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Archive for April, 2013

NOAA-MapYou’re the CEO and going down your quarterly earnings check list:

  1. Still in business after 110 years – Check
  2. Secured music talent for 110th Anniversary Party – Check
  3. Number one seller of motorcycles to young adults (18-34) – Check
  4. Increase 2013 first quarter revenue to $1.57B (up 10%) vs. $1.43B a year earlier — Check
  5. Increase 2013 first quarter income to $224.1M vs. $172M a year earlier – Check
  6. HOG shares up 2.1% to closed at $54.31 – Check
  7. U.S. dealers sold 34,706 new motorcycles, down 12.7% from a year earlier – Ooops!

Colder temperatures and the wet climate set the stage for the quarterly sales miss.  At least according to Harley-Davidson CEO, Keith Wandell who stated in last week’s earnings call… “By far, the vast majority of the (sales decline) was weather related”.

Temp2-MapInteresting.  The earnings call didn’t signal any major marketing changes for the brand, instead pinning some of the losses on external factors such as rainfall in many parts of the country, the weak economy and the unseasonably cold weather.

Are the only unemployed consumers who keep getting rained on Harley-Davidson consumers?!

Generally speaking home sales and auto sales are up.  It would seem that management neglected to remind us about Superstorm Sandy, how federal tax returns have been delayed and how fuel prices are unsettling to consumers.  To be fair some retail outlets selling spring apparel, home and garden were depressed due to wintry conditions, but looking at the weather for an impact on Harley-Davidson consumer spending seems a bit trivial.

I spent the last week in Arizona and if you plotted temperatures from dawn until noon, you’d observe an alarming warming trend.  If you extended that trend line for the next 4-months, you’ll clearly notice that ice caps will melt and the poor polar bears will be swimming more.

We’ll soon know if the good weather in the upcoming quarter provides a recovery to more normalized sales volume.

Photo courtesy of NOAA

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jacket-linerGerbings LLC., and Harley-Davidson are recalling more than 9,000 12-volt heated jacket liners.

The jacket liners have an improperly crimped connector in the heating element in the back portion of the jacket liner which is prone to overheating.  The could cause it to overheat and potentially pose a burn hazard to customers.

The jacket liner (model JKLN) subject to this recall is PO# 3796.  Consumers should stop using the jacket liners and contact Gerbings at 877-242-5595 or Harley-Davidson at 800-258-2464 for a free repair or replacement liner.

Recall information at Gerbings is located HERE.

Photo courtesy of Gerbings.

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FL-TesttrackI’m talking about Florida and the Big Cypress Swamp.

To be more specific the address is: Harley-Davidson, 5301 34th Ave. S.E., Naples, FL., a 531-acre private test track north of Interstate 75/Alligator Alley.  The facility has a 2.1-mile straight away and a 1.1-mile ride-and-handling loop.

FL-Track-HeloPrior to 2002, the test track was owned and used by Ford Motor Company.  In October 2009, Harley-Davidson announced plans to consolidate its test operations in Florida and Talladega, AL. sites to the Arizona Proving Grounds in Yucca, AZ.  There were approximately 8 employees and as many contract employees at the Florida facility at the time.

Earlier this month, the automaker Chrysler Group LLC announced they purchased the property for $7 million with plans to use the more than six miles of tracks to test a wide range of pre-production vehicles.

FL-Track-BldsHarley-Davidson Motor Co., agreed to lease back a portion of the track to test motorcycles and other specialty vehicles along with 10,200 square feet within two buildings on the property. That lease will last through at least June 30, 2019.

Construction of the track and its associated buildings began in 1985 and ended in 1992.  In 1998 the test track was the subject of a lot of scrutiny when nearby property owners and environmentalist became concerned about expansion that would harm the neighborhood.

Photos courtesy of Google and Collier International.

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Long-way-thereWritten by Graeham Goble on June 2, 1972.  Nearly 40-years ago!

Only in his early 20’s when he left home in Adelaide to pursue a music career in Melbourne, Australia.  He became home sick and initially traveled back and forth by car every three weeks to see his family.  The trip often took over 9 hours and the idea for the song came from one of those long trips home.

This is all a set-up for that moment in the fall of ’76 when I was driving through the snow covered heartland of North Dakota and heard this song for the first time.  One of the things you’ll notice about North Dakota is how proud NoDaks are of their state.  Another thing you notice is how geographically diverse North Dakota is. It’s of course flat in most parts, but intermixed with a lot of rolling hills and green. And there are sections of the state that have buttes as far as the eye can see.

But, I’ve digressed.

Nodak-RGIt was the early days of FM radio.  You remember radio without advertisements, right?!  And I hear these swirling strings and then cappella harmonies and the track proceeds to positively rock out.  For nearly 10-minutes!  The youth of today have never heard a song uninterrupted for 10-minutes on radio.

I’m talking about the song, “It’s A Long Way There” by The Little River Band (LRB).

“People on the road are getting nowhere
I’m on the road to see
If anything is anywhere and waiting just for me”

It’s one of those songs that sounds as great today as the day it was released.

LRB-Album CoverI came home, ripped off the album shrinkwrap and dropped the needle and…  with big speakers, and large amps you could actually see the instruments come alive in the speakers.  In those days it was not an earbud nation!

What I truly enjoyed most about the seventies music was it wasn’t cookie-cutter.  There was even a time I thought I had a future in music.  It was really a long way to where I was going.  Sometime I’ll tell you my history, because I haven’t been writing this blog drivel forever and it took me years to find a niche.

That was 1976 and now, in 2013, LRB is still touring the U.S., but sadly with NO original members. Through a bizarre legal situation, the original members lost the rights to the ‘Little River Band’ name and Trademark.  Now it’s Birtles, Shorrock and Goble (BSG).

Harley’s touring bikes are built for American roads and as you lollop along with the engine thudding crank up  LRB, and “It’s A Long Way There”.  It’s an exquisitely recorded gem from the good ‘ol days that is a perfect companion for that road trip playlist. HERE is a more recent performance.

Check it out.

Photo’s taken by the author, album cover courtesy of LRB.

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i-quitI guess you could say it all started when Taylor Swift wrote that song.

Was “Mean” really about me?  I’m just an aging blogger, why did the biggest pop star in America have to pick on ME?  That hurts. You don’t know what it was like growing up.  Everybody knows I’m thin-skinned. I’ve got health issues and doesn’t she know that if I don’t consistently see my psychiatrist I’ll need MKULTRA re-programming.

Yes, I know, bragging that I see a psychiatrist, is a sign of a SIESPD mental disorder: Self-Inflation at the Expense of Sacred Psychiatry Disorder.

But what’s worse are the blog readers. It doesn’t matter what I write.  They only want to read and comment about the reality TV drama The Devils Ride.  Sure I’m “unqualified” to write a motorcycle blog, but I think it was precisely that total lack of journalism training that gave me an edge.  But, it’s doesn’t matter what wisdom flows through my fingers as I throw down editorial so magical—so right—that my fellow bloggers are moved by my artistry.  In a country where everybody’s seems to be on the take, where screenwriters whose job is to feed the character dialogue on “reality” TV, where politicians are indicted on a regular basis, it doesn’t pay to be honest.

So, I’m stopping. Giving up. I quit.  Going over to the dark side.

No, I’m not going to work for Harley-Davidson, I’m not even going to work for Honda, there’s just not enough money involved.  You can’t make it in motorcycles, you’ve got to go where the money is, Technology.

Technology is run by young people challenging all the rules.

Oh, it’s been done before.  You wake up and chuck aside journalistic aspirations and went where the real power was, Technology.

And why not. Everybody thinks I’m wealthy anyway. I make a comment about the Portland occupiers and my inbox blows up with people castigating me for being a one percenter. You’d have thought I was giving away Nike stock. I’m sick of being poor, now I truly am going to be rich.  No, I turned down the Pritikin offer to co-write The Devils Ride scripts.  We might look similar in a black vest, but do you think I still want to be in the public eye after what I’ve been through on this blog?

No, I’m not going to tell you the name of the company.  You wouldn’t know Summly anyway.  They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  And I’ve brought in my black book. I’m tapping every relationship I have for cash. Everybody.  If you’re wealthy, expect to hear from me.  As for the rest of you…it’s payback time.

I’ve sold my email subscription list to so many marketers I can afford a year off in Honolulu. You’re gonna be spammed to high heaven. I’m always accused of selling my list anyway, so why not do it?

I’m all about the cash now baby. I gave you that motorcycle information for free and all you did was bust my chops.  You were so busy drinking at the trough of motorcycle Reality TV that you can’t see that you’ve been sold a bill of goods.

So, I’m leaving you behind.  Going to work for Nick.

At fifteen without a driver’s license, he had a computer, an iPad and an iPhone.  Of course there were good parents that insisted he do well in school and he had a worldly view to know there are winners and losers.  He didn’t want the short end of the stick and didn’t waste time learning the guitar or riding a dirt bike?  No, he developed an app and now at 17 years old he has millions.  A teenager who sits at home and changes the world.

Motorcycling is done anyway.

The Discovery channel ruined it. They “prostituted the patch” in the name of advertising and shilling faux t-shirts.  There’s no money left.  If you’re smart, you’ll follow me.  I’m done with you, I’m going behind the tech celeb gate and throwing away the key, only flying private from now on.

Look, I get it. You can’t have people like me writing whatever they want. If I run too loose I’ll ruin all of powersports…who knows what’s next.  Blogs like NWHOG need to be shut up.  I mean who does this MacRant think he is?  There’s nobody he hasn’t written negative stuff about. He’s just a crybaby loser who is desperate to be close to fame. He’s been doing it for too many years already.

Good riddance.

I hear you. I’m done.

Photo courtesy of Superior Law Office.  Gullible motorcycle blog-lovers gather round, April Fool’s Day is upon us!

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