American V-Twin Group Gets Organized

The newly-created American V-Twin Committee of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) held its first meeting, an open call for input, at the V-Twin Expo in Cincinnati Jan. 31, 2005, and it got an earful from unhappy and concerned distributors, dealers and bike manufacturers.
Creation of the American V-Twin Committee was approved by the MIC board of directors at its October meeting. It’s only the third committee established by the MIC in the last decade, MIC officials told the group, indicating the importance the group places on the V-twin segment.
The stated goal of the committee is to serve as a unified voice in representing the interests of American V-Twin manufacturers, distributors and aftermarket companies in dealing with government regulations at all levels and to help members understand and comply with regulations.
The committee was authorized to have 12 members, but only eight spots have been filled. The members are: Fred Fox, Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties, chairperson; Ted Sands, Performance Machine, vice chairperson; and committee members Wil Garland, American IronHorse; Nick Messer, Big Dog Motorcycles; Dave Koshollek, DAKO Enterprises, Grady Pfeiffer, GH Marketing, Len Sims, NADA, and Brett Smith, S&S Cycle.
For information about serving on the committee, contact Danielle Reaves, MIC, at 949/727-4211, ext. 3130.
During the three-hour open meeting, called a Communications Forum, audience members raised questions and concerns about:
– Noise emissions and the growing public irritation with loud pipes. Nick Messer, president of Big Dog Motorcycles, discussed a problem with one municipality that tried to restrict the operations of a Big Dog dealer after one of its customers was ticketed for loud pipes. Big Dog fought the action and won a favorable court decision.
But the question of dealer liability for illegal consumer actions was raised and the problem of a non-standardized noise level test that can be easily administered by local authorities was discussed at length.
After the meeting, Garland of American IronHorse, said he thought the meeting was a good one, adding that he wasn’t surprised that there were so many people uninfomed about the regulations. “The problem is,” he says, “that the horses are already out of the barn; the regs are written. And there is no agreed method of testing for sound. (Often) the pipes are legal, but they may not seem legal because of nonstandard testing.”
– Air emissions from California and the federal EPA. New regulations for both small manufacturers (basically, fewer than 300 annual sales in California and fewer than 3,000 units nationwide) are scheduled to become effective in 2006.
Unfortunately, the EPA exemptions for kit bikes, display bikes and custom motorcycles under the regulation are confusing and appear overly restrictive. Clarification and modification of these regulations is a priority for the committee.
– Other concerns and questions discussed included certifications for European operations, NADA requirements, and the new reseller internet policy announced by S&S Cycle, which places restrictions on pricing and other information that can be included in Internet advertising.

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