▲ Harley-Davidson CVO Pro Street Breakout for 2016. If we fall asleep halfway through this caption, someone give us a nudge, please. But it's hard to stay awake when news arrives of yet another over-hyped variation on done-to-death theme. Don't misunderstand. We LOVE Harleys. We just want to hear some understatement for once, which of course is unrealistic. HD's Custom Vehicle Operations department is behind this motorcycle. The bike will be launched into outer space by the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110B engine and will touch down on Planet Britain in the spring of 2016. Another giant leap for mankind, etc. The price is a fiver short of twenty grand, sterling. We wouldn't kick one out of the garage, mind, but zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
New MT-07 Moto Cage
Yamaha call this new, or, rather, updated motorcycle the "Night Fluo". It's based upon the MT-07 Moto Cage that was introduced in 2014. The Moto Cage was itself derived from the 74hp 689cc (nominally 700cc) MT-07 parallel-twin and was conceived as a stunt oriented bike featuring a bash plate, frame-mounted engine guards, "knuckle protectors", an adjustable fly screen, and a revised "designer" leather saddle. Over a matt grey base, Yamaha splashed around plenty of red paint to make it all more hip and edgy (see the MT-07 Moto Cage image immediately below). If you attended Motorcycle Live in December 2016, you might have spotted this bike on the Yamaha stand where it was unveiled. [More...]
Honda has been scratching this particular electric itch for the past few years, first back in 2009 when the firm was flirting with the notion of a two-wheel-drive electric cub, and then again with its Super Cub concept revealed in 2015 at the Tokyo Motor Show. Well now the company has taken another step into the future by announcing that a production electric Cub will be ready within two years. That hardly sounds like Honda's rushing with this one. In fact, a two year wait implies that the company is still uncertain about nailing its colours to the electric mast. And even then, the bike will be first aimed only at the Japanese market before being rolling out across South East Asia. [More...]
£450K Welsh safety grant
The Welsh government has announced a £450,000 road safety grant to be equally shared by two firms, Armourgel Ltd and Fusion Processing Ltd. Both companies are working on high-tech projects that could have significant ramifications for motorcyclists. Armourgel has offices in London, Taiwan and China. The firm has developed a "revolutionary" new padding material that's claimed to be capable of absorbing shocks and impacts far higher than most, or all other such materials on the market. The padding can be fabricated to fit everything from crash helmets, to general protective equipment, to more extreme body armour. We checked the firm's website, and we weren't too impressed. [More...]
H-D Discover More comp
Take a trip to your local Harley-Davidson dealer and you could find yourself taking another trip anywhere in the world. All you have to do is book a test ride on any of these touring motorcycles ...
Heritage Softail Classic
Road King Classic (image above)
Street Glide Special
Road Glide Special
... then stick your name in a hat or a helmet and leave fate to do whatever it feels it has to do. It's all part of Harley-Davidson's ongoing Discover More marketing campaign to woo the likes of thee and we into the showrooms and give the salesmen a few precious minutes on the killing floor.
MCN sales are down again
It was once flogging anything up to around 200,000 copies per week, but that was then and this is now. Currently, Motorcycle News, owned by Bauer Media, has seen another fall in print sales, this time by 4.8 percent. That means its average weekly numbers are just 72,607 paper copies, and falling. But MCN;s digital sales were better at 1,896. The information comes via the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) which has just published its latest figures. The data also reveals that Bike magazine, which was once selling 80,000 - 90,000 copies plus per month has seen its readership plummet with a 2015 average of just 34,387 monthly copies. That's a 7.1 percent drop. Recently, Bike was re-launched in an effort to plug the leak. But the downward trend seems relentless.
Kickback Show April 2016
The next Kickback custom bike show will be on 16-17th April 2016 at Stoneleigh Park Exhibition Centre, Warwickshire. The last show was in December 2015 at Stamford Bridge, London. Then, the tickets were free. But this is Stoneleigh Park. It's a more suitable venue, and it will cost you a couple of bob this time around.
It's actually the eighth occasion that this event has been held, and it goes from strength to strength—but only because the nation's creators of bespoke motorcycles keep beavering away at their workbenches dreaming up new ways to sculpt, twist, hammer, forge paint, polish and present metal.
To that end, the organisers are still looking for new entrants. That includes cafe racers, street trackers, brat style motorcycles, choppers, bobbers and free style. [More...]
BMW has announced four special edition motorcycles for 2016 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. Only 100 examples of each model will be built, all branded under the Iconic 100 Special Edition banner.
The bikes are:
R1200GS Iconic: £16,790
R1200GS Adventure Iconic: £17,910
R1200RS Iconic: £14,997
R1200RT Iconic: £20,645
Italjet spares firm for sale
Lewis Ashcroft is the man behind www.italjet.co.uk. In 2006, as an ambitious 17-year old, he founded the business. Based in Clowne, Derbyshire, the firm was established to provide spare parts and accessories for the Italian Italjet range of scooters, a brand perhaps most famous for its range of 50cc - 250cc Dragsters featuring forkless front suspension and a space-frame chassis. Boasting over 200,000 items, Ashcroft claims that his business carries the world's largest stock of spares for these near-cult bikes. [More...]
Denali SoundBOMB horn
This has got to be one of the ugliest aftermarket parts you're ever likely to bolt onto your motorcycle. But it's one of those things that you just can't do without, not if you want to stay vertical when out on the open road. Moreover, these aftermarket horns are never loud enough, no matter how hooty they are. But this one reckons it's knocking out 113 decibels, which is way better than the factory fitted horns on most modern motorcycles, and is probably only one notch behind the racket made by a hand grenade. [More...]
Triumph calls its 2016 Tiger Sport an "adventure sports" model which helps the firm plant a flag in two camps that aren't exactly complementary. But you might as well call it an "adventurer sports tourer cafe racer and general purpose runaround", because these Tigers pretty much do it all without much fuss and bother. Then again, we live in a world of marketing pigeon holes, and this pigeon is officially where Triumph wants the bird to be. The Triumph Tiger Sport was introduced in 2013. For 2016, the biggest changes are ride-by-wire throttle (as opposed to ride-by-cable) and traction control (as opposed to ... well, no traction control). Selectable rider modes include Rain, Road and Sport. [More...]
H-D 101 program launch
"Extending the brand's reach in a fun, no-stress manner." That's the official pitch from Harley-Davidson regarding this latest phase of an ongoing crusade to introduce newcomers to the world of motorcycling in general, and more specifically to the Harley-Davidson marque. 101 follows on from previous Boot Camp and Garage Party programs. Under the scheme, would be bikers who might otherwise be daunted by the unfamiliar sights, sounds, concepts and customs of the motorcycle world will get an opportunity to become familiarised courtesy of their local H-D dealer.
BSA Motorcycles book
You can't judge 'em by their covers. Books, that is. That's the conventional wisdom, and it certainly applies in this instance. The cover of this title is as dull as accountancy and will do little to sell this publication. But grab a copy, open it, sit back and read. It's actually a pretty good tome. Not the best we've ever seen, but it's a long way from the worst, and there's much stuff in this slim volume that we didn't know; notably comments, observations and opinions in the sections headed: WHAT THE PRESS SAID. We already know that you can't trust the media, of course, least of all the bike media. But the various comments from the journos and publishing pundits provide an amusing anecdotal distraction that helped keep us thumbing the pages.
Triumph has released details of two new limited edition bikes; the America and the America LT. Both are based on the established 865cc, DOHC air-cooled America platform, and both will be supplied with numbered certificates signed by Triumph boss John Bloor. Triumph will be building just 25 of each model. The livery is being handled by custom paint specialists, 8 Ball. The colours are Tangerine and New England White for the America. The America LT colours are Sky Blue and New England White. [More...]
Honda Africa Twin app
Honda Motorcycles has launched a new app for the forthcoming CRF1000L Africa Twin. And as with all technology, there are both exciting and worrying implications. How does it work? Well, we're not entirely sure. But it's something like this; using all the latest CGI and 3D modelling and augmented reality technology, you first load the app onto your iPhone or similar smartphone or tablet, and then you use the rear camera to take a picture of your garage, or yard, or bedroom or wherever. Then you place a cut-out CGI bike image in the appropriate space. The image isn't projected, note. It just appears in your camera viewfinder as a 2D overlay.
Indian motorcycle boots
The Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in 190 (correct Indian spelling of "Motocycle"). Red Wing Shoes was founded in Red Wing, Minnesota in 1905. Both firms have a long and proud manufacturing history; Red Wing with its military and domestic boots, and Indian with its military and domestic motorcycles. The current Indian Motorcycle Company owned by Polaris, is now also based in Minnesota, so it was perhaps inevitable that the two heritage firms would sooner or later unite and lend their names and reputations to a joint branding exercise. [More...]
Royal Enfield Himalayan
The much-hyped Royal Enfield Himalayan adventure bike has been finally launched in India by RE's CEO Siddhartha Lal. The event has given the press its first real opportunity to study the motorcycle up close and assess its virtues, and vices. Remote impressions naturally have only limited validity. Nevertheless, the Himalayan appears to reinforce the feeling that if Royal Enfield was in the film industry, it would make B movies. That said, there's often an inherent charm in products that almost make it to the A-list, but fail by the smallest margins, and this bike comes dangerously close to moving the Chennai firm up into the premier league. [More...]
Weise Clifton & Docklands
Weise has released details of two new jackets for 2016. The first is the Clifton (on the left), and the other is the Docklands (look right). The Clifton is a textile jacket clearly aimed at riders who favour the wax cotton look, but can live without the wax. The outer "shell" is a 500 Denier weave with CE approved armour at the shoulders, elbows and back. According to Weise, "It's also designed to do a much better job at protecting the wearer from the elements, with a waterproof, windproof and breathable drop liner and a removable fleece inner, too."
Harley-Davidson profits fall
Harley-Davidson has had a pretty lousy 2015, financially speaking. The firm sold 264,627 motorcycles between January and December, which probably sounds pretty good to most of us, and it's the kind of numbers that Triumph would love to be boasting about. But that figure represents a 1.3% drop which in turn brought company bike sales revenue down by 5.9% to £3.06bn. But the firm has other incomes streams aside from motorcycles which includes accessories, franchising, and financial services. Nevertheless, the company's annual revenue fell 3.7% taking it down to £4.19bn. Operating profit fell by 9.8% to £807.9m. Net profit declined by 10.9% to £525.9m. [More...]
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