2014 Triumph Thunderbird Commander and LT Ride Review

wild ones

by: Scott Cochran
photos by: Alessio Barbanti, Paul Barshon, Tom Riles & Freddie Kirn

March 6, 2014: Maybe I was surprised because Southern California wasn’t on my motorcycle riding radar. Yet here I am, just north of downtown San Diego on Highland Valley Road, tearing past orange groves and palm tree farms, grinding the floorboards on this 2014 Triumph Thunderbird Commander less than 15 minutes from urban lunacy.

This past February, while the rest of the country was caught up in the grip of the latest “polar vortex” yours truly joined a select group of moto-journalists for Triumph’s world press launch in balmy Southern California.

It was hard not to feel sorry for the rest of my motorcycle riding buddies on the East Coast.

We’d seen images of the new Thunderbird Commander and Thunderbird LT when the bikes were unveiled at EICMA in Italy in November and were anxious to throw a leg over each to see how the “on paper” improvements affected the real world riding experience.

Now those statistics were becoming real to me as I wound through the Anza-Borrego Desert and up and over Palomar Mountain, pausing to take in the view of Salton Sea, the largest lake in California.

Sitting in the pre-ride briefing, waiting on the presentation to start, I find myself pondering the history of this legacy marque.

both bikes

It’s easy for the American “biker” to overlook this brand, especially the segment that leans towards Milwaukee iron.

Part of the reason is Triumph abandoned the “lifestyle” buyer years ago and (for better or worse) concentrated its efforts on the “performance” market.

Blame it on economics, or stubborn British management, but either way the brand that “invented biker attitude” with Marlon Brando in the movie The Wild Ones has been relegated to the sidelines while others cashed in on the hard core biker lifestyle as it grew into the largest percentage of North American motorcycle sales.

Upstarts like Victory Motorcycles and newly revived Indian have made some headway in courting the Harley rider, Triumph hasn’t had much success in infiltrating that segment.

So in 2010, when Triumph tapped Harley-Davidson and Buell veteran, Greg Heichelbech, as its North American CEO, observers expected the day would come when the Brits would shift the styling of their cruisers to resemble the “lifestyle” market that exists in America today.

That day has arrived.

 

T_Symbol_Standard_BlackOnWhiteMany people forget that In World War I, Triumph produced more than 30,000 motorycles for the Allies, the majority of those being the Model H, also known as Type H, or the “Trusty Triumph.”  Powered by a 499cc air cooled single cylinder, It was the first Triumph which did not have pedals making it a “true” motorcycle.  It is also considered by many to be the first “modern” motorcycle.  

Standing in front of a room full of American motorcycle journalists, Simon Warburton, product manager for Triumph set the tone when he said, “We believe we have a credible alternative to Harley-Davidson.”

Greg Heichelbech CEO of Triumph America followed that up when he stood up and the first words out of his mouth was “Triumph’s Back! And we’re getting back to our roots and the things we did in the 50′s, 50′s and 70′s.”

Heichelbech went on to explain, “The Thunderbird was the bike that put Triumph on the map and helped us become the number one import brand in the 50′s and 60′s” (when “biker” became synonymous with the bad boy image)

But a lot has changed since the 1960′s, besides the size of the engine. The early Tbirds boasted a class leading 650 cc motor and a seat that, while comfortable for its time, would be considered torture today. And we won’t even talk about drum vs disc brakes. Yes a lot has changed and it’s not lost on the Brits as Warburton confided later. “We’re not trying to be Harley-Davidson, but we think this bike will appeal to those riders who want performance, laid back styling and aggressive handling.”

After a couple of hours saddle time on both bikes, I can safely say the engineers in Hinckley hit their bulls-eye.

T_Commander_static035

Rather than replace the previous iterations, the 2014 Commander and LT are new additions to the T-Bird family and are fitted with the upgraded power plant making these the largest parallel-twin (1699 cc/103 cu in) in the world, producing 93 horses and 146 fp of torque, enough to satisfy even the most aggressive of riders.

Momentum isn’t just for sports teams, and as Sir Issac taught us; The momentum of a moving object increases with its mass and its speed. The heavier the object and the faster it is moving, the greater its momentum and the harder it is to stop. Both models are heavy cruisers, but with the LT (which stands for “light tourer” weighing in just south of 750 lbs, add a couple riders and gear and you’ve got close to a half a ton of accelerated momentum. Both models come from the factory with ABS standard equipment. The front brakes are twin floating 310mm disc brakes with 4 piston calipers and the rear brakes are single 310mm disc with Brembo 2 piston floating calipers.

Thankfully, the ABS on the Commander model I rode performed flawlessly. Since this was a worldwide launch, the Triumph representative leading the group had been on this same route 10 or 12 times in the last two weeks. He knew it like the back of his hand. Ahead of me was Bruce Steever from MCN who has the chops to hang with most anyone on the track and is local and has ridden the area numerous times. Behind me is Mike Vaughn, former CEO of Triumph, also a sport bike guy and who lives (literally) on the route we were riding.

While I’m not the fastest on track days, (hell, who am I kidding…I don’t try to ride on the track!) this was not the best place to be as a flat land touring guru, trying desperately not to be the “slow guy.”

So the inevitable was bound to happen. I came in way too fast and overcooked some of the more tortuous turns on the Mesa Grande highway near Lake Henshaw and grabbed a little too much brake lever.
On any other non ABS model, the result would’ve been ugly. Lowside get off at best, high side flip over at worst. But thankfully the only drama was a few chirps from the tires as the modulators kicked in and I was able to slow enough to lean over and stay in my lane without laying the bike completely down.
Here’s as good a point as any to mention the lean angle of both bikes. With a seat height of just 27.5 inches, both the LT and Commander are low slung and easy to maneuver at low speeds and parking lot dances. However, that becomes disadvantageous out on the twisties as the floorboards touch down way too early.

T_Symbol_Standard_BlackOnWhiteMarlon Brando rode a 1950 Thunderbird 6T in the movie The Wild Ones and in 1955 Ford licensed the Thunderbird name from Triumph for a new luxury car eventualy producing 4.4 million units, which ended in 2005.

 

However, the slide rule society at Triumph knew this would be an issue so they mounted wear plates under the boards which absorb the road rash instead of damaging the more expensive chrome and painted parts. Still it’s a bit disconcerting the first few times they scrub and downright sphincter tightening when you’re fully leaned over, heading into the oncoming lane and having to choose whether to stand up and apply the brakes or keep leaning and hoping that you don’t bounce into oncoming traffic.

My takeaway from that is this; know your limitations and those of your bike. Luckily I didn’t trash the Commander or lose any skin, and I didn’t make the same mistake the next day on the LT.

SUSPENSION

Simon Warburton made a point to stress that besides providing smooth acceleration and braking, Triumph engineers were keen on improving the comfort and handling of these new Thunderbird’s. With an all new frame and swing-arm, designers included the engine as a stressed member, which reduces the flex in the chassis and gives it a more stable footprint.commander and details

While the rake and trail are slightly different on the two models, the handling characteristics are essentially the same. Although almost every journalist I spoke to agreed that the Commander is the “sportier” of the two. Chalk some of that up to the extra weight *(saddlebags, seat, luggage rack, wheels) and that big piece of Plexiglas out front on the LT and the rest to the slight difference is in how the new shocks affects the bikes.

Out on the rear, Triumph installed a pair of adjustable dual rate spring loaded shocks. Designed to offer a cushy ride on long trips, the 4.1 inches of travel easily soaked up the occasional broken asphalt potholes and all too often irregular bumps on our two lane travel through the So Cal desert. In the mountain twisties, I did find myself wishing for a slightly stouter setup. Thankfully there is a five position preload manual adjustment on each shock when you need a little something stiffer.

tshirt

The handlebars on the Commander provide for a more “forward” lean than on the LT. This works perfect without a windscreen. I dislike cruisers which place the rider in a more upright position and forces them to “hang on” to the grips when going sans windscreen. Very uncomfortable and dangerous.

On the Commander, that little tweak to the position of the bars made all the difference in comfort and stability from other “naked” cruisers.

SEAT OF THE PANTS

Then there is the seat. It’s usually the first thing we all want to change out when we buy a stock bike from the showroom floor. To paraphrase a famous politician (and take it entirely out of context,) when thinking of the seat on these new T-Birds “The butt stops here.” Ok, I hear the collective groan from the peanut gallery but I needed something witty to highlight how impressive this new seat is.

Consider that Triumph designers created a seat with three layers of different foam densities and a lumbar support (almost 4 inches total) and kept the seat height under 28 inches, I’d wager the seat isn’t going to be the first thing you’ll want to change. Granted, we only rode for a little more than an hour on our longest stretch in the saddle, so maybe I shouldn’t be bragging on the comfort just yet. However, by the time you read this we will have an LT in the office garage and will have spent 6 or 7 hours straight in the saddle. I’ll let you know if it performs as good as it looks.T_LT_details016

Both the Commander and the LT are available in two tone color schemes. The LT’s Caspian Blue/Crystal White paint is the best looking (in my humble opinion) and it also comes in Lava Red/Phantom Black. (Retail $16,999) The Commander comes in Crimson Sunset Red/Lava Red and Phantom Black/ Storm Grey. (Retail $15,699)

We’ll have a long term test on the LT in the next few months.

Triumph purists may decry the new direction the company has taken with these T-Birds, but they shouldn’t.

The brand isn’t abandoning its performance heritage, the Brits have simply created two cruiser models under $17k with modern performance yet comfortable and classic styling,

If anything, Triumph fans should be cheering. The Wild Ones are back!

(more static and detail photos in the photo gallery after the obligatory group picture.

That's the Salton Sea in the background.

That’s the Salton Sea in the background.

 

BEST WESTERN AND HARLEY-DAVIDSON PARTNERSHIP GOES GLOBAL

_bestwestern_mcyclePHOENIX – (February 20, 2013) Best Western International and Harley-Davidson Motor Company® announced today that the two organizations have extended their partnership with one another for an additional three years. The agreement expands the special benefits for motorcycle riders in North America, including reduced hotel room rates, Best Western Ride Rewards® loyalty program, and the hotel chain’s Rider Friendly® properties, to a global level, making it easy for motorcycle travelers to take advantage of these perks worldwide.

As part of the agreement, Best Western is serving as the Official Lodging Partner of Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary in 2013. In addition, Best Western is now the Preferred Lodging Partner of Harley-Davidson’s Rentals and Tours Division, which will include the hotel chain’s properties on its multi-night itineraries.

“The partnership with Harley-Davidson allows us to accommodate the unique needs motorcycle riders have when traveling,” said Dorothy Dowling, Best Western International’s senior vice president of marketing and sales. “Now, they can have those needs catered to not only in North America, but at any of our more than 4,000 hotels worldwide. We want riders to feel at home with us, no matter where in the world they happen to be.”

Best Western Rider Friendly hotels offer a free wipe-down motorcycle towel and access to a washing station upon check-in. Many offer additional benefits, such as complimentary bottled water and lip balm. Currently, there are more than 1,200 properties in North America that participate in the Best Western Rider Friendly program.

The hotel chain also offers motorcycle enthusiasts Best Western Ride Rewards, a special segment of its Best Western Rewards® loyalty program. Registration is free and affords members an automatic upgrade to Gold Elite status and eligibility for discounted room rates upon signup. Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) members receive additional benefits, including an automatic upgrade to Platinum status and 15 percent bonus points. To celebrate Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary, Ride Rewards members will be eligible for bonus promotional offers throughout 2013.

”Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary is the perfect time to extend our partnership with Best Western,” said John C. Farris, Jr., Harley-Davidson Director of Global Brand Alliances. “Harley-Davidson and Best Western have heritage and deep roots along America’s most scenic highways and byways as well as the many roads traveled around the world. Most importantly, this partnership brings great benefits and on-the-road conveniences to our riders and fans.”

The companies initiated the partnership in 2006.

For more information or to sign up for Best Western Ride Rewards, go to www.bwrider.com. To plan your next motorcycle journey, go towww.harley-davidson.com/wcm/rideplanner/. And, follow the adventures of Best Western’s motorcycle blogger at http://www.youmustbetrippin.com/jason_fogelson/.

 

Harley-Davidson Recalls V-Rods for Minor Problem

 Harley-Davidson Motor Company (Harley-Davidson) is recalling all model year 2012 and certain model year 2013 VRSCDX motorcycles manufactured from June 14, 2011, through August 1, 2012. The license plate bracket assembly’s mounting screws may loosen and the assembly may separate from the rear fender. This condition may lead to contact with the rear tire which could cause the license plate bracket to rotate, possibly damaging the rear brake line.   If the license plate bracket contact with the rear brake line remains undetected, it may affect rear brake performance, increasing the risk of a crash, which could lead to injury or death of the rider. Harley-Davidson will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and repair any affected motorcycles free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin on, or about, November 5, 2012. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson at 1-414-343-4056. his is Harley-Davidson recall 0148. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

 

Daytona Bike Week Info

We hear the bartenders have been known to have crappy attitudes...

Daytona Beach, Florida: Bike Week 2012 Roars In To Daytona Beach: The 71st Anniversary of Daytona Beach Bike Week will be held March 9th through March 18th as motorcyclists from all over the country roar into the Daytona Beach Area. This year’s event is Presented by Harley-Davidson Insurance and was moved to one week later than originally planned due to the Daytona 500 being rescheduled to one week later in calendar. The new position in the calendar will remain for the foreseeable future.

This year’s event will again be highlighted by the continued resurgence of the historic downtown area, as Harley-Davidson Motor Corporation stages their new product show in Riverfront Park in Downtown Daytona Beach. Activities in Riverfront Park will include live bands, motorcycle stunt shows, food, vendors and manufacturer’s displays. In addition, the park will again host the Official Bike  week Headquarters.

Also back after a 7 year hiatus is the much loved Bike Week Community Appreciation Parade! Once an iconic event for several decades, the Bike Week Parade was sidelined in 2004 when the Daytona 200 was moved from a Sunday to a Saturday event. But the parade is back and expected to be better than ever. All interested participants should congregate at the staging area in the south parking lot of the Ocean Center on Saturday, March 17th beginning at 6:30 AM entering from Main Street on Oleander Ave. At 9AM the Parade will leave the Ocean Center with an escort of Daytona Beach Motorcycle Police on the way to Daytona International Speedway!

Additionally, the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce is proud to offer the latest version of the Bike Week App for Bike Week Daytona Beach 2012. Because it is produced by the managers of Bike Week in Daytona Beach, the app can provide everything a visitor needs to know not only about Bike Week in Daytona Beach but the entire county of Volusia. Included in the app is information on the Official Calendar of Events, the ability to create events within the system, a list of bands and concerts, area restaurants, attractions, bars and clubs, local weather, news and a Bike Week photo gallery. And so much more! Just visit the app store for our latest version and stay tuned for a version for Blackberry and Droid.

The Bike Week Treasure Hunt also returns in 2012 and promises to be a big hit with our visitors. Participants will have their “passports” stamped at 10 different locations throughout the Daytona Regional Area culminating in a visit to the Official Bike Week  headquarters in Riverfront Park where they will turn in their completed passport to receive their Bike Week
2012 Commemorative Coin. Only 300 coins will be printed. New this year, visitors can enjoy some of the finest dining in Volusia County all at one location! On Friday, March 16th 11:00am – 10:00pm on Manatee Island in Riverfront Park the 1st Annual Volusia Palooza™, will showcase local restaurants and all the food and beverages they have to offer. Also enjoy live music from local bands all day in the amphitheater. You won’t want to miss this opportunity! $5 admission includes one free beer and the inaugural Volusia Palooza™ Bike Week poster. Racing activities at the Daytona International Speedway will kick off on the new Daytona Flat

Track on Thursday, March 15th and Friday, March 16th. The Daytona Supercross, America’s toughest and most demanding Supercross event will be held on Saturday night, March 10th. This year’s Bike Week will also feature the 71st Daytona 200, the prestigious season-opening event to the AMA Pro Racing season and the most historic motorcycle race in America on Saturday, March 17th. The Speedway will also feature free demo rides and displays from top manufacturers, overnight camping, food and live  entertainment.

And it just wouldn’t be Bike Week in Daytona Beach without the tradition of the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales once again parading down Main Street during two showings on Saturday, March 10th and Sunday, March 11th. Both appearances are scheduled for 2 PM and are expected, once again, to draw large crowds of enthusiastic onlookers.

More after the poll

Bike Week Festival Task Force Co-Chairman Bob Wilson voiced his enthusiasm on this year’s event, “We are delighted to welcome our visitors back to the 71st running of the World’s Largest Motorcycle Event ®. There has never been more to offer our guests, from the historic Main Street and Beach Street Area to Biking on the Boulevard, Destination Daytona, Daytona International Speedway, Riverfront Park in downtown Daytona Beach and, of course, the World’s Most Famous Beach.”

Additional information on Bike Week in Daytona Beach can be found on the Official Daytona Bike Week Website at www.officialbikeweek.com . A Calendar of Events is online as well as lodging information, The Loop Ride (with map), vendor information, a history of Bike Week, Official Licensed Merchandise, area business searchable database, Welcome Center and the
largest Bike Week photo gallery on the net!

Restaurant and attraction details are also listed at www.daytonachamber.com for those wishing to make the most of their visit. For accommodations, check out www.bookingdaytona.com For information on any aspect of Bike Week 2012, contact the Daytona  Regional Chamber of Commerce at 386-255-0981.

How One Designer Envisions The Motorcycle of the Future

If form follows thought, or thought precedes all action, Matthew Law dreams the dreams of those living in the movie world of Tron.  His concept of what the future of motorcycles may very well turn out to be true, but the manufacturers of today still have a long way to go to get us there, especially the Harley-Davidson Motor Company.   Even with the V-Rod’s departure from the traditional lines of Milwaukee’s retro style, it’s going to take a big leap for HD to reach this design platform.  To see more of Law’s vision, click here .

Rare Aermacchi/Harley-Davidsons Headed to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Featuring Kawasaki, Marque of the Year

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The list of rare and historically significant Aermacchi/Harley-Davidson motorcycles that will be on display at this year’s AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days featuring Kawasaki, Marque of the Year, continues to grow, with a championship winning RR 250 heading the bill for the July 22-24 event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

“We’ve got some great bikes,” said John Basore of the Aermacchi-based group that is serving as this year’s AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Classic Club. “I’ve probably got one of every racer Aermacchi ever had lined up.”

Every year at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, the Classic Club display rounds out an exciting experience for vintage fans, many of whom will be attending to honor Kawasaki as the Marque of the Year. Aermacchi Harley-Davidsons, sold in the 1960s and ’70s, were the result of a unusual partnership between the quintessentially American motorcycle company and a small-bore Italian bike brand that introduced thousands of new riders to the Harley-Davidson name.

“At the time, Aermacchis may have seemed like an unusual choice to put in Harley-Davidson dealerships,” Basore says. “But the fact is that, when AMF bought Harley-Davidson, it allowed Aermacchi to win world championships for the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. That’s most impressive.”

The RR250 is a water-cooled two-stroke, twin-cylinder roadracer with a cassette transmission, an eccentric swingarm adjuster, dual front disc brakes and a full fairing. “It was comparable in every way to the best Yamaha of that time period,” Bashore said.

In addition to the RR 250, bikes planned for display include: a 1965 250CR, a ’65 250CRTT, a ’67 250H, a ’69 350SS, a ’70 350SS, a ’76 SS250, a ’78 MX 250, a ’73 SR100 and an all-original 1961 250C Sprint-one of the first models imported.

AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days will also feature other activities celebrating Kawasaki as the 2011 Marque of the Year. These include displays, demo rides, seminars and autograph signings. Grand Marshal Jeff Fredette, a multi-time national and international off-road champion, will be on hand to reminisce and sign autographs, as well as compete in several vintage racing classes. Enthusiasts will also have an opportunity to win a new Kawasaki Z1000 and a classic Z1, given away together in a single raffle that benefits the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Held at the world-class Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days includes vintage and post-vintage competition in motocross, trials, hare scrambles, roadracing and dirt track. The three-day event will also feature North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, bike shows, demo rides of current production bikes, motorcycling seminars, the new product Manufacturers’ Midway, and club corrals featuring marque and regional clubs.

Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which is located on the campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio. The mission of the Hall of Fame is to celebrate, elucidate and preserve the rich tradition of motorcycling in America. Its exhibits honor the distinguished men and women whose competitive spirit, passion, vision and entrepreneurship have played a vital role in shaping the sport, lifestyle and business of motorcycling. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame’s website at MotorcycleMuseum.org

Tickets to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days can be purchased online at MidOhio.com

For more information about the event, visit AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.com

 

 

Two American Icons Reunite to Salute The Forces of Good

Harley-Davidson® and Marvel Studio’s Captain America Join Forces to Defend Freedom

MILWAUKEE (July 5, 2011) – On July 22, two icons of freedom will roll onto the silver screen when Marvel Studios releases Captain America: The First Avenger, who defends freedom and justice for all on a Harley-Davidson® WLA motorcycle.

During World War II, Harley-Davidson produced and dispatched approximately 90,000 WL motorcycles overseas to support the war effort.  The motorcycle was affectionately known as the “Liberator” by U.S. Service Men and Women.

To celebrate this reunion, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has created the “H-D® Free the World” promotion, which features two grand prizes.  One lucky U.S. military member, as well as a non-military member, will each win the opportunity to work with Marvel and the Motor Company to customize their own one-of-a-kind new Harley-Davidson Sportster® 1200 Custom motorcycle in Harley-Davidson’s hometown of Milwaukee, Wis.

“Captain America makes the perfect marketing partner for Harley-Davidson as he truly embodies the iconic, heroic and American aspects of our brand,” said Dino Bernacchi, Harley-Davidson’s director of Marketing Communications. “Both Captain America and our motorcycles are great symbols of freedom.”

“We’re excited to partner with Marvel given their success in pulling in large, young and diverse audiences,” added Bernacchi.  “Big and heroic activations like this build interest and excitement in our amazing sport among potential new customers, so we hope to see some new Captain America fans on the road soon.”

Each of the grand prize winners of the “H-D Free the World” promotion will travel to Milwaukee to create the Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom of their dreams at one of the Motor Company’s production facilities.  The promotion also features unique “first prizes” for one U.S. military member, as well as non-military member to attend a Harley-Davidson Academy of Motorcycling Riders Edge® class to learn how to ride alongside a friend.

Additionally, Captain America fans can visit their local Harley-Davidson dealers to secure an exclusive poster featuring Captain America on his 1942 Harley-Davidson “Liberator,” while supplies last.  Harley-Davidson’s promotional Web site, www.h-d.com/captainamerica

 also features never-before seen footage that was produced in collaboration with Marvel.

Legal residents of the United States who are at least 18 years of age can enter the “H-D Free the World” promotion at www.h-d.com/captainamerica

through December 1, 2011.

 About the Captain America Harley-Davidson “Liberator”

Harley-Davidson collaborated with Marvel Studios to create five motorcycles for the Captain America: The First Avenger film, which traces Captain America’s origins as a World War II era Super Hero who rode a military motorcycle as a means of transportation.

The Motor Company coordinated the modification of the current day Harley-Davidson® Cross Bones® model to resemble an original 1942 WLA Army motorcycle. The Motor Company also worked with Marvel Studios to recreate additional parts, such as an ammunition box and leather gun scabbard, to ensure the motorcycles looked as authentic as possible.

Three bikes were used in the film for riding and stunts, and two were reserved for a scene in which Captain America lifts a motorcycle over his head at a USO appearance.

Two of the motorcycles will become part of the Harley-Davidson Museum’s permanent collection and one will be featured in a special temporary display at museum showcasing a sampling of items from the movie, including a Captain America leather “rescue jacket,” his signature ‘A’ helmet, and shield he carried in the film.

For more information about Harley-Davidson’s partnership with Marvel Studios around Captain America: The First Avenger, including the “H-D Free the World” promotion, visit www.h-d.com/captainamerica

About Captain America: The First Avenger:

“Captain America: The First Avenger,” directed by Joe Johnston, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America.  As CaptainAmerica, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to fight the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). One of a continuing slate of films being produced by Marvel Studios based on the Marvel characters, “Captain America: The First Avenger” joins Thor which was released on May 6, 2011 and Marvel’s The Avengers which is coming to theaters on May 4, 2012. “Captain America: The First Avenger” will be distributed by Paramount Pictures on July 22, 2011.

 About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years.  Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing.  For more information visitwww.marvel.com

About Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete like of Harley-Davidson parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more , visit Harley-Davidson’s website at www.harley-davidson.com

Harley-Davidson Offers Women The “Ultimate Learn-To-Ride” Experience

New Contest Features Amazing Motorcycle Prizes and an Opportunity to Learn to Ride With a Friend

MILWAUKEE (July 1, 2011) – Learning to ride a motorcycle can be a life changing experience for women – the power, the freedom and the empowerment of riding your own Harley-Davidson motorcycle converge to create a feeling that’s unlike anything else – and it’s an experience that gets even better when you have a friend to share it with.  In an effort to continue their industry leading commitment to help more women live out their motorcycle dreams, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has created a special contest this summer offering women a unique experience.

 

Harley-Davidson will select four women to win the “Ultimate Learn-To-Ride Experience,” a prize package that includes a brand new 2012 Harley-Davidson motorcycle that they can design themselves via Harley-Davidson’s new H-D1™ factory customization system, as well as $1,000 in new Harley-Davidson MotorClothes apparel. In addition, the four winners can each pick a friend to accompany them on an all-expense-paid trip to Milwaukee , Wis. , home of Harley-Davidson, where they will learn to ride a motorcycle through Harley-Davidson’s Riders Edge New Rider Course and explore Harley-Davidson’s home turf including tours of the Harley-Davidson Museum and Powertrain Operations.  Women can enter the contest at www.h-d.com/mytime

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“We’re excited to help inspire more women to fulfill their dream of learning to ride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle,” said Claudia Garber, Director of Marketing Outreach at Harley-Davidson. “The “Ultimate Learn-To-Ride Experience” contest is one aspect of many exciting things Harley-Davidson is doing to encourage more women to get started on their riding journeys.”

The “Ultimate Learn-To-Ride Experience” contest runs through July 20, 2011.  For more information about the contest and to enter to win, visit www.h-d.com/mytime.

 

About Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Harley-Davidson Motor Company, the only major U.S.-based motorcycle manufacturer, produces heavyweight motorcycles and a complete line of motorcycle parts, accessories and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson’s Web site at www.harley-davidson.com

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H-D Hits the Road this Summer With Willie Nelson’s Country Throw-down Tour

MILWAUKEE (May 23, 2011) – Two American icons, outlaw country music and Harley-Davidson Motor Company, launch the summer concert season this Memorial Day weekend with Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown tour. This second annual outdoor music tour mixes some of the hottest young artists in country music with the rogue roots of Harley-Davidson and America.

 

“Harley-Davidson and Country Throwdown represent the true essence of the American spirit, one that is deeply rooted in freedom and self-expression with a rebel spirit that never dies.” says Amanda Lee, Communications Manager at Harley-Davidson. “This spirit burns across generations and is one of the reasons why Harley-Davidson is the number one selling on-street motorcycle among Young Adults age 18-34 in the U.S.”

 

Harley-Davidson’s Golden Horse Saloon will be on site to rev up the action at each Country Throwdown tour stop. Tour headliners include Jamey Johnson, Lee Brice, Randy Houser and the legendary Willie Nelson. Randy Houser, fellow H-D rider, will be onsite at the Golden Horse Saloon before each of his performances to sign autographs and mingle with fans. Guests have the opportunity to swing their leg over a selection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles on display, including some of the newest additions to the Dark Custom family of bikes. Those who want to take the first step toward riding can feel the thrill of the throttle, fire up the engine and shift through the gears on a real Harley-Davidson motorcycle with JUMPSTART, Harley’s signature stationary riding experience – no license or riding experience required. There will also be VIP motorcycle parking for all those who already roll on two wheels.

 

Country Throwdown kicks off May 27th in Philadelphia, Pa., with 25 stops across America throughout June. The tour concludes July 4th with a wrap party at historic Billy Bob’s inFort Worth, Texas. For more information on Country Throwdown and to find a tour stop near you, visit: www.h-d.com/throwdown

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Harley Owners Group Offers Prizes for Hoka Hey Challenge

Milwaukee (May 6, 2011) – The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is pleased to announce that it will provide more than $50,000 in contingency prizes to the highest finishing members of the Harley Owners Group who complete the 2011 Hoka Hey Challenge.

 

To recognize the H.O.G. members partaking in this event as among the most adventurous motorcyclists in the world, the highest finishing eligible H.O.G. member who completes the event, as determined by the organizers, will be awarded a 2012 Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations motorcycle of his or her choice. In addition, the 2nd through 5th highest finishing eligible H.O.G. members will each be awarded a portion of a total of $19,000 in additional cash prizes.

 

The Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge will present one of the world’s greatest long-distance endurance motorcycle riding events beginning August 5, 2011. The event, the second annual in a series, begins in Phoenix, Arizona, and travels through all forty-eight contiguous U.S. states and several Canadian provinces to Nova Scotia.  The route will travel more than 10,000 miles, and is open to all riders of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

 

“The Hoka Hey Challenge is a perfect match for the superior touring experience and capabilities of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the long-distance adventuring aspirations of many of our H.O.G. members,” said Steve Piehl, Harley-Davidson Director of Customer Experience. “The theme of the Hoka Hey Challenge is ‘It’s a good day to ride!’ and that is always the case on a Harley.”

 

To be eligible for any contingency award, the rider must be a H.O.G. member in good standing at the time the ride starts and must display a H.O.G. emblem on his or her riding gear and in a prominent location on the motorcycle (preferably on the windshield or Tour Pak) throughout the event. The H.O.G. member must be the designated rider (passengers not eligible) and meet all eligibility requirements for the event. H.O.G. emblems and decals will be provided free of charge to all members who participate in the event at the start of the challenge.

 

As an event and contingency sponsor only, Harley-Davidson Motor Company is not responsible for organizing or conducting the event, and will defer all decisions regarding final finishing order to the event organizers.

 

For details, eligibility requirements, and rules of the H.O.G. contingency program, visit members.hog.com. For entry information or to monitor the event’s progress, visit www.hokaheychallenge.com.

 

Company Background

 

Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight 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.com.