Archive for the ‘BMW’ Category

Erpelding, Europe’s Keeper of Classic Race Bikes

September 29, 2009

Are you a racebike enthusiast? Happen to be planning a trip to the Nuerburgring in Germany?

erpeldingIf so, you may want to visit former motorcycle and auto dealer and racer Frithjor Erpelding, a man who claims to have the second largest private museum in Europe dedicated to race motorcycles. Located in the Eifel mountain hamlet of Jammelshofen, near the ‘Ring, the museum houses 200-some bikes and a half-dozen of his championship-winning race cars.

Among the units on display: AJS, Aprilia, Ariel, Bimota, BSA, CZ, Egli, Gilera, NSU, Koenig, Moto Parilla, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Matchless, Maico, Triumph, Norton, Greeves, Jawa, Puch, Wanderer, Harris, BSS, Benelli, Laverda, Royal-Enfield, Harley-Davidson, Horex, Honda, Gilera, Kawasaki, Kreidler, Linto, Suzuki, Scott, Seley, Yamaha, Rickman, KTM, Ducati, Montessa, NSU, Vincent, Velocette and Zuendapp, etc.

I asked Erpelding which of the 200 units is his favorite. “The Norton,” he replied without pause. Erpelding has two Norton Manx. “The chairman of Cambridge University recently contacted me, asking if I would sell one of my Manx. I told him ‘No’. He offered Euro 100,000 and I declined. Then he offered Euro 200,000 and I again declined. Finally, I cut to the chase and told him I wouldn’t be selling the bike no matter what the price.”

MuseumBut, Erpelding is willing to sell certain units. He says he recently sold a Vincent to a collector in the United States for Euro 80,000. “He deposited the check in my bank account before even receiving the bike. I called and asked him why he trusted me, and he said, ‘I’ve heard you’re a trustworthy guy’.”

Erpelding is a fella who loves telling his stories. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to leave time to have beer at his Race Museum Bar. He’ll tell you about his run-ins with racer Agostini and Yamaha bosses; his thoughts on Triumph, MZ and KTM; his trips to Goodwood; and his days of racing Honda motorcycles and cars.

Check out Erpelding’s website, which features the full line-up of the museum’s bikes on display.

Texas Bill Requires Training For “High-Performance” Bike Buyers

April 21, 2009

Legislation being considered in Texas would force those who purchase a “high-performance” motorcycle to take a training course within six months of the purchase.
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HB 4531, if voted into law, would force all owners and operators of a high performance motorcycle purchased on or after September 1, 2009 to show proof of course attendance upon the request of law enforcement. Violators would be fined between $500 and $1,000.

According to bill sponsor Rep. Norma Chavez (D-El Paso), a “high-performance motorcycle” is any motorcycle “referred to, called, labeled, or described as a ‘sports bike’, ‘sports motorcycle’, ‘high performance motorcycle’, or other similar term, in any materials given to an original purchaser at the time of purchase from any retail seller or contained in the owners manual or guides from the manufacturer.”

The bill is currently being debated in the House Public Safety committee.

Machineart Produces BMW-based Concept

April 13, 2009

Industrial design and product development firm Machineart Industrial Design has completed the R1200GSM, a design study of the iconic BMWR1200GS, using a process called “direct digital manufacturing” that drastically cut production time.

Machineart, Frenchtown, N.J., provides new product design and development services, focusing on concept development, visual brand identity, parts engineering and prototyping in powersports, computers & equipment, consumer products, medical products, juvenile products, housewares and sports equipment.

Machineart leadership says the primary goal was to develop a look that departs from BMW’s common lines while retaining a sense of muscularity. A secondary goal was to reduce the GS’s visual weight and give it a look of agility and forward movement. The final challenge was to build the prototype in a reasonable period of time utilizing digital manufacturing technology.
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Pieter de Waal, vice president, BMW Motorrad USA, recently told Dealernews that most GS riders do not ride off-road but still gravitate to the model because of its versatility, comfortable (more…)

Dealernews Visits BMW, Husqvarna

April 10, 2009

What are BMW and Husqvarna’s plans for their U.S. dealer network and product, production, pricing, financing and promotions?

I found out on Wednesday during a trip to New Jersey for a talk with Pieter de Waal, vice president, BMW Motorrad USA, and Mark Brady, president, Husqvarna Motorcycles NA, LLC.

Husqvarna Motorcycles was purchased by the BMW Group in October 2007. Husqvarna Motorcycles NA, LLC is a subsidiary of BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North, Central and South America, which is located in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Pieter de Waal, VP, BMW Motorrad USA

Pieter de Waal, VP, BMW Motorrad USA

de Waal joined BMW Motorrad USA on April 1, 2008, replacing Arturo Pineiro, who took the position of president of BMW, Central and South America. de Waal has been with BMW Group since 1994. He previously headed worldwide Sales and Marketing for BMW Motorrad in Munich. Prior to that he worked for BMW Group in Great Britain and South Africa as general manager of BMW Motorrad and technical director of BMW Motorsport.

Mark Brady, former CEO of Triumph Motorcycles America, in July 2008 became president of Husqvarna Motorcycles North America, LLC. He has spent the past nine months reestablishing the Husqvarna brand in the North American off-road market.

Stay tuned to Dealernews.com for my forthcoming report.

BMW Rider Pfeiffer Stunts KYMCO Super 9

March 23, 2009

Multi-time World Stunt Champion Chris Pfeiffer recently performed atop a KYMCO scooter during an exhibition in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Pfeiffer is under contract with the BMW Group, so his performance on a KYMCO, at the request of a German KYMCO dealer, had to be approved by the German OEM.

Pfeiffer chose the KYMCO Super 9 LC for the 10-minute show, which included wheelies, stoppies and a host of other high level stunts.

Taiwan’s KYMCO (Kwang Yang Motor Co. Ltd.) produces the engine for BMW’s G 450 X enduro – which Pfeiffer traditionally stunts along with an F 800 R.
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Beemer Shop Owner Tells It Like It Is

March 12, 2009

The other night on The Story, a radio program that runs on one of our local NPR stations the host interviewed Ted Porter, the owner of Ted Porter’s BeemerShop. It’s an independent BMW shop up near Santa Cruz, Calif.

The show itself is simply long-form interviews with (mostly) ordinary people whose livesbeemer intersect with current issues. With Porter, the obvious hook was the economy and its effect on the motorcycle industry. During the interview with host Dick Gordon, Porter talked about his business and laid out one of the most compelling descriptions of running a motorcycle business that I’ve ever heard.

Porter’s tale was like a primer on doing EVERYTHING right, an approach that he said centered around that Business 101 basic — customer service. He explained in great detail why he ties the success of livelihood to this simple business concept (which doesn’t seem so simple for some shops). He also gave a ground level view of just how scary it is to be a small-business owner right now. Here’s a snippet from The Story’s website:

Ted Porter runs a motorcycle repair shop in California. He used to be a tinkerer. He fixed bikes on the weekends and worked a day job. But when his “hobby” grew a waiting list, he took the plunge and opened his own shop. These days, though motorcycle dealerships in his area have gone under, Ted’s business is thriving. He tells Dick Gordon about the one business decision he made that was crucial to his success in this wavering economy: staying true to the ideals of customer service he learned from his dad.

I highly recommend giving this interview a listen. It’s available as a podcast by going here or by looking it up on iTunes (search American Public Media: The Story).

Taiwan Firms Aim for U.S.

February 15, 2009

I was asked to speak at the Taiwan Powersports Symposium during the Dealer Expo in Indianapolis.

The event included journalists and manufacturers focused on giving an insight about Taiwan’s powersports industry and how it may impact business here in the U.S. The comments below are my own, offered during the presentation.

“While it’s unlikely any of us were in the motorcycle industry during the early 1960s, I think it’s pretty well known how the first of the Japan-made two-wheelers to enter the U.S. back then were greeted by consumers and retailers who had, up to that point, only known U.S. and European brands.

Although the things said about those early Japanese bikes weren’t too flattering, the Big Four from Japan nevertheless grew to become the major players in the U.S. motorcycle market.

Well, nowadays, I hear some people speak dubiously about machines coming from other areas of the Far East. The thing is, I find most of the (more…)

Obama’s Black-And-Whites

December 27, 2008

While President-elect Barack Obama recently was escorted through Hawaii tucked safely within a convoyobamacyclecops of BMW police motorcycles, his next date with two-wheelers will include more than a dozen “Made in the USA” Harley-Davidson police motors.

Harley-Davidson of Frederick Maryland was the dealership tapped to supply bikes to the District of Columbia police for Obama’s inauguration parade.

Dealer principle Michael Vantucci delivered 12 Harley-Davidsons to the police department on Dec. 26. The 2009 FLHTP Electra Glides will be used for escort and security duty.
Vantucci’s supplied bikes have led an inaugural procession five times before. His dealership this year beat out at least seven other motorcycle dealers who bid on the $360,000 inauguration contract.

The District of Columbia police replaces 10 to 12 motorcycles a year and sells the retired bikes, with 40,000 to 50,000 miles on them, online.
BMW and Harley-Davidson are fierce competitors in the police bike market. I wrote an article about police motors earlier this year. Read it here

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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?