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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

American Flat Track

Bryan Smith gives Indian ‘Wrecking Crew’ a 6-from-6 win streak at the first of this year’s two Springfield Miles

A historic American Flat Track win streak remained in play following another win for Bryan Smith aboard his Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750 in the 6th round of this year’s 18-race series over the Memorial Day Weekend.

Photo credit -  American Flat Track/Brian J. Nelson

A packed house witnessed another close contest in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines as Smith edged out the No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750 of ‘Wrecking Crew’ team mate Jared Mees, with the Yamaha FZ-07 of Sammy Halbert third (who posted a 34.571 fastest lap with six to go) in the Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

This was the first of the two mile-long races that will be staged at Springfield this year (the series returns there for the Springfield Mile II on September 3rd) and saw Smith take a third successive Mile win for the defending Grand National Champion's fourth race win in a row overall, making him just the fifth rider in series history to accomplish that feat.
The Harley-Davidson XG750R riders looked to have closed the performance gap on their Indian FTR750 rivals after a disappointing start to the season so far. Kenny Coolbeth (No. 2 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R), Jake Johnson (No. 5) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44) were all battling in strong positions before a freak incident saw the hopes of all three brought to a premature end - just as the race was shaping up to be a significant uptick in form for the entire Harley-Davidson team.
The third member of the Indian ‘Wrecking Crew’, Brad Baker on the No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750, came in 4th behind a photo-finish that saw Smith given the nod by 0.005 of a second over Mees, with Halbert in third position, 0.039 seconds behind Mees to prevent another ‘Wrecking Crew’ podium sweep.
Next up will be the fourth straight AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Mile race with the Red Mile at Lexington, Kentucky, on June 3.

31st Annual Biker Fest

31st Annual Biker Fest, Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, May 18 - 21

Thousands of bikers descended on Lignano Sabbiadoro, on the beautiful Adriatic coast of Italy, an hour north of Venice, for the 31st annual Biker Fest from 18th to 21st May.
Sponsored by Bridgestone, the event is the brainchild of father and son team Moreno and Micke Persello, creators of the original Chopper and Custom Show at Padua back in the 1990s and publishers of leading Italian custom lifestyle magazine Biker’s Life.

For the 6th year, the ever-popular Biker Fest played host to the climax of the 12 city/event Italian Bike Championship, and as the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building Official Affiliate event for Italy, saw no less than four builders win 1,000.00 euro expenses to compete at ‘AMD XIII’ at ‘INTERMOT Customized’ in Cologne, Germany, in October 2018.
Over 100 bikes in total were on display at the impressive Terrazza Mare. Classes included Freestyle, Modified Harley-Davidson, Metric, Streetfighter/Sportsbike, Cafe Racer, Scrambler, Bagger and Old Style, and the three ‘Best in Show’ winners and ‘Public Vote’ pick scooping the ‘AMD’ prize money being put up by the show.
With a larger vendor presence at the event this year, an expanded additional “customizer” vendor area was set up opposite the Terrazza (in addition to the usual vendor lot at Luna Park) where there were opportunities for builders and custom shops to present their work - a new feature last year, this was again judged to be a great success.
Public attendance this year is put at over 35,000 riders, with exhibitors including Custom Chrome Europe, Motorcycle Storehouse, Free Spirits, Italian suspension specialists Andreani and Bitubo, Asso Special Bike, and motorcycle manufacturers such as Harley-Davidson, Indian Motorcycle, BMW, Honda, Aprilia, Ducati (Scrambler) and Moto Guzzi.

AMD World Championship Prize


Ema Custom Shop (Pistoia) - H-D XL 1200 (Best in Show Italian Motorcycle Championship)

VM Motorcycles (Udine) - H-D WLA 750

Gallery Motorcycles & H-D Luce (Brescia) - ‘H-D Legend’

Lari Motori (Vicenza) - ‘Robin’ 1999 Buell (19th in the AMD World Championship, Cologne 2016)

1 Asso Special Bike (Como) - ‘ATOMIC SNAIL’
2 Ferri da Miglia (Verona) - ‘H-D XL 1200’
3 Bike Garage (Chieti) - ‘10th Anniversary’

Modified H-D
1 Luca Turata (Verona) - H-D 1340 
2 MC Cycles (Treviso) - H-D V-Rod
3 089 Garage (Salerno) - H-D Shovelhead

1 Biker Sheriff (Treviso) - H-D Road Glide Special
2 MC Cycles (Treviso) - H-D Street Glide 
3 American Dreams (Monza) - H-D Heritage ‘Chicana’ 

Old Style
1 Bob (Czech Republic) - H-D Sportster
2 Roberto Ligas (Treviso) - H-D Sportster
3 Number8 (Udine) - H-D Panhead 

Café Racer
1 Mastercycles (Treviso) - Honda CB 750  
2 WPR Officina 144 (Rimini) - Ducati Monster
3 Free Sound Customs (Lucca) - BMW R 1200 S

1 Rebuffini M. (Bergamo) - H-D V- Rod
2 Peter Schmidt (Germany) - Suzuki GSX-R 1000
3 WRP Officina 144 (Rimini) - Ducati ST 4

1 Brunetti Elvis (Udine) - Honda CB 400  

2 Motocicli Ignoranti (Varese) - BMW R 45
3 850 by Viky Bikers (Como) - Moto Guzzi T3  

1 Ferri da Miglia (Verona) - BMW R 45
2 Moto Sport Ciot (Treviso) - Honda FMX ‘Flat T.’
3 Overdrive Customs (Venezia) - Honda XL 600

Best Emerging Customizer
Free Sound Customs (Lucca)


World’s fastest motorcycle bound for Bolivia

The world’s fastest motorcycle, the TOP 1 ACK ATTACK, is bound for Bolivia for an epic adventure to exceed its own record of 376.363 mph/605.697 km/h. The twin-engine streamliner is going to make a run for the record on the remote Salar de Uyuni salt flats high in the Andes mountains between August 3-8, 2017.

The TOP 1 ACK ATTACK’s previous record-breaking runs took place on the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats, but the team is now travelling to Bolivia to conquer this new challenge.
“Bolivia has been selected because it has a much longer run up and down of 16 miles versus about seven miles at Bonneville,” explains ACK ATTACK pilot and three-time World Land Speed record holder Rocky Robinson. “This makes it safer, too. Wheel spin on driven – not thrust/jet – streamliners is a danger, so the acceleration has to be very gradual to avoid awkward handling. Distance is your friend!”

“Honestly, we would have preferred to set the record in Bonneville,” adds TOP 1 VP of Sales & Marketing Frank Ryan. “TOP 1 lives and breathes the American lifestyle. We produce and package our products in the USA before distributing them to 60 countries around the world. However, several years of bad conditions at Bonneville, coupled with record rainfall this year, means we have to travel to the top of the world to find optimal conditions. Those conditions just happen to be at 12,000 feet above sea level in the Andes mountains.”
Breaking down Bolivia by the numbers: Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 square miles) with an elevation of 3,656 meters (11,995 feet) above sea level. The high elevation will play havoc with fuel management, and the harsh conditions will take their toll on the entire team, but Robinson says they are on a mission to not only defend the current World Land Speed record of 376 mph/605 km/h, but also to be the first motorcycle to break the 400 mph speed barrier!
“When we started to build the TOP 1 ACK ATTACK in 2003, our goal was to exceed the record of 322 mph that had stood for 16 years,” said Mike Akatiff, builder of the TOP 1 ACK ATTACK, “but in the back of my head was the thought that we could build a bike to actually go 400 mph. We began challenging the record in 2004, and, with the backing of TOP 1 Oil, we have broken the record three times: in 2006, 2008 and 2010. The 2010 record still stands today at 376.363 mph, but I believe the bike is now ready to go much faster, and with a suitable race track we feel we can make history once again.”
Founded in 1979 by William “Bill” Ryan, TOP 1 Oil Products is a premium synthetic lubricant brand. TOP 1 prides itself as being an American brand and being run by the 2nd and 3rd generations of the Ryan family.
Built by Mike Akatiff, owner of Ack Technologies, an avionics company, the ACK ATTACK is a brilliant piece of engineering. The 20-foot long streamliner is powered by a pair of turbocharged/intercooled Suzuki Hayabusa engines, producing more than 1000bhp. The quest to be the world’s fastest motorcycle hasn’t been easy – the ACK ATTACK crashed three times during record runs, in 2004, 2007 (when it rolled 16 times) and 2011 – “but with great risks come great rewards.”

Ace Cafe Orlando

North America’s first Ace Cafe now open in Orlando

Ace Cafe Orlando, the first North American location of the celebrated London based motor-diner and the sixth Ace Cafe in the world, opened its doors for the first time on May 19. The 35,000 square-foot “dining, entertainment and retail destination” reinvigorates a key three-acre parcel of land in downtown Orlando now known as “Ace Corner,” where it expects to draw more than 400,000 people annually.

Since 1938, Ace Cafe London has been a mecca for those passionate about cars, bikes and rock ’n roll culture. The original location on London’s North Circular Road began as a roadside cafe for truckers, then evolved into a popular destination for rock ‘n roll-loving teens riding motorbikes during the ’50s and ’60s. Today, the Ace has a multi-generational appeal among motorsports enthusiasts from all over the world.
“We have built a special place for everyone, from petrolheads and enthusiasts to the after-hours work crowd, families, music lovers and everybody in between,” said Mark McKee, CEO and Chief Gearhead of Ace Cafe North America. “For those passionate about cool motors, great music, inspired food and drinks and good times, Ace Cafe Orlando is the place to be.”
Much larger than its London namesake, Ace Cafe Orlando spans two floors and features a full-service restaurant, two kitchens, four bars, a coffee bar, a communal counter, a mezzanine that overlooks the main floor dining area and stage, and private and semi-private spaces for groups both large and small.
Rounding out the offerings inside the Ace are Rockers Speed Shop (selling official branded Ace gear and apparel); a BMW motorcycle dealer; a Dainese D-Store (Italy’s legendary high-tech riding gear and accessories brand); EagleRider motorcycle rental company (the world’s largest motorcycle tourism company); and Stonebridge Motor Gallery, selling an ever-changing line-up of original motorsports and rock ’n roll-inspired artwork, photography, sculptures and memorabilia, as well as collectable vintage and rare one-off custom motorcycles.
“More than a restaurant, Ace Cafe Orlando connects great food and dining with a passion for motoring and rock ’n roll, providing a totally unique experience found nowhere else in the U.S. Under the tutelage of Executive Chef Christopher Truesdell, the Ace’s menu can be defined as American diner fare. It features made-from-scratch home style comfort food with a twist that captures the authentic spirit and flavors of some of the best diners and backroad joints across the country, all at an affordable price point. There is also a nod to Ace Cafe’s roots with authentic British favorites like Bangers & Mash, Fish & Chips and Chicken Curry.”


Polaris fine-tunes facilities, upgrades Spirit Lake, Iowa

Polaris Industries announced in April that it is making two changes to its manufacturing network to “consolidate production of like products and better leverage plant capacity.”
The changes include discontinuing manufacturing at its plant in Milford, Iowa, and transferring production to existing Polaris facilities in Huntsville, Alabama, Roseau, Minnesota, and Anaheim, California. The Milford location will be repurposed as a storage/warehouse facility to support the nearby Spirit Lake, Iowa, Polaris plant, which will continue to manufacture Indian Motorcycle products.

Pro Armor aftermarket product metal fabrication operations will transfer from its facility in Riverside, California, to Polaris’ recently acquired Transamerican Auto Parts facility in Chula Vista, California. Pro Armor will maintain its presence in Riverside, including its business operations, R&D, and vehicle up-fit services, but will relocate to a new building.
As a result of these two changes, approximately 390 jobs will be impacted, the majority of which will be relocated within the Polaris manufacturing network throughout 2017.  Polaris is offering the opportunity for Milford and Riverside employees to relocate within its network, as well as providing resources including separation pay, assistance with health insurance coverage and outplacement services.
Meanwhile Polaris’ Spirit Lake factory, which will continue to serve as the “manufacturing center of excellence” for Indian Motorcycle, is getting investments to enhance its facilities, including a new experience center, upgraded employee facilities and additional office space.

Motorcycle Storehouse

Motorcycle Storehouse


These new ‘Cobra’ grips from Motorcycle Storehouse are CNC-machined aluminum with rubber inlays for 1” handlebars and will take single or dual throttle conventional cable applications from 1974 to 2016 (except for ‘15-’16 ‘Street’ models) and throttle by wire (TBW/e-throttle) Tourer applications from 2008 - 2016. Available in a range of finishes.

Also seen here, these ‘Tyson’ handlebars by Biltwell are styled after the classic T-bars, with a new look, and will fit upper triple trees with the common 3.5” center-to-center riser spacing. Manufactured from precision mandrel-bent seamless 3mm chromoly 1” diameter tubing, they are TIG welded and ½-13 threaded.


Though best known since they were founded in 1982 for aftermarket hard parts, Motorcycle Storehouse has shown itself adept at keeping its offer fresh and relevant, and responding to the market’s evolution.
Five or six years ago Motorcycle Storehouse reacted convincingly to the seismic demographic, cultural and style changes taking place, making a major investment to enter the burgeoning “NewGen” clothing and lifestyle market.
Their new “largest yet” Clothing and Lifestyle catalog showcases helmets, jackets, gloves, riding jeans, shirts, boots, goggles and more from many leading and iconic brands; available in print and online.

Khrome Werks

4" high performance mufflers
with billet tips

These 4” high performance mufflers by Khrome Werks are said to produce “rich deep tones without the high-frequency whine that plagues other systems.”

The exhaust gases travel through a high-flow baffle assembly and exit through a series of radially punched holes. They are 16-gauge absorptive mufflers with 1.75" inlets and billeted tips; available in chrome, black or Khrome Werks’ proprietary ‘Eclipse’ finish, a high temperature, black chrome electroplate.



Showa “Dual Bending Valve” front end technology for Harley Tourers

Best known for their Harley OE front ends, Japanese suspension specialist Showa, one of the largest suspension businesses in the world, started to enter the aftermarket three years ago, and is now a regular exhibitor at the EICMA ‘Milan Show’.
For a Harley retro fit, Showa is offering what it calls its SDBV (Showa Dual Bending Valve) technology for Touring models.
Designed to cater to the widely ranging weight variables that the big, heavy tourers have to contend with, SDBV is a newly developed valve unit, comprising disc and check valves, that are said to deliver “the same levels of high performance and stable damping characteristics associated with cartridge type set-ups, but with a simpler structure that is closer to that of free-valve design suspensions.”
It is claimed the technology improves response to braking and use of the throttle, reducing dive and improving stability, especially under heavy load.

reduced dive and improved stability

The ability of a front end to cope with the weight issues on Harley Tourers is especially important where ABS is used – the potential for heavy bikes to experience sudden nose diving is accentuated with the kind of braking response dynamics associated with ABS.
The structure of the conventional free-valve design makes it difficult for the suspension to generate the compression-side damping force needed at low piston speeds (suspension operational speeds) where nosedive needs to be controlled.
Showa claim their SDBV has solved this issue. “Since SDBV can generate stable damping force characteristics, it has an advantage of being able to supress the floating of the vehicle body caused by uneven road surfaces.
“Because its basic structure is similar to the free-valve type, the SDBV can keep the increase of cost/weight to a minimum because of the economies of scale we have.”
Showa go on to explain that “the free-valve type, the basic structure of the normal type of front fork, has been applied to many different models. However, the issue of the free-valve structure is that it cannot sufficiently compensate for vehicle posture changes, because the damping force rises more steeply than the linear curve with regard to change in piston speed due to the damping characteristics being generated.

check and disc valves

“The ‘SDBV’ uses a valve unit of a new structure in place of the free-valve structure. Check and disc valves are placed in rebound/compression sides independently to control damping forces. This valve unit generates damping force characteristics that change linearly between low and high piston speeds, improving the ride feel, especially on uneven roads.
“The improved responsiveness allows the tires to grip the ground firmly and provides reliable braking and handling performance.”



Custom front end styling from Italy

Italian parts and accessory specialist Rebuffini continues to build on its international reputation for high quality stylish parts and accessories with their ‘NEXO 4.0’ inverted front ends.

With 46mm inner tubes and 58 mm clamps, the versatile design gives plenty of options for customization, and they are fully adjustable with spring preload and rebound tuneable on the fork caps and compression on the fork leg.
For improved heat dissipation, responsiveness and durability, Rebuffini forks are CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) diamond coated with lapped sheaths and inner cartridges to further reduce friction.
The aluminum fork lowers are 3D CAD CNC with FEM (Finite Element Analysis) guaranteeing high strength and lightweight strength precision sizing.
Compatible with the ABS sensor, they are 800mm long, with a 115mm stroke, 108mm radial caliper bracket, have 40-stop compression and rebound and 10mm spring preload adjustment.
They have been designed and manufactured in collaboration with WSBK experienced Italian specialist MUPO Race Suspension; the set comes complete with stylish, lightweight, fully functional black anodized CNC-machined aluminum triple clamps with built-in brake-tee lines for a clean look and a faster installation.

For a more traditional old style custom look, Rebuffini ‘Redemption’ springers are 3D machined in “structural” 6082 billet aluminum, a relatively new and the strongest of the 6000 series aluminum alloy with excellent corrosion resistance - the addition of a large amount of manganese controls the grain structure, which in turn results in a stronger alloy.
Hydraulic Ohlins shock absorbers that have been tuned exclusively for this project are supplied with it, to provide a comfortable ride and a high performance. Equipped with adjustable springs, they are available in three different colors (yellow, black and chrome).
Produced in five different lengths for Softail Evolution and Twin Cam and aftermarket frames , the legs are installed on bushings and steel pins; AISI 304 stainless steel hardware included. Compatible and matching accessories include billet aluminum turn signals, brake rod and three-position option headlight bracket, all in billet aluminum in a choice of finishes.
Finally, Rebuffini offer a choice of hand control and master cylinder options for CAN bus or standard push button applications for cable or hydraulic clutches. Their RR90 line are a dual-connector Plug and Play replacement for the original controls that maintain all original functions, work with the ABS sensor and have backlit switches.

The RR90 radial hand controls are said to improve braking performance; traditional push buttons also available.
With the same functionality and application options, compact race style ‘Atlantis’ master cylinders and adjustable, customizable levers feature in Rebuffini’s ‘Exclusive Collection’, which are CNC- machined from a top quality Swiss sourced aluminum and available for single disc or dual disc set-ups.

ABS compatible, three-switch housings can be added to each side with the traditional push buttons; also available for ’11-’17 Softail and ’12-’17 Dyna CAN bus applications.



Handy redesigns two lifts

The Handy Lifts division of Sully, Iowa based Janco Industries says it has “revolutionized” the design of its Standard and S.A.M. 1200 Air Lift (seen here) tables with maintenance-free air bellows replacing the existing air cylinder.

In addition, the company says the redesigned lifts also have improved safety features. “The new lift design will not only simplify the way service departments perform maintenance; it will also simplify the way Handy produces these quality lifts for its customers,” says Janco co-owner Joel Jansen.
The redesigned Standard and S.A.M. lifts have an automatic ratcheting safety mechanism with dual springs that create a positive lock as the lift is raised. The safety mechanism is easily flipped back to lower the lift, and automatically resets once the lift reaches the bottom. “With the automatic reset, there is no more worrying about the operator having to remember to set the safety bar.”
The capacity on both the Standard and S.A.M. has been boosted from 1000 lbs. to 1200 lbs., and the maximum lifting height has been raised on both lifts. The Standard 1200 Air Lift features a tabletop work surface of 80”x24”, a maximum height of 39” and a minimum height of 8”. The S.A.M. 1200 Air Lift features an 84”x24” work surface with a maximum height of 39” and minimum height of 8”. “The S.A.M. also features the same rear drop-out panel Handy customers love on the original S.A.M. lift.”


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

American Flat Track Twins presented by Vance & Hines

Smith wins Sacramento Mile to give Indian a third podium sweep

The fifth round of this year’s 18-race American Flat Track Twins presented by Vance & Hines saw reigning Grand National Champion Bryan Smith bring home his No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750 to lead a third podium sweep for Indian’s 21st Century “Wrecking Crew.”

Staged at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds, the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear “witnessed both a rider and a manufacturer in action at the height of their powers.”
Smith and his fellow members of the Indian “Wrecking Crew”, Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) and Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750), “were again in a class of their own on Saturday night.”
After 25 laps Smith’s victory came by a minuscule 0.025-second margin over Mees, with Baker a further 0.05 seconds adrift in third. The win was Smith’s seventh in succession at the Sacramento Mile, and his third in a row this season.

After securing sole possession of the championship lead, Smith said “I played my cards just right. I sat back there, saved my tire, and went hard the last couple of laps.”
While he got pushed out of at least a share of the championship lead for the first time this season, Mees did manage to maintain his perfect 2017 podium streak with his runner-up result in Sacramento, saying “I’ve got to give a big shout out to my team. It was a good race, and it’s great to get another Indian sweep with these guys. It stinks getting second, but it’s great for Indian Motorcycles. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07) snatched fourth place by a narrow 0.050 second margin from quick-starting Jeffrey Carver Jr. (fifth on the No. 23 Carver’s BBQ Kawasaki Ninja 650). It was another disappointing weekend for Harley-Davidson and their XGR750R - Brandon Robinson was 9th, 14.32 seconds behind Smith, and Kenny Coolbeth Jr was 16th, having only completed 16 laps.
Next week, the American Flat Track will make the first of two 2017 doubleheader stops in Springfield, Ill., with Saturday May 27’s Springfield TT and Sunday May 28’s Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I.

Photo credit: American Flat Track/Scott Hunter

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, in a few days’ time (May 26 – 28) ‘The Bike Shed’ will open the doors of the 8th annual bike show that will be staged at the historic and chic Tobacco Dock venue in East London’s Docklands for the fourth time.
“Celebrating the creativity of the new wave and Cafe Racer custom motorcycle culture, with over 200 curated custom motorcycles expected, the weekend will feature live art, a photographic exhibition and hand-made accessories, alongside selected brands, retailers and exhibitors.”

Photo by Autohouse

With all the contemporary upscale tweaks to set it apart from orthodox European custom bike events, ‘The Bike Shed’ is the nearest thing Europe has to a “new wave/new gen” show of the kind seen in events such as ‘The One Show’ at Portland, Oregon, ‘Mama Tried’ at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ‘Handbuilt’ at Austin, Texas, and ‘Born Free’ in California.
Like ‘Handbuilt’, the event has grown out of a retail establishment – one based on lovingly converted old, classic and unmistakably British style railway arches close to one of the wealthiest potential ‘Square Mile’ markets in the world in Old Street in the City of London. With the backing of like-minded souls as investors, founder Anthony Dutch van Someren has turned what started out as a blog into a burgeoning network of retail, social club and events for the new post-boomer audience that is emerging.

Scout sprint racer 'Miracle Mike' by Young Guns, Switzerland, unveiled earlier this month at the 'Art & Wheels' art and motorcycle show in Switzerland – destined for the Essenza sprint races at the Indian Motorcycle sponsored ‘Wheels & Waves’, Biarritz, in June

“This is NOT a motorcycle trade fair” says Dutch, “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.”
Every element of this unique and privately run event is hand-picked by the organizers (usually based at the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club in Shoreditch). The exhibited bikes are ‘invitational’ and selected from the best bike builders in the UK and Europe (with guests from the US), displayed without ropes “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.”
Supported by the mainstream motorcycle industry, the event is sponsored by Ohlin’s suspension, Rev’It! apparel and motorcycle manufacturers such as Triumph, Ducati, Yamaha and BMW, all exhibiting alongside other manufacturers, pro-builders, amateurs and shed-builders alike.

Indian Motorcycles’ replica streamliner homage to Burt Munro, the “Spirit of Munro”, who became “The World’s Fastest Indian” 50 years ago

Builders include 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), Black Track (Luxembourg) and Rocket Bobs (UK).
However, in many respects the most interesting development is the involvement of Indian Motorcycle. Onboard as an official partner, Indian will be giving a UK debut to their ‘Spirit of Munro’ streamliner and Young Guns of Switzerland’s ‘Miracle Mike’ sprint-racing Scout.
Complete with a nitrous oxide system, Young Guns are setting up at ‘The Bike Shed’ en route to taking on the 2017 Essenza sprint races and Punks Peak at the Indian Motorcycle sponsored ‘Wheels & Waves’ at Biarritz, France, in June.
Arguably the ultimate “shed-builder”, 2017 is the 50th anniversary of Munro setting his speed record and becoming “The World’s Fastest Indian”. Indian will further showcase its commitment to the custom scene with award-winning Scouts built by dealers in the UK on display alongside Super Hooligan Scouts that are currently being raced in the DTRA Hooligan championship.
In 2016, the event attracted 12,000 visitors, with some 15,000 expected this year. The privately owned Bike Shed Motorcycle Club (BSMC) has a London membership of around 600, but has some 647,000 followers on Facebook and over 105k on Instagram. “We reach and engage with around 5-6 million people in the weeks of our annual events,” says Dutch. “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. The BSMC is privately owned and run by family and friends.”

Vance & Hines

V&H launch 50-state compliant CTR performance kit

Santa Fe Springs, California based manufacturer Vance & Hines has announced a new 50-state emissions compliant exhaust system for late model Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The CTR (Ceramic Thermal Reduction) performance kit is said to provide “a complete package for exhaust, air and tuning” and to have been granted an Executive Order (E.O. K-006-3) from the Air Resources Board of California.

This means the CTR performance kit “has been evaluated and shown not to increase emissions on 2014-2016 Harley-Davidson Touring models, allowing CTR performance systems to be installed on street registered motorcycles.
“With every kit, you get Power Duals CTR head pipes and a choice from five different styles of Vance & Hines slip-on mufflers, a VO2 air intake and their brand new, ultra-sleek Fuelpak FPC with one touch tuning.”

CTR’s patent pending design gives “the comfort of less heat radiating from the exhaust system while delivering increased horsepower and torque, along with the unmistakable sound of a Vance & Hines muffler.”


J&P Cycles

J&P Cycles sets records

J&P Cycles is bucking the U.S. motorcycle industry retail trend, achieving record-setting retail growth through their “knowledgeable product staff members and improved customer experiences across all of their retail touchpoints.”
J&P Cycles set a company record in April 2017 with over 100,000 customer transactions occurring online, via phone and at retail locations. During the same period, J&P Cycles received a Bizrate customer rating of 9.2 (out of 10) in “likelihood to recommend” J&P Cycles to others. Bizrate is a leading source of online retail customer satisfaction data in the United States.

Kevin Strawbridge - President, MAG Retail Group: “In 2016, J&P Cycles invested in and optimized the customer experience across our channels, all of it geared toward putting customers first. April’s figures are proof that we’ve made the right changes”

“Customers tell us every day in our stores, at rallies, over the phone and in email that they appreciate our knowledgeable staff, unrivaled selection, and our focus on their riding needs,” said Kevin Strawbridge, President of MAG Retail Group. “In 2016, J&P Cycles invested in and optimized the customer experience across our channels, all of it geared toward putting customers first. April’s figures are proof that we’ve made the right changes.”
“To achieve this level of growth and trust from riders means a great deal to us, especially as we approach our 40th anniversary,” said Zach Parham, Vice President of Merchandising at J&P Cycles and son of J&P Cycles founder John Parham. “We could not have achieved this milestone without our customers’ loyalty and our team’s tireless commitment.”

Zach Parham, VP Merchandising: “To achieve this level of growth and trust from riders means a great deal to us, especially as we approach our 40th anniversary”

J&P Cycles will celebrate 38 years of operations by hosting the Iowa Rally on June 24-25, 2017 at the J&P Cycles original store in Anamosa, Iowa. The celebration will include over fifty motorcycle parts and accessories manufacturers, Cowboy Kenny’s Steel Rodeo motorcycle stunt show, live music and food and beer vendors.
The rally will also host the 2017 Hot Bike Magazine National Garage Build-Off Competition. Additional information about Iowa Rally activities can be found on the rally page at
J&P Cycles operates retail locations in Anamosa, Iowa, Daytona Beach, Florida, and Sturgis, South Dakota. The company’s Rider Service Center is located in Daytona Beach, Florida. J&P Cycles supports motorcyclists with retail pop-up stores at over a dozen motorcycle rallies, races and events throughout the U.S. each year.

Parts Unlimited & Drag Specialties 2017 NVP Product Expo

In the fourth trade event with V-twin industry ‘action’ in the space of four weeks in January and February this year, Drag Specialties and Parts Unlimited pulled off a coup with a “comeback” for industry involvement at Indianapolis. This year saw them filling an exhibition hall underneath the Indianapolis Colt’s state-of-the-art Lucas Oil Stadium, but the word is that an even bigger 2018 event will see LeMans booking out the main hall at the remodelled downtown Indianapolis Convention Center ... the crime scene of many a powersports industry dealer weekend of years past!
A hectic schedule of trade events concluded in February with Drag Specialties and Parts Unlimited “bringing back Indy” in the form of their 2017 NVP Product Expo housed in exhibition space beneath the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium on February 18 and 19.
Preceded by two days of vendor presentations to the group’s sales force and visiting dealers, the event isn’t a replacement for their well-known NVP Product Expo at Madison, Wisconsin, in August. That will still go ahead later this year (August 26 & 27), but it was an opportunity for the company to “ring the changes” after three or four years of hosting two somewhat later events at King Of Prussia in Pennsylvania and at Atlanta, Georgia.
“It’s always good to change things up once in a while,” said Jim Matchette, National Sales Manager for Drag Specialties, when I spoke with him at ‘Indy’ back in February.
“The events at King of Prussia and Atlanta have been really good for us, but we are a national business, so it makes sense to embrace different areas whenever we can. We may well be back in those areas at some stage – in fact the company will still be involved at Atlanta later this month when Parts Unlimited stages its Showcase at the Supercross.
“However, this year sees Drag Specialties stepping up to the plate to create our own tour of events. The Supercross events work really well for Parts Unlimited, but we wanted to do something different this year for Drag Specialties, so we have created a truck tour where the emphasis is on dealer training.

Jim Matchette: “It’s all about connecting effectively with our dealers. Our sales teams will get the opportunity to work closely with their dealers, at an event in their area, and our vendors get the opportunity to extend training with dealers they may never otherwise get the opportunity to meet”

Backed by several of Drag Specialties’ vendors, the series starts at Tampa, Florida, at the end of March, and then visits all four corners of the United States with 24 events already planned, with the possibility of adding more.
“It’s all about connecting effectively with our dealers. Our sales teams will get the opportunity to work closely with their dealers, at an event in their area, and our vendors get the opportunity to extend the kind of training they can give dealers at our NVPs on a more local level - with dealers who may never get the opportunity to otherwise meet with them.”
As reported in AMD Magazine two months ago, the series, as presently planned, finishes up in Texas (Dallas, then Houston) in October.
The vendors backing the Drag Specialties tour include the likes of S&S Cycle, Bassani Xhaust, Custom Dynamics, Hogtunes, Khrome Werks, Saddlemen, Klock Werks, LA Choppers, Magna Flow, J.W.Speaker, Memphis Shades, Revolution Performance and four of the tire companies – Dunlop, Pirelli, Michelin and Metzeler.
This tour is only one strand of this year’s event activities for Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties though. LeMans’ VP Sales Jeff Derge told me that, altogether, the company is involved in more than 70 events this year.
That includes ‘Indy’ and Madison, the V-Twin Expo at Cincinnati, the Drag Specialties Dealer Training Tour dates, the Parts Unlimited ‘Showcase’ series hosted at Supercross and Arena Cross events, other race involvements and sponsorships (“We Support The Sport”) and another new tour program created this year for the firm’s helmet and apparel programs.
“We have created three six-week tours, one each for the Western side of the country, one East Coast and a central swing, with six weeks each expressly for our helmet and apparel brands,” Jeff explained.

Jeff Derge: “Our events investment is huge, but we believe it is the right one. We have always invested in the brick and mortar dealers. Fred Fox has a phenomenal track record of backing the store network, and this is another new way of demonstrating our support for the shops”

“The format is two events a week and 36 shows altogether at which dealers see and engage with our complete apparel and helmet ranges, showcasing Thor, ICON, Alpinestars, Slippery When Wet, Artiva and others. Through conventional marketing channels you can give dealers new product updates, and the reps and existing shows can let them see one or two samples, but this way our dealers see all the designs and colorways, experience the look and feel of our apparel lines first hand, and form a much better perspective about how they can be merchandised in their showrooms and what can work for them in their local markets. It is all about helping our dealers make good buying decisions.
“It is a huge investment, but we think it is the right investment - just as the Drag Specialties Dealer Training Tour is. We have always invested in the brick and mortar dealers. Fred Fox has a phenomenal track record of backing the store network in our market, and this is another new way of demonstrating our support for the brick and mortar shops.
“Other distributors may have different approaches, but we believe in the store owners and still think their investments in their showrooms represents the biggest shop window the markets has. The vast majority of sales are still through the shops. In the scheme of things, e-commerce is still a relatively small percentage. Ours is a technical and hands-on, experiential industry. There’ll always be a role for mail order, of one kind or another, but I don’t think it will ever take over – not in the motorcycle industry.
“The revenue the online stores generate is still money that is going into the industry. But what we also have to do is to help our dealers compete. Above all to help them exploit the unique advantages that a real shop with real enthusiasts brings to the consumer’s enjoyment of their motorcycle ownership and riding experience. That is where our focus is – to help everyone in the industry continue to benefit from that.”
Talking with Drag Specialties and industry veteran Tom Motzko about “Indy being back” and the long-term impact that this could have, he agreed that the potential is huge. “The reaction has been excellent and we would have been in the Convention Center this year, excepting for an event clash. But we are definitely in the expo center for 2018 and beyond, and yes, I agree – I think this is set to become a major feature of the annual industry calendar.

Tom Motzko: “We are super excited about embracing Indianapolis for our own event and yes, of course, the industry legacy is going to help. Next year the show floor will be at least 30 percent larger than this year has been, and we feel good about the plans we have”

“As a city, I think Indianapolis was always more popular with vendors and dealers than anyone realizes. But it and Dealer Expo had its issues. These are different times now though. The city has made itself easier to do business with, the expo center is now way better than it was, and there is a very positive and business friendly attitude.
“We are excited about embracing Indianapolis for our own event and yes, of course, the industry legacy is going to help. Next year the show floor will be at least 30 percent larger than this year has been, and we feel good about the plans we have.”
Talking with Tom about the market, he agreed that the end of 2016 was “challenging – as it was for everyone. But we started 2017 really well and have had our best first quarter in a long time.”
Jeff Derge went on to say that “what is interesting is that there’s been no magic tricks, just good old fashioned hard work. There is business out there for the shops, they just need help creating the excitement the market needs to get everyone enthused.”
Jim Matchette made a prescient remark, bearing in mind that we were talking in mid-February. “I’m picking up a great deal of excitement about the prospects for the Flat Track racing season ahead. It seems to me that the AMA have done a good job in terms of trying to breathe new life into it, and the competition that we may be about to see between Harley and Indian could turn out to be good for the industry.”
Good call Jim – now, about the series outcome, who’s your money on?

News Briefs

The Exhibitor Services Guide and approved housing service links for the 2017 AIMExpo presented by Nationwide in Columbus, Ohio (September 21 – 24) are now available at the show website: Stunning Show Fact # 10,971 – there are 28 local breweries in the Columbus region, and with more than half of them opening in the last five years local residents have been inspired to create the “Columbus Ale Trail”; however, caveat emptor – it is not a circular route!

The Motorcycle Industry Council Board of Directors has elected Paul Vitrano, vice president of global government relations at Polaris Industries Inc., as its new chairperson, succeeding Dennis McNeal, vice president of motorcycle operations at Yamaha Motor Corporation, who retired in December. Chuck Boderman, vice president, Motorcycle Division at American Honda Motor Co., Inc., is the new vice chair, with Jim Woodruff, COO at National Powersport Auctions, as secretary/treasurer. Tim Buche continues as president and CEO.

Polaris has expanded its Slingshot three-wheeled roadster line-up with the addition of a new SL Limited Edition model – the ‘Midnight Cherry’, which is said to “combine the Thrill of the Open Road with the Ultimate in Comfort and Style” with “new style features for an exhilarating, shared adventure.”

In an effort to prohibit the availability of E15 in the U.S., a pump gas formulation that contains up to 15 percent ethanol by volume, the AMA says it is supporting a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Congress (the RFS Reform Act) that would amend the Renewable Fuel Standard to recognize market conditions and realities. It also would prohibit the U.S. EPA from allowing the introduction of gasoline blends with more than 10 percent ethanol by volume. In other words, E15 will not be permitted if this legislation becomes law.

Following what it says were “an all-time record high retail sales” in 2016, Triumph Motorcycles America has announced that the Bonneville Bobber has been “the most successful new model launch” in their history, and that with five new models added to the Bonneville family for 2017 the company has reported total unit sales up by +15 percent for the first quarter in North America.

43rd annual Custom Bike Show

Norrtälje, Sweden, Saturday June 3rd

Arguably the oldest and longest established custom bike show in the world, the 43rd annual Custom Bike Show staged by Swedish riders’ club MC Norrtälje will again be staged at the coastal city of Norrtälje, an hour north east of the Swedish capital Stockholm.

An established and iconic event in Europe’s annual calendar, the unique one-day Custom Bike Show is a fixture at the first weekend of June (Sweden’s annual national holiday weekend) and attracts thousands of visitors from as far afield as Norway, Finland, Denmark and the Baltic countries, as well as the length and breadth of Sweden itself.
Last year saw over 200 bikes in 8 classes compete for vendor prizes that included a RevTech transmission donated by Custom Chrome Europe (CCE) and an expense paid package for the winners to compete at the next AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building at INTERMOT ‘Customized’ (in October 2018), paid for by the members of Twin Club MC.
This will be the 13th year of affiliation for the Custom Bike Show, making it the longest established ‘AMD Affiliate’. In total over 10,000 visitors are expected, and with more than 5,000 bikes descending on what is a tranquil former port city on the Swedish coast that regularly throws its doors open and welcomes bikers from all over northern Europe, the city authorities at Norrtälje are among the most “rider friendly” in Europe.
Three separate judging systems are used to determine the winners, with a jury of industry professionals deciding on three World Championship affiliate prizes, with the competitors deciding the class prizes, and a Public Choice winner, sponsored by CCE. Last year saw a Bagger class added, which provided the Public Choice winner and Best Paint award.
Last year’s winning bike, selected by the jury, and which went on to compete in the Freestyle class at last year’s AMD World Championship, was a classic Swedish style ‘70s chopper with a 93” S&S Pan-style engine in a Swedish made UCC (Unique Custom Cycles/Gordon Rooth) 40-degree rake, 3” stretch rigid frame with a 4” over Springer front end made in Finland by Mr Moore Motorcycles.

Twin Power

Cush drive chain conversion kit

2009 and later cush drive Harley-Davidson touring models can easily convert from rear belt to chain drive thanks to this new bolt-on rear chain conversion kit from Twin Power. 

“The chain conversion kit installs easily with no modifications,” says James Simonelli, Brand Manager for Twin Power. “Besides being able to transmit much more power than the belt, the 100 percent U.S.A made kit allows easy re-gearing for those who want to make better use of their 6-speed transmission. Plus, swapping the rear belt to chain drive is far less work than changing a broken belt. You don’t need to remove the swingarm.” Simonelli adds: “Look for similar high-quality kits for Sportsters, FXRs and Dynas soon.”
The kit comes with a 24-tooth transmission sprocket and 51-tooth rear sprocket, equivalent to the stock gearing. They are made from heat-treated tool steel and Grade 8 hardware. The hub is made from high-strength billet aluminum with a factory-type black finish. It is assembled with bearing and spacer and is ready to install.
Both the 55-tooth and 58-tooth sprockets are available separately. A 530x120 link chain is recommended, but not included, and must be cut to size, allowing the end user to choose a chain based on their personal preferences.


Andrews Products

Andrews adds muscle to the M8
Mount Prospect, Illinois based Andrews Products has “more muscle” available for the 2017 Milwaukee 8 tourers in the shape of three new “dyno proven” cam designs.

Their M450 is a “great bolt-in cam choice for stock compression 107” and 114” engines for touring style riding, with excellent low (1000-5500) rpm torque,” says General Manager Mike Pedersen.
“Our new bolt-in M460 gives excellent all-around performance in stock compression 107” and 114” engines, as well as the 117” big bore kits with higher compression, with great low to mid (1000-5600) rpm power.

General Manager Mike Pedersen: “The M450 is a “great bolt-in cam choice for
stock compression 107” and 114” engines”

“The 460 shows 12 percent more torque and 17 percent more HP over stock 107” cams.
“However, our M504 is a great choice for more “spirited riding” in stock 107” and 114” engines and an excellent choice for the big bore kits with higher compression ratios. It is a mid (1500-5700) rpm cam that requires high-lift valve springs.” Mike says that these are just a selection of what are likely to be three of Andrews’ best sellers for the M8 engine, but additional grinds are also available.


Joker Machine

‘Streamliner’ turn signals

These ‘Streamliner’ turn signals, manufactured by Joker Machine at their Lake Havasu City, Arizona factory, incorporate “the latest in lighting technology, providing a brighter, more visible LED which can be seen from a wider angle”. No load equalizer is required for 2014-up models. 

Machined from 6061 billet aluminum and available in multiple styles and black or chrome plated finishes. Fits 1996-up FLHT models.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Indian Motorcycle

Indian sweeps the podium at Arizona Mile

Indian Motorcycle ‘Wrecking Crew’ riders took all three top spots at last weekend’s Arizona Mile Flat Track race as the fourth round of the 18-race series saw rivalry with Harley-Davidson’s team renewed.

“After the long break following the Charlotte Half Mile, we were all excited to see how the guys would perform on the season’s first Mile,” said Gary Gray, Vice President Product Development for Indian Motorcycle. “Their dominant success at each race is a tribute to how hard each rider and
his team are preparing.”

This is the second time that the Indian Motorcycle riders have taken the first three places this season and the fourth consecutive race win for Indians in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines.
Reigning Grand National Champion Bryan Smith took his second consecutive win of the season, with Brad Baker second and Jared Mees, who took the first two wins of the year, third.

After two red flags, and with the sun going down, the main event (The Law Tigers Arizona Mile, presented by Indian Motorcycle at ‘Turf Paradise’, Phoenix, Arizona, Saturday May 13) was forced to reconfigure to a five-lap shootout. Smith earned his second consecutive victory by ducking inside Baker with two laps remaining – edging him out by .057 seconds.
“My team has done an incredible job, and the Scout FTR750 is performing like nothing else I’ve ever been on,” said Smith. “The mile races are my favorite, and with four of the next five races being miles, we’re excited to keep it rolling.” 
“After the long break following the Charlotte Half Mile, we were all excited to see how the guys would perform on the season’s first Mile,” said Gary Gray, Vice President Product Development for Indian Motorcycle. “Their dominant success at each race is a tribute to how hard each rider and his team are preparing.”
The Indian Motorcycle Racing and Jared Mees pit crews are assisted in preparation of the bikes by exhaust provider S&S Cycle, and the “paddock chat” coming into the first Mile race of the series was that following TT, Short Track and Half Mile wins, if anything, the peak power being developed by the FTR750Rs would be best suited to the longer races.
With 10 out of 12 podium spots under their belt already, the ‘Wrecking Crew’ left Arizona heading for this coming weekend’s Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile (May 20) confrontation in northern California optimistic that the run could be kept going.
Smith and Mees are neck-on-neck at the top of the AFT presented by Vance & Hines leader board, having reached the podium in every race with two first place finishes each. Indian Motorcycle Racing is backed by Allstate Insurance.