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Posts Tagged ‘V-Rod’

Happy New Years!

Now that the champagne toasts are made and the ball dropped, it’s time to start thinking ahead:  What’s your riding resolution for this year?  Will you ride your motorcycle more often to work?  Take that epic journey or stay close to home?  Will you buy a new ride or enhance the existing one?

Before going forward let’s take a quick look back.

Over the years I’ve posted the occasional summary of the more popular and least liked stories from the past 12 months.  It’s not my “helper-monkey”, but the good folks at WordPress.com state their rankings algorithm is based on how many people read a particular article.  The average is the sum of views divided by the number of days and its gets even more complex if you are the sort of person who likes to verify computations.  I don’t.

The final tallies can be a little mystifying, to be honest.

Are readers giving a “thumbs-up” because they liked the content of the article or just the topic itself?  I don’t find these summaries a really useful exercise because some of the better written articles (IMHO) will sometimes have the fewest views.  It’s the old adage that writing about or reposting the nip slips, exposed undies and ever-presence dysfunction from the celebrity train wrecks for the whole world to see will bring a whole lot more views if that’s your goal.  But, if nothing else, the summary does provide a snapshot of what struck in my readers’ collective fancy during the past year.

In 2011, I posted 88 new articles (about 7 per month).  That brought the total archive on this blog up to just over 800 posts.  I uploaded 165 pictures (or about 3 per week).  The busiest day was September 25th (during the Vagos and HAMC shooting in Reno) with 1,120 views on an article I posted in 2008 (HERE).  Clearly the social behavior and the attraction of the events in Reno was a big draw, but I’m mystified why the more current article (HERE) had fewer views?  Maybe it’s a SEO thing.  I also want to provide a shout-out to the large number of UK viewers who consistently visit the blog.

Here are the 2011 most viewed highlights:

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Flying Colors in Oregon
OCC Family Feud Ends
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Are New Media Darlings
Vagos MC Meeting In Grants Pass
Harley SAMCRO Limited Edition Motorcycle
Harley-Davidson’s SwitchBack
Vintage Motorcycles – Honda CB750
Harley Engine History
“Green Nation” Busts On Saint Patrick’s Day
No Angel
The Day Laughlin River Run Changed
Men Of Mayhem
A “Legend Bell” Full of Mystery
Harley Snubbed In Benjamin Button Movie
Operation Black Rain Nets Oregon Mongols

I enjoyed this past year—and I hope you have, too.  If I’ve done my “job” right as editor of this blog, then your visits will have helped make your motorcycle hobby a bit more meaningful.  Hopefully you’ve become closer to your motorcycle and grown your relationship with friends that you’ve met on the road.

Happy 2012!

Photo’s courtesy of WordPress.com and Northwest Harley Blog.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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Not so long ago the saying among motorcyclists was “there is no replacement for displacement.”

In fact, on CVO models the 1800cc (110 cu in) engine produced copious amounts of torque and high horsepower numbers… it was the key to happiness and a big smile.  It’s H-D’s analog approach to a mostly digital world.

But, let’s start from the beginning.

Remember the day you sat in your basement, in your bedroom with the lights off, driving the stereo speakers to the point of distortion, listening to music that energized you and soothed your soul at the same time?

Well get READY!  Along comes the 2012 models and we’re talking about a one-hundred watt smile which emanates from the Harman/Kardon Advanced Audio system.  The kids these days might be listening on earbuds, but the H-D creators are clearly freaks for sound.  Who says high-end motorcycle audio has to be difficult?!  What’s coming out of the speakers on the new models is positively mind-blowing.

I’m financially challenged, but even I was doing the calculation on a new 2012 CVO Street Glide from Harley-Davidson…  New this year is a second 100W per channel amplifier and bridged tweeters mounted in the saddlebag lids.  That’s a total of eight speakers and two power amplifiers kicking out 400W of lower mid-range and crisp highs of crashing cymbals.  Not quite the gut-kicking bass of JBL concert speakers during a U2 concert, rather it’s like a warm ooze embrace of a digital sound field.  It’s the aural grease you’ll need to make it through the day!

The new 2012 CVO Road Glide Custom gets a boosted 100W (up from 80W) amplified Harman/Kardon system too.  The speakers are not the $3000 a pair Dynaudio BM15A’s you’d find in a music studio, but new this year are the two-way 5×7’s for booming down the boulevard.  If I had either of these motorcycles I’d park it in the garage and shut all the windows because the music tracks on this system mean you’ve got to crank the volume – up enough – that you’d be in the same room with the band.  Yeah, it’s that good.

For many riders they will stop right there when reviewing the new 2012 models and look for the check book.  But there is more…  H-D standardized on the Twin Cam 103 engine (with automatic compression release) as standard equipment on Softail, touring and most Dyna models.   H-D launched the V-Rod 10th Anniversary Edition and the new Dyna Switchback.  Some additional 2012 highlights include:

  • A Security Package that pairs Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Smart Security System with proximity-based, hands-free security fob is available for all 2012 V-Rod, Dyna, Softail, Touring and CVO models. The Security Package is standard equipment on CVO models and on the Road Glide Ultra, the Electra Glide Ultra Limited and the Road King Classic. The Security Package is a factory-installed option for all other models.
  • The Night Rod Special is updated with new tapered tail section, lighter-weight wheels, an inverted front fork and improved ergonomics. Harley-Davidson celebrates a decade of power cruising with the V-Rod 10th Anniversary Edition motorcycle, finished in Brilliant Silver Pearl bodywork.  All V-Rod models will carry V-Rod 10th Anniversary badges.
  • The new Dyna Switchback combines hard saddlebags and a windshield with the eager handling and Twin Cam 103 performance of the Dyna chassis. It’s a custom-touring bike ready for a long weekend trip, until the detachable bags and windshield are removed.
  • The Fat Boy and Fat Boy Lo have a new reduced-reach handlebar for more-comfortable ergonomics. The Softail Deluxe and Heritage Softail Classic will be available with a new optional “tubeless” Chrome Aluminum Profile Laced wheel option for ease of tire replacement and repair.
  • On Touring models, the Twin Cam 103 is equipped with an oil cooler. All Touring models except the Ultra Limited will offer a new “tubeless” Chrome Aluminum Profile Laced wheel option.
  • The Sportster line cuts across a broad range of riders with models ranging from the XR1200X to the SuperLow to Dark Custom roadsters like the Iron 883, Nightster and Forty-Eight. The Sportster 1200 Custom can be personalized for fit, function and style with H-D1 factory customization, and new 1200 Custom color options have been added to Bike Builder this year.

If any of this appeals to you go online to H-D and check it out.

Photo courtesy of RCA/Popular Mechanics (circa: 1958)

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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The Green Hornet -- Kato's V-Rod

That’s right.  Last Friday the Harley-Davidson V-Rod motorcycle went 3D in the latest super-hero action comedy, The Green Hornet.

With all the sequel’s you might get confused by similar movie names like the Green Lantern or Green Mile or Soylent Green!  But, I’m talking about The Green Hornet which is based on the 1960’s Marvel comic book series about a masked crime fighting duo.  It was made into a radio series and a TV show.  The TV show actually launched the acting career of Bruce Lee, who played Kato.  In the 3D movie version, Kato is played by Jay Chou who rides the V-Rod in several scenes throughout the movie.  Seth Rogen is the playboy turned crime-fighter and Kato sidekick.

The flat-black custom V-Rod features a chopped rear fender, Destroyer wheels and a one-off custom L.E.D. headlamp.  Clearly the only type of motorcycle that a big-budget superhero film can be seen riding…

The technology the movie and consumer electronics industry most wants to push down our throats, is 3D.  Just back from CES, I can tell you firsthand about all the blurry, double-vision flat panels that were hung on every available surface of the Las Vegas Convention Center — televisions that looked sharp only when you put on ridiculous-looking 3D glasses. Many of those glasses are just as big, heavy and expensive as last year’s versions (at $100 a pair, exactly how many friends will earn a place at your Comcast Super Bowl party?).

Maybe Harley-Davidson will brand a pair of co-designed Porsche/Harley glasses that are less hideous — or even launch them when The Green Hornet hits the Blu-ray disc window?!  I think the star of the movie is that 1965 Chrysler Imperial!

Photo courtesy of H-D and Sony Pictures.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Ice Racing -- Franky Zorn

Yes, it’s been ten years!

Magazines and newspapers with decade-ending rankings have started to appear.

Over the next month, we’re going to be deluged with statistics.  Telling us who the winners were.  People who provided fodder for the system, that you consumed, and forgot.  Best movies, best athlete, best TV shows, best songs, best companies etc.  So, I thought it would be good to go back and compile highlights on the Harley-Davidson decade.

It wasn’t all good news—marked by the roughest economy since the Great Depression.  In pulling together the data I was reminded of a song by James McMurtry’s “We Can’t Make It Here”.  It’s a favorite and one I would vote as the “best” song of the twenty first century, yet it never seems to get air play.  But, this isn’t a rant about how they killed radio and now have us anesthetized in front of the flat screen, selling us products we don’t need, that we put on credit cards that charge 29%.  Sure, McMurtry’s lyrics are poignant, but there’s a hypnotic groove that hooks the listener.  It makes me want to play the song again and again.  But, I’ve moved a little off topic… here is a look back:

2000 — The Softail Deuce is introduced.  All 2000 Softail models have the Twin Cam 88B engine, a counter-balanced version of the Twin Cam 88.

2001 — The V-Rod is introduced for the 2002 model year. Inspired by the VR-1000 racing motorcycle, the V-Rod is H-D’s first motorcycle to combine fuel injection, overhead cams and liquid cooling.  It delivered 115 horsepower.

2002 — The all-new Buell Firebolt is launched.

2003 — Buell launches the Lightning XB9S.  More than 250,000 people come to Milwaukee for the final stop of the Open Road Tour and the H-D 100th Anniversary Celebration.

2004 – The Sportster family models receive rubber engine mounting, a new frame, and a wider rear tire. The Road King Custom is introduced with a low rear suspension and wide handlebars it brings a beach cruiser look to a classic motorcycle.

2005 — The XL 883L Sportster 883 Low brings a lowered seating position to the Sportster line.  H-D and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) mark the 25th anniversary of their partnership.

2006 — The first of the 6-speed transmissions are made available on 2006 model year Dyna motorcycles. The 2006 model year includes the all-new Street Glide, a lower profile touring motorcycle. H-D appoints Beijing Feng Huo Lun (FHL) as the first authorized H-D dealer on mainland China.

2007 — Union rejected a proposed new collective bargaining agreement for employees and went on a strike at its final assembly operations in York, Pa.  H-D launch the Sportster XL 1200N Nightster. The H-D Foundation and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Mobile Service Offices (MSOs) launched the Harley’s Heroes Tour.  H-D celebrated 100 years of Police Motorcycle Sales.

2008 – H-D teamed up with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  H-D holds its 105th Anniversary Celebration and the H.O.G. 25th Anniversary.  H.O.G. launched the Million Mile Monday ride. A H-D Softail stars in the new Indiana Jones movie. H-D acquires MV Agusta Group expanding presence in Europe.  The H-D museum opens to the public. H-D introduces the 2009 Tri Glide Ultra Classic motorcycle (3-wheel).  For 2009 touring models H-D introduces the all-new frame, swingarm, engine mounting system, wheels and tires and new chassis.   The H-D XR1200 is launched in the U.S.

2009 — CEO James Ziemer retires and is replaced by Keith Wandell. H-D reports decreased revenue, net income and diluted earnings per share and provides a new strategy and restructuring update. Buell named Official Pace and Safety Bikes of AMA Pro Road Racing. H.O.G. set a 5 Million Mile Monday goal, but falls just short of the goal. H-D launched the Ride Free II Guarantee program.  H-D rolls out nine new motorcycle models for 2010 across six model platforms. H-D formally enters the motorcycle market in India. H-D unveils long-term business strategy after poor Q3 revenue and announced the discontinue of its Buell product line and plans to divest its MV Agusta unit.  Erik Buell leaves the company to establish Erik Buell Racing.  H-D announced it will keep its motorcycle operations in York, Pa., that includes a restructuring plan which eliminates almost 50% of the workforce.

H-D Revenue: 2000 = $2.24 Billion (2000 was the 15th consecutive year of record revenue); **2009 = $4.08 Billion (back-to-back yearly declines — in ’06 revenue = $4.55B)

H-D U.S. & Canada Market Share (651+cc): 2000 = 45.9%; **2009 = 45%

H-D Gender:  2000 = Male (90%); Female (10%); **2009 = Male (89%); Female (11%)

H-D Median Age: 2000 = 44.2; **2009 = 48.1

H.O.G. Membership: 2000 = 582,400; **2009 = 1.3 Million

Unit Shipments: 2000 = 204,592; **2009 = 225,000

(** indicates estimates as final results not tabulated/reported and subject to change)

From record revenue and income to record downsizing and decline.  I didn’t mean to get you reaching for the Prozac, but it’s not all that bad.  Just like ice racing in winter months can be slippery with the occasional crash, H-D will continue to modify, adapt and adjust to come out on top.

Photo courtesy of Rutger Pauw;  Statistical Sources: H-D; H-D Investor; Google Finance and various analyst estimates.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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“…They may be disappointed now, but someday they will be able to look back and see what great things were accomplished this season.”

This quote from Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso who this past November was commending the racing team after Eddie Krawiec rode a Harley-Davidson V-Rod to win his fifth NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle event at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway.

Anne Paluso was laid off Monday.  Harsh!  Ms. Paluso had been involved with H-D’s racing activities for the last 10 years and had been with the company for more than 16 years.  I’ve written about other budgetary racing changes HERE.

Harley-Davidson spokesman Paul James was quoted Monday afternoon to say, “I can confirm her position was eliminated today due to budgetary reasons and that she has left the company,”  and went on to say “Racing teams will continue to report to [Vice President of Core Customer Marketing] Bill Davidson. Our plan is to go racing in 2010 in dirt and drag racing, but final plans have not yet been set.”

At this accelerated budgetary reduction pace it’s unclear if H-D can continue to be an influential motorcycle in the professional sport.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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wolverineWhenever I hear about product placement in movies I think about Wayne’s World. 

You remember… he’s eating Dominos and drinking Pepsi with Nike shoes as he comments on product placement while doing product placement. 

Scriptwriters needed to write an epic superhero piece on mankind’s downfall, while promoting American motorcycle heritage and culture.   Or at least avoid denigrating it!  No problem.  Enter Harley-Davidson placement rights to solve the issue with 20th Century Fox/Marvel’s newest X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie starring Hugh Jackman.  The movie release is May 1st and the stripped down Road King painted in matte black is set to hit the big screen.  Really it should be called product integration not placement.  The mutant character has to drive around so, why not get paid for making sure he drives a Harley motorcycle, right?!  In the last movie, the X-Men: The Last Stand a special edition V-Rod was used.  I’ve written about HD product placement previously HERE, HERE and HERE.

hugh_jWhen I watch this movie clip it makes me think how Marvel is going down the same path as DC did with the barrage of crap for sale in the Batman movies of the 90’s.  Sell to kids with toys, meals, video games, placements and marketing stunts.  Like so many before, this movie will be full of 12 year old fanboys hoping for a chance to win a special edition motorcycle!  As a lifestyle brand, I’m sure HD feels this will excite consumers around the world and bring style to purpose – meaning, sell motorcycles.

But, one issue for Harley is that the bikes are drastically modified and don’t match any current models.  Therefore, not really available for purchase.  At some point, marketers will have to figure out how many product placements per hour viewers are willing to tolerate before it defeats the purpose.  It’s becoming so prevalent that we can’t escape it by even taking a bathroom break.

So, let see…we’ve seen the meat-shaped-like-a-stick (Jerky) which comes in multiple flavors and is distributed in truck stops.  Next up for the aging demographic is Harley-Davidson pudding cups!  Oh yeah, tasty in butterscotch.

Photo courtesy Marvel and HD.

All Rights Reserved (c) Northwest Harley Blog

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Marisa Miller Ad Campaign

Marisa Miller Ad Campaign

I’m not talking about scientific modeling of stress joints in the R&D department! 

Harley-Davidson announced a new ad campaign that will start Oct. 10th featuring Marisa Miller.  She will be the person promoting the new V-Rod Muscle motorcycle, a sporty, sleek bike that targets a younger, urban and affluent demographic. 

Miller is a Victoria’s Secret model and has made the rounds of late on reality television shows, men’s magazines such as Maxim and this year, she was on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition.

Miller was quoted to say in an interview:

“My uncle rides a Harley, my dad rides bikes,”… “I’ve been around it my whole life.”

Miller has likely had more “offers” than she can count on her fingers and toes, but her uncle riding a V-Twin doesn’t make her a motorcycle enthusiast or an authentic spokesperson for the industry.  It does mean that Harley is guilty of the ‘ol advertising adage that “sex sells“, but what?

Almost everything from toothpaste to deodorant is sold with the promise of sex so why not Harley-Davidson as they go on an endless pursuit of trying to reach out to a younger, hipper demographic… Sure, Miller is recognizable and I’m sure lots of teenage boyz will flood the web site to download videos, wallpapers and photos.  The video of the ad shoot is HERE.

Wake up guys!!!  Exploitation is a stale marketing idea.  But, if anyone has line-of-sight on a large autographed poster let me know…I’ve got a special spot on my garage wall!

Photo courtesy of Miller web site.

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