Suchanek Sets Another Ice Wheelie Record
Wisconsinite Ryan Suchanek on Jan. 31 set a new Guinness Book of World Record’s “Fastest Motorcycle Wheelie On Ice” with a speed of 117.5 mph atop his 2013 EVS Sports Kawasaki ZX-10R. Suchanek, who owns the World Famous Bargain Barn motorcycle shop in Edgerton, reclaimed the title after Swede Robert Gull last year set a 114.5 mph run on a Honda CBR 1000RR.
The event becomes even more impressive when you learn Suchanek rides with a prosthetic as the result of a motorcycle/car crash that took his left leg below the knee.
U.S. Cycle Sales Up 3.8% in 2014
Well, the numbers are in … Major motorcycle & scooter suppliers sold 483,526 new units in the U.S. in 2014, up 3.8% compared to 465,783 units sold in 2013, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, an industry organization serving manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
On-Highway model sales totaled 334,488 units, up 3%; Off-Highway model sales were 81,013 units, up 10.9%; Dual model sales were 34,497 units, up 3.6%; and Scooter sales represented 33,528 units, down -3.5%.
Off-Highway sales benefited from radical growth in low-priced and high-end model sales, as well as from incremental growth in all displacements.
Further, 2014 was the first year in more than a decade that Dual model sales surpassed Scooter sales. Scooter sales likely were affected by a long-lasting winter in many parts of the country as well as by falling fuel prices. Dual model sales appear to be gaining in popularity due to their do-all capabilities and the availability of relatively low-priced models.
MN Boasts Best Drivers in the U.S.
Minnesota has the best drivers in the U.S., according to CarInsuranceComparison.com, a website that used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to compile its rankings.
Iowa was a close second to Minnesota for states with the safest drivers, followed by New Hampshire, Alaska, Connecticut and Oregon. In comparison, Montana, South Carolina, Texas, North Dakota and Delaware round out the worst five, largely for their rates of drunken-driving fatalities and number of deaths per mile traveled.
Neighboring state South Dakota had the 16th worst drivers while Wisconsin had the 22nd worst.
Wisconsin Targets Licensing
Wisconsin ended 2014 with 74 motorcyclist fatalities, the lowest number since 2001. “A third of all motorcyclists involved in fatalities were not properly licensed, in other words, they did not have an endorsement on their license for legal motorcycle operation, so we’re making a big push to get motorcyclists licensed and trained,” WisDOT spokesman Steve Olson told WSAU.
H-D Names Levatich New CEO
Harley-Davidson, Inc. has named Matt Levatich, 50, to succeed Keith Wandell, 65, as President & CEO following Wandell’s retirement on May 1. Levatich has held wide-ranging roles in the U.S. and Europe since joining the Motor Company in 1994.
H-D Sales Up 2.7% in 2014
Harley-Davidson says dealers across the globe in 2014 sold 267,999 motorcycles, up 2.7% compared to 260,839 motorcycles retailed in 2013. Unit sales were up 1.3% in the U.S. while International sales were up 5.4%. Keith Wandell, H-D CEO, says the company has managed to broaden its customer demographics. “In the U.S., for the third straight year, sales to our outreach customers grew at more than twice the rate of sales to core customers,” he remarked in a prepared statement.
Polaris’ Cycle Sales Grow in 2014
Polaris says motorcycle sales in the full year 2014 amounted to approx. $348.733 million, up 59% compared to $219.819 million in 2013 as the company benefitted from continued strong retail sales for Indian motorcycles, improved retail demand for Victory motorcycles and initial retail sales of Slingshot. Polaris’ motorcycle business accounted for 7.7% of its total sales in 2014, up from 5.8% in 2013.
KTM Sales Up for 4th Year
The KTM and Husqvarna brands in 2014 together sold 158,760 vehicles worldwide, up 28.2% compared to 123,859 units in 2013, says KTM AG. The results represented the fourth year in a row of record sales for the manufacturer. Growth has come largely from KTM’s partnership with Bajaj Auto Ltd. of India (Bajaj now owns 47.9% of KTM AG), increased small displacement KTM on-road sales in Europe, the 2013 purchase of the Husqvarna brand from BMW, and expanded KTM/Husky distribution in South America.
Triumph Sets Sales Record
Triumph says it sold 54,432 units globally in its last financial year, up 4.5% compared to 52,089 units sold in the previous 12-month period. That’s the highest number of two-wheelers since the brand’s re-launch in 1983.
Ducati Grows Sales for 5th Year
Ducati says it in 2014 delivered 45,100 bikes globally, up 2% from 44,198 units delivered in 2013 and a fifth consecutive year of growth. The U.S. continues to be Ducati’s top market, with 8,804 units delivered to customers (up 2.5%).
Ducati says the global increase in sales in 2014 stemmed from growth in the Monster family (+31%) and the Superbike family (+12%), both of which introduced new models.
BMW Sets 4th Consecutive Sales Record
BMW Motorrad says it sold 123,495 two-wheelers globally in 2014, up 7.2% from 115,215 units in 2013 and a record sales figure for the fourth year in a row. The U.S., the brand’s second largest market after Germany, was in 2014 responsible for sales of 15,301 two-wheelers, up 8.5% from 14,100 units in 2013.
Victory Launches NHRA Effort
Victory Motorcycles is set to launch into the world of NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle competition with the creation of Victory Factory Racing.
Victory teamed with two-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world champion Matt Smith and his wife, Angie. The Smiths, who previously ran a S&S-powered Buell, now will race a bike patterned after Victory’s Gunner model yet powered by the transplanted S&S V-twin.
Moto Guzzi Opens The Garage
Moto Guzzi is set to offer V7 model owners a way to easily personalize their bikes with the introduction of the Moto Guzzi Garage – a collection of four distinct parts & accessories kits. Check them out at: garagemotoguzzi.com/en/the-kits/
Sturgis Signs With H-D
Harley-Davidson and the City of Sturgis, S.D. signed an agreement that makes H-D the official motorcycle brand of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally … for the next 75 years. The agreement has an initial term and renewals running through 2090.
As part of the agreement, a permanent plaza will be built on Main Street in Sturgis and include a stage for concerts and events. The year-round location is to be completed in time for this year’s 75th annual rally.
Sturgis Rental Scam
Susan Johnson, manager of Black Hills Central Reservations, says she knows of multiple bogus home rentals that showed up on Craigslist for the 2015 Sturgis motorcycle rally. The scramble for housing for the 75th anniversary rally has been crazy, she said. “This year is like no other rally I’ve experienced and we’ve been here 17 years.” Sturgis Police Chief Jim Bush said a phony home rental listing is new on his scam list. “This year will stretch the imagination on everything, but I haven’t seen that one.” – Rapid City Journal
Allstate Warns to Watch For Motorcycles
Allstate has installed 167 “Watch For Motorcycles” signs in 37 cities across 19 states.
Through the Once is Never Enough (O.N.E.) program, established in 2009, Allstate and its engineering partners work closely with local traffic authorities to review available crash data and to identify intersections with a high number of multi-vehicle crashes involving motorcycles. Allstate then donates yellow diamond “Watch For Motorcycles” warning signs to be installed at the site.
Gamers, Prepare for RIDE
Bandai Namco Games America Inc. and video game developer Milestone s.r.l. have announced that RIDE, a complete motorcycle racing simulator, will launch in Spring 2015 for the Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
RIDE is to offer more than 100 motorcycles and a diverse selection of circuits from around the world. Bikes will be spit into four different categories – Superbikes, Supersports, Naked and Historical – and players will have the opportunity to extensively customize the two- wheelers and riders.
Woman Veteran Plates
Women veterans can now purchase motorcycle license plates that honor their service. Any veteran wanting a “Woman Veteran” plate should bring her discharge papers to the DMV. Estimated cost for the application, plate and fees is $20.