Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2014

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

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Pony Express2It was a 10-day, 1,900-mile motorcycle journey across seven western states from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, and took place September 15-24, 2009.

The Pony Express occupies a disproportionate part of the history of the American West.  Cruel hours, terrible weather, life-threatening hostility in every direction, and poor prospects for retirement.   Yet folks lined up to ride uncertainly through trackless and forbidding territory, to sleep on a hard, cold dirt pile and be awakened by the sound of gunfire.

The H.O.G. touring rally retraced the historic route that the original Pony Express riders followed in 1860-61 as they moved mail through America’s Wild West.  Points of interest included various museums tracing the history of the famous ride, and actual Pony Express Station facilities and monuments as well as the opportunity to stand on the original Pony Express trail in several locations.  Ride activities included seven dealer-sponsored events along the route.  Rally attendees covered territory that tested the endurance skills of Pony Express riders on horseback nearly 150 years ago.

 

Pony Express Ride Map

Pony Express Ride Map

There were a number of special events to highlight on this ride.

The first was at Flaming Gorge Harley-Davidson in Green River WY., where Willie G and his wife Nancy participated in a Friendship Dance with the Native American dancers from the Wind River Indian Reservation.

There was also a 500–mile riding stint from Salt Lake City to Carson City, Nev., that was recognized with a unique “500-mile” pin commemorating that segment of the rally.

In addition, all the riders and HOG general manager Benny Suggs along with Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons visited the Northwest Territorial Mint in Dayton, NV on September 23, 2009.  They presented Suggs with a silver medallion along and approximately 500 HOG members also received a version of the national HOG challenge coin which featured the official Harley Owners Group logo on one side and the HOG shield on the other.  Each was uniquely edgemarked with the text, “Pony Express Ride 2009” for the event.  No other HOG challenge coins have been edgemarked, making them prized Harley-Davidson collectibles.

There are a number of ways to enjoy the Pony Express National Historic Trail these days, but not many can say they rode with Willie G on the Pony Express ride!

Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

The Reiman’s Harley-Davidson Letter

The Reiman’s Harley-Davidson Letter

I’m talking about a photo that’s being shared on Facebook, of a letter.

A simple, short letter, from Reiman’s Harley-Davidson, in Kewanee, IL.   That reads:

Dear Christopher and Jamie,

Enclosed you will find the check you mailed to us regarding the account of Christopher. It is the policy of Reiman’s Harley-Davidson to waive storage fees for our active-duty service members who are deployed. It is our honor to keep your bike safe and secure while you provide us with our freedoms. We hope you return to us safe and sound.  Until that time, we will store your bike at no charge to you. This is our way of saying “Thank you” for your service to our country. 

Sincerely,
C. Dennis Packee
Dealer Principal

The backstory is Christopher Walters is currently deployed to Afghanistan. His wife, Jaime, had sent in a check and an apology for being late on a payment to her husband’s account. He had been renting storage space at Reiman’s for his motorcycle while he was deployed. When the dealership owner Dennis Packee saw the letter, he would have none of that and sent the money back to her.

Mr. Packee didn’t think much about the gesture and went back to work.  It’s Reiman’s H-D policy and seemed like common sense to him.  The letter got posted on Facebook and then the phone began to ring… from people all across the U.S. who expressed their appreciation of the gesture.

Thank you Mr. Packee for the gesture and giving back to those that have given much!

Photo courtesy of Reiman’s H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Low Rider

XLCR Café Racer

The Low Rider model was first released back in 1971.

Harley-Davidson introduced the FXS Low Rider® to the public in Daytona Beach.  With drag style handlebars, unique engine and paint treatments, the Low Rider placed the rider in a lowered seating position than was typical.  Then later that year, Willie G. Davidson penned a version of the Sportster, called the XLCR Café Racer.  Pronounced “Excelsior” and wearing a small bikini fairing, relatively low handlebars, and blacked-out paint with whitewall tires, the XLCR was only produced for two years.

This was Harley-Davidson’s response to the growing cafe racer and sport bike trend among European and Japanese brands at the time.  It was largely ignored by buyers at launch, but 1977-1979 XLCR models have become somewhat coveted by Harley-Davidson collectors in recent years.

2014 Low Rider

2014 Low Rider

Harley-Davidson executed a redux and brought back a 2014 version of the Low Rider which the motor company promises contained “old school class and exciting new performance.”  It’s got the Harley Twin Cam 103 engine and features dual front disc brakes, a 2-into-1 exhaust, and traditional Harley styling.  The ergonomics of the new Low Rider have been enhanced to provide the most comfortable ride possible.

The SuperLow® 1200T is, as the T suggests, more of a touring machine. It runs the Evolution V-Twin engine — but weighs an advertised 118 pounds less than the company’s lightest Big Twin touring bike — and comes standard with a detachable windshield, locking saddlebags and Michelin® Scorcher™ 11T touring tires.  The machines got their official public unveiling at this year’s Daytona Bike Week festivities… a bit of déjà vu’ from 1977.

Photos courtesy of H-D.  XLCR Club (HERE).

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

The new Harley-Davidson™ Riding Academy

The new Harley-Davidson™ Riding Academy logo

Back in April, Harley-Davidson unveiled its new Riding Academy in the U.S., which is a program to help students take their first lessons in riding and they get to do it on a Harley-Davidson Street 500 motorcycle.

You might recall that the Harley-Davidson™  Riding Academy was previously called Rider’s Edge®.  In September 2012 the program celebrated a milestone of training 300,000 riders since starting in 2000.  At the time the Buell Blast, a motorcycle made by the Buell Motorcycle Company was used in the Rider’s Edge New Rider program.  In July 2009, prior to ceasing all motorcycle production, Buell ran an ad campaign stating that the Buell Blast would no longer appear in their line-up and the ad featured a Buell Blast being destroyed in an automobile crusher.

The new Harley-Davidson™ Riding Academy is a national rider training program and is likely to be hosted by Harley-Davidson dealerships across the country.

The old Rider's Edge® logo

The old Rider’s Edge® logo

It’s designed to get folks comfortable on a bike and give them the skills needed to ride with confidence.  The students are trained on the motorcycle that they will be riding and will also be taught the basics of rider safety. All the student needs to bring is the riding gear that consists of a long sleeves, jeans/pants, ankle length footwear, full gloves, eyewear and DOT standard helmet. The academy will provide a motorcycle and certified instructors from Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). The course features a minimum of 20 hours of classroom and range training with two instructors guiding 12 students at a time. The practice range is where students learn maneuvers such as turning, braking, going over obstacles and controlling skids.

Some thought the original Rider’s Edge Program was a pricey version of the MSF Basic Rider Course with four additional promotional/marketing hours added into the curriculum. Otherwise the curriculum of the two were nearly identical.  I have not been through the new Riding Academy, but would anticipate that it’s a Harley-Davidson branded version of the new 2014 MSF curriculum.

The motorcycle used in the new Harley-Davidson Riding Academy is the newly launched liquid-cooled Harley-Davidson Street 500.  I suspect the strategy of incorporating the Street 500 motorcycle is that students will want to keep riding after the class is over once they’ve learned on the motorcycle… maybe even consider a purchase.  The Street 500 is fitted with a vehicle protection kit that protects the motorcycle in case a student is not able to maintain balance and topples it. In addition, there is a first of its kind Power Limit Calibration system that is in place to restrict the bikes at low gear speeds allowing only the maximum speed needed for the course.  Or put another way, it modifies the fuel injection system and de-powers the bike.  If you’re looking for initial impressions of the bike for training check out this post HERE.

Once the training has been completed, the students will get an MSF Basic Rider Course completion card which may even exempt students from the state testing for a motorcycle endorsement, but this varies state to state. Harley states that this card may even help new riders in getting a discount on their motorcycle insurance.

TEAM OREGON Locations

TEAM OREGON Training Locations

But, what about the state of Oregon?

It looks like the Oregon Harley-Davidson dealers get somewhat of a pass on managing the new Riding Academy logistics since the only approved training is provided by TEAM OREGON.

If you’ve been riding awhile you’ll recall that Oregon was the first state to break away from MSF and Idaho soon followed.  There is 40-years of history, but in 2003, the last time MSF released a new curriculum, TEAM OREGON decided the new product didn’t meet the riders of Oregon needs.  However, MSF would not support continued use of the old product so, TEAM OREGON designed their own curriculum to meet the needs of Oregon riders.  The prevailing viewpoint was the California-based MSF “one-size-fits-all curriculum” didn’t address local issues – for example, Florida’s riding environment is much different from Washington State’s, which is unlike Wisconsin’s or New York’s.  MSF sued TEAM OREGON in 2006 over the curriculum they developed which the Oregon Department of Justice and Oregon State University tenaciously defended and in December 2008 the MSF agreed to abandon its lawsuit without any monetary settlement.  More details on the lawsuit are located HERE.

Independent of where you live in the Northwest, this blog has promoted safe motorcycle operation and suggested many times that riders be life-long learners.  Take a training class.

More information can be found at: TEAM OREGON – Basic (BRT) and Intermediate (IRT) courses are available statewide and meet Oregon’s mandatory training requirement.  Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program;  Advanced Street SkillsPuget Sound Safety

Photos courtesy H-D and TEAM OREGON.  Shout-out to Pat Hahn (TEAM OREGON Communications and Outreach Manager) who was consulted for accuracy in the writing of this article.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Conflict Minerals

Conflict Minerals

It’s unlikely that you think much about this, but when you press the BOOM!™ Audio Infotainment ON button,  it activates the audio system’s logic board which is soldered together with tin.  The Tantalum helps keep highly conductive materials in check and helps signals pass swiftly through the device.  And the Tantalum Oxide helped engineers create thinner, smaller electronics to reduce the space required on the motorcycle.  And the Gold which is highly conductive and used sparingly, is used in wires and in integrated chip (IC) films when a very pure connection between components is required.

There are numerous components on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that may contain conflict minerals: brake pads, fuel tanks, on-board electronics, radiators and batteries.  I previously blogged on this HERE back in 2011.

For the uninitiated, conflict minerals — tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold, or “3TG” — is sourced from or distributed by 10 countries in central Africa, namely the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  The conflict minerals moniker comes from the fact that proceeds from their sale are used to fund armed groups that commit human rights crimes and other atrocities in regional African conflicts.  More people have heard about “Blood Diamonds” than conflict minerals, but the atrocities are similar.

A miner washes tin ore in the Kalimbi mine in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

A miner washes tin ore in the Kalimbi mine in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

And there is always the presence of the militant groups or organized criminal gangs, and the nexus between them which creates an intricate link between terrorism and organized crime.   These armed groups reap more than $100 million a year from the mineral trade in eastern Congo, and regularly slaughter innocents as they jockey to control the region’s most valuable mines and transportation routes.

Harley-Davidson has publically committed to supporting responsible sourcing of its materials from suppliers that share their values around human rights and environmental responsibility. The motor company is committed to complying with the “Conflict Minerals” requirements under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  The 2010 law requires companies to publicly disclose whether their products contain conflict minerals.  And Harley-Davidson has until May 31, 2014, to file their first SEC disclosure regarding conflict minerals, with annual disclosures required after that.

Harley has posted and you can read their disclosure HERE.

In Section 4, it highlights that responses to their inquiries from ten suppliers which suggest that 3TG is sourced from Covered Countries, but it’s not clear if it was in the products or directly benefited armed groups.  Harley-Davidson communicated the need for additional information with the relevant suppliers and whether any of the 3TG that these suppliers reported were actually contained in components or parts that the suppliers supplied to H-D.

To be clear, Harley-Davidson did not find any evidence to suggest that any of the 3TG in their supply chain may have originated in a Covered Country or finances any armed groups in the Covered Countries, but did suggest that the quality of information that they obtained from their supply chains needed improvement and they were taking future actions to improve their processes.

So the question of the day is if given a choice, are you more likely to buy a “Conflict Mineral” free motorcycle?

I believe that H-D is a responsible global corporate citizen in all aspects of their business, both internally and externally.  But, wouldn’t it be cool if they pushed hard on this initiative and announced they are proud to manufacture the world’s first commercially available conflict-free motorcycle!

For more information you can track Harley-Davidson updates on this topic HERE.

A good video guide by VICE on the Congo is HERE.  The Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative is HERE.  Looking to get more involved?  Check out: The Enough Project; The Falling Whistles; The Responsible Sourcing Network; Resolve.

Photos courtesy of Reuters and the Periodic Table.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: