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"No Colors" Memo

“No Colors” Memo

One of the largest motorcycle events on the west coast will occur in about 3 weeks.

I’m talking about the Laughlin River Run, April 24-27th.  And 2014 will mark 32 years of riding on the Colorado river for this motorcycle rally.

Back in 2011 the posse rode to the event and several of us are planning to do the same this year.  We’re hoping the west coast drought will swing a bit north for our departure and the northwest rain will stop for a few days.

Recently one of the riders in the group received a memo from Sean Hammond, General Manager of the Aquarius Casino Resort (see photo).  He outlines the “No Colors” rule being strictly enforced in all the area hotels/casinos.  While it has not been without it’s issues the heavy handed LEO presence always seems unnecessary, but then again the days of HAMC clubbers performing motorcycle wheelies as guests tried to check-in at the Flamingo (as it was previously known) was a bit of a nuisance.

Sure the room rates are artificially raised as is the cost to get there, but for those of us who don’t have 300+ days of riding, the opportunity to ride the Sierra Nevada mountains and take in historic U.S. Route 66, along with the hills of Oatman is always a memorable experience.  And it’s a bonus this time of year as the byways are less-traveled and there are few tourist in motorhomes clogging the open road views.

See you in Laughlin.

Photo taken by author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
2nd Guessing Music Selection

2nd Guessing Music Selection

After years of Project RUSHMORE research including thousands of hours of development with skilled mechanics and engineers driving from location to location, Harley-Davidson today acknowledged that the BOOM!™audio infotainment software has been affected by a virus.

The virus manifests itself as “ghosting” problems.  Riders state that the infotainment system is second guessing their music selection, even after making the music choice.  Some riders have reported that the infotainment will randomly reset and the LCD displays a Laffing “Devil’s Fork” logo in place of the H-D corporate logo.

devils-forkThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to order up a recall because the motor company has not fully been successful in detailing all the issues and there was no consistent pattern of crashes tied to the virus effect.

This raises red flags at the company and in cooperation with Russian and Ukrainian scientists, Harley-Davidson Audio engineers have recently re-located to the basement of the Design Lab to review prototype parts, drawings, pre-production models and other original materials to gain more insight into the virus.

Once available, H-D Riders can go to the software download center and grab the file on a USB memory stick. Then insert it in your Boom!™ Box Infotainment System’s USB port and follow the onscreen instructions to update your system.  The new application will be called Harley-Davidson Nose, and as the name implies it knows everything about you, the motorcycle and the infotainment system.

In addition, as a customer bonus for the trouble of sitting in your garage and working on motorcycle software updates, the motor company will provide the H-D Levity App (HDLA) which spices up “even the most boring of work days” by letting you send happier emails, hold more engaging meetings, and write more mind-blowing presentations.

Happy April Fool’s day!

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
2014 Harley-Davidson Breakout

2014 Harley-Davidson Breakout

Harley-Davidson has initiated a voluntary recall in Canada.  

The Campaign number is #2014058 and is targeted at repairing at least 297 motorcycles.

The motorcycles effected are the 2014 Harley-Davidson Breakout and 2014 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim.  According to the Road Safety Recalls Database, the motorcycles may not comply with Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 – Lighting System and Retroreflective Devices.

The problem is due to a programming error in the body control module, where the brake lamp lit area may be less than what is allowable by the above standard. This could render the vehicle less visible to other motorists, possibly resulting in a crash causing property damage and/or personal injury.

Dealers will correctly reprogram the settings in the body control module.

Recalls in Canada are often followed by the U.S. counterparts, and it’s anticipated that the NHTSA will be involved shortly and the effected number of motorcycles will increase.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Why We Ride

why-we-ride-graphicWith so much of the country in the grip of a Polar Vortex and with no letup in colder temperatures in sight, it might be timely to remind ourselves of why we ride.

No, this isn’t another post about wind chill, hypothermia, frostbite, loss of traction in freezing weather or impaired judgment due to cooling effects.  Nor is it about old grizzled guys on motorcycles making an excursion across the country as the Discovery Channel would like us to believe as reality.

I’m talking about the warmth of a roaring fire, and pulling out your favorite refreshment from the fridge and watching an inspiring film about a real motorcycle community.  Motorcyclists who live each day to the fullest on their two-wheeled machines.

But, I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

why-rideLike many of you, I’m often ask why I ride? 

It’s a difficult thing to describe.  It’s about the camaraderie of the friends and families who ride together.  It’s about the uniqueness of the people you meet when riding is an adventure.  The connection to their stories and backgrounds.

I think riding depends on the context.  There are times when I feel good just standing next to my Harley or just looking at it because I just did something to it that I thought was a little bit different that spoke to me.  So, in that context I don’t even have to ride it to have a great experience. 

But, when I get out on the road obviously the nature of where I’m going colors the experience a little bit; riding in a city at night, riding in mountains in the morning, hugging a mountain pass road without guard rails or riding through a desert rain storm. 

I don’t know how best to describe it in words, but I like the energy of it.  I like just hitting the road as the wind washes over me and letting the stress of work bleed out.  There are a lot of dimensions in riding a motorcycle from the passion of the riders to the soul of their bikes and I’m sure that is what keeps so many people interested.

Why We Ride, is a documentary film that brings together the motorcycle community in a celebration of what it means to be a rider.  It’s a great film and now you can download it on iTunes or Amazon and enjoy all it has to offer this winter from the warmth of your home.   

There is nothing else like it.  In fact, this study suggests that riding a motorcycle will make you a happier person than the average!

Photo courtesy of Kretz Media Holdings, LLC

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

CR-MotorcyclesThat is, according to Consumer Reports.

You know, the independent, consumer-oriented not-for-profit organization, replete with consumer activists.

Recognized as an automotive quality and value authority, Consumer Reports branched out and started reviewing motorcycles last year.  They published the first-ever report on the most reliable motorcycles from five of the biggest brands — Harley, BMW, Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha.  For some odd reason, Polaris’ Victory and Indian brands didn’t make enough of an impact in the market to attract Consumer Reports attention by the time of the survey.

percentage-of-bikes-with-problems_largeFrom its research Consumer Reports discovered that quality varies “significantly” among brands — and the best brand, Yamaha, is about six times more reliable than the worst, BMW.

Only about one Yamaha motorcycle in 10 has experienced a major problem or required a serious repair over the past four years, according to the 4,424 motorcycle owners surveyed by Consumer Reports. In contrast, about one BMW motorcycle in three has suffered from such a complaint — and one Harley in four.

Consumer Reports found that major, big-ticket repairs were few and far between in its research. Regardless of bike and regardless of brand, only about 3% of all problems reported to Consumer Reports involved a motorcycle’s engine, only 3% a transmission, and only 7% a clutch. More common were issues with a vehicle’s brakes or electrical or fuel system, and with the accessories.

Overall, Consumer Reports noted that about 75% of the repairs reported to it were performed for $200 or less.

Photo courtesy of Consumer Reports.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
joining metal exhaust line components

Joining metal exhaust line components

In the exhaust business there are tradeoffs between looks and performance.  

We all know that an exhaust system design has a big impact on engine performance.  Header pipe diameter, bend radius, pipe length, muffler volume and design of the baffle all effect performance.

We’re seeing a lot of innovation in fabricating from lightweight stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, chromoly along with coated high temperature ceramic exhaust systems.

There is a French based company (Faurecia) in the small town of Dexter, Missouri that specializes in emission control technology and manufactures exhaust systems for the auto industry.  Through-out the years they’ve also made exhaust components for Harley-Davidson.

Faurecia - Dexter, Missouri

Faurecia – Dexter, Missouri

According to this reportthe company recently won a contract to manufacture exhaust systems for the newly designed Harley-Davidson – 2017 “Slingshot” series – which is currently in the planning stage.  This is an exhaust system for the next generation of Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles and Faurecia works closely with the Harley new product teams to get them industrialized at the Dexter plant.

Faurecia is an innovative company and has developed what amounts to “noise-canceling headphones” for tail pipes.  It’s not clear if H-D is looking to implement this technology on the 2017 products?

Faurecia engineering veteran, Phil LeBeau was quoted in the report saying; “The current series that we’ve been manufacturing for Harley-Davidson in Dexter has remained the same for about seven years,” he explains. “They just went through a re-design. What’s coming is the replacement for Harley’s FL series. 

I’ve seen reports in 2013 about Polaris developing a (side-by-side) trike called the “Slingshot,” but have no more information on the Harley-Davdison 2017 “Slingshot” series.  If I get additional data I’ll update this post.

Photos courtesy of Faurecia. 

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
Sons of Anarchy co-star Mark Boone Junior, (Bobby)

Sons of Anarchy co-star Mark Boone Junior (Bobby)

It would seem that AOL CEO, Tim Armstrong, isn’t the only person making inexcusable blunders that goes far beyond foolish.

Huh?

Let me provide some context.  

You might recall how the AOL CEO whined last week  that two “distressed babies” had cost his company a million dollars each. That pronouncement was widely criticized, especially because it seemed Armstrong (who was paid over $12M last year) was trying to shift the baby care costs onto the Internet company’s employees. Armstrong cited it as a reason AOL had decided to change, but later reinstated, its 401(k) match.  One of the “distressed babies” mothers spoke out (HERE). 

And speaking about gaffes and foolishness… we now have the Sons of Anarchy co-star Mark Boone Junior, (Bobby) taking credit for and stating that the TV show “basically saved Harley” to Susan Carpenter of The Hollywood Reporter.

"Sons" co-star Mark Boone Junior, (Bobby) Rides?

“Sons” co-star Mark Boone Junior (Bobby) Rides?

By any measure, “Sons” is a disturbingly violent TV show  that includes a theme of rape, torture, brutal assaults, and bath tubs full of human excrement.  It’s about a 1% motorcycle club — which creator Kurt Sutter readily admits has always traded in “blood and guts” – with “actors,” many of which don’t know how to ride a motorcycle – now proclaiming that he (Boone Junior) and his fellow cast members are the reason that Harley-Davidson recovered from the financial collapse and economic meltdown.

Only in the make believe world of Charming, California.

Let’s get real here. Saved Harley-Davidson?  That is ridiculous!  It’s more than just a bit of a stretch and goes far beyond foolish.  It’s almost as out of touch with reality as the “distressed babies” claim.

Hey Bobby, I’ve got news for you.  Get ready, because it’s an emotional gut punch. The faux outlaw motorcycle gang drama that you co-star and “ACT” in didn’t save Harley!

However, I do wonder how Harley-Davidson management reconciles profiting off violence  as they cozy up and work to be affiliated with an uber-violent TV show.  Basically a TV gang, most of whom are governed by violent criminals.  Sure it’s an imaginary world, but seems out of step.  And, Jennifer Hoyer, (Harley-Davidson Media Relations Manager) explains it well:  “Our relationship with SOA has been mostly beneficial from our side, as we have enjoyed getting many of the cast members all to be real riders — showing them the freedom that Harley-Davidson motorcycles bring to their lives.”

Real riders!  We got the point already. 

Note: To be fair, the Harley-Davidson Foundation does a significant amount of community outreach.  For example, working with the Sojourner Family Peace Center to break the cycle of family violence in Milwaukee, Disabled Vets, Big Brothers Big Sisters, MDA and YMCA to name just a few.

In the spirit of the SOA outlaw I copied the photos from FX Networks without permission.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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