GREENVILLE, S.C. (Jan. 2, 2012) - Today, Michelin Motorcycle Tires launches the MICHELIN® Commander® II tire. Available immediately in 15 sizes in bias and radial construction, the Commander II tire offers a new standard in cruiser tire longevity and uncompromised handling and stability.
A recurring issue with tires for the Cruiser market is tire life, most notably with the rear tire. Michelin chemists and tire-engineers were able to develop a new rubber compound without aromatic oils to meet the long mileage demands of cruiser consumers. Further, third-party tests show that the MICHELIN® Commander® II rear tire lasts almost twice as long as its main competitors.*
The new compound also helps achieve remarkable wet grip performance without compromising mileage.
The MICHELIN Commander II tire also features a rigid, high-density carcass architecture, called Amplified Density Technology (ADT), which allows for exceptional maneuverability and feedback to the rider. An aramid fiber applied to the crown ply of the rear tire allows a lower weight while providing stability at high speeds** by resisting growth.
The Commander II tire utilizes a square-bead sidewall, which gives additional stability and provides easier installation. Impressive water dispersal characteristics are provided by longitudinal grooves in the tire tread pattern, enhancing grip in wet conditions.
All of these features, including the stylish sidewall and tread pattern, resulted in the Commander II tire debuting as original-equipment on the iconic Indian Chief Blackhawk Motorcycle.
"The Commander II tire raises the bar for what consumers can expect from a Cruiser tire, with unmatched longevity as well as style and stability," said Gary Midkiff, vice president of sales and marketing for Michelin North America's two wheel division.
**Exceeding the safe, legal speed limit is neither recommended nor endorsed.
Currently available MICHELIN® Commander II® tire sizes include:
Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and motorcycles. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (About Michelin) employs 21,400 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.
* Tests conducted by Texas Test Fleet in 2011 on public roads comparing MICHELIN® Commander® II, METZELER ME880 and the DUNLOP D407/D408 in sizes 130/80 B 17 (front) and 180/65 B 16 (rear). Individual results may vary depending on motorcycle type and operating conditions.
Steve McQueen leads Triumphs pack of new motorcycles
Saturday, 14 January 2012
Steve McQueenTriumph Motorcycles has released the United States retail prices of its new-for-2012 models and a legendary motorcycle-loving face from the age of the Silver Screen is leading the pack.
The motorcycles riding out for 2012 are the Tiger Explorer, Speed Triple R and Steve McQueen Edition along with a focus on offering customers a tremendous value for their money with high-specifications at competitive prices.
The Tiger Explorer is Triumph’s first entry into the premium adventure touring sector and features a class-leading specification as standard. Boasting an all-new 1215cc three-cylinder powerplant delivering a best-in-class 137bhp, the Tiger Explorer also features a durable shaft drive unit, electronic ABS brakes, cruise control and traction control, all as standard equipment.
The Tiger Explorer will be available in May, priced at a very competitive $15,699.
“Following on the success of 2011, which saw the Tiger 800XC named Best Dual Sport by Cycle World and Best Adventure Bike by Motorcyclist, the Tiger Explorer, Speed Triple R and Steve McQueen Edition Bonneville will no doubt earn their place in Triumph’s long list of legendary motorcycles,” Greg Heichelbech, CEO of Triumph North America said.
Joining the Tiger Explorer in Triumph’s 2012 range is the Speed Triple R ABS, a premium version of Triumph’s iconic Speed Triple. Taking the already class-leading Speed Triple as its base, the R version employs even higher-specification chassis components to bring handling to yet another level. With MotoGP-developed Öhlins suspension front and rear, Brembo monobloc brakes and lightweight PVM forged aluminum wheels, as well as sporty new colors and graphics, the Speed Triple R ABS represents excellent value for the money at $15,999 when it goes on sale this March.
Also new for 2012 is the limited-run Steve McQueen Edition model, of which only 1100 are being produced worldwide.
Will Electric Motorcycles Catch On Faster Than Electric Cars?
Zero S electric motorcycle.
The International Motorcycle Show starts in New York today, so the Jacob Javits Center will be awash in chrome-crusted cruisers weighing more than 600 pounds and packing car-size engines, and screaming superbikes with enough horsepower to fly a four-passenger airplane.
But some of the most intriguing machines at the show are small, light and nearly silent.
Electric motorcycles powered by lithium batteries are beginning to look like contenders in a bike market that is increasingly concerned about fuel efficiency, emissions and noise.
Electrics may attract customers who like the idea of two-wheel transport but are put off by the mechanical complexity of traditional motorcycles and the perceived difficulty in riding them. They may also have particular appeal to urban riders and commuters who can operate more easily within the bikes’ limited range.
I test-rode an electric sport motorcycle called the Zero S this and week and was surprised by how appealing it is even for someone who loves the chugging rhythm of a Ducati twin or the wail of an old Honda V4. The quiet whir of the electric motor and its impressive off-the-line acceleration made the Zero ideal for city riding, where hearing nearby traffic can be as important as seeing it.
While the motor puts out about 28 horsepower, it feels like much more, especially when accelerating from a standstill. I was able to leave menacing taxis far behind and the bike’s weight of less than 300 pounds gave it a light, athletic feel that made getting through midtown New York’s congestion enjoyable.
The Zero S has evolved since 2009, when I rode an early version. The new bike is faster, smoother and better-looking than its predecessor and has a tighter, well-finished feel. It’s ready for prime time.
As with electric cars, though, high prices could keep some customers away. The S and its on-road-off-road stable mate the DS start at $11,495. The higher-capacity battery that boosts range to 114 miles from about 76 miles with the standard battery also increases the price to $13,995. That amount would buy a Honda CBR1000RR, which is close to being a street-legal racing bike.
Of course riders interested in electric motorcycles are not cross-shopping superbikes. But the Zero’s price premium could hurt sales.
Still, the simple joy of riding the Zero could be as big a selling point as its potential fuel savings. In many ways its design and the way it rides are throwbacks to the minimalism and excitement of earlier motorcycles that drew so many people into riding decades ago.
While I tell people that my next new car will probably be electric, a battery-powered motorcycle, in some ways, would be a better fit.
Ducati North America Reports 43 Percent Growth in 2011
The Company Posted Six Consecutive Quarters of Growth with Sales Increases in Every North American Region
CUPERTINO, Calif., Jan. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Ducati North America today announced 2011 motorcycle sales growth of 43 percent compared to 2010 and a record market share in all of it's territories: US, Canada and Mexico. This result established North America as Ducati's number one market for the first time ever.
Ducati Performance line of apparel and accessories also recorded significant growth with a 50 percent annual increase.
Ducati's growth was fueled by an expanding product line-up, including the award-winning Diavel and Multistrada. Voted "Best Cruiser of 2011" by several motorcycle magazines, the Diavel accomplishes its goal of capturing and attracting new customers to the brand. The Multistrada, voted "Best Open Street Bike" by Cycle World for the second year in a row, continues to prove its adventure touring capabilities with the successful completion of the historical La Carrera Panamericana race in Mexico along with its second win of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
"Growth in the North American market is a top priority for Ducati. North America's outstanding performance significantly contributed to Ducati's global success in 2011, which has been a record year for us in terms of global sales, market share and profitability," said Cristiano Silei, Chief Executive Officer of Ducati North America. "This year the company made substantial investments in new product, key personnel and in the strength of our distribution network. These elements, combined with an array of extraordinary products, including our new Superbike, the 1199 Panigale, will continue to fuel our growth in 2012 and beyond."
In 2012, Ducati will refocus its efforts in the sportbike category with the first customer deliveries of the brand's newest flagship Superbike, the Ducati 1199 Panigale and the 848 EVO Corse Special Edition. New additions to the Ducati line-up also include the Diavel AMG, the recently announced Diavel Cromo, as well as the highly anticipated Streetfighter 848.
Ducati North America also announced the launch of a new retail identity initiative aimed at enhancing the Ducati customer experience.
"The introduction of the retail identity program demonstrates Ducati's commitment to its core brand values, while building a complete and seamless shopping experience for customers," said Dominique Cheraki, General Manager of Ducati North America. "We are dedicated to a continual investment in the functional and emotional quality of our products, as well as the premium retail experience."
About Ducati: Founded in 1926, Ducati has been producing sport-inspired motorcycles since 1946. "Desmodromic" performance engines, innovative design and avant-garde technology characterize its motorcycles. Covering several market segments, Ducati's range of motorcycles are divided into model families which include: Diavel, Hypermotard, Monster, Multistrada, Streetfighter and Superbike. These authentic icons of "made in Italy" are sold in over 80 countries around the world, with concentration on the European, North American and Asia Pacific markets. Ducati competes in both the World Superbike Championship and, with an official team, the World MotoGP Championship. In Superbike Ducati has won 17 Manufacturers' titles and 14 Riders' titles and in 2011 passed the historic milestone of 300 race victories. Ducati have participated in MotoGP since 2003, and took both the Manufacturers' and Riders' titles in 2007.
SOURCE Ducati North America
Nitro Year: 2007 (1 of 113,000 sold)
Nitro Model: R/T 4X4 Stone White
CAT-BACK Exhaust, CAI, Projector Head Lamps
Fully-Equipped w/all factory options
Courtesy of Polaris Industries
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Victory presents The Gunny and will reveal the first few models for the 2013 year at the New York International Motorcycle Show.
Victory Motorcycles rings in 2012 with an early release 2013 model motorcycle and legendary Marine Corps Drill Instructor, Hollywood actor, and TV host, R. Lee Ermey, better known as “The Gunny” making a special appearance in support of the Wounded Warrior Project. Other big highlights of the weekend include the reveal of two custom Victory Motorcycles. One of the bikes by the grandson of Arlen Ness, Zach Ness, and a second bike by the Klocks Werks Kustom Motorcycles led by Brian Klock in memory Vic Briggs, a former employee who passed away last summer.
Additional attractions planned for the always entertaining International Motorcycle Shows weekend at the Javits Center in New York City include the Victory Girls, and the new Victory Touring Nation presented by RoadRUNNER Touring and Travel Magazine with editors from RoadRUNNER featured in Q&A sessions and free mini-magazines about touring in and outside of the New England area.
Victory Motorcycles will present the worldwide public debut of a new model motorcycle on Friday the 21st at 2:00 p.m. in the Victory display. This new model features signature Victory style and is inspired by the muscle car era. Featuring outstanding power and handling, it promises to bring a new level of riding enjoyment to the class and will be comfortable for riders of all sizes. For a preview video, follow this link:
Victory grabbed the first 2013 pre-production motorcycle off the line specifically for Zach Ness to make his own. Given a new model and a clean slate, Zach promises that his custom will be unique and capitalize on the high-quality chassis and handling that Victory is known for. “I had to spend a weekend riding the new bike around the hills outside of Dublin to get a real feel for this bike,” says the third-generation custom bike builder. “We actually delayed starting to build the bike because there was so much inspiration gained after riding the stock machine - it changed completely what I first thought I was going to build, and I’m excited to reveal it to the public on Saturday.”
The sheet pull on Zach’s custom at high noon on Saturday the 21st at the Victory Motorcycles display will come care of none other than R. Lee Ermey. “The Gunny” is well known for his roles in numerous feature films and television, as well as his commanding ability to inspire. Ermey carries with him the wish to promote the Wounded Warrior Project during his appearance at the show from noon through the afternoon. “I challenged Zach to build a riders custom – not some sort of trailer queen,” says The Gunny. “I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s done and meeting friends and fans in New York City. I will ask for each person attending the show to bring in a donation for Wounded Warrior Project and come by the Victory display to say hello – it’s a simple, but important mission for every motorcycle fan.”
Yet another worldwide reveal is slated for 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Brian and Laura Klock designed and built a charity motorcycle to benefit the family of an employee who lost his life last summer. “Tattooed for Life is the name of the bike,” says Brian Klock. “Vic Briggs left this world too early and he was a big part of our extended family. We miss him every day and poured our hearts into this build. All of the money that this motorcycle brings will be donated to Vic’s family to take care of his kids down the road.” This custom is based on a Victory Kingpin that was donated by Victory Motorcycles.
The Gunny, Zach Ness, the Klocks and editors from RoadRUNNER Touring and Travel Magazine will all be interviewed for seminars over the course of the weekend inside the Victory display. “We have been telling motorcycle enthusiasts that Victory is on the gas and I think the new bike reveal this coming weekend will prove that.” says Vice President of Polaris Motorcycles Steve Menneto. “We’re also proud to bring attention to the Wounded Warrior Project organization and offer the Klocks an opportunity to honor Vic at our display.”
General Information for the International Motorcycle Shows including discounted online tickets can be found at International Motorcycle Shows. To get a sneak peek as Zach does the final build on his custom, log onto VICTORY MOTORCYCLES | Facebook. Mark your calendars for the 11:30a.m. (Eastern) online debut of the new Victory and the 2:00 p.m. live public reveal at the show.
New York Victory Display Schedule
Friday, January 20th, 2012
Show Floor Opens
Public Reveal a New 2013 Victory Motorcycle
Presentation: RoadRUNNER – Touring Talk
Public Reveal of Klock "Tattoo" Custom charity motorcycle
Saturday, January 21st, 2012
Show Floor Opens
Presentation: RoadRUNNER – Tour Talk: New England's hidden gems
The Gunny and Zach Ness Reveal a new Custom
1:00pm - 4:00pm
Gunny & Zach Autograph Session
Presentation: RoadRUNNER – Tour Talk: Beyond New England
Presentation: Brian Klock – How to approach custom bike projects
Presentation: Laura Klock – Land Speed Racing with my family
Sunday, January 22nd, 2012
Show Floor Opens
Presentation: Laura Klock - Land Speed racing with my Family
Presentation: RoadRUNNER – Touring Talk
The New York stop of the Progressive International Motorcycle Show rolled into Manhattan’s Jacob Javits convention center over the weekend. Tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts made it out to the expo to see all of the latest and greatest powersports equipment for 2012. Although the show has already made stops at other American cities, New York is one of the largest exhibitions attendance-wise so a few surprises were in store from manufacturers.
Zero Motorcycles recently celebrated the start of production of its ground breaking 2012 model line with the roll out of its first new 2012 Zero DS.
Management and staff greeted the arrival of the stunning new Zero DS motorcycle on Dec. 15, 2011 (it was an early Christmas present) with applause and excitement. Additionally, Zero Motorcycles announces that the entire product line is in full production and dealers and consumers alike can expect to see the motorcycles hitting the marketplace throughout the first quarter of 2012.
Zero recently debuted the all-new 2012 product line to a very positive response this past November at the 2011 EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan, Italy.
Harley-Davidson unveils Seventy-Two and Softail Slim motorcycles
Harley-Davidson introduces two new motorcycle models, the Seventy-Two and Softail Slim, hoping to generate some excitement during a slow time of the year.
February 2, 2012
Cook's Corner, in Orange County, has long been a haven for area motorcyclists.
But the legendary Trabuco Canyon roadhouse was more jammed than usual Wednesday. Scores of bikers had gathered to get a glimpse of two new motorcycles unveiled by Harley-Davidson Motor Co. for the 2012 model year: a laid-back Sportster called the Seventy-Two and a Softail Slim retro bobber.
Harley-Davidson typically introduces all of its new models and updates at a single event in the summer. But with the market still soft in a tough economy, the Milwaukee manufacturer has in recent years wheeled out new bikes in the off-season.
Wednesday's event was the first time the country's largest motorcycle maker has introduced two models this time of year.
"It helps to bring a sense of excitement around the brand and to bring people into the dealerships to see the new bikes," said Harley-Davidson media relations manager Jennifer Hoyer.
The first quarter is a slow sales season for motorcycles. But the bikes introduced Wednesday are likely to maintain the sales momentum Harley demonstrated late last year.
Retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 10.9% globally and 11.8% nationally during the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with the prior-year period. Overall 2011 sales were up 5.9% worldwide and 5.8% in the U.S.
That's in contrast to much of the industry, which continues to struggle. After falling 41% in 2009 and 14% in 2010, sales of new on-road motorcycles were up just 1.8% in 2011 to about 312,000 units, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council in Irvine.
"The name recognition and the heritage of the Harley-Davidson brand serves them well," said Dennis Johnson, editor in chief of Dealernews magazine in Irvine.
The Seventy-Two and Softail Slim represent Harley's growth strategy as it approaches its 110th anniversary next year: attracting minorities and younger riders. The lowrider-inspired Seventy-Two, with its metal flake paint, whitewall tires and reasonable $10,499 starting price, targets the growing demographic of riders ages 18 to 34, as well as Latinos.
The '50s-style Softail Slim, with its chopped fenders, large 103-cubic-inch V-twin and $15,499 base price, pursues what Harley calls its "younger core": men ages 30 to 45.
Baby boomers have long been Harley's bread and butter, but the company, which accounts for 55% of U.S. sales of bikes larger than 650 cc, has been pursuing a younger demographic.
That strategy began in 2007 with its first midyear model introduction, the Nightster. Since then, Harley has been consistently filling out its youth-oriented roster with lower-priced and edgier-looking bikes including the Forty-Eight, introduced for the 2010 model year, and the Iron 883, which debuted for the 2009 model year. Harley is now seeing consistent year-over-year sales increases among Gen Y and millennial buyers, Hoyer said.
"From a brand perspective, you need to foster customers young and old," Hoyer said. "We need to make sure we're not only producing motorcycles for the core segment, who buy the most motorcycles, but a diversity of product for everyone."
In developing its Seventy-Two, Harley looked into its rearview mirror and scavenged from its past, but it also peeked into the garages of modern-day custom shops in France, Japan and Germany, where its designers were dazzled with metal flake finishes and "raw, simplified looks," Hoyer said.
She estimates that 40% of the Seventy-Twos that Harley builds at its York, Pa., plant this year will be sold in Europe, Asia, Latin America and other foreign markets. About a third of Softail Slims will be sold outside the U.S., she said.
Both bikes will start arriving at some U.S. dealers this week.
Still, as recently as Tuesday, the owner of one of the largest Harley-Davidson dealerships in the Los Angeles area had only heard rumors about one of the new bikes.
"I don't really know the details," said Oliver Shokouh, owner of Harley-Davidson of Glendale and founder of the annual Love Ride for charity.
"I've heard there's a new Softail on the way. I'm hoping it's something more bare-bones. A simple, inexpensive entry model with a low seat," said Shokouh, adding that there still isn't enough entry-level product to meet demand.
What's selling at Shokouh's 36-year-old dealership are higher-priced touring bikes and entry-level Sportsters.
Honda Announces Next New-Model Release for 2012
Honda kicks off the new year with another 2012 model that brings a fresh look to the already extensive lineup of new machines.
This latest addition, the NC700X, features adventure-bike styling, an all-new engine tuned for loads of real-world power, plus light and nimble handling thanks to a chassis design that emphasizes mass centralization and a low center of gravity. In addition, the NC700X offers the option of Honda’s unique second-generation automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) and Combined Antilock Braking System together.
“This is a really exciting release for 2012 that brings a great new option to Honda’s wide selection of motorcycles and ATVs for the new year,” said Powersports Press Manager Bill Savino. “This is a fun machine that will appeal to all kinds of riders, and with the option of having an automatic Dual Clutch Transmission for unrivaled ease of use, this bike will open the door to many potential newcomers to the sport as well. We are really proud of what the NC700X brings to the table as a motorcycle, but we’re even more enthusiastic about how this bike can help expand interest in motorcycling for a whole new generation of riders.”
- NC700X / NC700X with DCT and Combined ABS
What do you see when you look at the 2012 Honda NC700X? An adventure-style bike? An urban assault commuter? A country road explorer? A two-up getaway machine? Or perhaps all of the above? Whatever your personal vision of the NC700X may be, color it fun because this is one bike that offers a perfect blend of style, handling and power for tackling whatever the day’s agenda may hold. Credit its long-travel suspension, abundant torque and more, plus a six-speed gearbox or the choice of an automatic Dual Clutch Transmission with a Combined Antilock Braking System. So whether you’re new to the sport, a longtime rider or just getting back into the riding scene, the NC700X offers the comfort, ease of use and practicality of an everyday motorcycle that’s also surprisingly affordable. And to make things even better, a large array of available accessories allows owners to add just the right combination of capabilities to suit individual preferences. MSRP: Starting at $6999; Availability: Summer 2012
Italian motorcycle maker Ducati Motor Holding SpA is recalling certain Monster and Hypermotard models from the 2011 and 2012 model years to fix potential fuel-system problems that could lead to fires.
The company said some of the bikes have fuel lines with a condition called micro-cracking that resulted from problems with raw materials used in the manufacturing process. The cracking could cause a fuel leak, which increase the risk of injury by fire.
In a document filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ducati said it built the affected motorcycles from June 25 through Nov. 30, 2011. The recall affects 913 motorcycles.
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