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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

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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

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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

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Recall Notice: 21V225000

NHTSA Campaign Number: 21V225000

Harley-Davidson is recalling certain 2019-2021 Sportster (XL) motorcycles and 796 headlight assemblies that may have been sold as replacement parts for 2005-2019 Sportster, 2005-2017 Softail, 2005-2017 Dyna, and 2005-2011 V-Rod motorcycles. The glass bulb within the headlight assembly may fail, causing a loss of both high and low beams.

Obviously, a loss of both headlight beams can reduce visibility and increase the risk of a crash.

The interior of the bulb shield in an unknown number of XL Headlamp Assemblies, part number 68297-05A, may have been produced with a glossy, chrome finish. If this condition is present, the resulting thermal conditions may cause a hole to develop in the tip of the dual-filament bulb, which in turn may allow the sealed gas to escape from the bulb, thereby causing the powered filament to fail prematurely. Investigation of this issue indicates that switching to a different beam (high to low or low to high) to restore lighting causes the second filament to fail.

Affected Motorcycles

The specific make/model/year is in the attached chart and the potential number of units affected is 31,346.

The remedy is that Harley-Davidson is notifying owners, and dealers will install a headlamp bulb shield, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin April 12, 2021. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464. Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0177.

Reference NHTSA Document (PDF).

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson and NHTSA.

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F-16A Fighting Falcon, F-15C Eagle, and F-15E Strike Eagle fighter aircraft fly over burning oil field sites in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.

It never happened!

In contrast, there are motorcyclists who routinely read this blog that fought in Operation Desert Shield, which became Operation Desert Storm and morphed into a number of other names.

I recall one of the biggest tank battles since World War II, was the Battle of 73 Easting, and broke the back of Saddam Hussein’s armored divisions and sealed Iraq’s defeat. Unfortunately that battle marked not the end of the Gulf War, but the beginning of several “forever-wars” that plague the U.S. to this day.

The scheme of maneuver for Operation Desert Storm

The last time China really attempted to wage a major war was against Vietnam back in February 1979. China was the aggressor, but it’s propaganda machine attached an unconvincing name to the conflict — the “Self-Defensive Counterattack Against Vietnam.” Hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops crossed Vietnam’s northern border and invaded the country, to punish them for invading Kampuchea (today’s Cambodia), to remove the Khmer Rouge.

The Chinese invasion had their asses handed to them! Estimates run as high as 28,000 Chinese dead and 43,000 wounded, while the number of Vietnamese dead were estimated at under 10,000. The Vietnamese were tougher, had battle experience, better equipment, knew how to fight asymmetrical warfare against a larger force, and flat out beat the Chinese. After a month (March 1979), China suddenly declared its “lesson” to Vietnam was finished and began to withdraw completely on March 16, 1979.

Report: The Elements of the China Challenge

40-years later, both governments have seriously committed to suppressing memories of that war. Beijing’s unrelenting efforts to control information means that China claims the war as “a victory,” with all missions completed. That viewpoint is not supported by the evidence or any analysis.

Sound familiar? Do you recall China’s indifference to other nations’ well-being as they unleashed the “born in Wuhan,” COVID-19 global pandemic?

You are likely saying to yourself… “Don’t victimize the bats, Mac!

But, what about the oppression of ethnic and religious minorities (Uyghurs, Tibetans, Mongolians, Christians); fighting Indian soldiers in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC); Chinese fighters/bombers buzzing Taiwan’s territorial airspace; or Hong Kong voters’ voices meaningless with a national security law? How about the forced technology transfers, cyberattacks, and a whole-of-nation approach to economic and industrial espionage. Then there is the intensified internal repression with mass surveillance and control over the country by expanding the systematic use of indoctrination, censorship, disinformation, high-tech surveillance, forced disappearances, “re-education” camps, compulsory labor, forced sterilization, involuntary birth control, and other heinous abuses. And, I haven’t even started on the control over the world’s international supply chains.

They don’t really seem to care unless it relates to control of the population and re-configuration of world affairs through economic power to achieve global preeminence.

Meanwhile, U.S. history reveals that the Operation Desert Storm battle marked not the end of the Gulf War but the beginning of several “forever-wars.” The U.S. established Operation Provide Comfort in April 1991 (renamed Operation Northern Watch in 1997). A no-fly zone was established in 1992 in the south of Iraq, known as Operation Southern Watch. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks. There was the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. There was Operation Neptune Spear to kill “Geronimo.” Then President Barack Obama expanded the battlefield to Syria by 2015.

The fighting we have done in the region, nonstop since the first troops were deployed in Kuwait in August 1990, should now be painfully obvious, the net result of all of the efforts is the same: We — not the ever aggressive economic power hungry CCP  — are always fighting wars, which are perpetually costly. Thirty years of unending U.S. war has had profound costs on our country — with questionable strategic benefit.

Low-ball estimates suggest Washington has wasted a staggering $6T (yes, trillion $) on these wars vs. funding badly needed infrastructure at home. More sadly is the military personnel cost of thousands killed, tens of thousands wounded, and hundreds of thousands with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.

With any metric you want to apply, these “forever-wars” and nation-building have cost America an astronomical amount.

I understand that the United States must champion the principles of freedom — but the United States Government is accountable to the American people.

After 30-years, we’ve done our part and it is time to acknowledge reality, immediately withdraw troops and end it.

Images courtesy of USAF and Wikipedia commons.

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Senate Bill 574

Do you have that déjà vu feeling?

Remember the 2019 House Bill 2314?

Now we have Oregon Senate Bill 574 which has passed the Joint Committee on Transportation and been sent to the full senate for consideration. The bill would legalize lane sharing under certain conditions.  Lane Filtering, Lane Sharing, and Lane Splitting (i.e. “white lining”) all basically refer to a motorcycle rider positioning its way through slow-moving or stationary traffic.

Lane Splitting Example

According to the bill, the type of conditions in Oregon include:
• On highways with a posted speed limit of 50 MPH or higher
• Traffic on the road must be stopped, or moving at less than 10 MPH

 

 

The rider:
• May travel no more than 10 miles per hour faster than traffic
• Must not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic
• Must safely merge with traffic, if traffic speed exceeds 10 miles per hour
• Must pass traffic traveling in the same direction

Riders cannot lane-share:
• Between a traffic lane and the curb and bicycle lane (on either side)
• Between a traffic lane and a row of parked vehicles (on either side)
• On the right side of the rightmost lane of traffic, or the left side of the leftmost lane of traffic
• In a school or construction zone

You likely either love it or hate it, as lane splitting is a controversial subject that doesn’t seem to promote any middle ground. If you have some passion around this topic, now is the time to contact your senator and request their support for S.B. 574.

Visit laneshareoregon.com/#getinvolved for more details.

UPDATE: June 1, 2021 — The Senate Bill 574 stats:

  • Passed full Senate and House floor votes, with 3-to-1 bipartisan majorities
  • Had 17 sponsors, with a nearly even split of Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, from rural, urban, and suburban districts
  • Received written support from over 600 Oregon motorcyclists
  • Was endorsed by many Oregon businesses and organizations
  • Received a “Do Pass” recommendation from the Joint Committee on Transportation

Clearly, Senate Bill 574 was one of the most widely supported bills in the current legislative session and is an acute illustration of elected officials successfully working together to support Oregonians.

Then – Gov Brown Vetoed the Bill on May 26th, citing public safety concerns, including noncompliance and enforcement.

Images courtesy of Oregon Legislature and 4X4 Blazer 1776.

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Concerns over ongoing restrictions forced the cancellation of the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally planned for July 9-12th 2021.

Organizers came to the decision due to the State of Oregon’s restrictions, and having no line-of-sight to a method of safely hosting this event while still being in compliance with the state’s guidelines. “The show must go on” is in our DNA, we are now working through the ramifications of this unfortunate situation.

I’m of the viewpoint that organizers likely made the decision that hosting an event for a few thousand people with mandated indoor/outdoor occupancy limits and social distancing requirements was too risky due to enforcement and liability issues. Additionally, the pandemic’s adverse impact on manufacturers and industry vendors has led to significant supply delays and shortages, which adds even more risk for small businesses.

Maybe in 2022…

Images courtesy of Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally.

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Revolution® Max 1250 Engine

On February 22, 2021, Harley-Davidson® officially unveiled the multi-year teased then full-frontal hyped all-new Liquid-Cooled V-Twin (Revolution® Max 1250 Engine), which powers the new Adventure (ADV) segment (Touring and Sport) motorcycle called the Pan America™ 1250. The Revolution Max 1250 engine is assembled at the Harley-Davidson Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations facility in Wisconsin.

The new engine is tuned specifically to deliver the desirable power characteristics for the Pan America 1250, with an emphasis on smooth low-end torque delivery and low-speed throttle control applicable to ADV off-road riding.

Harley-Davidson is bent on piloting across a dusty path into the deep-sand of the Dakar trail by taking on the most iconic and recognizable adventure motorcycle — the BMW GS. The GS, a direct descendant of a Dakar winner, has spent decades proving its capability in the remote parts of the world, with each generation improving on the last.

Revolution® Max 1250 Engine

Revolution® Max 1250 Engine Summary:

Displacement: 76.3 cu in (1,252 cc)
Bore x Stroke: 4.13 in (105 mm) x 2.83 in (72 mm)
Maximum horsepower: 150 @ 9000 rpm
Maximum torque: 94 ft/lbs @ 6750 rpm
Peak RPM: 9500
Compression Ratio: 13.0:1  (Piston crowns are machined)
Valvetrain: Chain-driven, DOHC, hydraulic self-adjusting lifters, intake & exhaust VVT; four valves per cylinder
Cooling: Liquid
Transmission: 6-speed
Primary Drive: Gear
Final Drive: Belt

 

More Revolution® Max 1250 Engine Details:

  • 60-degree V angle of the cylinders.
  • Single-piece aluminum cylinders with nickel silicon carbide-surface galvanic coating.
  • Rocker covers, camshaft covers and primary cover are lightweight magnesium.
  • Liquid cooled engine and the engine oil is also liquid cooled. Oil cooling jets are aimed at the bottom of the pistons.
  • The two crankshaft connecting rod journals are offset by 30 degrees which creates a 90-degree firing order.
  • The engine requires premium-grade (91 octane) fuel.
  • Four-valve cylinder heads (two intake and two exhaust) — exhaust valves are sodium-filled.
  • Cylinder heads are cast from high-strength 354 aluminum alloy.
  • The engine has Double Overhead Camshafts (DOHC) with Variable Valve Timing (VVT).
  • The engine features roller-finger valve actuation with hydraulic lash adjusters and has multiple internal balancers.
  • The engine has two spark plugs per cylinder, dual down-draft throttle bodies with an 11-liter air box over the engine and washable conical air filter.
  • The is a unitized powertrain, i.e. the engine and transmission are housed in a common case.
  • There is a six-speed transmission and the clutch is mechanically actuated with a large-diameter cable.

Harley-Davidson stated that the Pan America adventure motorcycle powered by the Revolution Max 1250 engine can achieve a top speed of 135 mph (217 kmh)!

Similar to the crossover in the four-wheeled world, the adventure motorcycle segment has now been expanded, thanks to Harley-Davidson.

Images courtesy of Harley-Davidson.

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It’s real, and it’s spectacular. Fastest I’ve ever clicked “buy.”

Wait! Not so fast. What are you talking about Mac?

Today was historic. The original film starts out greeting thrillseekers, music lovers and conversationalists all across the frozen plains.

You had me at; “You’re here by the grace of your lineage.

But, I’ve wandered off the main trail.

Our “movie hero,” Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO Harley-Davidson, was an actor riding — yes, RIDING — an actual motorcycle.  That in of itself might be a first?!  There he was in the scenic landscape of Kenya, Africa no less.  Traveling to the vast wildlife preserves to lasso the FIRST twin Adventure Motorcycle and bring it back to Made in America!

Nothing to see here Buell owners.

The emotional exhaustion of this past year must have gripped Mr. Zeitz’ soul, as he peered out onto the Segera Retreat, where a herd of zebra graze, swishing their tails in unison to keep the flies away.  Where a long giraffe at the outer edges of the garden keeps him company as he ploughs through a lengthy to-do list waiting for the Milwaukee employees to wake up.

Today Mr. Zeitz must be just thrilled of simply being alive and to share his wisdom with the motorcycle adventure world.

At the film preview, Journalists cheered… remotely of course.  There were tears and applause, then more tears as the press fell apart during the historical Harley-Davidson Pan America launch today.  Harley-Davidson told a syrupy sympathetic story with dramatic musical overdubs on how the motor company always made off-road bikes. The film narrator described that this isn’t Harley’s first dirt rodeo. You might recall, that back in the 1960s and 70s, Harley offered a variety of small dual-sports, and even briefly got into the motocross game. Harley filled the gap in their lineup by purchasing the Italian motorcycle manufacturer Aermacchi. Not too long after, Harley gave up on the idea of small dirt bikes and sold Aermacchi, which eventually became the company we know today as Cagiva.

It’s fairly evident that the motorcycle press has become nothing but “exhausting love letters to consumerism.” I’ll save my cynicism as a more legitimate response to a product launch once I have a chance to fully review the stats vs. just post another emotional reaction.

We all know that Harley-Davidson is trying to break into the popular adventure motorcycle scene with the 2021 Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special. The motorcycle and dealer network will compete with some of Europe’s top players, including the BMW GS 1250, KTM 1290 Adventure, and the Ducati Multistrada V4. Harley-Davidson pricing begins at $17,319 for the base model and $19,999 for the Special. The models will arrive at Harley-Davidson dealerships in spring 2021.

For me, it was an immense privilege both physically and spiritually to witness the Pan America launch via film/video. #sarcasmalert

Image courtesy of YouTube: Harley-Davidson Original Film (25:45 minutes)

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TAKEAWAY: The Q4 2020 Harley-Davidson retail motorcycle sales in the U.S. — the company’s biggest market — fell for the 16th straight quarter!

FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE DETAILS: Yesterday, I posted that Harley-Davidson unveiled “The Hardwire” — a new 5-year strategic plan.  My snarky responses were largely based on what I viewed as the motor company ‘selling the news’ with a lack of granular detail or disclosure around a growth path forward. It was a brutal Q4’20 and full-year financial result. Followed by executive management’s murky 2021 outlook.  The street wasn’t happy and the result was a 17% drop in share price followed by another 2% today.

My blog post today will be on the fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 financial results with less commentary.

The Hardwire Highlights 

  • The Hardwire includes investing in the Touring and heavyweight Cruiser segment, expanding into untapped segments of Adventure Touring and creating a new division dedicated to electric motorcycles.
  • The motor company views Inclusive Stakeholder Management in the context of people, planet and profit, as all three are now embedded in the past and future success of the company.
  • The motorcycle maker plans to give stock grants to its employees, inspired by a program devised by KKR & Co Inc. executive Pete Stavros.

Q4 2020 Highlights

  • Reported fourth-quarter adjusted loss of 44 cents per share. A big miss and notable executive mismanagement of expectations as the street consensus estimate was for a profit at 24 cents.
  • The revenue decreased by 32% at $725 million compared to previous year.
  • The company suffered a net loss of $96 million compared to the previous year’s profit of $13 million.
  • The loss per share was 0.63 and the adjusted loss per share was $0.44.
  • Total revenues from the Motorcycle and Related products segment, which constitute the bulk of the firm’s overall revenues, plunged 39% year over year to $531 million in the reported quarter.
  • For Q4’20, Harley-Davidson retailed 33,925 motorcycle units globally, down 14.1% year over year. The company’s retail motorcycle units sold in the U.S. slid 14.5% from the year-ago quarter to 17,274. Sales in the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada and Latin America declined 2.2%, 9.6%, 30.2% and 50.9%, respectively, from the year-ago period.
  • Revenues for Parts & Accessories (P&A) were up 13.3% from the prior year to $146.4 million. However, revenues for General Merchandise (GM) — including Motor Clothes apparel and accessories — dropped 13% from the prior-year quarter to $49.7 million.
  • The selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) increased to $276.4 million from the $266.4 million compared to fourth-quarter 2019.

Full-Year 2020 Highlights

  • Consolidated revenues for 2020 came in at $4,054 million, declining 24% from the prior year’s $5,362 million. Moreover, the company’s adjusted earnings per share for the year came in at 77 cents, tanking 77% from the $3.36 per share reported in 2019.
  • The motor company streamlined the product portfolio, reducing the planned number of models by almost 30%.
  • Paid dividends of $0.44 per share for the full year
  • Re-set motorcycle model year launch timing to align with beginning of the year seasonality
  • Exited 39 markets to focus on the approximately 50 highest-potential markets
  • Reduced total dealer network by approximately 160 net global dealers in 2020

Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO, Harley-Davidson summarized the financial call: “The entire Harley-Davidson team put forth tremendous effort in 2020 and we now have the right organization, structure and strategy in place to make step changes in our performance and enhance our position as the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world.”

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Harley-Davidson.  The author does not own or does the author plan to purchase and/or sell any $HOG stock.

Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson.

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