Sep 12, 2010

All the News that Didn't Fit

No More HD Sidecars

From an HD press release, "As a result of the decline in retail demand for Harley-Davidson sidecars, which accelerated following the introduction of the Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide family of trikes, Harley-Davidson has made the decision to exit the sidecar business." Sidecars are made at the HD Tomahawk, WI facility and 2011 will be the last year the Company will be in that business. HD has produced sidecars since 1914, but as Boomers abandon motorcycles looking for vehicles that are more appropriate for handicapped parking spaces, Harley is trying to accommodate its customer base.

Sales Falling, Profits Rising

Cutting costs, eliminating unprofitable divisions and products, while the overall sales picture is depressing, Harley's profits are looking up: upwards of $71 million for the 2nd quarter of 2010. Harley-Davidson isn't the only company using this tactic, but they are using it effectively. Harley has warned its employees that if the union doesn't compromise, the company will move production to other locations.

The company is not worried about having to increase production any time in the near future. CEO Keith Wandell said, “The last thing we’re worried about is when are we going to have to add more capacity, because what we’re really doing is reconfiguring our entire operational system for greater flexibility.”

Feeling Like God

Bajaj Motorcycles has an idea for improving motorcyclists' image with the advertising program for their Avenger DTS-i 180cc cruiser. In posters and video ads, Bajaj is claiming that you can "Feel like God," "feel supreme," "feel immortal," and "f

eel above all" when you ride their 16hp Kawasaki Eliminator-derived cruiser. Royal Enfield's "Everybody Makes Way for the Bullet" ads are every bit as silly. Check it out on YouTube. India is trying to take up where Honda left off in the late 60's. You have to give them credit for trying.

Sccoters are Safer?

Liev Schreiber and John Stewart reminisced about the good old days when Steward rode babe on the back of Schreiber's motorcycle. Now, "because of the kids," Schreiber rides a Vespa because, as everyone knows, two little wheels are way safer than two big wheels. Of course, his press photo shows him posed on the little thing with a shopping bag dangling from the left grip, his face shield flipped up and the helmet unbuckled. "Because of the kids," indeed.

Anti-Rotation Helmet

Lazer Helmets has introduced a significant improvement in modern helmet design, called "SuperSkin" or "PHPSTM - Phillips Head Protection System." This helmet liner material is fixed to the surface of the shell, but allows the interior of the helmet to slide during the initial period (15mS) of impact, preventing "rotational impact to the brain." Lazer claims that this design can significantly reduce brain injury due to hemorrhage.

California Gets Closer to Requiring EPA-Labeled Pipes

The California state legislature is a step closer to approving Senate Bill 435, which would require bikes built after January 1, 2013 to use only EPA-approved exhaust system components (which has been federal law since 1978). The AMA is fighting this and proposing its "model legislation" version of a system that would require complicated individual field testing by law enforcement.

The EcoTough® Piston

A US company, Federal-Mogul Corporation, is hyping a new design for an old device: a "coated piston for gasoline engines that combines the properties of low wear and low friction in a single application." Their claim is that the piston coating (made from "solid lubricants, including graphite, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) and carbon fiber") can reduce fuel consumption by 0.8% and improve CO2 emissions.

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