I write stuff. A lot of it is about cars and motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson

Bashing Harley

Look, I have no animosity towards Harley-Davidson.  But funny is funny, and this video below…well, that’s just some funny stuff, there. Obviously, the Buell fans still feel a little miffed.

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Saving Harley

Jensen Beeler at A&R has kicked off a 3-part series on what Harley-Davidson needs to do to prevent the company from dying along with their aging demographic.  He starts off with the same premise I wrote about last summer, but really drills down into the details.  It’s… Continue reading

Free Erik? Done.

As of this afternoon, Harley Davidson announced that Erik Buell has left the MoCo, and is opening a race shop.  His new venture, Erik Buell Racing LLC, will specialize in creating race-use only 1125r motorcycles under a lciense from Harley-Davidson.

As such, he will no longer be an employee of Harley-Davidson, and will once again be directly involved in the motorcycle racing world.

The fascinating question is whether or not this is just a stop-gap venture to take up his time until February 2011, when his no-compete contract with H-D expires, and he is free to join up with another motorcycle company to begin building bikes for the rest of us again.

The full press release from Harley-Davidson is below the fold.

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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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Grasping at Straws?

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The announcement of Buell’s shut-down by Harley-Davidson is still spreading ripples through the motorcycle world.  But, closer to Buell’s home, city and county officials are looking into trying to save the Buell manufacturing facility–and the local jobs it supported–in Walworth County.

If Erik… Continue reading

Reading Between the Lines

Just before I left for vacation, I reported that an informed source had told me that the board members and top executives at Harley-Davidson were considering whether or not to keep Buell Motorcycles as part of the Harley-Davidson corporation.  Naturally, I became the most hated man in Buell… Continue reading

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