ATK & S&T Deal: Update

ATK CEO Frank White has sent me the following email in regards to the deal that ATK has made to sell American-assembled motorcycles from S&T:

Buon Giorno from EICMA Italy (Motorcycle Show)

One of our Harley Dealers is a regular to your site and suggested I make some comments to the recent posts to set the record straight. I normally avoid BLOG’s however, what the heck, your site seems quite good and your information is factual.

A comment on ATK taking the place of Buell on some BLOGs.

We are NOT working through the H-D Dealer network under the endorsement or support of the Harley Davidson Motor Company in any way. This is stated on the press release.

We are NOT going to be making products in the same market niche/segment that Erik Buell was making. Erik is a Maverick in innovation and development in his part of the industry and we would be fools to try and step in. Obviously with H-D pulling the plug has created a vacuum of opportunity in the network that want American Branded products.

Some of our Dealers sent me the gut wrenching U Tube link with Erik and I feel for the guy. We’ve been in business basically the same amount of time and this is NOT an easy business.

Our focus is going to be attracting an all new and much younger customer into Harley shops with a diverse quality platform of products. (Like Scion is to Toyota) We also want to get more people in the motorcycle world like the industry did so well in the 70’s… This should be interesting

Feel free to post this.

Ciao

Frank White
ATK Motorcycles

In my previous post, I did append the press release, which does say that this is a deal that Harley knows about, but does not endorse.  I also stated:

It’s a bit of a coup for Harley dealerships, and possibly for Harley-Davidson itself–as well.  They will–or at least selected dealers will–have access to new lines of motorcycles to bring in younger customers.  This is especially true if the ATK dirt bikes can also make an appearance on dealer showrooms.

Let me clarify what I meant here.  To the extent that new, younger riders are drawn into Harley dealerships, The MoCo will, if this deal operates successfully, eventually have access to these new dealership customers when they begin looking for large displacement motorcycles.  I did not intend to imply that this was part of any strategy on the part of Harley-Davidson.  This is something at will operate purely at the dealer level with some select dealers, and any advantages that accrue to the Motor Company will be more or less incidental.

And, of course, implying that HD itself was part of this would imply that HD actually had a strategy.  Which, after the MV Agusta deal and the closing down of Buell, is a pretty questionable implication.

Buon Giorno from EICMA Italy (Motorcycle Show)

One of our Harley Dealers is a regular to your site and suggested I make some comments to the recent posts to set the record straight.  I normally avoid BLOG’s however, what the heck, your site seems quite good and your information is factual.

A comment on ATK taking the place of Buell on some BLOGs..

We are NOT working through the H-D Dealer network under the endorsement or support of the Harley Davidson Motor Company in any way. This is stated on the press release.

We are NOT going to be making products in the same market niche/segment that Erik Buell was making.  Erik is a Maverick in innovation and development in his part of the industry and we would be fools to try and step in.   Obviously with H-D pulling the plug has created a vacuum of opportunity in the network that want American Branded products.

Some of our Dealers sent me the gut wrenching U Tube link with Erik and I feel for the guy.   We’ve been in business basically the same amount of time and this is NOT an easy business.

Our focus is going to be attracting an all new and much younger customer into Harley shops with a diverse quality platform of products.  (Like Scion is to Toyota)  We also want to get more people in the motorcycle world like the industry did so well in the 70’s…  This should be interesting.

Feel free to post this.

Ciao

Frank White

ATK Motorcycles

S&T and ATK Get Inside the Harley Dealer Network

Practically no one saw this coming, or were even in the ballpark of predicting it, and I’m interested to see what the motorcycle press will make of it, since I’m sure that some of them, like me, have been aware of this for at least several weeks now, although the news has been embargoed, so no one could report on it.

As of today, the embargo has been lifted, and we are now free to speak about it.

First, the press release from S&T/ATK, makes the bare bones facts available.  S&T motorcycles, the Korean manufacturer of the Hyosung brand motorcycles will be working directly with ATK motorcycles, the US manufacturer of dirt bikes.  Together they will produce a motorcycle that will be largely produced in Korea by Hyosung and  assembled in the USA by ATK.  These ATK-badged motorcycles will be smaller displacement motorcycles that will be sold in selected Harley-Davidson dealerships.

Sources close to the deal tell me that ATK may also begin selling their off-road motorcycles in some Harley dealerships as well.  It is not yet entirely clear which of the ATK-badged Hyosungs will be made available to the Harley Dealers, although the new 700cc Aquila is a likely candidate.

Sources also tell me that it is possible–although exactly how possible is still unclear–for modified versions of the 250cc and 650cc cruisers and sportbikes, with new bodywork created by ATK, are candidates for those dealers who desire them, to help bring in the younger riders that Harley so desperately needs, as their current rider community is aging rapidly.

This is a coup for both ATK and S&T.  ATK now has a chance to substantially increase their penetration into the Harley-Davidson dealer network.  S&T has a chance to get deeper into the US Market–which has regarded their products with some suspicion due to confusing Hyosung with a Chinese, rather than South Korean company–by having their bikes branded with an American manufacturer’s badge.

It’s a bit of a coup for Harley dealerships, and possibly for Harley-Davidson itself–as well.  They will–or at least selected dealers will–have access to new lines of motorcycles to bring in younger customers.  This is especially true if the ATK dirt bikes can also make an appearance on dealer showrooms.

The hope is that everyone can win by making the dealerships places where a number of different product lines can be found, in order to bring in a wider, and one hopes, younger, group of riders through the door.

The full text of the press release is below the fold.

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Continue reading “S&T and ATK Get Inside the Harley Dealer Network”

EICMA Goodies

The new bikes are now being officially unveiled at the EICMA show in Milan, and it’s a nice crop so far.  Ducati and MV Agusta have made the big splashes today, with MV showing off the 2010 F4, and Ducati releasing the long-awaited Multistrada, as well as the Hypermotard 1100 EVO.

Click on any of the pics below to enlarge.

2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4

Let’s start with the 2010 MV Agusta F4.  MV Agusta  says that they’ve updated the Tamburini design to a more modern look.  If by modern, you mean “acutely angled and sort of ugly”, well, I guess they did.  There’s lots of improvements under the fairing though, getting an additional 3 HP out of a 3cc smaller 998cc engine, and shedding 22lbs of dead weight.  It also comes with a 8-level traction control system, a new chassis, swingarm, and 4-1 exhaust system.

2010 Ducati Multistrada
2010 Ducati Multistrada

The 2010 Ducati Multistrada has a new 150HP engine pushing 417lbs down the road.  The new powerplant is called the Testastretta 11° engine, and comes with a nice slipper clutch, because while a slipper clutch might not be a usual requirement for an on-road enduro bike, it should be for a Ducati.

There will be three variants of the Multistrada:

  • The 1200 base model with ABS brakes,
  • The 1200S with the new Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) system and Öhlins suspension components,
  • And, the 1200S Touring with all the above and hard bags.
2010 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP
2010 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP

“Hypermotard” always seems like some sort of non-PC epithet you’d call a developmentally disabled dirt-biker,  But the Europeans seem to disagree, so we’ll use their unflattering word for the Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO. It’s got 95HP and weighs 379lbs, which is 15.5 less than last year.  There’s also an EVO SP model. It’s got an upgraded suspension, with an Öhlins setup in back and Marzocchi forks up front.

2010 Ducati 848 Dark
2010 Ducati 848 Dark

Finally, Ducati released a poor man’s 848, called the 848 Dark.  It should retail for about $1,000 less than the base model of the 848.  Nobody seems sure yet how they’ve downgraded it from the “base” model.  But if you want a cheap, black Ducati 848, here you go.

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EICMA Leaks Like A Sieve

Somehow, official photos of new motorcycles have been leaking out prior to the officially scheduled release at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan.

Here’s a photo gallery of what we’ve gotten so far

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2010 BMW R-Series Motorcycles

By far the most popular search that leads people to this site, is a search for the rumored variants of the BMW R1200RT for 2010, such as “R1300RT”, or R1250RT”.  Everyone seems to want to know what the 2010 version of the BMW R-bikes are going to be.

Well, now we know.  It’s the R1200RT, and R1200GS.

2010 BMW R1200RT
2010 BMW R1200RT

BMW announced today that the 2010 R-Series bikes will all sport a DOHC Boxer motor derived from the Hp2 Sport.  Unlike the HP2 Sport, however, the R Engine will rev lower, and put out less horsepower.

So, the horsepower figure for the R-series Boxer will remain unchanged at 110HP, but torque will increase by 3lb-ft to 88lb-ft at an unchanged 6,000RPM, for faster acceleration.  The redline will increase to 8,500 RPM from the current 8,000rpm.

The R1200RT will receive an updated fairing and windscreen, designed to offer better wind protection.  The instrument panel has also been updated, with redesigned instruments and a visor to help keeps the sun’s glare off a bit better.  Also updated are the handlebar controls, with the old-style paddle turn signals on each side being replaced by standard turn signals.  An additional control is a rotary thumbwheel on the left handgrip to allow the rider to cycle through all the stereo options without taking his hand off the grip.  The stereo itself gets rid of BMW’s CD player, although a jack is provided for external audio sources.

2010 BMW R1200GS
2010 BMW R1200GS

TheR1200GS is visually unchanged from the previous year’s model, except for the cylider covers, which have two bolts, instead of four.  The new engine, on the other hand also gets the 110HP output, and increase of 5 horsies over last year’s.  There’s also an accessory LED headlight for a few extra bucks.

Overall, the change to the DOHC engine doesn’t provide as much oomph as I would have expected, considering that the HP2 engine actually puts out 130HP in the HP2.  I would’ve thought that BMW would have added more ponies to the R-series boxer, rather than upping the torque a bit.

I’m also a little disappointed in the new styling for the R1200RT.  I think last year’s version looked better, and came in better colors than white, beige and two-tone gray and white.  Overall, I suspect that GS afficionados will be a bit more pleased with the 2010 update than their RT brethren.

There’s tons of detail available from BMW about the new models in PDF format, which you can acquire here for the GS, and here for the RT.

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2010 CR&S Duu Cruiser

Buell Motorcycles may be gone, but their influence lives on in this new cruiser from CR&S, which will available in limited numbers–and only in Europe, alas–for 2010.

2010 CR&S Duu Cruiser
2010 CR&S Duu Cruiser

Notice, if you will, the underslung exhaust and odd side pods, so reminiscent of the Buell 1125R.  It even has a V-Twin powerplant.  Air cooled.  With push rods.

The similarity ends there, however.  The engine isn’t a re-engineered Evo, but a massive 1,916cc v-twin motor.  The side pods house the headlights, rather than air scoops for the (non-existent) radiator.

The company showed this off as a concept bike in August, but apparently it was a pretty concrete concept.  It had to be if they’re ready to produce it now.

They haven’t released any figures on weight or horsepower/torque, but it certainly looks beefy with that huge engine filling up the space under the tank.

At €20,000 (about $35,000 at today’s rate of exchange), it certainly is a pricey beast, but since they’ll be making about…oh, let’s say 50 or so of these bikes over the next year, I’m sure they’ll find the buyers they need to take it off the factory’s hands.

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New Safety Standards, New Lids

It’s now November, which means that the new Snell M2010-standard helmets should have reached the stores.  Among them are two offereings from the premium helmet makers Arai and Shoei.  The Arai RX-Q and Shoei RF-1100 should run you between four and five bills, retail.  Motorcycle Daily has the full write-up on the new helmets.

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2010 MV Agusta F4

The EICMA show must getting really close (10 November, 2009, actually), because everybody is giving tantalizing little glimpses of their 2010 motorcycles before heading out to Milan.

2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4

Today it’s MV Agusta, with their new F4 sporting its saucy little derriere for the camera.

The first thing that hits me is the angularity of the design.  It looks like they’ve sharpened the curves of the classic Tambourini design.  The same elements are there, lik the flared top of the gas tank, but you can see that the curves have been noticeably narrowed.  Even the tail pipes have been squared off.

It has LED taillights and blinkers.

Oh, yeah, and it’ll come in at least the classic red and silver color scheme at the very least.

And…that’s about all we can see.  It’s not all we know, however, thanks to a press release from MV Agusta describing the new bike, which says, in part:

The engine has been revolutionized: the ultra compact in-line 4-cylinder 998cc engine is capable of reaching 186 hp at 12900 rpm. The highest level of engineering technology have been coupled with the most advanced electronic controls including: twin fuel injectors per cylinder, variable length intake system, slipper clutch and the TC MK II traction control system which has 8 levels of adjustment.

These advancements along with the uniqueness of the radial valve system attribute to the fact that this engine is the most sophisticated and evolved on the market.

The chassis has also been engineered to unheard of levels of compactness, the new single sided rear swingarm has been lengthened while at the same time its weight has been reduced along with the fully adjustable suspension which are all factors that contribute to making the new F4 unique.

The bike that originally revolutionized the world of supersport motorcycles has become even more beautiful, sleeker and modern while maintaining the unmistakable design “Made in MV”. The new xenon headlight and the new super light fairing are factors that contribute to the incredibly narrow cross-sectional area and the new pipe organ exhaust system with a restyled 4-in-1 silencer are all distinctive elements identifying F4 as the most exclusive motorcycle in the world.

It sure sounds neat.  But I’m curious to see what the first post-Tambourini F4 actually looks like.

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