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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

American Flat Track

AFT Is Back!

American Flat Track racing is to finally get underway, with a relaunch of its 2020 race schedule featuring doubleheader race weekends and kicking off on July 17 and 18 with the Volusia Half-Mile at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
The revised schedule features 18 races over nine doubleheader weekends and culminates in a two-day finale during Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach.

In addition to NBC Sports coverage on NBCSN and live streaming of all 18 events via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, AFT has worked diligently toward the goal of having fan attendance at all of its venues. This would include the implementation of new health and safety protocols that will help provide a safe environment for fans, competitors and staff, including reduced capacity, staggered seating, mobile ticketing, cashless transactions and enhanced sanitation.

AFT officials continue to collaborate with public health experts to develop this comprehensive plan in accordance with all federal, state and local requirements. All race-day procedures have been thoroughly reviewed and will continue to be examined and updated to follow specific guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local authorities.

The new guidelines and protocols will include:
  • Reduction in ticket availability to conform with state and local guidelines for sporting events
  • Reserved seating areas to include buffer zones to provide ample space between fans
  • Fans entering the venue will be provided with complimentary facial coverings
  • Enhanced sanitation and disinfection protocols with frequent cleaning throughout the facility
  • Enhancements to mobile ticketing and elimination of printed tickets
  • Cashless, contactless transactions for concessions and merchandise
  • Regular medical screening of staff and competitors

As an additional precaution, there will be no public access to the paddock area and AFT officials have suspended Fan Walk, rider autograph sessions and paddock upgrades for the remainder of the season. 
Careful consideration has been given to secure a full 18-round race schedule that is logistically possible for riders, teams and staff, while also providing the opportunity for fan attendance. Following a thorough review of state guidelines and consultation with local officials by AFT’s promoter partners, certain events that were originally scheduled for 2020 have been cancelled. All ticketholders for cancelled events are eligible to receive a full refund or a credit for use at future events.

Updated 2020 American Flat Track Schedule*:
1. July 17 (Fri): Volusia Half-Mile I - Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, FL

2. July 18 (Sat): Volusia Half-Mile II - Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, FL

3. July 31 (Fri): Lima Half-Mile I - Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH

4. August 1 (Sat): Lima Half-Mile II - Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH

5. August 28 (Fri): TBA, Northeast U.S.

6. August 29 (Sat): TBA, Northeast U.S.

7. September 5 (Sat): Springfield Mile I** -
Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL

8. September 6 (Sun): Springfield Mile II -
Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL

9. September 11 (Fri): Williams Grove Half-Mile I -
Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA

10. September 12 (Sat): Williams Grove Half-Mile II -
Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA

11. September 25 (Fri): TBA, TX

12. September 26 (Sat): TBA, TX

13. October 2 (Fri): Atlanta Short Track I - Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA

14. October 3 (Sat): Atlanta Short Track II - Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA

15. October 9 (Fri): TBA, NC

16. October 10 (Sat): TBA, NC

17. October 15 (Thu): AFT Season Finale I - Daytona Beach, FL

18. October 16 (Fri): AFT Season Finale II - Daytona Beach, FL

*As the situation, regulations and protocols regarding COVID-19 progress, dates and venues listed above are subject to change.
**AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys will participate in the Springfield TT on Friday, September 4.

News Briefs

While not being paid for May and June 2020, H-D has announced that in addition to an annual base salary of $2.5m, newly minted permanent CEO Jochen Zeitz will be eligible to receive a $1.5m bonus upon Board approval of his new strategic and financial plans later this year (to be paid in February 2021), stock options that could be worth up to $5m, and a one-time "Cash Award" payable in July 2020 in the gross amount of $1m to cover the overall financial impact of his relocation to the U.S. Starting in 2021, he will additionally be eligible to participate in the Harley-Davidson, Inc. short and long-term incentive plans that could be worth some $7.5m in total. He will also be covered by the company's Executive Severance Plan and under a transition agreement similar to the company's transition agreements with other executives.

New motorcycle registrations Italy for April were -95.85% at just 526 units, having been -69.18% in March (3,855 units). For the YTD (Jan - April) new motorcycle registrations in Italy were -49.41% at 20,055 units - some 15,000 plus of those in a good start to the year in January and February.  In total PTW terms March was -66.08% at 8,520 units and -96.98% in April with 813 new units registered. The top selling motorcycle in Italy YTD is the BMW R 1250 GS Enduro. For the record, the Italian market was again Europe's largest at +6.26% in motorcycle registration terms for 2019 (98,883 units) and +5.65% in total PTW terms at 231,937 units.


Registration has opened for the 2020 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. Slated for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at Lexington, Ohio, July 10-12, it is billed as a five-competition annual celebration of America's motorcycling heritage. Competition classes include hare scrambles, motocross, trials, flat track and road racing, with pit bike and holeshot exhibitions also planned. Class winners in the trials, hare scrambles, motocross and road racing disciplines will receive AMA National No. 1 plates. The flat track race, which takes place on July 11 at the Ashland County Fairgrounds in Ashland, Ohio, is part of the AMA Vintage Flat Track National Championship Series. In addition, two riders will be named AMA Off-Road Vintage Grand Champion and AMA Senior Off-Road Vintage Grand Champion for excelling in their respective expert-level-eligible classes.


Joel and Julie Felty have sold their Monrovia, California based Headwinds Inc. lights business to R. M. Garrison Machining Inc., the Phoenix, Arizona based owner of Accutronix.

MPN reports that Harley-Davidson dealerships ranked highest in the 2020 Pied Piper PSI Internet Lead Effectiveness (ILE) Industry Study, which answers the question, "What happens when motorcycle or UTV customers visit a dealer website and inquire about a vehicle?" Dealerships selling Indian motorcycles were ranked second. The study was completed before the appearance of the coronavirus pandemic, but in the aftermath of the pandemic dealer response to website customers had become even more critical. A recent Wall Street Journal article noted, "The new coronavirus pandemic is deepening a national digital divide, amplifying gains for businesses that cater to customers online, while businesses reliant on more traditional models fight for survival."

The latest new PTW registration numbers from ANESDOR, the motorcycle industry trade association in Spain, continue the predictably depressing impact seen in the second half of March as the market there remained under 'lockdown' for the whole of April. Total new PTW registrations were down by -93.47% in Spain in April at 1,074 units, ), with March -43.66% down (9,128 units). For the year to date, the motorcycle market in Spain is -34.40% (34,038 units sold), compared to 51,885 units sold in the first four months of 2019.

Polaris Industries has signed an "incremental" $300m 364-day unsecured term loan facility, further increasing the company's liquidity position. "During this pandemic-related lockdown of the global economy, we remain committed to prudently managing the company's financial resources for the long term. Execution of this new term loan with our long-standing banking partners provides us with an additional liquidity buffer to navigate these uncertain times," said Mike Speetzen, Polaris' Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

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

Dunlop Motorcycle Tires

Dunlop Dragmax

Buffalo, New York based Dunlop Motorcycle Tires in the United States has created its first ever drag racing tire - the Dunlop Dragmax 190/50-17.
Created for professional and amateur drag racers, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires has created the new Dragmax, which is available in 190/50ZR17 size - "the most popular size for serious drag racers on metric and V-twin motorcycles.
"Dunlop has never focused its considerable engineering experience on building a drag racing tire until now. But the time was right to support the drag racing market due to the higher demands of the Pro Street Bike class, where horsepower and speeds have achieved new levels in recent years.
"Professional and amateur drag racers that are required to run DOT motorcycle tires had few choices. The new Dragmax is a radial tire that utilizes Dunlop’s exclusive N-TEC construction, similar to that of Dunlop’s rear road racing slicks. N-TEC combines the benefits of cut-breaker construction, which increases stiffness, with continuously wound aramid jointless tread construction for maximum feel and stability.
"This design allows racers to run very low pressures, increasing the footprint for maximum traction. The compound is also very soft, the softest street compound Dunlop has ever produced in its Buffalo, New York plant.
"A completely new profile that’s wider and flatter than a typical hypersports tire also helps lay down a bigger footprint. The tire’s construction minimizes centrifugal growth to keep that footprint as consistent as possible, which also reduces the risk of de-beading."


Surviving Covid-19 - The Biltwell Way

Our thanks to Bill Bryant at Temecula, California based Biltwell for this insight into how one accessory company's crew responded to the current crisis…
Back in March, when the state of California issued a stay-at-home order for all residents, Biltwell Inc. acted quickly and decisively. While some companies immediately panicked and cut staff, Biltwell responded by sending all employees home to shelter in place with 30 days pay, in advance, while the situation evolved. 

Assistant Warehouse Manager Christian Dominguez

Those who could work from home quickly set up workstations and the warehouse crew took a couple of days off. With online orders still coming in, company co-founder and Brand Manager Bill Bryant came in alone to handle the daily pick, pack and ship duties.
Assistant Warehouse Manager Christian Dominguez and the relatively new kid, Parker, came in voluntarily and not only worked their shifts but cranked out overtime hours to get the larger dealer and distributor orders out the door.
Soon the rest of the crew was back in full capacity, complying with social distance mandates and exceeding any state guidelines for hygiene and cleanliness protocols. VP of Sales and Purchasing Mike Ellis kept the Sales Department running smoothly from home as the team settled into a new routine of remote work.
Project management tools such as Monday and Basecamp allowed them to keep communications tight and move dealer orders quickly through the system. "Biltwell has long-term relationships with the best distributors in the business. This may be a storm, but it's one we will survive together," says Ellis.

"We used this extra time for all of us to get caught up on deferred housekeeping in all departments," says Bryant. "We've got a great FTP site for dealer assets, and that's more up to date than ever now, and so are the specifications and diagrams on our website.
"As far as product development goes, that team has been full throttle all year, and the Corona didn't slow these guys down at all. Keep an eye out for some exciting stuff in 2021."
Biltwell's dealer portal on the website is 100% operational, and it is processing orders daily and adding new accounts on a regular basis.
In a time of constant doom and gloom news, it's refreshing to hear from a company which, like many, indeed most in the powersports industry, cares about its employees and retail network and is standing up to the challenge and not just survive - but thrive.

Damon Motorcycles

The 'Shape Shifting' Electric Hypersport Pro with 'CoPilot'

Among other motorcycle industry related initiatives at The Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas in January, Vancouver, British Columbia based Damon Motorcycles will unveil what it describes as "an entirely new kind of electric superbike - one that addresses age old problems in motorcycling that have long been ignored, namely rider safety and comfort."

Dom Kwong, Chief Technical Officer of Damon Motorcycles, says that their flagship motorcycle, the 4G connected Hypersport Pro with 'CoPilot', "expands the reach of your senses in 360 degrees, giving you that one extra second you need to react to keep you safe on the road."
'CoPilot' is said to employ "radical innovations in sensor fusion and AI, including radar, cameras and non-visual sensors to track the speed, direction and velocity of up to 64 moving objects around the motorcycle. To keep the rider’s attention forward where it is needed most, 'CoPilot’s' forward collision warnings are delivered with patent-pending haptic vibration in the grips.
"Blind spot alerts are delivered with amber LED lights at the left and right edge of the windscreen. Rear collision threats, which make up 11% of motorcycle accidents, are delivered to the rider with a bright white LED on the windscreen’s edge and are reinforced with high definition visuals on its 6″ LCD display - which doubles as the Hypersport’s instrument cluster."
Unlike collision warning systems found on modern cars, Damon’s CoPilot "intuitively monitors traffic in 360 degrees, forming a bird’s eye view of itself to anticipate the behavior of cars, bicycles and other objects to alert the rider before it’s too late."
To address the issue of comfort, Damon’s next generation motorcycle features 'Shift' - electronically adjustable ergonomics that lets riders adapt to road and traffic conditions while in motion. At the push of a button, Hypersport’s windscreen, seat, footpegs and handlebars move in unison to adjust the rider from a high-speed supersport position to a comfortable sport-touring position, to full upright commuter position for dense city traffic." The company says it’s akin to having two bikes in one.
To reinforce its position in the burgeoning high-performance electric motorcycle market, Damon has announced electric powertrain veteran Derek Dorresteyn to its team to head up operations and powertrain development as its new COO. "Derek had the technical vision and led the engineering and manufacturing teams at Alta Motors from 2008 – 2018. His vision was key to Alta’s podium finishes against ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] motorcycles."
Dorresteyn says that "for electric motorcycles to go mainstream, they have to outperform their ICE counterparts. By marrying all-electric high performance with rider aids like CoPilot and Shift, Damon will redefine the motorcycling experience. He is said to "bring the project extensive knowledge and experience in lithium ion battery design, high voltage systems and inverters, power dense motors and high performance chassis systems."
Alta Motors, Dorresteyn's 10-year electric motorcycle 'alma mater', was the business that Harley-Davidson invested in to finish development of the LiveWire - a project initially developed for Harley by Mission Motorcycles, another failed Bay Area electric motorcycle manufacturer.
The denouement of Alta and Harley's relationship is not thought to have been a happy one with a promising business going to the wall and the (coincidental?) establishment of Harley's Bay Area R&D Center not long after at the end of 2018.

Drag Specialties

Drag Specialties Additions

Brake/Clutch Control Kit

The master cylinder in this new Drag Specialties brake/clutch control kit accepts OEM-style rebuild kits and has clearance for all 1 1/4" handlebars. The kit includes a brake master cylinder assembly and a mechanical clutch control assembly; fits '96-'07 FLHT/FLHR/FLHX models. The matte black finish matches the OEM switch housings.

Predator III Seats for FXR

Drag Specialties Seats has expanded its popular Predator III line with fitments for '82-'94 and '99-'00 FXR models. Constructed with high-quality automotive-grade vinyl covers and molded polyurethane foam for maximum comfort and styling, the unique design features a 6 1/2" tall driver support that gently slopes down to the passenger seat area and is 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 the bike's paint. Available in smooth, double-diamond stitch or classic stitch. The overall length is 29 1/2", with 13 3/4" long by 11" wide front seat and 10 1/2" long by 7" wide rear. It fits with most sissy bars and includes all mounting hardware.

Reusable Air Filter

Drag Specialties has expanded its line of 100% reusable and washable air filters. The durable epoxy-coated wire mesh construction is designed to maximize airflow and provide peak filtration. Filters are pre-oiled for quick, easy installation; high-flow four-layer surgical-grade cotton filtration. Urethane body won't crack or curl like rubber. They are available for '18-'20 FLFBS/FLHCS/FXBRS/FXFBS and '17-'20 CVO Touring (114"). 

Side Hinge Ignition Switches

These side hinge ignition switches are available with a chrome or gloss black finish and include two keys. They are available for '96-'11 FXDWG, '08-'11 FXDC/FXDF, '00-'10 FXST/FLST and '96-'13 FLHR models.

Alternator Stator

This new Drag Specialties precision-built alternator stator is a high-quality and cost-effective replacement that meets or exceeds OEM specifications. It comes with the factory plug ends for easy install and fits '14-'18 XL models.


Gilles Tooling

Gilles - Performance Accessories for FTR 1200/S

As a manufacturer of mostly custom styled V-twin motorcycles, you know you have hit a home run and entered genuine performance territory when the aftermarket street and sport bike performance parts and accessory manufacturers start offering product for your model - especially if the European performance vendors are starting to inventory product options for your bike.
With a slew of exhausts available from American and several European manufacturers, especially the Italian sport bike exhaust specialists, Indian Motorcycle already know they have 'crossed over' with their popular FTR 1200, and hence the launch of the S variant two years ago.

When Luxembourg based MotoGP and WSBK team partner Gilles Tooling settles its crosshairs on the options it can offer for a bike, then the 'cross-over' is complete - high volume street and performance mainstream sales are your destiny!
One of Europe's best respected performance component designers and engineers, Gilles has a slew of parts available for the FTR 1200 and 1200 S (2019 and up), including, but not limited to, adjustable rear sets, adjustable risers and GT oversize low-style handlebars in black or gold, Maximum Performance brake and clutch levers with additionally available handshields and lever protectors, front brake fluid reservoir covers, front and rear axle protectors, anodized ACMA head control nuts (in a choice of colors for rear wheel or swingarm axles), a selection of handlebar weights and much more.

Brake Side Handshield and Clutch Lever Protector

Developed for MOTOGP and WSBK race teams, Gilles' lever protectors are as functional and necessary in traffic as they are on the track. The main part of the protector is CNC-machined from aluminum and hard anodized; the protective bar is made of resistant POM plastic. The material mix achieves optimal values ​​for flexibility and stability at every point of the protector. Thanks to the spacers included in the kit, they can be moved outwards and adapted to longer brake levers. The downward curved design leaves enough space to position the hand at the end of the handle without the protector being obstructed.

Handlebar Clamps

For the FTR 1200 S, these Gilles 2DGT clamps "help to find the perfect position for the handlebar. Movable up to 6 mm higher or lower and up to 7 mm back and forward, these clamps deliver an almost infinite range of safe and secure adjustment options as well as looking great." The kit includes the required speedometer holder for the Indian FTR 1200, which allows it to be adjusted to any angle. These clamps can be used either with the stock handlebar or Gilles' GTO low handlebar.

Maximum Performance Brake Lever 

Described by Gilles as the world's first backlash-free lever design, thanks to double ball bearings "this is an example of when a clear design concept meets an optimal handle length and shape, delivering a solution that is ergonomically sound under all conditions. The double ball bearings, instead of conventional plain bearing bushes, make the foldable MPL superior to other hand levers in terms of precision and responsiveness; the five-click adjustment uses a very precise, durable and smooth-running adjuster." Different colored inserts on the lever ends can be exchanged as desired.

GTO Oversize Low Handlebar 

The Gilles tapered tubular handlebar has a clamp diameter of 28.6 mm, clamping width of 140 mm and is 755 mm wide, 86 mm high and 94 mm back from the stock position when cranked to the rear at a 24-degree angle. High quality anodized in black or gold, it delivers a rigid and elegant improvement to the FTR's ergonomics.

GTO Axle Protectors

Never underestimate the importance of good protectors, especially for the axles. "Our perfectly shaped, proven design is made of milled aluminum and are a quick and simple install; in Europe no TÜV is required."

Maximum Performance Clutch Lever

With the same precision and technical properties as the brake MPL, this matching clutch lever has "an optimal handle length and shape for all purposes and features three clicks of adjustment - the lowest setting being as close as possible to the handlebar steering tube."

Adjustable rearset

The rotatable adjustment mechanism makes for versatile and ergonomic adjustment options for sporty or comfort-oriented footrest positioning (both sides) that caters to riders of different heights and riding style preferences. The precision CNC-machined components in lightweight, high strength aluminum alloy save weight while improving shift and brace feel and precision; the rigid system allows normal or reverse shifting; the kits include carbon heel guards; optional endrests and Enduro Explorer footrests also available. In Europe this footrest system requires foldable pegs for the required TÜV registration for legal use in public traffic. The foldable catches can be purchased individually as accessories.


Lowbrow Customs

Painless Stainless

Brunswick, Ohio based Lowbrow Customs is offering these 1" diameter stainless steel handlebars, available with stock-style dimples for those using stock Harley-Davidson hand controls or smooth for use on any custom motorcycle.

Also available in black, they offer "perfect fit and finish, 100% TIG welded all stainless steel construction and can be left as delivered or polished to a mirror shine."
Also seen here, Lowbrow offers Big Twin and Sportster throttles that "clamp snugly in place without leaving an unsightly gap and deliver up smooth, crisp throttle action." Available in many configurations, including single cable, dual cable, thread-in for early and push-fit for 1996 and later Harley-Davidsons, in choice of tumbled aluminum, black or solid brass.

The Sportster pictured here has a Lowbrow dual cable, push-in throttle housing, Super Four handlebars, Cole Foster grips and an LC Fabrications brake switch pod delete. "That combo makes for a very tidy package, ready to knock out some miles."
All Lowbrow's stainless handlebars and throttles are made in the USA.