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NCOM Biker Newsbytes for June 2021

By General Posts

by Bill Bish from The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

Ban Deadlines, Covid Obstructions, Infrastructure Guidelines, Checkpoint Funding, Motorcycle Advisory Council, Lane Splitting and more

  • SYNTHETIC FUEL COULD SAVE MOTORCYCLES FROM ELECTROCUTION
  • MOTORCYCLE MANUFACTURERS STRUGGLE TO DELIVER NEW BIKES
  • INITIAL HIGHWAY BILL CONTAINS MOTORCYCLE-FRIENDLY PROVISIONS
  • MOTO INDUSTRY REPORTS MOTORCYCLE SAFETY AT AN ALL-TIME LOW
  • SEATBELTS FOR MOTORCYCLES
  • A THIRD OF MOTORCYCLISTS WOULD STOP RIDING IF ELECTRIC REPLACES GAS
  • OREGON GOVERNOR VETOES LANE-SPLITTING BILL
  • FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR NCOM CONVENTION IN DES MOINES

Click Here to Read the NCOM News on Bikernet.

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Self-Driving Vehicles – Available Soon? Part 2

By General Posts

From https://www.motorists.org By Gary Witzenburg, Automotive Senior Writer and Contributing Editor, President of the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year, and NMA Member.

Editor’s Note: HOUR Detroit Magazine has graciously permitted the NMA to publish this piece, which initially appeared in a slightly different version on its pages. Please Click Here to Read Part 1.

Missions and Issues

“Automated vehicles’ potential to save lives and reduce injuries is rooted in one critical and tragic fact: 94 percent of serious crashes are due to human error,” contends the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “Automated vehicles have the potential to remove human error from the crash equation, which will help protect drivers and passengers as well as bicyclists and pedestrians.”

Another mission will be to provide much-needed mobility for the aged and disabled, though ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are already serving many Americans. “Roads filled with automated vehicles could also cooperate to smooth traffic flow and reduce traffic congestion,” NHTSA continues. “With automated vehicles, the time and money spent commuting could be put to better use. In many places across the country, employment or independent living rests on the ability to drive. Automated vehicles could extend that kind of freedom to millions more.”

But major hurdles lie ahead.

To be as safe as envisioned, AVs will need to see, understand, analyze, and react to everything around them through a complex system of sensors, radar, LiDAR (radar-like, using laser light), and visual and thermal cameras.

All that will add a lot of cost.

And how effective will those systems be in darkness and nasty weather? When dirt covers their lenses? When snow blankets lane markers and road edges?

“Inclement weather is a challenge,” says GM engineer Jason Fischer, “We are working with suppliers on advanced cleaning systems that will help us solve those problems.” Ford’s John Rich says, “All varieties of weather are being tested, and there will be a learning curve with capability expansion over time.”

Will AVs be programmed to protect their occupants at the expense of others? Which way will they dodge if they can’t stop to avoid a sudden pedestrian hit when the alternative may be an oncoming vehicle, a tree, a lake, or a cliff? “We have to make these vehicles better than humans,” Rich says, “constantly alert with better reflexes and better ability to avoid an accident. They may never be perfect, but if they are considerably better than humans, we almost have a moral imperative to put them on the road because we will be saving lives.”

And when someone inevitably is hurt or killed despite everyone’s best intentions and preventions, who will be liable? The vehicle’s owner? Its manufacturer? The software programmer? The town or city where the incident occurs? All of the above?

“Initially, the lawyers will sue everyone involved,” says Carla Bailo, CEO of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor. “As these cases are settled and precedent established, it will become more clear. The automakers and others must have the utmost confidence in the safety of these systems.”

And will AVs be rolling roadblocks obeying all (often too slow) posted speed limits while everyone else swarms around them at 5-10 mph faster? Will they hold up traffic waiting for openings at non-stoplight intersections while streams of human-driven vehicles take advantage of their excessive caution?

“The vehicles are programmed to obey the law,” Rich points out. “We won’t be able to speed or do a lot of things you see human drivers doing today.”

Partial Autonomy

So that scenario of Level 5 “Full Automation” for privately owned vehicles looks to be a long way off…if ever. “Level 4 is essentially here now,” CAR’s Bailo points out. “Level 5 is later pending many other non-technical parameters such as regulation, public policy, legal and insurance.”

And no current AV is intended for private ownership.

“They will be able to move goods and people in a controlled environment,” Rich says, “but you will not be able to go out and buy one. They are difficult to manage and will require professional service to run.”

The good news is that Level 2 “Partial Automation” is available today.

Many new vehicles, even at very affordable prices, offer Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which adjusts speed to maintain a set gap behind the vehicle ahead, and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), which keeps your vehicle in its lane; and that combo allows hands-off cruising for a few seconds where road edges and lane markers are clearly visible to their cameras.

Some systems work better than others; you must pay full attention and be ready to take control at any time. The system will tell you when to take the wheel, and it will shut off if you don’t. One of the best we’ve tried is Cadillac’s Super Cruise, available on some models now and expanding to more, which will soon add an auto-lane-change feature. GM says its ultimate Super Cruise vision is hands-off driving capability 95 percent of the time on “enabled” (precisely GPS mapped) roads.

What we envision in the not-too-distant future is a potentially worrisome mix of driverless AVs sharing the roads with a large majority of human-driven cars and trucks. The AVs will be capable of communicating vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) with each other and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) to avoid conflicts. Still, they will have to monitor everything around them continually and make assumptions (as alert drivers do) about other vehicles’ expected behavior.

Will you trust a vehicle with no driver (or controls) to shuttle you around, or will you prefer a human-driven Uber, Lyft, or taxi? Or to continue piloting those trips behind your own wheel? If you are not yet AV ready, you may be when your own capabilities someday diminish.

What the Analysts Say

“The development of autonomous vehicles continues to move forward steadily, though several automakers slowed their development in early 2020 and some commercialization targets were delayed. While there remains tremendous promise for the technology to ease congestion and contribute to reducing accidents, getting to the point where they are a fixture in the automotive landscape remains on the horizon. However, in 2021 and 2022, we expect to see deployments increase in limited situations. Waymo, GM, and Ford are among those most aggressive in this space in the US, along with the Aptiv-Hyundai joint venture Motional.”  – Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst, Automotive, IHS Markit

“Autonomous technology continues its march from test phase to widely-embraced, mainstream functionality. But the variety of circumstances facing a computer-controlled vehicle have proven far more difficult to address, delaying the 2020 arrival of self-driving cars that many were predicting as recently as 2018. Major obstacles include changing weather conditions and the impact they have on sensors, a standardized, functional communication network between cars (V2V) and infrastructure (V2X), and ensuring security against computer hackers. These hurdles will eventually be overcome, but we’re likely looking at 2025 or later before the average citizen can leverage autonomous vehicle technology on a wide scale. Look for the limited test zones in cities like Austin, Phoenix, and Miami to slowly spread across more metro areas as well as controlled environments, such as college and corporate campuses.” – Karl Brauer, executive analyst, iSeeCars

“The industry’s thinking about autonomous vehicles has evolved and focused on commercial fleets [and] delivery vehicles. AVs in the commercial vehicle space are like a laboratory experiment that will allow the opportunity to make sure the technology works and the gathering of data to glean insights about patterns of behavior of the users. The commercial vehicle business is lucrative. Automakers know how many orders they have and thus how many they need to produce versus the individual retail business that is unpredictable. – Michelle Krebs, executive analyst, AutoTrader

“Automakers have very ambitious plans to incorporate autonomous driving features into their vehicles. Most of this is a technology push rather than a consumer pull. Our data show that less than 10 percent of vehicle buyers want a fully autonomous vehicle. About 30 percent would consider some level of autonomy. Today’s ADAS [Advanced Driver Assistance Systems] are the first step that many drivers are experiencing on the road to autonomy. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane-centering systems sometimes lets people drive for a short time, hands-free.

When we talk about Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy, the pandemic needs to be factored in. Car sharing, which was a cornerstone of some autonomous plans, looks more problematic now. How does a driver know the vehicle is clean and sanitary? – George Peterson, president, AutoPacific

“Autonomous cars that can drive anywhere and that you can buy at a dealership will not be available this decade. Maybe next decade. Tesla claims otherwise with its Full Self Driving, but it’s up to them to prove it since it’s been delayed multiple times. That said, 2020 is really the year of autonomous vehicles. They’re on the streets and running now. The technology is available, and it works. It’s expensive, but the cost is coming down fast. For now, AVs are relegated to geofenced areas that have been 3D mapped, but those fence posts keep moving. Waymo is covering a 50-square mile area in Phoenix that will soon expand to 100-square miles. For now, AVs make the most sense for fleets. They can run their vehicles almost continuously and amortize the cost of the AV equipment more easily.” – John McElroy, host, AutolineTV

“The best chance is in geo-fenced areas, not on public roads. The infrastructure is nowhere near ready for AVs, which are never going to be 100% safe. There is not enough computer code on the planet to cover all situations.” – Richard Truett, technology and engineering reporter, Automotive News

Self-Driving Vehicles – Available Soon? Part 1

By General Posts

From https://www.motorists.org By Gary Witzenburg, Automotive Senior Writer and Contributing Editor, President of the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year, and NMA Member.

Editor’s Note: HOUR Detroit Magazine has graciously permitted the NMA to publish this piece, which initially appeared in a slightly different version on its pages. Part 2 will be presented in next week’s newsletter.

Ready for your family outing, to the mall, then dinner. You call your car. It backs out of the garage and waits in your drive. You pile in and sit wherever you want since no one will drive. You face front, your spouse and kids swing their seats around to face each other.

You’ve told the car where to go, so it chooses the quickest route, obeying all stops and speed limits, keenly aware of what is happening around it. Someone steps off the curb ahead, and it slows, ready to stop if necessary. It warily eyes an errant dog cavorting to one side. You’re catching up on emails, your spouse is texting, the kids are enjoying video games. It lets you out at the mall, then zips off to park.

Shopping done, you call it to pick you up. Then it’s off to your favorite restaurant. After dinner, you catch a quick nap on your way home.

That is the scenario most envision when they think of self-driving vehicles. But how far off is that scenario? Assuming that autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be wonderful for ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and deliveries (which will put a lot of drivers out of work) and that folks will happily embrace them for personal use whenever they become available and affordable, automakers and others have been investing billions of dollars in developing them.

But not everyone wants to give up driving. Some of us still enjoy it and will as long as we are capable.

Detroit Hard at Work
Automakers and others worldwide are testing and developing AVs on closed tracks and public roads while governments at all levels scramble to define rules and regulations for safe AV operation. Two Michigan facilities — the American Center for Mobility next to Willow Run airport in Ypsilanti Township and the 32-acre mock city called Mcity on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus — are dedicated to AV testing and development.

General Motors’ Cruise LLC subsidiary has been testing Chevrolet Bolt EV-based Cruise AVs in San Francisco and elsewhere while developing a fully autonomous (no driver, no controls) Origin A.V. with Honda for urban passenger and delivery service. Unveiled this January 2020, the self-driving, six-passenger Origin has production approval, and development prototypes are being tested at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds.

“We feel that Cruise has all the building blocks in place to lead in self-driving vehicles,” says GM President Mark Reuss, “and the first ones will be built right here at Factory Zero, our Detroit-Hamtramck assembly facility. In October, Cruise received a permit from the California DMV to remove human backup drivers from its self-driving cars. That means Cruise can send its cars out onto the streets of San Francisco without anyone at the wheel.”

Cruise should have Bolt-based driverless AVs running around San Francisco by the time you read this. “This is our moonshot,” says Cruise CEO Dan Amman. “The chaotic, gritty streets of San Francisco are our launchpad, and it’s where over two million miles of city testing will truly hit the road for the first time: an electric car, driving by itself, navigating one of the most difficult driving cities in the world.” In addition, Walmart plans to start testing automated deliveries using Cruise AVs in Scottsdale, AZ, early this year.

GM’s bold commitment to no-driver AVs, focusing first on city transportation, is one major element of its ambitious vision of a world with “zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.”

“We operate AVs in very clearly defined geofenced areas within the city that we have mapped,” chief engineer of the Cruise Origin Jason Fischer. “We will not go into areas that we haven’t mapped.” And while current Cruise AVs retain their steering wheel and pedals so a driver can take control if needed, the Cruise Origin does not. “There will be no ability to take control of the vehicle,” Fischer says. “The autonomous driving system will always be in control.”

Ford, partnered with technology developer Argo AI, has tested AVs (with safety drivers) on Michigan Ave. around Michigan Central Station. The automaker has established AV terminals, command centers, and high-resolution mapping for ride-hailing and deliveries in Austin, TX, Miami, FL, and Washington, DC, beginning in 2022. The company is also testing AVs in Pittsburgh and Palo Alto, CA. The Ford/Argo AI program will “assess the need for a safety driver and make a decision based on several factors, including the regulatory environment, safety performance data and an appropriate level of community acceptance” before operating without one.

“We are very focused on level 4 [see graphic above],” says Ford Autonomous Vehicles and director John Rich, “removing the driver from the equation and operating within a geonet.” A geonet, he explains, is different from a geofence, within which AVs should be able to self-drive anywhere. “We will initially choose not to drive some places within that area, but our geonet will expand as we move forward.”

Ford/Argo AI’s fourth-generation self-driving vehicles are Escape Hybrids equipped with the latest advanced sensing and computing technology. “We have upgraded our sensing suite with even more advanced LiDAR, higher resolution cameras, and more capable radar sensors,” says Ford Autonomous Vehicles chief engineer John Davis. “Combined, this helps improve detection of fixed and moving objects on all sides…providing a blind-spot curtain, detecting things like a passing car or bicyclist in a nearby bike lane.” A larger high-voltage battery supports these vehicles’ heavy electrical loads. A sophisticated sensor-cleaning system with forced-air chambers and high-pressure spray nozzles keeps its sensors and camera lenses clean.

Stellantis is partnered with self-driving technology company Waymo. Launched in 2009 as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, Waymo has developed a Level 4 Waymo Driver system that powers Waymo One, a ride-hailing service, and Waymo Via for trucking and deliveries. It claims 20 million-plus miles of autonomous driving on public roads in 25 US cities and 15 billion miles of simulation testing and is now offering AV rides to the public in Phoenix.

“Our now four-year partnership with Waymo continues to break new ground,” says Stellantis CEO Mike Manley. “By incorporating the Waymo Driver, the world’s leading self-driving technology, into our Pacifica minivans, we became the only partnership actually deploying fully autonomous technology in the real world, on public roads.” Stellantis is also working exclusively with Waymo on light commercial vehicles such as Ram ProMaster vans for deliveries and plans to expand it across its product line.

“Stellantis was our first OEM partner, and we’ve come a long way together,” says Waymo CEO John Krafcik. “Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans were the first vehicles in our Waymo One fleet and, guided by the Waymo Driver, have now safely and reliably driven more fully autonomous miles than any other vehicle on the planet. Together, we’ll introduce the Waymo Driver throughout the Stellantis brand portfolio, opening up new frontiers for ride-hailing, commercial delivery, and personal use vehicles around the world.”

Meanwhile, a very ambitious “connected corridor” linking downtown Detroit to Ann Arbor (and Metro Airport) along some 40 miles of Michigan Ave. (US 12) and Washtenaw Ave. (M-17) is in the planning stages.

“At the outset, the vision calls for one dedicated interior lane for both the east and west side of Michigan Ave,” writes editor R.J. King in the Nov./Dec. issue of DBusiness magazine. “Those two lanes will need barriers at first, to separate autonomous from general traffic including pedestrians. Several crosswalks will be needed, traffic lights must be coordinated, and all manner of hardware and software is required to connect GPS satellites, cellular arrays, Wi-Fi systems, sensors, and underground fiber cables.” An alternative plan suggests using a new lane along I-94 instead of Michigan Ave.

According to King, this project’s vision began with Ford executive chairman Bill Ford. It will be managed by Cavnue, a subsidiary of New-York-based Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, working with Michigan’s Department of Transportation, Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, Economic Development Corp., and Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, along with state and local partners, stakeholders and communities.

“The project will be designed to evolve to meet transportation goals,” he writes, “but in the beginning, the dedicated lanes will accommodate linked buses and shared mobility vehicles such as vans and shuttles and expand to other connected and autonomous vehicles like freight and personal vehicles.” Phase one completion is targeted for the second half of 2022.

Click Here to Read part 2 of Autonomous (Self-Driving) Vehicles –Available Soon (Yes and No). Gary explains the critical missions and asks the experts how soon we will see AVs on the road.

UK Motorcycle sales see post-pandemic bounce back

By General Posts

by Felicity Donohoe from https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk

UK motorcycle sales have shown a healthy post-pandemic recovery with figures revealing a fresh enthusiasm for purchasing new machines – including EVs.

Recent data from the Motor Cycle Industry Association shows that 13,398 units were sold in May 2021, an increase of 148.4% compared with May 2020, with sales topping 43,242 for the first five months of this year and across all segments.

Adventure Sport and Naked categories were up 242% and 197% in sales (2,449 and 4,567 respectively) in May but EVs have found a place in the revived market, seeing 509 sales in May 2021 compared to 119 sales last May.

The sales reflect the interest in alternatives to cars and public transport solutions, along with the financial, environmental and practical benefits that riding offers.

Tony Campbell, CEO of MCIA said: “May’s figures are against a time in 2020 when the first wave of the pandemic had hit. We forecast a positive summer for the sale of PTWs (powered two wheelers) and associated products as restrictions ease, and the backlog of those awaiting CBT and testing reduces.

“As life returns to normal and people return to their leisure pursuits we’ll be ensuring our close links with Government consider PTWs at every opportunity.”

Top 10 motorcycle sales May 2021

  1. Honda: 2,392
  2. Yamaha: 1,717
  3. Triumph: 1,133
  4. BMW: 1,009
  5. Kawasaki: 810
  6. KTM: 652
  7. Lexmoto: 418
  8. Harley-Davidson: 404
  9. Royal Enfield: 397
  10. Ducati: 388

J J Solari on CEO of Harley-Davidson

By General Posts

A fictional account of leadership and vision by the one and only J J Solari.

Oh yes, we were talking about me and my vision for Harley-Davidson and whatever it is they do. While I am depicted here with my two-wheeled cycle of manly mayhem, you will notice I am not actually riding it. And the animals and the birds have come to me to ask ‘Good sir, canst thou not defile our sacred home with thine fumes?’ And to this I say ‘consider it done!

I shall merely pose with this monster of manliness: I shall not actually start it up! The forest shall be safe!’ And speaking of not starting things up, this accoutrement to my portrait does not actually have an engine. It is a prototype of what I hope will become the future of Harley- Davidson: engine-free coasting cycles. Noise, smoke, gasoline, decimated rubber forests, asphalt, bugs in the face……these nightmares, under my leadership and guidance, shall be eliminated, to be replaced by happy animals safely crossing non existing roads, bluebirds chirping happily on the ends of our outstretched index fingers, green grass and pine trees reclaiming once again their rightful ownership of the planet.

Click Here to Read this Fun Ride into a new sunset only on Bikernet.

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Harley-Davidson’s Next Electric Motorcycle is the LiveWire One

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by Dennis Chung from https://www.motorcycle.com

Motorcycle.com can confirm that the first LiveWire-branded electric motorcycle from Harley-Davidson will be called the LiveWire One. The information comes to us via Vehicle Identification Number deciphering information Harley-Davidson submitted to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We expect the 2021 LiveWire One will be revealed on July 8. [Updated with some clarity about the claimed horsepower output]

The VIN filing confirms that the LiveWire One will claim a peak output of 101 bhp (that’s brake horsepower). By comparison, the 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire (which we’ll henceforth call by its model code, “ELW”, to avoid confusion) was previously listed in VIN filings at 70 bhp. We believe this was the measured continuous output rather than a peak output, which Harley-Davidson has claimed to be 105 hp. As we previously reported, Australian certification documents suggest the 2021 ELW will see its peak power drop from 105 hp to 101 hp, matching what the VIN filing indicates.

The LiveWire One will go by the model code LW1, and the internal vehicle code “XB”, making it distinct from the ELW and its internal vehicle code “XA”, and further confirming its status as Harley-Davidson’s second electric motorcycle. The VIN information also confirms the LiveWire One will be considered a 2021 model.

In retrospect, the LiveWire One name doesn’t come as a real surprise. The company’s first ever motorcycle was called the Model 1, and Harley-Davidson went back to that theme for its Serial 1 electric bicycle brand. Interestingly, “One” is spelled out for the LiveWire instead of being a number.

Apart from the name and its claimed brake horsepower output, we don’t know very much about the LiveWire One. The name may suggest something more classically styled, but on the other hand, one of the reasons for spinning off LiveWire into its own brand is to create some separation from Harley-Davidson’s heritage.

Harley-Davidson previously stated it would reveal the first LiveWire-branded model on July 8. The bike was supposed to make its first public debut on July 9 at the International Motorcycle Show at FivePoint Amphitheater Irvine, Calif., but the venue has since pulled out, deciding to only host musical concerts through 2021. Harley-Davidson hasn’t announced an alternate date, but we suspect the LiveWire One will be at the next IMS stop, July 16-18 in Sonoma, Calif.

Harley-Davidson’s new stand-alone electric motorcycle – LiveWire One

By General Posts

President and CEO Jochen Zeitz with the original LiveWire

by Rich Kirchen from https://www.bizjournals.com

With Harley-Davidson Inc. chairman, president and CEO Jochen Zeitz repeating that the company’s electric LiveWire is “an extraordinary product,” details are emerging on a new model that will be called the LiveWire One.

Motorcycle.com reported the name of the first LiveWire-branded electric motorcycle since Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson announced establishing LiveWire as a stand-alone entity. The website said it deciphered the information from a Harley-Davidson filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The new LiveWire One will be revealed in July and will be considered a 2021 model, motorcycle.com said.

The Harley-Davidson filing shows the LiveWire One will claim a peak output of 101 brake horsepower (bhp), which is more than the 70 bhp existing LiveWire model, motorcycle.com said.

A Harley-Davidson spokesman did not immediately respond Thursday to a Milwaukee Business Journal request for comment.

Harley-Davidson delivered the original LiveWire to dealers in fall 2019. The company announced in May that LiveWire will get an official launch in July as a brand in its own right with its own laboratory and showrooms.

Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) initially planned to debut the new LiveWire at the International Motorcycle Show in Irvine, California. However, motorcycle.com reported that the show won’t be held there and Harley is looking to arrange an alternate date and site.

Zeitz, appearing on CNBC Wednesday, discussed the LiveWire strategy but not the specifics of the next phase. He said electrified motorcycles are the future for the industry.

“It might take longer in certain segments such as the traditional Harley-Davidson segment, simply because the technology is not there in terms of range and longevity of a ride that our touring customer wants,” Zeitz said.

The LiveWire product that Harley-Davidson launched in 2019 under the Harley-Davidson brand “was really a product that was more focused and geared towards the urban consumer,” Zeitz said.

“So I felt there was a huge opportunity as we are bridging into electric long term to use the LiveWire — which is the best product out there, the best electric product — but focusing more on an urban customer to actually segment that out and stand it up as its own brand.’’

Harley-Davidson announced in March hiring Ryan Morrissey as chief electric vehicle officer to lead the new electric-vehicle unit. Morrissey previously worked at consulting giant Bain & Company.

How The Pandemic Has Kick-Started a Motorcycle Boom

By General Posts

by Emila Smith

It is hard to think about silver linings amidst a devastating pandemic. However, despite the crumbling health systems and faltering businesses, many people have found ways to keep their heads up. They are taking this as an opportunity to enjoy a COVID-triggered breath of fresh air.

The pandemic has kick-started a global motorcycle boom. More people are turning to their two-wheelers to break away from the stress and fears, enjoy the outdoors, and ease movement.

According to a Bloomberg report, motorcycle industry leaders are optimistic. Eric Pritchard of the Motorcycle Industry Council looked forward to the best run since 2016. Like tech-based companies, motorcycle companies look forward to explosive growth during this COVID-19 season.

But what are the reasons behind this motorcycle boom?

As the experts at McKinsey would say, “The pandemic reshaped what consumers buy and how they go about getting it.” Previously, motorcycle sales were low because people considered it a risky affair. Bike riders had a disproportionately high number of accidents, and people were grey concerning handling injury and claims. But it looks like the tide is turning. The pandemic has somehow caused a shift in how people perceive motorcycling. It is no longer a stressful, hair-raising activity, but one pursued its health benefits.

Read on and learn how wellness-craving buyers are causing a motorcycle boom.

A COVID-Triggered Breath of Life
Before the pandemic, dark clouds were hanging over the motorcycle industry in the US. There were not enough new buyers to replace those who were giving up their two-wheelers. According to  Statista.com, sales peaked in 2015 when industry sales stood at about 500,000 units. But the figures plummeted in subsequent years. Motorcycle companies like Harley Davidson were on the deathbed for a long time.

But then COVID-19 happened. Lockdowns, social distancing, and other containment measures meant stress. Mental and physical wellness were the words that would inject new hope into the struggling industry, and the global sales figures show it.

In Asia and Europe, motorcycle companies in countries like China, Germany, and the Netherlands surpassed their year-on-year growth projections. Overall, global industry leaders anticipate that the two-wheeler market will grow from about $74billion (a rate of 5.3%). There are economic reasons behind this growth as well as social motivations.

Growth in Supporting Businesses
The COVID-driven growth of e-commerce is primarily due to the shift to working from home. As people stay at home, the demand for courier services is surging.

Whether it is Uber eats or Deliveroo, motorcycles are the preferred transport solution for courier services. During the pandemic, industry leaders like Uber eats have reported exceptional growth, triggering an increase in the number of riders. The same was the case for Deliveroo in London. They added 15,000 new riders.

But it’s not only economic reasons that are driving the motorcycle boom. Riding a motorcycle can improve a person’s well-being. We think this takes the chunk of why the pandemic kick-started the motorcycle boom, and here is how.

Motorcycles are An Affordable Escape from COVID-19 Worries
Lockdowns and the demand to stay at home or work from home cause fatigue and tension. People need ways to blow off the steam, and motorcycles provide an excellent route to achieve relief.

Biking is an affordable way to escape the tumults of urban lifestyles and get lost in the open spaces of the countryside. The release and joy of riding is an excellent remedy for stress and tension.

According to the Bloomberg report, dealers in “open space states” like California, some regions in Florida, and Kentucky have experienced exponential sales in the last couple of months. Industry leaders have particularly noted an increase in demand for outdoor and adventure models.

Enthusiasm to Explore
As the pandemic continues to devastate lives and communities, people are turning to new ways to cope. More people are channeling their dreams and pains through their two-wheeled companions.

Many Americans have turned to their two-wheeled companions for stress relief and to build a sense of community. Founders of women’s biking movements, Kelly Yazdi and Porsche Taylor, told cntraveler.com how they saw this as an opportunity to inspire women to ride across the country and help ‘sisters’ cope. And it is driving the average number of riders up.

An Excellent Way to Commute
Travelling within cities and other urban spaces is often marred by traffic jams. Many people detest the downtime and opt to use public transport. However, COVID-19 rendered public transport a not-very-safe way to travel.

Many people who opted not to stay confined in cars chose motorcycles, driving the numbers up. Two-wheelers became a natural choice for urban dwellers who wanted to get to their destinations fast without compromising social distance or other COVID containment measures.

Riding is not only safer but also a faster way to get to your destination. Although lane splitting is not legal in many parts of the US, there is no doubt that it is easier to weave through traffic gridlocks when on a motorcycle. Every month motorcycle riders in London save an average of seven hours and about 140 (about $198) on their commute. Saving time and money has a tremendous positive impact on mental wellness. It is a good reason why the motorcycle figures are staying up.

Makes Environmental Sense
Beating traffic feels awesome; doing it while you are going green also boosts your mental wellness.

The carbon footprint of manufacturing and operating a motorcycle is a fraction of that of a motor vehicle. Manufacturing and running an electric bike leaves an even smaller carbon footprint. Environmentally sensitive buyers are aware of this, and they are saying they want more bikes through their wallets.

The pandemic inspired a 145% growth in electric bike sales in the US. They get to their destination faster, boosting their mood, and they feel good about the environment.

Bottom Line
Behind the pandemic-driven boom is the need for overall wellness. People have realized that biking is not the high-risk activity they perceived it to be. But by observing the safety guidelines and learning a thing or two about handling injury and compensation, riding a motorcycle can turn into a mentally rewarding pastime.

The wellness rewards of riding have kick-started the motorcycle boom.

Damon Motorcycles to enter Latin America

By General Posts

by Otilia Drăgan from https://www.autoevolution.com

Latin America Soon to Have Its Own Custom-Built High-Tech Damon Motorcycles

https://damon.com/

Latin America is about to get a taste of one of the most tech-loaded electric motorcycles in the world, and even enjoy its own custom versions. After winning the hearts of the younger generations in Canada and North America, Damon Motors is now moving on to Latin America.

Canadian-based Damon Motors has just initiated a long-term partnership with Auteco Mobility in Columbia, to develop and manufacture a new line of products for motorcycle riders in Latin America, including Damon’s famous Hypersport as the flagship model. In addition to that, Auteco will license parts of Damon’s CoPilot™ safety technology, for its own Victory motorcycles. This adaptive 360-degree safety warning system is an industry first.

The main objective (and a daring one) is to create a purpose-built, Latin America-specific Damon motorcycle, based on the specific needs of riders in this region. But their long-term strategy is even more ambitious, planning a wide regional distribution for what is about to become the quintessential Latin American Damon bike.

Auteco has the means to do that, as a leader on the Columbian ICE motorcycles market, as well as a pioneer in terms of electric 2-wheelers, that has created the widest network of exclusive dealers, workshops and spare parts sale points, in South America. With both companies committed to not only a greener future, but also to increased safety for motorcycle riders, the idea of creating a clean and safe bike that also features the latest technologies, specifically for this market, was a slam dunk.

Damon was one of the first startups to make waves with an electric motorcycle, when the trend was just taking off. Its first iconic Hypersport model delivered 200 hp and had an impressive 200-mile (321 km) range. Plus, it was the first to incorporate sensor fusion, mechatronics and AI, which means that it can adapt to the rider’s needs and abilities.

New Pan America motorcycle drawing national attention

By General Posts

by Sarah Hauer from https://www.jsonline.com

Harley-Davidson Inc.’s newest bike — a less expensive and lighter motorcycle — is drawing national attention as the company tries to lure new riders.

Harley-Davidson’s Pan America is arriving at hundreds of dealerships now.

“(The Pan America) is definitely not your dad’s Harley-Davidson cruiser,” New York Times reporter Mark Gardiner wrote.

The Pan America is about $2,000 cheaper and 200 pounds lighter than Harley-Davidson’s most popular touring bikes. The base model of the Pan America is around 530 pounds and starts at $17,319.

Pan America’s launch was delayed a year. The company held a virtual launch event in February.

Kevin Duke, who writes about motorcycles, was impressed by his test ride of the new bike.

“The news about Harley for the past couple of years has been quite pessimistic,” said Duke, the editor in chief at Thunder Press in the New York Times article. “With the older demographic aging out, there was no real hint at what the company could do to gain market share, but this really changes it. The new motor is that good.”

The Milwaukee-based company has been trying to expand its customer base for years.

The company experienced a steep decline in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Motorcycle sales were up 9% worldwide for the company during its most recent fiscal quarter. That bump was driven by a 30% increase in North America motorcycle sales over the same three-month time period last year.

Harley-Davidson launched its all-electric motorcycle brand LiveWire in May. The first motorcycle branded as a LiveWire bike is scheduled to premiere at the International Motorcycle Show on July 9.