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Harley Davidson bikers enjoy Jaber Causeway morning ride

By | General Posts

by Ben Garcia from https://news.kuwaittimes.net

As part of US Embassy’s ‘Discover America’ activities

KUWAIT: US Charge d’Affairs and Deputy Chief of Mission Larry L Memmott flagged off on Friday a Harley Davidson motorcycle ride on one of the longest bridges in the world – Sheikh Jaber Causeway. It was part of the activities of 11-day Discover America 2019 event being held in Kuwait.

“I am happy to be here to inaugurate this event. It’s a 10-day demonstration of our culture, tradition, musical, food, restaurants, business, cars, education and today, motorbikes,” said Memmott. “Harley Davidson is a proudly American brand; in fact, it’s very iconic. It’s part of our cultural heritage and we are very proud of their achievements. If we talk about Harley Davidson, it’s about tradition and history, because they are in existence for the last 116 years and counting and will be there perhaps forever,” he said.

Riders from various nationalities participated in the event, which started from the Harley Davidson showroom in the Free Trade Zone in Shuwaikh down to Subiya via Jaber Causeway and back. “We are happy to host this major as event part of Discover America. We have participants from all over Kuwait; they hail from various nationalities and backgrounds. I think we have more than 100 bikers. They are here to support us,” Memmott said.

Prior to the motorcycle ride, bikers gathered at the Harley Davidson showroom for breakfast and a briefing. Harley Davidson is also offering a 25 percent discount on all its merchandise displayed at the showroom. “Please visit and be there in the remaining days of event as we want to demonstrate mostly American brands; participating outlets normally give major discounts to everyone. Just like Sultan Center – they have more than 4,000 products on display and they are all from America. Most of the items will be offered at a discounted price. Also, we have seminars and business opportunities for everyone – we have movies and concerts too,” Memmott added.

Discover America is an annual event organized by the US Embassy in partnership with the American Business Council of Kuwait to promote US products and services. This year’s event is being sponsored by Ali Al-Mutawa Commercial Company, McDonalds, Cadillac by Alghanim, Del Monte, Francorp and IFA Travel and Tourism.

Hadin Panther Brings American Cruiser Look to Electric Motorcycles

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

In the past few years, the electrification bug has spread to the motorcycle industry. A great deal of startups have come and went, presenting the weirdest of concepts and, at times, bikes that would actually (probably) make it into production. But, so far, nothing truly extraordinary great has made it our way.

Some could argue that Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire motorcycle is the breakthrough they’ve been waiting for. Technologically speaking, that may be true, but as far as design goes, the LiveWire is far from the look some were anticipating.

To date, very few, if none, cruiser-shaped electric bikes have been shown. But that could change as soon as next week’s EICMA 2019 show in Milan, Italy.

We’re expecting to see a wealth of high profile bikes on the floor of the Rho Fairgrounds, but few will probably be as exciting as the Hadin Panther.

Little is known at the moment about both the bike and the company that supposedly makes it. Hadin is said to be a California-based enterprise that took it upon itself to create a more Harley-like electric motorcycle that Harley itself is capable of. A bike that is „smart, comfy, clean, safe and steady.”

Officially, nothing was revealed yet about the bike’s technical capabilities, but there are rumors about the so called Hadin Panther providing 100 miles of range (160 km), a top speed of 80 mph (130 kph), and an electric motor capable of churning out a shameful 60 hp of power.

There are a few images of the bike circulating online, showing a very American-looking bike, but we’ll have to wait for the official unveiling to see some more.

If you plan on finding more about the bike and the company, you could head over to the official website, but you’d only be greeted by a landing page meant to build anticipation for the official presentation.

Australian Forcite MK1 smart motorcycle helmet is coming to the U.S.

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by Bruce Brown from https://www.digitaltrends.com

Australian smart motorcycle helmet maker Forcite broke through the barriers that prevented several earlier smart helmet makers from going to production with heavily hyped designs. The initial run of 1,000 MK1 Founders Edition helmets sold out quickly, according to founder and CEO Alfred Boyadgis, 700 of which sold in the first 48 hours. Next on the horizon, Forcite intends to bring the MK1 to the U.S. in 2020.

Forcite’s MK1 patented helmet tech Raydar system includes LED technology currently used in Formula 1 race cars, a Sony HD video camera, dual microphones and ultra-thin 8mm speakers, and a fingertip handlebar controller. Data streams to the helmet via Forcite’s cloud-based server system, with information that includes directions, hazards, and alerts.

The MK1’s LED system uses visual cues on the visor for directions, weather, and other alerts with a combination of a flashing band of colored light just below the visor and audio messages. A green light indicates a turn coming up, blue is for the weather, orange is a caution signal, and flashing red and blue indicates police nearby. The whole point of the integrated components is to communicate to the rider without requiring eyes off the road.

The Sony military-grade camera has near-infrared sensors, an extra-wide 166-degree diagonal field of vision. The camera records continuous video for up to five hours. The camera is on the helmet front, just below the integrated visor.

According to Forcite, the MK1 audio system blocks road noise for phone calls, streaming music, or inter-helmet communication with other MK1 users. An onboard computer located in the lower front section manages the helmet’s sensors and audio and camera controls.

The MK1 helmet is designed to be both strong and lightweight, which means it’s made out of carbon fiber; the shell is a T-400 carbon fiber composite. The helmet weighs just 3.4 pounds, and Forcite claims it meets both ECE 22.05 and Department of Transportation certifications. There are eight ventilation ports, four in front, two on top, and two in the rear, all designed for maximum airflow with minimum noise.

The MKI has a UV400-rated visor and free anti-fog inserts. Interchangeable visors are available with clear, smoke, and iridium tints. There’s also an internal pull-down UV400 sun visor. To keep the helmet sanitary inside, Forcite uses an antibacterial and anti-odor inner liner riders can remove for washing.

You don’t need to touch the helmet to turn functions on or off, take calls, repeat instructions, or operate the MK1’s tech in any way. The Forcite handlebar control manages all operations so you can keep both hands on the bars while you ride.

Boyadgis and key members of the Forcite management staff are in the U.S. this month meeting with dealerships, establishing relationships, and holding events where prospective buyers can experience the MK1 on a closed track.

Forcite has not yet announced a date for the U.S. availability of the MK1, but the plan is to begin selling the helmet in the U.S. in 2020. Boyadgis expect the MK1 price will be less than $1,000 when it is available.

Only 2 Weeks Till Raffle Day

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November 9th is only two weeks away, and we’re gearing up for one of the best days of the year. One lucky winner will be taking home this beautiful 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, not to mention a second prize winner taking home $10,000 and a third prize winner $5,000. Now is the time to get your last minute tickets for the 2019 Raffle Bike.

https://wheelsthroughtime.com/win-this-bike/

Now until raffle day, we’re giving away 2 separate prizes to two separate winners for everyone who enters the annual raffle at the “Better Deal” Package or higher. We’re offering a chance to win a 3-day 2-night stay at Elk Ridge Cabin and a chance to win our Vintage Racing Jersey! That means you have 2 chances to win one of these prizes from this special!

The 2019 Raffle Bike

The 2019 Wheels Through Time Raffle Bike is a stunning 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead Bobber, painstakingly rebuilt in the WTT Restoration shop by museum founder and curator Dale Walksler and his team. The bike features a first year 61 c.i. OHV engine based around a genuine pair of new old stock replacement knucklehead engine cases mated to a 4-speed transmission in Harley-Davidson’s classic black and vermilion red with gold striping. This marks the second year in a row that Wheels Through Time will be raffling off the Holy-Grail of all American motorcycles. Many of the motorcycle industry’s top vendors collaborated with their parts, service, and expertise.
The raffle takes place in front of a live audience on Saturday, Nov 9th, 2019 at the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC. Second prize is $10k, and 3rd prize is $5k — you do not have to be present to win.

We wish you the greatest luck in the Wheels Through Time Annual Motorcycle Raffle!

UM halts India operations

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The American bike maker has halted production at its Kashipur plant in Uttarakhand and the joint venture with Lohia Auto looks to be strained.

Following reports of several UM motorcycle showrooms shutting down in India, it is learnt that American bike maker United Motors has stopped its operations in India and that the joint venture with Lohia Auto looks to be strained. With this, it joins the list of automakers to exit India which includes General Motors and MAN Truck & Bus AG.

The last UM product launched was the Renegade Commando Classic, priced at Rs 1.89 lakh in September 2017. The long-drawn slowdown in the two-wheeler industry seems to have hit the company hard and production at its Kashipur plant in Uttarakhand seems to have stopped.

Understandably, UM motorcycle dealers of are getting furtive, given that there are no new product launches expected any time soon. Also, it appears that UM is facing a financial crisis globally and reports say that the company has shut its operations in China.

In an interaction with our sister publication, Autocar Professional, Ayush Lohia, CEO, Lohia Auto Industries, explained, “Our JV with UM Motorcycles was of a 50:50 nature. UM Motorcycles is currently not able to invest any money in India and thus the Kashipur plant in Uttarakhand is not manufacturing any of the UM motorcycles.”

UM motorcycles were built with 40 percent localised parts and 60 percent imported bits. While most of the local suppliers are based in North India, the imported parts were being sourced from Indonesia, Thailand and a few other countries. Ayush Lohia confirmed that all the supplies for the last UM motorcycles produced have been paid for and no new parts are to arrive at the plant. However, Lohia says not all hope is lost in the JV and he does not plan to dissolve it any time soon.

Not too long ago, till April 2019, United Motors was retailing around 200 motorcycles a month in India. At present, most of its dealers have pulled down shutters while a few are open just for the servicing process. Acknowledging the Indian dealers’ plight, Lohia said, “We are awaiting clarity from our partner as regards addressing our dealers’ condition. For the time being though, since UM is showing no intention of going ahead with its India operations, I am not able to give a confirmed status of the current scenario of the brand in India.”

It may be noted that after April 2019, reports began coming in of UM discontinuing its operations temporarily in India as none of its products had ABS. Around the same time, official reports from the company stated that new launches could be expected during the festive season.

United Motors’ product portfolio in India includes the Renegade Commando, Renegade Sport S, Renegade Mojave and Renegade Classic – all American-styled cruiser motorcycles powered by the same 300cc liquid-cooled engines. It was speculated that UM was supposed to come out with a 150cc scooter this year, called the ‘Chill 150 ABS’. In the current scenario, that project seems to be in the pigeonhole.

Cleveland motorcycles shutdown India operations

By | General Posts

by Satya from https://www.rushlane.com

Cleveland is the 2nd American motorcycle brand, after UM, to leave India in recent time.

Amidst persistent downturn in auto sector and a slowing economy, Cleveland Cyclewerks has discontinued India operations. While an official confirmation is yet to be provided, a report from Express Drives said that the company’s assembly plant in Pune has not been operational for last eight months.

Several factors seem to be responsible for Cleveland Cyclewerks’ exit from Indian market. Primary among them include the relatively high cost of its motorcycles and the company’s inability to comply with new safety norms such as mandatory ABS. The company was also not able to deal with negative perceptions related to its use of Chinese parts.

Unlike other brands in this segment such as Royal Enfield, which have a rich history dating back to several decades, Cleveland Cyclewerks was a relatively unknown brand in the Indian market. The company was launched in 2009 in United States and its business model is quite simple. Most of its motorcycles use chassis from other motorcycle makers and low cost components from Taiwan and China. The choice of engine is usually Honda.

Cleveland Cyclewerks had made its debut in India at 2018 Auto Expo and had subsequently launched two motorcycles, Ace and Misfit. While Ace was positioned as a retro-modern scrambler, Misfit derived inspiration from a cafe racer. Both these bikes were imported in India as CKDs and assembled at the company’s facility in Pune.

Both bikes utilized a 229 cc, air-cooled engine that generated max power of 15.4 hp and max torque of 16 Nm. This was less than even lower capacity motorcycles. Ace and Misfit were launched at a starting price of 2.23 lakh. This is more expensive than Royal Enfield Classic 350, their main rival.

These factors worked against the company and sales of Ace and Misfit never really took off. The company had opened its first dealership in Mumbai and had plans to open 100 more dealerships by 2019. However, with meagre sales, the plans failed to materialize. The report says that employees of the company were asked to resign at short notice.

If you own an Ace or Misfit, it would be difficult to say how you will get your bike serviced. You will probably have to rely on the expertise of your local mechanic or branded garage shops.

Introducing the PowerPlus Engine

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Indian Motorcycles are delivering their all-new liquid-cooled PowerPlus V-twin, which is now the most powerful engine in its class.

We have raised the bar for American motorcycles with our most powerful engine to date, the PowerPlus. The all-new 108 cu in, liquid-cooled V-twin engine delivers a class leading 122 hp and 128 ft-lbs of torque, establishing a new standard for V-twin performance.

Tested, Refined, Proven
We put the PowerPlus through the industry’s most rigorous development and testing program. We piled on almost one million miles of simulated testing, including state-of-the-art dyno testing and over 250,000 miles on the road.

Power you can depend on
The PowerPlus motor’s overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder deliver incredible V-twin power. Hydraulic valve lash adjusters and hydraulic camshaft chain tensioners make it easy to maintain and reliable.

All new powertrain
Six-speed transmission with true overdrive, assist clutch to reduce effort and three ride modes – Rain, Standard and Sport. Now riders can customize throttle mappings and traction control settings to their riding preferences.

Iconic heritage
A nod to Indian Motorcycle’s iconic history, the new PowerPlus motor is named after one of our original motorcycles, produced from 1916 to 1924.

Modern performance

  • Engine Displacement: 108 cu in (1769 cc)
  • Power: 122 hp at 5,500 RPM
  • Torque: 128 ft-lbs at 3,800 RPM
  • Maximum Engine Speed: 6,500 RPM
  • Architecture: 60-degree V-twin, liquid-cooled
  • Timing: Overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder
  • Transmission: Six-speed with true overdrive, constant mesh
  • Clutch: Assist clutch

Our all-new liquid-cooled PowerPlus V-twin is the most powerful engine in its class. With overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder delivering a blistering 122hp and 128 ft-lbs of torque, it redefines American performance.

 

Harley struggles to fire up new generation of riders with electric bike debut

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by Rajesh Kumar Singh from https://www.reuters.com/

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N) is betting on electric motorcycles to attract the next generation of younger and more environmentally conscious riders to reverse declining U.S. sales.

But as Harley ships its first “LiveWire” bikes – priced at $29,799 – to dealers, there is little evidence the 116-year-old brand is catching on with new young customers.

The problem lies mostly with this “super-premium” product’s price. The bike costs nearly as much as a Tesla Model 3, and aims for a market that does not really exist: young, “green” and affluent first-time motorcyclists.

The sleek sport bike has been available for preorder in the United States since January. However, the bulk of the orders are coming in from existing and old riders, according to interviews with 40 of the 150 dealerships nationwide that are carrying the bike this year.

The dealers Reuters spoke with account for little over a quarter of LiveWire dealerships and are spread across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, California, Nevada, New Jersey and New York.

Harley has for years failed to increase sales in the United States, its top market accounting for more than half of its motorcycles sold. As its tattooed, baby-boomer base ages, the Milwaukee-based company is finding it challenging to woo new customers.

In 2018, Harley posted the steepest sales decline in four years in the United States. U.S. sales are tipped to fall again this year.

Harley Davidson’s U.S. Retail Sales

Grappling with an ageing customer base and the waning charm for its big bikes, Harley has failed to post sales growth in the United States – its biggest market – in the past four years.

The heavyweight motorcycle maker’s stock price has declined by 42% in the past five years. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index .SPX has gained 47%.

Price Barrier
When Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich announced LiveWire’s launch last year, his hope was the ease of riding motorcycles with no gears or clutch would help attract young and environmentally conscious urban riders.

In an interview with Reuters in February 2018, Levatich said the bike would help address Harley’s demographic problem.

“It is more about the next century than the last century,” he said at the time.

The preorders, thus far, have belied those hopes, according to the dealers.

“It is appealing to a demographic that is already riding,” said Gennaro Sepe, a sales manager at a Harley dealership in Chicago. His store has received four preorders for the bike. All of them are from existing riders.

Harley declined to comment on LiveWire preorders.

The motorcycle maker is not the only company investing in battery-powered transportation.

Tougher emissions rules in Europe, China and the United States are forcing auto companies to switch to electrified models. A survey of U.S. millennial motorcyclists, published in February by the Motorcycle Industry Council, found 69% of the riders interested in electric motorcycles.

Harley’s dealers said they are getting inquiries from young customers, but are struggling to translate them into sales. A key reason: LiveWire’s retail price.

“Interest is very high,” said a sales manager at a New Jersey-based dealership, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to media. “But once you get to pricing, interest is thrown out of the window.”

Over half of young college graduates in America, whom Harley is courting with battery-powered bikes, are saddled with student loans that entail average repayment of $200 to $300 per month.

Harley is not offering any discount or incentives to push the sales, either, the dealers said.

In an interview with CNBC television in May, Levatich called LiveWire “one of the best engineered products on the market” and said it was worth its price.

Gary Jon Prough, general sales manager at a dealership in Countryside, Illinois, said the vast majority of millennials cannot afford the bike as LiveWire is targeted at young and affluent customers with incomes above $100,000 a year.

Tesla’s Way

To drive up sales, Prough and other dealers expect Harley to go Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) way: launch more affordable battery-powered vehicles after creating a buzz with the premium model.

Tesla’s first electric car cost over $100,000, but prices came down with subsequent models. Its Model 3 now comes with a base price of $35,000 and was instrumental in lifting its vehicle deliveries to a record level in the latest quarter.

Traditional Harley Davidson entry-level bikes cost about $6,900.

The motorcycle maker has plans to bring out four more electrified models in the mid-power, low-power, e-bicycles and kids’ two-wheeler segments by 2022.

But unlike Tesla, Harley does not enjoy the true first mover’s advantage.

California-based Zero Motorcycles is already selling electric bikes in the United States with retail prices ranging from $8,500 to $21,000. Its top-end bike – SR/F – is similar to LiveWire, but costs nearly $9,000 less.

Still, Bob Clark, a dealer for Zero’s bikes in Chicago, says he has not yet sold one SR/F to riders under the age of 35. All three electric bikes he sold to young riders this year were in the $10,000 price range.

“Young riders are environmentally conscious, but are also very price-sensitive,” Clark said.

It is not just pricing. LiveWire’s limited range is also hampering its sales.

The bike can travel 146 miles (235 km) in the city or 95 miles in combined city and highway riding per charge. An ordinary household outlet can provide an overnight charge, while Level 3 direct current fast chargers stationed at Harley dealers will fully charge the bike in 60 minutes.

This renders LiveWire less effective for longer-distance rides, limiting its appeal among rural riders who prefer touring bikes.

Seven Harley dealerships told Reuters they have not even bothered ordering the bike, which would require investing in a Level 3 charging station and training staff.

An Ohio-based dealer, who had initially signed up for LiveWire, said he pulled out at the last minute as he was not sure of the bike’s demand in his area.

Delayed Arrival

A delay in LiveWire’s arrival in stores has left the dealers in the Midwest and the East Coast with hardly a month to aggressively push the bike before the snow season sets in. Winter generally means a lull for motorcycle sales.

When dealers began taking preorders, the delivery was expected in August, but was later shifted to September. On Sept. 30, the dealers Reuters spoke with were still waiting for the first bike.

In a Twitter post on Oct. 2, Harley said the bikes are starting to arrive at authorized dealers. The tweet also carried a picture of the first LiveWire that was “rolled off the line” at its York, Pennsylvania, facility in late September.

With the demand rather limited, the dealers said, Harley has decided to keep the supplies tight in order to protect the bike’s brand value and prevent any price-discounting pressure. The dealers said they are all expecting to receive less than 10 LiveWires this year.

James Hardiman, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, reckons Harley would sell between 400 and 1,600 LiveWires in the first year. That is not even 1% of the 228,051 bikes it sold worldwide last year.

“This is going to be largely a rounding error certainly this year and even next,” Hardiman said.

Indian motorcycles taps into 100-year roots with Japan relaunch

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By Chester Dawson and Reed Stevenson from Bloomberg and https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Even though Japan’s population is shrinking and economic growth is tepid, the archipelago is one of the top five markets for heavy bikes. Polaris is seeking to boost Indian’s single-digit market share to 10% by 2025.

A century ago, Indian motorcycles were the brand of choice for Japan’s police. They were called “aka-bai” — or red bikes — because of their color. Now, the maker of big American two-wheelers is seeking to recapture some of that glory with a brand relaunch.

Recreational vehicle maker Polaris Inc., which makes and sells Indian bikes, is betting that it can gain market share from entrenched foreign rivals such as BMW Motorrad and Harley-Davidson Inc. Instead of relying on a single distributor, the Medina, Minnesota-based company now has its own operations in Japan, with plans to double its store count to 30.

Even though Japan’s population is shrinking and economic growth is tepid, the archipelago is one of the top five markets for heavy bikes. Polaris is seeking to boost Indian’s single-digit market share to 10% by 2025. It has taken direct control over local marketing, which it had outsourced after buying the Indian Motorcycle brand and relaunching it globally in 2011.

“We weren’t doing the rational thing in Japan,” said Kintaro Izumida, general manager of Polaris in Japan. He works out of an office in Yokohama with about a half-dozen other employees. “Now we’re going to do that.”

Harley provides a rich target as the longtime market leader among import brands, with a 44% share of the 20,385 bikes sold last year, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Association.

Japan’s domestic bike makers — Honda Motor Co., Kawasaki Motors Corp., Suzuki Motor Corp. and Yamaha Motor Co. — specialize in smaller-engine mass market bikes, with relatively few high-end motorcycles with engine displacements of more than 1000cc.

“They are very strong manufacturers with really strong brand, but we don’t really go head-to-head,” Steve Menneto, president of Polaris’s Indian motorcycle division, said in a phone interview. “For a small island, it’s amazing how much appreciation there is for motorcycles, and premium motorcycles at that.”

The move comes as U.S. motorcycle sales face headwinds, which is prompting American brands to look abroad for growth. Last month, Harley-Davidson said it anticipates international sales to expand to half its business.

Japan is a natural market because it has the type of well-heeled buyer who can splurge for bikes that start at $8,999 for the Indian Scout, and top $29,000 for the brand’s Touring model. Partly due to its international exposure, Polaris’s sales rose in the first six months and the company forecasts a full-year gain in the low to mid-teens over the segment’s 2018 revenue of $546 million.

Indian’s retro-styling and long history in the U.S. and overseas is a selling point in Japan, where brand identity is a key differentiator. That extends beyond the bikes into lifestyle categories such as Indian-branded accessories and apparel, which account about a fifth of his division’s revenue.

“The awareness of the Indian brand in Japan is pretty strong,” said Izumida, noting it was the favored brand of a famous sumo wrestler who became the father of pro wrestling in Japan.