Posts Tagged ‘sportbike’

Blogs Abuzz About H-D’s Buell Decision

October 15, 2009

Buell_logoHarley-Davidson has carved a lot of pork, and jobs, during the past year, and now the move to end production of the Buell line and sell off its recently-purchased MV Agusta business has people buzzing anew about the way the Motor Co. has chosen to streamline its operation.

Here are some thoughts gleamed from a surf through some of the social networking sites:

Gutted that Harley has pulled the plug on Buell Motorcycles. After all of Erik’s struggles and hard work developing improved product, he deserves better than that. – Kevin

No matter what you think of HD or Buell product, you have to respect Erik Buell’s independent and creative thinking. Sorry to see you go Buell. – Glenn

Victims of Hope and Change? – Robert

I feel for all those who have been laid off … but I keep thinking there is more to come from Buell. – Greg

Buell gone; MV on the block!? Whats next? Price drops on Fatboys and baggers? – Jeffery

Why didn’t they dump their latest European acquisition instead of wiping out more American jobs? As an American manufacturer, it sickens me to see HD become just another company making a profit at any cost. – Chris

A day of mourning for American Sportbikers … regardless of what you ride. Buell, you will be greatly missed! – Brittany

I am truly bummed about Buell going under. I wasn’t a die hard Buell fan but it was nice to see a company like that succeed. – Aaron

It seems that we have let another American Motorcycle Company go by the way side my friends, and what a shame! – Patrick

Learn more about H-D’s decision by clicking HERE.

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Race Replica Scoots We’re Not Getting

September 27, 2009

File this under cool stuff we’re not getting in the U.S.: Three 50cc scooters wrapped in race livery that are sure to be a hit with sportbike enthusiasts looking for alternative surface street transportation.

Inspired by Valentino Rossi and the Fiat Yamaha MotoGP racing team, the Aerox Team Yamaha Race Replica (top), powered by a liquid-cooled two-stroke 50cc engine, is wrapped in the new-for-2009 paint and graphics to match the racing livery of the YZR-M1 MotoGP bike.

The Gilera Runner Marco Simoncelli Replica (middle) is powered by a 50cc liquid-cooled two-stroke engine delivering 5.4hp and features livery similar to that of the 250cc MotoGP World Champion’s factory racebike.

The Malaguti Phantom F12R Ducati Corse Superbike (bottom), available in 50cc liquid or air-cooled two-stroke versions, is the latest in a line of scoots made available via a licensing agreement between Ducati and Malaguti. Also available: the Phantom F12R Bayliss Limited Edition and the Phantom F12R Ducati Team version.

I saw all three of these units during a recent trip to the Nuerburgring in Germany. The bikes depicted in the photos were for sale at motorcycle dealerships adjacent to the world-famous racetrack.
Yamaha_ScooterGilera_ScooterDucati_Adenau-copy

My House Wine: CorsaVino

June 30, 2009

A couple of months ago I reported on CorsaVino – a wine brand of limited availability launched by Arun Sharma, the general manager of MotoCorsa in Portland.

t4Well, today I received my shipment of Sharma’s 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Mostro Rosso, limited to a production of 98 cases and retailing for $314 by the case or $29 by the bottle; and 2005 Syrah, limited to a production of 217 cases and retailing for $292 by the case or $27 by the bottle.

Mmmm, now to deal with the most difficult decision. After all, being a wine enthusiast is a bit like being a collector of motorcycles: Do you drink/ride the product or do you not drink/ride the product?

Exclusive: FMF Working on Pipe for Ducati Streetfighter

June 19, 2009

We at Dealernews previously reported how well-known off-road exhaust specialist FMF has been planning to increase its emphasis on the on-road market with its APEX line of exhausts. Today I received a spy shot of the exhaust specialist’s latest project: a carbon fiber offering for the new Ducati Streetfighter.
FMF_streetfightersneak2
“The APEX line is doing quite well in terms of market penetration, but our product for Ducati has been particularly well accepted,” FMF National Sales Manager Doug Muellner told me earlier today. I called Doug after a source sent me a covert shot of the still-in-progress pipe.

“We want the APEX line to be as well-known as our other products,” Doug told me a few months ago. “Off-roaders know the FMF name, and so we want to build the APEX name to be equally as recognizable in the sportbike market.”

FMF offers three types of sportbike pipe – the Powercore S, Powercore GP and APEX – and plans to put more energy into marketing its offerings.

The APEX exhaust comes in carbon or titanium, slip-on or full, and single and dual systems; the Powercore GP is a MotoGP-type titanium race pipe, and the Powercore S line is available in titanium and aluminum and comes with a titanium mid-pipe (if applicable).
FMF_LOGO
FMF’s other new applications include product for the 2009 Ducati Monster 1100, 696, 848, 1098, 1198 and 1198S; Honda CBR1000RR and CBR600RR; Kawasaki ER-6N, Ninja 250R, Ninja 650R, ZX-6R and ZX-10R; KTM 690 SMC; Suzuki GSX-R600, GSX-R750, GSX-R1000 and Hayabusa; and Yamaha R6 and R1.

Victory Lays Down the Hammer … S

June 15, 2009

I picked up a 2009 Victory Hammer S from Polaris HQ today, June 15. I’ve noticed this particular bike is about Victory performance, and that my sportbike has tire envy.

2009 Victory Hammer S

2009 Victory Hammer S

After rolling 200 miles during the first few hours after pick-up, I do have a few qualms about riding position (see future posts). Of course, I’m traditionally more of a sportbike rider, so anything I ride foot-first seems a bit odd.

Still, this is the best of the four Victory I’ve ridden for an extended period of time. It accelerates impressively (for (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.

2009 Marks Ninja’s 25th Anniversary

June 10, 2009

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Kawasaki’s “Ninja” brand name, a name that has become globally synonymous with sport bikes.

Industry icon and Dealernews columnist Mike Vaughan led the Ninja revolution as director of marketing for Kawasaki Motor Corp., USA from 1979 to 1990. Dealernews recently talked with Vaughan to learn how the Ninja name became a mainstay in the motorcycle marketplace.

Here’s the story Vaughan has to tell:

“The Ninja, as I recall, was sort of a surprise for us, in that we hadn’t really asked for it — not that everything we had to sell was something we’d asked for, but the Ninja, or what was to become the Ninja, really bowled us over.

“In 1979, they showed us the first GPzs, and I suggested then that we call them ‘Ninja.’ The Japanese blew it off, and frankly my colleagues weren’t crazy about it either. So the name retired to a folder until the GPz900 was revealed to us (by us, I mean the guys who were on the ‘product planning’ committee).

“We probably saw the first examples of the bike maybe in late ’82. It seemed to me that this really was the Ninja, and I began campaigning for the adoption of the name. “At about the same time, we switched advertising agencies. The old agency, which had had the account for a number of years, was on my side with regard to the name. But the new agency, wanting to establish their creds, proposed calling it the …

Visit Dealernews.com for the entire story.

1984 Ninja 900R

1984 Ninja 900R

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.

SLXi1

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.

SLXi2

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.
SLXi3
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.