National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish
The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is a nationwide motorcyclists rights organization serving over 2,000 NCOM Member Groups throughout the United States, with all services fully-funded through Aid to Injured Motorcyclist (AIM) Attorneys available in each state who donate a portion of their legal fees from motorcycle accidents back into the NCOM Network of Biker Services (www.ON-A-BIKE.com / 800-ON-A-BIKE).
I now have a new morning workout. I shovel and sweep snow for an hour to clear the historic sidewalk in front of our house on Jackson Street. I discovered yesterday that Jason, who owned Deadwood Custom Cycles lives on Taylor, less than a block away.
I met with a contractor yesterday, Paul. He said this region is all cowboys and bikers. Sounds good to me. We need to watch out.
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I just drove through over 300 miles of snow and the whole state of Wyoming to get to Deadwood. It was truly amazing, except when I couldn’t see shit.
As of Friday, the Bikernet team will have a hideout in the Badlands. Hang on for more reports.
A brother just installed a 1909 Merkel in his living room. He sent me a shot and said he loves his wife, Joan. She’s cool, but that’s one of the first items on my agenda. I need to haul a bike up to Deadwood and place it securely in my living room, or somewhere in the house. Need something to ride around the kitchen.
Hang on for more colorful reports. In the meantime, let’s hit the news.
by Carrigan Miller and Mark Reilly from https://www.bizjournals.com
Polaris Inc. stock is up sharply Tuesday morning after the maker of ATVs, snowmobiles and motorcycles reported better-than-expected profits for the fourth quarter, driven in part by the rollout of a new Indian motorcycle.
The Medina, Minnesota-based manufacturer posted income of $98.9 million for the quarter, or $1.58 per share, up from $91.4 million, or $1.47 per share the year before. Adjusted earnings were $1.83 per share, ahead of Wall Street average estimates of $1.79.
Sales were $1.73 billion, up 7% from the year-ago period but at the low end of Wall Street estimates. Sales growth was led by the company’s Indian Motorcycle division, which saw revenue increase by 37% to $116 million as Indian debuted the Challenger, a heavyweight touring bike.
Indian is the vintage motorcycle brand that Polaris is marketing as an alternative to those sold by Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. The Challenger is indicative of how Polaris is positioning Indian. Upon the rollout of the Challenger in October, motorsports industry writers were comparing it to Harley-Davidson’s Road Glide, a big touring bike that represented a sizable portion of Harley’s sales mix back in 2013, when the iconic motorcycle manufacturer put Road Glide on a hiatus that lasted all of one year.
Indian unveils new Challenger lineup for 2020
As for Polaris, investors liked what they saw. Shares of Polaris closed up almost 6% Tuesday. The company may look particularly good in comparison to rival Harley-Davidson, which reported its lowest quarterly sales in years and missed Wall Street estimates by 6%, Barron’s reports. Shares of Harley (NYSE: HOG) closed down about 3% at $33.79.
Sales in off-road vehicles and snowmobiles, still the company’s biggest business, grew by 7% as the fortunes for ATVs and snowmobiles diverged. Sales of off-roading vehicles like the RZR and Ranger rose 13%, snowmobile sales were down 10 percent.
Boats, the company’s newest business unit that includes the recreational and sport boat brands of Marquis-Larson Boat Group of Pulaski, also saw a sales decline during the quarter, while clothing and aftermarket parts rose.
For the full year, Polaris posted earnings of $323 million, or $5.20 per diluted share, on sales of $6.8 billion.
“In 2019, we delivered strong operational performance across Polaris (NYSE: PII), especially productivity and delivery, and we expect further gains to create value for customers and shareholders in the year ahead,” Polaris CEO Scott Wine said in a statement.
Polaris said it projected growth between 2% and 4% in 2020, with earnings in the range of $6.80 to $7.05 per diluted share. “While the negative impact of tariffs remains a significant headwind on an annualized basis, the year-over-year impact is expected to be minimal,” the company said.
by Paul R. La Monica from https://edition.cnn.com/
New York (CNN Business)Harley-Davidson has a big problem. Americans aren’t riding its trademark hogs nearly as much as they used to do.
Shares of Harley-Davidson (HOG) fell 3% in early trading Tuesday after the company reported sales and earnings that missed Wall Street’s forecasts. The stock is now down more than 10% this year.
Most alarming: Demand for Harley’s bikes continued to fall in the United States — even as they rebounded overseas.
Harley’s retail sales in America were down 3% in the fourth quarter. That’s the 12th consecutive decline. US sales fell more than 5% for the full year.
Sales were up slightly internationally, led by a more-than 6% jump in Asia. But that wasn’t enough to lift Harley’s worldwide motorcycle sales, which fell 1.4%.
The weakness in Harley’s home market is particularly disappointing given that the United States and China have now reached a “phase one” trade truce. Harley has been complaining about tariffs put into place by the Trump administration for the past few years.
President Donald Trump has also been critical of the fact that Harley — based in Milwaukee — had shifted some of its production outside of America to avoid tariffs in Europe that were put into place on the company in response to US tariffs on steel and aluminum. Trump even supported a boycott of Harley by US consumers in 2018.
But Harley clearly has bigger problems than global trade policy. The company is trying to revitalize its sales with the launch of its LiveWire electric motorcycle.
Harley CEO and president Matt Levatich struck a hopeful tone in the company’s earnings release.
“We see 2020 as the pivotal year in the transformation of Harley-Davidson. This year we will broaden the reach of our brand and build more committed riders as we enter new and growing segments in motorcycling and eBicycles,” Levatich said. “More and easier access to two-wheeled freedom on a Harley is well underway.”
The Progressive International Motorcycle Show rolled through Denver last weekend, and if memory serves, it was the first appearance in a half-decade or so.
Colorado once had a major part in non-Harley-centric motorcycle drama. The Copper Mountain Cycle Jam was a giant event that featured the AMA Supermoto circuit amongst the high Rockies and brought thousands from out-of-state. Pikes Peak International Raceway was home to an AMA SuperBike round that featured some great racing on the unconventional race course. There was even of a round national vintage racing with AHRMA at Pueblo.
Those days, and that motorcycle industry is gone, casualties of the Great Recession and a millennial generation hooked on phones, not speed and adventure.
So when the IMS came to town, it was a solid look at how the industry is trying to recast itself.
The first clear observation was the number of women. Women have always been the great, untapped market. And between gear, smaller bikes and dropping some of the macho facade, the industry seems to be getting it. The attendees certainly did.
The second was the focus on new riders. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation demo area and multi-brand new rider section took up a third of the floor. You can’t get people hooked on riding if you don’t get them on a bike first. And the industry is finally putting the full-court press on making that happen with young, old, men and women all hopping on the wide range of demo alternatives. And actually riding, on an indoor course set-up just to train new riders.
The motorcycle industry is not alone in the current active sports paradox. The technology in current bikes makes them safer, more accessible and more exciting than ever. Bikes are ever more sophisticated, with electronics and computing power surpassing desktop computers of a generation ago. With the sophistication has come costs that put many potential riders in a gig economy out of the market when bound by student loan debt, sky high rents and $150/month phone bills.
But if the Denver show is any indication, the industry is listening and trying.
May all bikers find their Nirvana in 2020
It’s an amazing week. I want it to be this amazing for all bikers all over the world. I want all of us to be building the coolest shit, riding to the coolest places, meeting the most beautiful girls and enjoying every minute of it.
On Tuesday, we nervously took the Salt Torpedo into the desert for some passes on a desolate paved road. I can’t tell you where we went. It’s a top-speed secret, that only coyotes and bleak desert bikers know about. What a trip.
Watch for the whole highly successful run report in a story in the next few days on Bikernet. Let’s hit the news. I’m still floating on Cloud Nine.
I like this year already. It’s going to be whacky and wonderful. It’s just the 2nd day of January and the world is back in business. We’re all doing what we did a couple of weeks ago, going about taking the trash out, feeding the dog and heading off to work.
Hell, I have all the Deadlines for Cycle Source Magazine etched into my 2020 Pin-Up calendar. We need to break the mold for 2020. Do something crazy. I’m going to go back to Bonneville this year with something completely different.
And I’m trying to buy a little place in Deadwood, SD and change up my life some. I hope everyone finds new challenges, new hope, new adventures and new love in 2020.
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by Peter Valdes-Dapena from https://edition.cnn.com/
Motorcycle sales, particularly in the United States, have been struggling ever since the Great Recession. As older riders lose interest, or simply become unable to ride any longer, the younger generation hasn’t been showing the same kind of enthusiasm.
But the industry is hoping that electric motorcycles — with a quieter, simpler experience — might be the key to attracting new riders.
For one thing, electric motorcycles are easier to ride. With an electric motor, there’s no need to shift gears. To experienced riders, that’s no big deal, but most Americans today have become accustomed to automatic transmissions and don’t know how to shift gears.
“It’s just a lot easier learning curve,” said Susan Carpenter, a writer and radio host specializing in motorcycles. “You just hop on and twist the throttle. If you can balance, you can go.”
Another benefit is that electric motorcycles are much less noisy than gasoline-powered motorcycles. To many veteran riders, the roar of the engine is part of the excitement. But a lot of other people would prefer to enjoy their surroundings much more peacefully. The bikes also don’t have hot engines and exhaust pipes that can become burn hazards, especially when parked around kids.
Electric motorcycles also qualify for federal and state tax credits, similar to those for electric cars, although in smaller amounts.
There are tradeoffs, of course. Electric motorcycles have the same disadvantages as electric cars, namely cost and range. Motorcycles can only accommodate small batteries so they have a lot less range than gas-powered bikes. And that range diminishes greatly during high-speed highway riding because the bike’s electric motor has to compensate for increased wind resistance pressing against the rider’s not-so-aerodynamic body.
Hoping to get the attention of a new generation of riders, Harley-Davidson introduced the LiveWire electric motorcycle earlier this year.
But with a starting price of nearly $30,000 — more than three times the cost of an entry level motorcycle — it’s unlikely to attract many novice riders. With its extreme performance capabilities — it can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in just three seconds — the LiveWire doesn’t appear to be for first-time riders. (The bike does have selectable performance modes so it can be set up for less aggressive riding.)
“LiveWire sets the stage and sets the tone and is designed and priced to be a halo vehicle,” said Harley-Davidson spokesman Paul James, explaining that the LiveWire is aimed at establishing an image for the brand’s electric offerings rather than being a big seller. “And we’ll quickly follow that up with other form factors and other electric two-wheelers that will be in various price points and aimed at different customers.”
Harley-Davidson (HOG) wanted this bike to get people used to the idea of a motorcycle that doesn’t have the brand’s signature engine burble, said James. The LiveWire does make its own distinct sound, though. It comes from the gears that carry power from the electric motor to the belt that spins the back wheel. Harley-Davidson engineers spent time specifically tuning the naturally occurring whirring sound, much as they would the rumble of a gasoline engine.
For the real novices, Harley-Davidson offers the IronE, which targets tiny riders aged three to seven. The teeny off-road bike is powered by a small detachable battery similar to ones used for electric power tools and starts at around $650. Harley-Davidson has also shown pedaled e-bikes and scooters as concepts.
California-based Zero offers electric motorcycles like the Zero FX ZF3.6 for around $9,000. That bike has an estimated 27 miles of riding range from a small battery that can be easily changed for a fully charged one when it runs low on power. For about twice that amount, or around $20,000, bikes like the Zero SR/F can get about 123 miles in combined city and highway riding. (That compares to the 95 miles Harley-Davidson estimates for the LiveWire.) Buyers can also add battery power using a “Power Tank” accessory.
Zero’s bikes are used in a program called Discover the Ride, which introduces novice riders to motorcycle riding and takes place at Progressive International Motorcycle Shows across the United States. Riders demonstrate their basic two-wheeler skills on an electrically-assisted bicycle, then they are offered a ride on a Zero electric motorcycle.
Cake, a Swedish company, has models starting at a slightly more affordable $8,500. For that price, a buyer can get Cake’s ultra-minimalist Ösa+ model. Its design was inspired by a workbench and it looks like it. With detachable clamps, the owner can quickly customize the bike with cargo racks or an additional seat. The Ösa+ has a top speed of just 60 miles an hour. It’s intended as an urban workhorse.
Cake also makes the slightly faster and pricier Kalk& with a more traditional, but still distinctively spare, design.
With their emphasis on light weight and simplicity, Cake bikes take the idea that electric motorcycling should be different from riding a gas-powered bike to an extreme. The models are particularly popular with new riders, according to a company spokesman. After being available in the US for a little over a year, there’s a three-month waiting list for the bikes, Cake claims.