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

Brandon Marshall motorcycle ride for mental health awareness

BMMHAR_logoNAPERVILLE, Ill., April 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Brandon Marshall Foundation, Starved Rock Harley-Davidson and Linden Oaks at Edward are teaming up in an effort to increase awareness of mental illness and raise funds for mental health treatment.

The organizations are presenting the Brandon Marshall Mental Health Awareness Ride on Saturday, May 31.  The event will begin at 8 a.m. at the Linden Oaks Outpatient Center, 1335 N. Mill St. in Naperville, with motorcycle registration and comments from Brandon Marshall, NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver with the Chicago Bears, and his wife Michi.

Brandon, Michi and the bikers will hit the road at 9 a.m. for a trip of more than 50 miles through Aurora, Oswego and Yorkville, ending at the Starved Rock Harley-Davidson dealership, 750 Centennial Dr. in Ottawa, where activities will include entertainment, a cookout, raffles and prizes.

The cost to have a motorcycle in the ride is $20 and includes lunch and a commemorative pin.  All makes and models of bikes are welcome.  Passenger registration is $10 and includes lunch.  An adult non-rider ticket to the event at the Starved Rock Harley-Davidson dealership is $10 and includes lunch.  To register online, visit www.starvedrockhd.com/brandonmarshallride.

Marshall was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2010.  Since then, he and Michi co-founded The Brandon Marshall Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to end the stigma associated with mental illness, advocate for unprecedented awareness, connect those suffering to the resources they need and paint the world lime green (the official color for mental health awareness).

“People from all walks of life experience mental illness, including football players and motorcycle riders,” says Marshall.  “You’d go get treatment for a broken arm or cancer.  Mental illness is no different.  It’s a sign of strength to seek help.  I can tell you it is liberating to get a diagnosis, receive treatment, and begin living your life again.”

The Brandon Marshall Mental Health Awareness Ride came about due to the efforts of Erin Vandervelde, whose family owns the Starved Rock Harley-Davidson dealership and where she is Operations Manager.

“I have two family members who suffer from bipolar disorder,” says Vandervelde.  “The challenges of dealing with a mental illness stretch throughout a family.  When I noticed Brandon and Michi Marshall were talking about mental illness and sharing their story with the world in an attempt to remove the stigma associated with those suffering, I immediately wanted to help.  A single donation request for a t-shirt has led to a friendship and partnership with The Brandon Marshall Foundation.

“Harley-Davidson riders, and motorcycle riders in general, are a very generous crowd.  They are also a group that has great compassion for those less fortunate.  My hope is that this ride not only raises money for The Brandon Marshall Foundation, but ultimately shines a bright and hopeful light on those suffering from mental illness, their friends and family.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Brandon and Harley-Davidson because our goals are the same,” says Gina Sharp, President, Linden Oaks at Edward.  “This is an excellent opportunity to emphasize the importance of seeking treatment for mental health illnesses and disorders, and let people know how and where they can find help.”

For more information about or to make a donation to The Brandon Marshall Foundation, visit www.thebrandonmarshall.com/foundation.

Starved Rock Harley-Davidson/Buell is a family-owned, customer-focused motorcycle experience, located off I-80 in Ottawa, Illinois.  Only 17 miles from Starved Rock State Park, the region offers country roads for uncongested and scenic motorcycle excursions.  For routes or directions, call (815) 431-1900, e-mail staff@starvedrockhd.com or visit www.starvedrockhd.com.

Linden Oaks at Edward is a 108-bed behavioral health hospital on Edward Hospital’s Naperville campus with outpatient offices in Naperville, Plainfield, St. Charles, Woodridge and Yorkville.  For more information about Linden Oaks and its involvement in the ride, visitwww.lindenoaks.org/brandon-marshall-ride.  For immediate assistance and a free and confidential mental health assessment, call the Linden Oaks 24/7 Help Line at (630) 305-5027.

PROPOSED BILL WOULD PREVENT YOUR MOTORCYCLE FROM TESTIFYING AGAINST YOU IN COURT

data collected from this device can be used against you in court, and most people don't even realize it.

data collected from this device can be used against you in court, and most people don’t even realize it.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) wants to change the language of the Driver Privacy Act bill to protect all information recorded by event data recorders installed on all “motor vehicles,” including motorcycles. The way S. 1925 is currently written grants privacy only for data the government “requires” to be collected.

Currently the government does not require “black boxes” on motorcycles, only passenger vehicles, trucks and buses. But some current motorcycle models are equipped with the recording devices. A similar bill in the House is worded that “any data recorded on any event data recorder in an automobile or motorcycle shall be considered the property of the owner of the automobile or motorcycle.”

Under current law, Insurance companies, law enforcement and auto rental agencies can access the data on the device and can use it as evidence against the driver/owner in legal proceedings. Data recorders collect a wide range of information on crashes, including whether the brakes were applied, the speed at the time of impact, the steering angle, and whether seat belt circuits were shown as “Buckled” or “Unbuckled” at the time of the crash.

Fourteen states have statutes that restrict access to the event data recorder or limit the use of recovered EDR information.

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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Ridewright Wheels Introduces 3-Piece Modular Billet Hub

Anaheim, CA – Anaheim, CA – Ridewright Wheels, the leading premium spoke wheel builder in the U.S. and now manufacturer of forged billet wheels, introduces their new 3-Piece Modular Billet Hub. Manufactured from 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum, Ridewright engineers developed the next generation in hubs. Ridewright is the first to offer these innovative state-of-the-art-designed hubs and will be found on all Ridewright Wheels including their new forged line.

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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.

CONSUMER TIRE REBATE FROM HARLEY-DAVIDSON AND DUNLOP

whitewall, Dunlop, wheel, tire, tread, 101976Receive $40 H-D Gift Card with Purchase of Two Tires through April 30

MILWAUKEE (April 2, 2014) Participating Harley-Davidson® dealers and Dunlop® are teaming up to offer a $40 consumer mail-in rebate on a set of Harley-Davidson-branded Dunlop tires purchased between March 1 and April 30. The offer applies to a set of two new H-D/ Dunlop tires (excluding Police tires) and will be paid in the form of a $40 Harley-Davidson Gift Card. The gift card can be used at any authorized Harley-Davidson dealership or at h-d.com/ store. Dunlop tires are made in the USA and have been mounted as original equipment on Harley-Davidson motorcycles since 1984. Dunlop is recognized as one of the world leaders in motorcycle tire design, engineering and manufacturing excellence.

The H-D/Dunlop rebate offer applies to consumer purchases made exclusively at a participating Harley-Davidson dealership between March 1 and April 30, 2014. A form available from the participating Harley-Davidson dealer must be postmarked by June 15, 2014. Additional terms and conditions apply. See a participating Harley-Davidson dealer for complete details. To find a local Harley-Davidson dealer, visit h-d.com/dealer.

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.