by Gus Breiland
Where real journalism meets italicized smart-assed comments.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON GAINS MUSEUM GREEN LIGHT
Milwaukee, WI (November 3, 2004) – Harley-Davidson has reached a major milestone in plans to bring a world-class museum to its home town, as the Milwaukee Common Council approved the sale of 20 acres at 6th and Canal streets to the Company. In related actions, the Council approved property rezoning, site redevelopment guidelines and the creation of a Tax Incremental District.
“We are absolutely thrilled with this outcome and express our gratitude to the Milwaukee Common Council for its vote today” said Lara Lee, Harley-Davidson Vice President responsible for museum development. “We also appreciate the tremendous support we’ve had during this process from Mayor Barrett and from the greater Milwaukee community. Harley-Davidson is excited to be moving forward with its museum development in the MenomoneeValley.”
Company plans call for a three-phase development. Phase 1 will consist of 110,000 sq. ft. for the museum and related facilities including a retail store, meeting rooms, banquet space and a restaurant, at an estimated cost of $60 million. Harley-Davidson plans to begin Phase 1 construction once the Milwaukee Department of Public Works facility currently located on the site is moved. The City of Milwaukee has committed to move the facility by February 28, 2006 and the museum is expected to be completed two years later. The Company’s target is to open the museum to the public in 2008.
Subsequent phases envision the addition of the Harley-Davidson corporate archives, a restoration shop, additional exhibit space and other future development, for a total of 230,000 sq. ft. over all the phases and an estimated total investment of $95 million. More information on the Museum is available online at www.h-dmuseum.com.
KTM: We will dominate Supermoto in ’05
Just hours before the Red Bull Supermoto A-Go-Go racers were to take to the track in their first Las Vegas practice session, Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM unveiled their lineup of Supermoto race bikes for 2005. During the presentation, KTM’s North American President Rod Bush stated flatly that KTM will “dominate Supermoto on a worldwide basis.”
To achieve that lofty goal, KTM has made major changes to the company’s two race-ready Supermoto models, the 450 SMR and 525 SMR. Both bikes, KTM says, are “designed to exceed the expectations of Supermoto competitors.”
KTM extensively reworked both bikes’ chassis to improve handling. The company claims the “back-ends” on the two race machines are now 30 percent stiffer, thanks in part to a new cast swingarm. Other improvements to the chassis include a new frame, new adjustable billet triple clamps, new forks and shocks with better dampening, and radial brakes. In addition, both models now come with 5 1/2 &endash;inch rear wheels, allowing the fitment of a wider range of rear tires.
The engines have also been improved to give racers more confidence and comfort on the track. KTM also claims that reliability has been significantly bumped-up and that new exhaust systems fitted to both the 450 and 525 now meet quieter European specs without any loss in performance.MSRP on the 525 SMR is $7,898, while the price for the 450 SMR is set at $7,498.
AMA Lobbying Seminar in Washington DC
AMA is hosting a Washington, D.C. seminar for motorcyclists who want to learn how to influence governmental decisions, whether in Congress or their local councils.
The seminar is March 6-9, 2005 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Participants will meet and learn from the AMA’s Washington staff, as well as other political experts. In addition to learning about state and federal issues facing motorcyclists today, participants will get tips on building relationships with government agency officials and lobbying elected officials.
Participants will also prepare to meet face-to-face with members of their congressional delegation. But the seminar isn’t all work; there will be a welcome reception, as well as a luncheon and a banquet over the course of the seminar.
The seminar registration fee is $75. The registration deadline is February 11. AMA membership is required. For more information or to register, contact Sharon Titus at (614) 856-1900, ext. 1252 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Vespa to sell a limited run of PX150’s
It looks as if after the success of Genuine Scooter Company’s Stella, Piaggio has decided to do a limited run of 500 Vespa PX150’s after ending 2-stroke sales in the United States over 20 years ago. In 1981 Piaggio stopped selling Vespas in the United States.
Born in 1977, the PX has become the emblem of the classic Vespa nameplate. With two million sets of wheels around the world, the Vespa PX has achieved true cult scooter status. In addition, the PX truly has become the symbol of the smile-inducing Italian style and joy of living.
This beloved icon is being relaunched by Piaggio in the American market in a numbered, limited edition named PX 150 Serie America. Starting in November, 500 of these scooters, each marked with its own number, will be available in Vespa’s classic vintage green at dealers around the United States. (This model will not be available in California.)
There are still more than 15,000 PX’s are still on the road today in the US with many more around the world. The new PX 150 uses the best, state-of-the-art technical solutions without losing any of its original appeal.
The two stroke 150cc engine with forced-air cooling has electronic CDI ignition and electric start with a kick-starter. The manual, four-speed gearbox is an essential feature – anyone used to a PX will not notice any reduction in control. A powerful stainless-steel front disc brake, 200 mm in diameter, guarantees prompt, safe and efficient braking. A reliable 150 mm rear drum perfectly modulates braking.
In the autumn of 1977 Piaggio Group launched a radically new Vespa model with a modern design and advanced technology. Called the PX, this scooter was a 125cc road warrior that cost about $450. Soon after, the 125 was joined by 150cc and 200cc displacement models. The PX 150 became the most popular Vespa model of all time.
For the original launch of the Vespa PX, Piaggio Group, the parent company of the Vespa brand, made a huge wooden model of the classic scooter, more than 12 feet tall. The model can be seen today at the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera in Tuscany, not far from Florence. MSPR of the new classic will be set at $4,299.
“THE ART OF THE MOTORCYCLE” TO OPEN IN MEMPHIS
Memphis, TN–From April 22 to October 30, 2005, Memphis will host “The Art of the Motorcycle.” Nearly 100 motorcycles will be on view at The Pyramid Arena located in downtown Memphis. The exhibition will feature some of the most important motorcycles of the last 125 years, selected for their design excellence, cultural impact, and technological innovation. Starting as bicycles with motors attached, motorcycles have developed into cultural icons symbolizing the best of industrial design blended with dreams of freedom, romance and danger.
“The Art of the Motorcycle” was originally conceived and curated by Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, in association with Charles Falco and Ultan Guilfoyle. Its presentation at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1998 broke all the museum’s past attendance records. The Memphis presentation is curated by Ed Youngblood of the American Motorcyclist Association and Pete Gagan, founder of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group.
The exhibition’s organization is chronological with each section having a distinct cultural and historical component. The first section, “Inventing the Motorcycle: 1868-1919,” considers the motorcycle in the context of the era: one in which inventions changing notions of speed, time and space such as the railroad, electricity and cinema preoccupied the public imagination. Featured motorcycles include the 1894 steam-powered Copeland (replica), 1903 Indian Single, 1911 Harley-Davidson Single and 1912 Indian 8-Valve Board Track Runner.
“The Machine Age: 1922-1929” traces the rapid acceptance of a machine aesthetic, the fascination with technology serving as a motif of modern culture. Featured motorcycles include the 1923 BMW R32, 1928 Harley-Davidson 8-Valve Board Track Racer, and 1929 Scott Flying Squirrel.
“New World Orders: 1930-1944” finds the machine ethos of the 1920s assuming an altogether different scale and demeanor. Featured motorcycles include a 1933 Ariel Square Four, 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead, 1941 Zundapp KS600 with Sidecar (German Military), and 1944 Harley-Davidson Military 42 WLA.
“Freedom and Postwar Mobility: 1946-1958” charts the emergence of the motorcycle as an instrument that allowed for escape from the anonymity of postwar society. Featured motorcycles include a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird, 1951 Indian “Rainbow” Chief, and 1957 Moto Guzzi V8 Works.
“Popular Culture/Counterculture: 1960-1969” examines the motorcycle as an emblem of the era, as relevant to the cultural iconography as rock music and street protests. Featured motorcycles include a 1960 Honda CB92 Benly Super Sport, 1962 Norton Manx, and 1967 Triumph T120 Bonneville.
“Getting Away From It All: 1969-1978” charts the nation’s growing malaise and corresponding desire for escape. Featured motorcycles include the 1969 Harley-Davidson “Captain America” Chopper from the film “Easy Rider,” 1973 Penton Jackpiner, and 1977 Honda Goldwing GL1000.
“The Consumer Years: 1982-1989” tells the story of a rising stock market and burgeoning middle class, making leisure activities ever more eagerly pursued. Featured motorcycles include a 1984 Kawasaki GP Z900R Ninja, 1988 Norton Wankel Rotary, and 1989 Buell RS1200.
Finally, “Retro/Revolutionary: 1993-Present” traces the different routes recently taken in motorcycle design from the stripped grunge aesthetic of highly individual designer machines. Featured motorcycles include a 1994 Britten V1000, 1995 Aprilla Moto 6.5, 1998 MV Augusta F4, and 2004 Honda Rune.