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Royal Enfield is coming after Harley-Davidson

By | General Posts

In its last financial year before the pandemic struck, Enfield company sold about 824,000 bikes globally. Harley, by contrast, shipped about 218,000.

Last year Enfield company doubled the size of one of its three factories, bringing overall production capacity to 1.2 million motorcycles a year.

To build buzz Enfield company has tried marketing to American customizers and flat-track competitors, and in 2018 it put Cayla Rivas, a teenage motorcycle racer, on a souped-up Continental in pursuit of a speed record for its bike class—and compelling footage for YouTube. (She hit 157 mph on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats.)

Although it may sound counterintuitive, “the U.S. and Europe are very important” to making Enfield the aspirational bike of choice for the developing world, he says.

Lal wants to be as big a player in the West as possible, but he argues that Royal Enfield doesn’t necessarily have to sell that many bikes in developed countries for the strategy to be considered a success. What it does need to do is move enough to give them a patina of cool at home and in other emerging markets, such as Southeast Asia.

Read the full article at Bloomberg. Click Here.

You Can Now Buy Certified Pre-Owned Triumph Motorcycles in the U.S.

By | General Posts

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

Going for a pre-owned vehicle, regardless of its type or number of wheels, is always risky business. Despite all the tools the modern world puts at the disposal of the buyers, one could always end up taking home something really faulty.

That’s why we have certified pre-owned programs. Generally ran through dealers or the car/bike makers themselves, these initiatives try to put the buyers’ minds at ease by supplying them with all the correct info and checks for a vehicle.

British bike maker Triumph has been running such a program on the home continent for a while now, and apparently it was successful enough for the company to decide an expansion on the U.S. market would be in order. As such, starting November 23, the Triumph Certified Pre-Owned Motorcycle Program kicked off.

According to Triumph, bikes sold through this program come with a few perks. First, there is the quality check performed by the bike maker’s or its dealer’s personnel. The two-wheelers will thus have a full-service history, but also multi-point inspection and all rectification work, if needed, completed.

Then, each one will come with minimum 1-year, unlimited mileage warranty, but also 1-year roadside assistance. Financing for bikes sold this way is also available.

This program is good news for those trying to sell as well. Triumph accepts into this program bikes up to 5 years of age from first registration, with a maximum mileage of 25,000 miles (40,000 km). Those involved in major accidents, used for racing, or equipped with non-Triumph hardware will not be accepted.

“We are proud to offer a Certified Pre-Owned program, ensuring that customers joining the Triumph family with a pre-owned motorcycle are given the same great product experience and factory-backed assurances as someone buying a brand-new Triumph,” said in a statement Rod Lopusnak – General Manager, Triumph North America.

“The program also offers a great benefit to new bike buyers, by protecting the residual value of their brand-new Triumph when they’re ready to sell or trade-in for a new bike. And for our dealers, they’re now able to list their Certified Pre-Owned motorcycle inventory on our new website for national visibility.”

Harley in for a Fight as Indian Names Rider for Challenger King of the Baggers

By | General Posts

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

The biggest news of the week on the Harley-Davidson front is that the company is giving up on the world’s largest motorcycle markets. Milwaukee announced at the end of the week it is leaving India, sending shockwaves in the Harley-loving community there. But there might be an even more interesting piece of news in the oven, ready to be served at the end of October.

It is then when the MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest takes place in Monterey (October 23-25). As part of the event, a little show called King of the Baggers will take place, pitting a pack of 12 Harleys against a single, S&S and Roland Sands-prepared Indian Challenger (initially the word was that there would be 13 Harleys fielded).

The already incredible Indian two-wheeler got specific tweaks for the task of taking on the Harleys, including Roland Sands wheels shod in Dunlop super sport tires, hydraulically-adjustable FOX X rear shock, and an inverted front suspension.

We’ve already known the bike was in the works, and we’ve seen it testing a couple of weeks back. And now another piece of the puzzle is revealed: the name of the rider.

Frankie Garcia, the man who back in 2006, when he was just 15, became the youngest athlete to compete in an X-Games motorcycle event, and currently member of the Indian Motorcycle-RSD Super Hooligan race team, will be the one trying to keep in check the bike’s 122 horsepower against the small army of Harleys.

“It’s a real honor to have the opportunity to not only participate in the inaugural King of the Baggers race, but to represent RSD on one of only two Indian Challengers in the field,” said Garcia in a statement.

“I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time on a stock Challenger, and believe me, this bike wants to go fast and handles like a bike half its size. It’s the perfect platform for something as radical as knee-dragging baggers at Laguna Seca.”

U.S. judge approves revised EPA Harley-Davidson emissions settlement

By | General Posts

by David Shepardson from https://www.reuters.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. judge late on Monday approved a revised settlement with Harley-Davidson Inc over excess emissions that dropped a requirement that it spend $3 million to reduce air pollution.

In August 2016, the Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer agreed to pay a $12 million civil fine and stop selling illegal after-market devices that caused its vehicles to emit too much pollution.

It also agreed to spend about $3 million to retrofit or replace wood-burning appliances with cleaner stoves to offset excess emissions.

The Justice Department in July 2017 cited a new policy by then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and an ongoing review of the penalty by a government auditor in proposing to drop the $3 million mitigation project.

More than four years after the settlement was announced, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan approved the settlement over the objections of environmental groups and a group of 10 states, including New York, Illinois, Maryland, Vermont, Washington and Massachusetts.

While the earlier agreement “containing the mitigation project might have been the ‘best’ resolution of

Harley-Davidson’s alleged violations, the court cannot say that the decree lodged before the Court is not within ‘the reaches of the public interest,’” Sullivan wrote in approving the consent decree.

Harley-Davidson and the EPA did not immediately comment Tuesday.

The settlement resolved allegations that Harley sold about 340,000 “super tuners” enabling motorcycles since 2008 to pollute the air at levels greater than what the company certified.

Harley-Davidson did not admit liability and has said it disagreed with the government, arguing that the tuners were designed and sold to be used in “competition only.”

Even though the settlement had not yet taken effect, Harley-Davidson has said that since August 2016, it sold only tuners certified by the California Air Resources Board and halted sale of the tuners in question and destroyed tuners returned by dealers.

Freestyle Harley-Davidson Blue Flames Is What’s Wrong with Series Custom Frames

By | General Posts

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

Take a good long look at any custom motorcycle made in the U.S. No matter in what state they were made, or when, they tend to have that certain unique feel about them. And a big reason for that is the custom frame that underpin them.

You see, Americans love to make one-offd, and that is why the garages there usually don’t make a frame and then turn series production on it. This results in truly unique two-wheelers, each with its story to tell.

Not the same can be said about Europe though. First off, there are far fewer custom motorcycle garages there. Secondly, the ones that do exist have been forced to turn to mass production, including of custom frames, and that takes its toll on the originality of this build.

Take the bike in the gallery above. It comes from Europe, and is the work of a very busy garage there called Thunderbike. It looks very much like all the other custom-framed Thunderbikes we’ve discussed over the past few months, regardless of when they were made.

This one comes from 2008, and it is the result of pairing a custom Thunderbike frame by the name Freestyle with the usual Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle engine. It appears to be exactly what you would expect from a custom European bike, with nothing particularly exciting about it. And the blue color sprayed on it, the work of Thunderbike’s usual partner in this area, Kruse Design, does not seem to help either.

The fact the bike will probably not be remembered down the ages (we uncovered it while digging for machines worthy of our Custom Builds Month coverage) does not diminish the merits of the frame tough.

Made from large diameter cold-rolled ST52 steel tubing, it comes complete with struts, tank, oil tank, CNC machined aluminum swingarm, rear fender, rear wheel axle, bracket for engine, bracket for battery, and seat plate.

The Yamaha Civante is the company’s first 28mph e-bike in the US

By | General Posts

by Napier Lopez from https://thenextweb.com/

Yamaha might be best known for its instruments and motorcycles, but it was also the first company to introduce modern e-bikes, way back in 1993. While it may not be as big in the modern e-bike world as the likes of Bosch or Bafang, the company’s motors have made their name with brands such as Giant and Haibike, and the company has recently been expanding its own first-party line-up too. Today, the company is taking a big step forward in the e-bike world by announcing its first 28mph (Class 3) e-bike to available in the US market, the Yamaha Civante.

Previous Yamaha e-bikes in the US Market were Class 1 bikes, limited to 20 mph like most e-bikes. While that’s good enough for many users, some feel safer being able to keep up with faster traffic, and riders with longer commutes want to arrive at their destinations more quickly. Of course, others just have the need for speed.

The bicycle is certainly built for speed. It has an aggressive geometry and omits fenders, racks, or a kickstand – though there are mounting points should you want to install them later, and front light is included (Yamaha‘s rear rack has an integrated rear light). It also comes with flat-resistant, e-bike rated tires, mid-depth wheels, hydraulic disc brakes and a Shimano 10-speed drivetrain with a double chainring. Importantly, it’s actually fairly light for an e-bike, coming in at 43.4 lb on the medium frame despite the high-power motor and battery.

The bike uses Yamaha‘s 500W PWSeries SE Motor, capable of of 70nm torque and supporting cadences up to 110rpm; Yamaha promises that even if you exceed the motor’s baked in speed-limit, it won’t just cut off power suddenly, instead providing a smooth transition for your own pedaling power. The bike includes four assist modes ranging from a 50 percent boost on Eco mode to a 280 percent boost on the high setting. The bike also comes with a removable 500 watt-hour battery.

Yamaha doesn’t provide a range estimate, perhaps because it can vary dramatically with your riding speed, assist level, weight, and terrain, but a 500Wh battery with a mid-drive motor should have no trouble dealing with most commutes. If I had to guess, I’d put it in the ballpark of estimate 30 to 60 miles for an average weight rider in higher assist modes, but I’ve reached out to Yamaha for more information. And as with all e-bikes, you can always ride them like a (heavy) normal bike should the battery run out.

I also appreciate that Yamaha‘s high-speed charger can fill up the battery to 80 percent in just one hour — great for longer trips. Most e-bike chargers are painfully slow — more of an overnight affair.

he bike is available in three frame sizes and one color(white with black and blue accents), and is priced at a $3,399. While certainly expensive, that’s actually on the lower end of the price spectrum for a 28mph e-bike with a high-end and high-torque mid-drive motor. Moreover, Yamaha provides a 3-year warranty on the electronics, compared to the 1 or 2 years offered by most competitors.

The bike will be available “this summer” at Yamaha dealers throughout the states.

Wary of public transport, coronavirus-hit Americans turn to bikes

By | General Posts

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

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a surge in bike sales across the United States, according to a major manufacturer and a half dozen retailers interviewed by Reuters.

“I’m 51 and healthy, but I don’t want to get on the subway,” said John Donohue, a Brooklyn-based artist who bought a bike two weeks ago. Donohue, who doesn’t own a car, says he’s not sure when he’ll be comfortable on mass transit again.

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a surge in bike sales across the United States, according to a major manufacturer and a half dozen retailers interviewed by Reuters.

Many of the purchases are by people looking for a way to get outside at a time of sweeping shutdowns and stay-at-home orders aimed at containing the virus: Even the worst affected states are allowing people out to exercise.

Still, a portion of the sales, especially in urban areas, are to people like Donohue who also want to avoid the risk of contagion on buses or subways.

He plans to use his new 24-gear hybrid for journeys such as regular visits to a printing shop across town that he normally travels to by subway. A key feature, he said, was the bright red panniers he added to carry his artwork.

To be sure, bikes remain well down the list of U.S. commuting preferences.

About 870,000 Americans, on average, commuted to work by bicycle in the five years through 2017, or about 0.6% of all workers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The rate was higher in urban areas, at about 1.1%, and about 20 cities with at least 60,000 residents had rates of about 5% or more.

A more recent survey, though, showed a higher percentage of U.S. workers using a bike to get to work. Private research firm Statista Inc.’s 2019 survey showed 5% rode their own bike, while another 1% used a bike share service, an increasingly common option in larger cities.

Running Out Of Stock

The government has declared bicycles an essential transportation item, so many bike shops remain open despite the widespread business shutdown. Many, though, have modified how they operate, no longer letting buyers test bikes and handing them over on the curb rather than inside the store.

According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, roughly three-quarters of U.S. bike sales are through big box stores. While many of the outlets of large specialty sporting goods chains are closed, general merchandisers like WalMart Stores Inc, the largest seller of bikes, remain open. Walmart did not respond to a request for comment.

Kent International Inc., which imports bikes from China and also makes them at a plant in South Carolina, said sales of its low-priced bikes had surged over the past month.

Kent is already out of stock on five of its top 20 models and expects that to rise to 10 by the end of the month, chief executive and chairman Arnold Kamler said. He noted supplies were flowing in from China, which has reopened much of its manufacturing base over the past month.

Kamler said sales at most of the major retailers he supplies were up 30% last month and are up over 50% so far in April, with the surge in demand forcing him to change shipping arrangements.

He normally imports bikes to ports on both the East and West Coasts. But with many retailers asking for more bikes, he’s now directing all shipments into West Coast ports, then transporting them across the country. That adds to freight costs, he said, but can cut weeks off delivery times.

Low Prices

Mark Vautour, who manages a bike store near the Boston University campus, said he had sold bikes to anxious commuters – including at least one medical worker who wanted an alternative to using the subway.

“We’ve joked for years that trains are like a petri dish,” Vautour said.

Mostly, though, his sales have been children’s bikes, “because parents don’t know what to do with their kids.”

One indication that people are buying bikes for more utilitarian uses like commuting is that many of the purchases are low-priced bikes, several bike retailers said.

Joe Nocella, owner of 718 Cyclery & Outdoors in Brooklyn, said his normal “sweet spot” was bikes that sell for $1,500 to $2,000, used by city dwellers for touring.

“Now the average bike has turned to $500 to $800,” he said.

Those lower prices are one reason many bike retailers are struggling, despite strong sales.

Andrew Crooks, chief executive of NYC Velo, a three-store chain in the New York area, said the drop in average selling prices meant revenues had fallen at a time when he was still paying rents, salaries and other costs.

“So we could keep our doors open and still end up with a business that’s not viable,” he said.

Still, some new buyers say they are switching to bikes for the long term.

Having been stuck at home in Baltimore, Kaitlyn Lee bought a $550 bike this weekend so she could get outdoors safely and avoid public transport when she gets a job.

Lee will finish a graduate degree in public health at the University of Maryland this spring and has applied for jobs at the Centers for Disease Control and the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her plan is to commute by bike to a future job, if possible.

“I mean, it’ll never completely vanish,” she said of the coronavirus. “Rather we will learn how to live alongside of it, just like with other viruses.”

BMW’s most ‘avid motorcycle rider’ is a woman. She’s also in charge of the company

By | General Posts

from https://www.ksro.com

BMW(NEW YORK) — Trudy Hardy is no stranger to motorcycles.

Hardy, a licensed street rider for 20 years and former executive at British carmaker MINI, now sells the “2-wheeled side of life” as vice president of Motorrad of the Americas, BMW’s motorcycle division. Her position puts her in charge of motorcycle operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil and she oversees the brand’s 150 U.S. stores.

Few women hold high-level executive roles in the motorcycle industry even as the number of female riders has jumped to 19% in 2018 up from 10% a decade ago.

Hardy, who was appointed to the position last July, views women as an important part of Motorrad’s business, which has been primarily men in the 45 to 55 age group.

“We’re broadening the range [of bikes] we have … ones that have lower ride height or adjustable suspensions,” she told ABC News at Motorrad’s U.S. headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. “Women need to be comfortable on the bikes they choose.”

She added, “We want to expand our audiences. There’s a lot of untapped potential for us.”

Last week BMW unveiled the R 18, a retro-styled bike geared toward the U.S. market and Motorrad’s first entry in the cruiser segment. The bike’s ergonomic design allows for relaxed riding and optimum control, making it appealing to women. Motorrad’s entry-level bikes, the G 310 GS and G 310 R, were also built and priced to attract female riders, according to the company.

Genevieve Schmitt, founder of Women Riders Now, an online magazine, said women are the fastest-growing demographic in motorcycles versus young men and baby boomers.

“It seems to be exponentially growing,” she told ABC News.

There are two reasons women are turning to bikes, she said: more gear in women’s sizes and the rise of female enthusiast groups on social media. She has also noticed an emphasis on female-focused advertising when there are women executives in the industry.

“I was personally very excited to see BMW choose a woman for that leadership position,” she said, referring to Hardy. “BMW tends to be seen as a conservative company. She was the most qualified candidate — for sure.”

Mark Hoyer, editor-in-chief of Cycle World magazine, pointed out that there has been an increase in ride events and tours marketed directly at women, such as Babes Ride Out and The Suffragists Centennial Motorcycle Ride. Harley-Davidson has also led the charge on getting more women excited about bikes by hosting “Women-only Garage Parties,” a concept it piloted in 2006 with its dealer network.

“The industry has evolved significantly in the last 10 years,” he told ABC News. “It tended to be more masculine … an old time, chest-pounding culture.”

More women are signing up for safety training and the proliferation of online groups and platforms has encouraged women to take up motorcycling, said Andria Yu, director of communications at the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC). Women riders spend an average of $574 a year on tires, routine repairs, maintenance, replacement parts, modifying equipment and accessories compared to $497 that men spend, according to the 2018 Motorcycle Industry Council Owner Survey. Female entrepreneurs are also filling a much-needed void in the industry by manufacturing gear cut specifically for women, Yu noted.

Yu, a former journalist, started riding in 2001 to save money on her long commute to work and was soon hooked.

“I just found riding to be so much fun,” she said.

Hardy’s team of 50 U.S. employees includes 14 women, some of whom are avid riders. But knowing how to ride “is not a prerequisite to work here,” she said. “It’s not for everybody and I never push it on someone who does not feel comfortable on two wheels.”

For Hardy, being on a motorcycle “is an escape mechanism,” she said. “I love the feeling of really being in control.”

But convincing Americans to embrace Motorrad’s “make life a ride” slogan has been a challenge for the brand and industry leader Harley-Davidson. Motorrad delivered 175,162 bikes globally in 2019, an increase of 5.8% from 2018. BMW, however, acknowledged that 2019 was a “difficult market environment” for the brand, with sales in the U.S. and Canada totaling 15,116 units. Harley-Davidson’s U.S. bike sales in 2019 fell for a fifth straight year and the company recorded its lowest global motorcycle shipments in a decade. The COVID-19 pandemic will also likely put a serious dent in industry sales with the closure of manufacturing plants and dealerships.

Hoyer said the decline in motorcycling could partly be attributed to the high barriers of entry and associated costs. The used market now accounts for 70% of motorcycle transactions, according to Hoyer.

“You’re not giving up much when you buy used,” he said. “They’re affordable and the safety and stability control have improved immeasurably.”

He added, “Bikes, like Harley-Davidsons, have traditionally held their value.”

Schmitt said industry sales never really bounced back from the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009.

“Young people have so many enthusiast options available to them now,” she said. “They live differently than their parents and grandparents.”

Hardy conceded that Motorrad’s demographic has been “aging a bit” and her focus now is bringing younger riders into the brand and “targeting the right person with the right bike.” The BMW name has also presented its own challenges.

“We have this perception that we’re expensive to own — we need to overcome this,” she said. “We have some very affordable and attainable bikes that have a lot of safety equipment on them that our competitors do not.”

Hoyer noted that Motorrad’s string of recent products has helped it take market share away from competitors like Honda and Royal Enfield and buck the downward sales trend.

“Motorrad has done an excellent job of embracing its own history,” he said. “The Heritage line has been very successful.”

Hardy said her top goals this year as head of Motorrad USA are to create more passionate riders and to get back on her own bike. She even launched a training program for all BMW staffers who want to get a motorcycle license.

“This should be the most fun place to work in the BMW Group family,” she said.

New Kalk INK SL Electric Motorcycle Revealed with $10K Price Tag for the U.S.

By | General Posts

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

For a while now, a Swedish electric motorcycle manufacturer by the name of Cake has been moving to position itself as a noteworthy adversary in this expanding segment. Its moves have been rather shy so far, but as of this summer the company is going head on into the segment with a brand new entry.

This week, Cake gave us a dose of optimism for an outdoor summer with the introduction of the Kalk INK SL, a vehicle meant to be used for off-roading and the casual trip to and from work in equal measure.

Cake says the new bike can be legally used on the road both in the U.S. and Europe. It is based on the same technology that underpins other Cake Kalk products (OR, &, and INK), but modified in such a way as to provide the performance required from a street-legal electric motorcycle.

Sharing the drivetrain, battery, and aluminum frame with the others from its family, the INK SL separates itself from the pack by making use of a non-linkage suspension at the rear and motocross suspension at the front, black fenders and bodywork made from polycarbonate and ABS, and two 19-inch wheels.

In addition, as a means to make it legal to operate on the road, the motorcycle received turn signals, front headlight, rear brake light, and a license plate holder.

Mechanically, the speed of the motorcycle has been increased to 62 mph (100 kph) to provide it with the required highway speeds. The range is of about three hours, which translates into anywhere between 22 to 53 miles (35 to 86 km), depending on how it is ridden.

“With the launch of the Kalk INK SL, we introduce the fourth model of street-legal CAKE bikes next to the Kalk& and recently released Ösa+ and Ösa Lite. Each of these models combines excitement with responsibility to inspire a turn toward zero emissions, whether that’s in remote or urban environments.” said in a statement Cake CEO Stefan Ytterborn.

The bike goes on sale this summer, and sells for $10,500 in the U.S and €10,500 in Europe.