Archive for December 6th, 2008

Long Beach IMS — Motorcycles Galore

December 6, 2008

The Cycle World International Motorcycle Show is making it stop here in Long Beach this weekend and, as usual, the OEMs used this stop to show off its latest and greatest. Without further ado, here’s what we saw on Friday, the traditional media dog and pony show.

Ducati unveiled its Streetfighter for the first time before American audiences. In introducing the bike, Ducati media man John Paolo Canton says the Italian OEM jumped past some of the other OEs by posting sales that were up over last years. “We’re a good news story this year.”p1000395
Also unveiled the newest addition to the 16-year-old Monster family, the Monster 1100, and the 1198. Of the latter Canton says it looks a lot like its predecessor, but is in fact an entirely new bike under the hood. How does 170 hp and 97 ft. lbs. of torque sound? The Streetfighter will be available in June 2009 at an MSRP of $14,995.

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Anglada (left) is the man behind last year's LRG Hayabusa.

Kawasaki unveiled a new bike for stunter-man and 2Wheel Tuner editor, Jason Britton. Designed and built by Nick Anglada of Custom Sportbike Concepts, the 2008 ZX-14 is an anti-bling custom bike that you can actually ride, Britton says. “And, beat the crap out of it,” he adds. The bike features such goodies as an Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes and a Gregg’s Customs single-sided swingarm. The signals are glassed in, as is half the headlights, so that they can only be seen when lit up.
BMW’s Roy Olliemuller unveiled the 1300S and the 1300GT, the newest iterations of Bimmer’s K-bikes, which were first introduced 25 years ago. The S sports 175 hp and 103 ft. lbs. of torque. These are BMWs? Also showed off an early production version of the S 1000 RR superbike, which it will campaign in the 2009 World Superbike Championships. This inline-four, 1000cc bike is expected to be a 2010 model year release. When it hits the market, expect somewhere around 190 hp in addition to traction control and ABS.

Honsetly, the S bike isn't that blurry in person.

Honsetly, the S bike isn't that blurry in person.

Nice.

Nice.

Now that's a gentlemanly bike.

Harley-Davidson. The Motor Co. took the Long Beach show to introduce the XR1200 to the waiting U.S. public. Because I can’t get enough of this bike, here’s another shot. It really is a fine machine. H-D also showed off a customized trike that was, quite honestly, the nicest trike I’ve ever seen. Did I just say that.

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The electric scooter people at Vectrix showed off the Vx-1, an all-electric, highway legal scooter. With an MSRP of $10,495, the Vx-1 reaches top speeds of 62 mph and offers acceleration from 0 to 50 mph in 6.8 seconds. You gotta love electric motors. It has an average range of 30-55 miles on a single charge, all of which is dependent on twisty your wrist is. The scooter can be plugged into either a 110v or 220v outlet. Vectrix reports that it saw 321 percent distribution growth in 2008 and expanded from 38 dealers to 160 dealers, mostly in the second half of the year. Sales grew 156 percent for year.

Anglada and E-Boz.

Yamaha showed off a custom V-Max conceived by Jeff Palhegyi. Over at its sportbike area, Yamaha unveiled a Bostrom Brothers custom R6 designed by Nick Anglada and built by Custom Sportbikes Concept. The build was part of the Boz Bros. tour organized by our sister publication, 2Wheel Tuner.

Kymco unveiled its Yager GT200, a 176cc fuel-injected scoot that will retail for $3,149. Also introduced was the Quannon, a 150cc entry-levelp10004811 motorcycle. You don’t know how excited I am that there are more entry-level bikes on the market. Nothing like seeing a beginner rider cruising off on a liter bike.

Suzuki used the IMS stop to show off two custom Burgman 400s. The first, dubbed “The Pimpster” was designed and build by chopper guys Todd’s Cycle. The other is the Sport Scooter concept, a Burgman 400 sporting the paint job of a GSX-R, with a Gixxer 600 muffler, B-King handlebars and wave-style rotors to name a few bits. If you’ve ever seen what the folks in Japan do to scooters, you’ll know that these two styling exercises were tame in comparison. What, no neon lighting?

The Pimpster. More metal flake than a fleet of 1970s speed boats.

The Pimpster. More metal flake than a fleet of 1970s speed boats.

Would you buy this?

Would you buy this?

Web, Foreign Buyers Aid Cycle Theft Rings

December 6, 2008

An undercover investigation into motorcycle theft rings operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border culminated this past week in Southern California with the arrest of eight people and the recovery of 50 stolen motorcycles worth an estimated $326,000.

The investigation, dubbed “Operation Knee Drag,” began several months ago. As reported by the San stolenmotorcyclesDiego Union-Tribune, the operation revealed that many of the stolen motorcycles were being sold in Mexico for $1,500 to $2,000. A task force has since identified more than 100 people, both U.S. and Mexican citizens, who are responsible for the majority of the thefts.

In November, across the country in Trenton, N.J., five Burlington County men were charged with involvement in a motorcycle theft ring that allegedly stole motorcycles, retagged them with new vehicle identification numbers, then sold them.

The three men allegedly conspired to steal six motorcycles and two vans. In some cases, the men would receive the motorcycle from its owner, file a false insurance claim saying the motorcycle had been stolen so that the owner could receive an insurance payment, then change the motorcycle’s VIN and sell it.

While motorcycle theft is a prevalent crime, the re-sale of stolen motorcycles in their entirety is on the decline now that thieves can strip the bikes, alter identifying numbers and use the Internet to sell the items to online purchasers around the world.

In 2007, in Florida, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested 11 people in connection with a massive motorcycle theft ring they say was responsible for the theft of 45 sport bikes worth more than $400,000. The investigation, dubbed “Operation Throttle Down,” found that the motorcycles were taken apart and the pieces were sold.

The crimes took place all over Southwest Florida. Property recovered included a Yamaha R1 reported stolen from Canada and an engine connected with a theft in Boston.

Authorities say the gang would rent a utility van and then cruise parking lots and other areas where sport bikes might be unattended, find a target, then literally pick up the motorcycle, put it in the van and drive off. The whole crime took under 20 seconds.

In 2006, in New York, 23 people were arrested on charges that they were part of a motorcycle theft ring that stole hundreds of high-end Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda from city streets and resold them in Budapest, Hungary. Authorities said the gang stole between 300 and 400 motorcycles a year and made roughly $4 million annually.

Click here to read the AMA’s nine tips for keeping a bike from becoming a theft statistic.