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Wednesday 31 January 2018


Harley to close Kansas City, MO assembly plant in “Manufacturing Optimization” response to -11.1% final quarter decline in domestic U.S. retail sales

Harley-Davidson’s response to its hugely disappointing 2017 4Q and full year results is to constrain future manufacturing capacity by closing two factories for a total net job loss of around 500 jobs in what it describes as “Manufacturing Optimization”, and point to “progress in building riders” and expanded product development through increased investment in electric motorcycle technology.

The company’s worldwide retail motorcycle sales were down -6.7 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, with domestic U.S. retail sales down -8.5 percent while international retail sales fared better at down -3.9 percent.
“Our actions to address the current environment through disciplined supply and cost management position us well as we drive to achieve our long-term objectives to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally,” said Matt Levatich, president and chief executive officer, Harley-Davidson, Inc.
“We finished 2017 with over 32,000 more Harley-Davidson riders in the U.S. than one year ago, and we delivered another year of strong cash generation and cash returns to our shareholders.”
Harley’s release went on to say that “as the company executed against its long-term objective to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally, 57 new international dealer points were added in 2017, and U.S. dealers trained more than 62,000 riders through the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy. The company also maintained its number one 601+cc motorcycle market share position in countries including the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia and India for 2017.” When asked, the company was unable to say how many of these new riders had bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as a result of their Rider Academy training.

Harley’s statement went on to say that the company “remains fully committed to investing in product development to inspire new riders through redefining its product in traditional spaces and expanding into new spaces. The company is on target to launch its first electric motorcycle within 18 months. Today, the company announces it will invest more aggressively to lead in the application of electric motorcycle technology to inspire ridership among a new audience.”
Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich: “The decision to consolidate our final assembly plants was made after very careful consideration of our manufacturing footprint and the appropriate capacity given the current business environment”

CEO Matt Levatich added that “the EV motorcycle market is in its infancy today, but we believe premium Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles will help drive excitement and participation in the sport globally. As we expand our EV capabilities and commitment, we get even more excited about the role electric motorcycles will play in growing our business.”
For the record, ACEM, the Brussels based international motorcycle industry trade association for Europe says that (for the 28-member states of the European Union) a mere 4,121 electric motorcycles were registered in the whole of 2017; plus 27,029 electric mopeds (equivalent to 50cc and smaller units) and a further 3,242 electric “quadricycles”.

 "4Q domestic US retail -11.1 percent"
That is in a market of some 360 million consumers of riding age, where development of demand for E-blkes is at least a decade or more ahead of the United States; and in a continent where the concept of Urban Mobility is well understood and widely accepted (even at regulatory level) as a potentially major contributor to environmentally friendly and congestion busting future facing transportation policy.
Following the release of its 4Q and FY 2017 fiscals, Polaris CEO Scott Wine responded to suggestions that Polaris was perhaps falling behind the curve in E-bike terms after having been well ahead of Harley said that, for them, it wasn’t so much a technology issue but one of ROI – suggesting that it was difficult, at this stage, to see a pathway to profits in the sector in the short term.
Harley-Davidson describes its plans to close its Kansas City, MO final assembly plant as a step to “improve” its manufacturing operations and cost structure by “commencing a multi-year manufacturing optimization initiative anchored by the consolidation of its motorcycle assembly plant in Kansas City into its plant in York, PA. The company expects to incur restructuring and other consolidation costs of $170 to $200 million and capital investment of approximately $75 million over the next two years and expects ongoing annual cash savings of $65 to $75 million after 2020.”

 "The EV motorcycle market is in its infancy"

The closure of the Kansas City plant is expected to cost some 800 direct jobs in that area, with some 400 new hires slated for York. The other facility to close is Harley’s New Cast Alloy wheel factory at Adelaide in southern Australia at a cost of a further 100 direct jobs.
Levatich continued, saying “the decision to consolidate our final assembly plants was made after very careful consideration of our manufacturing footprint and the appropriate capacity given the current business environment. Our Kansas City assembly operations will leave a legacy of safety, quality, collaboration and manufacturing leadership.”  
The annual figures concealed a dramatically disappointing final quarter of 2017, one theoretically underpinned by the new M-8 engined Softails becoming available at dealerships.
In the fourth quarter, Harley-Davidson worldwide retail motorcycle sales declined -9.6 percent compared to the prior year. Harley-Davidson domestic U.S. retail motorcycle sales were down -11.1 percent in a market that was down by around half that at -6.5 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Fourth quarter market share was down on 3Q 2017 and 4Q 2016 share at -50.8 percent in the 601+cc segment.
Harley is making much of its management of production numbers and inventory but revealed that “fourth quarter revenue from motorcycles and related products was up versus the prior year behind higher motorcycle shipments, resulting in an increase in operating margin as a percent of revenue compared to the same period in 2016.”
For 2018, Harley-Davidson says it anticipates full-year motorcycle shipments to be approximately 231,000 to 236,000 motorcycles – down by between -2 and -4 percent. In the first quarter of 2018, Harley-Davidson expects to ship approximately 60,000 to 65,000 motorcycles. 
Harley-Davidson says it expects full-year 2018 operating margin as a percent of revenue to be approximately 9.5 to 10.5 percent, including manufacturing optimization costs of $120 to $140 million.
The company anticipates 2018 capital expenditures of $250 million to $270 million which includes approximately $50 million to support manufacturing optimization.
Financial services operating income increased +5.9 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the year ago period.

 "2017 international retail -3.9 percent"
Fourth quarter 2017 diluted EPS decreased to $0.05 from $0.27 in the fourth quarter of 2016. Fourth quarter 2017 net income was $8.3 million on consolidated revenue of $1.23 billion versus net income of $47.2 million on consolidated revenue of $1.11 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Full-year 2017 diluted EPS decreased to $3.02 from $3.83 in 2016. Full-year net income was $521.8 million on consolidated revenue of $5.65 billion versus net income of $692.2 million on consolidated revenue of $6.00 billion a year ago.
Cash and marketable securities were $687.5 million at the end of 2017, compared to $765.5 million at the end of 2016. Harley-Davidson generated $1.01 billion of cash from operating activities in 2017 compared to $1.17 billion in 2016. On a discretionary basis, Harley-Davidson repurchased 8.7 million shares of its common stock at a cost of $456.1 million during 2017. During the fourth quarter of 2017, 169.2 million weighted-average diluted common shares were outstanding. At the end of 2017, 10.6 million shares remained on a board-approved share repurchase authorization.

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Energy One

Energy One teams up with HardDrive

Yorba Linda, California based specialist Energy One Clutches has announced that the company has teamed up with Boise, Idaho based national distributor HardDrive (the V-twin division of Western Power Sports).

“Our clutches are now only 1-2 days away from most domestic US dealers,” says
Energy One president Kent Foltz

“With their six distribution centers across the United States, getting a clutch to the dealer is now only about 1-2 days away for most,” says Energy One president Kent Foltz. “Getting that clutch in hand can get the customer’s bike off the lift quicker and a customer back on the road sooner.”
All clutch kits from Energy One come with friction plates and steel plates (some kits include springs) with a pre-measured stack height for easy installation. All parts proudly made in the U.S.A.


Swiss-Custom is bringing the Rat's Hole award to Europe 

The Swiss-Custom Customizing and Tuning Show, staged at Swiss Moto (Zurich, February 22-25, 2018) has partnered with The Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show in the USA, with one of the “sought-after Rat's Hole Trophies being awarded in Europe for the very first time - with the newly appointed Best-of-Show Bike from the 2017 Sturgis Rally also on display.”
After several years of successful cooperation with the biggest customizing show in the Middle East (Custom Show Emirates), Swiss-Custom says it has “set a further milestone with this new cooperation.
“An award from the Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show is regarded as a veritable Oscar in the customizing scene. For many years now, hundreds of thousands of motorcycle fans have been descending on the two Rat’s Hole shows at Daytona and Sturgis, and with this new cooperation bike builders and customizing fans in Europe will now be able to marvel at customizing art from America too”.

In addition, the overall winner of the Swiss-Custom Bike Show will be given a trip to the Custom Show Emirates 2018 in Abu Dhabi (March 30 - April 1). Visitors can look forward to the European premiere of the unique Sturgis Best of Show bike “Dyslexia”, by Hawke Lawshe of Vintage Technologies in Montana.

Sturgis Best of Show bike “Dyslexia” by Hawke Lawshe of Vintage Technologies


Midwest additions for 2018

The 2018 Midwest Motorcycle Supply catalog has “all the essentials that matter most at a frugal price, plus our own proprietary Ultima products, such as the Ultima engine family that is drag raced by Chariots of Fire Racing and regularly shows up in world class custom bike competitions,” according to the Pevely, Missouri based V-twin parts and accessory specialist.

New in the Ultima engine family for 2018 is a choice of polished or “stunning blackout style” finishes for shovelhead style engine, in addition to regular natural and regular black options.
“Also new is our Ultima line of throttle and idle cables, clutch cables and Twin Cam engine rebuild program; our Ultima 2” late model primary belt drive is available for ’06 and up Dyna and ’07 and up Softail models, and our 2” and 3.35” Ultima belt drives are all available in black.”
Also new from Midwest for 2018 is the ‘Vortex’ wheel line and ‘Manhattan’ and ‘Kool Kat’ aluminum wheels, including 23” and 26” sizes. ‘King Spoke’ wheels are also available in 23” and 26” and in black - along with a new 60-spoke line of all black wheels and new forward controls available polished or black anodized.
The Ultima Motor Works engine family is available in a “multitude of displacements from 100 to 140 cubic inches, with finishes such as diamond cut, black gem, polished and ‘Blackout’.
“All our drivetrain product, such as the Ultima 3.35” and 2” belt drives and transmissions are rugged, long-lasting units available for Evo Softail and Evo and Twin Cam Dynas. Complete drivetrain packages include the Ultima 6 RSD or LSD transmissions, powerful ThunderFire starter motors and ThunderVolt AGM Batteries.”

Blud Lubricants

Blud Lubricants announces Flat Track rider support program

In addition to supporting ATV/UTV, Enduro, MX, and Desert racing, Arizona based Blud Lubricants is also offering Road, Flat Track and Hooligan racers the opportunity to receive “a fresh injection of Blud”!

Blud Lubricants announced that anyone participating in a racing series is eligible to apply for their all new Rider Support and Sponsorship programs (HawgBlud brand for Flat Track/Hooligan and BikerBlud for Road Racing) by submitting a racing resume via their website or by email to Also, distributor enquiries are welcome.
Blud Lubricants are 100 percent synthetic and the company says its oils are “designed for the extreme duty, high temperature, severe stress environments that racing creates for a racer’s machine. We understand how expensive it is to maintain and operate a high-performance racing machine and are delighted to offer a program that can save money and improve performance. It is a win-win for everyone,” said Jefferson Green, CEO at Blud Lubricants.
Founded in 2017, Blud Lubricants is a subsidiary of industrial synthetic lubricant leader American Synthol, Inc., of Medina, Ohio, who have been blending specialty oils since 1983. Blud Lubricants offers “a wide range of synthetic oil and lubricant products designed with our proprietary ‘BLUDLINE’ additive technology for the power sports racing and enthusiast markets.”


The JIMS photo challenge

JIMS is launching a new image and media program and is asking dealers to help. If you have a knack for good pictures, JIMS would like to hear from you.

“We have a new opportunity for our customers - we are looking for good photos to be used as featured images in one or more of our upcoming magazine ads, editorials, or promotional materials. Simply share your photos with us, whether it be riding down the road, at the track, at a show, or in the shop working on your bike with a JIMS tool - we're leaving it up to you.
“The only requirement is simply that your photo must include a JIMS product. If your photo gets chosen we will also send you a JIMS ‘swag’ package”.
You can share your picture any way you like - Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, or good old fashion snail mail. If sharing on Social Media, use the hashtag #MyJIMS. Otherwise email your photos to, or mail it to JIMS at:
555 Dawson Drive, Camarillo, California, 93012.

Zodiac International

Newly available from Zodiac International


Raked Batwing fairing
This new Batwing fairing option from Dutch custom parts specialist Double G Baggers is made from hand-layered fiberglass in precision built moulds. Stretched for use with raked triple trees, it takes the stock inner fairing and comes with a paint-ready white gel coat finish. Available for 1997 to 2013 models using OEM style bracket shields.


‘Atto’ super mini brake & taillight combo
German mini-lights specialist Kellermann’s ‘Atto’ is a combination brake and taillight and a custom marvel - with a 13 mm diameter, the ‘Atto’ is incredibly small, but still spectacularly powerful. It uses Extreme Optical Transparency technology and features a minimalistic M5 x 6.5 mounting stud. Also available as a turn signal with bright or dark amber lens.

Kickstarter kits for Sportsters
This complete kicker kit features all the required hardware, transmission counter shaft, transmission main shaft, kicker arm, kicker pedal and sprocket cover for 2004 to present Sportsters. Check exhaust clearance before installing. Available with raw aluminum or chrome sprocket cover.


Two Brothers Racing 2-into-1 exhausts
Two Brothers Racing 2-into-1 exhaust systems come complete with heat shields and “are designed to deliver maximum torque and feature race-inspired stainless steel headers that shave pounds off the competition to ensure a long lasting, weather-resistant, amazing sounding exhaust.” 

From the engine, the exhaust flows through 1 3/4" stainless tubing, which includes O2 bungs to accommodate both stock and 18 mm sensors. “From here the exhaust steps up to 1 7/8" before dumping into the spring retained collector for increased torque, then into a 4" diameter muffler to deliver an unparalleled sound upon exit.”
TBR Competition-S exhausts feature removable end caps in aluminum or carbon fiber. Generation II exhausts feature classic megaphone style mufflers with a welded-on reverse cone. Both are available for 2004 through 2013 and 2014 and up Sportsters, 1990 through 2017 FXR and Dyna models, 2018 Softails and 2017 and up Touring models with mufflers in choice of raw finish with black end cap or ceramic black coated with black end cap.

Two Brothers Racing moto intake
These stainless steel, tilt forward, high-performance air cleaner kits feature lightweight, durable components and an easy bolt-on installation – “true high-performance parts with an aggressive styling.” Available in raw, polished or black stainless steel for cable throttle equipped 1999 thru 2017 Twin Cam, Dyna, Softail and Touring models, 2007 to present Sportsters and M-8 equipped 2018 Softails and 2017 and up Touring models.


Custom Dynamics

Batwing LED fairing trim and MiniBeast air horns

Youngsville, North Carolina based Custom Dynamics’ LED batwing fairing trim mounts directly to stock batwing fairings using automotive-grade 3M tape.

LED batwing fairing trim mount

They feature white DRL running lights, amber LED turn signals in a sealed housing with smoked lens. The white DRL LEDs are automatically deactivated when the turn signal lamp or hazard warning lamp is activated, and automatically reactivated when the turn signal lamp or hazard warning lamp is deactivated.
Sold in pairs, they are available in chrome or gloss black finish for a plug ‘n play installation.

LED amber/white front turn signal

Also seen here, these LED amber/white front turn signals replace the stock bullet housings with a plug ‘n play low profile turn signal with a built-in DRL. They include all mounting hardware to make these turn signals a direct bolt-on replacement in chrome or gloss black finish.
Finally, Custom Dynamics’ MiniBeast air horns in chrome or gloss black mount in place of the stock horn. MiniBeast 5 and 6 series are made from ABS plastic with heavy gauge metal brackets and plug ‘n play wiring harness for easy 3-wire installation with all electrical systems.

MiniBeast 6 air horn

They feature a super-loud 136db blast from the twin trumpets and fit all Big Twins (but not Sportster or V-Rod models). The MiniBeast 5 measures 5.14” W x 5.5” H x 3” deep (excluding mounting tab); the MiniBeast 6 measures 6.75” diameter x 3.25” deep (also excluding mounting tab). 



Vosselman says TechnoResearch software tools “give independents and dealers the features they need”

Dutch performance specialist Vosselman has “gone deep” with TechnoResearch inventory for the tuning and diagnostics needs of independent V-twin specialists in 2018.
The company will be using the TechnoResearch Centurion Super Pro Plus 2018, a windows software based tool for “professional motorcycle (repair) shops that are looking for more independence,” said Gerrit Vosselman. 

“Centurion Super Pro Plus is the first tool to give independent shops the advanced diagnostic, testing and adjustment features they need. The range provides solutions for Harleys right the way up from the 1995 to 2001 Magneti Marelli EFi bikes, the 1999 to 2006 carburetor and OEM ignition module bikes, to the 2001 to 2018 Delphi EFi units, plus selected Buells, Victory models and Indians.”
Vosselman is also selling the TechnoResearch DirectLink 2018 tuning tool for reprogramming of the ECU calibration on 1999 and up Magneti Marelli and Delphi EFi motorcycles (and ‘08-‘18 Victory models) and the TechnoResearch Maximus for Victory and TechnoResearch Maximus for Harley- Davidson motorcycles – versatile diagnostic and tuning tools for professional and consumer use.
Vosselman Performance is a well-known EU distributor and tuning specialist who has been “working in close cooperation with TechnoResearch for more than 10 years,” says Gerrit.
“Owning and operating our own dynamometer, and our own experience optimizing calibrations for Harley-Davidson EFi systems, make Vosselman Performance a real independent EFi specialist – we know our way around the issues and challenges of tuning a Harley, and we know and understand the features and capabilities of the TechnoResearch product line. We have vast experience using them, and that is why we are happy to support them and recommend them to other independent specialists.
“We don't just ship boxes,” says Gerrit. “Service, support and assistance in the European time zone is our unique selling point.”


Arnott Motorcycle Air Suspension

Arnott Ultimate Ride kits for ‘14-’17 Indian Scout/Sixty

Merritt Island, Florida based Arnott Motorcycle Air Suspension, “the leader in true onboard adjustable air suspension kits for motorcycles,” has released Ultimate Ride height-adjustable air suspension systems for the 2014 to 2017 Indian Scout and Scout Sixty line of motorcycles. 

The Indian motorcycle air suspension systems feature new offerings in Arnott’s completely redesigned line of TruAIR motorcycle air suspension kits available for many popular Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Victory and Yamaha motorcycles.
Available for models with or without ABS, the model-specific kits for Indian Scouts feature two nitrogen-charged FOX shock absorbers, TruAIR technology with a rugged Goodyear multi-ply air spring bladder “to provide the rider with superior control, ride comfort and much greater height adjustability.”
The shocks are paired with a small but powerful compressor, application-specific mounting bracket and air distribution valve block, which includes a muffler to control how fast air is released. Available chrome or black, the system delivers a minimum length of 10.03” and a maximum of 11.91”. 

Arnott kits include everything needed for a “fast and flawless installation,” including a detailed installation manual, fused wiring harness and relay assembly, matching black or chrome handlebar-mounted inflation switch, all necessary tubing, cable ties, fittings, bolt covers and mounting accessories. “Each shock is custom-crafted and rigorously tested in Arnott’s Florida manufacturing facility and backed by Arnott’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.”
Founded in 1989, Arnott holds multiple manufacturing credentials, including ISO 9001:2008 Management System Certification and the TÜV Rheinland Product Safety and Quality Certification. Arnott’s products meet GOST ISO 9001-2011 Certification and the EurAsian Conformity (EAC) Mark for Arnott’s Quality Management System.


Tuesday 23 January 2018

Kustom Tech

Chopper sprocket brake kit

Italian parts specialist Kustom Tech is offering this new range of parts for chopper-style sprocket brake set-ups - installing the caliper on the same side as the chain drive allows for a very clean look.

This sprocket brake kit comes with a billet aluminum 2-piston caliper in polished or black, stainless steel bracket, 51-tooth polished stainless steel sprocket, welding tab and all the necessary hardware.
It fits both the left and right side, either with a 3/4” or 1” wheel axle.


S&S Cycle

‘El Dorado’ - 50 state legal exhaust
for M-8 Touring

S&S Cycle’s new ‘El Dorado’ performance exhaust system is a 50-state legal muffler/header package for ‘17-’18 M-8 powered Touring models that is “ready to hit the streets - even in California!” (CARB EO# K-010-1)

S&S Marketing Director David Zemla says that “the ‘El Dorado’ is a complete system that includes headers and a set of 4.5” MK45 mufflers fitted with the latest in S&S designed, high flow cat technology. Much like the automotive industry years back, high flow catalysts have finally made their way to the V-twin market.

“These are the real deal - they combine clean styling and an authoritative note with increased torque and horsepower, without the performance punishment.”
The ‘El Dorado’ is a bolt on installation that does not require tuning, and available in show quality chrome or black ceramic finish with ‘Tracer’ or ‘Thruster’ exhaust tips.


American Flat Track round-up

AFT Contingency postings near $2 million - and still growing

On the heels of record-breaking contingency postings from Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle (two of the biggest in flat track history), American Flat Track is nearing the $2 million mark in rider contingency, with generous postings from long-time series partners and supporters of the sport: Dunlop Motorcycle Tires, Sunoco, Arai Helmet, S&S Cycle, Husqvarna Motorcycles, American Honda, Yamaha Motor Corp., Kawasaki Motor Corp. – with more coming soon.

Photo Credit: Scott Hunter/American Flat Track
The current dollar availability breakdown looks like this:
  • Harley-Davidson: $562,500
  • Indian Motorcycle: $358,000
  • Kawasaki Motors Corp.: $356,100
  • Yamaha Motor Corp.: $211,500
  • Husqvarna Motorcycles: $88,700
  • S&S Cycle:  $80,500
  • American Honda:  $68,160
  • Dunlop Motorcycle Tires:  $54,000
  • Arai Helmet: $45,800
  • Sunoco: $15,500
  • TOTAL: $1,840,760


S&S Cycle adds to massive Flat Track Contingency program

With 2018 is shaping up to be an “epic” year in the world of flat track racing, with a highly competitive field and the largest contingency program in the history of the sport, S&S Cycle is taking their involvement in the series to another level with the announcement of a “massive contingency program.”

In making the announcement, Marketing Director David Zemla said “2017 was a pretty amazing year for Flat Track and the teams we supported, in 2018 we are adding to our series commitment with a contingency support program and a custom exhaust option.”
Last year S&S high performance exhausts were often seen on the podium, so for 2018 they’ve expanded their efforts to include Kawasaki and Harley powered twins as well as privateer Indian racers (excluding the Indian Motorcycles Wrecking Crew).
Pay-outs down to 10th place are up for grabs, with over $70,000 at stake and another $5,000 for a Championship. For the first time, S&S is also offering a custom exhaust build and dyno tuning session in their Wisconsin facility (by appointment) at no additional cost.
“All S&S systems are lightweight stainless and designed to meet the 105dB sound limit. The results racers have already seen from our exhausts have been outstanding, so we are now opening up the opportunity to leverage our Proven Performance expertise.”


Dixie Speedway to again host AFT Round 2

The red clay of the legendary Dixie Speedway will be flying once again on April 7, 2018, when race number two of American Flat Track’s 2018 season - the Harley-Davidson Atlanta Short Track presented by Hellbender Harley-Davidson - returns for the second year in a row to the three-eighth-mile Woodstock, Georgia venue.

Photo Credit: Andrea Wilson/American Flat Track

After a layoff since 1974, American Flat Track returned to the Atlanta area in 2017 at Dixie Speedway, where Jared Mees led an Indian podium sweep.

Congratulations Jared Mees - 2017 Cycle News Rider of the Year

It doesn’t happen often that Cycle News chooses a dirt track racer as its Rider of the Year, but they have given Jared Mees the nod for 2017.

It has only occurred twice in the last 24 years: Legendary Scotty Parker back in 1996, and the late, great Ricky Graham in 1993, when RG won a dramatic Grand National title on a Johnny Goad-tuned Honda after being written off as a has-been.
Aided and abetted by tuner, Kenny Tolbert (Chris Carr’s longtime tuner), owner of 11 Grand National Championship titles Jared Mees posted a number of firsts in 2017 - he won the very first Daytona TT; won 10 of 18 races; was the first to win on the new Indian, and the first to capture a Championship for them. Mees became one of the few to win a Grand Slam - winning a TT, short track, half mile and mile in one season, and Mees recorded the most podiums in a season - 17 out of 18. 

Daytona TT to be “Bigger, Better, Faster”

A thorough track redesign made possible by utilizing the NASCAR pit road at Daytona International Speedway as part of the racing surface means the 2018 DAYTONA TT race track will be “bigger, better and significantly faster” when American Flat Track launches the 2018 season there on March 15, 2018.

“By extending the track design from the tri-oval and taking over pitlane, seven-time Grand National Champion Chris Carr and his design team gained over 40 feet of width and were able to double the radiuses of the two book-end corners. The result will be faster cornering speeds, more passing opportunities for competitors, and more excitement for fans.

“The higher cornering speeds will obviously result in faster straightaway speeds, which means negotiating the 6-foot-high jump incorporated into the second straightaway will be pivotal to the success of the racers that night. Carr’s redesign of the jump section will make it the largest jump the competitors will face all season long.”

Vance & Hines

Vance & Hines returns to Top Fuel Drag Racing for 2018

Santa Fe Springs, California based Vance & Hines has announced that it is to return to Top Fuel Drag Racing with rider Doug Vancil and tuner Mike Romine to compete in in the Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley category of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

The championship will expand to ten events for the 2018 season with the nitro-burning Harleys kicking off the season at the Winternationals in Pomona, February 8-11.
The new championship class will also mean that the Top Fuel Harleys will run alongside the Pro Stock Bike category at both the Gatornationals and the Harley’s season finale at the US Nationals on Labor Day weekend.
The 2018 team will see Vance & Hines reunite with long-time rider Doug Vancil, with whom the team amassed a dominating six Top Fuel Harley championships. “I can’t wait until we start running! We have a fast bike and with Mike Romine tuning, I think we are really going to be a top runner in the class,” stated Doug.
Mike Romine brings four decades of experience building, racing and winning on nitro Harleys. “I’m very excited to see the Vance & Hines name on the bike,” remarked Mike, “and really looking forward to working with Terry Vance and Doug in the upcoming season.”
“The NHRA has done a great job of developing the Harley class to create a new two-wheeled championship category in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series,” said Vance & Hines founder Terry Vance. “And bringing together two of the biggest names in Top Fuel in Doug and Mike, I couldn’t be more enthused about getting the season started.”

2018 Top Fuel Harley Schedule 

  • Winternationals - Feb 8-11, Pomona, CA
  • Arizona Nationals - Feb 23-25, Phoenix, AZ
  • Gatornationals - Mar 15-18, Gainesville, FL
  • Four-Wide Nationals - Apr 6-8, Las Vegas, NV
  • Spring Nationals - Apr 20-22, Baytown, TX
  • Southern Nationals - May 18-20, Topeka, KS
  • Thunder Valley Nationals - Jun 15-17, Bristol, TN
  • New England Nationals - July 6-8, Epping, NH
  • Northwest Nationals - Aug 3-5, Kent, WA
  • US Nationals - Aug 29 – Sep 3, Indianapolis, IN

BSL Products

BSL “Lentia style” exhausts - new BSL catalog

At the geographical center of Europe, and ground zero for hard-core style, this new catalog from Austrian exhaust manufacturer BSL Products shows the extent of their coverage with styles, applications and fitments for Panheads, early Shovelheads, late Shovelheads and Evolution Big Twins, with characteristic BSL “Lentia” styling. Founders Wolfgang Wakolbinger and Klaus Peinbauer started the company in 1996, selling exhausts from 2000.

In 2001 and 2002 BSL concentrated on the demanding and expensive process of gaining street legal certification for their exhausts - an investment that has paid off as regulatory requirements have tightened in the years since. Their popular ‘Hot Shot Pipes’ made their debut in 2006.
Steel fenders and custom air cleaners were followed in 2008 by the launch of their internationally type-approved Euro 3 Hot Shots and Touring model systems. Now manufacturing in a recently expanded 10,000 sq ft facility, their handmade designs are available in polished, satin, show chrome, black coated and “Outline Surfaces”, with individual end cap options.

MSI Wheels

MSI Wheel Blanks

MSI Wheel Blanks is a new South Gate, California based distributor that claims to provide “the largest selection of wheel blanks for the motorcycle industry.”
“Having offered big wheels for more than ten years, the opportunity to now offer all sizes was too hard to pass up,” stated owner, Ron Loynds of Metalsport wheels.
“Bringing in Lizette Hotinger to help run MSI gives us a fast start. She brings more than 30 years of experience in the motorcycle industry.” Lizette said that she is “excited to be able to offer the complete line of wheel blanks and accessories to the wheel companies. 

“MSI will offer wheel blanks sizes from the 16 x 3.5” to the big one of 32 x 4.0”. In the near future, look for the 34” wheel blank, 3D blanks and hybrid blanks. We will also offer one-off blank short-runs to customer’s specifications. Adding to the wheel blank line, MSI will also offer pulleys, rotors and sprockets. We now feature a floating 18” rotor with new and improved buttons. 

“Making MSI the one-stop shop for your wheel needs, we are adding a wide selection of tires including Vee Rubber and Shinko. Coming soon is a full line of hubs for Harley, Indian and metric brands.”

MV Agusta

Former Harley subsidiary MV Agusta completes acquisition of the share capital held by AMG Mercedes

Varese, Italy based “boutique” motorcycle manufacturer and former Harley-Davidson subsidiary MV Agusta has finally completed the last stage of divesting itself from the 25 percent minority stake in MV Agusta Motor S.p.A owned by German car giant Mercedes AMG.
Giovanni Castiglioni, MV Agusta President: “This transaction with ComSar Invest through a capital increase and the acquisition of the shares previously held by Mercedes represents an important milestone in our recovery plan”

With the closing of the transaction, MV Holding owns 100% of MV Agusta Motor S.p.A., bringing an end to the latest chapter in the storied saga of MV’s survival.
AMG Mercedes paid €30m for its 25 percent stake in 2014; however, in March 2016 it was announced that the company had filed a Chapter 11 process equivalent - AMG was no longer prepared to fund the losses the business was incurring, with a reported 40m euro of debt on its books. 

Unveiled in the summer of 2017, the limited edition Brutale 800 ‘America’ was a homage to the “glory days” of the brand in America with the 1973 MV Agusta 750 S

At that stage the company was also faced with needing to repay a 15m euro loan it took from a consortium of Italian banks in late 2014 to top up its cash flow – having burned through the AMG cash and the $20m dowry Harley-Davidson left it with when the Keith Wandell era response to the 2008 financial crisis saw it return ownership to the prior owners (the Castiglioni family) for the princely sum of $5.00.
At that point Harley wrote off the $108m that then CEO Jim Ziemer had agreed to pay for it (following repeated failures to acquire Ducati) in the summer of 2008, just before the financial crisis hit.
Present Harley CEO Matt Levatich had been despatched from his role heading up Harley Europe to run MV, and is widely regarded as having done an excellent job. Massive investments were made (an estimated $60m) in R&D and retooling, and when MV got itself back on its feet under the Castiglionis (some $69m of bank debt having been cleared as part of Harley’s acquisition) the company’s engineering and production was in its best shape ever. The company was then able to start producing a range of motorcycles whose current iterations are still regarded as being among some of the finest performance motorcycles in the world.
The timing of Harley’s acquisition could not have been worse, but the state Levatich left MV in could not have been better. Tragically the company’s management was over-ambitious, spending way too much on R&D and failing to meet the unrealistic production targets it had set itself.
The new owners are ComSar Invest, an investment fund that is part of Black Ocean Group, owned by Timur Sardarov, a “Russian dynasty key player in the production of oil and gas in Eastern Europe.”
Timur Sardarov is the controlling shareholder of ComSar Invest; New York City based asset manager Black Ocean Group is, in turn, part of the Ocean Group, an investment vehicle founded by entrepreneurs Oliver Ripley and Timur Sardarov in 2005. Ocean has interests in a diverse range of sectors including private aviation, agriculture, real estate, corporate finance, banking, services, technology, media and internet, with offices in New York, London, Geneva and Moscow.