Archive for the ‘sportbike’ Category

Pre-Owned Products Prove Popular

May 23, 2009

Anyone who frequents franchise powersports dealerships has likely noticed an expansion in the pre-owned inventory on display, but another recent retail trend is the increasing number of businesses popping up all over the country that specialize only in pre-owned motorcycles.

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Dealing in pre-owned bikes is an especially compelling business venture at the moment, as the sour economy has dried up consumer credit opportunities for customers who have the desire to ride but are having a tough time obtaining credit on higher priced new models retailed by franchise dealerships. This bodes especially true in the sportbike marketplace, as many buyers of sportbikes tend to be younger, and thus representative of the main demographic suffering from the credit crisis.

Here in Minneapolis, there’s a new pre-owned shop called Simply Sport Bikes (SLXi). The endeavor, run by fellas named Brian Cox and Matt Johnson, grew out of a pre-owned luxury automobile business Cox has with his father.

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Pics by momentumphoto.net

I recently stopped at SLXi to take a look at the operation. Cox, a long-time cycle enthusiast, told me he felt adding sportbikes as a sister venture to the luxury auto business could be an equally profitable and exciting opportunity. So, he hooked up with friend and long-time cycle technician Johnson and opened shop.

Johnson served as a franchise dealer tech and is the former of Full Power Cycle in Hopkins, Minn., a service-only operation.

Advertising the business is done two ways: through sponsorship of the Minnesota Sportbike Riders online forum (MNSBR.com) and, more recently, via 30-second ads run on local television. For SLXi, while the TV ads have managed to attract a larger audience, the MNSBR.com forum – a direct link to local sportbike enthusiasts – has proved to be a particular boon. For example, two weeks ago, the two entities teamed up to sponsor a group ride that resulted in an estimated 400 riders meeting at the store. Imagine the sales opportunities inherent in 400 sportbike “customers” in one location at one time.
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SLXi currently has 109 bikes in stock and markets itself as among the largest sportbike-only retailers in the Midwest. Cox says obtaining stock isn’t an issue as advances in motorcycle development allow bikes to run longer with fewer problems, sportbike enthusiasts tend to buy and sell their rides much more often than other cyclists, and a decade of growth in motorcycle sales has brought more bikes into the pre-owned marketplace.

SLXi customers in need of financing are turned on to local banks and credit unions.

Like most sport bike dealers, SLXi does not offer a test drive on motorcycles. However they do offer a test drive “after the fact” – if you want to purchase a bike, you can fill out the documents for purchasing and pay for the vehicle. Once you’ve finalized the documents you can take the bike on a 10-15 minute test drive to ensure that you are comfortable with the machine. If there is anything you don’t like, you can bring the bike back and get a full refund, provided the bike is in the same condition as when it left.

Another SLXi benefit: The store offers “while-u-wait” service on things like accessory Installation, brake services, carb cleaning, chain/sprocket service, fork seal service, inspections, oil change, and tire mounting and balancing. “It’s kind of like the Jiffy Lube business model,” Cox says. “The customer brings the bike in and Matt takes care of it for them so they can be on the road again as quickly as possible.”

Parts, garments and accessories are procured from distributors Tucker Rocky and Western Power Sports.

I recently wrote a lengthy article about another successful pre-owned-only retailer, All Pro Motorsports in Wisconsin. Check out All Pro’s story HERE.

9021 … Oh, High-side

May 21, 2009

Dean McDermott, Tori Spelling’s husband, may be best-known for promoting his wife’s career. But, after adeancrash session at Keith Code’s California Superbike School, McDermott found another cause to shill for.

Here’s a video (copy and paste into your browser): http://www.scorpionxdr.com/media/videos/deanM.wmv

AGV Protects Jordan’s Skull

May 19, 2009

Michael Jordan showed up at last weekend’s fifth round of the AMA Superbike series at Infineon Raceway to support his team, as is usual for the motorcycle fan.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Jordan, after watching qualifications on Friday, jumped on a bike (a Ducati Multistrada) and went for a ride in the beautiful countryside of Sonoma protected with an AGV helmet.

The helmet on Jordan’s bean was one of the many helmets from the National Guard Jordan Suzuki Racing Experience: the 2-Up program sponsored by Dainese and AGV.

The 2-Up program, during which all riders participating are protected head-to-toe with Dainese leathers, gloves, boots and AGV helmets, provides an exclusive on-track experience for members of the media and other selected guests at each round of the AMA National Guard Pro Racing Superbike Series.

Learn more about Dainese and AGV here.

Brammo Tests TTXGP Racer

May 12, 2009

Brammo, a privately held start-up manufacturer of electric vehicles, plans to take part in the upcoming TTXGP – a time trial competition open only to two-wheelers powered by clean emissions technologies – with a bike named the Enertia.

Scheduled for June 12, following the traditional Isle of Man TT, the TTXGP (Time Trials Xtreme Grand Prix) is to be held on the legendary Isle of Man Mountain Course, a 37.733-mile circuit with over 200 corner.

The TTXGP was concocted by British entrepreneur Azhar Hussain. Hussain says the event offers an opportunity for leading global innovators in racing and clean emission technologies to compete and prove to the world that being green does not mean being slow. The planned TTXGP will showcase a diverse range of vehicles capable of reaching race speeds. Teams are likely to be backed by international corporations, universities and high tech institutions, but all eager to prove their credentials in clean emission transportation.

“TTXGP is about competitive innovation – pushing the frontier and making the next leap,” Hussain says. Certainly a look, and listen, of Brammo’s test sessions suggest these bikes could indeed represent the future of motorcycling.

Brammo, founded in Ashland, Ore., in 2002, has said it plans to begin sales of the $11,995 Enertia at five Best Buy stores on the West Coast.

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.

Fischer Seeks Success with American-Made MRX

April 10, 2009

After many years and several false starts, the first Fischer MRX sportbike has left the company’s shipping dock.

“We are looking to establish relationships in several areas, including engineering and product development, marketing, and distribution,” says Daniel Fischer, founder.

Powered by a Hyosung-made 647cc liquid-cooled 90 degree V-twin, the MRX features all-American made aluminum die-cast chassis components; injection molded parts, including the multi-function central cold ram air intake ducts that are assembled in the U.S.; made in the U.S. roto-molded fuel cell; available hand-laid carbon fiber and fiberglass body components developed and fitted in the U.S.; and V-cast multi-function subframes designed and manufactured in the U.S.

Also standard: Ohlins suspension; Brembo front brake master cylinder with Goodridge steel brake lines; genuine American cowhide leather seat; lots of billet, including 7075 aircraft aluminum, adjustable, clip-on handlebars; a dual chamber, undertail, stainless steel exhaust system; Hella high intensity Xenon headlights; a digital rider information center featuring large, analog tachometer and full electronic dashboard with (more…)

Ducati Working on Adventure Tourer?

March 16, 2009

It appears Ducati may be preparing to add an adventure tourer to its model line.

News outlets and blogs around the world have been reporting on the possibility, but Australian Ducati importer Warren Lee seems to have confirmed the rumors when he recently told the Courier Mail newspaper that the bike would be revealed as a 2010 model.

“Our adventure bike will be a lightweight sporty model with a swingarm similar to the 1098, a tall screen, and it will be the lightest with the best performance in its class,” Lee told the Courier Mail.

The Dutch website Motor.NL managed to obtain some spy shots of the bike apparently undergoing testing on the street. There are no knobbies mounted but, judging by the photos, the bike looks to be powered by Ducati’s liquid-cooled 1099cc V-twin – the same lump powering the OEM’s new Streetfighter.

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KTM RC 125 GP Race Bikes for Sale

February 24, 2009

The 2008 U.S. AMA Red Bull Rookies Cup KTM RC 125 race bikes are now for sale through HMC Racing.

There are a limited number of Rookies Cup bikes available, 24 to be exact. Each bike has been refurbished and comes “Ready to Race.” While the Red Bull Rookies Cup will not be held in the U.S. in 2009, the series will continue on in Europe.

All bike sales and future service and spare parts will be handled directly by HMC Racing. Pricing starts as low as $13,900. For more details contact Mitch Hansen at HMC Racing: (920) 242-9639 or mitch@hmcracing.com
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Ducati Going Superbike Racing in the U.S.

February 13, 2009

Ducati plans to take part in Superbike racing in North America in the 2009 season.

Ducati North America CEO Michael Lock, in an interview this morning, told me U.S. pilots will be competing in the series aboard the 1098 F08 – the same factory superbike used by Troy Bayliss in 2008.

Oh, but because of airbox-related rules in the World Superbike Championship that aren’t present in the North American series, expect the U.S.-spec Duc to produce about 10hp more than the unit ridden by Bayliss.

Superbike racing in the U.S. will be run by the Daytona Motorsports Group (DMG) doing business as AMA Pro Racing. American Superbike is scheduled to be the new premier class for AMA Pro Racing, showcasing the traditional 1,000cc machines that competed in the former AMA Superbike class but running under new rules.

Troy Bayliss riding in the 2008 World superbike Championship

Troy Bayliss riding in the 2008 World Superbike Championship

‘Clean’ Cycles Prepping for Isle of Man TTXGP

January 28, 2009

History will be made on June 12 when the Isle of Man hosts the TTXGP – a time trial competition open only to two-wheelers powered by clean emissions technologies.
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Concocted by British entrepreneur Azhar Hussain, the TTXGP (Time Trials Xtreme Grand Prix) is scheduled to be held on the legendary Isle of Man Mountain Course, a 37.733-mile circuit with over 200 corners, following the traditional Isle of Man TT.

Hussain says the event offers an opportunity for leading global innovators in racing and clean emission technologies to compete and prove to the world that being green does not mean being slow. The planned TTXGP will showcase a diverse range of vehicles capable of reaching race speeds. Racing teams are likely to be backed by international corporations, universities and high tech institutions, all eager to prove their credentials in clean emission transportation.

“TTXGP is about competitive innovation – pushing the frontier and making the next leap,” Hussain says.

Not only an event for well-funded corporations, the TTXGP also will offer an “Open” class race for innovative cottage teams who are interested in experimenting with alternative energy sources. These teams will be required to (more…)