Archive for November, 2008

Spy photos??

November 24, 2008

The news from Milwaukee about the XR1200 reminds me of a posting over at the Biltwell Inc. blog back on July 5. Seems the Biltwell guys were cruising the byways of Corona, Calif., when they saw this guy blasting through traffic.

My only question is: Who do they think they’re fooling with that black tape?

Whoops. Looks like I made those pics a bit small. I’ll resize and repost.

Harley’s XR1200 — Here at last!

November 24, 2008

OK, does anybody have a spare $12k hanging around? If only they were still giving out loans like Halloween candy because the Motor Co. has officially (if very quietly) announced that it is offering the XR1200 to the U.S. market.



H-D’s media man, Paul James, confirms that dealers are taking pre-orders for the limited run of 750 units on a first-come, first-serve basis. The early window closes when all 750 are gone, or by Dec. 15, 2008, whichever comes first.

Early buyers get to choose from orange and black or … orange and black. It looks like two additional colors will be available after the Dec. 15 date. They are Vivid Black and Denim Pewter. MSRP runs from $10,799 to $11,179 with we lucky folks in Cali 100 bucks more a pop.

But honestly if I had, and this is a big if, the scratch I’d be down at the dealership this afternoon.

Suzuki & AMA Pro Racing

November 24, 2008

American Suzuki’s still-unannounced plans regarding the 2009 AMA Pro Racing season has some journos publicly pontificating that the company may well be pulling out of the series because of the less-than-stellar finances of its parent company, Suzuki Motor Corp.

I disagree.

If that were the case, wouldn’t we be seeing Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. pulling out of other road race series that they take part in around the world?

According to what the OEMs who are expected to take part in the Daytona Motorsports Group-owned series tell me, they 1) don’t understand why DMG wants to make such massive rules changes in its first year of ownership, and 2) don’t understand why DMG doesn’t simply model the series after the FIM rules that are otherwise accepted in most other parts of the globe.

Having a totally unique new set of rules put forth by DMG means that the American-based OEMs (American Suzuki, American Honda, Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA, and Yamaha Motor Corp,. USA) will have to spend mucho dinero in making changes to their existing race ops. Is that fiscally responsible in this time of economic woe?

If changes must be made (and, really, did they have to be?) why wouldn’t DMG change the rules to be in line with the FIM’s rules? If the FIM is the supreme governing body, shouldn’t everyone around the world adhere to its rulebook? Seems to make more sense from a financial perspective. One set-up for multiple nations. Apples to apples. Oranges to oranges.

So, to think that a U.S.-based OEM’s decision to not participate in the DMG’s AMA Pro Racing series is because of the larger parent company’s current financial position is a bit short-sighted and off the mark. The reason isn’t because the parent companies are out of money to go racing, but because they’re acting in a fiscally responsible manner.

Remember: Suzuki is not alone in this debacle. American Honda and Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA haven’t agreed to anything either.

Oldie but a Goody

November 24, 2008

OK, I know it’s been a while since news of the Harley-Davidson/MV Agusta deal first broke, but I was cleaning off my desktop and found this picture. I may be simple, but it makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Those streamers have been wind-tunnel approved.

Those streamers have been wind-tunnel approved.

So do you think the first production bike will have a sissybar like that?

Bringing It To The Web

November 22, 2008

Well, here we are – communicating via blog. Web 2.0. The Future.

I started in the news-gathering industry when we were putting together newspapers on light boards, cutting and pasting articles, ads and photos onto slicks that would be sent late at night, via courier, to the printing house.

Overnight, once printed, the newspapers would be shipped from the printer to distribution points. From there, the papers were delivered every morning to readers expecting to learn about what happened the day prior. It was a system that had worked for a couple of hundred years, and the reading public was content with it.

Things are quite a bit different now, in this time of immediate gratification. Sure we still have newspapers, but readership is quickly dwindling as the public increasingly looks to the Internet to pick-and-choose the news that most interests them.

Connected to print journalism in this renaissance, advertising is headed in the same direction – moving online to capture a targeted audience.

In the powersports industry, the industry you’re interested in (why else would you be here, reading this?) many of the larger companies have been slow to react. Sure, these companies may have banners posted at some of the more popular consumer websites, but very few of them have launched online ad campaigns of any real merit. Certainly the U.S.-based and Japanese OEMs have done very little to forward their online product advertising.

I’m a bit of a YouTube freak. Of course, the magic of YouTube being that I don’t have to watch what I’m not interested in. Instead, I find what interests me via a keyword search. Dakar highlights? Check. Flying laps of the Nuerburgring? Check. Old Steve McQueen interviews? Check. Filtering through traffic in Athens? Check.

But, among my all-time favorite videos to watch are actually advertisements that have come from BMW Motorrad – “Respect” about the K1200R, “Face the Power” about the K1200S, “Unstoppable” about BMW GPS, and “A Trip Through Norway” about the R1200RT:

Campbell Rides to 11th Overall Baja Win

November 22, 2008

Well, he did it – Johnny Campbell picked up the record 11th overall Baja 1000 motorcycle title by crossing the race course finish line in Ensenada, Mexico, at shortly after 7 p.m. on Nov. 21 – 12 hours, 29 minutes and 10 seconds after his team began the 631-mile journey through the Baja peninsula.

Riding for Team Honda, Campbell was aided in his achievement by teammates Robby Bell and Kendall Norman.

Campbell was tied with Baja Wunderkind Larry Roeseler for 10 overall motorcycle wins leading into this year’s 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race. Roeseler’s record of 10 overall motorcycle wins in the event was achieved in 1994. It took 13 years before Campbell tied the record last year.

Starting and finishing in Ensenada, just across the U.S. border, the elapsed-time race this year includes nearly 375 teams from 39 states and 24 countries. The first motorcycles entered the course at 6:30 a.m., with the first four-wheel vehicles starting around four hours later. Vehicles left in 30-second intervals. Every participant will have 31 hours to complete the distance.

The Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 awards presentation takes place 10 a.m. Sunday, November 23 at the San Nicolas Hotel in Ensenada.

Johnny Campbell picked up his 11th cycle win at the 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race

Johnny Campbell picked up his 11th cycle win at the 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race

Greetings from the Dealernews dungeon

November 21, 2008

Take a look to the right of your screen. That’s me, Dennis. The other two guys are Arlo and Guido. We’re the Editors. Drop us a line if you care to find out more about us. We tried to post bios of each editor, but are still baffled by the process so stay tuned while we work out the bugs (if we can).

If you’ve made it here, that means you’re likely a regular Dealernews reader and this is a good thing as we plan to use this blog as another venue for covering the powersports business. Stay tuned to our regular site for all in-depth and breaking news but stop by here for a more personal look at the business we all love.

This blog is also a chance for you the reader to fire back, sound off, respond and argue among yourselves as we welcome ANY and ALL comments. We’re playing loosey-goosey here so all comments will be posted. We want your opinions and thoughts. However, we will play sheriff every know and then as the Internet isn’t always known for fostering calm and stately discourse. So keep it smart or at least funny. Funny always works.

With that I’ll leave you with this video of a 1950s Italian police motorcycle team.

Ducati gets a make-over

November 18, 2008

OK, maybe not a complete make-over. But those sultry Italians have definitely gone to work on the company’s logo. Behold the new Ducati logo. ducati_new_logo5Personally I’ve been a big fan of past logos that made use of the little red circle with the line slashed through it. Something about it was dynamic.

Ducati honcho Gabriele Del Torchio gave the world a peep at EICMA in Ocotober. The official word: The new logo celebrates the unique thrill of the corner, where a Ducati bike really packs a punch like no other. A curve is framed within a red shield, symbolizing victory and the Italian racing colour, with the classic Ducati script emblazoned above it.