topbanner ad

Thursday 27 September 2018


Harley to Create Advanced R&D Facility at Silicon Valley

Harley-Davidson has announced that it is following the likes of BMW, KTM, Piaggio, Royal Enfield, Hero Corp and other motorcycle manufacturers in creating an advanced technology Research and Design facility.

Future Electrics - “a broader range of light and nimble models, ready to tackle the urban landscape”

In Harley’s case it is to be established just down the road from e-bike manufacturer Alta Motors - Harley’s LiveWire R&D joint venture partner - in Silicon Valley, California, as a satellite of the Willie G. Davidson Product Development Facility that is based at Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. The new facility is expected to open as early as in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Harley says it will initially focus on electric vehicle research and development, including battery, power electronics and e-machine design, development and advanced manufacturing. In the long- term, Harley says it may consider expanding the center’s focus to embrace “an increased range of advanced technologies that uniquely leverage the rich talent in the Silicon Valley” with the aim of “supporting its most comprehensive and competitive line-up of motorcycles across a broad spectrum of price points, power sources and riding styles.”

Matt Levatich, Harley CEO: “This new R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley will help us deliver on our announced plans and demonstrate our commitment to lead the electrification of the sport”

The move is part of Harley’s overdue response to the changes that have been taking place in the global motorcycle industry and its need to act decisively to keep itself competitive as demographics and technology drive an all new direction for the motorcycle industry.
“Recently we shared with the world our accelerated plans to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally,” said Matt Levatich, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson, Inc. “This new R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley will help us deliver on those plans and demonstrate our commitment to lead the electrification of the sport.”
As part of its recently unveiled “More Roads” strategy, Harley has said that it will launch its first electric motorcycle, the much trailed LiveWire, in 2019. The plan is that LiveWire will be “the first in a broad, no-clutch “twist and go” portfolio of electric two-wheelers designed by the company. It will be followed by additional models through 2022 to broaden the portfolio with lighter, smaller and even more accessible product options to inspire new riders with new ways to ride.”

A European style city and campus hopper, ideal for ‘Pay and Go’ rental fleets

Those additional models will likely include models that are broadly in line with the “Future Electrics” concepts that were also unveiled in the “More Roads” strategy document. The “broader range” of electric model concepts seen in “More Roads” included models that are “light, nimble and ready to tackle the urban landscape” and “more accessible product options to inspire new riders with new ways to ride”.
The concepts visualized an Enduro style street/off-road surface-capable cross-over and a European style city and campus hopper that would be ideal for ‘Pay and Go’ rental fleets. It is thought that new models may also include scooters and PedElecs.
The company says it has already begun recruiting “top talent in electrical, mechanical and software engineering with experience in developing and delivering a wide variety of EV systems from design through production.” The facility will initially employ a staff of approximately 25, most of which the company intends to hire from within the Silicon Valley area.
“This is an exciting time in Harley-Davidson’s incredible history, and it’s also an exciting time to join our company and help shape our future,” said Levatich.
In fact, Harley and other manufacturers are treading a path down a trail first blazed by Ducati at around the time that Harley-Davidson tried to buy the Bologna, Italy based manufacturer - before settling for MV Agusta - which Matt Levatich was tasked with turning around, something he did with considerable success before the Wandell era saw MV (and Buell) jettisoned.
The Ducati Research Centre was created in 2006 as the result of cooperation among the Universities of Bologna and Trento, Italy, where a significant team of engineers have been working to develop “innovative solutions in the systems of emission reduction and alternative traction.”
In 2012 Ducati went on to establish the Ducati Energia Group research and development operation, whose activities have included new production and engineering research and new product prototyping.

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

More Bikes, More Craftsmanship, More People, More Fun, More Opportunity for More Sales

With the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building being staged at the Cologne Exhibition Center in Germany (Koelnmesse) at the start of October, the focus here at AMD-Land has, inevitably, been on the final preparations and details to make the experience a memorable one for our competitors.
Doing so was one of the many “hallmarks of difference” that we sought to build into the ‘AMD’ from the start, over a decade ago, as an antidote to the scant regard in which most custom bike competition organizers appeared to hold their competitor community.
With the World Championship it has always been the opposite. The competitors who invest so heavily in being a part of the World Championship are the heroes of process as far as we are concerned, and we always do as much as we can to ensure that their investment in being with us for a week and, in some cases, in travelling many thousands of miles, not just internationally but between continents often, is something that they feel “warm and fuzzy” about making.
It is a matter of great pride, therefore, that this year we will see the reigning World Champion - Suicide Customs - traveling all the way from Japan again to defend the title, and that we are seeing so many, and so many old friends, returning to enjoy everything that the ‘AMD’ and the Hall 10 INTERMOT Customized show-within-show concept has to offer.

 ‘critical mass design and engineering showcase’

In addition to near record numbers of bikes competing this year (certainly the highest number since 2004), and a record number of exhibitors buying a record square footage at INTERMOT ‘Customized’, we will almost certainly see a record visitor attendance too this year as the public days are extended from four to five to incorporate the German National Holiday on 3rd October.
As it is, the attendance previously seen at INTERMOT Customized already makes it the best attended indoor expo style custom show the world has ever seen, with some 150,000 high mileage riders enjoying the custom bikes and meeting the exhibitors.
As this edition of AMD Magazine went to press, it looked like we will be hosting around 95 bikes, being entered by around 65 builders from something like 30 different countries, which of itself is a record as far as we can tell.
The synergy between the bikes and a classic custom expo formula has always been a compelling one, and has always been something of a holy grail for the custom motorcycle industry. The organizers of INTERMOT (Koelnmesse) do a great job of packing as many features as possible into all aspects, including Hall 10, and the ‘AMD’ may be the headline news for custom enthusiasts, but it is far from the only good reason to visit INTERMOT Customized.
However, the overriding mission that we have always had with the World Championship has been to be able to create a forum, a nexus, where the greatest possible number of vendors (motorcycle manufacturers, parts and accessory manufacturers and distributors), dealers (authorized and independent custom shops), builders and, most importantly, potential customers, are able to see the custom riding options in an environment that does it justice, both in visual and attendance terms, and that is what INTERMOT Customized now represents.
It is a design and engineering showcase for the creativity, innovation and craftsmanship that our industry has always offered. Qualities that for too long have been perceived to be on the fringes of the wider motorcycling and PTW (Powered-Two-Wheeler) market, something that has been niche rather than mainstream.
Well, as we head towards the third decade of the 21st century with millions of potential new consumers emerging as savvy consumers who value quality and experience, the opportunity that a project such as the ‘AMD’ and INTERMOT Customized represents, is a concept whose time has clearly come.
It is a project that has the market’s ‘Zeitgeist’ firmly in its cross hairs. At last it is a project that offers the custom motorcycle industry, and those who would like to engage with it, exactly the kind of platform that has always been needed - a convincing and genuinely global international headquarters event.
One for a market that, within a decade of now, will see some 50 percent of all new Harley and Indian motorcycle sales happening outside the USA, and a market where traditional custom brands such as Harley and Indian will only be a part of the story.
A market where, sadly, Boomers like me are (one way or another) no longer fuelling the market’s spend. Instead, the money in the market will be spent by generations of consumers for whom the world without the internet, social media and digital wallet will be as alien as peak Detroit was to the horse and buggy drivers of the nineteenth century.
Most of the generation reading this are witness to societal and commercial changes the like of which have not been seen in their lifetimes before. Sure, there has always been change, there always needs to be, but what we are part way through now is seismic.
The old orthodoxies are no longer valid. The status quo of what and how the custom motorcycle industry has gone about its selling is a footnote in the ever-evolving story.
The new ways of being reached and sold to that characterize the emerging consumer base may look and feel entirely different, but the differences are superficial - the fundamentals remain as valid as they ever have been.
People still want to be enthused and motivated by great ideas and opportunities, and in our own humble little backwater of the bigger picture that is global capitalism, we are seeing those fundamentals re-establish themselves. Those fundamentals may look, taste and smell different, but in our case, they are still motorcycles. People will still want to personalize them, enjoy them and spend money on doing so.
By the time you are reading this, more people will have been doing so by crowding through the aisles of the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building and INTERMOT Customized at Cologne, Germany, than has ever been the case at any indoor custom motorcycle expo anywhere before!

News Briefs

The Irvine, California based Motorcycle Safety Foundation has issued its Motorcycle Operator Manual (MOM) in Chinese (Mandarin) as the organization seeks to promote safety to an expanding segment of the riding audience. MSF’s MOM is used by motor vehicle agencies in 44 U.S. states as a study guide for motorcycle license applicants and has been a part of MSF’s inventory of reference materials on motorcycle operation for the past four decades.

Yuasa Battery Inc. has announced that Scott Ulrich has re-joined the company as a field sales manager, having owned and operated Scott Ulrich’s Motorcycle in Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania.

The New York based non-profit Motorcycle Arts Foundation has launched a website ( and first public initiative - the Custom Revolution motorcycle exhibition, with the Petersen Automotive Museum ( in Los Angeles, CA. Founded by Paul d’OrlĂ©ans, Sasha Tcherevkoff and Corinna Mantlo, the MAF is “dedicated to the preservation and distribution of motorcycle arts” and “aims to highlight and promote the cultural and artistic aspects of motorcycling through film, photography, writing and public works projects.”

Irvine, California based trade association MIC has announced former JD Power executive Dan Lawlor as its new Director, Research & Statistics. Most recently he was a market research manager at the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Challenger Motorcycles of Missouri has unveiled a new brand of V-8 Trikes. Its ‘Spirit’ is based on a 430hp EFi GM LS3 engine with 4-speed automatic transmission and offers 10 cubic feet of storage space, Bluetooth audio, USB ports, 21” front and 17” rear wheels.

Vanderhall Motor Works has announced nine new dealers in North America, taking the Utah based auto-cycle (‘reverse trike’) manufacturer to a 41-strong network with additions including Lynwood, WA., Livermore and Mountain View, CA., Chicago, Orlando and St Pete. in FL., Mahwah, NJ., Provo, UT., and Lebanon, PA. The company has announced its intention to exhibit at AIMExpo this year (Las Vegas, October 11-14).

Polaris has introduced ‘Club Slingshot’ for riders of its three-wheel open top Roadsters (autocycles). The company says that in its first year more than 25,000 new and used Slingshot owners will receive a complimentary one-year membership.

S&S Cycle

S&S Adds Slash Cut Slip-On Option to Grand National M-8 Softail Line-Up

S&S Cycle is the home of “proven performance”, and continues to prove it with their second straight Grand National Championship aboard the Indian FTR750. The performance exhaust that powers these machines to podium wins has also inspired systems for street going bikes and their latest is designed for the new line of HD Softail models.

In addition to full systems, the popular Grand National muffler line now includes slip-ons, and a lower cost slash cut version as well. Shipped with a removable dB reducer baffle, Grand National slip-ons are developed on the same legendary S&S dynos, with the same state of the art performance laboratory data acquisition tools that are used for its race products, with the backup of one of the market’s leading in-house emissions laboratories.

S&S tests its exhausts to ensure that the product dealers sell is compliant, sounds great, and still delivers on the S&S “proven performance” promise of increased power and torque. In the case of Grand National slash cut slip-ons, the company says it is delivering up to 91 hp and 113 ft/lb torque.
They are available in show chrome or ceramic coated black for ‘18-‘19 Street Bob, Low Rider, Softail Slim, Deluxe, Breakout, Fat Boy and Heritage Classic.



OptiMate Solar - a Sturgis Test Case Study

TecMate’s advanced OptiMate brand Solar battery charging tools have been gaining traction in the market place rapidly since their introduction. At this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally the company set up at the Black Hills Harley-Davidson lot at Junction 55 on the I90 just outside Rapid City with Drag Specialties/Parts Unlimited, its exclusive North American distributor.

Though there to help the Drag Specialties sales team promote the OptiMate range, with some sales of the company’s Solar chargers being made - especially to people who had transported their bikes in closed trailers - one classic opportunity to showcase Solar products came with the show bikes that Drag trailers around for use at events within the USA.
These bikes don’t get ridden very often and subsequently their batteries are not always charged well enough to fire the engine up or demonstrate the installed accessories, especially the electronics and lights. 

TecMate CEO/CTO Martin Human takes up the story: “We mounted an OptiMate Solar 20W (TM522-2) and OptiMate Solar 40W (TM523-4) kit to portable A frame displays and put them to work saving, charging and then maintaining those show bike batteries that had become “needy” - making sure the bikes provided continuous service throughout the duration of the Rally.
“The OptiMate Solar line features a smart charger-monitor that provides battery status information around the clock - when it is charging the battery during the day and when the battery is at rest overnight. You can even switch the charger-controller from battery to battery to check battery condition, see which battery needs charging most, before you hook up the solar panel.

“Once hooked up and the panel receives sun, the solar charge light blinks, confirming solar power is being delivered, and one of the three battery status lights indicates charge progress. When night falls, or if the smart charger-monitor senses no solar power is being delivered, it changes into a battery monitor with one of the three charge status blinks, indicating battery status.”
Martin says the 10W TM522-1 kit (12V 0.8A max.) and 20W TM522-2 kit (12V 1.6A max) are “ideal for all powersports vehicles,” but that if you need to rescue a battery faster, the 40W TM523-4 (12V 3.3A) is the charger of choice.
“No one cares about their battery until it’s dead. But that might be more frequent than necessary if the vehicle is stored far from AC power, as was the case at Sturgis. With OptiMate Solar, you don’t have to change your mindset though - just connect and forget, no more battery problems.”


Bobber Garage

Bobber Garage scoops Rats Hole win

Respected Lichtenstein based custom bike builder Reini Servello of Bobber Garage won the Over 1000 cc Radical Class at the Sturgis Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show in August with ‘Monarch’, and secured the ‘Choice Award’ from Count's Kustoms of Las Vegas as the best motorcycle.

First seen winning at the 2018 Swiss Moto Motorcycle, Scooter and Tuning exhibition at Zurich in February, Swiss-Moto and Rat’s Hole have a partnership arrangement that sees their show winner invited to compete at the Rat’s Hole show at Sturgis - this year Servello’s ‘Monarch’ not only won through but took a rare win there for a European builder.
A six-member jury scrutinized chose ‘Monarch’ from a 60-strong field, stating that they were enthusiastic about the very carefully copper-plated and specially engraved Knucklehead engine from 1936, the milled and unique wheel rims and the handmade exhaust system.
The revolutionary painting technique by Marcus Pfeil can illuminate individual color particles from within the scheme at the press of a button.

Memphis Shades

Memphis Fats for 2018 Fat Boy

Rossville, Tennessee based Memphis Shades’ new ‘Memphis Fat’ windshield design for the 2018 Fat Boy features a headlight opening designed specifically for the popular new version of one of Harley’s bestselling Softails.

Available in five heights - 13”, 15”, 17”, 19” and 21” - the windshield straps are polished stainless steel or Night Shades (E-coated black) and two gradient colors - clear, solar, black, nightshades black and dark black smoke (a black tint with 10% visible light transmission).
Mount kits must be purchased separately and seen here is Memphis Shades’ Revolutionary ‘No-Tool’ Trigger-Lock system, designed for use with the company’s popular Fats and Slim windshields. 

The innovative design allows you to quickly and easily remove windshields without the use of any tools. A pair of latches lock the windshield down until the spring loaded “trigger locks” are intentionally disengaged, allowing the rider to remove the windshield.
The hardware is fully adjustable to achieve just the right windshield angle. The model-specific, custom-fit, easy install kits are available polished or black, E-coated in a combination of CNC-machined aluminum plates, stainless steel bolts and aluminum anchors, or black E-coated plates, bolts and anchors.



TTS MasterTune

Steve Cole and his Glendale, Arizona based TTS Power Systems (The Turbo Shop Inc.) is among the best-known V-twin diagnostics and tuning specialists in the industry. Cole’s contribution to the evolution of the market has been central, and his product involvements of considerable importance.

His TTS MasterTune systems for V-twin models “have made calibrating an ECM as efficient, cost effective and as straightforward as possible, “says HardDrive American V-Twin Parts Specialist Gunnar Heinemeyer. “With only two part numbers to stock, dealers can choose from a wide selection of base MAPs, calibrate a custom tuned MAP via test ride, check or clear current or historical trouble codes or print out the horsepower and torque data on Harley models ranging from 2001-2018 - without the requirement of a dyno.”
Dyno shops can take full advantage of the software’s capabilities with features such as MasterTune2-HD, which provides ECM calibration development, toggling between modified MAPs, correct speedo calibration or change primary ratio. ECM calibration adjustments include AFR target, spark advance front and rear, knock control, injector sizing, engine displacement, rev limit, EITMS settings and more.
VTune3-HD calibrates VE tables, Spark tables and EGA correction tables, and also works by combining the current calibration from the DataMaster or FlightRecorder to create a fully custom and optimized calibration.

Additionally, the DataMaster2-HD is a diagnostic and calibration support tool that displays real time engine parameters and records data for playback or tuning. The IAC or camshaft settings can be analyzed, and quarter mile times estimated.
The TTS FlightRecorder will configure the RPM at which to start recording up to 10 hours of data without a computer. After the ride, data can be downloaded into the DataMaster for playback and analysis or used with VTune for automatic tuning.
The site offers direct download for the required TTS software as well as dealer support for common tuning problems, computer related issues, MasterTune manuals and TTS Live Support.
The Single Bike TTS marries to one motorcycle; the  Dual Bike TTS to two; a single to dual upgrade is available for original registered owners.


Custom Chrome Europe

Service and Replace with Custom Chrome

Custom Chrome Europe has always been regarded in Europe as one of the market’s primary ‘go to’ sources for service and repair components. Since its launch in the mid-1990s the Motor Factory brand has always had a reputation for well made, reliable parts and a good price - never the easiest combination to achieve.

These OEM replacement Motor Factory Stators are available for a wide range of applications including 38 amp for ‘99-‘03 Dyna and ‘00 Softail (seen here); unmolded for ‘01-‘06 Softail and ‘04-‘06 Dyna; 40 amp for ‘08-‘17 Dyna and Softail; unmolded 40 amp for the ‘07 Dyas and Softails; 45 and 50 amp for selected touring applications, 32 amp for selected Sportsters and even 17 amp for ‘76-‘80 Big Twins.

Also seen here, this CX30L Heavy Duty AGM (absorbent glass matt) battery fits ’97-’18 Touring models and ’09-‘18 trikes.


V-Twin Manufacturing

Replica 45 Stock Style Rigid Frame

Newly released by V-Twin Manufacturing is this long-awaited replica stock style rigid frame for the popular 1936-1952 WL models.

Though shown ready-primed here, these brazed construction frames are shipped with a raw finish, and the Newburgh, New York based company reminds dealers and customizers to make sure they don’t forget the pre-assembly procedure - before priming and painting this frame will require de-greasing.  
The frame accepts 3 bolt transmission case and the top frame tube has threaded inserts to attach center tank panels. The V-Twin Manufacturing part number is 51-1017 and it replaces OEM 2802-37N.


Wednesday 19 September 2018

S&S Cycle

S&S Cycle is Celebrating its 60th Anniversary in Style - 124 Inches of Style!

September 22nd and 23rd will see the company bringing Flat Track and all sorts of assorted classes of racing to the 19300s horse race track on the S&S family land at Viola, Wisconsin with their “Rumble At The Ranch”.

But with the company’s pedigree in engines (remember the limited edition 50th anniversary special?) they couldn’t let the occasion pass without another special to mark their six decades so, “we’ve always wanted to do a brushed nickel finish, but realized it would be tough to do in quantity, so we’re only building 60 of these and will never make them again, says S&S President Paul Langley. 

Based on the proven V-Series platform with a massive 124” displacement, each Anniversary engine is hand built and serial numbered 1-60 and each includes a matched engine stand with corresponding serialized plaque.
This S&S Cycle 124” engine features their gear drive cam, long stroke crank, Super G carb and electric compression release. Get yours before they are gone, check out the details here: 

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

No More Shark Bait or Foolishness

It’s funny how, just sometimes, one can be bang-on, indeed prescient, without necessarily realizing just how close to an outcome you actually are.  This column was written, indeed this edition was being sent to press, just as Harley’s dealers were gathering in San Diego, California, to bask (at last) in the reflected glory of an OE that, for once, has given them a meaningful long-term plan.
Like many people (not least Harley’s dealers), I am still mulling the contents and implications, strategic and otherwise, of Harley’s ‘More Roads’ announcements rather than being over-focused on the cosmetic details of whatever changes the company is unveiling for 2019 - although I guess one of them might finally be a production prototype LiveWire?
In the context of recent columns such as ‘Meeting its Fiduciary Obligations’ (July), ‘Bring On The Middleweights’ (June), ‘Management of Decline’ (May), ‘Shark Baits I and II’ and ‘Whose the Fool/More Foolishness’ of earlier this spring and last winter, the ‘More Roads’ package appears to have simultaneously kicked several cans into the long grass - at least through to 2022, I’d have thought.
If CEO Matt Levatich is to leave in that time, it will now be on his terms with a comprehensive, appropriate and viable model range, outreach and dealer plan in place.
If the company is to fall foul of corporate raiders of malign intent, the weapons it now has in its locker should enable it to see off unwelcome advances. Indeed, although Harley quite rightly and sensibly is aiming to be self-funding, should it decide to raise capital, it would now be able to do so on its own terms.

‘what, not where it makes’

Harley’s intention to be sustainable in terms of its S&P Dividend performance and other hallmarks of investor return means it should now have secured loyalty and enthusiasm for the future, and make the share buy-backs look a tad saner than they did. It may even have laid the foundation for a stock split at some stage in the next five to ten years. Though the (admittedly remote) chance of the company taking itself back into private ownership again any time soon will now recede - unless Harley seeks out a White Knight to stave off the equally receding risk of a hostile bidder(s).
Above all, the company has built a firewall between it and any continuing long-term decline in its traditional core cruiser market, the inevitable decline in its traditional Boomer customer base, and the brand atrophy that any continued failure to speak to “New Gen” would accelerate.
In giving itself a way ahead it has, quite literally, given future generations of riders a pathway along which to age with the brand (in the way the Boomers and prior generations were able to do), just in time to be a player in the fun to come.
The lightweight and (above all) middleweight battlegrounds will not only see Harley going up against existing competitors who are positioning and, in some cases, already positioned for the war to come (Yamaha, BMW, KTM, Royal Enfield etc), but also against those who are poised to add to what will become a crowded space - Triumph, Norton, BSA, JAWA and, no doubt, other as yet undeclared projects. Who knows, maybe even Ducati might decide to play in the smaller unit space – it has acknowledged a scooter project already.
Harley has also hedged its bets, not only in terms of the future of the wider domestic motorcycle market and the possibility that the E-bike forecasts may at least somewhat play out, but in terms of finally, genuinely, becoming a player on the global stage in a way that it hasn’t been before.
To date, international demand for Harley-Davidsons has been predicated on international enthusiasms for all things American - from memorabilia to culture, from hamburgers to Route 66. In these febrile times, there is no telling what vestiges of that heritage will still be standing when the dust settles, if ever it does, but regardless international consumption of idiosyncratically domestic national iconography a global player does not make.
London’s red buses, black taxi cabs, policemen and guardsman helmets and bear skins are popular the world over, but those do not make the fading star of GB Inc. a global player. They are no more the ingredients that constitute a country or corporation that has solutions for domestic audiences and needs elsewhere any more than slow, heavy, expensive cruisers born of a post war interstate road system that is almost unique in the world.
However, quite apart from producing elsewhere, it is the alternate displacements and platforms that stand to finally see Harley-Davidson emerge, after a mere 115 years, as a genuinely global corporation with bespoke product solutions refined for the specific needs of varying global customer groups. Yet more hurrah!
Where Harley produces its motorcycles is an  entirely economic and price-point issue. Where it makes, is in fact a moot point compared to the tardiness with which it has finally started to address the way more significant and strategic issue of what it makes.
In that context, where it makes its motorcycles takes on an altogether different significance - is open to an altogether different interpretation. If it is okay for BMW, Honda, Yamaha, Toyota and other global corporations to make domestic U.S. product in the country the products are designed and destined for, which of course it is, then it is entirely sensible for Harley to make motorcycles destined for the traffic of Asian cities.
Quite apart from the crippling effect that domestic U.S. labor rates and corporate overheads would have on price-points in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere (both of which are issues that are way more damaging to international competitiveness than tariffs), competing on the global stage and repatriating profits is at the heart of American capitalism as we have known it, and at the heart of the dividends and yields that drive American pensions, economic and tax-take growth, bond yields and capital generation.
Harley has shown prudence, wisdom, determination, confidence and market smarts, but above all bravery to announce where its “Roads” are going to lead.

Fast Bike Industries

FBI Is Official North American Distributor For Nitron Racing Suspension Systems

Hendersonville, North Carolina based Fast Bike Industries, LLC (FBI) has announced its appointment as the official North American distributor for the leading edge, British made suspension range from Nitron Racing Systems.
David Behrend, owner of FBI says that “the addition of Nitron is in keeping with our mission to distribute the best brands and products to dealers and their riders - those seeking high-performance high-quality aftermarket motorcycle suspension with a genuine race pedigree.”

Although best known for sports bike shock absorbers and front-end cartridge kits, Nitron also offers a range of feature variant Harley aftermarket and custom V-twin suspension products at a selection of price points - all of which are manufactured at its state-of-the-art facility in the UK. 

Nitron Racing Systems founder Guy Evans (left) and David Behrend, who founded Fast Bike Industries in 2009

“We are in business to provide the best available aftermarket suspension upgrades to our vast dealer network and customer base. With Nitron officially onboard, we are continuing our commitment to serve our dealers and many motorcycle segments at the highest possible levels of performance, quality, technology, durability and support. 
“Nitron has an extensive product line and we are excited to be able to offer high-performance shocks and fork cartridge components covering road, track, custom and adventure model motorcycles.”
Nitron has been at the forefront of motorsport suspension technology since 1998.  Founder Guy Evans has been preparing for the North American market for years and felt that Fast Bike Industries was the right partner to help that expansion.

Nitron started out making shock absorbers for cars in 1997, but these days its motorcycle product line accounts for more than 35 percent of sales, and Guy Evans sees the motorcycle aftermarket as where Nitron’s best prospects for further growth lays

“I have personally known David Behrend for several years, and we are working closely with his team to ensure we are delivering the right product at the right price with uncompromising quality,” said Evans. 
“Nitron has been preparing for the North American market for years and are duly committed to an aggressive expansion, so it is with real excitement that we announce Fast Bike Industries as our importer and future partner for this extremely important market.  The timing is perfect for both businesses.”

News Briefs

One of the big factors driving the evolution of transport policy and technology is the ongoing trend to urbanization. Urban population is set to rise to 4.7 billion by 2030, an estimated 63% of global population; an increase of +34% since 2010, an extra 1.6 billion city dwellers (and estimated to rise to 73% by 2050). This is the context in which H-D and other manufacturers have to plan the dealer networks of the future.

As at the end of July, AIMExpo (Las Vegas, October 11-14) said that this year’s exhibitor line-up already featured more than 100 businesses new to the event. There will be over 400,000 sq ft of “exclusive business, education and networking opportunities.” Confirmed V-twin sector exhibitors include Harley-Davidson, Indian Motorcycle, Drag Specialties, Tucker, V-Twin, AirFX/Hawg Halters, Andrews, Barnett, National Cycle, Avon Tyres, Sport Chrome and more.

The free trade deal signed between the EU and Japan is good news for the EU motorcycle industry. The WTO standard rate 6% import tariff on Japanese made units will go away. Less good news for the UK though. Once outside the EU, British bikers will still be paying the tariff. Worse, one of the primary incentives for Japanese auto makers (Honda, Nissan and Toyota) to produce in the UK will also have disappeared.

Having acquired it in 2006, MAG has sold UK based handlebar and sprocket specialist Renthal back to founder Henry Rosenthal. Following the sale of MAG Europe to Dutch based international distributor Motorcycle Storehouse earlier this year, this represents sale of the last of MAG’s holdings outside the U.S.

The NICB reports that U.S. motorcycle thefts decreased in 2017 by -5% (44,268 motorcycles reported stolen); this follows increases against trend in 2015 and 2016. The top three states for theft were California, Florida and Texas; the top three cities were New York, San Diego and Los Angeles. The three most stolen brands were Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki (Harley the fourth). July and August were peak months.

Skip Eaken (who died in 2012) joins Terry Cunningham, Gary Davis, Nicky Hayden, Clifford “Corky” Keener and Mary McGee as an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee for 2018. A motorcycle racing tuner from Lodi, Ohio, he began building competitive and reliable flat track racers in the 1970s. He notched his first Grand National victory in 1983 with Ted Boody riding an Eaken-prepped H-D. He is best known as the mechanic who worked on Hall of Famer Bubba Shobert’s factory Honda motorcycles in the 1980s.

Valerie Thompson, the world’s fastest female motorcycle racer, was among those inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame at this year’s 78th annual Rally, alongside Jeff Decker, Jack Hoel, Armondo “Mondo” Porras, Marilyn Stemp and Hamsters USA. Thompson set a new land speed record of 328.467 mph (528.616 km/h) during the DRLA Speed Week competition at Lake Gairdner, Australia, earlier this year - surviving a huge 363 mph crash during the World Speed Trials.

Vanson Leathers has opened a riding gear studio at the Fillipachi Action Sports Store in Soho, NYC, where it will offer custom riding leathers fitting in addition to its respected ‘off-the-peg’ program.


HardDrive Exclusives

Racing Bros - Monotube Air Shocks

Available exclusively from Boise, Idaho based distributor HardDrive, these new Racing Bros monotube air shocks deliver unlimited spring rate adjustments and 24 rebound adjustments without having to decide on ‘Standard’ or ‘Heavy Duty’. “Riders can now have the best of both worlds and get the ultimate ride when cruising solo or loading up for a trip.” With an air pump included for adjustments they are available for FLT, FXD & XL models with heights ranging from 12”-14” (depending on model).

Aquatic AV - Sirius XM Bluetooth Stereo  

Another HardDrive exclusive, this plug-n-play, Bluetooth SiriusXM ready stereo by Aquatic SV is a waterproof stock replacement with built-in 288 W amplifier. A compartment behind the faceplate allows storage and charging of your device via USB, while in use. The stock hand controls can be used, or the rotary knob on the removable face plate. A dummy faceplate/dust cover is included.

Sawacki Speed Shop - M-8 Softail 2:1 Exhaus

This U.S. made stainless-steel Sawicki 2:1 performance exhaust has a “deadly look with a killer sound.” The mandrel bent, aircraft quality stainless steel tubing has hand formed merge collectors, hand TIG welded stepped headers and a sleek upswept muffler for enhanced ground clearance.  Available in a brushed stainless finish or black ceramic coated with a black billet end cap.

Torch Industries - Bagger Bars

Manufactured in-house at its Phoenix, Arizona facility these 1.5” steel tube bars are precision cut and hand deburred at every corner to assure a smooth travel path for internal wiring; a CNC machined step down at the grips gives a seamless flow from the bar to the controls - the two parts are then fully TIG welded together.  HardDrive says that a key feature of the Torch Industries’ design is the CNC machined base that has a heavy, straight knurling to provide the most grip possible. Available in multiple styles in chrome or gloss black for the FLHT and FLTR models.

Pathfinder - 7” LED Partial Halo

Using “better optics and LED chips to power the light,” Pathfinder says its LED partial halo produces a “close to H.I.D like performance.” The projector design is said to intensify and project the light source further and wider down the road at night, while the illuminating HALO lets the rider be seen during the day.  Assembly is a direct bolt in to all 7” headlights (adapter ring or harness may be required based on model/year). Made of die-cast aluminum with an impact resistant polycarbonate lens with a color temp of 6000K.

FloMoto - Adjustable Shift and Brake Arms 

“With the Flo Moto and BMX style foot pegs taking the Harley market by storm, Flo Motorsports has raised the bar with its adjustable shift and brake arms for FXD, FXR and XL models.” Machined from 7075 T6 aluminum for extreme durability, high strength and light weight, “they give the rider a three-position adjustment for optimal reach of the peg.” Arms come with a Flo Moto toe peg, in a classic black finish.

Dragonfly Cycle Concepts - Detachable Fairing  

This new ‘2014 Style’ detachable tairing from Anaheim, California based Dragonfly “gives any year Harley-Davidson Free Wheeler or Road King the look of a 2014 and newer Street Glide.” Made from injection-molded LPRTM composite parts, it has stainless steel mounting brackets formed and bolted inside the fairing from top to bottom, providing “unmatched strength with no vibration.” The detachable fairing ships fully assembled with inner/outer shell in black gel-coat finish (this fairing is designed to be painted) and a 6” tinted windshield. Assembly includes stainless steel brackets, 12 V accessory port, two speaker grills and mounting hardware. The fairing will accept 6” x 9” speakers and single DIN stereo (separately available).



Original Bullet 1000 - now with Dark Lens

Aachen, Germany based ‘Bullet Light’ inventor and LED lights specialist Kellermann is now offering its famous Bullet 1000 indicator in a version with tinted glass.
The distinctive Bullet 1000 indicator has had a big impact on custom styling down the years, and adding a touch of “dark side” gives dealers another option for their customers’ rides.

Backed by a three-year warranty, the complete electronics of the Bullet 1000 Dark housed inside the high-quality metal casing (“beware cheap plastic knock-offs,” warns designer Guido Kellermann) and it can be plugged into the 12 volt DC net directly.

Featuring a “unique and homogeneous light ring”, HPT (Homogenous Projection Technology), Kellermann’s HighPower LED Technology, Longlife Protection Guard and it is IC operated at 330 kHz.


Twin Power

Twin Power Rivera Primo Belt Drive and Pro Clutch Replacement Clutch Kits

Twin Power has introduced new replacement clutch kits for popular Rivera-Primo belt drives and pro clutches. 

These are high performance clutch kits made in USA for Twin Power with a race proven friction material with a pre-measured stack height. The kits include fiber and steel plates and are said to restore like-new performance.
Also seen here, Twin Power 20W50 Premium and Full Synthetic engine oil drums are U.S. made and specially formulated for American V-twins and meet or exceeds all O.E.M. specifications.
Twin Power Premium Engine Oil is specially formulated to protect engines operating under extreme conditions. It has a special additive package that extends engine life and boosts performance by allowing the engine to run cooler. 

Twin Power Full Synthetic oil contains superior base stocks for higher film strength, better low-temperature performance, superior wear protection and exceptional performance over a wider range of temperatures, protecting against corrosion, sludge and varnish build-up. It meets or exceeds all manufacturer's warranty criteria (and API SL and JASO MA2 certification requirements) and will not void the new vehicle warranty.



Zodiac additions

Revox XL Chopped Fender Lights

Available for Sportster and M-8 Fat Bob models, these center-mount bright, LED running and brake lights glow red as soon as you switch the ignition on and intensify as soon as you hit the brakes. The contoured shape exactly follows the curve of the chopped rear fender as found on XL883N Iron, XL1200N Nightster, XL1200V Seventy-Two, XL1200X Forty-Eight and the 2018 Softail Fat Bob as well as other models equipped with the OEM accessory chopped rear fender kit. Durable ABS construction with choice of red lens, clear and red LEDs, or smoke lens and red LEDs; they are a 3M adhesive tape easy install and ship with all required wiring connectors.

Kerker Bootleggers for Dyna 

These stainless steel 2-into-1s with stepped headers provide “maximum torque and performance.” The end cap can be positioned as turn out or turn down and can also be equipped with Kerker SE series end caps. They fit ’06 -‘17 Dyna models.

Bobber ‘Cult’ XL Solo Seats

These black powder coat steel base solo seats for ’04-up Sportsters have a leather embossed cover over polyurethane foam. Available in brown or black, with fixed or spring mount.

Ciro Windshield Trim

These Ciro windshield trims are a “a clean and classy piece” according to Zodiac, “designed to work with the lines” of ’14-up Electra Glide, Street Glide and Tri-Glide models, “smoothing out the front end of the bike. They are specially designed to flow with the natural accent lines of the fairing.” Available in chrome or black with or without ribbon lighting.

Mini Rear Brake Master Cylinder

Sleek design billet aluminum 14 mm custom rear brake master cylinder; available chrome or black.

Kellermann BL1000 ‘Twin Eyes’ Handlebar Tip Turn Signals

The German made Kellermann BL 1000 Dark “brings light into darkness and sets new standards in motorcycle design, appearing like a seamless extension of the handlebar.” The latest high performance LEDs and special control technology make for a spectacularly bright indicator signal - additionally combining indicating function with handlebar vibration damping. Available black with stealth style dark lens and amber LEDs for turn signal function.