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Posts Tagged ‘Zero’

Saddlebag Drawing

Saddlebag Sketch

This is more than a simple saddle bag retaining clip that takes less than 10 minutes to replace.

Harley-Davidson is facing steep competition.  Not only from less expensive motorcycles imported from Asia, but electric motorcycles from Zero, Brammo (now owned by Polaris) and also from core customers who look for a mainstream gasoline cruiser from Indian and Victory.  Polaris will undoubtedly be first to market with a chrome-plated electric cruiser given the previous discussion by CEO Matt Levatich.

In addition, it’s not clear that Harley-Davidson is getting much of a sales bump from the decision to double-down on support of outlaw biker gangs as part of their marketing pitch.  The hard-edge reference is NOT about the one-percent patches, rather licensing support of TV shows like Sons of Anarchy (SOA) and other Hollywood fluff.  Trying to appeal to people who don’t have much adventure in their lives with a TV show prescribing on the road escapism… well it escapes me!   Meanwhile they try so hard to alienate and re-write the Baby Boomer chapter!

But I’ve digressed.

Harley-Davidson reported slipping revenues for Q2 2015.  U.S. market share is below 50% for the first time ever!  The company is betting on its name recognition and motorcycle quality.  They even choose to muster up some brash swagger and declined slashing prices as a subtle way of saying “our bikes are better!”

And on that quality topic, Harley recently issued a saddlebag recall – campaign number 15V-427.  The motor company is the poster child for the “land of recalls” sans Chevy.  So many, that owners find it difficult to recall when their bikes didn’t!

Snarky comments aside, all manufactures have issues, but Harley-Davidson is unique in acknowledging and using quality as a key differentiator and strategy for increasing sales.  I’m not sure how well that will work for them.

Meanwhile the Dealers are replacing the 4 (2 on each side) saddle bag pin retaining clips free of charge. The motor company issued a recall stating that the saddlebag mounting receptacle, P/N 10900009 on some model year 2014 and 2015 Touring family vehicles (see drawing #1 above) may not adequately secure the saddlebag to the motorcycle during use.  If this condition remains undetected, the saddlebag may become separated from the motorcycle while it is in motion, possibly creating a hazard for other motorists including your riding buddy’s in formation behind that “separated” bag.

If this happens there is a good chance you’ll be picking up a new “road rash” painted saddlebag and dirty laundry strewn across the roadway!

UPDATED: July 23, 2015 (1:40pm PDT) — the recall effects 185,000 motorcycles which covers certain 2014 and 2015 Road King, Street Glide, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Limited, Police Road King, Police Electra Glide and CVO Ultra Limited bikes. Also affected are 2014 CVO Road King and the 2015 Electra Glide Ultra Classic Low, Ultra Limited Low, Road Glide, CVO Street Glide and CVO Road Glide Ultra motorcycles. No injuries or crashes have been reported due to the saddlebag issues and no information has been provided on the number of “separated” bags.

UPDATED: July 29, 2015 — Polaris introduces its 2016 line up which includes the Victory Empulse TT ($19,999), an electric model which rolls out way ahead of H-D’s LiveWire.  It’s based on the Brammo Empulse R motorcycle produced by the electric motorcycle division of Brammo Inc., which was acquired by Polaris earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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H-D LiveWire

H-D LiveWire

Charged up, amped out and delivers a jolt…

Just a few of the colorful words used to describe the Harley-Davidson LiveWire which has received so much free and fawning press coverage about the prototype electric motorcycle that you’d think they invented electricity.

I get it.  The motor company builds good products, but does it really deserve wave after wave of gushing prose in every news article?  I blogged previously about the announcement HERE.

Let’s keep it real.  Is LiveWire any better than the other electric motorcycles on the market?  What are the rider advantages of LiveWire vs. other electric rides?  Are there drawbacks of an increasing reliance on electricity for transportation?  No one is reporting on anything other than regurgitating the marketing talking points.

Has the press failed to notice that there are many electric bikes already in use by riders and a growing number of police departments across the country?  From New York to Oregon, and around the world, including in Bogota, Colombia and Hong Kong.  The police versions of the “Empulse LE” by Brammo, Inc., based in Ashland, Ore., and the “DS” by Zero Motorcycles immediately come to mind.

But it gets worse.  The Harley-Davidson president, Matt Levatich tells the world during the LiveWire press tour that Harley’s are longer just for old guys…  Huh?

He must have been basking in a special Milwaukee sun-imitating light that failed to fend off seasonal affective disorder with that alluringly sales quote.

It happened at the Lower Manhattan Harley dealer during the recent LiveWire electric motorcycle test rides.  Mr. Levatich tells the press that Harley would not be forgetting its core customers who want old-fashioned motorcycles.  “We’re absolutely not abandoning any of that,” he stated.  “We’re going to continue to invest in the great traditional Harley-Davidson motorcycles…

As a current core customer, I guess I’m one of the riders only interested in “old-fashioned” motorcycles?  Hey Harley, hashtag this…  #YoureDoingItWrong.

Wow, nothing like slighting the mature motorcycle rider base, the base that has been paying the company bills with a back-handed comment that is clearly all about reaching out to Gen-X’ers and Millennials.  There’s a thin line between appealing to Millennials and pandering.

Yeah, I get wanting to open new doors to people that are outside of the motorcycle sport and only know the brand for its t-shirts.  But, that “old-fashioned” reference is as if Harley has come to terms with an electric future, which excludes their current customers, so let’s spit out aging and old-fashioned insults at them.

If Harley-Davidson LiveWire is “only looking at rider feedback at the moment” then why all the publicity?  You might recall that prior to Project RUSHMORE rolling out on the touring bikes there wasn’t a peep until it launched.  The motor company has by design crafted a publicity stunt and worked at driving social media outreach.  It’s a marketing campaign pure and simple.  And thanks to Harley, Zero had their biggest single day of Internet traffic in the history of the company on the day Harley made its announcement, according to Scott Harden, VP of global marketing for Zero Motorcycles.

Shouldn’t Harley-Davidson be talking to the “right” riders?  And H.O.G. grey-beards aren’t exactly the wrong people to be getting input from, but relying on this user base for feedback on this new GenX or “Millennial” motorcycle is unlikely the most salient feedback from the “right” people.  Shouldn’t they look for those Portlandia-esque grown men on BMX bikes who are ‘riding’ to weekend pubcrawls and who make their living in a variety of ways — some legally and others by any means within their particular skill set?

The fact is that future customers could be from newly wealthy Chinese looking for style, city-dwelling Millennials who need utility and affordability or retirees who want a trike that doesn’t embarrass them.

Whether electrics take off is anyone’s guess and your welcome to label me a gas station-centric oldster.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Project LiveWire - Electric Motorcycle By H-D

Project LiveWire – Electric Motorcycle By H-D

It was a popular movie in 1976 based on the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.

The movie depicts a dystopic ageist future society in which both population and the consumption of resources are maintained in equilibrium by requiring the death of everyone reaching a particular age. The story follows the actions of Logan, a Sandman charged with enforcing the rule, as he tracks down and kills citizens who “run” from society’s lethal demand.

The loose analogy is that Harley-Davidson sees a future society in which fossil fuel motorcycles will be eliminated by society’s demand and the Harley-Davidson “Sandman” is charged with enforcing the rule.   Killing off fossil fuel motorcycles!

Farfetched?  Well, the motor company rolled out and announced it has developed its first electric motorcycle (video HERE).

Called “Project LiveWire,” it’s a rolling test bed not for technology, but to gauge customer reaction.  According to Harley-Davidson, the LiveWire’s AC Induction motor makes 74bhp and 52lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to give it a 0-60 time of less than four seconds, but a disappointing 92mph top speed. Even less encouraging is the range, which stands at just 53 miles.  No other specs are available at this time.

To be clear, the bike isn’t for sale, it’s not in production and executives stated there is no current plan to put it into production.  Yet the company is creating a lot of social media buzz and starting to promote it nationally.

It’s a good looking motorcycle and takes a number of design cues from existing Electric motorcycle manufactures (Evolve; Zero; Lightning; Mission).

In the movie they had never seen an old person before and were quite fascinated by him.  Could it be we’ll think the same of fossil fuel Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the not too distant future?

Is that blinking red light on your dash the lifeclock of your fossil fuel motorcycle?

UPDATE: June 20, 2014 – A fan of the book and movie I was thrilled to receive a ping back on this blog post from none other than the author of Logan’s Run,  Mr. Nolan.  I didn’t know he lived here in the Northwest (Vancouver, WA) and found this terrific profile from the Columbian paper.

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson

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Siemens & OCC Smart Chopper

Siemens & OCC Smart Chopper

Imagine for a moment an old chopper guy who has a bike totally torn apart.. totally… split cases, gears out of the tranny etc., and is rebuilding the Linkert carb with new gaskets, running new cables and the lot trying to rebuild the bike while making ends meet with the food and electric bills.

Speaking of electric bills, now imagine a highly customized motorcycle that makes only a “whirly” noise when running, but has the ability to scan the rider and identify if there are certain thoughts taking place within the brain, logs the riders intentions before they become actions and informs law enforcement!  Not in my life you say?   Think again.

Siemens (the German engineering company) is a mega-giant in the field of industrial-equipment which few people know about.  They have a deep portfolio of technology as well as significant background in magnetic resonance and MRI medical devices to perform brain scans. It’s well known that researchers have placed volunteers in MRI machines and asked them to decide something while pushing on two different buttons.  Meanwhile in another room scientists are looking at scans of the brain and using the MRI data to figure out what the volunteer intends to do before it is done!  Still a skeptic, then do a “Google” on Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience or look up Dr. Paul Wolpe’s work at the University of Pennsylvania.

MRI Brain Scan

MRI Brain Scan

It’s called predictive behavior and wouldn’t you know the sleeveless dudes at Orange County Choppers (OCC) worked with Siemens to develop that highly customized “ecobike”… an electric motorcycle that has zero emissions.  OCC used recycled materials, water-based paint and lots of Siemens’s electric motor technology, LED lights, and high-tech 12-volt batteries. The bike is estimated to go 60 miles before it needs to be plugged in for a charge and can reach speeds of 100MPH.  And while on the subject of ‘intentions’… it’s smart-grid ready and has the ability to tell the motorcyclist when electricity is cheapest.  Siemens calls the bike the “Smart Chopper” and plans to show off their technical prowess at energy/industrial trade shows and conferences over the next year.

Props to Siemens and the Teutul’s!  I previously blogged on a desire to see Harley-Davidson experiment with and showcase their engineering prowess re; electric motorcycles, but clearly they are not listening to my idea of an American motorcycle manufacture investing in this future technology.  I also provided information on the Zero and the Ashland, OR-based company, Brammo, who announced it was selling an electric motorcycle with an estimated 378 miles per gallon and cost $11,995.

Don’t get me wrong, the OCC/Siemens electric chopper is cool enough, but it looks like an industrial-sized MRI machine between your legs! And, what if I’m correct about those “scans?”  Siemens made special arrangements to have a lot of its products used in the bike and what if that “whirly” sound is determining your intentions – reading your mind – as you throttle on the built in wi-fi relays predictive information to some authority?  Maybe my prediction is off a year or two?  But, at minimum this complicated electronic chopper should provide practical applications such as an understanding of subjective thought and help people change radio channels!

Clearly the technology is moving at a pace which gives any ethicists something to think about.  If you ride the “Smart Chopper” and are accused of a crime please contact me for a complimentary consultation.  I’m not an attorney, but I will blog for your best interests and try to help ensure that you are not wrongly punished for thinking!

Photo courtesy of OCC and Siemens.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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