Archive for February 25th, 2009

Dealer Expo Comments; Extra Product Coverage

February 25, 2009

This year’s Dealer Expo was different. First of all, about 40 percent of booths were in the brand-new Lucas Oil Stadium, a few blocks away from the rest the show in the Indiana Convention Center. Luckily, decent weather made the walk bearable for those of us who chose not to use the free shuttle service. I hear underground walkways will be available for the 2011 show.

My editorial duties didn’t allow me to examine the stadium much, but several people told me they loved the building itself. I didn’t hear any complaints about the splitting of the show.

Advanstar Communications, our owner, hasn’t released attendance figures, but the traffic did not seem much different from previous years. Most vendors told me that the number of booth visits was down, but that more serious buyers were stopping by. General managers and owners seemed to be walking the aisles in a greater concentration.

This makes sense. Many dealership principals likely couldn’t pay to send employees this year. And owners are keeping a tighter grip on the purse (more…)

CIECA Opens Competition for Riding Instructors

February 25, 2009

Are you a riding instructor with an idea of how to improve training procedures? Want to win a scooter or a trip to MV Agusta, a MotoGP event or a World Superbike event?

If so, the International Commission of Driver and Rider Testing Authorities (CIECA) has launched a worldwide competition to collect examples of the best rider training exercises. Together with its partnerscieca ACEM, FIM and FEMA, CIECA invites riding instructors to submit rider training exercises related to the ten most frequent accident causes for powered two-wheelers.

Visit the ACEM website and fill out a questionnaire with your proposed rider training exercise and return the questionnaire by March 22. You could win:

Grand Prize: A Suzuki SIXteen 150cc scooter
First Prize: A guided tour around the MV AGUSTA factory in Varese, Italy (travel included)
Second Prize: 2 tickets to the MotoGP event of your choice
Third Prize: 2 tickets to the World Superbike event of your choice

Study: Updated Roads Would Help Protect Cyclists

February 25, 2009

A study recently completed in Germany indicates that the estimated 313 million motorcycle and scooter

The city government in Elk River, MN calls this a pothole.

The city government in Elk River, MN calls this a pothole.

riders around the world would be made safer if governments improved the design and condition of roadways.

Following an analysis of fatal accidents on Germanys road network, Professor Juergen Follmann of the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt came to the conclusion that motorcycle safety often is linked to the conditions of the road infrastructure.

I can vouch for that. Here in Minnesota, where roads heave and crack under severe temperatures, motorcycling early in the springtime carries a great amount of risk. If you’re not dodging six-inch-deep potholes or crumbling expansion joints, you’re plowing through tar or slipping on rubberized sealants. Not exactly what you want to be doing while traversing a cloverleaf.

Then there’s the issue of highway barriers, or crash barriers. I have a friend who, while traversing a

Affixing a similar sized steel strip to the bottom of this barrier may reduce injuries and death.

Affixing a similar sized steel strip to the bottom of this barrier may reduce injuries and death.

double apex curve, lost the rear end and slid into the barrier, wedging both he and the bike between the corrugated steel barrier and the roadway. In an instance such as that, both the corrugated steel barrier and the posts supporting the barrier cause greater harm than good to a downed motorcyclist. The solution: affixing two corrugated barriers, one on top of the other.

There has been much written about the relationship between roadway infrastructure and motorcyclist safety. Here are a few of the many links worth perusing about the subject:
European Agenda for Motorcycle Safety

Austrialia Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Dealer Expo From the Inside Out

February 25, 2009

Because we can’t seem to get enough Robert Pandya around this place here is a video of him cruising Dealer Expo 2009, jawing with various industry movers and shakers about current economic issues. From Pandya:

What we found was an optimistic industry that is adjusting for some changing times. Looks like dealers and companies paying close attention to the marketplace are adapting to the conditions and positioning themselves for success in the future.

And heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeee’ssssssssssss Robert:



The Many Faces of the Lead Content Fiasco

February 25, 2009

The Motorcycle Industry Council is on a forward push to get word out about the child ATV/Motorcycle ban and its devastating impact on the industry. MIC general counsel Paul Vitrano has appeared in just about all press accounts that I’ve read about the unintended consequences of the new lead content regulations.

Now, the MIC has posted a series of videos on YouTube featuring interviews with folks across the powersports spectrum explaining what all this means to their business. With no further ado here are a couple, starting with Scorpion Sport’s Eric Anderson:

And Randy Hawkins, seven time AMA National Enduro Champion:

And Jeff Fredette, AMA Hall of Famer and ISDE legend:

Congress, CPSC Aren’t Working Together

February 25, 2009

Finger Pointing Isn’t Solving the Problem

It’s been 14 days since kid’s ATVs, motorcycles and related gear were unfairly banned from sale in the U.S., and there doesn’t seem to be a solution in sight. Why not? Isn’t that a reasonable question?

It seems, from my perspective, that we have two Washington heavyweights fighting for control of a piece of turf, while consumers, retailers and manufacturers are inconvenienced, endangered and losing money, to boot.

Look at consumers. We have youngsters who can’t buy an ATV or dirt bike that fits them, a very dangerous situation that pushes them into riding larger, powerful machines designed for adults. At the same time, we have children riding ATVs and dirt bikes that can’t be repaired because parts for these machines can’t be sold.

(more…)