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Tuesday 30 April 2024

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

Less Really Is Starting To Look Like Less

This has been one of those occasions when the Harley (and Polaris) results were published just as we were going to press. So, for my 'Comment' piece this month I thought it appropriate just to take a quick canter through the primary bullet points, with the usual detailed reporting appearing in the next (June- already!) edition.

The headline reporting is of a +6% increase in unit retail growth in North America (up by 1,500 units to 27,500 compared to Q1, 2023), but declines of -11% (down 600 units to 5,300), and -12% (down 900 units to 6,000) in EMEA and Asia Pacific respectively left Harley flat in global terms at 39,400 units - dead level with 2023. Latin America was up by +2%, but at only 600 units was also essentially flat.

Chairman, President and CEO Jochen Zeitz is quoted as saying: "We are very pleased with the reception of this year’s new product line-up led by our new Touring motorcycles and look forward to continuing the positive momentum as the riding season comes into full swing.”

Harley's formal take of Q1 unit retail was "Global retail motorcycle sales in the first quarter were flat versus prior year. North America retail performance was up 6%, driven by sales of the new Touring motorcycles, which were introduced at the end of January. International markets did not receive new 2024 Street Glide and Road Glide motorcycles in dealerships until the end of the first quarter. 

"The decline in EMEA of 11% was driven by weakness in Germany and France. The decline in APAC of 12% was due to weakness in particular in China. Latin America experienced modest growth in both Mexico and Brazil."

There you are then. Three full years of Hardwire. A share price that dumped some 11% of its stock market price to as low as $32 and changed on the morning that the results were released, and just 18 months of 'wire' left, hard or otherwise!

Consolidated HDMC operating revenue was down by -3% at $1,730m for the quarter, but with operating income down by -29% at $263m for the quarter from the $370m that was reported for a 'bad' first quarter of 2023.

"break it to make it"

The so-called "planned" slowdown in Q1 shipments saw Harley come down by -7% (actually a greater shipments reduction than "planned") from 62,200 in Q1 2023 to 57,700 this year. The revenue generated by motorcycle shipments specifically was down -6% at $1,222m. Overall, revenue in HDMC was down by -5% at $1,476m for the quarter, resulting in the HDMC gross margin dipping by 4.5 pts to 31.2% from 35.8% - calling into question whether the "less is more" strategy is working in the way intended.

The hemorrhaging of operating income suggests not. The net income (aka 'profit') attributable to Harley-Davidson, Inc was a mere $234.9 (down from $301.8m in that "bad" year ago Q1). The Hardwire plan was that a reduction in supply, to increase demand, unit price-points, revenue per unit and perceived 'brand value', could be done profitably. Instead, it would appear that less really is just exactly that - less! 

Harley (namely Zeitz) had been making much of the increased revenue achieved per unit as an indicator of how well the strategic plan was working. However, let's look at it not so much in terms of revenue per bike, but in net profitability per bike - after all, manipulating unit numbers profitability was Hardwire's primary success metric when it was published at the start of 2021.

Please correct me if I am wrong (and I hope I am), but my (perhaps erroneous?) read of the Q1 results shows 39,400 units reported as sold in Q1 of 2023 and 2024 (this is going by 'retail', not by 'shipments'), but with operating income (aka profit) achieved per unit of (very crude math) approx. $790 per bike retailed in Q1 2024 versus approx. $840 per bike in Q1 2023.

Now this is approximate rounded math, and I am never going to pass convincingly as a qualified auditor at the Christmas fancy dress party in this or any other lifetime.

But is this not the very antithesis of what lies at the core of the Hardwire strategy? By this measure less really is less. As a brand 'fan boy', should I be worried? As the most modest of stakeholders, I definitely am worried.

Please somebody either tell me to throw away the calculator and stick to the day job, or else please explain how this is going to get turned around in 18 months?

And don't just fall back on the "times are hard" Dickensian universal excuse mantra. Yes sure, multiple wars, high inflation, pandemics, high interest rates - these are the stuff of economic nightmares, but when has it never been thus for one reason or another?

In 30-plus years of writing about this stuff, month-in, year out, a short ten-year period from the mid-1990s to the mid 'noughties' aside, when has the economic climate ever been anything other than 'tricky' at best? Even that 'Golden Decade' that saw the halcyon days of peak Harley didn't stop everyone in the Harley and wider V-twin market from complaining.

And why should it have - after all we all love complaining, don't we? And my, how good at it we are!

Was it a 'fever dream', a fantasy of hope triumphing over reality, but isn't the biggest complaint that we have all been hearing recently (certain V-twin markets aside, such as Germany especially), that the economy in most of 'the West', but especially in USA, is doing just too well? Isn't that what Wall Street's primary concern is at this time?

So, save me the default economic angst, and look for the answers inside the plan itself. Look for the fundamentally flawed logic of the fundamentally flawed premise that in this choice-rich demographically changed mid-21st century motorcycle market, less can and will only ever be less.

Isn't the plain truth of the matter that, for all the CEO's theoretical capitalist chops, Harley is simply failing to compete? This is taking 'fail fast and fail often' into entirely new territory - 'break it to make it' would appear to be the mantra that 'Milwaukee' is chanting. Oh, and don't get me going about Livewire!

2024 Progressive American Flat Track

Robinson Wins Texas Half-Mile

Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) took the win at the Mission Texas Half-Mile presented by Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda and Roof Systems of Dallas at the Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, on September 27 - Round 4 of the AMS Pro Racing sanctioned 2024 Progressive American Flat Track season …

Mission Super Twins

Robinson had to go through both nine-time Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Rogers Racing/SDI Racing/Indian Motorcycle FTR750 - second) and premier-class phenom Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT - third) to snatch his hard-fought victory.

Estenson ace Daniels blasted into the lead off the launch and Mees dove up the inside as the two threatened another 1-2 breakaway at the front. Robinson was having none of it though in the season's fourth Half-Mile, tracking the duo down to transform the lead pack into a three-way before they managed to shake free.

The trio traded positions in a flurry of moves before Robinson took command as the contest approached half distance. His thoughts of making an escape were upended by brake issues and Mees - the greatest Half-Miler in the history of the series and the winner of the previous three Texas Half-Miles - stormed back alongside Robinson with two to go.

Mees attempted an around-the-outside bid to steal away the win on the race’s final corner, but Robinson held firm, edging the factory Indian pilot to the checkered flag by a narrow 0.120-second margin. Daniels came home another 0.676 seconds back.

Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750) came out on top of a two-rider fight for fourth that saw two-time Mission SuperTwins champ Briar Bauman (No. 3 Rick Ware Racing/KTM/Parts Plus KTM 790 Duke) bring it home on fifth.

The platform diversity story continues to unfold, with five Indian FTR750s in the Top 10, including first and second; two Yamaha MT-07 riders (third and eighth); a H-D XG750R (Max Whale, seventh); a KTM 790 Duke (Fisher in fourth) and Johnny Lewis scored 9th for his Moto Autonomy team on the Royal Enfield 650.

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

It turned out that 13 was the lucky number for Chase Saathoff (No. 88 JPG Motorsports Honda CRF450R) in his protracted, often excruciating, pursuit of a maiden Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER win.

After having previously notched up 12 podiums - half of those runners-up - Saathoff at last secured that elusive win, even if it didn’t play out quite the way he had envisioned.

In fact, the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles Main Event felt as if it was actively attempting to derail Saathoff’s luck as opposed to indulging it.

After showcasing race-winning speed throughout the day, Saathoff’s bid was pushed until the end of the day when inclement weather forced a reshuffling of the schedule. And when it did finally take place, the Main was red-flagged no less than three times - each one with Saathoff in the lead - due to a combination of precipitation and crashes.

The race was ultimately called complete with just over one minute remaining on the clock. As a result, Saathoff was awarded the win despite being robbed of the satisfaction of crossing the finish line in first.

Title fighters Kody Kopp (No. 1 Rick Ware Racing/Parts Plus KTM 450 SX-F) and Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) were credited in second and third after charging their way forward - Kopp having run as low as eighth in the early going.

Saathoff's CRF450R won with one of the four Hondas in the Top 10; Kopp was one of the three KTM 450 SX-F riders in the Top 10; with two Yamaha YZ450Fs led by Drane in third and Jame Ott in seventh on a Husqvarna FC 450 badged KTM.

Mid-USA Motorcycle Parts

Mid-USA 2024 Catalog

Hazelwood, Missouri based Mid-USA Motorcycle Parts' 40th Anniversary 'En-CyclePedia' parts and accessory catalog features over 1,000 pages of "custom, chrome and cool."

The 40th annual edition from the distributor showcases Mid-USA's impressive stable of brands, which include the company's exclusive V-Factor, Power House, Power House Plus, Hardbody and its US-made Hardware ranges, alongside famous name brands including market leaders such as S&S Cycle, Cometic Gasket, JIMS, Motion Pro, Progressive Suspension, Andrews, BDL, Daytona Twin Tec, Pingel and Kibblewhite.

Mid-USA sells stock replacement and performance parts and accessories all the way from current M-8 and late model replacement and custom parts and components right back to Knucklehead, Panhead and Shovelhead.

The Mid-USA catalog offers dealers access to many hard-to-find OE style and upgrade components for older bikes and late-model Harleys.

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride (DGR)

Getting Dapper - The 2024 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

Registrations are now open for The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride (DGR), being staged simultaneously, worldwide, on Sunday 19th May, 2024.

The world's largest charity event for classic and vintage motorcycle enthusiasts will be supported by Triumph Motorcycles for the 11th year, helping to raise awareness and funds for men's mental health and prostate cancer research.

This year, the DGR is calling on riders from across the globe to join forces for a monumental push towards hosting 1,000 rides, in line with its "Side by Side, Worldwide" campaign. To help reach this goal, Triumph is working with its global dealer network to host, and participate in, even more rides this year.

To inspire all riders to raise as much money for Movember's men's mental health and prostate cancer initiatives as possible, Triumph will reward the top fundraiser with an iconic Thruxton Final Edition; a rare opportunity to own a piece of motorcycling history. Set to become a desirable collectors' item, it will come with a certificate of authenticity featuring the bike's unique VIN number, signed by members of the Thruxton 1200 design team and Triumph CEO Nick Bloor and a unique Final Edition engine badge.

A new clothing range featuring both the DGR and Triumph brands has been launched to support this year's ride, and 2024 sees the launch of Team Triumph, a dedicated riders' group, so all participants have the chance to join Triumph's global community while raising money to promote men's health. Triumph X DGR clothing prizes are available for the top five fundraisers in the group.

The ever-dapper Mark Hawwa, founder and Director of The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, says: "This year we have set ourselves the goal of reaching 1,000 cities around the world. We have ridden with each other on the same day all around the world since 2012. Our community is one that comes together, despite borders and oceans, riding side by side to raise increasingly critical funds and awareness for men's mental health and prostate cancer. 

"DGR 2024 is the year that we celebrate our fellow gentlefolk around the world that we ride alongside, united by a passion, and driven by the cause." Hedon Helmets, ELF Lubricants and Quad Lock will also be rejoining the classic-inspired charity event, further rewarding the efforts of this year's fundraisers.

Dorna Sports

Denver Based Formula 1 Owner Liberty Media Buys MotoGP

The MotoGP World Championship is now under American ownership, with Formula 1 owner Liberty Media acquiring Madrid based Dorna Sports, S.L., the exclusive commercial rights holder to the MotoGP and World SBK World Championship, from the joint ownership of British private investment company Bridgepoint and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board ("CPP Investments"). 

MotoGP will now become part of Liberty Media's Formula One Group, with Carmelo Ezpeleta remaining as CEO. He has led the organization since 1994 and the business will remain headquartered in Madrid. Liberty Media will acquire 86% of Dorna, with Dorna management retaining approximately 14% of its equity in the business. 

The transaction reflects an enterprise value for MotoGP of € 4.2bn and an equity value of € 3.5bn, with the existing Dorna debt balance expected to remain in place after close. The equity consideration to sellers is expected to be comprised of approximately 65% cash, 21% in shares of Series C Liberty Formula One common stock (Nasdaq: FWONK) and 14% of retained MotoGP management equity. 

Carmelo Ezpeleta is quoted as saying: "This is the perfect next step in the evolution of MotoGP, and we are excited for what this milestone brings to Dorna, the MotoGP paddock and racing fans.

"We are proud of the global sport we've grown, and this transaction is a testament to the value of the sport today and its growth potential. Liberty has an incredible track record in developing sports assets and we could not wish for a better partner to expand MotoGP's fanbase around the world."

“This is the perfect next step in the evolution of MotoGP, and we are excited for what this milestone brings to Dorna, the MotoGP paddock and racing fans,” said Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by year-end 2024 and is subject to the receipt of clearances and approvals by competition and foreign investment law authorities in various jurisdictions. In a conference call with analysts, Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei suggested that he expected no issues with clearance for the deal, but history would suggest otherwise. 

CVC Capital Partners, who sold Formula One to Liberty in 2017, had to sell Dorna in 2006 as a condition imposed by the European Commission in its then purchase of F1. For that reason alone, some observers think it likely that the deal may well face regulatory headwinds, especially in the EU.

Liberty will be filing with the EU, UK, Brazil and Australia for anti-trust clearance and making FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) filings in Spain and Italy. 

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) bought a 39% stake in Dorna from Bridgepoint in 2012. The remaining shares were owned by Dorna management, whose stake now drops to 14% following the takeover.

Dorna Sports, which was roughly 40% owned by British private investment company Bridgepoint Group, also promotes the World Superbike Championship and all-electric MotoE, as well as the Moto2 and Moto3 junior categories.

MotoGP currently has one U.S. race on a 21-round calendar that includes Asia and the Middle East, with a European heartland dominated by Spain and Italy.

The Liberty Media Group is a three-division conglomerate, a multinational telecommunications company with headquarters in London, Amsterdam and Denver, and had an annual revenue of $8.95bn in 2023 (down from $11.5bn in 2019) and over 20,000 employees worldwide. 


Biltwell Mini Tank Bag

Biltwell's new EXFIL-2 mini tank bag "might just be the most convenient piece of kit we’ve made yet." 

"The compact size makes it easy to live with and it holds a surprising amount of stuff. A charging cord easily slips through the hidden seam in the front of the bag and the crystal-clear lid is touch-screen sensitive.


"It attaches to any steel gas tank with three, ridiculously strong, built-in magnets. The exterior is made in UV-treated 1680D denier ballistic nylon. The main compartment holds two 12-ounce cans."

The lid features a fleece-lined phone slot; the hi-vis orange nylon interior makes spotting contents easier and there is a carrying handle. Dimensions: 8" long x 5.5” wide (front), 4.5" wide (rear) x 4" tall (front) x 2" tall (rear).


Also seen here, Biltwell's EXFIL-3 is a completely redesigned version of its popular handlebar bag. "Just the right size with multiple entry points for charging cords, fleece-lined interior pockets, built-in key carabiner, easy-access exterior pockets and lots of MOLLE. This is a practical space filler that's just the right size to fit on motorcycles with tall risers or T-bars - though can be attached practically anywhere with the included hooks and straps."



Drag Specialties

Drag Specialties Additions

Front Axle Kit

Machined from chrome-moly steel, this Drag Specialties front axle kit includes axle and spacer and features a bright chrome finish. For '18-'23 FLFB/FLFBS models. 

3/4 Solo Seats for Indian

Adding CafĂ© Racer-inspired solo seat styling to '18-'23 Scout Bobbers, this Drag Specialties Seats design has a 6" rise at the back for added support, features solar reflective leather in the seating area and automotive-grade vinyl on the sides - this has been shown to reduce the surface temperature by 25 degrees F. 

The ABS thermoformed seat base provides a perfect fit and the carpeted bottom has rubber bumpers to keep the paint scratch-free. It installs using the OEM hardware. The seat measures 22" long overall and is 11" long x 11 1/4" wide at the front and 9" long x 5" wide at the rear. It is available in smooth or diamond stitch.

'Sweeper' Footpegs and Shifter Pegs

These Drag Specialties 'Sweeper' male mount style footpegs have a flat top design with a die-cast body and adjustable mounts that fit with straight and angle peg mounts. The shifter pegs also have a flat top design and can be rotated to desired angle. Available in both a chrome and black finish. 

Front Brake Caliper Kits

Drag Specialties front brake caliper kits are OEM-style calipers "that provide the same reliable braking time after time." Each kit comes with all the necessary mounting hardware and brake pads. Available in a chrome or matte black finish for '15-'23 Softail models (repl. OEM #41300095). 


Freedom Performance Exhaust

Freedom 'Combat' Shorty High 2-into-1 for Sportster S

Corona, California based Freedom Performance Exhaust continues its 2024 new product design blitz with this suitably aggressively styled 2-into-1 'Combat' shorty high for the Sportster S - the style of performance exhaust that the factory should have launched the 'New Gen' Sporty with in the first place.

By going short and high, this is the exhaust look that makes the Sportster S look fast even while standing still. OEMs will always say they have their reasons for making their styling decisions - from regulatory to cost - but the Sportster S was never a platform to be timid with. 

"This top-of-the-line premier performance, five-step 4.5" megaphone exhaust has been designed with a triple step headpipe to prevent reversion and maximize torque and horsepower," says Freedom Performance Exhaust founder and CEO Martin Arteaga.

"It also features a two-step baffle for added power and is built complete with 2 1/2" heat shields and an Apex cone shield." It has 02 ports and plugs included and ships with all the necessary hardware and brackets.

"Our engineers really drilled deep with this exhaust, producing the kind of deep, powerful thunderous roar and go-fast styling that the Sportster S has been begging for all along. Harley classifies this as a sport motorcycle category offering, but were conservative with it. They stopped short of really letting it sound, perform and look like the platform it always needed to be. We here at FPE are happy to have helped them out!"


Founder and CEO Martin Arteaga

American Prime Manufacturing (APM)

APM Adds Comp Master Cable-Actuated M-8 Clutch Option

Santa Fe Springs based American Prime Manufacturing (APM) is well known for its transmission components - not least its Comp Master clutches. 

Company President Ben Kudon says: "We specialize in Comp Master brand clutches for American V- twins, but we also manufacture a wide range of other parts - all of which are designed to outperform their OE counterparts, and all manufactured and assembled right here in the U.S.A. 

"They are designed and manufactured with quality and reliability uppermost, so dealers can rest assured that their customers are well looked after. All our Comp Master clutches are easy to adjust and provide reliable, trouble-free operation as we assemble them with care from quality components. All the parts we make are from high-quality billet and then machined to exacting tolerances." 

The latest news from APM is of an extension to its Milwaukee-Eight model severe duty clutches. In addition to its established design for 2017 to 2021 models fitted with Harley (or aftermarket) hydraulically actuated clutches, APM is now offering a 2021 and up version for cable-actuated clutch applications.

"It is another bolt-in design, built to handle large amounts of torque and horsepower. Apart from some possible minor clearancing on some installs, this will be a true OE replacement, but with the muscle needed," says Ben. "All the power in the world is no good if you can't get it to the ground, and Comp Masters do that, and do it reliably." 


Kodlin USA

Kodlin USA - Risers 

Kodlin USA continues to add new product designs - these designed riser options are precision CNC-machined from high-strength, lightweight billet aluminum and fit all Harley models with 3-1/2" on-center handlebars.

Available in chrome and black finishes, these Kodlin 'Big Block' risers are designed for handlebars with 1 1/4" diameter clamping area.

Additionally available for 2024 Road Glide models, Kodlin 'Fastback' universal risers are available in 6", 8" and 10" height for bars with a 1" clamp size, while 'Fastback' risers with gauge bucket are available for 2022-2023 Lowrider S models and Harley models with 3-1/2" on-center handlebars using the Lowrider S round gauge or Koso HD-04 speedo (Drag #2211-0172); both in black only.

Finally, as a 'tidy-up' for the handlebar area, Kodlin perch clamps (in black or chrome finish) ship with stainless Allen head bolts included for 2018-2024 M-8 Softail models. All Kodlin products ship with all necessary hardware, even including zip-ties where needed.


Tuesday 23 April 2024

King Of The Baggers

Herfoss Scores Double for Indian at Road Atlanta

Indian Motorcycle rider, three-time Australian Superbike Champion and King Of The Baggers rookie Troy Herfoss secured 'back-to-back' wins in Atlanta in April to take the championship lead after six rounds of the 2024 KOTB season so far. 

The Indian Challenger swept the Race 2 podium, as Indian Motorcycle factory rider Tyler O’Hara took second, with 'Mad Monkey' privateer Max Flinders in third.

Herfoss continued to build season momentum after the Indian Motorcycle factory rider had already made his potential apparent. As his familiarity with the S&S Indian Challenger develops, then so too does his burgeoning reputation.

Starting the weekend off strong, Herfoss captured the Mission Foods Challenge and its $5,000 prize for the second consecutive week. Starting on the pole for Race 1, Herfoss battled with Harley-Davidson’s Kyle Wyman as the two exchanged passes throughout a tight race. Despite never racing at Road Atlanta, Herfoss proved victorious and secured his second career KOTB win. 

“It has been absolutely incredible to witness Troy’s success, as each and every track is brand new to him,” said Gary Gray, Vice President Racing and Service for Indian Motorcycle. “Troy’s early success is a testament to our team at S&S, as they have done an incredible job of dialing in the Indian Challenger and allowing Troy to go out, focus on the track, and showcase his skills.” 

With a wet track, Race 2 relied on a calculated risk. Rather than run rain tires like most of the field, the S&S-Indian Motorcycle factory team made a 'ballsy' decision to run Dunlop Sportmax slicks instead. While this proved to be the winning choice, as Herfoss and O’Hara finished 1-2, Herfoss’ enormous 13-second win likely means he would have been in contention regardless.

Completing the Indian Challenger podium sweep was 'Mad Monkey' privateer Max Flinders. Despite sustaining an injury in the Superbike race, Flinders was able to hold off reigning KOTB Champion Hayden Gillim and earn his first podium of the 2024 KOTB season. 

Securing three wins and three second-place finishes through six races, Herfoss has taken command of the KOTB Championship leaderboard, leading Wyman by nine points. He already owns track records for bagger racing at Daytona International Speedway and, now, Road Atlanta. 

Next Up: May 31-June 02, Road America, Wisconsin; June 14-16, Brainerd International Raceway, Minnesota; July 12-24, Laguna Seca, California; August 16-18, Mid-Ohio; September 13-15, COTA, Austin, Tx; September 27-29, New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Sturgis Motorcycle Museum

Sturgis Motorcycle Museum - 2024 Hall of Fame Inductees

The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame has announced its 'Class of 2024' - a distinguished lineup of individuals with a diverse range of accomplishments. 

Honorees this year have supported veterans and the elderly, advocated for motorcyclists' rights, and have shown artistic talent on canvas as well as on two wheels.

"The Hall of Fame Class of 2024 is notable for its deep roots in the culture of motorcycling," said Museum Board President Craig Bailey. "Each one of the honorees has uniquely touched our sport and the riding community. We couldn't be happier to recognize these truly special individuals."

The induction breakfast ceremony will be held on Wednesday, August 7, 2024, at The Lodge at Deadwood.

James Gregory

An honored Vietnam Veteran who served in the Marines for over 20 years before creating and leading the first 'Run For The Wall' in 1989. This annual cross-country run and its arrival in Washington DC on Memorial Day Weekend is America's most visible support for POWs and those Missing in Action.

Roger Goldammer

Roger gained fame as the three-time winner of both the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building and the Las Vegas Artistry in Iron Show. A post-high school apprenticeship, time studying at the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and tutoring by a Harley performance guru helped him hone his craft. A fellow bike builder introduced him to land speed racing, which influenced his bike building style and has driven his passion for performance at the salt flats.

Ed Kerr

Ed discovered early in life that he had a passion for motorcycling and a talent for building award-winning custom motorcycles. Many of his two-wheeled creations won shows and were featured on the covers of popular motorcycle magazines. Ed is a founding member of Hamsters USA and is proud of the organization's numerous charity events, including his efforts to raise nearly $100,000 for Meals on Wheels.

Christine LePera and Bob LePera Jr. 

This sibling duo carries on the legacy of success at motorcycle accessory manufacturer LePera Industries, which was started by their father in 1972. Bob Jr., the design visionary, and Christine, the marketing and business development guru, keep their company at the top of the industry and both are proud of their company's support for all types of riders. 

David Uhl

David started his career as a commercial illustrator, producing hundreds of best-selling apparel designs for a Harley-Davidson licensee. In 1998, he began creating fine art based on historic motorcycle imagery and became the first licensed oil painter for Harley-Davidson. His portfolio includes several iconic paintings, including a commissioned work presented to Pope Francis at Harley-Davidson's 110th Anniversary celebration in Rome.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Will be presented to Pete Hill. Hill, who owns a shop in South Carolina, has mastered the creation of race-winning performance motorcycle engines and serves customers from around the globe. He is also an accomplished motorcycle drag racer earning numerous wins and championships, including nine Top Fuel wins in Sturgis.

Freedom Fighter Award

Jiggs Cressy for his tireless leadership of ABATE of South Dakota, where he served as State Coordinator for 14 years. Cressy has advocated for South Dakota's riders in the State Capital countless times and has made eight trips to do the same in Washington as well. Cressy has also received the John "Farmer" Eggers Award, the most prized honor from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, in 2018.

Kickstands Down Award

James Sherwin "Bud" Ekins. A posthumous award presented to an individual worthy of additional recognition, Bud was widely regarded as one of the film industry's most accomplished stuntmen - famous for his work in films like "The Great Escape" and "Bullitt." Before venturing into the film industry, Ekins had success in off-road racing, participating in notable events including the International Six Day Trial, the Mint 400 and the Baja 500. 

Rheinhessen Rumble

Rumbling In May 

Rheinhessen Rumble, Germany

May 9-12, 2024

­­­Powered by Custom Chrome Europe (CCE) and featuring a spring Ride-In Bike Show, the 'Nahetal Arena' at the Classic X Landhaus and Hotel complex near Gensingen/Rhineland-Palatinate marks a return for CCE's bike shows with its € 4,000 prize pot.

Customizers of all brands are invited. Located just four miles from CCE's European HQ and main warehouse at Grolsheim, this year will see a return of the popular Harley Vs Indian Custom Showdown that made its worldwide debut at Gensingen in 2023 - with customized bikes of both brands competing against each other. There will also be classes for all other brands.

There will be four categories. Derived from the long-established and proven formula that CCE has used for so many years at the Faak Ride-In Bike Show in Austria during Harley's European Bike Week in September, the classes are:

Championship Class

Jammer Old School 

Modified Harley/Indian 

Sportster/Sportster S/Scout/

FTR engine 

The experienced Custom Chrome International Bike Show Series team will continue its bike show organizational duties for this year's show and combine the characteristics of "Ride-In" and "Indoor" bike shows as they have done at many other Custom Chrome Europe events.

The new Custom Chrome Europe "Bolt On And Ride" bikes from Thunderbike, Rick's Motorcycles and Bike Farm will be on display all weekend (though not in competition) and the "Motographer photo studio" will photograph the participants and their bikes.


Bitubo - JBH High Performance Fork Cartridge for V-twins                                            

Inspired by European road racing efforts, the Bitubo JBH is a completely adjustable, high- performance damper cartridge with fitment for most Harley models. 

Factory forks are generally open bath dampers, meaning the oil is sloshing around in the fork tubes and the damping is created when the oil is pushed through a hole in a damper rod. This crude style of suspension control dates back to the 50s and is not adjustable for rider weight or style - and is prone to wildly inconsistent damping control.

This is where Bitubo fork cartridges come into play - replacing all of the internal parts of a fork with a performance damper that uses deflective discs to provide control. Defective discs resist the flow of oil, providing smooth, controllable damping. 

A well damped fork is also shaft-speed sensitive, which allows the damping to increase as the suspension input increases. For instance, small rollers would not want heavy damping, but a square edged bump at speed would drive the shaft speed and require increased damping control to help smooth out the hit. 

The JBH cartridge kit takes that a step further with tunable damping, including 20 clicks of compression and rebound. Ride quality can be further optimized with 10 mm of preload adjustment. 

The Bitubo JBH fork cartridge is available for 2004-22 Sportsters, 2006-17 Dynas, 2018-23 Softails and 2014-23 Touring models. Cartridge kits are also available lowered, stock height and 2" over for many models.


American Prime Manufacturing

APM - 'Back to The Future'

Described by American Prime Manufacturing's President Ben Kudon as being "so close to the original it's scary," these high-quality black reproduction springer front ends feature chrome springs and fit OE 1936 - early 1946 EL and FL Harley-Davidsons and custom applications. 

They do not include the top tree, bearing cups or bearings, but as precision dimensioned reproductions, they do work with the original drum break and star hub and are now back in stock at APM's Santa Fe Springs, California factory.

Also seen here, and also back in stock with APM, this Mikuni HSR45 total carburetor kit fits Harley Big Twin Evo models from 1984-1999. Kudon points out that, of course, any parts or components that defeat the emissions control systems or cause emissions to exceed the standards on California pollution-controlled motor vehicles cannot be sold to customers in California or other states where similar laws may apply.

However, that does not change that fact that the HSR45 was a legendary bolt-on performance upgrade 'back in its day'. A slide-type, smoothbore carburetor equipped with a roller bearing two-piece slide for smooth and easy throttle pull, it was a 45 mm venturi redesign of the equally legendary HSR42 performance carb.

With the same reliable features as the '42,' the greater airflow allowed customizers to keep step with the increasing capacity of the highly modified engines that the EVO era spawned. 


Design Engineering Inc.

Boom Mat Speaker Baffles

Cleveland, Ohio based heat and sound management specialist Design Engineering's Boom Mat speaker baffles are made from a high-tech, closed cell polyethylene, which encases the speaker to seal out dirt and moisture while providing a protective shell.  

Boom Mat speaker baffles do more than just protect though - crucially they also maximize the speaker performance for a double benefit.

They do this by isolating the correct frequency response while damping reverberation distortion in a vehicles' body work and panels - a genuine win-win. 

"Suitable for Harleys and other touring models and street bikes with audio installations - plus SxS models - making them a great value added for most all powersports enthusiasts in your area."



GIVI Pan America Luggage and Accessories

Founded in 1978, Italian luggage and accessory specialist GIVI has been a trendsetter in the ADV market for decades, practically inventing the ADV luggage space as we know it today.

Respected worldwide for the ' Monokey' top case security and mounting hardware technology, like many 'mainstream' parts and accessory manufacturers, the launch of Harley's Pan America is bringing it to the attention of an entirely new market segment.

Further to the selection of Pan America luggage and protection upgrades seen in a recent AMD from Italian specialist GIVI, more proven, durable, robust and ergonomic model-specific designs here from the ADV accessory trend leader.

This selection includes its ES8400 side stand support - manufactured in aluminum and stainless steel, designed to widen the rather challenged surface support area of the original side stand and 8400DT model-specific transparent screen.

Measuring 46 x 49.5 cm (H x W), it is to be combined with the separately available model- specific fitting kit (D8400KIT) for a 4.5 cm taller than stock option. Also seen here, its smoked screen (8400D) measures 34 x 48 cm (H x W) - to be combined with the same fitting and its specialty toolbox fitting kit (TL8400KIT).

Designed to install its separately available S250 toolbox onto the left-hand side are GIVI PLO8400MK or PLO8400CAM side case mounting frames. 


Kibblewhite Precision Machining (KPMI)

Saddlebag Stabilizer

New from Pacifica, California based valvetrain specialist Kibblewhite Precision Machining (KPMI) is a slightly "off-piste" diversification - a precision saddlebag stabilizer solution for Low Rider ST applications. 

"Due to a lack of mounting support, the OE saddlebags are susceptible to shaking and vibration, particularly at high speeds. The KPMI saddlebag stabilizer creates a direct link between both bags and significantly strengthens the system." 

Reducing the unwanted movement of the bags, this stabilizer bar is CNC-machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and hard anodized black for superior durability. The included thumb screws allow for easy assembly and disassembly of the kit.


Baker Drivetrain

Wake Up Your Engine - 30-Tooth Compensator Sprocket Kit

According to Bert Baker, the new Baker 30-tooth compensator sprocket kit "is the only torque-increasing comp sprocket on the market. Have you ever been riding down the road and know that your engine is being limited by other components?

"This is the end-all comp sprocket that yields a +13% increase in the primary drive ratio. This means that in a stage 1 engine, this compensator sprocket kit will advance you to the performance of a stage 2 engine or more - increasing engine performance without the cost of an engine upgrade."

Available for 2007-later Softail and Touring applications and 2006-2017 Dyna applications (it does not currently fit Softails with wide rear tires - such as a 240 rear tire Fat Boy and Breakout), but for 2007 to 2010 Big Twins, your customer will need a H-D rotor to install the Baker compensating sprocket. 

For a 2006 Dyna, a H-D rotor and stator is needed; for 2011 Big Twin models, if the stock spring cup is welded onto the stock rotor, a new H-D rotor will be required. H-D rotors and stators are available for purchase from Baker Drivetrain or your local H-D dealer. 

"The kit includes the 30-tooth compensator sprocket and a new primary chain. It delivers dual stage centrifugal oil distribution and is manufactured from heat-treated 8620 steel - the castings are poured in Wisconsin and machined in Michigan."