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Tuesday 26 September 2023

Independent Motorcycle Aftermarket Council

Industry Veteran Bob Kay to Lead Independent Motorcycle Aftermarket Council (IMA)

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation in the United States (MRF) has formed a council to review the challenges that independent motorcycle dealers and custom bike builders face - providing a channel for their interests as motorcycle industry stakeholders to be addressed by MRF lobbyists in Washington, DC. 

"We are pleased to have Bob Kay leading the Independent Motorcycle Aftermarket Council," stated Kirk 'Hardtail' Willard, "Bob's firsthand experience over five decades in the motorcycle industry will be invaluable in helping to direct the efforts of our lobbyists." 

Bob Kay

The MRF went on to say that "the recent focus on the future of internal combustion engines is threatening the future of independent motorcycle dealers and custom bike builders to provide alternative service centers, as well as servicing older bikes and customization projects."

Bob Kay said, "I am extremely pleased with the team we have been able to put together. The mission is to focus lobbyists on our right to repair and modify. The Independent Motorcycle Aftermarket Network will be a forum through which the efforts to campaign for those rights can be protected and developed."

Chaired by Bob Kay, initial IMA Council membership includes Keith Ball from Bikernet, Chris Callen from Cyclesource Magazine, Scott Hakins from S&S, Steve Broyles from Stevenson Cycles, John Jessup from Dream Rides, Jason Hallman from Cycle Stop USA and John O'Brien of Hardcore cycles. 

Independent motorcycle dealers and custom bike builders wishing to join the Independent Motorcycle Aftermarket Network can contact Bob Kay at or visit the website at

There is also a private Facebook group set up for discussion of these important topics plus a public Instagram page dedicated to propagating IMA news and events. You can also support lobbyist efforts by purchasing a Sustaining Independent Motorcycle Aftermarket Annual Membership at...

Major IMA Policy Issues

• The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states' motorcyclists' rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. 

• The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. 

• The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle, and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond.

Right to Repair - Riders or their repair shop of choice should have access to the tools, parts, and technology they need to service, maintain or repair their motorcycles. The right of riders and independent shops to do so needs protection from those who seek to restrict that access. 

Right to Modify - The ability to modify and customize a legally owned motorcycle is a fight that the MRF has won before. In the 1990s the MRF defeated a proposal that would have limited modification to "color and chrome." We continue to fight for consumers rights to modify the products they buy. 

Renewable Fuels - The availability of fuel for use in motorcycles is under pressure. The MRF fights for the universal availability of approved fuel blends, containing no more than 10% ethanol by volume.

Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) - Not only is the availability of the fuel that riders need under pressure, but the engines that use that fuel are also being obsoleted. A push to ban the sale of ICE vehicles is happening right now. We believe Americans should have the right to choose what type of engine to buy and not have their choice mandated by the government. 

End of Life Directives - In Europe, "end of life directives" require vehicles over a certain age be turned in for destruction. Policy ideas that first appear in Europe have a history of popping up in the United States. The ability to own, collect, work on, and refurbish older motorcycles is a fundamental part of who we are as motorcyclists. The MRF will lobby against any end-of-life directives in the U.S. 

Protect the Motorcycle Ecosystem - Independent shops and manufacturers are a critical part of the motorcycle ecosystem. They provide choice and competition in the marketplace. The MRF believes that to preserve the lifestyle and culture of motorcycling, independent shops and manufacturers must be protected. They must be permitted a level playing field on which to openly and fairly compete for consumer business. Specific classes of motorcycle dealerships should not have a legally enshrined competitive advantage.

News Briefs

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum (Birmingham, Alabama) has named Brian Case as Executive Director. Case joined Barber Companies in 2019 and established the Barber Advanced Design Center in 2021, serving as the center's Director. Before joining Barber, Case co-founded Motus Motorcycles in 2008, and served as design director and managing board member until 2018. Motus Motorcycles produced the MST and MSTR sport-touring motorcycles.

Rhode Island based Denali Electronics has announced a distribution agreement with Maverick Distributing of Edmonton, Alberta, as an official distributor for Denali products in Canada. Maverick is Western Canada's Premier Aftermarket Distributor of ATV, Motorcycle and Snowmobile Parts & Accessories;

Tucker Powersports has advised its dealers that its relationship with Cardo Systems has ended. "While we have appreciated our partnership with Cardo, Tucker will continue to offer alternate products in the communication category. Sena products continue to be a strong option in this space, as well as our exclusive new partnership with Forcite."

PSB reports that Fun Motors of Longview, Texas, has been acquired by the industry's Brad and Misty Watson. The purchase marks the third location under the Watson's ownership in East Texas, alongside Broadway Powersports of Tyler and Dirty Deeds Powersports of Longview. Fun Motors of Longview sells for Honda, Suzuki and Triumph.

Graham Sykes, a 59-year-old self-professed "nutty inventor" and precision engineer from Yorkshire, England has broken another track record - this time the World Land Speed record for a steam powered motorcycle at 163 mph in 3.87 seconds over 1/8th mile - set at the UK/ITA World Records Speed week. Called 'Force of Nature', the thrust driven bike reached speeds of 169 mph using a self-designed steam powered rocket motor. The bike uses the latent energy of superheated, pressurised water that is then released through nozzles. The bike then turns this water to steam which thrusts it forwards. The prior record was 80.509 mph set in 2014 by American inventor Bill Barnes with a wheel driven bike. The invention is eco-friendly and uses nature, science and innovation to reach incredible speeds - "It's just a big bomb really, and it all started in my shed. I've taken the principles of chemistry and married them with precision engineering to create something I'm passionate about - fast bikes. I wanted to do this in a way that is sustainable for the planet (I've got 9 grandkids after all) and that demonstrates that you don't have to compromise on speed, you just have to get creative." Graham had previously shattered the British National record for the fastest three-wheeled vehicle in 2015 with his self-built V8 3-wheeler "SYKO," reaching a peak speed of 180.3 mph (171.4 mph average over the flying 1/4 mile). Next up, Sykes plans to break his own record and become the fastest steam-powered vehicle ever, aiming to take the Steam Rocket Bike over the 200-mph mark in the standing 1/8 mile. 

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


European styling and American engineering
By Ben Purvis

The X-Wedge was originally developed in the heyday of the volume custom bike building era by S&S Cycle, and originally launched in 2007 as a 56.25-degree off-the-shelf turn-key option for proto-OEM brands and custom bike builders.

Fast forward 15 plus years to a much-changed world, and September 2023 saw the return of the X-Wedge brand with an initial five model range unveiled by Chongqing Huansong Industrial Group - better known in Western markets for the HiSun brand of ATVs and side-by-side four-wheelers that it offers globally. 

We scooped the plans for a new range of Chinese-made cruisers using the X-Wedge engine earlier this year, but at that time what wasn't known was that Huansong had bought the whole X-Wedge project and would be building the engines in-house.

The three-cam, fuel-injected V-twin was first seen in 117 ci form but rapidly grew to 121 ci, the same size that the new X-Wedge branded models use. That's around 2,000 cc, which is why the four Chinese-made machines in the X-Wedge line-up use that number in their names. 

All the new bikes have been styled in Europe by Kiska Design, the same company that's responsible for the appearance of most KTMs in recent years as well as many CFMoto designs. Indeed, Kiska is owned by the PIERER Mobility parent company that owns KTM.

The first is the Ranger RX2000, a Fat Boy-style cruiser with alloy wheels, plenty of chrome and conventional looks that is aimed squarely at attracting Harley-Davidson customers. In China, it's a plan that might work well; there's a strong market for cruisers there and Harley-Davidsons are aspirational machines, way out of reach for most riders. 

Although prices for the new X-Wedge models haven't been announced, and nor have performance figures, the engine shouldn't be short of power and the Chinese manufacturing should keep costs down.

Alongside the Ranger, X-Wedge has launched the Rover RL2000 as a full-dress tourer built around the same main components. Wearing full luggage and a bar-mounted fairing, it's a direct competitor for the Harley Ultra Limited, and is stacked with tech including a large, 7-inch touchscreen display.

'X-Wedge cruiser brand'

The same front-end design and top case also feature on X-Wedge's trike model, the Vanguard VT2000, which very obviously takes aim at the Harley Tri Glide Ultra.

At this point, the X-Wedge range starts to veer away from direct Harley-Davidson rivalry, as the Voyager VS2000, which is essentially the Ranger RX2000 with a traditional sidecar bolted on the right-hand side. That makes it a three-seater and adds a distinct appeal of its own. Sidecars might seem outdated in the Western world, but in China they remain popular; the Changjiang CJ750 was a definer for the Chinese sidecar market, built there for decades as a copy of the Soviet Dnepr M-72 - itself a descendant of the pre-war BMW R-71.

The final of the five models in this first X-Wedge range iteration is distinct from the rest, not only in its style and layout but also its engine. It's the Walker WR1000, and as the name suggests it has a 1,000 cc engine. 

Walker WR1000

The 976 cc, liquid-cooled V-twin borrowed from the largest of HiSun's ATVs, connected to a CVT transmission with an electromechanical reverse gear, and, in the Walker WR1000, it powers a reverse trike (two wheels at the front and one at the rear). It's clearly developed to rival Can-Am's Spyder and Ryker models and, potentially, the Polaris Slingshot line.

At the moment, X-Wedge's plans outside China remain a mystery, but given the global presence of the HiSun ATV brand owned by the same parent company, and an established McKinney, Texas based US operation already established, there's a good chance they'll be exported once production is up to full speed.

Bagger Nation

Pro Street Rear End Kits for Freewheeler and Road Glide 3

Paul Yaffe is a prolific new product designer - his Phoenix, Arizona based Bagger Nation product line is dynamic - creativity and innovation is in its DNA.

Recently, Paul has turned his attention to new products for the H-D trike platforms. As they rapidly gain in popularity, so too does the desire among owners to customize and personalize them, and with the introduction of the long-awaited Road Glide 3, there are more trikes than ever out on the road.  

Paul set out to create a completely new look and attitude for the three-wheel platform, and having seen his custom project trike up close at the recent Drag Specialties NVP at Madison, Wisconsin, it's fair to see "he nailed it."

New additions include his all-new Pro-Street rear end kit for Freewheeler and Road Glide 3 models - a distinctive and different addition to Bagger Nation's growing range of three-piece body kits. "Our amazing Pro Street rear fender kit transforms your trike into a Pro Street thrill ride," says Paul, "and if you want to go 'car tire' wide, we'll have a special wide kit coming soon."

Options include no taillight and/or five sets of Bagger Nation 'Lightning Bolt' LEDs, choice of dual outlet or no outlet, and choice of black or chrome finish. On thing to note - this Pro Street rear end kit will not fit a Tri-Glide, but Bagger Nation has them covered with its 'Swoop' Tri-Glide fenders.


Drag Specialties & Parts Unlimited 2023 North American NVP

Business As Usual

Drag Specialties & Parts Unlimited 2023 North American NVP
Madison, Wisconsin, August 17-20, 203

Words and Pictures by Robin Bradley

After finally being able to 'Get the Band Back Together' after the years of Covid triggered interruption to normal business cycles, Parts Unlimited, Drag Specialties and Parts Canada brought their teams back together in Madison, WI (August 17-20) for what proved to be a successful 2023 North American NVP Expo. 

The Expo weekend, kicked off on Thursday with training for the Parts Unlimited, Drag Specialties and Parts Canada Sales Teams and extended into Friday, where they had additional opportunities to visit vendor displays and additional training for top vendors. 

On Saturday and Sunday, exciting new brands and products were unveiled along with opportunities to connect with the industry's leading brand representatives. Dealers attending the expo received expo discounts and additional incentives.

Saturday evening brought everyone together for a magnificent social event on the rooftop of the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired, lakeside Monona Terrace, for the annual bike show and Meet & Greet. After this, attendees headed to downtown Madison to watch the 'Boonie Bike Bonanza', an exciting and fun entertainment event provided by Icon. 

Paul Langley, LeMans CEO, stated: "The 2023 Madison North American NVP was a huge success, with dealers, reps, and vendors giving it positive feedback. The weather for the Saturday evening Meet & Greet/bike show was ideal, and we had a full house.

"Although many participants have cherished the Madison expo for many years, we have simply outgrown all available floor space and downtown hotel room capacity. Therefore, we are excited to announce that the 2024 North American NVP will move to the newly renovated Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with the preferable dates of September 7-8, 2024. 

James Danyluk, President, Parts Canada "The 2023 Madison NVP in my view was a complete success.  All the Canadian dealers I talked with said it was a fantastic show and well worth it to come. A fitting way to close out our years at the Madison venue, we are all looking forward to Milwaukee in 2024."

Milwaukee will be a great backdrop for the next North American NVP, and will bring more than triple the floor space allowing for more vendors and larger exhibits making this the largest footprint yet for the Expo. "This change of venue will also bring a lot of new twists and fun for all." 

Make A Date - Milwaukee 
September 7-8, 2024

Andrews Products: The Mount Prospect, Illinois based camshafts, transmission and gears specialist underlined its performance credentials this year by signing as a 2023 Bagger Racing League series sponsor, bringing "elite performance products" to the Big Twin class. General Manager Mike Pedersen told AMD that: "At Andrews Products, we are committed to pushing the boundaries when it comes to engineering design and manufacturing technology both on and off the track;

​Galfer USA: Company President Sandro Milesi told AMD: "We are celebrating our 70th anniversary and our U.S. subsidiary has been supporting the brand since the 1990s. In addition to new race-bred brake pads, major recent new product introductions include the Cubiq and revolutionary Floatech rotor designs. Cubiq rotors feature a brake track design in hexagonal shapes to optimize pad contact to reduce wear, weight and dust";, 

Biltwell: Watch this space - headed to a PO near you soon, the Biltwell 395 will be the company's first off-road helmet. "Given our heavy commitment to custom street bikes and riding gear, some folks are shocked to learn about the off-road gene in Biltwell's DNA," says company co-founder Harold 'McGoo' McGruther. "As a company, we come by our lust for dust and glory honestly - fellow co-founder Bill Bryant built and drove desert cars in Baja for decades before he got the dirt bike bug in the early '90s. My own shot in Biltwell's dirty cocktail includes 50 years of motocross obsession that started with minibikes and BMX in the early '70s, then morphed into wrenching and riding on Jeremy McGrath's old practice bike and MTBs at the turn of last century. Everyone at Biltwell loves dirt bikes. It's the amped-out, space-age, neon-pink feature creep on contemporary dirt bike gear - especially helmets - that leaves us cold. So, having shimmied over the speedbump that was Covid, our protype and testing programmes should reach a crescendo soon - watch this space"; 

Hogtunes: Founded by Mike 'Pez' Pesdirz in 2004, the Canadian V-twin audio specialist's Wild Boar Audio has become a top seller with Harley riders. Sold worldwide exclusively through Drag Specialties, Hogtunes undertakes its own prototyping in-house using CAD software, 3D lasers, scanners, 3D printers and other technology and tools that help them to ensure manufacturing precision and quality control. "We build easy-to-install products, custom-engineered specifically for a motorcycle or UTV and their unique needs.  We're relentless with our attention to detail and ensure that not only will the products fit seamlessly into your H-D bike, but they will never damage the factory charging system - we make motorcycle audio, not car audio retrofitted for a motorcycle"; 

Bagger Nation:
Paul Yaffe is one of the market's most prolific product designers. Recent new products include Bag Bolt Taillight Kits and Thunder Pods for customizing the rear end of Sport Glides, Low Rider ST, or any M-8 Softail with hard bags. Shipping complete with two sets of Lightening or Thunder Bolts, they are an all-inclusive taillight and wiring package that helps riders add either a set of Thunder Bolts or Lightning Bolts without the need to use an additional load equalizer - it is built-in. All the wiring, heat shrink, and connectors are included for quick and easy bag removal. "With the Bag Bolt taillight kit, you can add two sets of our Lightning Bolts or Thunder Bolts to your M-8 Softail with hard bags," says Paul; 

Burly Brand: Recent new products introduced by Brand Specialist Josh Rowlands include updated 'Brawler' kits for Dyna, Softail, Sportster and Touring models, short, tall and 'stupid tall' sissy bars, 'Folsom' handlebars, cable kits, Diamondback grips, 'Voyager' luggage and, as seen in this edition of AMD, MX style floorboards for M-8 Softails; 


Feuling Performance Parts:  Luke Leatherman (seen here second from right) told AMD: "Our HP+ and Race Series oiling system kits for M-8 engines include Feuling's 7075 billet aluminum high flow camplates - designed to be 50% harder and stronger than the factory or Feuling OE+ equivalents. We increase oil flow and volume by enlarging the oil pump reservoirs and critical oil passages, including matching the oil port holes throughout the camplate to the port holes in the engine case - this increases engine oil flow to the lifters, piston cooling jets, crankshaft and rod bearings." Backed by a no-charge extendable one-year warranty, these kits deliver 27% more pressure and scavenge volume over stock, 42% more scavenge volume through port sizing, matched passages and holes to the engine case and 68% more oil volume to the crankshaft and connecting rod bearing. "They are proven to cool engine temperatures by 15-25 degrees and reduce oil temperatures by between 15-30 degrees with 10-30 more PSI of oil pressure"; 

KB Pistons: Manufactured in Carson City, Nevada, by United Engine and Machine, KB Pistons have a rich pedigree, from Keith Black, when it comes to V-twin performance. However, UEM boasts the Daddy of all heritage DNA. The received wisdom is that only about a half of a percent (0.5%) of all companies have what it takes to last 100 years. From that very small percentage that reach the centennial mark, far less reach the milestone of remaining family owned and operated. Founded in 1922, United Engine and Machine Co. (UEM Pistons) proudly holds both distinctions and is now in its fourth generation of leadership; 

Le Pera

Le Pera TailWhip 'Upfront'

Designed to fit 2008-2023 Baggers (except the 2023 CVO), Le Pera's new TailWhip 'Upfront' takes its popular KickFlip "one step further."

The 'Upfront' is for those that want to be pushed forward, or want a more aggressive riding position, making mid controls actually feel like mid controls. "The TailWhip design provides more comfort for the passenger or just another platform to let the rider's adventurous side explore, the whipped-up tail will give your customers what they are looking for." 

Featuring 6.75" of back support, an 11.75" wide driver seating area and 8" wide passenger area, it has a durable black cover with molded 'Marathon' foam, a carpeted seat bottom and a seat baseplate made from 16-gauge powder-coated steel.

The design was conceived for the rider that wants to be closer to the handlebars - the TailWhip 'Upfront' moves the driver 2" closer to the handlebars. Available in 'Double Diamond' (with or without chestnut thread), 'Basket Weave' or 'Pleated' style stitch finish.

With more than 50 years of experience and widely recognized as the market's design leader, Le Pera is still family owned and still handcrafting all its seats at its North Hollywood, California headquarters. All Le Pera seats feature a highly detailed powder-coated steel, carpeted base plate, a specially poured high density 'Marathon' molded foam foundation and double stitched, handcrafted 'BikerTec' custom cover with bonded polyester thread for durability.


Rob's Dyno Service

Rob's Dyno Service - Indian Performance Shock Absorber Kits

Rob's Dyno Service is offering dealers access to performance front fork cartridges, rear shocks supply and a service program for Indian Motorcycle Big Twins. These performance suspension kits are specifically designed for Indian Touring models with 111 or 116 engines, from 2014 to present, including Challenger models.

Based near Boston at Gardner, Massachusetts, Rob's Dyno Service owner Rob Swartz told AMD that his company is "dedicated to providing customers with superior performance and quality products," and these new kits are no exception.

They feature a monotube, aircraft grade aluminum construction, with a 1.75" primary piston and shock body bore, 40 clicks of dampening adjustment, adjustable ride height using the spring preload adjuster, and are 100% dyno tested for guaranteed performance.

With Teflon coated sliding surfaces to reduce friction, the 100% dyno tested design features 40 clicks of dampening adjustment with ride height adjustable using the spring preload adjuster. "The shock valving gives a comfortable ride while enhancing the platform's stability and control."

Swartz went on to say: "We strive to provide our customers with only the best in motorcycle suspension systems. Our Indian Motorcycle fork cartridges and rear shocks are engineered for maximum comfort while enhancing platform stability and control. We invite everyone to visit us at our shop in Gardner or online for more detailed specifications."

Developed at performance legend Jeff Ryan's Mooresville, North Carolina headquarters, home of North America's primary suspension 'centers of excellence' and located deep in the heart of open wheel racing country, Ryan's journey to suspension guru status actually started with his "love of motocross and mind for machines."

His path through motorsports has been a journey around the world, where he worked with legendary racers such as Dale Earnhardt, Nigel Mansell, Rick Mears, Richard Petty, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher and Rusty Wallace, while quietly becoming a shock building legend himself. Jeff Ryan's pioneering technologies have supported championship teams from Formula 1 in Europe to the depths of Baja in off-road racing, to stock car racing's highest levels of NASCAR.

Shock absorber cartridge oil

Ryan started out in California as a general assembler for legendary shock innovator Bob Fox - he was one of the first ten employees at Fox Shocks - at a time when suspension technology was advancing rapidly and just starting to heavily influence what was happening on the track - and founded JRi Shocks in 2007. Much of the technology that he created early in his career is still used today.


Motorcycle Storehouse

Motorcycle Storehouse Adds Trask Performance

Dutch based multinational distributor Motorcycle Storehouse has added Trask to its line-up of performance brands. 

Founded over two decades ago, Phoenix, Arizona based Trask Performance has gone from strength to strength, not least because of its award-winning 'Assault Series' custom baggers - the signature styling and custom detailing of which can be seen running through its USA made bolt-on product range.

"Trask's 'V-Line' handlebars and 'Assault' risers come in a range of heights and are the perfect upgrade for riders looking to improve the ergonomics of their current setup, while achieving that on-trend performance aesthetic."

Noted for the dominance in the Bagger Racing League and, historically, for its Turbo Chargers, high performance is coded into Trask's DNA and its dyno-developed 'Assault' hi-flow air cleaner kits are an iconic design, with the performance gains to match.

"A high-capacity air filter and large diameter velocity stack work in harmony to significantly improve airflow, resulting in a +8 hp increase in power output. Plus, with a hidden integrated breather system and crystal-clear LEXAN cover, they look great too."


Cometic Gasket

Premium M-8 MLX Head Gaskets

Concord, Ohio based Cometic Gasket's M-8 MLX head gaskets are "meticulously crafted to withstand the rigorous demands of Milwaukee-8 engines, effectively sealing the combustion chambers, cylinder heads and other critical components."

Precision-made with meticulous quality control, Cometic says that it uses top-quality materials for these gaskets and "engineers them to perfection, ensuring an unparalleled seal that offers unrivaled protection."

They have a compressed thickness of .032" with a round bore shape and are offered in 3.937", 4.250", 4.320", 4.430" and 4.500" sizes.

Featuring a three-layer laminate, these MLX (Multi-Layer-Xtreme as opposed to its MLS Multi- Layered-Steel) gaskets have been developed for high cylinder pressure application, high compression, turbo, supercharger and nitrous applications. 

They feature a center stopper layer with bore edges that fold over itself, simulating an O-ringed head.


Burly Brand

Brawler Kits for Touring

Cerritos, California based Burly Brand has announced a new line of Brawler Kits - purpose-built for Harley-Davidson Touring models.

Brand Specialist Josh Rowlands says: "Our bagger crash bar kit is the ultimate upgrade, equipping riders with comprehensive protection for the front and rear bags. No compromises, no holding back. With our innovative design featuring replaceable Delrin sliders, your customer's Touring bike not only looks sick, but also remains shielded when the bike suffers a planned introduction to the pavement!"

Clearly engineered for strength and designed to do double duty as highway bars, they are manufactured from the highest quality steel and feature replaceable Delrin sliders and a knurled area on the front bar. "They are finished off with a sleek black powder-coat finish for a look that kills and a quality that defends the bike in the event of a wipeout."

TIG-welded for maximum durability, Burly Brawler Kits have 7-gauge mild steel mount/ gussets and come with 1/2"-13 socket head cap screw hardware included. For additional protection, the kits also include shock-mount sliders.

"Take your stunting to the edge, knowing that our cutting-edge Brawler Kits have your back," says Josh. "We understand the hunger for style that stands out from the pack - that's why our crash bars blend a rebellious aesthetic with bulletproof functionality. 

"Designed with precision knurling, our kits double as a highway bar and provide a secure grip to keep your feet in place, allowing you to comfortably rest your legs during extended rides."


Tuesday 19 September 2023

Roberto Colaninno

Italian business titan and Piaggio Chair Roberto Colaninno dies at age 80

Following the announcement of the August 15th death of Piaggio Chair and CEO Roberto Colaninno at the age of 80, Piaggio & C. S.p.A. (PIA.MI) moved to confirm a new senior management corporate structure in early September.

His two sons, who inherit their father's 51.1% controlling stake in Piaggio parent company IMMSI (IMSI.MI), have been appointed to the key senior management roles. Director Matteo Colaninno, 52, has been appointed to the post of Executive Chair, with powers largely consistent with those he held previously.

Michele Colaninno

Director Michele Colaninno, 46, who was already Chief Executive of global strategy, product, marketing and innovation, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. Michele Colannino is additionally CEO and COO of IMMSI and is the current serving president of the Association of European Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM, Brussels).

The Piaggio board also coopted Carlo Zanetti as a new non-executive director, so keeping the number of board members unchanged. The nine members of the Piaggio & C. S.p.A. Board of Directors are now therefore Matteo Colaninno (Executive Chair), Michele Colaninno (CEO), Graziano Gianmichele Visentin (independent director), Rita Ciccone (independent director), Patrizia Albano (independent director), Federica Savasi, Micaela Vescia (independent director), Andrea Formica (independent director) and Carlo Zanetti.

Matteo Colaninno

Roberto Colaninno was admired and reviled in equal measure, but there is no doubting the profoundly positive impact he and his family have had in turning Piaggio from a famed but failing Italian business into a profitable and increasingly progressive conglomerate.

Colaninno acquired Piaggio in 2003 and moved quickly to buy both Aprilia and Moto Guzzi in 2004.  One of Italy's best known financial deal makers, per Reuters, Colaninno was a central figure in the country's industrial landscape who managed to turn around a number of failing companies, but also left a mixed corporate legacy.

"He is most famous for his surprise $58bn leveraged buyout of Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) in 1999, at the time the world's largest hostile takeover. Many investors applauded him for masterminding the deal, but allies grew disenchanted over his plans to cut the debt mountain he had created and forced him to sell control of the group to tyre-maker Pirelli (PIRC.MI) just two years later.

"While Telecom Italia struggled to recover from the debt burden that drained its finances for years, Colaninno emerged from the deal with a fortune of his own, enabling him to buy IMMSI (IMSI.MI), a Telecom real estate business that he turned into an investment company.

"In 2008, Colaninno looked to revive another struggling Italian icon, national carrier Alitalia, investing heavily in the airline in 2008 and becoming chairman in the process.

"However, like many before him, he failed to turn the company around, and it was eventually shuttered. He was sent to trial last year along with 13 other defendants accused of fraudulent bankruptcy at the airline. He denied wrongdoing. The case has yet to come to court.

"Colaninno started his career at auto parts maker Fiamm, then hooked up with one of the giants of Italian business, Carlo De Benedetti. They founded a finance company, Sogefi, that bought Fiamm from its British owner and transformed it into one of the most successful car parts suppliers in Europe.

"De Benedetti subsequently asked Colaninno to take charge of his floundering Olivetti company. Colaninno ditched the firm's loss-making computer unit and focused on the telephone business - which he subsequently used as a vehicle to launch the Telecom Italia bid."

King Of The Baggers

H-D and V & H Take a Win Each at COTA King Of The Baggers


Round 11 of the 2023 Mission King Of The Baggers series at the Championship of the Americas (COTA) circuit at Austin, Texas (September 10), saw Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle factory rider Kyle Wyman win his sixth race of the season and Harley riders claim all three of the podium spots - they went on to take five of the six available podium spots for the weekend.

On the Saturday, racers endured the challenge of temperatures topping 100 degrees at the start of the six-lap race. Wyman got a great start from the pole and opened a 1.02-second lead after two laps, stretching that to more than 2 seconds at the finish. 

Hayden Gillim was second on a Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Road Glide, followed by his teammate James Rispoli in third place. Travis Wyman was fourth on the H-D team's second Road Glide. The win moved Kyle Wyman two points ahead of Gillim for the series championship.

Wyman was the top qualifier for the weekend with a quickest lap of 2:15.621 on the challenging 3.4-mile, 20-turn COTA course. Wyman led the Saturday race from start to finish.

Rispoli won the Sunday race (Championship Round 12) on the V & H prepared Road Glide - Kyle Wyman having got caught in traffic at the start was running eighth when he crashed in turn 13 following contact with another rider. 

Kyle Wyman was able to pick up his motorcycle and rejoined the race in last place, then battled back to finish in ninth place and earn valuable championship points. Rispoli took the race lead on lap 4 and crossed the finish line 8.66 seconds ahead of his teammate Gillim. Travis Wyman was running second before crashing out on the last lap, promoting Gillim and Kyle Ohnsorg, who finished third on the Roland Sands Design Indian.

After 12 of 14 rounds in the 2023 MotoAmerica Mission King Of The Baggers series, Vance & Hines' Gillim leads the championship with 215 points, followed by his teammate Rispoli with 213 points, and Harley's Kyle Wyman in third place with 204 points. Travis Wyman is in eighth place with 86 points.

Up Next: The season finale (Rounds 13 and 14) on September 22-24 in the MotoAmerica Superbikes at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J.

Race 1 (Round 11) Circuit of the Americas - September 9

  1. Kyle Wyman (H-D) Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson
  2. Hayden Gillim (H-D) Vance & Hines/Mission Foods/Harley-Davidson
  3. James Rispoli (H-D) Vance & Hines/Mission Foods/Harley-Davidson
  4. Travis Wyman (H-D) Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson
  5. Kyle Ohnsorg (Ind) Roland Sands Design
  6. Jake Lewis (H-D) Team Saddlemen
  7. Max Flinders (Ind) M3/Revolution Performance
  8. Hawk Mazzotta (Ind) Lloydz Garage
  9. Frankie Garcia (H-D) Team Saddlemen
  10. Patricia Fernandez-West (H-D) Team Saddlemen
  11. DNF. Bobby Fong (Ind) Sacramento Mile/SDI Racing/Roland Sands Design

Race 2 (Round 12) Circuit of the Americas - September 10

  1. James Rispoli (H-D) Vance & Hines/Mission Foods/Harley-Davidson
  2. Hayden Gillim (H-D) Vance & Hines/Mission Foods/Harley-Davidson
  3. Kyle Ohnsorg (Ind) Roland Sands Design
  4. Jeremy McWilliams (Ind) Progressive/Mission Foods
  5. Jake Lewis (H-D) Team Saddlemen
  6. Max Flinders (Ind) M3/Revolution Performance
  7. Hawk Mazzotta (Ind) Lloydz Garage
  8. Frankie Garcia (H-D) Team Saddlemen
  9. Kyle Wyman (H-D) Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson
  10. Travis Wyman (H-D) Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson
  11. Patricia Fernandez-West (H-D) Team Saddlemen
  12. Robert Johnson (H-D) Johnson Engine Technology
  13. DNF. Bobby Fong (Ind) Sacramento Mile/SDI Racing/Roland Sands
  14. DNF. Tyler O'Hara (Ind) Progressive/Mission Foods

Rising Thunder Custom Bike Show

Rising Thunder Custom Bike Show

Taurage, Lithuania - June 10, 2023

First held in 2011, the one-day Rising Thunder Custom Bike Show (staged at Taurage, Lithuania, by Twins Forever MC) made a post-Covid pandemic comeback this year.

An 'AMD Approved' custom bike show, Rising Thunder is one of three motorcycle club-operated custom bike shows that plan to rotate through the three 'Baltic States' in Europe (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). 

Renatas Zakarauskas scooped Best in Show, Best Bobber and Public’s Best with this 1977 H-D Shovelhead.

All three regularly attract custom bikes and visitors from right around the region - from Finland to the north, Poland, Czechia and Slovakia to the south, and Belarus and Ukraine to the east of the region. This year, kudos are especially due to the members of Twins Forever for persevering with their passion - for 'Keeping The Flame Alive' - despite the well-publicised regional difficulties.

Martynas Jurksaitis won Best Freestyle with his 2000 Ducati Super Sport 900ss. 

Last held in 2019, the show usually alternates with the MC XIII Custom Bike Show staged at Cesis in neighboring Latvia, and in 2022, Müristaja MC's 'Valge Daami' Bike Show in Estonia.

This year, the host city Taurage is the Lithuanian Capital of Culture, and in good weather the custom show was held in the castle of Taurage and was open to all, free of charge.

Girts Busnevics from Latvia won Best Modified Harley-Davidson with his H-D FXS 2000. All the body kit is made of raw metal.

Participants came from Lithuania and Latvia, with a jury of three non-competing Twins Forever MC club members. The winner will compete at the Custom Bike Show, Bad Salzuflen, Germany, (December 1-3, 2023) and receive € 2,000 as financial support for the transport and accommodation expenses to do so.


Record Pass Among the AHDRA Highlights at Cecil County

by Tim Hailey, Eatmyink Motorsport Media

AHDRA/AMA Zipper's Performance Mid-Atlantic Nitro Showdown

Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, Maryland, September 9-10, 2023

On a day mostly plagued by intense heat and humidity, the AHDRA/AMA's Zipper's Performance Mid-Atlantic Nitro Showdown at Cecil County Dragway suddenly went from simply finishing before the lights went on, to surviving a cataclysmic storm. And along the way, one of the most watched records in the sport fell to the rider that built the previous record holder's motorcycle.

Gregg Dahl has held the unofficial no-bar, street tire, V-twin quarter mile record for three years with a 7.62. But his customer Mike Motto's 7.72 was run at a sanctioned event, and AHDRA champion Charley Douglass come tantalizingly close as well while Dahl devoted his time to his customers and business.

Gary Douglass

Douglass was the one who had it together in GMS Racing Engines Xtreme Outlaw qualifying at Cecil County, taking the number one spot but breaking his turbo bike in the process. 

That left the two GMS nitrous bikes of Dahl and Motto to battle it out in the final. There might have been a malfunction that left Dahl sitting at the tree for a full .541 while Motto streaked away with a .164 reaction and a 7.92 at 173 miles per hour for the win. But Dahl hardly cared when the scoreboard on his side lit up with a 7.672 at 183.12 mph - both ends of the record he lives to break. 

And he insists there will be more. "We hope to get enough runs by the end of the year to get this new engine running the short times that we ran with the smaller engine three years ago," said Dahl. "If that happens, look out!"

Motto said: "We have suffered the pain the past couple years trying to improve the longevity of our power plants. It looks like Gregg has developed an engine that we can really put the juice to, and we are excited for The Rock!" 

That would be October's AHDRA and AMRA finals, the Jim McClure All-Harley Nationals at Rockingham Dragway on October 27-29 that the American V-Twin drag racing calendar revolves around.

2021 AHDRA champion and NHRA U.S. Nationals winner Ryan Perry capitalized on his typically consistent performance to take the Top Fuel win over final round runner-up Tracy Kile.

Mary Dangrow

The 2021 winner and current AHDRA champion Kile smoked the tire every round, including his round one match with Ziggy Stewart. Both these riders engaged in a peddlefest that saw Kile advance despite giving up .226 at the tree.

Kile's reaction fortunes went the other way in the final, as he was .041 to Peery's .148. Peery was there for the taking down-track as well, as he slowed to a 7.16 at 183. Kile was not able to put up a fight this time around, though, and coasted across the line well behind Peery.

Kile's Bad Apple Racing teammate (and more) "Bad Apple Mary" Dangrow came through for the Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel win, though, handing champion and defending event winner Sam White his first AHDRA loss of the season. Both riders left the starting line within .005 of each other, but Dangrow legged it out for the 7.44 at 168 to 7.51 at 167 win. 

Bad Apple Racing's Frank Schaffroth also joined Dangrow in the winner's circle when he won the Pingel Modified final over Nate Carnahan. Nate's .067 light gapped Schaffroth's .314 pretty big at the start, but Frank's 9.478 at 139 drove around Carnahan's 9.81 at 129.

Nitro Funnybike champion Michael Balch didn't have to put up much of a race in his final when first year nitro rider - and number one qualifier - Cameron Gunter timed out at the tree.

Cecil County is the home race for event and Pro Modified sponsor Zipper's Performance Products. John Price won Pro Mod at Milan last time out, won this race last year, and won again this time around.

Gary Douglass won Axtell Cylinders Super Modified when Keith Carper was unable to make the call for the final. Season dominator Kimberly "K-Charm" Deshields had to borrow an index bike when her own mount was delayed after the team's truck broke down.

Geronimo Pratt won both Pro Bagger and Bagger Street at Cecil for the second straight year. Julius DeManns broke down track and was unable to challenge Pratt for the stripe in the Pro Bagger final.

Pratt handily took the tree .190 to Shawn Miller's .324 in the Bagger Street final and just as handily held on to the lead with a 10.17 at 132 to Miller's 12.64 at 106.

Ken Strauss also doubled up, winning 9.30 index and Vreeland's Harley-Davidson 9.90. Strauss wound out his ProCharged bike to erase Chris Hoppe's .013 starting line advantage and run 9.37 to Hoppe's 9.42 for the 9.30 win in that final.

Mike Motto

His 9.90 final round came at the expense of Kevin Laughman. Strauss put a full tenth on Laughman at the tree and ran a 9.97 to Kevin's 10.26 for the win.

Richard George backed up his Milan win with 10.30 Super Pro honors at Cecil County. Carnahan runner-upped for the second time in one day despite having a .010 starting line advantage against George, who ran only .027 over the index for the win.

Cody Hayworth won the Universal Fleet & Tire 10.90 final against Kevin Gaunt, who failed to run the number after a brilliant .006 light. Hayworth posted a 10.930.

The 11.50 win went to Gary Burkley. His .166 light was quicker than champion Chris Ussery's .212, giving him the win despite giving up .043 at the stripe in a good race. 

Mike Tewey's .077 light paved his way to the Eliminator win over final round runner-up Mike Carpentieri. Chris Vilardi's final round redlight handed the Trophy win to David Hebert.

Timmy Gaunt took the tree .065 to .140 against Jaden Hines in the Junior Dragbike final, but Hines stayed close to his dial-in for the win. Kylie Himmelreich took the Junior Senior Dragbike final against Bradley Croneberger Jr. despite giving up .028 at the tree.

AHDRA's Bill and Chrissy Rowe look forward to seeing everyone at the AHDRA and AMRA finals, the Jim McClure All-Harley Nationals at Rockingham Dragway on October 27-29.

AHDRA/AMA thanks Vreeland's Harley-Davidson, MTC Engineering, Hawaya Racing, Pingel Enterprise, GMS Racing Engines, Zippers Performance, Horsepower Inc., Vanson Leathers, Universal Fleet & Tire, Daryl Coffin Motorsports and Axtell Cylinders.