Posts Tagged ‘scooter’

Rider Impressions: The Victory Hammer S

July 15, 2009

In June I picked up a 2009 Victory Hammer S from Polaris headquarters in Medina, Minn. Now, after one month and nearly 1,000 miles, it’s time I return the bike.

As a fan of all things with two-wheels, I would’ve enjoyed keeping this head-turner in my garage alongside the SV1000S, Tomos Golden Bullet moped and forthcoming two-stroke Stella scooter. Having a muscle cruiser like the Hammer helped satisfy my different moods – whereas I enjoy long, quick-paced rides on the Suzuki, I equally enjoyed implementing the Victory for shorter, inter-city jaunts. If the SV1S, in triple black livery, is my B2 stealth bomber, the Hammer S, available only in a vibrant blue with white rally stripes, was my attention-grabbing Blue Angels C-130T Hercules “Fat Albert” – heavy, but powerful and impressively agile for its size.
VictoryHammerProfile2
The bike attracted attention and garnered questions wherever I went, whether at the filling station, neighborhood grocery store or local bike night. “Go ahead and park it right out front on the sidewalk,” the owner of my favorite restaurant, Eli’s in Minneapolis, said after grilling me on the bike’s specs and my impression of the ride.VictoryHammerOverdrive

“Nice Hammer!” a guy in a pickup truck shouted to me while we were stopped at a red light. “I just bought one! I love it!”

The Hammer S represented the fourth Victory extended ride the folks at Polaris have granted me. The first bike, the V92TC, was a bit unkempt; the first year Vegas was better, but still not tuned quite right (needed more breathing, found through the parts catalog); and the Vision I rode for a few months last summer was hugely impressive in handling and performance for its size.
VictoryHammerFrontBrake
What’d I like about the Hammer S? I had a list of highlights I quoted to everyone who asked: The 97hp, 113 ft. lbs. of torque offers a healthy dose of acceleration, the bike’s outfitted with a smooth running carbon fiber belt, the sixth gear “overdrive” transmits a fuel-saving engine speed of 2,400 rpm at 70mph, it maneuvers surprisingly well with the big 18-incher up front and 250/40R18 Dunlop rear, and braking was impressive (stainless steel lines, front dual 300mm floating rotors with 4-piston caliper and rear single 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper).VictoryHammerBelt

The list of things I didn’t like is much shorter: To garner the hardtail look, engineers placed the rear shock a bit too far forward, directly under the seat. It’s preload adjustable, but nevertheless transmitted some kidney-jarring bumps when traversing roadway irregularities.
VictoryHammerGauges

Tomberlin Launches Anvil Electric Vehicle

June 29, 2009

Promotes Anvil on CBS Early Show Today

Mike Tomberlin, the fellow I featured in my column in the July 2009 issue of Dealernews magazine, went public this morning on the CBS News Early Show promoting his latest electric vehicle, the aggressively styled Anvil. You can see the video clip here.

ANVIL-PathwayBurgundyTomberlin is CEO of the Tomberlin Group, a diversified manufacturing and distribution company based in Augusta, GA. Tomberlin also produces an elecctric on-road vehicle, dubbed the e-Merge, that is basically a modified golf cart.

In a related “green” move, Tomberlin recently purchased the Schwinn scooter business from Dorel Industries of Montreal. You can find out more about the Tomberlin Group here.

The Anvil can hit 25 mph on highways with speed limits of 35 mph, and it can go at least 30 miles on a charge, Tomberlin said on the show. The range (more…)

Scooterists, Art Lovers Gather at Los Vesparados

June 14, 2009

Scooterists and art lovers from the Twin Cities and beyond gathered the evening of June 13 in Minneapolis to attend Los Vesparados, an event combining the cult following of scooters with a line up of local and international artists working in different styles and mediums to celebrate the spirit of the scooter.
Vesparados
The event featured more than 25 local and international artists showing a variety of art, from painting and print editions to metal and jewelry; a scooter exhibition in the parking lot; scooter memorabilia displayed by Michael & Eric Dregni, authors of many books on the subject; a DJ spinning mod tunes; a raffle to win a Genuine Buddy scooter; and projections of scooter movies and commercials.

Artists in attendance included: Adam Turman, Aleksandra Stancevic, Andre Knaebel, Andrea Horne, Angel Bomb, Brian Sago, Chank Diesel, Charles Youel, Dan Marshall, Emmy Lingscheit, Ethan Arnold, Greg Meyers, James Provost, Karin (more…)

Attention Piaggio, Ducati & BRP Enthusiasts

June 12, 2009

Do you ride a Piaggio X9 500 or BV 500, Can-Am Spyder, or Ducati 1098R, 1098 Streetfighter or 1198S? If so, you may be getting some bad news in the mail from the manufacturer.

Piaggio USA, Inc. is recalling 2,428 units of its 2005-2008 X9 500 and BV 500 scooters due to a fuel hose problem; Ducati North America is recalling 732 units of its model year 2009 1098R, 1098 Streetfighter, and 1198S because of cracks that may occur in the forks; and BRP may soon begin a recall of up to 9,932 units of its model year 2008-2009 Can-Am Spyder Roadster for a steering issue.

Click here to learn more.

Do the Lambretta Twist

June 9, 2009

OK, I love this ad for so many reasons. Here’s a few. First, who doesn’t like a Lambretta? I mean, much like the Triumph Bonneville, everybody used to have a Lambretta.

Secondly, this is one of those tunes that worms its way inside your brain like a parasite. I know I’ll be playing it over in my head all day. Thirdly (thirdly?), the ’60s motif is truly timeless. It holds up better than any other era’s style. Good god, I still don’t know how the ’80s snuck their way back into fashion. Can’t we let Crockett and Tubbs and sack-like dresses fade into the past?

And finally, this commercial reminds me about something missing from a lot of modern motorcycle/powersports advertising: riding two wheels is fun. I can’t understand a word they’re singing, but I know for damn sure that the product they’re pushing will put a big stupid grin on my face. I dare you to watch this ad and not think, “Damn, riding a Lambretta looks like fun.”

From most current adverts I get the feeling that bikes are:
a) X-TREEM
b) Dark & Broody
c) For Lone Wolves

Me? I think they’re fun.

New Polaris On-Road Division Raises Questions

May 18, 2009

What New Products Will It Announce For This Division?
What Role Will Mark Blackwell Really Play?

Joe Delmont

Joe Delmont

The announcement today by Polaris Industries, Medina, Minn., that it is launching an “on-road vehicle division” is interesting from several perspectives.

Perhaps the most intriguing question the move raises is this: What new products will the innovative Minnesota OEM produce to fit into this segment alongside its popular Victory motorcycles? The move looks to bring the company one step closer to the “adjacent” industry that company executives have been talking about for several years.

Former Polaris CEO Tom Tiller often talked about the company’s planned move into “adjacent” industries— ones that could use Polaris’ existing technology and/or sell to its existing customer base.

Tiller’s replacement, Scott Wine, told analysts in April that,  “We remain on-track to announce a second adjacency later this year,” adding, “long-term, we’ve scaled back a little bit of our research and development in Victory and shifted some of those resources and funding to the front end of our business”

And Polaris President Bennett Morgan responded to an analyst’s question with: “We believe we’ve got some nice innovation coming in this adjacency that we are not talking about as well. So, we’ve got lots of good stuff….”

Indeed, Polaris did move outside the powersports industry recently when it signed a strategic alliance with Bobcat to jointly develop Bobcat branded products that will be introduced next year.

So, here’s what you might look for from Polaris to include in its new On-Road Vehicle Portfolio alongside Victory perhaps as soon as next month:

  1. An electric vehicle, probably a SXS model with two-wheel drive, that can be used in gated communities and other neighborhood developments. There’s been a lot of talk about electric vehicles, but so far nobody’s come up with a practical, efficient and economical machine. Perhaps Polaris, a company that prides itself on its innovation, can be the one to do so.
  2. A scooter, probably one in the 150cc size. We know that Polaris has been sourcing one in China for close to a year, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them introduce one at the beginning of this scooter season.
  3. A sport bike to capture the strong youth market and its desire for speed and performance. This may be a bit of a stretch, but there are reasons to believe it could happen. First, speed and performance are features that Polaris offers on the snow side and in its radically hot RZR side-by-side vehicle. And a top Polaris executive who has been added to the on-road group, Mark Blackwell, has a record as a champion racer. Even though he’s guided the successful growth of Victory, Mark’s comfort level may be closer to the sport bike than to the cruiser. In its announcement, Polaris noted that Blackwell’s “deep knowledge of products and markets in the motorcycle industry will continue to be an invaluable asset to the Victory brand and all other on-road vehicles.” (My italics added.)

The one problem with each of these products, though, is this: Can Polaris teach its dealers to sell these products, ones that are radically different from the Victory and from Polaris’ off-road products?

Staffing Questions

As part of the new organization, Blackwell has been named vice president of motorcycles. Meanwhile, Mike Jonikas, vice president of sales and corporate marketing, has been named vice president of the On-Road Vehicle Division; he’ll be responsible for growing the division. In a related move, Steve Menneto has been named general manger of Victory Motorcycles.

The question here is: How much responsibility will Blackwell have? In the recent past, he’s worn several hats for Polaris, at one time running both the Victory and International operations simultaneously. Hmmm, perhaps the sport bike idea isn’t so far off after all.

We’ll find out soon how this all plays out. Guido Ebert, the senior editor at Dealernews magazine, has a meeting scheduled at Polaris this week. It will be very interesting to hear what he finds out. JD

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

Clarkson: A powersports fanatic

April 22, 2009

Jeremy Clarkson, one-third of the presenting team for the top-rated BBC television show Top Gear, was spotted this week atop a Yamaha Waverunner VX110 while on vacation in Barbados.
clarkson_pwcclarkson_scooter1
As the pictures attest to, the 49-year-old appeared to have enjoyed piloting the 110hp four-stroke PWC as much as driving a 510hp Lamborghini Gallardo.

Last September, photographers spotted the presenter, who often derides motorcyclists, astride a Piaggio scooter near his home in Oxfordshire. Click here to read what Clarkson had to say about his buzz around town on the scoot.

‘Movin’ On Up’ Scooter Rally in Colorado, June 5-7

April 20, 2009

“Movin’ On Up”, the longest running vintage motorscooter rally in Colorado, takes place June 5-7 in Colorado Springs.badges-spot01

Festivities for this tenth annual event take place at The Rocket Room, Buffalo Lodge, and The Piano Warehouse, as well as on public streets. Oh, and there’s a raffle for a classic Vespa.

SCHEDULE

FRIDAY
8pm – Rocket Room (230 Pueblo Ave) Register for the rally (free) and meet up with new and old friends; have cocktails; and enjoy DJs Gazzy Goff, Davevinyls, Muggy Luvins and AdamXYL. Get your first look at the Raffle bike and enjoy yourself.

SATURDAY
11am – Breakfast at the Buffalo. Wake up, stumble outside and enjoy some coffee and breakfast.
1pm – Pokenger Runt ride around – no 50 cc scooters please.
4pm – End up back at the Buffalo for food, drinks the Mechanics Race and other games, take a swim and have a few beers on the Serveterans. Take a nap, grab a shower and get ready for:
9pm – Ride from the Buffalo to the Piano Warehouse for Party For The People featuring live rock and roll, complimentary beer from Bristol Brewing and a FULL OPEN BAR – you get into this party free with your rally registration (free).

SUNDAY
11am – Breakfast location TBA
1pm – Mike Loop Memorial Ride. Scenic ride around the area.
3pm – Ride end, drinks, food silent auction and Awards.

Organizers recommend staying at or near the Buffalo Lodge. Call and ask for Liz – mention the “scooter thing.” Call the folks at Sportique Scooters for more information – (719) 442-0048

Helmet Laws – The Never Ending Story

April 3, 2009

We’re smack dab in the middle of a new legislative season, and lawmakers across the country continue to debate the pros and cons of helmet laws.
nolan-x-602-stoner-replica-hel-2t1
In Arkansas, a bill that would’ve required riders to wear helmets or otherwise show proof of $10,000 worth of health-insurance coverage last month stalled for the second time in the Senate Transportation Committee.

In Illinois, legislation requiring helmets for motorcyclists recently failed by a vote of 14-42 in the Senate.

In Maryland, lawmakers continue to debate a proposal that would make helmets no longer required for drivers 21 and older who have been riding for two years or passed a motorcycle safety course.

In Tennessee, a bill repealing the helmet law died for a lack of a second in a (more…)

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