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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

American Flat Track Twins series

Indian score another podium sweep as Mees takes Oklahoma win

The eighth round of the American Flat Track Twins series presented by Vance & Hines, the OKC Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle in Oklahoma City, Ok., June 17, saw Jared Mees score a second consecutive win on his No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750.

Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) had dominated the early laps (of 25 in total) with Grand National Champion Bryan Smith (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) in second, holding Mees back to third.

Photo credit American Flat Track/Brian J. Nelson

Having eventually worked his way into second, behind Baker, but with lapped riders cramping Baker’s style, Mees was able to close in on Baker and take the lead from him on lap 24.
“The Indian Wrecking Crew again made good on its moniker at the OKC Mile as Smith secured the fourth Indian Motorcycle podium sweep of the 2017 season by finishing a lonely third. In fact, Indian's nearest challenger on the evening, fourth placed Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07), came home more than 23 seconds behind the win and over 17 seconds off the podium.”

Following four straight wins on the part of primary rival Smith – including three straight on the Miles – Mees now boasts a two-race Mile win streak of his own. To tilt matters even more in favor of the suddenly hot Mees, the series now prepares to go heavy on his preferred battleground – the Half Mile.
Mees now sits all alone on top of the championship fight at 177 points to Smith's 169. Shawn Baer (No. 32 McNews Automotive KTM LC8 950) picked up his first top five of the season in fifth.
The Harley-Davidson XR750 riders continued to struggle to keep up with the pace of the Indians with Briar Bauman 6th (Zanotti Racing/Rod Lake Racing/WPS), Danny Elsick 11th (H-D Statten Island/CR Motorsports), Brandon Robinson 13th (H-D/Vance & Hines/Speed & Strength), and Bronson Bauman 15th (H-D Statten Island/CR Motorsports).
Having just completed five consecutive Mile races in six weeks, the AFT Twins series presented by Vance & Hines will now head for three consecutive Half Mile races – the Lima, Ohio Half-Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle on June 24; the Rolling Wheels Half Mile at Elbride, New York, on July 8, and the Harley-Davidson Calistoga, California, Half Mile on July 29.

MAG Connection

France based specialist MAG Connection inks European representation deal with HardDrive

France based purchasing portal provider and distribution, buying consortium and vendor representation specialist MAG Connection continues to expand the fast growing range of brands it represents.

In May, the company announced that it had agreed a deal to represent HardDrive, the Boise, Idaho based American V-twin products distributor in Europe.
“HardDrive has rapidly become a strong source of aftermarket V-twin products for the industry and maintains an active focus on expanding distribution across the globe.  We are excited to partner up with the team at MAG Connection to bring our HardDrive offerings to their customers throughout Europe. 
“Our 18,000+ part numbers and over 200 vendors will be readily available on to view and to purchase. MAG Connection is a reliable choice for European motorcycle dealers and we are excited to watch this business relationship grow.”

Custom Bike Show

Custom Bike Show
Norrtälje, Sweden, June 3rd

Arguably the world’s oldest custom motorcycle show, the Custom Bike Show in Sweden (June 3) saw some 230 bikes competing in eight classes for the chance to win expenses to compete at next year’s 13th AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building at ‘INTERMOT Customized’, Cologne, Germany, in October 2018.
The ‘Custom Bike Show’ was the first event to become an AMD World Championship Affiliate 13 years ago, and this year was the 43rd ‘Custom Bike Show’ organized by Sweden’s Twin Club MC since it started in 1971.

The show is a one day ‘Ride-In’ staged in the city park at the hugely supportive, motorcycle-friendly coastal city of Norrtälje an hour north east of Swedish capital city Stockholm – estimates suggest that this year saw more than 5,000 bikes and over 9,000 show visitors in total descend on the small community from all over Sweden and neighboring countries such as Norway, Finland, the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) and Germany.
Sweden is well known as the “motherload” for choppers, and anyone who thinks Swedish style long fork choppers have been consigned to history should be reassured by the 60 bikes competing in the show’s largest class, the ‘Chopper Class’, with Sami Järvelä from Scrap Mc, of Rauma, Finland, taking the class win and the first of the three AMD World Championship prizes.
The growing popularity of BMWs as custom platforms was in evidence, especially among the 30-plus field competing in the ‘Cafe Racer’ class, though none made the podium, with the class win being taken by Jaakko Mäkelä, also from Finland (Nousiainen) with an NSU (remember them?), with second and third places taken by Swedes Dan Andersson from Borlänge second with a Triton (a cross between Triumph and Norton), and third place going to Johan Syrén from Sundbyberg with a Triumph Thruxton.
The always innovative creativity of customizers in Europe was in evidence with Petri Ruusunen’s ‘Velacimoteur’. From Turku in Finland, his brand new design of a hand-built 1910s style antique look engine may have had some of the other “old school” show purists scratching their heads (“how can you enter the show with an engine that never existed?”), but as an exercise in the purest form of custom craftsmanship, it had “original” stamped all over it!

AMD World Championship Prize Winners

(all seen here with AMD brand ambassador Onno Wieringa of Madness Photography)

Sami Järvelä
Scrap Mc, Rauma, Finland


Haken Lindberg
Stockholm, Sweden


Anders Goth
Linghem, Sweden

Even in the highly creative and often exotic circles of the European custom bike building scene, noted for its often eclectic platform choices, NSU engines are rare sights these days. Surprisingly so, given how popular they were in Europe, in the 1950s especially, and given how creative the ‘retro’ scene has proven to be in the past decade.

Founded in Germany in 1873, their first motorcycle appeared in 1901. During WW II it was NSU who produced the Kettenkrad, the NSU HK101 - a half-tracked motorcycle (with an engine from the Opel Olympia) that has become a familiar sight in European theatre period war movies.
Under the guidance of chief engineer Albert Roder, NSU grew strongly, and at one stage (1955) was, in fact, the largest motorcycle manufacturer by annual volume in the world. Bonneville World Land Speed records in 1951, 1953, 1954 and 1955 fuelled that popularity, with Wilhelm Herz becoming the first person to ride a motorcycle (an NSU) over 200 mph (322 km/h) at Bonneville in August 1956.
The company was also a car manufacturer, from 1905 until 1932, and re-entered the auto market in 1957, launching what was then the world’s first rotary Wankel engined car in 1964.  However, that was ultimately to prove their financial undoing with NSU being swallowed up by present day Ducati owner Volkswagen in 1969 and folded into their Auto Union/Audi subsidiary; NSU motorcycle production ceased in 1967 – their last model was the ‘Quick 50’.

Jaakko Mäkelä

Motorcycle Aftermarket Group (MAG)

MAG names Zach Parham as President of company’s Retail Group

Irving, Texas headquartered Motorcycle Aftermarket Group (MAG) has named Zach Parham as the President of MAG Retail Group, which includes Motorcycle Superstore and J&P Cycles. Parham replaces Kevin Strawbridge, who is stepping down to pursue new opportunities.

Zach Parham, 32, has been with the company for 10 years, and his most recent role was Vice President Merchandising and General Manager for J&P Cycles. He has been a member of the MAG Retail Group leadership team for several years and has held roles of increasing responsibility throughout his tenure with the company.
Parham takes the reigns after helping J&P Cycles achieve its best retail sales month in the company’s 38-year history in April. Motorcycle Superstore achieved an enviable 9.3 (out of 10) customer satisfaction score in May, as measured by BizRate.
“It’s an honor to represent these legendary brands, and I am eager to lead our talented team towards a successful future,” said Zach Parham. “Kevin led us through some difficult but important changes, which have set us up to take the business to the next level. I’m driven by our relationship with our customers and am committed to making our customer experience even better by being the innovator in motorcycle industry retail.”
“We appreciate the work that Kevin and Zach have done to transform our retail business. Consolidation of operations, improvement in fulfilment and expansion of our customer support are improvements that our customers feel,” said Andy Graves, President of Motorcycle Aftermarket Group (MAG).
Zach is the second generation Parham to lead J&P Cycles. Zach’s father, John Parham, founded J&P Cycles in 1979 and led the company until its sale to MAG.

Drag Specialties & Parts Unlimited

Drag Specialties & Parts Unlimited Showcase 2017 Part 3

TechnoResearch: Mark Boler, left, with former Magneti Marelli Senior Powertrain Controls and Software Engineer Sandro Scaccia – Drag Specialties picked up distribution of the Detroit based fuel injection and performance tuning specialist two years ago. The program includes the ‘Tune Builder’ mapping tool, ‘Direct Link’ flash tuner, ‘Centurion’ branded Super Pro and Super Pro Plus diagnostic tool systems, and the ‘Maximus’ tuner - described as the “most advanced, easy-to-operate single-user flash tuning tool for all fuel injected Harley-Davidsons”;


Pertronix: Former Performance Machine and Vance & Hines man Mark Finnie (center) is now CEO at the San Dimas, California based manufacturer that bought the Spyke and Compu-Fire starter product lines from Billy McAhill two years ago. Seen here with Ian Morier, left, and Jim Hairston, the company is on the new products trail with big plans for the retooled product lines;


RAM Mounts: Jake Cook, Powersports Account Manager, shows a versatile range of mounting bases for most styles of bikes and desired mounting location. Each base connects to their patented double ball and socket design, backed by a lifetime warranty. RAM Mounts, owned by National Products Inc., offers made in the USA universal and custom solutions and is based in Seattle, Washington. RAM Mount system was introduced in 1992 and offers “thousands of modular products for any adventure” and “an innovative and versatile modular approach to managing a rider’s “creature comforts,” centered on a system that revolves around an elastomeric rubber ball, incorporating a non-slip feature and shock and vibration dampening”;


Speed Merchant/EMD: Speed Merchant’s Jess Franco (left) with French manufacturer Nicolas Pigeyre. Speed Merchant are U.S. importers for the French made EMD range and head up Drag Specialties’ exclusive distribution of the EMD and their own Speed Merchant parts and accessories programs;;


LA Choppers: Along with metric and Harley custom accessories vendor Baron, Huntington Beach, California based LA Choppers is owned by precision manufacturer Tolemar. Stylish Fusion line branded CNC-machined hard parts and accessories include covers, grips, risers, top clamps, pegs, and air cleaners in a range of finishes, plus Fusion exhaust systems for Sportsters and Tourers;


Rick’s Motorsport Electrics: The Hampstead, New Hampshire based specialist manufacturer has come a long way in the past 20 plus years. Internationally recognized as a manufacturer and distributor of quality electrical motorsport parts and components, Drag Specialties offer their dealers access to new (not exchange or re-conditioned) high performance Rick’s rectifiers/regulators that are built to exceed OEM specifications, available as cost-effective replacements. A direct replacement for the stock item on ‘88-’99 Evo Big Twins and ‘84-’89 Big Twins, they come with the factory plug ends for an easy install. Part of their market-leading ‘Hot Shot’ series, they feature MOSFET (metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor) technology, so they run cooler than OE, which equates to a longer lasting, more durable design. Rick’s is also offering a new line of H-D regulators that are made in the USA to OEM specs;


Arlen Ness Enterprises: Product Specialist Bill Brazzillo (left) - recent new parts include the M-8 ‘Big Sucker’ air cleaners, “Monster Sucker” 90-degree air cleaner kit, also featuring their award-winning, patented Big Sucker hidden breather technology (“with more filter surface than any other aftermarket 90-degree design currently available”), intricately machined forged billet aluminum construction speaker grills (also available in 10-Gauge, deep cut and beveled with a black anodized or chrome finish), CNC-machined billet aluminum gauge and matching billet dash accessories, windshield trim, horn kit, and more;

The Bike Shed

‘The Bike Shed’ London, May 26 - 28

Billed as “Europe’s best independent annual motorcycle show” and London’s “new wave” motorcycle emporium”, chic moto store ‘The Bike Shed’ opened the doors of its 8th annual bike show. Staged at London’s historic and charismatic Tobacco Dock (at the end of May) for the fourth time, the weekend saw some 14,000 “New Core” visitors drooling over a high-class selection of 200 plus custom bikes displayed for the edification of an urban and much bearded audience.
This was the fourth time for the show at the Thames-side former Victorian warehouse venue in East London’s Docklands – and as custom bike shows go, it is a world in which contemporary custom styling collides with artisan catering and a limited number of “curated” exhibitor opportunities.

Organizer and ‘Bike Shed’ owner Anthony ‘Dutch’ van Someren: “Our goal was to create the best independent motorcycle exhibition event in the world, without any compromises on quality or experience”

Organizer and owner Anthony ‘Dutch’ van Someren told us that at least a third of the bikes were from first-timers, shed builders or semi-pros, and they got to enjoy the same upscale presentation values as the bikes by established names and manufacturers.
The formula is to mix the bikes in with a weekend of “live music, live art, live pin-striping/screen-printing/leatherwork, photography, food, coffee, bars, tattoos, barbershop and curated retail and brand exhibition,” says Dutch. The sponsors were Ohlins, Triumph, Indian, BMW, Yamaha, Ducati Scrambler and European apparel brand Rev’It.

Photo by Autohouse

The exhibitors are presented in an “open area” style that blends them in with the bikes and circulatory space in a way that the conventional “barrier booth” thinking just doesn’t permit.
With apologies to anyone we are omitting, the sponsors exhibited alongside Honda, CCM (a British off-road and Enduro bike manufacturer), Fantic (Italian based small displacement Chinese engined off-roaders), Royal Enfield, Italian helmet brand DMD, British helmet brand Hedon and Liverpool, England based helmet manufacturer Davida.
“After months of preparation we’re all really chuffed [Google it!] that the show went so well and was so well attended, with 14,000 people through our doors over the weekend. Our goal was to create the best independent motorcycle exhibition event in the world, without any compromises on quality or experience.
“The main hero bikes were all invitational, and more curated than ever, and we think the bar was raised, yet again, with custom builds from all over the world coming from as far away as the US and Taiwan. 

Krazy Horse’s Paul Beamish with one of the many customized Scouts he had on display

Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts, Taiwan, with his MV Agusta, “Ballistic Trident”, displayed in conjunction with Ohlins

“We’re already planning Bike Shed London 2018 for 25/26/27 next May, and it will be even bigger and better, especially with the facilities and hospitality, where we know we can do so much more – we now have 18 months under our belt operating our Old Street store on a 7 days-a-week basis, so we have learned a lot about what people are looking for, and the views and expectations of the 600-member strong Bike Shed Motorcycle Club drives everything we are able to come up with.”
Celebrating the creativity of the new wave and Cafe Racer custom motorcycle culture is at the heart of ‘The Bike Shed’s holy trinity of store, social and show and, as an event, it stands alongside the new generation of events such as ‘The One Show’ at Portland, Oregon, ‘Mama Tried’ at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ‘Handbuilt’ at Austin, Texas, ‘Born Free’ in California and the Indian Motorcycle sponsored ‘Wheels and Waves’ at Biarritz, France , rather than being “just another” orthodox European or U.S. style custom bike event, at which there is nothing “craft” about the beers and nothing salubrious about an experience that may have gotten us to where we are today, but isn’t fit for purpose where motivating and engaging new generations of consumers is concerned as we already eye the third decade of the 21st century.
“This is NOT a motorcycle trade fair,” Dutch had said prior to the weekend, “it’s an exhibition in a giant pop-up member’s club, where everyone is invited. There’s plenty of space to chill out and enjoy the crowd, and people tend to want to hang out all weekend, soaking up the entertainment and the vibe.” 

Paul Milbourn Customs with “Titanium V” Moto Guzzi V11

PDF Motociclette from Bergamo, Italy

Rocket Bobs’ “Speed Weevil”, winner of Artistry in Iron last year

Every element of this unique and privately-run event is hand-picked by the organizers and the bikes (and exhibit booths) are displayed without ropes or barriers of any kind, “so visitors can get up close and into detail with their pictures.
“Every brand, retailer, artist, photographer and exhibitor is selected and approved by us. Every barista, bar tender, burger (or salad box) and coffee bean is tried and tested, and the organizing staff are all bike-loving volunteers and members of the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club (BSMC). The event is extremely family friendly, safe for kids, and enjoyable for non-bike riders as well as custom aficionados.”
Pro-builders this year included prior AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building winners and competitors such as Rough Crafts (Taiwan), Old Empire Motorcycles (UK), Sur Les Chapeaux de Roues (France), PDF Motociclette (Italy), Black Track (Luxembourg), Rocket Bobs (UK) and others.

Live art at the Davida booth
However, in many respects the most interesting development is the involvement of Indian Motorcycle at a custom bike show in which we counted, at best, around ten Harleys and two Buells. Onboard as an official partner, Indian gave a UK debut to their ‘Spirit of Munro’ streamliner and Young Guns of Switzerland’s ‘Miracle Mike’ sprint-racing Scout in advance of its derring-do at the Essenza Sprint and “Punks Peak” races at ‘Wheels and Waves’ in June.
‘The Bike Shed’ is able to leverage some 647,000 Facebook followers and 105,000 Instagrammers, and Dutch says that “we reach and engage with around 5-6 million people in the weeks of our annual events. Our online social media reach is genuinely global and 100% organic. ‘The Bike Shed’ main website serves 700,000 pages a month to around 200,000 unique users - and the BSMC is privately owned and run by family and friends.”


Indian Motorcycle

Indian – “Spirit of Munro” program

Indian Motorcycle is to pay tribute to Bonneville legend Bert Munro’s historic Land Speed Record of 50 years ago, backing an attempt by the New Zealander’s great nephew, road racer Lee Munro, to set a new Land Speed Record at Bonneville this year (August 13). 

“Motorcycling is about shedding boundaries and limitations to go beyond the norm, and there is no better example of that than Burt Munro,” said Reid Wilson, Indian Motorcycle Marketing Director. “Driven by unparalleled determination and a legendary passion for the pursuit, Burt Munro embodies the spirit of Indian Motorcycle, and we couldn’t be prouder to honor his legacy with an updated version of his historic record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in August.”
For the updated record attempt, Lee Munro will pilot a modern Indian Scout with a powertrain modified by the Indian Motorcycle engineering team in an effort to become the world’s fastest modern Indian motorcycle.  The attempt will not break Burt’s record, but instead will honor his storied legacy in the world of motorcycling.  Fueled by their own ambition to push beyond boundaries, Indian’s team of engineers volunteered to be a part of this historic attempt, working on the project “after hours.” The team will undergo several test runs in El Mirage, Calif., before Lee Munro takes to the “The Great White Dyno.”
“My uncle Burt was a significant inspiration for my own racing career, and his appetite for speed is clearly a part of my DNA,” said Lee Munro, the grandson of Burt’s first cousin. “What Indian Motorcycle is doing is fantastic, and I couldn’t be prouder to partner with them and pilot my own Scout at Bonneville in honor of my uncle and the 50th anniversary of his historic record.” Born and raised in Invercargill, New Zealand, the same town as his great uncle Burt, Lee Munro has captured numerous titles on every road and street race circuit in the South Island of New Zealand.
With plans to race the Isle of Man, Lee attended the Manx GP in 2016 to gain knowledge of the track and better prepare himself. Most recently, Lee won the vintage class at the Methven Street Races earlier this year on a 1941 Indian motorcycle.

S&S Cycle

S&S performance cams for M-8 engines

S&S is offering high performance bolt-in cams for 2017 Harley-Davidson Touring models with the Milwaukee Eight engine. 

Their new 465 cam is available in chain or gear drive, and S&S states gains of 21hp and 21 ft-lb torque (coupled with S&S intake and exhaust). These cams are compatible with all stock components, but S&S says that for the cost of the labor to remove and reinstall stock pushrods, S&S recommends replacing them with a set of their new S&S ‘Quickee’ pushrods for M-8s.
A bolt-in install, the 465G gear drive version eliminates cam drive chains and tensioners; the kits include all required bearings, O-rings and hardware. Gear drive cams “providing improved valve timing accuracy,” according to the company.
The 465C chain drive cam is also compatible with all stock valve train components and also ships with a complete kit for bolt-in installation.
Updated for 2017 M-8 Touring applications, S&S ‘Quickee’ adjustable pushrods save time and money on cam changes because they can be installed and removed without disassembling the rocker boxes or coolant lines. The super strong chromoly specification reduces pushrod flex; the adjustable design means they are compatible with all cams and tappets. The ‘Quickee’ pushrod kit includes chrome pushrod covers, O-rings and cover keepers.