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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

Does Harley Have the Time it Needs?

Time. Forget oil, gold, bitcoins, land diamonds or a decent quarterback. The most precious commodity of them all is Time - and you can’t buy it, lease it, make it or find it stuffed down the back of a sofa.
You can borrow it though and following the way their share price has reacted to their quarterlies, their ‘More Roads’ strategic plans and their MT2019 “initiatives” you can’t help wondering, again, if Harley is living on borrowed time.
If the sharks aren’t circling it might just be that they simply don’t like the taste and smell of motorcycles any more - any kind of motorcycles. The jury remains out, for now, on just how significant the early promising signs are about the value that “New Gen” consumers place on a life on two wheels, and just how much Dollar value there is going to be on their rather more frugal “destination not the ride” attitude towards riding.
That may well evolve, it may well morph in to something rather more balance sheet friendly as they age and as the “offer” the industry presents them with matures, but for now their predilection for “lightweights” is mirrored in the interim economic value that the transitional models that they are  buying and riding has for the future of the industry.
And Harley finds itself trapped in that web of complexity by prevarication and lack of responsiveness of its own making.

'market sentiment'

The “More Roads” strategy is excellent, mostly. Okay, Harley’s heavyweight agenda influenced interpretation of where lightweight becomes middleweight and where middleweight become sellable suggests there is still much about their industry analysis that will be found wanting, gauche even, but at least those roads are, finally, headed in the right direction, mostly.
It is the speed at which Harley will be getting to its destination that really now is the worry. Worthy though the plans are (mostly!) the 36 months it is still going to take (at least) until we see those plans on showroom floors (ones that “New Genners” are already clearly showing don’t share their world view) is an eternity where insomniac capital flows are concerned.
While Harley’s dedication to keeping returns in the top quartile of S&P 500 expectations is buying them some protection, an investor community that understands the strategy of money rather than metal is not know for regarding Harley’s timescale as a comfortable one.
The past two or three months have been tough ones for Harley’s share price. Having barely batted an eyelid at the unveiling of the “More Roads” plan earlier this year the Wall Street pulse hardly quickened with the “detail” (was there any?) in the MY2019 announcement. Throughout 2018 Harleys stock holders have remained singularly unimpressed with their quarterlies and the promise of “Jam Tomorrow”.
From its recession driven low of around $8.50 in February 2009, Harley’s share price recovered spectacularly, peaking at around $72.00 in May 2014, its current five year high and not far off its all-time pre-recession record of around $74 in December 2006.
Since May 2014, describing Harley’s share price as “volatile” is charitable. Since 2014 it has been on a roller coaster, collapsing to around $38 by February 2016, recovering to around $60 by April 2017, only to slide again ever since.
It made a current 52 week high of $56 in January 2018, drifting down to around $45 by the end of September before sliding again to a low of around $36 by the end of a month that saw it lose some 16% of its value.
At the time of writing a recovery of sorts had set in, to around $43 (December 3rd 2018) and with its “intrinsic” value estimated to currently be around the $48 mark it could well recover further - before the reality check in January of a final quarter that, logic dictates, will quite probably be its worst for years with unit sales dragging the company uncomfortably towards the red. 
Harley has done a good job of protecting the bottom line as well as the dividends with a profit to earning ratio of 13.50 for the third quarter off of +14& revenue despite -13% unit sales. Indeed with cash on hand of around $800m (+85%) and diluted earnings per share steepling for Q3 at +70% you’d think Harley would be a wall Street Darling.
But such performances are not sustainable without some serious underlying growth in unit sales and therein lies the problem. With the “More Roads” initiatives being at least 36 months away still (and even then predicated on Harley being successful elsewhere in its planning, especially where dealership policy is concerned) and “headwinds” coming up like mushrooms (tariffs, market decline, demographic deficits, strategic costs) an eight straight quarter of sales decline for Q4 (marking a 15th out of the prior 16 quarters) is likely to weigh heavily on January market sentiment.
For investors Harley’s turnaround story isn’t going to be an easy one to wait for. Q4 has traditionally been Harley’s weakest and if domestic sales were to slip to the 22,000 to 24,000 mark it would quite likely unleash a storm of impatience and danger.
After a flurry of institutional buying in the winter and spring of 2016 and 2017, and despite some investment houses increasing their stakes so far in 2018 (Wells Fargo increased its stake during Q3) but with some 88 percent of Harley stock owned by large number of hedge funds and institutional investors with relatively modest stakes in overall terms (Wells Fargo recent investment took their stake to 0.24% ownership of Harley overall, for example) the risks of a widely spread ownership portfolio could start to overtake the advantages of reduced dependency on a small number of large percentage owners as the opportunities to bank a reasonable return and move capital to faster moving investment opportunities proves irresistible.
Against that background the smell of the bait may well indeed start to prove tasty once more. The time it is going to take Harley to bank the benefits of its plans are again pointing to the desirability of taking itself private, de-listing until the results of the industry changes and developments we are at the  early stages of witnessing have started to more fully play out.

Indian Motorcycle

Indian Welcomes the Bauman Brothers to 2019 AFT ‘Wrecking Crew’

Following a dominant 2018 season, where the Indian FTR750 won 17 of the 18 American Flat Track (AFT) races, Indian Motorcycle Racing has announced that along with the return of reigning Champion Jared Mees, Indian Motorcycle Racing will be welcoming Briar Bauman and Bronson Bauman to its 2019 ‘Wrecking Crew’ team.

Additionally, former ‘Wrecking Crew’ rider Brad “The Bullet” Baker returns to the team as technical advisor and rider coach. 

Left to right: Bronson Bauman, Jared Mees, Briar Bauman. The 2019 AFT season will be challenging for the Indian Wrecking Crew. Designed to increase competition, a new rule will allow competitors using ‘production bikes’ to run 40 mm throttle bodies, while all FTR750 riders will be restricted to 38 mm

After back-to-back AFT championships in 2017 and 2018, Mees returns to the 2019 Indian ‘Wrecking Crew’ with crew chief Kenny Tolbert, mechanic Bubba Bently, and Jimmy Wood on suspension. Dick Tibbits also returns and will aid all three Wrecking Crew riders with nutrition, fitness and mental preparation.
Team operations for Briar and Bronson will be conducted by Paul Langley and S&S, while Dave Zanotti will serve as crew chief. Michelle DiSalvo has signed on as Briar’s mechanic; Dean Young returns as Wrecking Crew team manager.    
“We’re excited to bring back Jared and his championship pedigree as we embark on the next chapter for Indian Motorcycle Racing. We welcome Briar and Bronson and are proud to have them represent our brand on and off the track,” said Gary Gray, Vice President Racing, Technology & Service for Indian Motorcycle. “When it comes to racing, we’ve assembled some of the most talented professionals in the sport, and we’re looking forward to the upcoming season.” 

S&S President Paul Langley will be conducting team operations for Briar and Bronson Bauman

One of the key team members who will assume a leading role as a technical advisor and rider coach is Brad “The Bullet” Baker. Indian Motorcycle Racing is extremely proud to continue its relationship with the former AFT Champion and Wrecking Crew rider. Baker will closely support and mentor Briar and Bronson throughout the 2019 season by analyzing their on-track performance, help with race-day strategy and bike set-up. Baker brings a championship-winning perspective and a wealth of knowledge and experience on the FTR750.
The 2019 AFT season will be challenging for the Indian Wrecking Crew due to a new rule designed to increase competition.  This new rule will allow competitors using ‘production bikes’ to run 40 mm throttle bodies, while all FTR750 riders will be restricted to 38 mm throttle bodies.
Over the last two seasons aboard the Indian FTR750, Mees has recorded back-to-back AFT championships and has tallied 20 total wins. Through nine races aboard the FTR750 as a privateer, Briar secured six top-five finishes, including a second-place finish at the Peoria TT and a win at the Williams Grove Half-Mile. Following Baker’s injury at X Games, Bronson filled in and ran his factory FTR750 in the final seven races. During that time, Bronson garnered his first top-five finish of the season and his first career Twins podium with a second-place finish at the Williams Grove Half-Mile.
The 2017 Wrecking Crew swept the season standings, finishing first, second and third. The team earned Indian Motorcycle Racing’s first Manufacturer’s Championship. In 2018, Wrecking Crew riders and FTR750 privateers swept the top-nine positions in the final standings, securing another Manufacturer’s Championship for Indian Motorcycle Racing.

INTERMOT 2018 - Part 3

K&N Engineering: The Californian filter specialist’s European operation SRM showcased the firm’s popular ‘Street Metal’ stylish custom air cleaner program, side draft intake systems, high flow M-8 replacement filters, bolt-on ‘Aircharger’ and generally basked in the reflected glory of the success of its AFT Twins sponsorship;

Koso Europe: The instrument specialist offers one of the largest OE replacement and upgrade ranges in the powersports industry. For Harleys the company’s HD-02 set is a full plug & play solution replacing the OEM parts - nothing needs to be drilled or rewired, you just plug the instruments into the existing connectors and insert them into the panel and choose between a blue or red display on the all black devices. The 6-piece set includes a 4” speedometer, a 4” tachometer with gear indicator, a 2” oil pressure gauge, a 2” outside temperature gauge, a 2” gas gauge and a 2” voltmeter for FLHT, FLHX and FLTR from 2004 to 2013;


Brixton Motorcycles: Owned by the Austrian based KSR Group (formerly known as Generic and owned by Christian and Michael Kirschenhofer, KSR is owner or distributor of several motorcycle once-famous and increasingly well-known E-bike brands, including Lambretta). Brixton is a contemporary/retro range of (currently) five 125 and two 250 cc motorcycles powered by 4-stroke air-cooled singles. Described as offering “throwback style” with “streetwise edge” and sitting right in the sweet spot of lightweight value and convincing, youth rider styling and price-points, features include CBS and EFi on the 125 range with EFi and ABS on the 250s;


MACNA: Designed and distributed by Dutch apparel specialist Splash Design, the award-winning MACNA riding apparel range is a feature-rich, high-tech program with some notable firsts to its name - not least the innovative ‘Night Eye’ technology - a patented approach to night riding visibility that sees a normal, grey motorcycle jacket light up in the headlights without the use of conventional high-visibility materials or vests. Instead, microscopic glass beads in the Night Eye fabric work like small mirrors and reflect the light right back where it came from - lighting the rider up from a long distance;


Parts Europe: The Germany based distributor hosted some 20 or so vendors at its huge booth, including Drag Specialties staples such as S&S Cycle, Rinehart Exhausts, ICON apparel, Moose and Thor - this year has seen Drag Specialties and Thor celebrating their 50th anniversaries;

Galfer: Through its US subsidiary and distributed by Zodiac in Europe, the Spanish brake component manufacturer is a leading rotor as well as brake pad manufacturer - if you haven’t seen the company’s unique ‘Skull’ design rotors, check them out!


Royal Enfield: First revealed a year ago, the new 650 Twins from the Indian manufacturer are among the most eagerly anticipated additions to the burgeoning middleweights sector - a sector that Harley-Davidson finally announced this year it will enter in the next 24-36 months. The Continental GT and Interceptor INT are slated to finally be in U.S. dealerships by spring of 2019 and their engineering pedigree (with heavy Anglo-American pre-production development influences) and the ‘Retro’ nature of a brand that can trace its origins back to 1901 (it claims to be oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production), combined with ‘sweet-spot’ value pricing for what is widely being touted as a very, very good machine, should have a dramatic effect in an all-important 18-30 youth sector that is largely priced out of anything above 400 cc. An all new steel cradle chassis and SOHC air-oil-cooled parallel twin engine with a claimed 47 hp means they can sell to the entry level A2 licence holders. Much of the development work was undertaken at Royal Enfield’s 'UK Technical Centre', which is to be used as a global headquarters for product development, at the Bruntingthorpe Proving Grounds in England. In 2015 Royal Enfield parent company Eicher Motors bought Harris Performance in the UK, a long-standing collaborator;


Motoz: Australian tire manufacturer Motoz isn’t in the mainstream cruiser tire market, but if you are after the best dual-sport, Enduro or MX tires money can buy, listen to the “paddock chat” and get some seriously top-end knobbies from the company’s new German warehouse inventory;


The 50th Anniversary Zodiac ‘Bikers Book’

Established in 1969, Zodiac will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019, and to celebrate the milestone, the Mijdrecht, Netherlands based distributor says that its full color 50th Anniversary Issue ‘Bikers Book’ is its “best aftermarket catalog ever made,” containing “more than 40,000 parts and accessories - one of the most extensive catalogs available for the Harley-Davidson and American V-twin aftermarket.”

 Zodiac carries extensive product lines from American manufacturers like S&S Cycle, Feuling, Wiseco, Keith Black, Red Shift, James Gaskets, Cometic, Roland Sands Design, Performance Machine, Mustang, Le Pera, Kerker, SuperTrapp, JIMS and more.
Also present are leading European brands such as Black Duck, Fehling, Tolle, Kustom Tech, Kellermann and many other of Europe’s top selling and most innovative aftermarket parts makers and designers.
New are Two Brothers Racing and Freedom Performance exhaust systems in choice of open or E-approved, among over 2,000 new items from all over the world.
Available in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, Zodiac says it is “constantly enlarging and adjusting our line of products to keep up with the demands of our dealers, with thousands of applications for Buell, Indian and Victory riders too.”


Gas Tank Shell

All the way from the heart of Germany’s former industrial heartland at Duisburg, still Europe’s largest inland port, come parts and accessories from a new name to the pages of AMD Magazine - Dock66 - purveyors of custom parts and accessories with a heavy-duty heritage.

Founded in 1992, the company operates from 800 sq m (around 8,600 sq ft) of retail, workshop and warehousing space and at any one time has tons of parts and accessory items on the shelf - from lights, clamps and risers to mirrors, replacement seat springs to grips, gaskets and petcocks. Customers are builders, dealers and retailers from all over Europe.

Noted for their classic bikes and Softails, the Dock66 inventory is a combination of own parts designs and production, exclusives, and distribution of selected brands that they themselves use on their own bikes - such as the Italian Kustom Tech program (Alessandro Pacelli), Rocket Inc. mufflers, Le Pera seats and Biltwell handlebars.
The gas tank shell seen here comes without bottom and gas cap nozzle, so it can be custom-adapted to projects and all kinds of motorcycles - the customizer can choose the gas cap and petcock positions and build a custom tank bottom that suits their design and application.
The shell is XL style, with a length of 42 cm and 24 cm wide and can hold approximately 2.4 gallons, depending on the bottom shape chosen.


Drag Specialties

Drag Specialties Additions

Forward Control Relocation Kit

This -1” rearward relocation kit moves the Drag Specialties forward control kit to allow shorter riders better reach to the pegs on ‘91-‘17 FXD models (except FXDF/FXDWG).

Extended Length Stainless Steel Front Brake Kits

These extended length brake line kits for ‘14-‘19 XL883N with ABS feature black vinyl-coated braided lines constructed of stainless steel with chrome steel fittings – choice of +2”, +4”, +6”, +8”, +10” or +12” extended lengths; all lengths meet DOT specifications.

DOT Compliant Rear Turn Signals

These matt or gloss black DOT compliant rear turn signals have 2 3/8” diameter lenses and come in clear and smoke colors. They mount with 5/16” hollow bolts and hidden wiring.

Buckhorn Low and Medium Handlebars

These new 1” Buckhorn high style handlebars are made from tough steel tubing in choice of (Low) 6 3/4” end rise, 31 1/4” width, 83/4” center width, 9” pullback; (Medium) 9” end rise, 34” width, 8 3/4” center width, 9” pullback. They are available in chrome, gloss black or flat black; for Throttle-By-Wire applications and slotted for internal wiring.

Cabellero Seats for FLHR Models

These seats feature a molded, flexible urethane foam interior for comfort and an ABS thermoformed seat base with carpeted bottom and rubber bumpers for added paint protection. Available in black solar reflective leather with smooth or diamond stitching or faux suede with diamond stitching for ‘99-‘07 FLHR models.

Predator III Seats

Available for ‘18 Fat Bobs - the driver’s seat area has a 6” tall support. The seat design is narrower at the front for better leg clearance, uses a molded polyurethane foam interior and a thermoformed ABS seat base. Available with a smooth seat cover or double-diamond stitched pattern cover with black, silver or red thread.

EFi Fuel Line for Dresser Models

Allowing the late-model Dresser running light to be retained, this high-quality OEM EFi fuel line replacement upgrades the fuel line that runs from the tank to the fuel rail – it ships with all the necessary connectors and O-rings needed to service all internal and external fuel lines on models with Delphi EFi - made for ‘12-‘16 FLHT/FLHR/FLTR/FLHX and H-D FL Trike models. 

Front Floating Brake Rotor Mounting Hardware 

All of the required hardware to mount the new-style front floating brake rotors for ‘14-‘18 FLHT/FLTR/FLHR/FLHX models with lug-mounted rotors is included in this kit. The kit contains five each of the bushings, spring washers and mounting screws. Replaces OEM #s 41500018 (bushings), 41500019 (spring washers) and 41500020 (screws).

Flat Black 1 1/4” Touring Handlebars

A stylish bolt-on Road Glide upgrade - the flat black finish “adds a sleek, sinister look.” Included black control clamps replace the oversize OEM clamps; the handlebars have a full 35 degrees of adjustment, are drilled for internal wiring and notched for Throttle-By-Wire. The stock controls can be retained; available in 10”, 12”, 14”, 16” and 18” heights for ‘15-‘18 Road Glide models.

Caliper Rebuild Kits

Drag Specialties has this high-quality replacement front caliper piston and seal kit for ‘08-‘19 FLHT/FLHR/FLTR/FLHX models.


AIM Corp

‘Light Force’ Touring M-8 Clutch Slave Cylinder

Noted variable pressure clutch specialist AIM Corp has addressed the issue of clutch lever effort associated with Harley’s Touring M-8 models.

Widely regarded as a major fail on the new models, with disproportionate effort required and a lack of feedback from the stiff and hard to manage stock clutch lever, their new ‘Light Force’ clutch slave cylinder is an entirely new, ground-up design solution.
This cylinder features a heavy-duty piston with a special lubricant coating, which AIM Corp reports as helping to achieve an astonishing 40% reduction in clutch lever effort. It addition it brings a closer clutch engagement point while widening the friction zone to the grip, allowing for an easier clutch modulation. 
This unit is a direct replacement for the factory clutch slave cylinder and no other modification is required. This kit is currently offered for 2017 and up touring models featuring the new M-8 engine with a hydraulic clutch.


Custom Chrome Europe

Custom Chrome Europe Additions

3-Level Heated Grips

These 3-level heated grips by Japanese parts and accessory specialist Daytona feature a mechanical built-in switch series that offers 3 levels of heat control. Made in rubber, they are available for 1” cable and Throttle-by-Wire handlebars.

‘Bull Eye’ Clutch Cover

Made in Germany by noted custom parts manufacturer and authorized Harley-Davidson dealer Rick’s Motorcycles (Baden-Baden), these ‘Bull Eye’ clutch covers give a view of the clutch’s mechanical components. Housed in a CNC-machined aluminum ring, the window is cut from impact resistant Makrolon polycarbonate - a material that is as clear as glass but hundreds of times stronger.

S&S Mini Teardrop

The S&S Teardrop air cleaner is one of the few truly iconic aftermarket performance part designs, and this ‘Mini Teardrop’ is 85 percent of the original size and features machined openings around the rim to add style and additional air flow; the kit includes base plate, Teardrop air cleaner cover and mounting hardware.

Avon Cushion Grips

Recognized for their ergonomics, durability and comfort, the Avon Cushion Grips are built around a core bar that creates air pockets inside the grip body to dampen vibrations and help eliminate hand fatigue and stress.

Andrews Transmission Belt Pulley

Manufactured at their headquarters factory at Mount Prospect, Illinois, by high performance cam and gear specialist Andrews Products, these Big Twin transmission belt pulleys are available for most Harley Touring models and Softails from 1985, Evos, Twin Cams and up to the late model M-8 Softails. They feature between 29 and 34 teeth, depending on the application, are finished in ‘raw’ and available as stock replacements or as performance upgrades that can deliver between 6.4% less and 9% more rpm.

Cross Road/Solo Handlebars

Manufactured in steel by the German master craftsmen at Fehling, these TÜV approved 1” bars are available with or without customized reinforcing plate, in steel or black powder-coat finish. Measuring 185 mm high with 180 mm pullback and 950 mm overall width, they are dimpled for cable routing.



Kuryakyn Adds to its Kellermann Lights Line-Up

Parts and accessory specialist Kuryakyn has added to its “Kuryakyn by Kellermann” collection with the addition of the Aachen, Germany based manufacturer’s recently launched incredibly small but powerful Atto DF, Rhombus S and micro S lights.

Atto DF

The 4-wire Atto DF is said to be the industry’s smallest combination run-turn-brake light application – measuring 10 mm (diameter) x 14 mm long - featuring three-in-one ultra-bright red run/brake and amber turn signal functionality. The Atto DF remains visually hidden when the bike is powered off, but when activated, these tiny powerhouses deliver intense illumination to keep trailing motorists at a safe distance. Available in satin black or chrome finishes and intended for rear use only, it includes a heat sink that absorbs and disperses heat away from the housing to prevent overheating.
The Rhombus S is a significantly scaled down version of the popular micro Rhombus family. Available as 2-wire amber for front or rear applications, as well as 4-wire red run/brake and amber turn signal for rear applications, its sleek, angular, right or left-side specific housing measures 35 mm long x 9.5 mm wide x 11 mm high. 

Rhombus S

The “Kuryakyn by Kellermann” micro S is currently available in 4-wire red run/brake with amber turn signal - a miniature version of the established micro 1000 collection of indicators measuring 48 mm long x 9.5 mm wide x 9.5 mm high in a streamlined satin black oval shaped housing. 

micro S

All three feature “optimized light channeling” through a smart system of lenses and reflectors known as Kellermann’s EXtranz (Extreme Optical Transparency) technology.
This unique internal structure produces highly concentrated light output despite the incredibly small size of the indicators. Additional features include durable metal housings and glass lenses, as well as Kellermann’s HighPower L.E.D. technology with Long Life Protection Guard for unrivaled longevity.
Also new to the “Kuryakyn by Kellermann” collection are these CNC-machined aluminum fender strut cover plates that conceal the holes left upon removal of rear fender strut-mounted signals on most ’02-later Dyna, Softail and Sportster models. They’re compatible with all “Kuryakyn by Kellermann” indicators, as well as any aftermarket turn signals that mount via M8 mounting studs.

Fender Strut Cover Plates

Additional mounts and adapters for Atto, Rhombus S and micro S indicators are also available separately for a variety of mounting options. All “Kuryakyn by Kellermann” indicators are universally compatible with most motorcycles operating via standard 12 volt DC electrical systems using an M8 x 1.25 x 20 mm mounting thread.


Wednesday 12 December 2018

Tucker Powersports

Tucker and MAG Continue to Strengthen Management Teams as January’s Fort Worth Expo Nears

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. 

Industry veteran Greg Blackwell joins Tucker Powersports as Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Noting the Motorsport Aftermarket Group’s (MAG) strategy of hiring candidates with aftermarket or powersports credentials, interim CEO Buettner said that “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.”
The new role has been created following the September departure of Eric Cagle after two years as President. At the time, Buettner stated that “the change in direction represents a shift in philosophy with a focus on better serving Tucker dealers and vendors.”
True to Buettner’s stated aims, Blackwell’s 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, with marketing becoming a separate functional group in the new organizational structure.
“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 popular and widely respected motorcycle industry veteran, who is the “real deal” where being a rider is concerned. He is a passionate and accomplished street and off-road motorcycle rider and comes from a family with impeccable industry and riding credentials.

Hugh Charvat, new CEO of Motorsport Aftermarket Group (center), joined Board Member Mike Buettner (left) and J&P Cycles President Zach Parham for a ride in Dallas during his interview process

His brother Mark Blackwell is an AMA Hall of Famer, winner of America’s first 500 cc national championship motocross race in 1972, a motocross school instructor, and was the midwife for Polaris Industries’ entry into the motorcycle market, first with Victory, then at the time of the acquisition of the Kings Mountain, North Carolina Indian Motorcycle iteration from Stephen Julius in 2011.
Meanwhile, Tucker’s parent company Motorsport Aftermarket Group has secured the services of another “Petrol Head”, with Chairman of the Board Bob Peiser’s announcement of Hugh Charvat as the new CEO for MAG.
Commenting on the conclusion of the process to secure a successor to Andy Graves, Peiser stated that “as we stressed from the beginning, the new group of investors was focused on making the right choice for this position. We not only wanted a previously successful CEO, but also one who was passionate about powersports. We are confident that Hugh is that person. We are extremely excited about the knowledge, the experience and the passion he brings, and we believe he is the right person to help us win our customers back and return our brands to #1 in the industry.”

To date, Tucker says it has had approximately 162 brand partners committed to its 2019 show at Fort Worth in January. Of those, 21 are said to be new to the Tucker show line-up, with 11 of those being new brands for the company

Charvat has extensive experience in leadership roles at companies providing aftermarket products in the automotive and truck business. In his most recent role at APC Automotive Technologies (APC), he led an organization with more than $600m in annual revenue, 1,500 employees and nine locations in North America. Before APC, he was Chairman, President & CEO of Schrader International and had global responsibility for Schrader Electronics, Schrader Valve Group and Plews Edelman.
“Beyond his work resume, he’s got a passion for having fun on two and four wheels,” continued Peiser. “When I asked what was in his garage, I was blown away by the answer. He owns a Suzuki SV650 and a Suzuki GSF1250S, along with a selection of sportscars. His interest in fast cars isn’t just casual. He’s been both a competitor and instructor in sportscar racing, having competitive licenses with SCCA, the BMW Club and the National Auto Sports Association. He’s been a national instructor for SCCA for both open wheel and production classes. I suspect that very soon he’ll be looking at more motorcycles, and maybe a side-by-side, so he and his wife, Lori, can get out and enjoy some off-road fun.”
Charvat took up his position on November 26 and “will be moving quickly to get up-to-speed on everything that’s happening with all our brands, and at J&P Cycles and at Tucker Powersports.  He’s already planning for some extensive time visiting our locations around the country and meeting everyone in person.  And of course, the Tucker Show in January will be a great way for him to meet many of our dealers and suppliers.”
Peiser went on to thank Mike Buettner “for jumping in to serve as Interim CEO, which gave us the time to make this decision. Mike will remain as a member of the Board of Directors and a good friend of mine. He will work with Hugh to finalize our 2019 plans and provide for a smooth transition.”
Charvat and Blackwell join industry veterans John Potts (formerly of Vance & Hines) and Greg Heichelbech (formerly at Harley-Davidson, Triumph North America and BRP), who were recently added to the leadership team at MAG. John Potts returns to MAG as Global VP of Business Development, with Heichelbech heading up the MAG Accessories Group (Kuryakyn and Mustang Seats).
Meanwhile, a record number of exhibiting brands and dealer pre-registrations are being reported as Tucker gears-up for its 2019 Dealer Expo at Fort Worth in January. With some weeks still to go, Tucker Powersports said that “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.”

Community garage

Written by, Andrew Koretz, June 12, 2018
The amazing motorcycle resurgence

In the first of two articles about current trends and changes that are reshaping the motorcycle industry status quo, Andrew Koretz, Founder of Garage Time, a community garage space finder and consulting service, argues that dealers and manufacturers are failing to capitalize on a wave of opportunity ….


We’re all tired of hearing about the demise of the motorcycle industry and the usual talking points: declining new bike sales, an aging rider base, and lack of interest by the younger generation.  In a misguided effort to attract first-time riders, manufacturers have rallied to create the next wave of smaller, lighter, and more affordable bikes, a stopgap for what seems like the inevitable future of electric power.
Jason Paul Michaels, founder of Standard Motorcycle, an Orlando-based community garage: “The biggest thing community garages offer is a place for people to congregate and not feel like they have to be sold something” 

We are indeed teetering on the edge of what motorcycling will become, but the likely outcomes are far less drastic than we’re led to believe.  The issue at hand is less about delivering a better motorcycle, and more about connecting with the next generation of rider.
Ever the unruly child, motorcycles evoke emotion unlike any other object, and have long faced social and technological pressures threatening to strip the soul from the machine.  The future of motorcycling has been challenged time and again: the jump from carbureted motors to fuel injection, helmet requirements, and emissions regulations.  The innovation arms race has been successful at one thing recently - burning good dealer and manufacturer marketing dollars.  This perpetual dance has made bikes safer and more efficient, but failed to address problem-solution fit.  What’s currently being sold at the highest levels is the perception of lifestyle.  What riders are craving is not perception.
Motorcycling is predicated on two notions: truth of self, and rebellion against convention.  At its roots, motorcycling is about the ride, and not necessarily the bike.  The machine is an important element, but the sport remains about feeling - freedom, camaraderie, empowerment, education, and joy.  

A select few have embraced that rebellious spirit, and lead a trend that will shape the next couple of decades of motorcycle ownership.  Across industrial parks and vacant rail yards, a resurgence of DIY community garages is taking place.  These boutique garages have quickly realized that the problem isn’t a need for more or newer bikes, but a demand to deliver the motorcycle experience in an authentic and inspiring manner.
Community garages provide the space and tools to wrench, offer hands-on classes, weekly rides, movie nights, and a place to congregate with other enthusiasts.  As our cities become more populous and the sharing economy mindset is applied to more aspects of daily life, millennials have shown a renewed interest in doing-it-yourself, including tackling their automotive needs.  The next generation is tech savvy, cost conscious, and are inspired by a influx of DIY television shows, Instagram feeds, and YouTube channels.  This urban-centric generation has more access to information and support than ever before, and is fueled by inexpensive online parts and free two-day shipping. 
Jason Paul Michaels is the founder of Standard Motorcycle, an Orlando-based community garage, and recognizes “the biggest thing community garages offer is a place for people to congregate and not feel like they have to be sold something.  The younger demographic just don’t make purchases the same way as the previous generation.  People don’t want to sit and hang out in a dealership. They do however want real, tangible community, and to hang out at a community center that sells motorcycles.“
With boomers aging and reintroducing their bikes into the general supply, these inexperienced riders have a glut of makes and models to choose from, and with individuality in mind, they have no need or desire to turn to dealerships.  While community garages are a hub for all things motor related, this new wave is diversifying their services by offering a slew of complementary attractions: barber shops, custom parts, branded clothing, coffee shops, and retail pop-ups.  The idea is more than the sum of its parts.  Anybody can set up tools and benches in a garage, but the beauty comes from the highly curated environment - delivering a location-specific experience to its clientele.  DIY motorcycling deeply connects with riders and is achieving a cult-status.
For apartment dwellers and seasoned riders lacking specialty tools, these spaces fill a tremendous void.  Many of the 40 active shops are membership based, requiring monthly or annual dues to make use of the space.  Users are ok with that, and are buying into the model as more communities make plans to open shop.  This is the millennial’s outlaw country club, a place to spend time with like-minded people, learn, get your hands dirty, and connect with motorcycles.

Running the industry’s only community garage consulting service offers us a unique perspective and dialogue as to what models thrive, the underlying challenges, and newest trends.  Community garages are a true grassroots effort that get back to the basics, celebrates people and beautiful machines.  This is a wave of opportunity that manufacturers and dealers have failed to capitalize on, and the unfortunate truth is this should be a high ROI opportunity and a chance to re-engage with a new generation of rider, learn about market demand, leverage existing assets, and get paid for under-utilized resources.
Community garages are opening, operating, and thriving on shoestring budgets.  It is that passion and rebellious spirit that gives hope for the future.  As Michaels puts it “Much like the resurgence of vintage bikes did for custom motorcycle culture, this bubble needs to be supported and if so, will help sustain and usher in a new generation of motorcyclists who will eventually become the next generation brand loyalists.” 
Community garages have stepped up to fill a void in the motorcycle community, providing culture, experience and value for new riders.  They’re being rewarded not only in membership and merchandise sales, but social engagement and enthusiastic followers.  As this motorcycle resurgence gains momentum, we look forward to how the industry adapts and caters to young rider needs.  Regardless of outcome, the new wave of shared workspace is an amazing resource for budding enthusiasts and keeping the DIY flame lit.

Indian Motorcycle

Indian Motorcycle Racing Releases AFT Rule Change Statement

Indian Motorcycle is not happy about the AMA’s recently announced rule changes for the 2019 American Flat Track season.

Said to be “designed to increase the competitive balance in the sport,” Indian says that two of the three rule changes “single out Indian Motorcycle and the FTR750, and one of the three unfairly handicaps Indian Motorcycle’s ability to compete.”

Gary Gray, Indian Motorcycles Vice President for Racing, Service & Technology: “We believe the changes for 2019 do not create the competitive balance we all desire and instead put Indian Motorcycle Racing at a competitive disadvantage”

Gary Gray, Indian Motorcycles Vice President for Racing, Service & Technology, points to its development of a “superior purpose-built race bike that conforms to AFT’s rules and regulations” and says that “while our efforts over the past two years produced unparalleled success on the track, the result has also been a competitive imbalance that ultimately does not benefit the sport.
“For this reason, we are fully supportive of efforts by AFT to restore competitive balance. However, we believe the changes for 2019 do not create the competitive balance we all desire and instead put Indian Motorcycle Racing at a competitive disadvantage.
“First is the change from Sonoco Supreme fuel to Sonoco GTX-260 fuel, a lower octane, lead-free fuel that will force reductions in compression ratios and, ultimately, reduced power output. This is something that affects all teams equally, and Indian Motorcycle is aligned with this change.

“We believe that allowing production engines to increase from 38 mm throttle bodies to 40 mm puts us at a competitive disadvantage. The FTR 750 is not a street legal production motorcycle. We have done extensive testing in this area and our results have shown that 40 mm throttle bodies produce 20-22% more airflow than the 38 mm”

“Second is the allowance of street legal production engines up to 900 cc.  The change to allow smaller displacement engines to increase bore and stroke past 750 cc to 900 cc will produce broader torque curves and higher peak power where desired, which is a significant advantage. “Production” engines are also allowed to change out all internal components including crankshafts, cams, pistons, connecting rods and valves.
“Although this change puts Indian Motorcycle at a disadvantage, we support this as part of AFT’s effort to create competitive balance.”
However, it is with the third of the three rule changes that Indian takes “serious issue with.” This is the change that allows production engines to increase from 38 mm throttle bodies to 40 mm. Indian says that this rule excludes Indian Motorcycle Racing, because the Scout FTR750 is not a street legal production motorcycle.
“Not only does the rule singularly handicap Indian Motorcycle, it represents a significant impairment of our ability to compete on an equal level with every other team in the paddock, specifically on mile tracks.
“We have done extensive testing in this area, and our results have shown that 40 mm throttle bodies produce 20% to 22% more air flow than the 38 mm throttle body. In previous years, larger throttle bodies have been allowed, but limited specifically to larger production motors. This will be the first time that smaller, lighter production motors, similar in dimension and weight to the FTR750, will be able to increase throttle body sizes, creating a significant advantage over larger, heavier motors, let alone over the FTR750, for which this allowance does not apply. 
“This is extremely significant on mile tracks where the increased air intake is maximized over the longer straights. Considering that the mile tracks are the predominant racing format in the series, this puts us at a drastic disadvantage and is detrimental to our ability to fairly compete at mile tracks.” 
The company went on to say that “it is critical to us that American Flat Track fans understand how these changes exclusively impair Indian Motorcycle Racing.  Despite these changes, we will attack 2019 with the same competitive focus and determination that resulted in back-to-back championships over the past two years.”  

J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show

J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show Winners – Long Beach

The winner of the first round of the 2018-2019 J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show (UBCBS) at this season’s Progressive International Motorcycle Show (IMS) at Long Beach, California, was Brandon Holstein of The Speed Merchant, who won $1,000 for his 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob.
Now in its ninth year, UBCBS is an elite-level custom motorcycle builder competition featuring more than 400 motorcycles, and with more than $100,000 cash and prizes awarded across the IMS tour, the largest prize package in the United States. The competition will be held at all seven stops on the IMS Tour with the winners moving on to compete in the championship round taking place February 17 in Chicago, Illinois.


Winner: Brandon Holstein of The Speed Merchant - 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, featuring a handmade aluminum tail and front cowling on the Harley-Davidson – a first prototype billet aluminum swingarm with mid controls and triple trees.
Runner-Up: Shaun Ruddy took home a plaque for his 2018 Chop Deville custom motorcycle, featuring a fully handbuilt tracker.

Custom Retro:

Winner: Anthony Robinson of Anthony Robinson Gasoline & Coffee took home $750 for his 1966 Triumph T-100, hosting a 500 motor engraved with an open primary belt drive.
Runner-Up: Michael LaFountain and painter Geoff Giamarco of Michael LaFountain and Raccia Motorcycles received a plaque on the 1974 Honda CB750, highlighting a custom tank, seat and instrument panel among other custom-built features.

Custom Street:

Winner: Jon Schroder won $500 for his 2007 Suzuki GZ250, featuring a custom-made tail, seat, fly screen and pipe.
Runner-Up: Jay Losa received a plaque as runner-up in the Custom Street competition.

Modified Harley-Davidson:

Winner: Eric Bennet of Bennett’s Performance Inc. took home $750 and a $250 Harley-Davidson gift card for a 1977 Harley-Davidson frame. The water-cooled engine was the front engine out of the Jammer Streamliner that set the AMA record at 276.376 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in October 1978.
Runner-Up: Jim Carducci received a $100 Harley-Davidson gift card for his 2018 Carducci Dual Sport Gera Baja. The custom motorcycle features a 1275 cc Sportster motor, suspension travel, CNC swingarm, 2-into-1 exhaust with a LeoVince muffler among other custom build features.

People’s Choice:

Winner: Jim Carducci also won a People’s Choice award for his 2018 Carducci Dual Sport Gera Baja.