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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

2018 AMD World Championship

2018 AMD World Championship forms are available online a year early

Due to the hugely positive reaction to the 2016 AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building and the debut of ‘INTERMOT Customized’ as the new international headquarters event for the custom industry, we have taken the unusual step of making the 2018 Championship entry forms available online a year earlier than normal.

At this stage the classes planned are the same as in previous years – the Freestyle class from which the AMD World Champion is chosen by the competitors, Modified Harley-Davidson, Retro Mod, Street Performance and Cafe Racer, however, keep an eye out for news about any changes or additions.
Already we have two entries (from Switzerland and the UK), and with Jordan Dickinson of Union Speed Cycle winning the Championship of the Americas at AIMExpo in Florida in October, we know of three bikes (from three different countries already) who will be competing in October 2018.

Jordan Dickinson of Union Speed Cycle winning the Championship of the Americas at AIMExpo in Florida

INTERMOT organizer Keolnmesse (The Cologne Exhibition Center) is a very generous host and a strong supporter of the AMD World Championship, giving us a substantial space allocation, but with an increased demand for Hall 10 booth space already in evidence, getting your entry nailed sooner rather than later will help us to make sure that there is enough space for all those who want to be a part of ‘AMD XIII’.
To find the entry forms and class definitions, along with information about competing at the AMD World Championship, follow the links at

News Briefs

Aficionados of the legendary Norton brand will be interested to know that current Norton owner Stuart Garner has confirmed plans to start hand-building an initial limited edition of 200 72-degree 1200cc V4 Ducati challengers at its Donnington Hall, UK facility next Fall in advance of a hoped for lower cost, higher volume “standard version” thereafter.
Troubled Italian manufacturer MV Agusta has signed a “binding agreement” for an undisclosed “capital increase” with NYC based asset manager Black Ocean Group. The recapitalization is one stage in a restructuring plan that the company needs in order to implement a restructuring plan by the end of 2016 in order to meet the terms of its “Composition" with its creditors”. The company has long since burned through the $20m dowry left to it by Harley-Davidson, amassed at least $55m of additional debt, spent the $30m that Mercedes paid for a 25 percent, and subsequently spectacularly fallen out with an investor who is reluctant to increase its exposure without being able to take a controlling interest – something that CEO Giovanni Castiglioni is adamant will not happen. Six months ago there were informal talks between MV Agusta and Polaris, but they ultimately came to nothing (so far!).

Well known off-road specialist Penton Racing Products is pulling the plug on PVL ignitions. “After decades of providing performance ignitions and service, we have decided to retire from the ignition business,” says Jack Penton, son of well-known founder John Penton. ”We are working with our dealers to put inventory in their stores, and I am talking to interested parties that may wish to continue where we are leaving off selling performance ignitions.”

Polaris is recalling certain model year 2015-2017 Slingshot motorcycles manufactured March 4, 2014 to October 7, 2016. The affected vehicles may have insufficient clearance between the fuel line and the hood structure.

Philadelphia based Christini Technologies has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Air Force for the delivery of 54 of their All Wheel Drive 450E Military Edition motorcycles. Christini had previously delivered All Wheel Drive motorcycles to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Border Patrol, UK military, UAE, Jordan, and other NATO forces.

The process of authorized Harley dealership churn and ownership consolidation continues – Milwaukee Harley-Davidson has become the ninth acquisition of the Saint Charles, Illinois based Windy City Group (now making them the third largest dealer group in the U.S.). Windy City was founded in 2001 by Jill and Ozzie Giglio.

Honda of South Carolina Mfg. is making a $45m, 250 job investment in a 115,000 sq ft expansion and “innovation project” to meet “growing demand for Honda side-by-side vehicles produced exclusively” at its South Carolina plant.

Chinese owned Italian motorcycle brand Benelli has been declared bankrupt by an Italian court in a dispute with KTM owned WP Suspension over more than $100,000 of unpaid bills. Benelli claims its cash-flow is in the black and that it can pay its creditors, despite a reported debt mountain of over $1m, an $800,000 loss in 2014 and a massive $5m plus haemorrhage in 2015.


Harley riders to sue factory claiming the Twin Cam 103 is defectively manufactured

Two Harley-Davidson riders in Southern California (Michael Berke and Wolfgang Costello) have filed a complaint against Harley-Davidson in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleging that the Twin Cam 103 can burn riders.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that they suffered damages from purchasing a motorcycle equipped with a Twin Cam 103 engine. The plaintiffs hold that Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Group LLC and Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Inc. failed to warn that the engines are defectively designed and emit high heat, which can burn riders, and shorten the life of the engine.
The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek an injunction against the defendants, ordering them to repair or replace the Twin Cam 103 engines, cover all legal fees and pay any other relief that Court rules for. They are represented by lawyers from Zimmerman Reed LLP in Manhattan Beach, Boucher LLP in Woodland Hills and Owen Patterson & Owen in Valencia.

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

Window into the soul of the market …

With the custom bike show season headed to a spring crescendo, looking back at prior AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building results for the ‘Custom World’ 8-page center section in this month’s AMD Magazine was a scarily interesting process.
Scarily, simply because it was a graphic reminder just how quickly time flies, interesting because it also graphically showed just how quickly custom bike styles change and morph.
I still think of myself as a “newbie” in this business, and still eye the archive of AMD World Championship bikes we have built up online at the event website ( as something that may be of value, one day, perhaps.
In truth, it actually only took six or seven years before we started meeting people who said they found it one of the most informative and important reference resources available, but now, with the 12th AMD World Championship loaded, it really has become a powerful window into the soul of the market.

Roger Goldammer’s Board Tracker, the first AMD World Championship winning bike, still looks fresh and innovative today, bearing a lot more in common with the leading customs of a decade later than it did with those of a decade earlier, when it burst onto the scene like a Red Bombshell in 2004

We have a suite of photography for each bike that has ever entered any of the 12 (so far) AMD World Championships (well, over 95 percent of them), and the six of the AMD European Championships we operated in conjunction with Custom Chrome in Europe, consisting of five pictures and a basic ‘Tech Spec’ shown.
They number something in the region of 1,200 unique custom motorcycles with about 6,000 studio grade photographs taken by internationally respected custom industry photographers such as Horst Roesler, Frank Sander and Onno Wieringa.
I was delving deeply back into the archive in order to trace the prior AMD World Championship appearances of some of the 2016 competitors who have become regulars - acclaimed custom motorcycle designers and engineers such as prior World Champions Fred Bertrand and Andreas Bergerforth, and some who surely will become World Champions one day, such as Yuri Shif and Larry Houghton.
In doing so, it was interesting to see how builders’ own personal styles have evolved, sometimes radically, sometimes more subtly, and to see how the trends in the market itself have evolved through the “Peak Custom” chrome and paint job fest that were the boom years, through the harder times that replaced them, into a market today that (certainly outside the United States) is definitely in a robust state of recovery.
With ‘Retro’ now the default ‘vibe’ of the market, indeed with some saying that we have already passed “Peak Hipster”, it was interesting to be reminded that the ‘AMD’ crash-landed into the middle of the custom bike scene in 2004 like a rock, creating enthusiasm and opprobrium in equal measure with its fancy new class concepts, voting and judging systems, and insistence on treating all participants equally, fairly and honestly.
Yes, that made us as many enemies as it did friends, I’m afraid to say, but with impeccable timing, the win of Canadian Roger Goldammer (the first of his three wins) with his “2004 Goldammer Board Tracker” caught a wave in just the same way that the “new gen” shows of recent years (The One Show, Mama Tried, the Handbuilt and the like) did a decade later.
However, Roger’s homage to the racing culture of the early 20th century was a radical departure from the dominant chopper culture of the time, from the catalog bikes and trailer queens that had dominated since the first crate motors and rolling chassis kits had started to emerge a decade before that.
Goldammer’s “Little Red Lovely” is often referenced as ‘ground zero’ for what has become known as the “retro” movement, but the “new gen” bikes and their builders share much more in common with the trend that got kick-started then, and still dominates to this day what Roger and his “Old School” fellow travellers did to the generation they were challenging at that time.
The present developments we have been seeing in custom motorcycle design and engineering have been much more of an evolution, with their foundations firmly rooted in the changes that hit the market then, than the revolution that the advent of “retro” represented.
Regrettably much of the “I’m too sexy for my shirt” arrogance that got the so-called “builder community” into so much trouble and debt in the post build-off, post Lehman years has persisted – with some of the so-called “new gen” of custom shop proprietors appearing to put more effort into their beards than their craftsmanship.
That said though, the evolution, the fascinating change that has taken place, is that the collapse in available investment capital and discretionary leisure Dollar spend that defined the landscape against which dark became the new shiny has responded to the over-inflated, absurdly unrealistic and, frankly, dishonest price points that brought about the market’s downfall by falling back on the very simplicity of design and affordable and accessible platforms that gave rise to the market in the first place.
So far from bad news for the parts and accessory industry they are currently eschewing, in the long term the “new gen” riders represent rebirth and renewal. As I have said before, once the waistlines and wallet books fatten and the mid-forties median demographic comes to be recognized as a self-replenishing gift that just keeps giving, then the spend will return, the price points will increase, and, crucially, sales of factory customs will grow again.
The big question remains though, as we await Harley’s 2016 financials (due for release towards the end of January 2017), what kind of share of that market Harley-Davidson will have. Here is a stunning little factoid for you – as things stand, it is quite possible that 2017 will see BMW sell as many, if not more, of its R nineT parallel twin platform variants as Harley will sell Softails.
In which connection, and apropos our cover story this month about Harley’s share price staging a near 60 percent recovery in calendar year 2016 … as this edition went to press, guess what? Yes, that’s right, the share price was back down into the upper $50.00 region, headed towards a two-month low!

Robin Bradley


Kellermann bullet light upgrades

Award-winning German lighting specialist Kellermann, originators of the bar-end indicator and bullet light concepts, are now offering the Bullet 1000 PL – a front indicator with integral position light from the very successful Bullet 1000 series – now also available with white light rings.

The Bullet 1000 PL, with yellow position light and a distinctly and classically American character, is already a big success in the Harley scene. But many motorcycle riders also expressed interest in a version with white light rings. This more European style position light complements the conventional white light of the main headlight.
Inventor Guido Kellermann says “lights are always a question of personal taste, and we are happy to respond to customer demand with the introduction of the Bullet 1000 PL white version.”
The Bullet 1000 with position light offers yellow or white park/marker lights in different materials and colors/finishes. Additionally, the Bullet PL white has the European ECE approval R6/R7 and therefore can be mounted on motorcycles and other vehicles, for example classic and custom cars, roadsters and hot rods.
The Bullet 1000 PL white is an indicator with an integrated position light in the shape of a continuous white light ring. 

Guided by the motto ‘Classic meets Hightech’, an indicator in the classic bullet shape, equipped with modern LED technology and many additional functions, was an award-winning concept at the time and “still represents the Gold Standard in terms of lighting power, durability, style and functionality,” according to Guido Kellermann.

One unique and uniquely useful feature of the Bullet 1000 PL is that when the indicator is activated, the position light is temporarily switched off to allow greater indicator visibility. Shortly after the indicator stops, the position light is activated again with the same fast response time built-in to Kellermann’s Bullet 1000 Extreme.
The position lights can be mounted either on the original park/marker light base or connected to the dashboard light of the motorcycle.
Kellermann launched the unique LED indicator series Bullet 1000 two years ago. Guided by the motto ‘Classic meets Hightech’, an indicator in the classic bullet shape, equipped with modern LED technology and many additional functions, was an award-winning concept at the time and “still represents the Gold Standard in terms of lighting power, durability, style and functionality,” according to Guido Kellermann.
Kellermann’s newly developed HPT (Homogenous Projection Technology) emits an intense, ultra-quick response homogeneous, ring-shaped light combined with a smooth reaction of the internal reflector, resulting in a “harmonic turn signal pulse.” The restrained design shape of the quality black, chrome or matt chrome finish metal housing blends well into most bike designs.

The Bullet 1000 is now available in four options - indicator only (Bullet 1000 Extreme), indicator with yellow position light (Bullet 1000 PL), indicator with white position light (Bullet 1000 PL white) and indicator with break and rear light (Bullet 1000 DF).



GMA calipers for 2017

GMA, a BDL subsidiary, offers dealers access to an exclusive program of touring, sport, performance and custom brake calipers that “reflect the parent company’s reputation for unsurpassed American craftsmanship and superior performance.”

Designed and manufactured at the BDL factory in Southern California, these “high-performance billet calipers are CNC-machined to mil-spec tolerances from superior quality materials to fit most factory and custom applications. Attention to detail, precise fit, solid stopping power and real reliability are the BDL/GMA hallmarks, and these calipers come with over 30 years of experience craftsmanship behind them.
“Sleek lines and flawless finish on both the black and chrome finish options make for a visually stunning upgrade.” They are available for single and dual disc applications and supplied with mounting hardware.


AIM Corp

Variable Pressure clutch fits 2017 M-8 Tourers

A year ago, Huntington Beach, California based clutch specialist AIM Corp introduced upgrades for the Harley-Davidson A&S (Assist and Slip) 3-stud style clutch.
Now the company has confirmed that its (Variable Pressure) VP-SDR fits on 2017 Touring models without any modifications. All Harley’s 2017 Tourers are fitted with the A&S clutch as stock, and the clearance between the clutch component and the derby cover is less than on previous models.

However, said at the time of its introduction to be the first sliding lock-up system in the industry and featuring a new sliding weight design, the VP-SDR is said to fit right in.
AIM say that the centrifugal force of the sliding weights creates 105 lbs extra clamping pressure at 4000 rpm, creating up to 40% more clamping force and 120-130 lbs extra clamping pressure at high rpms, making an easier clutch pull option available - up to 30% lighter during low rpms - that handles over 105 ft-lbs of torque with AIM's softer orange springs installed, and for a street performance option it handles 120 ft-lbs torque with the OEM 2013 and up CVO springs.
With AIM's replacement performance clutch coil spring kit for 2013 and later Harley 3-stud style A&S clutches, it handles up to 155 ft-lbs torque; the performance coil springs are rated at being able to handle 360 lbs of pressure and said to be 35 percent stronger than the stock springs.
The slider weights are designed to fit behind stock 103” and 110" derby covers and easily installed, in just 10 minutes or so, through the derby cover without needing to remove the primary cover – no modifications are needed.
The kit contains the VP-SDR lock-up head and mounting hardware; performance clutch coil spring kit available separately. It fits '13 and later CVO 110 inch models, '13 and later Tri-Glides and Free Wheelers, '15  and later Ultra Limited Low and Electra Glide Classic Low models, and '15 and later 110 inch Softails.


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Polaris Industries

Polaris to cease Victory production after 18 years

In a not entirely unexpected decision, Polaris Industries has announced it is to “wind down” its production of Victory branded motorcycles with immediate effect.
The company says it will “assist dealers in liquidating existing inventories while continuing to supply parts for a period of 10 years, along with providing service and warranty coverage to Victory dealers and owners.”

Scott Wine, Polaris CEO, says: “Our focus is on profitable growth, and in an environment of finite resources, this move allows us to optimize and align our resources behind both our premium, high performing Indian Motorcycle brand and our innovative Slingshot brand”

The less than overwhelmingly positive response to the Victory ‘Octane’, essentially a parts bin Indian Scout, and Polaris’ failure to convincingly exploit the brand’s potential for ownership of a cross-over model segment, has been in stark contrast to the success that Polaris has had with its Indian program since acquiring the brand from Stephen Julius (Stellican, Kings Mountain, North Carolina) in 2011.

“Our focus is on profitable growth”

The very small display of Victory models on the Polaris booth at INTERMOT in October 2016, followed by their complete absence from the booth just four weeks later at the EICMA ‘Milan Show’, pretty much telegraphed the decision, despite denials from Polaris Europe when AMD Magazine asked about their absence from the show.
Sales of Victory motorcycle models are said to have peaked in 2012 and to have been in decline ever since, as Polaris’ focus transferred to its Indian acquisition and, more latterly, the opportunity it believes its Slingshot line represents.
Polaris say that in 2015 Victory represented only 3 percent of total company sales and that on average Victory dealers have only been selling some 20 or so units a year, with less than a quarter of Polaris’ 400  dealers in North America “actively selling Victory Motorcycles today”; some 150 Polaris outlets have been combined Victory/Indian motorcycle dealers.
Indian distribution is anticipated by 1.5 times over the next 3 to 5 years; there are presently some 250 Indian Motorcycle dealerships globally. Polaris say they have lost money on their Victory program in three out of the last five years (2011 - 2015).
“This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team and the Polaris Board of Directors,” said Polaris Industries Chairman and CEO Scott Wine. “Over the past 18 years, we have invested not only resources, but our hearts and souls, into forging the Victory Motorcycles brand, and we are exceptionally proud of what our team has accomplished. Since inception, our teams have designed and produced nearly 60 Victory models that have been honored with 25 of the industry’s top awards. The experience, knowledge, infrastructure and capability we’ve built in those 18 years gave us the confidence to acquire and develop the Indian Motorcycle brand, so I would like to express my gratitude to everyone associated with Victory Motorcycles and celebrate your many contributions.”

It was hoped that the Victory ‘Octane’ would provide a foundation from which new market positioning could be built for the Victory brand. Polaris say they have lost money on Victory in three out of the past five years

Polaris say that several factors influenced the decision. The company accepts that Victory has struggled to establish the market share needed to succeed and be profitable. The competitive pressures of a challenging motorcycle market have increased the headwinds for the brand. Given the significant additional investments required for Victory to launch new global platforms that meet changing consumer preferences, and considering the strong performance and growth potential of Indian Motorcycle, the decision to more narrowly focus Polaris’ energy and investments became quite clear.
“This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and will materially improve our competitive stance in the industry,” said Scott Wine. “Our focus is on profitable growth, and in an environment of finite resources, this move allows us to optimize and align our resources behind both our premium, high performing Indian Motorcycle brand and our innovative Slingshot brand, enhancing our focus on accelerating the success of those brands. Ultimately this decision will propel the industry-leading product innovation that is core to our strategy while fostering long-term growth and increased shareholder value.”
Any one-time 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, will be recorded in the 2017 income statement in respective sales, gross profit and operation expense. These costs will be excluded from Polaris’ provided 2017 sales and earnings guidance on a non-GAAP basis.