Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2021

Manufacturing Plant for Harley-Davidson Pan America™ 1250 – York, PA

As promised, here is a post on the Harley-Davidson Pan America™ 1250.

I’ve previously posted on the Pan America all-new Revolution Max 1250 engine HERE. To recap, it’s a liquid-cooled V-twin with variable valve timing that produces 150 horsepower with 94 pound-feet of torque at 9,500 rpm and is attached to a six-speed transmission. The engine features maintenance-free valves, thanks to hydraulic valve lifters, crankshaft connecting-rod journals, offset 30 degrees creating a 90-degree firing order, forged aluminum pistons, a 13.0:1 compression ratio, which requires 91-octane fuel. The engine is a “stressed member.”  Meaning the front frame, the mid-frame, and the tail section bolt directly to the powertrain. According to Harley, this design results in a stiffer chassis and less weight. The frame is mounted to a cast-aluminum swing-arm that minimizes unsprung weight.

Start of Harley-Davidson Pan America™ 1250 Manufacturing in York, PA

The base Pan America uses conventional Showa suspension with 7.5 inches of travel at both ends, while the Special trim gets an Ohlins steering damper and semi-active electronically adjustable system with Adaptive Ride Height (ARH) technology ($1,000 option), and with Vehicle Loading Control, which senses the rider’s weight, a passenger, and/or luggage to select optimal suspension sag by automatically adjusting rear preload.  It will also lower the bike over an inch when stopped. Once moving again, the bike automatically lifts itself back to an optimal ride height. The Pan America has a bucket load of acronyms: Cornering Enhanced Linked Braking System (C-ELB), Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS), Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) to impress all your ADV posse riders during set up of your Jetboil camp stove!

Harley-Davidson Pan America™ 1250 “In the Wild”

The motorcycle has a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear cast-aluminum wheels. Harley-Davidson worked with Michelin to create the Scorcher Adventure tires and the Anakee Wild tires that are also available with a more aggressive block-pattern tread. Tubeless cross-laced spoked wheels (additional $500) are also available. Brembo monoblock four-piston calipers that squeeze dual 320mm discs up front, and a single 280mm disc in back. The motorcycle uses a corrosion-resistant 304-series stainless steel exhaust system that’s Euro 5 compliant and features two mufflers – one below the engine and the other on the right side. The radiator shrouds are guarded by a crash bar and there’s an optional two-inch bar riser that doesn’t require lengthening the cables.

Harley-Davidson Pan America™ 1250

The motorcycle has smart rider aids that are all based on Bosch’s six-axis Inertia Measurement Unit (IMU) that makes the anti-lock brakes, traction control and other safety features lean-sensitive. In addition to traction control and ABS, the Pan America offers electronically controlled linked braking, Harley’s drag torque-slip control (this automatically modulates engine torque to reduce wheel spin) and hill hold control. The base model uses a Daymaker Signature LED headlamp, and the Special is upgraded with the Daymaker Adaptive Headlamp technology, which utilizes the ABS IMU to determine the motorcycle’s lean angle and automatically projects additional light into corners. All other motorcycle lights are LED.

Manufacturing the Harley-Davidson Pan America™ 1250

Electronics are plentiful on both models and include: Four rider modes: Road, Sport, Rain, Off-Road, and Off-Road Plus. The base features one customizable mode and the Special offers two customized modes. Both models use a 6.8-inch TFT touchscreen instrumentation that pairs with your mobile device. The screen’s touch feature is disabled when the Pan America is in motion. Missing is Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration, but Harley instead chose to handle all the media and navigation integration with Bluetooth and an app.

The four-position windscreen is adjustable in a range of 1.8 inches by using “one” hand.  There are heated grips on the Special model with standard cruise control. Fuel capacity is 5.6 Gallons and the curb weight: 534 pounds (Special: 559 pounds).

Harley is asking $17,319 for the base Pan America and $19,999 for the Special. For comparison, BMW’s base R1250 GS starts at $17,995 with a relatively extensive list of available options. The more expensive GS Adventure starts at $20,345.

Harley-Davidson took a lot of time researching, understanding and developing a motorcycle for the ADV market. They’ve used components from the same trusted brand names that you’ll find attached to a BMW, KTM, Ducati, Honda, Yamaha or Triumph. They’ve engineered a power plant which in of itself is most impressive. They have lineage with building Baja-winning dirt bikes in the 1970s, along with dirt track racing experience and with Buell one could debate that they had a semi-Adventure Touring motorcycle back in the early 2000s.

I imagine somewhere in a Milwaukee conference room a marketing exec said “Bring It On“…  Bring on that competition!

Previous Pan America posts:
Harley-Davidson Explores The Unexpected
Harley-Davidson Announces New Movie Telling Origin Story Of ADV Motorcycles
Can Harley-Davidson Stay Relevant With Pan America and Bronx

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Harley-Davidson® Pan America™ motorcycles

A lot has been written in the motorcycle media with photos of high mountains, plateaus, deep forests, beaches along the Pacific coast, fantastic riverbeds and deep mountain lakes that provide an epic backdrop for an exciting motorcycle launch.

Of course, I’m talking about what has been labeled the “real deal”—a highly capable, uncompromising large-displacement Adventure bike—the Harley-Davidson® Pan America™ motorcycle.

Harley-Davidson® Pan America™ motorcycle

Journalists cheered… remotely of course.  There were tears and applause, then more tears as the press fell apart during the historical motorcycle launch. Even Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO Harley-Davidson, made a cameo as a film actor riding — yes, RIDING — an actual motorcycle.  It was in the scenic landscape of Kenya, Africa no less.  The narrative is how he traveled to the vast wildlife preserves to lasso the twin Adventure Motorcycle and bring it back to America!

It’s the new AMERICAN adventure touring motorcycle that the motor company wants you to grab a tent stake, a Jetboil camping stove and join in on the outback camaraderie. Even the NY Times marked it as a “New Era” for Harley Davidson.

Not only were journalists drooling to throw a leg over the new Adventure Bike, Harley executives were exuberant for “knobs and tread blocks” to throw some dirt on the competition and share with the world what they’ve teased out for several years now. In this under two minute video you even get to meet workers from the H-D factory in York, Pennsylvania — the talented folks who assemble the new motorcycles. It’s pretty cool!

You might recall the new Adventure (ADV) model was revealed during an onslaught of online-presentations, keynotes and of course streamed worldwide across every social channel platform. It also included Jason Momoa (“Aquaman” actor) talking about his epic riding adventures.  Because who can’t relate to a Hollywood produced video of a multimillionaire actor’s motorcycle experiences? If you missed the initial launch you can replay it HERE. Or if you have time at work and want to watch a 25-minute video with dramatic musical overdubs about how this isn’t Harley’s first dirt rodeo check it out HERE.

I’m not sure about you, but I’m challenged to recall the last time I shipped a motorcycle overseas and tasted the bright red African soil on Kenya roads humming the tunes from the soundtrack of the Disney’s “Lion King.”

But, I’ve really wandered off the trail.

BMW R1250 GS

In this post, I’m NOT going to pontificate on the tsunami of Pan America jaw dropping impressions. I’ve previously posted on the Pan America engine HERE.  I promise that I’ll cover the Pan America motorcycle spec sheet in a future post.

I want to review the BMW Group with its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad. Harley-Davidson is going up against the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles.

For nearly 3-years, (since early 2018), Harley-Davidson has been “pissing” on BMW Motorrad’s parade without the courtesy of calling it rain!  Using a drip, drip, drip teaser marketing strategy, while pre-broadcasting their intent to enter the Adventure motorcycle segment.  The same segment that BMW Motorrad owns. It’s important to note that BMW achieved it’s 2nd BEST sales result in company history in 2020 and doing so during a world-wide pandemic!  Sales stats are below.

BMW R18

After a couple of years listening to Harley’s ADV bluster, BMW launched their own salvo at Milwaukee with the new BMW R 18: a nostalgic touring and supreme cruising motorcycle. BMW borrowed from the famous R 5 models for both technology and visual impact, shifting the focus back onto the motorcycle essentials: purist, no-frills technology and the most powerful “Big Boxer” engine (1802 cc) as the epicentre of riding pleasure. This happens to be Harley-Davidson’s wheel-house.  The motorcycle features and stats are impressive, but equally important is the BMW collaboration with Roland Sands Design, Mustang seats and Vance & Hines exhaust systems.

Will the blue-and-white roundel aggressively defend its Adventure segment sales crown?  You bet, because BMW appeals to a youthful and more dynamic consumer and making money is important to any business.  But, lets get one thing out there on BMW immediately; I’ve encountered numerous riders who claim they used to own BMWs but switched brands due to the absurdly high cost of everything—parts, service and the motorcycles themselves. We could debate that Harley-Davidson follows the same premium parts, service and motorcycle strategy too.

BMW R 1250 GS Adventure – Edition 40 Years

Clearly 2020 was a tough year for the motorcycle industry, but let’s double-click on BMW.

BMW Motorrad delivered 169,272 BMW motorcycles and scooters to customers. However, the German brand sales dropped in 2020 (the first in nine years), which they considered a positive result considering the pandemic circumstances. The Bavarian press team is busy spinning its 2020 motorcycle achievements with market launches of thirteen new models and sales figures being the second-best sales (previous best year: 175,162 vehicles) result in BMW Motorrad’s history (which they are), though the success varies greatly by region.

BMW R18

In Europe as a whole, BMW Motorrad saw its sales volume drop by 5.3%, though Germany (27,516 units) and France (17,539 units) both had record years for motorcycle sales, posting 4.7% and 1.4% gains respectively. Those gains were offset by significant losses from Italy, Spain, and the UK/Ireland. BMW Motorrad didn’t provide the 2019 figures for these countries, nor their percentage drop, in its 2020 sales press release, but scrapping the internet and through mathematical deductions in my HP 12C, these sales numbers follow percentage decreases: Italy (-10.7%), Spain (-12.5%), and UK/Ireland (-23.9%).

We also know from past reports that the BMW R 1250 GS and R 1200 GS models claimed top honors as the bestseller in the lineup and the company is market share leader in the Adventure segment. In terms of motorcycle models, the GS is supreme, with over 59,000 units of the company’s boxer-twin ADV bike (R1200GS / RS1200GSA) sold in 2019. You read that correctly.  Just one model with two variants accounts for one-third of BMW Motorrad’s sales and in the U.S. it accounted for around 7.6 percent of BMW’s global motorcycle sales.

Oh, did I neglect to mention the BMW racing crew with first podium finishes in the FIM World Superbike Championship (WorldSBK) and the successful entry into the Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC) with the new BMW S 1000 RR?

And, I haven’t even started comparing the Ducati Multistrada V4 S Sport, KTM 1290 Super Adventure, Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin or Triumph Tiger 1200 lineup.

You’re likely thinking about now… Mac, you’re just one of those doubters.  That’s fair, but after reading a significant number of top tier media reports, watching a fair amount of YouTube interviews with motorcycle magazine writers, I have just one question. Why did so many riders/writers have unplanned dismounts?  Several of the riders laid down their 574 pound Pan America on the sandier trails during testing at that remote camp in the Mojave Desert, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.

Did a year of the pandemic downtime diminish their riding skills or is it the motorcycle?

Harley has been enjoying about half of all new motorcycle sales in the U.S. over 600cc, but I remain a bit skeptical that the motor company can enter a new market segment where the Bavarian manufacturer dominates even with how good the Pan Am motorcycle is right out of the crate!

I hope to test ride the Pan Am soon.  Today, I’m having an expresso, but tomorrow I could be heading out on the TransAmerica Trail.

Photos courtesy of BMW Motorrad and Harley-Davidson.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

I’ve reached the stage of life where any compliment I get about appearance or physicality is accompanied by “for your age!”

After indulging in that “rant” about China and not posting for a few weeks some wonder if I caught the “COVID.”  No, but I’ve been waist deep in the fine art of Harley-Davidson apathy, trying to get back on track… So, let’s talk about exec salaries and how the year+ of the pandemic “rained money”… and not the eco-dollar benefits of any ‘Green’ initiative.

First, let’s establish a baseline. According to “Google”, the average Harley-Davidson salary ranges from approximately $25,000 per year for a Parts Specialist to $133,555 per year for General Manager. Average Harley-Davidson hourly pay ranges from approximately $9.08 per hour for Automotive Detailer to $39.94 per hour for Tool Maker.

Now let’s double-click on the 2020 Harley-Davidson top executives compensation:

Harley-Davidson’s current chairman, president and CEO Jochen Zeitz’s total compensation was $9.4 million in 2020 — Remember way back in April 2020 when Harley-Davidson said that its then acting president and CEO Jochen Zeitz and the company’s board of directors would forgo any salary or cash compensations? They pushed out a news release with the typical “aren’t we great” statements along with how the rest of Harley-Davidson’s executive leadership would take one for the team and also see a 30% reduction in salaries and most salaried employees in the U.S. would see a 10%-20% salary reduction.

So, “forgoing” a salary and/or cash compensation REALLY means collecting $9.4 million!

Where do I sign up?

But wait, there’s more… 2020 was the same year in which the motor company also paid over $4.1 million in severance to former president and CEO Matt Levatich, a serial overconfident exec who created unambiguously bad managerial optimism, which resulted in over 20-quarters of financial loss. In addition, two other executives departed with the same illness, let’s call it Managerial Optimism Flu (MOF).

Specifically, Matt Levatich received a lump-sum severance payment of $2.15 million in 2020, according to the company’s April 9 proxy statement. In 2020, the company also paid Levatich $343,572 in salary and stock awards valued at $5.45 million. Levatich also saw a $653,000 increase in the value of his pension and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings that brought his total compensation in 2020 to $8.7 million, according to the proxy statement.

Mr. Zeitz was named to the CEO position in May 2020. So, for his eight (8) months as chairman, president and CEO, his total compensation of nearly $9.4 million was more than the $7.6 million Levatich received in all of 2019, which was Levatich’s last full year in the job. Zeitz’s salary in 2020 was $1.68 million compared to Levatich’s $1.08 million in 2019. Zeitz also was paid a $1 million bonus, stock awards valued at $5 million, non-equity incentive payments of $1.5 million and other compensation of $206,233.

I’m surprised that line workers didn’t shout from the roof-top that they would “forgo” any salary too!

A couple of other former executives who received large severance payments of note were former CFO John Olin and former senior vice president and COO Michelle Kumbier. Olin left the company in July 2020. He was paid a lump sum of $1.34 million, according to the proxy statement. For six (6) months of filling that position, he also received $374,421 in salary and stock awards valued at $1.75 million in 2020. Michelle Kumbier received a lump sum of $660,000, according to the proxy statement. You might recall that this payment was previously publicly embargoed then it was disclosed; described as a “settlement” after she threatened litigation connected to ‘unspecified events’ related to her departure in April 2020. For the four (4) months in her position, Kumbier was paid $223,385 in salary in 2020 and stock awards valued at $1.58 million.

According to this report; CEO compensation surged 14% in 2019 (most current data) to $21.3 million.  They now earn approximately 320 times as much as a typical worker.

It’s been widely documented how exorbitant CEO pay is and how it’s a major contributor to rising inequality in the U.S.  The Harley-Davidson payouts might sound like a big cash layout, because — well, it is!

Wait. Mr. Zeitz grabbed the handlebar, replacing the “More Roads” strategy with a hard-nosed approach he called “Hardwire” and what if he turns around the company you ask?  Well, that is exactly what shareholders and the board expect…until or unless he doesn’t then it will be the next exec firing. And another multimillion-dollar severance package paid to the outgoing Harley-Davidson CEO.

There’s that apathy thing creeping back in again.  Big payouts.  It’s routine. It’s a pattern.

Full Disclosure: I don’t own $HOG shares. That said, I do watch the stock and the brand’s activities very closely, as it is of course a massive presence in the motorcycle industry, and as of late, has had its struggles.

Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: