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Inside the Industry
BMW Buys Husky
The international news wires began humming as soon as BMW’s plans to buy the Husqvarna Motorcycles brand from Claudio Castiglioni’s MV Agusta SpA operation were leaked. This proposed move will give BMW a lightweight group of dirtbikes to add to its lineup, along with some serious Supermoto machines. The purchase price of the deal has not been released, however to put it into perspective, Husky makes about 12,000 motorcycles annually and employs 240 people, while BMW builds more than 100,000 bikes a year and has a workforce of 2,816 people. BMW says it plans to maintain Husqvarna as an independent company. “With the numerous sporty Husqvarna models, we can stretch our offers to younger consumers more quickly than with our core brand alone,” admits BMW motorcycle head Herbert Diess. Dealers here is the U.S. should not worry about dramatic changes in the near term. “The transaction is a win-win situation for all parties,” says Larry Ferracci, director of operations for Cagiva USA, Inc., the exclusive North American distributor for both Husqvarna and MV Agusta. Ferracci adds Cagiva USA will continue all sales, marketing, administration and logistical support for Husky and MV for the foreseeable future. The agreement was signed in Italy on July 19, but was still pending final approval by EU authorities at press time. Ferracci says it should be a slam dunk, though. “The sale of Husqvarna Motorcycles by MV Agusta and its acquisition by BMW will significantly benefit both parties,” he concludes.
Ready To Rock
Best known for hosting bikers during the Sturgis Rally, the folks at the Top 50 Rally Park, UTVRally.com and Legends Air Suspension are now ready to rock the utility ATV market. The first (hopefully to become annual) Black Hills UTV Rally is set for September 1-3 and is designed to be a bit more family-oriented than the biker bashes they are accustomed to hosting. Conveniently located between Sturgis and Rapid City, the 12-acre Top 50 facility will serve as the base of operations for trail rides, a hospitality tent and a full manufacturer’s midway for aftermarket vendors and enterprising dealers to share their wares. Arctic Cat has also confirmed that they will be offering demo rides on the Prowler (and rumor has it their new 1000cc Thundercat will be unleashed as well). Dinners, nightly raffles and UTV skills competitions hosted at the encampment will close each evening. Click on www.blackhillsutvrally.com for more information or e-mail Chris Rademacher ([email protected]) or Tyna Bower ([email protected]) for vendor and sponsorship opportunities.
In other shocking UTV news, the folks at Club Car are pretty charged up about the introduction of an off-road capable electric UTV. Having seen some industry golf tournaments and what electric golf carts get subjected to by motorcycle people, Club Car just might be onto something here. “A rugged, quiet, capable vehicle is what hunters have been asking for,” explains Kurt Meyer, aftermarket analyst for Club Car, Inc. “For years, they’ve literally been jacking up golf cars with big tires to go off-road. While this ‘creative’ solution gave them a quiet vehicle that stored all of their equipment, it fell short on the ability to climb hills and rough terrain.” Club Car claims their new “IntelliLock” and “IQ Torque” systems for their XRT800 and 810 side-by-side vehicles bridges the gap between jacked up golf carts and the new generation of gas-powered UTVs. The IntelliLock is basically an automatic locking differential that allows the vehicle to operate like a normal open differential vehicle for ease of turning, and low risk of turf damage (remembering Club Car’s roots), but as soon as there’s tire slippage, the system automatically locks to increase traction. Locking can kick in as quickly as 1/10th of a second, according to Meyer. The IQ Torque system was created to boost hill climbing, and this system generates a full 15 horsepower and 48 ft./lbs. of torque if you believe Club Car’s claims — this is more than many gasoline engine equipped UTVs. If this cleaner, greener approach to the UTV market might appeal to your customer base, click on www.clubcar.com for full specs.
ATVs For iPods?
Doug Meyer has been at the ATV media game for quite some time, but that doesn’t mean he is slowing down any! Just as his ATV TV program was the first dedicated ATV show on television, he has continued to push the technological boundaries to spread the good word to your customers. Meyer says he was also the first ATV show with website viewing and now, as part of the latest craze, he has introduced Video Podcasts that are automatically downloaded to your television! “You print magazine guys need to get out more,” he jokes. See what we’re missing at www.atvtv.com(and check out this month’s Pit Pass).
Join The Club
Our friends at KYMCO USA became the 11th ATV manufacturer to join the industry insiders at the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America. SVIA is a non-profit trade association intended to make ATV riding safer and more enjoyable. “We are proud to be a part of the SVIA team,” said Bruce Ramsey, VP of sales and marketing for KYMCO USA. “We look forward to a long relationship helping to promote ATV rider safety and training for the industry and our consumer base.” They join Arctic Cat, BRP, Bush Hog, Honda, John Deere, Kawasaki, Polaris, Suzuki, Tomberlin and Yamaha on the SVIA membership rolls. “KYMCO is a global leader in power driven products. Its membership will reinforce SVIA’s ongoing efforts in rider training and education,” says SVIA president Tim Buche. In a related note, Bombardier Recreational Products has joined the two-wheeled equivalent of SVIA, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Ironically, BRP’s entree comes on three wheels as the new Can-Am Spyder becomes the 12th MSF funding member along with BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha. “BRP took to the road with a unique new product when it launched the Can-Am Spyder roadster in February,” says Pierre Pichette, VP, communications and public affairs for BRP. “As a newcomer to the road with a three-wheel vehicle, we are looking to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s expertise to develop a high quality, comprehensive education and training course for riders who choose a three-wheel vehicle alternative.” Buche adds, “BRP has a history of being actively involved with recognized organizations that promote the safe usage of its vehicles in many powersports product categories. We look forward to working with them.”
EnduroCross Is A Series
New Events Added For National Title
EnduroCross founders Eric Peronnard and Tim Clark have included everything but the kitchen sink to make sure that their three race series is a success. Beyond adding new venues, creating a national title and awarding AMA-sanctioned #1 plates, the biggest news may be including ATVs! The first ever indoor ATV EnduroCross will be held as part of the first round on the new nationals inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma on October 7. Modeled upon the highly successful indoor motorcycle enduro concept, the AMA/Maxxis ATV EnduroCross will showcase sport quads, utility classes and a side-by-side demonstration class. Both amateur and expert classes will be available for both ATV classes, with a $10,000 purse split between the experts. “This will be a whole new twist in racing ATVs,” claims director of sales and marketing Lance Bryson. “We will bring indoors the best Mother Nature has to offer along with the top ATV riders in the country. The spectators will have a trackside view of the gnarliest ATV race action available.” Race entries, rules, all race information and tickets for this event are now available online at www.atvendurocross.com. “The Lazy E Arena is the perfect venue to introduce this form of ATV racing,” Bryson adds. “It has a very large floor allowing for wider track width and better racing. We plan to use similar obstacles that we use for the motorcycles but laid out differently so the ATVs will be able to navigate the track. There will be logs, rocks, boulders and a water section . . . the track will provide plenty of thrills for both the racer and spectator.”
Yamaha USGP Winner!
No, Yamaha-mounted Valentino Rossi didn’t win the MotoGP round at Laguna Seca — that honor went to some stoner on a red bike — but technically speaking Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S. still has a USGP winner. You see, the tuning fork folks recently conducted the United States Technician Grand Prix at their Cypress headquarters. Taking place over a three day span, the United States Technician Grand Prix took the top 13 wrench spinners from their in-house Yamaha Technical Academy Gold Classes and pitted them against one another in a variety of mechanically challenging events. Rather than Rossi, Yamaha’s first-ever United States Technician Grand Prix winner was Cody Frost of K&N Motorcycle, Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Second on the box went to Chris Sirucek from Ray’s Sport & Cycle in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Rounding out the podium was David Cote from Berkeley Yamaha, in Berkeley, California. Now the top two, Frost and Sirucek, will race their way to Japan in an all expense paid trip to see the Yamaha Factory. There they will represent the U.S. and compete in the five-day World Technician Grand Prix Contest against the top techs from around the world. The winner gets the bragging rights to boast that they are the best Yamaha Technician in the world.
Motorcycle Industry jobs.com has teamed up with the pros at Dealership University. DU’s Rod Stuckey and Tory Hornsby are now co-moderators for a new discussion forum on the www.MotorcycleIndustryJobs.com site. The Forum is open to dealership personnel looking to share experiences, give advice or ask questions pertaining to careers, salary, education and training. “This alliance will increase awareness of the vast array of easily accessible services that have become available to both employers and job seekers in the industry,” says MIJ’s Alex Baylon. “The MIJ forum is built specifically for industry personnel that are interested in education, training and career advice, which is right up our alley,” adds DU’s Tory Hornsby. No word on if Dr. Nikki Sloan will be doing any moonlighting on the forum boards.
Just in time for our annual look at DMS tools, comes word that tool giant Snap-on and ADP Lightspeed have partnered to announce that PartsManager Pro is now available to Lightspeed customers. Dealers who subscribe to Snap-on’s PartsManager Pro Accessories Catalog will now have a seamless interface with their Lightspeed DMS. The new interface allows dealers to view quantities and pricing information for the tools directly from their Lightspeed system. Both parties believe the combination of ADP Lightspeed and Snap-on Business Solutions’ PartsManager Pro will increase dealer efficiency and productivity. “The integration with the PartsManager Pro Parts and Accessories Catalog is just one more way we can help dealers increase their efficiency,” says Laurn Rice, VP and general manager at ADP Lightspeed. “We hope to offer dealers the best possible solutions to meet their needs.”
Taking advantage of the experience gained by the official Sherco Enduro team in world competition, French/Spanish OEM Sherco is offering customers a racing version of the Sherco 4.5i and 5.1i Enduro models. These machines come from the factory prepared to confront the most exacting competitive situations a rider will face. The most significant changes are in respect to the suspension. The new models designated as “Factory Replicas” will utilize the same √hlins rear shock as used by the Sherco factory team. The front end receives a new set of billet triple clamps. The electrical system has been redesigned and simplified for the racing application. They are also equipped with a new muffler that enhances the performance of the engine. The new Shercos receive racing graphics that distinguish them from the standard models and incorporate more black in the bodywork which matches the frame. More at www.sherco.com.
Rocket III Bagger?
Speaking of bags, rumor central — a.k.a. Motor Cycle News in the U.K. — has blown the lid off Triumph’s “big” secret. MCN has already carried spy pics of the new Rocket III Touring model, which is currently being developed by the U.K. factory. The 2300cc “Bagger” variant, which is expected to be launched at the fall shows across Europe and North America, may well carry a Thunderbird badge, rather than the current Rocket III moniker and feature some detuning for the U.S. market. Stay tuned!
- Attention race fans: Paolo Ciabatti is the new SBK Project Leader. Ciabatti is now responsible for the management of the Superbike World Championship racing efforts and reports directly to FGSport CEO, Paolo Flammini. “We are all very enthusiastic about the arrival in our company of such a highly respected and experienced person in the field of motorsport, and also a person with whom everyone in FGSport has always had good relations,” says Flammini. “I am grateful to Maurizio and Paolo Flammini for the confidence that they have shown in making this agreement with me, and I am very enthusiastic about this new adventure with FGSport,” adds Ciabatti. “I have arrived in FGSport at a magical time!”
- Long-time Triumph guy, most recently with Micron exhausts, Ross Clifford is now the GM of Polaris Britain, Ltd. U.S. dealers may remember Ross best from his stint as CEO of Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. during his 10-year stint with the British-based OEM.
- In a related move, former Polaris U.K. boss Sean Bagan has been promoted to international projects manager for Polaris to free up VP/GM Mark Blackwell a bit, which opened the spot for Clifford as well.
- The Austrian trade association KfZ has announced that motorcycle thefts decreased in 2006. In total, some 1,003 motorcycles were stolen in Austria, down 16.9% from the previous year. The number of mopeds stolen also dropped by 3.6%, for a total of 1,318 units. The most popular brands stolen in Austria were KTM and Puch — local thieves are at least patriotic! Nearly half of the thefts took place in Austria’s capital city, Vienna. The thefts reach their peak in the summer months, July and August are when the bulk of these bikes are bagged.
- Meanwhile BMW made 23,029 motorcycles in January to March 2007, up a whopping 20% on last year’s production figures. Revenue from BMW bike sales rose by 17%, too. That is a drop in the bucket compared to some of the bigger bike companies, however. For example Honda and its various associated subsidiary companies sold some 10.3 million two-wheelers in the financial year ending March 31, according to the company report. Total sales went up 1%, but fell slightly in the USA.
- Latest figures from the MCI (Motor Cycle Industry Association) show that new motorcycle registrations jumped by 10% in the U.K. during May 2007 with adventure/sportbikes and scooters proving especially popular. Some 16,017 new machines above 50cc were registered during May alone, up from 14,476 in May 2006. Adventure-type machines saw a 32% increase in sales, whilst scooters rose by 18%. Meanwhile trail/enduro style bike sales dropped by 19% year-on-year.
Victory Motorcycles auctioned off the brand new Vision that Kyle Petty rode during his annual Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America to help raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The noted NASCAR racer logged more than 2,800 miles on the bike down the East Coast from Maine to Florida from July 14-20. At the end of the ride, Petty signed the bike, and it was awarded to the eBay auction’s highest bidder, Bair’s Inc., a Polaris/Victory dealer from North Canton, Ohio, who took the bike home for $25,100. All net proceeds from the auction were donated by Victory Motorcycles to the camp where it will go to help children with chronic and serious illnesses. “The Victory Vision auction is another way that we can show our support for Kyle and the kids at Victory Junction Gang Camp,” says Polaris Industries CEO Tom Tiller. “We are proud of both our long-standing partnership with the Charity Ride, and the opportunity to help raise money and drive forward the inspirational mission of the Petty’s and their camp.”
We Brake For Harleys
Brembo Becomes H-D O.E. Supplier
Italian brake manufacturer Brembo has teamed up with The Motor Company to supply braking systems for H-D’s touring platform. Brembo has been supplying binders for the VRSC platform during the past three years and has now added the Touring platform, which accounts for some 35% of the entire H-D output. With this new agreement, Brembo becomes the OEM brake system supplier for more than 40% of Harley’s worldwide production, around 350,000 per year according to 2006 Harley-Davidson brand data.
“This achievement is a credit to the entire Brembo team, given their efforts over the past two years to meet the customer’s requirements,” says Paolo Magri, director of Brembo’s Moto Business Unit. “And it is even more of a success, when considering how significantly the volume of motorcycle braking systems made by Brembo will be increased by the new deal.”
S&S Goes Retro
S&S Cycle Celebrates 50 By Acquiring Flathead Power
Next year the team at S&S Cycle will wax nostalgic as they celebrate 50 years in business. The 50-year celebration will feature 50 builders using 50 special S&S engines to build 50 custom bikes and compete for a $50,000 grand prize. The project bikes will incorporate six S&S engine families, the SH-Series, the V-Series, the SB-Series, T-Series, the all-new X-Wedge and a special new powerplant to be announced on October 1 live at www.sscycle.com. These 50 engines will wear serial numbers starting at 1958 and running up to 2008 — the 51st will go into an S&S special project bike commemorating their place in this unique event. All 50 bikes are tentatively scheduled to be showcased during a three-day mini-festival to take place in La Crosse, Wisconsin, with soft dates set for June 28-30. “It is a very humbling thought that we are preparing to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2008,” says current S&S president, Brett Smith. “My grandparents founded an industry leader, the second generation grew the business to new heights, and my generation has been charged with the responsibility of guiding and stewarding this business into a new era of competition in the V-Twin industry.”
S&S Cycle’s drive to stay on top for years to come led to the recent acquisition of Flathead Power, a company that specializes classic/vintage V-Twins engines and components dating back to 1936. The buy-out developed out of a long-standing customer-vendor relationship between the two operations. The companies sealed the deal on July 25 and S&S will maintain the Flathead Power brand, but will offer the product directly through its dealers. “This is an exciting time for S&S with the purchase of Flathead Power,” says S&S director of business development, Michael Scaletta. “The acquisition of this Flathead Power’s assets and trade-name will allow S&S to sell complete engine assemblies and aftermarket components from 1936 year groups through 2007. Few — if any — companies worldwide have, or will have, the breadth of coverage for V-Twin performance aftermarket parts that we will following this deal.”
D&D Reaches For Record
The gauntlet has been tossed as D&D Performance hopes to win the 2000-M-PF class at the 2007 Speed Trials By BUB located at the Bonneville Salt Flats on September 1-6. The D&D/Custom Chrome project is based on a CCI V-Bike kit with a RevTech motor slightly modified by the D&D team and now displacing 1905cc (to stay within the class). D&D says they aim to beat the current record of 154 mph set in ’06 by friendly rivals, Drag Specialties with their FatBook Flyer. D&D will be rolling out their Salt Flat Special with a major performance enhancement, a new Custom Land Speed Exhaust designed by the Dave Rash a.k.a. the “Pope Of Pipe”. “We have fine tuned the power and fuel delivery system with our state-of-the-art in-house Super Flow Eddy Current Ram Air dynamometer and built a pipe to extract every ounce of horsepower from this machine,” says Rash. “We have the motorbike and team to take home the title.” The bike is built with proven components including a RevTech 6-speed overdrive transmission, Paioli adjustable inverted forks, four gallon Regency one-piece stretched gas tank, carbon fiber fenders, monster carburetor, Brembo brake calipers, Brembo 13-inch floating brake rotors and 17-inch Marchesini forged alloy wheels. Stay tuned to see if D&D takes the cake . . . or is left eating dust!
Harley Hits 105
Harley-Davidson will celebrate its 105th Anniversary next summer by inviting thousands of loyal enthusiasts to ride home to Milwaukee via 105 different official starting points and along 25 major routes across the country. The celebration is set to take place August 28-31, with several exclusive ticketed events, as well as many activities that are free and open to the public.
“Harley-Davidson’s 105th Anniversary marks another milestone in a long and storied history which began with the creation of the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle in a modest shed in Milwaukee,” says H-D CEO Jim Ziemer. “But Harley-Davidson has always been more than a machine. It’s the Harley-Davidson experience that will bring thousands of friends and family from around the world to celebrate together with us here in Milwaukee.”
Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary Celebration ticket packages went on sale August 15, and people purchasing theirs before November 30 get entered into special drawings for entrance to two limited-access events: tickets for two to the Harley-Davidson Museum during the 105th Anniversary weekend and a second drawing for one 105th Anniversary Parade Pass. Due to the limited capacity of the Parade and Museum, these tickets are virtually the only way 105th Anniversary attendees can guarantee access to during the event dates.
- Let’s Jam! The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) has taken the gloves off and removed horsepower limits on motorcycle engines, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun. Self-imposed limits had been set at a 100 horsepower maximum output. JAMA had originally set the limits to reduce the number of motorcycle accident fatalities back in 1990 at the request of the central government. These regulations established 10 different limits depending on displacement, with 1,000cc engines capped at 100 hp, while 250cc engines were limited to 40 horses. The regulations only applied to domestically manufactured motorcycles (those made abroad were not regulated). Big bore motorcycles, such as Harleys, have become popular in Japan, especially among older people. However, Japanese motorcycle manufacturers were limited to engines whose horsepower was sometimes cut by 40%. Removal of the regulation is expected to spur a home-market horsepower race.
- Motorcycle Tires & Accessories (MTA) says 7th Gear Performance Lubricants is now their exclusive house brand of oils and lubes. With a quart of synthetic blend 10w40 selling for under $8 you can’t go wrong, claims MTA.
- Hold that Tiger! Triumph’s new Tiger 1050 has been named “Best Standard” in Cycle World’s annual 10 Best awards. Dealers may remember that just last year Triumph’s Speed Triple was honored with the very same award. Cycle World’s editors praised the Tiger’s combination of performance, comfort and fun! Motorrad, the big book in Germany, also awarded the Tiger 1050 the top spot in their travel enduro test, which saw the Tiger beat BMW’s R1200GS, KTM’s 990 Adventure, Suzuki’s V-Strom 1000 and the Honda Varadero 1000. The Tiger also won Motorcycle Sport & Leisure’s “Tall-Rounders” test back in the U.K. MSL summed up the bike in a nutshell by saying the Tiger 1050 is ” . . . pretty damned good at absolutely everything.”
- Bombardier Recreational Products is making a push into Finland with its move into a new state-of-the-art sled factory by December 2008. According to BRP, and pending the blessing of Rovaniemi city council, BRP will sign a 15-year lease for the Finnish facility and invest 7 million euros ($9.6 million U.S. dollars) into new equipment, tooling and machinery.
- ATV editor makes good: journalist Bryan Nylander has joined Kawasaki’s PR firm Freeman/McCue Public Relations. CPO Nylander (he still serves as a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve) just served a seven year hitch with Dirt Rider and ATV Rider magazines, so he knows the drill. “Bryan brings to the team a mix of product knowledge and excellent writing skills, allowing the account group to respond to client needs with high quality solutions in the quickest possible manner,” says agency principal Doug Freeman. Bolstering his value to Kawasaki are Nylander’s photo skills, honed by seven years in the magazine trenches and backed by his previous experience as the photography supervisor for a publishing company in Seattle prior to moving to Southern California to become a motojournalist.
- So we missed the boat on this one, but industry veteran Lance Bryson has been with our friends at Pro-Motion Motorsports since late March. Bryson is now director of sales for the popular Maxxis MiniMotoSX and the new EnduroCross series of races. “We are extremely excited to have Lance join the Pro-Motion team,” says VP Eric Peronnard. “His background in the industry is extensive, as is his knowledge of motorcycle racing and marketing. Lance will be a great complement to our existing team.” Dealers may remember Bryson from his days with the Mike Kidd Entertainment Group on the ArenaCross events. In addition to working with MKEG, Bryson was with Clear Channel Entertainment, working in sales for their Supercross, Freestyle and Monster Truck series of events. “When you look at the success of Pro-Motion’s existing events, plus their full plate of new initiatives, it’s not only exciting, but encouraging for a future filled with endless possibilities,” says the 30-year powersports industry vet of his new gig.
- Not nearly as experienced as Bryson, but no less enthusiastic is the new kid on the block for Avon. Hoppe & Associates, the North American marketing arm for the Anglo “tyre” outfit has hired Jared Peterson as a new sales account rep. Although a relative newcomer to the motorcycle retail industry, Jared joins the team highly recommended by his peers, according to Avon. He has spent the past three years doing P&A duty at Everett Powersports Inc. of Everett, Washington, so he understands what dealers face on a daily basis. He is also an avid rider, logging more than 15,000 miles per year on sportbikes (his current mount is a Honda RC-51). “I am honored to be working for Avon Tyres and excited to be a part of such a vital and technology-driven aspect of the motorcycle industry.”
- Speaking of sportbikes, after a 10-year stint with American Performance Engineering (APE), Taige Webster has taken the sales manager position with the world renowned go-fast guys at Graves Motorsports in Van Nuys, California. “I am lucky to have received great experience and knowledge of the motorcycle industry through the past 10 years and hope to incorporate that with the excellent quality and craftsmanship of Graves Motorsports,” claims Webster. “It’s a great manufacturing crew and race team, and I look forward to expanding with the company.”
- In a buying mood? Internet giant eBay has bumped senior director Rob Chesney to VP, eBay Motors, Marketplaces; and in a corresponding move, former senior manager Curtis Kroeker becomes director, Vehicles. Chesney is now responsible for the overall success of