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Archive for August, 2019

Jessi Combs:  July 27, 1980 – August 27, 2019

Sadly, television personality and professional driver Jessi Combs died Tuesday in Oregon trying to break a land speed record in a jet car.  She was 39.

Jessi Combs was born in the Black Hills of Rapid City, SD. and had a lifelong desire to become a race car driver.  She was a fearless young lady.

She was on the dry lake bed of the Alvord Desert pursuing a land speed record in the North American Eagle (jet-powered vehicle) on August, 27th 2019 on the dry lake bed.  The details of the crash have not been released at this time.

North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger

Land speed records have been set or attempted in the past on the dried lake bed of the Alvord Desert.  The Alvord Desert is located in Harney County, in southeastern Oregon.  It is roughly southeast of Steens Mountain.

In 2013, Jessi Combs broke the four-wheeled women’s land speed record there at a speed of nearly 393 mph in her 52,000-horsepower, 56-foot-long,  North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger — a reconfigured F-104 jet — on the 13-mile course. Then, in 2016, Combs broke 440 mph and was dubbed the fastest woman on four wheels.

In 2018, during a shakedown run, she set a new record of 483.227 mph.  Unfortunately, a panel fell off the car and dangled at 488 mph until part of it broke off and went into the intake on the left side.  There wasn’t a lot of damage, but enough where they had to pack up the pits and take it back to the shop in order to fix the first 2 turbine blade levels.

The group’s stated goal was to break the land speed record of 763 mph, which was set on Nevada’s Black Rock Desert in 1997.

Jessi was an icon in the industry, and my thoughts are with her family and loved ones.

UPDATED: November 12, 2019 — Earlier this month the Harney County Sheriff’s Department and the North American Eagle race team released information regarding the cause of the crash. It was determined after extensive investigation that a failure in the front wheel caused the accident. In a press release, Lieutenant Brian Needham of the Harney County Sheriff’s Department said:

“Based on the evidence collected and examined at the scene of the crash and the evidence recovered by the North American Race Team, it appears that there was a mechanical failure of the front wheel, most likely caused from striking an object on the desert. The front wheel failure led to the front wheel assembly collapsing. The front wheel failure occurred at speeds approaching 550 mph.”

Photos courtesy Jessi Combs Instagram and website

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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2020 CVO™ STREET GLIDE®

It’s a slang expression and in general has the meaning of knowing if something is worth the trouble of trying to get it.

And in this case I’m thinking about the MSRP on Harley-Davidson’s 2020 lineup.

In 2019, the 10 models in the touring family: Road King; Street Glide; Road Glide; Road King Special; Electra Glide Ultra Classic; Street Glide Special; Road Glide Special; Road Glide Ultra; Ultra Limited Low; and Ultra Limited had starting prices which ranged from $19,289 to $28,089.  The new 2020 models starting prices range from $19,499 to $28,699.  The three 2019 CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) models: CVO Street Glide (starting at $40,889); CVO Road Glide (starting at $42,339); and CVO Limited (starting at $43,889). The new 2020 CVO models are priced below.  I’m no Financial Samurai, but that’s getting squeezed!

But wait a minute.  Maybe it’s time to just accept the reason why the average new motorcycle price is so high is because the economy is booming and people seem to have money to spend. If people weren’t cashed up, prices would decline instead of rising to these historical levels.

So, let’s look briefly at the new 2020 models…

2020 CVO™ TRI GLIDE®

Harley-Davidson launched new models and a saddle-bag full of new technologies that are featured on the Low Rider® S model, the all-electric LiveWire™ model, a new CVO™ Tri Glide® model and a “re-styled” Heritage Classic.  Not mentioned in Harley-Davidson’s press release were the models which will not be returning for 2020: the Superlow, 1200 Custom and Forty-Eight Special, the Electra Glide Ultra Classic, the Ultra Limited Low and the CVO Road Glide. Also gone is the Road Glide Ultra, which is officially being replaced by the Road Glide Limited.

The LiveWire motorcycle as previously noted is powered by the all-new H-D Revelation™ permanent-magnet electric motor rated at 105 horsepower (78 kW) and producing 86 ft. lbs. of torque.  You may recall that back in January, Harley-Davidson made a splash at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, with the LiveWire and stated they would start deliveries of the $29,799 all-electric motorcycle by this fall.  The motorcycle was initially rolled out for “beta testing” back in 2014 to H-D brand fans, but since then, the motor company has been working on fine-tuning the design and overall electrification.  Unlike an internal combustion engine (ICE), the H-D Revelation can produce 100 percent of its rated torque the instant the throttle is twisted, and 100 percent of that torque is always available, resulting in incredible, acceleration for an exhilarating ride. The LiveWire can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds, and 60-80 mph in 1.9 seconds. And the high-voltage battery provides 146 miles (235 km) of city range or 95 miles (152 km) of combined stop-and-go and highway range as measured using the MIC City and MIC Combined tests.  The H-D Revelation motor is cooled by a water jacket, with coolant circulated through a small radiator, and is positioned longitudinally and low in the chassis to lower the motorcycle’s center of gravity, and aid maneuverability.

2020 Low Rider® S

The Low Rider S focuses first on performance. This motorcycle places emphasis on power, handling, and enhanced rider control, while maintaining the typical character of the Harley-Davidson. The motorcycle employs the Softail chassis, enhanced by premium suspension components tuned for aggressive riding and powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine.  The Low Rider S is really rooted in the legacy of the Low Rider models of the 1980s, that has a devoted following which spread world-wide from origins in Southern California.  The 2020 Low Rider S model has a base price of $17,999.

The Heritage Classic model has been restyled for 2020 “to give the bike a more appealing and nostalgia look of Harley-Davidson chrome.” The Heritage Classic is powered by the same Milwaukee-Eight 107 powertrain as the 2019 model and retains the same mechanics as its predecessor.  The base price for for the 2020 Heritage Classic is $18,999.

The Road Glide Limited, which replaces the Road Glide Ultra will offer the rider new premium luxury-touring features. The model is intended for long-haul touring and is equipped with the distinctive aerodynamic Road Glide shark-nose fairing with triple split stream vents that limit rider head buffeting. The motorcycle is powered by the standard Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. The base price for the Road Glide Limited is $28,299.

2020 CVO™ LIMITED

The CVO Tri Glide is the newest addition to the company’s line of premium CVO motorcycles and labeled as the ultimate three-wheel motorcycle.  The trike will uphold the CVO standard for advanced technology, exclusive components, and attention to detail that is expected of CVO’s. The CVO Tri Glide will utilize the Milwaukee-Eight 117 powertrain that is unique to CVO models.

Base price for the 2020 CVO Tri-Glide is $48,999.
Base price for the 2020 CVO Limited is $44,039
Base price for the 2020 CVO Street Glide model is $40,539

The H-D™Connect service rolled out which is a cellular telematics control unit (TCU) that functions as an (LTE) enabled modem connecting the 2020 LiveWire™ and select 2020 Touring models to the cloud.  The service is built on the IBM Cloud and Panasonic’s OneConnect™ service.  It’s a ($12/month fee-based service – FREE 1st year) service that remotely connects the rider to their motorcycle through the Harley-Davidson App via a smart phone.  The built-in cellular connectivity with the IBM Cloud, IBM artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and Internet of Things will enhance the rider’s experience as well as keep the rider in the know with motorcycle status, notifications and alerts.  The press release, web site and product documents note that the service is not available in all markets and availability will vary.

H-D™ Connect

The motor company also launched the new Reflex™ Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS) — unlike previous model years Linked Brembo Brakes with ABS, the new system is a collection of technology designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration and braking, utilizing the latest chassis control, electronic brake control and powertrain technology.   With features like: Cornering Electronically Linked Brakes, Cornering-ABS, Cornering-Traction Control with modes, Drag Torque Slip Control, Vehicle Hold Control and Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPMS) the motor company upped it’s game to give the rider confidence and control in less-than-ideal situations.  Important to note is that RDRS is not a system to directly influence vehicle direction. This is a key difference between motorcycle RDRS and Automotive Stability Control. The rider is ultimately responsible for speed, steering, and path corrections.  The RDRS features are standard on the 2020 LiveWire, Trike and CVO models, and optional on all 2020 Touring models in the U.S. (except Electra Glide®Standard models).

Boom!™ Box GTS infotainment system has evolved with the latest look, feel and function of mobile phones and tablets and with durability and features designed specifically for motorcycling. Every element has been optimized to enhance the rider’s interaction with the motorcycle and connectivity.  Most notable is the GTS processes faster, has more memory and is much more responsive.  Start-up time is reduced from 21 seconds to 10 seconds,  Time to FM Audio is less than 6 seconds and Route calculation time is reduced from 10 seconds to 2.5 seconds.  The GTS replaces the Boom!™ Box 6.5GT system on MY19 Ultra Limited, Ultra Limited Low, Road Glide Ultra, Road Glide Special, Street Glide Special models, and is a factory-installed option on Street Glide, Road Glide and Ultra Classic models.  What DID NOT change and deserves a shout-out is the current audio sources are maintained: AM, FM, WB, XM, A2DP Bluetooth streaming and Digital Mass Storage compatibility!

Heather Malenshek, Harley-Davidson Chief Marketing Officer stated that “Harley-Davidson offers riders a host of new models, gear and accessories for 2020 as we leverage our unmatched ability to blend style, performance and technology in products designed to elevate the motorcycling experience.

Clearly rider and motorcycle assistance systems are rolling out faster and getting better at Harley-Davidson.  The advance technologies provide incremental improvements and make for inspiring marketing collateral.  But, the picture looks different for more price-sensitive customers when you shine a “Daymaker” headlamp on cost competitiveness.

The accelerating motorcycle costs are a good reminder that whatever you’re going through–whatever financial pressure or squeezing stress–the question at the end-of-day is–is it worth what it produces? i.e., is the juice really worth the squeeze?

UPDATED: October 1, 2019 — Previously neglected to include the role Panasonic Automotive has in connecting Harley riders to their motorcycle through a cellular connection to the telematics control unit (TCU) utilizing Panasonic’s OneConnect™ service. The OneConnect™ service complements the Harley-Davidson App and the new Harley-Davidson Connect service. Together, these systems link LiveWire riders with their motorcycle through their smartphone providing features such as motorcycle status, tamper alerts and vehicle location and service reminder and notifications.

References:
H-D Media Kit: (HERE)
More Roads to Harley-Davidson Plan: (HERE)

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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The number of businesses investing in the Internet of Things (IoT) technology continues to grow.  Harley-Davidson is one company that recognizes the benefits and has started to leverage IoT both internally as part of their manufacturing process and externally with the new H-D™ Connect service.

WTF?  Isn’t this a motorcycle blog Mac?  You lost me at that inter-web-thingy!

First off, lets set some context with a bit of IoT background:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is used across industries such as manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, agriculture, automotive and industrial markets.  Think connected cars, smart buildings, smart homes and smart city grids.  You’ve likely interacted already with internet-enabled appliances (refrigerators, washer/dryer, garage door openers), there are smart TV’s, there are wearable health trackers.  Need more specifics?  Think RING doorbells, NEST  thermostats or Philips Hue lightbulbs.  Just a few product examples that highlight IoT-based value creation.

The key point here is VALUE creation.  It involves performing activities that increase the value of a company’s offering and encourage customer willingness to pay.  That is the heart of any business model.  Simply connecting a “thing” to the Internet isn’t enough—you must be able to ensure that the data generated by that thing can be leveraged to enable new business benefits.  Whether that benefit is reducing your business’ costs or enhancing your customers’ experiences with new services, the systems chosen to power an IoT deployment must work reliably, be easy to manage, and help you get to real business.

That’s enough context.  Let’s circle the discussion back to motorcycles.

You may not know, but Zero Motorcycles produced a prototype of its first electric motorcycle in 2006 and began marketing them in 2008. In 2013 the company produced a mobile app enabling communication with the motorcycle using Bluetooth; effectively using the Internet of Things (IoT) to connect owner, motorcycle, and service facility.  The app allowed the rider to configure their motorcycle in a number of different ways. For example, it can be configured for a more energy efficient ride or for a higher performance ride using only the app. One of the rider benefits is that the app can also inform you of your current battery capacity as well as an estimation of how far you can travel on the charge.

In addition, the Zero Motorcycles can communicate directly to the manufacturer, dealer, or repair shop. Most vehicles today can communicate with the mechanic by being plugged into a computer, but it requires a trip to the garage. The Zero Motorcycle app allows the motorcycle to send that diagnostic information directly to the mechanic over the internet no matter where you are.  If a rider experiences mechanical problems with the motorcycle, all they need do is to tap the help button located in the app. The information is transmitted and the rider can get troubleshooting advice on location as well as having the company schedule a service appointment if desired. Rather than taking days to get your motorcycle into a mechanic for diagnosis, it is all done in minutes.

Now lets chat about the new H-D™ Connect service; a cellular telematics control unit (TCU) that functions as an (LTE) enabled modem connecting the 2020 LiveWire™ and select 2020 Touring models to the cloud.  It’s built on the IBM Cloud and launched earlier this week.  The H-D Connect (a $12/month fee-based service – FREE 1st year) service remotely connects you to your motorcycle through the Harley-Davidson App on your smart phone.  The fact that Harley-Davidson marketing boldly claims they “will lead the electrification of motorcycling”, is a stunning statement-of-hype when they basically imitated a 6-year old service from Zero Motorcycles!

H-D Connect uses built-in cellular (LTE) connectivity with the IBM Cloud, IBM artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and IoT to enhance the rider’s experience as well as keep the rider in the know with motorcycle status, notifications and alerts.  The rider is always “plugged in”.  Riders can check the battery charge status or the fuel level, available range, tire pressure (on TPMS-equipped models), ride mode (on equipped models), odometer, Infotainment software updates where applicable, and riding statistics.  There is even a GPS-enabled stolen vehicle tracking feature that lets riders share the motorcycle location with law enforcement.

It’s been reported that Harley-Davidson used IoT sensors as far back as 2013 along with other applications to keep track of production on its manufacturing facility in York, Pa., and can complete a new motorcycle every 86 seconds.  But, clearly Harley-Davidson’s desire to make money in the internet-connected space is not limited to physical motorcycle sales; other revenue streams become possible after the initial product sale, including value-added services, subscriptions, and apps, which over time might even exceed the initial purchase price of the motorcycle.

As more and more of our daily life is internet-connected and “recorded” by computers communicating with other computers, riders (myself included) have a legitimate concern about security.  There’s been very little information made available from Harley-Davidson in regards to how they will ensure the privacy of both rider, their riding data and the motorcycle stats.  How often are data logs taken from the motorcycle, streamed to the cloud and then reviewed, stored and archived?  Is the data encoded in a proprietary format, is it encrypted and who can review the data?  Does it require a double-top secret decoder?  The LTE cellular link is ideal to connect the motorcycle and it’s sensors to the dealer and motor company, but it also seems fairly simple to obtain or review that data for evidence that might be used later against the rider.

Any new technology hooked up to the web has the potential to become a surveillance device, even if it’s original purpose was benign.  Law enforcement “cartapping” or using “things” for surveillance has been possible for years, but maybe we should dwell on the benefits that we as a society can reap from this technology.  The new H-D Connect service and Harley-Davidson’s Internet of Things (IoT) platform may provide a reduction in motorcycle fatalities, provide increased benefits of predictive driving in real-time and a more energy efficient future once we’re all inter-connected to smart city grids.

We’ll know soon enough if Harley-Davidson’s internet-connected motorcycles and services actually increase the value of the company’s offering and encourage customer willingness to pay more.

Additional Information:

How Many Turns in a Screw? Big Data Knows — WSJ Paywall
IoT Makes Motorcycles, Helmets Safer, Smarter — Information Week
Harley-Davidson to Redefine Riding with IBM Cloud — IBM PR
How Smart Connected Products Are Transforming Companies — Harvard Business Review

Photos courtesy of Bosch and Deloitte

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What:  Replacement Rear Reflectors Missing from Kit. Without the rear red reflectors, the motorcycle has reduced visibility to other drivers, increasing the risk of a crash.

NHTSA Campaign Number: 19V574000

Potential Number of Units Affected — 12,733  (All markets (except Japan) are affected)

Summary — In April 2019, Harley-Davidson’s Technical Subcommittee (TSC) is notified by their Parts and Accessories Engineering group that the current P&A Detachables Tour-Pak kits for 2014 – current Touring models have been sold without reflectors to replace the original equipment rear reflector that may be removed on some models to install this kit.  An investigation was initiated.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company determined that the P&A Detachables Tour-Pak Luggage Conversion Kits (Part No. 53000291, 53000291A and 53000567) were not equipped with reflectors to replace the factory-installed rear reflector, which may have been removed when installing this kit. Installation of these kits may cause the vehicle to fail to meet federal regulations that require motorcycles to be equipped with a red reflex reflector on the rear of the motorcycle. The absence of these reflectors could reduce the rear conspicuity of the vehicle, possibly increasing the risk of a crash.  As such, these motorcycles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

Remedy — In August 2019, Harley-Davidson initiated a recall on certain Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles, including 2017-2019 FLHTCU, FLHTCUL, FLHTK ANV, FLHTKL, FLTRU, FLHTK, and 2016-2019 FLHTKSE, FLHTKSE ANV, and FLTRUSE models equipped with a Harley-Davidson Detachable Tour-Pak Luggage Conversion Kit (Part numbers 53000291, 53000291A, and 53000567). The kit did not include replacement rear red reflectors for the ones that are eliminated by installing this kit.

Harley-Davidson has notified owners, and dealers will install the replacement reflectors, free of charge. The recall began August 19, 2019. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464. Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0629.

REFERENCE DOC: https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2019/RCLRPT-19V574-9143.PDF
SERVICE BULLETIN: https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2019/RCRIT-19V574-0248.pdf

Notes — Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236, or go to http://www.safercar.gov.

Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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I didn’t typically think about it this way, but I was putting out product.  I’d write something and I occasionally gauged the reaction. Sometimes I’d get e-mail, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I’d write something I knew was good, but it wasn’t the kind of thing that motorcycle enthusiasts respond too. And then there were times I’d throw some snarky attitude out there to see if it sticks and I’d get surprised.

Like you I’ve aged.

My attention span became a precious commodity.  Time availability and the time demand trade-offs were always present.  And then there are the apps — email, social networks, blogs, micro-blogging and, yes, news outlets that have deployed an infuriating number of push alerts and notifications to distract.  Do we really need another reminder to post to Facebook?  No, I didn’t see that cat video post from a distant cousin?  Did I need that annoying notification that it’s been 4-days since my last photo posted to Instagram?  Buzz, Ding, Ding!  A friend of a friend of a friend just started a live video!  Who?

My time and your attention deserved more respect!

And speaking of time, you may have noticed that I took a sabbatical for a couple years.  Sipping coffee and admiring other motorcycle blog posts was a nice break and a different mindset.  I also spent cloudless summer days riding along the Northwest back roads reflecting on how I’ve run the Northwest Harley Blog for well over 10 years.  It started out as a hobby to capture the various motorcycle trips and riding experiences.  A secondary benefit was to shine light on issues and concerns affecting the motorcycle community along with the occasional rant or statement of ingratitude toward the motor company mixed in.

Thinking back, I approached my career like it was an investment: spreading risk and reward across a portfolio that included a full-time role in one industry, another side hustle in unrelated fields and an unpaid skill-building labor of love/writing — this blog.  But, after a couple of job changes the blogging, social media and content publication activity became a 50+ hour a week gig and during my “free” time the motorcycle blogging creative juices went MIA.  I was editing content, on the internet and social media all hours as part of my job to increase conversion rates, build up authority in a niche and increase a brands likability quotient.  I took actions daily and witnessed firsthand the difference social media and blogging could make in terms of organic search visibility, website traffic, leads, share-of-voice and stepping potential consumers through a sales funnel.

I developed a severe case of writers block, was off balance and needed a digital detox!  I did break the cardinal rule of blogging and just… stopped.  Mea culpa.

Fortunately,  I was able to enjoy some wind in the face time.  I’ll spend some time in separate posts and share some of those trips with you.  But first, I wanted to explain the absence, and to let you know — I’ll be slowly coming back, though the topics I tackle may be wide(r) and more varied.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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