Archive for the ‘Kymco’ Category

Scooterists Assemble in Twin Cities for ‘Rattle My Bones’ Rally

August 16, 2009

Hundreds of scooterists from all over the Midwest assembled in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul Aug. 13-16 for the 2009 Rattle My Bones scooter rally.

RattleMyBones2The four-day event started with a meet-and-greet and scavenger hunt on the evening of Aug. 13; had participants assembling Aug. 14 for five ride possibilities, a “historic sites” ride and one ride each for geared scoots, automatic scoots, vintage scoots and for scooterists who have never been on a group ride before; continued Aug. 15 with a 70-mile, large group ride followed by dinner, a gymkhana, bike show and music; and wrapped up Aug. 16 with an organized breakfast, raffle prize giveaway, awards presentation and a final ride.

Sponsors included dealerships Scooterville, Blue Cat Motors and Leo’s South; as well as CF Moto; Scooterworks USA; Binetto/Shad; Aerostich; Bell Helmets; Corazzo; Scorpion EXO and Scoot! Magazine, among others.

As the logo suggests, the Rattle My Bones rally was named after a song by the defunct Twin Cities band The Suburbs.

As the logo suggests, the Rattle My Bones rally was named after a song by the defunct Twin Cities band The Suburbs.

Scooting Through the Snow with the SKS

April 2, 2009

OK, winter is over and scooterists in Snowbelt states are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to climb aboard their two-wheelers. But using this contraption, the SKS, there’s no need to winterize your bike. In fact, you may be looking forward to snowfall.slidescooters11

Patented by Italian firm G. Elementi and distributed by Riminimoto, the SKS (an acronym for Snow Kit Solution) can turn your scooter into a snow scoot via the use of an easy-to-attach front ski and low pressure rear tire with crampons.

The kit’s available for select Aprilia, Honda, Hyosung, KYMCO, PGO, Piaggio, SYM and Yamaha models sold in the U.S.

Find out more at Slidescooters.com

sks1

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.
bmw_kymco1

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…)

Consumer Reports Tests Two-Wheelers

February 5, 2009

As scooter and small-displacement motorcycle sales spiked last summer, the crew over at Consumer Reports took a look at the number of new and returning riders climbing back on two-wheels and figured it was time to start testing scooters and motorcycles for the first time since 1981.

Dealernews talked with OEMs to learn what they think of the out-of-the-industry coverage. Click here to read the responses.

Want to see a video about how Consumer Reports tested six scooters and two motorcycles for the magazine’s March issue? Click here.

Talking Taiwan at Dealer Expo

January 14, 2009

I’ve been invited to speak at the Taiwan Image Seminar taking place at the Dealernews International Powersports Dealer Expo in Indianapolis next month.

I’ll be joined by a couple of fellow journalists and representatives from Taiwan’s major powersports vehicle manufacturers. We’ll be sharing our opinions regarding Taiwan’s powersports companies and products.

ATV testing in Kaohsiung

Guido Ebert testing ATVs in Kaohsiung

My first experience with Taiwan-made two-wheelers occurred in the mid 90s, when I rented a KYMCO scooter during a trip to Greece. A couple of years later, remembering the pleasant experience I had on that scoot, I rented another KYMCO scooter while in Mexico, and had an equally enjoyable experience – even with my wife on the back.

Since then, I’ve been on four trips to Taiwan, visiting manufacturing facilities and riding two and four-wheel product. The facilities I’ve seen there matched, and even surpassed, some of the R&D and manufacturing facilities I’ve toured in Europe and the U.S.

Industry folk often ask me what I’ve experienced during my time in Taiwan, about the market, the companies, and the product. Here are the seven statements I tend to include in my reply:

1) Taiwan is NOT China.
2) Whereas China has proven itself to be a prolific vehicle manufacturer, Taiwan – like Japan – proves proficient at developing AND manufacturing vehicles.
3) Taiwanese manufacturers are to Japanese manufacturers as Japanese manufacturers were to Harley-Davidson.
4) Most people who’ve had a chance to inspect, ride or sell Taiwan-made vehicles know the quality of such product tends to be on par with units built in Japan and higher than many of the units imported so far from China.
5) Multiple North American and Japanese OEMs source quads and scooters from Taiwanese manufacturers.
6) While many “New Asian” suppliers entering the U.S. market often attempt to scrape together as many sales as possible as quickly as possible by moving product through multiple distributors, Taiwan-based vehicle suppliers appear to have a more long-term approach, choosing a single U.S. based importer/distributor through which they can more easily manage their business and plan for the future.
7) Remember where Kia and Hyundai were in the U.S. auto market 10 years ago? Check out their statistics now. Expect the same from the New Asians in the powersports industry.

One Man’s Take on the Motorcycle Industry

January 5, 2009

Not mine, but that of Bruce McLaughlan, a motorcycle blogger (read him here) for The Detroit News. In his latest posting, McLaughlan riffs on the result of the most recent J.D. Power and Associates Motorcycle Competitive Information Study — yes, we love studies with unwieldy, ponderous titles — and the Novi, Mich. stop of the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show tour. To see the result of the J.D. Power study go here.

KYMCO unveils the Quannon at the Long Beach IMS stop.

KYMCO unveils the Quannon at the Long Beach IMS stop.

McLaughlan, a marketing executive/club racer, digs into one of the study’s main results and that is being able to test ride a bike is a big HUGE factor in buyer satisfaction. He points to the crowds at the Novi IMS show, noting how most everybody spends the better part of their time test-sitting on bikes. And in his words:

Potential buyers can spend a few hours trying the “fit” of bikes representing all of the major brands, and perhaps even ask questions of knowledgeable factory reps.

This saves a lot of running around, and sadly, it represents a more personalized level of attention than you’ll get in the typical multi-brand dealership. That’s pretty pathetic.

I happen to agree with McLaughlan’s take. I’ve never been able to understand why more dealerships don’t offer test rides. I mean, if there’s anything where a perfect fit is essential it’s with a motorcycle. I understand the worries about liability, etc., but I’ve talked to enough dealers who do offer test rides (usually with the help of their OEMs) and say they are critical to selling units.

I’m not a dealer, nor do I own my own business, so I can’t say I’m second-guessing anybody, but I’d think that having a tool like test rides in your sales arsenal would be a no-brainer. Even working with the local Eagle Rider franchise to help customers size up their potential rides seems like a smart idea. I’m lucky enough that I get to ride a lot of new bikes and for some of them I’m thankful they’re only on loan to me and not sitting in my garage on a payment plan (though I’d really like an MP3 500 or a Star/Yamaha Raider for a l-0-n-g term test. You hear that Brandware and Yamaha?). But if I were in the market again for a new bike, I’d certainly gravitate toward dealerships and brands that offer test rides as an option. Given the current state of the economy (mine and the country’s) I’ll have to stick to the press loaners.

As sales get tougher will dealers and OEMs take note, not just of my ramblings, but of McLaughlan’s take and the J.D. Power results?

We’ve got fans — In India!

December 9, 2008

‘Cause we bad, we nationwide worldwide.

Turns out we’ve got fan(s) in India. Bunny Punia, an employee at BIKE India picked up on Guido’s recent post about the new KYMCO Quannon and added it to his own blog BHP – More is never enough. If you visit this site be sure to read about his trek from Delhi to Marsimek La, which, based on my knowledge of the geography in that part of the world, is about ONE HELLUVA ride.

So Bunny, we here at Dealernews(blog), where the daily commute is a treacherous ride, salute you.

Looks like it came straight from advrider.com.

KYMCO Quannon – Small Bike, Big Fun

December 8, 2008

KYMCO’s recently introduced Quannon 150 sportbike (MSRP $3,449) is destined for U.S. dealerships during the second quarter of 2009 as an early-release 2010 model.

The bike, released for Euro markets last year, is powered by a 149.3cc air-cooled four-stroke four-valve kymco_quannon150 engine producing 14 hp. Physically, it’s not much smaller than Kawi’s Ninja 250R. People will recognize it as being more diminutive than a 600-class machine, but not by much.

I had the chance to road test the Quannon earlier this year. I stand 5’9″ and found the ergonomics quite hospitable. At a standstill I was comfortably flat-footed with bent knees. Once underway, the clip-on-like handlebars and slightly rear-set foot pegs supplied equal comfort with a sporty feel.

The bike has an extremely short first gear (something I also noticed during a recent test of the India-made 160cc TVS Apache RTR) but a quick shift out and through the next four gears supplied more than enough forward thrust to propel me confidently down the 55 mph county roads on which I was riding.

Twisting the throttle to stop, the speedometer showed a top speed of 68 mph in normal riding position; in full tuck I saw an indicated 72 mph.

I’m confident this little runabout could be a big hit with consumers looking for a simple yet flashy intra-city commuter. And, aside from the forthcoming TVS and some untested New Asian units, KYMCO will pretty much have the market cornered.

I often hear from old timers who say “It’s a lot more fun to travel quickly on a slow bike than slow on a fast bike.” I couldn’t agree more.

Engine Type…149.3cc air-cooled four-stroke four-valve
Bore/Stroke…..62×49.5
Ignition….Electric
Gearbox…5 Speed
Chassis…Steel
Front Suspension…Telescopic forks
Rear Suspension…Mono shock
Front Brake…Single disc
Rear Brake…Single disc
Front Wheel/Tire…110/80-17
Rear Wheel/Tire…140/70-17
Dimensions (LxWxH) …81”x28.5”x46.2”
Seat Height…31.5 in.
Wheelbase……53.3 in.
Fuel Capacity…3.6 gals.
Estimated MPG…70-75 MPG
Weight…299 lbs.
Available Colors…Blue/Graphite or Red/Graphite
Warranty…Two Years

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.

p1000404

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.

p1000435

p1000434

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?