Dec. 4, 2006 – Motorcycle Report

Buell celebrates 100,000 units
Buell Motorcycle Company employees in East Troy, Wis., spent Nov. 17 celebrating the production of the company’s 100,000th motorcycle, a 2007 Ulysses XB12X.
Erik Buell began the company in 1983 with the production of the RW750, a two-stroke machine designed specifically to compete in the American Motorcyclist Association’s then-premiere Formula One roadracing class. After the AMA dropped the class in favor of Superbikes, Buell incorporated his innovations into the RR1000, the first model in a line of street motorcycles.
A subsidiary of Harley-Davidson, Inc. for the past 13 years, the company plans to enter 2007 by offering seven Buell XB models in three distinct families and the Buell Blast.
“We take great pride in knowing we’ve provided 100,000 bikes worth of fun and unique experiences for our owners and loyal enthusiasts,” Buell said. “Reaching the 100,000-motorcycle milestone as the only American sport bike manufacturer is a real tribute to the riders and employees who have passionately supported Buell motorcycles over the years.
“We will continue to appeal to people’s passion for motorcycles and for life, and we will continue to surprise and excite the market with high quality, high technology, high attitude sportsbikes.”
Aprilia partners with Jincheng
Jincheng Corporation, one of China’s largest motorcycle manufacturers, says it has formed a strategic manufacturing partnership with Aprilia.
Jincheng says the agreement will have it manufacture a new line of Aprilia motorcycles and engines.
“This is an outstanding partnership for Jincheng, and a pivotal step toward our global expansion,” Wang Jian, president of the Jincheng Group, said in a prepared statement. “Aprilia is a world-renowned motorcycle producer, owner of the industry’s top brands, and a part of the largest motorcycle production entity in Europe. We are excited to leverage our partnership with them.”
The deal with Jincheng continues the Piaggio Group’s stated goal of expanding partnerships with leading manufacturers in burgeoning Asian nations. In 2005, Jincheng exported more than 500,000 two-wheelers to 40 countries for revenue of more than $625 million.
Jincheng says production of the Aprilia line will begin before the end of the year.
Piaggio pushes three-wheeler
Piaggio Group Americas has invited journalists in the United States to ride the company’s new three-wheeled scooter on Dec. 6, prior to the opening of the International Motorcycle Show (IMS) in Long Beach, Calif.
Dubbed the MP3 when revealed earlier this year, the unique scoot is powered by a choice of 125cc, 250cc or 400cc engine and features two independent tilting front wheels that Piaggio says provide increased stability on wet and rough surfaces and better braking than a conventional scooter.
Visitors to the 64th EICMA International Milan Motorbike Show last month received a sneak peek of the vehicle, and were able to ride the unit along a prepared course within the fair’s MotoLive outdoor exhibition area.
Manheim, Big Twin West plan custom auction
Manheim and Big Twin West plan to partner to host the first-ever custom bike auction on Dec. 3 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
The auction is being held in conjunction with the Big Twin Customs Invitational competition sponsored by Big Twin West, an annual aftermarket trade event for Big Twin motorcycle retailers.
Manheim is a provider of remarketing services through live auctions and an array of technology products. The auction will be available through Manheim Simulcast, which allows dealers to participate in the live auction online.
Last year, Big Twin West organizers noticed that those who entered their custom designs in the open bike build competition were posting hand-written for-sale signs on the vehicles. Organizers saw an opportunity to provide a better option and partnered with Manheim to facilitate an auction for the 2006 show.
The custom bikes will run in a mini-lane set up at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center from 1 to 4 p.m. PST, with a bike preview from 10 a.m. to noon PST. Manheim Simulcast will broadcast a live feed of the sale through stationary and handheld cameras for enhanced viewing by dealers online.
Big Twin West, established in 2004, serves manufacturers and distributors of American and Metric Big Twin products, accessories and services in addition to owners, managers and buyers of franchised and independent dealerships and custom bike builders. The three-day trade show is open to the public on the last day.
Victory recalls in Canada
Polaris’ Victory line has had a tough year in Canada. Transport Canada, the nation’s transportation safety agency, says the brand experienced four recalls in 2006.
In May, new axles were ordered installed on all 2006 Victory Eightball, Kingpin, Kingpin Deluxe and Vegas bikes after it was found that torquing a rear axle nut could break a retaining ear on the axle.
Also in May, owners of 2006 model year Jackpots were provided with labels and installation instructions after it was found that the VIN decal located on the left front down-tube of the 2006 Jackpot’s frame incorrectly lists Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) for the front axle as 405 pounds (184 kg). The correct GAWR for the front axle is 390 pounds (177 kg). An overloaded front wheel could result in a tire blowout causing sudden loss of vehicle control and a crash.
In July, it was found that fuel pump retaining clips on the 2006 Victory Eightball, Kingpin, Kingpin Deluxe, Vegas and Jackpot can fail and allow the pump to separate from a regulator, causing a loss of fuel pressure. Dealers were asked to replace the clips.
Finally, in September, Transport Canada and Victory said third gear is prone to failure on certain 2001 model year “Standard” and “Deluxe” cruisers that have had transmission replacement kits installed. Owners of these units are asked to contact a dealer to have a new rear sprocket hub damper assembly installed.
Big dog hires longtime arctic cat manager
V-twin manufacturer Big Dog Motorcycles recently appointed Wayne Hanson as its customer support manager.
Prior to joining Big Dog, Hanson was employed for more than 20 years at Minnesota-based Arctic Cat.
“With his proven leadership — in both the manufacturing and dealership environments — his appointment strengthens our customer support and dealer service training programs and will establish even stronger relationships with our entire dealer network,” Big Dog President Nick Messer said in a news release.
In addition to managing a customer service team of 12, Hanson will focus on improving dealer service operations through primarily training, education and certifications, and ensuring that service issues are resolved in a timely and effective manner.
While at Arctic Cat, Hanson served in increasingly responsible positions. Beginning as inventory manager, Hanson was moved to business support analyst, and, most recently as call center manager. Prior to Arctic Cat, Hanson worked in two powersports dealerships.
“His unique background and strong skill set will be a great asset to Big Dog Motorcycles and our management team,” Messer said. “We are already hearing positive feedback from our dealers. We’re glad to have in him onboard.”
H.O.G. aims for Knoxville in 2007
Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) plans to hold its 24th annual rally Aug. 24-25 at Chilhowee Park in Knoxville, Tenn.
Founded in 1983, the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) is the official riding club of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. H.O.G. currently has more than 1 million members and more than 1,400 chapters worldwide, making it the largest factory-sponsored motorcycle organization in the world.
Although most of the scheduled events at the rally are for registered H.O.G. member event attendees only, the public is invited to visit the newly re-designed Harley-Davidson Traveling Museum, take part in free Harley-Davidson and Buell demo rides, and attend two dealership events: Knox Rocks Down Home H.O.G. Fest hosted by Knoxville Harley-Davidson & Buell as well as Down Home at the Shed hosted by Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson & Buell in Maryville.
“Once you experience all the incredible riding and unsurpassed beauty this area has to offer, you’ll come back again and again,” said David Brown, general manager of Knoxville Harley-Davidson. “We’re looking forward to welcoming all national H.O.G. members to the great city of Knoxville for some premiere down home Southern hospitality.”
Pre-registration for H.O.G. members and one guest per member begins April 4. The pre-registration fee is $15 plus $5 shipping and handling. Registration includes a commemorative pin. Capacity is unlimited.
Ridley becomes a NASCAR sponsor
Ridley Motorcycles has become an official sponsor of a NASCAR race team.
The Oklahoma City-based motorcycle manufacturer joined Keith Coleman Racing as the primary sponsors of the No. 23 NASCAR?Busch series race car driven by Brad Keselowski for the final races of this season.
Ridley’s sponsorship also will extend throughout the 2007 season, an official with the Keith Coleman Racing group told Powersports Business.
“We are very excited to enter the world of NASCAR with Keith Coleman Racing,” Ridley owner Clay Ridley said in a news release. “As a company, we strive on excellence and performance, both of which are vital to success on the track as well as in the business world.”
“NASCAR fans are their target audience,” said Keith Coleman, team owner. “They appreciate craftsmanship and performance and that is exactly what Ridley delivers. We are very proud to have them as partners with KCR and look forward to a long association.” psb

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