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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

John Parham

John Parham
1954 – 2017

Robin Bradley writes …
Along with many hundreds of people in the motorcycle industry, it was with great sadness that I learned of the death of John Parham at the end of last week.
John was my friend; John will always be my friend.

I first met John in 1989, I think it was, on my first ever business road trip to the United States - after quite by chance finding myself in the motorcycle industry earlier that year.
Unlikely as it was, I was planning to drive from Milwaukee to Des Moines, Iowa, on that trip, and would be going right past the door of J&P Cycles. I had wondered about calling him once I was in the U.S. and inviting myself to go and find out about him.

Coincidentally he called me at my office in England just 48 hours before I was due to leave. He was expressing interest in the magazine I then worked on. John said he was interested in options to grow international sales, so wanted a media info kit.

“Sure,” I said, “I could drop it off on Friday afternoon.” 

There was a moment’s polite silence, then in the characteristic Iowa accent that I’d come to love, he calmly explained that he was actually calling me from the United States. 

“Thanks for the offer, but it’s okay. You see, I’m calling you from Iowa, so you’d probably just better put it in the mail.”

“I know where you’re calling me from, and I’m driving right past your place in three days’ time,” I said.

Stunned silence.

“Urm, nah, I doubt that. Nobody “just drives by my place,” especially not from England. I’m miles from anywhere. What makes you think you’ll be driving past my place?”

“Well, I’ve got to get from Milwaukee to Des Moines, and I figured I’d go via Madison (to visit with S&S), Dubuque, and then cut across country – Anamosa is on the 151, and that’s the way I’m planning to drive … I’m flying out to Chicago tomorrow!”

Extremely stunned silence.


John became one of the first contacts I made in the custom parts industry on that first road trip … and 28 years later?

We all lost a friend at the end of last week.
There have been some excellent tributes paid to John on the internet, and rather than trying to do justice to an amazing man and his amazing life here, let me point you towards a couple of online resources.

There’s a great bio of John (and Jill) on the National Motorcycle Museum website here …

… and his original inductee proposal and a link to his acceptance speech at the induction ceremony, when he was elected to the AMA’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2015, can be found here …

“You and I will meet again, when we're least expecting it;
one day in some far-off place, I will recognize your face;
I won't say goodbye my friend, for you and I will meet again”

A Celebration of John Parham’s Life will be held at The National Motorcycle Museum May 6 at 10:30am

Photo by Onno Wieringa of Madness Photography

Polaris Q1 results

“Decent start to an important year” – CEO Scott Wine on Polaris Q1 results

Polaris has reported that overall sales revenue for the first quarter of 2017 increased +17% to $1,153.8 million, with Polaris North America retail sales “exceeding” company expectations.

The company says that Indian Motorcycle continued to gain market share in a soft quarter for the industry’s 900cc+ sector and that its ORV (Off Road Vehicles) market share is “stabilizing.”
The company has reported a first quarter 2017 net loss of $2.9 million, a loss that included costs related to the wind-down of Victory Motorcycles.
North American consumer retail demand for the Polaris motorcycle segment, including Indian Motorcycle and Slingshot, was down mid-single digits percent during the 2017 first quarter, while the overall motorcycle industry retail sales, 900cc and above, was down mid-single digits percent in the 2017 first quarter. However, Indian Motorcycle retail sales increased low double-digits percent.
“While we reported an expected net loss for the quarter, adjusted earnings were slightly ahead of our expectations,” said Polaris Industries CEO Scott Wine. “We saw continued strong performance from Indian Motorcycle, and our ORV business improved its performance in the face of heavy competitive activity and a sluggish powersports environment. Overall, our dealer channel remains healthy with inventories down eight percent, and we continue to diligently work to enhance our dealer engagement.”
With reference to some of the issues the company finds itself needing to address, not least the ORV and Slingshot recall problems it continues to encounter, Wine went on to say that the company is “aggressively investing in the development of innovative products that will further solidify Polaris’ position as the leader in powersports. Our first quarter results reflect our commitment to quickly and sustainably improve our strategic and tactical execution, continue enhancing overall safety and quality, and building superior products for our customers.” 

Motorcycle segment sales revenue in the first quarter of 2017 (including PG&A related sales) was $120.3 million, a decrease of -35 percent compared to $185.3 million reported in the first quarter of 2016 (which included $46.3 million of Victory Motorcycles wholegood, accessory and apparel sales). Indian Motorcycle wholegood sales increased in the first quarter driven by strong retail sales, offset by lower Slingshot sales, which were negatively impacted by low availability of saleable product due to quality holds during the quarter.
Polaris announced in January its intention to wind down its Victory Motorcycles operations. The company says the decision is expected to improve the long-term profitability of Polaris and its global motorcycle business, while materially improving the company’s competitive position in the industry.  Meantime though, Polaris will record costs associated with supporting Victory dealers in selling their remaining inventory, the disposal of factory inventory, tooling and other physical assets, and the cancellation of various supplier arrangements.
Gross profit for the first quarter of 2017 was a negative $19.9 million compared to positive $27.3 million in the first quarter of 2016. Adjusted for the Victory wind-down costs of $38.6 million, motorcycle gross profit was a positive $18.7 million, down from the first quarter last year due to product mix and lower Slingshot volume.
Overall gross profit decreased two percent to $242.5 million for the first quarter of 2017 from $247.6 million in the first quarter of 2016. As a percentage of sales, reported gross profit margin was 21.0 percent compared with 25.2 percent of sales for the first quarter of 2016.


International sales to customers outside of North America totaled $166.2 million for the first quarter of 2017, including PG&A, up two percent from the same period in 2016.
During the first quarter 2017, the company repurchased and retired 256,000 shares of its common stock for $21.8 million. As of March 31, 2017, the company has authorization from its Board of Directors to repurchase up to an additional 7.2 million shares of Polaris stock.
The company guidance range for the full year 2017 remains unchanged. Polaris says it expects adjusted net income to be in the range of $4.25 to $4.50 per diluted share, compared with adjusted net income of $3.48 per diluted share for 2016. Full year 2017 adjusted sales are anticipated to increase in the range of 10 percent to 13 percent over 2016 sales of $4,516.6 million, also unchanged from previously issued guidance.
Global Adjacent Markets segment sales, along with its PG&A related sales, increased 24 percent to $91.6 million in the 2017 first quarter compared to $74.1 million in the 2016 first quarter. Gross profit increased 38 percent to $28.1 million, or 30.7 percent of sales, in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $20.4 million, or 27.5 percent of sales, in the first quarter of 2016. Sales and gross profit were up primarily due to increased sales in the company’s Government and Defense business in the 2017 first quarter, which more than doubled from the previous year’s quarter sales. Work and Transportation group wholegood sales were up 12 percent during the first quarter of 2017, primarily due to increased Aixam sales and a full quarter of Taylor-Dunn sales compared to last year.
Aftermarket segment sales which includes Transamerican Auto Parts (“TAP”), along with the company’s other aftermarket brands of Klim, Kolpi, Pro Armor, Trail Tech and 509, increased significantly to $217.8 million in the 2017 first quarter compared to $15.5 million in the 2016 first quarter. TAP added $202.0 million of sales in the first quarter of 2017. Gross profit increased significantly to $41.6 million, or 19.1 percent of sales in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $4.7 million, or 30.3 percent of sales, in the first quarter of 2016. Adjusted for the TAP acquisition step-up adjustment, aftermarket gross profit was $54.5 million, or 25.0 percent of sales. Sales and gross profit dollars were up primarily due to the addition of TAP acquired in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Off-Road Vehicle (“ORV”) and Snowmobile segment sales, including their respective PG&A related sales, were $724.1 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared with $708.1 million for the first quarter for the prior year, representing a two percent increase, year-over-year. PG&A sales for ORV and Snowmobiles combined increased 13 percent in the 2017 first quarter compared to last year. Gross profit increased three percent to $213.0 million, or 29.4 percent of sales in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $206.0 million, or 29.1 percent of sales, in the first quarter of 2016. Gross profit percentage increased primarily due to product mix.
ORV wholegood sales for the first quarter of 2017 were approximately flat as the company began shipping at more normalized rates. Polaris North American ORV unit retail sales for the first quarter of 2017 were down mid-single digits percent from the 2016 first quarter, which included consumer purchases for side-by-side vehicles down low-single digits percent and ATV retail sales down low-double digits percent. The North American ORV industry was down mid-single digits percent compared to the first quarter last year. ORV dealer inventory was down nine percent in the 2017 first quarter compared to the same period last year.
Snowmobile wholegood sales in the first quarter of 2017 decreased three percent due to timing of shipments during the quarter. “While the snow season did not meet our expectations, dealer inventory finished below last year and we received a strong reception to our all-new model year 2018 Polaris TITAN™, the industry’s most capable extreme crossover snowmobile.”
Overall Parts, Garments and Accessories (“PG&A”) sales, excluding aftermarket segment sales, increased 13 percent for the 2017 first quarter. The increase was primarily driven by higher ORV and Global Adjacent Markets related PG&A sales during the quarter.
First quarter 2017 reported net loss was $0.05 per diluted share; adjusted net income for the same period was $0.75 per diluted share, slightly ahead of expectations
Total dealer inventory was down 8% year-over-year; ORV dealer inventory was down 9%.
Polaris reiterated its full year 2017 outlook with adjusted net income expected to be in the range of $4.25 to $4.50 per diluted share, with adjusted sales for the full year 2017 expected to be in the range of up 10% to 13%.

V-Twin Expo 2017 review part 6

V-Twin Expo 2017 review part 6

NAMZ: Just three years on from buying and adding the Badlands line of lighting modules to his established range of NAMZ electronic components, Jeff Zielinski says he has completely re-engineered the line with new platforms to speed up the manufacturing process. Two new modules were launched this winter, using the same mold and same circuit board, have helped to reduce machine time while simplifying the bill of materials and increasing fill rates into the high 90s. “It also made for a near perfect module” says Jeff. “They already boasted a less than a 1% failure rate per 20,000 units sold, but now we have unprecedented flexibility for new module designs. We continue to grow the company by producing new modules for motorcycles – right through to Indian, Victory and late model CAN/Bus Harley-Davidsons. Jeff says: “We’re so confident that we produce and engineer the very best lighting modules that we offer a lifetime warranty on all modules purchased after December 31st 2016. Why would you ever want to use anything else? Stay tuned as 2017 will be another banner year for NAMZ as we have some new items that are sure to thrill!”;


Paughco: The Carson City, Nevada based company continues to be one of the best manufacturers of frames, fenders, front ends, wheels, gas tanks, handlebars, triple trees, trike conversion components and everything in between. Founded in 1969, Paughco is one of the industry’s primary “go to” sources for custom parts and accessories for Harleys;


Memphis Shades: Recent new products from the Rossville, Tennessee based manufacturer include their spoiler windshields for Batwing fairings, ‘No-Tool’ Trigger-Lock windshield mount kits, their popular Fats and Slim windshields, and spoiler windshield for Road Glides that curves back towards the rider with an  optically correct vertical section that sends the airstream up and over the rider;


Spectro Oils of America: The Brookfield, Connecticut based v-twin oil specialist is again offering their annual pre-season stocking discount for existing and new dealers. From now until March 31st dealers can take advantage of this one-time offer to receive a 10% discount off their entire order. “The core of our business is a dealer first philosophy. We understand that the winter months can be tough for a majority of motorcycle dealers. We make this discount available before spring every year, so it’s easier for dealers to stock up on the products they need before the spring rush happens,” said Joe Russo, National Sales Manager for Spectro;


Le Pera: The legendary Californian seat manufacturer is in the second generation family ownership of Bob Le Pera Sr’s daughter Christine and son Bob Le Para Jr (right). Seen here with some random photo bomber (who actually looks a lot like Allen Alvarez of Daytona Twin Tec), Le Pera celebrate their 45th anniversary this year. Recent new products include their race-inspired Daytona sport seat, Aviator up front seat and Signature II chopper seat;


Drag Specialties: The Janesville, Wisconsin headquartered market leading distributor continues to be a strong supporter of the market’s independent specialist trade expo, as well as investing in events specifically for its own dealers. This year Drag Specialties will have hosted dealers at the Lucas Oil Stadium at Indianapolis just three weeks after V-Twin Expo (the new ‘Indy’?) and will do so again at their annual National Vendor Presentations and dealer showcase at Madison, Wisconsin, at the end of August;


Goodridge: Founded by Stuart Goodridge in the UK in 1969, Goodridge braided stainless steel brake lines have been designed to offer “the very best in braking performance. Unlike factory fitted lines, Goodridge brake lines won’t expand under pressure, giving you more precise braking right when you need it. Every Goodridge brake line is individually 100% pressure tested and guaranteed to be leak- free, corrosion resistant and backed by a lifetime guarantee”;

Indian Motorcycle

Polaris to replace Victory ‘Empulse’ with longer distance Indian branded E-bike

Having wound down production of Victory Motorcycles, including its ‘Empulse’ E-bike, Polaris has confirmed that it will now develop a new electric motorcycle under the Indian brand.

Expected to cover 120-140 miles on a single charge, compared with 75 miles for an ‘Empulse’, in a recent interview with Reuters, Steve Menneto (President of Indian Motorcycle) said: “We want to attract new riders with "fun" electric motorcycles. The characteristics of the (new) powertrain are going to be more applicable to be able to ride a bike in pleasure and twisties,” differentiating the planned new offer from the purely short-cycle urban mobility market that has largely been the province of E-bikes so far.
The company will be continuing to leverage their late 2014 acquisition of Ashland, Oregon based E-bike manufacturer Brammo, but Menneto declined to give pricing details about the new bike – except to say that it would be priced “competitively.” The company's suggested retail price for the Brammo derived Victory ‘Empulse’ was upward of $19,999. Harley is believed to still be some time away from being able to capitalize on the hype it generated with its “Livewire” prototype in 2014.

Steve Menneto (President of Indian Motorcycle)
Menneto also told Reuters that he expects the company's revenue from its motorcycle business to grow to $1 billion in the next five years from $708.5 million last year, and confirmed something that he told AMD Magazine in January, namely that the Indian product line will expand to include smaller displacement models.

Arnott Air Suspension Products

Arnott awarded ISO 9001:2008 certification

Merritt Island, Florida based Arnott Air Suspension Products, “the leader in aftermarket air suspension parts and accessories,” has been awarded ISO 9001:2008 Management System Certification.

Arnott’s TruAIR technology ‘Ultimate Ride’ kit is a premium air suspension solution for 1990 and up Tourers and features FOX shocks and a Goodyear air spring.

The internationally recognized and respected ISO 9001:2008 certification system is based on quality management principles, which include strong customer focus and continual improvement of robust, efficient processes.     
“It has always been Arnott’s goal to ensure our customers consistently receive high quality products and services,” said Arnott CEO Todd Nash. “Now, with the ISO 9001:2008 Certification in hand, we have both a current affirmation of our long standing commitment to excellence, and a roadmap to help us continue to meet or exceed customer expectations in the future.”

In addition to ISO 9001:2008 Certification, Arnott recently received TÜV Rheinland Product Safety and Quality Certification, assuring customers and partners in Europe that its products meet the highest safety and quality standards.
Last year, Arnott’s products also earned GOST ISO 9001-2011 Certification and the EurAsian Conformity (EAC) Mark for Arnott’s Quality Management System, which is required for export to Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia.
At the start of the year Arnott unveiled a new website design featuring their ‘Ultimate Ride’ and ‘Smooth Ride’ TruAir technology onboard air suspension kits for motorcycles, including Tourers and Softails.

Seen here at the recent Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice Dealer Expo in Texas, Arnott motorcycle suspension director Glenn Nash told AMD that “reaction to our latest generation of Tourer and Softail True on-board air suspension has been excellent. Expect far more application news soon”

National Cycle

Versatile polycarbonate ‘Mohawk’ fork-mount windshields

Maywood, Illinois based National Cycle has continued the minimalist, sporty design tradition that they are known for with their famous Flyscreen with the new ‘Mohawk’ – an updated design that features a taller and wider size, with a special ‘V’ profile for added wind management. 

As with their established Flyscreen, the new ‘Mohawk’ is adaptable to many motorcycles – cruisers, standards and naked style street and sport bikes.
Utilizing the Flyscreen’s mounting hardware, so there is a lot of built-in versatility, the fork tube mounts are available in three different diameters, while the headlight mounts will fit almost any bike with traditional left/right headlight mount brackets.
Features include thick 4.5mm dark tint, hard coated polycarbonate for durability and “long lasting good looks,” state-of-the-art manufacturing, smooth radius edges, superb forming and sharp optical quality.

A new 44-51mm diameter fork clamp has been added to the available application options, which is said to eliminate the need for excessive fork gaskets.  Patented brackets are engineered for fork width adjustment from 8.5”-11.0” (21.6 - 28.0cm) spacing and high strength, lightweight, machined steel brackets have the look of custom billet.
All National Cycle polycarbonate windscreens are protected by a 3-year warranty against breakage. Fork-mount ‘Mohawks’ are available with chrome or black mounts and fit up to 43mm and 52-56mm O.D. fork tubes, with 44-51mm versions coming soon; headlight-mount ‘Mohawks’ (also with chrome or black mounts) also available. Check out their website/distributor catalogs for a full bike specific fitment chart.


Midwest Motorcycle Supply

Can you have too much black?

Pevely, Missouri based manufacturer and distributor Midwest Motorcycle Supply has added to its Ultima wheels program for 2017 with a third finish option for their popular ‘King Spoke’ wheels – ‘Black-on-Black’, which is added to their Black on Chrome and Chrome on Chrome wheels.
All available from 16” to 26”, Ultima ‘King Spoke’ wheels have all steel construction with 48 solid spokes for durability. The look can be highlighted with matching polished stainless steel ‘King Spoke’ rotors and pulleys available in black, chrome or polished.
Also new for 2017, Ultima 60-spoke wheels come in sizes from 16” to 26” with a black billet hub, black rim and chrome spokes for a “true classic look.”


Maxima Racing Oils

“Oil Change in a Box”

Californian oil blender Maxima’s “Oil Change in a Box” is designed to ease the oil change process. Each kit comes with all necessary products to complete a full oil change including 20W-50 engine, transmission and primary oils, plus a K&N ‘Wrench-Off’ oil filter in black or chrome.

Depending on the year and model, synthetic or mineral engine oil kits are available for coverage from ’84 Evo engines right up to late model Twin Cams and ’84 to present Sportsters.

Also seen here, the Maxima “Quick Change Kit” includes one gallon of oil only, plus choice of K&N oil filters for ’99 and up Twin Cams. Maxima 5WT, 10WT and 20WT V-Twin fork oil options are also available.


Seen here at the recent Tucker Rocky dealer event, Maxima’s V-Twin Oils specialist Garrett Andrews says that “our oil change kit options are proving very popular as they give dealers the flexibility of service solution options they need”