MAKE 2020 YOUR BIG ROADTRIP YEAR. START PLANNING NOW. MJB Photo: Oceanside Pier, Oceanside, California

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Some bikers enjoy wintry pleasures. I’m not one of them.

WINTER…Grrr! Winter is in full swing… springtime is not yet in the air but let’s dream a little. Many of my biker friends who live in the great white north

Who says winter riding isn’t fun?

SO, YOU DON’T LIVE IN SOCAL…Just because you don’t live in Southern California, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your beloved motorcycle during winter time. Winter riding done just right. Check

Beaulieu Brothers Ride 2019

WE RIDE THE GASPE PENINSULA… Few things in life get my excitement level up like planning for a big motorcycle roadtrip… Note – Blog Post in progress. — MJB This

Motorcycles are still cool so why is the industry hurting?

WHERE ARE THE NEW RIDERS? Motorcycle sales are down, motorcyclists are getting older, and people have all kinds of non-motorcycle related pursuits fighting for their hard-earned, after-tax dollars. Industry distributors,

The Beaulieu Brothers Ride the American Southwest

  BEAULIEU BROTHERS RIDE…Big blue skies, breathtaking natural scenery, John Wayne’s wild west and the rich history of Route 66…Read on… BBR2016 had me riding my Chieftain out of San

Explore Cambodia on a motorcycle…Enduro style.

  AMAZING KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA…See this amazing country from the seat of an Enduro Motorcycle.  The Kingdom of Cambodia was a powerful and prosperous empire that flourished and dominated almost

Romania and Eastern Europe on a Motorcycle

  DREAM RIDE ROMANIA! Imagine riding one of the most exciting roads in the world…the Transfagarasan Highway in Romania. The country of Romania in Eastern Europe is home to the

Harley-Davidson’s Workhorse Bagger – The Electra Glide Ultra

  THE ELECTRA GLIDE…ONE OF MY FAVORITE BIKES — Back in 2004, I bought a brand new Electra Glide Classic from San Diego Harley-Davidson. Me and “the Glide” as I named

Distracted Driving Awareness

WATCH OUT FOR DISTRACTED DRIVERS! Nothing is more threatening to us motorcycle riders than the distracted driver who now commonly occupies our streets, roadways and highways. Driving mobile phone users

Marc’s Magnum Ride to Sturgis75

  STURGIS! The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally…you gotta see it to believe it! Imagine this, Sturgis, South Dakota, a small, quiet mid-western town of 6,500 people, growing to a metropolis of

Some bikers enjoy wintry pleasures. I’m not one of them.

WINTER…Grrr! Winter is in full swing… springtime is not yet in the air but let’s dream a little.

Many of my biker friends who live in the great white north and those in the mid-west and northeast are now in full snow mode depression. Some are getting antsy…the white stuff and the cold weather has already lost its shine…They are spending more and more time these days in the garage or storage shed staring at their motorcycle. At least these types of portable buildings are able to protect their motorcycles and any vehicles that they have from the winter season so that they can be kept in the same pristine condition as they were left in before. I think I may have to invest in one soon so I’m just as prepared for them for the snow and cold.

A dedicated and brave group have set up portable heaters or fired-up the pot-bellied stoves and have taken to cleaning and shining their bike a second or third time…Dreaming about that first springtime ride. Winter, it can be tough on bikers.

Don’t believe me? Call the good folks at Buffalo Harley-Davidson for a description of winters in Buffalo.

Buffalo HD, a dealership serving customers for over 80 years, is where I ship my bike when embarking on east coast rides with my brother, Rocky. (The BBR Rides) They are always in a good mood and ready to help in July…not sure about their psychology in January. Never been to Buffalo in January.

Some bikers enjoy wintry pleasures. I’m not one of them.

Some brave souls with a need for speed and adept at winter survival, get their wintry pleasures by switching to snowmobiles for the winter season. (“Skidoos” as we called them in the freezing days of the lumbercamps).

The Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia have invested heavily in snowmobile trails and the sport has become quite popular over the years.

In the U.S., the areas around the upper Michigan Penninsula, the back woods of Wisconsin, central Minnesota and all over Maine in the northeast, have become winter fan favorites. The great state of Colorado also offers some amazingly well-groomed trails. Click here for the Top 10 snowmobile trails and locations in the USA.

I don't do winter but if I did, I'd be riding a snowmobile in the Great White North.

“I don’t do winter but if I did, I’d be riding a snowmobile in the Great White North.” – MJB – Click image for snow trails and grooming conditions in the U.S. and Canada.

Winter motorcycle racing has friends in cold places.

In addition to snowmobiling, one can race motorcycles on ice during the winter. Winter racing bikes are basically the same as those used during summertime oval speedway racing but they have a longer wheelbase and much more rigid frames. As shown in the photo below, winter racing bikes use studded tires and have big fenders over the wheels in order to offer extra protection. Click here for more information on this winter sport.

Ice racing indoors is getting some attention too. Click here for the history of ICE Arena Speedway Racing.

It's not Bonneville but does look like fast fun.

It’s not Bonneville but racing a motorcycle on a frozen lake does look like fast fun. Click image to get an introduction to Cycle World’s Winter X Motorcycle Racing.

The joy of that first springtime ride…

That first spring ride can be cold but exhilarating. When the time comes, you’ll want to pay special attention on roadways as black ice, the kind you don’t see until it’s to late, will likely be on some sections of the roads even when the asphalt appears dry.

The excitement of that first ride can sometime have you twist the throttle at the wrong time and off into a wipeout skid you go. If your lucky, you’ll end up on a soft snow bank by the side of the road with only your ego bruised. If unlucky, you’ll be wearing a road rash suit that could delay the rest of your summer riding schedule.

Be extra careful and extra alert the first time you get out after not riding for the winter months. As we experienced bikers say, take the time to get your “riding legs” back.

Be careful on that first ride in the spring. Look out for black ice. MJB Riding Tip.

Be careful on that first ride in the spring. Look out for black ice. MJB Riding Tip.

Hey, back to reality. It’s only December folks!

The first day of spring in the northern hemisphere is set to begin Friday, March 20, 2015. The changing weather period between those fierce, brutally cold winter months and the warming days of spring sunshine is a magical time for motorcyclists. Thoughts of rebirth, renewal and regrowth are everywhere. The heart pounds, the palms sweat, the leathers and helmet get cleaned…the summer riding season will begin once again… Until then, stay warm my friends.

Whether you ride a motorcycle or snowmobile this time of year, be safe out there.

Rent a Harley this winter from the good folks at SDHD.

For those of you stuck in the northern hemisphere and looking for a break from winter, consider visiting San Diego, California. Rent a Harley from SDHD and enjoy some sunshine this winter.

Motorcycle Marc

That's my 2004 HD Electra Glide...great tourer.

That’s my 2004 HD Electra Glide Classic…One of my favorite bikes of all time.

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement intended. See footer of this blog/website for additional information.

Who says winter riding isn’t fun?

SO, YOU DON’T LIVE IN SOCAL…Just because you don’t live in Southern California, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your beloved motorcycle during winter time.

Ice Time Wheelie

Ice Time Wheelie. Source: BlogTrackDayCoUK

Winter Time Fun on one wheel.

Winter Time Fun on one wheel. Source: PBnation.com

Winter riding done just right. Check out the video here.

Winter motorcycle ride (and crash) in a snow storm riding home…ouch! But one hell of a ride…? Click here to experience riding on snow-filled, icy roads. And you thought your commute was bad.

Winter Fun

Winter and motorcycles… it can be depressing for us bikers. That’s why I live in SoCal. Click here for the video of the sad winter biker.

Ride Safe Out There. May spring time riding weather come your way soon.

Motorcycle Marc

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

 

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement is ever intended. See footer area of this website for more information.

Beaulieu Brothers Ride 2019

WE RIDE THE GASPE PENINSULA…

Few things in life get my excitement level up like planning for a big motorcycle roadtrip…

Note – Blog Post in progress. — MJB

This year’s BBR will have us cover just over 4,000 miles beginning in upstate New York then heading to the tip of eastern Canada then back into New England USA and with a final leg way up north in northern Ontario.

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Day 1 – We meet up in Niagara Falls/Buffalo, New York

Located 17 miles norhtwest of Buffalo, NY, the three Niagara Falls straddle the international border between the province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are on the American side. The Horseshoe Falls lie right on the border with Canada and the U.S.

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Off to visit a sister in Ottawa, Ontario.

Few things bring back childhood memories like our Mom’s french meat pie known in French as “tourtiere”. Sister Rose inherited our Mom’s great cooking skill and makes the perfect French Tourtiere for us during our stop-over at her home in Ottawa.

Canada’s Capital City, Ottawa, sits on the Ottawa River in eastern Ontario and borders with Gatineau, Quebec. The city was founded as ByTown in 1826.

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On to Quebec City to visit another sister.

La Belle Ville de Quebec…one of the oldest cities in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Note the towering Chateau Frontenac in background. Mainly all French speaking, the city was founded on July 3, 1608 by French Explorer, Samuel de Champlain.

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Riding towards Canada’s Atlantic Coast…the incredible beauty of the Gaspe Peninsula.

On the way via Route 132 which tracks south of the massive St. Lawrence River, we’ll make stops in the St. Eusebe-Cabano area to visit family members.

View of Perce Rock from Rt 132. Quebec, Canada
Located on the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

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Once around the Gaspe Peninsula, we’ll head to visit yet another sister in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada lies in the center of the Maritime Provinces. It was founded in 1766 by Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants from Philadelphia, USA.

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The spectacular Cabot Trail ride…

One of the most scenic drives on the planet. Especially amazing from the seat of a motorcycle.
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

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After cruising around Cape Breton, we’ll ride through Nova Scotia towards Saint John, New Brunswick…where two more sisters will get to feed us. 🙂

Saint John, New Brunswick is located on the Bay of Fundy. It is the oldest incorporated city in Canada (1785). French Explorer, Samuel de Champlain, landed here on June 24, 1604.

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Back into the USA – New England region to visit family.

Lawrence, MA originally settled in 1655, is about 15 miles from Lowell, MA. The city is located on the Merrimack River.

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The last leg of BBR2019 will have us heading north into logging country.

After enjoying the company of our cousins around Lawrence, MA, we’ll ride out through New Hampshire and Vermont back into Canada looking to head north on Provincial Highway 17 towards our home town of Chapleau in northern Ontario.

Heading to bush country for the Island Lake Lumbercamp Kids Reunion…
Watch out for moose in northern Ontario.

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Long live the Beaulieu Brothers Rides…

Time sure flies…Brother Roch and me first rode the Cabot Trail back 18 years ago in 2002. He on a 2001 Yamaha Star Cruiser and me on my 1999 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide.

Ride Safe Out There, 

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Marc & Roch Beaulieu


Beaulieu Brothers, Marc (59) & Roch (57). We’ve been riding motorcycles and exploring everywhere since our early teens growing up in the Island Lake Lumber Camp
in northern Ontario, Canada.

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle evangelist, an industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

Motorcycles – Winter Storage Prep

WELCOME TO WINTER – Said no motorcycle rider ever!

I grew up in the lumber camp country of Northern Canada where winters were long, brutal and just plain nasty.

As kids, we basically froze our butts off most days from October to May. To make matters worse, we could not ride motorcycles for that 8 month period…Yes, I hated winter in northern Ontario and it hated me. I, therefore, set my sights laser-beam style on southern California and got here legally at the age of 33. I’ve been riding whenever I want ever since.

Quick stop on Del Mar Beach in sunny San Diego, California. Winter riding the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special. On loan from SDHD.

For those of you riders bound by ice, snow and sleet, I suggest you read this post and follow the storage tips my brother and I learned during those long, cold and dark Canadian winters. Read on…

Clean your bike. Lubricate metal surfaces.

Dirt will begin to corrode and damage metal surfaces if left on your bike for long periods of time. Bike owners need to be sure that they clean their bikes before putting them in storage sheds. If you don’t yet have any storage sheds, you may want to take a look into them for the winter months. Most sellers will provide shed delivery, so you don’t have to worry about the logistics of picking one up. Some people don’t think it is worth getting a shed, either because they think a sheet over the bike is enough to protect it from the elements (it isn’t), or because they are simply trying to save the expense. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune; you could take a look at used storage sheds if you want to save money.

Have a chain? Lubricate it. Lubricate all moving parts such as cables. Make sure you also lubricate the underside of the frame and engine. This will take care of any rust exposed by scratches.

Check your tires. Prepare them for storage.

Prepare your tires by taking out any moisture that may be in them. Simply deflate your tires and then inflate them with clean compressed air. It helps if you have your own compressor.

If at all possible, consider elevating your bike so both tires are not under any load. Use blocks under the frame instead of bottle jacks or motorcycle lift. Lifts and jacks have been known to lose pressure and fail under prolonged period of load time. Double-check your bike to make sure it is secure. For storage space, getting a 20×20 prefab garage building could be a great option for the winter season.

Change your oil and add a quality fuel stabilizer.

Scooters need love and protection too.

Scooters need love and protection too.

This step is really important. Residual fuel and contamitants in the gas and oil can oxidize over the winter months and ruin your engine prematurely.

Change your oil to remove all the dirt and particles. Put in a good fuel stabilizer and run it through your engine for about 10 minutes.

Prep the battery. Buy a quality charger.

I recommend disconnecting and removing your battery from your bike for the winter. Clean the battery cables and battery post connections. Once cleaned, put a fine film of grease on the posts to seal and protect them. Simply remove the grease next spring.

CTEK Battery Chargers…top quality product for sure.

Double-check your battery for cracks and damage. I like battery tenders since they don’t overcharge your battery. Simply hook up a specialized and quality battery charger and let it do its thing all winter long.

My battery charger of choice is made by CTEK.

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Park it and Cover It.

The type of cover you use to protect your motorcycle while it is in storage matters. You’ll want to select a mildew resistant cover.

Also, it’s a good idea to cover the openings of your exhaust pipes unless you want to deal with rodent nests in the spring. This actually happened to me one winter while my Yamaha 125 was stored in an outdoor shed. It was quite the furry blowout when the bike was first started in the spring.

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Review your insurance policy.

Some insurance companies offer reduced rates for motorcycles that are stored during the winter months. Check with your insurance agent for specific details.

Collision coverage can make up anywhere from 22% to 35% of your annual premium so savings can be significant. You can delete the collision coverage if you feel that your bike is stored in a very safe location and is surely not to be exposed to the possibility of any collision.(i.e. your teenager running their car into your bike while stored in the garage.) This is not an option for everyone but sure is worth considering.

Soon...it will be summer...Oh, how I love summer time.

Oh, how I love summer all year long and being able to ride whenever I want.

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The Bottom Line

Gearing down for winter can be an emotional experience for bikers who live in cold climates. Spring time is always around the corner they say. Protect your motorcycle right and it will be ready for that first ride in the spring. Also, remember to double check and clean your leathers, gloves and helmet.

If you live in the cold, wintery parts of this world, you gotta follow the motorcycle storage suggestions above. Me, I live in sunny southern California so I’m riding this weekend.

Special Note: Please inspect your motorcycle before that first spring ride. Look for any loose wires, bolts, connections and mechanical problems before starting your bike. Double check tire pressure. Review any notes you may of made before putting your bike up for the winter.

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Ride Safe Out There.

MJB July 2015 - 336x336

Remember, keep that battery charged up all winter long. – Motorcycle Marc

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About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

Motorcycles are still cool so why is the industry hurting?

WHERE ARE THE NEW RIDERS? Motorcycle sales are down, motorcyclists are getting older, and people have all kinds of non-motorcycle related pursuits fighting for their hard-earned, after-tax dollars. Industry distributors, suppliers and after-market players are all struggling according to numerous media reports and a review of various OEM financial reports. Future sales forecasts by the big manufacturers are weak. Many are working towards lower inventories to ensure they are not producing more bikes than their “current” marketplace can support. So, what’s up?

Here’s my 2-cents on this issue…

The 45+ Demographic –  As is the case with many expensive recreational product offerings such as ATVs, RVs, side-by-sides, boats and motorcycles, personal income levels and interest rates play a huge role in customer demand. In other words, you got to be able to afford your recreational pursuits.

The American Motorcyclist Association indicates the average age of today’s motorcycle rider is 48. Nearly 40% of motorcycles in the U.S. have owners in the 50+ age range. Average household income of a motorcycle owner is above $85,000. This is $30,000 higher than the average household income of $55,000 in the U.S. Basic observation: A disappearing pool of customers (with the money to buy their ever increasingly expensive products) is clearly evident to OEMs and has been so for the past decade.  Despite the evidence, OEMs have been slow to control their selling costs and even more slow to invest in developing other target demographics such as women riders and minorities.

The Aging Rider – Baby Boomer on 2 wheels. – Almost singularly drove the success of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s…but today, they are “aging out” of the motorcycle marketplace.

Product Sticker Shock – It’s no wonder first-time buyers and young people aren’t buying a lot of new motorcycles. Many are loaded with college debt and/or  automobile debt and/or raising young families. In California and other expensive states, a good number of the under 35 crowd can barely afford to leave the comfort of their family’s homes.

OEMs have failed to address the economic reality plaguing this demographic. Best I can tell, young people actually like the idea of participating in adventures and going on roadtrips but view bikes as too expensive a vehicle for it.

Remember the simple minibikes of the 60s & 70s? You could buy them for less than $250 from the Sears Catalog. These bikes got a lot of us riding early.

Not building new motorcycles that young people can afford has been a clear strategic miss by the OEMs in my opinion. For example, the Harley-Davidson Street 500 MSRP is $6,899 plus an estimated 25% for various state and dealerhip charges. Now, your talking almost $9,000 out the dealership door.

Indian’s new Scout Sixty is a really cool ride but at MSRP $8,999 plus an estimated 25% of OEM “disclaimer” fees and you are now looking at $11,249 out the door.

Yamaha Cruisers don’t fare much better with the Bolt Cruiser MSRP at $7,999 + 25% = $10,000.

2018 HD Street 500 – nice bike! First time buyers and young buyers on my blog tell me they would see this Street 500 as much nicer at $6,899 out the dealership door instead of $6,899 MSRP plus various fees. ImageSource: HDMedia

Just 1 in 5 new motorcycle purchases (only 20%) are coming from first-time bike buyers according to marketing expert, Brandon Gaille. Basic observation: Smart competitors have taken notice. Sources tell me that India’s Royal Enfield is getting ready to launch new U.S. bikes in the 500cc and 750cc range for under $7,900 out the door by 2019. Japan’s world famous Honda Super Cub, with engines at 50cc and 110cc, is being launched now in Japan for an out the door price estimated to be $2,500. A U.S. and Canada introduction is expected for 2019.

Used MotorcyclesThe real price to ride value today…comes from used motorcycles. Bikes are so well built that one can consider any pre-owned motorcycle with less than 10,000 miles and less than 10 years old basically like new in my opinion. Riders are saving thousands of dollars by buying good used bikes from Motorcycle Trader, EBay and other sources.

And, for all those fortunate few that can afford/want to pay $40,000 to $50,000 for a new, top of the line Tourer, there’s as many potential such buyers chosing to hang back waiting for a pre-owned, low-mileage Tourer selling for $22,000 to $29,000. Basic observation: Dealers need to display more used bikes up front as viable ride options…don’t hide them in the back of the showroom as outcasts. I’m hearing used bikes are selling so you might as well prioritize them for sale on the showroom floor.

Industry Leadership – Looking around the motorcycle industry, OEM leadership is predominantly male. One is hard-pressed to find many female executives among the C-suite decision-making ranks. So it’s no surprise that female riders have not received top level support from OEMs and their distributors. Key point – The industry cannot hope to capture the hearts and minds of new riders without more diversity in its leadership ranks.

The Motorcycle Industry C-Suite…a male dominated business looking for ways to attract more female riders and other enthusiasts? Clearly, the industry requires new thinking from women and minorities to lead tomorrow’s new sales success.The motorcycle business cannot afford to favor one group over another going forward.

Depending on which statistics you look at, women riders make up between 9% and 14% of the motorcycling population. Gen X women, those born between 1961 and 1981 are currently between 30 and 55 years of age. They appear to be well educated, more confident, more independent and many have good paying jobs. Yes, they got debt and other obligations but so does everyone in this demographic age group.

As a business person, it seems odd to me that women and minorities are so under-represented across the sport of motorcycling given how long motorcycles have been around.

Also, women continue to be promoted not as serious riders and/or passengers but mainly as sexy ornaments to motorcycles and the motorcycle lifestyle. This is a clear marketing target customer miss by OEMs in my opinion, given today’s business climate of diversity, inclusion and harassment. Also, by treating women as nothing but sexy ornaments, they are leaving themselves open to a lawsuit if a woman decides to contact a sexual harassment attorney in response to this behaviour.Basic observation: Diversity and inclusion of women and minorities matters. Big time support and respect is a must going forward if OEMs have any hope in developing this major, important group of future riders.

Marketing as a Discipline – does not appear to be a strong, well-funded business competence amongst OEMs. Basic observation: Where are the powerful, executive level, revenue-driving, motorcycle-riding CMOs leading the charge on “experience marketing” initiatives?

Marketing as an Investment – There appears to be enthusiasm for various motorcycle racing segments, a few celebrity endorsements, some money to assist local dealership promotions but little investment by OEMs in the creation of new rider engagements and experiences. The industry’s use of the broad media overall seems to be inadequate for more demand creation. When was the last time you saw a cool television commercial showing a happy motorcycling family outing, for example.

OEM BizTip – It’s all about the customer…not the dealers, not the suppliers, not even the shareholders. Motorcycle manufacturers must build affordable bikes for a broader spectrum of the population in order to re-energize sales.

Basic observation: OEMs need to pivot and invest in more “experience marketing” strategies and plans that are totally customer specific…not dealership specific or feel good engineering specific. OEMs and dealerships need to move beyond Saturday morning coffee and donuts and/or bikini-clad babes washing bikes to attract new riders. It’s about the experience around “the ride” for everyone!

New Rider Prospects – They’re everywhere! Yes! The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that there are near 8 million Americans who have a motorcycle license but don’t own a bike. Where are the sophisticated marketing campaigns and initiatives aimed at converting these 8 million motorcycle-licensed holders that don’t own a bike?

In California, the country’s largest motorcycle market, there are more licensed motorcyclists without a motorcycle than there are licensed riders who currently own one. According to a 2014 Motorcycle Industry Counsel Survey, 1.7 million Californians held licenses to operate motorcycles but only 847,937 motorcycles were registered in the state. I suspect a similar correlation exists today in 2018.

Think about this for a moment…millions of licensed-qualified prospects want to ride and the industry is struggling to sell them bikes? Basic observation: The industry’s traditional marketing and sales model is obviously outdated and nowhere near as effective as it should be…My spin on it…OEMs are making great bikes that people want to ride but they are just too expensive given the weak marketing communication efforts around their overall value. In other words, they have allowed the price-to-ride-value equation to get out of whack.

International Sales – are in motion by OEMs in the U.S.. –  Global sales will play a major role in the financial success of American motorcycle manufacturers if they are able to adapt and build for the international rider. Basic Observation: Dramatically increase your efforts here to optimize your profits and shareholder value.

The Bottom Line

There are an estimated 9.0 million motorcycles registered in the U.S. today, according to the Statistical Portal. The Motorcycle Industry Council estimates that the percentage of U.S. households with at least one bike has settled around 6.8% since 2008. Harley-Davidson wants to add 2.0 million new riders over the next decade…what do the other OEMs want to do?

While the industry and and its participants may rise and fall together, I’m placing the responsibility for the industry’s success today and in the future 100% on the OEMs and their current distribution model. Like many traditional business models, they must change and significantly improved the customer experience to ensure a profitable future in the U.S. and abroad.

OEMs have a responsibility for elevating the visibility of riding. They have the responsibility for working hand-in-hand with their dealers to create family-friendly riding opportunities.  They have a responsibility to train their dealers to be more customer friendly. They have the responsibility to promote safe riding conditions on streets, roads and highways everywhere. They have a responsibility to lower manufacturing costs so that they can bring bikes to market that people can justify buying.

Dealers have the responsibility for bringing the fun back into buying new motorcycles. Yes, OEMs and dealerships…The future of motorcycling is in your hands.

Rode out from San Diego, CA to Monument Valley, Utah in 2016…660 miles one way just for the fun of it. – June 2016

Me, I will continue to promote the great sport of motorcycling with my thousands of social media followers in the hopes that someone somewhere will be inspired to get on a bike and ride.

Coming soon…In Part 2 of this topic, I will provide my 2-cent advice on how motorcycle manufacturers, dealerships and others…can get back on track towards recruiting more riders and selling more bikes. Stay tuned…

Ride Safe Out There,

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About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle evangelist, an industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of tens of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

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About Give-A-Shift – The Future of Motorcycling – Roundtable Discussion  This initiative is being championed by motorcycle industry pro, Robert Pandya. I got to give credit where credit is due…his document inspired me to write this blog post. Mr. Pandya recently brought together a number of key motorcycle advocates and industry participants to discuss the realities impacting today’s motorcycle industry. The resulting roundtable report offers some good thoughts and ideas. Click here to read it or click on the Give-A-Shift Banner located in the right side banners of this blog.

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

The Beaulieu Brothers Ride the American Southwest

 

BEAULIEU BROTHERS RIDE…Big blue skies, breathtaking natural scenery, John Wayne’s wild west and the rich history of Route 66…Read on…

BBR2016 had me riding my Chieftain out of San Diego, California early one Saturday morning back in June…Destination: 375 miles eastward to Phoenix, Arizona to meet up with my brother Rocky.

Rocky had just completed 2,000 miles riding with his wife and friends around Arizona, Utah and Colorado. He and I would start the second leg of our Beaulieu Brothers Ride and explore the American Southwest for another 2,500 miles. His motorbike of choice this year was a new BMW K1600 GTL Tourer from Eagle Rider Motorcycle Rentals.

 

Roch E. Beaulieu – Adventure Rider. The Other Half of the Beaulieu Brothers Rides.

 

I must say that the BMW K 1600 GTL is one high-end, classy touring machine. It comes with a 6-cylinder engine that is all power all the time…160 hp, 129 ft-pd of torque (1649cc)…driven by a 6-speed tranny and shaft drive. This is one smooth, luxury motorcycle. I knew that I would need to push my Indian Chieftain to its upper limits to keep up with my younger brother on this BBR.

 

The ride through northern Arizona

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Arizona is one of America’s most interesting states to explore. The state is best known for the Grand Canyon, the Navajo and Apache Nations, Monument Valley, artsy Sedona and Route 66 lore. We tried to see as much of it as we could on this roadtrip.

Flagstaff, Arizona was founded in 1876. It’s an impressive big pine mountain town on the original Route 66…today known as I-40. The railroad reached Flagstaff in 1881. The Mother Road, as Route 66 is affectionally known, passes right through the center of Flagstaff. Route 66 was 90 years old in 2016. The city takes special pride in its Route 66 heritage.

 

Winslow, Arizona…a Bucket List Item for us

We rode into Winslow, Arizona all excited to experience this historic railroad town on Route 66 made famous by one of our favorite rock bands, The Eagles.

Our first stop was at the Old Trails Museum on Kinsley Avenue. The museum is full of interesting exhibits featuring tales and stories of Indian culture, pioneers and explorers, cowboys and ranchers, traders and includes a full history of the Santa Fe Railroad company.

We then headed for the “corner” in downtown Winslow. In 1949, the daily number of automobiles and motorcycles passing through Winslow averaged 3,800…that’s 3,800 vehicles per day! Most of the vehicles were traveling west to California.

Imagine if you will…the hustle, the excitement of being on Route 66 and the road noise as traveler’s passed through this town. America was on the move after WWII ended and Route 66 was like a dream for many seeking fame and fortune out west.

Route 66 in Winslow, Arizona. Closest thing to Americana we could ever experience. The Eagle’s famous song verse reads; “Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my Lord, in a Flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

 

The Standin’ On The Corner Park is located at the intersection of Kinsley and Second Streets in downtown Winslow.

Takin’ It Easy on the corner in Winslow, AZ

There’s a bronze statue and mural depicting the story behind the famous 1970s Eagles song, “Take It Easy”. The song’s music was written by the late Glenn Frey. The lyrics were written by Jackson Browne. The song’s success literally put Winslow, Arizona on the map.

The park area is paved with inscribed bricks purchased by fans who wanted a permanent place “on the corner”. Look for the Beaulieu Brothers Ride 2016 brick when you visit.

 

The White Mountains of Arizona – Apache Country

The White Mountain Indian Reservation is home to 25 lakes and 400 miles of streams full of rainbow and brown trout. Mount Baldy is the tallest mountain on the reservation at 11,590 feet. It’s a wilderness paradise.

There are over 1,000 campsites for adventurers to enjoy. Hunters love the place. According to one of the roadside plaques, the largest elk ever taken was on White Mountain and 8 of the 10 largest elks listed in the Safari Club International Record Book were taken in Arizona’s White Mountain range.

Growing up in lumber country, we were fascinated by the area’s big logging history and ongoing lumber industry.  The Apache Timber Company, which has the logging rights to the area,  is one of the top 50 lumber companies in the U.S.

Rocky admiring the scenic breathtaking beauty of Arizona’s White Mountains…

 

The Great Monument Valley

Monument Valley extends into both southern Utah and northern Arizona. The valley covers almost 92,000 acres and sits 5,600 feet above sea level.

    “Monument Valley is the place where God put the West.” ~ John Wayne

Known as Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley Park, it’s a truly magical place. The landscape simply overwhelms the senses for both its unique beauty and its vast size. The towering sandstone outcrops are masterpieces towering 400 to 1,000 feet. The formations are simply out of this world.

My Indian Chieftain overlooking the 8th Wonder of the World, Monument Valley.

 

This section of the Navajo Indian Nation contains some of the most picturesque and spectacular scenery in the world. Riding through this special place on a motorcycle puts you in absolute awe of the vastness of this native land.

Near the small village of Mexican Hat, Utah on I-163.

The monolith shaped rock formations stand strong high above the desert floor, the beauty and enormity of the rock pinnacles, spires and buttes blow your mind. The place simply amazes your senses.

Travel Tip: Add Monument Valley to your bucket list. This is one of those regions in the USA you must see before you die.

 

 

Twin Rocks Bluff – unique Utah History

Founded by Mormon pioneers in 1879, the community of Bluff, Utah makes for an interesting stop. We are talking remote and desolate ranching territory just north east of the entrance into Monument Valley. We visited the Twin Rocks Trading Company cafe for breakfast before entering into the Valley.

The Navajo Twin Rocks…The Twin Rocks Trading Post in Bluff Utah offers handcrafted Native American and Southwest art. Good food and good service in the cafe too.

 

John Wayne and Director John Ford made Monument Valley famous.

Legend has it that Ford discovered John Wayne while he was working as a propman around movie sets for then western cowboy star, Tom Mix.

John Ford was a superbly talented film director. He is renowned both for Westerns such as John Wayne’s Stagecoach and The Searchers as well as adaptations of classic 20th-century American novels such as the film, The Grapes of Wrath.

One of my favorite JW mancave posters.

John “Duke” Wayne movies more than any others, have made Monument Valley famous. The “Duke” made five movies there in his lifetime, “Stagecoach” (1939), “Fort Apache” (1948), “Rio Grande” (1950), “The Searchers” (1956) and “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1959).

John Wayne (1907-1979) was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. My movie hero, died of lung cancer in 1979. He is buried at Pacific View Memorial Park, Newport Beach, California. Look for his bronze headstone plaque. He is laid to rest on the grassy slope called the “Bayview Terrace”.

Today, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation is one of America’s most important educational and fund raisers for cancer research.

 

 

Exploring New Mexico

New Mexico has a diverse terrain encompassing the Chihuahuan Desert and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

 

Nicknamed the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico is known for its gorgeous high desert landscapes, good roads, artist towns and native culture.

Los Alamos is the site of the secret Manhattan Project that developed the world’s first atomic weapon during World War II. Can you imagine living the life of the scientists charged with this world-changing task in the 1940s?

Today, the Los Alamos National Laboratory is a highly secure U.S. government lab that is still responsible for America’s nuclear arsenal.

Taos is one cool town in northern New Mexico’s high desert, bounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and seemingly inhabited by all kinds of artists…you really get the artist colony feel in this town.
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We stayed in Santa Fe for two days using it as a base for our exploration rides in the northern part of the state. Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital, was founded as a Spanish colony in 1610 and is known as the oldest state capital city in the United States. This quaint city sits in the Sangre de Cristo foothills. It’s renowned for its Pueblo-style architecture, fancy upscale spas and as an ultra-exclusive creative arts center.
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The Four Corners Monument

Marker at Four Corners Monument – Border of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico

The Four Corners Monument is located on Native American land off US Highway 160. Both the Navajo and Ute people live in the Four Corners area.

We learned more about Native Americans, their cultures and their way of life while riding in this area.

This region has been home to native peoples for hundreds of years. Archaeologists have recorded numerous ancient Puebloan sites dating prior to AD 1300 throughout the Four Corners area.

 

We stopped for an old style shave at Jeffrey’s Barber Shop near Penasco, New Mexico

 

Took time for a relaxing, old-style shave on the backroads near Taos, New Mexico.

 

Southwest Colorado…simply amazing!

Our BBR adventure for 2016 originally began as a bucket list item to visit the True Grit movie locations to see where the Duke filmed his famous movie scenes.

Much of  the 1969 western movie, “True Grit”, was filmed in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and the movie lead to John Wayne’s only Academy Award. The amazing natural scenery of Colorado’s southwest corner was a huge part of the film so we wanted to capture it all on the seat of our motorcycles. Scheduling issues prevented me from joining Rocky on this segment of BBR2016 so it stays on my bucket list of rides to check off in the future.

 

Until the next BBR…

My brother and me, we love the excitement and family bonding moments of our 2-wheeled adventures. It reminds us of the incredible freedoms we enjoyed growing up riding Enduros/Scramblers in the remote lumbercamps of northern Ontario, Canada during the 1970s. Riding gives us quality time together once a year just to be brothers. Stay tuned for more riding adventures from the Beaulieu Brothers in the future.

 

Ride Safe Out There.

Beaulieu Brothers Marc (57) and Rocky (55). Apache Country, Arizona – June 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a just a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

About Roch E. Beaulieu – Roch E. Beaulieu is one of Ontario, Canada’s top Financial Wealth Management and Retirement Planners. His company, Financial Planning Logic, advises individuals and families in the development of successful retirement income plans and insurance protection plans. – Roch E. Beaulieu (REB) – www.financiallogic.ca

Bonus BBR Photo…Sierra Mountains on the way to Sturgis, South Dakota from San Francisco, California…BBR2001..16 years ago.

BBR2001 – San Francisco, CA to Toronto, Ontario via the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

 

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

 

Inside Harley-Davidson’s All-New Milwaukee-Eight

 

LET’S GO INSIDE THAT MOTOR…Harley-Davidson’s new Milwaukee Eight is loaded!

 

The Milwaukee-Eight (M8) motor is the first all-new engine design since 1998 when the then-exciting Twin Cam 88 engine came to life. By all accounts, the M8 is bigger, has newly designed cylinder heads with 4-valves per cylinder and meets the strictest emission standards of the world.

And, as you can see below, the 114ci, 1868cc CVO Street Glide looks absolutely stunning. My gearhead buddies tell me that the 114 puts out a whopping 100.6hp!

 

2017 CVO Street Glide. 114ci powerhouse bagger. MSRP $37,799 – Source: HDmedia

 

Oil-cooled or Coolant-cooled heads. You decide.

Best I can tell, you now have the option to getting oil-cooled or coolant-cooled heads. Go 2017 Roadking for oil-cooled or go liquid-cooled with the  “Twin-Cooled” 107ci engine when you demo the Motor Company’s touring motorcycles. — the Road Glide Ultra, Tri Glide Ultra and Ultra Limited models.

The larger 114ci M8 engine comes with liquid-coolant cylinder heads for the CVO Street Glide and CVO Limited models.

 

Source: HDmedia

Note blue passages in rear cylinder and the black hoses that lead over the heads. That’s where the liquid-coolant or oil-coolant circulates in and on top of the engine heads. Source: HDmedia

 

Each cylinder now has four valves. (2-intake valves & 2-exhaust valves) for a total of 8 valves. The new motor comes with a higher compression ratio than its predecessor and has more displacement herego, the ability to push out 10% more torque than the Twin Cam.

Note the dual-sparkplugs per cylinder in the rocker box cutout below. Two sparkplugs are better than one from an efficiency of combustion standpoint.

 

Rocker Box Cutout - HDM8 - Source: HDmedia

Rocker Box – Note the tight-fit rocker arm assembly. HDM8 – Source: HDmedia

 

Electrical Accessories…bring ’em on!

According to the Motor Company, the electrical charging system produces 50% more charge to the battery. This is a significant improvement given all the gadgets now used on touring bikes such as heated gear, big audio systems and a wide variety of electrical accessories.

 

0-640x324 HDmedia - BottomEd - BJN37658

The Primary Case is an all new design too. Source: HDmedia

 

Note the single chain-driven camshaft in the photo below. Single cams provide less chain noise, are lighter and just mechanically simpler than their Twin Cam predecessor. This cam is driven by a hydraulically tensioned chain. I personally prefer the chain-driven cams instead of gear-driven cams. They are much smoother and quieter in my opinion.

And, for the really big news!

Despite the extra power available with the new 107ci motor, it weighs the same as the now-prehistoric Twin Cam 88. There’s no fat in the M8…it’s all muscle. This means more power with less weight (aka: faster acceleration) and better overall fuel economy.

 

My Bottom Line…

Best I can tell, the new Milwaukee Eight (M8) is technically superior and mechanically better than the Twin Cam it will eventually replace. This said, it’s no high-performance, “Revolution Motor”.

The "Revolution Engine" - Should this of been the "big engine news" for 2017 models? Photo: HDmedia

The Revolution Engine Goes Mainstream at Harley-Davidson. – Should this of been the “big engine news” for 2017 models? Photo: HDmedia

As mentioned in a previous blog post, the new 107ci Milwaukee-Eight produces more torque and kicks out 92.5 horsepower. The 114ci motor is said to generate a whopping 100.6hp.

Yup, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company has a winner here with the Milwaukee-Eight in that it is a slightly more modern version of the Twin Cam and that’s a good thing.

I am somewhat surprised however, that in this day and age of EPA scrutiny and bureaucracy, that the excellent, high-performance EPA-compliant water-cooled engine found in the V-Rods has not yet become more dominant as a feature of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

 

 

Ride Safe Out There.

Motorcycle Marc. #RideSafeOutThere

Motorcycle Marc. #RideSafeOutThere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Harley-Davidson Motor Company – Since 1903, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom with cruiser, touring and custom motorcycles, riding experiences and events, and a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise, riding gear and apparel. For more information, visit www.h-d.com.

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride, I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. #RideSafeOutThere – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

 

 

 

Explore Cambodia on a motorcycle…Enduro style.

 

AMAZING KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA…See this amazing country from the seat of an Enduro Motorcycle. 

The Kingdom of Cambodia was a powerful and prosperous empire that flourished and dominated almost all of inland Southeast Asia during the 9th and 14th century. That period was known at the Angkor Period. Today, the kingdom offers an exciting culture, extraordinary natural beauty and has become a favorite tourist destination for adventurers of all types.

Cambodia is predominantly Buddhist with 90% of the population being Theravada Buddhist, 1% Christian and the majority of the remaining population follow Islam, Atheism, Oranimism. See Wikipedia for additional information on the culture of Cambodia.

 

THE FAMOUS ANGKOR WAT TEMPLE. Siem Reap, Cambodia.

THE BUDDHIST TEMPLE ANGKOR WAT. Siem Reap, Cambodia. Click temple image for additional, fascinating information. Source: Wikipedia

 

Angkor Wat is a huge temple area consisting of miles of different sites.  They were constructed around 1000 years ago (half a millennium before Columbus “discovered” America).  Amazing place! It is the largest religious monument in the world and a World Heritage site. An interesting tidbit is that the movine, Tomb Raider, was filmed at Angkor Wat.

 

The globe close up, Asia pastIf you go to Cambodia…

In addition to some amazing history, Cambodia’s landscape spans low-lying plains, the Mekong Delta, mountains and the Gulf of Thailand coastline.

Phnom Penh, is the country’s capital. In northwest Cambodia, you’ll find the ruins of Angkor Wat mentioned above. It’s a massive stone temple complex built during the Khmer Empire and a must see.

 

There’s an exciting motorcycle touring company out there.

 

GO WHERE MOTORCYCLE RIDERS GO FOR BIG ADVENTURES.

 

Roads in the Kingdom of Cambodia are in the best condition between the months of November through June. Rivers and lakes are at their highest water levels between August and November. Weather is coolest between November and February. Their famous monsoon rains come dropping down between July and September.

 

DIRT ROAD IN THE CAMBODIAN JUNGLE.

DIRT ROAD IN THE CAMBODIAN JUNGLE.

 

Book and Save with my special Promo Code…MJB016

 

tours-ad

CLICK ON BANNER TO BOOK A TOUR. USE PROMO CODE MJB016.

 

Want more info on the Kingdom of Cambodia? Also go to CEA’s Facebook Page and CEA’s Twitter Handle.

 

Ride Safe Out There.

LaJolla with the Magnum 300x226

Thank you for reading my blog. – Booking 2017 events & blog content now. Limited engagements available so contact me asap. — Motorcycle Marc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement is ever intended. Renter(s) accept all risks of motorcycle rental and motorcycle tour(s). Motorcycle Rental Agreement subject to individual rental company contract terms and conditions. No representation of Touring Company Services or Promises are made on this page or anywhere else in this blog. Always wear an approved helmet, rider and passenger safety gear. Do not drink alcohol or do drugs while riding/driving any motor vehicle.  A special thank you to Wikipedia for their information sharing online library. See footer area of this website for more information. Motorcycling while exciting, is inherently dangerous. Ride at your own risk.  #RideSafeOutThere

Romania and Eastern Europe on a Motorcycle

 

DREAM RIDE ROMANIA! Imagine riding one of the most exciting roads in the world…the Transfagarasan Highway in Romania.

The country of Romania in Eastern Europe is home to the Transylvanian Alps. There you will find the most crooked road in all of Europe known as the Transfagarasan Highway. This mountain highway snakes through the Transfagarasan Pass (6,700 feet above sea level). It’s 56 miles long and takes you to the highest peaks in the southern Carpathian Mountains.

The road is open only three months a year due to the high altitudes and snow packs. Exploring this road with the riding pros at Adventure Motorcycle Tours will blow your mind from all I’m hearing. You’ll cross over 830 narrow bridges, pass by 27 viaducts and lean into dozens of hairpin curves. And as a bonus, the ride comes with picturesque villages, beautiful scenery and you’ll get to meet the friendliest Europeans anywhere on the continent.

Riders Paradise. The Transfagarasan Highway in Romania.

 

Many of the riders who experience this road also participate in a motorcycle tour through the southern part of Eastern Europe. The team at Adventure Motorcycle Tours offers a fully guided roadtrip that will take you through nine countries in Eastern Europe. – Romania, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Servia.

 

 

Additionally, the company offers private motorcycle tours with first class accommodations, including rentals of your choice of motorcycle. Ask them about touring around Devil’s Valley, Hell’s Valley, the Ponorului Citadels and the Turzii Gorges.

 

Panoramic view of the Transfagarasan Highway in Romania

 

If you are an Enduro/Scrambler fan, the company offers a seven day tour that explores trails, forest meadows and many rolling hills rarely seen by the general public. You’ll get a nice feel for the Carpathian Mountains on this motorcycle roadtrip.

 

The Legend of Dracula, the Vampire.

Romania – Source: World Atlas Map Website

Did you know that Dracula originates from Romania? Dracula (Vlad Tepes), the scary legend goes, was born in December 1431 in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania. Click the following link to see the Five Things to Love About Sighisoara.

Dracula is of Gaelic origin (Drac Ullah) and translates to meaning “bad blood”. In Romanian, Dracul stands for Devil or Dragon.

Vampires are believed to hang around crossroads on St. George’s Day, April 23, and the eve of St. Andrew, November 29.

The area is also home to Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. It’s easy to get caught up in the tale while riding around the area’s winding roads, dark ancient forests and over the spectacular mountain passes.

Dracula – a very interesting tidbit to add to your motorcycle tour as you traverse Transylvania. Click here for the full Dracula story from the Romania Tourism website, Romania Natural and Cultural.

 

The team at Adventure Motorcycle Tours – great ambassadors for their beautiful country.

Romania’s Adventure Motorcycle Tours – Transylvania Live has garnered a strong reputation for motorcycle know-how and riding expertise over the years. Press coverage and testimonials about the Adventure Motorcycle Tours company speaks for itself. All very positive and encouraging.

 

Beautiful Romania. Natural landscapes and lost-in-time villages everywhere.

 

If you go…you will find an exceptionally vital and creative traditional culture. This could well be the motorcycle tour of a lifetime for you so contact the company for all the details you’ll need for your great adventure.

 

Ride Safe Out There.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger. Some say a key motorcycle industry influencer. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride, I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, loyal following of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world. #RideSafeOutThere – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

Note1: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Photos/images used with permission or sourced from the public domain.

Note2: Renter(s) accept all risks of motorcycle rental. Motorcycle Rental Agreement subject to all Motorcycle Tours and Rental contract terms and conditions. Always wear a helmet and approved rider safety gear. Do not drink alcohol or do drugs while riding/driving any motor vehicle. Motorcycles are inherently dangerous. Double check your insurance coverages to make sure you are covered adequately while renting motorcycles in a foreign country. Ride at your own risk. #RideSafeOutThere

My Project LiveWire Ride. – High Voltage Road Test.

Project LiveWire is the marketing code name given to Harley-Davidson’s first electronic motorcycle.

Harley’s Project LiveWire Experience Tour rode into America’s Finest City in July 2014 and I got to road test the Motor Company’s very first electronic motorcycle.

As we saw with Project Rushmore, Harley-Davidson does a good job seeking input and feedback from its customers, I was one of the select consumers across the country who was given the opportunity to ride their new electronic motorcycle and provide my overall impressions of the experience.

So, here’s my feedback HD. I have added design suggestions throughout this post for your marketing and engineering guru’s to ponder as they go forth shaping the future of these innovative machines.

The Basic eBike Look.

There it is folks. As you can see in the photo below, this is a good-looking motorcycle. Frame has clean lines and is well proportioned for holding the eMotor casing and the rest of the bike together.

 

0Look of eBike 674x549

The San Diego Harley-Davidson Team was on top of it’s game as usual. That’s SDHD Customer Care Pro, Aimee Holmes, ready to answer all my questions and to make sure I bought Project LiveWire T-shirts for all of my friends and family.

 

The Dashboard and Front-End View.

Motorcycle design is as much look as it is function. The LiveWire dashboard is impressive in both its look and clarity. I really liked the touch and go selection options on the LCD-style panel. As for the position of the rear view mirrors?  Not-functional as currently located below the handlebars. They gotta go.

Design Tip1: Re-locate rear view mirrors above the handlebars where they will actually function to let a rider see the traffic action behind them.

Design Tip2: Handlebars – see image note below.

 

Console Cockpit View - 409x242 MJB

Design Tip2: Consider a different set of handlebars. Wider and higher bars which allow the rider to sit up as opposed to crouching forward.

 

LiveWire Dashboard Close Up View.

The LCD-style dashboard status screen is impressive. Bright, detailed and easy to read. I found having the option of choosing a “range ride” versus “power ride” very interesting although, I personally did not feel any difference in throttle twist impact. The eBike goes, really really goes, no matter which ride option I selected…0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds is good enough for me.

 

Welcome to Harley's eBike's dashboard. Select your power band.

Welcome to Harley’s LiveWire dashboard. Select your ride power band, twist throttle, GO!

 

Electrical Motor Performance Specs

“Oooooh, powered by an AC lithium-ion battery”, I muttered as I approached my test LiveWire…just doesn’t sound all that kickass I’m thinking to myself as I pull up the kickstand. But I must admit, the bike offered awesome rubber-shredding acceleration at various throttle twists. The power band totally exceeded my expectations. I went in thinking lawn mower fast, came out from the test ride very impressed with the electric motor’s power, speed and super responsive acceleration.

Note to self: “I’ve got to get this eBike to the Bonneville Salt Flats asap…I’m thinking as I get off the eBike after my test ride.

Harley’s onsite LiveWire Rep indicated that the eBike goes 0-60 in less than four seconds. Yup, he was right!!! The bike puts out real world horsepower at 74 bhp and 52 lb-ft of torque. FYI: For you non gearheads, (bhp) is the measure of an engine’s horsepower before the loss in power caused by the gearbox and drive train. 

 

Design Tip3: Place that electronic motor in a more badass frame configuration. See image note below.

 

Motor 502x285 MJB

Design Tip3: Put the Project LiveWire motor in a re-engineered, lighter-weight Harley Forty-Eight or Sportster frame or even into a redesigned Softail-style frame.

 

Speed versus distance note: Accoding to the eBike Pros onsite, the LiveWire has a top speed of 92 mph. Distance range at this early stage of the prototype is low at only 53 miles. No surprise given where this non-self-recharging motor technology stands at this time in its evolution.

 

Fancy Plug-in Point...not yet.

Fancy Elecrical Charge Plug-in?

The Lithium Power Pack

Knowledge about the battery pack itself was scarce around the Project LiveWire display rig area. Not a lot of discussion around anodes, cathodes, electrons or brushless conducting capabilities was going to happen during my visit I quickly concluded.

The motorcycle manufacturer that figures this technology out and that can achieve reasonable price points for electronic motorcycles, will surely dominate their target market. We’ll talk battery life in a future post as I get more information.

It also goes without saying that “Charging Stations” will need to become commonplace throughout the land if there is any hope of taking eBikes beyond an urban, city-street riding experience.

Note the ugly electrical cable plug in the photo above. It’s OK HD, charge cable plug ugly is OK when in prototype mode as far as I’m concerned.

 

LiveWire Frame looks strong and high-tech.

LiveWire Frame Design.

Design Tip4:  While I am impressed with Harley’s continuous effort to develop new innovative frame designs, I suggest Harley-Davidson not compete in the crotch-rocket style frame space.

Recall, it was tough going with similar Buell frames and even with MV Agusta frame setups given the small, niche audience that this type of frame appeals to.

In my opinion, the LiveWire, with its current frame design, does not compete well with others in the same target consumer space based on my own riding and handling experience with fast bikes over the years…re: Ducati and several of the Japanese frame manufacturing configurations.

 

Design Tip5: Neutral Option…LiveWire models must have a neutral gear so that the brand’s unique, futuristic signature jet-engine sound can be enjoyed by all, moving or not.

Neutral Gear...gotta be able to twist that throttle in a neutral gear.

Neutral Gear…gotta be able to twist that throttle in a neutral gear.

 

Electrical Motor Sound

The sound, positioned as “fighter jet style” by the onsite reps, was somewhat on the mark but way too low on volume for my liking or even for my perceived noise safety standards on the road. This bike is by no means a whiner but man oh man, let’s turn up the volume HD! I like my bike motor sounds hovering around 95 – 105 dB (decibels). It would be great to have a sound noise level option, (low, medium, high) so that riders could select the decibels they are most comfortable with.

Bonus design tip:  Harley-Davidson’s family of loyal customers love the unique Harley motor sound. HD can go beyond “potato potato” here and really make an impression on the electronic motorcycle riding crowd with a super cool, slightly louder jet engine sound.

Go Ahead! Push the limits HD. I’m not saying going crazy loud but a touch more aggressive jet engine sound would be good for marketing and future sales I figure. For example:

 

MJB Design Tip6: Sound Check. The right sound matters. Decibels matter more.

Please turn up the volume on your computer or smart phone. Click on the first volume bar below to hear what a real jet engine sounds like.

FYI – jet engines operate at about 140 dB when standing 100 feet from the engine in open space. Of course, there’s no need to go anywhere near 140 decibels. Suggest you test 100 dBs to 110 dBs with focus groups to determine which decibel level to adopt as Harley’s signature sound level.

 

 

Here’s what I want my neighbors to hear when I leave the neighborhood.

 

Here’s what I want my buddies to hear when I’m idling in “neutral” and showing off my new, redesigned, electric Softail Custom (eSC007HOG) with 12-inch Ape Hangers and a Captain America paint job.

 

Here’s what I want my fellow biker bros to hear when I approach them from behind, pass them and leave them in the dust on the highway.

 

Sound Advice:  Harley’s motor sound is extremely important when it comes to the Harley-Davidson brand, the Harley-Davidson experience and even to many of Harley’s individual customer identities. The huge after-market exhaust pipe world is proof of this.

Get that electric motor sounding louder and your eBikes should dominate their target category with sound alone. Plus, a unique Harley jet sound level will truly differentiate LiveWire models from all other competitors who are sure to come into the market promoting softer, screechy and whiny electronic motorcycles.

I can see the new age ads of the future already: “You meet the nicest people on them microwave oven sounding motorbikes.”  – Don’t let this be your ad HD!

 

The eMotor…let’s go full-out chrome.

Chrome matters to bikers/motorcycle enthusiasts! While I like the black engine look myself, I find most of my blog and social media fans prefer chrome engines. Go all chrome motors I tell yas.

MJB Design Tip7: Chrome is good. Lots of chrome is better.

 

Motor FrontRightSide 640x380 mjb

MJB Degign Tip7: Chrome the upper section of the motor casing. Get rid of the black plastic casing look shown in this photo.

 

The LiveWire Ride, Look and Feel.

Harley’s eBike felt small to me as a six foot, 200+ pounder. This new ride is not only different in powerplant, it looks different and feels different…maybe too boldly different? Ergonomics of the LiveWire just did not work well for me.

 

MJB Design Tip8: I am not a fan of footpegs that are positioned behind me or my having to lean much forward on any motorcycle. Ergonomic design needs some attention on the LiveWire.

Riding the LiveWire reminded me of my attempts to like the Buells in the early HD Buell days. I owned one, rode one but could never fully fall in love with that style of motorcycle. Hey, to each his own or her own riding preferences.

Note to HD Designers: Refer back to MJB Design Tip3 for guidance on footpeg and body lean placements.

 

Project LiveWire brings a new definition to what a motorcycle “may” become in the future.

Project LiveWire is in the mechanical, electrical and consumer testing stage. It is not available for sale at the writing time of this blog post.

I have no doubt that Harley’s “Freedom To Ride” mantra will continue for future generations. The Motor Company’s brand is a very powerful expression of personal freedom. Harley-Davidson is well known as one of the strongest brands in the entire universe. Project LiveWire is a futuristic machine with a unique sounding motor…the Harley eBike is sure to continue to evolve as they gather more and more feedback from consumers.

 

MJB Design Tip9: New products need fresh new colors to give them life…to separate them from all the marketplace clutter. See new brand logo color suggestion and note below.

 

Bonus Design Tip: Give the LiveWire its own brand color to truly differentiate. i.e. a cool blue.

Design Tip9: Give the LiveWire its own brand color to truly differentiate it from the old internal combustion engine bikes…this is truly a “new” motorcycle and should be promoted as such. For example, a cool lightning infra-blue.

 

The bottom line…rider adoption.

Today’s high school teenager, who’s looking for their generation’s definition of freedom, and many of today’s millennials, who are trying just to find freedom away from their parents, will likely love electric vehicles, including motorcycles.

Me, I don’t plan on riding the byways and highways of the world on an electronic motorcycle anytime soon but if I ever do go electric, it will most likely be on one of Harley-Davidson’s future LiveWire Models. I just trust that they will build the right motorcycle at the right time for the right customer. Why? Because they are asking customers and future customers for feedback…they actually care about our opinion so let them have it.

Stay tuned folks…if anybody can bring a good looking, super-cool sounding electronic motorcycle to the 2-wheel world, it will be Harley-Davidson Inc. Go to the official Project Livewire website for more information.

 

Ride safe out there…no matter the type of bike you ride. See MJB Design Tip10 below.

 

         Motorcycle Marc

Ride Safe Out There.

May the electrons be with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The LiveWire eScooter? Could be coming to a dealer near you someday.

LiveWire eScooter? Coming to a dealer near you?

 

MJB Design Tip10: Make sure you introduce an eScooter to the LiveWire Model Lineup when it comes to life HD…you could dominate the worldwide urban riding, city-dwelling market with a cool jet-engine sounding eScoot. (eHOGScoot001)

You heard here first folks. MJB

 

 

 

Special Note: I want to thank Ty Miller, General Manager, San Diego Harley-Davidson, for giving me the opportunity to participate in the Project LiveWire Experience Tour. It was a very interesting ride and a lot of fun. Thanks Ty! Click here to see the Project Rushmore experience mentioned at the beginning of this post. SDHD has an excellent inventory of the Project Rushmore motorcycles.

 

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Music/sounds used with permission of recording artists. MJB Design Tips were provided free of charge to the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. No compensation was received and the Motor Company is under no obligation to adopt any of my design tips. Refer to footer area of this website/blog for additional information.