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Tuesday 31 October 2023


Indian Motorcycle, Slingshot, Polaris to Make AIMExpo Return at Las Vegas, February 2024 

AIMExpo has announced the return of Indian Motorcycle, Slingshot and Polaris displays at the upcoming 2024 event taking place in Las Vegas (February 6-8, 2024). 

"Everyone is excited for AIMExpo, which gives us the perfect opportunity to strengthen our relationships with dealers, media and others in powersports, and to support growth and education within the industry," said Joey Lindahl, Marketing Director for Slingshot and Motorcycle Industry Council board member representing Polaris Inc.  

"We'll have a sizeable footprint on the AIMExpo show floor to display an assortment of two, three and four-wheeled vehicles." 

"We're happy to see the return of Indian and Slingshot to the AIMExpo floorplan and even more excited that Polaris is joining with their four-wheel line-up for the first time. With three separate booths and over 2,500 sq ft of exhibit space, theirs will be a prominent presence on the show floor," said Cinnamon Kernes, MIC vice president of market expansion and events.  

"Their dedication to helping the powersports industry grow, not just through participation at AIMExpo, but through the development of its wide-ranging products from two wheels to four, is truly appreciated and we look forward to their participation contributing to our best show yet. 

"To date, over 15 OEMs, several major distributors, and hundreds of powersports companies have already committed to 2024. The more than 225,000 sq ft show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center is already 95% sold out," said Kernes. 

Those 15 other OEMs include Aprilia, GasGas, Husqvarna, Indian, Kawasaki, KTM, Moto Guzzi, Moto Morini, MV Agusta, Piaggio, Slingshot, Suzuki, Triumph, Vespa and Yamaha. 

"In its 10th year, this is a record number of OEM commitments for the show, solidifying the event as the largest, most consequential powersports trade show in the country." 

Additional show features include AIMExpo's Disruptive Thinking stage, which will feature an impactful education program delivered by Motorcycle & Powersports News and AIMExpo, New Product Central, two e-Bike demo tracks, the Dealer Recharge Zone, the MIC Business Center, the AIMExpo Industry Party powered by Turn 14, and more. 

"Manufacturers are the center of our industry, building the machines we sell, accessorize and ride. Any industry insider who is serious about learning the latest trends and positioning themselves for success will want to be at AIMExpo. We expect a full house, with the entire powersports ecosystem under one roof, giving attendees the best opportunity to plan, learn and strategize for the coming sales season." 

News Briefs

Dennis Chung ( reports that a 2024 Indian FTR X 100% R Carbon has been confirmed by VIN Filings. A collaboration with eyewear maker 100% - whose Barstow goggles feature in Indian's factory G&A offering - aside from some special edition livery, the FTR x 100% isn't expected to be to be significantly different from the existing R Carbon model with its gold-colored Öhlins suspension, upgraded seat, special tank panels with Indian Script logo, silver and gold pinstriping, and various carbon fiber component upgrades compared to the standard FTR. EICMA, in Milan in November, may be the timing for the unveil. 

More news about the 2023 Powersports Business Accelerate Conference (November 5-7 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas, Texas) with details of the agenda now published. A highlight this year will be Curtis Dubay, chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, kickstarting day two with a discussion about the current US economy and what it may look like in 2024 and 2025 - inflation, the Fed, interest rates, and how these things will affect consumer spending on powersports products. Registrations are open. 

Thirteen AMA No. 1 plates will be up for grabs in seven different classes at the 2023 AMA Amateur Road Race Grand Championship - October 19-22 at Daytona International Speedway. Sanctioned by the AMA and operated by the American Superbike Racing Association (ASRA), four full days of road racing action will coincide with the ASRA team challenge series and ASRA sprint races. Outside of the national championships, other awards presented at the event include the Nicky Hayden AMA Road Race Horizon Award, the AMA Road Race Youth Award, the AMA Road Race Top Novice Award and the AMA Road Race Vet/Senior Award. 

Total domestic household debt in USA rose by $16bn to reach $17.06tn in the second quarter of 2023. Credit card balances saw brisk growth, rising by $45bn to a series high of $1.03tn. Other balances, which include retail credit cards and other consumer loans, and auto loans increased by $15bn and $20bn, respectively. Student loan balances fell by $35bn to reach $1.57tn, while mortgage balances were largely unchanged at $12.01tn. 

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

The Fred Fox Story by Don Emde

"Unlimited: The Fred Fox Story" by Don Emde

"A biography that's about all of us"Review by Beth Dolgner 

Unboxing videos are popular on social media these days, but when my copy of Unlimited: The Fred Fox Story by Don Emde arrived on my doorstep, I was too eager to crack the spine and start reading to bother with recording the moment. 

And that's too bad, because a book this good looking deserves a little time in the spotlight. Published with the Emde Books imprint by his company, Don Emde Inc., Don chose to go with a sleek, elegant black dust cover for the 324-page hardback book. 

While we all know the adage 'It's what's inside that counts', it's still worth noting that 'Unlimited' is a beautifully presented book.

Not surprisingly, the inside is even more impressive. The thick, glossy pages are filled with the story of not just Fred Fox, but of the many people, brands, events and dealers whose stories are interwoven with his. 

The more than 700 color photos help bring those stories to life and the handy index in the back makes it easy to locate those who are mentioned.

It's hard to imagine anyone in the powersports industry who doesn't know Fred's name, since he was the man behind LeMans Corporation, which includes the powersports distribution companies Parts Unlimited, Drag Specialties, Parts Canada and Parts Europe. Add in some of the best-known brands in the industry - THOR, Moose Racing and ICON among them - and it's obvious that Fred didn't pull off this success all by himself.

"more than 700 color photos" 

Back in 1967, though, Fred was doing it all by himself. (On paper, at least: his family was willing to pitch in and to share the house with racks of tires and other parts.) Fast forward 56 years to today, and LeMans Corporation has more than 1,000 employees and proudly claims the title of the largest privately owned powersports distribution company in the world.

Shortly after Fred's retirement in 2021, Emde took on the task of putting the Fred Fox story into book form. The pair's friendship of 40 plus years is apparent in the pages of Unlimited, as is the respect of so many of Fred's colleagues, employees and industry peers. 

It took Emde 15 months to research the book, which included a lot of time spent interviewing Fred. The timing of this book was fortunate: Fred passed away in February of 2023, and had the book not already been in production, then a lot of his stories might have been lost forever. Instead, Unlimited gives us both a history and a tribute that are appropriately timed.

Unlimited: The Fred Fox Story is broken down into eight parts. The first seven cover the history, from Fred's earliest years right up to the present day, and the epilogue gives us a look at the future.

Within each of these eight parts, the narrative is further broken down into smaller vignettes. This makes the book great for those who are stealing an extra few minutes here and there to read it, because the stories are short and self-contained. 

This bite-sized biography style is also great for readers who have specific interests. For example, off-road racing enthusiasts can glance at the table of contents to find what they'll be most interested in, like the history of Moose Racing or how the legendary Torsten Hallman first met Fred. MotoGP fans can get an inside look at the infamous hurricane-shortened Indy GP or revel in the late Nicky Hayden's victory at Laguna Seca. Fred was there for all of it, and, of course, racers and fans are familiar with Parts Unlimited's renowned "We Support the Sport" campaign and sponsorships.

Emde has an easy, conversational style of writing. The book comes off not as a stiff, boring biography, but as one powersports pioneer telling stories about another pioneer. It's easy to picture Emde telling these same stories over dinner at the next motorcycle rally or after a day at the racetrack.

In addition to interviewing Fred for Unlimited, Emde also spoke to many others who either work at LeMans Corporation or are tied to it in some way. Emde doesn't attempt to retell their stories. Rather, we get to hear the stories in the person's own words, which brings them to life in a much fuller way.

Fred told Emde right from the start of the project that he didn't want a book that was only about him. He wanted it to tell the story of LeMans Corporation. Fred got that, and more: this is truly a book about the industry and the people and brands that keep it going. It feels like an homage to all of us, not just to one man.

In fact, Unlimited feels a bit like a yearbook for the powersports industry, or perhaps a family photo album. There are a lot of familiar names and faces to be found, from top professional racers who have been sponsored by Parts Unlimited or Drag Specialties to some of the biggest personalities working in the powersports industry.

"a lot of familiar names and faces" 

It's remarkable how many of the earliest employees of LeMans Corporation have biographies that end with something along the lines of, "He continued in that job until his recent retirement." (Others are still active, like Drag Specialties' Tom Motzko, who is still at it after nearly 50 years.) That loyalty is a testament to Fred's work ethic and the culture that he created at LeMans Corporation. 

Fred also had a good eye for business. He acquired some brands, while others he helped along the way. The story of Vance & Hines is a perfect example of that. Emde relates how Terry Vance and Byron Hines had a fledgling business, and Fred helped them take it to the next level with a distribution deal. These days, it's hard to imagine the legendary performance exhaust brand as "fledgling," and they credit Fred with helping them grow beyond a little garage operation. 

Stories like theirs abound in Unlimited. And, ultimately, it's apparent that Fred Fox's success and the success of the powersports industry are part of the same story.

You can get your copy of Unlimited: The Fred Fox Story by Don Emde at It costs $75 plus tax where applicable, and shipping. 

Zero Motorcycles

Zero Patent Points to Liquid Cooled Future By Ben Purvis

Electric motors need to be prevented from overheating, and just like combustion engines, there's a clear choice for their designers between air-cooling and liquid-cooling. Zero - undeniably a leader in electric motorcycles - has been in the air-cooled school so far, but a new patent shows the company is considering a switch to liquid-cooling in the future.

As with combustion engines, there are pros and cons to both technologies. The benefits of air-cooled designs are that they're lighter and simpler, with fewer components and potential points of failure. But when it comes to outright performance, liquid-cooled electric vehicles tend to have the edge because it's easier to keep components within the small temperature range that maximizes their performance.

For example, the Ducati MotoE race bikes used in the series that supports MotoGP have not one but two liquid-cooling systems, with completely separate pumps and radiators for the cooling of the batteries and the motor. Why? Because their optimum operating temperatures are different - the batteries need to be kept cooler than the motor - and with two cooling systems, those temperatures can both be maintained.

So far, Zero has stuck with air-cooling for both its batteries and motors, but the company has filed a patent application for a liquid-cooled motor that could be the next step up for its bikes' performance. The design uses a series of layers for its motor housing, with a water-filled cooling jacket sandwiched between the stator and an outer housing. The cooling jacked features manifolds that allow hot water to be pumped out to a radiator and cooler water to come in to replace it.

"Water-cooled motors for future Zero electric bikes"

Inside the cooling jacket, the patent illustrates a pattern of bumps that are used to increase its surface area - ensuring better transfer of heat - and to create turbulence in the water that's running through the jacket, improving the heat transfer from the motor to the coolant.

Outside, the system is much like that of a liquid-cooled combustion engine bike, with a radiator mounted behind the front wheel and a water pump - electrically powered, of course - to keep the fluid flowing between the radiator and the motor.

As the patent says, "the amount of work that an electric motor may perform may be proportional to the amount of heat that can be removed" - suggesting that by shifting to a liquid-cooled motor, Zero hopes to be able to make a bike that's more powerful than its current range-toppers.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Brian Case Named a Barber Museum Executive Director

This past summer, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum announced that Brian Case had been named executive director of the Birmingham, Alabama based nonprofit.

Case joined Barber Companies in 2019 and established the Barber Advanced Design Center in 2021. Case served as the Barber Advanced Design Center's director until his appointment to Executive Director of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in June.

Case is maybe best known as having co-founded Motus Motorcycles in 2008 and serving as design director and managing board member until 2018. Motus Motorcycles produced the MST and MSTR sport-touring motorcycles.

"Having designed motorcycles myself, the collection at Barber has been a great source of inspiration over the last 18 years. George Barber's vision, and the museum's mission, resonate with my lifelong passion for motorsports. This is why I am so honored to lead the team at Barber and expand its reach for future generations," says Case.

While continuing the museum's mission, Case will further the institution's impact with a focus on the future of design.

Since its establishment, the Barber Advanced Design Center has been a beacon leading the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum into the future. This high-tech workspace for industrial design exploration includes laser-scanning and 3D printing machines, a multimedia hub allowing designers worldwide to collaborate, and an awe-inspiring view of the Barber Motorsports Park racetrack. The advancements in motorsports design and technology are equally important as its history - this museum and design center connects the two.

Zodiac International

Black Headed Stainless Steel Screw Kits

Netherlands based Zodiac International is offering dealers access to a selection of over 100 different black headed stainless steel screw sets and kits for Harley applications.

Manufactured in Germany by 'Screws4Bikes,' these "stainless steel screws with matte black powder- coated heads are a stylish and classy finishing touch for any bike. They come in convenient kits, and when you simply remove and replace one screw at the time, you don't need new gaskets."

The huge range of kits offered include belt pulley/final drive kits, front forks, Wide Glide and triple tree kits, drivetrain screw kits, Twin Cam and M-8 cam cover screw sets, headlight screws, tappet block kits, Sportster cam cover kits and brake rotor screws and nuts, including for Softail and FXR models. 



 "New and Improved" EXFIL-60

Bill Bryant, co-founder of Temecula, California based Biltwell, says "new and improved is a lame old marketing term that has lost any authenticity a long time ago. But in this case, it's actually true.

"We gathered rider feedback, documented our many miles with the EXFIL-60, and then tweaked this new 2.0 version to be even more functional than the original. Right in the middle of our line of EXFIL gear, this rugged moto-pack is right-sized for nearly any adventure. Features include a large main compartment and an expandable flap that can quickly hold a bedroll or outer layer." 

EXFIL-36 saddlebags

Universal mounting is easy with three built-in compression straps and two additional tie-down points. Version 2.0 upgrades include an improved cargo flap with a Velcro loop, laser-cut MOLLE on the outside, and a rugged rip-stop pocket inside. A new elastic shock cord on the sides of the cargo flap helps keep the gear tidy. Access to the flap and pockets is all done without removing or loosening the bag's built-in mounting straps.

Manufactured in UV-treated, 1680 denier ballistic-grade polyester nylon construction throughout, PVC treatment on exterior panels mean added weather resistance and a roll-top closure with reinforced nylon quick-release buckles keeps contents sealed tight.

Three 1.5-inch-wide removable mounting straps with reflective stitching offer mounting options and security. There are seven rows of laser-cut MOLLE webbing for mounting and secondary gear attachment, rugged SBS synthetic, weather-resistant zippers with knotted nylon cord pulls, and the removable padded nylon shoulder strap is adjustable and fastens quickly for portage.

EXFIL-80 2. sissy bar bag. Bill Bryant says this is the "most well-traveled bag in our line of EXFIL moto luggage. This new 2.0 version of this robust rucksack is custom engineered to hold everything you need for multi-day or overnight motorcycle travel. New features include a more rugged built-in tool pouch, larger padded backrest, larger straps and buckles, improved rip-stop pockets and the magic pass-thru that lets you unzip and fold down the internal backrest to get inside the bag without unbuckling it from the motorcycle." Manufactured in UV-treated, 1680 denier ballistic-grade polyester nylon construction throughout with PVC treatment on exterior panels for added weather resistance. Interior volume holds 80 standard 12-ounce cans (51-liter capacity); dimensions are 20.0" tall x 14.0" wide x 12.0" deep.

Per the standard Biltwell capacity calibration, the interior volume holds 60 12-ounce cans. Closed dimensions are 18" tall x 14" wide x 11" deep.

Also seen here, these EXFIL-36 saddlebags "are big enough to bring it all." Multiple pockets inside, a fleece-lined easy-access one on the outside and plenty of MOLLE and tie-down loops to attach extra gear to the outside makes the EXFIL-36 saddlebags unique. "We even sell the Drag Specialties mounts for most Harley-Davidsons."

"These are the biggest EXFIL bags we've made yet," says Bill. "Our first full-sized saddlebag system is the last word in utility and performance for motorcycle adventure. EXFIL-36 saddlebags feature hand-crafted construction and ballistic-grade materials - everything from heavy-duty polyester nylon and PVC-treated synthetics to heat-resistant canvas, nylon MOLLE straps, and molded quick-release buckles. Each hand-crafted bag's main compartment will hold 36 12-ounce cans. That's three cases for the pair - plenty of capacity for your next long-term bugout. Like every piece of moto luggage in our EXFIL line, EXFIL-36 saddlebags are engineered for easy installation and universal fit on a wide range of motorcycles."

EXIL-60 2.0 

Universal fit with a wide variety of aftermarket saddlebag supports, they are manufactured in UV-treated 1680-denier ballistic nylon exterior that resists moisture and fading. There is a PVC-treated waterproof security flap over main compartment which closes with 1.5-inch wide (36 mm) reflective polyester straps and Duraflex quick-release buckles.

This is the bag that started Biltwell's EXFIL motorcycle luggage odyssey, the EXFIL-7 bag - OD Green. "In military parlance, 'EXFIL' means to leave in a rapid, organized fashion - the way every smart bike rider likes to ride," says Bill. "The number means this EXFIL bag holds seven 12-ounce beer cans - a naming convention that carries throughout our moto luggage line." MOLLE system on exterior lets you attach and expand this bag with other bags and accessories; rugged, rust-free nylon zippers throughout; Duraflex quick-release buckles with adjustable nylon straps for speedy installation; UV-treated, 1680 denier polyester nylon construction; PVC-coated synthetic mounting straps with nickel-plated stainless buckles.

They are extra-large at 15" long x 7" wide (380 mm x 178 mm) with a PVC-treated main compartment door that features double zippers with single paracord pull for speedy operation and MOLLE system on exterior to provide options for attaching accessories and extra gear. A two-piece mounting yoke with adjustable Velcro panel fastens to both bags with heavy-duty nylon zippers. The bag bottoms are reinforced with heat-resistant, heavyweight canvas panels. There is a hidden cable port into the main compartment and waterproof nylon rain covers with elastic gathers and drawstring closure provide extra protection in extreme conditions.


Custom Chrome Europe

Burly Brand Brawler Kit Options

Custom Chrome Europe is "going deep" on Burly Brand, including the high-quality steel Brawler front and rear crash bar kits with replaceable Delrin sliders "for a look that kills and quality that defends the bike in the event of a wipeout."

Brawler kit for Dyna, Sportster (seen here) and Softail

TIG-welded for maximum durability and finished in black powder-coat, they feature 7-gauge mild steel mount/gussets and ship with 1/2”-13 socket head cap screw hardware for '06-'17 Dyna models, '04-'20 Sportsters and '18-'23 Softails.

Brawler kit for Touring models

Also seen here, these Brawler front and rear crash bar kits for Touring models include a crash bar for the front and crash bars to protect the bags on '09-'23 Touring models.



Wunderlich Adventure - Protecting the Pan America

German BMW parts and accessory specialist Wunderlich has always been a major player in the ADV sector and last year established a new division especially for the burgeoning Adventure Touring sector.

One of the first models Wunderlich addressed beyond its traditional BMW footprint has been Harley's Pan America and, having already shown some model-specific and universal parts designs for the RA 1250 in prior editions, this manifold heat shield seen in one of the company's recent newsletters caught our eye.

Manifold heat shield

Everyone knows, of course, that heat management (and vibrations for that matter) has always been an issue for Harley owners, and while the liquid-cooed Revolution Max is a very different beast to Harley's classic air-cooled V-twin, it is still a twin - even if a better, 60-degree layout - and therefore still prone to less efficient heat control than triples and fours.

The course of the manifold of the rear cylinder of the Pan America 1250 twists and bends and curves until it arrives at the collector, and this new manifold protection and heat shield from Wunderlich follows the same fluid, curved, organic shape of the manifold and tucks perfectly into the side 'fly-line' of the Pan America design to avoid producing additional drag.

Produced from genuine carbon exclusively for Wunderlich by leading German carbon fiber parts manufacturer Ilmberger Carbonparts, this is a solid yet lightweight cover that provides both thermal and mechanical protection to reliably shield the radiant heat coming from the manifold of the rear cylinder, and, importantly, prevents the right lower leg from coming into direct contact with the hot manifold pipe. 

'Extreme' engine bar

Made more than 130 mm longer than the standard shield, it therefore offers much improved heat protection, and a high degree of mechanical protection from scratches or dents to the manifold - always an issue for Adventure Tourers.

A one-piece design, it is thermally isolated when fitted, replaces the original Harley side part and is an easy-install with the assembly kits supplied. It uses the OEM attachment points, for a modification-free and fully reversible install, and typically saves some 70% of the weight of the OEM design and delivers greater rigidity than the Harley design it replaces.

Ilmberger uses pre-impregnated carbon fiber matrices for its high-quality carbon - the fiber volume is dimensioned, and the alignment of the individual fibers is defined. The matrix is then laminated - bubble-free - by hand and coated twice with a protective layer. The added clear varnish layer protects and emphasizes the three-dimensional effect of the carbon structure. After hardening in the autoclave, its carbon components meet even the toughest demands and requirements.

It comes with German type approval (ABE) and is backed by a five-year warranty. 

Frequently bought together, Wunderlich also offers a two-piece tank pad set to protect the Pan America's gas tank, improving the angle of the knee, and increasing grip; a heat shield for the radiator hose, and a model-specific Wunderlich 'Extreme' engine protection bar concept that brings maximum protection to another critical Pan America component.

Tank pad set

The ergonomically designed geometry of the 'Extreme' engine bar protects the engine, its add-on parts, and the radiator. "In addition to comprehensive protection, during its development and construction we placed the utmost importance on ride height and lean angle. The two-part symmetric engine protection bar thus sits snugly, and its specific structure also gives it additional stability and rigidity - all while optimizing the weight of the component. 

"The 25 mm bars for left and right screw on to three selected attachment points. The torques and forces that arise during a crash or fall are thereby distributed across each of the three points on each side of the vehicle. This reduces peak loads caused by external forces. It is manufactured from high-quality steel, precision-formed on CNC pipe bending machines, clean welded and black powder-coated."


Baker Drivetrain

'Klassic' Kicker Gear Kit

The Baker 'Klassic' kicker gears "roll smooth as glass," says Bert Baker. "Get the peace of mind of not being stranded ever again. This will fit 1936-1986 H-D Big Twin kicker-equipped models and will work with a 14-tooth H-D starter gear.

"We started making 6-into-4 transmissions with kickers over ten years ago. At the time, we could only purchase some lower grade Taiwanese kicker gears in volume, because nobody made them in the USA anymore. Not acceptable. So, we tooled up our own right here in Michigan.

"They come standard on all Baker 4-speeds, 6-into-4s and kicker kits. To see the difference, take a pair of imported gears and roll the teeth together - they roll like a mismatched pair of gears and are dangerous to have inside the transmission. Our 'Klassic' kicker gears roll the way they should - they look, feel and are quality. They’re not cheap, but they are the last set you will have to buy."


Thursday 26 October 2023


H-D Q3 - Unit Revenue, Shipments and Retail All Down, Gross Profit Down, EPS Down; "Strategy Remains Grounded in Desirability and Profitability"

Although HDMC Revenue was up +2% versus the prior year on a YTD/9-month basis - "with global pricing and improved mix offsetting lower wholesale motorcycle unit shipments" - Harley's Q3 results saw an HDMC Revenue decline of -9%, behind a -20% decrease in wholesale shipments for the quarter at 45,269 units, down from 56,855 (-20.4%). 

YTD wholesale unit data show Domestic USA down to 96,984 units YTD 2023 from 100,997 (-4.0%) in the comparable year-ago period, with total worldwide unit shipments down to 150,440 units for the first nine months of 2023 compared to 159,544 units for the comparable year-ago period (-5.7%). 

In model mix terms, Harley's move away from theoretically less profitable 'Sport and Lightweight' (S&L) models, continues with Q3 2023 showing a -69.2% decline to 3,103 units in Q3, 2023 from 10,079 for the year ago; YTD S&L shipments are at 15,849 units compared to 28,185 for the year ago (-43.8%). 

Alarmingly, the Pan America models (Adventure Touring segment) are also down at 1,243 units for Q3, 2023 from 2,058 for the year ago (-39.6%) and 4,445 units for the YTD 2023 from 28,185 for the year ago nine-month period (-84.2%). 

Despite the apparent popularity of the new CVO models, a +1.3% growth in the 'Grand American Touring' segment in YTD terms (76,270 units is modestly up from the year-ago of 75,291 units), the Q3 data shows a decline of -13.6% from 27,521 units in Q3 of 2022 to 23,781 units in Q3, 2023. 

Worldwide Cruiser shipments are broadly flat for Q3, 2023 (17,142 units against 17,197 for the year ago), but were +13.8% up for the YTD at 53,876 units from 47,325 for the year ago. 

This data excludes LiveWire units - which were 50 units in Q3, 2023 (down from 206 in the year-ago) and 146 for the first nine months of 2023 (down from 528 in the year-ago).

In Unit Retail Sales terms, the domestic U.S. market was worth 25,336 units in Q3, 2023, down from 29,839 units in 2022 (-15.1%). Worldwide Unit Retail was 132,609 for the first nine months of 2023, against 144,617 for the year-ago (-8.33%). 

"Against a challenging macro and consumer backdrop, we have been able to achieve a result that preserves profitability at an industry-leading level. In addition, we successfully launched our pinnacle CVO motorcycles, with CVO retail sales up 25%," said Jochen Zeitz, Chairman, President and CEO, Harley-Davidson. 

"Harley-Davidson remains committed to its Hardwire strategy with a focus on both desirability and profitability, and we will do everything possible to achieve our goals while being realistic that current market conditions are complex. We are gearing up for '24 and will ensure that we are fully aligned and ready as we close out the year with Q4."

Harley is citing Q3 highlights including the successful launch of those two new CVO motorcycles, a HDMC gross margin of 31.7%, a 155 increase in HDFS revenue (on higher interest income) and production of the LiveWire S2 platform Del Mar electric motorcycle having started.

Jochen Zeitz, Chairman, President and CEO, Harley-Davidson: "Harley-Davidson remains committed to its Hardwire strategy with a focus on both desirability and profitability, and we will do everything possible to achieve our goals while being realistic that current market conditions are complex." 

Parts & Accessories revenue was down -8% largely in line with revenue from Motorcycles. Apparel revenue was down -29%, driven by lower volumes in North America.

Third quarter gross margin was down 2.7 points behind the impacts of lower volumes, unfavorable manufacturing impacts and foreign currency, more than offsetting the benefits of pricing and shipment mix. Third quarter operating income margin fell by 6.1 points due to higher operating expense, including higher people costs and marketing spend.

The company is also citing the impacts of the Q2 production shutdown lasting longer than anticipated and as not yet having been fully unwound by the end of Q3, with the effects of recovering ground from the shutdown still likely to be affecting Q4.

Despite what looks like a poor quarter in terms of the long-term impacts of weakening trading, Harley has reaffirmed its most recent full year 2023 growth outlook of flat to +3% and operating income margin of 13.9 to 14.3%. Production of 2023 models finished week ending October 21.


Polaris Q3 - "Results Lower Than Expectations"

Polaris Inc. (NYSE: PII) third quarter 2023 results report worldwide sales of $2,249m, down 4% versus the third quarter of 2022. North America sales of $1,986m represented 88% of total company sales and decreased 4% from $2,069m in 2022. 

International sales of $263m represented 12% of total company sales and decreased 3% versus the third quarter of 2022. Total company sales in the third quarter of 2023 were negatively impacted by lower shipment volumes and higher finance interest.

On Road segment sales were primarily driven by lower volumes, with PG&A sales down 6%. Gross On Road segment profit margin performance was driven by favorable product mix.

North America unit retail sales for Indian Motorcycle were down low-teens percent. Estimated North America unit retail sales for the comparable motorcycle industry were down mid-teens percent.

Mike Speetzen, Chief Executive Officer of Polaris Inc., is quoted as saying: "Our third quarter results were slightly lower than our expectations, as elevated manufacturing costs and an increasingly cautious consumer environment put added pressure on our results. 

"While overall sales declined, North American retail was up 5% in the quarter, and we took share across each segment of our business, which included achieving the No. 1 share position for midsize motorcycles in North America. 

"Considering recent trends of retail softness and margin pressure, we have revised our full-year guidance, and the team remains focused executing our plans to close out the year. With new products that continue to resonate with dealers and consumers, we have strengthened our position as innovative leaders in the industry while remaining laser focused on efficient operations." 

Primary sales drivers were lower ship volumes and higher finance interest. Powersports retail sales for the quarter were up 5% versus last year, driven by double digit growth in utility ORV, more than offsetting softness in Polaris' recreational ORV and On Road segments, but the company says it has seen market share gains in Off Road, On Road and Marine.

Third quarter reported diluted earnings per share from continuing operations was $2.62, down 17% versus last year; adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations was $2.71, down 17% versus last year. Third quarter net income from continuing operations attributable to Polaris of $152m decreased 20% and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations ("EPS") of $2.62 decreased 17% compared to the third quarter of 2022. Adjusted net income from continuing operations attributable to Polaris for the quarter was $157m, down 20%.

Mike Speetzen, Chief Executive Officer of Polaris Inc: "While overall sales declined, North American retail was up 5% in the quarter, and we took share across each segment of our business."

Gross profit margin decreased 127 basis points to 22.6% for the third quarter. Adjusted gross profit margin of 22.6% decreased 127 basis points, primarily driven by foreign exchange headwinds, higher finance interest and unfavorable mix.

Operating expenses were $328m in the third quarter of 2023 compared to $317m in the third quarter of 2022 due to higher selling and marketing expenses. Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, of 14.6% were up 105 basis points in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the third quarter of 2022.

Off Road segment sales were driven by higher snowmobile volume partially offset by higher finance interest. Parts, Garments and Accessories (PG&A) sales increased 15%. Gross segment profit margin performance was driven by unfavorable product mix.

Polaris North America ORV unit retail sales were up 5%. Estimated North America industry ORV unit retail sales were up low-single digits percent.

Marine segment sales results were driven by lower volumes. Gross profit margin performance was largely driven by a decrease in sales volumes resulting in decreased leverage of manufacturing costs, partially offset by higher net pricing.

The company updated its 2023 sales outlook to up 3% to 5% versus its previous outlook of up 3% to up 6% versus 2022. The company now expects adjusted diluted EPS from continuing operations attributed to Polaris Inc. common shareholders to be down 8% to down 4% versus 2022, versus the prior outlook of down 2% to up 3%.

Nace Panzica


Former Custom Chrome CEO Nace Panzica has died in California aged 80. One of the original partners in Coast Cycles (San Jose, 1970 - with founder Ty Cruze and a group of friends), Nace was "there at the beginning" of what became Custom Chrome, a year later. Multiple moves and expansions saw the business eventually drop anchor at Morgan Hill, Ca., in 1982, with a 110,000 sq ft purpose-built HQ and warehouse opened in 1987 - the year of the first CCI Dealer Show. Panzica took over as CEO in 1989 and the company went public in 1990. Ty Cruze retired at around that time and Nace was eventually ousted as CEO (for the first of two times) in 1997. Despite attempted comebacks and re-acquisitions as part of various consortia, and though sales grew strongly until around 2006 when the V-twin P&A market peaked, the late 1990s and subsequent years saw a sequence of corporate investor and private equity ownerships that were never able to regain the 'glory days'. Debt and barely controlled spending weighed on the Custom Crome brand. Out of market managements cared more for their investor balance sheets than they did for the sheet metal. The 'glory days' at Custom Chrome saw a whole slew of talented industry professionals pass through the doors - but though many were called, the corporate and management culture meant that very few were able make the impact they should have been allowed to. The company was innovative and did much to shape the industry at the time, not least championing the cause of leading custom bike builders and being an early adopter in the development of strong in-house brand strategies. However, those 'glory days' never saw sufficient capital generated and retained. Investments and acquisitions were often ill-conceived and (mostly) poorly executed, in the USA at least. The second 25 years of the CCI story were not the 'bright and shiny thing' of the first. Nonetheless, the business that Panzica contributed to shaped vendor and dealer fortunes and market expectations for a couple of decades. Indeed, many of the strategic initiatives his era Custom Chrome teams pioneered are still a part of the industry's structures even today, and many of CCI's people have gone on to make their own industry contributions subsequently. Rest in peace Nace! 


Mike Kennedy Appointed CEO at RumbleOn

RumbleOn, Inc. (NASDAQ: RMBL) has announced Michael "Mike" Kennedy as its new Chief Executive Officer effective November 1 - additionally joining the RumbleOn Board of Directors. Kennedy succeeds Mark Tkach, who has served as Interim Chief Executive Officer since June 2023.

An accomplished powersports industry veteran who brings over three decades of experience in strategy, commercial operations, financial management and manufacturing at leading powersports companies, Kennedy spent 26 years at Harley-Davidson, culminating in his role as Vice President & Managing Director, Americas from 2010 to 2017.

More recently, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Vance & Hines (2019 to 2023), where he oversaw strong organic growth, margin expansion and value creation.

"We are very excited to welcome Mike Kennedy as our CEO," said Steve Pully, Executive Chairman of the RumbleOn Board of Directors. "After carefully considering a wide range of candidates, the Board is confident that Mike is the ideal choice to lead RumbleOn through its next chapter of growth and shareholder value creation. Not only does Mike share the company's passion for powersports, but he is also a seasoned leader with a proven track record of driving significant positive transformation."

Outgoing Interim CEO Mark Tkach is quoted as stating: "I am thrilled to entrust the leadership of RumbleOn to Mike Kennedy, an executive who has a sustained history of delivering success in the powersport industry. We now have a remarkable depth of talent throughout our team, and I am confident that Mike's extensive knowledge and history of success in this industry makes him the right leader to unlock the value in RumbleOn for our shareholders. I am confident that Mike is the right choice to lead RumbleOn."

Mike Kennedy commented: "I am impressed with the recent transformation that began at RumbleOn in June of this year. I'm extremely optimistic and excited about the opportunity to lead RumbleOn as its Chief Executive Officer and will continue the positive change that the current board and management have started. I've known Mark Tkach and Bill Coulter since my time at Harley-Davidson. I'm honored to have their confidence to lead RumbleOn."

RumbleOn claims the title of largest powersports retailer in North America, "offering a wide selection of new and used motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, utility terrain vehicles, personal watercraft and other powersports products, including aftermarket products." 

The company operates 55 retail locations, each equipped with full-service departments, and five regional fulfillment centers - mostly through the Sun Belt of the United States.

Turn 14 Distribution

Turn 14 Distribution Appoints President of Owned Brands

Horsham, Pennsylvania based Turn 14 Distribution, buyers of selected Tucker Powersports assets, has announced the appointment of Robert Schuetz as President of Owned Brands.

"Bob is an established leader within the performance aftermarket and OE industries," says Jon Pulli, CEO of Turn 14 Distribution. "His resume includes world-renowned companies like Warn Industries Inc, Öhlins USA and KW Automotive, NA, where he held executive leadership positions of Vice President and President within these organizations.

"Bob will oversee the establishment, structure, development and daily operations of our owned brands team with its headquarters in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. He will lead the product development, R&D, brand management and marketing of the manufacturing brands Turn 14 Distribution acquired through the Tucker Powersports assets purchase."

Schuetz is quoted as saying: "I'm excited to be a part of the rebirth of the brands we've acquired from Tucker Powersports, and I look forward to earning the trust of our longstanding partners and internal team as we seek to maximize our potential in each respective marketplace."

News Briefs

Heading into the Bagger Racing League Championship Round at the legendary Willow Springs Raceway, California, November 16-19, 2023, Trask Performance's Shane Narbonne leads the NAMZ Bagger GP class from Suburban H-D (Benny Carlson), Lloydz Garage (Hawk Mazzotta), Alloy Art (Oleg Painykh and Bryan Shields. In the Andrews Cams Big Twins, Shredder Bob Racing (Bobby Parker) lead Lloydz Garage's Hawk Mazzotta. 

The Zipper's American Twins Unlimited has Lloydz Garage's Josh Baird leading the class from Craig Braymiller (A Plus Performance), with Trask's Gunnar Ouellette leading Clayton Braun (Rundlett Racing) in the Metzeler Pro Stock Bagger. In the ICON Lite Weight Twins, Suburban H-D's Jake Masters has the lead from Anthony Gilmore (RF Racing) and Suburban's Cody Gilmore. Finally, the DP Brakes F/S Cup sees Josh Baird (Lloydz Garage) ahead of Suburban H-D's Benny Carlson and Alloy Art's Kory Cowan. 

China is to launch a $40bn state backed investment fund to boost its computer chip industry as the country ramps up efforts to catch up with the U.S. and other rivals. It is likely to be the biggest of three funds launched by the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, also known as the 'Big Fund'. Its target of 300bn yuan ($41bn) outdoes similar funds in 2014 and 2019, which, according to government reports, raised 138.7bn yuan and 200bn yuan respectively.

Six-time WorldSBK Champion, Jonathan Rea, will leave the Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) at the end of the 2023 season. Formally contracted for both the current and 2024 seasons, Rea will be released from this agreement by mutual consent at the end of the racing season. During his time riding for the official Kawasaki factory team, 36-year-old Rea achieved an unprecedented haul of six WorldSBK titles (2015 to 2020 inclusive) as well as accruing a slew of other records including all-time WorldSBK records for Championships, Race Wins (119, 104 for Kawasaki), Podiums (256), Fastest Laps and Overall Points Scored. Rea will be racing for Yamaha from 2024.

Taiga Motors (LaSalle, QC) has added the 160 hp Orca Performance fully electric PWC. Features include what is described as a "revolutionary sheet-molded composite hull, an enhanced powertrain, and cutting-edge 6th generation Tractive Unit.

In case the implication of recent announcements passed you by, Harley-Davidson now plans annual Homecoming rallies, starting in 2024. Though generally reserved for every fifth year, in the past Harley tried to apply that branding to the interim Labor Day 'Milwaukee Rally' centered on its museum, but neither concept, combined or otherwise, has ever achieved critical mass. That hasn't deterred Harley CEO Jochen Zeitz from announcing that the Homecoming rally will now be an annual event, starting next year. "Why would we just have a rally every five years in our hometown? Let's do this every year and have a big party. That's the plan," he says. The dates for next year's Homecoming will be July 25-28, 2024, where Zeitz says they plan to honor H-D icon Willie G. Davidson.

Volcon Inc. (NASDAQ: VLCN), which describes itself as "the first all-electric, off-road powersports company," reported its operational highlights and financial results for the second quarter of 2023, stating that "as of June 30, 2023, we have 142 dealers, taken delivery of our first eight Stag validation units in 2023, units that include custom suspension parts in addition to the GM propulsion components, and expect to launch the Stag to dealers in Q4." It additionally says that it has taken pre-orders for the Stag of more than $115m; has started Grunt EVO production with first delivers anticipated by the end of August, followed by a Runt LT launch in Q4 of 2023.


Yamaha Motor has announced its eventual withdrawal from the snowmobile market, with sales in Japan to end with remaining 2022 model year inventory, in Europe in 2024, and in North America in 2025. Having sold its first snowmobiles in 1968, Yamaha was an early adopter of environmentally friendly four-stroke models. However, it has concluded that it will be difficult to continue a sustainable business in the snowmobile market. Going forward, Yamaha will concentrate management resources on current business activities and new growth markets.

Drag Specialties has added Rudy Muller to its outside sales team covering the Colorado area. "Rudy comes to us with several years of mechanic and sales rep experience at the dealer and vendor levels. He also has a Motocross and Super Hooligan racing history."

CNBC reported a LendingClub analysis that said as of June, 61% of adults are living "paycheck to paycheck to meet essential living expenses, with little to no money left over." Almost three-quarters, 72%, of Americans say they aren't financially secure given their current financial standing, and more than a quarter said they will likely never be financially secure, according to a survey by Bankrate. This struggle is nothing new. Principal Financial Group found in 2010 that 75% of workers were concerned about their financial futures. What's more, since 1979, wages for the bottom 90% of earners had grown just 15%, compared with 138% for the top 1%, according to a 2015 Economic Policy Institute report.

The Ducati Riding Experience (DRE) Racetrack Academy has come to America for the first time - at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, on September 10-11, 2023. It offers riders the chance to train with legends of American racing "to unleash their riding potential aboard their Ducati motorcycle."  Some 85 lucky 'Ducatisti' will enjoy "an unrivaled track experience." Since the DRE program started in Europe in 2003, some 28,000 riders have participated. At COTA, instructors will include American racing legends Ben Bostrom, Eric Bostrom, Jake Zemke, Jason Pridmore and Roger Lee Hayden. Toni Elías, Corey Alexander, Shelina Moreda, and current Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York riders Josh Herrin and Xavi Forés will also provide instruction for attendees.

Kawasaki is to sponsor the "Future Life Expo: Future City" project, part of the Future Society Showcase Projects Exhibition at Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan. "In the thematic area of transportation and mobility, Kawasaki will showcase sustainable mobility that will move and inspire the people, things and minds of the future, based on the concept of "Kawasaki Future World: Driving force for a prosperous society". At the Expo, Kawasaki says its aim will be to "present exhibits that prompt people to think about sustainable mobility that will move and inspire people, things and minds. The original purpose of mobility is 'movement', where the movement of people and things from one place to another evokes emotions such as joy and excitement. Our plan is to inspire such emotions through sustainable mobility and demonstrate its effectiveness in cyberspace".

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

Lyndall Brakes

Lyndall Brakes Hires Regional Sales Director for East Coast

San Marcos, Texas based Lyndall Brakes has hired Mark Chuisano as its new East Coast Regional Sales Director.

Formerly based in California, Lyndall are looking to "reinforce our dealer direct network in the east by bringing on Chuisano," said Chico Tirado, VP of Sales and Marketing at Lyndall Brakes.


"His experience and knowledge of the motorcycle industry will be a valuable asset to us as we continue to grow our sales division - in addition to his experience, Mark brings network contacts and organizational skills into a growing team at Lyndall brakes." 

A former North America Sales Director for Lexin Moto - an automotive audio and motorcycle Bluetooth communications system manufacturer - Chuisano says that "I am thrilled to be joining such a respected company with a reputation for producing high-quality motorcycle parts.

"I am looking forward to working with the Lyndall Brakes team to grow the company's sales and distribution network. It's Lyndall Brakes' commitment to providing its customers with the highest quality parts and the best possible customer service that brought me to them. I was a customer first."

Lyndall Brakes says it is "the leading manufacturer of high-end performance motorcycle brakes, rotors and wheels. We source the finest steel, aluminum and titanium for our products. Each part is meticulously checked for quality assurance, ensuring higher than standard tolerances and allowances. Used by both amateur and professional racers, our parts are sought after all around the world."

Zodiac International

Zodiac International Additions

S&S Stealth Mini Teardrop Air Cleaner Kits

Created in 1975, the S&S Teardrop air cleaner "has long been the iconic shape of V-twin performance. Adding to that legacy, the Teardrop Mini is an easy install compact version, designed around the S&S Stealth high flow air cleaner system. 

With an increased filter area, combined with a radiused inlet and unique S&S stinger, these Stealth air cleaner kits offer "smoother, faster airflow for more power." Kits include Mini Teardrop cover, a backplate, washable filter element, hardware and instructions.

PM Race Series Cam Cover for M-8

Performance Machine Race Series covers are "carefully crafted with the utmost precision to dissipate heat more effectively and provide a race-inspired look. These covers come with PM's Black Ops anodized finish for a durable, elegant, 'go-fast' Race Series signature appearance."

V-Performance 2-into-1 for M-8 Softail

Italian made, these complete 2-into-1 systems feature an aluminum 'Revolver' style end cap. The E-approval makes them street legal all over the European community. Features include header heat shields, built-in catalytic converters and removable dB killer. Removal of the dB killer voids the E-approval.

PM M-8 Rocker Box Covers

These Performance Machine rocker box covers are "carefully crafted with utmost precision to dissipate heat more effectively and provide a race-inspired look."