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Wednesday 27 May 2020

American Flat Track

AFT Is Back!

American Flat Track racing is to finally get underway, with a relaunch of its 2020 race schedule featuring doubleheader race weekends and kicking off on July 17 and 18 with the Volusia Half-Mile at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
The revised schedule features 18 races over nine doubleheader weekends and culminates in a two-day finale during Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach.

In addition to NBC Sports coverage on NBCSN and live streaming of all 18 events via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, AFT has worked diligently toward the goal of having fan attendance at all of its venues. This would include the implementation of new health and safety protocols that will help provide a safe environment for fans, competitors and staff, including reduced capacity, staggered seating, mobile ticketing, cashless transactions and enhanced sanitation.

AFT officials continue to collaborate with public health experts to develop this comprehensive plan in accordance with all federal, state and local requirements. All race-day procedures have been thoroughly reviewed and will continue to be examined and updated to follow specific guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local authorities.

The new guidelines and protocols will include:
  • Reduction in ticket availability to conform with state and local guidelines for sporting events
  • Reserved seating areas to include buffer zones to provide ample space between fans
  • Fans entering the venue will be provided with complimentary facial coverings
  • Enhanced sanitation and disinfection protocols with frequent cleaning throughout the facility
  • Enhancements to mobile ticketing and elimination of printed tickets
  • Cashless, contactless transactions for concessions and merchandise
  • Regular medical screening of staff and competitors

As an additional precaution, there will be no public access to the paddock area and AFT officials have suspended Fan Walk, rider autograph sessions and paddock upgrades for the remainder of the season. 
Careful consideration has been given to secure a full 18-round race schedule that is logistically possible for riders, teams and staff, while also providing the opportunity for fan attendance. Following a thorough review of state guidelines and consultation with local officials by AFT’s promoter partners, certain events that were originally scheduled for 2020 have been cancelled. All ticketholders for cancelled events are eligible to receive a full refund or a credit for use at future events.

Updated 2020 American Flat Track Schedule*:
1. July 17 (Fri): Volusia Half-Mile I - Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, FL

2. July 18 (Sat): Volusia Half-Mile II - Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, FL

3. July 31 (Fri): Lima Half-Mile I - Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH

4. August 1 (Sat): Lima Half-Mile II - Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH

5. August 28 (Fri): TBA, Northeast U.S.

6. August 29 (Sat): TBA, Northeast U.S.

7. September 5 (Sat): Springfield Mile I** -
Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL

8. September 6 (Sun): Springfield Mile II -
Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL

9. September 11 (Fri): Williams Grove Half-Mile I -
Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA

10. September 12 (Sat): Williams Grove Half-Mile II -
Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA

11. September 25 (Fri): TBA, TX

12. September 26 (Sat): TBA, TX

13. October 2 (Fri): Atlanta Short Track I - Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA

14. October 3 (Sat): Atlanta Short Track II - Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA

15. October 9 (Fri): TBA, NC

16. October 10 (Sat): TBA, NC

17. October 15 (Thu): AFT Season Finale I - Daytona Beach, FL

18. October 16 (Fri): AFT Season Finale II - Daytona Beach, FL

*As the situation, regulations and protocols regarding COVID-19 progress, dates and venues listed above are subject to change.
**AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys will participate in the Springfield TT on Friday, September 4.

News Briefs

While not being paid for May and June 2020, H-D has announced that in addition to an annual base salary of $2.5m, newly minted permanent CEO Jochen Zeitz will be eligible to receive a $1.5m bonus upon Board approval of his new strategic and financial plans later this year (to be paid in February 2021), stock options that could be worth up to $5m, and a one-time "Cash Award" payable in July 2020 in the gross amount of $1m to cover the overall financial impact of his relocation to the U.S. Starting in 2021, he will additionally be eligible to participate in the Harley-Davidson, Inc. short and long-term incentive plans that could be worth some $7.5m in total. He will also be covered by the company's Executive Severance Plan and under a transition agreement similar to the company's transition agreements with other executives.

New motorcycle registrations Italy for April were -95.85% at just 526 units, having been -69.18% in March (3,855 units). For the YTD (Jan - April) new motorcycle registrations in Italy were -49.41% at 20,055 units - some 15,000 plus of those in a good start to the year in January and February.  In total PTW terms March was -66.08% at 8,520 units and -96.98% in April with 813 new units registered. The top selling motorcycle in Italy YTD is the BMW R 1250 GS Enduro. For the record, the Italian market was again Europe's largest at +6.26% in motorcycle registration terms for 2019 (98,883 units) and +5.65% in total PTW terms at 231,937 units.


Registration has opened for the 2020 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. Slated for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at Lexington, Ohio, July 10-12, it is billed as a five-competition annual celebration of America's motorcycling heritage. Competition classes include hare scrambles, motocross, trials, flat track and road racing, with pit bike and holeshot exhibitions also planned. Class winners in the trials, hare scrambles, motocross and road racing disciplines will receive AMA National No. 1 plates. The flat track race, which takes place on July 11 at the Ashland County Fairgrounds in Ashland, Ohio, is part of the AMA Vintage Flat Track National Championship Series. In addition, two riders will be named AMA Off-Road Vintage Grand Champion and AMA Senior Off-Road Vintage Grand Champion for excelling in their respective expert-level-eligible classes.


Joel and Julie Felty have sold their Monrovia, California based Headwinds Inc. lights business to R. M. Garrison Machining Inc., the Phoenix, Arizona based owner of Accutronix.

MPN reports that Harley-Davidson dealerships ranked highest in the 2020 Pied Piper PSI Internet Lead Effectiveness (ILE) Industry Study, which answers the question, "What happens when motorcycle or UTV customers visit a dealer website and inquire about a vehicle?" Dealerships selling Indian motorcycles were ranked second. The study was completed before the appearance of the coronavirus pandemic, but in the aftermath of the pandemic dealer response to website customers had become even more critical. A recent Wall Street Journal article noted, "The new coronavirus pandemic is deepening a national digital divide, amplifying gains for businesses that cater to customers online, while businesses reliant on more traditional models fight for survival."

The latest new PTW registration numbers from ANESDOR, the motorcycle industry trade association in Spain, continue the predictably depressing impact seen in the second half of March as the market there remained under 'lockdown' for the whole of April. Total new PTW registrations were down by -93.47% in Spain in April at 1,074 units, ), with March -43.66% down (9,128 units). For the year to date, the motorcycle market in Spain is -34.40% (34,038 units sold), compared to 51,885 units sold in the first four months of 2019.

Polaris Industries has signed an "incremental" $300m 364-day unsecured term loan facility, further increasing the company's liquidity position. "During this pandemic-related lockdown of the global economy, we remain committed to prudently managing the company's financial resources for the long term. Execution of this new term loan with our long-standing banking partners provides us with an additional liquidity buffer to navigate these uncertain times," said Mike Speetzen, Polaris' Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, B&B, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MSNW, Electrek,

Dunlop Motorcycle Tires

Dunlop Dragmax

Buffalo, New York based Dunlop Motorcycle Tires in the United States has created its first ever drag racing tire - the Dunlop Dragmax 190/50-17.
Created for professional and amateur drag racers, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires has created the new Dragmax, which is available in 190/50ZR17 size - "the most popular size for serious drag racers on metric and V-twin motorcycles.
"Dunlop has never focused its considerable engineering experience on building a drag racing tire until now. But the time was right to support the drag racing market due to the higher demands of the Pro Street Bike class, where horsepower and speeds have achieved new levels in recent years.
"Professional and amateur drag racers that are required to run DOT motorcycle tires had few choices. The new Dragmax is a radial tire that utilizes Dunlop’s exclusive N-TEC construction, similar to that of Dunlop’s rear road racing slicks. N-TEC combines the benefits of cut-breaker construction, which increases stiffness, with continuously wound aramid jointless tread construction for maximum feel and stability.
"This design allows racers to run very low pressures, increasing the footprint for maximum traction. The compound is also very soft, the softest street compound Dunlop has ever produced in its Buffalo, New York plant.
"A completely new profile that’s wider and flatter than a typical hypersports tire also helps lay down a bigger footprint. The tire’s construction minimizes centrifugal growth to keep that footprint as consistent as possible, which also reduces the risk of de-beading."


Surviving Covid-19 - The Biltwell Way

Our thanks to Bill Bryant at Temecula, California based Biltwell for this insight into how one accessory company's crew responded to the current crisis…
Back in March, when the state of California issued a stay-at-home order for all residents, Biltwell Inc. acted quickly and decisively. While some companies immediately panicked and cut staff, Biltwell responded by sending all employees home to shelter in place with 30 days pay, in advance, while the situation evolved. 

Assistant Warehouse Manager Christian Dominguez

Those who could work from home quickly set up workstations and the warehouse crew took a couple of days off. With online orders still coming in, company co-founder and Brand Manager Bill Bryant came in alone to handle the daily pick, pack and ship duties.
Assistant Warehouse Manager Christian Dominguez and the relatively new kid, Parker, came in voluntarily and not only worked their shifts but cranked out overtime hours to get the larger dealer and distributor orders out the door.
Soon the rest of the crew was back in full capacity, complying with social distance mandates and exceeding any state guidelines for hygiene and cleanliness protocols. VP of Sales and Purchasing Mike Ellis kept the Sales Department running smoothly from home as the team settled into a new routine of remote work.
Project management tools such as Monday and Basecamp allowed them to keep communications tight and move dealer orders quickly through the system. "Biltwell has long-term relationships with the best distributors in the business. This may be a storm, but it's one we will survive together," says Ellis.

"We used this extra time for all of us to get caught up on deferred housekeeping in all departments," says Bryant. "We've got a great FTP site for dealer assets, and that's more up to date than ever now, and so are the specifications and diagrams on our website.
"As far as product development goes, that team has been full throttle all year, and the Corona didn't slow these guys down at all. Keep an eye out for some exciting stuff in 2021."
Biltwell's dealer portal on the website is 100% operational, and it is processing orders daily and adding new accounts on a regular basis.
In a time of constant doom and gloom news, it's refreshing to hear from a company which, like many, indeed most in the powersports industry, cares about its employees and retail network and is standing up to the challenge and not just survive - but thrive.

Damon Motorcycles

The 'Shape Shifting' Electric Hypersport Pro with 'CoPilot'

Among other motorcycle industry related initiatives at The Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas in January, Vancouver, British Columbia based Damon Motorcycles will unveil what it describes as "an entirely new kind of electric superbike - one that addresses age old problems in motorcycling that have long been ignored, namely rider safety and comfort."

Dom Kwong, Chief Technical Officer of Damon Motorcycles, says that their flagship motorcycle, the 4G connected Hypersport Pro with 'CoPilot', "expands the reach of your senses in 360 degrees, giving you that one extra second you need to react to keep you safe on the road."
'CoPilot' is said to employ "radical innovations in sensor fusion and AI, including radar, cameras and non-visual sensors to track the speed, direction and velocity of up to 64 moving objects around the motorcycle. To keep the rider’s attention forward where it is needed most, 'CoPilot’s' forward collision warnings are delivered with patent-pending haptic vibration in the grips.
"Blind spot alerts are delivered with amber LED lights at the left and right edge of the windscreen. Rear collision threats, which make up 11% of motorcycle accidents, are delivered to the rider with a bright white LED on the windscreen’s edge and are reinforced with high definition visuals on its 6″ LCD display - which doubles as the Hypersport’s instrument cluster."
Unlike collision warning systems found on modern cars, Damon’s CoPilot "intuitively monitors traffic in 360 degrees, forming a bird’s eye view of itself to anticipate the behavior of cars, bicycles and other objects to alert the rider before it’s too late."
To address the issue of comfort, Damon’s next generation motorcycle features 'Shift' - electronically adjustable ergonomics that lets riders adapt to road and traffic conditions while in motion. At the push of a button, Hypersport’s windscreen, seat, footpegs and handlebars move in unison to adjust the rider from a high-speed supersport position to a comfortable sport-touring position, to full upright commuter position for dense city traffic." The company says it’s akin to having two bikes in one.
To reinforce its position in the burgeoning high-performance electric motorcycle market, Damon has announced electric powertrain veteran Derek Dorresteyn to its team to head up operations and powertrain development as its new COO. "Derek had the technical vision and led the engineering and manufacturing teams at Alta Motors from 2008 – 2018. His vision was key to Alta’s podium finishes against ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] motorcycles."
Dorresteyn says that "for electric motorcycles to go mainstream, they have to outperform their ICE counterparts. By marrying all-electric high performance with rider aids like CoPilot and Shift, Damon will redefine the motorcycling experience. He is said to "bring the project extensive knowledge and experience in lithium ion battery design, high voltage systems and inverters, power dense motors and high performance chassis systems."
Alta Motors, Dorresteyn's 10-year electric motorcycle 'alma mater', was the business that Harley-Davidson invested in to finish development of the LiveWire - a project initially developed for Harley by Mission Motorcycles, another failed Bay Area electric motorcycle manufacturer.
The denouement of Alta and Harley's relationship is not thought to have been a happy one with a promising business going to the wall and the (coincidental?) establishment of Harley's Bay Area R&D Center not long after at the end of 2018.

Drag Specialties

Drag Specialties Additions

Brake/Clutch Control Kit

The master cylinder in this new Drag Specialties brake/clutch control kit accepts OEM-style rebuild kits and has clearance for all 1 1/4" handlebars. The kit includes a brake master cylinder assembly and a mechanical clutch control assembly; fits '96-'07 FLHT/FLHR/FLHX models. The matte black finish matches the OEM switch housings.

Predator III Seats for FXR

Drag Specialties Seats has expanded its popular Predator III line with fitments for '82-'94 and '99-'00 FXR models. Constructed with high-quality automotive-grade vinyl covers and molded polyurethane foam for maximum comfort and styling, the unique design features a 6 1/2" tall driver support that gently slopes down to the passenger seat area and is narrower at the front for better leg clearance. The 3/16" thermoformed ABS seat base gives the perfect fit, while the carpeted bottom and rubber bumpers protect the bike's paint. Available in smooth, double-diamond stitch or classic stitch. The overall length is 29 1/2", with 13 3/4" long by 11" wide front seat and 10 1/2" long by 7" wide rear. It fits with most sissy bars and includes all mounting hardware.

Reusable Air Filter

Drag Specialties has expanded its line of 100% reusable and washable air filters. The durable epoxy-coated wire mesh construction is designed to maximize airflow and provide peak filtration. Filters are pre-oiled for quick, easy installation; high-flow four-layer surgical-grade cotton filtration. Urethane body won't crack or curl like rubber. They are available for '18-'20 FLFBS/FLHCS/FXBRS/FXFBS and '17-'20 CVO Touring (114"). 

Side Hinge Ignition Switches

These side hinge ignition switches are available with a chrome or gloss black finish and include two keys. They are available for '96-'11 FXDWG, '08-'11 FXDC/FXDF, '00-'10 FXST/FLST and '96-'13 FLHR models.

Alternator Stator

This new Drag Specialties precision-built alternator stator is a high-quality and cost-effective replacement that meets or exceeds OEM specifications. It comes with the factory plug ends for easy install and fits '14-'18 XL models.


Gilles Tooling

Gilles - Performance Accessories for FTR 1200/S

As a manufacturer of mostly custom styled V-twin motorcycles, you know you have hit a home run and entered genuine performance territory when the aftermarket street and sport bike performance parts and accessory manufacturers start offering product for your model - especially if the European performance vendors are starting to inventory product options for your bike.
With a slew of exhausts available from American and several European manufacturers, especially the Italian sport bike exhaust specialists, Indian Motorcycle already know they have 'crossed over' with their popular FTR 1200, and hence the launch of the S variant two years ago.

When Luxembourg based MotoGP and WSBK team partner Gilles Tooling settles its crosshairs on the options it can offer for a bike, then the 'cross-over' is complete - high volume street and performance mainstream sales are your destiny!
One of Europe's best respected performance component designers and engineers, Gilles has a slew of parts available for the FTR 1200 and 1200 S (2019 and up), including, but not limited to, adjustable rear sets, adjustable risers and GT oversize low-style handlebars in black or gold, Maximum Performance brake and clutch levers with additionally available handshields and lever protectors, front brake fluid reservoir covers, front and rear axle protectors, anodized ACMA head control nuts (in a choice of colors for rear wheel or swingarm axles), a selection of handlebar weights and much more.

Brake Side Handshield and Clutch Lever Protector

Developed for MOTOGP and WSBK race teams, Gilles' lever protectors are as functional and necessary in traffic as they are on the track. The main part of the protector is CNC-machined from aluminum and hard anodized; the protective bar is made of resistant POM plastic. The material mix achieves optimal values ​​for flexibility and stability at every point of the protector. Thanks to the spacers included in the kit, they can be moved outwards and adapted to longer brake levers. The downward curved design leaves enough space to position the hand at the end of the handle without the protector being obstructed.

Handlebar Clamps

For the FTR 1200 S, these Gilles 2DGT clamps "help to find the perfect position for the handlebar. Movable up to 6 mm higher or lower and up to 7 mm back and forward, these clamps deliver an almost infinite range of safe and secure adjustment options as well as looking great." The kit includes the required speedometer holder for the Indian FTR 1200, which allows it to be adjusted to any angle. These clamps can be used either with the stock handlebar or Gilles' GTO low handlebar.

Maximum Performance Brake Lever 

Described by Gilles as the world's first backlash-free lever design, thanks to double ball bearings "this is an example of when a clear design concept meets an optimal handle length and shape, delivering a solution that is ergonomically sound under all conditions. The double ball bearings, instead of conventional plain bearing bushes, make the foldable MPL superior to other hand levers in terms of precision and responsiveness; the five-click adjustment uses a very precise, durable and smooth-running adjuster." Different colored inserts on the lever ends can be exchanged as desired.

GTO Oversize Low Handlebar 

The Gilles tapered tubular handlebar has a clamp diameter of 28.6 mm, clamping width of 140 mm and is 755 mm wide, 86 mm high and 94 mm back from the stock position when cranked to the rear at a 24-degree angle. High quality anodized in black or gold, it delivers a rigid and elegant improvement to the FTR's ergonomics.

GTO Axle Protectors

Never underestimate the importance of good protectors, especially for the axles. "Our perfectly shaped, proven design is made of milled aluminum and are a quick and simple install; in Europe no TÜV is required."

Maximum Performance Clutch Lever

With the same precision and technical properties as the brake MPL, this matching clutch lever has "an optimal handle length and shape for all purposes and features three clicks of adjustment - the lowest setting being as close as possible to the handlebar steering tube."

Adjustable rearset

The rotatable adjustment mechanism makes for versatile and ergonomic adjustment options for sporty or comfort-oriented footrest positioning (both sides) that caters to riders of different heights and riding style preferences. The precision CNC-machined components in lightweight, high strength aluminum alloy save weight while improving shift and brace feel and precision; the rigid system allows normal or reverse shifting; the kits include carbon heel guards; optional endrests and Enduro Explorer footrests also available. In Europe this footrest system requires foldable pegs for the required TÜV registration for legal use in public traffic. The foldable catches can be purchased individually as accessories.


Lowbrow Customs

Painless Stainless

Brunswick, Ohio based Lowbrow Customs is offering these 1" diameter stainless steel handlebars, available with stock-style dimples for those using stock Harley-Davidson hand controls or smooth for use on any custom motorcycle.

Also available in black, they offer "perfect fit and finish, 100% TIG welded all stainless steel construction and can be left as delivered or polished to a mirror shine."
Also seen here, Lowbrow offers Big Twin and Sportster throttles that "clamp snugly in place without leaving an unsightly gap and deliver up smooth, crisp throttle action." Available in many configurations, including single cable, dual cable, thread-in for early and push-fit for 1996 and later Harley-Davidsons, in choice of tumbled aluminum, black or solid brass.

The Sportster pictured here has a Lowbrow dual cable, push-in throttle housing, Super Four handlebars, Cole Foster grips and an LC Fabrications brake switch pod delete. "That combo makes for a very tidy package, ready to knock out some miles."
All Lowbrow's stainless handlebars and throttles are made in the USA.


Barnett Clutches & Cables

Clutch Line Adapters
New from Ventura, California based Barnett Clutches & Cables, these hydraulic clutch line adapters for 2002 and up Harley-Davidson Big Twins and 2009-17 V-Rods allow you to adapt any brake line with #3AN fittings for use as a clutch line. They are chrome plated and made with steel tubing and fittings.
Barnett Clutches & Cables, USA,

Müller Motorcycle

M-8 Softail Rear Lowering Kits

These lowering kits made in Germany by Müller Motorcycle are an established top-seller for the German specialist and a simple and easy way of lowering the rear of the bike, fitting the stock remote adjustable rear shock.

Made from stainless steel and billet aluminum, they lower the M-8 Softail by up to 13/8" and are a bolt-on, patent-pending TÜV approved application. Said to be "infinitely adjustable" for up to 35 mm of lowered riding height, they come with needle bearing installed and do not require the shock absorber damper rod to be shortened nor the shock to be replaced.


Wednesday 20 May 2020


Jochen Zeitz - "Significant Changes to the Company…"

The conference call with analysts that always follows release of Harley's results each quarter is usually a pretty bland affair. But after evidence of investor disquiet emerged in January, the Q1 call in April provided the first opportunity for acting President/CEO Jochen Zeitz to go public with his observations about where he thinks Harley has been going wrong, and some of the changes that he thinks need to be introduced - and he did not hold back, neither did he deny that he could take the CEO job permanently…

"From my observations over the last two months, it is clear we are at a critical time in our history. COVID-19 has dramatically changed our reality for the foreseeable future and the crisis has added to an already challenging environment. 

After a significant number of conversations with our management, employees and other stakeholders, several other things have also become clear to me. First, we are providing dealer support, but we do expect the dealer network to contract through the crisis. As a consequence, we will work to optimize the network and improve dealer profitability going forward.
We have tremendous strength in our product, our riders and our dealers. However, we have challenges to address that have become more apparent in this crisis, including the high level of complexity across the organization that needs to be minimized.
Leadership has become isolated and overly centralized and, as a result, slow to respond. The speed of decision-making needs to increase. I've observed that after multiple rounds of cost cuts and reorganizations over the past years, morale has suffered. There is frustration as some cost-cutting initiatives have tried to improve efficiency of things that are fundamentally inefficient. As a result, we need to reignite our Harley-Davidson soul and culture.

're-evaluate our strategies to reach new riders and build ridership'

 Additionally, our organization has become accustomed to over-committing and under-delivering. We need to set achievable plans and realistic goals. As I reviewed our strategy, I know that elements of the 'More Roads' plan are good in principle, but it is clear that our strategy needs to be refocused to better align with our capacity and capabilities and to be updated given our new reality.
We’ll continue to expand beyond traditional products and markets, however, we have over-indexed on new riders and new market growth and lost focus on critical profit sources. We made progress with our product line and to some degree our customer base, but profit is lagging and our expectations are unreasonable, especially given the economic environment that we are likely to encounter as the COVID-19 ripple effect will likely be with us for some time.
We’ve continued to move forward with the highest potential elements of 'More Roads', but our strategy must be reassessed. As a result of my observations and assessment, I’ve concluded that we need to take significant actions and rewire the company now in terms of priorities, execution, operating model and strategy to drive sustained profit and long-term growth. We're calling it The Rewire and is our playbook for the next few months, leading to a new five-year strategic plan, which we’ll share when visibility to the future returns.

'reignite our soul and culture'

I'll highlight some of the key elements of The Rewire. First, we’ll enhance our core strength and better balance expansion into new spaces. It's more important than ever to return focus and strength of our brand and company, starting with our dealers, customers and our stronghold product and committed employees around the world. HDFS has also a strategic advantage with a track record that will help us navigate through this crisis. We re-evaluate our strategies to reach new riders and build ridership.
Second, we prioritize the markets that matter; we’ll invest in the markets, products and customers that offer the most profit and potential. This includes building on our strong position in the U.S.
We’ll narrow our focus, time and energy in the most critical countries and market segment that can move the needle for us today. We’ll also diligently play the long game by identifying select strategic markets that may not contribute to enterprise profitability in the near term but are critical for our future. We will also simplify the market coverage model and take costs out of the process.
Third, we’ll reset our product launches and line-up for simplicity and maximum impact. Launches six to twelve months out will reflect our new reality and allow our launch calendar for the first time in our recent history to align with the start of the riding season.
We’ll simplify launches over time to better suit the capacity of our dealers and company resources to support them. From here, we’ll expand our profitable iconic heritage bikes to excite our existing customers. We also remain committed to Adventure Touring, Streetfighter and advancing our efforts in electric. We will continue to be guided by the voice of our customers and dealers as we bring new focus to our offerings to optimize value and profit delivery.
Next, we’ll build our Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise businesses to full potential. We are developing a comprehensive strategy across these businesses that focuses on assortment and distribution opportunities, maximizes its channels, improves e-commerce capabilities and gross revenues and margins for both the company and dealers. We will align this strategy with our Motorcycle strategy for realistic presentation to the market.

'we have over-indexed on new riders and new market growth'

And finally, we’ll adjust and align our organization structure, cost structure and operating model to set the organization up for stability and success. We are designing a framework for success, an organization that is more focused and nimbler, aligned with an appropriate cost structure adjusted to the new realities of the market post crisis.
We will also reset our operating model to increase empowerment, diversity and accountability for critical decisions. Essentially our refreshed organization would be less complex with a sharper focus and able to make faster decisions.
We are creating the right central and new regional structures that have commercially led to establish the right focus on dealers and selling. We will also elevate the role of Motorcycle Management within the organization and sharpen our marketing strategy and execution to enable a bigger impact with an improved go-to-market process.
The Rewire is underway and we've taken actions across each of these key elements of the playbook, and more are in development. I've mentioned some of the significant actions that we've already taken to allow the organization to move forward. Other recent actions include setting the organizational superstructure with three new senior management members appointed to key roles.
We are promoting talented people who know the company, our dealers and our customers. To bring the appropriate sales focus, we have created a new commercial entity, including a simplified regional sales structure, as well as refreshed Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise businesses.
To leverage expertise and a historical insight as we hone our strategy, I've engaged our senior leaders beyond the executive team and established a CEO Roundtable comprised of select dealers and former Harley-Davidson leaders.
To accomplish what lies ahead, it is important that we continue to rally together. Today we are united as a Harley-Davidson global community in support of our families, friends and fellow riders through a time of crisis that we hope will end soon. I offer my gratitude to our family of employees, dealers and riders for doing their part to stay safe and healthy. Their well-being is above all the most important thing."

Management Changes
Zeitz spoke about the need to "elevate the role of Motorcycle Management within the organization", "sharpen marketing strategy and execution" and to reset the "organizational superstructure with three new senior management members appointed to key roles."
The changes and simplifications in management structures revolve around a tranche of internal promotions after Michelle Kumbier was invited to relinquish her post as Chief Operations Officer.

Lawrence Hund

Larry Hund has moved from his role as President and COO of Harley's Financial Services business to be Chief Commercial Officer at the Motor Co., focused on Motorcycle, P&A, General Merchandise sales and the Milwaukee Museum (with Bill Davidson still running the museum).
Reporting to Larry Hund will be a streamlined rebuild of Harley's existing and notoriously inefficient global region motorcycle sales management structure, with Dave Cotteleer as VP and Managing Director for North America, Nigel Keough as VP and Managing Director for Asia Pacific and Latin America and Andy Benka as VP and Managing Director for EMEA. Jonathan Root succeeds Hund as the leader of HDFS.

Jonathan Root

COVID-19 Response and Recovery Actions

The company is executing its plan to address the impact of COVID-19 and begin its recovery through a multitude of recent actions across the following areas:

Cash Preservation
Reduced planned capital spending and also reduced planned spending across every part of the organization including freezing hiring, temporarily reducing salaries and eliminating merit increases for employees in 2020. The company also implemented other aggressive cost management efforts such as retiming the launch of new products. In total, the company expects these efforts to preserve approximately $250m of cash in 2020. Additionally, the company suspended discretionary share repurchases and reduced the cash dividend to $0.02 per share for Q2, down from $0.38 for Q1. 

Maintained $2.47bn in liquidity including $1.47bn cash as of the end of the quarter and remains compliant with all covenants. Recently, the company amended its $1.42bn credit facilities, extended its 364-day loan facility and is in discussions with major U.S. banks to secure an additional $1.30bn in liquidity. Additionally, the company expects to access the capital markets in the near future.

Supporting Dealers and Riders
Eased the burden on Harley-Davidson dealers by providing support based on the unique needs of each region, including financial support for motorcycle inventory, extending credit payment due dates on Parts & Accessories (P&A) and General Merchandise (GM) and adjusting dealer requirements for warranty and training. The company also offered dealer discounts on certain GM products and is engaging with dealership staff via live chat sessions to share unique ways to stay connected during the crisis. For customers, many dealers remain open for service support and the company continues online sales of P&A and GM, and along with dealers, is offering home delivery of new motorcycles in states and countries where it is permitted. For riders who have been impacted by COVID-19, Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) is helping keep riders on the road.

Community Strength
Acted quickly and in alignment with government efforts to protect the safety and health of employees and the Harley-Davidson community. The company implemented travel restrictions, enhanced sanitation practices, cancelled events and closed facilities including temporarily suspending global manufacturing starting in March. In support of relief efforts, the Harley-Davidson Foundation donated $150,000 to the United Way's COVID-19 relief fund. Through its "United We Will Ride" efforts, the company is connecting riders who want to help provide relief through food drives, blood donations and other ways to make a difference in their communities.

Rumors - 20% Fewer Variants, Less Paint

Jochen Zeitz openly discussed needing to break the habit of "over-committing and under-delivering", to "set achievable plans and realistic goals" and highlighted needing to refocus on a new strategy to "better align with our capacity and capabilities."

Zeitz has excessive special edition paint jobs and multiple colorways in his sights.

While he intends to continue to "expand beyond traditional products and markets," he is clearly aware that not all models are equal in terms of their production overhead and profit, with "profit is lagging" and "expectations unreasonable."
One aspect of Dr Zeitz' patented medicine appears likely to be a rationalization of the existing product range to make room for the new models - the Bronx and Pan America in particular.
One rumor doing the rounds is of an across the board 20% cut in the number of individual bike models, with the slowest sellers disappearing and certain designs being selected for early retirement! The FXDRS appears to be at the front of the list of potential casualties, and we also hear that there is to be a "fire in the paint shop" with the number of colorway options for any given model being dramatically reduced.

The FXDRS could be a casualty.

The 'Rewire'

The following is the framework for the replacement of the 'More Roads' Strategic Plan – the 'Rewire' that acting President/CEO Jochen Zeitz outlined with the Q1 financial release on March 28 …
The company is executing a set of actions, referred to as The Rewire, that will be further developed over the coming months, leading to a new strategic plan.
These actions are part of a comprehensive 'Rewire' playbook designed to address top priority opportunities, drive consistent execution and reset the company's operating model in order to reduce complexity, sharpen focus and increase the speed of decision-making.
The company expects the 'Rewire' actions - those already taken and those that will be implemented over the coming months - to lead to the definition of a new 5-year strategic plan that will incorporate key products and initiatives from the 'More Roads' plan, but will focus more on the markets and products that can drive performance in terms of profitability and growth.

Key elements of The Rewire: 

  • Enhance core strengths and better balance expansion into new spaces
  • Return focus to the strength of brand and company, starting with dealers, customers, stronghold products and committed employees globally. 
  • Re-evaluate strategies to reach new riders and build ridership. 
  • Prioritize the markets that matter
  • Narrow focus and invest in the markets, products and customer segments that offer the most profit and potential. This includes building on Harley-Davidson's strong position in the U.S.
  • Establish a simplified market coverage model and take cost out of the process.
  • Reset product launches and product line up for simplicity and maximum impact
  • Continue to be guided by the voice of customers and dealers to optimize value and profit delivery.
  • Simplify and retime launches to reflect the new reality, align with the start of riding season and better suit the capacity of the company and dealers. 
  • Expand profitable iconic motorcycles to excite existing customers. Remain committed to Adventure Touring, Streetfighter and advancing electric motorcycles.
  • Build the Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise businesses to full potential 
  • Develop a comprehensive strategy across P&A and GM businesses that focuses on assortment and distribution opportunities, maximizes channels, improves ecommerce capabilities and grows revenue and margins for both the company and dealers.
  • Align P&A and GM strategies with motorcycle strategy for a holistic presentation to the market.
  • Adjust and align the organizational structure, cost structure and operating model to reduce complexity and drive efficiency to set Harley-Davidson up for stability and success
  • Create a framework including an organization that is more focused, profitable and nimble; a cost structure that is adjusted to the new realities of the market post crisis; and an operating model designed to increase empowerment and accountability.
  • Establish commercially led central and new regional structures to gain a deeper understanding of customers and to return focus to dealers and selling.
  • Elevate the role of Motorcycle Management and sharpen marketing strategy and execution to enable a bigger impact with an improved go-to-market process.
  • Each of these key elements of The Rewire playbook includes actions that have been implemented or are currently being developed. The company plans to share more about The Rewire in its Q2 update.

Tucker Powersports

Operational Changes at Tucker

In a letter to dealers and vendors, Marc McAllister, the recently appointed President at Tucker Powersports, has announced a next stage in his plans to streamline the business.
"We are making changes at Tucker Powersports designed to strengthen our company and make us a better partner for you and your business," he told dealers and vendors.
"Two weeks ago, we announced that we were closing our offices in California and Arizona and moving the product development and purchasing for our Apparel Group and Dragonfire Racing into our Texas office."

On May 15, McAllister went further, announcing "an organizational change which realigns our product management staff and also eliminates two senior level positions - the COO position, which had been held by Danny Anderson, and the CCO [Chief Commercial Officer] position, held by Greg Blackwell.
"We wish Danny, Greg and the small number of other Tucker employees who will not be returning from furlough the best and we thank them for their contributions to our company.

"I've asked all of our team members to focus on being the company that adds value to our customers. We want to make our dealers better because they have chosen to purchase from Tucker. This is a complicated task, but my simplified recipe for doing it is to assemble and deliver the best collection of high-demand products in the industry and be operationally great in all aspects of our business.
"Our plan is to have employees return to work by mid-June, but obviously this is dependent on the country's success in battling the virus and relaxing stay-at-home orders. We've already seen some positive signs reflected in recent order volume and optimism from our dealers.
"I hope you will see us getting better and stronger with the changes we have made. We will continue to provide great sales programs, great marketing for our products and consistent and efficient purchasing and payment to our suppliers."

German motorcycles registrations

Germany: Motorcycles -28.14% in March

Evidence that Germany's success in protecting its population from the coronavirus pandemic better than elsewhere has translated into also protecting the German economy better than elsewhere - seen dramatically in the latest data from the IVM, the motorcycle industry trade association in Germany.

Yes, new registrations for April are down, of course they are, but at -28.14% (following -18.70% in March), the impact has been less than elsewhere in Europe. Italy and Spain for example saw April new motorcycle registrations down by more than 90%, but Germany, with April traditionally the second strongest sales month of the year, was still worth 12,064 new motorcycles (-28.14%) and 17,604 new PTWs in total (-25.81%).
Having been +6.38% for January and February combined (13,698 units), registrations were down -8.99% for Q1 (30,279 units YTD). In total PTW terms, Germany was -15.81% in March (22,987 units) and -2.52% for Q1 (43,114 units YTD).
In market share terms, BMW remains 'Top Dog' in its home market at 27.11% share YTD (11,478 units sold), followed by Kawasaki, KTM, Honda and Yamaha. Harley-Davidson was in 6th spot with 3,400 units sold YTD for an 8.03% market share in Germany - ahead of the likes of Triumph, Suzuki and Ducati.
The top selling model was BMW's R 1250 GS (3,955 units YTD), followed by the Kawasaki Z900, Z650, BMW R 1250 RS and Yamaha MT-07. A record 10 of the Top 22 best sellers were BMW models. Harley's best seller YTD in Germany has been the Street Bob (27th), followed by the Sport Glide and XL 1200 X.
For context - the German motorcycle market grew by +4.38% to 113,039 units in 2019, with PTW sales growing by +6.53% to 165,311 units - both the best performance since 2008 (excluding the rush to register pre-Euro 4 models before the law changed at the end of 2016).


Say Goodbye to Twin Cam Rocker Arm Tick

The Rocker Lockers' simple yet effective solution to the ticking noise that Twin Cam rocker arms create is genius. 

The Harley Twin Cam motor has a gap between the rocker arm shaft and the bolt that is supposed to lock it. This gap allows the shaft to rotate and hit the bolt, causing a tick.
The Rocker Lockers eliminate the gap, locking the shaft from turning and striking the bolt and eliminating that annoying tick that so many Twin Cam owners endure - they need to suffer no more!

The Rocker Lockers also center the rocker plate so that it is always located in the same position, eliminating different wear patterns on the rocker arm/valve and giving a better alignment of the pushrod in the holes. Simple.
Rocker Lockers are tapered so that they lock themselves in and wedge the bolt/shaft in place - available for '07 and newer Sportsters, '86-'06 Sportsters and for Evolution and Twin Cam Big Twins.


Barnett Clutches & Cables

Barnett Hydraulic Brake and Clutch Lines

Californian specialist Barnett Clutches & Cables' newly available hydraulic brake and clutch lines are designed as genuine Barnett matches for Barnett's popular cables.

Available in classic stainless braid, Platinum Series bright silver, black with chrome fittings and stealth ‘black on black’, they are available in stock and full custom lengths to fit Harley-Davidson, Victory and Indian models through 2020. ABS lines are also available.
As with genuine Barnett cables, a 24-hour rush service is also available for the brake and clutch line kits.


Le Pera

XL KickFlip

Another new option from well-known seat manufacturer Le Pera is this '04-'06 and '10-'20 Sportster version of the popular KickFlip with maximized back support and ample seating area.

Options include Diamond, Pleated and Basket Weave stitch patterns and pleated grip tape for traction. The KickFlip is additionally available for other Harley models.
Still handcrafting all their seats at their North Hollywood, California headquarters after more than 45 years as the market's design leader, all Le Pera seats feature a powder-coated steel base plate, a specially poured high density "Marathon" molded foam foundation and double-stitched, handcrafted cover with bonded polyester thread for durability.



Tapered O/S 1 1/8" 4130 Chromoly Bars

Californian accessory and helmet specialist Biltwell is well known for its contemporary custom styling - from café to tracker, scrambler to Bobber, Biltwell's take on style is cutting edge, and its grasp on the new opportunities that dealers can find is second to none.

Seen here, Biltwell 1 1/8" oversize and tapered handlebars are a common sight on lightweight dirt bikes and many European and Japanese sport bikes. Thanks to some progressive thinking by modern Big Twin customizers, this technology has migrated to high-performance Harleys.
Unfortunately, the aluminum material used to make tapered bars is not ideal for Big Twin bar construction. Also, dirt bike handlebars are 7/8" on the ends, so you have to shim stock controls. Biltwell's solution of tapered and butted 4130 chromoly bars solve all these problems. 

"We employ advanced tube tapering and CNC bending technologies to ensure every Biltwell OS bar is stronger than stock and straight as an arrow," says CEO Bill Bryant. "CNC slotting and notching lets you install stock H-D hand controls and throttle modules easily—no dangerous shims or drilling required."
Biltwell 4130 chromoly bars are available in black or chrome in a wide range of styles such as Tracker standard, mid and high, and in popular 8, 10, 12 and 14" XL and XL Pullback Tyson bars. A wide range of heavy duty risers is also available, including popular Murdock oversize straight and pullback risers in black or chrome, plus hard-to-find oversize clamps for mounting stock and select aftermarket H-D speedo assemblies.


Belt Drives Limited

GMA Black Out Levers and Handlebar Wiring Harness

GMA, a member of the Belt Drives Limited family of companies in California, has released new "sleek and durable and designed for a perfect feel and pull" Black Out levers for 2020 models in either a 5/8" or 11/16" bore, featuring a threaded ball end plunger. 

"This design provides positive engagement and precise movement of the piston and rubber cup reservoir seal for positive, smooth stopping performance. GMA controls are secured to the bars with camlocks and the switch housing blends in for an exceptionally clean profile."
Also available is a GMA hydraulic clutch master cylinder which features a 9/16" or 11/16" bore to match common aftermarket slave cylinders. Designed for 1" bars, the hydraulic clutch lever assembly is designed for OEM style lines; additionally available with chrome or polished finish, GMA also offers a clutch perch for cable clutches.
 Also seen here, this GMA complete handlebar wiring harness is designed exclusively for GMA hand controls. Available with or without their custom replacement switch housings (available in polished or black), the kits come with 48" long OEM color-coded wires that are pre-soldered to the micro barrel switch buttons.

The wires are encased in a protective, glue impregnated shrink tube at the buttons to ensure secure connections while pulling wires through your bars. Additional lengths of shrink tube are included along with pin connectors, Deutsch 6 pin connector housings, and a small brain box to make everything work as it should. A simplified wiring schematic is included. These new harnesses are all assembled and designed for GMA by NAMZ.