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Harley-Davidson ABS Model List

Harley-Davidson 2014 ABS List

The European Parliament mandated that all new motorcycles and trikes sold in Europe with engines larger than 125cc are required to have ABS by 2016, and because of “global harmonization” – a term to describe manufacturing vehicles to uniform standards – suggests that the requirement will make ABS much more common in the U.S.

I would have anticipated a bigger push for ABS because the rate of fatal crashes is 31 percent lower on a motorcycle with antilock brakes than in the same models without ABS, according to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Thirty-one percent is a big number.  Or about one in three motorcycle crashes that could possibly be avoided.

With ABS, riders stop more quickly and stopping distances improve on wet and dry surfaces. ABS reduces concern that the wheels will lock up, which might result in a skid. Locking up the brakes in a panic stop robs the rider of any steering control which can easily lead to a skid and crash.  In the often wet northwest riding environment, maintaining control of steering during an emergency stop is most valuable.

ABS is becoming increasingly common on larger motorcycles.  In fact, BMW Motorrad USA started making ABS standard equipment on all its motorcycles beginning with the 2012 model year.  In the above photo is a list of 2014 Harley-Davidson models that include ABS.  One concern is that it’s been difficult to find ABS on smaller motorcycles.  Those smaller motorcycles are often purchased by less experienced riders, who are likely to benefit most from ABS.

From my vantage, if you don’t have ABS brakes it’s one of the best incentives to consider trading/buying a new motorcycle that does.

Chart photo courtesy of Consumer Reports.

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2014 Tri Glide Ultra Trike

2014 Tri Glide Ultra Trike

Harley-Davidson has issued another safety recall on its 2014 Project Rushmore motorcycles.

This time it’s for a defect that could result in the loss of brake fluid.  It potentially affects 436 trikes manufactured from July 24th through September 2nd.  It’s due to an incorrectly machined part, and the trike may have an excessive steering angle that allows the inner fairing to come into contact with a brake fluid reservoir, resulting in a loss of fluid.  The steering damper may also be damaged.

The result could be a loss of brake fluid from the rear reservoir which would reduce brake performance.  The steering damper damage could reduce the rider’s ability to control the motorcycle and either condition increases the risk of a crash.

This is the second recall of Project RUSHMORE motorcycles. Last month, Harley recalled about 29,000 bikes and trikes for hydraulic clutch system problems (HERE).

The information listed at NHTSA is:

NHTSA Campaign ID Number :13V491
Subject : Fork Stem Bracket may cause Loss of Brake Fluid
Manufacturer: Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Harley-Davidson is in the process of notifying owners, and dealers will inspect the trikes and replace the fork stem bracket, as necessary, free of charge.

The recall is expected to in late November 2013. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson at 1-800-258-2464. Harley-Davidson’s recall number is 0152.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

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In the early 70’s a laborer on a construction site could afford a house, a new pickup, used motorcycle and his wife could stay home with the kids if she so desired.  Now a laborer lives in an apartment with a bunch of other laborers and they don’t have a chance.  The truth is the dollar isn’t worth much anymore.  You want to know what is?

Time.

Previous generations winded down as they reached their 50s, but this generation has really embraced the “live life now to the fullest” attitude to and beyond that mark. Seriously, age is one of those things that has become a sore point for many. It is like we need cerebral botox to prove we are young enough to be involved in motorcycles or the digital world. Generalizations can cause some serious alienation.   For example, in the movie Gran Torino, there is a powerful scene where Clint Eastwood’s character, Walt, receives a telephone “for old people” from his son and daughter-in-law with giant buttons and numbers on it. He angrily kicks them out of the house. The generation that sang along to Zeppelin’s “D’yer Mak’er” and popularized innovations like the personal computer are becoming senior citizens — but they don’t want to be called “old.”

I’m just back from Laughlin, NV and the “River Run” and couldn’t believe the number of ‘trikes’ buzzing around the event.  They weren’t being driving by 30-somethings!

You are likely thinking, hold on there, Mac… boomers are not going to do well with your association with the elderly. 50? Really? C’mon kids, 50 is the new 40 is the new 30 is the new 20… hell 10 is the new fetus for goodness sake.

It turns out that organizations ranging from retailers to motorcycle manufactures to consumer electronics makers going into those motorcycles are being forced to rethink how they market and make products for older people. As Harley-Davidson looks to the future, they must start to realize that things are going to be different and they need to pay attention and listen.  Speaking of paying attention, where was H-D this year at Laughlin?  Polaris and Yamaha were there in a big way with lots of demo rides and chatting up the attendees about what they liked or didn’t.

H-D hasn’t ask for my advice, but here are some takeaways for them to consider:

  1. A growing number of older adults are taking advantage of social media now. Don’t ignore or alienate them.
  2. As our society and the web mature, H-D needs to make sure they are building it to empower everyone, not just the young and overtly tech-savvy.
  3. As H-D rolls out new technologies and web services they will need to be intuitive and easy to use but not insulting to the older generation.
  4. Accessibility has to be built into the planning processes for new projects from the beginning, including consideration of design, text size and physical usability.
  5. Once new products and/or services are ready for public consumption, education is key to make sure older adults don’t fall behind and become a victim of some “creative divide.”

I’m curious if H-D has nothing but young creative’s trying to relate to older adults in a stereotypical way—do they think the older demographic will remain brand loyal no matter what they design?  Unlikely, especially if another company fulfills or empowers older adults that they can better relate too.  How dedicated is H-D to immerse the designers in all sorts of research to studying the habits and needs of the Baby Boomer generation?  With numerous condescending reports of motorcycle ageism (some of which I’ve written!) and H-D’s desire to focus on the youth demographic, won’t they need to redefine what it means to “get old” and own a H-D?  How does the Harley-Davidson and H.O.G. world change when seniors get engaged with design?

Now, don’t get me wrong, anyone who has made it through the first week of Econ 101 knows that the scarcity of a commodity drives its value. To this end, if H-D doesn’t put money into listening they can’t learn and they have to keep learning from customers… even if it doesn’t deliver on retention and acquisition.

Photo courtesy of internet.

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Delonte West

Delonte West

Do 3-wheeled motorcycle (“Trike”) owners carry more weapons than the 2-wheeled brethren?

Although there is no scientific research or poll which confirms the “packing” attributes of each vehicle type, the recent arrest of NBA player Delonte West is an indicator that we might want to give the 3-wheeled riders a bit little more distance in the future!

Turns out that Mr. West, a D.C. native-turned NBA player for the Cav’s was riding his Can Am Spyder and was pulled over in Prince Georges County, MD at 10pm for — now get this — cutting off a law enforcement canine unit.  After being pulled over for “making an unsafe lane change” he was arrested for weapons possession.  What was most impressive was the assortment and number of weapons he was carrying on the trike — THREE!  One for each wheel.  A Beretta 9mm in his waistband, a Ruger .357 magnum strapped to his leg and a shotgun in a guitar case slung over his back.  Police charged West with two criminal counts of carrying a handgun for the Ruger and the Beretta, and issued him a traffic citation for driving “in excess of reasonable and prudent speed.”

CanAm Spyder -- Shotgun "optional"

CanAm Spyder -- Shotgun "optional"

Either he’s been watching too much “Arnold” (Terminator) or Son’s of Anarchy on FX.  Or maybe its time to put down the PS3 controller and give Grand Theft Auto a rest because this is retarded behavior.

My parents always taught me to follow the rules.  Don’t run with scissors.  Don’t litter. Don’t talk with your mouth full.  Don’t swim right after eating.  And don’t stick a loaded weapon down your pants (at least with the safety off — right Plaxico!).  Clearly I was brainwashed.  We have been fed this crap all our lives, that role models are the “gangsters” or rouge professional athletes.  The rich and famous are the ones addicted to the drugs.  Jail should be full of famous people, but they are so abnormal, and so admired, that we let them go on reduced charges.

Tomorrow, instead of going to Walmart to get a life, I’m going to steal some gasoline from the neighbors and go on a motorcycle road trip.  I’ll wear a samurai sword, get a DUI, smack a girl half my size, jump up on the brew pub stage and give Beyonce a video shout-out.  I’ll be abnormal tomorrow… just like Delonte… I want to get noticed for impersonating an athlete.

Photo courtesy of Elsa/Getty Images.

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FreedomThe good news is that motorcyclists in Washington State survived another year of legislative damage.  John Davis of Northwest Cycle Report provides a post mortem blog of the Washington State legislative session.  Below is a brief sample:

HB 1403 (Addressing the detection of motorcycles and bicycles at vehicle-activated traffic control signals.) got caught up in the wrangling at cutoff in the house and did not see any floor action. This could have meant that we were going to be required to wait until next year to try to get SB 5387, the companion bill for HB 1403, brought into play in the senate. The lobbyist for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington (BAW) went to work looking for a bill with traction, related to motorcycling or bicycling, that the traffic signal language could be appended to. He managed to find an innocuous (in his eyes) little technical correction bill that might work. Here is where it gets to be fun. The bill he found was SB 5482.”

“Texas” Larry Walker, the Government Relations Specialist in the Washington Road Riders Association provides the commentary and overview.  You can read more of the legislative details HERE.  I’ve found that Northwest Cycle Report goes to great lengths to provide informative and high quality information in their writing.  Check them out.

Photo courtesy WordPress Freedom theme.

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2009 Ford F-450

2009 Ford F-450

Released just in time to haul your new Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Classic to motorcycle events, Ford teamed up with Harley to produce the first ever F-450. 

Let’s call it the “Big Hog Daddy” trike hauler of the road!

We’ve seen the Ford Harley-Davidson editions in F-250 and F-350 versions, but never before has the colossal F-450 come in Harley style and trim. As with the other Harley versions, it’s all about looking good sitting still. Given the fuel mileage that might be all you can afford!  The new F-450 is downright intimidating with its massive grille. Its gigantic size would impress even long-haul truck drivers!  The Harley model has even more presence thanks to its blue flames leaping out of the side vents and dual rear wheels and fender flares.

There are many new “smart” features embedded in the truck.  Most notable is the “Tool Link”, a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) asset tracking system developed with DEWALT, the power tool dudes, and ThingMagic, experts on embedded RFID technology.  This enables truck owners to maintain a detailed real-time inventory of the tools or equipment stored in the vehicle.  I suppose you can rest assured that as you ready to haul your Tri-Glide to the next motorcycle event you’ll have all the appropriate tools to wrench on the chrome accessories?!

It seems strange to me to create this sort of marketing mix to promote both brands.  Especially for a truck that has a MSRP of $59,560 and optioned up it quickly gets into the $80,000+ range.   Clearly not everyone can afford!  This class of vehicle and the fuel guzzling attributes seem very out of touch in today’s mortgage meltdown climate.  But then again if I think more about it, it makes perfect sense. In the U.S. 40% of Harley owners drive a full-size pickup truck – many of those are likely Ford F-Series.  So, what do two companies having sales and financial issues do?  Target joint customers with this massive truck and turn what used to be just a workhorse into a fashion statement for the rich and famous who are motorcycle enthusiasts.

All dressed up there’s just no way to mistake this “Big Hog Daddy” for anything else other than a Tri-Glide hauler.

Photo courtesy of Ford.

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Not sure how I missed this with the 13 press releases on July 22, 2008, but thanks to “ride-it-like-you-stole-it” for commenting on my 2009 line up post.

Harley-Davidson is officially moving into the three-wheel (trikes) motorcycle segment with the introduction of the Tri Glide Ultra Classic.  It’s based on a new chassis specifically built for the three-wheel market.  The Tri Glide will be sold (MSRP of $29,999) and serviced by the dealer network and covered by a two-year warranty.

It was about this time last year that Harley signed a deal with Lehman Trikes USA of Spearfish, SD to design and build Harley based trikes which I blogged HERE.  It turns out that Lehman Trikes posted a press release stating they are doing the conversion services for Harley’s Tri Glide motorcycle production.  Lehman will provide components, paint, and conversion services in the manufacture of the motorcycle.  The original Harley link on their web site last year is now a dead link.

A couple of notables on the Harley “three-wheel” strategy.  The motorcycle has a new rear-axle assembly that utilizes an aluminum center section with steel axle tubes. The rear suspension features dual air-adjustable rear shock absorbers.  It’s powered by a Twin Cam 103 cu in engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) and 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission used on current Touring bikes, but adds an optional electric reverse ($1,195) integrated with the rear differential assembly that is engaged with a handlebar-mounted reverse module. The Tri Glide has dual front disc brakes and a Hayes Brake dual-disc rear brake system with a lever-actuated, integrated park brake.

As I stated in my previous post it’s not clear who is the targeted demographic.  Is it something to take your poodle for a ride or a legitimate use to target the older demographic, or the more safety-conscious and/or disabled?

Interesting is the fact that the Harley-Davidson web site is devoid of ANY information or digital media animation about the Tri Glide.  Makes me wonder just how much this three-wheel strategy is being rolled out?

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