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Wednesday 31 October 2018

Indian Motorcycle

Indian Formally Unveils FTR 1200/S at INTERMOT 

Indian Motorcycle unveiled its new FTR 1200 and FTR 1200 S at INTERMOT, Cologne, Germany, October 1st, stating that “the FTR platform proudly breaks new ground and answers the call of enthusiasts around the world anxiously awaiting its debut.”

Described as being inspired by Indian Motorcycle’s “storied history and success in flat track racing,” they take design and styling cues from the championship-winning FTR750 race bike that has dominated American Flat Track since it was introduced in 2016. It also takes styling inspiration from the FTR1200 Custom, unveiled a year ago as an exploration of what a flat track-inspired street bike could be. 
“Our vision from the beginning was to be more than a traditional American V-twin brand. We continually seek to broaden Indian Motorcycle’s reach to a wider range of riders, and FTR 1200 represents a significant step forward in that strategy,” said Steve Menneto, President, Indian Motorcycle. “Indian Motorcycle was founded on performance and innovation, and we remain grounded by our founder’s mindset of constantly pushing forward. In light of that history, the FTR 1200 is a natural extension for the brand that we couldn’t be more excited about.”
Featuring a new 1203cc V-twin engine with approximately 120 horsepower and 85 ft-lbs of torque that is housed in a trellis frame with a sporty riding position, both models feature an inverted front suspension with radially mounted dual Brembo brakes for exceptional control and stopping power. The fuel tank is strategically located under the seat for a lower center of gravity and more centralized weight distribution.
Similar to the FTR750 race bike, the airbox is positioned directly above the engine to optimize airflow and maximize power. Both models feature a similar rear suspension and swingarm design as the FTR750, newly-developed Dunlop street tires with flat track-inspired tread, a chain final drive, and ProTaper flat tracker aluminum handlebars.
Adding to the design is a host of premium features and ride-enhancing technologies, such as fully adjustable front and rear piggy-back suspension with preload, compression and rebound adjustments; 4.3-inch customizable Ride Command LCD touch screen with Bluetooth for easy mobile device pairing; lean-angle sensitive stability control; ABS; traction control; wheelie mitigation control and three Ride Modes (Sport, Standard, Rain) with unique throttle response and traction control intervention levels.
A flat torque curve is described as ensuring a “predictable power delivery with loads of low-end punch and flexibility.” The engine features a 12.5:1 compression ratio, high flow cylinder heads and dual throttle bodies for optimal airflow and power.  Additionally, the engine makes wide use of magnesium to reduce weight and utilizes a low-inertia crankshaft that allows the engine to rev to its redline.

Polaris Industries

Polaris Q3 - Indian Motorcycle Unit Sales and Market Share Up; Overall Sales +12% at $1,651 Million

Polaris Industries has reported motorcycle segment sales, including PG&A, of $155 million for the third quarter of 2018, which is flat compared to the third quarter of 2017, but with gross profit up at $20 million compared to $10 million in the third quarter of 2017.
Adjusted for the Victory wind-down costs recorded in both the 2018 and 2017 third quarters, motorcycle gross profit was $21 million in the 2018 third quarter compared to $18 million for the 2017 third quarter.

North American consumer retail sales for the Polaris motorcycle segment, including both Indian Motorcycle and Slingshot, decreased high-single digits during the 2018 third quarter. Indian Motorcycle retail sales increased low-single digits, in spite of an overall weak North American motorcycle market.
Slingshot's retail sales were down during the quarter. Motorcycle industry retail sales, 900 cc and above, were down low-teens percent in the 2018 third quarter, meaning that Indian Motorcycle gained market share for the 2018 third quarter on a year-over-year basis.
Scott Wine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Polaris Industries Inc., said that “the dedication and strong execution of our Polaris team continued to drive broad based growth across the business in the third quarter.
“Our model year '19 product news was well received, and our improving manufacturing and logistics performance accelerated the successful roll-out of RFM (Retail Flow Management) for side-by-sides.
“International growth again outpaced North America, with Indian market share gains continuing in every market we serve.
“We were also pleased with the early performance of Boat Holdings, the largest manufacturer of pontoon boats in the U.S., that we welcomed to our growing Powersports portfolio earlier in the quarter.
“Our commitment to customers and investments in the U.S. remain strong as we broke ground on a new multi-product PG&A and aftermarket distribution center in Nevada. We are strategically and tactically committed to being a customer-centric, highly efficient growth company, and our investments demonstrate that commitment.
“Our goals do not eliminate or even diminish the serious challenges we face from tariffs, but they certainly increase our resolve to find acceptable solutions or offsets. We are making too much progress with our supply chain, safety and quality and innovation initiatives to have the benefits wiped out by protracted trade negotiations.
“The challenge is real, and so are our efforts to overcome them. We remain well positioned with a world-class team and product line-up and are confident in our ability to deliver strong financial and operational performance in the quarter and years ahead.”
Corporately, third quarter 2018 sales were reported at $1,651 million, up +12 percent from $1,479 million for the third quarter of 2017. The Boat Holdings, LLC acquisition added $134 million of sales in the third quarter.
Gross profit increased +10 percent to $401 million for the third quarter of 2018 from $364 million in the third quarter of 2017. Reported gross profit margin was 24.3 percent of sales for the third quarter of 2018 compared to 24.6 percent of sales for the third quarter of 2017. Gross profit for the third quarter of 2018 includes the negative impact of $8 million of Victory Motorcycles wind-down costs, acquisition-related costs for the acquisition of Boat Holdings and realignment and restructuring costs. Gross profit margins on an adjusted basis were down slightly primarily due to mix and the impact of tariff, commodity and freight cost pressures during the quarter, partially offset by lower warranty and promotional costs.
The company reported third quarter 2018 net income of $96 million, or $1.50 per diluted share, compared with net income of $82 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, for the 2017 third quarter.
Operating expenses increased seven percent for the third quarter of 2018 to $284 million, or 17.2 percent of sales, from $265 million, or 17.9 percent of sales, in the same period in 2017. Operating expenses in dollars increased primarily due to the Boat Holdings acquisition completed during the quarter and investments in strategic projects. Operating expenses as a percentage of sales improved as the company realized efficiencies through its selling, marketing and general and administrative spend along with the addition of Boat Holdings, which inherently has a lower operating expense to sales ratio.
Income from financial services was $21 million for the third quarter of 2018, up +18 percent compared with $18 million for the third quarter of 2017. The increase is attributable to higher retail demand and penetration rates along with increased income from Polaris Acceptance as dealer inventories were at more appropriate levels to meet demand.
Off-Road Vehicle (“ORV”) and Snowmobile segment sales, including PG&A, totaled $1,036 million for the third quarter of 2018, up three percent over $1,007 million for the third quarter of 2017, driven by growth across most categories. PG&A sales for ORV and Snowmobiles combined increased +12 percent in the 2018 third quarter compared to the third quarter last year. Gross profit decreased two percent to $291 million in the third quarter of 2018, compared to $297 million in the third quarter of 2017.
ORV wholegood sales for the third quarter of 2018 increased +12 percent, primarily driven by strong RANGER and ATV shipments. Polaris North American ORV retail sales increased low-single digits percent for the quarter, with side-by-side vehicles up low-single digits percent and ATV vehicles down low-single digits percent. ATVs again gained market share during the quarter. The company experienced a modest amount of market share loss for side-by-sides due to a very difficult comparable in the third quarter of 2017. The North American ORV industry was up low-single digits percent compared to the third quarter last year.
Snowmobile wholegood sales in the third quarter of 2018 were $69 million compared to $144 million in the third quarter last year. Snowmobile sales are expected to be more heavily weighted towards the fourth quarter of 2018 due to the timing of shipments for the company's pre-season snowmobile orders.
Global Adjacent Markets segment sales, including PG&A, increased five percent to $96 million in the 2018 third quarter compared to $92 million in the 2017 third quarter. Reported gross profit increased +51 percent to $24 million in the third quarter of 2018, compared to $16 million in the third quarter of 2017.
Aftermarket segment sales increased two percent to $230 million in the 2018 third quarter compared to $225 million in the 2017 third quarter, driven by the company's powersports aftermarket brands. Gross profit increased to $66 million in the third quarter of 2018, compared to $63 million in the third quarter of 2017.
Boats segment sales, which consist of the Boat Holdings acquisition that closed July 2, 2018, were $134 million in the 2018 third quarter, slightly better than expectations. Reported gross profit was $20 million or 15.1 percent of sales in the third quarter of 2018.
Parts, Garments and Accessories (“PG&A”) sales increased eight percent for the 2018 third quarter, primarily driven by growth in ORV.
International sales to customers outside of North America, including PG&A, totaled $172 million for the third quarter of 2018, up +10 percent from the same period in 2017. Foreign exchange movements reduced sales by three percent for the quarter. The increase was driven by strong sales in snowmobiles and motorcycles.
Total debt at September 30, 2018, including capital lease obligations and notes payable, was $1,864 million. The company’s debt-to-total capital ratio was 67 percent at September 30, 2018 compared to 51 percent at September 30, 2017. Cash and cash equivalents were $183 million at September 30, 2018, up from $132 million at September 30, 2017.
During the third quarter of 2018, the company repurchased 507,000 shares of its common stock for $55 million. Year-to-date through September 30, 2018, the company has repurchased 2,069,000 shares of its common stock for $247 million.
The company is maintaining its adjusted sales and earnings guidance for the full year 2018 and its current sales and earnings per share guidance ranges, given the fluid nature of tariffs and the potential impact of trade negotiations and a more difficult motorcycle environment, which is impacting growth and profitability for that segment. The full year earnings guidance includes approximately $40 million of tariff cost increases before counter-measures, as the company understands them today.


Tucker Releases 2018 Holiday Gift Guide


It’s that time of the year to ramp up for the holiday selling season, and Tucker has created a 2018 Holiday Gift Guide to help enthusiasts with their powersports holiday gift ideas. Comprised of 100 pages of Tucker brands and products, from apparel to tools to hard parts, the Tucker Holiday Gift Guide is available now to Tucker dealers in print or digital flipbook formats. “The 2018 Tucker Holiday Gift Guide includes hundreds of ideas for the person on your naughty or nice holiday gift list”!

News Briefs

BMW unveiled its first autonomous motorcycle technology demonstrator at its Miramas testing ground Techday in southern France. Developed by a team led by graduate engineer Stefan Hans, a R 1200 GS was shown to be able to independently drive off, accelerate, circle a winding test track and independently slow down safely to a stop.

BMW continues to run the Harley playbook - its new “Rent A Ride” program is a dealership based short-term rental service that operates via a website with smartphone capability, enabling customers to select the model of their choice and check availability at all participating Rent A Ride partner dealerships in real time.

Fiat Chrysler has confirmed reports that it is offloading its high-tech parts division Magneti Marelli. Japanese car parts maker Calsonic Kansei, owned by private equity giant KKR, will buy the unit for $7.1bn, creating the world's seventh largest independent components supplier. Last year KKR was reported to be one of the bidders offering to buy Ducati from Volkswagen Audi.

The Custom motorcycle market in Germany (“Choppers” - as defined by the German motorcycle industry trade association) was worth 10.66 percent of the total 92,402 unit motorcycle market for the first eight months of 2018 at 9,849 units; a +21.29 percent increase for the sector over the same period in 2017. The data includes Harley, Indian and other large and low volume manufacturer models, as well as one-off build registrations.

Harley had a 10.18% market share in Germany through August with 9,405 units sold for a 22.68% improvement in share over the first eight months of 2017. BMW is market leader, followed by Kawasaki, Honda, KTM and Yamaha, but Harley finds itself above the likes of Suzuki, Ducati and Triumph. Its top-seller YTD had been the Street Bob with 739 units sold, making it the 29th most popular motorcycle in Germany; followed by the Fat Bob 114, XL 1200X, Breakout 114 and Sports Glide.

Mid-Ohio H-D, Springfield, Ohio, has been purchased by Jim and Lynn Loomis, who also own dealerships in Napoleon, Plain City and Piqua, Ohio. The name will change to Revved Up H-D. The new owners started their first dealership in Napoleon in 2011. They purchased the Piqua location in 2015 and the Plain City dealership in 2017.

Harley is in fifth place in market share terms in Switzerland for the first eight months of 2018 with 2,277 units sold - ahead of KTM, Triumph, Ducati and Suzuki, among others. Yamaha is market leader, with BMW second, followed by Honda and Kawasaki. Their top sellers are the Breakout and the XL 1200 X Forty Eight.

S&S Cycle

S&S Winter Power Package Returns

“Big Power, Big Savings, Limited Time!” That’s what S&S Cycle is saying about the return of its popular Winter Power Package, adding that it is “the ideal combination of performance and savings, designed to transform your M-8 or Twin Cam H-D without breaking the bank.”

For the latest generation Harleys, S&S is packaging its brand new 124” bolt-in big bore kit with a 550 cam, cam plate and high flow oil pump, as well as valve springs, lifters and pushrods.
The Twin Cam kits get a similar combination of performance parts with a 585 cam and a bump to 100 for the early and 110 cubic inches for the late TC models. All kits are available with gear or chain drive cams and designed to make “big, reliable power with equally big savings” at winter only pricing.
These complete Big Bore and Cam Chest in a single kit offers run from October 1st through January 31st, 2019.

Ultima Motorcycle Products

EFI Ultima Comp Series Engines

Pevely, Missouri based Ultima Motorcycle Products is now offering all its 113” and 127” Competition Series Engines for EFI. These are the same specifications as their normally aspirated Competition Series engines but now with the capability to use Delphi style EFI set-ups. They are available in polished, natural, black and total blackout finish.

The company says that the heads are machined to fit OEM stock width manifolds. The front head has the port machined for stock style temperature sensors and the case and crank have been machined to accept stock Delphi style crank position sensors.

The heads are machined to fit OEM stock width manifolds

The front head has the port machined for stock style temperature sensors

The case and crank have been machined to accept stock Delphi style crank position sensors



More Exclusive Product Additions from HardDrive

Racing Bros - Scepter 25 fully adjustable
Fork Cartridge Kit

An exclusive from Boise, Idaho based distributor HardDrive, this Racing Bros front-end cartridge kit “is like no other in the V-Twin industry.” HardDrive sees the Scepter 25 fork cartridge kit as the most advanced technology available, offering the rider 24 rebound adjustments, 24 compression adjustments, preload adjustability of 15 mm on both sides and multiple spring rate options. The high strength Cr-Si material used for the spring is said to ensure a consistent spring rate and best fatigue resistance, while the 25 mm CNC dampening piston ensures a stable damping quality.  Available for 39 mm and 49 mm front ends in standard, medium and heavy spring rates.

KOSO - Gauge Cluster

This plug and play custom gauge kit from Koso North America is said to be a “hassle free” replacement for stock gauges. The gauges will plug directly into the OEM dash with connectors for ’14-up FLTR, FLHX and FLHT models.  The kit features a dual color changeable LCD display (red and blue) for a custom look and includes tachometer, oil temperature gauge, fuel gauge and a multiple function speedometer. Additional feature functions include a gear position, RPM shift light, average fuel consumption reading with remaining range mileage, volt meter and indicator lights.

Dragonfly Cycle Concepts - FXRP Fairing for Dynas 

Another HardDrive exclusive, the company says that Anaheim, California based Dragonfly has “taken a hard to find, timeless piece and reinvented the design to fit the needs of today’s growing Dyna market. The fairing was molded after the OEM police/touring fairing, which is a frame mounted fairing that does not turn with the handlebars. The style was given a unique Dragonfly touch with the capability to outfit it with a single DIN radio, like the Aquatic AV deisgn, speakers and an amp (sold separately). Fits all FXDB, FXDL models ’06-‘17 and comes with a dark tinted windshield and headlight cover. Mounting brackets are sold separately.


Namz Custom Cycle Products

Badlands Sequential Flasher Modules

Oreland, Pennsylvania based Namz Custom Cycle Products “continues to find solutions to the common problems, providing the very best products and services for two-wheeled customers,” says owner and founder Jeff Zelinski.

A case in point is his wide range of patented Badlands brand Sequential Flasher modules. “Badlands has the highest standards when engineering a new module,” says Jeff, “and like our other products, the Sequential modules are jam packed with features.
“They allow the use of any 3 red LEDs for left and right side rear turn signals and are available in static or dynamic flashing. They come with a built in load equalizer, pre-wired, color-coded rear fender wiring harness and are a perfect pairing with our Royal Flush, surface mount LEDs.
Celebrating its 19th year in business, Namz sells market leading wiring harnesses and related accessories, fluid transfer lines, custom installation supplies and Badlands lighting modules.
The full range of NAMZ/Badlands products are available through distributors including Drag Specialties, Parts Unlimited, Tucker, Mid-USA, Parts Canada, Motovan, Les Importations Thibault, Parts Europe, Custom Chrome Europe, Motorcycle Storehouse, W&W, Zodiac, Rollies Speed Shop and Wildrider International Pty Ltd, or direct from the company’s website.



Zodiac Additions

Breakout Headlight Shroud

The headlight on the M-8 Softail Breakout looks a little as if the Harley design department was not ready before the bike went into production. Rick's fiberglass shroud hides the ugly back of the stock headlight and upgrades the total look of the front end. It is said to be easy to bolt on and comes in a white gel coat finish.

Brass Balls Moto Floor Boards

Inspired by Moto Cross and delivering the grip to prove it, these lightweight, strong Brass Balls Moto style floor boards feature a tapered perimeter edge to optimize lean angle. Precision machined from aircraft grade 6061 T6 billet aluminium, they are sold in sets for left and right including adjustable mounting hardware. Available in natural aluminum and black or gold anodized.

BL1000 ‘Twin Eyes’ Handlebar Tip Turn Signals

The BL 1000 Dark by Aachen, Germany based Kellermann brings light into darkness and sets new standards in motorcycle design, appearing as a seamless extension of the handlebar. The latest high performance LEDs and special control technology make for a spectacularly bright indicator signal that combines indicating function with handlebar vibration damping. Offered in black with stealth style dark lens, with amber LEDs for turn signal function.


Tedd Cycle.

WL Racing Chassis Kit

The long-awaited WL Racing Chassis kit inspired by the ‘Race of Gentlemen’ is finally here - available from Newburgh, New York based Tedd Cycle.

This V-Twin 45” WL bobber chassis kit includes a replica 45 W style stock rigid frame made from brazed construction with a raw finish.  You’ll also find 18” wheels with WR spools and a nickel-plated hub, stainless steel spokes and nipples and an 18” black steel rim; black stock replica 28” inline spring fork assembly with fully assembled handlebars. 

A black rear brake drum assembly with sprocket riveted on is included, as well as the black backing plate assembled with shoes, springs, cam, pivot stud, parkerized arm and speedometer drive.  Front and rear axles along with neck bearing cup kit, a 3 1/2 gallon WR gas tank set, the rear wheel stand and straps and footboard rods are all brand new replica parts.
The kit includes a replica frame, 18” wheels, black Spring Fork with assembled handlebars, black rear brake drum assembly, front and rear axles, neck bearing cup kit, 3 1/2 gallon WR gas tank set and footboard rods.


Tuesday 23 October 2018

Hawg Halters

Hawg Halters Acquires Renegade Wheels Brand

Hawg Halters Inc., of Dahlonega, Georgia, has announced that it has bought Renegade Wheels (Orange, California).

A long-time wholesale and retail business partner and, in effect, Renegade’s south eastern United States distributor, HHI has acquired the Renegade Wheels brand, all their wheel designs and related intellectual property, and will now offer the Renegade program to dealers across the U.S., Canada and internationally.

HHI President Mark Thompson: “Renegade Wheels is a natural fit as we continue to grow Hawg Halters. The acquisition is a logical extension of our existing business partnership with Renegade”
HHI President Mark Thompson told AMD Magazine that “this dynamic new association of two strong brands is a critical step in our strategy of expanding the Hawg Halters business model - one of continuing to develop complementary product lines which maximize our distribution programs to the motorcycle industry.

“Hawg Halters and Renegade have been long-term collaborators - the Spartan forged billet wheel, with matching true floating rotors additionally available, was a Renegade exclusive design for HHI introduced 18 months ago”

“Renegade Wheels’ core philosophy of offering premium quality, uniquely styled and well designed and engineered products mirrors HHI’s own focus and will be carried forward through a continuity of manufacturing processes in both Southern California and Georgia.”
Noted for its front end conversions, builder kits, fenders, triple trees, standard and short neck bolt-on Bagger builder’s kits and, above all, its respected brake caliper and rotor programs, Thompson joined Hawg Halters in 1999 and has successfully evolved the business throughout the market cycle that has been seen in the past twenty years, growing steadily and, in no small part, influencing the direction of the custom market as their versatile and innovative solutions offered dealers and their customers new options.


Harley Q3 - International +2.6%, Domestic -13.3%

Harley-Davidson has announced its Q3 financial results, and while it is reporting that international retail motorcycle sales were up +2.6 percent compared to 2017, retail sales in the United States were down -13.3 percent, putting worldwide retail sales down overall at -7.8 percent.

The domestic U.S. 601+ cc industry was down -9.8 percent in the third quarter compared to 2017. Harley-Davidson’s third quarter U.S. market share was 50.9 percent, while Harley-Davidson’s European market share was up +0.8 of a percentage point to 10.4 percent through September.
Third quarter revenue from the Motorcycles and Related Products segment (Motorcycles segment) was up versus the prior year. Operating margin as a percentage of revenue increased in the quarter compared to 2017 due to higher gross margin and lower SG&A as a percent of revenue.

Harley CEO & President Matt Levatich: “As we manage our business with resilience in a challenging time in our history, we are leveraging our strengths for a more promising road ahead”

“Third quarter progress tracked to our plans with numerous highlights including another quarter of improved international retail sales growth and increased year-over-year earnings per share.  We unveiled our More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth, and made strong progress already through September,” said Matt Levatich, President and Chief Executive Officer, Harley-Davidson, Inc.
“As we manage our business with resilience in a challenging time in our history, we are leveraging our strengths for a more promising road ahead. We are investing to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders and we are optimizing our business to drive profitability and cash flow. Through September, cash flow was very strong, and revenue was up over +3 percent despite lower motorcycle shipments.”
On a discretionary basis, Harley-Davidson repurchased 1.9 million shares of its common stock during the third quarter for $84.5 million. During the quarter, there were approximately 166.7 million weighted-average diluted common shares outstanding.  At the end of the quarter, 21.3 million shares remained on board-approved share repurchase authorizations.
During the quarter, Harley-Davidson says “we have made progress on the initiatives included in our More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth to build the next generation of riders globally. Leveraging core strengths in the business, brand and dealer network, the company is investing in opportunities that inspire increased ridership sooner and deliver sustainable growth for the future.” Harley-Davidson’s More Roads plan supports the company’s strategy and 2027 objectives to: build 2 million new riders in the U.S., grow international business to 50 percent of annual volume, launch 100 new high impact motorcycles and do so profitably and sustainably.

Through 2022, the company’s More Roads to Harley-Davidson plan will is slated to deliver new products to keep current riders engaged and inspire a new generation of Harley-Davidson riders; broader access, meeting customers “where they are and how they want to engage with a multi-channel retail experience” and stronger dealers - driving a performance framework to improve dealer financial strength and the Harley-Davidson customer experience
The company believes its accelerated plan will drive revenue growth and expand operating margins. The company expects to fund strategic opportunities while maintaining its current investment and return profile and capital allocation strategy.
“In the third quarter, we delivered new products and innovations with our model year 2019 motorcycles and engaged our dealers to support bringing the LiveWire electric motorcycle to market in 2019. Our brand and select products are now also accessible through a Harley-Davidson branded Amazon storefront in the U.S and significant support programs and dealer incentives were implemented to strengthen the dealer network - the hub of our customer experience,” said Levatich.

 U.S retail sales -13.3 percent for 50.9% share

As Harley-Davidson continues to build the next generation of riders globally, the company increased its reach and impact through the third quarter and delivered a wide range of results including 260,000 visitors to 115th anniversary celebrations in Milwaukee and Prague, 43 million social video views and over 200 million media impressions from #FindYourFreedom content, and expanded access to Harley-Davidson through an Amazon storefront, new international dealers and new urban apparel stores in Asia.
To further improve its manufacturing operations and cost structure, in the first quarter of 2018 the company commenced its multi-year manufacturing optimization initiative anchored by the consolidation of its motorcycle assembly plant in Kansas City, Mo. into its plant in York, Pa. The company has reduced the cost outlook for this initiative and now expects to incur restructuring and other consolidation costs of $155 million to $185 million compared to the previous expectation of $170 million to $200 million through 2019. The company continues to expect capital investment of approximately $75 million through 2019 and ongoing annual cash savings of $65 million to $75 million after 2020.  In the third quarter of 2018, costs related to the manufacturing optimization were $21.0 million and year-to-date were $83.4 million.
In other results the operating income it the company’s Financial Services segment increased +8.7 percent in the third quarter compared to 2017. Harley-Davidson’s year-to-date effective tax rate was 23.1 percent compared to 33.2 percent in 2017, primarily due to the favorable impact of the 2017 tax cuts.

 Q3 domestic 601+ cc market -9.8%

Cash and marketable securities were $937.0 million at the end of the third quarter 2018 compared to $683.1 million in 2017. Through September, Harley-Davidson generated $1.12 billion of cash from operating activities in 2018 compared to $949.1 million in 2017. The company paid a cash dividend of $0.37 per share for the third quarter, and a cumulative total of $1.11 per share for the first nine months of 2018.
For the full year 2018, the company says it continues to expect motorcycle shipments to be approximately 231,000 to 236,000 motorcycles. In the fourth quarter, the company expects to ship approximately 45,800 to 50,800 motorcycles and for motorcycles segment operating margin as a percent of revenue to be approximately 9 to 10 percent; capital expenditures of $230 million to $250 million are expected, including approximately $50 million to support manufacturing optimization (compared to its previous expectation of $250 million to $270 million).

Motorsports Aftermarket Group (MAG)

MAG adds to Leadership Team

Interim Motorsports Aftermarket Group (MAG) CEO Mike Buettner has moved quickly to add industry experience to his leadership team with the return to the group of John Potts as Global VP of Business Development and Greg Heichelbech as President of MAG’s Accessories Group, which includes the Kuryakyn and Mustang Seats business - the position vacated by Holger Mohr’s decision to return to California.

John Potts, Global VP of Business Development

“The addition of John and Greg to our team marks the beginning of our renewed focus on growth,” said Buettner.  “They know how critical relationships are in this industry and will be instrumental in rebuilding the trust and support of our partners.”
Potts joins the company in a newly-created position but is familiar with the business. He worked for Vance & Hines, a division of MAG, for 15 years before leading ales and marketing for another firm serving the on- and off-road motorcycle aftermarket.
“John is the perfect person to help us drive growth in all of our brands,” said Buettner. “He’ll be developing new partnerships, creating additional revenue streams and building relationships to support our dealers.”

Greg Heichelbech, President of MAG’s Accessories Group

Heichelbech started his career at Harley-Davidson, where he was a leader in sales, dealer relations and market development. He also served in senior leadership roles at Triumph North America, BRP North America and as President of a division of the REV Group.
“Greg is one of the most experienced leaders in the motorcycle industry,” said Buettner. “He has a keen understanding of the motorcycle business and a passion for making customers happy. With our focus on growth, he’s exactly the right person to lead our Accessories Group.” Heichelbech is a second former Harley hire for MAG - Scott Miller recently joined the MAG board of directors. As Vice President of Styling and Product Development Strategy, Miller was one of the senior Harley executives who was instrumental in bringing the Milwaukee Eight engine Tourers and (subsequently) Softails to market.

News Briefs

Combined registrations of electric mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles in Europe (EU countries) reached 21,100 units during the first six months of 2018 - an increase of +49% compared to the first half of 2017 (14,160 units). Most of the electric L-category vehicles registered in 2018 are mopeds (14,150 units), followed by motorcycles (5,370 units) and a much smaller number of quadricycles (about 1,580 units).

The largest European markets in terms of electric units were France, where combined registrations of mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles totalled 5,430 units (+24.8% on a year-on-year basis), followed by Netherlands (3,890 vehicles, +48.6%), Belgium (3,830 vehicles, +62%), Spain (2,930 vehicles, +125.5%) and Italy (1,280 vehicles, +20.9%).

An estimated 100 million electric two-wheelers, including scooters and ‘PedElecs’, are in use on the roads in China, and recent reforms in the Chinese EV industry are leading to an upsurge in domestic Chinese demand for European and American made brands – at least they were until the uncertainty triggered by the tariff war.

BRP has released fiscal year 2018 second quarter results, reporting “strong momentum in North America powersports retail - up +16%, outpacing the industry.” Revenues were CAN $1,207.0 million, an increase of +18.0%; gross profit of CAN $280.1 million, 23.2% of revenues; and an August 2018 formal completion of the Triton Industries Inc., acquisition, the Lansing, Michigan based manufacturer of Manitou Pontoon Boats.

Robert C. Fox, Jr. has retired from the board of directors of Fox Factory, the company he founded. A Physics graduate, in 1974 Bob Fox set out on a quest to “redefine motocross suspension, believing that there had to be a better solution.” In 1976, Kent Howerton won the 500cc AMA Motocross National Championship on Bob’s AirShox and Marty Smith followed with another 500cc Championship for Fox in 1977, creating a demand for Bob’s suspension and Fox Factory was born the following year.


Stock Replacement Scorpion Billet Clutch Basket

Barnett says its new Scorpion billet clutch basket is the ideal fix for broken baskets on ‘07- ‘16 Big Twins and ‘17-‘18 FL models. “This billet basket is the highest quality and most cost-effective replacement available,” says the Ventura, California based manufacturer. 

Precision machined from tough 2024-T3 billet aluminum and hard anodized, “this basket is superior in quality and durability to the stock basket - to install, simply remove the stock basket from the ring gear/primary sprocket and bolt on a new Barnett Scorpion basket.” Hardware and instructions included.



New Tools and Parts for M-8s

New from Camarilllo, California based JIMS is this axle installation guide. “Installation of motorcycle axles has always been problematic. Trying to align the wheel with the other components such as swing arms, caliper brackets, wheel hubs and spacers can be frustrating, especially when trying to do the job alone. 

“This new tool is exclusive to JIMS, and was designed by our talented partner, Hiro Koiso to make axle installation a breeze.”
Also seen here, this new engine stand is specifically designed for M-8 Touring models. “Based on our own experience of pulling the engine out of our M-8 Touring test bike, as soon as we got it we realized we needed a new engine stand design - and if we did, then we figured so would everybody else!” The stands are made from .125” steel and are powder coated JIMS blue. 

This stand and the axle installation guide are just two of the many new products, established best sellers and hard to find specialty items in the new JIMS catalog.
“After the release of the new Milwaukee Eight engine, we had our hands full for quite a while designing, testing and tooling for all sorts of specialty tools and parts for the new design. 

“In our giant new products section, you will find amazing tools, performance parts to fit anything from Shovelheads right up to the new Milwaukee-Eight Touring and Softail models – a veritable cornucopia of ergonomic and invaluable labor saving solutions.”



MID-USA additions

Belt Drive Transmission Pulleys for M-8

New from Andrews, and in stock at Hazelwood, Missouri based distributor Mid-USA, these belt drive pulleys fit all ’17-‘18 Milwaukee-Eight models. To easily change the final drive ratio use the 31 tooth pulley for power applications (3 percent higher RPM) and the 34 tooth for overdrive applications (6.4 percent less RPM).

Performance Mechanical Advance Kit for Big Twin and Sportsters

This performance mechanical advance kit (for Big Twins and Sportsters) has a stainless steel shaft and plate that has been machined to exact tolerances. The weights are heat treated and coated with high-tech polymers, to ensure smooth, even advance and retract movement.
The included springs are high quality phosphate coated spring wire that allows full advance at 1400 RPM (same as OE). Pre-lubricated, hardened washers on advance weight pivots prevent premature spring wear. The kit fits ‘70-‘79 Big Twins and ’71-early ’79 Sportsters. They also fit aftermarket ignition systems that require a mechanical advance unit.

Motion Pro Master Link Press Tool 

Make chain repair and maintenance easier with this original Motion Pro designed master link press tool, enabling the easy pressing on and off of master link plates for clip style chains. It works on all 5 Series chains, without damage.
The tool features hardened steel pins for reliable use and lightweight billet aluminum construction for strength. It has a durable blue anodized finish with laser etched markings. Not for use in breaking rivet master links.

Late model Super Stock Ignition Wires

Available for ’17-up  Milwaukee-Eight Touring models, these ACCEL super stock ignition wire sets feature extra thick, 8 mm silicone jacket and silicone insulation to eliminate electrical leakage or the RFI interference that can interrupt electronic ignitions and EFI systems.
Custom designed as a performance upgrade, these wire sets include factory style wire ties to maintain a clean installation and prevent contact with areas that may damage the wire. They fit securely and provide maximum spark energy from the coil to the plugs, delivering up to 5 times more peak energy than other “performance wires”.
The 8 mm silicone jacket with 500 Ohms per foot stainless steel conductor are available in four colors - black, blue, red and yellow. Wire ties are included for a factory look installation.


Legend Suspensions

Revo-A Heavy Duty Adjustable Dyna and FL Coil Shocks

From Rapid City, South Dakota manufacturer Legend Suspensions, the Revo-A heavy duty adjustable coil shock absorbers are said to deliver “all the benefits of Legend's REVO suspension systems plus six external knob adjustments that allow fine-tuning of rebound damping.”

They provide optimum rebound performance for any given rider weight, personal ride quality, preference or riding style - heavy duty shock absorbers are recommended for 500 lb.+ rider and passenger total weight.
They allow “casual to aggressive style riders to tune to the desired quality or personal preference.” They are available in a clear anodized or gold finish in choice of 12, 13 and 14” lengths for Dyna models ’91-‘05 dual shock applications and 12 and 13” lengths for FL coil suspension.


Progressive Suspension

Progressive 465 Series M-8 Softail Shocks

These new Progressive Suspension 465 Series shocks are designed specifically for M-8 Softails and feature a 5-position rebound adjuster to tune for specific riding conditions.
“Suspension tuning can dramatically improve ride quality, handling and the comfort of the motorcycle and the more tools available to work with, the better the results,“ says Tucker V-twin. “With that in mind Progressive created a shock specifically tuned to the needs of both rider and machine.

“Utilizing its proven 465 Series monoshock, Progressive revalved, resprung and tested the hell out of it until it transformed the ride of the new Harley M-B Softails. Available in stock height, lowered and tall versions, setting it up to perfectly match the bike, weight and riding style is now just a few clicks away. Progressive has also made available a Remote Adjustable Preload (RAP) that makes adjusting for a passenger or a week's worth of gear a simple twist of the knob. All this backed by a Lifetime Warranty!”
Additional key features include a high pressure gas monotube threaded body 46 mm bore shock, deflective disc damping, a threaded body to allow for fine adjustments in sag, aluminum body and components, hard anodized finish and remote mounting bracket for both common OE positions.
Available lengths are 12.2”, 12.6”, 13.1” and 13.5”; standard or heavy-duty spring rates are available.



New Steel Dowel Pins for M-8 Valvetrain System

Suitable for M-8 platforms from 2017 and up, this new multi-use dowel manufactured in California by KPMI has been designed to replace the OEM dowel in the heads, cylinders, crank case, and cam-support cover of M-8 engines.
Described as “incorporating OEM elements while increasing ease of installation through the overall shape of the part”, a radiused end is said to allow easy insertion into the cylinder or case, with a tapered end designed for “hassle-free location of the mating holes in the head or cam-support cover.”

Conveniently packaged in quantities of four, eight and 20 they are black oxide coated, corrosion resistant and offer improved tolerances over the OEM component.
Last year saw KPMI introduce a slew of product design updates for M-8s, including high performance replacement and high lift beehive spring kits. Wound from a blend of chrome silicon wire that is designed specifically for performance valvetrain, they allow the use of aggressive cam profiles, with lifts of up to .550” for performance builds.

KPMI’s heat-treated steel retainers provide excellent durability and life expectancy and weigh only 2 g more than their titanium equivalent, with titanium retainers also offered for performance applications that require the lightest possible high strength parts.
KPMI ‘Black Diamond’ intake and exhaust valves are said to offer combined weight savings of approximately 6.8 g over the OEM components, reducing wear and tear on the rest of the valvetrain and allowing the engine to rev higher. KPMI also offers ‘White Diamond’ Inconel exhaust valves for extreme duty applications with high exhaust gas temperatures.
Kibblewhite’s C630 nickel aluminum OEM replacement bronze guides extend the life of an engine build by providing greater wear resistance and heat dissipation with their manganese bronze and cast-iron guides offering greater ease of installation and sizing; a specially sized reamer is also available.
All KPMI intake guides have port geometries with reduced cross sections for increased air flow; their OEM replacement keepers and valve stem seals are kept in stock dimensions.


Wednesday 17 October 2018


Avon’s Cobra Chrome
“The Next Chapter in Our Long and Rich Brand History”

Leading custom tire manufacturer Avon has announced the next stage in the development of its Cobra brand tire program with the unveiling of the Cobra Chrome.

Available in extreme custom sizes with rear tires up to 23 inch and widths of up to 330 mm, the Cobra Chrome is said to offer “excellent wet braking and stability” thanks to enhanced compounds and new construction that deliver “improved stopping distances in wet braking tests, high stability in all conditions, with precise feel and tire feedback.”

Avon’s latest tread pattern and advanced construction produces an over 5% larger tire footprint compared to the existing Cobra, with improved tire life - its highly durable compound and latest technology tread pattern design delivering 10% extra mileage.
Also available with white sidewalls, Avon says the Cobra Chrome is “the ultimate statement of individuality” and that the technology and rubber compound used to manufacture the unique durable white sidewall “remains a secret and has been crafted and refined over many years by our R&D department in the UK. With an increased size offering over the previous Avon Cobra, more riders will be able to enjoy the look of Avon Cobra Chrome whitewall tires.”

‘available in rear sizes up to 23 inch and widths of up to 330 mm’

Avon has been well known as a preferred tire option for custom bike builders ever since the 1970s. “Our highly successful Avon Venom and Avon Cobra tires have a well established reputation in the custom and cruiser segments.
“The next chapter in our long and rich brand history is the introduction of the Avon Cobra Chrome - the tire of choice for the cruiser rider in search of safety, the joy of riding and individuality. The Avon Cobra Chrome offers premium performance and a stylish Cobra themed design.”

‘improved stopping distances’

Having recently signed a multi-year agreement to be Freestyle Class sponsor at the 2018 and 2020 AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building - the winner will be the ‘Avon World Champion Custom Bike Builder’- the company is one of the oldest motorcycle product manufacturers of any kind in the world, tracing its origins back to 1885.
The company entered the motorcycle and sidecar tire market in 1911. Always an avid supporter of motorsport, Avon’s dominance in motorcycle racing was historically so great that in its 1957 to 1963 ‘Glory Years’ every solo world champion, including legendary Britons John Surtees and Mike Hailwood, rode to victory on Avon motorcycle tires (Surtees remains the only man to have won World Championships on two and four wheels).
In the 1970s Avon’s reputation as the custom motorcycle “go-to” was cemented through its association with industry legend Arlen Ness - an early adopter of Avons for his custom builds, and still an Avon enthusiast. 

Avon Venoms quickly became established as the preferred option for custom bike builders worldwide. Always noted as an innovator, with technologies such as Variable Belt Density, the inverted V-pattern and Force Following Grooves becoming widely adopted, fifteen years ago the company did much to facilitate what became known as the “Fat Rear End” boom, the popularity of single sided swingarms and right-side drives, as it made a series of wider tires available, including the 300 in 2003 and still popular 330 in 2004.
Avon was acquired by Cooper Tire of the USA in 1997, and Cooper’s fresh investment capital did much to position the business for the 21st century. In 2007 Avon capitalized on the popularity of its Venom series tires with the launch of the all-conquering Cobra line.
In the years since, Avon has added to the strength in depth of Cobra options, and with the Cobra Chrome is now offering its largest yet range of fitment options, including the class-defining 330.

 ‘enhanced compounds and new construction’

Renowned for its distinctive tread patterns, outstanding mileage and long life, the new Cobra Chrome doesn’t disappoint.
Noted for its unique, super tough construction, the kind necessary for heavy-duty custom loads and long distances, the Cobra Chrome combines the characteristics needed for modern cruisers with leading sports tire technology, for improved handling and performance. 

In recent years the example set by the likes of Arlen Ness and legendary Briton John Reed has been taken up by hundreds of leading customizers and bike builders worldwide. Since its inception in 2004, more AMD World Champions, Freestyle class top twenty bikes, World Championship class winners and World Championship competitors of all kinds have favoured Avon tires than any other single tire brand - including the reigning World Champion Suicide Customs from Japan, who returns to defend his title in 2018.

‘a 5% larger tyre footprint’

Suicide Customs marked a second consecutive World Championship in which the winner built with Avons - in 2014 the prestigious title was taken for a third time by Krugger Motorcycles of Belgium with “Nurb’s”, an Avon shod radical and futuristic BMW.
“This was the jumping-off point that made a collaboration between Avon and ‘The AMD’ compelling,” says Avon Marketing Director Michiel Kramer. “As a company Avon is proud of its heritage and as a custom bike tire market leader we are especially proud of our reputation as the tire of choice for so many of the market’s greatest and most innovative designers and craftsmen.  

‘excellent wet braking and stability’

“The AMD World Championship has always been a showcase for that heritage, so forming an alliance was an obvious idea. We look forward to working with the AMD team and continuing to make a contribution to the outstanding work and achievements of this market’s talented and passionate professionals and amateurs alike.” 

Speaking about Avon’s decision, AMD’s Robin Bradley said: “We have always been very careful about the brands and businesses we engage with, where the work of the custom bike building community is concerned. Having successfully transitioned the AMD World Championship to Europe and into the superb INTERMOT Customized Hall 10 ‘Show-within-the-Show” at Cologne, we feel we are ready again to start allowing selected vendors to share in what “The AMD” means to custom bike builders.
“We couldn’t be happier that Avon is the first vendor we have been able to welcome into the family and know that the profile and value they will generate for our competitor community will help them to further their careers and recognition of their achievements and abilities.”