Before you ride ’em, you gotta buy ’em.
Don’t let the media tell you what to buy, allow me!
An extreme and absurd view for the heck of it
by Ujjwal Dey with illustrations by Wayfarer & friends
Before you ride ’em, you gotta buy ’em.
Don’t let the media tell you what to buy, allow me!
An extreme and absurd view for the heck of it
by Ujjwal Dey with illustrations by Wayfarer & friends
with inputs by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com
Indian automotive giant TVS had acquired Norton Motorcycles in April 2020 after a tumultuous period in the OEM’s history. However, since then this legendary British brand has kept its head down, opening its Solihull factory, hiring a new CEO, and receiving a £100M British Pounds Sterling (~$125M USD) investment in two years’ time.
In October, 2022, Norton started rolling out its 2023 Commando 961. With a firm eager to get its products into riders’ hands, Norton opens its first retail location within London’s The Bike Shed.
“Seeing the Norton brand move from within the four walls of Norton HQ and out into the marketplace is positive on a number of levels,” claimed Norton Chief Commercial Officer Christian Gladwell. “More dealers mean more riders enjoying the results of the hard work and dedication that the entire team at Norton has contributed towards.”
Known as Norton Atelier, this space will showcase Norton’s V4SV superbike alongside the Commando 961. Customers can purchase and/or test ride both models at the Shoreditch Bike Shed chapter.
Norton apparel designed by Savile Row fashion designer Nick Tentis is also available at the new showroom. Tentis’ has also influenced this retail space itself.
“For the first one I wanted to create a space reflecting the history and values of the Norton brand while also creating the perfect environment to display the new clothing collection,” explained Tentis.
Norton will also establish showrooms at Krazy Horse London, Crawley’s P&H Motorcycles, Sheffield’s Via Moto, Bodmin’s Thor Motorcycles, and Cheshire’s Oakmere Motor Group. These locations will offer test rides, maintenance, and parts and accessories.
We can’t wait for this epic brand to expand their global footprint. Let’s hope it does not become a fancy apparel brand like Deus Ex Machina and sells more motorcycles than jackets & tees.
by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com/
Automotive and motorcycle dealers popularized the term “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” in the 1960s. While both motorsport and vehicle sales tactics have evolved over the decades, most manufacturers still leverage on-track supremacy for showroom success—including Harley-Davidson.
From the hillclimb to the drag strip, from board tracking to flat tracking, racing has been in the Motor Company’s DNA since Walter Davidson won the 1908 Endurance and Reliability Run. However, Harley’s Post-War production lineup made the brand synonymous with cross-country tourers in the latter half of the 20th century. Despite the XR750 becoming the winningest motorcycle in AMA (American Motorcycle Association) history and the company’s countless NHRA drag racing titles, the FL Touring platform remains the Bar and Shield’s top seller.
When MotoAmerica introduced the King of the Baggers (KotB) Invitational in 2020, the one-off race merged Harley’s flagship tourers with its racing lineage. Unfortunately, the MoCo’s first outing fell short of the top step, but the Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson team seized the 2021 KotB championship with Kyle Wyman in the saddle. H-D is wasting no time—or development dollar—following that title run, equipping the 2022 Street Glide ST and Road Glide ST with track-worthy components.
To test just how much race-bred technology has trickled down to its production models, the Motor Company invited us to Wilcox, Arizona to spin some laps around the inimitable Inde Motorsports Ranch. Harley certainly handled business on Sundays this previous season, and with the new ST range, it hopes to also dominate the competition on dealership floors.
Turning A Corner
With the U.S.’s interstate system crossing vast expanses of land, the Street Glide and Road Glide families prioritize comfort and convenience. Packing a six-gallon fuel tank, sub-27-inch seat heights, and a 64-inch wheelbase, the long-distance tourers allow travelers to munch miles to their heart’s content. On the other hand, track duty calls for a different set of attributes, and Harley outfits the ST models accordingly.
The design team lightens the load by trimming the front fender, adopting low-profile engine guards, and ditching the passenger pegs and seat. Harley developed the new saddle specifically for the ST tourers. That single-seat locks the rider in a more commanding position. The leather cover also allows users to smoothly slide across the saddle, easing side-to-side transitions through chicanes and back-to-back corners.
Gone are the Special trim’s stretched bags too. That decision may reduce luggage capacity from 2.7 cu-ft to 2.3 cu-ft, but it also supports the MoCo’s weight-cutting regiment. The efforts pay off as well, with the Road Glide ST saving 11 pounds at 842 pounds and the Street Glide ST coming in 13 pounds under its Special counterpart at 814 pounds.
To raise the ride height, H-D engineers exchanged the standard Street Glide and Road Glide rear shocks for units found on the Road King. The suspension swap bolsters rear wheel travel from 2.1 inches to 3 inches and stiffens the chassis for spirited direction changes. That nearly extra inch of travel may not increase maximum lean angle (31 degrees left, 32 degrees right), but it does modestly reduce trail to 6.7 inches.
What doesn’t show up on the spec sheet though is the confidence that the borrowed shock provides. In fast, sweeping bends, the STs feel planted and stable, encouraging riders to incrementally increase speed with each lap. Under acceleration, the shocks also accurately communicate grip, notifying the rider of the slightest slip of the rear wheel.
Both ST Glides retain the 49mm Dual Bending Valve Showa front end featured on all H-D Touring models, but the new rear suspension is a noticeable upgrade on the track. Performance-oriented customers will undoubtedly spring for the Screamin’ Eagle and Ohlins co-branded front and rear suspension upgrades in the long run, but the stock equipment does surprisingly well in the meantime.
The Street Glide ST and Road Glide ST may not boast the massive 131ci (2,151cc) Milwaukee-Eight V-twin powering the firm’s 2022 KotB race steed, but the performance baggers join the new Low Rider ST as the only non-CVO models touting the company’s 117ci (1,923cc) engine. Thanks to the mill’s 10.2:1 compression ratio, camshafts, high-flow air intake, and exhaust, the V-twin pumps out 127 lb-ft of torque and 106 horsepower.
Those numbers may sound daunting on the spec sheet, but the STs’ fueling and linear powerband make big-bore V-twin surprisingly tractable. The powerplant still offers gobs of torque on demand, but the smooth roll-on makes most of that 127 lb-ft (at the crank) quite useable. Again, those pushing for performance can always bump displacement to 128ci (2,097cc) or 131 ci (2,151cc) with the Screamin’ Eagle catalog.
Following a morning spent nailing apexes on the track, we rolled the Street Glide ST and Road Glide ST onto the surrounding highways, testing the performance baggers’ touring prowess on the open road. The 117ci engine may soup up the STs to set new lap records, but the V-twin remains ultra-smooth at speed.
In sixth gear, the Milwaukee-Eight spins just over 2,500 rpm at 70 mph and just below 3,000 rpm at 75 mph. Minor vibrations only course through the floorboards at 3,500, and the bars faintly buzz at 4,500. However, with the air/oil-cooled V-twin’s 5,500-rpm redline, those negligible tremors never become troublesome over the long haul.
While that even-keeled nature may be perfect for road trips, it can become problematic under heavy acceleration, especially in the lower gears. Due to the smoothness, I frequently hit the rev limiter before realizing I was banging on the 5,500-rpm redline. With time and practice, owners will be able to bypass that issue, but it squandered drive and momentum more than a few times on the road and track.
Most Harley bagger fans have a preference between the Street Glide and Road Glide models. Chalk it up to aesthetics, creature comforts, or fairing coverage, but Harlistas typically favor one FL over the other. While ST variants offer the same track-oriented upgrades, they still have a personality all their own. For that reason, the Street Glide ST performed best on the track while the Road Glide ST proved its merit on the interstate.
With its fork-mounted fairing, the Street Glide ST offers enhanced visibility on track, allowing riders to keep their eyes on lines, apexes, and corner exits. However, the Street Glide’s short windscreen introduces turbulent buffeting to the rider’s helmet on the highway. That’s a problem that Harley’s Parts & Accessories (P&A) catalog can easily remedy but it’s never an issue on the raceway, where pilots frequently duck behind the fairing on long straights.
Conversely, the Road Glide ST’s frame-mounting fairing stretches away from the rider, providing comprehensive wind protection. That attribute comes in handy while touring, but the broad fairing also obstructs visibility on the track. In addition to wind protection and visibility, weight will play a role on closed courses. The Street Glide ST may shed 13 pounds off the Special trim, but its 814-pound wet weight is nearly 30 pounds under the Road Glide ST’s 842-pound curb weight.
That’s no small difference on the circuit, where every advantage matters, but most owners will use the ST models for long-distance trips, weekend canyon rips, and the occasional track day. With premium features like a Boom! Box GTS system, 6.5 TFT display, and two 5.25-inch speakers, we highly doubt that owners will want to risk sending their $29,999 bagger into a gravel trap. Instead, the ST line functions as a great starter kit for those interested in starting a performance bagger build, not a dedicated race bike.
Ultimately, the Street Glide ST and Road Glide ST are balanced entries into the performance bagger genre that don’t sacrifice too much on-road practicality for on-track performance. Despite lacking touring-friendly features like heated grips and stretched bags, the STs allow owners to ride to the track in the morning, spin laps all day, and cruise back home at sunset.
While the Street Glide and Road Glide may dip their toe into the performance end of the pool with the ST range, bagger racing is still in its infancy. If the MoCo continues to win on Sunday and sell on Monday, we can expect even more performance-focused components from Harley’s P&A and Screamin’ Eagle arms. Brembo radial master cylinder, a quickshifter, and 17-inch wheels come to mind first, but we’ll have to wait and see what the Motor Company cooks up following the 2022 King of the Baggers season.
Harley-Davidson Launches LiveWire, the independent Electric Motorcycle Brand (www.livewire.com)
MILWAUKEE (May 10, 2021) – Harley-Davidson, Inc. (“Harley-Davidson”) (NYSE: HOG) today announces the launch of LiveWire as an all-electric motorcycle brand.
LiveWire is more than a motorcycle. LiveWire plans to redefine electric, delivering the best experience for the urban rider, with personality and soul. LiveWire creates a unique connection between rider and vehicle. Today, the next chapter in the LiveWire journey begins.
Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson:
“One of the six pillars of The Hardwire Strategy is to lead in electric – by launching LiveWire as an all-electric brand, we are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market in EV. With the mission to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, LiveWire will pioneer the future of motorcycling, for the pursuit of urban adventure and beyond. LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future.”
The first LiveWire branded motorcycle is scheduled to launch on July 8, 2021 and to premiere at the International Motorcycle Show on July 9, 2021. For more information and updates, register at livewire.com.
Unique lineage: LiveWire draws on its DNA as an agile disruptor from the lineage of Harley-Davidson, capitalizing on a decade of learnings in the EV sector and the heritage of the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world.
Motorcycles + beyond: with an initial focus on the urban market, LiveWire will pioneer the electric motorcycle space, and beyond.
Virtual HQ: innovating by design and attracting industry-leading talent, LiveWire will be headquartered virtually, with initial hubs in Silicon Valley, CA (LiveWire Labs) and Milwaukee, WI.
Marketplace: from launch, LiveWire will work with participating dealers from the Harley-Davidson network as an independent brand. An innovative go-to-market model will blend digital and physical retail formats, tailoring the experience to the local market and allowing customers to discover LiveWire on their own terms.
Dedicated showroom: seizing the opportunity to lead in EV and innovating across the customer journey, LiveWire will operate dedicated EV showrooms in select locations, starting in California. Here customers will be able to experience the LiveWire brand in an immersive and innovative way.
Technology focus: with a dedicated focus on EV, LiveWire plans to develop the technology of the future and to invest in the capabilities needed to lead the transformation of motorcycling. LiveWire expects to benefit from Harley-Davidson’s engineering expertise, manufacturing footprint, supply chain infrastructure, and global logistics capabilities.
Technology sharing: Harley-Davidson and LiveWire intend to cooperate and share their technological advancements to ensure an industry leading application in their respective core segments.
Markets in Indonesia, Vietnam saturating; India priority No. 1, says top executive.
Japanese auto major Yamaha Motor Company (YMC) expects India to overtake Indonesia to emerge as its largest base in terms of production output in the next five years.
“India sells more than 20 million two-wheelers annually and the numbers are growing. Our company’s market share is in single digits. We want to improve this. There is a lot of opportunity,” says Yamaha India Chairman Shitara.
Two-wheeler sales in India increased 6.95% to 19,740,727 units till February this fiscal. In the same period, India Yamaha Motor’s sales remained largely flat at around 732,006 units. The company additionally exported 226,010 units.
Yamaha Motor India’s group chairman Motofumi Shitara was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of MT-15 priced at ₹1.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
“India is priority number one for us worldwide. We aim to have production volume of 2.5 million units in India in the next five years,” he said.
Going ahead, Shitara said the company would steer clear of the mass segment and focus on launching premium motorcycles in the domestic market. The company has also commenced a study on introducing electric two-wheelers in India.
Shitara is currently defining the mid-term roadmap for the company till 2025 to lay the foundation on how the brand Yamaha takes shape the country. Apart from growing volumes, Shitara said a focus area for him is to project a strong image for the Yamaha brand in the local market.
Yamaha MT-15 was launched on Friday – a 155cc bike with liquid-cooled four-stroke engine mated to a six-speed transmission. MT-15 is priced at Rs 1.36 lakh ex-showroom. It has ABS and fuel injected variable valve actuation (VBA).
On the idea of electric motorcycles, the Yamaha Chairman says – “Three points are important, one is performance. Second, is price control. And third, infrastructure for battery charging. These three issues we should answer (for electric vehicles to take off)”, Shitara said.
Last year, Harley-Davidson had reported sale of over 3,000 units in the country.
New Delhi: American cult bike manufacturer Harley-Davidson Thursday said it aims to further consolidate its position in the over 1,600-cc segment in India, which it currently dominates with over 90 per cent market share.
The company launched its 1200-cc model Forty-Eight Special in India priced at Rs 10.98 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) here. It currently has four models in its big bike (over 1,600-cc) portfolio in the country.
“We definitely will be consolidating in the big bike segment,” Harley-Davidson India Managing Director Sajeev Rajasekharan told .
Sales in the 1,600-cc plus bike segment in India currently stands at over 600 units annually.
Rajasekharan said last few years have witnessed consistent growth in terms of big bikes; and the company has been able to maintain its leadership position.
“We expect the market to grow from this year as the trends have been positive. More models are there and road infrastructure has been improving. There is more awareness and all these factors will trigger further growth in the market,” he added.
Last year, Harley-Davidson had reported sale of over 3,000 units in the country. The company’s bikes are priced between Rs 5.33 lakh (Street 750) and Rs 50.53 lakh (CVO Limited).
When asked about the time-frame for introducing small capacity bikes in India, Rajasekharan said there is “not much to share on that”.
Last year, Harley-Davidson had announced plans to develop a 200-500 cc motorcycle through a strategic alliance in Asia which will be used to primarily fuel its growth in India.
On introducing its Livewire electric bike, he said, “We would launch it in the US and Europe; and when infrastructure is ready, Harley would look at spreading out to other markets as well.”
He said that there is a lot of emphasis on electric mobility in India and the company is very happy with the positive changes that are happening to get the environment more conducive for launch of such vehicles.
The company on Thursday also introduced an updated version of its touring bike Street Glide Special priced at Rs 30.53 lakh .
Commenting on this new edition, Rajasekharan said the bike now comes with an upgraded 1,868-cc engine and other accessories.
The model is one of the three touring models that Harley-Davidson sells in country right now. Other two have already been updated and launched.
Commenting on company completing ten years in India, Rajasekharan said this “is just the beginning as we remain the cruiser of choice for many riders. With the all-new Forty-Eight Special, the company takes its motorcycle line up in the country to 17 models”.
Over the past ten years one of every two big bikes sold in the country has been a Harley, he added.
Elaborating on company’s plans for the current year, Rajasekharan said Harley would add two more dealerships during the course of the year taking the total count to 33 from current 31 outlets.
“We also plan to add three lifestyle stores taking the count to 10. In the tenth year of operations in India we will have 43 touch points in all,” he added.