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Posts Tagged ‘Can-Am’

H-D Sprint Model on Varese, Italy Assembly Line

Congrats Ken!  You follow in the famous celebrity footsteps of Eddie Murphy, George Clooney, Meg Ryan, Woody Harrelson and Michael J. Fox who also turn 50 years old this year.

Factually speaking,  Ken was born March 11, 1961.  The year marks the “swingin’ sixties,” being a member of the baby boomer generation when John F. Kennedy was president, when race riots occurred throughout cities in the U.S., when the Peace Corps was established and the president advises American families to build bomb shelters as the cold war worsens when U.S.S.R. detonates a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb in the largest man-made explosion in history.  Then the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Cuba, twenty-eight men died on Texas Tower No. 4 in the North Atlantic and by year’s end there were more than 2,000 U.S. military “advisors” in South Vietnam.

In popular culture, 1961 brought the last episode of “I Love Lucy” to air, FCC Chairman (Newton Minow) claims that television is a “vast wasteland” (déjà vu all over again!), Johnson & Johnson introduced Tylenol, Harley-Davidson introduced the Italian assembled Sprint model, FM stereo is introduced and Ken got a hawt girlfriend, Barbie.  Yeah that Ken & Barbie – Ken Carson.

H-D Barbie Collectible Ken Doll #2

It was 50 years ago when Mattel introduced Ken with his trim crew cut, stiff carriage, and vacant eyes ready to do Barbie’s bidding.  That aging Ken now has a scruffy beard, shoulder-length hair and a patch of old-growth chest hair that might make Tom Selleck proud.  It certainly looks a lot like the core targeted customer segment of H-D.

But what about the new Ken?  The new modeling paradigm of American masculinity today seems to be that of men in their 20’s who hang out in a novel sort of limbo land – sort of a hybrid state of adolescence and responsible self-reliance — many still living at home with their parents!  These so-called “men” talk about ‘Star Wars’ like it’s not a movie made for people half their age and their idea of a perfect guys-night-out is a hanging around the PlayStation 3 with your guitar “bandmates,” or a trip down to the local ‘bucks’ with college friends who have yet to complete two semesters and are perpetually looking to land that dream job…  Yeah, the twenty-something’s have the appetite for luxury, but not the cash and given the slow pace of economic recovery it may be a long while on that job.

My advice?  Mattel should consider partnering Ken up with the likes of BRP/Can-Am to promote Ken & Barbies electric-hybrid roadster sensibilities and showcase that it’s okay to be more fuel-efficient and have greener CO2 emissions on the open road.

Photos courtesy of H-D and Mattel.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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H-D "Unrest" Paint Set

After 3+ years of running this blog I’ve learned that it can be a truly time consuming gig.  And, finding the time to blog (when it’s not your day job) or keep up the momentum is a challenge.  I often run across topics, but just don’t have the cycles to create something witty or provide fast enough response to trending information before it goes stale.  As a result I’ve re-set (read lowered) my 2011 targets on the number of quality posts per month I can hit.  Quality is always debatable … but at least I don’t have to finish the month feeling blog guilt!

I’m looking to master the art of “half-writing.”  Huh?  I may not have time to create/finish a full blown post, but will try to work up a brief summary and hit the salient points so that readers can look up the information as they wish.  Below is some half-writing:

Buell Bitterness Fades:  His name can never be placed on the motorcycles he builds, but he looks to the future… You may recall that a little over a year ago Harley-Davidson made the decision to shutter Buell.   The Buell name remains with H-D as does the intellectual property and all the original patents.  There is an exclusive interview with Erik Buell who talks about what happened and is looking to return to the volume motorcycle business and possibly to collaborate with Bombardier under the Can Am name.  Motorcyclistonline

2010 Financial Review:  Harley-Davidson is scheduled to release its fourth quarter 2010 financial results before market hours on Tuesday, January 25, 2011.  The public is invited to participate in a webcast conference call and slide presentation with Keith E. Wandell, President and CEO, and John Olin, Senior Vice President and CFO from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM (Central Time).  It is suggested that webcast participants log on and register (HERE) at least ten minutes prior to the start time.  A replay of the slide presentation and audio webcast will be available approximately two hours after the call concludes. Register HERE.

Searchlight, Nevada:  If you’ve ever attended the Laughlin River Run motorcycle rally you’ve likely rode through this town on the way to Laughlin.  More likely you’ll remember the place for the unnatural and militaristic law enforcement of the 25MPH speed limit along with the aggressive ticketing practices during rally week.  It’s also the birthplace of Nevada Senator Harry Reid who on Friday (12.17.10) introduced the 1000 page legislation, S. 303, called the “America’s Great Outdoors Act of 2010” which was a substitute to unrelated legislation titled the “Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 2009.”  Highly reminiscent of the controversial parliamentary tactic that anti-OHV forces used in 2009 to close 2.1 million acres of public land this was seen as yet another non-transparent land grab.  Three days later on Wednesday (22nd) and under significant public pressure Reid dropped his effort – until next year.  See: S. 303

Paris Hilton SupermartXe VIP Motorcycle Team

Top 100: Dealer News announced the Top 100 dealers for 2011 and the northwest Harley-Davidson dealers as part of the list were:  Washington – Downtown Harley-Davidson (Renton);  Montana – Beartooth Harley-Davidson (Billings).  Congrats!  None from Idaho, Oregon or Nevada.  See the full list HERE.

You’ll Sleep When You’re Dead:  Harley-Davidson launched a new Color Shop Limited Series paint set.  The paint set called Unrest, features Day of the Dead skull, tribal designs and helter-skelter lettering over a matte black background on the tank, fenders, fairing and saddlebags.  The product is limited in quantity to 200 sets and available only for one year, priced between $2,199.95 and $5,199.95. The new Unrest paint set is hand-numbered to provide an “extra level” of exclusivity.  More information HERE.

D.B. Class: Somewhat reminiscent of the man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft on November 24, 1971, D.B. Cooper,  H-D made an announcement to create a new Draggin’ Bagger Class (D.B. Class) for the 2011 race season.  This new drag racing class is centered on the introduction of its Screamin’ Eagle 120R engine, a 120 cubic-inch V-Twin capable of outputting 135 HP and 137 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheel.  The new class is for 1999 and up H-D touring motorcycles equipped with the 120R engine.  The motorcycles in this class must run with an original frame, fairings, saddlebags and other bodywork. See announcement HERE.

BMW Gets SIRIUS: BMW Motorcycles announced that starting with January 2011 production, BMW will offer SIRIUS as standard equipment on new radio-equipped model year 2011 R1200 RT, K1600 GT, and K1600 GTL Touring Motorcycles.  This will include an introductory one-year subscription to the “SIRIUS Everything” package.  Pieter de Waal, Vice President, BMW Motorcycles was quoted to saying something about “… we’re providing the perfect soundtrack for the perfect ride.” See release HERE.

But Wait, There’s More:  Fairy dust heiress and fragrance line extraordinaire, Paris Hilton, has announced her own motorcycle racing team on the world motorcycle championship circuit.  The SupermartXe VIP team was unveiled in Madrid and will compete in the 125cc category.  Ms. Hilton agreed to attend at least 5 races in 2011 where she’ll likely wear the team colors (pink, white and blue).  Clearly this will bring a new level of ‘chic’ to racing!  Team riders?  Who cares!  The big question is will they be required to wear her perfume? See more info HERE.

Photo courtesy of H-D and AP/Paul White.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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HD Servi-Car

HD Servi-Car

Harley-Davidson built a Servi-Car (a three-wheeled utility motorcycle) from 1932 to 1973.  Then for the 2009 model year Harley introduced the new Tri-Glide Classic

Customers who are turned off by the thought of sliding atop a motorcycle have more options these days, but few options exist for small displacement (below 400cc) trikes.  

I’m speculating here, but Harley may be looking to change this and bring a more diverse selection to new riders entering the sport.  According to the Wired Magazine Blog, Harley is planning to introduce a “leaning trike” at the Intermot Motorcycle show in Cologne, Germany next month.  They surfed across information and images from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and posted the information which shows a trike with 2-wheels upfront and pivoting on an independent suspension to provide motorcycle-like “leaning” capability.

One could argue this is similar to the Can-am Spyder Roadster designed by Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) and that Harley is playing copy-cat in its effort to create a new category of on-road vehicles.  Who knows.

If indeed small displacement then clearly it’s all about sales of Harley products.  Scooter sales have skyrocketed in the first half of 2008.  Up 66% as compared to a year ago and at the same time overall motorcycle sales have only achieved a meager 0.5% increase.  Meanwhile Harley sales have decreased 8.7% so for them to go looking at other alternatives would seem prudent for the stockholders.

However, the last time I was on a trike I was 5 years old.  I had a neighbor buddy that stated the only reason to ride something with three wheels was that I was too scared to ride something with two…I reacted and went to two.

Clearly I’m not a motoring writer and just not connecting with these.  Is it closer to a car than a motorbike?  Do you steer it like a snowmobile and forget that the brake is on your foot rather than the handlebars?  Do you clamp your thighs to it like it’s a Quad in the sand dunes or did I lose you all with that semi-bikespeak and should be using horse riding metaphors?

Two-wheels up front or two in back, a trike is a trike and they have an image problem as a toy.  Even the fact that you don’t have to have a motorcycle license doesn’t make sense to me.  And if you are a biker who has reach that “certain age” and starting to think it would be nice to…these will look just as silly being trailered as the motorcycle’s do today.

Images courtesy of Wired and U.S. Patent Office.

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Lehman TrikeWe’re all familiar with trikes. Most are a solid rear axle with two rear wheels bolted to an  Electra Glide, right? (Photo courtesy Lehman Trike web site)

Last year Harley Davidson signed a deal with Lehman Trikes USA of Spearfish, SD to design and build Harley based trikes for its riders.

Part of this move is the demographics of Harley riders who are getting older and HD is looking to expand its fan base so, it’s looking to fill the three-wheel niche.  And speaking of niche, the Canadian company BRP is showing off the Can-Am Spyder (MSRP: $14,999).  It sits about 45″ tall, and promises sports-car handling and has it pair of wheels in the front rather than the rear.  It looks like a personal watercraft or snowmobile on wheels.  BRP is a privately held spin off of aerospace company Bombardier which happens to be one of the largest makers of watercrafts and snowmobiles so, the comparisons are natural.
 
Can-Am SpyderIn front, the double A-arm suspension offers 5.7″ of travel to the pair of 14-inch wheels. An anti-roll bar limits the amount of lean on corners. The rear end uses a mono-shock on a conventional swingarm, with an aluminum 15 x 7-inch wheel on an automotive-type 225/50 rear tire. (Spyder Can-Am photo by Jim Smithson, Bombardier)

The marketing spin is… the Spyder is the “perfect balance between performance and peace of mind” or so says Marc Lacroix, Product Mgr.

Further complicating the trike issue is that in three states (CA, Del, SC) you don’t need an motorcycle endorsement to drive one!  There are only 11 states who have resale rights to the Spyder.  Nothing in the Northwest so, you’ll need to head to CA. to put down some money for your spring ’08 anticipated delivery date.  If the wait is too long then Piaggio (MP3) makes a similar (MSRP: $6999) dual-front wheel scooter

So is this just another step in the evolution of Harley Davidson into a motorized “wheelchair” company as they follow the “blue hairs” to the grave?  Is it something to take your poodle for a ride or a legitimate use to target the safety-conscious and support the disabled?

You choose…

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