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Wednesday 28 November 2018

Tucker Powersports

Record Number of Exhibiting Brands and Dealer Pre-Registrations as Tucker Gears-Up for 2019 Fort Worth Show

With some weeks still to go, Tucker Powersports says that its 2019 Tucker Show at the Fort Worth Expo Center (January 24/25) has already attracted a “record number of brands registered to attend - to date we have approximately 162 brand partners committed to our 2019 show, making it the ideal business networking event for dealers to kick off the new year.”

Of those 162, there are 21 that are said to be new to the Tucker Show line-up, and 11 that are not only new to the show, but also new Tucker brands.
“That’s not all though, with our larger venue at the downtown Fort Worth Expo Center we have also seen an increase in dealer pre-registrations with like for like numbers running ahead of the same time last year already.”

The show will be an expo debut for industry veterans Greg Blackwell and Greg Heichelbech, who recently joined the group as Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for Tucker and President of the MAG Accessories Group (Kuryakyn and Mustang Seats) respectively.
The show will also mark a return for former Vance & Hines Sales and Marketing Director John Potts who recently rejoined MAG as Global VP of Business Development as interim CEO Mike Buettner moved to strengthen the leadership teams.

INTERMOT 2018 review Part 1

INTERMOT Visitors are High Mileage, High Spending, Highly Motivated

This year’s INTERMOT Expo at Cologne, Germany, again pulled some 220,000 visitors (equalling the 2016 record) in a German market characterized by knowledgeable, high mileage riders who are motivated by quality, innovation and performance. With new motorcycle registrations said to be running at over +7 percent in ‘Europe’ for the first half of 2018, and total new PTWs at over +11 percent for Germany through August 2018, INTERMOT was packed with new models, new parts, new accessories and riding gear (1,041 vendors in total from 40 countries), and, crucially, more new riders and potential customers than ever before, with the organizers citing a +50 percent increase in visitors aged under 21. In all, INTERMOT again drew trade and public visitors from nearly 100 different countries …


Avon Tyres: The big news this year has been the launch of the Cobra Chrome tire for customs, cruisers and touring - an endeavor proudly supported by the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building, with the Freestyle Class and World Champion sponsored by the British manufacturer;


TecMate: The market-leading OptiMate range of battery testers, conditioners and chargers is as broad as it is deep, as versatile as it is reliable and as high-tech as it is ergonomic. The company’s USB accessories and charge into the Li-ion battery care sector have set them apart from their rivals in recent years, and with products such as their Solar Charger program, the company’s technology and grasp of the fundamentals of what dealers and riders need will continue to set them apart in the future too;


MIZU: The German parts and accessory specialist offers a wide range of parts for Harley applications through its RST brand, which it acquired in 2012:


Central Wheel Components: For students of vendor longevity, raise a glass for Central Wheel Components of Birmingham, England. Founded in 1897, the company has celebrated 120 years of continuous operation. The company stocks more than 15,000 motorcycle wheel rims and 500,000 spokes and nipples at any one time, most manufactured in-house. Its SM Pro Platinum rim is widely recognized as the world’s strongest and lightest aftermarket MX/off-road rim. These days the company is based at Coleshill, England, near the UK’s National Motorcycle Museum;


Marolo Test: The workshop lift of choice for authorized Harley dealers, the French manufacturer traces its origins back to 1958 - the workshop specialist celebrated its 60th anniversary this year, welcoming its worldwide distributors, partners and press to its Cholet headquarters near Nantes in July. Started by Paul Marrolaud, the company was established to design, produce and sell what is believed to have been one of the first dynamometers specifically for the PTW market - a test bench for mopeds - with one of the first motorcycle-specific test benches in the industry introduced in 1973. In 1987 the company developed the first in what would go on to become one of the best selling and technically advanced workshop lift programs in the industry with a complementary range of equipment for workshops and franchise dealers with turn-key service shop installations, in manufacturer colors if required. These days the company employs around 20 people at its 2,500 sq m facility, with annual sales in excess of 5m euro, more than 25 percent of which is from export sales. The company sells to 10,500 customer accounts in more than 60 countries;


D.I.D. Europe: The chain of choice for chain drive conversions, recent new technology from the Japanese specialist has included next generation “Anti-Shock Performance” chain that reduces the process of “Plastic Elongation” caused by the momentary excessive tension that causes the chain pin holes to deform over time - resistance to such deformation is said to be increased by up to 25 percent;


Digades: Three years ago, the German manufacturer was the first to market with a retro-fit aftermarket E-Call system. Its award-winning ‘dguard’ automatic crash detection system with integrated theft alarm function detects an accident and automatically connects the driver with the emergency call center. If the driver is still able to speak, they can inform the call center about their injuries; in case the driver isn't responsive anymore, ‘dguard’ sends the GPS coordinates to the emergency call center, which will activate the appropriate measures;


AIMExpo Hosts “Record Number of Trade Attendees” in Las Vegas

The MIC owned AIMExpo made its inaugural foray to the western United States when it was staged at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in October, with the organizers stating that it “proved to be a resounding success” with a “record number of trade attendees,” saying that there were “more than 7,000 dealers, media members, industry personnel and exhibitor attendees – a 12 percent increase over the 2017 event.”
That prior event was staged at Columbus, Ohio, and 2019 will see the show return to the Midwest venue for four days at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, September 26-29.

MIC Events says this year’s record number was “anchored by the largest dealer presence to date at AIMExpo presented by Nationwide. More than 2,500 dealers made the trip to Las Vegas, with representation from all 50 states and more than 50 different countries. These retailers were eager to see the latest products from the 505 exhibiting companies that filled the show floor to capacity, and also take advantage of the inaugural Dealer Summit.
“Following a keynote address by the Department of Interior’s Senior Advisor for Recreation, Rick May, attending dealers were given an array of opportunities to stimulate their business, completely free of charge. From the “Dealers Only Luncheon presented by KTM” to the Powersports Dealer Seminars @ AIMExpo presented by Powersports Business, retailers were given critical education towards enhancing their business and key insights on how to evolve to better serve the millennial consumer.”

Larry Little, Vice President & General Manager MIC Events, said: “With the move to Las Vegas and our commitment to providing dealers with activities that will ultimately impact their bottom line, we saw a dramatic increase in dealer registration and attendance this year. The introduction of Dealer Summit, and its specially curated elements aimed at benefitting their business, helped bring the largest breadth of dealer attendees we’ve seen yet, with an incredible increase of more than 21 percent compared to last year.”
AIMExpo was the centerpiece of the inaugural Powersports Industry Week, which also included Las Vegas BikeFest, Monster Energy Cup, Suzuki Sunday and the Las Vegas Ride for Kids charity ride. Registration for demo rides at AIMExpo Outdoors! is described as having been “at capacity throughout the weekend, while a total of nearly 9,000 consumers paid a visit to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.”

Mike Corbin

Mike Corbin – 50 Years in the Saddle

Congratulations to Mike Corbin celebrating 50 years in the motorcycle saddle making business this year, and still turning out 20,000 seats a year from his 82,000 sq ft factory at Hollister (no less!), California.
Corbin was born in 1943 in Gardner, Mass. As a young man, he was interested in all things mechanical. He worked with his uncle repairing bowling alley pinsetters and pinball machines and won first place in his high school science fair with a servo-motor and memory circuit–driven robot. 

Mike Corbin, seen here on the left, with receiving his “Class Ring” from the AMA’s Steve Gotoski. Mike was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000

After high school, Corbin joined the Navy and worked diligently while training as a ship’s electrician. During his training he arranged to buy a 1959 Triumph Bonneville, which was waiting for him when he returned home on leave. Upon completing electrician school, he was assigned to the San Francisco-based aircraft carrier USS Ranger. He rode the Triumph across the country and reported for duty. 
Corbin’s knowledge of electricity grew as he worked aboard the Ranger, which traveled throughout the Pacific. After completing his Navy tour in 1964, he returned home to Gardner and found electrical work in a nearby paper mill, and then at Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut. 
Pratt & Whitney built jet engines for the Vietnam War effort, and the demand for good electricians to service the factory allowed Corbin to start his own electrical subcontracting company, Camtron, Ltd. The company serviced heavy equipment for a variety of New England defense contractors. But as public opinion started to turn against the war in the late 1960s, Corbin realized that his electrical business would dry up when the war ended.  

About this time, Corbin began customizing a 1964 Norton Atlas. He had seen custom choppers in California during his tour with the Navy and wanted one of his own. He removed and remade various parts of the bike. Unhappy with the comfort and look of the seat, he reshaped and recovered it with the help of a neighbor who had an industrial sewing machine. While attending a rally, another Norton rider offered Corbin $40 for his custom seat. He sold it, then went home and began work on another.
Soon friends were asking Corbin to build seats for them. A Harley-Davidson dealer in nearby Hartford, Conn., saw one of the seats and contacted Corbin. The dealer ordered five at $25 each and sold them all in one weekend. He then ordered 10 more. 
At that time, Corbin was trying to balance his electrical service business with making seats as a sideline hobby. In 1968, he decided to focus solely on making seats. He rented a small shop in East Hartford, Conn., and asked some of his electrical subcontracting employees to join him in the new business, which he named Corbin Manufacturing.
“Corbin [Manufacturing] turned into a full-time business in 1968, the year of the Honda 750 K and the year before the Easy Rider movie came out,” Corbin said. “Probably the best possible time ever to enter our beloved motorcycle industry. I wasn`t market-smart enough to have planned this timely entry, but I worked hard to hold on to the tiger`s tail.”

 ‘focus solely on making seats in 1968’

In 1970, Corbin learned that branding was an important part of his new business. He renamed the company Corbin Gentry, after Southern singer Bobbie Gentry, to give the company name a more rebellious ring and national appeal. By 1971 the company was selling a large line of seats and accessories, including handlebars and frames for virtually every American, Japanese and British motorcycle.
The company continued to grow and moved into a 1,200 square-foot building in Ellington, Conn. By 1974 the company had outgrown that facility and moved into a 225,000 square-foot former woollen mill in Somersville, Conn. It was now selling a wide range of parts, including fuel tanks and fiberglass fender kits. Corbin sold directly to dealers and consumers through catalogs and warehouse locations in Dallas and San Francisco. 
The energy crisis of 1974 led Corbin to return to his electrician roots. He began to experiment with electric motorcycles and built a bike that set a land speed record of 165.387 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats. In 1975, he built a Yardney battery-powered street prototype that climbed New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington, and then developed the “City Bike,” an electric bike available to consumers. He also developed electric conversion kits for the VW Beetle. 

Fire & Ice dual Touring saddle

In the late 1970s, Corbin Gentry was split into East and West Coast divisions, and the eastern operations were sold. Mike retained ownership of the West Coast operations, which were renamed Corbin Pacific. He turned his attention to the physical fitness market and began working with Don Schoeck to design bodybuilding machines. Soon after, they patented and produced several lifting and rowing machines. 
The early 1980s saw Corbin continue to develop quality bodybuilding equipment, endorsed by professionals such as Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the same time, motorcycle seat sales soared with the creation of the “Gunfighter” model, an innovative rumble seat. The company expanded again in 1989, setting up a new factory in Castroville, Calif. 
During the 1990s, Corbin Pacific experienced even more growth. Distribution expanded to Europe, and a showroom was opened in Daytona Beach, Fla.; saddlebags and boots were added to the product line-up. The company moved into an 80,000 plus square-foot facility in Hollister, Calif., and Corbin Pacific became a major sponsor and organizer of the 50th Anniversary Hollister Motorcycle Rally. 
In 1996, Mike and his son, Tom, began to develop the Sparrow—a single-seat, enclosed electric vehicle that would be registered as a motorcycle. The new company, Corbin Motors, also developed a V-twin powered three-wheel vehicle named the Merlin. Unfortunately, due to large development costs and the downturn of the U.S. economy, Corbin Motors was forced to file bankruptcy in 2003.
“Electric vehicles have always been central in my career,” Corbin said. “Sparrow was my best product ever, but with the poorest business plan.” 
Corbin then enrolled in the Owners and Managers course at Harvard. “Business is a word using many esses, because business keeps twisting and turning. I had a very difficult time becoming a ‘business’ guy, which I needed to do in order to be sustainable,” he said. 
Corbin and his companies have been awarded over 70 mechanical patents, trademarks and copyrights. “I guess the focus has been the sheer joy of serving motorcycle riders through product invention and development,” he said. Corbin was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000; fast forward to 2018 and those fifty years have flown by.
Nowadays his company has seat designs either in inventory or patterns stored for some 1,200 motorcycles.

Arlen Ness Enterprises

Ness Forged Aluminum Front Wheels

New this year from Dublin, California based Arlen Ness Enterprises, these forged aluminum front wheels are precision machined from radial forged 6061-T6 aluminum for “maximum road durability”.

The Ness cartridge hub design features both wheel bearings pre-set in one hub for optimum radial and lateral runout accuracy; the lightweight “coped design” provides “form and function.”

ABS applications will ship with the correct bearing to make sure ABS function is maintained; no re-calibration will be required on linked brake models. Ness says that every rim pattern is structurally tested to meet or exceed DOT, JAS and TÜV international load ratings.
They accept hub mounted rotors (3.25” bolt circle - matching rotors are available) and come as black/natural or chrome process forged and black/natural or chrome 7-valve forged.


Barnett Clutches and Cables

Big Twin Clutch Lock-up Head

New from Ventura, California based manufacturer Barnett Clutches and Cables, this new clutch lock-up head for 2013 and later Big Twins uses the “assist and slip” three spring clutch. 

“This lock up head bolts to the stock pressure plate with no modifications required. More pressure is added to the clutch resulting in a more positive engagement and a clutch capacity of 150+ HP.”
Stainless inserts that install on the stock pressure plate are also included to prevent the lock-up arms from grooving the stock cast pressure plate.


Revolution Performance

M-8 124” Bolt-On Big Bore Kit

Plymouth, Wisconsin based Revolution Performance says its 124” M-8 Bolt-On Big Bore Kit is “the most reliable way to increase power and torque on the 2017-2018 M-8 107” engine,” for Tourers and Softails.

“Each 124” kit comes with our state of the art all aluminum 4.250” Nickel Silicon Carbide (NSC) plated cylinders, which last longer and run cooler than the conventionally iron lined OEM cylinders and are matched with a premium forged piston kit and a complete Cometic gasket kit.”
Subject to the cylinder head combustion chamber volume, the forged flat-top piston kit delivers a 10.4:1 compression ratio and the company says the kit installs without the need for any other engine modifications, “but can benefit from our other products and services such as our 124 inch M-8 Velocity CNC Cylinder Head Porting Package.”
Testing is said to have shown that the kit can produce as much as 28.4 percent gain in power and 17.8 percent gain in torque, and that the NSC plating process “forms an extremely hard barrier on the cylinder bore with exceptional wear resistant with excellent oil retention and a low coefficient of friction.
“Because our cylinder and piston are the same material, they expand at the same rate when exposed to heat - this means tighter, more precise tolerances can be used and the cylinder will run up to 40 degrees cooler.”


Brass Balls

Brass Balls Bagger Accessories and Wrapped Grips

Oklahoma City based parts and accessory designer and manufacturer Brass Balls is known for bringing “hand crafted, superior bikes and accessories to the motorcycle industry with an aggressive yet elegant appeal.”

Among the fast-growing range of bolt on accessories it offer in its new line up, these new touring fuel doors with matching tank panels (sold separately) will be “stunning additions to any custom bagger build.”  Available in a natural or satin black finish with either a carbon fiber or hammered copper inlay. 
Also seen here, Brass Balls leather wrapped grips “are the perfect balance of fashion and function.” CNC machined from billet aircraft grade aluminum with a recessed knurled surface to ensure the leather will not slip or twist. The leather is laser cut to shape.
The pattern is embossed and then the leather is dyed, airbrushed, glued and skilfully hand stitched around the grip. Available in natural or satin black finish with either black, tan or dark brown leather. There are fitments available for cable throttle, throttle by wire and Indian models.


GPS Racing

GPS/BST Flat Track Carbon Wheels

South African carbon wheel specialist Blackstone Tec (BST) has these lightweight, high strength wheels available for Flat Track racing.
Flat track product specialist GPS Racing of Oakdale, California, has partnered with noted South African carbon wheel manufacturer Blackstone Tek (BST) to manufacture carbon fiber wheels for Flat Track racing.

The wheels will be co-branded and are designed specifically for flat track and speedway competition. Currently available in widths from 2.15” to  3.50”, “when races can be won or lost by hundredths of a second, you need the world’s finest (and fastest) wheels - lighter and stronger than conventional materials, carbon fiber improves handling by reducing rotating mass.”
Greg Siekierski, President of GPS says that “weight is reduced without compromising strength by combining woven and unidirectional carbon material to form a monocoque (single unit) design with hollow spokes. This technique produces a wheel strong enough to handle the rigors of the track while light enough to make a difference that racers feel.
AMA ‘gave the nod’ to allow carbon fiber wheels in 2015. “We take the BST wheel and mount it, the bond it to our own in-house precision machined billet GPSR hub. Before AMA Pro Flat Track decided to allow our wheels in competition, they reviewed stress test data for impact, torsional, radial, and cornering loads. The data shows that the wheels exceed the stringent (US) DOT (Department of Transportation) and (Japan) JWL (Japan light alloy wheel standard) safety standards. The JWL is the most stringent wheel standard in the world.”


Baker Drivetrain

No More Stripped or Broken Shift Levers

Baker Drivetrain says that replacing a stock shift lever with its truss style shift lever “is a big step forward in both function and form. The stock shift lever has cast splines, which are prone to stripping, but our shift lever has broached splines, just like the gear splines in our transmissions.
“They'll stand up to the rigors of daily and spirited use. Our truss style lever features design cues inspired by the structure of connecting rods and highly stressed airplane levers, and they're as tough as they look.”
They are currently offered for ‘80-‘06 (except 2006 Dyna) 5-speed Big Twin models and Big Dogs, and are under development for 2007-up models.


Wednesday 21 November 2018


Tucker Powersports Adds Greg Blackwell in New Sales and Marketing Role

As the Motorsports Aftermarket Group (MAG) continues its focus on hiring powersports and aftermarket experts under the guidance of interim CEO Mike Buettner, Tucker Powersports has announced the hiring of industry veteran Greg Blackwell to the new position of Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. 

Blackwell adds 30 years of powersports experience with industry leaders such as KTM North America, Lemans Corporation, Metzeler Motorcycle Tire North America, and, most recently, as President of MTA Distributing.
Noting MAG’s strategy of hiring candidates with aftermarket or powersports credentials, Buettner said: “We are aggressively hiring the best industry talent, and we’re thrilled to add Greg to our team. With his experience, he’ll hit the ground running and have an immediate impact. The velocity of change we are executing is necessary in this rapidly transforming industry. And we are not done yet.”
Blackwell joins industry veterans John Potts and Greg Heichelbech, who were recently added to the leadership team at MAG.
The new role will be focused on building relationships, achieving Tucker’s sales and revenue goals, delivering an outstanding experience to dealers and growing market share through strategic partnerships. Kenan Ikels, the current Vice President of Sales and Customer Support, will continue in his role and will report to Blackwell. In the new organizational structure, marketing will become a separate functional group in order to better serve Tucker dealers.
“I’m really impressed with Tucker’s desire to grow their business and support their dealers,” said Blackwell. “My initial focus will be on meeting with key dealers, preparing for the January Dealer Show and planning programs that benefit Tucker dealers. The future is bright for Tucker and our partners.”
Blackwell is a passionate and accomplished street and off-road motorcycle rider. He joined the company on Monday, November 12, 2018. The Tucker Show takes place in Dallas, TX, January 24 to January 25, 2019.

News Briefs

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.

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.

INTERMOT Customized 2018 - Part 3

Custom Chrome Europe: The hard parts to apparel, performance to gear distributor hosted its leading dealers at INTERMOT and continues to be one of Europe’s ‘Majors’ when it comes to product range and service. A major Jekill & Hyde exhaust, Lera Pera seats, Biltwell, BDL, UniBat and National Cycle windshield distributor, to name-check just a few from its massive portfolio of well-known brand names, latest new products include the German made Kellermann Atto 3-in-1 micro lights, Milwaukee-Eight covers and own brand Twin Cam generator style cam cover;


DOT4 Distribution: Offering dealers access to a huge range of contemporary apparel and riding gear options, the British distributor’s program includes ‘Resurgence’ riding jeans and French made, customizable ‘Qwart’ helmets. Selling Europe-wide, DOT4 offers a range of exclusive brands of contemporary designs for emerging new generations of consumers. “Our objective is to introduce European bikers to new and exciting lines of motorcycle clothing which offer the highest levels of protection and comfort on and off the bike,” says CEO Stefan Barnes. “The clothing we distribute is technically innovative and offers the latest styling and technology”. ‘Resurgence’ gear is a “new wave of single layer protective jeans” that are described as “the world’s first motorcycle jeans to use the revolutionary new PEKEV Ultra single layer denim fabric”;


Cult-Werk: Popular Austrian custom parts and accessory manufacturer. Selected parts for V-Rod/Night Rod, Sportster, Softail and Dyna models include license plate brackets, fenders and struts, fuel caps, side covers, headlights, lowering kits, frame covers, fork cover kits and air cleaner covers;


Büsch Motorcycle Products: German distributor Norbert Büsch is a man of many specialties, but he is best known as an ‘Exhaust Meister’ and handmade parts craftsman - for his own and customer bike conversions and builds. Norbert has been a distributor of Vance & Hines exhausts for years, but has been handcrafting fenders, tanks, spoilers, monocoques and more since the 1990s;


Big Boys Cycles: One of Germany’s leading custom shops, Cologne based BBC first opened its doors in 1992. The company is a leading service and repair shop, customizer and builder of award- winning custom bikes;


ACE Cafe: Saved from oblivion after several years of closure in the early 1990s, Mark Wilsmore and the team at the legendary Ace Cafe London have been spreading their wings in recent years with ‘pop-ups’ at many leading events, including INTERMOT Customized, and a permanent Ace Cafe Orlando in Florida now firmly established as a destination venue;


Wannabe Choppers: Enrico de Haas is one of the leaders of a new generation of younger, inventive, forward thinking custom bike builders in Europe whose innovative parts designs are already to be found in many of the leading distributor catalogs. Most recently ‘Ricky’ garnered admiration and opprobrium in equal measure for the Shovelhead Sportster styled E-bike he built at the Bad Salzuflen show at the end of last year. Short-sighted, so-called purists took exception to the way he went about the build and see embracing contemporary technology as potentially killing the custom market. Whereas, in fact, armed with a thousand thinkers like ‘Ricky’, we’d have the whole world riding custom bikes and fuelling our balance sheets in a future, like all futures, that by definition cannot be the same as the past;


MMB-Messtechnik: One of Europe’s oldest instrument makers (once standard equipment on models from Simson and MZ among others) and nowadays owned by Pulsotronic, MMB’s contemporary range of German made, innovative electronic gauges for mopeds, motorbikes, trikes and quads are based on more than 50 years of experience;


Kawasaki: Another of the OEMs to have a second booth, in INTERMOT Customized in Hall 10, the focus for “Big Green” was its ‘Twin Project’ collaboration with Berlin based women’s motorcycle club ‘The Curves’. Celebrating the diversity of the brand’s reach and the diversity of the results that customizers can achieve with Kawasaki platforms, the project was designed to find the common DNA in a Z650 and a W650, two very different bikes - “Sisters From Another Mother" - with the finished bikes showcasing the often conflicting dynamics of form and function when customizing factory platforms. ‘Twin Project’ supporters include German custom parts specialist LSL, Berlin based instruments and accessory developer Moto Gadget, German suspension specialist Wilbers, leading Italian exhaust manufacturer SC Project and German retailer Detlev Louis;;


Europe’s last choppers?

Legendary Swedish long-fork chopper designer and builder Hogtech says it has arrived at a dramatic crossroads. “The countdown has started. Hogtech will manufacture 10-15 new Swedish Style A-Choppers in the next few years. Then it’s over. Forever. Now we are entering the final stretch,” says Sam Madsen.
Hogtech has manufactured its classic choppers since 1982. Like so many businesses in our industry, Peder Johansson and Sam Madsen are driven by passion for riding and run the company with the interests of riders and desire to ‘Keep The Flame Alive’.
Their primary driving force is the authenticity of their designs and the ability of their bikes to “eat the miles” in most conditions and deliver years of riding enjoyment for their customers.

Doing so has never been easy of course, but now, finally, Peder and Sam are having to face the realities of the 21st Century and are staring the endgame in the face.
“From 2017, all newly manufactured motorcycles had to meet the requirements of the Euro 4 environmental class,” explains Peder Johansson.
“This means, among other things, that the conventional breathing carburettor equipped engine is doomed to disappear in favor of injection. Taken with the requirements for ABS brakes and other developments, it is the end for the classic slim and stylish Swedish chopper as we have always known and loved it.”
But Hogtech has one last Ace up its sleeve.

Sam Madsen (left) and Peder Johansson

As part of the transitional provisions in the EU rules, the company has the discretion to build and deliver 10-15 registered and ready-made choppers in the next few years that have still been built according to the old regulations.
“We call them ‘The Last Choppers’,” said Sam Madsen. “An epoch is now going to the grave. The classic and pure design Swedish-style Chopper has basically looked the same for 60 years - the last examples are now set to become collectibles, but we hope they end up being owned and ridden by active chopper enthusiasts who share our passions.
“A chopper should run; that has always been our philosophy,” says Sam. “The adjustments required for Euro 4 would make the production of Hogtech choppers more difficult, but above all it would be like making a completely different motorcycle.
“Just the electronics alone that would be required to meet the new compliance standards would make production and type approval more difficult. And putting ABS brakes on the front wheel of a chopper is a chapter by itself,” says Peder Johansson.
The decision to shut down the production will see Peder and Sam waving the inevitable white flag of surrender to one of the major and most influential of motorcycling genres, a unique style and set of design and engineering values that has influenced generations of builders, customizers and riders worldwide since the 1960s.
Sam says there will be a final series of individually numbered motorcycles rolling out of Hogtech but although the word is already out in Europe, Sam and Peder have not yet decided how to manage the sales process in order to try and ensure that they do become treasured and hard-ridden machines.

Ultima Motorcycle Products

Ultima Mild Cam 100” Replacement Engines with Two Year Warranty

Last month we reported that Ultima Motorcycle Products is now offering all its 113” and 127” Competition Series engines for EFI - the same specifications as the normally aspirated Competition Series engines, but now with the capability to use Delphi style EFI set-ups.
The Pevely, Missouri based manufacturer is now announcing that its 100 C.I. displacement Competition Series engines have some special updates and an extended warranty “to make them of special value to builders and those replacing stock engines.”
The company says that its Competition Series 100” motors are ideal for those who need a new engine but are not in search of a “monster”.  

Described as a great replacement for a tired stock motor, but one that “still has great performance, we went with a milder cam and lowered the compression.  They start very easily, making for less wear on the starter and battery; plus, the milder cam makes for an extremely quiet motor.”
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.
Available in Ultima’s Blackout finish, regular black finish, polished and natural, though not EPA compliant they come with a 2-year warranty.


Drag Specialties

Drag Specialties Additions

Stick Style 1” Handlebars

Drag Specialties steel tubing stick-style handlebars feature low, aggressive styling with zero end rise or pullback. The bars measure 30” wide and are available with dimples in a smooth, unknurled style and notched for Throttle by Wire (TBW). Available in chrome, gloss black or flat black.

Wide Blade Lever Sets

These top-quality levers are made of lightweight aluminum and feature a late-style wide, flat design. They are compatible with OEM clutch and brake lever perches. Available in chrome or matt black finish for ‘14-’16 FLHTCUTG and ‘15-1’6 FLRT.

Crank Position Sensors

These high-quality replacement sensors feature convenient plug-and-play installation and fit like the OEM units. Available for ‘00-’03 FLHT/FLHR/FLTR and ‘00-’03 FXD/FXDWG; ‘04-’05 FXD/FXDWG and ‘02-’17 V-Rods.

4 1/2” Reflector-Style LED Passing Lamps

These stylish premium passing lamps combine rugged die-cast aluminum housings with a dark chrome retro-styled face. They are DOT/SAE compliant.

Predator III Seats

A Predator III seat from Drag Specialties Seats “will give any bike a comfort and style upgrade.” The seat covers are automotive-grade vinyl and are available in a smooth or double diamond stitch design with black, silver or red thread.
Molded flexible urethane interior and an ABS thermoformed seat base provide comfort. The seats measure 30 1/2” overall length and are 11 3/4” wide at the front and 6 1/2” wide at the rear. The narrower than stock front is designed to deliver better leg clearance on ‘99-’07 FLHT/FLHR/FLHX and FLTR models.


Platinum Air Suspension

Platinum ‘Simple’ FLH/T Air Ride Package

Fullerton, California based Platinum Air Suspension has new FLH/T Front ‘Pucks’ and Rear Air Ride Package.

Platinum Air owner Mike Feris says “these allow the rider to control their ride height with positive lift without going all the way down the rebound control route with our Bleed Feed system. This simple system is available for most H-D V-Twins – the side mounted shock gives up to 4.25″ of lift.”
The kit includes two air cylinders, machined from 6061 T-6 billet aluminum; two 41mm or 49mm pucks; air-control valve; DOT approved 1/4″ line and fitting; switch harness; air compressor; hardware and line cutter. For bike models 1985 to current.
The kit delivers a minimum retracted height of 9.25” and maximum extended of 13.5”, rear lift of 4.25”, 4.25” shock travel with a diameter of 2.5”. ABS applications may vary due to installation, and the system comes complete with one year warranty. There is now an option to choose between chrome and black - everything is blacked out from the cylinder to the rod.