General Posts

A Look at the New Electric Motorcycles from Soriano

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by Andrew Wheeler from

The Giaguaro motorcycles come with a three-speed manual gearbox and 15 or 20kWh battery packs.

Most electric vehicles (EVs) propel themselves with electric motors that use energy from battery-stored electricity collected from a charging station.

And electric automobiles are steadily gaining in popularity among mainstream automotive manufacturers and automobile customers. In 2020, you can buy the Chrysler Fiat 500e, which has an all-electric powertrain, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Hyundai Kona, the Honda Clarity Electric, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model X and so on.

But what about electric motorcycles?

There are more than a few to choose from, and that list now includes the V1-R, V1-S and V1-Gara series motorcycle from Soriano Motori Corp. The company was founded in 2020 and was spun off from its parent company Soriano Motori Factory SpA, which was founded in Madrid in 1939.

The Giaguaro (Italian for Jaguar) V1 Gara goes from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and runs from a 75kW electric motor with 100 horsepower. Propulsion engineers from the United States and the European Union worked together to create the series. With a 72kW motor and 96 horsepower, the Giaguaro V1S is still powerful, but accelerates a bit more slowly than the V1 Gara. With 96 horsepower, the V1S accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, as does the third new model, the Giaguaro V1R, though it has a less powerful motor (60kW) with less horsepower (80).

Bottom Line

Each Soriano Giaguaro comes with a manual three-speed gearbox. They range in price from $28,000-$34,000, which is expensive for motorcycles. Part of the increased cost is due to the limited number of units available. The current plan, according to Soriano, is for a production run of 100 units. The company is currently taking preorders.

Harley-Davidson Vancy Has Both Thunderbike and Roland Sands in It

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by Daniel Patrascu from

Just like garages specializing in tuning or rebuilding cars, custom motorcycle shops are a dime a dozen. Nowhere in the world are there as many in the U.S., though, and over the years some incredible two-wheeled machines have been revealed here.

But that doesn’t mean the rest of the world is sitting idle. From Asia to Europe and Australia, shops are doing their best to come up with their own worthwhile designs. Most of the time, they fail, and the number of such high profile organizations outside the U.S. is not that big.

In Europe, the most active Harley-Davidson shop are the Germans from Thunderbike. Over the past 25 years or so, they came up with literally hundreds of builds, both based on stock Harleys, or using custom frames and Harley engines.

Being so active means Thunderbike was quickly noticed by the big names from across the Ocean, and the shop has been a constant presence in the H-D build-off competitions over the years. At times, some collaborations were born.

So is the case with this bike here, one the shop calls Vancy. Based on a Harley-Davidson Iron, it came to be as a product that uses parts made by Roland Sands, the American motorcycle racer turned designer of custom motorcycles.

Built as “the perfect example for the fact that you can get a new custom Harley with relatively small money,” it features a new suspension system, a new exhaust and a new air filter, but also parts meant to make it look better than stock, such as a new seat, new grips, and of course a custom paint job on the rear fender and fuel tank.

We are not being told exactly how much this customization work is worth, but the Germans are know for coming up with great designs for prices that are often under $10,000, not including the base motorcycle, of course.

The Best Times Bikernet Weekly News for July 9, 2020

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Good times at the Smoke Out!

And It’s Just Getting Better


This week was tough. I had some interesting interactions with folks in the industry. I won’t go into them except to throw some of my adages out there.

First, other than the Covid nightmare, we are living in the best of times. The edges may be rough, but think about it.

I have always supported our Presidents, I don’t care what party they came from. When a man or a woman is President of the United States, they have the toughest job on the planet. In this case he’s trying to make America Great again, while fighting the worst Pandemic in almost 100 years.

Before you know it, there will be a vaccine and the world will rock again, until the next time.

Think about the best of times. We couldn’t possibly be able to move as fast with efforts to curb disease without the technology we have. I just moved to Deadwood, and I had a tough time finding a town without franchise joints on every corner. I turned the lights on, and the heat worked. There was food in walking distance and medical support in Sturgis with a considerable VA hospital. Life is incredible. Motorcycle parts are delivered every day, amazing.


Join the Cantina today


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What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Over 300 motorcyclists’ rights advocates representing a wide collection or state motorcyclists’ rights organizations; a dozen motorcyclists’ rights advocates who specialize in motivation, lobbying, communication, and all the nuts & bolts needed to strengthen and hold organizations together.

These individuals are from our collective ranks.  They have “been in the trenches” of their home state legislatures and Washington, D.C.  They have well over 200 years of collective motorcyclists’ rights advocacy experience between them and “quit” is not in their vocabulary!  It’s time you met this list of freedom fights and use this link and register at Meeting of the Minds 2020.  Hotel info is on the same site.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Charles UmbenhaurKickin Ass and Taking Names – Pennsylvania’s 35-year winning quest for freedom of choice is the workshop title and it could just as well be an underscore of Charlie’s accomplishments on behalf of motorcyclists’ rights advocacy.  With over 40 years riding and almost the same amount advocating motorcyclists’ rights in Pennsylvania, a charter member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, inductee into two motorcycling halls of fame (Easyriders Hall of Fame, Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame); recipient of two Lifetime Achievement Awards (NCOM and AMA); plus numerous other awards and recognitions for his years of advocacy on behalf of freedom and motorcyclists.  Charles Umbenhaur’s workshop, taken from the playbook of his experiences, can be applied to any legislation supported by our grassroots organizations.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Brian “Skinny Bob” Clifford – Riding since the 1990s, but new to motorcyclists’ rights in 2015 when he joined ABATE of Georgia because he “found a cause that blended his passions and skill sets.”  Skinny used his acquired skills from his experience with Habitat for Humanity International and fighting for housing rights for the poor to fighting for bikers’ rights. Currently, he works for a nonprofit supporting military and veteran families.   His workshop – Media Madness: How to Survive these Wild Times without exaggerating the comments from his 2019 presentation at the Meeting of the Minds “…is essential to the movement’s future.”  Attendees will leave his workshop with 2020 media techniques and how to adapt them to drive membership, message and mission and should be “mission critical” for your SMRO.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Rocky Fox – Do not be deterred with his “zero years riding experience.”  Instead look at his ten-plus years of experience as a registered federal lobbyist, plus his experience as a former staff member on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and a member of every SMRO he’s visited, and know that  Rocky is the non-riding half of our D.C. lobbying team. You’ll be “Finding Opportunities for Policy Wins During a Crazy Year” as he brings you a summary of the MRF’s legislative accomplishments.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Cathy Brush – Six years riding, six-year member A.B.A.T.E of Illinois, newsletter and public relations coordinator, among other local and state offices.  VP Public Relations of her local chapter of Toastmaster International, Cathy will bring 30 years customer service experience to her workshop on making good public relations better with a hit list of Do’s & Don’t for great Public Relations.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Ryan Hubbard – Navy Veteran, 45 years riding experience, and 19 years A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois membership, holding a multitude of elected offices including State Coordinator. With ongoing and extensive Federal Election Commission training, Ryan Hubbard’s workshop – Political Action Committee? Why the Hell does a Biker Need One?  will provide attendees with enough reasons to form a PAC that you will wonder how your SMRO survived without one.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Dave “Chubby” Charlebois – Member of ABATE of Wisconsin since 1998, holding a host of state offices, including Executive Director since 2012.  His workshop — With Freedom comes Responsibility – takes our quests for freedom beyond the flash of daily headlines and provides attendees not only food for thought, but direction as well.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Mark Buckner – Active in bikers’ rights since the mid-80s including four years ABATE of Colorado State Coordinator, two years MRF Board of Directors and six years MRF President and member of three halls of fame (Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame, AMA Hall of Fame, and MRF Hall of Fame).   Mark Buckner’s extensive business background gives him more than “street cred” when it comes to working closely with the MRF helping to facilitate the organization’s strategic planning activities. His Meeting of the Minds presentation provides attendees with the same information tailored to helping your SMRO become internally accountable with a strategic plan that works!

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” who’s involved and why?

It’s motorcyclists’ rights advocates coming together to meet old friends, make new friends, hone skills that may have gone soft during the lockdowns.  It’s brothers and sisters knowing about freedom and wanting more information on how to protect their rights, their motorcycles, and their lifestyles.  Now’s the time to use this link and register at Meeting of the Minds 2020.   Hotel info is on the same site.

That’s what this Meeting of the Minds is all about.  We endured the lockdown. We social distanced. And the MRF never forgot why we were founded – to advocate and protect the rights of all motorcyclists.  The 2020 Meeting of the Minds provides you with the tools to help protect your rights, your motorcycle and your lifestyle!!! See you in Indianapolis!!!


Langen Motorcycles Is Bringing Back Two-Stroke Sportbikes

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by Zac Kurylyk from

The RZ350 formula gets updated for the 2020s.

Two-stroke sportbikes had their day, but now they’re done and gone, right? Wrong. Over in the U.K., Langen Motorcycles—a low-volume startup with some high-revving ideas—is revisiting the old-school oil burner with a limited-production run of custom-built, two-stroke motorcycles.

Clearly inspired by sporty, mid-80s two-strokes like Yamaha’s RZ-series, Langen’s bikes are a pleasant, if smoky, surprise. The company sourced its 250cc, liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-twin from Italian company Vins. Although two-strokes are often seen as outdated, this engine has modern touches like electronic fuel injection and a counter-rotating crankshaft. It supposedly makes around 80 horsepower, a massive output for a 250cc engine. As a comparison, Kawasaki’s hot new ZX-25R four-stroke should make around 50 horsepower, and that’s with a 17,000 rpm redline.

Light And Fast:

Langen’s use of high-quality, high-tech bike components doesn’t stop at the engine, however. For suspension, there’s a set of 43mm Öhlins forks up front and dual Ktech Piggyback Razor shocks in back. Brakes are dual-discs up front and a single disc aft with billet aluminum radial calipers. In addition, the bikes have hand-built aluminum frames and carbon-fiber bodywork to cut down on weight.

That, in a nutshell, is the appeal of two-stroke motorcycles: high power, low weight. Langen says its completed machines should weigh around 250 pounds. Most of the current 300-400cc beginner bikes on the market weigh between 350 and 400 pounds.

Langen’s machines are built for a different type of customer, though. As its website says:

“Each part is constructed to exacting standards using either modern methods such as 5-axis CNC machining and additive manufacturing or hand crafted using traditional methods such as carbon fibre [sic] lay ups and gold leaf gilding.

During the design and build of the motorcycle each new owner will have an input over the final design, ergonomics, geometry to truly create a unique machine and a lasting relationship with the team that designed and built their bike.”

Custom-built using expensive methods and components, from pricey materials—don’t expect a Langen to come cheap, even if it’s “only” a 250. The bikes should be gorgeous to look at, though, and fun to ride. Langen’s website says, “motorcycles should provide raw excitement to ride and be a pleasure to stand and admire. Form and function can work in perfect harmony.” If you’ve got the dough, and you want a small, sporty bike that’s pared down to the essentials, it sounds like Langen’s got a machine for you.

Harley-Davidson to cut hundreds of jobs as part of turnaround strategy

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by Rajesh Kumar Singh from

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N) on Thursday said it will lay off 500 employees this year as part of new Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz’s efforts to revive the struggling motorcycle maker.

As part of the overhaul, Chief Financial Officer John Olin will leave the company effective immediately. Darrell Thomas, treasurer, will become interim chief financial officer, it said.

Harley-Davidson’s sales have been declining for the past five years in the United States, its largest market, as its baby-boomer customer base ages. The economic pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic has further dented retail demand.

In response to weak sales, the Milwaukee-based company has cut production, leading to 140 job cuts last month at its factories in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The latest cuts are in addition to those layoffs, a company spokeswoman said.

Zeitz, who took over in February, is hailed for turning around the Puma brand’s near-bankrupt business.

His restructuring strategy, dubbed The Rewire, is aimed at making Harley a leaner and more nimble organization. It seeks to reset product lines, focus on the company’s core strengths and prioritize profitable markets.

“Significant changes are necessary, and we must move in new directions,” Zeitz said.

Harley said the measures announced on Thursday will lay the foundation for a five-year strategic plan to revive sales that the company expects to share in the fourth quarter.

In all, the restructuring will eliminate 700 positions globally. It will result in a $50 million restructuring charge in 2020, including $42 million in the second quarter.

While the overhaul is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Harley said it will likely cause additional restructuring charges in 2021.

The company will provide more details of the financial impact in its second-quarter earnings report later this month.

Harley’s shares were last down 1% at $25.33.

Harley-Davidson Announces Rewire Progress

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Harley-Davidson Announces Rewire Progress, New Operating Model and Leaner Organization to Drive Focus and Efficiency

Milwaukee, July 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As part of its comprehensive efforts to rewire the company (The Rewire), announced in April, Harley-Davidson, Inc. (“Harley-Davidson”) (NYSE:HOG) today announced an overhaul of its global operating model, including a leaner, more nimble organization. Initial Rewire actions are expected to result in restructuring costs of approximately $42 million in Q2 2020. The company plans to share a summary of The Rewire, including additional costs and expected savings, when it releases its Q2 results.

“The Rewire is progressing very well and substantial work is being done to eliminate complexity and get Harley-Davidson on a path to winning. Our new operating model is simpler, more focused and enables faster decisions across the entire company,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson. “We’ve taken a hard look at our entire set up, our spending, and how work is getting done, to align our operating model, structure and processes. We are building a strong foundation to drive a high-performance organization in the future.”

Changes to the company’s operating model under The Rewire include all areas of the business globally, from commercial operations to corporate functions. Changes have also occurred in the company’s leadership, among them, Chief Financial Officer John Olin has left his role, with current VP Treasurer, Darrell Thomas assuming duties as interim CFO until a successor is appointed. “Significant changes are necessary, and we must move in new directions. I thank John for his commitment during his 17 years with the company and for his leadership during this critical phase of The Rewire,” Zeitz said.

Overall, the streamlined structure requires approximately 700 fewer positions across the company’s global operations with approximately 500 employees expected to exit the organization through 2020.

The key elements of The Rewire:

  • Enhance core strengths and better balance expansion into new spaces
  • Prioritize the markets that matter
  • Reset product launches and product line up for simplicity and maximum impact
  • Build the Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise businesses to full potential
  • Adjust and align the organizational structure, cost structure and operating model to reduce complexity and drive efficiency to set Harley-Davidson up for stability and success

The company plans to share a comprehensive summary of The Rewire actions and financial impacts when it releases its Q2 results later this month. The Rewire will set the foundation for a new 2021-2025 strategic plan which is expected to be shared in Q4.

The Yamaha Civante is the company’s first 28mph e-bike in the US

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by Napier Lopez from

Yamaha might be best known for its instruments and motorcycles, but it was also the first company to introduce modern e-bikes, way back in 1993. While it may not be as big in the modern e-bike world as the likes of Bosch or Bafang, the company’s motors have made their name with brands such as Giant and Haibike, and the company has recently been expanding its own first-party line-up too. Today, the company is taking a big step forward in the e-bike world by announcing its first 28mph (Class 3) e-bike to available in the US market, the Yamaha Civante.

Previous Yamaha e-bikes in the US Market were Class 1 bikes, limited to 20 mph like most e-bikes. While that’s good enough for many users, some feel safer being able to keep up with faster traffic, and riders with longer commutes want to arrive at their destinations more quickly. Of course, others just have the need for speed.

The bicycle is certainly built for speed. It has an aggressive geometry and omits fenders, racks, or a kickstand – though there are mounting points should you want to install them later, and front light is included (Yamaha‘s rear rack has an integrated rear light). It also comes with flat-resistant, e-bike rated tires, mid-depth wheels, hydraulic disc brakes and a Shimano 10-speed drivetrain with a double chainring. Importantly, it’s actually fairly light for an e-bike, coming in at 43.4 lb on the medium frame despite the high-power motor and battery.

The bike uses Yamaha‘s 500W PWSeries SE Motor, capable of of 70nm torque and supporting cadences up to 110rpm; Yamaha promises that even if you exceed the motor’s baked in speed-limit, it won’t just cut off power suddenly, instead providing a smooth transition for your own pedaling power. The bike includes four assist modes ranging from a 50 percent boost on Eco mode to a 280 percent boost on the high setting. The bike also comes with a removable 500 watt-hour battery.

Yamaha doesn’t provide a range estimate, perhaps because it can vary dramatically with your riding speed, assist level, weight, and terrain, but a 500Wh battery with a mid-drive motor should have no trouble dealing with most commutes. If I had to guess, I’d put it in the ballpark of estimate 30 to 60 miles for an average weight rider in higher assist modes, but I’ve reached out to Yamaha for more information. And as with all e-bikes, you can always ride them like a (heavy) normal bike should the battery run out.

I also appreciate that Yamaha‘s high-speed charger can fill up the battery to 80 percent in just one hour — great for longer trips. Most e-bike chargers are painfully slow — more of an overnight affair.

he bike is available in three frame sizes and one color(white with black and blue accents), and is priced at a $3,399. While certainly expensive, that’s actually on the lower end of the price spectrum for a 28mph e-bike with a high-end and high-torque mid-drive motor. Moreover, Yamaha provides a 3-year warranty on the electronics, compared to the 1 or 2 years offered by most competitors.

The bike will be available “this summer” at Yamaha dealers throughout the states.

Harley-Davidson Glamor Is Shovelhead Reloaded

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by Daniel Patrascu from

There’s something special about older Harleys. Maybe it’s their looks, maybe the engineering, or perhaps just nostalgia, but there are fans out there, not few, who would always choose an aging Harley over a newer one. And the same goes for custom shops.

In America, there are countless garages who like to take these old Harleys and customize them beyond recognition, as shown in June’s The No Show online event set up by the Milwaukee bike maker. Elsewhere, however, things are a bit different.

Take Europe, for instance. The continent is Harley-friendly, yes, but far less so than the home market. There’s no decades-old tradition there of riding these bikes, not in the way we have it in the U.S., and that means that custom shops, few as they are, usually steer clear of older H-D bikes when it comes to customizing them.

Have a look at one of Europe’s largest custom bike shop, Thunderbike. These guys probably have hundreds of customized motorcycles made over the past 25 years, but most of them are recent Softails, because this is what customers in Europe like.

But there are exceptions, and this here Super Glide is one of them. Also built by Thunderbike, it comes as a testimony of how older Harleys can be better platforms for customization than newer ones.

The bike is an FXE from 1977, and it was given its current shape at the end of a three-month long build that took place in 2016. It sports a Shovelhead engine inside the stock frame, and custom parts all around.

An S&S Super E carburetor, custom struts, special wheels and fenders, and of course a unique fuel tank are just a few of the over 20 aftermarket pieces of hardware that went into building the bike the shop calls Glamor.

We are not being told how much it cost to put the whole thing together, nor what happened to it in the years that have passed since its completion. But it sure looks great.


South African riders in Grand Prix motorcycle racing’s elite class

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by James Richardson from

Later this month Brad Binder will become the fifth South African rider in the history Grand Prix motorcycle racing’s elite class, here we look at those that went before.

Formerly classified as the 500cc class before it was transformed to MotoGP, Grand Prix motorcycle racing has not been an environment inhabited by South Africans very often.

Before 2020, just four South African riders had made it into the elite class with all three competing during the 500cc era.

SA riders in Grand Prix motorcycle racing’s elite class

Here we will only look at riders who have reached either the 500cc class or MotoGP.

1 Paddy Driver

The first South African to reach the premier class, Driver competed on the Grand Prix motorcycle racing circuit from 1959 to 1965. His best result came in his final year on the circuit when he rode a Matchless to a third-place finish in the 500cc world championship behind Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini.

Having lined up in two Formula One Grand Prix Driver is part of a very small club of men who have raced in both the Grand Prix motorcycle World Championship and Formula One. That group also includes legends John Surtees, Mike Hailwood and Johnny Cecotto.

2 Alan North

North made his Grand Prix motorcycle racing in the elite class when in the 1975 season riding for Yamaha.

The Durban-born racer spent three seasons in the 500cc class scoring nine world championship points in that time. He won his only Grand Prix race in 1977 when he claimed the 350 cc 1977 Nations Grand Prix at Imola

3 Jon Ekerold

SA riders in Grand Prix motorcycle racing’s elite class 

Prior to Brad Binder’s 2016 Moto3 championship, Ekerold was the last South African to win a world title in Grand Prix motrocycle racing claiming the 1980 350cc championship as a privateer. Without the benefit of a motorcycle manufacturer’s support Ekerold defeated Kawasaki factory racing team rider Anton Mang to win world championship.

Ekerold appeared on the 500cc circuit in three seasons, racing in eight Grand Prix in the elite class.

His best race finish in the 500cc class came in his debut on the elite division’s grid in the 1976 Isle of Man TT where he placed sixth.

4 Kork Ballington

A contemporary of Ekerold, Hugh Neville “Kork” Ballington was born in what would become Harare in Zimbabwe but raced under the South African flag winning four Grand Prix motorcycle World Championships.

Ballington raced in the elite class in three seasons including the 1982 season when both he and Ekerold raced in the elite class. That would be the last time until 2020 that a South African rider took up a place on the grid in the elite class.

He finished on the podium twice in the 1981 season claiming third place at both the Dutch TT and the Finish Grand Prix.

In 1978 and 1979 Ballington won both the 250cc and 350cc championships, making him the most successful South African rider in terms of championships on the circuit.

5 Brad Binder

The 2016 Moto3 champion makes the step up to MotoGP as South Africa’s first representative at the pinnacle of Grand Prix motorcycle racing since the 1980s.

Binder’s younger brother Darryn is also a racer and joined Red Bull KTM’s Moto3 team in 2018.

The MotoGP season gets underway in Jerez later this month and will see Binder compete for Red Bull KTM alongside the best riders in the world. He will be the first South African rider to compete in the championship since it became the MotoGP.