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Harley-Davidson French’n Cheap Is the Sharpest, Cleanest Build in King of Kings

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

The Harley-Davidson King of Kings competition revealed once more just how talented the people working for the bike maker’s dealers are. 15 incredible entries have been judged and voted back in April, and at the end just one emerged victorious: the Mexican Apex Predator.

But each of the builds that took part in the competition had something unique to bring to the table. In the case of this French-made machine, that something is the sharpness of it all.

The base model for the build, which is called French’n Cheap, was a 2019 Sportster XL 1200T that was lowered front and rear by means of an extended swingarm and a lowering kit on the fork. The 18-inch wheels on the bike are actually both front wheels, taken from an FLHX Street Glide, and modified in the case of the one fitted at the rear to be better suited for its new purpose.

The people behind the project, Harley’s dealer in La Rochelle, France, also tampered with the engine of the base motorcycle, something that was not all that common for the entries in the King of Kings competition: the powerplant was given Stage 2 Screamin’ Eagle camshafts, harder valve springs, and a new air filter.

The choice of paint and the way in which it was sprayed on the body, the sleek tires on the wheels, and the fact that all the cables are hidden inside the handlebars make the French’n Cheap look anything but cheap.

King of Kings was the culmination of the years-long Battle of the Kings. The rules of the competition called for the base motorcycle to be a Harley-Davidson, the modifications to be in the €6,000 ($6,500) budget, and the end result be street legal.

Just like the other bikes we talked about over the past week, the French and Cheap checks all those boxes too.

 

The Pros And Cons Of Motorcycle Commuting

By | General Posts

by Enrico Punsalang from https://www.rideapart.com

The pros definitely outweigh the cons, and the cons can be seen as part of the adventure!

To many motorcycle enthusiasts, motorcycles are merely toys. These toys come in many shapes and sizes—from sportbikes for spirited trackdays, to adventure bikes for weekend getaways with friends. However I’m sure it has crossed your mind, as a motorcycle enthusiast, to consider commuting to and from work, or to anywhere for that matter, on your beloved steed.

Undoubtedly, there are quite a number of cons—reasons for you to save riding your motorcycle for weekend leisurely rides. However, in as much as there are cons, there are twice as many pros—reasons why it is a good idea to commute with your motorcycle. So, I’m going to try to convince you that commuting on your motorcycle has quite a lot of benefits.

First, for a little context. I live in the Philippines, a country with one of the worst traffic conditions in the world. I’ve been commuting to and from work on my motorcycle for a couple of years now. I’ve practically seen it all as far as city commuting is concerned. From 40-degree summer heat, to torrential downpours in the middle of the monsoon season that had me chilled to the bone, I’ve managed to survive and enjoy commuting on my bike regardless of the situation. I’m lucky enough to have the option of driving myself to work in the safety of a four wheeled enclosure, also known as a car, when riding my bike is simply out of the question. However, the joy that motorcycling brings me seems to cut across the drudgery of day-to-day life (that’s one pro right there).

The Cons

I’m one to take my vegetables first, so let’s discuss the cons. Quite honestly, I don’t think the cons need that much enumeration. Of course, you have the exposure to literally all the elements. From sun, rain, snow (if it snows where you live), and not to mention the high levels of pollution in densely populated cities, you get a front row pass to experience all of these up close and personal. There’s also the increased chance of getting into an accident as opposed to driving a car. Us being on two wheels means that we’re more likely not to be seen, and the fact that we don’t have the protection of doors, bumpers, and airbags doesn’t help either.

Lastly, commuting on your motorcycle means you’ll be needing to change into your work or office clothes when you get to work. This can be a slight inconvenience, since you may even need to go as far as taking a shower before proceeding to your desk.

The Pros

You can practically go on and on about all the cons of commuting and actually riding a motorcycle in general. However given the fact that we are into motorcycles means that our wants and needs transcend those of mere utility. Don’t get me wrong, motorcycles offer a hell of a lot of utilities under the right circumstances. To give you a rundown of some of the pros which definitely outweigh the cons, for starters, commuting on a motorcycle means that you get to save money on gas with the added bonus of lower emissions (depending on what motorcycle you ride).

Of course it goes without saying that you would look utterly stylish rev bombing your way into your office parking complex, with envious coworkers giving you nods of approval. Kidding aside, riding your motorcycle will also save you a lot of time, especially if lane splitting is legal where you live. Now in most Asian countries, lane splitting is practiced by all motorcycle riders. However the legality of lane splitting is a lot murkier in America and in parts of Europe, so the time saving aspect comes with an asterisk.

Another pretty cool pro, especially for you folks who are trying to stay in shape, is that riding your motorcycle can be quite a workout. In fact, studies have shown that riding a motorcycle burns significantly more calories per hour, as compared to driving a car. Of course this number varies from person to person, as well as the conditions of the environment you’re riding in. I personally burn an average of 500 calories on a one-way ride to home from work, or vice versa.

Lastly, another pro that motorcycling gives you is something that can be difficult to measure simply because it’s a very personal thing. I’m sure we can all agree that our motorcycles are our pride and joy. We love every moment we spend with our bikes. So it’s definitely extremely beneficial for your mental health to do something you love everyday, right? Personally, riding my motorcycle to work everyday keeps me sane. It’s one of the few things I look forward to starting and ending each day.

So there you have it. I hope I was able to convince you to even consider taking your motorcycle to work tomorrow, or the next day, and the day after that. Motorcycling is truly an awesome thing, and it’s something I wouldn’t give up for the world.

BMW R100 R Green Beret Is the Warrior Bike Special Forces Never Used

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

One of the deadliest military forces on the planet, the so-called Green Berets, have a wealth of gear at their disposal to conduct whatever missions Uncle Sam throws at them. But we’re pretty sure they never used this here bike, though.

What’s featured in the gallery above is a BMW R100 R from 1994. The R is one of the many variations of the R100 line the Bavarian bike builder begun making in 1976 as its last line of motorcycles powered by air-cooled engines. The line was discontinued in 1996, just two years after this model was manufactured.

And by manufactured, we don’t mean as you see it here. What sits before our eyes is the result of customization work conducted by a Paris-based garage that goes by the name Blitz Motorcycles. This group has been responsible for other interesting remakes of older motorcycles, mostly BMWs and Kawasakis.

In the case of German bikes, Blitz seems to have a soft spot for military-oriented names. Another build of theirs, also based on the R100 (in GS configuration this time) was called Black Ops.

This one here is the Green Beret, named so because it kind of looks like something the American Special Forces soldiers would use while roaming some desert in search of the enemy.

Painted in a combination of khaki green and black, the frame hides the original engine, only reconditioned to be better suited for modern-day use. Several bespoke parts were added to the BMW, including mufflers, the black headlight, the rear loop and of course the seat. The most visible change is the fuel tank, of course, which in this case was sourced from a Honda CB 125 S.

We are not being told how much the rebuilding of the BMW R100 R cost, or where the bike eventually ended up. We’re pretty sure you haven’t seen it in a war zone, though.

MEMORIAL DAY from the MRF

By | General Posts

This Memorial Day weekend is unlike any we have experienced. Traditional motorcycle events honoring those lost in military service have been cancelled or postponed around the nation. We at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation are forever grateful to our brothers and sisters lost defending the freedoms we cherish. These trying times are an important reminder that freedom isn’t free.

As Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

As we try and return our lives to normal and spend time with family and friends, let’s all take a moment to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We at the MRF wish you and yours a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Ride Safe and Ride Free!

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety ofAmerican street motorcyclists. The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond.

What Memorial Day means to me?

By | General Posts

Memorial Day is a day for admiration towards those that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Memorial Day means more than just honoring those who died for their country on that day.

To me, it should be a reminder that we ought to appreciate these people every single day of our lives.

With Gratitude,

Dr. Hamster, DC

Harley-Davidson’s New “Exclusivity” Angle Misses the Point

By | General Posts

by James Brumley from https://www.fool.com

The iconic motorcycle maker is paring back production, rather than pricing, in an effort to foster an image of exclusivity.

If you’re one of the shrinking number of consumers planning to shop for a Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) at some point this year, don’t be surprised to see limited inventory once you can finally step foot in a dealership again. The company says restarted production facilities aren’t racing back to their full capacity. Around 70% of Harley dealers aren’t expected to receive any more new motorcycles this year. That’s alright by Harley, however, as the scarcity should ultimately improve the brand’s image of exclusivity.

That’s the theory anyway. The reality is the plan may ultimately backfire. Harley-Davidson doesn’t need more admiration from consumers. It needs to sell more motorcycles. The typical high price for your average “hog” makes the company’s bikes too exclusive as it is.

What they said

Harley-Davidson’s relatively new CEO Jochen Zeitz has been alluding to the idea since he took over as the interim chief in March. Most notably, during the company’s April earnings call, Zeitz explained the company will “prioritize the markets that matter.” He added, “We’ll narrow our focus, time, and energy in the most critical countries and market segments that can move the needle for us today.”

It was difficult to ferret out at the time, but in just the past several weeks, investors have watched Harley-Davidson scale back a bit on previous CEO Matt Levatich’s plan to launch smaller and lower-cost bikes, particularly overseas. His long-term goal was to drive international sales to half of the company’s revenue by 2027, but Zeitz may or may not be on board with his predecessor’s global ambition.

It was a memo from Harley’s director of product sales Beth Truett that cemented the paradigm shift in place. In her message to dealers intended to keep them informed of what lies ahead, she flatly explained: “Our strategy to limit motorcycle product in the showroom is purposefully designed to drive exclusivity.”

Translation: Harley-Davidson is looking to shrink its way to success.

Exclusivity doesn’t make them more affordable

It’s not a terrible strategy … but only for a name like Apple, which has had little trouble driving sales of smartphones that can cost over $1,000 apiece. For a company like Harley though, more exclusiveness misses the point. It doesn’t need to support bike prices with an air of exclusivity. Dealers get what they get for a new Harley motorcycle. They’re just selling fewer of them. The company has seen revenue dwindle every year since peaking in 2014. If anything, its present situation calls for more inclusivity rooted in greater affordability.

The numbers can be jaw-dropping. A high-end Harley can retail for as much as $30,000 (and sometimes more), yet a new, lower-cost Harley-Davidson motorcycle still sells for just a little under $10,000. Around that price point, riders are increasingly settling for similar but still-cheaper machines from names like Indian or Triumph, or Harley look-alikes from more familiar makers such as Honda or Kawasaki … or even a car.

Harley’s highly practical all-electric LiveWire couldn’t draw a decent crowd of buyers either, despite its distinctive non-Harley look. The culprit could be its $30,000 sticker price as well.

Millenials (have to) see things differently

The other headwind Harley-Davidson increasingly ignores by doubling down on its exclusivity strategy? The baby boomers who fell in love with the look of its motorcycles are aging out of their riding years, while the millennials who should be replacing them aren’t as interested in motorcycles from any manufacturer.

That premise is hotly debated but is supported by plenty of people who have their finger on the pulse of the marketplace. UBS analyst Robin Farley is one of those people. Of the UBS research on the matter published last year, CNBC quotes her as saying, “Unless there is a generational shift among younger riders to see motorcycling as a hobby vs. means of transportation, the outlook for the heavyweight industry could continue to be more dependent on an aging demographic.”

Underscoring the growing disinterest in bikes is waning sales of them. MotorCycles data reports that as of 2019, sales of motorbikes in the U.S. slumped for a fourth straight year, jibing with Harley-Davidson’s revenue contraction. The 2015 peak following the economic meltdown of 2008 never even came close to 2005’s cyclical peak in U.S. motorcycle sales, where Harley has to do well. More than half of its revenue comes from the U.S. alone.

It could all be an indication that today’s younger adults who have never seen a time without regular economic chaos simply can’t justify the financial risk of any expensive toys even if they can currently afford one.

In that vein, Bernstein analyst David Beckel pointed out back in 2018 that the “20 million [U.S.] millennials with student debt, the difference between $15,000 and $26,000 of student debt is $130/month, which is equivalent to a monthly loan payment on a ~$8,000 bike.”

Bottom line

It remains to be seen just how far Zeitz and Truett intend to press the exclusivity idea in an effort to support motorcycle prices that don’t actually need supporting. While the company may be ready to focus “time and energy in the most critical countries and market segments,” that doesn’t necessarily mean smaller and more affordable bikes are going to altogether go away. It also doesn’t inherently mean Harley-Davidson will completely abandon all but the most promising markets.

It’s concerning nonetheless, though. Most other consumer-discretionary names seem to be exploring ways of offering greater affordability in what could be a period of modest economic strength. Harley-Davidson could be pricing itself right out of the market.

Harley-Davidson El Ganador Is How the Brits Build Club Style Motorcycles

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Harley-Davidson’s King of Kings competition may have concluded last month, but it will probably be some time before all of the builds that were entered fade into history.

A souped-up version of Battle of the Kings, King of Kings was dedicated to the bike maker’s international dealers, which in their spare time find enough resources to modify existing Harleys. In fact, that is what the entire thing was about: take an existing Harley, make it unique within a €6,000 ($6,500) budget, and keep it street legal.

For a British Harley dealer that meant modifying a Roadster until it became El Ganador, a club style bike the likes of which are becoming increasingly popular in Europe.

“Club Style can be a blend of many things: paintwork that is very in your face – we’ve used a lot of hard candies, the metal flake in the paint, and serious patterns on El Ganador. “ says the dealer about the chosen motif.

“Club Style is based on performance and that’s why we went with æhlins suspension, chain and sprocket conversion, 2-1 exhaust system, upside-down forks and more.”

The changes to the Roadster were not limited to the things stated above. The bike also received the wheels from a 2009 883R for an old-school look, while the tank comes from a King Sportster simply because it’s bigger than what the base bike had.

The look of the El Ganador seems closer to that of the FXR because of the way in which the side panels have been shaped. Custom fenders, a new seat, and new chains complete the list of modifications made.

In the end, the El Ganador did not win the competition, but a Mexican build by the name Apex Predator did. However, this does not make the British build any less special, and you can enjoy all of it in the gallery above or in the video below.

 

Kawasaki Zundapp Is a Nod to a Bike Maker Few Remember

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

The name Zundapp has long left the motorcycle scene. The German bike maker arrived on the market a bit late compared to the competition, in 1917, and was open for business until 1984, when it went bankrupt.

As a result of both that, and the fact that the bikes they made were neither popular nor numerous, Zundapp may mean nothing to a lot of people. But there are some who resonate with the moniker, and go to great lengths to honor it.

What you see in the gallery above is a 2001 Kawasaki W 650, but it’s no longer called that, and it’s no longer stock either. The bike in this configuration is called Kawasaki Zundapp, as a tribute to Zundapp the company, and has been modified by a Paris based garage called Blitz Motorcycles.

The built was done on behalf of a customer who got the motorcycle bug on a Zundapp KS, a line of motorcycles dating back to the 1930s. And because Blitz is in the business of taking “a personal memory of the owner of the machine and find a way to include it in the making process of the new bike,” this was the idea that led to this creation.

The custom build called of course for the fitting of some special parts. The main added hardware is the fuel tank, sourced from a Zundapp KS model and fitted “as found,” without any visual modifications or repairs made to it, and only with functional changes made to make it fit on the frame.

The original frame of the Kawasaki was shortened by 3 inches, and the fork lost 1 inch from its length. The engine underwent a complete rebuild, a new chain was fitted, and a Triumph handlebar made its way up front.

We are not being told how much the process of making the Kawasaki look like this cost, but the result is a sight to behold.

Kodlin Comes to the USA

By | General Posts

Kodlin Lowering-Kit For Harley-Davidson® Milwaukee Eight® Softail Models.

FEATURES AND BENEFITS:

Lowers the bike up to 40 mm

“Plug and Play”! Kit does not require to shorten the threated rod or to send back the suspension for final assembly

Includes pre-installed new bearings

Includes instructions and TUV documents

Fitment

FLHC/FLHCS HERITAGE CLASSIC

FXBR/FXBRS BREAKOUT

FLFB/FLFBS FAT BOY

FLSB SPORT GLIDE

FXBS/FXFB FAT BOB

FLDE DELUXE

FXDR 114

 

About us:

 

In 1984, sparked by Fred Kodlin’s vision of creating custom bikes represented in a way the world hadn’t seen before, Kodlin Motorcycles was established. Pushing the boundaries of what a motorcycle can be, the Kodlin name has built a reputation for original bike building, cutting-edge product design and high-quality manufacturing. Now available worldwide, Fred and son Len have created a hybrid of accessories and design – inspired by both American and European influences, Kodlin accessories have distinct fit, form and functional characteristics not found on the market today.

 

info@KodlinUSA.com  www.KodlinUSA.com (North America, South America, APAC)

info@Kodlin.com  www.kodlin.com (Europe)