HOLY HOG! THE VATICAN TO AUCTION THE POPE’S SOFTAIL

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle blessed with the signature of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and later received by Pope Francis, is to be sold for charity at Bonhams 5 February Paris Sale.

The motorcycle is to be offered as part of Bonhams Grand Palais auction, entered at no reserve, with an estimate of €15,000-25,000 (£11,700-19,600).
In a special countdown to Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebrations, two commemorative motorcycle petrol tanks were presented to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
These were signed, and returned to the motorcycle legends US headquarters where they were mounted to their respective motorcycles. Of these, one remains in the Harley-Davidson museum in Milwaukee, USA. The remaining motorcycle – the FLSTC 103 Heritage Softail Classic destined for Bonhams 2015 sale – lay waiting for a special ceremony where it would be presented to the Pope in front of tens-of thousands of Harley-Davidson riders at 2013s 110th anniversary celebration.
However, in an unforeseen change to the papacy, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI abdicated in January 2013. Subsequently this saw the Softail Classic presented to the newly inaugurated Pope, his holiness Pope Francis.
“It’s an honour to have been selected to sell this fantastic machine. We expect a lot of interest, and hope to raise some spirited bidding for the very worthy charity selected,” said Ben Walker, International Director for Bonhams Motorcycle Department.
“In February 2014, Bonhams sold 1,585cc Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide signed by His Holiness Pope Francis. Now we’re delighted to offer a motorcycle received by both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI; it was present during a pivotal period in the papacy of the Catholic Church, and we expect a lot of interest in it.”
Entered at no reserve, this unique motorcycle will have its auction proceeds donated to Stowarzyszenie Przyjazny Świat Dziecka (Friendly World Association), a Polish volunteer, independent, non-profit organization that offers care and support to children and families in need.

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The Harley-Davidson will be sold on 5 February 2015 as part of Bonhams’ Les Grandes Marques du Monde sale at the Grand Palais in Paris.
With some incredible vehicles already confirmed, Bonhams is still accepting select consignments for the Grand Palais Sale. Sellers interested in consigning rare and important motorcycles to this internationally attended auction can contact Bonhams motorcycle representatives at: https://www.bonhams.com/departments/MOT-CYC/.

HARLEY-DAVIDSON® IGNITES 2014 STURGIS RALLY

Company to Host Thousands for Demo Rides and Link Customers to Daily Entertainment with New Free Mobile App

MILWAUKEE (July 30, 2014) – Harley-Davidson® is kicking off the 74th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the Black Hills of South Dakota with a full arsenal of activities and events that will electrify all motorcycle enthusiasts.

The highly anticipated rally runs from Saturday, August 2 through Saturday, August 9. With activities, rides and demos scheduled throughout the week, Harley-Davidson created a free mobile app to help attendees navigate all the action. Harley-Davidson will also showcase Project LiveWire, Harley-Davidson’s first electric motorcycle, along with its brand-new Street™ 750 motorcycle.

“This year’s Sturgis Rally is set to be the biggest one yet,” said Kris Schoonover, Manager of Event Strategy and Execution at Harley-Davidson. “We’ve got a packed schedule of events and entertainment all week long. Sturgis riders will have the chance to provide feedback on Project LiveWire and check out our brand-new Street 750, which is available at dealers now. We’re confident our fans won’t be disappointed.”

To help navigate the full week of Harley-Davidson activities, attendees can download the new free H-D™ mobile Sturgis event app. The app features the complete Harley-Davidson Sturgis event schedule, maps, H.O.G.®  experiences, a dealer locator, plus optional push notification updates with the latest info riders need to get the most out of Sturgis. Fans can search H-D Events Sturgis on iTunes or GooglePlay to download the app, and use #sturgis to share their experiences.

Harley-Davidson also will rock two different event locations during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally – Black Hills Harley-Davidson (I-90 Exit 55, north of Rapid City) and 3rd & Lazelle Street (Downtown Sturgis) – where fans can enjoy a variety of free activities and entertainment, including:

Black Hills Harley-Davidson (I-90 Exit 55, north of Rapid City):

Fans can visit Black Hills Harley-Davidson to demo the latest and greatest Harley-Davidson motorcycles and MotorClothes®:

  • Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Test Rides – Take a FREE test ride on a 2014 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, including the new Project RUSHMORE bikes, LowRider®and SuperLow® 1200T. Demo registration will close at 4:00 p.m. daily.
  • Harley-Davidson MotorClothes – Try on the new jackets and even take them for a test ride! All items will be available for immediate purchase.
  • H-D1 Fit Shop – Come experience the feel of a more comfortable, safer ride and find the perfect seat and handlebar combination.
  • Project LiveWire – Harley Davidson’s first electric motorcycle will be on display.

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3rd & Lazelle Street (Downtown Sturgis):

Those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere can head to 3rd and Lazelle Street where they’ll find a variety of free activities and entertainment:

  • Project LiveWire – Feel the power of Project LiveWire – Harley-Davidson’s first electric motorcycle – on JumpStart, a simulated riding experience.
  • New Motorcycle Stunt Show – Experience the thrilling stunt show three times daily (10 a.m.1 p.m., & 4 p.m.) produced by Ill Conduct Team.
  • Weber® Mobile Grill Academy – Get a first-hand look at Weber grills and accessories. Weber Experts will be there to answer any questions you may have about grills, grilling techniques, recipes, and all things grilling!
  • Craftsman® Garage Station – Hang out at the Craftsman Garage and check out a variety of products perfect for anyone’s “man cave.”
  • Genuine Harley-Davidson® Parts & Accessories Display – Check out the latest Harley models equipped with the full line of custom Parts & Accessories.
  • H.O.G. 31st Global Lounge – Enjoy the unique historical and educational displays as well as live entertainment and complimentary samples of new H-D Road House Meats and beer samples.
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) – Support the cause with the purchase of a pin and enter to win a black 2014 Street Glide!
  • Willie G.® and H.O.G.® Commemorative Merchandise  Purchase exclusive 2014 Sturgis merchandise.
  • Women’s Area – Rebel One hosts the JUMPSTART® Rider Experience and Bike Lift Seminars on how to properly lift a dropped motorcycle. Enter the sweepstakes to win a FREE Riding Academy course or Rental.
  • Free Bike Wash – Wash away all the Black Hills dust and dirt at the free bike wash from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Just bring a dirty bike and a little elbow grease.

For a complete listing of Harley-Davidson events at the 2014 Sturgis Rally, download the new mobile app or visitwww.h-d.com/sturgis.

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.

HD Street Models Delayed Due To Supply Chain Issues

110713harleydavidsonstreet750harley-davidson-600xx7047-4698-31-0If you were looking to buy the new Street motorcycles – one of Harley-Davidson Inc.’s newest models expected to hit dealerships in June – you might be waiting a few more months.

The Harley-Davidson Street 750 and Street 500 motorcycles are the first all-new platform the Milwaukee manufacturer has released in 13 years. But supply chain problems with the Street caused Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) to delay shipping the motorcycles, and dealerships have had a limited supply to sell.

John Olin, chief financial officer and senior vice president of Harley-Davidson, told analysts on an earnings call Tuesday that in the first half of the year the company shipped 2,200 Street motorcycles to dealers. However, most of those motorcycles are for the Rider’s Academy classes that dealers use to train new riders. Just 150 Streets have been shipped for retail sale.

The Street/Sportster motorcycle shipments made up about 20.5 percent of its motorcycle shipments in the second quarter of 2014. Overall shipments of motorcycles for the second quarter were 92,217, an increase of 9 percent. But the delay of the Street motorcycles had an impact on sales of its Sportster motorcycles, which was down double digits in the U.S., Olin said.

Read the whole story at the Milwaukee Business Journal

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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.

 

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.

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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Go-Daddy Founder Plans To Take Over The Harley World

GoDaddy Founder plans to build the largest HD store in the world in Arizona.

Everything Bob Parsons does is big.  From hunting big game in Africa, to outrageous and over the top Super Bowl commercials.   So it’s no surprise that once the big-daddy of internet domain names got into the motorcycle dealership business, he was going to eventually take on the status quo.

Yesterday it was announced that Parsons intends to build the “worlds largest” Harley-Davidson dealership in Scottsdale Arizona, at the Scottsdale Airpark, and relocating HD of Scottsdale from its current location to the new building.  According to GM Justin Johnson, the new dealership will be 146,000 square foot, eclipsing Destination Daytona by 37,000 square feet and Las Vegas HD by 42,000 square feet.

Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale is one of three motorcycle dealerships owned by billionaire GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons. That includes Go AZ Motorcycles in Scottsdale, with nine brands, and Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson in Southaven, Miss.

Parsons, a motorcycle enthusiast, also founded Spooky Fast Customs, which builds custom bikes.

The proposed two-story Scottsdale dealership would be built on 4.28 acres northeast of the existing 26,000-square-foot dealership that opened in 1998 at Hayden Road and Northsight Boulevard.  The closed Airpark Chrysler dealership would be torn down to make way for the new building.

In 2012 we interviewed Bob Parsons for our “I’m a Rider” feature.  Bob-Parsons-Go-Daddyhttps://www.google.com/url?

The complete story is at AZ Central.com

Here Comes The ‘Gov…Harley Style

1GovHarleyNevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has bought his raffle ticket for Las Vegas Harley-Davidson®’s one-of-a-kind Nevada Sesquicentennial-themed motorcycle.  The Governor stopped to check out the bike and show off his raffle ticket while at the 2014 DRI Nevada Medal Event at ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas on Thursday, March 27.

Celebrating Nevada’s 150th anniversary, 2,000 raffle tickets for the custom motorcycle are being sold with all proceeds benefitting the Nevada 150 Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization formed to support the Nevada Sesquicentennial Commission and official Nevada Sesquicentennial Events. Signed by the governor, the bike, a 2014 FLHX Harley-Davidson Street Glide®, will be raffled off at the grand opening of Las Vegas Harley-Davidson®’s new location this fall, which will be located directly on the Las Vegas Strip at 5191 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, just steps from the famed Welcome to Las Vegas sign.

Tickets are $150 each and can be purchased at Las Vegas Harley-Davidson® (2605 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 100, Las Vegas, Nevada 89169), at select Nevada 150 events throughout the state and at several additional events that the bike will be making appearances at throughout Clark, Nye and Lincoln counties.

Those interested can visit www.hdnv150.com or call (702) 431-8500 ext. 1183 for the latest information on upcoming bike appearances, raffle tickets, eligibility and full contest rules.