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Wednesday 26 August 2020

American Flat Track

Briar Bauman Scores Indy AFT Double Header Wins

After nine years of trying for a first AFT Mile win, reigning Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) added his name to the list of American Flat Track legends to win at the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center with an imperious victory in Friday night’s Indy Mile I - one that he backed up 24 hours later with a tactical win in the Indy Mile II.

Friday night saw Bauman celebrate the milestone performance with a home run swing of the checkered flag, signifying the completion of his career Grand Slam, adding a first-career AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines Mile triumph to his earlier Half-Mile, TT and Short Track wins.
Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) took second, with multi-time GNC champ Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) third.
On Saturday 22nd, the Indy Mile II saw Briar Bauman top the podium ahead of Mees second and Harley-Davidson, Vance & Hines rider Bryan Smith posting the first podium of the year for the XG750R in third.
The AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys saw second-year pro Brandon Kitchen (No. 105 Donley Excavating/TCD Suspension Honda CRF450F) outfox the most experienced riders in the AFT Singles class with a dramatic final-lap upset victory ahead of Henry Wiles (No. 17 RMR Honda/Honda Talon CRF450R) and Mikey Rush (No. 14 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) third.

The following evening saw Wiles go one better taking the win ahead of Cole Zabala (No. 51 Cornerstone Masonry/B&M Masonry CRF450R) with long-time AFT Singles standout Shayna Texter (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) giving the KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F a second Podium of the year in third.
In the AFT Production Twins Class, Ben Lowe (No. 25 Roof Systems of Dallas/Bruce Lowe Excavating Yamaha MT-07) finally broke through to claim his maiden AFT victory in the Class Indy Mile I on Friday 21st, with James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) second, ahead of Chad Cose (No. Wally Brown Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R).
In the Production Twins Indy Mile II on Saturday 22nd, James Rispoli went one better with the win, his first in AFT competition in more than a decade, ahead of Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) second, and Nick Armstrong (No. 60 Lessley Brothers Racing/Competitive SheetMetal Yamaha MT-07) third.
Next up will be a Springfield tripleheader. The AFT Singles will kick the weekend off in Springfield, Illinois, with the Springfield ST on Friday, September 4. After that, the AFT SuperTwins and AFT Production Twins will take over for two days of racing at the “World’s Fastest Mile,” with the Springfield Mile I on Saturday, September 5, and the Springfield Mile II on Sunday, September 6.
The following weekend is the Williams Grove Half-Mile double header at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, followed by the Dallas Half-Mile September 25 & 26; the Atlanta Short Track on October 2 & 3; Charlotte Half-Mile on October 9 & 10 and the season finale (TT) at Daytona on October 15 & 16.

Australian Powersports Market

Australian Powersports Market

In Australia, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI - the trade association that includes motorcycle manufacturers and importers) has released first half year figures for 2020 that show the sale of new motorcycles, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Side-by-Side Vehicles (SSVs) doing very well.

Harley's XG500 'Street' is its top seller in Australia

Overall, a total of 52,838 vehicles were sold from January to June 2020, in comparison to 42,457 during the same period in 2019. This represents a strong +24.5% increase in sales.
The most popular segment during the half year was the ATV and SSV segment, with a total of 14,545 sales (+50.91%) compared to 9,638 sales in the first half of 2019. Off-road motorcycles were +42.40% at 20,885 units in the half year, compared to 14,666 in the same period 2019.
Road bikes and scooters did not enjoy the same increase in popularity - road bikes were down -2.7% (15,243 units) and scooters were -12.8% (2,166 units).
Honda claimed the top spot YTD overall, reporting 12,563 sales for a 23.8% market share. Harley-Davidson was in 7th spot in overall market share terms (2,613 units sold - down from 2,924 units sold in the year ago quarter), with Indian Motorcycle in 13th spot, selling 453 units YTD (up from 323).
The top selling road bike in Australia January to June 2020 was the Ninja 400, followed by the Yamaha XTZ690 and the H-D XG500 (433 units sold, up from 298), which was also the top selling Cruiser. The FXBRS was in fourth spot (303 sold, the Indian Scout was in sixth spot (183 sold), followed by the H-D Lowrider S, FLSB, FXBB and FLFBS.

Briggs & Stratton

Briggs & Stratton Enters into Chapter 11 and Sale Agreement

Milwaukee's Briggs & Stratton (founded in 1908), a "recognized global leader in providing power to get work done," has entered into a definitive stock and asset purchase agreement with New York based equity investor KPS Capital Partners, LP (KPS).

Under the terms of the agreement, an affiliate of KPS formed for purposes of this transaction has agreed to acquire substantially all of the company's assets and assume certain customer, employee and vendor liabilities, and will act as the stalking-horse bidder through a court-supervised sale process (known as a Section 363 process). Among other things, the sale agreement is subject to higher or better bids from other potential purchasers.
Todd Teske, Briggs & Stratton's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated: "Over the past several months, we have explored multiple options with our advisors to strengthen our financial position and flexibility. The challenges we have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic have made reorganization the difficult but necessary and appropriate path forward to secure our business. It also gives us support to execute on our strategic plans to bring greater value to our customers and channel partners. Throughout this process, Briggs & Stratton products will continue to be produced, distributed, sold and fully backed by our dedicated team."

MAG Connection

MAG Connection Connects its Dealers with More Vendors

France based purchasing portal provider, distributor, buying consortium and vendor representation specialist MAG Connection has been adding voraciously to the brands that it is able to make available to its dealers in Europe.

Additions from the United States and Europe include American Suspensions; Arrow Exhausts (Italy); Campbell, California based custom bike builder essentials specialist Bung King; Corbin Saddles; Dead Center Cycles (Lacey, Washington); D&D Exhausts (Texas); Dirty Bird Concept - John Shope's Phoenix, Arizona based bagger parts emporium; Dougz Custom (LaCrosse, Wisconsin, custom parts); ODC Suspensions (Italy); Platinum Air Suspensions (Mike Ferris, Fullerton, California); RWD (Russ Wernimont); Speed Merchant; TAB Performance (exhausts, Lincoln, Nebraska); TBR Racing Exhausts (California) and Zippers Racing performance products.
Look for product line news in upcoming editions of AMD Magazine.

KessTech and Cult-Werk

MEC - KessTech and Cult-Werk in Joint Venture

German exhaust sound specialists KessTech and Austrian parts and accessory designer Cult-Werk have created a new joint venture company called MEC GmbH - The Motorcycle Equipment Company. 

MEC will operate the KessTech and Cult-Werk brands under one roof in a merger that is described as creating "an unparalleled combination of strong and symbolic cult brands. The new MEC is perfectly positioned to enable bikers to realize their dream of the perfect motorcycle."

Owners and Co-CEOs Mario Altendorfer and Christian Schütte say that they are "constantly thinking outside the box to make riders' dream bikes come true. The new partnership with Cult-Werk creates the ideal mix of bikers, engineers, technicians, financiers, designers, Q-managers, marketeers, buyers, web designers, graphic designers, sales people, technicians, warehouse staff, welders, event managers and more - a broad based team whose specialist skills complement each other perfectly to master new challenges.
"KessTech and Cult-Werk products stand for optimal functionality, increased performance, perfect design, high quality and ergonomics. The result is a unique company for high-quality equipment parts such as exhaust systems, fenders, rear ends and license plate brackets to make every motorcycle unique.
"The strength of KessTech in sales, technology, homologation and processing is combined with the fine feeling for trends, design and marketing of Cult-Werk. The combined company will have its headquarters at KessTech in Obertheres, Germany, and an R&D Center at Cult-Werk in Aigen-Schlägl, Austria.



Ducati is reported as producing 24,157 motorcycles in the first half of 2020 (down from 34,759 for the first half of 2019,
-30.5%), with parent company Audi estimating the global 500 cc+ market being down by
-14.7% in the first half year.

In production terms, Ducati made 4,706 Scramblers (6,277 in the first half of 2019), 8,731 Diavel, Monster and Streetfighter (10,050), 5,321 Hypermotard and Multistrada (11,879), and 5,399 Supersport and Panigale models (6,553 in the first half of 2019).

Now that's what you call a 'Streetfighter'...

Of those, 19,620 were produced at the Ducati headquarters at Bologna (30,159 in the first half of 2019), 4,011 at its Amphur Pluakdaeng site in Thailand and a further 526 on a contract manufacturing basis at Manaus, Brazil.
As Audi's "motorcycle segment," Ducati is reported as having made a € 7m operating result in the first half of 2020, down from € 44m, representing an operating return on sales of 10.2%, with total motorcycle sales revenue reported at
€ 331m (down from € 435m for the first half of 2019).



Honda released its results for the first quarter of its 2020/2021 financial year (the period ending June 30) stating that, not surprisingly, "business stagnated and demand declined significantly on a global basis due to the COVID-19.

Total corporate consolidated sales revenue was 2,123.7bn yen (a year-on-year decrease of 46.9%) due primarily to a decrease in sales revenue from all businesses. Operating loss was 113.6bn yen (a year-on-year decrease by 366.1bn yen); loss before income taxes: 73.4bn yen; the impact of the COVID-19 is estimated to be approximately 440.0bn yen.
Honda's motorcycle business sales revenue was 274.2bn yen (a year-on-year decrease of 258.7bn yen), due primarily to a decrease in unit sales, mainly in Asia.

This is what you call and Adventure Tourer...

Motorcycle operating profit was 11.2bn yen (a year-on-year decrease of 58.6bn yen). Despite a decrease in unit sales, profit was still made, primarily due to a decrease in R&D and SG&A expenses.
Consolidated unit sales of motorcycles were 1.221 million units, compared to 3.264 million for the year-ago quarter; for the 2019/2020 full year consolidated motorcycle unit sales were 12.426 million, and Honda is now forecasting 9.715 million for 2020/2021.

Barnett Clutches & Cables

Scorpion Series Clear Derby Covers

Ventura, California based Barnett Clutches & Cables has these Scorpion Series clear derby covers for OEM primary covers on 1998-16 H-D Big Twins, 2018 Softails and 2015-20 FLs with the 'narrow' primary. 

Featuring a quarter inch thick, clear polycarbonate clutch window, the scratch and discoloration resistant window is firmly secured and sealed with an O-ring gasket. The outer cover area is CNC- machined from billet aluminum and available in a brilliant chrome or black powder-coat finish. Derby cover gasket is also included.



Cyron Mini Bulbs

The small body size of these mini bulbs from lighting specialist Cyron make them ideal for custom applications as they will fit into more than 90% of housings.

No mechanical fans are needed, no external drivers or bulky heat sinks, the idea behind the design of this light was to sacrifice a bit of power but instead give an LED option to installations that would not be possible with traditional LED bulbs that need mechanical cooling systems. 

They still deliver 90% beam accuracy, 10,000 hours of life, superior color contrast in all road conditions, have a wide operating voltage, remaining bright regardless of battery condition, and have a low power draw that will not drain the battery. Dual beam, Hi/Lo H4; EMI noise free per E9 standards.



Challenger - Dual Saddle Options for Challenger and Interceptor

Designed specifically for the 2020 Indian Challenger with its new angular bodywork style, Corbin's ergonomically shaped Dual Touring saddle is said to give "excellent support for the long haul and uses grey bomber jacket leather for the seating panels, matte black sides, natural grain black trim, chrome welt and black stitching."

Dual touring saddle for 2020 Indian Challenger

Also seen here, as another Challenger option, Corbin has taken the concept of the solo design Wall saddle and merged it with its two-up Gambler model to create a Widowmaker design for Indian's new Big Twin. It features six inches of vertical back support in the rider's area while keeping a low profile without external backrest.
"This saddle disperses the rider's weight ergonomically to give lasting support while still providing good ground reach - an excellent choice for riders who often ride solo or have passengers along for short to medium range trips."

Widowmaker for Challenger

Installs like stock with the fender-mounted bracket at the rear and one bracket on each side under the side covers. Options for both seats include a host of options for materials, colors and textures, a heater unit under the leather seating with left side switches, backrests and storage.
The classic Corbin Gunfighter saddle is also available for 2017-2019 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650s for a "nostalgic look while providing excellent rider comfort. The smooth profile of the saddle matches that of the bike, blending with the overall theme and emulating the design of the tank. 

Gunfighter saddle for 2017-2019 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

"Our high-density Comfort Cell foam allows a sleek, low profile while providing a firm supportive ride that lasts. Ergonomic shaping in the seating provides good ground reach, excellent back support and better weight dispersion for more time in the saddle. This also helps to eliminate the centralized pressure felt from the stock seat. In the nose area, we sculpt the saddle narrow to allow for good ground reach.
"Notice how close the Corbin saddle fits to the tank and chassis - this kind of fit comes only from a Corbin saddle and our unique Fibertech basepan. Our rigid base material not only fits perfectly to the bike, but provides a firm foundation to support the carefully designed foam shape."


Monday 17 August 2020

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

Goodbye Bronx - Or Is It Au Revoir?

No real surprises in Harley-Davidson's Q2 results - the market is down (for obvious as well as ongoing reasons), Harley can't sell enough bikes, in Q2 couldn't make any either, and the Profit & Loss statement makes you want to cry.

There is only one real surprise in newly minted CEO Jochen Zeitz' latest batch of insights into the upcoming 'Rewind' five-year strategic plan. Apparently, flesh will be added to the bones at the end of the year, but meanwhile we know enough to be optimistic, but not enough to be excited.
In practical terms, the headline news is of a 30% reduction in available model variants - there have been too many Tourers, Softails and Sportsters for years, but not enough platform diversity.
Leaving aside the Street, there are basically two engine families - Sportster and M-8 - but rather than outreach, Harley has been the master of introspection in recent years. It has been locked into a circle dance of Touring and Softail navel contemplation.
The good news is that Harley will go ahead with the 60-degree V-twin for the 1,250 cc Pan America Adventure Tourer for MY2021, but the 975 cc iteration for the Bronx Streetfighter is, at best, on the back burner for the foreseeable future. That is the one and only real surprise.
I'm not going to rush to the defence of the Bronx, as unveiled so far, as a thing of beauty that will have Ducati running scared, it isn't, and it wouldn't have been.
Neither am I unrealistic about the relative business opportunities that the two sectors - Streetfighters and Adventure Tourers - represent for a company such as Harley, especially given the largely rural and suburban spread of the existing (though soon to be shrunk) dealer network.
The fact is that Adventure Tourers are selling well and Streetfighters never really have done - they have always been a niche bike ever since they first appeared in Germany and the UK in the early 1990s - and there's another clue, they aren't exactly a contemporary concept.

Adventure Tourers are Pure Americana

Then again, as the original rutted cart track, hill climbing bike style of the earliest years of 'American motorcycling', it could be said that Adventure Tourers aren't exactly 'Rad' either - but if a company like BMW can sell zillions of them (there's not exactly a lot of Atacama Desert in Bavaria!), then in a market where more than 50 percent of the land isn't developed at all (no urban development, no agriculture, no gas stations), then if that isn't a domestic business opportunity for a domestic made motorcycle that is designed for domestic riding, then what is?
So there is compelling short to medium term business sense to Zeitz' plans (and goodness knows, the Harley balance sheet is going to need some of that!) and the more so since, as it happens, downtown is as much their native habitat as off-road - they're not called Dual Sports for nothing. Anything up to 80 percent of the miles done on Adventure Tourers are in fact urban and suburban, whereas Streetfighters are a ticket magnet on the open road, a liability in traffic and need twisties.
In many ways, Streetfighters are as idiosyncratically European as, in reality, Adventure Tourers are pure Americana - go anywhere, good at everything muscle. That said, Streetfighters do have demographics on their side, especially in the context of Harley and the need to bring new entrants into the tribe.
So far Zeitz has proven to be an interesting paradox. In corporate terms, he is the ultimate Renaissance 21st century man. Yet, so far, he is also proving that he is just as capable of being cognizant of legacy and the core customer, as one would think he would be of 'outreach', and the eternal search for 'fresh fish'.
And, with being a man with an international perspective, one would have thought he'd have been all over the Bronx. The one thing, hopefully, that he will be all over, needs to be displacements of the new, modular Revolution Max engine.
Paradoxically, his decision to press ahead with the Pan America, but stall the Bronx, means Harley is going to be continuing to major on large displacement machines at a time when middleweights and lightweights are the 'choix du jour'.
Lightweights are generally defined as being in the 200 to 500/550 cc bracket, with middleweights coming in at around 600/650 cc, up to around 975 cc - which is where the first iteration of Harley's middleweight, the Bronx, was going to live. Generally speaking, heavyweights are regarded as starting as soon as you get into four figures.
If Zeitz' game plan is to husband resources and focus on one new 'fresh fish' at a time, but has up his sleeve multiple displacements of Pan America quite quickly, then kudos.
Yamaha, Triumph, Honda and BMW have found that the future of the Adventure Tourer is as much on highway as off, especially downtown. They have already been going down the route of lower displacement Africa Twins, Ténéré, GS and Tigers, all having initially flooded their dealers' showroom traffic with big brothers.
Being discretely hidden away and socially distanced in the forests of Eastern England hasn't stopped our being able to hear the jungle drums or see the smoke signals, and we have been hearing that the Revolution Max will come in four exciting new flavors - the 1,250 and the 975 we all know about already, but 750 and 500 cc iterations have also been planned, or at least muted.
Does Zeitz' 'Rewind' involve multiple flavors of Adventure Tourers eventually, and an improved, lighter weight, more contemporary chassis for the Bronx once the engines have proved themselves in the Pan America? Such a long-term strategy would be more practical than the one tried for with 'More Roads' - especially if it meant that Harley could also renew the Sportster engine platform (overdue) and dump the Street, even if Australians can't get enough of them!
Finally, we are hearing that Harley's Indian manufacturing and Brazil CKD facilities will be toast, but that it might be stuck with the China deal.

Motorcycle Industry Council

Industry Unites to Prevent 100% Tariffs

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC, Irvine, California) has collaborated with its member companies, their staff and dealers, and Brussels based ACEM, to successfully coordinate lobby action against motorcycles, parts and accessories being included in the most recent round of tariffs being imposed on EU made products by the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

Some 100 comments referencing motorcycles were received by the USTR during its consultation period, urging against tariffs of up to 100 percent on all 500-700 cc motorcycles and scooters, as well as all parts and accessories from the EU and the United Kingdom.
"We're incredibly pleased that European motorcycles, parts and accessories have been removed from the most recent round of EU tariffs in relation to the Airbus situation," said John Hinz, CEO of KTM North America Inc., and MIC board member. "We are extremely thankful that the U.S. Trade Representative heard our concerns and recognized the unintended and potentially devastating impacts that tariffs could have on our industry.
"This would not have been possible without the support of the MIC and its members, the efforts of Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D., Congressman Tim Walberg, Congressman Ken Calvert, Congressman Jim Jordan, our dealers and our employees, and the support of all our industry partners. Thank you to all who wrote letters, made phone calls, and let Washington, D.C., know the value of our industry and our businesses here in the United States."
It was an international effort as well, with written comments supplied by Antonio Perlot, Secretary General of ACEM, the motorcycle industry trade association in Europe.
"This was the third time the USTR made this proposal, and the third time the industry was able to prevail with combined support," said Erik Pritchard, MIC President and CEO. "The MIC's Government Relations Office will continue to monitor the situation, hoping that the USTR does not propose these tariffs a fourth time."

Italian motorcycle registrations


The latest new motorcycle registrations data (for July) available from ANCMA, the motorcycle industry trade association in Italy (the owner of EICMA), continues to make good reading. July motorcycle registrations in Italy were +31.14% with 15,099 new motorcycles registered, putting the Italian market at a way better position than expected with a total of "only" -15.35% (63,165 units) for the first seven months of the year.

Italy is an important scooter and moped market, so total PTW registrations (of all displacements and styles) are a telling sign of underlying market activity and they were +24.50% for July (36,821 units) and are running at -14.66% YTD at 143,775 units. Scooters were 80,610 units YTD (-14.12%).
The top selling motorcycles in Italy YTD have been the BMW R 1250 GS (Enduro, 2,440 units YTD), followed by the Benelli TRK 502/502X (2,196 units YTD), Honda Africa Twin (2,147 units), Yamaha Tracer 900 (Tourer, 1,705 units) and the Honda NC 750 X (1,629 units).
For the record, in 2019 the Italian market was again Europe's largest at +6.26% in motorcycle registration terms (98,883 units) and +5.65% in total PTW terms at 231,937 units.

Motorcycle Storehouse

Motorcycle Storehouse Goes Metric

As Motorcycle Storehouse approaches its fourth decade supporting the two-wheel industry, the Dutch distributor has finally bowed to the inevitable and launched its first standalone MCS Metric catalog.

Although Motorcycle Storehouse has its roots deeply in the Harley market, in fact initially starting out as a specialist vintage Harley service, repair and restoration business, the company's logistics and buying contacts, particularly around the European motorcycle market, have made this a decision whose time has come.
The distributor landscape in the 'metric' market in Europe has always been highly competitive, but new entrants and a series of mergers and acquisitions have made it even more so as unit sales recovered from the effects of the 2007 - 2009 financial crisis.
With more dealers, especially in Europe, taking advantage of as many of the business opportunities their local market offers, Motorcycle Storehouse has an opportunity to migrate its established and recognized name and branding into pastures new, and as a kick-off, 768 pages of parts, accessories, service items, components, tools and workshop equipment isn't a bad start!
Brands included range from Champion and All Balls to Moto Master, Ison and TRW.


SEMA cancelled

The Diamond Bar, California based Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) announced August 5 that due to COVID-19 and concerns that event facilities and services will be unavailable, the SEMA Show will not be taking place in 2020.

"While both event organizers and industry members have been working tirelessly to deliver an outstanding SEMA Show in November, mounting uncertainty has rendered continuing with the event inadvisable. SEMA expects the decision will bring much needed clarity to an uncertain picture and will help exhibitors, attendees and partners plan accordingly."
Recent SEMA Show survey results are said to have indicated interest in a possible virtual trade show with related live elements. SEMA will be working with industry members to determine interest levels on specific alternatives.
"The SEMA Show is committed to furthering businesses in the automotive specialty equipment market, and to providing manufacturers and buyers with the best opportunity to connect, promote new products and discover new trends," said Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO.

Japanese Exports

Japanese Exports to USA

The most recent available data from JAMA (the automotive trade association in Japan, which includes representation of motorcycle manufacturers among its membership) shows exports from the 'Big Four' Japanese manufacturers' factories in Japan to the US down by -38.55% in June at a mere 1,645 units.

For the YTD, Japanese made motorcycle exports to dealers in USA are down by -39.10% at 18,126 units for the first six months of 2020. Total Japanese made PTW exports to USA were -61.77% in June (3,062 units) and -39.45% YTD (28,557 units).
In Europe motorcycle imports from Japan were -49.22% in June (3,713 units) and are -12.71% YTD (76,430 units), having had a strong start to the year. Over 65,000 Japanese made motorcycles went into Europe in Q1 before the pandemic struck, which was considerably up on the year ago quarter and boded well for European Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki dealers. Annual worldwide Japanese made motorcycle and moped exports (all PTW) fell off a cliff in 2009 to 583,879 from over 1 million in 2008, having peaked at 1,641 million units in 2000. They have continued to decline most years since then; most recently they were 463,123 units in 2017; 456,758 in 2018, and 386,379 in 2019.

BMW Motorrad


BMW Motorrad has posted its best ever sales results for the month of June and says it is "entering the second half of the year with confidence."

Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad, said: "After a great start to the new year, we were still up by the end of February, with an increase of almost +12% on the previous year. Then the dynamic development of the corona pandemic began to have a negative impact on the demand for motorcycles. But we see clear light at the end of the tunnel again."

BMW is marking the 40th anniversary of the GS line - the R 80 G/S made its
debut at IFMA, Cologne, in 1980.

BMW motorcycle and scooter sales in June were +9.8% over the same month last year (20,021 units), with a total of 20,021 BMW motorcycles sold. Despite understandably weak sales from March to May, BMW Motorrad sold 76,707 motorcycles worldwide in the first half of 2020 - a decrease of -17.7%.

BMW Motorrad says it expects sales in the rest of 2020 further buoyed by its new R 18 Cruiser - especially in USA where the company is not disguising the fact that it is targeting Harley Big Twin sales.

Sales of 13,937 units in Europe (+2,684 more than in the same month of the previous year and some 70% of total sales) saw the company post +23.9% for January to June, with a +58.2% increase in the German home market. They were +72.9% in France; +52.2% in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg; and +52.0% in Portugal. Sales in Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia and Thailand were +17.3% in June (2,997 units).
BMW sole around 3,000 motorcycle in USA and Canada in the first six months of 2020.


OptiMate Battery-Saving 'Insurance'

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing everyone's daily habits, except for at least one - that 'bad' habit of forgetting to charge and maintain a motorcycle battery.
It is only once riders find out the battery is dead that they realize they need a solution that will save their riding plans. TecMate's range of OptiMate battery saving chargers "are able to save dead-flat batteries other chargers can't - it's battery 'insurance' for rider and dealer alike."  

OptiMate lithium 4S 5 amp

In the past, dealers may have been tempted to think, "why sell battery chargers able to save riders' batteries when instead I could be selling more batteries?" Well, that kind of thinking just doesn't sit well with consumers these days and, besides, there are two solid business reasons for carrying OptiMate battery saving chargers.
If a battery is still within the warranty period, there's almost always a dispute with the customer about who is at fault, and telling a customer he's been foolish never ends well. It almost always ends with the dealer having to eat the claim just to maintain goodwill.
Customers come back because of good service, so a dead battery is a golden opportunity to retail their loyalty if it is handled creatively. "My tip is to use an OptiMate PRO battery charger to bring that battery back to life and then sell a single-user OptiMate to the rider as an 'insurance policy'. You can also upsell each battery sale with an OptiMate to add value to the sale and make a customer into a friend you help to never have battery issues," says TecMate's Martin Human.
"When it comes to saving batteries, OptiMate knows how to save AGM, GEL and STD lead-acid batteries as well as Lithium (LiFePO4) batteries - we have been doing it since 1994 and the OptiMate 3 is the most trusted battery charger for riders and motorcycle OEMs alike, able to save a 12V lead-acid battery from as low as 2 volt, with the OptiMate 4 dual program going lower still to 0.5 volt and offering even more comprehensive recovery methods. 

OptiMate 4 dual programme

"When it comes to 12.8V Lithium/LiFePO4 batteries, they do need special care when voltage has dropped below 8 volt.
"The OptiMate Lithium 4s0.8A, known as the rider's charger, and OptiMate Lithium 4s5A, the PRO/dealer level charger, are able to save a Lithium battery from as low as 0.5 volt, or it will warn if that battery has suffered fatal damage.
"OptiMate's propriety 'test and save' recovery technology continuously measures the battery's reaction as it applies gentle pulsed current and, if normal, it continues charging, if not, it stops and warns that the battery is unserviceable. That's why OptiMate Lithium chargers are globally recommended by Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and KTM, and Husqvarna have their own co-branded OptiMate Lithium.
"If an OptiMate battery saving charger cannot successfully bring a 'dead' battery back to life, nothing can," says Martin.


ACEM: EU to June 2020

ACEM, the Brussels based international motorcycle industry trade association's co-ordinated new motorcycle registration statistics for the first half of the year show the market behind 2019, but demonstrating a greater resilience and recovery than most would have anticipated.
Between January and June 2020, motorcycle registrations in the five largest European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, i.e. about 80% of the EU + UK motorcycle market) reached 413,200 units - a decrease of -17% in comparison to the first six months of 2019.

"The current registration trends in the motorcycle segment, however, can be considered a relative improvement in comparison to the first four months of the year," said Antonio Perlot, ACEM Secretary General. "Indeed, during that period motorcycle registrations in the main European markets had fallen on average by -32.7% as a result of the paralysis of commercial activity that followed the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus."
In moped terms, registrations during the first six months of 2020 in the largest European markets (i.e. Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain) reached a total of 110,600 units. This represents a decrease of -6.9% in comparison to the same period of 2019.

Perlot went on to say "motorcycle and moped registration volumes remain considerably below 2019 levels due to the impact of Spring lockdown measures. The partial rebounding of the market since the restart of activities shows that consumers consider our vehicles as excellent mobility and leisure options in the current context.
"Nevertheless, it is still early to draw any meaningful conclusions about the short-term evolution of the market and operations within the sector, especially given the unforeseeable evolution of COVID-19. The second half of the year will be crucial - the fact remains that a large number of dealers across Europe, in particular in most hit markets, still experience considerable financial pressure.
"They also face the challenge of handling excess inventory of Euro 4 models which, should there be no decisive action from the EU institutions, will become unsellable due to regulatory changes.
"This is why the motorcycle industry in Europe renews its call on policy-makers to support OEMs, dealerships and suppliers in these difficult times through an extension of the deadline to sell Euro 4 vehicles, and targeted financial measures at national level."


Unleash The Beast-II

Boise, Idaho based HardDrive (WPS) continues to add to its V-twin product line with several new brands and many new products from existing brands now available and ready to ship to its U.S. dealers - from ODI Lock-On V-twin grips and Flo Motorsports adjustable levers and MX style footpegs to KB Super Duty Series pistons, replacement service items from Cycle Pro, audio products from the likes of BOSS and METRA, National Cycle screens and, as seen here, high-power LED lighting options from Californian manufacturer Cyron.
These updated dual optic 7" Beast-II LED headlights by Cyron are a projector and reflector in one device - in combination they give a tight, 105W long throw low beam for long distance illumination with a super wide high beam to "see it all."

"Well suited for bikes with passing lamps, the low beam augments the side-to-side coverage of passing lamps and the high beam (which cancels the passing lamps on mot bikes) gives a void filling flood of safety," says Sales Manager Joe Distefano.
"In the absence of passing lamps, this powerful dual optic combo makes sure riders can see everything they need to stay safe on the road."
There are three choices of colors - chrome for the "near stock" classic look, black with DRL and pitch black without DRL for the all blackout look. With 100% beam accuracy and 4800 lumens of light output, the DOT compliant package includes H4 to H13 and H4 to Harley 4-pin adapters. Harley models with dual headlight bulbs can use the 4-pin to H4 adapter, except Road King 2016 and up with dual bulbs, which will need Cyron ABIGC3A.
Batwing fairings and nacelle buckets that currently do not have stock LED daymakers require ABIG7-RNG trim ring bracket for the proper alignment of the headlight beam. Also work with most Indian Motorcycle Big Twins.
WPS/HardDrive completed a new 245,000 sq ft warehouse at Midway, Georgia in January this year as an upgrade to its former Memphis, Tennessee facility. The company also completed expansions at its California facility and Idaho headquarters warehouse in 2019 - taking its six strong distribution center network in the United States (which also includes Texas and Pennsylvania) to over 1 million sq ft in total.


Tuesday 11 August 2020

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

Rebound, Repeat, Relapse or Reboot?

In the past few months, the 'talking heads' on the financial news media haven't been able to make their minds up about the "Shape Of Things To Come," and some of their prognostications have been straight out of the realms of Science Fiction.

There has been a veritable Alphabet Soup of forecasts - from predictions of a 'V' shaped recession - one that saw us drop deep and fast into the abyss, but that will see us shoot back up out of it just as quickly - right through to the 'L' shapers, for whom the recovery would be imperceptibly slow and take years, if not decades.
Between the two are the 'W' analysts, who liken the next few years to looking a tad like the gear shift in a Mac truck cab, through to my personal favorite - the ubiquitous 'U' shaped recovery. The one in which we stumble along the bottom of a broad debris strewn 'U' shaped recession, before, eventually, starting to find some handholds to climb out with on the other side.
In 2007-2008 the forecasters all got it wrong - well, mostly they did - they always do. I think it was Milton Friedman, the Nobel winning doyen of monetarism, who once said that the only reason economists were invented was to make weather forecasters look good. That 'recession to end all recessions' turned out to be a cycle of wash, rinse and repeat as every time we thought we were on the way back from oblivion (2010, 2014 etc.) we just plunged right back down the rabbit hole again.
It took fully ten years (or more) for our humble little backwater of global capitalism to start to make sense again - even then the landscape had completely changed in terms of demographics, unit sales and business expectations.

 “the new abnormal”

The consumer and trade shows had changed, in terms of motorcycle manufacturers and aftermarket parts and accessory manufacturers and, above all, distributors, the players had swapped seats or, in some cases, gone away altogether. The kind of bikes being bought and ridden, the kind of parts and accessories being bought, and how they were being bought, had all changed out of all recognition.
You hear a lot of people talking about there now being a 'new normal'. Well, there was nothing 'normal' about the market in 2019 compared to the one in 2007, so don't expect the 'new normal' that will eventually, at some point, at some stage emerge from this recession to be anything but abnormal. It will likely be a market bearing only a passing resemblance to the one we entered 2020 with.
It is tempting to think the rebound we are seeing in motorcycle sales, on both sides of the Atlantic, is a return to normality and proof that the 'V' shapers called it right. But working on the basis that if something looks too good to be true, then it probably isn't, and the spikes we are seeing in coronavirus infections, especially in the United States, are pause for thought. As this edition of AMD headed for press, there were the beginnings of signs that the increase in infections is after all translating into increases in mortality rates (to be honest it would be counterintuitive if one didn't follow the other, like night following day), and in a continental sized nation that has now seen some 25% of the world's infections affecting some 5% of the global population, anybody who thinks we are nearing the end of this story is almost certainly in for a rude awakening one way or another.
Like it or not, whatever does happen in the public health sphere of course has direct consequences for the economy regardless of where the pandemic started, how it started, why it stared or when it started. The fact is it started, and unless the whole world comes together to end it, then maybe our destiny until there is a convincing global vaccine program will be an endless repeat cycle.
Personally, I don't care whether or not you call them spikes, waves or hot spots - the fact is that until we are all well, none of us are well.
We stand poised on the edge of rebound or relapse, and whichever way it goes, the effect of the past months is going to trigger a reboot of how we all do business and what business we all do. By the time the changes that this cycle is going to unleash can be seen in the rear view mirror, we will likely have had 20 years of change throughout which global capitalism has been out of control like never before.
Milton Friedman's Nobel winning theories were at the heart of Reganomics and Thatcherism in the 1980s. They were simplicity themselves and centered on the simplicities of free markets unfettered by regulation, small governments that add value where needed, nudge the tiller, facilitate free trade, reward and stimulate entrepreneurship and keep us safe, but, for the most part, keep out of our face.
Where did it all go wrong? On both sides of the Atlantic we now have governments that think they own every minutiae of our lives, but who wouldn't, actually, recognize 'good governance' if it got up and bit them on the ass. Remember what Regan said? "The nine most feared words in the English language - I'm from the government and I'm here to help!" Like doctors, politicians should have to swear an oath, the first words of which should be "do no harm".
If the world gets itself out of this mess, it will likely be despite governments, not because of governments.
By way of a quick change in rant, but one born out of the decisive changes seen in the past decade in my own industry, in publishing. It saddened me to learn of the demise of American Iron Magazine, yet another stalwart of the custom magazine landscape bites the dust!
I found out through one of our advertisers who commented that it kind of leaves us as 'last man standing' and that it is therefore no wonder that we are doing so well as we no longer have any competition.
Actually, there are still some print motorcycle magazines left, more so in Europe than in the United States it is fair to say, but people like Cycle Source (shout out to Chris Callen) and some regionals are still doing a good job, and there are several 'new gen' print products that are doing interesting work (Gary Inman at Sideburn, Meta and the like), but living as we do in an era of people knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing where media is concerned makes me wonder whether those of us who persevere are like the last dinosaurs eyeing endless empty fields with the grass all to ourselves.


Harley Announces Chief Digital Officer

In another sign that recently appointed CEO and President Jochen Zeitz is intending to "push all the buttons" when it comes to dragging Harley-Davidson kicking and screaming into the 21st century, the company has announced the appointment of Jagdish Krishnan as Chief Digital Officer.

In its release the company explains that "a holistic, forward-focused consumer experience will be central to Harley-Davidson's long-term strategy. The new role of Chief Digital Officer is responsible for building relationships with existing and new consumers by providing best-in-class digital experiences connected to the Harley-Davidson brand.
"In this role, Krishnan will lead the development of a new digital strategy that will enable the company to deliver the most desirable customer retail experience, whether online or in dealerships, with innovative, direct-to-consumer technology supporting eCommerce and dealer digitization. 

"This includes building seamless and satisfying digital interfaces with products, services, commerce and Harley-Davidson's global dealer network. To enable this strategy, Krishnan will lead the modernization of Harley-Davidson's global information systems that support all business operations.
"The creation of this new role and focus is part of The Rewire, the company's efforts to, among other things, overhaul its operating model and provide a better starting point for the future. The Chief Digital Officer is one of several roles and functions created or elevated to report directly to Chairman, President and CEO Jochen Zeitz to build desirability for the Harley-Davidson brand and products."
Zeitz is quoted as saying that "Harley-Davidson is all about experiences, and an enhanced digital experience is absolutely critical for us to make our GIS [Geographic Information System] and digital capabilities more customer-centric.
"We will take a completely different approach to applying digital technology across the company to fundamentally change how we operate and create value. To deliver on our objectives, we must have an innovative and high-performance IT function.
"We need to be a high-performing team with cutting edge leadership to move us forward. Jagdish is exactly the right leader and he will ensure we connect with our customers at all touch-points."
Krishnan is described as having more than twenty years of experience leading digital transformation and "brings strength in partnering with business stakeholders, leadership and customers to identify needs and deliver solutions to position organizations for advanced growth."
Most recently, he served as Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at Bose Corporation, where he championed the transformation of the business model and the operating model leveraging digital technologies. Prior to Bose, he was with Deloitte & Touche and Patni Computer Systems, where he had a broad mix of experiences including P&L responsibility, information security, enterprise software deployment, programming and IT operations.
Krishnan earned a Bachelor of Science with honors in computer engineering from Pune University and a Master's degree in data communication and distributed systems from Oxford University.
The Rewire is expected to continue through the end of the year, leading to a first look at the company's 2021-2025 strategic plan, The Hardwire, expected in the fourth quarter.


Leineweber - 70 Years of Camshaft Experience for 100 years of Harley Engines

Jim Leineweber has nearly 70 years of experience creating high performance camshafts. Now he and his son, Justin, are working together, continuing to make the best possible stock replacement and performance upgrade Harley camshafts that have been the hallmark of their reputation for nearly 50 years.

With the impressive performance history of Leineweber cams, you'd expect Jim and Justin to be found surrounded by sophisticated forming and grinding equipment in some hot-shot laboratory style setting. Instead, they work in their own machine shop and do their spectacular grinds on some rather unspectacular looking equipment. Thanks to their craftsmanship, Leineweber cams are renowned throughout the industry.

Motorcycles are their passion and performance is written into their DNA - Justin and Jim just want your customer's bike to perform exactly how they want it to. 

All Leineweber camshafts are manufactured from heat-treated aircraft quality materials. The gear is pressed on in the conventional manner and Leineweber says that its line-up of camshaft grinds "includes designs that produce more power than any other cams on the market."

Leineweber camshafts are the constant velocity type which lifts the valve very quickly to its maximum lift. Therefore, the valve is at or near maximum lift for most of the duration, creating a wider torque range. Cams with longer periods of maximum lift will have superior flow characteristics, and all Leineweber camshafts have superior duration, "offering a wider torque range than other manufacturers."

"Whether you are looking for a bolt-in to give just a bit more than stock, something you can still kick start, are preparing to race or even hoping to have a vintage (pre 1940) special make and model cam reground - we have them all.
"Our grinds are considered the 'hot' set-up among drag racers and street riders worldwide. This is one mighty stamp of approval, given that the demands of the drag strip require a cam that performs well at all engine speeds."

Valve timing is checked at .053" and the Leineweber range stretches from Twin Cams with a 1.62-1 rocker ratio right back through Evo, Sportsters, Shovelheads, Panheads to 1-1 ratio Knucklehead cams. They also offer a custom cam grinding service, restoration cams, cams for Flatheads, and cams for supercharged and turbocharged race engines.
Dealers worldwide can order direct from Leineweber in California; in Europe a selection of Knucklehead, Panhead and early Shovelhead options are available from W&W Cycles in Germany.


Triumph Motorcycles

Ride Solo Together - Triumph and The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

Triumph Motorcycles and the Movember Foundation have joined forces with the 2020 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride on 27th September for this year's unique event.
With the aim of supporting and fundraising for men's health with this year's ride, and its commitment to men's mental health, the DGR has never been more relevant in light of the momentous challenges the world is facing.

On this day, thousands of gentlefolks worldwide are invited to wear their best dapper and to ride solo to fundraise in support of the research against prostatic cancer and mental health support.
The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride (DGR) was founded in Sydney, Australia, by Mark Hawwa. It was inspired by a photo of Mad Men's Don Draper astride a classic bike and wearing his finest suit. Mark decided a themed ride would be a great way to combat the often negative stereotype of men on motorcycles, whilst connecting the global motorcycling community and to raise funds for a cause important to every rider.
The event has been attracting an increasing amount of riders year after year since 2012 and, in 2019, new fundraising and attendance records were set: $6m raised for the cause, with more than 116,000 riders participating across 104 countries.
In order to maintain the DGR's mission, while adapting to this challenging period, the 2020 DGR will be for the first time a solo event, in which participants will embrace the spirit and mood of the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride by 'Riding Solo Together' - riding alone or with their pillion rider from the same household. 
This new format will enable riders to comply with the different social distancing regulations in place in each country, while sharing their passion for motorcycles, contributing to the Movember cause and spreading awareness through social media.
Triumph is proud to once again partner with The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride to support this incredible event and to encourage every Triumph fan to support the DGR and to dress dapper, ride and donate while observing clear social distancing regulations that each country has in place.
In addition, Triumph is donating four brand new motorcycles from its Modern Classic range to be gifted to the three highest fundraisers worldwide and to the winner of the Gentlefolk Competition.

Alloy Art

49 mm Lower Legs and Brake Mounts

New from Glendora, California based Alloy Art, all the components in these strong, lightweight and durable 49 mm lower legs and brake mounts for Touring and Softail applications are CNC-machined from billet aluminum.

The fender mounts are adjustable, to allow exact fender placement, and the kits include a 25 mm CAD-plated Chromoly front axle. The caliper mounts are available for radial calipers with a 108 mm bolt pattern or '08-'20 OEM-style Dresser calipers - the mounts are designed for use with 11.8" or 13" rotors. Caliper mounts and calipers are sold separately and custom wheel spacers required.

They are available in clear or black anodized for ABS equipped 2014-2020 FLHT/FLHR/FLHX/FLTRX/FLTRU/FLTRK and FXBR/FXBRS/FXLR/FXBB/FLDE/FLHC/FLHCS/FLSL/FLFB/FLFBS models. Radial and OEM caliper mounts also available clear or black anodized.


Arlen Ness

Ness Inverted Series Big Sucker Air Cleaners Feature Patent-Pending Breather Tech

If you like your air cleaners with as much airflow as possible, then these Arlen Ness 10-Gauge Inverted Series air cleaners don't disappoint - they combine patented Big Sucker technology with an inverted filter top that maximizes airflow by pulling in air from the face of the air cleaner, as well as the traditional method of pulling in air from the sides (the filter has a pleated top and sides). 


At the heart of the Ness design is a patent pending forged billet aluminum backing plate with hidden breather technology that is O-ringed at the heads, passes through the back plate and exits inside the throttle body through proprietary shooter tubes.
Now standard on all Ness inverted intakes (Inverted, Method, Clear Tear and Sidekick), the integrated oil catch ensures no engine breather oil ever ends up on the filter restricting the airflow. Oil catch’s bolt-on design allows its reservoir to be emptied when it's time to service the air filter.
Specially designed breather bolts and billet cover plates that result in a hidden hardware design with the most efficient breathing system available. Forged into the backing plate, the radius air inlet provides unobstructed airflow for more horsepower and torque.
Each backing plate is CNC-machined from forged aluminum and the advanced design concept eliminates oil blow-by issues, especially those associated with M-8 performance intakes.

Forged billet aluminum backing plate

The synthetic air filter does not need oil - the water-resistant filter media means it can simply be washed and reused and, in most cases, eliminates the need for a rain sock. Each filter features an inverted pleated top with pleated sides to maximize airflow by pulling in from every angle; the synthetic material is black with a stainless steel jacket.
Machined from a single piece of forged billet aluminum, the air filter housings feature an inverted intake face that acts as a velocity stack to increase performance by forcing air into the inverted air filter top.

'10 -Gauge'

On late model Big Twins "our breathing system eliminates the oil issues associated with M-8 engines by directing any excess breather oil back into the engine. To ensure no oil saturates the filter and restricts your airflow, we also integrated a new patent-pending oil catch that can be serviced when you service the handmade, fully washable/reusable pleated synthetic material filter element in black with a stainless steel jacket.
"The filter housings are machined from a single piece of forged billet aluminum for clean style, reduced weight and improved ergonomics. It features a built-in velocity stack that not only gives a unique look, but also increases performance by forcing air into the filter's inverted pleated top."


Matching wheels, rotors and covers also available; fitments include '08-'16 FLT/'16-'17 FLST/FXDLS(FBW); '91-up XL Sportster; '00-'17 Big Twin (except FBW) and '17-up M-8 models. A.R.B compliant (E.O. D-639-7).