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Tuesday 26 March 2019

Arlen Ness

Arlen Ness - "The King of Custom"

AMD was saddened to hear of the death of industry legend Arlen Ness - "The King of Custom" - and someone to whom we all owe such an immense debt of gratitude and our unstinting admiration and respect.
Many words will no doubt be written about Arlen, the man as well as Arlen the customizer, in the coming days, weeks and months, but for now it is best left to his family to sum up what he meant to them.
Arlen passed on March 22nd, aged 79. This is the message that his family posted on the company's  Facebook page the day after his passing. Our thoughts are with his wife Bev, son Cory, daughter Sherri, and his grandchildren and all the members of the family, as there can be no better epitaph for anyone than to be able to say that he had "inspired"…
"It is with heavy hearts that we announce Arlen Ness the visionary, loving husband, father, grandfather and leader of our family passed away last night March 22, 2019. Arlen passed away comfortably in his home surrounded by loved ones after the most creative and inspirational life anyone could imagine.
The most important things in Arlen’s life were his wife of 59 years Beverly, his children, grandchildren, friends and motorcycles. Arlen once said that “Motorcycling has been a great ride…my whole life since I’ve been motorcycling has been wonderful. I’ve met so many nice people. Friends all over the world…. We can go almost anyplace and stay with friends. It’s been great.” With few words Arlen conveyed his priorities every day, family and friends.
Everyone who knew Arlen respects him for his achievements and for who he was as a person, both of which are superlatives. The respect is how Arlen came to deserve the commonly spoken nickname “The King of Custom Motorcycles”. Arlen rarely reflected on his own success. He never planned for it, this is because what he achieved had never been done before; it had never been dreamt of.
Arlen has touched the lives of our family, the Arlen Ness team and thousands of others around the world with his genuine character. We will announce a memorial service and celebration of life after some private time, and appreciate your understanding. We thank you for your respects and condolences.
Although the Ness family cannot put their loss into words, they can look up and smile knowing Arlen has done something that few men do in a lifetime of trying. He has inspired."

American Flat Track

Mees Beaten as Privateer Robinson Takes Atlanta Short Track for Indian


Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Kennedy Racing/Armbruster Racing Indian FTR750) accomplished what few riders have in recent American Flat Track history in the Yamaha Atlanta Short Track presented by Cycle Gear (March 23) - successfully beating dominant double-defending Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) to win the 25-lap AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines main event at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga.

Photo: Scott Hunter/American Flat Track

On lap 22 of 25, Robinson made the race’s decisive maneuver, pulling off a skillful outside overtake to steal away the lead - Mees had no response as Robinson headed to a 0.621-second margin of victory - Robinson’s first AFT Twins win since he won the Lima Half-Mile midway through the 2016 season.
Daytona TT winner Briar Bauman was third; Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R Rev X) was fourth, with Short Track expert Henry Wiles (No. 17 Bandit Industries/DPC Racing/Wilco Racing Indian FTR750) fifth.
In the 15-lap Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys main event, Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 D&D Cycles/Gobert Smash Honda CRF450R) took the win - completing a comeback after being forced to serve a suspension for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy for the better part of the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Morgen Mischler (No. 69 Waters Autobody Racing/D&D Powersports KTM 450 SX-F) recovered from a poor start to race to second; reigning AFT Singles Champion Dan Bromley (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) was third; Ryan Wells (No. 94 Estensen Racing Yamaha YZ450F), who originally finished fourth, was disqualified for exceeding the maximum allowable weight for a rear wheel assembly following post-race technical inspection, leaving Roof Systems teammates Oliver Brindley (No. 24 Roof Systems of Dallas/Fox Solutions Yamaha YZ450F) and Kevin Stollings (No. 99 Roof Systems of Dallas/Hinson Honda CRF450R) to take fourth and fifth respectively.
AFT now takes a few weeks off before the Texas Half-Mile presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday, April 20. After that is the Wild Horse TT at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, AZ., April 27; the So-Cal Half-Mile at Perris Auto Speedway, Perris, CA., May 11; the legendary Sacramento Mile at Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA., May 18; then the first of two visits to the Illinois State Fairgrounds this season for Springfield Mile I on May 26.


Biltwell Donates Helmets for Use at MSF Rider Training Sites

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has welcomed and expressed its appreciation to Biltwell Inc for its donation of 1,800 helmets to the National Motorcycle Safety Fund for use at MSF-recognized Rider Training Sites. 

Mike Ellis (left), General Manager of Biltwell Inc., with MSF's Tim Buche
Helmet pic: Some of the Biltwell helmet models available to training sites

The MSF says that it has "a constant need to replenish our stock of helmets, which are used every weekend by first-time students who take the MSF Basic Rider Course at over 2,000 locations around the country."
With Biltwell's consent, the MSF is selling the helmets to the training sites at a nominal cost, with all proceeds going to the National Motorcycle Safety Fund. The NMSF is MSF's 501(c)(3) charitable division which has funded crash research, motorcycle safety videos and publications, alcohol and drug education programs for motorists, and other initiatives aimed at creating a safer riding environment for all motorcyclists.

Mike Ellis, General Manager of Biltwell, said: "We had an extra quantity of our Gringo and Gringo S model helmets available, so rather than having them sitting in inventory, we realized we could put them to better use by donating them for use at MSF training sites, which would improve the students' experience."
"We always strive to provide the safest and best motorcycle training experience available, and, like motorcycle riding itself, it all starts with putting on a good helmet," said Diane Howells, President of Motorcycle Safety School, Inc., of Brooklyn, NY. "We are grateful to Biltwell for their ongoing support of motorcycle training."
 According to MSF President Tim Buche: "These types of donations enable multiple win-win situations. The training sites with their limited budgets can upgrade their helmet inventory at little cost; students can enjoy wearing fresh, modern helmets during the hands-on course; NMSF gains funding for future research and outreach projects; and Biltwell gets the tax benefits of a charitable contribution." Tim implores other companies and individuals to visit the NMSF website,, and donate to further motorcyclist safety.

A.D. Farrow Co.

Bob Althoff Sells A.D. Farrow Co. to Local Automotive 'Mega Mall' Owner

Bob Althoff has sold a majority ownership in his three Columbus, Ohio A.D. Farrow Co. Harley-Davidson stores to Ricart Automotive - owner of 67 acres of new and used car inventory with Ford, Genesis, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Nissan franchises.
Established in 1912, A.D. Farrow is America's oldest Harley dealership and has been owned by Althoff for 18 years - it is reported that he will keep minority ownership "until he's ready to give the remaining shares to Ricart" and will stay on as a partner. 

The A.D. Farrow name will be retained, but the stores re-branded as "A.D. Farrow powered by #1 Ricart."
Ricart and Althoff confirmed that the two sides had been discussing a deal for more than a year. "My kids aren't in the business," Althoff is quoted as saying "and I can't live forever, but family can. That's the A.D. Farrow name, the Ricart name. I could have brought this to the national market, but I needed to hand this off to better, strong hands. They're going to do just fine."

Bob Althoff had owned A.D. Farrow, America's oldest Harley dealership, for 18 years and will retain a minority stake and remain as a partner

The deal includes the operating company consisting of the three stores and real estate at NorthStar in Sunbury. The Centennial Park dealership in Pataskala will be relocated to a nearly 3-acre site owned by a Ricart affiliate.
"Harley-Davidson is a brand our family is passionate about," President Rick Ricart said in an interview. "This is an opportunity for us to diversify." This will be Ricart's first expansion away from the Ricart Automotive 'Mega Mall' in Columbus, OH, in 10 years.
"We're beyond thrilled to be growing the Ricart brand with A.D. Farrow Co. Harley-Davidson. Harley is one of the oldest and strongest brands in our country, and the Ricart family have been avid Harley-Davidson riders for years. We're excited to get to know the A.D. Farrow employees and their families and to take on the next chapter of this historic brand."
"I have known and admired the Ricart organization all my life," said Althoff. "The family have been Harley riders for years, and I couldn't imagine better stewards of this legacy business in the decades to come. Their passion for motorcycles and the people who ride them convinced me that they will dominate the Harley-Davidson dealer ranks as they have the Ford ranks."

AFT Series for 2019

AFT Series Again Secures Widespread Industry Support for 2019

With a new rider roster for 2019 featuring defending champion Jared Mees, along with Briar and Bronson Bauman (supported by J&P Cycles), and with Brad Baker as a technical advisor and rider coach, Indian Motorcycle has reinforced its support for the series with a contingency. It is offering nearly $360,000 and an impressive line-up of team sponsors - headed by S&S Cycle, Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties, Indian Motorcycle Oil, Alpinestars and Bell Helmets.

 S&S Cycle has been a major contributor to Indian Motorcycles' success, and this year President Paul Langley is overseeing team operations for Briar and Bronson Bauman
The 2019 series also has significant contingency program backing from Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and KTM as an OEM sponsor. This year's series features an 18-round championship and 112 AFT Production Twins events for twin cylinder engine production bikes from BMW, Ducati, Harley, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha street bikes between 649 - 800 cc.

In the premier AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines the line-up of aftermarket brands supporting the series is impressive. In addition to their sponsorship of the Indian Motorcycle factory team, as reported elsewhere in this edition, Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties return as the series' Official Parts and Accessories Distribution Partner. 

AFT official brake pad sponsor SBS has always offered brake pads sintered brake pads formulations specifically for Harley-Davidsons, and last year saw them add Indian Motorcycle Scout and Big Twin model applications

Danish specialist SBS Brakes is now into the second of a three-year commitment to AFT, with North American Market Manager Chris Lyngkilde Jensen commenting that "we could see the success that lay ahead for the series, it is proving to be a classic case of the right format at exactly the right time - that is why we were very happy to commit for three years."
National Cycle's backing for AFT has run deep, having sponsored Jared Mees for many years; Sales Director Ann Willey seen here. This year the company is sponsoring AFT as the Series' official windshield

Maywood, Illinois windscreen specialist National Cycle has renewed its involvement for another year. In 2018, National Cycle served as a sponsor to AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Jared Mees and heavily supported his campaign to victory. After a successful season, National Cycle has now stepped up its support of the sport by joining AFT's family of partners.
"National Cycle has been a passionate fan and supporter of professional flat track racing for much of its 82-year history," said Barry Willey, President and CEO of National Cycle. "After years of sponsoring riders - including current #1 Jared Mees - we are proud to partner as the Official Windshield of American Flat Track." Barry speaks for many when he says: "We enjoy all aspects of motorcycling, and we are thrilled to see the diverse brands and styles of motorcycles AFT fans are riding."

Founded in 1984 by International Six Day Trial (ISDT) gold medalist Chris Carter, Motion Pro is deeply rooted in the racing community. Commenting on their return, Jon Mullins, Motion Pro Race Manager, said: "We couldn't be happier to continue as the Official Tools, Cables and Controls of American Flat Track in 2019 and continue to showcase our commitment to flat track racing in the United States. As AFT riders and teams raise the bar of competition each year, Motion Pro has been working tirelessly to develop and refine its products to match their needs."

Concord, Ohio based Cometic Gasket returns as the Official Gasket of AFT, with founder and CEO Bob Gorman commenting: "Cometic Gasket is a time-tested brand and a staple in American Flat Track racing. Our company is rooted in powersports and it's been incredibly gratifying to watch AFT flourish as the sport grows in popularity, viewership and attendance. It's exciting to be aligned with a sport that continues to move the needle in the right direction."

Fellow Ohio business Wiseco returns as the Official Piston for the 2019 season. "Wiseco is proud to be a continued supporter of the American Flat Track series," said Wiseco Director of Powersports Scott Highland. "We love the sport of motorcycle racing at Wiseco, so helping to promote one of the most exciting and historic racing properties is an honor. As the original American-made performance racing piston, AFT is in our DNA. We're thrilled to be the Official Piston and to work closely with the racers and officials of this incredible American tradition."

Wiseco sister company Rekluse returns as the Official Clutch. "We are proud to return as the Official Clutch of American Flat Track," said Sean Brown, President of Rekluse. "The massive growth of the Series over the last few years has been a pleasure to witness and be a part of. The feedback we get from the racers - in both the AFT Singles and AFT Twins classes - in this demanding discipline is an invaluable tool for us to further improve our technology."

Noted Swedish suspension manufacturer Öhlins is continuing its AFT partnership for 2019, with Doug Shaw, Racing Manager of Öhlins USA, saying that "Öhlins is all about hardcore racing, and American Flat Track is the peak of that mountain. For the fourth consecutive year, we have been pushing hard to step up our game in the support and service of the AFT paddock, and those efforts have really paid off. Because AFT is such a major series to us, we are absolutely pumped for the start of the 2019 season."
This year sees Full Spectrum Power supporting AFT as the Official Battery brand, No Ramp are the Official Trailer partner, and E3 are again the Official Spark Plug. Cycle Gear is back as the Official Retailer, Arai as the Official Helmet and Dainese is Official Safety Partner.
AFT and Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys have announced an enhanced partnership agreement for the 2019 season. In addition to remaining the Official Attorneys of AFT, they are also now the first Presenting Sponsor of the AFT Singles class.
AFT has confirmed its NBCSN broadcast schedule for the 2019 season, maintaining its valuable weekend afternoon programming slots within two weeks of each event. Telecasts reached 41% more viewers in 2018 than in its first year; this spike in viewership delivered a record-breaking total of more than two million viewers tuning in during prime weekend programming slots.

News Briefs

Harley rumors about changes for the MY 2020 Harley line-up (in addition to the LiveWire) range from the non-existent to the minimal. Our betting is on some new models, just to keep some momentum going, and to keep the 100 new bikes in 10 years counter ticking. Look for a new Touring model and 114" Softail, and maybe a new CVO. The strangest report we have heard so far is of a considerable reduction in the number of Sportsters being offered in the USA - but that would be too odd to be true, unless it is to plow the ground for a subsequent stand-alone mid-cycle announcement?

Harley has approved a cash dividend of $0.375 per share for the first quarter of 2019, an increase of +1.4% percent compared to the first quarter 2018 dividend of $0.37 per share, payable March 29 to Common stock shareholders of record as of March 14, 2019.

Following the difficulties encountered by Alta Motors after Harley's termination of its investment and collaboration agreement, BRP is reported to have purchased select assets (IP, patents and some physical assets) of Alta parent company Faster Faster, Inc. "as part of BRP's longstanding interest in new technologies and alternate energy sources for the powersports industry."

Harley has partnered with IBM Cloud for the H-DF Connect Service that LiveWire riders will have access to. The service will provide owners with 'concierge' services and allow the expansion of the use of IBM artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and IoT to "enhance and evolve the rider's experience of the vehicle." H-D Connect Service provides cellular connectivity and links a LiveWire owner with their motorcycle through their smartphone, using the latest version of the H-D app.

Harley-Davidson's financing business is seeking nearly $6.3 million from the owner of dealerships in Janesville and New Berlin, alleging check and inventory fraud and breach of contract. In addition, court records also show the owners of Iron Town Harley-Davidson in New Berlin (formerly known as Hal's H-D) plan to sell the store to focus on its Broadtracker Harley-Davidson, Janesville dealership.

Initially established in Peoria, Il. in 1990, Bob Wiebler has sold his Quad-Cities Harley-Davidson business (Davenport, IA) to Michael McGrath - part of a family that owns and operates numerous high-profile dealerships throughout Illinois and Iowa, including Lexus of Chicago, Honda of Chicago, Acura of Chicago, Lexus of Westmont, Ford Hyundai of Cedar Rapids, and many more. McGrath also owns and operates McGrath Harley-Davidson in Dubuque, McGrath Hawkeye Harley-Davidson in Coralville and McGrath Powersports of Cedar Rapids. It has been renamed McGrath Quad City Harley-Davidson and will remain at the current location.

Multiple dealer ownership group Windy City Motorcycle Company has formed what appears to be a joint venture business with Fox Powersports Chairman and CEO Dan DeVos. Windy City-Fox Motorsports will "serve the Greater Chicagoland Harley-Davidson retail market and position the iconic brand for continued success in the Chicago metropolitan area," with Windy City CEO Ozzie Giglio heading up the combined group. The deal includes the Milwaukee Motorcycle Company and Windy City dealerships, and adds the Fox owned Lakeshore H-D, Chicago H-D, (which will relocate from Glenview to Rosemont, Il.) and the recently opened Chicago H-D of Wrigleyville adjacent to the legendary home of the Chicago Cubs.

Charlotte and Coastal Indian

Charlotte and Coastal Indian to Sponsor #12 Jay Maloney in 2019 AFT Twins

Indian Motorcycle Charlotte and Coastal Indian of Myrtle Beach have announced that they are the presenting sponsors of Oakland, New Jersey native's Jay Maloney 2019 AFT Twins effort.
Indian Charlotte’s owners, Tim Sutherland and Lloyd Greer, have a long background in various forms of racing, and when Jay’s team looked for a key sponsor for the 2019 American Flat Track Series, the sponsorship opportunity made perfect sense for both groups.

Jay’s #12 team raced an Indian FTR750 in 2018 and finished 17th in the standings. Now going into his 3rd season racing the AFT Twins and his second year riding an Indian FTR750, he is poised to put himself on the podium this year. Jay said: “I am energized to have the support of Indian Charlotte and Coastal Indian this season, those guys are truly winners and I find inspiration in their support”.
Tim and Lloyd have high expectations and look to continue their winning ways as they expand their racing DNA into the AFT Twins Series. Tim said: “Jay is an up and coming rising star and we are proud to share our background and resources to help him take his efforts to the next level in the AFT Series.” Lloyd agreed and added: “Our dealership near Charlotte has set the bar very high with our in-house ownership of Indian Motorcycle Horsepower, and we are eager to add our support to Jay’s efforts.

"We know how to make Indian motorcycles perform and bring a lot to the table. We are also keen on using what we learn in our various racing efforts to bring dependable performance to our clients’ Indian motorcycles as well”.
Tim Sutherland and Lloyd Greer bought Indian Motorcycle Charlotte in the spring of 2018. Charlotte is the first Indian dealer of the modern era, having opened in 2008, and is regarded as the flagship and benchmark of dealerships around the world. Indian Charlotte has been chosen as a Top 100 Dealer in international competition every year since its opening and has won numerous other special awards.
Tim Sutherland also owns Coastal Indian in Myrtle Beach, SC, and is a well-respected custom bike builder and entrepreneur. Lloyd Greer owns Lloyd’z Motorworkz in Pine Bush, NY, and is internationally known for his ability to make huge horsepower from Indian Motorcycle powertrains along with other American made V-twins.

Drag Specialties/Parts Unlimited

Drag Specialties/Parts Unlimited Spring NVP Product Expo
Louisville, Kentucky,16-17 February 2019

The Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties Spring NVP Product Expo proved to be the biggest Expo ever put on by LeMans Corporation. 
"The event not only hit its highest attendee numbers of any previous Expo, it also exceeded all other U.S. distributor shows by spanning over 88,000 sq. feet with more than 240 leading exhibitors including 25 new brands to the Expo!

"The expanded show space allowed for larger displays to showcase the newest products and accommodate the record number of attendees."
Jeff Derge, Vice President of Sales, said: "Our first year in Louisville could not have gone better!  Thank you to the dealers, vendors and our team for working the weekend with us.  This show is such an important part of improving our industry. There are so many great new products on the market this year, the dealers spent quality time talking with the vendors and reps to really get an understanding of these products. In the end the dealers who attended will deliver a better shopping experience for every customer that enters their stores."
The weekend kicked off on Thursday with training for the Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties Sales Reps which extended into Saturday and also included dealer training from Alpinestars, Fat Baggers, Rekluse, S&S and more.  Expanded Expo floor hours both Saturday and Sunday provided dealers ample time to visit exhibitors and see the newest products.    

The 2019 Spring Apparel Fashion Show was a highlight of the show floor during Saturday's happy hour.  Gracing the catwalk were new collections from over 15 brands highlighting Thor, Icon, Moose, Arctiva, Slippery and Z1R.
Saturday evening brought the industry to the iconic Meet & Greet at the Sports & Social Club in the heart of downtown Louisville's 4th Street Live Entertainment District. Food, drinks, games, live entertainment and the Arlington Supercross (with a Cooper Webb win) on over 60 TVs was the perfect way to cap off the day. The Expo energy carried over into Sunday where a trip to the Drag Specialties and Parts Unlimited Rides were awarded and satisfied dealers filled the aisles.
Mike Collins, President of LeMans Corporation, commented: "What a way to kick off the 2019 season.  I've never felt such enthusiasm and optimism from dealers, vendors and reps.  We all need events like this as a reminder as to why we are in this business.  It was a fantastic gathering and we've set the bar high for our next event."
The event came amid a slew of new vendor announcements for 2019 from Drag Specialties and Parts Unlimited - from Eibach (UTV springs and accessories) to Galfer USA (V-twin and street bike brake pads and rotors), to Fat Baggers (motorcycle parts and trike conversions), Rekluse (clutches), Woessner (pistons) and WildASS seats.
Following the sale of CruzTOOLS by Dan Parks, new owner CycoActive Riding Gear (Seattle), the new owners became a first time NVP exhibitor, with Drag Specialties renewing its long-standing relationship with the lifetime guarantee backed CruzTOOLS brand of hand tools and roadside emergency tool kits for most powersports vehicles including street bikes, dual-sport, adventure and off-road motorcycles. "Professional-grade, bike-specific tools and kits are designed for reliable roadside or trailside repairs."
Owned by Race Winning Brands, the Wiseco parent company, Boise, Idaho based Rekluse joins the Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties portfolio, offering its award-winning off-road and Harley clutches, including the TorqDrive Clutch Pack and RadiusX.
Sean Brown, President of Rekluse, said: "This partnership will broaden awareness for our expanding product lines while we continue building momentum for the Rekluse brand. We look forward to teaming up with their network and talented rep force to deliver our innovative products to more customers."
In other news, Drag Specialties and Parts Unlimited have renewed their sponsorship as the Official Powersports Distributor of American Flat Track for the 2019 season.
"Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties have proven essential allies as we continue to grow our fanbase within the motorcycle community at large," said Michael Lock, CEO of American Flat Track. "Our fans are motorcycle enthusiasts and will undeniably recognize the value in names like Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties within our family of series partners."
Hylton Beattie, Global Motorsports Director for Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties, said: "We are excited to 'Support the Sport' and continue the relationship with American Flat Track. 2018 was an amazing year for American Flat Track and we believe 2019 will be even better."

2019 Drag Specialties FatBook

The 2019 FatBook features over 1,800 pages of the "latest and greatest products and information to give your customer’s bike a truly custom look. From Twin Cams to the newest M-Eights, you are sure to find the look and performance parts, accessories and fitment information that work for you. 

"We have added new and exciting parts to our Drag Specialties name, plus, expanded selections from big names like Biltwell, Coastal Moto, Bassani, Vance & Hines, Legend Suspensions, S&S and Custom Dynamics just to name a few.
"The Fatbook remains your best source for late-model V-Twin needs, but don’t forget to check out the 2018/19 OldBook for more specific needs concerning early-model Big Twin H-D models. Together, along with the Tire & Service catalog and the Helmet & Apparel catalog, you will find an unrivaled assortment of every part and accessory available to you and your customers, to help keep American V-twins rolling for years to come."


SBS: As the Danish brake components manufacturer enters its second year as the Official AFT Brakes brand, the hot news at the start of this year was of its entry into the Harley aftermarket and custom brake rotors market with a full line of European made stainless steel fitments, available to U.S. dealers through Drag Specialties. The program comprises both a standard OEM replacement range, with the application-specific shape, construction and dimensions to make them a true OEM replacement, and an OEM upgrade line that is specifically designed to increase brake feel, performance, comfort and looks, and improve the capability to get friction material constantly cleaned off the rotor surface;


Feuling Parts: Recent new products from the Oceanside, California based performance components specialist include a slew of additions for M-8 engines, such as HP+, 'Race Series' and Reaper brand cam shaft kits; oiling system kits that include the latest version of the legendary Feuling oil pump and a range of M-8 cam chest kit options;


Battery Tender: Recent new Drag Specialities product exclusives from the Deland, Florida based specialist include a versatile 4-terminal Smart Lithium battery with on-board BMS (Battery Management System) that provides features such as over/under charge protection;


Biltwell: Recent news from the Temecula, California hard parts to helmets brand is of ECE certification for its Gringo and Gringo S helmets and a generous donation of nearly 2,000 helmets to the MSF for training course use. The brainchild of Bill Bryant and Harold McGruther, who have guided the brand to a market-defining position among "New Gen" riders;


Fat Baggers: New to the Drag Specialties program for 2019, Fat Baggers says that its 1 1/4" EZ Install handlebar kits "allow riders to install handlebars in half the time of other brands." The revolutionary interlocking, bolt-together, two-piece design features unique non-welded upper corners for easy wire pulling. The two-piece design is economical to ship and takes up half the shelf space of other handlebars. They fit most '08-'19 Dresser models with or without ABS;


Fox Shocks for Dyna/FXR

Described as offering “model-specific optimized ride tune,” these gas-charged monotube or remote reservoir version Fox shocks are exclusively distributed by Boise, Idaho based HardDrive.
Fully serviceable and rebuildable, they have a 1.5” 6061-T6 aluminum type III hard anodized body with internal floating piston and advanced high-flow deflective disk, “velocity-sensitive” damping and a 1/2” low friction, super-finished hard chrome shaft.
Featuring hand-adjustable spring preload and a Carbon Black spring, the monotube shock is available in stock 12.5” or 11.5” inch lowered height. The remote reservoir shock is available in stock 12.5” or 13.5” raised height and features adjustable compression.



Tucker Adds Epic Cafe Racer Reversible Conversion Parts

Fort Worth, Texas based Tucker V-Twin has added another new (and unique) brand to its vendor portfolio with Chris Eder's Dallas, Texas based Epic Moto Co. 'Naked Series' range of custom parts and conversion kits.

Eder, with co-founders Kelly Hedgepeth and Earl Warrick, are known for "shaking up the industry and turning heads with killer bike designs," and Tucker V-Twin says that "Chris has done it again with a breakthrough concept that makes high-end customized looks accessible and affordable to all riders."
Epic officially launched in September 2017 at the Geico Motorcycle Hot Bike Tour in Johnson City, Tennessee, but heads were already turning months before when Epic began to entice Harley enthusiasts on social media with images of four concept bikes.
"The response was overwhelming, and Epic Moto Co. is proud to offer its first line of custom parts and cafe racer conversion kits for Harley-Davidson touring bikes called 'The Naked Series', a high-end, modular program of bolt-on parts for fully reversible, warranty-friendly conversions allowing any Harley touring bike to be transformed into a purpose-built, customized bagger. 

"With the 'Naked Series', riders can go from bagger to racer and back to bagger-all in their garage". Eder said that "like most Harley riders, I share the insatiable need to feel the raw horsepower and rumble of the Harley, but the weight of a dressed-out touring bike is cumbersome and gets in the way.
"The 'Naked Series' is the solution for riders who want the best of both worlds: touring comfort combined with the performance of a cafe racer-all in one motorcycle." They feature Chris’ signature style that "brings back the thrill of a gritty, heart-thumping ride by stripping away weight and transforming touring bikes into light, fast, ridable machines."
Simple tools are all that is needed to install 'Naked Series' parts; no structural or frame modifications are required. That means the original H-D warranty won’t be voided and a touring bike’s ‘inner cafe racer bagger’ can be unleashed without breaking the bank. "Affordable, lightweight, alluring designs, optimized for performance and speed," says Eder.


Tuesday 19 March 2019

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

Hello Darkness, Harley’s New Friend?

Last year I called out Rich Duprey, the brains behind respected Wall Street blog ‘The Motley Fool’ (“Who’s the Fool?” - AMD January 2018). I disagreed with Duprey for calling for a change of Harley’s CEO.
Blaming the CEO for all the firm’s ills was inappropriate and the timing of such calls, as it turns out just five months before Harley went public with its ‘More Roads’ strategy, was foolhardy. It was clear that Harley was finally about to transition from having a plan to have a plan into the golden sunlit uplands of actually, you know, having a plan.
So, while I would also disagree with Duprey’s recent remarks about the ‘Livewire’, I do wholeheartedly agree with what he has said about how Harley has turned its dealer policy upside down, and especially where inviting private equity into dealer ownership is concerned.
In drawing attention to the change Harley has made in now allowing Private Equity (PE) firms to own its dealerships, and saying that “Harley is not the same business it was,” he is spot on.
Duprey went on to say that “it’s a longstanding Harley-Davidson policy that private equity firms can’t own a Harley motorcycle shop. The bike maker has always encouraged a family style of ownership and demanded its owners be on site to deliver one-on-one customer service. The company’s dealer policy manual specifically states, ‘a dealer owner(s) sets the tone for the entire dealership, and we believe it is critical to the Harley-Davidson experience that there is an individual owner who is onsite and actively involved in the dealership operations’. That meant dealers were focused on growing sales and winning customer loyalty so they return for maintenance and repairs and to buy gear.
“For that reason, dealers couldn’t own more than six dealerships, so they weren’t spread too thin. And if they wanted to buy another dealership, they had to be in the top 33% for dealership performance to be considered.”
The difference between owners and investors is that whereas owners are driven by increasing sales, investors are driven by increasing profits. The two are not necessarily the same and can even be mutually exclusive. Yes, of course, all dealerships need to make money, and should make money, but the ability to do so, the extent to which it can be done consistently, is subject to so many cyclical variables that are beyond the store owner’s control.

 “$15k for the logo”

The dealership owner’s endgame is more riders/customers, because he or she is in it for the long haul; the investors endgame is his or her exit strategy - getting out with the investment being worth acceptably more in the timeframe concerned than it was at the start of the process, that is the PE ‘product’, pure and simple.
To paraphrase Paul Simon, a company that sees the ‘Sound of Silence’ and embracing PE as its short-term fix is in danger of making friends with darkness.
When Harley first went public with the ‘Livewire’ project (2014- in search of E-bike brand acceptance and a crowd sourced future strategy), Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris, was asked if, despite their Brammo partial acquisition and subsequent promising Pike’s Peak and IOM Derring Do, Harley had caught Polaris asleep at the wheel?
His response was insightful. He stated that it was simply hard to see profits from E-bikes at that time and the lack (to date) of such an initiative (under the Indian brand or otherwise) for a product for that ‘space’ remains telling. And this from a company whose mainstream powersports dealer network could be an immensely effective tool for such a product.
To put E-bikes in context, the 28 markets and 380m plus riding age consumers that (currently!) make up the European Union (which is widely accepted to be at least a decade ahead of the USA in terms of its E-bike and Urban Mobility market acceptance) was only worth 7,378 units in 2018.
‘More Roads’ stated that Harley would “inspire new riders by extending heavyweight leadership and unlocking new markets and segments.” Well, Livewire will get the attention of the ‘New Gen’ audience, for sure, but so will the unreachable price-point. It is a $15,000 motorcycle with another $15,000 for the logo.
‘More Roads’ also called for “stronger dealers” who will “drive a performance framework to improve dealer financial strength and the Harley-Davidson customer experience,” and for Harley to ensure that it is still able to “keep current riders engaged.”
Well, if PE was the solution that Harley had hidden in its locker, in the long run they are going to ‘have their ass handed to them’. Especially where the existing core market is concerned. Core Bar ‘n Shield brand values were supposed to be a generational gift, handed down from father to son to grandson, but Harley is now in serious danger of flushing the last vestiges of those values away - the traditional owner/operator dealership model was the cathedral of loyalty and brotherhood in which those values were sustained.
At a dealer webinar in December it was revealed that not only can a dealer now buy as many as 10 dealerships (albeit still having to be a top performer), but with private equity also being now able to invest in dealerships, individuals no longer need to be majority owners, and the owner no longer has to be onsite at the dealership.
As Duprey states “essentially Harley-Davidson is encouraging absentee ownership of its shops” and that although “the motorcycle company says it is not trying to adopt the auto dealership owner model” it is nonetheless “allowing private equity firms to buy dealerships” and that will only accentuate the auto dealership “profit-at-all-costs mentality, as streamlining, cutting costs and squeezing margins out of every corner takes precedence over good employee, customer and community relations. PE firms also typically invest in a business with an eye on an exit strategy, not the lifetime commitment that many Harley dealers make.”
Furthermore, Harley’s thinking is clearly confused and conflicted. One of the major profit streams for dealers is PG&A. But opening an Amazon store front and allowing consumers to buy direct from Harley’s own website pulls a fair sized carpet from under the feet of these “stronger” dealers and their improved financial strength. Harley is stealing the chocolate from the checkout!


Briar Bauman gives Indian Victory at Daytona Season Opener

Briar Bauman (No. 14 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) kicked off his 2019 AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines championship campaign in front of AFT's largest crowd at the Daytona International Speedway with a statement victory in the season opener, the third annual Daytona TT presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys.

Bauman went handlebar-to-handlebar with brother Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) on the opening lap of the 25-lap Main Event under the lights at Daytona International Speedway to secure the lead. Once established, Bauman systematically stretched out an imposing advantage at the front, winning ahead of TT legend Henry Wiles (No. 17 Bandit Industries/DPC Racing/Wilco Racing Indian FTR750) with a 5.149-second margin of victory.

Photo by: Scott Hunter/American Flat Track
Bauman’s win brings the Daytona TT win streak of reigning Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) to a halt at two. Mees crashed twice in the Semi and then retired with a mechanical issue in the Main race while running fifth.
Jake Johnson (No. 5 Estenson Racing/Monster Energy Yamaha MT-07 DT) gave Yamaha’s new flat track machine a podium debut by finishing in third behind Bauman and Wiles.
Meanwhile, Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R Rev X) registered the 'hero ride' of the evening, finishing an eventual fourth. Bronson Bauman rounded out the top five.
In the Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys, Jesse Janisch (No. 132 Roof Systems Dallas TX/Öhlins Yamaha YZ450F) added yet another blowout TT victory to his burgeoning résumé with a wire-to-wire win, taking the checkered flag with a comfortable 2.577 seconds to spare.
Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 D&D Cycles/ KTM 450 SX-F) was second, with defending class champ Dan Bromley (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) third. Long-time AFT Twins competitor Mikey Rush (No. 15 RMR Honda, Red Riders Rewards Honda CRF450R) was fourth with up-and-coming Australian Max Whale (No. 18 Weirbach Racing Kawasaki KX450F) fifth.
Next up is the Atlanta Short Track presented by Cycle Gear at the Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga., on Saturday, March 23; followed by the Texas Half-Mile at the Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth on April 20, the Wild Horse TT at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, AZ., April 27, So-Cal Half-Mile at Perris Auto Speedway, Perris CA., May 11 and the legendary Sacramento Mile at Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA., May 11 before the first of two visits to the Illinois State Fairgrounds this season for the Springfield Mile I on May 26.

Carole Nash Insurance Irish Motorbike & Scooter Show

Irish Motorbike & Scooter Show
Dublin, 1-3 March 2019

Despite awful weather over the weekend, the 2019 edition of the Carole Nash Insurance sponsored Irish Motorbike & Scooter Show reported attendance figures of 27,980, an increase over its record breaking 2017 event.

An increase in standard was again evident in the 47 entries to the Ireland International Custom Show. Two winners (best Irish and best international guest builder) won expenses to represent the show at the 2020 AMD World Championship.
Noel Connelly's Bonneville racer inspired "Speed Freak" took top honors as Irish Champion, finally breaking a run of second places stretching back to 2011. Noel's Evo Sportster-engined ground-up build featured an S&S dual throat carb and many handmade parts, using 10 mm 5086 aluminum and brass laminate construction front forks, carb air stacks and seat hump surround.
In second place was C&C Choppers' Panhead-engined hardtail chopper "Shadow Play", with Greg Pienkowski's Arlen Ness inspired Honda CB550 "Yellow Digger" taking third place and "Best Custom" prizes.

Irish Winner: Noel Connelly's 'Speed Freak' used 10 mm 5086 aluminum and
brass laminate for the front end, carb air stacks and other handmade parts

The international winner was Twistedspine Motorcycles from England with "Copper Penny", an old school chopper converted from a stock 1200 Sportster, featuring a one-off stainless steel frame, springer front end and handlebars, handformed tank, fender and oil bag.
Bristol Bobbers' "Queen Ann's Revenge" took second place with the Yamaha XS650 engined board tracker, having finished seventh in the 2018 AMD World Championship Retro Modified Class. Patsy McArdle became the first Northern Irish prize winner as his rigid bobber "Ruby" took third place, featuring an 1,850 cc Ultima engine, Weber carb and extensive 24 carat gold plating.
Out thanks again to Zodiac International for their generous sponsorship of the prizes and Ace Cafe London for providing Goodie Bags to all of the winners.
The show saw Franklin Motorcycles, the first appointed Indian dealer in the Republic of Ireland, showcase the 2019 Indian FTR 1200 S Race Replica. Keith Reynolds, of Franklin Motorcycles, said: "The FTR is a truly unique machine. It is the first time a mainstream manufacturer that competes in flat track racing has taken one of its track bikes and developed a version for the road. It's an incredible motorcycle that we believe will carve out a niche in the marketplace just for itself."
Also present to open the show and present awards to the winners of the AMD World Championship affiliated Ireland International Custom Show was Valerie Thompson, holder of eight land speed records on two wheels.

Irish second place: C&C Choppers' 'Shadow Play' also won the award for Best Paint
Irish third place: Greg Pienkowski's 'Yellow Digger' was extensively engraved by Don Blocksidge

International Winner: Twistedspine Motorcycles' 'Copper Penny' features a fully rebuilt
1200 Sportster engine, one-off stainless steel frame, springer front end and bars
International second place: Bristol Bobbers' 'Queen Ann's Revenge' features a
Kruyswater raw steel frame and three leg springer front end
International third place: Patsy McArdle's 'Ruby' features gold leaf
pinstriping and extensive 24 carat gold plating