Posts Tagged ‘motorcycles’

RSD/Victory Motorcycles: Project 200 Video

July 28, 2010

When I first saw pictures (stolen from Cameron Brewer over at RSD: Thanks Cameron!) of the custom Vegas 8-Ball that Roland Sands is doing for Victory Motorcycles, I immediately fell in lust over its swoopy profile. That new tail section and dropped down seat, combined with the full fairing, really highlighted the design lines that Victory is known for. (It should probably be noted that I’m an Roland Sands Design and Victory sycophant — I just like the stuff that they do when they do what they do.)

Then I got really excited (starting to creep myself out here) when reading about what RSD is attempting to do with this bike. It’s called Project 200 and it’s Sands’ effort at building a bike aimed at hitting a Modified Partial Streamlining (MPS) record. Here’s a ‘graph from the RSD blog that explains it in RD’s words:

This Victory project is for the sole purpose of going 200mph. What started off as a move to do something different with a Victory turned into a quest for the 200mph marker. This has been a personal goal of mine for sometime and to do it on what was a custom cruiser makes it much harder and more interesting. Adding the bodywork and performance parts lends itself to setting this bike apart as a true high speed performer. It will soon be getting a turbo motor which will make it a 200 plus HP beast for both landspeed and the drag strip.

So now that Victory has announced its 2011 lineup and RSD had a chance to show this beast to the dealers attending the Polaris/Victory dealer meeting, this video has been posted.

It shows the early stages of Sands’ quest to hit 200 mph. We’ll try to follow along as they post more vids. Could watch stuff like this all day. Well I could if I got paid for it, so until then I’ll link to videos when they come online and then go back to my work-a-day tasks such as reading press releases, interviewing folks and pining for future press rides.

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On the road with Joe Bonnello (aka Joey B’s California Gold)

May 14, 2010

We just got a message and a buncha great photos from everybody’s favorite shorts-clad photographer, Joe Bonnello. Seems Joey B. has been out and about, exploring the nooks and crannies of California, exposing his gams to the far reaches of this great state.

We’d tell more, but Joe agreed to write us an account of his trip to the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel where he took some shots. Look down for Joe’s words and then keep going to see some of his pics. I like Joe’s style. Damn this makes me want to ride …… 

The Ride. The Show. The Spring!

So it goes like this — May in California is already summer, hot, dry, dusty, brown. But, this year, no!

Cool, damp, g-r-e-e-n. Never happened I say. Gotta ride before the heat. Ride, ride I say. So, got the Cagiva ready. Found out the Quail was happening in Carmel. Got on the bike and headed across the desert to the mountains. Jumped into the twisties and proceeded to find every nasty, twisty, obscure and downright stupid road in California, all the way from Apple Valley to Monterey, and then back. Over Frazier Park. Around Taft. Across the inland mountains to Atascadero. Around the prettiest roads near Paso Robles. Through Hunter Liggett to the coast. Up spectacular PCH to Monterey, then to Carmel for the Quail Motorcycle Gathering.

Lot’s of gorgeous bikes but no Quails in sight. Out over Carmel Valley, the back way around Coalinga (epic!), across the San Joaquin Valley on farm roads, up to the base of the Sierras to Bass Lake. Hook up with Larry Langley and David (more…)

Hey employees, it’s your time to speak up. Owners? Sit and listen.

April 20, 2010

(Ed. Note about change in first paragraph: Ray said, sure, go ahead and add his name.)

A while back, I got a note from Ray Jones, service manager at Shawnee Honda in Shawnee, OK.

The gist of his message is this: Often times, the regular workaday employees of a dealership don’t get a chance to weigh in on what could be done to improve business. And, in many cases, these workers are on the front lines of a store and know exactly what is or isn’t going right (sometimes before the management ever catches on).

So, this begs the question: When the economy goes soft and everyone is scrambling for ideas, how many often does management turn to its seasoned insiders for ideas?

Here’s the text of a short column I asked him to submit. Take a look and please let us know what you think — and maybe offer up examples of when you were asked for ideas, what they were and the results.

Maybe the best ideas are right under our noses and we are failing to even consider them. These are the ideas of the employees. Let’s challenge the people who actually work in the dealerships to bring new innovative ideas to the table and not overlook (more…)

2010 Multistrada 1200 Fever — Ducati Austin

March 25, 2010

These days you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one story or another about the 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 and we here at Dealernewsblog don’t want to be left out of the loop. After all, who doesn’t want to get hit by a dead cat?

Our pal Robert Pandya passed along some cool videos of Ducati North America’s Jeff Brooks giving a tech talk about the new bike to a group of committed Ducatisti at Ducati Austin. According to Pandya, close to 50 hardcore Multistradisti (is that a word?) lined up on a Sunday morning to get the low downistsi on the amazing tech and specs of this cool new ride-isti. (Remember 150hp!) Let’s just end the stupidity here and move onto the videos. Thank’s Robert!

Ducati Austin 2010 Multistrada tech talk Pt1

Ducati Austin 2010 Multistrada tech talk Pt2

Join MIC Campaign To Stop the Ban

February 9, 2010

MIC Launches Communications Effort at Dealer Expo

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) again this year is offering a variety of  communication tools at the Dealer Expo so that attendees and exhibitors can urge Washington to drop the existing ban on the sale of youth ATVs and motorcycles.

“There is tremendous momentum for Congress to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act’s (CPSIA) lead content provisions to exclude youth vehicles,” said Paul Vitrano, MIC general counsel. “We need our voices to be heard now.”

The MIC’s multi-media communication offerings at Indy and on www.stopthebannow.com include:

  • Text. Use your cell phone to send the text message “StoptheBan” or “STB” to 30101. An SMS interface on http://www.stopthebannow.com allows the public to send StoptheBan text messages directly from the website.
  • Letter. You can add your signature to letters urging Congress to amend the CPSIA to exclude youth vehicles. Last year’s campaign generated over 5,000 hand-signed letters at the show.
  • E-mail. Computers are available in the MIC Business Center (Booth # 4508) so you can send e-mails to Washington calling for the ban on youth equipment to be dropped. Last year, more 1 million electronic messages were sent to Congress.
  • Call. A computer station in the MIC Business Center will identify key members of Congress, and a Skype account will enable you to call your congressmen directly from the computer.
  • Video. You can “Send a Video Message to Congress.”  A camera and filming booth will be set up in the MIC Business Center so that Stop the Ban messages can be created, posted online, and forwarded to Congress.

Vitrano said there are three key reasons why youth ATVs and motorcycles should be excluded from the CPSIA’s lead content provisions: (1) the lead content poses no risk to kids; (2) the key to keeping youth safe is having them ride the right size vehicle; and (3) the lead ban hurts the economy.

“MIC calls on Congress to draft legislation as soon as possible to either grant a categorical exemption for these products, as would be provided by H.R. 1587, a pending bill with 56 bi-partisan co-sponsors, or to give the CPSC the flexibility to do so,” Vitrano said.

Visit www.stopthebannow.com for background information, FAQs, and public outreach tools for the Stop The Ban campaign.  JD

Contact me with story ideas or news tips
at 952/893-6876 or joe@powersportsupdate.com.

Investors In Powersports Stocks Enjoyed 2009

December 31, 2009

Harley, Polaris, Arctic Cat Post Hefty Gains

Investors who placed bets on the powersports industry last year at this time— and held steady for the ride through the year— have reason to celebrate tonight. I checked the performance of three of the leading powersports stocks this year—Harley-Davidson (HOG), Polaris Industries (PII), and Arctic Cat (ACAT) and each of them outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) by a wide margin in two cases and matching it in the last one.

It wasn’t a smooth ride, however, and it took a firm hand to stay in the game through the sharp downtown in the first quarter.  For example, while the Dow lost 13% in value during the first two months of 2008, Polaris lost 25%, Harley  dropped 21%, and Arctic Cat slipped 20%.

For the year, though, the Dow climbed 1,772 points from 8,776 on Dec. 31, 2008, to 10,548 at the close yesterday. That’s a 20% jump. During the last 52 weeks, the Dow ranged from a low of 6,440 to a high of 10,605.

Polaris, the Minneapolis-based manufacturer of ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles and electric vehicles, posted the biggest dollar gain during the last year of the three companies I looked at. Polaris common moved from $28.65 on Dec. 31, 2008, to $43 at the close yesterday. That’s a gain of $14.35, or 50.1% over the year. Its 52-week performance ranged from $14.53 to a high of $49.74.

If you would have purchased 1,000 shares of Polaris common stock one year ago, your investment would have gained $28,650, not considering quarterly dividends nor any sales commissions. Now, wouldn’t that provide a nice party tonight.

Securities analysts who follow the Polaris stock like the management team lead by new CEO Scott Wine, and Bennett Morgan, president and COO, and a long-time Polaris executive. When talking about Polaris, investors also talk about its ability to quickly bring new products to market, its efficient operations that emphasize cost controls, and its growing ability to control inventories at the dealer level through its Max Velocity Program (MVP) which allows dealers increased ordering flexibility.

Harley-Davidson gained $8.53, or 50.3%, climbing from $16.97 at the close on Dec. 31, 2008, to $25.50 at yesterday’s close. Harley investors had perhaps the toughest time waiting calmly for gains on the HOG stock as the company reworked its operations in several major steps.

One move with immediate and long-term implications was  the new contract it won with workers at its York, PA, plant that  permits the company to cut loose nearly half the 2,000 employee York work force and move ahead with major physical improvements in the plant. The plant modernization will be aided by a stimulus package from the state of Pennsylvania. Harley said at one point that it was considering relocating the operation to Kentucky.

In its second big reorganizational move, Harley dumped its MVAgusta operation and it closed its Buell sport bike business.

During the 2009 52-week period, Harley stock ranged from a low of $7.99 to a high of $30.00

Arctic Cat common stock is played at a much lower level than either Polaris or Harley, but it, too, posted a nice gain of 20% during the period Dec. 31,  2008, to Dec. 30, 2009. It climbed $4.16 for the year, moving from $4.79 in December 2008 to $8.95 yesterday.

Cat had a tough year, partly because of its dependence on snowmobiles and partly because of the loss of Gander Mountain, its high visibility outdoors retail chain based in Minneapolis. Gander had been carrying Arctic’s ATV and SXS lineup in its major stores. Arctic stock ranged from a low of $2.40 to a high of $9.27 during the last 52 weeks.

Okay, so now you’re probably waiting for my forecast on the performance of these stocks in 2010. Sorry, I don’t have one. After reporting on publicly traded stock for more than 40 years, I’ve come up with one basic rule: Stock market performance doesn’t always reflect corporate performance, especially when you try to tie it to a specific quarter or other reporting period. I don’t have a clue how these three stocks, or the Dow, for that matter, might perform over the next four quarters. And if I did know,  I wouldn’t give that information away; I would charge a lot of money for it. Isn’t that what investment advisors do?

Happy New Year and good luck with your investment decisions. I hope your powersports stocks perform well for you in 2010 as these three stocks did in 2009. JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas at
976/893-6876 or joe@powersportsupdate.com

Dealernewsblog Top 20 Viewed Stories of 2009

December 21, 2009

With 2009 quickly coming to a close, we’d be remiss if we didn’t tackle that trite-but-true end-of-the-year cliche known as the Top Whatever Stories List of (Fill in the year). Some of the time these stories are picked by readers, other times they’re chosen by editors/reporters. At Dealernewsblog we’ll opt for the former, based on the site visitor stats calculated by the good folks at WordPress.

We wish we had the energy and certitude to assemble a bevy of what we feel are the top powersports industry stories of 2009, but we’re kind of fat and lazy after snacking on too many holiday cheese logs, so we’ll leave this up to the cold analytics of the WordPress dashboard. For a more measured and thoughtful approach to the top stories, our own Joe Delmont is assembling a Top 10 list that should be appearing soon (link to come!).

And now, according to our blog stats, here are the Top 20 Dealernewsblog stories that viewers (like you!) clicked on in 2009:

  1. Harley’s Iron 883 – Nightster’s Younger Bro
  2. The Kymco Like — “Classic is one scooter …”
  3. Tragedy for Glen Helen Owner and His Family
  4. It’s Black Tuesday. Some Kid’s ATVs, Bikes Banned
  5. Harley Iron 883, You Are Soon to be Mine (for a while)
  6. Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Review
  7. KTM RC 125 GP Race Bikes for Sale
  8. Vendors That Compete Against Their Own Dealers
  9. 2009 Triumph Bonneville SE — Retro Riding
  10. Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – want one
  11. Top Dealer To Challenge CPSC Lead Content Rule
  12. Ducati Working on Adventure Tourer?
  13. High Fashion Gear for Women Riders? You Betcha
  14. H-D Iron 883 First Peek — On the Road to Review
  15. Dealer Expo Comments; Extra Product Coverage
  16. CPSC’s Recent Action Doesn’t Help Powersports
  17. Second Co-Founder Departs Baja Motorsports
  18. Small Stores Versus Big Stores
  19. New Polaris On-Road Division Raises Questions
  20. Roll Your Own Gear – Joe Rocket’s Hemp Jacket

Backstage look at FMF: A cool little video with Don Emler for the Take 20 program

December 7, 2009

We first reported on FMF‘s new Take 20 Savings Program in our coverage of the LeMans Corp. 2009 Holiday Showcase. This is the program that runs through March 31, 2010 designed to increase dealership floor traffic and help move exhaust systems. For the campaign, FMF is reducing the suggested retail price of all of its street and off-road 4-stroke exhausts by 20 percent.

In this video, we get to spend a little time with Don Emler and hear some history about the famed exhaust manufacturer. It’s good stuff and a pretty darn good piece of marketing. 

Last in Line: The Final Buell Rolls out of East Troy

November 12, 2009

The last Buell

Just got this pic and paragraph from the PR flacks at Harley-Davidson. Strange that they’d wait two weeks to send it out, but at least they’re recognizing the moment. First the PR bit and then a comment.

Last Buell Motorcycle Built

On October 30, a Buell Lightning XB12Scg rolled off the company’s East Troy, Wis. assembly line, the last of the 136,923 motorcycles built in the company’s 26 years of operation. Parent Harley-Davidson announced on October 15 that the Buell lineup of motorcycles would be discontinued effective December 18, 2009. Buell motorcycles will continue to be sold through existing dealers until inventory is depleted.

I feel fortunate to have had the chance to ride a handful of Buells. The XB12s is probably on my Top 5 favorite motorcycles list  (I’d also put the Ulysses on there too, but I rode the first model year version that had a bad steering lock issues) as it was a thoroughly fun bike to ride. Wicked and torquey and rumbly … there was no mistaking that you were sitting on a Harley. I also truly appreciate Erik Buell and visionary people like him. The motorcycle industry is filled with the most clever, entrepreneurial and just plain smart people that I’ve ever met or been around. They are tinkerers and engineers and machinists and admen and marketeers and sales people, all full of swagger and spark. Erik is at the top of that list. 

So, yeah, this picture and the accompanying paragraph leave me a bit sad.

Ride Green? Why Not? The environmental case for Motorcycles

October 30, 2009

There was a lot of good information that came out of the recent Motorcycle Industry Council SymposiumMIC_left (Inroads to the Future) and believe it or not we plan to get that stuff up over at www.dealernews.com. So, until we carve out a chunk of time to write up some stories on what Paul Leinberger had to say and on the new Revive Your Ride program backed by the MIC Aftermarket Committe, we’ll do some quick and dirty here on the blog.

The MIC/DTM’s Ty van Hooydonk gave a brief presentation on the green angle (the Environment!) of motorcycling. Much has been said about this, especially during last year’s felonious sadistic high gas prices. Maybe too much as there have also been studies showing that motorcycles produce far more pollutants than cars. But Ty’s message was an attempt to move beyond the emissions argument for more of a total approach. Rather than parse what he said and try to re-explain it, Ty was kind enough to pass along his presentation that we’ll present in its entirety. Thanks, Ty.

The MIC is working to refine our green message for motorcycling, with some help from Sierra Research, which is one of the leading research and consulting firms in the field of air pollution control, and with Tom Austin (more…)