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

By | General Posts

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

By | General Posts

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.

Harley-Davidson Named an Official OEM Partner of American Flat Track for 2019

By | General Posts

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 2, 2019) – American Flat Track and Harley-Davidson® Motor Company announce today a continuation of their long-standing partnership for 2019. Previously the Official Motorcycle of the AFT Twins class, the American motorcycle icon will now join AFT’s existing family of partners as an Official OEM Partner of American Flat Track.

Celebrating its 116th year of manufacturing, the Milwaukee-based Fortune 500 company has been at the heart of professional flat track since its beginnings. 

“Harley-Davidson has supported the sport of American Flat Track for decades,” said Michael Lock, CEO of American Flat Track. “Our fans understand the deep affection Harley-Davidson has for America’s Original Extreme Sport and their iconic XR750 dominated the field for so long that it has become the most successful racing motorcycle of all time. Without Harley-Davidson this sport would not be here to enjoy its current resurgence and we are delighted to continue that partnership.”

As American Flat Track enters its 66th consecutive year of competition, Harley-Davidson looks to continue to build its AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines program. Hosting two of the sports strongest riders – Sammy Halbert and Jarod Vanderkooi – aboard the newly-improved Harley-Davidson XG750R, the Factory Harley-Davidson effort has already boasted three top-10 finishes in 2019.

“Harley-Davidson is excited to once again collaborate with American Flat Track to extend the Harley-Davidson’s legacy and commitment to professional flat track racing,” said Eric Jensen, Brand Marketing Lead for Harley-Davidson. “Our dealers, employees and customers continue to enjoy the competition and entertainment provided by the series, and the inspiration that brings to the next generation of riders.”

Throughout the season, camera crews for American Flat Track’s coverage on NBCSN will capture the action of the Harley-Davidson Factory riders both on and off the track. Additionally, fans on social media will have full access to behind-the-scenes content through Harley-Davidson’s social media channels.

The 2019 season continues on April 20 with the Texas Half-Mile presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys at Texas Motor Speedway. Watch as AFT Twins and Roof Systems presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys AFT Singles competitors bang bars in the hunt for the championship. Do not miss the premiere of the AFT Production Twins class at this iconic racetrack in the heartland of Texas. Tickets available now at www.americanflattrack.com.

For more information on Harley-Davidson, visit www.harley-davidson.com.

For more information on American Flat Track visit www.americanflattrack.com.

To get the latest American Flat Track clothing and merchandise visit www.americanflattracker.com.

How to Watch:

NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track. For the 2019 season, NBCSN’s coverage of AFT moves to highly-coveted, weekend afternoon programming slots within two weeks of each event. The complete schedule for AFT on NBCSN can be viewed at http://www.americanflattrack.com/events-nbcsn/. FansChoice.tv remains a cornerstone of AFT’s digital strategy, providing live streaming coverage of every event on AFT’s live page while previous events and exclusive features are available on AFT’s VOD page.

U.S.A. Now Has More Millionaires Than Sweden Has People

By | General Posts
FROM: www.FunTagger.com Tag - Good news

FROM: www.FunTagger.com Tag – Good news

FROM: www.FunTagger.com Tag – Good news

USA continues to prove that it is indeed the “Land of Opportunity” – “The Promised Land” – a place where anyone with true enterprise can achieve “The American Dream”.

The number of wealthy households in the U.S. reached a new high last year, roughly equivalent to the entire population of Sweden or Portugal.

More than 10.2 million households had a net worth of $1 million to $5 million, not including the value of their primary residence, according to a survey by the Spectrem Group. That’s an increase of 2.5 percent from 2017.

READ News Story at: FunTagger.com by Clicking here

Bauman & Janisch Dominate DAYTONA TT

By | General Posts

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 14, 2019) – Briar Bauman (No. 14 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) kicked off his 2019 AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines championship campaign in front of AFT’s largest crowd at the Daytona International Speedway with a statement victory in Thursday night’s American Flat Track season opener, the third annual DAYTONA TT presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys.

Bauman went handlebar-to-handlebar with brother Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) on the opening lap of the 25-lap Main Event under the lights at Daytona International Speedway to secure the lead. Once established, Bauman systematically stretched out an imposing advantage at the front.

TT legend Henry Wiles (No. 17 Bandit Industries/DPC Racing/Wilco Racing Indian FTR750) was desperate to give chase but found himself trapped behind Bauman’s brother and teammate as the leader made his escape.

Wiles finally made his way through near half distance, but at that point it didn’t make a difference. Bauman continued to race off into the distance, further opening the gap before finally cruising past the legendary tri-oval’s start/finish stripe for the final time with a 5.149-second margin of victory.

“To hop out there in the front — it’s all about trying to put in a gap in the beginning,” Bauman said. “I’ve been training hard this offseason. I tried to throw down as much as I could and get a little bit of a gap and maintain the rest of the race.”

Even before Thursday’s win, the ascending Bauman’s profile was rapidly on the rise. And now as the newest member of Indian’s Wrecking Crew, he’s well positioned to take the next step forward and make a run at the 2019 AFT Twins Championship — as evidenced by his stunning form in the season opener.

Besides handing him the (very) early title advantage, Bauman’s triumph also brings the DAYTONA TT win streak of reigning Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) to a halt at two. Those prior victories served as springboards for dominant title runs in ‘17 and ‘18, but Mees’ ‘19 opener packed at least a half-season’s worth of drama into a single night. Mees crashed twice in the Semi and then retired with a mechanical issue in the Main while running fifth.

Jake Johnson (No. 5 Estenson Racing/Monster Energy Yamaha MT-07 DT) gave Yamaha’s trick new flat track machine a podium debut by finishing in third behind Bauman and Wiles.

Meanwhile, Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R Rev X) registered perhaps the hero ride of the evening. After being forced to use a Provisional Start just to make the Main, Vanderkooi battled his way up from the back of the pack to an eventual fourth.

Bronson Bauman rounded out the top five.

Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Browns Motorcycle Attorneys.

Jesse Janisch (No. 132 Roof Systems Dallas TX/Öhlins Yamaha YZ450F) added yet another blowout TT victory to his burgeoning résumé with a wire-to-wire win in the Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys Main Event at the DAYTONA TT.

Janisch pushed hard on the race’s opening lap to corral the field behind him and then took full advantage of his superior speed with an open track in front of him. He ultimately wheelied past the checkered flag with a comfortable 2.577 seconds to spare.

“To start off Daytona with a victory… it’s amazing,” Janisch said. “Last year, we left here with a second, and that was a great way to start off the season. Just putting in all the work over the course of the winter and leaving here with a win is amazing. The Roof Systems team has really made a home for me. We’ve really built a great program.”

Janisch was followed to the line by Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 D&D Cycles/FlatTrack.com KTM 450 SX-F), who registered a remarkable ride to complete his “Road to Recovery” where he started it — on the podium.

Gauthier was victorious in the first AFT Singles DAYTONA TT Main Event back in 2017 and was stacking wins on top of that one before being suspended for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. After sitting out the majority of the past two seasons, Gauthier only learned he would be eligible to compete again days ago. He made the most of his second chance.

And in an always merciless DAYTONA TT in which numerous AFT Singles title hopefuls don’t even make the Main Event due to the ocean deep field teeming with big name wild cards hailing from multiple nations and racing disciplines, defending class champ Dan Bromley (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) just did what he does.

After earning last year’s crown on the strength of 13 podiums in 18 races, Bromley is now one for one in 2019 to open his title defense with a third-place result.

Long-time AFT Twins competitor Mikey Rush (No. 15 RMR Honda, Red Riders Rewards Honda CRF450R) and up-and-coming Australian Max Whale (No. 18 Weirbach Racing Kawasaki KX450F) completed the top five.

Be sure to tune into the feature broadcast of the DAYTONA TT on NBCSN with flag-to-flag coverage of both Main Events enhanced by in-depth coverage of the many dramatic storylines through exclusive athlete features and interviews. and onboard footage. It will debut on Sunday, March 24, at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT and will re-air on Thursday, March 28, at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT.

American Flat Track will be back in action for Round 2 of the 2019 season in just over a week’s time as the series travels to Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga., for the Atlanta Short Track presented by Cycle Gear on Saturday, March 23. Live coverage can be viewed on FansChoice.tvstarting at 1:30 p.m. ET with Opening Ceremonies scheduled to get underway at 7:20 p.m. ET. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at https://tickets.americanflattrack.com/.

How to Watch:
NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track. For the 2019 season, NBCSN’s coverage of AFT moves to highly-coveted, weekend afternoon programming slots within two weeks of each event. The complete schedule for AFT on NBCSN can be viewed at http://www.americanflattrack.com/events-nbcsn/. FansChoice.tv remains a cornerstone of AFT’s digital strategy, providing live streaming coverage of every event on AFT’s live page while previous events and exclusive features are available on AFT’s VOD page.

Radical Bikernet Weekly News for March 7, 2019

By | General Posts

Life is a Scramble then it Ends
Weekly News By Bandit, Rogue, Bob T., Barry Green, Sam Burns, Laura, the Redhead, Paul Garson, Wayfarer and the rest of the crew

Hey,
I got to thinking the other day. Bikernet and being a member of Bandit’s Cantina makes you a member of a radical, freedom fighter group. I’ve often been pointed at by other agencies as a notorious helmet law fighter, a freedom fighter, a gun owner and supporter, a veteran, and a climate denier.

That puts you in an elite group of people who don’t believe in doomsday because your wife drives an SUV. It places you squarely with folks who don’t want to torture the entire population with laws that might save one life or kill another. It puts you in a group who believes in the freedom to build whatever you want, to take risks with your life, to protect yourself and your family and to ride with the wind. Sounds good to me. Let’s hit the news.

QUICK, CLICK TO READ THE NEWS THIS WEEK RIGHT HERE!!!

The Bikernet Weekly News is sponsored in part by companies who also dig Freedom including: Cycle Source Magazine, the MRF, Las Vegas Bikefest, Iron Trader News, ChopperTown, BorntoRide.com and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Most recently the Smoke Out and Quick Throttle Magazine came on board.

Erik Buell launches electric motorcycle brand

By | General Posts

Erik Buell is riding back to motorcycle business with Frederic Vasseur of Formula E and F1 fame and entrepreneur, Francois Terny. Buell is all set to launch an electric motorcycle brand called Fuell.

Fuell Flow comes in 11kW (125cc-equivalent) or 35kW (A2-licence equivalent) versions and uses a hub motor on the rear wheel to leave space for 50 litres of integrated storage.

Fuell claims a city range of 125 miles for the Flow needing charging at a public charger. It carries an American price of $10,995.

The Fuell Fluid is an e-bike with a range of 125 miles at 20mph or 28mph versions producing almost 74ftlb of torque from two 500Wh, removable batteries.

The Fluid also uses a virtually maintenance-free carbon belt drive system and internal hub gears.

Fluid will cost $3295 in America, with financing options for both bikes favouring usage over ownership through credit, leasing or battery leasing.

More will be revealed in the coming months, but Fuell claim that deliveries of the Fluid will start in 2019, with the Flow rolling out in 2021.

There’s no mention of whether the bikes will be introduced in Europe.

H-D 2019 Electra Glide Standard new model announcement

By | General Posts

MY19 FLHT Electra Glide Standard. Touring.

Harley-Davidson ELECTRA GLIDE STANDARD delivers an elemental Touring experience powered by the Milwaukee-Eight engine

MILWAUKEE (Mar. 4, 2019) –Powered by the muscular Milwaukee-Eight™ 107 engine, the new Electra Glide Standard is a “Dressed down Dresser” that provides a raw, fundamental riding experience inspired by Harley-Davidson’s Grand American Touring roots.

Designed for the traditional touring customer, the Electra Glide Standard is for the rider seeking to disconnect from all the noise of the day-to-day through riding. No screens, simply a motorcycle that provides and heightens the experience of the journey. This fundamental experience is a key element in the design and engineering of the Electra Glide Standard.

The Electra Glide Standard features essential Harley-Davidson styling elements such as the iconic batwing fairing, chrome trim, standard saddle bags, and cast aluminum wheels. Chrome accents are added in high-impact design areas and complemented by polished rocker, cam and derby covers and select blacked out components – a blend of traditional elements and modern trends.

“To express the stripped-back essence of the Electra Glide Standard we focused on finishes that were simple, timeless, and fundamental to the Harley-Davidson’s touring line. Chrome was added to key components and complimented by polished and blacked out parts, said Harley-Davidson’s Vice President of Styling & Design Brad Richards. “The rocker, cam, and derby covers are finished with chrome to emphasize the V-Twin shape of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. In addition, they add a dose of nostalgia that draws a through-line all the way back to the first Electra Glide.”

To provide a raw touring motorcycle experience without riding compromises, the Electra Glide Standard features all the latest ride and handling technology of Harley-Davidson’s Touring line such as standard electronic cruise control, hand-adjustable emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers, 49mm front forks with Showa dual bending valve suspension, and Brembo brakes with optional Reflex Linked and ABS features.

MY19 FLHT Electra Glide Standard. Touring.

A central part of the riding experience, and a highlight of the Electra Glide Standard, is its Milwaukee Eight 107 cu. in. V-twin engine that features sleek, modern styling that respects the heritage of previous Harley-Davidson big twin engines.

In the Electra Glide Standard, the Milwaukee Eight provides the performance and riding benefits that riders the world over regard and appreciate with quick throttle response, plenty of passing power, and the iconic Harley-Davidson big twin sound.

The Electra Glide Standard is a showcase of an aspect of Harley-Davidson’s More Roads promise to continue to lead the heavyweight Touring segment with compelling products that inspire more riders to fully engage in the sport of motorcycling.

The Electra Glide Standard model is offered in Vivid Black with an M.S.R.P. of $18,999*

* Prices listed are the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices for base models. Options such as color are available at additional cost. Prices exclude tax, title, licensing, registration fees, destination charges, added accessories, and additional dealer charges, if any, and are subject to change. Harley-Davidson reimburses dealers for performing manufacturer-specified pre-delivery inspection and setup tasks. Dealer prices may vary.

About Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Since 1903, Harley-Davidson has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom by leading the innovation of two-wheeled mobility. The company offers an expanding range of leading-edge, distinctive and customizable motorcycles and brings the brand to life through Harley-Davidson riding experiences and exceptional motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel. Learn more about how Harley-Davidson is Building the Next Generation of Riders at www.harley-davidson.com.