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Electric motorcycles made and designed in Singapore set to rev up Southeast Asia

By | General Posts

by Zhaki Abdullah from https://www.channelnewsasia.com

SINGAPORE: Although the COVID-19 pandemic had affected their initial plans, two Singapore-based start-ups are still set on revving up efforts to produce their own electric motorbikes.

This comes as Singapore relaxed its rules on electric motorcycles in April, allowing high-powered motorbikes with power ratings of more than 10kW to be on the roads as part of efforts to encourage the adoption of cleaner vehicles.

The coronavirus outbreak has caused “little hiccups” in its supply chain, said Scorpio Electric’s acting head of operations Muhammad Taureza.

But the brand remains on track to roll out its zero-emission, fully electric smart motorcycles, with no “appreciable delay”, he said, adding that it aims to do so by the middle of this year, or as soon as the COVID-19 situation stabilises.

Scorpio Electric is a brand under Singapore-based EuroSports Technologies, which is backed by SGX-listed EuroSports Global.

Since March, Scorpio Electric has expanded its premises at Teban Gardens to 7,000 sq m. The space includes offices and showrooms, as well as 4,000 sq m dedicated to a factory and warehouse.

This facility is expected to produce about 8,000 electric motorcycles a year, said Dr Taureza.

Although the components will be manufactured elsewhere, Scorpio Electric’s bikes will be assembled at its Singapore location, he added.

Scorpio Electric chief technology officer Tham Kwang Sheun noted that making its motorcycles “smart”, with the use of artificial intelligence and data analytics, will allow them to be even more energy efficient.

“That means that when you get on, the bike will actually have the intelligence to tell you how can you better plan your trips, and how much fuel consumption you’re going to use, accounting for operating conditions,” he explained.

The aim is also for Scorpio Electric to extend this environmental sustainability to its production line, said Mr Tham, noting some of the materials used in the making of motorcycles can be substituted by “bio-derived” materials with “some recyclability”.

The switch to electric motorcycles is “very promising” in terms of reducing carbon emissions in the region, said Mr Tham, who was previously with the Land Transport Authority as the head of its autonomous vehicle programme office.

Motorcycles in Southeast Asia are “typically lagging behind the curve in emissions standards”, said James Chan, co-founder and chief executive of Ion Mobility, which is headquartered in Singapore.

The firm’s other co-founder, Joel Chang, was previously with Scorpio Electric as its chief operating officer before he formed Ion Mobility last year.

“In Singapore, ICE (internal combustion engine) motorcycles are on Euro 4 standards, while Indonesia is still on Euro 3,” noted Mr Chan, referring to the emissions standard introduced by the European Union. The latest standard for motorcycles in Europe is Euro 5, which came into effect this year.

Motorcycles may seem to have better fuel efficiency, but on average, they produce twice as much carbon dioxide per passenger-kilometre over their life cycles when compared to cars, said Mr Chan.

In addition, particulate matter (PM2.5) from motorcycle emissions is taken into consideration due to the sheer number of motorcycles on the roads in the region, he explained, noting that PM2.5 is one of the largest “air pollution culprits” to health costs and premature deaths in Southeast Asia.

Ion Mobility’s electric motorcycles would produce zero tailpipe emissions and play “a big part” in reducing PM2.5 and greenhouse gas emissions produced, added Mr Chan.

Southeast Asia is the world’s third largest market for motorcycles after India and China, he noted, adding that there are currently more than 200 million ICE motorcycles across Southeast Asia.

The company had originally aimed to offer test rides and launch pre-orders for its Model 1 electric motorcycles in Jakarta by the third quarter of 2020, although it had to go back to the drawing board because of COVID-19.

“We aim to launch our Model 1 in Indonesia by early 2021 or sooner, COVID-19 permitting,” said Mr Chan.

Apart from its headquarters here – which will serve as a regional centre for design as well as research and development – Ion Mobility also has offices in Jakarta and Guangzhou. Mr Chan said the company is focused on becoming the top electric motorcycle company in Southeast Asia.

It aims to begin with Indonesia, where 6.5 million new ICE motorcycles were sold in 2019, aiming to claim 1 per cent of the Indonesian market within its first two years of sales.

Scorpio Electric, meanwhile, aims to be a “global brand”, said Dr Taureza.

“We want to be in the same ranks as Apple and Tesla,” he said, although he noted that this needs to be done one step at a time.

As a “homegrown Singapore brand”, Scorpio Electric’s first priority is the Southeast Asian market, primarily Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore, he said.

Although sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have been increasing in recent years, they are still in the minority, making up just 2 per cent of the total vehicle population worldwide.

“The reason why the uptake of EVs generally, whether cars or motorcycles, is low is because the price is expensive, let’s not beat around the bush,” said Dr Taureza, noting that the main reason for this has been battery prices.

However, with battery prices declining in recent years, it is only a matter of time before price parity is reached, he added.

To attract consumers, Mr Chan said the onus is on companies like Ion Mobility to “up our game and offer a compelling product that provides price- and performance-superiority over ICE equivalents without relying on subsidies”.

While both firms welcomed Singapore’s recent measures to accept electric motorcycles here, Mr Chan believes more can be done.

“Certain categories of electric motorcycles should be permitted to charge from normal wall sockets provided they are UL2272-certified,” he said, referring to the fire-safety standard used in Singapore for personal mobility devices such as e-scooters.

“Singapore’s touted network of EV charging stations are also all zoned for EV cars, not EV motorcycles. There is a need to consider the zoning and charging sockets for EV motorcycles too,” he added.

More refinement is also needed in the categorising of electric motorcycles, which do not neatly fit in with existing categories of conventional motorbikes, he said.

“Horsepower and kilowatt power output is not a one-is-to-one relationship,” he explained, adding a more “engineer-centric approach” is needed.

In 2018, Scorpio Electric secured S$2 million from its parent firm EuroSports Global, which promised another S$3 million if certain milestones were met.

Mr Tham said the firm aims to close another round of funding in the coming months, although he declined to provide figures.

“We started our fund-raise in January this year, and in spite of COVID-19, have been able to secure healthy investor demand amidst these tumultuous times,” said Ion Mobility’s Mr Chan.

He declined to provide figures at this time, but Mr Chan noted that it would be able to launch its motorcycle without raising more funds.

When asked how Ion Mobility would fare against other players in the electric motorcycle market, he said such discussions were “premature”.

“There is plenty of room for all of us to coexist, with each player going after different market segments,” he said.

“The real competition, the elephant in the room if you must, is consumer preferences, which have been honed by what Japanese incumbents have offered to them in terms of design, price and performance over the years,” he added.

Scorpio Electric welcomed competition, said Dr Taureza, adding that competition helps the company to “grow and continue to improve”.

He noted that apart from the two new players, established traditional motorcycle manufacturers have also entered the market.

“I think there will be tremendous growth in the EV motorcycle segment next year,” he said.

Royal Enfield withdraws from Japan until new importer takes charge

By | General Posts

by Abhinand Venugopal from https://www.rushlane.com

Royal Enfield’s Japan operations were carried out by the importer, Wingfoot

Chennai-based motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield operates in more than 50 countries across the globe. The automaker has a huge fan following in many parts of the world, especially for its single-cylinder ‘Classic 350’ model.

In India, the company has updated most of its products to BS6 specifications while readying to launch the next-gen ‘UCE 350’ models, starting with the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 (which replaces the Thunderbird range).

Wingfoot Co. Ltd., Royal Enfield’s official importer in Japan has announced a business termination with the British-origin motorcycle manufacturer. The official statement stated that it has “finished all business related to the import and export of Indian-made Royal Enfield motorcycles” after ending the contract with Eicher Motors — the parent company of Royal Enfield.

In other words, Royal Enfield has temporarily withdrawn from the Japanese market until a new importer takes charge. Royal Enfield Japan’s official website will be taken down by the end of this month while its social media handles will be deleted on May 15. In a matter of days, Eicher Motors might announce a new partner to commence operations in Japan.

Royal Enfield has not been a strong player in Japan since the country has its own compelling alternatives from the likes of Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki. Even in India, Japanese two-wheeler brands often come at the top of monthly sales charts while Royal Enfield mostly remains at the bottom of the top 10. However, it is no secret that India is a volume-sale market and six-digit numbers need not always tell the story of a brand’s success or struggles.

As mentioned before, Royal Enfield has already made a smooth transition to BS6 emission norms. In the process, the company has discontinued the higher ‘500’ models on account of poor sales. As a tribute to the decade-old model line, Royal Enfield had introduced the limited-run BS4-compliant Classic 500 Tribute Black. The next-gen ‘350’ models are currently in the works. Various reports state that they will be a huge improvement over the current ‘UCE 350’ range since Royal Enfield has employed a completely new platform.

The Indian automotive market is currently going through a rough phase due to the COVID-19 lockdown protocols. Owing to this, Royal Enfield faced a sales decline of 44% in March and is expected to witness an even more drastic fall this month. Experts predict that the entire scenario of buying a new vehicle would change once the Indian government withdraws its lockdown policy — know more details.

Motorcycle parade at veterans home shows heroes that even though they are isolated, they are not alone

By | General Posts

by Chris Best from https://www.wkrg.com

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WKRG) — Veterans at the William F. Green State Veterans Home may be isolated, but they are not alone. 150 motorcycle riders wanted to send that message loudly this Saturday. They lined up and paraded around the home on their bikes, honking their horns and revving their engines.

Signs leading up to the home read “Heroes work and live here.” These bikers wanted to make sure that heroism is recognized. Just the day before the riders honored the heroes it was announced a 3rd employee at the facility tested positive for COVID-19. The state announced it would be ramping up testing at all state-run veterans homes as well. So far none of the residents of the home have tested positive. But there have been cases at other state homes.

The veterans have been isolated since the COVID-19 outbreak. Long-term care facilities are particularly high risk. Nursing homes across the country have become hot zones for the virus. The veterans are not able to see their friends, families or others who regularly come to visit them. The Patriot Guard Riders, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association and American Legion Riders are among several of the groups that normally visit the heroes to raise their spirits. Unable to do that, they got together to plan the parade.

Employees in scrubs and masks came outside to wave at the bikers. Another stood in salute. The bikers circled the facility, some of the veterans able to come to their windows and see the excitement. And those who couldn’t certainly heard it.

Norton will fill the high-end technology deficit for TVS Motor

By | General Posts

by Chanchal Pal Chauhan from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Norton is one of the most iconic British brands, besides Triumph, Royal Enfield and BSA. Incidentally now all of the remaining famed British brands either have Indian owners or strong engineering relationships with local entities.

Another Indian company bags a storied European brand.

This time it’s TVS Motor, the third largest two wheeler maker from the world’s biggest bikes and scooter market, and getting ‘Norton’ under its belt would not just fill the technology deficit, but would also make it a serious contender in the super-bike category, something its rivals are always vying for.

Industry veterans cite it as a major catch for any aspiring Indian company aiming to hit the global circuit in style. “Norton is a major brand in the developed markets of Europe and the US and at Rs 150 crore, it’s a steal. The brand has a major pull and would fill the void for TVS Motors in technology and take it many years ahead of its rivals,” says a two wheeler specialist.

TVS Motor Company has announced the Norton acquisition on Friday. Norton is one of the most iconic British brands, besides Triumph, Royal Enfield and BSA. Incidentally now all of the remaining famed British brands either have Indian owners or strong engineering relationships with local entities.

Typical of the cash-starved British brands, Norton was started in Birmingham in 1898 by James Lansdowne Norton. It has a fantastic global appeal, a strong unique design and British heritage carried for decades. It has always been closely associated with “Motor Racing” and also makes superbikes in various categories across markets.

It is a brand which has a huge opportunity for TVS to scale up and create value. TVS Motors can now focus on these developed markets with a known brand and the hugely expanding recreation biking segment. This classic and unique British design and heritage will be the core for the company looking at building out a future in premium, luxury and classic bikes as well.

TVS has spent about 16-million British Pounds on the acquisition, funded through internal approvals and, it is an asset purchase. The cash savvy Indian companies have been on the prowl with Bajaj Auto acquiring KTM and Husqvarna marquee brands in the past.

Meanwhile, the SUV major, Mahindra&Mahindra through its two wheeler company had also acquired another iconic British motorcycle brand, BSA a few years back. Mahindra also owns 60 percent of Classic Legends Private Limited (CLPL), who had re-introduced the Yezdi brand back into India.

The two wheeler market leader Hero MotoCorp had acquired American superbike maker Erik Buell Racing or EBR, – the East Troy, Wisconsin-based firm, to harvest cutting-edge technology and design to develop future models. However, the deal turned sour and the Indian entity lost a good amount of money.

EBR, a fairly new enterprise, turned bankrupt a few years after the acquisition and the technology it was developing almost got wasted for Hero MotoCorp and failed to harvest any of its investments. Subsequently, it has developed new technology centres at Kukas in Rajasthan and Germany to fill the tech-deficit.

The cash-rich Indian companies have been looking at the global spectrum of motorbiking and Norton gets TVS to that niche level.

Virtually on a bankruptcy mode, Norton had undergone a rough patch in the past two-years, though TVS has not taken any of its past liabilities or the responsibilities. While the Chennai-based entity has committed to meet all customer commitments and will carry on with all the existing employees too. There are about 55-60 of the permanent employees serving Norton at the time of acquisition as per the company website.

Industry insiders say what is the need for TVS to acquire Norton of UK at approximately Rs 150 crore at such an unpleasant hour, amid the coronavirus scare and massive uncertainties, especially when they already have a tie up with BMW Motorrad.

An industry veteran quipped, “BMW tie-up restricts them to 500cc (in terms of engine capacity), whereas with Norton acquisition they can wheel out 650-1800cc of biking. Moreover this opens up the entire Europe and the US markets for them … Norton may not be too popular in the West, but mind you it is strong in technology and engines, which will determine the future of performance biking and motor racing…”

According to Sudarshan Venu, Joint Managing Director, TVS Motor Company, “Norton is an iconic British brand celebrated across the world, and presents us with an immense opportunity to scale globally. We will continue to retain its distinctive identity with dedicated and specific business plans.”

Due to the challenges it (Norton) faced in the last few years, TVS insiders believe in the flipside there’s potential to scale up the company to create massive value in the long-term from the new acquisition to the Indian two wheeler company.

Norton is a brand that always stood for bespoke production, craftsmanship and unparallel motoring luxury along with unique design and innovation, something TVS has been looking for and really seeks to build out. In fact, each bike costs upwards of 25,000 British Pounds and is custom-built for the customer in those markets.

As for the industry gains, TVS would be eyeing huge synergies across supply chain and distribution. These gains would be beyond the product and the company would be looking forward to the new products in the pipeline. TVS has got all the intellectual proprietary and brand rights and is looking forward to resurrecting and scaling it in the future.

TVS Motor Company, a reputed manufacturer of two-wheelers and three-wheelers in the world, has operations across a dozen international markets like Indonesia, Philippines, Yeman, Columbia, Kuwait, Yeman, Honduras etc. The new string; Britain’s iconic sporting motorcycle, Norton will carve out TVS into a storied motorcycle maker of modern times and will reflect its rising prominence in the highly competitive international two-wheeler market.

Wary of public transport, coronavirus-hit Americans turn to bikes

By | General Posts

from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a surge in bike sales across the United States, according to a major manufacturer and a half dozen retailers interviewed by Reuters.

“I’m 51 and healthy, but I don’t want to get on the subway,” said John Donohue, a Brooklyn-based artist who bought a bike two weeks ago. Donohue, who doesn’t own a car, says he’s not sure when he’ll be comfortable on mass transit again.

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a surge in bike sales across the United States, according to a major manufacturer and a half dozen retailers interviewed by Reuters.

Many of the purchases are by people looking for a way to get outside at a time of sweeping shutdowns and stay-at-home orders aimed at containing the virus: Even the worst affected states are allowing people out to exercise.

Still, a portion of the sales, especially in urban areas, are to people like Donohue who also want to avoid the risk of contagion on buses or subways.

He plans to use his new 24-gear hybrid for journeys such as regular visits to a printing shop across town that he normally travels to by subway. A key feature, he said, was the bright red panniers he added to carry his artwork.

To be sure, bikes remain well down the list of U.S. commuting preferences.

About 870,000 Americans, on average, commuted to work by bicycle in the five years through 2017, or about 0.6% of all workers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The rate was higher in urban areas, at about 1.1%, and about 20 cities with at least 60,000 residents had rates of about 5% or more.

A more recent survey, though, showed a higher percentage of U.S. workers using a bike to get to work. Private research firm Statista Inc.’s 2019 survey showed 5% rode their own bike, while another 1% used a bike share service, an increasingly common option in larger cities.

Running Out Of Stock

The government has declared bicycles an essential transportation item, so many bike shops remain open despite the widespread business shutdown. Many, though, have modified how they operate, no longer letting buyers test bikes and handing them over on the curb rather than inside the store.

According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, roughly three-quarters of U.S. bike sales are through big box stores. While many of the outlets of large specialty sporting goods chains are closed, general merchandisers like WalMart Stores Inc, the largest seller of bikes, remain open. Walmart did not respond to a request for comment.

Kent International Inc., which imports bikes from China and also makes them at a plant in South Carolina, said sales of its low-priced bikes had surged over the past month.

Kent is already out of stock on five of its top 20 models and expects that to rise to 10 by the end of the month, chief executive and chairman Arnold Kamler said. He noted supplies were flowing in from China, which has reopened much of its manufacturing base over the past month.

Kamler said sales at most of the major retailers he supplies were up 30% last month and are up over 50% so far in April, with the surge in demand forcing him to change shipping arrangements.

He normally imports bikes to ports on both the East and West Coasts. But with many retailers asking for more bikes, he’s now directing all shipments into West Coast ports, then transporting them across the country. That adds to freight costs, he said, but can cut weeks off delivery times.

Low Prices

Mark Vautour, who manages a bike store near the Boston University campus, said he had sold bikes to anxious commuters – including at least one medical worker who wanted an alternative to using the subway.

“We’ve joked for years that trains are like a petri dish,” Vautour said.

Mostly, though, his sales have been children’s bikes, “because parents don’t know what to do with their kids.”

One indication that people are buying bikes for more utilitarian uses like commuting is that many of the purchases are low-priced bikes, several bike retailers said.

Joe Nocella, owner of 718 Cyclery & Outdoors in Brooklyn, said his normal “sweet spot” was bikes that sell for $1,500 to $2,000, used by city dwellers for touring.

“Now the average bike has turned to $500 to $800,” he said.

Those lower prices are one reason many bike retailers are struggling, despite strong sales.

Andrew Crooks, chief executive of NYC Velo, a three-store chain in the New York area, said the drop in average selling prices meant revenues had fallen at a time when he was still paying rents, salaries and other costs.

“So we could keep our doors open and still end up with a business that’s not viable,” he said.

Still, some new buyers say they are switching to bikes for the long term.

Having been stuck at home in Baltimore, Kaitlyn Lee bought a $550 bike this weekend so she could get outdoors safely and avoid public transport when she gets a job.

Lee will finish a graduate degree in public health at the University of Maryland this spring and has applied for jobs at the Centers for Disease Control and the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her plan is to commute by bike to a future job, if possible.

“I mean, it’ll never completely vanish,” she said of the coronavirus. “Rather we will learn how to live alongside of it, just like with other viruses.”

CAC Racer Is the Bike Harley-Davidson Didn’t Want, But Joe Petrali Built Anyway

By | General Posts

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

It sold earlier this year for $181,500 during the Mecum motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. It managed to do so thanks to the fact that it is one of only 12 such motorcycles known to have been made and, more importantly, it was built in person by the legendary Joe Petrali.

We’re talking about a 1934 Harley-Davidson CAC, a motorcycle designed specially not to race on the makeshift cinder tracks of that era, but on actual, purpose made speedways. And its arrival was made possible by the resilience of Class A racing champion Joe Petrali.

The Italian-American agreed to race for Harley for the first time in 1925, after proving his worth on bikes made by the competition. He quickly managed to do the same for the new employer by winning two national titles the following year riding H-D machines, just as the company decided to end its involvement in racing.

Harley returned to the starting grid in 1931, and quickly re-signed Petrali, only this time the man had bigger plans than ever before. Eyeing an entry in speedway racing, he needed a dedicated machine for the task, and tried to sell his idea to Harley-Davidson.

Word is the time’s higher-ups apparently weren’t impressed, and were reluctant to back the idea, so Petrali convinced several engineers to help him build the motorcycle over the weekends over at Harley. That bike is the CAC, a motorcycle powered by a 500cc engine with a single cylinder and no transmission and clutch.

The official story goes that there were a total of 20 CAC bikes built, and an additional 5 spare engines, but that number is likely lower than that, at about 12. One of them is this one here, which sold earlier this year in pretty much the same condition as it was back in the day.

More precisely, that means the bike has no modern replacement parts fitted on it, and it is not legal for someone to ride it on any public road. For collectors though, or for those planning to make an extra buck by reselling it at a later date, is a must have.

Muscle Bikes: Triumph Rocket 3 vs Yamaha V-Max vs Ducati Diavel vs Indian FTR 1200

By | General Posts

by Syed Shiraz from https://www.ibtimes.co.in/

Muscle bikes are the rebels of the motorcycle world. Let’s take a look at a few of them before the electrics finally take over.

What are muscle bikes? Well, the simple definition is: Muscle bikes are street legal drag bikes that can also cruise comfortably. In other words, these are bikes that can amble along easily with the laziest of cruisers but can also fluster the quickest sportbikes on dragstrips. Let’s take a look at some of the best muscle bikes in India.

Triumph Rocket 3

The Rocket 3, since 2004 when it was first launched, has held the record for being the motorcycle with the biggest engine in the world among series production motorcycles. It used to come with a monstrous 2.3-liter inline-three motor, but Triumph apparently thought that it was not big enough so they gave the all-new Rocket 3 launched last year a 2.5-liter mill.

It now makes a locomotive pulling 221 Nm of torque, which is again the highest figure in the world among all production motorcycles. While at it, they also brought the weight down of the motorcycle by 40 kilograms! It’s priced at Rs. 18 lakh.

Please note that all prices mentioned in this article are ex-showroom, PAN India prices.

Yamaha V-Max

This motorcycle has long been discontinued, but it earns a mention here as it’s the one that started it all, that too way back in 1985! In fact, it did something back then that no other motorcycle in this list (yes, not even the Rocket 3) does even right now—it made way more horsepower than the fastest sportbike of its time!

The 1985 Yamaha V-Max was pushing around 145 horsepower when the fastest motorcycle of the time, the Kawasaki GPZ900R, was making just around 115! The torque figures were not any less astounding either—the Yamaha produced more twisting force (112.7 Nm) than what Honda’s Gold Wing of the time (GL 1200) made (105 Nm).

Imagine any of the current muscle bikes making more than the Ducati Panigale V4 R’s 234 hp while still making more torque than the current Honda Gold Wing’s 170 Nm.

Well, the last V-Max was not far behind. It was producing close to 200 horsepower, which was more or less on a par with what the fastest motorcycles were making (Suzuki Hayabusa, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 R, BMW S1000 RR, Ducati Panigale 1299, etc.; the V4 R was nowhere in the picture back then). Torque output too, at 167 Nm, was not much less than the current Honda Gold Wing’s 170 Nm.

The V-Max was being sold for around Rs. 30 lakh by Yamana India. Used examples are hard to come by as owners don’t part with them easily.

John Abraham rides one.

Ducati Diavel and X Diavel

These are Ducati’s repeated unsuccessful attempts at making cruisers. They really wanted to make cruisers but ended up making drag bikes instead. The buyers aren’t complaining though.

The lightest motorcycles in this group are also the best handling of the lot. Prices start at Rs. 17,50,000 for the X Diavel and Rs. 17,70,000 for the Diavel.

Indian FTR 1200

The only muscle bike that will keep going even after the road ends, which makes it the best Indian for Indian conditions. It’s almost as light and as good a handler as the Ducatis, but cheaper than both of them. Prices start at Rs. 14.99 lakh.

Kawasaki Announces New Agreement with Roadrunner Financial to Offer Financing for Credit Builders and First-Time Buyers

By | General Posts

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. is pleased to announce a new financing agreement with Roadrunner Financial to offer competitive near-prime loans to Credit Builders with 550-660+ FICO scores. Roadrunner delivers a revolutionary lender experience through digital applications with instant decisions, comprehensive credit coverage, and unbeatable dealer and customer support.

Kawasaki joins a group of Powersports and Outdoor Power Equipment partners that utilize Roadrunner Financial to bring great finance offers to their customers. The relationship with Kawasaki allows Roadrunner to offer an enhanced program with improved near-prime rates with no fees for dealers.

“Roadrunner Financial is a key addition for Kawasaki and our dealers” said Kawasaki Senior Vice President, Sales and Operations Bill Jenkins. “The focus on a near-prime credit program will offer dealers new opportunities for financing customers on Kawasaki powersports products.”

“Roadrunner will give Kawasaki dealers a new tool to close deals that would usually walk out the door.” When asked about the new financing agreement, Jon Vestal, VP of Sales at Roadrunner Financial said, “We’re very excited to strengthen our relationship with Kawasaki. By targeting near-prime, we plan to deliver significant incremental sales for Kawasaki in 2020 and beyond.”

This new Kawasaki program from Roadrunner Financial will be available to Kawasaki dealers starting March 1st, 2020.

About Roadrunner Financial:
Roadrunner Financial offers financing for customers across the entire credit spectrum. Roadrunner’s credit program suite includes ‘Roadrunner Prime’, ‘Roadrunner Credit Builder’ for customers down to 550 FICO, a first-time buyer program, ‘Roadrunner Lease’, and a pre-owned vehicle program.

Founded in 2016 and based in New York, Roadrunner helps dealers finance more customers by taking the traditional hassles of lending and replacing them with one seamless process that can take as little as a few minutes. Roadrunner’s unique financing experience offers instant decisions, electronic contracting, and financing for more than 10,000 vehicles across 40+ Powersports & Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) OEMs. For more information, please visit www.roadrunnerfinancial.com.

ABOUT KAWASAKI
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI) started full-scale production of motorcycles over a half century ago. The first Kawasaki motorcycle engine was designed based on technical know-how garnered from the development and production of aircraft engines, and Kawasaki’s entry into the motorcycle industry was driven by the company’s constant effort to develop new technologies. Numerous new Kawasaki models introduced over the years have helped shape the market, and in the process have created enduring legends based on their unique engineering, power, design and riding pleasure. In the future, Kawasaki’s commitment to maintaining and furthering these strengths will surely give birth to new legends.
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, side x sides, and Jet Ski® watercraft through a network of almost 1,100 independent retailers, with close to an additional 7,400 retailers specializing in general purpose engines. KMC and its affiliates employ nearly 3,100 people in the United States, with approximately 250 of them located at KMC’s Foothill Ranch, California headquarters.
Kawasaki’s tagline, “Let the good times roll.®”, is recognized worldwide. The Kawasaki brand is synonymous with powerful, stylish and category-leading vehicles. Information about Kawasaki’s complete line of powersports products and Kawasaki affiliates can be found on the Internet at www.kawasaki.com.

Electric scooters can help cities move beyond cars v pedestrians

By | General Posts

by Alex Hern from https://www.theguardian.com

The government is showing signs of legalising electric scooters on roads, but new laws should be about safety, not horsepower

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that being hit by a scooter hurts less than being hit by a bike. That may sound like a strangely negative place to start, but it’s sort of fundamental to why I’m glad the government is finally showing signs of legalising the use of electronic scooters on public roads across the UK.

The current state of the law is a mess. Its broad strokes are reasonable enough: powered vehicles require an MOT and registration to use on public roads, while unpowered vehicles do not. Pavements are for foot traffic only. Access requirements complicate matters, but only a little: wheelchairs, both manual and powered – legally, “class three invalid carriages” – can go on pavements, while some – class four – can go on roads as well.

Then, in the 1980s, the law was modernised to support the first generation of electric bikes. Fitted with simple motors that aided hill climbs, it felt silly to ban them as electric vehicles, and so a new category – the “electrically assisted pedal cycle” – was invented, and the laws amended further in 2015 to remove weight limits, allow for four wheels and increase the maximum power of the motor.

Which means, as the law stands, you can ride a four-wheeled vehicle of potentially unlimited weight, largely powered by a motor up to 15.5mph, on public roads without training, licensing or registration. But not an electronic scooter. Nor, for that matter, a 5kg, 10mph “hoverboard”, unlikely to hurt anyone save its rider.

Looking at the laws from the ground up, the distinguishing characteristic should be safety, not how a vehicle is powered. It’s hard to argue that an electric motor is inherently more dangerous than pedal power. In fact, given the variability of human strength, it’s almost possible to argue the opposite: electric motors in e-bikes are capped at 250W of power, after all, but no such limit is possible for people, where a fit cyclist can easily exceed 300W or more.

And so a set of regulations which allowed, alongside bikes, skateboards and scooters, electric vehicles of limited weight, power and speed is surely the only justifiable outcome of any consultation.

But more than justifiable, such a set of rules would be good. One of the truisms of the cycling world is that the safest thing for cyclists on the road is more cyclists on the road. It’s not all about public policy and accessible cycle lanes: sheer weight of numbers is important too, in forcing other road users to treat cyclists as a viable third transportation mode, rather than just annoying slowpokes ripe for close passes and aggressive overtakes.

Expanding that constituency, to encompass a wide variety of mid-speed vehicles, would only help push cities towards the tipping point where they can consider transport beyond a simple car/pedestrian binary. And that’s a point every city needs to reach, sooner rather than later, in the face of a climate crisis that much see car usage drastically curtailed.

But. While laws need to be rewritten to support electric scooters, they don’t necessarily need to support the peculiarly American model of dumping a load of scooters on a pavement and hoping enough people will ride them before they get stolen or damaged for the unit economics to work out favourably. That model, unfortunately, has defaulted to its present state: unregulated, unmanaged and cutthroat, with councils left fighting back with nothing but their powers to prevent littering.

Here, the trade-off is more painful. Dockless rideshare – of bikes, e-bikes or e-scooters – can be great for promoting access, but it can also harm those least able to cope, as anyone who has tried to navigate a wheelchair or pram around a pile of Uber bikes knows. Micromobility can succeed with or without the Silicon Valley business models – but it can’t succeed without being given a chance on the roads.

Facing financial crunch, UK based Norton Motorcycle goes into administration; India roll out hit

By | General Posts

by Ketan Thakkar from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com

Norton had set up an equally owned joint venture with Pune-based Kinetic Motoroyale in 2017 to start making mid-size motorcycles for India and Southeast Asian Markets by 2018. The project got delayed due to financial crunch at the UK-based entity.

UK-based premium bike maker Norton Motorcycle’s India roll out may be hit, as the company has gone into administration after failing to pay outstanding dues to the UK authorities.

According to a news report, the company is struggling to pay a tax bill and faces a winding-up order under the UK’s insolvency law.

Norton had set up an equally owned joint venture with Pune-based Kinetic Motoroyale in 2017 to start making mid-size motorcycles for India and Southeast Asian Markets by 2018. The project got delayed due to financial crunch at the UK-based entity.

When contacted, Kinetic Motoroyale managing director Ajinkya Firodia told ET that Norton was looking to raise funds. Firodia said he would be travelling shortly to the UK to understand the situation better and seek clarity.

“Norton Motoroyale (the joint venture) is a separate company and continues to exist and hold its rights in its territories of India and Asean countries. After our visit, we shall understand the extent of impact, if any. The India-side development of all parts is nearly complete for the 650 Atlas. For some parts developed in the UK or Europe for Norton, I shall seek clarity from the administrator,” Firodia added.

When queried if the 650cc bike would get further delayed, he said it was “difficult to predict” now.

Kinetic Motoroyale had set up a 30,000-unit capacity plant in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. A range of Norton bikes were expected to be made at this plant for Indian and Southeast Asian markets.

According to media reports, Norton, which was rescued by property developer Stuart Garner in 2008, said the company owed tax authorities 300,000 pounds and could be liquidated if it was not given more time to pay.

The report added that two of Garner’s other companies were also in administration.

Founded in Birmingham, Norton began making motorbikes in 1902 and soon became associated with races such as the Isle of Man TT.

Models like the Dominator and the Commando are well renowned and some of the bikes have even been featured in films including the Bond movies. The Norton Interpol was used by the UK Police in the 1980s for patrolling.