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The Bling Bikernet Weekly News for March 4th, 2021

By General Posts

All Wild and Chrome

I’m working on a new Sam’s Picks story. He’s a cool dude, who is facing some health issues. I hope he can get a tune-up and be good as gold shortly.

I’m also working on a story about a Masonic based bike club that’s all over the country. It’s called the Widow’s Sons. And I’m packing all the rusting bling in the shop for shipment to South Dakota. I’ll take a picture of the shop. It’s getting crazy. Let’s hit the news.

With news from car haters, the NMA, the MRF, Lowbrow, S&S, Full Throttle Saloon, Flying Pistons, WindVest, Hamsters, OCC Road House, War on Parking, Toyota, the Future of Harley, JIMS Machine, Lane Splitting and we’re just scratching the surface.

Ride Fast and Free Forever,

–Bandit

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Piaggio, KTM, Honda and Yamaha to set up swappable batteries consortium

By General Posts

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

The consortium will define the standardised technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category, mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles.

Piaggio Group on Monday said it has signed a letter of intent with KTM AG, Honda Motor and Yamaha Motor to set up a Swappable Batteries Consortium for motorcycles and light electric vehicles.

The consortium will define the standardised technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category: mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles.

The companies will be working closely with interested stakeholders and national, European and international standardisation bodies. The founding members of the consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards. The Consortium will start its activities in May 2021.

In the context of the Paris Climate Agreement and the transition to electromobility, the founding members of the consortium believe that the availability of a standardised swappable battery system would both promote the widespread use of light electric vehicles and contribute to a more sustainable life-cycle management of batteries used in the transport sector, the companies said in a joint statement.

Also, by extending the range, shortening the charging time and lowering vehicle and infrastructure costs, the manufacturers will try to answer customers’ main concerns regarding the future of electromobility.

Michele Colaninno, Piaggio Group chief of strategy and product, commented, “With the signing of this letter of intent, the signatories show their proactiveness vis-à-vis the major concerns of their customers and the political priorities as regards the electrification of vehicles.”

An international standard for the swappable batteries system will make this technology efficient and at the disposal of the consumers, added Michele Colaninno.

A Miracle Bikernet Weekly News for February 25, 2021

By General Posts

Life is Nuts and then You Die…

Hey,

Everyday is a miracle. I wake up saying, “Today is going to be amazing.”

Last week I receive a fortune cookie and the message said, “You will receive a surprise very soon.” It didn’t lie. I read something recently about being lucky. Some 40 years ago I walked into a Chinese Restaurant in Calabasas, had lunch and received a fortune cookie. I cracked that puppy and read the message. It said, “You will be Lucky for Life!” I have been.

Luck is not a myth. It’s a mindset. If you feel lucky, you are positive luck will come your way, so you look for it, you foster it, you follow up on it, and you have a blast.

If you feel unlucky, you’re not looking for shit. So, what do you get? You got it. Let’s hit the news. It’s going to be a lucky day.

In the meantime, ride fast and free forever.

–Bandit

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Europe’s Electric Motorcycle Market Surges

By General Posts

2020 is an IDTechEx estimate based on Q1 – Q3 2020 data. Source: ACEM, IDTechEx

Press Release: IDTechEx from https://www.scoop.co.nz

IDTechEx expects electric motorcycle sales in Europe to grow at least 50% year-on-year in 2020, building on the momentum of recent years. This is driven by continued policy support from governments alongside start-ups and incumbent OEMs entering the market with new model releases, finds the recent report from IDTechEx.

Growth is also being boosted by consumer awareness and acceptance in Europe of the benefits of electric motorcycles. Besides the low cost of ownership, electric motorcycles improve the riding experience, taking away the noise, fumes, vibration, shifting, and clutching from the user experience, alongside the environmental benefits of low emissions. The result has been strong growth on par with the electric car market since 2017.

How are electric motorcycles different? Electric motorcycles are unique, serious machines with power and energy requirements orders of magnitude higher than other common types of electric two-wheelers such as electric scooters, both the standing kind – think Lime – and the sitting kind – think Vespa.

Indeed, electric motorcycles typically utilize electric motors beyond 40kWp, which is more comparable to those found in electric cars than electric scooters, in a much more restricted space. This high-power need, coupled with the limited space on the motorcycle, means manufacturers rarely use off-the-shelf parts and design motors in-house from scratch. The situation is the same for the battery packs, which actually take up the most space in boxy designs unconventional for the moto industry (even when utilizing high-energy automotive-grade Li-ion cells). In contrast, low energy, cheap LFP packs sourced from China can be used for the low energy needs of electric scooters.

Zero Motorcycles, the global market leader for electric motorcycles based out of California, USA, is a good example. It uses locally sourced NMC pouch cells in a custom pack and has an impressive custom-built permanent magnet AC motor (passively air-cooled). The motor has no transmission and is direct drive to the rear wheel, with instant torque.

The result is that electric motorcycles are expensive compared with equivalent combustion models, and start-ups often focus on developing competition or racing bikes, which are less price-sensitive markets. So, while the market is growing, the price remains the main hurdle: a motorcycle with a 14kWh battery pack sells for over $15,000 today. The issue is exacerbated by the fact that electric motorcycles have the most appeal to environmentally conscious millennials who tend to have less purchasing power than older generations preferring loud pipes. In fact, young people are less inclined to buy a motorcycle in general, which is an existential problem the overall industry is grappling with. The high price of electric motorcycles should naturally improve as battery costs continue to decline from the economies of scale of the automotive industry, which may be enough to entice a new, younger audience.

To learn more, the new IDTechEx report “Electric Two-wheelers 2021–2041” (www.IDTechEx.com/E2W) addresses and forecasts electric two-wheelers with pure electric modes under 4kW (‘electric scooters’) and over 4kW (‘electric motorcycles’) with historic data back to 2015 and forecasts to 2041, with insight into the drivers and uptake by region (China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, EU + UK, US, RoW). The report further explores key technology trends, such as the transition away from lead-acid and the reliance on permanent magnet motors for all power classes. Market shares of companies are provided regionally, based on primary interviews with market leaders.

This research forms part of the broader electric vehicle and energy storage portfolio from IDTechEx, who track the adoption of electric vehicles, battery trends, and demand across land, sea, and air, helping you navigate whatever may be ahead. Find out more at www.IDTechEx.com/EV.

NCOM Biker Newsbytes for February 2021

By General Posts

Gas powered vehicles, electric vehicle buyers, virtual reality, Daytona Bike Week, Americade, Route 66, motorcycle taxi
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).

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New Adventure Bikernet Weekly News for February 11, 2021

By General Posts

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

Let’s hit the news. It’s going to be a good one.

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Sad Bikernet Weekly News for February 4, 2021

By General Posts

Bandit’s last dog died, Jon Towle died, Dale Walksler died, sad!

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

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The Lighthearted Bikernet Weekly News for January 28, 2021

By General Posts

Hey,

This is going to be a good one. We have a ton of material to sort through.

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

Ride fast and free, forever!

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Harley Davidson’s plan to take iconic motorcycle brand into transportation’s future

By General Posts

by Joe D’Allegro from https://www.cnbc.com

  • Harley-Davidson unveiled a new 2021 lineup featuring several advances in engineering, electronics and styling, and its first rival to BMW and Honda “adventure” bikes.
  • Hog motorcycle sales peaked 15 years ago and have dropped 40% since.
  • But as it cuts costs, total number of models and geographies under a new CEO, and looks to electric motorcycles and e-bikes, Harley could be in for a smoother stock market ride.

As a tradition-minded 118-year-old motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson may not seem ideally situated to prosper in a rapidly changing world where vehicles are increasingly electrified, self-driving, and shared. But the iconic company could be better positioned than many stock market investors betting on transportation suspect.

The company’s U.S. bike sales peaked at more than 260,000 way back in 2006, and have since dropped about 40%. Demographics are part of the story, and it is a well-charted one, in the stock price and broader narrative about Harley’s consumer market. In 1985, the year before Harley went public, the median motorcycle owner was only 27, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. By 2018, the median age had risen to 50. But the iconic “HOG” brand is turning itself around under the leadership of president and CEO Jochen Zeitz, who took the helm last year after drawing praise for a turnaround engineered at European consumer brand Puma.

Zeitz, and other new executives pushed the “Rewire” initiative, which has driven the manufacturer to exit international markets with low potential to focus on 36 high-growth-potential areas in North America, Europe and Asia. The company also laid off 700 employees to trim costs. It closed out 2020 by entering into a distribution agreement with Indian motorcycle maker Hero and spinning off its electric bicycle operations to a new firm where it holds a minority stake.

“We think they are on the right track,” noted Garrett Nelson, senior equity analyst at CFRA Research. He praised Harley’s late-October agreement with Hero as beneficial to both parties. “Harley gets access to Hero’s existing distribution network in India and Hero benefits from the sale of additional motorcycles at its dealerships,” he said. “It’s a trade-off. Harley surrenders some of the margin for access to the distribution network in the fast-growing market.”

He added that Harley should pursue similar opportunities with other established players to widen its exposure in faster-growing Asian markets.

Harley in a Tesla world

With the new financial strategy in place, Harley’s is now looking ahead. On February 2, it will introduce its plan for 2021 to 2025. Called Hardwire, the new plan is “grounded in desirability,” according to the company, though it has not released details.

Next month Harley also is unveiling the Pan America, a large adventure-style motorcycle meant to be at home both on- and off-road. It is the company’s first foray into the adventure bike market in which competitors like BMW and Honda already have a large presence. The recreational market has become a more intense focus for consumer brands as a result of shifts driven by the pandemic.

Nelson also was cautiously optimistic about the manufacturer’s prospects in an increasingly electrified future. The LiveWire, Harley’s sole current electric motorcycle, shows promise, but the company has been somewhat slow bringing it to market since its release in late 2019, he said.

“More of a concrete strategy on the electric bike, the Livewire, will be necessary,” Citi analyst Shawn Collins said, but he added that EVs remain a longer-term rather than immediate financial priority. “EV cycles are a rounding error at the moment,” he said of the sales.

The LiveWire retails for nearly $30,000, making it one of Harley’s more expensive motorcycle offerings for the 2021 model year, which range from $9,500 to $49,000.

“Over time, we are bullish on the opportunity, given that we think lithium-ion battery costs are going to continue falling in the coming years and electric vehicles are going to be heavily subsidized by the new administration,” Nelson said. “We expect the cost of electric vehicles to reach parity with internal combustion engine vehicles by the middle of this decade, as battery costs continue to decline.”

Harley-Davidson’s share price is at a 52-week high — like many companies in this extended bull market — but remains well below its all-time peak.

The company’s iconic brand remains attractive, even as its financial fortunes have fluctuated.

“Harley-Davidson is the most valuable motorcycle brand on the planet,” wrote Craig Kennison, a senior research analyst and director of research operations at Baird, in a recent research note. Harley’s strong brand, scale, and loyal customers give it an advantage over competitors, in his view. Meanwhile, Harley’s new leadership has put in place operational changes that should drive growth in 2021, Kennison said, including streamlining its product portfolio, reducing dealer inventory 30%, and instituting ongoing annual costs savings of $115 million. “We increasingly like the investment case for Harley-Davidson,” he wrote.

There may be more cost-cutting to come, according to Nelson. He said Harley should look to further shrink its global footprint to focus on markets that are the most profitable with the greatest long-term growth potential. But shrinking the overall footprint does not mean less focus on overseas consumers.

Revving up profits

“Right now, they are spread too wide,” Nelson said. “Between 2006-2019, the company grew its non-U.S. exposure from 22% of total unit sales volumes to 42%. We think they need to continue growing this percentage out of necessity because we believe its North American market is in secular decline.”

Harley’s issue is about the top line, or revenue from motorcycle sales, and Citi’s Collins said into its earnings and February investor day how management talks about increasing the top line will be a key to continued investor confidence. “Lots of people have faith in Zeitz, but he has a high bar,” Collins said. “There is no simple answer. … The top line has been horrible.”

The biggest problem for Harley is well known: the brand has had trouble appealing to younger riders.

Younger consumers have shown an aversion to purchasing motorcycles for safety reasons, and vehicles in general due to the rise of ridesharing, as well as financial and urbanization trends, according to Nelson, and Harley’s domestic demand has been waning for well over a decade.

“Harley at one point was unstoppable, in the 80s and 90s and even through most of the 2000s,” Collins said.

The Citi analyst noted Harley competitor Indian Motorcycle, owned by Polaris, has had success bringing in a new audience, and Zeitz has shown his ability to work “marketing magic” when he oversaw the turnaround at Puma, which had lost consumers to Nike and Adidas. “His job is to try and insert the magic back into Harley so a younger person wants to buy one. That’s what he has his eye focused on for the next three year to five years,” Collins said.

“Harley-Davidson has known for a while that it needs to reach younger customers,” said Dennis Chung, the production editor at Motorcycle.com. “The problem is that demographic doesn’t necessarily want the same things in a motorcycle that Harley-Davidson’s older base values.”

A lot will hinge on the next generation of Harley-Davidson’s popular Sportster lineup of mid-sized cruisers, according to Chung. “There is definitely value in the classic Harley styling, but it needs to be balanced with modern design and modern technology,” he said.

The Sportster lineup has been in continuous production since 1957, and is one of Harley’s oldest model lines.

One way Harley-Davidson is responding to a more tricky consumer market is by shifting its focus from growing market share on an absolute basis to increasing brand exclusivity. The Rewire plan was an acknowledgment from management that blanketing the globe in a search for new sales wasn’t the way to go.

“Instead of trying to increase its sales volume, Harley-Davidson is now trying to earn more profit from each sale, even if it means selling fewer bikes,” Chung said.

Harley-Davidson recently reported a 39% increase in net income in the third quarter of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, even though its global retail motorcycle sales in the third quarter of 2020 were down 8% compared to the prior year.

North American sales did grow in the third quarter for the first time in a long time, Collins noted, and there are broader trends in place that could benefit Harley. Sports and recreational vehicles sales are growing as a result of Covid and that tailwind could cross over to the motorcycle market as well.

“They do have the No. 1 brand in the market with 40% market share and the brand is unlike any other,” Collins said.

The European market, meanwhile, is growing and the new adventure bike Pan America should do well in that region.

The decision to reduce its product line by roughly 30% seems like a smart and necessary move because of overlap.

“A lot of Harley’s products are very similar. Eliminating some of the lower-performing products creates a more streamlined product portfolio, which helps reduce costs,” Chung said.

The company dropped a handful of models from its 2021 U.S. lineup – the FXDR 114, Low Rider, Breakout, Street Bob 107, Deluxe, Street 750, Street Rod, and Roadster.

As the company offers fewer models, it sells a range of accessories and customization options. This way, buyers can individualize their bikes in details such as paint, luggage, seats, stereo systems, brake upgrades, and other areas.

Collins said Zeitz understands the opportunity in bike parts and Harley lifestyle accessories, and while these are not strategies that can turn the business around at the top line level, they are important pieces in a more comprehensive plan to maximize revenue while keeping costs down and generating higher profits. He recently pegged as much as 15% upside in Harley’s stock ahead of next month’s earnings and investor day, writing in a note to investors that he continues to be encouraged by new management’s decision-making.

Even with a trimmed portfolio, the manufacturer still offers two dozen different motorcycles, mostly concentrated in the cruiser and touring market segments, as well as a trio of three-wheeled bikes.

“We believe Covid-19 has given Harley the opportunity to press the reset button on its strategy and refocus effort back on its core consumer, one which we believe holds the key to higher profit margins,” stated Morningstar senior equity analyst Jaime Katz in a November report. She praised the Rewire initiative as a means of balancing restoration of the firm’s core business and entry into new markets. Prioritizing profitability over scale should also refocus Harley on the success of high-margin parts and accessories and general merchandise segments.

“It’s okay to be in a shrinking market, if you’re improving the profitability of the products you sell,” Katz told CNBC.