Archive for January 6th, 2009

Latest Aprilia Supermoto on Showroom Floors

January 6, 2009

I use my motorcycle mostly for fun commuting, so supermotos are not my cup of tea. They’re nice-looking, but they lean more toward the recreational.

So I felt no real excitement yesterday when Aprilia announced that it has imported the SMV 750 Dorsoduro as a 2009 model. It’s on sale now. Click heredorsoduroimage1 for specs.

From a business point of view, dealers have told me that they love supermoto bikes. Mothers often feel more comfortable allowing their teenage son to buy a supermoto instead of a sportbike. “That’s just like his dirtbike,” they say. But I imagine these are the smaller Japanese supermotos, not the high-end European ones.

KTM, Yamaha Continue Dakar Domination

January 6, 2009

Spain’s Marc Coma keeping his KTM steady through a stream / Chaco

The fourth day of riding is over for the motorcycle and ATV competitors still taking part in the 15-day, 5,902-mile Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile.

STAGE 3, Monday, Jan. 6
Monday’s course led the competitors from Puerto Madryn to Jacobacci along an 89-mile connection and a 342-mile special stage.

Spanish motorcyclist Marc Coma (KTM) easily won this 3rd stage, 17min49 ahead of his teammate and countryman Jordi Viladoms (KTM) and Norway’s Pal-Anders Ullevalseter (KTM), both tying in 2nd place. The third fastest time of the stage goes to France’s David Casteu (KTM) checking in 18min16 behind the winner. Coma now has a 39min11 lead over Frenchman David Frétigné (Yamaha) and a 41min14 lead over Dutchman Frans Verhoeven (KTM).

In the ATV portion of the rally, Czech rider Josef Machacek (Yamaha) won this third stage 1min47 ahead of France’s Christophe Declerck (Yamaha), winner of the first two special stages and 10min55 ahead of Spain’s Joan Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha). In the overall rankings, Christophe Declerck nevertheless remains the firm leader of the rally raid with a 30min37 lead over the day’s winner and 45min45 over Spain’s Gonzalez.

STAGE 4, Tuesday, Jan. 7
Tuesday’s course included an 18-mile connection and 285-mile special stage between Jacobacci and Neuquen.

Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM) finished this fourth day 1min17 ahead of Frenchman Cyril Despres (KTM), who rode an excellent race having started in 48th place this morning. Third place went to American Jonah Street (KTM). As a result, in the general standings, Coma now has a lead of 42min57 over Street, the new 2nd place rider, and 43min42 over Frenchman David Frétigné (Yamaha), placed 3rd.

Spain's Joan Manuel Gonzalez atop his Yamaha quad / Reuters

Spain's Joan Manuel Gonzalez atop his Yamaha quad / Reuters

In quads, Spaniard Joan Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha) won the 4th stage – his first success at the Dakar – 16min18 ahead of France’s Christophe Declerck (Yamaha) and 18min59 in front of Frenchman Eric Carlini (Polaris). In the general standings, Christophe Declerck still holds a solid lead, 31min27 ahead of the day’s winner, Gonzalez, the new 2nd place rider, and 49min34 in front of Czech Josef Machacek (Yamaha).


1. Coma (ESP)…KTM…14hr41min21
2. Street (USA)…KTM…+42min57
3. Fretigne (FRA)…Yamaha…+43min42
4. Viladoms (ESP)…KTM…+55min57
5. Ullevalseter (NOR)…KTM…+58min29
6. Knuiman (NLD)…KTM…+1hr09min01
7. Czachor (POL)…KTM…+1hr14min51
8. Rodrigues (PRT)…KTM…+1hr23min04
9. Verhoeven (NLD)…KTM…+1hr33min53
10. Vinters (LVA)…KTM…+1hr36min59

1. Declerck (FRA)…Yamaha…19hr14min51
2. Gonzalez (ESP)…Yamaha…+31min27
3. Machacek (CZE)…Yamaha…+49min34
4. Sonik (POL)…Yamaha…+1hr32min50
5. Carlini (FRA)…Polaris…+2hr20min41
6. Patronelli (ARG)…Can-Am…+2hr40min26
7. Kraft (FRA)…Polaris…+3hr17min19
8. Pottier (FRA)…Can-Am…+3hr37min31
9. Avendano (ESP)…Suzuki…+4hr10min42
10. Brazina (CZE)…Yamaha…+4hr28min17

So far, after four days, 35 motorcyclists and one ATV have withdrawn from the rally.

Kawasaki – Made in the USA

January 6, 2009

Kawasaki operates six businesses in the United States, two of which pertain to consumer products:kmm1 Kawasaki Motor Corp USA (KMC), the sales unit, and Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. USA (KMM), the production unit.

KMM, a sister company and supplier to Irvine, Calif.-based KMC, has operations in Lincoln, Neb., and Maryville, Mo. KMM builds all of Kawasaki’s ATVs, Jet Ski personal watercraft and Mule utility vehicles.

Here’s what I learned during a visit to the Lincoln site.

Kawasaki became the first foreign vehicle manufacturer to enter the U.S. The consumer products manufacturing facility in Lincoln, located on 335 acres, opened in 1974 as a 286,000 sq. ft. plant.
At the time, the company was producing motorcycle and personal watercraft stateside, cranking out about 50,000 units annually during those first few years.

pwctops21 pwchullprep3 pwcengineplacement

Today, an estimated 1,000 workers produce about 120,000 vehicles each year at the nearly 1.3 million sq. ft. facility. Production operations include fiberglass molding, fabrication, welding, rim forming, painting and assembly. The site also produces wheels sold to BRP, Honda, Polaris and Suzuki.

welding atv_engines atvframe

Bruce Spilker, a KMM production supervisor, says the three ATV assembly lines in Lincoln produce about 100 units daily while the personal watercraft assembly line kicks out about 120 boats per day. Each production line is capable of mixed model production. Production schedules come monthly from KMC. A recently completed fourth assembly line, formerly dedicated to motorcycle assembly, produces Mule utility vehicles.

atvchassis bodyplacement wheelattachment

KMM’s Maryville plant opened in 1989 for production of general-purpose engines. Employing more than 600 workers, the facility has grown to more than 700,000 sq. ft. on 113.7 acres and produces about 500,000 units annually. Workers complete die-casting, injection molding, machining, painting and assembly.

atvfinished testing2 finishedproduct1

Both the Lincoln and Maryville plants operate on a “just in time” supply method, which eliminates massive amounts of warehousing and over-ordering of parts.

Click here to learn more about powersports manufacturers’ operations in the U.S.