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Tuesday 30 May 2023


Mees Keeps On Rolling with Red Mile Triumph

Round 8, Lexington, KY, May 27

Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750) earned his 25th-career Grand National Championship Mile victory in split-second fashion in the Lexington, KY, Red Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle of Lexington on May 27, 2023. 

Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle

As the 2023 AFT series nears its mid-point, the season so far has taken shape as a heavyweight title fight between reigning Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle champ Mees and his ascending challenger, points leader Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT).

The two broke free from the start and spent the next 14 minutes plus two laps testing each other in preparation for the decisive final lap. The cagey Mees sat in tight formation behind his young rival during the final laps before striking as the two sprinted into Turn 3 for the final time - taking the checkered flag by a minuscule 0.042 seconds.

The victory was Mees’ fifth in six attempts at the Red Mile. It also saw him join legends Bubba Shobert and Bryan Smith for third all-time in career Mile wins.

For Daniels, it was the fourth time this season he’s finished a close second to Mees and left him still holding the points advantage due to a season-long run of firsts and seconds that he kept intact.

The fight for third was a spirited four-way affair, with Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 790 Duke) ultimately taking third, with JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) fourth and Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750) in fifth, ahead of Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Indian FTR750) in sixth.

The results gave Indian four spots in the Top 10, including the class win, Yamaha three spots, including a second with their MT-07, and KTM two spots, including a third place, on the 790 Duke. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the steps that AMA/AFT have taken to level the senior class platform playing field, in the long-run, history may well judge that the broadened manufacturer participation profile, and the financial footprint that comes with it, was the silver bullet that sustained AFT, protecting it from the largely single marque dominance and arising series atrophy that was in danger of emerging again. 


Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) added more evidence to support the old racing adage that a rider’s second win comes a whole lot easier than their first with a triumphant run in a Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER pack war.

A robust battle expanded to a nine-rider lead pack as the pivotal final two laps opened, the race for the win appeared almost certain to be decided amongst Turner Honda teammates Lowe and Chase Saathoff (No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) and the Estenson Racing Yamaha duo of Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F).

Sacramento winner Drane looked like the odds-on favorite due to the Yamaha's optimal blend of high-speed chops, low-pro aerodynamics, ultra-light weight and big-time horsepower. However, despite repeatedly demonstrating the capacity to blast up to first from three or four positions back - seemingly at will - the Aussie’s last-lap strategy was blown up by a lapped rider as the huge lead group dove into Turn 3 for the final time.

As a result, Drane could finish no better than third, with Lowe and Saathoff handing Honda a hard-earned 1-2 on the CRF 450s. It was Lowe's second-career victory.

Brunner finished just 0.057 seconds back off his teammate in fourth and was followed home by Red Bull KTM teammates Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) in fifth and Kody Kopp (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) in sixth.

Kopp continues to lead in his title defense with 151 points to his credit. However, Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F) was shuffled back to seventh in the melee, a development that allowed Saathoff to join him level at 136 points. Whale is fourth at 130, followed by Brunner (123), Lowe (117) and Drane (105).

The results gave Honda three CRF450R finishers in the Top 10, including the 1-2, with Yamaha two spots (3 and 4), three KTM 450 SX-F finishers (5, 6 and 7) and two Husqvarna FC 450s finishing 8 and 10. It is worth noting that, as OEM 'stablemates', the KTM and Husqvarna 450s are, essentially, the same bikes. 

Next Up: The series now has another three-week gap, with Round 9 marking the half-way point of the 2023 Championship, with the last in the sequence of mile races at DuQuoin, Il., on June 17. After which the first of a four-race run of Half-Miles kicks-off with the popular Lima, Ohio Half-Mile on June 24, followed by the West Virginia Half-Mile at Mineral Wells, WV, on July 1st, the Orange County Half-Mile at Middletown, NY, a week later (July 8) and an inaugural AFT visit to the Bridgeport Speedway at Swedesboro, NJ, two weeks later, July 22 (Round 13).

Budweis Indian Motorcycle Custom Show

Budweis Indian Motorcycle Custom Show

Following our report two months ago about the innovative Indian Riders Fest (IRF), Indian Motorcycle in Europe has released more information about the second edition of the Budweis Indian Motorcycle Custom Show being staged as a centerpiece of the event.

The highly anticipated event will showcase the exceptional craftsmanship of European custom bike builders and Indian Motorcycle dealers. It will take place during the IRF in České Budějovice (Budweis), Czech Republic, June 9-11, 2023.

Indian Motorcycle Europe says that "with the IRF already expected to be the world's largest gathering of Indian Motorcycle owners, the Budweis Indian Motorcycle Custom Show is a huge stage for builders to show the world their skills and vision with entirely transformed bikes, insane custom motorcycle concepts, unusual design projects or spectacular masterpieces.

"In recognition of the developing profile of the Budweis Indian Motorcycle Custom Show, American Motorcycle Dealer has confirmed its "AMD Approved" status to the show, making it one of just four shows to receive this accolade so far."

As a new event to the 'AMD Family', the Indian Riders Fest and its associated Budweis Indian Motorcycle Custom Show "has made great progress in terms of its status, backing and profile in the past 24 months. It represents a genuine first for AMD, and for the international custom motorcycle market in general, as the first show that is 100 percent dedicated to past and present Indian motorcycles," said Robin Bradley, Editor-in-Chief, American Motorcycle Dealer.

The Budweis Indian Motorcycle Custom Show is committed to showcasing young, rising and experienced custom builders with wild creativity and is open to all - regardless of experience or background. Prominently positioned next to the main stage, all participating bikes will be assessed by the international judging panel in six distinct classes, allowing each motorcycle to be judged on its own merits.

Chairing the judging panel will be Onno Wieringa, founder and owner of Madness Photography. Onno, an ambassador for AMD, has decades of knowledge and experience from running and judging many shows over several years. Conferred as President of Honor of the panel will be Ola Stenegärd, Director of Industrial Design for Indian Motorcycle, whose passion for customization is evident from his long history of producing show-winning builds. 

"The custom world is on fire with cool builds based on every Indian Motorcycle model. Chops, bobs, baggers, trackers, you name it. The scene is just exploding with creative energy, and I'm super-stoked to see what builders will bring to the Budweis Indian Motorcycle Custom Show to display their creativity, skills and craftmanship," commented Stenegärd.

Conferred as President of Honor of the panel will be Ola Stenegärd, Director of Industrial Design for Indian Motorcycle. His passion for customization is evident from his long history of producing show- winning builds - including participation in the AMD European Championship "back in the day!" 

The 'Best in Show' at the Budweis Indian Motorcycle Custom Show will be awarded to the most outstanding build, combining the best elements from all six classes. This is the ultimate prize, awarded to the builder whose motorcycle stands out as the most exceptional and innovative creation at the Indian Riders Fest 2023.

"This is an excellent opportunity for builders to showcase their passion for Indian Motorcycle and to be recognized by a panel of international experts from across the custom motorcycle industry." For more details and to complete the official entry form, please visit:


Gilles Tooling

Gilles Tooling Becomes Indian Motorcycle Racing Technical Partner

Indian Motorcycle Racing and noted performance parts and accessory manufacturer Gilles Tooling (Luxembourg) have announced a collaboration that will see Gilles build on its already established partnership with Indian Motorcycle as an accessory supplier for the FTR1200.

In addition, Gilles will now act as a technical sponsor for the Indian Motorcycle Racing Team. "As we share a common passion for motorsport, we are excited about the opportunity to participate in races and other events together," said Gilles founder and CEO Gerhard Gilles.

The brand partnership between Gilles and Indian Motorcycle Racing announced late last year saw the Luxembourg based manufacturer become a co-branded parts supplier of nine new FTR1200 parts designs, including these performance adjustable rearsets and levers.

"We are confident that this collaboration will be beneficial for both, Gilles and Indian Motorcycle Racing. The roots of Gilles lie in racing. We have always kept close ties to racing and have been supporting world class teams ever since our foundation.

"The feedback from the racetrack influences all our products. The high number of World Champion titles we have helped teams win reflect our pedigree, and we remain represented as a sponsor in many racing series this year," says Gerhard.

"For us, design and aesthetics have not been our only, but rather, from the start, it has been our engineering skills, in all parts of design, engineering and production that have been the Gilles hallmark - we are driven by function."

News Briefs

Energica Motor Company has delivered its first shipments to Japan and Australia - deliveries include Energica's newest model, the Experia. In Japan it has signed a strategic partnership with importer Estar & Co., Ltd., who has opened a mono-brand showroom in Kobe, on the man-made Rokkō Island. It showed the 2023 Energica range at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show in March. Energica has partnered with Australian Electric Motor Co. to import its electric motorcycles into Australia and New Zealand. From its HQ on the Gold Coast, AEMC is developing a network of dealers throughout the continent. Additionally, Energica recently introduced its products to the Pakistan market. 

Yamaha Motor has announced an investment in Andes Ag, Inc., a U.S.-based start-up pursuing research into beneficial microorganism technologies to remove CO2 from the air. This marks the first investment made through the $100m Yamaha Motor Sustainability Fund, established in June last year specifically for investing in early-stage companies working to address climate change. This investment in Andes was made possible through Yamaha Motor's Silicon Valley-based group company Yamaha Motor Ventures (YMV), the corporate venture capital arm of Yamaha Motor Company.

In its 75th anniversary year, Honda has won Red Dot Design awards in the Product Design category for the European designed CB750 Hornet and XL750 Transalp models. Honda's design team in Rome created the CB750 Hornet "as a new, contemporary expression of technical beauty with sharp lines and aggressive angles." In addition, the XL750 Transalp received top honors from the Red Dot jury. Marking a return of the Transalp name to Honda's motorcycle line-up after nearly a decade, the XL750 Transalp "brings the comfortable do-it-all crossover to a new generation of riders. Built around the same all-new 755 cc parallel twin-cylinder engine as the Hornet, it faithfully references the iconic 1986 original XL600V Transalp, but with an unmistakeably modern look, thanks to the sculpted fairing and screen."

In partnership with Cardo, Ducati's new communication system V3 intercom offers enthusiasts "the most innovative communication technologies - such as Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC) connectivity - without sacrificing the unmistakable Ducati red. The streamlined, antenna-free silhouette makes this intercom aerodynamic, improving comfort, silence and aesthetics, and the magnetic mount for attachment to the helmet simplifies installation."

Honda has confirmed the return of its miniMOTO, Scooter and Trials models - Ruckus, Metropolitan and Montesa Cota - with engine updates for a returning retro-inspired Trial125.

Nitro Circus will "bring motorcycle stunt mayhem" to the H-D Homecoming Festival from July 13 to 16 as the Motor Company marks its 120th anniversary with a non-stop, action-packed freestyle motocross show on the Milwaukee lakefront Veterans Park. In addition to elite moto-athletes performing insane ramp tricks and heart-racing stunts as they push themselves to their limits, the Ives Brothers Wall of Death is also scheduled for performances - along with Foo Fighters (Sat., July 15) and Green Day (Fri., July 14). 

Derek Brooks of Yamaha and John Hinz of KTM have been elected to serve as Chair and Vice Chair respectively of the MIC Board of Directors. Jim Woodruff, CEO of NPA remains secretary and treasurer. MIC also welcomes new board members Bill Savino, senior manager of sales support for American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and Eric Sievers, director, sales planning and analysis at Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA as retiree replacements for Chuck Boderman and Bill Jenkins. 

Polaris has announced the RZR Pro R Factory - described as the powersport's industry's first purpose built, race-ready UTV. It is an evolution of its class-leading RZR Pro R, featuring "race-tuned power, desert-proven strength and unmatched control."

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MSNW, Electrek,,,, Cycle World,


Merlin Hires 'Tex' Mawby for U.S.  Office

British wax cotton apparel specialist Merlin has opened a United States operation, headed up by former Gerbing, TCX boots and REV'IT! man Michael 'Tex' Mawby as its USA and Canada Country Manager.

Prior to joining Merlin North America, Mawby was the Director of Sales and Marketing for Just1 Racing owner H&H Sports Protection (Torc, Nitek and Origine helmets).

A former amateur road racer, Mawby has previously won four national championships with the AMA, WERA and USCRA racing series in the U.S.

Based in Philadelphia, Mawby will be focused on growing Merlin's distribution and retail network in the States and Canada. Patrick Franklin, Sales Operations Director at Merlin, said: "Over the last ten years, Merlin has grown strongly based on our mission of providing the best protection in motion from our apparel lines.

"Built through the highest progressive innovation available, yet ensuring that every rider receives amazing 'bang for their buck'. This is a proposition that has seen Merlin generate almost three quarters of our revenue outside our home market in the UK. Merlin has been supplying into the U.S. since 2016 with an amazing consumer response, so with the interruption of Covid-19 behind us, it is the right time to step our U.S. operations up a level."

Mawby said of his appointment: "I am ecstatic to have been given the opportunity to lead Merlin in North America. The design, features, construction and quality of our apparel collection is unparalleled and, in my opinion, complete. 

"My new colleagues in the UK have built a great brand and most importantly, a strong culture. 'For Riders, By Riders' is more than a marketing slogan, it is a credo that guides Merlin's values and principles. I am looking forward to sharing and growing this culture in the USA, Canada and Mexico for years to come."


Grand Prix 2:1 for Softails 

Firebrand has been in the exhaust game for well over a decade, "but the last few years they've really stepped up their game, and the new Grand Prix two into one is a solid example of that work." Using a shorty version of its bulge end Grand Prix muffler, Firebrand has mated it to a stepped collector and a high flow stainless header.

Firebrand's Director of Marketing, Jon Montgomery, says: "The end result is a quality system that looks the business on modern Softails. We integrated a perforated baffle and a durable packing material into the Grand Prix 2:1 for a commanding exhaust note without the 'pitchiness' that can come with a short system. Naturally, we made sure there was a noticeable bump in power as well." 

The Grand Prix two into one is available in brushed stainless as well as its durable black coating and fits most narrow wheel M-8 powered Softails from 2018 to 2023 - clearing bags and passenger pegs. 

It is also available as a 49-state or race-only version. Firebrand is distributed exclusively through WPS/HardDrive.


Custom Chrome Europe

Kodlin 2" STR8UP Softail Bars

Distributed exclusively in Europe by Custom Chrome Europe (CCE), these new Kodlin 2" Str8UP 'Midi-Apes' are "an extraordinary handlebar for an extraordinary look. The 2" diameter handlebar gives the bike a unique design." Suitable for heated grips, the 2" Str8UP is available in three heights: medium (280 mm), tall (380 mm) and extra tall (430 mm).

The genuine 2" bars have a 1" bar end diameter and 1 1/4" clamping area. The clutch and brake master cylinder will need to be changed (to OEM 45138-08A). For Breakout models, Kodlin suggests short lower risers, and for Fat Boy models the Kodlin Big Block Risers are needed.

"Of course, a fat handlebar also requires a corresponding riser. The perfect complement is the equally extraordinary look of the Kodlin Big Block Riser" - as also seen here.

Suitable for all handlebars with a 1 1/4" clamping area. CNC-milled from billet aluminum - heavy duty handlebar bushings are recommended. Available in black. Designed and made in Germany by Fred Kodlin Motorcycles. Also available for Road Glide and Road Glide Specials.


BS Battery

BS Battery Smart Chargers Now Available in USA

With more than 15 years experience in the battery industry, working closely with manufacturers to develop Original Equipment batteries (lead-acid, more recently lithium), the engineers at BS Battery have been able to use the information gained from working with manufacturers' own engineering teams to optimize BS' own product lines.

That knowledge and experience can now be 'money in the bank' for BS Battery dealers with an upgraded BS charger line that "is ideal for OEM manufacturers and end users."

Described as "designed with advanced microprocessors, 100% automatic, BS Battery smart chargers are now available in USA thanks to Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties distribution - comprising three models: BS 10, BS 30, BK 20 - all compatible for lead-acid and lithium batteries."

The BS 10 6V and 12V smart battery charger and maintainer is rated at 1A, with a battery capacity up to 20 Ah. "Small, safe and easy to use, this charger is one of the most practical chargers that we ever made," says General Manager Benjamin Sebban. "It will always provide a good charge and be able to recover discharged batteries."

Also compatible with lead-acid and lithium batteries, BS 30 and BK 20 are two new smart chargers that offer a high charging current with high battery capacity. "An exhaustive charging program has been developed into these two battery chargers to enable them to charge and maintain all battery sizes. 

"With a multi-axis hook, the BS 30 is a new 12V smart battery charger and maintainer, which can be hung anywhere. With a charging current of up to 3 Ah, the BS 30 is also able to work with battery sizes up to 60 Ah and up to 120 Ah for maintenance." 

Developed for warehouse, professional workshop and garage use, the BK 20 is a new smart bank battery charger and maintainer, which offers three channels of charge. Described as "the new 3-in-1 solution for professionals," the BK 20 becomes "an essential tool as it can charge and maintain three batteries with different voltages and chemistries simultaneously," says Benjamin. "The new BK 20 is designed to save time, and our distributors and dealers can fix it onto a BS display with assembly parts - meaning you can charge batteries easier."

All BS Battery smart chargers are matching all latest U.S. certifications and delivered with clamps set and fused ring terminal set.


Andreani USA

Andreani USA Expands Product Offering 

No sooner had it staged its inaugural 'Open-House' to mark the establishment of the new Hendersonville, North Carolina U.S. headquarters than Andreani USA has announced an expansion to its product offer for domestic U.S. dealers with the addition of two noteworthy product lines from Europe.

As a suspension specialist, a deal to sell the British made Nitron Racing Systems performance suspension product line provides a compatible range of shock absorbers and front end suspensions to complement Andreani's own, versatile 'Misano' range of front fork cartridge kits.

Nitron CBR600RR shock

"Nitron Racing Systems' shocks and suspension products carry a racing pedigree and applications for all types of motorcycles, from motocross to ADV to cruisers and touring bikes."

Already distributed in Italy by Andreani, "Italian MIVV exhaust systems offer high performance, matched with Italian style and an expansive product line. MIVV is well known throughout Europe as a brand that delivers increased performance, refined sound and Italian style to motorcycles of all types. Andreani USA is MIVV's first US-based distributor and will make MIVV exhaust products readily available for American powersports dealers.

MIVV for Ducati Panigale

“Entering into an important market like the U.S. required that we select a highly professional distributor, and we have a long history working with the Andreani Group," said MIVV's Business Unit Manager Danilo DeBerardinis. "Our current production touches every segment of the motorcycle world, from naked to superbikes, from enduros to adventure bikes, and we've had requests to create products for models of every brand, especially Harley-Davidson motorcycles."

Andreani USA President Luciano Ubaldini said: "We strive to bring the best products to our network of dealers in the United States. As the exclusive distributor of MIVV exhausts and official service center for Nitron suspension products, we can ensure that our dealers are delivering great products and technical support to American motorcycle riders."

Todd's Cycle

Todd's Cycle Risers

Hawaii based Todd's Cycle risers are designed to improve the look, feel and riding position on a wide range of H-D models with 3.5" on center risers. Extremely strong, riders will not experience any flex from these U.S.A. made billet aluminum risers.

They are available in black or chrome, in a range of sizes and styles, from 6" to 10" tall straights (8" seen here) and pullbacks (6" also shown here). They are designed for 1" or 1 1/8" clamping handlebars.

Todd's Cycle is part of the burgeoning California based Tolemar Group, which includes LA Choppers, Baron Custom Accessories and Trinity Racing among other accessory manufacturers.


Tuesday 23 May 2023

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

Danger Ahead for Harley?

While "making more from less" is somewhat of a Holy Grail for any business, getting product "out there" is also a righteous goal - in financial terms, scarcity has to be a pathway to somewhere, not simply a goal in and of its own.

It has been a while since I stood on my "Harley, you could be doing better" soapbox, and I feel dirty about climbing back on to it now. It's not as if, with this iteration of Harley's strategic plans, I have a firm grasp of what the Motor Company should be doing in addition to or instead of 'HardWire' in order to keep the share price and bottom line moving in the right direction.

The problem is, if the recent loss of the CFO is anything to go by, Harley itself appears to have more questions than answers at this stage.

Corporate hubris and ego will prevent Harley from jettisoning LiveWire or finding a way to reverse it out of the SPAC cul-de-sac it has been driven down (btw - global EPTW sales numbers and market forecasts continue to suggest that its 100,000 units by 2025 objective remains the stuff of fantasy).

'could become vulnerable again'

Within hours of the Q1 results being announced, some were pointing to the 14% increase in Q1 shipments - as opposed to retail sales - as marking a return to the bad old "Channel Stuffing" days that nearly brought the Motor Company to its knees 15 years ago.  

However, Harley, quite rightly, points to the increase in available inventory coming "in advance of [the] key riding season," with the increase in wholesale shipments and continued global pricing realization "driving that [Q1] 21% increase in HDMC revenue." The problem with the way the income has been accounted for though is that Q2 may well have a bunch of sales with no profit score in the revenue column. But I guess it has always been thus.

Either way, Wall Street is not known for its ability to appreciate nuance. 

On the day the Q1 fiscals were released (April 27, 2023), Harley stock opened at $38.13 and dropped as low as $33.80 before closing at around $36.00. For context, the year-ago Harley stock price at that stage was $36.32, and since then it had been as low as $29.81, with a 12-month high of $51.72 in early February 2023. 

Despite the success it has had in taking back control of pricing and using scarcity to reinforce brand status, the stock market response was hardly the ringing endorsement of 'Hardwire' strategic plan progress that Zeitz was clearly claiming.

Whichever way the potential revenue/unit deficit in Q2 is looked at, the potential discrepancy surely represents a roll of the dice? Zeitz is betting that Harley's dealers will be able to sell the units, and more besides, otherwise Q2 results could see unit sales jump, but without the commensurate increase in revenue from motorcycle operations. 

The overall math may well have the tolerance to absorb such a "cost of doing business" priced in and, no doubt, there will be an (probably lesser) element of the cash movement cycle in the Q3 and Q4 fiscals too - indeed there is likely an element of perpetual carry-forward in such matters.

Meanwhile, has Wall Street taken a more nuanced and balanced view of Harley's progress in the days since the Q1 fiscals dropped? That's a big fat no! The Harley share price opened at $36.63 on the day after the results were published and, despite a slight recovery to a high of $37.56 since then, Harley stock closed at a modest $34.10 the evening before writing this piece on May 10.

Yes, okay, what shares have not been suffering this year? Sure, most have, but not all - there have been winners. Whichever way you slice and dice the market indexes, most shares have suffered badly so far this year, indeed, there has been around 18 months of volatility and the stock market momentum is decidedly negative (again this year) as we head into the low volumes of the summer months.

Why am I investing content real estate and keystrokes into this in such detail? Quite simply because if this continues for very much longer (maybe six to 18 months would be a timeframe), Harley could be headed back into take-over territory - and more likely hostile than 'White Knight.' 

Only once in the past 24 months has Harley's share price been lower than at the time of writing, and it is way closer to that low than it is to any subsequent high.

The problem is that only very dubious balance sheets treat brand value as an asset. While Harley's (Zeitz') focus on the desirability of the brand has served certain kinds of businesses well in the past in fiscal terms (listed and privately held businesses), there is a balancing act to be struck. One where the potential acquisition price is lower than the long-term profit opportunities that a well curated brand can deliver.

Under such circumstances, the kind of multiples involved in trying to get investors to price unrealized profits into an acquisition are more closely associated with the lower-cost, high-unit number FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) markets that the present CEO is more accustomed to - not the higher priced, lower-unit number sectors that a business like a motorcycle manufacturer or automotive conglomerate occupies. 

Such businesses breathe entirely different air. Harley-Davidson is in danger of becoming vulnerable again. There are trillions of dollars of investment capital out there for which the number of good homes is diminishing, and for which the 'quick buck is the best buck'. That capital is in the hands of investors for whom time is the enemy, not the opportunity. These are febrile times in which mergers and acquisitions activity is morphing, and not necessarily in a good way.

Don't get me wrong. This has been a tricky piece for me to write, expressly because, actually, overall and given the past and present circumstances, I personally think Harley's senior management team and its workforce are 'doing a good job.'  

Yes, the Harley brand is important and should be nurtured in such a way that the metal commands a suitable premium. But unless the stock markets improve (hard and fast), then we will be approaching an era in which investors will have even less capacity to price that in than they do now.

Tucker Powersports

'Tires. Shop. Service' Catalog

Tucker Powersports has updated its popular 'Tires. Shop. Service' catalog and at 920 pages of detail it is cross-reference Nirvana for professional motorcycle workshops of all kinds - including V-twin shops.

Taken with the 'Tucker V-twin' catalog, this adds up to as complete a V-twin dealer's shopping experience as could be wished for.

In addition to a wide selection of ADV tire options for Harley's Pan America, cruiser tire brands in inventory at Tucker's distribution centers include Dunlop, Kenda, Bridgestone, Continental and 'get-them-while-you-can' Avons, following the news that the historic Avon factory in the UK is closing (has closed already?) so far there is no news as to whether or not owner Goodyear intends to make them elsewhere or kill off the brand entirely. 

Workshop and service supplies include V-twin air and oil filters (K&N, S&S, Maxima ProFilters, Twin Power, BMC), batteries (Yuasa, Shorai, Antigravity, BikeMaster and Twin Power Max and Shockers), electricals (NAMZ, BikeMaster, NGK, DEI), oils (Twin Power, VP Racing, Maxima, Motorex, Silkolene), chemicals and cleaners, hardware (Bolt, Gardner-Westcott, Colony), shop equipment and supplies (K&L, JIMS, BikeMaster) and specialty V-twin tools from the likes of MotionPro, JIMS, Feuling, NAMZ and Kibblewhite).

News Briefs

The Bagger Racing League (BRL) has hired former Buffalo Chip and Electrify Expo publicist Lon Nordbye's Yatzke Marketing to lead marketing and commercial development.

Windy City Motorcycle Company, a motorcycle distributor in the Midwest and operator of ‘The National Online Used Motorcycle Dealership,’ has acquired Triumph Detroit and partnered with Moto House of Grand Junction, Colorado. The two new stores will be added to its existing operations of thirteen Harley-Davidson, two Triumph, two KTM, one BMW and one Royal Enfield locations. Triumph Detroit is an iconic dealership in the history of Triumph Motorcycles in America, setting the overall motorcycle land speed record with the Triumph Detroit Gyronaut X-1. It was at one time the largest Triumph dealership in the world. Moto House primarily sells Honda, Ducati and CF Moto - Windy City will manage the operations of the dealership.

A recent spate of blog appearances of so-called spy pictures of Hero's upcoming Indian market Harley models stemmed from a teaser campaign prompted by unmarked envelopes appearing on the desks of several Indian magazine editors. They were clearly Hero inspired, rather than genuine 'spy-shots,' as no genuine spy photographer shoots in black and white, let alone anonymously distributes the results in the form of prints without asking for any payment.

Norton Motorcycle, the TVS/India owned comeback, has opened its first flagship showroom at the Bike Shed in London.

The award-winning, high-tech, Australian owned Forcite helmet brand is now available to dealers in USA through Tucker Powersports. The Forcite MK1S is described as "the world's most advanced motorcycle helmet" and is said to tout a "first-to-market smart helmet system and advanced features in audio, visual and road alert systems for motorcycle riders."

BRP has inaugurated its Sophia Antipolis (Cote D'Azur, France) European Design and Innovation Center and has had some 15 or more industrial designers, color, material and finish specialists working there since late 2022 under the leadership of Nicolas Deluy. The team will provide design services to internal BRP partners in Europe and Scandinavia. The center, which will carry out advanced concept studies on sustainable urban mobility, "will play a leading role in BRP’s global electrification strategy." Acting on its CSR25 program, the company committed to a technological transition. It aims to offer electric models in each of its existing product lines and to have 50% of its units sold to be electric by 2035.

Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali has been reconfirmed as President of Motor Valley Development for a further two-year term. MVD is the association that brings together all the two and four-wheeled brands of the Emilia Romagna region. The sector boasts some 16,500 two and four-wheel related businesses in the area, employing some 90,000 people with an annual turnover of € 16bn, generating € 7bn of exports for the Italian economy.

Royal Enfield's electric motorcycles are "in advanced stages of testing," according to reports. A bike coded L1C is expected to be on sale by 2025. Meanwhile, in other and almost certainly not unconnected news, RE's parent company Eicher Motors recently made a strategic € 50,000,000 (10.35%) investment in Anton Wass' 2019 founded Barcelona based Stark Future SL - of insanely good Stark 'Varga' electric MX bike fame.

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MSNW, Electrek,,,, Cycle World,


HardDrive/WPS Adds Shinko 'Long Haul' Cruiser Tires

Manufactured to WPS/HardDrive specifications, the SR999 Long Haul "targets the motorcycle rider craving a high-mileage tire with advanced handling and a sturdier ride for cross country trips."

WPS/HardDrive is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Shinko tires, and this new addition to the cruiser segment of WPS' portfolio of Shinko sport bike, cruiser, scooter, off-road, and dual sport tires is offered in 19 sizes, front and rear.

"Designed for the cruiser rider looking for exceptional tread life and performance, features include an all-new rubber compound formulated for high mileage and inspiring grip. Functional tread grooves are said to deliver superior traction in wet and dry conditions, with a reinforced carcass for a stable and planted feel with Aramid belting providing ample load capacity while also providing stability."

"We have helped to grow and develop the Shinko brand in the U.S. and have a great relationship with the company," said Richard Kelsey, Director of Sales, tire and wheel, at the Boise, Idaho headquartered distributor.

"Most of their cruiser tires are sold in America, so when we wanted to develop a long-haul tire for U.S. terrain and conditions, they were right there with us. Shinko has owned the performance cruiser segment, and consumers know and trust the SR777 line. The SR999 Long Haul tire is a great alternative for the rider looking for higher mileage on cross country rides," Kelsey said.

Richard Kelsey, Director of Sales, Tire and Wheel

Headquartered in Osaka, Japan, the Shinko Group purchased the motorcycle tire technology and molds from Yokohama Rubber Co. and began production of the Yokohama motorcycle tire line under the Shinko name in 1998.

"With manufacturing based in South Korea and design based in Japan, the company has seamlessly combined Japanese engineering and design principles with South Korean production and quality control standards. Today Shinko Tires produces approximately 200,000 motorcycle tires per month. The company continues to build on the foundation of Yokohama's technology, conducting R&D in Japan. The Yokohama Rubber Company, Limited was founded in 1917 and began manufacturing tires under a joint venture between Yokohama Cable Manufacturing and B.F. Goodrich."

Mid-USA Motorcycle Parts

Mid-USA Motorcycle Parts Additions

Le Pera 'Maverick' Daddy Long Legs for Touring Models

North Hollywood, California based Le Pera recently celebrated 50 years as the internationally recognized boutique custom seats design leader. Now available at Mid-USA, the Le Pera 'Maverick' Daddy Longlegs seat for 2008 and up Touring models gives taller riders the extra increased legroom they need by moving the rider's seating area back by two inches compared to its stock 'Maverick' design. A little change that makes a big difference. 

The deep sculpted bucket creates a huge amount of back support for the driver. The tapered thigh area is great for stop and go riding. The driver seating area is a generous 14.5" wide with a 13" wide passenger area. Le Pera still handcrafts all its seats with an optimized rider seating area, a highly detailed powder-coated steel, carpeted base plate, specially poured high density 'Marathon' molded foam foundation and double-stitched, handcrafted 'BikerTec' custom cover with bonded polyester thread for durability.

Dynojet PV4 Performance Tuner

New to Mid-USA this year, Dynojet's Power Vision 4 allows riders to flash-tune their ECU from their phone while 'on the go' and use the screen as a real-time EFI 'dashboard'. No set-up is required - they just need to create an account, select their tune of choice from the vast database of pre-loaded tunes for different configurations and they are 'good to go'. The pre-loaded and custom tunes are easily downloaded and managed, and riders can record real time engine data for display in the WinPEP 8 Data Center. 

Downloadable for iOS and Android and optimized for remote-tuning, the PV4 allows riders to easily ride, record and share data logs and tunes, read review, clear and share diagnostic trouble codes (DTC - with built-in descriptions). PV4 is available for M-8 Big Twin models 2021 and later; Softails 2011-2020; Touring models 2014-2020; Dyna 2012-2017 and Sportsters from 2014 and up. Phone not included.

S&S Head Pipes for Touring Models

Also new at Mid-USA this year, these S&S Touring head pipes are compatible with Mid-USA's popular 'Power House' brand mufflers. Available sizes include 3.5", 4.0" and 4.5" O.D. with over 35 different styles to choose from. Said to add up to 8 hp over stock headers, the hidden crossover gives them an independent dual look. The exclusive design moves the rear cylinder header away from the passenger to reduce radiated heat. 

Features include full show chrome heat shielding with 220- degree coverage, oxygen sensor bungs, spherical inlet design for improved sealing and durability of the included exhaust gaskets. Fuel injection tuning is not essential but is highly recommended - it may be necessary to rejet the carburetor or recalibrate the fuel injection system for the best results. Some Touring models (those with non-catalyst mufflers) will require H-D mounting brackets when using the OEM 2:2 header. They fit 1995-2008 and 2009-2016 Touring models.


AIM Corp.

Variable Pressure Clutch for M-8 and Select TC Baggers

Described as "the only Variable Pressure (VP) clutch you'll ever need for your M-8 and select Twin Cam Baggers," the V2 Series is the latest addition to AIM Corp.'s SDR line-up, with two options for any rider.



"Immense clamping force, extensive high torque capacity (up to 200HP/TQ) and easy installation make this Made in the USA assist and slipper (A&S) clutch for M-8 and select Twin Cam models the ultimate solution for all diehard high-performance enthusiasts."

The SDR V2 'Light' gives riders "definitive performance, setting a benchmark in street clutch performance" of up to 140+ HP/TQ and up to 50% clamping force over stock."

The SDR V2 'Max' is for "extreme output" - up to 170+ HP/TQ, and up to 200+ using AIM performance springs.

Coil spring kits come with three springs and six shims that will handle over 150 ft-lbs of torque when used with AIM VP-SDR units.

Hydraulic pressure plate solid adapter with angular ball bearing - a cable version is also available. 

"When we say our VP-SDR V2 'Max' was for the power enthusiasts, we mean every word. With the large increase in clamping force comes harder clutch disengagement at higher rpm. Add our new clutch solid adapters for the must-have add-on to eliminate flexing at the pressure plate, offering smoother power shifting. Available for both cable and hydraulic."



Monarch 2-1 Exhaust System for H-D Touring Models 

Firebrand is upping its game with the Monarch two-into-one system for M-8 Touring machines. This long pipe exhaust features a full flow header merged into a tuned collector that pumps exhaust gases into a 4.5" muffler, all of which is designed to make real world power in your late model touring bike.

"The M-8 is really unique in that it wants a longer exhaust to prevent reversion and keep exhaust gases flowing at a high velocity, and the Monarch does just that," states Grant Hillegass, Product Line Manager at Firebrand.

The Firebrand Monarch two-into-one also includes a removable sound insert to help tune sound and performance of the pipe. This is a first for Firebrand and definitely ups its game in the high-performance exhaust market. Available in black or chrome, the Monarch fits 2017-2023 H-D Touring machines and is available in 49 state legal or race-only versions. Firebrand is distributed exclusively through WPS/HardDrive.


Design Engineering (DEI)

Beat the Heat 

Avon Lake, Ohio based sound and heat management specialist Design Engineering (DEI) has new Harley-Davidson Nightster heat shield liners to reduce the heat radiating from the motorcycle’s exhaust system, making rides cooler and more comfortable for drivers and passengers.

This DEI heat shield liner kit is designed to insulate the outer heat shield. The shield liners are precision CNC-cut for a perfect fit between the exhaust pipe and the heat shield and remain completely hidden once installed. The result is a cooler ride, without any disruption to the look or lines of the bike.

Installation is simple and no permanent modifications are needed. These heat shield liners are dual layers constructed of aluminum and DEI’s Dura 2000 insulating material to offer a 60% reduction in heat.

The aluminum layer reflects heat from the exhaust while the insulating material keeps heat away. They are available now for stock and popular aftermarket head pipes. 


Burly Brand

Burly Brand "Slammers" for M-8 Softail 

"Lower your ride and raise your game," says Burly Brand's Brand Specialist Josh Rowlands of the iconic slammed look that its "Slammers" have been known for ever since they were introduced to the market a decade ago.

However, Burly Brand is now expanding the product to the M-8 Softail segment. "The all-new M-8 Softail Slammer shock and Slammer fork kit is designed to give Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight (M-8) Softail riders the ultimate 'slammed' look - one that is sure to turn heads on the road," says Josh. 

"The right shocks can make all the difference to the riding experience. Designed with riders in mind, the engineers here at Burly Brand designed the M-8 Softail Slammer shock to provide an unbeatable combination of style, performance and comfort. The lowered stance instills confidence in shorter riders, enabling them to conquer any terrain."

Crafted with a 12.2" high-pressure nitrogen charged damper and featuring a steel monotube construction, with an Internal Floating Piston (IFP) and deflective disc valving, "this shock is engineered to deliver an incredible feeling of stability and control. Plus, with its threaded preload adjuster and included preload spanner wrench, it's easy to adjust the preload to achieve that perfect custom ride.

"Installation is a breeze. The Slammer shock is designed to fit seamlessly into the Harley-Davidson M-8 Softail, ensuring a hassle-free installation process to quickly hit the road with confidence." 

To complete the look, the all-new M-8 Softail Slammer fork kit allows riders to lower the front end - "our springs are crafted from high-tensile SiCr wire, progressively wound and precision-ground. All springs are also shot-peened and pre-set for exceptional durability and performance."

Available for conventional and inverted forks, riders can choose to lower the front end by either 1" or 2" and experience less front end dive during braking for greater control and confidence while in the saddle. 



New Slip-On for the Pan America


Italian V-twin exhaust specialist VPerformance unveiled a new slip-on for the Pan America at EICMA (the 'Milan' Show) in November 2022.

The new TOURANCE is made with a stainless steel trapezoid design body - meaning it is a quadrilateral with at least one pair of parallel sides.

Features include a carbon fiber end cap with a race-look grid. "The double inner perforated baffles allow the exhaust to achieve an excellent increase in power performance," said owner Manual De Liso, "and the double dB killers can be removed separately to tune the exhaust to get a really personal sound level."

It has a matte black ceramic coated finish with the new laser-cut VP logo. The kit reaches the Euro 5 standard and ships with a European compliance certificate. All the necessary brackets and hardware are included along with a carbon fiber heatshield.

"A special warranty program gives riders real added value," says Manuel. "The included Service Card allows customers to enter his or her own personal profile on the VPerformance online platform to enjoy enhanced service and back-up benefits, including an extended 30 months of warranty coverage."