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Monday, 29 June 2015

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

John Parham to be inducted into AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

JOHN Parham, the founder of J&P Cycles, has been named as an inductee into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame; the annual ceremony will take place in October at AIMExpo.
Making the announcement, Ken Ford, a member of the AMA and American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation boards of directors, said: "John Parham created one of the most successful motorcycle accessory businesses and went on to become one of the greatest benefactors of motorcycling's heritage."

John Parham opened his first shop in 1975 in his hometown of Anamosa, Iowa. Four years later, he branched out with his wife Jill, starting J. Parham Enterprises. This company came to be known as J&P Cycles. By the ‘90s, J&P Cycles had grown into one of the largest motorcycle accessory mail order companies in the world.
Parham stayed on board to run J&P Cycles after selling it to the Motorsports Aftermarket Group in 2001. At that time he also focused additional energy and resources on preserving motorcycling history. In 2001, Parham relocated the National Motorcycle Museum to Anamosa, where it has continued to thrive and grow. "His contribution to the world of motorcycling has been substantial; it is one that will endure", said Ford.

News Briefs

US Highland has announced that rather than manufacturing its current engine designs itself, it will instead "actively pursue" partners that are currently seeking pre-tested engine programs to whom they can licence their technology and intellectual property for proprietary build projects. The company has also said that it will seek to add to its portfolio through acquisitions of additional powersports brands.

First seen in 2007, with manufacturing starting in 2008, BRP has announced that it has sold its 100,000th Can-Am Spyder "reverse three-wheeler".

Just prior to taking over as CEO at Harley-Davidson, Matt Levatich was awarded with an "Earth Day" leadership award by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council - in recognition of his efforts to have Harley product designers and factories "look into environmental, profit and loss statements."

Following its bankruptcy petition, rumors are swirling concerning the relationship between EBR and its $25 million/49.2 percent investor/owner Hero MotoCorp of India. Hero's stock price has plummeted since the start of the year, is facing stiff competition in its home market and has reportedly had greater difficulty in getting technology partners to help it to develop larger displacement models and fuel injection systems than its releases would have the market believe. Indeed, one media report has suggested that the $20 million shortfall that forced EBR's closure is largely the result of unpaid expenses for engineering and design work done by EBR for Hero on new domestic Indian market models.

Indian Motorcycle parent company Polaris Industries is already involved in a manufacturing plant joint venture in India with the owners of Enfield Motorcycles. However, the company's Managing Director in India has been quoted by local media there as saying that they are also exploring the possibilities of having CKD (completely knocked down kit) assembly there in the next 3-5 years, to strengthen its competitive position with Harley-Davidson, which has had a CKD assembly plant in Haryana, near Delhi in northern India, for a while.
Arctic Cat has reported a net loss of $21.5m (from $2.6m loss in Q1 2013/2014) on net sales of $98.9m (-32 percent) for its 4th quarter (ending March 31st 2015); net earnings were $4.9m on full year (2014/2015) sales of $698.8m vs. net earnings of $39.4m on net sales of $730.5m for the prior year.

Former President and CEO of Harley-Davidson Keith Wandell has been named Chairman Of Exide Technologies, a company currently in bankruptcy reorganization. Wandell, 65, was CEO of Johnson Controls, a rival battery manufacturer, before he joined Harley.
Harley-Davidson has earned a “BBB” credit rating from Morningstar, which signals that the research firm thinks the company is a "moderate default risk". They also gave Harley stock a three-star rating - a 5-star stock is said to be a "good value" at its current price; a 1-star stock isn't.

BMW has become the latest motorcycle manufacturer to sign up to exhibit at AIMExpo, Orlando, Florida, October 15-18, 2015. This year will be the third outing for the four-day long combined trade/public expo concept. More than 270 exhibitors have already committed to the event, and registrations are now open -

Electric Motorcycles

Dutch company customizes the Brammo Empulse 'R'

ELECTRIC Motorcycles of Eenrum in the Netherlands has built what it believes to be the first custom electric motorcycle in Europe. The heavily modified Brammo Empulse ‘R’, known as "Red Cobra", is the work of Marchel Bulthuis, the owner of Electric Motorcycles.
“We used a Brammo Empulse ‘R’, and while customizing it, we developed a series of custom parts for it, like sliders, a license plate holder, indicators and much more,” said Bulthuis. “People reacted very positively, so we are already thinking of extending the line of parts, even setting up a series of Brammo customs, available in different color schemes.

“We also used some nice accessories to pimp the Brammo, such as the clip-on handlebars and Superbike style handlebar ends in combination with the Kellermann BL2000 Led Superbright indicators. Because this bike is going to be ridden, and ridden fast, we’ve attached several sliders to protect the bike. The sliders on the swingarm serve also as bobbins for a paddock stand, and there are special sliders up front and, of course, frame sliders.

“The stock taillight and licence plate holder have been removed and a custom made license plate holder with a pair of Kellermann indicators is used, in which the brake light is integrated. License plate illumination is taken care of by an R&G LED light,” said Bulthuis, “and a Pro-Oiler GPS activated chain lubrication system is used, the rear sprocket has been replaced by a Renthal 42-tooth sprocket and the chain by a RK GB520GXW Goldline chain.”

The stock drivetrain has been retained, and still uses the Brammo Power BPM 15/90 Lithium-Ion battery that can be charged from zero to full capacity in 3.5 hours. On a full charge the bike is said to be capable of an average of 130 miles of city riding or 60 miles of highway use with a reported top speed of 110mph. To help with charging, the bike has a regenerative system where, when the throttle is closed, the electric engine is used as a dynamo.

Photos by Onno ‘Berserk’ Wieringa @ Madness Photography (

TecMate - Optimate

OptiMate makes solar charging more efficient

TecMate' have been researching 'off-grid' charging for years. The challenge they have been trying to meet is to overcome the inefficiency of traditional solar charging devices, while meeting riders' needs for a reliable source of 'off-grid' energy to maintain their vehicle batteries while still being able to know the condition of battery at all times during the charging cycle or during long term charge maintenance.

Solar chargers for 12V batteries have been available for some time now, yet many who have tried them have been disappointed by low power delivery and the lack of information during charging - this makes for a frustrating charging experience.
The primary problem is that efficient solar charging starts with unobstructed and direct sunlight onto the panel surface. However, even with 6-8 hours of perfect daily sunshine, power delivery is affected by the fixed position of the panel and in reality, very few days are perfect for solar unless you live in the Sahara desert! 

On an even modestly cloudy day power delivery can drop to 20% or less, effectively reducing charge current below the level that will charge the battery and fail even to combat the current drain from the vehicle circuitry. Some 12V panels come with built in charge controllers, but they may use 2-3W of power just to operate, resulting in very little power reaching the battery. 

Tecmate has now developed an OptiMate SOLAR charge controller that converts low constant solar energy into efficient pulses of energy that are more effective for battery charging. The principal is simple and critically, very accurately controlled. A high efficiency capacitor is 'filled' (charged) by the solar panel; once full it is then discharged into the battery by the OptiMate SOLAR controller's micro processor operated circuitry.
This occurs repeatedly, with the frequency of pulses being directly managed by the solar energy being delivered, with each pulse only being delivered once the current level is effective for battery charging and maintenance.
This process is highly efficient, the circuit needs around 4-8mA to control the power and indicate progress, resulting in almost all the delivered solar power being passed to the battery. 
A 4-step program includes low-volt desulphation, pulse charge and safe long-term maintenance that is ideal for all lead-acid batteries, including motorcycle, automotive and marine.
A battery as low as 1V can be recovered and charged, after which the safe long term 'pulse' maintenance mode kicks-in to keep the battery 100 percent ready and, crucially, prevent sulphation from re-occuring. The program is also smart enough to check if the battery can continue with the lower-voltage maintenance mode when it strts to receive light again in the morning, rather than restarting the entire charging process again.
The company says that the OptiMate Solar controller is light and small enough to be located at the battery, even hanging directly off the fitted battery lead, instantly allowing full information access at a glance; information such as, whether there is sufficient sunlight / solar power to charge a battery, whether it is charging or maintaining the battery and how fast is it charging.
The TM-524 OptiMate SOLAR charge kit includes a 6W high quality solar panel that comes with a 2m / 6 1/2 ft output lead ending in an SAE connector. Add the OptiMate Charge controller and reach is expanded to 3m / 10ft between solar panel and battery. If you need to mount the panel further away, the reach can be extended with the O-3 or O-13 charge cable extenders.
For those who already own a 12V solar panel, adding OptiMate Solar charger kit will instantly improve the solar charge experience. The TM520 Solar charger kit works on 12V batteries and the TM521 Solar charger kit will convert a 12V solar panel into a 6V battery charger. Both kits are delivered with high grade durable cable accessories, including OptiMate's O-1 weatherproof battery lead and O-4 OptiMate battery clips - these connect directly to the OptiMate charge controller, as well as the O-27 polarity converter, just in case the solar panel's SAE connector is the wrong polarity.
Tecmate are continuing to develop the range, and say that further solar products will be added soon, including new high-power solar solutions.

Barnett Clutches & Cables

Barnett Scorpion clutch for Victory

BARNETT has launched a version of its high-performance Scorpion clutch specifically for use on Victory motorcycles. 

The Scorpion billet clutch assembly features a CNC machined billet aluminum pressure plate, in combination with a steel inner hub, and clutch plates that are said to increase the surface area by 100 percent. The new clutch also utilizes six coil springs for a smoother, more progressive engagement compared to the stock diaphragm spring clutch, and multiple coil spring sets of different tension ratings are included to provide a variety of spring pressure options.
The Scorpion clutch, which is designed to fit into the OEM clutch basket, is suitable for stock and high performance motors and is available for all ‘01 and later models.

Ventura, California, USA
Tel: 805 642 9435

Brock's Performance

Dyna Street-Pro Swingarms

BROCK’S Performance now has its Street-Pro aluminum swingarm for Dyna models in production. The extended swingarms are available in 0-3in or 2-6in over stock to give a bike a custom stretched look. 

Riders have the choice of 5/8in or 3/4in pivot shaft bushings along with a choice of axle (25mm, 1in, or 28mm). The swingarms are available in black powder coat or natural brushed aluminum, and a chain guard is included.

Dayton, Ohio, USA
Tel: 937-912-0054

Custom Cycle Engineering

Dyna front engine bracket and top stabilizer link

CUSTOM Cycle Engineering has released two products which it states when used together will vastly improve the ride quality of Dyna models by aligning the bike’s power train and reducing engine vibration. 

The front engine bracket allows riders to set engine alignment by sliding the engine left or right using the built in hash marks. This is complemented by the top stabilizer link, which is rubber isolated, adjustable and said to reduce vibration especially at high speeds. It replaces the stock link which is metal to metal from the top motor mount to the frame.  


Oceanside, California, USA
Tel: 760 941 6487

Drag Specialties

LA Choppers square column risers

LA CHOPPERS is offering its square column riser, for use with 1in handlebars, in the choice of 1in or 1.5in heights. The heavy-duty risers are machined from billet and are supplied complete with top caps and stainless steel mounting hardware. Finish options are chrome or gloss black. 

Janesville, Wisconsin, USA
Tel: 608 758 1111

Zodiac International

Zodiac goes big on 45 parts inventory

IN association with retro, veteran and vintage bike parts specialist Samwel Supplies, Zodiac International has put together a big selection of replacement and upgrade parts, accessories, service components and consumables for Harley 45s.

These fishtail mufflers bolt straight onto the stock front pipes of the 750 Civilian Solo model. Available in black or chrome finish, they fit all 1932 through 1952 45Cl Sidevalves except Servicar. 

The straight pipe muffler is a faithful reproduction of the original found on 1950 through 1952 45Cl Sidevalve models, but also fits 1932 through 1949 models. Available in chrome or black finish, it fits straight onto stock and stock-style aftermarket front pipes.


The front drum brake on early Big Twin and 45Cl models is notorious for its lack of stopping power. The double cam or "duplex" brake seen here has a close-to-stock-look design, with two leading shoes consequently providing better stopping power. The kit includes brake drum, brake drum cover, brake shoes, springs and cams. It fits 1936 through 1948 Big Twins and 1941 through 1957 WLC and Servicar.

These belt drive kits fit inside the stock primary cover of all 45Cl Solo, Servicar and sidecar models. The kit includes front and rear belt pulley and matching belt. Zodiac say these belt drives "run smooth and clean" and that they strongly recommend installing these belt drive kits in conjunction with their clutch bearing BigFix kit (also seen here).


For stock 3-speed gearbox conversions into 4-speeds, the complete kit seen here fits into the stock transmission housing - the only change is a minor one in the transmission end cover.


Finally, Zodiac also offers a full range of replacement seat and luggage reproductions, including a brown leather solo seat, pebble brown leather saddlebags - and for those seeking the authentic original military spec a brown leather submachine gun scabbard with matching bracket and ammunition box.

Tel: +31 (0)297 288 621

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

If you want a scary story, read between the lines of Harley's share price performance

FOR about nine months now I've been writing about the Motor Company's softening sales profile, its fiscal position, the impact both have been having on their share price, and the possible implications on their independence.

I have been writing-up reports on Harley-Davidson's quarterly results since September 1993, so I guess in that time I have gotten pretty well attuned to the nuances of their reporting.

After a while you become pretty familiar with what can be gleaned between the lines - not so much between the lines of their press release text, as that is pretty meaningless BS at the best of times anyway, but between the lines of the numbers they release.

From the dangerously low ebb of 2009 when sales and share price had both gone into melt-down, Harley's balance sheet management had been astute - even if question marks remain about the long-term wisdom of some of the decisions taken.

Following the Project Rushmore model announcements in 2013 Harley's share price had recovered by April 2014 to around the same mid $70 territory seen at its pre-recessionary peak.

However, unlike their increasingly competitive rival Polaris Industries, whose sales and share price cycle very closely mirrored Harley's own from 2009 to 2013, Harley has not managed to kick-on from there.

As discussed in our quarterly Harley fiscal review on page 14 of this edition of AMD Magazine, the past twelve to fifteen months have seen the company's progress grind to a halt and then go into reverse.

To describe this as a "worry" is an understatement of massive proportions. It would appear that Mr Wandell's retirement has been well timed and that his successor Matt Levatich is going to see some of the outcomes of the 2009 - 2013 strategy materialize on his watch.

Harley has kept the dividend it pays to its investors high, in order to keep them "on-side". Indeed this year's increase sees it at its second highest level ever. Unfortunately, just as the Project Rushmore MY2014 initiative appears to have failed to sustain dealer consumer traffic, the dividend, of itself, appears to have failed to sustain the share price.

The decline in new model sales seen in the final quarter of last year and since has been followed by a (albeit modest) loss of market share in the first quarter of this year that would be described as a recession if Harley was a country - two consecutive quarters of "negative growth".

The impact on the share price has been dramatic. As dictated by its market capitalization, Harley-Davidson has lost at least 25 percent of the market value it had achieved in little over a year. In fact, it lost something in the order of 10 percent of that in just four months this year.

So the question "where is this headed" is now becoming an urgent one for Harley. The increasing vulnerability that I have been pointing to in the past six months or so is now beginning to look like an object in a rear view mirror - larger than it appears.

Urgent and larger than it appears because unless Harley can come up with a convincing fix in metal as well as balance sheet, the 21st century breed of aggressively active investor could, sooner or later, see Harley settle firmly into the cross-hairs of a target-hungry mergers and acquisitions culture that currently has capital reserves aplenty.

In fact, equity investors are probably now also likely to be 'in-play', and it may well be that disappointingly low though it already is, Harley's share price may already be being artificially inflated by an element of premium as investors lick their lips at the prospect of an attractive pay-day ahead as one or more contenders seek to do business.

This may be a dangerous hostage to fortune, but it is unlikely that anything much will happen quite yet. In all probability Harley has time to see what benefit it can accrue from an MY2016 launch in August that will be watched closely.

If the Company at least manages to avoid much more atrophy in its market value between now and the release of its 2015 fiscals eight months from now, then perhaps it still has enough wiggle room to shore-up its platform with some platform progress (so-to-speak!).

Should it fail to do so, then there is only so much vulnerability it or any publically traded multi-billion Dollar corporation can get away with.

One stunning wild card possibility could be a play for the Motor Company by the hugely acquisitive Polaris. While that would be a sensational and ambitious move, if Harley isn't able to give its share price the kiss-of-life at some stage in the next 24 months, then that, and all points leading to that extreme outcome, are the outcomes that Matt Levatich could find will end up defining his time as CEO.

News Briefs

Campagna Motors, the Quebec, Canada based reverse-trike pioneer, has celebrated the 20th anniversary of its T-REX with a 20 unit limited special edition of its BMW K1600 engined three-wheeler.

The Senate in North Carolina is considering a law that will establish a Board of Examiners and regulatory compliance and enforcement arm that would force motorcycle and automotive repair shops and dealerships, and the people who work there, to seek licensing and achieve training credentials to conduct vehicle servicing, repairs and tuning.

Well known filter manufacturer K&N Engineering has purchased one of its automotive competitors - the AIRAID company of Phoenix, Arizona. Founded in 1997, the rival cotton gauze filter and intake manufacturer quickly built itself a powerful market position, especially in the diesel engine and SUV markets, launching strong selling Premium Filters in 2002.

Widely regarded as one of America's finest race-track facilities, Utah's Miller Motorsports Park is to close. The 511 acre facility was opened in 2006 and will cease operations in October this year.

Harley-Davidson has announced a free "Learn to Ride" Riding Academy motorcycle training program for active-duty, retired, reservist and veteran armed forces personnel through September.

Polaris continue on the acquisition trail - Timberland Products, a dirt/snow bike conversion kit manufacturer at Sandpoint, Idaho is the latest morsel to be
gobbled up!

Motus, the Birmingham, Alabama based sportbike manufacturer has announced CARB approval for its 2015 models, making them street legal in all 50 states. Founded in 2008, Motus motorcycles are powered by a V4 "Baby Block" engine that is said to combine "high performance with low maintenance and a unique character."

The well known Buffalo Chip campground outside the city of Sturgis, South Dakota, has itself now become incorporated as a municipality. Rod Woodruff, President of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, said "we are reaching out to strengthen our relationship with our neighbor, the city of Sturgis, and other nearby governmental entities so that we can work together on a plan that will benefit everyone."  Rumors that Sturgis may change its name to "Harleyville" remained unsubstantiated as this edition of AMD went to press.

Bassani Xhaust

Xhaust for H-D Street 500 and 750

BASSANI Xhaust has a choice of two designs of slip-on mufflers for the H-D Street 500 and 750 models.

The first option from Bassani is its Short Megaphone, which features a black, 4in diameter body and is finished with a black billet end cap with contrasting machined flutes. Also included with the muffler is small heat shield that replaces the stock part. 

The second slip-on design is a straight bodied 4in bodied muffler, again completed with a black billet end cap with contrasting machined flutes. 

Anaheim, California, USA
Tel: 714 630 1821

Custom Chrome

Custom Chrome expands range

HODGES Kustomz say that their new 'Batwingz' wind deflectors have been designed to help reduce turbulence and drag. Available in paint-ready black Abs and shaped to match the lines of the fairing. They are sold in pairs for mod-free install on all ‘96-‘13 FLHT, C, U, and X models.

The 'Tomahawk' fork brace is a laser-cut 3/16in steel replacement that is said to increase fork rigidity for improved stability on Dyna models. Available in chrome-plated or gloss black powder coated finish, they are designed for 21in or 19in wheels in 49mm forks.

Custom Chrome's LED curved license plate for custom applications will fit most H-D models '55 and up that have three-hole license mounts. Designed to match the curve of the rear fender, the frame includes LEDs and a laydown mount. The lights in the frame have four functions - running lights, brake lights, turn signals and license plate light.

Among Custom Chrome's extensive service parts, the RevTech High Performance Complete Oil Change kit is said to include everything needed to change the motor, primary and transmission oils. The kit contains RevTech High-Performance blended 20w50 motor oil, 80w90 transmission oil, primary lube, magnetic oil filter, derby and inspection cover gaskets and drain plug O-rings. They are available for most popular models.

Morgan Hill, California, USA
Tel: 408 825 5000

Drag Specialties

Accutronix Extended Instigator floorboards

EXTENDED Instigator floorboards from Accutronix are designed to replace stock H-D floorboards and mount using stock hardware. Machined from 6061 T-6 billet aluminum, the driver floorboards are extended 2-1/2in in the front and rear and are 3/4in wider than stock. The passenger boards are extended 1-9/16in longer in the front and 1-9/16in longer in the rear.

Available in chrome or ‘Night Series’ (black anodized and then machined again for a contrast finish), Instigator floorboards feature multi-directional, slip-resistant black pyramid-top rubber inserts.
Driver and passenger footboards are to fit ‘84-‘15 FLT, FLHT, FLHX, FLHR, FLTR, ‘86-‘15 FLST, and ‘12-‘15 FLD models. FLST and FLD models with passenger footpegs will require the use of OEM accessory floorboard mounts.

Janesville, Wisconsin, USA
Tel: 608 758 1111


Fehling MSP Handlebars

FEHLING has created the MSP range of handlebars to fit a wide variety of motorcycles without the need to change brake and clutch lines or wiring. 

Crack Bar

The 850mm wide Crack Bar is offered in both 1in and 1-1/4in diameters and with 110mm of backward sweep. It can be ordered in either chrome or black finishes. 

Custom Bars

MSP Custom Bars, again in black or chrome and also 850mm wide, are 1in diameter and have a choice of 60mm or 90mm rise in combination with 100mm of rearward sweep. 

Race Bars


One-inch tubing is used for the MSP Race Bars that combine an 850mm width with 100mm off sweep and a rise of 50mm. Completing the MSP handlebar range are the Z-Bars, which are offered in both 1in and 1-1/4in diameters and the choice of 70mm or 110mm rise with 90mm of pullback. MSP Z-Bars are finished in either black or chrome.

Wickede (Ruhr), GERMANY
Tel: +49 (0)2377 2033