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Ujjwal Dey

Triumph Trekker GT Is the First e-Bike Designed by the Maker of the Rocket 3

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by Daniel Patrascu from

For years two-wheeled electro mobility has been creeping up toward the light at the end of its tunnel until it finally exploded into our world with dozens of startups throwing all sorts of weird designs at us. And a clear sign electric bikes are here to stay is how attentive established motorcycle makers started being to the segment.

Harley-Davidson made no secret of its plans to expand into the e-bike segment ever since the LiveWire was unwrapped and new bikes were announced. But now it’s time for a response from across the ocean, with shots coming from Triumph Motorcycles.

The company behind the motorcycle with the largest engine currently available on the market, the Rocket 3, is officially joining the e-mobility party with a brand new e-bike it calls Trekker GT.

“In a business originating with bicycles, and world-famous for making motorcycles for 118 years, Triumph is now entering the e-bicycle market with the ‘Trekker GT’: a stunning new bicycle that incorporates Triumph’s everlasting passion for performance and riding fun,” the company said in a statement.

“The Trekker GT, the first e-cycle designed by Triumph, combines performance engineering with the latest iteration of Shimano’s battery technology and drive train, offering customers the best in style, comfort, quality and finish.”

The bike is light, it’s nimble, and it should make quite an impression. At 2.88 kg (6.3 lbs), it is made of a hydro-formed aluminum frame that integrates the 504Wh battery and the Shimano Steps electric motor.

The battery, aided by the pedal-assist system, can help power the bike along for as much as 150 km (93 miles) while making use of the 60 Nm of torque available.

Design-wise, there’s nothing really spectacular about the Trekker except perhaps for the Matt Silver Ice and Matt Jet Black that you usually see deployed on motorcycles. Available equipment includes LED lighting, full length matt-black mudguards, blacked-out pannier rack, side stand and ABUS pro-shield integrated lock.

The British bike maker says the Trekker GT is available “immediately” in the UK, United States and in Europe (with some exception there) but said nothing yet about pricing.

Harley-Davidson Leads the List in Peak Demand for Motorcycles

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from

Like most other countries in the world, the UK is set to relax its distancing measures as of this week, despite the health crisis being more severe than ever. Among the distancing measures to be kept is the obligation for the Brits to wear face-coverings on all public transport means on the island.

That decision seems to have scared people who would normally ride the tube or buses, and that is visible in the number of online searches for alternative means of transportation. Motorcycles and their derivatives seem to be in high demand these days, according to the figures provided by Auto Trader.

The organization says that compared to the same period last year, sales of motorcycles and mopeds exploded, reaching 180 and 2019 percent, respectively. Keep in mind this happens as sales of cars are dropping to levels not seen since the 1970s.

Online interest for such two-wheeled machines is at a peak as well, and the idea that this is not a passing trend is backed by other data as well: Brits are hell-bent on becoming motorcycle riders, and proof to that is the doubling of Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) riders must take before being allowed on the roads.

“It seems to be part and parcel of getting into a ‘new normal’. They’re relatively cheaper options for commuting, they can help you get around easily in congested urban areas, and they’re easier to park in tight spots,” said in a statement Auto Trader’s Rory Reid.

“They can also be a much more viable option than walking or cycling for the majority of people whose commute is longer than five miles.”

As far as what type of motorcycles the Brits prefer, two Harley-Davidson families, the Sportster and Softail, are among the most sought after, followed by the Yamaha R1 CBR1000RR and the Honda Fireblade.

All-electric Indian FTR 1200 might be called EFTR

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by Pradeep Shah from

Indian Motorcycle’s parent company Polaris used to own Victory Motorcycles and one interesting product under the collaboration was Empulse TT electric motorcycle. However, after the demise of the Victory in 2017, the Empulse saw the path to the graveyard too. As of now, it is not clear if the company would exploit the same platform as the Empulse for the EFTR.

Yes, you read that absolutely right! Indian Motorcycle might be working on an all-electric version of its street tracker FTR 1200. The company has recently filed a trademark for the name ‘EFTR’ that suggests an electric motorcycle could well be under development. The trademark application doesn’t spill much information about the ‘silent’ FTR, however, it does mention ‘Electric motorcycles and structural parts.’ The FTR 1200 is a brawny and handsome looking motorcycle and hence, the EFTR is expected to follow the same philosophy as well. At present, it would be too early to comment on the specifications and performance of the upcoming Indian EFTR. Nonetheless, you can expect the bike to come with some mind-boggling numbers including astonishing acceleration time and a decent top speed too. Moreover, the bike should come with a fast-charging feature as well to offer better convenience to the buyers. In terms of features, one can expect bits like coloured TFT instrument cluster with smartphone connectivity along with multiple riding modes, dual-channel ABS and more.

The Indian EFTR can be seen as a potential rival to the likes of the Harley-Davidson LiveWire. Indian Motorcycle’s parent company Polaris used to own Victory Motorcycles and one product under the collaboration was Empulse TT electric motorcycle. However, after the demise of the Victory in the year 2017, the Empulse saw the road to the graveyard too. As of now, it is not clear if the company would exploit the same Empulse platform on the EFTR.

The said trademark has been filed in the US, European and Australian continents and hence, the upcoming electric bike is expected to be a global offering. In terms of India launch, as the charging infrastructure and adoption of EVs is still at a quite nascent stage, the launch timeline of the Indian EFTR here in India cannot be predicted with surety at the moment. Stay tuned for more!

Indian Motorcycle Steps Up Electric Game With EFTR Trademark Application

by Janaki Jitchotvisut from

It’s way too early to declare victory in the electric bike wars, though.

Update, 6/15/20: Indian Motorcycle’s PR firm reached out to us to clarify the nature of the EFTR trademark. It explicitly stated that said trademark “is related to a new youth-oriented product that will be unveiled later this year, and is not related to a new electric version of the FTR 1200.”

So, more comparable to the IronE bikes, perhaps. We’ll keep you posted as and when we know more.

Original article follows.

Well, that certainly didn’t take long. Back in December 2019, the Milwaukee Business Journal announced a major shakeup at Indian Motorcycle’s parent company Polaris. In a bid at least partly intended to step up Indian’s foray into the brave new world of electric bikes, Polaris played musical chairs with its top managers across its various divisions. Steve Menneto, then-Indian Motorcycle president, moved over to preside over Polaris’ off-road category. So, who replaced him at the top of Indian?

Michael Dougherty, who was previously president of Polaris’ international division, is now that man. Former off-road president Chris Musso moved into a newly-created position at Polaris, which likely speaks to where Indian is going. Musso became senior vice president of electrification strategy for all Polaris brands, after having previously had years of experience with EVs under Polaris’ Gem, Goupil, and Ranger off-road lines.

Magnificent Stock H-D Replacement Rigid Frames

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Edlund Frames Classics from the Masters

The good Doctor Hamster was in a jam recently. We were building a Panhead basket case with a modified stock Knucklehead frame. We had it straightened and fixed by the local master Dr. John. We still weren’t happy and decided to search for a stock Panhead frame. Hell, it was the only way to go.


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Harley-Davidson Torqpedo Is a Brutal Full Package Custom

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by Daniel Patrascu from

There are few custom motorcycle garages out there that have created so many projects that they can split them into series. The Germans from Thunderbike are one of those garages, as we’ve kept telling you for the past month or so.

With so many custom motorcycles in Thunderbike’s portfolio – all either Harley-based, or built on a custom frame but powered by a Harley engine – we’ll probably keep talking about them for the rest of June, which here at autoevolution is Two-Wheeler Month.

For today we chose the Torqpedo, a Softail Breakout-based build that is part of the garage’s Racer Series, alongside the TB-R1, and it is described as being the receiver of the full package of custom parts available in Thunderbike’s portfolio.

That means most of the elements on the Torqpedo, from the toppers to the suspension, are of custom design, and were made by either Thunderbike itself, or by third party partners like Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde in the case of the exhaust system, or Ingo Kruse when it comes to the paint.

The entire construction of the bike’s body sets it miles apart from the original Breakout, but perhaps the biggest contribution to that distinct look are the huge wheels, with the front one from a collection called Vegas and sized at 23 inches. What’s more, a pulley brake system was fitted so that the view of the wheels is not obstructed by other elements.

With the tank and the tail designed according to the garage to “form an unmistakable racer line,” the Torqpedo is an older project of the shop, but one that like most others shows how much potential Harley motorcycles have when it comes to customization options.

You can see all the modifications made to it in the detailed photos attached in the gallery above. The full list of custom parts used can be found at this link.

Warren Buffett loaned $300 million to Harley-Davidson during the financial crisis

By | General Posts

by Theron Mohamed from

Warren Buffett loaned about $300 million to Harley-Davidson during the financial crisis.

“It was the bridge we needed to get us through a rough time,” the motorcycle maker’s finance chief said in 2014.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway probably netted about $150 million in profit from the five-year loan, but could have made more than $1 billion if it had invested $300 million in Harley-Davidson stock over the same period.

“I knew enough to lend them money; I didn’t know enough to buy the equity,” Buffett later explained.

Warren Buffett loaned a little over $300 million to Harley-Davidson in February 2009, when the famous motorcycle maker was reeling from a one-two punch of weaker demand and a cash crunch during the financial crisis.

A few weeks earlier, Harley-Davidson unveiled a three-part plan to weather the downturn: invest in its brand, cut costs, and find the money to cover its financing division’s roughly $1 billion in yearly costs.

The first two elements translated into targeting younger and more diverse riders; closing plants, combining operations, and outsourcing some distribution; and laying off about 1,100 employees or about 12% of its workforce.

However, paralyzed credit markets made it tricky to fulfill the third part of the plan. The company ultimately decided to borrow from its largest shareholder, Davis Selected Advisers, as well as Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

The pair effectively loaned it a combined $600 million for five years at a hefty 15% annual interest rate.

“It was the bridge we needed to get us through a rough time,” Harley-Davidson’s finance chief, John Olin, told Fortune magazine in 2014.

The group needed the cash to continue offering financing to motorcycle dealerships and retail customers, and to keep its production lines humming, Olin continued.

The high-interest loan was its only option to borrow money without giving up a stake in the company, he added.

Buffett struck a bunch of similar deals during the crisis. For example, he invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs and $3 billion in General Electric in the fall of 2008.

“Credit remained virtually nonexistent,” Alice Schroeder said about that period in “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.”

“Buffett lent at interest rates that in some instances bordered on usurious.”

The famed investor also showed his ruthlessness by refusing Harley-Davidson’s request to repay its loan early. Berkshire said it was happy with the agreed terms, the company told Fortune.

Buffett likely netted a healthy $150 million in profit from the loan. However, he could have raked in upwards of $1 billion by investing the $300 million in Harley-Davidson stock instead, as its shares more than quadrupled in value between 2009 and 2014.

A shareholder asked Buffett why he opted for debt instead of equity during Berkshire’s annual meeting in 2010.

“I knew enough to lend them money; I didn’t know enough to buy the equity,” the investor replied.

“I kind of like a business where your customers tattoo your name on their chest,” he continued. “But figuring out the economic value of that … I’m not sure even going out and questioning those guys I’d learn much from them.”

Buffett made the loan because he was confident at the time that “a) Harley-Davidson was not going out of business, and that b) 15% was going to look pretty damned attractive.”

Berkshire made “very good money” by making a simple judgement that the company wouldn’t go broke and lending it money, Buffett said at the meeting.

Buying its stock would pose tougher questions such as whether the motorcycle market would shrink or Harley-Davidson’s margins would suffer from the downturn, he added.

Crisis deals such as the Harley-Davidson loan also showed how Berkshire policy of keeping some cash in the bank and never going all in on stocks can pay off handsomely, Buffett argued.

“We felt very good about where that philosophy left us,” he said. “We actually could do things at a time when most people were paralyzed, and we’ll keep running it that way.”

1984 Harley-Davidson XR1000 Street Tracker Up for Grabs

By | General Posts

by Mircea Panait from

Even though the Sportster line goes back to the 1957, Harley-Davidson treated the world to a rather special model in 1983 in the guise of the XR1000. Alternatively spelled XR-1000, the “street tracker” isn’t only rare but it combines XL Sportster parts with XR750 go-faster goodies.

You can think of the 1984 model year XR1000 as the best of both worlds. A “backroom special” is how Mecum Auctions describes it, and this fellow here is an unaltered example with the original paint and no mods whatsoever since it left the factory. And yes, it’s also looking for a new owner.

Only 1,018 units have been produced for ’84, featuring 36-millimeter carburetors on the right side of the motorcycle and dirt track-style exhausts swept high on the left side. Tipping the scales at 490 pounds (222 kilograms; dry), the XR1000 can easily shoot to 125 miles per hour (201 kph).

When new, the XR1000 used to cost $6,995 or $18,499 in today’s money based on a cumulative inflation of 164.46 percent. Iron cylinders reduced by half an inch, Jerry Branch aluminum SR heads, aluminum pushrods, and a 9:1 compression ratio are also worthy of note. With 71 horsepower on tap and capable of pulling away from as low as 1,500 revs in top gear, the bike shipped as standard with an electric starter and a rather small fuel tank.

Obviously enough, one of the many quirks of riding the XR1000 is the exhaust system. Not only does it weigh the bike to the left, but the headers could burn through the rider’s jeans. The suspension is another annoyance when riding on anything other than smooth asphalt because the forks are underdamped and softly sprung while the shocks don’t offer much travel.

Nevertheless, it’s one of the most desirable Harleys from the 1980s out there, a collectible if you will. Using an online valuation tool, you’ll find out that concours-condition bikes are going for $21,300 these days while an excellent example is $18,400 or so. The seller didn’t mention which chassis his XR1000 is nor did Mecum Auctions provide the mileage in the online listing.

Harley-Davidson Production-R Is Nothing Like a Series Milwaukee Motorcycle

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by Daniel Patrascu from

We’re not sure how many Harley-Davidson branded parts are needed for a custom motorcycle build to justify the use of the name Harley, but we’re pretty sure the deployment of a Screamin’ Eagle, even on a custom frame, is reason enough.

Despite this name, the bike in the gallery above is of course not a series production Harley. It is actually a custom creation coming from Germany, from the hands of a garage called Thunderbike – we’ve talked about this crew’s products at length over the past couple of months.

As most of the group’s other two-wheelers based on a custom frame, this too was meant as an exercise for seeing what can be “technically feasible with Thunderbike frames and parts.” That means tons of original hardware was fitted on the same frame, linked to a Harley engine, and made to work both visually and mechanically.

The skeleton of the motorcycle is a frame Thunderbike calls TBR-R. Inside it sits a Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 110 good for 100 ps and 160 Nm of torque. But that’s not the impressive part.

No matter your opinion on custom motorcycles so extreme, we’re pretty sure you can’t help but notice the massive wheels fitted on this one, especially the airplane turbine-shaped one at the back. Sized 26-inch front and 21-inch rear, they eclipse pretty much every single other part of the build.

As usual, the Ingo Kruse-painted bike rides on an air suspension that should give it a bit more ground clearance that shown in the photos above.

The Harley-Davidson Production-R by Thunderbike made its official debut way back in 2014 at the European Bike Week in Faak, Austria. We are not being told what happened to it since, but we’re pretty certain we’ve seen an evolution of the design language chosen for this bike making quite an impression on subsequent Thunderbike creations.

Prize Possession to be reprinted

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This is the first book I ever wrote. I started writing fiction in 1971 for Easyriders Magazine. I was maybe 23 years old and trying to learn from some amazing writers, like J.J. Solari, and a few guys who were in prison, but excellent writers. I wrote some poetry under the Renegade name. I wanted the bad ass on the staff to be the poem writer. I wrote Prize Possession shortly after my Evo in a rigid frame was stolen from the Easyriders offices in 1996. It took me three days to get it back, with the help of a few bros and Gregg Daniel.

I sold out of this book in 1997, but recently we decided to reprint it. I’m in the process of reading it again, after 35 years. Where the hell has the time gone.—K. Randall Ball

Harley-Davidson Marrajo Is How Two-Wheeled Metal Sharks Look Like

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by Daniel Patrascu from

It’s Two-Wheeler Month here at autoevolution, and since the beginning of June we’ve tried to bring you not only the best, but also the craziest vehicles on two wheels. But never until now did we uncover something like the bike in the gallery below.

Custom motorcycle shops, especially those usually handling Harley-Davidsons, have made a habit out of creating complicated builds meant to send whatever message the garage needs sending. We’re not sure what the message of this one is, but we still like it.

The two-wheeler you can see in the gallery is called Marrajo; that’s the Spanish word for the shortfin mako shark. It’s in Spanish because the build belongs to a Spanish shop that goes by the name El Solitario MC.

Sometime in its past, this motorcycle was a 1998 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200. El Solitario came across it at a time when it had just 10,000 miles on it (16,000 km), and decided to turn into a “Chupito but suitable for longer distance cruising.” For reference, Chupito is also an El Solitario creation based on a 1977 Ducati 350.

Chupito is funky-looking too, but this Harley is a whole new level of funky, probably thanks to the shark snout-like nacelle fitted around the headlight, and the steel bars that rise from under the seat to form what is supposed to be a shark fin.

There are tons of other custom parts fitted on the bike, ranging from the leather seat to the modified fenders. They all combine with one another and the colors chosen for the tank and exhaust to create an image the Milwaukee-based bike maker never had in mind for this particular 1200.

El Solitario says because the engine had barely been used before they got their hands on the bike, it required no extra work, and the entire build “runs like an angry shark.’