by Thomas Day
No More H-D Sportbikes
Between 1993 and 2003, Harley-Davidson invested in the complete control of the Buell Motorcycle Company. In August of 2008, Harley-Davidson spent about 70 million Euros ($109 million) to bail out a financially crashing MV Agusta and ended up with complete ownership of that company. In October of 2009, the Company announced the end of the Buell product line and put MV Agusta up for sale. The business rumour mill speculated that H-D turned down an outright sale of Buell to Bombardier, spending more than $100 million to “blow out” the remaining inventory of Buell products to avoid creating a competitor from its own product line. In early August 2010, H-D announced it had “concluded the sale of its subsidiary, MV Agusta, to Claudio Castiglioni and his wholly owned holding company, MV Agusta Motor Holding, S.r.l.” And that is it for Harley’s experiment in modern motorcycling. Their current business plan appears to be centered around the idea that Boomers are going to live forever. Selfishly, I hope they are right.
Sturgis Turns 70
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally celebrated its 70th anniversary this year. George Pike’s lawnmower-cruiser, Booger the dog, Kitty the cat, and Mousy the Rat, and an estimated 750,000 other animals and folks were there to celebrate the 6-day event. The population of South Dakota nearly doubled for the week. With 9 fatalities (3 women, 6 men), 73 injury accidents, 290 DUI arrests, 46 felony and 183 misdemeanour arrests, 1,442 traffic citations, and 4,598 warnings this year’s event was “a fairly typical event from the perspective of law enforcement,” according to the South Dakota State Patrol. The Rapid City Regional Hospital reported “bigger numbers” than previous years with “a steady flow of head, neck and spine fractures.” The aging population of Sturgis attendees produced an increase of hospital visits from cardiac and other chronic diseases.
They even feature several celebrity events, including Pee Wee Herman’s Legend’s Ride, music by Bob Dylan, Guns ‘N Roses, Ozzy Osborne, Mötley Crüe, Kid Rock, the Scorpions, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Creed, Godsmack, and a collection of local and 1960-80’s vintage bands at a variety of venues across the area. Concerts planned for the Glencoe CampResort were moved due to a dispute between the promoter and the venue. The Corn Palace in Mitchell even featured a motorcycle mural.
The motorcycle press has been looking for evidence that Ducati is about to introduce a cruiser and they’ve found it. The “Mega Monster” is expected to be on hand for the Milan EICMA motorcycle show. Expect a version of the Testastretta V-twin engine hustling at least 150 hp, ride-by-wire and traction control, a single-sided swingarm, and a seriously fat rear tire. Maybe it will be as ugly as BMW’s R1200C?
Flat Tracking at Canterbury Park
Minnesota is on the AMA Pro K&N Filters Flat Track Grand National Championship schedule this year, at Canterbury Park on Saturday, Sept. 11. Reserved seats are $35, general admission is $20, and the main event is the 25-lap Expert Main Event final. The last time Minnesota hosted a Grand National event was 13 years ago, also at Canterbury Park. The Minnesota Mile is one of 19 events in the series this year and flat track racing is the oldest form of motorcycle racing, dating back to the beginning the last century.
They Are Back, Half-Heartedly
Suzuki is back in the US for 2011. The company doesn’t have anything new to offer, but at least they are bringing in new inventory for 2011. Since their dealers had to move 2008-2009 models for all of 2010, Suzuki has a substantially reduced dealer network to work with for 2011.
Lora Hunt Gets a Tap on the Fingernails
The “fingernail killer,” Lora Hunt, was sentenced to 18 months of “night time-only” jail time for killing motorcyclist Anita Zaffke in 2009. Hunt was busy painting her fingernails while driving as she ran a stop light, rear-ending Zaffke and killing her. Hunt will be able to continue her nursing career by day and attend counselling sessions. She was also sentenced to 240 hours of community service and 30 months of probation. The price for being criminally negligent and brutally stupid appears to be pretty low in Illinois.
The Illinois legislature passed House Bill 4580 that requires the Secretary of State to immediately revoke the license of anyone convicted of any driving offense that causes the death of another person. What do you want to bet that this won’t apply to Hunt?
Texas Tornado Boot Camp
Colin Edwards is building a 20-acre motorcycle training camp near Houston, TX called the “Texas Tornado Boot Camp.” His goal is to build a one-stop-shop training ground where “the fun will go on well after 5 and riding will start again under the lights when the sun goes down. No hotels, no rental cars, no restaurant expenses, no gear or bike to bring, no other expenses.” Students will train on Yamaha TTR 90s, 125s and 230s and the facility will include an enclosed riding arena, an 1/8-mile clay oval, a small motocross track, a paint ball range, an RC car track and an obstacle course.
Ducati has issued a press release stating “no agreement has been reached with motorcycle riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden in regards to the 2011 MotoGP season, although our interest in these riders remains…”
Roger Lee Hayden is pulling Kevin Schwantz’s FIM-retired number 34 out of mothballs and putting it on the track at the 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP, August 27-29 for the Moriwaki MD600 American Honda team. Schwantz, the America Honda team manager, put his number on Hayden’s back to benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s “Ride for Kids” program.
The World MotoGP series is near the half-way point and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) has a 77 point lead (with seven 1st place finishes for the season) over 2nd place Dana Pedrosa (Honda), while Casey Stoner (Ducati) is 116 points back in 3rd, Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) is holding down 4th, and a injury-recovering Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati) are two points apart in 5th and 6th place. In World Superbike, Max Biaggi (Aprilia) is 68 points ahead of 2nd place Leon Haslam (Suzuki) and 150 points ahead of the next closest rider. After 17 rounds, Ryan Dungey (Suzuki) is leading the AMA Supercross pack by 70 points, with Kevin Windham in 2nd and David Millsaps in 3rd. Dungey is also team captain for the AMA Team USA in the 2010 Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations. In AMA Superbike, Josh Hayes (Yamaha) is one point ahead of Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) and 60 points ahead of Jake Zemke (Suzuki).
2010 NHTSA Recalls
Bad Boy 2010 XT LSV: Certain Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) models exhibit metal fatigue on the rear differential support bracket allows it to bend and compromise steering resulting in a crash.
Ducati 2010 Multistrada 1200: This model is affect by three possibly hazardous issues: 1) Steering head comes loose inhibiting the driver’s ability to steer. 2) Center-stand mounting screw comes loose and adversely affects the driver’s ability to control the motorcycle. 3) Throttle cable rubs against the radiator adversely affecting throttle operation.
Honda 2010 VT1300CR, VT1300CRA, VT1300CT made 12/17/09 to 5/24/10: Posted gross vehicle axle weight rating is incorrect; the owner may believe the vehicle can carry more weight than certified. The dealer will install a new label.
Yamaha 2006-2010 YZF-R6 made 08-2005 to 03-2010: The front side reflectors are an inch too low and fail to comply with DOT requirements. The recall affects 54,000 motorcycles.
BMW 2005-2009 R 1200 RT: Police motorcycles made 4/2005 to 9/2009 have a defective horn bracket that may break and allow the horn to drop onto the roadway.
Harley-Davidson 2010 FXDF: Incorrect springs were installed in the fork leg assemblies resulting in reduced suspension effectiveness increasing the risk of losing control.
Kawasaki: 2009 EX650C9F/FL, 2010 EX650CAF/FL Ninja 650: The lower portion of the fairing interferes with the driver’s foot when attempting to apply the rear brake pedal.
Kawasaki 2010 ZR100DAF/L: Left front brake hose rubs on the causing a brake fluid leak and loss of braking.
Yamaha 2009 VMX17 made 6/2008 to 3/2009: Poor accelerator position sensor ground connection can result in unstable engine idle speed, surging, and power loss and could cause a crash.