Honda’s ATV, cycle sales slip in N. America
Honda Motor Co. reported its global motorcycle and ATV sales increased 3 percent worldwide in 2006. However, that upturn came largely because of increased sales in South America, not in North America.
The company’s North American market, which includes Mexico, saw its sales fall 14 percent in 2006 to 544,000 motorcycles and ATVs. Honda did not provide a breakdown between the two segments.
Honda’s sales in China and Europe and Africa also decreased, but only slightly, by 2 and 3 percent, respectively. On the bright side, Honda set a sales record in South America of 1.2 million ATVs and motorcycles — a 27 percent increase over 2005.
The company’s sales in Asia also set a new high, with 9.1 million motorcycles and ATVs sold there. That’s a 2 percent increase over 2005. Honda also reached a new high for its global production of motorcycles and ATVs of 12.5 million. The record production amounted to a 3 percent increase over 2005.
Harley-Davidson unveils new Sportster model
Harley-Davidson recently launched a new Sportster model at its Winter Dealer Meeting in Orlando, Fla. The XL 1200N Nightster blends a low seat height and mid-mount controls with the rubber-mounted 1200cc Evolution V-Twin engine.
Available only in North America, the Nightster is among the lowest riding Harley-Davidson models. Black components comprise much of the rest of the motorcycle. Black wheel rims and hubs contrast with chrome spokes, while the front forks and clamp, headlight cover, handlebar, levers, turn signals and air cleaner insert are all finished in black. The rear belt guard and front fender clamps also are black, but are opened up with a bullet hole pattern. The rear fender is cut back to show more of the rear tire. The back of the Nightster rides without a separate taillight, as it has been integrated with the rear turn signals.
Like all 2007 Sportsters, the Nightster has Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection, reduced clutch lever effort, redesigned gauges, high-performance carbon fiber belts and improved front brake lever effort.
The Nightster is available in Vivid Black, as well as four two-tone paint schemes with a Harley-Davidson fuel tank graphic.
Suzuki, Cobra Engineering Unveil Custom Boulevard
American Suzuki Motor Corp., in partnership with Cobra Engineering, unveiled a fully customized Boulevard M109R power cruiser at the New York International Motorcycle Show.
Suzuki’s flagship Boulevard M109R, the most powerful cruiser Suzuki has produced, has been transformed into a heavily modified hot rod-style cruiser, representing the company’s strong racing heritage. The Cobra Special Projects Division, led by builder Denny Berg, utilized elements of Suzuki’s championship-winning GSX-R sport bike line, including a GSX-R 20th anniversary blue and white paint scheme, GSX-R1000 foot pegs, and sport bike-style tail section, seat and handlebar risers.
The custom M109R also features a more exposed frame, showing off the 1783cc, liquid-cooled, V-twin powerplant with dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and seamless Suzuki electronic fuel injection.
Yamaha Sports Bike To Launch In Japan
Yamaha Motor Corp. announced a Feb. 15 release date in Japan for its XP500 TMAX sport bike.
The automatic motorbike has a 500cc, four-stroke CVT engine, fuel injection, double disk brakes for the front wheels and radial tires. The bike will retail for $7,026.
Yamaha hasn’t stated whether the bike will be released in the United States.
In other Yamaha news, Star Motorcycles has introduced a concept Vmax model thats design follows after the original Hot Rod Cruiser motorcycle, which was released in 1985.
This concept model, which is being shown under the Star Motorcycles brand, has only been publicly displayed in Long Beach, Calif., and Chicago. The company hasn’t released any additional information on the Vmax at this time.
Intrepid Cycles slated to debut at V-Twin Expo
A new company, Intrepid Cycles, has entered the custom production arena and planned to launch its 2007 line at the Cincinnati V-Twin Expo, held Feb. 3-5.
Intrepid Cycles is offering the industry’s first factory custom line featuring the S&S Twin Cam engine series. The company also has completed the industry’s first EPA and CARB testing for its S&S Twin Cam design.
Intrepid’s owners include two motorcycle customizers, Mike McGinley and Don Biron, and is also backed by businessman Tim Fuller.
“We know this market is highly competitive and we’ve taken our decision to become a custom manufacturer very seriously,” said McGinley, who before co-founding Intrepid spent more than 20 years running his own V-Twin custom shop.
Intrepid plans to release another model in late 2007 and is currently working on a fuel-injected platform for future designs.
Buell schedules its annual homecoming in July
The 2007 Buell Homecoming will be held July 5-8 at the Buell Motorcycle Co. facilities in East Troy, Wis., and at Road America, the 4-mile race track in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
“We look forward to hosting Buell enthusiasts from around the world for another memorable Homecoming,” said Erik Buell, chairman and chief technical officer. “We recently produced our 100,000th Buell motorcycle, and this will be a great chance to see many of our owners ride their bikes home.”
Activities currently scheduled for Buell Homecoming 2007 include:
Triumph Motorcycles raise $97,000 at Sound & Speed Auction
Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd., announced that two motorcycles it donated to Sound and Speed recently raised $97,000 at auction.
Sound and Speed is an annual charity event held in Nashville, Tenn., that brings together the stars of country music and drivers from the Nextel Cup for a celebration of country music and NASCAR. The event raises funds for the Victory Junction Gang Camp and The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum charities. psb