Harley-Davidson Financial Services to issue refunds to Massachusetts customers

HDFSHarley-Davidson Financial Services, a division of Harley-Davidson Inc., will pay $228,000 to more than 600 consumers in Massachusetts after the Milwaukee-based financing company allegedly failed to issue proper refunds to consumers under the terms of its motorcycle finance agreements, according to a press release from Massachusetts’ Attorney General Martha Coakley.

In exchange for special loan terms, borrowers pay optional enrollment fees and when the loans are paid off early, consumers can receive a pro-rated refund of the fees. Typically, the refunds are given back to the borrowers at the dealership that helped to arrange the loan, but when dealerships go out of business borrowers have had trouble getting the refunds, according to the press release.

Under the terms of the agreement hammered out through the Massachusetts attorney general’s office, the finance company will reimburse the money owed to the borrowers and pay $25,000 to the Commonwealth for the cost of the investigation. The notices and payments are expected to be mailed out in early July, according to the press release.

The problem was isolated to consumers in Massachusetts.

Tiny Pooch Takes Down Hog

menacing dogWell…we can finally answer that age old question of “what’s he going to do with it when he catches it.”

In Riverton Wyoming,  a chihuahua has become the first dog of its breed, (at least that we know of) to successfully chase and take down a motorcycle rider.  

No, it wasn’t some squid on a sport bike, or a 250 Honda Rebel, but a full size Harley-Davidson.

Yes, the smallest dog breed in the world has brought down the largest domestic motorcycle with only it’s fearsome bark and menacing scowl.

This past Monday,on Blackfoot Avenue, police were called to a incident where the owner of the motorcycle (who asked not to be identified) told officers he was driving eastbound on Blackfoot when the chihuahua ran at him and attempted to bite the front tire. He said he slammed on the brakes and the motorcycle tipped over, causing minor damage. 

The word on the street was the dog tells a different story. He is saying that he grabbed the front tire and slammed the bike to the ground.  Judging by his appearance, we sort of believe him.

Mission accomplished, he assassin chihuahua then fled the scene.  

A witness to the event suggested the motorcyclist might have been speeding, but refused to name the dog for fear of reprisals.  The dog’s owner was found and cited for allowing his pooch to run free.  

The owner told police, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.  Last week, Killer caused the trash truck to run over a fire hydrant and he’s been shagging the neighbors Shetland pony.  He’s completely out of control.”

KIller refused to comment.

 

Take the ‘Victory Across America Mileage Challenge’ If You Ride the Most Miles, Victory Will Pay for Your Bik

IMG_0639Riders Have from June 1-July 31, 2014, to Log Miles on a New Victory
MEDINA, Minn. (May 31, 2014) – Victory Motorcycle riders live for the ride, and Victory is supporting their high-mileage passion with the Victory Across America Mileage Challenge. Victory will reward the rider who puts the highest mileage on their new Victory this summer by paying for their bike.

The Victory Across America Mileage Challenge works like this: Purchase a new Victory Motorcycle between June 1, 2014, and July 31, 2014, and have the Victory dealer record the odometer reading at the time of purchase. Stop back at the dealership on or before July 31, 2014, and have the dealer record and submit the mileage you have rolled up. Victory will pay for the motorcycle ridden by the Victory rider who rolls up the highest mileage during the Victory Across America Mileage Challenge.

“Victory riders love to ride, it’s what they live for, and we’re supporting their love of the open road with the new Victory Across America Mileage Challenge,” said Steve Menneto, Polaris VP Motorcycles, who has logged an Iron Butt ride on a Victory Cross Country. “We know our riders will love the challenge of riding as much as possible on a new Victory Motorcycle with the opportunity to have us pay for their new bike. We expect to see some very impressive mileage.”

Along with getting to enjoy riding a new Victory this summer – and being eligible to win the Victory Across America Mileage Challenge – a rider can take advantage of outstanding offers including rebates, low-interest rate financing, and a 2-year extended service contract (ESC) by purchasing a new Victory now. (Limited-time offers vary by location. Details about specific current offers are available at www.VictoryMotorcycles.com.)

Buy Your New Bike Now to Receive Bonus Mileage
Riders have two opportunities to earn bonus mileage toward their Victory Across America Mileage Challenge total:

• A rider will receive a 1,000-mile bonus for purchasing their new Victory Motorcycle after riding at a Victory demo event.

Complete details about the Victory Across America Mileage Challenge are available from Victory Motorcycles dealers and at www.VictoryMotorcycles.com. Here are answers to Victory Across America Mileage Challenge FAQ:

• Any new – not currently registered – Victory Motorcycle is eligible.
• The rider must revisit their Victory dealer on or before July 31, 2014, to have the dealer record the final odometer mileage.
• The qualifying mileage will be the difference between the initial odometer reading at the time of purchase and the final reading.
• Victory Motorcycles will pay the rider what the rider paid for the motorcycle, excluding tax, title, registration, etc.

About Victory Motorcycles
Victory Motorcycles designs, engineers, manufactures and markets a full line of cruisers, baggers and touring motorcycles. Every Victory model delivers industry-leading performance, comfort, style, storage and reliability. The first Victory was produced on the Fourth of July, 1998, in Spirit Lake, Iowa, where every Victory motorcycle continues to be produced today. Information about Victory motorcycles, apparel and accessories is available at www.VictoryMotorcycles.com.

Victory Recalls 872 2014 models for crankcase Issue

Polaris Industries, Inc. (Polaris) is recalling certain model year 2014 Victory Cross Country, Cross Country Eight Ball, Hammer Eight Ball, High Ball, Jackpot, Judge, Ness Cross Country, Vegas Eight Ball, Vision, Boardwalk, and 2015 Victory Gunner motorcycles manufactured January 22, 2014, through April 25, 2014. The crankcase may have been machined incorrectly causing insufficient clearance between the crankshaft and crankcase, causing the engine to unexpectedly seize.

1 victory highball

The Highball is one model recalled.

Engine seizure may cause the operator to lose control of the motorcycle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Polaris will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and correct the crankcase clearance, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on May 1, 2014. Owners may contact Polaris customer service at 1-888-704-5290.

Dealers will stop sales and Owners are advised not to ride their motorcycle until the recall remedy has been performed.

Suzuki Releases New Retro Style TU250X

imageBREA, Calif. – With appealing style that recalls yesterday’s treasured motorcycles, the Suzuki TU250X combines classic two-wheel design with performance features today’s riders demand. Suzuki Motor of America, Inc., (SMAI) announces the release of the 2015 TU250X, arriving in Suzuki dealers this month*.

The 2015 Suzuki TU250X is a modern motorcycle wrapped in retro bike style. The TU250X runs on chrome-plated spoke wheels, and the front wheel is stopped by a hydraulic disc brake using a dual-piston caliper for consistent brake activation.

The single-cylinder, 250cc air-cooled engine exposes its cooling fins for old-school style, while modern performance is enhanced by the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve fuel-injection system and digital ignition. The engine is tuned to deliver strong low-end torque and quick throttle response, while it lets riders enjoy gas-sipping fuel economy. And the 3.2-gallon fuel tank means riders will enjoy long road sessions with few stops for fuel. The bike’s exhaust system is complete with a catalytic convertor to help keep emissions low.

The TU250X is a good fit for many entry-level riders, with the long and comfortable padded seat positioned low for a seat height of just 30.3 inches. Veteran motorcyclists will enjoy the bike’s modern ride, along with timeless features like the round headlight, sweptback and low-slung chrome exhaust, polished crank side case and more.

A classic steel-tube frame and naked styling helps keep the TU’s curb weight down to just 326 pounds. The 2015 Suzuki TU250X is available in a Metallic Silver-and-Glass Black style, at a suggested retail price of $4,399.image

Harley-Davidson Recalls 9,100 Breakout Models

1Breakout2013_FXSB_RHarley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. (Harley-Davidson) is recalling certain model year 2013-2014 FXSB and FXSBSE motorcycles manufactured March 20, 2012, through March 10, 2014. Suspension variances may affect the gas tank mounting angle causing the fuel level sensor to read inaccurately.  The gauge inaccuracy may cause the motorcycle to run out of fuel unexpectedly, possibly even before the Low Fuel Warning lamp illuminates. The lack of fuel would cause the motorcycle to stall, increasing the risk of a crash.  Harley-Davidson will notify owners, and dealers will update the software to recalibrate the fuel level sensor signal, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in late April 2014. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson at 1-800-258-2464.  14V185000

HARLEY-DAVIDSON AMPS UP RIDER TRAINING WITH LAUNCH OF HARLEY-DAVIDSON RIDING ACADEMY

After Successfully Training More Than 350,000 New Riders Over 14 Years, Program Expands Globally with New Experiences, New Motorcycle and New Name

HD screen shotMILWAUKEE (April 24, 2014) – Pumping the adrenaline – by learning to ride a motorcycle – just got a lot cooler, not to mention more fun. For the first time ever, those dreaming of riding can now learn on a genuine Harley-Davidson® motorcycle.

Today, the company unveiled the new Harley-Davidson™ Riding Academy –the only national rider training program hosted by Harley-Davidson® dealerships and conducted on an all-new Harley-Davidson® motorcycle.

“For years we’ve been delivering a life-changing, freedom-inspiring training experience,” said Angela Thundercloud, Harley-Davidson Rider Training Manager. “Now, we’re taking rider training to a new level by incorporating a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that students will want to keep riding long after class is over.”

Designed to Instill Confidence

There is nothing like the independence of the open road. Since its inception in 2000, Harley-Davidson’s rider training program has successfully trained more than 350,000 new riders with a premium Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)-approved rider training experience that guides students on their journey from the classroom to the street with an emphasis on building student confidence on their road to independence.

The Harley-Davidson Riding Academy’s New Rider Course provides nearly everything students need to take the first step on their motorcycle riding journey, including MSF-certified instructors, use of a motorcycle to learn on, and a minimum of 20 hours of combined classroom and range training with a guaranteed 6:1 student/instructor ratio. All students need to bring to class is appropriate riding gear.

Harley-Davidson Riding Academy students will learn to ride on the new Harley-Davidson Street™ 500 motorcycle. Its confidence-inspiring handling and agility, smooth powertrain and authentic Harley-Davidson Dark Custom styling not only appeal to young, urban riders around the world, but also make it an ideal vehicle for learning to ride.

Additional features developed specifically for use in the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy include an industry-first Power Limit Calibration that puts a ceiling on the vehicle’s low-gear speeds, allowing only the maximum rate a student needs in the course, and a unique Vehicle Protection Kit that allays student fears of damaging the vehicle in a tip-over.

“Instilling confidence is vital to preparing new riders to move from the classroom to the open road,” Thundercloud said. “We designed everything – the experience, the curriculum and the equipment – to inspire that needed confidence and empower new students to have a ton of fun learning to ride on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.”

In many states, completion of a Harley-Davidson Riding Academy course can exempt riders from needing to take an additional road test before becoming licensed, and many insurance providers offer discounts to graduates.

Global Expansion

In addition to changes in the United States, where more than 180 Harley-Davidson dealers offer training courses, Harley-Davidson Riding Academy is expanding globally into Mexico, China and South Africa.

To learn more about Harley-Davidson Riding Academy, or to find a participating dealer, visit www.h-d.com/ridingacademy.

About Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson® motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson’s website at www.h-d.com.

Polaris cancels National Victory Rally – Other Victory Rallies Unaffected

reunion run baloonsPolaris Industries on Wednesday announced that it has called off the 2014 American Victory Rally due to an extensive expansion at the Spirit Lake Iowa location.

The company announced its $22.5 million expansion at the 565,000-square-foot Polaris manufacturing facility in 2012. Manufacturing lines will be transformed over the upcoming summer, according to American Victory Rally committee chair Marcy Bosch.

“All of us at Victory are disappointed that we are unable to host the rally this year as we know our riders are passionate about their bikes and the opportunity to connect with each other, the Spirit Lake community and Victory employees at the annual rally,” she said, in a company statement.

“We won’t be able to free up the facilities and dedicate the resources necessary to support a quality rally,” Bosch continued. “We are grateful to our riders and the Spirit Lake community for their continued support and passion for the Victory brand.”

Riders are encouraged to take part in other events across the country which celebrate the Victory brand.  In Helen Georgia, the Southeast Victory Rally, (May 29-June 1st)  is the largest gathering of Victory motorcycle enthusiasts in the USA and is held in conjunction with the USRiderNews Reunion Run.    The Reunion Run is non-brand specific.

Click here for more information on the Victory Rally or click here for information on the Reunion Run.  For registration and discounted hotel reservations, call Sylvia Cochran at 478-237-3761

WILL INDIAN MOTORCYCLES RETURN TO STURGIS?

photo Rapid City Journal

photo Rapid City Journal

In 1936, Clarence “Pappy” Hoel purchased the Indian Motorcycle franchise in Sturgis South Dakota and formed the Jackpine Gypsies that same year.  Two years later, in 1938, the Sturgis Rally was born with 19 participants.  Originally called the “Black Hills Classic” the event was, in its early years primarily centered around racing, hill climbs and stunts and was attended almost exclusively by Indian Motorcycle owners.    Now after being absent from the town that hosts the largest motorcycle rally in the US, reports have surfaced that an Indian Motorcycle dealership will be open before this year’s rally.  According to a report in the Rapid City Journal, the new dealership will be launched by Bruce Eide, who currently sells Indian motorcycles at the Vern Eide Motoplex in Sioux Falls. The Sturgis showroom will be located at 2106 Lazelle St. and open around May 1, said Pat Kurtenbach, president of the Sturgis Economic Development Corp.  While Indian hasn’t released an official press statement, Indian Motorcycle Sturgis has launched a Facebook page and the website www.indianmotorcyclesturgis.com.

Long Strange Trip for Indian

Editor Scott Cochran –  It occurs to me what a long, strange trip its been.

indian

Harley and Indian enjoy a level of devotion unrivaled in the motorcycle industry.

But, at least I’m still riding.

Ok…I stole that first line from the Grateful Dead’s song, “Truckin.” Written by the band and released in 1970, that song defined a generation and the psychedelic culture of the 70’s.

“Truckin” reached #37 in 1971 and was the only chart success the Dead achieved until “Touch of Grey” was released in 1987 and eventually broke into the top ten.

The story of the Grateful Dead and their music, does have some direct correlation to motorcycling. The leader, Jerry Garcia was a Harley rider as well as Ron “Pig Pen “ McKernan. Their first manager, G.H. “Hank” Harrison was also a motorcycle rider.

In the beginning (1965) the band even used the name “The Warlocks” which was also adopted by a motorcycle club that founded in 1967. The Dead eventually changed their name, not because of the MC, but because of another band in the area was also using the name Warlocks.

The Grateful Dead played over 2,000 concerts (Guinness Record) during their career, and by many estimates played to more than 25 million people, (600,000 at one show!) more than any other band.

But, by the measure of commercial / popular music, radio play the band never sold enough records to be considered wildly successful.

But its fans, The Dead Heads, were the reason for the band’s longevity and the money making machine it eventually became.

A hard-core group of fans, who will stick with you through thick and thin are worth their weight in LSD, (not that I would know what LSD is worth…)

And that’s where I’m going with this months ramble…. Fans.

Harley-Davidson, like it or not, has enjoyed (through the years) the loyalty of a group of customers unequaled by any other motorcycle manufacturer.

The reason, I believe, is not based in the machines, anymore than the Grateful Dead’s rabid fan base was because of the music.

The reason thousands of people followed the Dead around the country and tens of thousands of people inked the Bar and Shield onto their skin is…The Culture.

It’s what the brand said about them. Who the customer wanted to be and who the customer wanted to be identified with.

Whenever you see a “Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac” even though that vehicle is the symbol of the Right-wing upper-middle-class American bourgeoisie (Don Henley’s words) you can be sure the owner is someone who wants to be associated with the 70’s counter-culture movement. Someone who sees themselves as a “hippie” stuck in a white collar world.

The same (sort of) thing when you see a Harley-Davidson bumper stickers on a Honda Prius.

Until recently, Harley-Davidson could lay claim to being the only motorcycle brand with enough heritage to satisfy the owner who wanted something more than just a motorcycle. Today Harley-Davidson’s dominance in that space is being challenged by a revived Indian Motorcycle.

Looking back to 2008, it would have made more sense for HD to buy the intellectual property rights to their old nemesis Indian, instead of spending $109 million dollars on MV Agusta.

I’m guessing it would have been a better investment than the Italian motorcycle maker turned out to be. (not to manufacture Indian motorcycles but to keep anyone else from doing it) But, you can’t prove a negative so speculation is useless.

The common belief is that healthy competition is good for everyone involved.

Competition breeds innovation and prevents companies from becoming stagnant by relying on outdated manufacturing processes and market assumptions.

Indian is certainly bringing new ideas to the heavyweight cruiser market. Their five (5) year bumper to bumper warranty is the first (I know of) in the industry and has convinced many tire kickers to take the plunge, even though there may not be a dealer near them.

Once Indian has established dealers in most major metropolitan areas, the turf wars will really heat up, and it will be interesting to watch the brands as they compete for one another’s customers.

Or….maybe they’ll be able to increase the pie for both brands and sell more motorcycles overall than either would have been able to do alone.

I hope that’s the case.

It’s been a long strange trip for the brand that started in 1901 as Hendee Mfg Co. in Springfield Massachusetts.

And I’m not alone in thinking that Polaris is the last company who has any chance to revive the brand to its glory days.

But if the resurrection is to be successful, Indian will have to find a way to connect with enthusiast who values the intangibles as much as a reliable motorcycle.

The dealers will have a lot of that responsibility on them. They must work hard to foster a “community” of owners and realize their mission is more than just moving units out the door. Their mission must be to establish and nurture the “culture” of Indian motorcycle ownership.

If they do that, and Polaris commits to staying in for the long haul, then maybe, just maybe the pie will increase and we’ll introduce the Zen of motorcycling to a whole new generation.

Until next month, ride safe, and always take the road less traveled.

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