response to the share crash price that saw H-D drop from $73 in late 2006 to around $11 in just 27 months), the company could have bought out its remaining shareholders for buttons, relatively speaking.
Then, once the price had recovered back to the $70 mark in 2014, it failed again to spot an opportunity to leverage the growth for funds to make purchases.
When Harley came within 48 hours of acquiring (or merging with) KTM (depending on whom you believe) in late 1998, and subsequently had options to move on a then very reasonably priced Ducati (there were even Triumph, Norton and Moto Guzzi rumors at that stage too), I used to play a game of "Fantasy Forecourt".
The game involved seeing the Bar 'n Shield, Buell, KTM, Triumph, Ducati and other flags fluttering proudly in the wind outside the world's leading network of state-of-the-art motorcycle lifestyle destination dealerships all across the globe.
Instead, highly desirable and hugely exploitable brands such as those, and all the ones currently in Chinese and Indian hands, are (mostly) now lubricating other people's balance sheets.
Having achieved that while in private hands could then have been finished off with the mother of all leisure industry IPOs last year - one that would have seen Harley still playing with the big boys in the upper quartile of the S&P 500, rather than being unceremoniously dumped out of it three months ago.
Yes, yes, hindsight, flights of fantasy and all that. If Bradley is so smart, how come he's still publishing a motorcycle magazine? Though come to think of it, as one of the few remaining people who is still doing so, I am either a survivor or a dumbass (or maybe both). You can all form your opinions on that one!
Whichever way things had played out for Harley doesn't change the fact that the 'Magnificent Dozen', the twelve believers who took the company out of AMF's hands and survived their own existential crisis in 1986, deserve way better than to have had the success they set in motion through to 2006 wasted in the way that it has been.
Maybe Jochen Zeitz is the right man for the job and the times. Maybe his rapidly proliferating army of Chief Officers of this, that and the other will turn out to be a new golden circle of true believers who 'get it', but maybe they won't. As Philip Seymour Hoffman's Zen Master said in 'Charlie Wilson's War'…"we'll see"!

News Briefs

As at August 3rd, PRI President Dr. Jamie Meyer said that the organization was still committed to seeing the 2020 PRI Trade Show go ahead. However, slated for December 10-12 at the Indiana Convention Center, at the time of writing, a final, formal approval from the Marion County Health Department was still required and pending. Meyer stated that PRI "is committed to helping the racing community get through the challenges it currently faces due to the coronavirus pandemic. Providing the racing industry with a venue where they can conduct business safely, efficiently and productively is PRI’s top priority."


Originally scheduled for June, the 2020 iteration of the Biarritz, France based Wheels and Waves celebration of all things Moto Culture and associated Flat Track Racing and 'Punks Peak' Hill Climb has been cancelled for a second time. It had been rearranged for September 3 to 6 this year, but the organizers have now had to 'wave the white flag of surrender' and hope to be able to stage a 10th Edition in June 2021.

New EU standards will include 'crash testing' with helmets having to undergo impact tests at oblique angles. Testers will use 45-degree angle impacts to measure how add-ons such as helmet-mounted Bluetooth comms and action cameras affect energy absorption and rotational protection during a crash. The new requirements will co-exist with the current ECE 22.05, replacing them completely (as ECE.06) in 2023.

The AMA withdrew its three-man United States team from the 2020 FIM Motocross of Nations just two weeks before the event itself was cancelled. The event had been slated to be staged in the UK (September 25-27). Billed as the "Olympics of Motocross," the MXoN has been staged every year since 1947. The 'winningest' country in MXoN history with 22 wins to its name, the USA last brought the Chamberlain Trophy back to home soil in 2011.

In the absence of being able to race at Austin, Texas (or elsewhere outside Europe in the rescheduled season), the spectacular, twisting, undulating Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimao, Portugal, is to make its MotoGP debut hosting a 15th and season final race on November 20-22nd. The Autodromo has been the reserve track for MotoGP since 2017; the venue has been on the WSBK calendar for some time. This will be the first MotoGP in Portugal since Estoril in 2012.

Fox Factory Holding Corp (the parent company of FOX Shocks etc.) reports "resilient" second quarter sales down by -4.7% ($183.1m) with a gross margin increase of 40 bp to 32.8%. Net income attributable to FOX stockholders was $12.6m, or 6.9% of sales and $0.32 of earnings per diluted share, compared to $22.9m or 11.9% of sales and $0.59 of earnings per diluted share in the same period last fiscal year.

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, B&B, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MSNW, Electrek,,,


The Good, Better and Best of Riders and their Relationship with Battery Chemistry

A question often asked is why OptiMate has different battery chargers for lead-acid and lithium starter batteries if the two battery types work fine in the same vehicle, i.e. in a 12V vehicle charging system.
Both 12V lead-acid and 12.8V lithium starter batteries work well within the 13V to 14.5V voltage zone required for a vehicle's ignition system to perform. That's why the stock lead-acid battery in a modern powersport vehicle can be replaced with a suitable LFP/LiFePO4 battery. In other words, for all intents and purposes, and without going into primary differences such as weight or cranking amps, for most riders a battery performs the same function - starting the engine, never mind the chemistry.  

If riders kept their batteries maintained every time they park their vehicle, not much else is needed other than an OptiMate 1 DUO, but we know that does not always happen!
As soon as that battery is dead-flat, you need a different type of charger to bring it back to life. Following deep discharge, lead-acid and lithium batteries require completely different reconditioning methods to successfully recover them from a vulnerable 'dead-flat' state - and "successfully" also means safely where LFP/LiFePO4 batteries are concerned.
The four cells in a dead-flat battery will be in a critical state of health and need to be treated gently. High current or voltage will cause damage or even kill the battery. OptiMate lithium battery chargers automatically deliver controlled low current and low voltage to bring all cells safely back up to the normal voltage zone before ramping up charging.  
A sulphated AGM 12V lead-acid battery on the other hand will not accept charge at normal voltage (up to 14.5V). It needs a higher reconditioning voltage to overcome its reluctance to accept charge, and that's within the charge algorithm of both the OptiMate 3 and OptiMate 4 battery chargers - and it's a pretty smart algorithm too.
If vehicle circuitry is sensed, it will not engage that high voltage SAVE mode. It's therefore best to recover that battery 'off vehicle'.
The basic things to remember are that higher voltage kills lithium batteries, but a sulphated lead-acid battery needs higher than normal voltage to overcome its reluctance to accept charge - their responses are the opposite of each other.
Secondly, at low voltage a lithium battery can only tolerate low current, but a discharged lead-acid battery can accept high current charge - again, the opposite of each other.
So how come a charger such as the OptiMate 1 DUO works on both battery chemistries? Well, the DUO is a safe compromise. It does not deliver high voltage recovery, simple - and at low voltage it delivers only very low current. That said, it does still have plenty of 'smarts' - for example, its 24-7 maintenance program adjusts to the connected battery.
For dealers it is important to sell the right OptiMate battery charger to their customers. Use the table seen here to navigate your way through the different customer habits that you have to allow for.
The GOOD option is for the conscientious riders who never forget, i.e. always maintain the battery of their parked vehicle, with the BETTER or BEST options for those riders who may forget and need, on occasion, to save their battery or who simply prefer a battery charger with more features.


Galfer - Over 300 CUBIQ Brake Disc Applications

Spanish brake component manufacturer Galfer launched its new CUBIQ brake disc design at EICMA in November 2019 and, as the originators of the 'Disc Wave' design, they are well on the way to replicating its popularity with over 300 CUBIQ model applications already available for H-D, Indian Motorcycle, Victory and custom V-twin fitments as well as for many of the best selling Japanese and European brand on-highway models.
The new CUBIQ brake disc concept features a unique braking track shape in the form of hexagons, similar to the crystalline structure of steel molecules.
This enhances cooling and significantly reduces the weight. The reduced unsprung mass improves agility and motorcycle maneuverability (gyroscopic effect), reduces dynamic imbalance under breaking and contributes to reducing stopping distances.
Galfer USA CEO Sandro Milesi, a veteran of the international motorcycle brakes industry, said that "by understanding the dynamic requirements of today’s motorcycles, and applying a simulation model using contemporary elements, we have designed a geometry that optimizes the mass-heat dissipation ratio.
"The increased convection perimeter provides a greater cooling surface, thus improving heat dissipation, and the CUBIQ design optimizes the wear resistance of the brake pads."

Bagger Nation

The 'Sharknado' - "Not All Fairings Are Created Equal"

Our thanks to Phoenix, Arizona based Bagger Nation - Paul Yaffe's emporium of fine parts for discerning riders - for more information about the hugely versatile 'Sharknado' fairing they introduced earlier this year.
As previously reported, it "offers a completely unique, aggressive style" and can be adapted to just about any H-D model - yes, you read it right, almost ANY H-D model.
Bagger Nation has its own composite shop on its three building 'campus' and each 'Sharknado' fairing is, literally, individually handmade by experienced craftsmen - and this is no cheap fiber spray gun process either.

Each 3D, hand formed 'Sharknado' fairing ships in gelcoat, is fully finished inside and out, and utilizes the separately available H-D Fat Bob LED headlight.

Paul Yaffe told us: "Ours is a composite material and process, which is another, different form of fiberglass - a higher quality version.
"An analog would be working with Prepreg Carbon Fiber. Our composite is made up of several components. It is a cross-patterned cloth that is hand laid direct into a 3D mold. Resin is then rolled into it by hand to assure uniform impregnation and void-free construction - which means higher strength and greater durability.
"The inner and outer components are then bonded as one with added internal steel supports to create a three-dimensional product that's mirror-finished on both sides, inside and out - by industry standards this is a very high quality, high standard, high strength way of doing things, but we want our customers to have products that we would be happy to have on our own bikes.

"The norm is what's called a chop gun sprayed material that creates a non-uniformed, messy, void plagued product that is prone to cracking, warping and gas pockets. It's a much cheaper and low labor-intensive process.
"Instead, ours is a really highly skilled craftsmen-produced, durable, high class product. Sad to say, but with every year that passes, that becomes an ever rarer thing in our industry. To be honest, I believe we are one of only a few companies that practice this method and, along with our great designs, that is also why our composite products are so robust and have such a great reputation."

Choice of Klock Werks 'Flare' windshield height options: 9" and 11.5" (seen here)

To finish off the package, Bagger Nation offers a choice of high quality 9" or 11.5" hard coated polycarbonate tinted 'Flare' windshields from Klock Werks. 'Flare' windshields were designed and wind tunnel tested for aerodynamic efficiency to improve front end traction and reduce rider buffeting on a Bonneville Salt Flats National Land Speed Record setting Bagger.
The 'Sharknado' has Bagger Nation's patent-pending EZ mount system integrated into the construction of the fairing and, as a final touch, it is designed to easily take a separately available H-D Fat Bob LED headlight.

Patent-pending integral EZ mount system

"It’s a fact that not all available fairing upgrade options are created equal. We pride ourselves on the integrity of our design ideas and handmake them right here in our Phoenix factory - this mini shark nose profile fairing is unique in design and quality. It even looks awesome in gelcoat!"


Aston Martin and Brough Superior

AMB 001 Deliveries On Schedule for End of 2020

First seen as a prototype at the EICMA/Milan Show in November 2019, the AMB 001 by Aston Martin and Brough Superior took to the racetrack at Pau-Arnos in France recently to begin testing. Designed and engineered for the racetrack, Aston Martin says that its AMB 001 will be strictly limited to just 100 examples and is on schedule for first deliveries at the end of this year.
Aston Martin Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman, said: "Everybody involved has managed to make tremendous progress with the development of the AMB 001, despite the challenges we have all been facing. This special motorcycle is, like our road cars, the result of beautiful design melding with modern technology to produce a bike that any collector will be proud of."

Commenting on the ongoing success of the development program, Brough Superior CEO Thierry Henriette said: "One of the key design features of the AMB 001 is an aluminum fin that runs along the full length of a carbon fiber tank, passing under the saddle and out onto the rear. The body holding the fin and supporting the saddle is one of the areas where we called on the unique knowledge of Mecano ID, who joined the project to apply specialist aerospace-quality carbon fiber skills to the exclusive AMB 001.


"While the focus of the track testing is directed at the chassis, engine bench testing takes place in parallel to streamline the development process. The AMB 001 boasts a turbo-charged engine with an output of 180 hp, which is unique in the motorcycle industry for a serial production bike. The turbo package includes an intercooler; this imposing radiator with its striking oversized/wide intake manifold gives the V-twin a supercar engine appearance."
Once this testing process is complete, the plan is for the AMB 001 to go into production at the Brough Superior factory in Toulouse, France. Only 100 examples will be made, with an MRSP of 108,000.00 euro (including 20% sales tax; approx. US$ 121,500).


Mupo AB1 EVO Shock for FTR 1200

Italian suspension specialist Mupo has a range of options available for the Indian FTR 1200 - all with similar features and the same genuinely race bred quality and durability that they build into its Super and Hypersport sector sport bike suspensions.

Ideal for both the road and on the track, the hard anodized Mupo AB1 rear shock features “plug and play” adjustments with independent rebound and compression adjustments that work in synergy to ensure optimum balanced suspension performance.
All components are CNC-machined from solid, 100% dimensionally checked and then subjected to selected high-tech component-specific surface treatments for the optimal functioning of each individual part.
An evolution of Mupo's standard AB1 nitrogen gas pressurized monoshock, the AB1 EVO features an upgraded 46 mm Ergal 7075 cylinder (zinc and aluminum alloy for anti-stress properties) instead of steel for improved strength, reliability and main piston precision. The 46 mm piston has been designed to maximize the oil flow and ensure the flatness of the reed valve pack support surfaces, which improves fluid hydraulics and radically increase rear tire grip. The reservoir, head and connections are also in Ergal 7075.
The separate adjustments of double compression at high/low speeds, compression, wheelbase and spring preload with millimeter ring nuts make the AB1 EVO the ideal choice for riders who want precision handling. The 16 mm rod is surface treated with Hyperlox DLC (Diamond Like Coating), which gives a minimum sliding coefficient and therefore greater sensitivity.
Thanks to the wide range of springs available, dealers can customize the shock for their customers' load and riding style preference at point of order. For maximum performance, Mupo recommends the installation of the hydraulic preload option, which allows for dynamic real time adjustment in response to changes in load and road or track surface.
The range of adjustability is immense - 24 clicks of low speed and five clicks of high speed compression; 40 positions of extension and 9 mm of adjustable wheelbase.
All Mupo products are handmade to order and have a 2-year warranty. This can be extended up to six years by carrying out periodic reviews and maintenance per the use and maintenance booklet.


Twin Power

Twin Power Screamin' Eagle Replacement Air Filters

Twin Power air filters for Screamin' Eagle kits are described as high quality, long lasting replacements with a precision hand-poured design and urethane construction that will not crack or curl.

Twin Power Brand Manager James Simonelli says "our air filters will provide maximum air flow and peak filtration. Made with four layers of high-flow surgical cotton gauze for superior filtration, we specified these filters to be genuinely 100% washable and reusable."
The design features include durable, epoxy-coated wire mesh and there are fitments for all Screamin' Eagle 7" OD and many SE Big Twins (including Dyna, FLH, FLT etc.) and Sportsters.



Cardo's Special Edition PACKTALK BLACK

Said to "combine sleek, dark styling with superior JBL sound," Plano, Texas based Cardo's new PACKTALK BLACK special edition is the latest addition to their "industry-leading, DMC (Dynamic Mesh Communications) powered PACKTALK rider communication systems line-up."

Said to be the first motorcycle communicator to featuring 45 mm JBL Speakers as stock, the "sleek, blacked-out design and a three-year warranty help create the industry's most desired, sophisticated and dynamic motorcycle communications system.
"It offers the same industry-leading features riders have relied on with the PACKTALK BOLD and PACKTALK SLIM. Our state-of-art, DMC-powered devices function with a self-adjusting network that automatically maintains a connection, thus allowing up to 15 riders to seamlessly join, leave and re-join at a distance of up to five miles.
"Like other PACKTALK models, PACKTALK BLACK is water and dustproof, offers 13 hours of battery life, and features the always-on Natural Voice Operation - allowing riders to keep their eyes on the road, hands on the bars, and activate their device by simply saying 'Hey, Cardo.'
"The PACKTALK BLACK is the ultimate choice for riders who demand the highest level of style and performance, coupled with the industry's best, most proven and reliable technology," said Dan Emodi, Cardo Systems' Chief Marketing Officer.

"With the industry's first and only three-year complete warranty, riders can reap the benefits of PACKTALK's superior, proven technology and unmatched features, but do so with a darker, edgier expression of personal style."
" Since our inception, Cardo Systems has specialized in the design, development, manufacturing and sale of state-of-the-art wireless communication and entertainment systems for motorcycle riders. We pioneered the vast majority of innovations for Bluetooth motorcycle communication systems and our products are now available in over 100 countries."


K&N Filters

K&N for FTR 1200

This high flow air filter by K&N is designed to provide increased performance, with the pleated media that K&N uses provides a large filtration area, offering long service intervals. Multi-layers of woven cotton gauze media offers excellent filtration.

The filter fits directly into OEM airbox with application-specific sealing bead to ensure a precise fit. Fuel management modifications are not required for increased performance, and it is washable and reusable, pre-oiled and ready to ride. Fits 2019-2020 Indian FTR 1200.


Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Drag Specialties

Drag Specialties Cancels its February 2021 Louisville Spring NVP Product Expo

LeMans Corporation, the parent company of Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties, has announced that its annual Spring NVP Product Expo is canceled.

Slated for February 13-14, 2021 in Louisville, KY., the event has grown substantially since the company first dropped anchor at Louisville two years ago, and with only AIMExpo still in play, has quickly established itself as the largest of the new generation of distributor operated dealer exhibitions that have filled the void left by the demise of independent, generally media outlet owned events such as the Dealernews 'Indy' Dealer Expo (Advanstar) and V-Twin Expo (Cincinnati/Paisano/Easyriders).
LeMans has been taking its responsibilities for the safety of its employees, dealers and vendors very seriously and, wisely, acted equally as decisively and early when canceling the annual Madison, Wisconsin NVP Product Expo (August).
The company says that "following continued uncertainty regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic, we felt this cancelation was in the best interest of our company and industry colleagues alike. Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties continue to navigate these unprecedented times with respect for the health, safety and well-being of our teams, dealers, vendors, the industry and our communities."
AIMExpo is still talking a good game. It is planned to be held on January 21 - 23 at Columbus, Ohio. At the time of writing, coronavirus infections are still continuing to rise in Ohio, with Columbus a 'hot-spot'.
Having abandoned its 'European style' launch concept of bringing a joint trade and consumer 'Trade Fair' and OEM/aftermarket concept to the United States for the first time in the motorcycle industry, it remains to be seen if it goes ahead.


Briar Bauman Owns Williams Grove
Rounds 7 & 8, Williams Grove Speedway Half-Miles I & II, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, September 11 & 12

AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines
Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) fought back against Jared Mees' win last time out in the Springfield Mile II and showed just what an AFT Grand National Champion at the peak of his powers is capable of by taking dominating wins in both the Williams Grove Half-Miles in Friday evening's Williams Grove Half-Mile I.

Bauman flat-out crushed the opposition in Race I, in what runner-up Brandon Robinson (No. 44 HCRR Racing/Ben Evans Racing Indian FTR750), who picked up his second consecutive second place, described a "demoralizing" performance while accepting his second-place trophy. The result did not come as much of a shock - it was the third year running Bauman proved his superiority at the Williams Grove Speedway.
Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) took third, with his brother's principal championship rival Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) bringing it home fourth (despite having stolen the holeshot), ahead of Dan Bromley (No. 62 Roof Systems of Dallas, Texas Indian FTR750) in fifth.
Jarod Vanderkooi led the H-D Vance & Hines XG750Rs home in ninth, ahead of Bryan Smith in tenth and Dalton Gauthier in 16th place.
In Race II the following evening, Briar Bauman backed it up with a tape-to-tape win.
Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Happy Trails Racing FTR750) took second ahead of Jared Mees, with Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) fourth and Dan Bromley fifth.
In Race II it was Dalton Gauthier who led the Harleys home (ninth), with Jarod Vanderkooi 12th and Bryan Smith 15th.
Briar Bauman's wins pushes him back ahead of Mees in his quest to repeat as Grand National Champion as the rebuilt season officially reached its midpoint. Bauman will carry a slim five-point advantage (169-164) into what promises to be an epic four-weekend, eight-race stretch run to the throne.

AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys
In the Friday night AFT Singles Race I, 2019 championship runner-up Mikey Rush (No. 15 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) finally broke through to claim his first Main Event victory of 2020.
It didn't come easily, as he had to defeat his second-ranked teammate Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and 2016 GNC2 champ Ryan Wells (No. 94 Waters Autobody Racing/D&D PowerSports KTM 450 SX-F) who finished third to make it happen. Morgen Mischler on another KTM 450 SX-F was fourth, with Max Whale fifth on a Kawasaki KX450F.
In Saturday's Race II, Dallas Daniels went one better with a win on his Yamaha, ahead of Trent Lowe second, Tanner Dean third, Kevin Stollings fourth and Trevor Brunner fifth on Honda CRF450Rs.

AFT Production Twins
James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) continued his recent tear, scoring his third AFT Production Twins victory in the class' most recent four Main Events.
"The Rocket" tracked down reigning champion Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) early and eventually held him off for second, with Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/RoyBuilt Don's Kawasaki Ninja 650) third, Indy Mile winner Ben Lowe (No. 25 Roof Systems of Dallas/Bruce Lowe Excavating Yamaha MT-07) fourth and Rispoli's fellow multinational championship-winning road racer Danny Eslick (No. 64 Scott Powersports/R&D Machine Kawasaki Ninja 650) in fifth.
It is of note that Johnny Lewis (Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield Twin FT & Harris Performance) brought the Royal Enfield 650 home in sixth spot in the Royal Enfield's maiden event.
In the Saturday night Singles Race II it was a repeat for the first four, with Jeremiah Duffy fifth on the Kawasaki Ninja 650.
Next up the action shifts to the Dallas Half-Mile double-headers at the Devil's Bowl Speedway (September 25 and 26), the Atlanta Short Tracks (October 2nd and 3rd) and Charlotte Half-Miles.

News Briefs

Polaris Inc. announced today the declaration of a regular quarterly $0.62 per share cash dividend payable on September 15, 2020 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 1, 2020.

The female participants of Royal Enfield's BUILD, TRAIN, RACE program spent two days working with AFT racer Johnny Lewis at the Viola, Wisconsin S&S Cycle Speed Ranch last month. S&S created an oval dirt track out of a former horse racing circuit on land owned by the company to celebrate its 60th anniversary with a weekend of racing and general tomfoolery. However, they are continuing to maintain and groom it for use for special events, training and product development purposes - oh, and 'cos it's fun!

In addition to the Drag Specialties sponsored 'King Of The Baggers' race at Laguna Seca, the rescheduled MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest at Monterey, California (October 23-25), will also now stage a hillclimb event that will see racers attempting to tame the hill that is home to the famous Corkscrew. The event will be produced by Elevated Action Sports (EAS), an extreme moto company based in the San Francisco Bay area that has been hosting motoclimb and extreme enduro races since 2015. Rumors that 'KOTB' Grand Marshall Don Emde may be tempted out of retirement for a one-time burst of derring-do are regarded as "premature."

These days under Chinese ownership, the storied and once hugely popular Italian SWM (Speedy Working Motorcycles) brand has signed a domestic U.S. distribution deal with Watertown, South Dakota based Central Powersports Distribution. Initially founded in 1971 near Milan, SWM made Observed Trials, Enduro, MX and off-road Sachs and then Rotax engined 50, 100, 125 and 250 cc bikes until 1984. Reborn in 2014, the current range features lightweight singles.

Santa Cruz, California based Zero Motorcycles has announced a 'Cash for Carbon' motorcycle trade-in program. Consumers trading gas motorcycles towards the purchase of new electric motorcycles from Zero get an additional $1,500 in value.

Warren Buffett (of Berkshire Hathaway/BH fame) loaned some $300m to Harley during the 2007/9 financial crisis. "It was the bridge we needed to get us through a rough time," then H-D CFO John Olin said in 2014. BH is said to have made around $150m in profit from the five-year loan. H-D is said to have tried to renegotiate the terms of the loan at one stage - the 'Sage of Omaha' is said to have declined the kind invitation to do so. However, he could have made more than $1bn if he'd invested $300m in H-D stock over the same period: "I knew enough to lend them money, I didn't know enough to buy the equity," said Buffett.

Brembo, both directly and through its parent company Nuova FourB, has completed the acquisition of a "long-term" 4.99% stake in Milan based tire maker Pirelli S.p.A. Taken over by China in 2015, a 2017 IPO saw 40% of Pirelli's equity refloated on the Milan Bourse. Brembo revenues for the first half of 2020 amounted to € 951.1m (-28.2%) at an EBITDA margin of 15.1%/€ 143.3m; EBIT margin was 4.1%/€ 38.8m. Net investments for the period amounted to € 73.4m; net financial debt was € 597.5m.

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, B&B, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MSNW, Electrek,,,

Motorcycle Industry Association (MIC)

China Import Helmets Escape U.S. Tariffs Through Year's End

The Irvine, California based Motorcycle Industry Association (MIC) has announced that lobbying by the MIC and its members, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is extending the tariff exclusion for a number of Chinese-made helmets through December 31.

Marc McAllister, President and CEO of Tucker Powersports: "This extension of the helmet tariff exclusion is a great development for our riders and the powersports industry."

"This extension of the helmet tariff exclusion is a great development for our riders and the powersports industry," said Marc McAllister, President and CEO of Tucker Powersports. "Tucker is committed to making safety equipment accessible for all riders through all the channels we serve."
Scott Schloegel, Senior Vice President of the MIC Government Relations Office (GRO), said: "We should all be pleased about the USTR's decision not to place tariffs on many specific helmets, but we must continue to advocate for excluding additional motorcycle helmets from any tariffs.
"The MIC GRO has garnered Congressional support for these exclusions. We'll say again that DOT-compliant helmets must remain affordable for all powersports riders, and placing tariffs on helmets discourages safe riding practices."

S&S Cycle

M-8 Forged Roller Rocker Arm Upgrades

S&S Cycle's engineers have addressed a potentially important issue in M-8 engines. Big lift cams can open up the high rpm potential of the M-8 powerplant, but they can also add stress to the stock valvetrain geometry. 

Valve thrust and valvetrain wear in big lift cam applications drove S&S engineers to design stronger, more durable components that will help dealers and riders get the most out of the M-8, and first on the list was forged roller rocker arms.
These new rockers are stronger, more durable, and designed to be easier on the rest of the top end. Oil routing is updated and is now sprayed directly on the valve springs, helping cool and lubricate these hard working parts.
Compatible with stock and most CNC-ported heads, they feature a 1.640 ratio, which is capable of up to .650 valve lift. S&S says that "we think these are an essential modification for increasing the longevity of valvetrain components, particularly with cams running .550 or greater lift. Making big, reliable power has always been what we do best, and these new forged roller rockers are a solid addition to our M-8 performance parts line."


Twin Power

Twin Power Additions

Klincher Clutches

Twin Power Klincher clutches provide increased surface area and torque capacity while maintaining an easy lever pull. They are available for 1937-2017 models with cable or hydraulic clutches (except M-8) and tuneable for any application.

Clutch Hubs

These accurate reproductions of the Big Twin clutch hub feature steel spines and aluminum hub. They are available for selected Big Twins 1984-2006.

Clutch Shell

This clutch shell is a "perfect replacement bearing" for '90 and later 5-speed Big Twin models. These are exact reproductions of the OEM clutch shell. They feature hardened components and include the inner and outer ramps. For 2007 and up applications they come with a coupler with clip and three balls.

Clutch Hub Assembly

This  3-stud replacement clutch hub assembly for the stock early clutch hub includes assembled clutch hub, complete with friction disc and rivets, bearing retainer with bearings, spring pressure plate and stud nuts.

Aluminum Clutch Pressure Plate

"Restore-like-new clutch performance with this Twin Power aluminum pressure plate - the perfect OEM replacement" for '90-'97 Big Twins and '91-'15 Sportsters.


Mid-USA Motorcycle Parts

Injector Cleaning and Chain Maintenance

Hazelwood, Missouri based Mid-USA Motorcycle Parts offers a large range of V-twin-specific and universal tools and service accessories from Californian specialist Motion Pro.
Among them, this complete fuel injector cleaning kit for most EV1 fuel injectors (EV6 pigtail separately available) - the specific model application information is available on the Motion Pro website.

SlackSetter chain tool

The tool will flush and back-flush injectors for the best possible cleaning process without the need for compressed air - all it requires is an additionally available aerosol can of fuel injection cleaner. It is push-button switch-operated and has an LED battery condition indicator light (9V battery included). It is of a durable billet aluminum construction - "built tough for everyday shop use."
Fuel injector cleaning kit for most EV1 fuel injectors (EV6 pigtail separately available)

Also new to the Mid-USA line-up this year, the patented design Motion Pro SlackSetter chain tool accurately and quickly measures chain slack with two scales to measure chain slack and chain to swingarm clearance (in mm).
Setting chain slack properly dramatically improves chain life, and this portable, lightweight, compact design is made from engineered nylon (anodized etched precision aluminum measuring scale) and will work on most on-highway and off-road applications with up to 75 mm chain slack.

Master link press tool

This Motion Pro original design master link press tool will easily press on and off the master link plates for clip style chains - which means it works on all five series chains.
The hardened steel pins make for reliable use, but the lightweight billet aluminum construction and ergonomic design will not damage the master links. It has a durable, blue anodized finish with laser engraved markings (not for use in breaking rivet master links).



HardDrive Adds National Cycle Custom Screens

Boise, Idaho based HardDrive (WPS) continues to add to its V-twin product line with several new brands and many new products from existing brands now available and ready to ship to its U.S. dealers - from ODI Lock-On V-twin grips and Flo Motorsports adjustable levers and MX style footpegs to KB Super Duty Series pistons, replacement service items from Cycle Pro, audio products from the likes of BOSS and METRA and, as seen here, Maywood, Illinois based National Cycle screens.

These new custom replacement screens for FLHT/FLHX models "have a unique custom personality and a flavor all of their own."
Made from tough 3.0 mm Quantum hardcoated polycarbonate, "this high quality material, along with state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, provides outstanding impact strength and scratch resistance unmatched by any windscreen maker worldwide.
"Quantum hardcoated polycarbonate is the material of choice for serious motorcycle riders. It is ten times more abrasion resistant than FMR hardcoated polycarbonate, and thirty times more than windscreens made from commonly used acrylic or 'aircraft plastic'."
All are offered in a dark tint, are easy to install and protected by a 3-year warranty against breakage.
WPS/HardDrive completed a new 245,000 sq ft warehouse at Midway, Georgia in January this year as an upgrade to its former Memphis, Tennessee facility. The company also completed expansions at its California facility and Idaho headquarters warehouse in 2019 - taking its six strong distribution center network in the United States (which also includes Texas and Pennsylvania) to over 1 million sq ft in total.


Motorcycle Storehouse

Motorcycle Storehouse Additions

Kellermann - Bullet Atto Integral

This Integral version of the popular German made Atto by Kellermann is specifically designed to be built-in to fairings or any other bodywork. With its aluminum housing with an overall length of 13 mm and 9 mm diameter, this ultra-small turn signal is a customizer's gift. The high output power LED in combination with Extranz Extreme Optical Transparency technology actually gives it a colossal light output for its size. Fully ECE compliant, this is THE ONE for those who like their turn signals small and virtually invisible - until activated. Compatible with 12V applications, the 3 in 1 taillight combo is 16 mm long x 9 mm diameter. The wiring length for all is 70 cm.

Performance Machine – M-8 mid controls

A 6061-T6 billet aluminum lightweight but strong construction, these mid controls for M-8 applications offer a more aggressive riding position with increased ground clearance for improved cornering. The short throw shifter allows faster shifting, the steel brake linkage comes with chrome heim joints for easy brake actuation. Bolt-on design without modifications. Compatible with the stock master cylinder, but will not take OEM footpegs. Traditional H-D mount footpegs must be used. They are available in Black ops (a gloss black and wrinkle finish combination) or Gold ops (a gloss black and gold wrinkle combination).

Putoline - Lubricating Essentials

With years of racing experience, Putoline is widely recognized as one of the motorcycle market's leading oils and lubricants specialists, but less well known is that they have oils specifically designed for large capacity V-twin air and water-cooled engines, right up to full synthetic engine oil for high rpm, high performance road and race motorcycles, and everything in between.

Bondhus - Hex Wrenches

The Bondhus name will be a familiar one to all professional mechanics as high-quality hex end wrenches at reasonable prices. Bondhus is in fact an American run and operated company, with a production facility in Monticello, Minnesota. That is where all the hex keys, and some innovative variations on that theme, are manufactured. The best known is the ball-end, which was originally a Bondhus invention.

By City - Urban Motorcycle Clothing


For anyone interested in a both stylish and safe ride, By City has the gear for you. A young company, eager to be better than the rest, which shows in their products, restlessly innovating to produce a product of which the quality is truly outstanding. The center of it all is uncompromised safety on the bike but still comfortable, and with also fashionable good looks once you've pulled over. This dual functionality is fully in line with the vision of the company founders, who have over 35 years motorcycling experience and learned what's important. That hands-on knowledge is something you can't buy or create, but it is an asset and used to its full extent to produce great riding gear. Fashion or safety? It's the same thing now!


Le Pera Enterprises

Breakout the Bare Bones

The low and aggressive look of Boutique custom seat designer Le Pera Enterprises' 'Bare Bones' seat for 2018 and up Softail Breakout models isn't just a stylish solo stock replacement, but has been "engineered to change the entire look of your Breakout customer's ride, combining comfort and back support with a 10.5" width. 

"This is the perfect seat to take advantage of our Biker Gel and other various custom options such as full leather construction. Standard options include your choice of smooth, diamond and diamond with white stitch and piping, as seen here."

Still handcrafting all their seats at their North Hollywood, California headquarters after more than 45 years as the market's design leader, all Le Pera seats feature a powder-coated steel base plate, a specially poured high density "Marathon" molded foam foundation and double-stitched, handcrafted cover with bonded polyester thread for durability.


Tuesday, 8 September 2020

American Flat Track

Halbert and Mees Take Wins at AFT Springfield Miles

Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2020 AFT series saw a triple-header with two Springfield Mile Super Twins and Production Twins races at Springfield, Illinois, on September 5 and 6, after an AFT Singles Short Track on Thursday September 4th.
In the first, Saturday's AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event Springfield Mile I presented by Memphis Shades, Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) provided an undeniable reminder of his immense talent to take the win with a commanding performance.

"Slammin' Sammy" has long been regarded as one of the elite riders on the AFT scene, but his 14th career Grand National Championship race win came as his first in more than four years. Over that span, he'd found himself on the wrong end of Indian Motorcycle's recent series domination. Now that he's got an FTR750 of his own, Halbert once again figures to be a significant factor in the '20 AFT SuperTwins title fight.
Multi-time champ Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) brought it home in second, with Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Happy Trails Racing FTR750) third, Brandon Robinson (No. 44 HCRR Racing/Ben Evans Racing Indian FTR750) fourth and Davis Fisher (No. 67 Indian FTR750) fifth.
Reigning Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) finished in seventh, 0.150 seconds behind Brandon Price (No. 92 Roof Systems of Dallas, Texas Indian FTR750). As a result, Mees had reclaimed the points lead and remains the sole rider with a perfect podium record for the season.
Brandon Price, Briar Bauman and Bronson Bauman were 6th, 7th and 8th respectively on their FTR750s, with Dalton Gauthier and Jarod Vanderkooi bringing home the leading Vance & Hines backed XG750R Rev X Harley factory bikes in 9th and 10th.
In the second, the Vance & Hines backed SuperTwins race, on Sunday 6, Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) went one better at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois, adding to his burgeoning Mile legend with a triumphant ride in Sunday's thrilling Springfield Mile II presented by Memphis Shades.
Brandon Robinson (No. 44 HCRR Racing/Ben Evans Racing Indian FTR750) was second, ahead of reigning Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) third, his brother Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) fourth, with Davis Fisher (No. 67 Indian FTR750) fifth.

The three Vance & Hines backed Harley factory team XG750R Rev X's of Bryan Smith, Dalton Gauthier and Jarod Vanderkooi came in 7th, 8th and 9th respectively, with Dan Bromley on another FTR750 in 10th.
As a result, Mees boasted a relatively healthy title advantage over primary rival Bauman (132-119), with Halbert in third as the series headed for the Williams Grove Speedway Half-Mile double-header at Mechanicsburg, Penn.

AFT Production Twins
Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/RoyBuilt Don's Kawasaki Ninja 650) won his first-career Mile win in Saturday's AFT Production Twins Main Event, ahead of Chad Cose (No. 49 Wally Brown Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) second, and Ben Lowe (No. 25 Roof Systems of Dallas/Bruce Lowe Excavating Yamaha MT-07) third.
The following evening, in the second Springfield Mile Production Twins Main Event, points leader James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) extended his championship lead, with Ben Lowe second this time, ahead of Chad Cose, third.

AFT Singles
The AFT Singles saw two Main Event Short Track races staged on the same evening (Thursday September 4th).
In the first, Dallas Daniels took the win (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), ahead of Henry Wiles second (No. 17 RMR Honda/Honda Talon CRF450R) and Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Roof Systems DFW/Duffy Fleet Services KTM 450 SX-F) third.
In the second race, exciting rookie Trevor Brunner (No. 211 Demske Racing/KMA Racing Honda CRF450R) was ahead of Henry Wiles, who again had to settle for second, with Max Whale on a Kawasaki KX450F in third.
After the Williams Grove Half-Miles (Mechanicsburg, Penn., September 11th and 12th) come the Dallas Half-Mile double-headers at the Devil's Bowl Speedway (September 25 and 26), the Atlanta Short Tracks (October 2nd and 3rd), Charlotte Half-Miles (Concord, NC., October 9 and 10), with the season finale at Daytona Beach on October 15 and 16.

Stat Attack

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC, Irvine, California) has confirmed that domestic US off-highway motorcycle sales for the first half of 2020 were up by a staggering 50.3%, with Dual Sports up by 20.9%, Scooter sales +4% and on-highway sales down by -9.6%. Combined total on and off highway motorcycle sales were +6.4% compared to the first half of 2019. Hurrah for our side!

Switzerland: MotoSuisse data shows total new motorcycle registrations racing back into positive territory with registrations +14.58% at 21,833 units for the year to July. In total PTW terms, the Swiss market is up +9.63% (33,969 total units) for the YTD. Yamaha continues as motorcycle market share leader with 4,231 units sold YTD, with Kawasaki second (3,287) and BMW third (2,667). Harley is 7th with 1,382 units sold YTD and Indian is 10th (446 units).

Poland: The PZPM reports new motorcycle registrations at +22.82% in June (2,949 units), but still down for the year to June by -9.56% at 10,429 units (total new PTWs are
-19.08% at 17,815 units). The totals for motorcycles receiving their first Polish registration were -13.77% at 43,267 units, and PTWs -16.32% at 54,876 units.

Sweden: The McRF reports new motorcycle registrations doing well at +10.08% for the year to July (9,909 units). Total new PTW registrations are +13.64% YTD at 20,432 units. McRF CEO Niklas Kristoffersson said that "the numbers clearly show that consumers are increasingly recognizing the benefits of PTW use as an important transport solution."

Austria: Arge2Rad data shows motorcycle registrations for the year to June are -12.86% (8,627 units), and PTW registrations -8.02% (22,842 units). KTM is market leader, followed by BMW and Honda, with Harley 7th (523 units sold, 6% market share) and Indian 15th (64 units sold).

Spain: ANESDOR reports continuing signs of market improvement, with motorcycle registrations for July +16.45% at 23,793 units. The growth means that the market lag has declined to 'just' -18.30% (89,033 units) for the YTD. Like most of Europe, after a good start to the year, registrations in Spain fell off a cliff respectively in March (-46.64%), April (-94.43%) and May (-43.68%). In total PTW terms, Spain was +19.77% in July at 27,254 units and -16.82% YTD at 99,848 units.

UK: Data from the MCIA shows that new motorcycle registrations in the UK were up in July by +41.96% (13,093 units) and have now recovered to "just" -16.73% for the first seven months of the year (54,494 units). Registrations were +13.43% in June (12,520 units), having been -51.86% in May (4,965 units), -83.93% (1,467 units) in April and -22.19% in March (12,484 units). For the YTD, the UK is running at -16.73 (54,494 units). Total PTW registrations were +41.72% in July (13,945 units) and are -16.13% YTD (57,807 units in total).

Suzuki reports a -53.1% drop in corporate consolidated net sales revenue (to 425.2bn yen) for the first quarter (April to June). Operating income was -97.9% and net income
-95.6%. The company produced 189,000 powersports vehicles (3,000 of them were ATVs), which was -56% down, with no production recorded at all for the United States (with no US sales either), 6,000 units in Japan and 170,000 in Asia.

Kawasaki first quarter results (to June 2020) show that its global powersports industry business had sold 67,000 units compared to 110,000 for the year-ago quarter (-39%) for 58.9bn yen (-9.3%; including 8.5bn yen worth of general-purpose gasoline engines). Motorcycle unit sales in developed markets were 29,000, worth some 24.7bn yen, with 25,000 units sold (for 9.1bn yen) in emerging markets. The segment posted a -5.9bn yen loss for the quarter compared to a -2.8bn yen loss in the year-ago quarter. Unsurprisingly, it says of its Motorcycle and Engine division that "the market has been significantly affected due to the impact of COVID-19 in the major markets of Europe, North America and South East Asia."

KTM: PIERER Mobility AG has reported sales of KTM, Husqvarna and GASGAS motorcycles and e-bikes as being 124,682 units for the first six months of the year (down from 135,711 last year). "The motorcycle market developed surprisingly strongly," particularly in the US (+20%) and Australia (+39%), with 4% global growth reported, and additional employees recruited to meet demand.

According to CDK Global Lightspeed U.S., same store retail data for June 2020 published by PSB (from more than 1,600 dealerships of all kinds), June new and pre-owned unit sales sustained the "record setting" momentum seen in May. The worst performing region of the USA was the West, where stores only recorded an average of 44.9% revenue growth in major units.

Drag Specialties

Drag Specialties Additions

OEM Style Fork Tubes

These new 49 mm OEM style fork tubes from Drag Specialties have an exceptionally durable hard chrome finish and offer less drag and improved wear. They accept all OEM components and are sold in pairs. Fitments are available for '14-'16 FLHT/FLHR/FLHX/FLTRX/FLTRU, '14-'18 FLHTCUTG and '15-'18 FLRT models.

Drag Specialties - Predator III Seats for Early Softails

Drag Specialties Seats has expanded the popular Predator III line with seats for '84-'99 FXST/FLST models. These new seats are constructed with high-quality automotive-grade vinyl covers and molded polyurethane foam for maximum comfort and styling. This uniquely styled seat features a 6 1/2" tall driver support and is designed narrower at the front for better leg clearance. The 3/16" thermoformed ABS seat base gives the perfect fit, while the carpeted bottom and rubber bumpers protect your bike's paint. They are available in smooth and double diamond stitch with black, silver or red thread. Includes all mounting hardware.

Alternator Rotor

This Drag Specialties 48 amp alternator rotor for '17-'20 FLHT/FLHR/FLHX/FLTRX/FLTRU models is a direct OEM replacement. It features an encapsulated magnet in a reinforced steel shell.

M-8 Deluxe Bolt Cover

These beautifully designed bolt cover kits from Drag Specialties are for all '17-'20 M-8 models. The Deluxe Kit has been designed to cover the raw OEM bolt heads on the motor/transmission/primary and select chassis bolts. They are made from ABS material and fasten with silicone; sold separately. Available in chrome or black finishes.