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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.

Jawa Motorcycles to launch in Europe – Rival Royal Enfield

By General Posts

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

Jawa Motorcycles’ European exports will start with Jawa 300 aka Jawa Classic

Classic Legends, owned by Mahindra & Mahindra group, brought down Jawa Motorcycles to the Indian market back in November 2018. As a first, two motorcycles were launched as direct rivals to Royal Enfield’s ‘350’ range: Jawa 42 and ‘Jawa’ (a.k.a. ‘Jawa Classic’ or ‘300’). Prices for the initial BS4 single-channel ABS models stood at Rs 1.55 lakh and Rs 1.64 lakh, respectively.

Either motorcycle was recently updated to BS6 specifications and prices increased to Rs 1.74 lakh and 1.83 lakh, respectively, for their dual-channel ABS variants. Meanwhile, Jawa Perak bobber was launched towards 2019 end as the Czech-origin brand’s first BS6 product, at a price tag of Rs 1.95 lakh. All prices mentioned here are ex-showroom.

Jawa Motorcycles India plans to commence its European export operations soon with Jawa Classic as a start. The motorcycle has been already homologated for European roads. Compared to its original Indian specifications, Euro-spec Jawa 300 has received some minor updates to comply with local motor vehicle norms. Visually, there are no changes and Jawa Motorcycles is expected to introduce the same colour choices available in India.

There is a good demand for classic motorcycles in Europe and the market has already proved to be a success for modern classics. For the same reason, major names in industry have introduced a range of interesting products in this genre. Honda Motorcycle could even bring back iconic CB series in the not-too-distant future.

Coming back to Jawa Motorcycles, both its entry-level products are powered by a 293cc liquid-cooled DOHC single-cylinder motor derived from Mahindra Mojo’s power plant. The engine, in its latest BS6 format, makes 27bhp and 28Nm of torque while mated to a 6-speed transmission. Jawa Perak gets a re-bored 334cc version of the same unit, mated to 6-speed gearbox. Power figures are significantly high at 30bhp and 31Nm.

In European markets as well, Jawa 300 will lock horns with Royal Enfield Bullet Classic 350. At present, Jawa motorcycle is easily a better choice compared to the current-gen UCE ‘350’ Royal Enfield models. However, the story might be different once Royal Enfield launches its next-gen ‘350’ line-up starting with Royal Enfield Meteor 350.

One of the major challenges faced by Jawa Motorcycles India was delivery times. At various occasions, buyers had even cancelled their bookings due to unreasonably long waiting periods. Jawa plans to address this issue by ramping up its production capacity. The industry is currently facing a new challenge in the form of COVID-19.

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.

Kawasaki Starts Home Delivery Of Motorcycles, Spares And Accessories In USA

By General Posts

by Satya Singh from https://www.rushlane.com

United States is the worst hit due to coronavirus pandemic, with more than a million confirmed cases and over 61k fatalities

As the lockdown continues to restrict auto sales, Kawasaki USA has announced that it will start home delivery of its vehicles, spares, accessories and apparel. Auto dealerships are shut in most places and people have been forced to stay indoors. There are also the ones who may not want to visit dealerships due to the high risk of infection.

In this situation, online sales and home delivery of products appears to be the only effective solution for auto companies. In India, online sales platform and home delivery option have been launched by various auto companies such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Honda, Tata Motors, MG Motor and Hyundai.

Kawasaki’s product portfolio in US comprises motorcycles, ATVs, utility task vehicles and jet skis. The company already provides online option to buy vehicle accessories, spare parts, maintenance products, apparel and gifts & collectibles.

For buying Kawasaki vehicles, customers will probably need to contact their nearest dealer. It is expected that the necessary formalities, paperwork, financing, and down payment will be processed online in coordination with the dealer. Once the deal is finalized, the vehicle will be home delivered to the customer.

Kawasaki will be working closely with its dealers across the United States to ensure that customers get the best vehicle delivery experience. The deliveries will be done in accordance with guidelines mandated by local authorities. Efforts will be made to ensure that the home delivery experience is just as good as deliveries done at dealerships.

Before delivery, the vehicle will be thoroughly checked by the dealer. At the time of delivery, customers can go through the checklist to ensure that everything is as per their order. All Kawasaki vehicles will be delivered by dealership professionals who are well-acquainted with the operation, maintenance and safety requirements of the vehicle.

This will ensure proper care and handling during transportation and delivery. Kawasaki has purposefully avoided using common carriers and third-party delivery service providers for home delivery of its vehicles. For home delivery of other products such as spare parts, accessories and apparel, Kawasaki will be relying on common carriers or third-party services. This is the same process that was being used earlier as well.

Kawasaki will try its best to provide home delivery option to as many customers as possible. However, due to local restrictions, home delivery of vehicles may not be possible at some locations. Customers will probably need to contact their nearest dealer to know about availability of home delivery option.

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.

TVS acquires Britain’s most iconic sporting motorcycle brand ‘Norton’

By General Posts

by TE Narasimhan from https://www.business-standard.com

Founded by James Lansdowne Norton, in Birmingham, in 1898, Norton Motorcycles is among the most popular British motorcycle brands of all time and is one of the most emotive marques today

TVS Motor Company on Friday announced the acquisition of the United Kingdom’s most iconic sporting motorcycle ‘Norton’ in an all-cash deal, for £16 million, by acquiring certain assets of Norton Motorcycles (UK) (in administration), through one of TVS Motor’s overseas arms. This would be among the most interesting acquisitions of a storied motorcycle maker, and reflects TVS’ and India’s rapidly rising prominence in the global two-wheeler market, said the company.

Founded by James Lansdowne Norton in Birmingham (in 1898), Norton Motorcycles is among the most popular British motorcycle brands of all time.

Since the 20th century, Norton has been renowned for its classic models and eclectic range of luxury motorcycles, ranging from the authentic retro classic reboots of the famous Commando to their contemporary 200 bhp, 1200cc V4 super-bikes.

Sudarshan Venu, joint managing director of TVS Motor, said: “This is a momentous time for us at TVS Motor Company. Norton is an iconic British brand.”

Norton had some management issue, which TVS — with its global supply chain capabilities and financial support — helped overcome. Though there will be some concerns in the short term due to Covid-19, TVS Motor has enhanced its cost-reduction measures, and cut down on capex. Given the nature of Norton, which is not a capex-heavy business, there seems no immediate concern. Manufacturing will continue in the existing facility, and there are many customer orders that will be fulfilled in a profitable manner.

The immediate focus would be on developed markets, in which Norton is already present, before expanding in key developing markets. The company has a strong relationship with BMW, which will continue. Venu said, “TVS Motor will work closely with customers and employees in building the success and pre-eminence of the Norton Motorcycles brand.”

“It is a brand, which gives us a huge opportunity to scale up and create value. The funding has been through internal accruals. It is an asset purchase, since this company had a slightly rough time in the last few years, we have not taken any past liabilities or responsibilities,” he added.

The company has committed to absorb all 55-60 employees.

“We also see synergies across supply chain and distribution, and are looking forward to the products in the pipeline. We have got the IP and the brand rights,” said Venu.

by Dia Rekhi from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/

Chennai: TVS Motor CompanyNSE 8.96 % on Friday announced that it has acquired Britain’s iconic sporting motorcycle, “Norton”, in an all-cash deal for a consideration of GBP16 million by acquiring certain assets of NortonNSE 11.96 % Motorcycles (U.K.) Limited (in administration) through one of TVS Motor’s overseas subsidiaries.

The brand is renowned for its classic models and eclectic range of luxury motorcycles.

“Norton is an iconic British brand celebrated across the world, and presents us with an immense opportunity to scale globally. This transaction is in line with our effort to cater to the aspirations of discerning motorcycle customers.

We will extend our full support for Norton to regain its full glory in the international motorcycle landscape,” said Sudarshan Venu, Joint Managing Director, TVS Motor Company.

He added that the brand, which was founded by James Lansdowne Norton, in Birmingham, in 1898 will retain its distinctive identity with dedicated and specific business plans.

Sudarshan said TVS Motor Company is excited about the existing and upcoming products at Norton Motorcycles including Commando, Dominator and V4 RR. Confident of the strong synergy between both the brands, he said Norton Motorcycles can leverage TVS Motor Company’s global reach and supply chain capabilities to expand to new markets.

India’s TVS Motor snaps up British brand Norton Motorcycles

by Pamela Barbaglia from https://www.reuters.com

India’s third-largest motorbike manufacturer TVS Motor (TVSM.NS) has sealed a $20 million deal to buy British brand Norton Motorcycles as part of a distressed sale.

The all-cash transaction, which was announced on Friday, will see the Indian firm take control of the 122-year-old Leicestershire brand for 16 million pounds ($19.98 million) through one of its overseas subsidiaries.

It marks the latest swoop by an Asian company on an iconic British brand, after Jaguar Land Rover became part of Tata Motors.

“Norton presents us with an immense opportunity to scale globally,” said TVS’s joint managing director Sudarshan Venu, adding his firm would provide “full support for Norton to regain its full glory”.

Reuters was first to report that an agreement had been reached, with TVS pledging to revive the British brand which is controlled by Chief Executive Stuart Garner.

TVS will invest in some of Norton’s most famous models, including Commando, Dominator and V4 RR.

Discussions between TVS and accountancy firm BDO – which acted as Norton’s administrator – kicked off earlier this year after the British firm, founded by James Lansdowne Norton in 1898, fell into administration in January.

Venu said TVS, which is listed in India with a market value of $1.8 billion, would work closely with Norton’s employees and customers to retain its identity and outline a specific business plan.

Rothschild acted as TVS’s financial adviser on the deal, while law firms Khaitan & Co and Slaughter and May provided legal advice.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure Arriving at U.S. Dealers in May, Priced from $6,199

By General Posts

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

Austrian motorcycle KTM is one of the leaders of the adventure motorcycle segment. For years the group has been making a wide range of two-wheeled machines, and the offering is about to get even more convincing.

As it eyes an increase of the customer base in key markets, KTM will introduce a new version of its entry-level bike for adventure riders, targeted at the ones who are new to this type of motoring. Called 390 Adventure, it should become available at dealers across the U.S. starting May.

The Adventure is based on the 390 Duke, and according to KTM has been built using lessons learned with the 790 Adventure and the bikes it usually fields in the famous Dakar Rally – at the core of the new bike sits a four-stroke 373.2 cc engine linked to an oversized radiator and a 6-speed sequential gearbox.

The movement of the bike over even or uneven terrain is handled by WP APEX suspension that comes with 170 mm of travel at the front and 177 mm at the rear. Bosch software runs the two-channel ABS system (for on-road and off-road use) fitted on the bike, and is backed by lean-angle-sensitive traction control.

“As an introduction to the world of light offroading and wider adventure touring, this motorcycle is a pure class-leader, combining the most powerful single in the segment with unmatched technology,” said KTM in a statement.

“A light, agile and confidence-inspiring entry model for riders looking to discover the world of adventure riding, this motorcycle offers added versatility for touring and light offroading.”

As said, the motorcycle will arrive at dealers across the U.S. starting next month. Prices start at $6,199, and the bikes matches all the A2 driver´s license requirements.

The entire list of features available the 390 Adventure can be found in the press release section below or at this link.

Global Motorcycle Sales In Free Fall Due To COVID-19

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by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

Even before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, many financial experts were speculating on the impact of the global crisis. Once motorcycle manufacturers and dealerships closed their doors to observe social distancing orders and promote public safety, we knew that the market could undergo a massive reduction in productivity and sales.

Now that economic reports for the month of March are available, we’re able to assess the impact on the industry—and it isn’t good. We all knew that global motorcycle sales stumbled in 2019, but with the advent of the novel coronavirus, we could see a further decline for markets like India and a contraction of previously growing sectors in Europe.

In India, the world’s largest motorcycle market, domestic manufacturers saw steep downturns in March. Year-over-year sales figures declined for Hero MotoCorp (-43 percent), Royal Enfield (-44 percent), Bajaj (-55 percent), and TVS Motor Company (-62 percent) during the third month of 2020.

Foreign makes weren’t immune to the economic slowdown with Suzuki India selling 42% less units during the period as well. Not all the news was bad though, as Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India managed to increase sales by 10 percent. Despite the bleak numbers, Suzuki India Managing Director Koichiro Hirao emphasized the company’s responsibilities during the global pandemic.

“At present, our first and foremost priority is to ensure the health and safety of the employees and all stakeholders,” said Hirao. “As the industry fights the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing shutdowns and taking precautionary measures, we believe that industry will overcome this difficult time and bounce back with positive growth in the coming months.”

Though Suzuki India is enduring its own woes during this time, the company still reported a 5.7-percent increase in sales during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

“We are pleased to close this financial year on a positive note with 5.7 percent growth amid the precautionary measures taken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Hirao.

In Europe, Italy’s motorcycle market crumbled with sales numbers plummeting by 66 percent. Scooter and moped purchases fell by 62 percent while motorcycle sales collapsed with a 69-percent reduction. However, the country’s motorcycle market also experienced growth in the first and second month of 2020.

Calculating the overall sales for the first quarter of 2020, Italy only dropped 24 percent compared to last year. Regardless of the meager returns, the BMW R 1250 GS sold the most units—presumably to those looking for an apocalypse-appropriate motorcycle.

With the majority of factories and dealerships still shuttered, who knows what April’s sales data has in store. Manufacturers are keeping an optimistic eye on the future with hopes that the industry will bounce back once closures and social distancing measures are rolled back. Until we reach that post-COVID-19 world, we’ll have to continue speculating about the future of the motorcycle industry.

Black and Red 1947 Harley-Davidson WL Police Bike Is What Bad Guys Feared

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

Police departments were never slow in adopting emerging technologies. Given the nature of their work, these organizations had to adapt and use hardware that, if not more advanced than the one used by bad guys, and least on par with it. And motorcycles are no exception.

In the U.S. one of the preferred suppliers of motorcycles for the police force is Harley-Davidson. The company has been providing bikes for the force since the first years of the 20th century, when the Detroit PD was the first to commission and use the Harleys of that time. As you might imagine, at the time there were no police packages for bikes and not even cars for that matter, so these early police bikes were nothing more than civilian models with PD logos here and there.

That would change starting with the 1920s, when the fight against the villains of the era intensifies. Things like sirens and lights start being fitted on Harleys as they chase down bad guys, but it was not until the end of World War II that police Harleys would become norm.

That is all owed to the Army-specced WLA model, a no-nonsense machine based on the civilian version that was known at the time as the WL. The way in which the WLA handled itself during the war made police departments look to the WL with new interest.

The motorcycle you see in the gallery above is one of post-war police WLs, and is currently on the list of vehicles on sale during the Mecum Eddie Vannoy Collection sale in June. We’re not being told what police department it served back in its glory days, but we do know it comes with the customary siren and lights.

The bike as seen above is of course a restoration, one draped in black and red hues that are not the customary police colors but suit it beautifully, and powered by a restored 45ci engine linked to a 3-speed manual transmission.

Manga Series Tells the Story of Soichiro Honda, Watch It Free

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

For more than a century, manga comics have been enchanting fans all over the world. The unique style of this type of Japanese drawings has been used to tell all sorts of stories, from far-fetched science fiction to historical dramas. And manga has even been used to tell the tale of Honda’s founder, Soichiro Honda.

The Japanese engineer’s life, from his exploits during World War II to the establishment of the company and the efforts made to take it international, is being told in six episodes lasting between 10 and 20 minutes.

The series was initially launched in 2015 and released well into 2019 as the Honda Soichiro Hon Den manga. Given there aren’t many things to do these days given the global circumstances, Honda decided it’s time to revisit the artwork and pitch it to the global audiences in need of some boredom cure.

The creation is not your usual manga, as it blends the iconic Japanese-style cartoon drawings with actual audio files and historic photographs to create something unique, and is available in both English and Japanese.

What we know today as Honda started life as the Honda Technical Research Institute in 1946, after its founder spent several years taunting the auto industry by making parts for Toyota. The entity as we perceive it today came to be in 1948.

Honda’s first product was a motorized bicycle powered by the company’s first ever mass-made engine. That first motorcycle, known as the Type A, would then grow into the Type D, the product that gave birth to the Dream line of two-wheelers.

Slowly, Honda grew into being perceived in some circles as the maker of some of the best motorcycles in the world, and has been leading the industry in terms of volume since the last years of the 1950s’ decade.

Honda also entered the auto industry, but it did so rather late in its life. The first four-wheeler made by the Japanese was the T360 kei car, in 1963, the same year when another model, the S500, was also introduced.

You can watch the entire manga series on Honda’s life and exploits below this text.