STURGIS 80TH ANNIVERSARY IS ON AUGUST 7th TO 16th, 2020...Remembering the ride to Sturgis 2001 with my Babe.

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Pandemic 2020 Beaulieu Brothers Ride…WTF?

This coronavirus has put a hold on our usual “normal life” of riding around exploring America, Canada and the World. Let’s just say we ain’t happy about it. Stay tuned..me

Destination Sturgis? You got to see these places!

  The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally…truly a “WOW” experience. Imagine if you will, Sturgis, South Dakota, a small, quiet mid-western town of 6,500 people, growing to a metropolis of party-ready bikers

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

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

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

Great Motorcycle Tours – Italy

Of all the countries that I have traveled to…Italy is one of my all time favorites. I just love the place… — Motorcycle Marc Italy has some of the most

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

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,

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

Bonneville’s Burt Munro – hero of the salt.

The Life Story of Bonneville Speedster, Burt Munro,…simply amazing.

So inspirational to gearheads like me.

To really understand “Herbert James Munro“, (aka: Burt Munro) you have to be a true motorcycle gearhead and a lover of the many adventures that come from the great sport of motorcycling. Yes, Burt Munro was nuts about motorcycle mechanics and the amazing things you can do with carburetors, pistons, heads and transmission gearing. His amazing knowledge of 2-wheelers, their motors and their design, allowed him to accomplish things on the speedway at Bonneville that were deemed impossible to us average mortals.

In 50 years of racing, he had some 250 motors blow up. With only basic tools and equipment, he used spectacular mechanical engineering ingenuity to rebuild his motors and do it all over again. Plus, at the age of 63, when most old farts start giving up, he set off to set speed records at the world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats. Truly an inspiration I tell yas. Truly inspirational. Read on!

Burt on his famed #35 Indian – 1962


Burt Munro came out of Invercargill, New Zealand, a friendly place in the southland farming
region of New Zealand. This little city, population today estimated at 53,000, is one of the southernmost cities in the world. It was on his family’s nearby farm where a young Burt would first find his passion for machines and motorcycles especially, the 1920 Indian Scout. A motorcycle he would build, rebuild and modify for over 50 years. Like many of us motorcycle enthusiasts, he got his first bike at the young age of 15. He bought his first Indian Scout in 1920 at the age of 21. The rest of the story…is amazing history folks.

 

Burt Munro: 03/25/1899 –  01/06/1978
Source: Adapted from RD Menzies Photo

The Indian Scout…now, there was a machine in it’s day.
 

Best I can tell…the Indian Scout came to life in 1920 with a 37 cubic inch engine
registered as a 606 cubic inch. Powerful for the day. The bike was built by the great Indian Motorcycle Company from 1920 to 1949. It was a very popular model. The original top speed of the Scout was 55
mph on its stock flathead motor.

Remarkably, Burt Munro figured out how to get it to a record 185.585 mph in 1967 by adding overhead cams to the original flathead V-Twin, machining his own cylinders from old gas pipes, casting his own pistons and fabricating connecting rods from a tractor axle…so the story goes according to author, Richard Menzies. Genius stuff. Absolutely genius mechanical construction skill.

                                  

Original
500-745cc V-Twin 1920 Indian Scout

The guy set a land-speed world record

at the Salt Flats on August 26, 1967.
And, it still stands today! 

 
 
 
Mr. Munro made ten trips to the famed Bonneville Salt Flats. He was 67 years old when he set the world record in 1967 riding his beat up Munro Special Indian.

Burt was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2006.
Click here for a summary of his amazing story from the American Motorcycle Association.

The Munro Motor – you can actually hear it.
 

Jay Leno comments on the original Burt Munro Special 35 Bonneville record setter bike. Click here to hear the engine sound and to see Jay admire this mechanical masterpiece.  This is the actual bike that
set the record three times during the 1960’s for bikes under 1,000cc. Click original motor sound to hear it.
Amazing isn’t it?   


 

Not sure who took this photo but I love it. Great pic of Burt and his record-setting #35 Indian machine.


The World’s Fastest Indian – movie excerpts for the fun of it all.

Movie excerpt #1: Timer speaking – 193.728 mph — 194.291 mph – the wobble. 201.851 – a new, amazing record. The crash on the Bonneville Salt Flats….Movie’s Writer and Director is Roger Donaldson (Super Job Roger!). Stars the great actor, Anthony Hopkins (perfectly cast for the role.). Includes Diane Ladd, Iain Rea, Christopher Lawford and many other
talented actors. Click here for the entire cast and crew list. You gotta see this movie to understand what I am talking about. You can buy the movie here.




Movie excerpt #2 here. Racing the “bikies” on the beach in New
Zealand…where he needs a push to get going then beats their buts but crashes
as he nears the last turn. 


Movie excerpt #3 – can Burt handle the Munro Special on the Salt? 2nd gear results get him in. Troubled by wobble at around 180 mph.Click here for the official record of Burt Munro’s racing
accomplishments.

Tribute Video from the Indian Motorcycle Company.


Click on clock for video.

Now, for some rare pics of the man himself. Meet the real Mr. Burt Munro. One of the “Gods” of
motorcycle machinery and the great sport of motorcycling.   



Burt Munro – 1899 – 1978 — RIP Sir. Source: Flickr.com – RD Menzies

For decades, Burt Munro’s speed racing accomplishments were little known outside a small, enthusiastic
group of Bonneville gearheads like me. That all changed when the movie, The World’s Fastest Indian, came to theatres and TV sets.

I want to personally thank film maker, Roger Donaldson and the Munro Family for bringing Mr. Burt Munro’s story to life. It’s one hell of a true story and needs to be told for all generations to enjoy.


Ride Safe Out There,

       Motorcycle Marc

Yup. That’s me at Bonneville 2011.

Bikers4CleanWater – Motorcyclists Making A Difference.
Click hereto donate to my Charity:Water Campaign, Bikers4CleanWater
Note: Copyrights & Trademarks
Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement is ever intended.  If you see something you don’t like or feel that we have used your copyrighted or trademarked material inappropriately, let me know asap and I will immediately correct attribution or remove your material. Please contact me via the comments field of the article in question should you need to regarding material. Thank you. – Motorcycle Marc.

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.

 

 

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 pointThe 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. If you’re someone looking to invest in companies operating within the motorcycle industry, then getting involved in online stock trading could be a good way to begin doing this and could potentially become lucrative if you make smart investments.

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.

Review: Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 Motor

UPDATE2: Hi Friends…I just turned over 41,000 miles on my 2014 Indian Chieftain…planning to add another 7,000 miles or so in 2019. Engine is running flawless. I will keep you updated. — Motorcycle Marc.  05/22/2019

UPDATE1: THUNDER STROKE 116ci Stage 3 Big Bore Kit available for 2017 and later Indian Thunder Stroke motors. Selling for $1,999,99. 

This takes your current Thunder Stroke 111ci to a whopping 116ci (1901cc).

The powerplant pros at Indian Motorcycles say the new kit will deliver 20% more horsepower and 15% more torque…all without sacrificing engine reliability. Of course, dealer installation cost is required and for an extra mandatory $1,500 or so depending on your dealer, you’ll need to upgrade to a Stage 1 Exhaust, Air Cleaner and Exhaust Tips. Total estimated cost for your extra 20% horsepower = $3.499.99. 

116ci = 1901cc…this brings to life big time power! PhotoCredit: Indian Motorcycles

Special Note: This big bore kit will not work on pre-2017 Indian Thunder Stroke engines or with Stock Exhaust or Stock Intake . It also will not work with Stage 2 Cam motors. Installation does not void warranty according to Indian Motorcycles. This Stage 3 Kit meets EPA and CARB emission limits but “Non-competition street use may violate federal noise limits” so double check your options with your Indian dealer. Click TS116 for more information. See “Comments” section at the end of this post for fan feedback.

Below is my original post on the TS111 published in August of 2016.

INDIAN’S THUNDER STROKE MOTOR – The Thunder Stroke 111 has been on the market since 2014 so I figured it’s time to take a closer look at this VTwin engine.

The TS111 resembles the Indian Chief motor look of the 40s and early 50s. It’s a nice piece of modern mechanical engineering. It’s about as far advanced as one can take the traditional air-cooled, internal combustion V-Twin engine.

At 111 cubic inches, this 49-degree V-Twin motor (1811cc) puts out an estimated 78 hp @ 4510 rpm and pushes out a whopping 119.2 ft-lbs of torque according to data from the Indian Motor Company. For those of you not familiar with these types of gearhead stats, you can use the term “torque monster” with confidence to describe it.

Old-style classic inspiration

Looking at the early Indian Chief motors, it is easy to see the retro-look resemblance. I personally like the big slanted fins, the fat pushrod tubes, tapered cylinders and downtube exhaust pipes design of that 1940s era.

720x480 - OldIndianChief - S88A8563
EARLY INDIAN CHIEF ENGINE. Circa. 1940s, early 1950s.

Let’s look inside…

I was able to take some nice cut-away photos of the Thunder Stroke 111 while visiting the Indian Motor Company booth in Sturgis this past August 2015. Additionally, the good folks at Indian Motorcycles sent me some of their CAD design images so that I could share an insiders view of the engine with all my blog fans and followers.

TS111 - Full-LefttSide-View-591x480-
THERE’S A HUGE MULTI-PLATE WET CLUTCH IN THIS MOTOR.

Cool CAD designs. I’ve added some tech notes for reference.

0-CAD TS111 -A - 401X398

It’s not often you get to see what the engineers saw on their computer screens when they were designing this motor.

Imagine their excitement when asked to take a clean sheet of paper/screen and come up with a modern air-cooled V-Twin for new Indian motorcycles back in 2011. Oh, and it’s got to ready for testing and production in 24 months.

The Thunder Stroke is a fuel-injected 4-stroke 49 degree V-Twin engine with serious displacement at 111 cubic inches (1811cc).

The engine has a forged single-pin transverse crankshaft that transfers power from the big pistons (3.89 in./101 mm) during their their big 4.45 in/113 mm stroke.

Note the 2-valves per cylinder shown in the diagrams here and the three camshafts driving the parallel pushrods which in turn, bring the hydraulic lifters to life. We’re talking a really cramped mechanical design around them three camshafts.

The 111 is the most innovative interpretation of a V-Twin motor I seen in years.

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As you can see in this post, the motor design of Indian’s Thunder Stroke is modern and innovative.

Big kudos to the engineers at Polaris’s Indian brand for bringing this new V-Twin to market I say.

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Durability and Reliability…tested for over 1,000,000 miles according to the factory.

As indicated earlier in this post, the Thunder Stroke’s monster displacement of 111 cubic inches (1811 cc) is said to deliver 119 ft-lb of torque. The engine tops out at 5500 rpm, and delivers its power through a six-speed overdrive transmission. Compression ratio is high for your basic air and oil cooled engine at 9.5:1.

The new design, which has undergone over one million miles of testing, has a forged single-pin transverse crankshaft to transfer power from the 3.89-in diameter pistons during their 4.45-in stroke.

Full RightSide View 542x480
NOTE THE HELICAL TEETH GEARS ON LEFT SIDE. The right side lower casting area houses the primary drive and 3-camshafts.

The TS111 is an overhead valve engine, with two valves per cylinder controlled by a triple camshaft driving parallel pushrods which activate hydraulic lifters. Yes, you read correctly…this motor has three cams that drive four pushrods that open and close two intake and exhaust valves per head.

As you can see, the design is rather cramped near the crankshaft. The motor has big cylinder outlines and multi-directional cooling fins to optimize engine cooling.

RightSide-Gears-Full-500x480a
PUSHRODS AND LIFTERS IN THE CYLINDER CUT-OUT.

The engine is connected to a six-speed overdrive constant-mesh transmission. Sixth gear turns 3.37 times faster than first gear, leading to an easily controllable transmission that will allow a rider to remain within the power band of the engine under most riding conditions. The clutch is a multiple-plate wet design to provide smooth clutch action without undue slippage.

See the following interesting YouTube videos for additional perspective.

Indian’s introduction video…check out this video

Here’s a factory look from the team at MotoGraphic.

Rider feedback.

My recent social media call for riders with 50,000+ miles on the Thunder Stroke 111 did not uncover such a riding pro but I did find one happy owner with just over 37,000 miles. Here is his quote:

“I have put 37,209 miles on Chieftain #873 since January of ’14 and it has been utterly reliable. I just returned from a month-long ramble across the country of over 4,000 miles, in all kinds of weather and extreme temperatures; I never once had any concern about making it home. I’ve had no clacking, no belt problems, no oil leaks, no rough running. I have put two front and three rear tires on it. Problems, such as they have been, are mostly little electronic glitches in the bike’s sophisticated electronics suite. I’ve replaced three headlight bulbs (commonly available H-4s). It has been the best bike, of many, that I have ever owned. That has been my experience with Chieftain #873.” — Randall… Source: Indian Motorcycle Forum – IndianMotorcycles.net

The Bottom Line.

There’s no doubt this is one powerful, sweet motorcycle engine…a real good looker. It even looks good in a naked Indian Chief frame as shown in my Sturgis Rally photo below.

TS111 IN FRAME MJB PIC dots protect innocents Sturgis
THE 111 FITS REAL TIGHT INSIDE THE INDIAN CHIEF FRAME. FYI: Black dots in image to protect the innocent Sturgis Rally partiers visiting the Indian Motorcycle booth.

The Thunder Stroke is a modern version of a truly classic motor. Only time and hundreds of thousands of road miles will tell if this motor has true reliability and staying power. My motorbike experience tells me that the odds of having a superior, long-lasting motor here with the TS111 are very good. Only time and millions of riding miles will tell.

Best I can tell, the Thunder Stroke 111 engine is the new standard for V-Twin motors on the market today.

Motorcycle Marc

HOOVER DAM PIC Victory 314x183
Ride Safe Out There. — Motorcycle Marc

Note to Indian Motorcycle Co. 

I gotta ask the creative minds at Indian Motorcycles.

Could an innovative, water-cooled crankshaft in-line four be coming in the future?

Stay tuned folks. My bet is that more innovation and excitement will be coming from the Polaris motorcycle companies in the future.

Note: Engine photos taken during my 2015 visit to the Indian Motorcycles display in Sturgis, South Dakota. CAD images and Classic Indian Chief images from Indian Motorcycles’ PR Pros. Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. See footer of this blog/website for more information. Ride Safe Out There.

Motorcycle Sales – How can manufacturers and dealers recruit more riders?

AN INDUSTRY IN TRANSITION – The motorcycle business…manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and after-market players are all struggling according to recent media reports and various financial reports. Future sales forecasts by the big manufacturers (OEMs) are weak. So, what’s a motorbike manufacturer and their distributors to do? Here are my thoughts…

Sales Basic#1 – Target the already licensed population.

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.

In California alone, 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…8,000,000 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 given the pool of ready-to-ride licensed holders.

OEMs are making great bikes that people want to ride but they are perceived as just too expensive so are avoided. There’s a reason we’re all asking how much is a second hand motorbike worth? I agree the price to ride value equation has gotten out of whack but I believe the real problem is bad communication from OEMs and dealerships on the value of motorcycle ownership.

Goal: Identify the licensees by zip code, create campaigns to show them some love, provide attractive reasons to motivate them to visit dealerships and twist some throttle.

Sales Basic #2 – Go International faster!

Today’s marketplace is worldwide and the OEMs know it. Harley-Davidson executed against its long-term objective to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally in 2017 adding 57 new international dealer points. The company also maintained its number one 601+cc motorcycle market share position in countries including the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia and India for 2017.

Marketing Basics #1 – Manufacturers…suggest you all give serious consideration to the following actions.

> Strategy – Re-think your overall marketing strategy. Adopt an “experience marketing” mindset.

OEMs have got to do more to increase awareness of the motorcycling experience.

A more robust and effective media advertising and rider engagement strategy is required by manufacturers. One that complements and enhances the marketing efforts of their dealers. For example, data gathered from consumer insights suggests that motorcycle companies absolutely need to be taking more steps to embrace digital marketing techniques. Social media for example provides a fantastic platform to gather data about potential customers. Besides, there’s so much excitement and fun to motorcycles! Every facet of the rider experience is amazing in my book and that has got to be better communicated to a wider group of aspiring riders both online and offline.

When was the last time you saw a 30 second TV commercial showing a group of riders enjoying a ride together down a scenic mountain road or parking their motorcycles in front of their favorite breakfast diner on a weekend morning?

> Invest in “Experience Marketing”.

OEMs and dealerships need to begin proactively championing motorcycling as part of the great outdoors that can be enjoyed by the entire family. The kids overtime, with early exposure to positive motorcycle experiences, will themselves likely be buyers of bikes as they get older and introduce the sport to their children. I highly recommend OEMs at least double their marketing and sales budgets to promote motorcycling as a recreational outdoor experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

> Positioning & Promotion – The open road…guess what, it still matters.

Exploration, travel and adventure is part of the human experience in all age groups. Millennials love travel and adventure. There’s no better way to experience the rawness of it all than from the seat of a motorcycle.

Get on the open road this summer…Explore America on two or three wheels. Click image for the Top 15 motorcycle roads in the U.S..

> Influence Marketing 101 – Get your lobbyists to “lobby” harder and faster.

Lobbyists play a major role in an organized attempt to influence legislators. Every topic from transportation infrastructure and planning to making lands available for enduro riding to keeping the EPA off our backs are areas lobbyists can help the motorcycle industry. Can anyone even name an OEM lobbyist?

Imagine if you will, a strong motorcycle lobby at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC?

> Influence Marketing 102 – Lobby aggressively against distracted driving.

How much time, money and effort are OEMs allocating to curtailing this dangerous cager habit? I believe the distracted driver epidemic is scaring away a significant amount of new riders from enjoying the great sport of motorcycling? Best I can tell, OEMs have had their heads in the sand on this issue. But yet there are many companies and organizations trying to make the roads safer from distracted driving, especially the likes of different California traffic school options available for those looks for further driving education.

Because motorcycles are wide open, we riders find ourselves at an increased risk of injury in the event of an accident…that risk is compounded significantly when you add distracted drivers. If you find yourself in a motorcycle accident, it’s worth contacting Attorney Ray Areshenko at REA Law in Reno, Nevada. This way you can find out if you’re entitled to maximum compensation and claim it.What are OEMs doing about distracted driving? Does anyone know? Please add your info in the comments section at the end of this post.

Manufacturing Basic #1 – OEMs must decrease manufacturing costs!

MSRPs are too high for today’s and tomorrow’s financially challenged prospect customer. Keep increasing MSRPs annually and you will lose more potential riders to other recreational alternatives. Basic observation: Your operating cost structure is contributing, even killing local dealership sales before bikes even hit the dealer’s showroom floor. Simplify your offerings…decrease complexity…Do what you must to reposition your costs. Only a minority of potential riders want technical dashboard complexity, Picasso caliber paint work and/or opera level speakers, let alone pay for it. Many just want to ride quality motorcycles.

Motorcycle Dealers – My 2-cents advice for you.

> Training – Review your customer experience training budgets.

Are they realistic or even sufficient to develop a more customer sensitive motorcycle dealership visit experience.

I have visited hundreds of motorcycle and powersports dealership in many different parts of the world during my riding lifetime. Today, I rarely go on rides without making a stop or two at dealerships. Some visits are pleasant some not so much. For example:

Basic dealership visitor etiquette, such as just being polite and offering a welcoming smile, seems to occur only 50% of the time. While powersports dealership employee attitudes have come a long way over the years, still too many exhibit a negative/bad attitude in my opinion. It’s as if they don’t understand the impact of great customer experiences on their employer’s bottom line.

I admire motorcycle dealers like San Diego Harley-Davidson and motorcycle repair shops like Ron Bishop Motorcycles in Escondido, California. They take customer satisfaction very seriously, and invest in well-trained team members. From all I’ve seen and have experienced, they commonly go beyond just “satisfying” customers. They actually go all out to make potential customers feel at home when visiting their businesses. They even thank people for “dropping by” and visiting.

Still, as they say, you’re only as good as your last customer facing performance. In a world of online reviews and social media, the only way to grow profitably is to consistently exceed the expectations of all customers – men, women, minorities. Dealerships won’t be selling many motorcycles, services and accessories for long if they don’t.

Declutter your Showrooms

Simpler with more space between bikes is key. If a customer or prospect can’t walk between your motorcycles, put up the kickstand and sit happily on your inventory then your bikes are too close together.

Clean up your showrooms and every corner of your dealership…some recent powersports dealerships I’ve seen are messy looking and darn right unattractive. Remember, the whole family needs to be made to feel welcome and “part of the family”.

The dealership motorcycle showroom lineup…works for experienced motorbike pros like me…the new rider? Feels intimidated with so much choice. ImageSource: SDHD

> Diversity & Inclusion

Motorcycle dealerships, especially powersports-oriented dealers, must develop new marketing and sales approaches that will attract women and minority riders. There’s simply too much business opportunity with these two groups to not make them a developmental priority going forward.

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?

OEMs have a responsibility to elevate 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.

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.

Ride Safe Out There…

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

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.

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. I’m keeping my options open and have also been looking into these sheds in Tennessee which are portable and can come with barn or ranch stylings that look great. If you’re looking to protect your bike, garden tools or equipment, maybe looking into these would be a good idea for you too.

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.

Distracted Drivers…ready to snuff you out.

“Motorcycling…is not of itself, inherently dangerous. Riding a motorcycle is however, extremely unforgiving of inattention, ignorance, incompetence or stupidity.” Not sure who came up with the above quote and observation but I gotta tell yas…after 45 years of motorcycle riding experience, I could not of said it better myself. Unfortunately, we must add an additional warning to this observation today. No matter how good and safe a rider you are, there’s a distracted driver out there who could snuff you out. If you’re wanting to protect yourself and others against these distracted drivers, crashes and accidents in general, investing in a dashboard camera for your car will help you prove you’re in the right or wrong at the time of the accident, you may want to look into blackboxmycar.com. If you have been in a motorcycle or a motor vehicle accident, be sure to start looking for solicitors as there are many around to help cater to your needs, MRH Solicitors is one of many that you could look into. Read on… Nearly 80% of crashes believed to be caused by distracted drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the accident event. Primary causes of driver inattention are distracting activities such as cell phone use and drowsiness.” – Source: American Motorcyclist Association

Distracted drivers are everywhere. Be extra careful when riding your motorcycle. Distracted drivers are everywhere. Fact is, this dangerous practice seems to be getting worse every year. Government bureaucrats have been slow to act on prevention. $161 fine for distracted driving infractions is a joke in California for example. California’s, “It’s not worth it”, campaign is actually not worth it from all I’ve seen as there appears to be little change to cell phone use while driving. Yes, there are all kinds of feel good press releases from Sacramento…I read them but let’s be honest…one cannot get on any highway today without seeing driver cell phone use in action. Want to know more about distracted driving legislation in your state? Follow the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) for updates. Everyone at the NCSL talks about distracted driving being a major traffic safety issue but what are they really doing about it? Where’s Goofy Flo and Gecko The Reptilian Mascot regarding this important issue? Surprisingly, the automobile insurance industry hasn’t done all that much beyond providing basic tips to policyholders. Some have gone all out to create “Don’t Drive Distracted” contests for teenagers. Other insurers provide informative “Cell Phone Safety Tips“. Where’s the multi-million dollar advertising campaigns talking about doubling auto insurance premiums for those who get caught driving while distracted? Could Flo be secretly supporting America’s conversion to driverless cars so that drivers can sit back and text away? Or, how about working to legislate an industry wide insurance contract clause that says that any claim payment due as a result of an at-fault distracted driving crash will be shared 50/50 by the policyholding driver and the insurance company? Think this would change driver behavior? If you own a fleet of vehicles whether that be privately or commercially, using software from companies like Lytx can help reduce distracted driving when fleets are on the road, keeping the safety of others as the main focus. It is highly important that all persons involved know the consequences of what could more than likely happen if they continuously get distracted whilst driving.

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The American Motorcyclist Association is doing all they can to combat distracted driving. Click banner for more info.

Note to employers…have you heard of “vicarious responsibility”? Under the doctrine of vicarious responsibility, employers may be held legally accountable for the negligent acts of employees committed in the course of employment. Employers may also be found negligent if they fail to put in place a policy for the safe use of cellphones. Yes, your company could be held liable for accidents caused by your employees while driving and conducting work-related conversations on cellphones, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The Bottom Line Distracted drivers are unable to focus their full attention on the road. As noted earlier, they are the leading cause of most crashes per the NHTSA. They are a menace to themselves, their passengers, other drivers and killers of motorcyclists. Only you can prevent motorcycle accidents so look out for the distracted driver. He/she has become a total threat to our beloved sport of motorcycling. At least if we do fall victim to the total negligence of another driver, we have access to legal recourse to bring them to justice and to recover compensation – more at hamptonlaw.com. Me, I gave up riding motorcycles during commute hours years ago as I witnessed the driving while distracted epidemic take hold. The riding risk-to-reward ratio during commute times is simply not “worth it” to me. Ride Safe Out There. Motorcycle Marc
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Thank you for reading my blog.

P.S. Please consider taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider course that is appropriate for your riding skill level. Whether beginner or experienced, the Foundation has a rider safety course for you. Note: Copyrights and trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. See footer of this blog/website for more information.