Last month Jeffrey Carver Jr. won his first career title at the 2017 Lone Star Half-Mile Twins Race. While Carver rides a Harley-Davidson XR750 he is not a manufacturer sponsored rider, instead racing as a privateer. Despite not being a sponsored flat track racer Harley-Davidson took out a full page ad in CycleNews to congratulate Carver and undoubtedly show thanks to him for being loyal to the brand and racing the XR750.
Now that we’re into 2017, its time to start thinking about rides, rallies and scheduling vacation time. The following is a list of motorcycle events throughout the year. I’ve included dates, locations and websites where more information for each rally can be found.
As I wrote HERE, the EPA and Harley-Davidson reached a settlement last summer regarding the use of non-street legal Race Tuners used to modify a bike’s fuel injection system. Since then I’ve had the chance to talk with Harley-Davidson reps and Warranty personnel to clear up what the settlement means for the average rider.
Earlier this month I posted HERE that Indian Motorcycles® would be racing their new Scout FTR750 flat track bike in Santa Rosa, California. The bike, piloted by Joe Kopp, took 7th in the 25 lap GNC1 race and won the AMA Ramspur Winery Santa Rosa Mile Pro “Dash for Cash”. Kopp took the checkered flag in the Dash with a time of 164.1 seconds, finishing just ahead of Brandon Robinson, riding a Harley-Davidson XR750. Kopp’s best lap came in at 40.161 seconds. Robinson finished .244 seconds behind, followed by Jake Johnson also riding a Harley-Davidson 750, in third place.
Brad Baker decisively won the GNC1 final riding a Harley-Davidson® XR750 followed by Bryan Smith on a Kawasaki Ninja. The second place finish earned Smith the 2016 Grand National Series Championship. Jared Mees rounded out the top 3 on another Harley-Davidson 750 earning him 2nd Place in the season long Championship chase behind Smith.
Indian® believes the FTR750 will prove they can build a bike that will challenge the historically dominate Kawasaki® and Harley-Davidson® built bikes. Race fans are hoping the new Indian will make this series entertaining and competitive and with some luck bring excitement back to the sport in the same way the Indian-Harley Race Wars did decades ago.
Earlier this summer I reported HERE that Royal Enfield had opened their US headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as part of the 115 year old company’s Global growth strategy. Last weekend they opened their flagship dealership, also in Milwaukee. The store, located at 226 N. Water Street, features their full motorcycle line as well as clothing and accessories. It currently employs a 20 person staff. Continue reading Royal Enfield Opens Flagship North American Dealership→
Harley-Davidson Motor Company has announced they will be laying off 200 employees. 115 of the cuts will come from their York, Pennsylvania plant where they produce most of the Big Twin line. At it’s peak in 2009, the York plant employed 2000 people. Currently, they are operating with around 950 full time employees.
This current round of layoffs are expected to begin in early October and end in November. It is no surprise the company is cutting personnel given in July they announced sales were down 5.2% compared to 2015 with profit down 6.4% for the same period. At the time the company stated the U.S. market was weaker then expected and as a result the company would cut production by 5000 units, from 274,000 down to 269,000.
While the U.S. economy seems to be improving this is further evidence many U.S. company’s are still fighting to get back to pre-recession levels. Harley-Davidson is not the only power sports company to go backwards this year. In fact, despite fewer sales, they have actually gained market share in 2016, indicating the industry as a whole is down year over year. Many cite political uncertainty as a reason sales have declined, while others blame stagnant wages or global economics. I believe a combination of issues have reduced consumer confidence and expect the industry to remain stagnant for the foreseeable future.