Archive for the ‘victory motorcycles’ Tag

Grizzly to Start World Record Attempt from Daytona Bike Week

Grizzly (real name Urs Pedraita) plans to roll out of Daytona’s packed and bustling main street at 1pm on Friday 11th of March 2016.

Grizzly-Victory-MC-1

True to his name, Grizzly has been bear-like in his preparations to ride a Victory Cross Country around the world through all six continents in under 100 days (the record currently stands at 120 days). His aim is to ride with a continuous speed with as few stops as possible and he even plans to put the wheels on the ground in Antarctica.

Over the past year Grizzly has put himself through challenging acclimatization rides in sub-zero temperatures and he says he is now ready to flex some ‘Modern American Muscle’ on board his Victory Cross Country. While this powerful bagger might be more used to cruising on paved highways, Grizzly shows that this kind of bike can be ridden everywhere – even on ice, snow, sand, mud and gravel.

Additional items on his Victory Cross Country include navigation systems, a 33-liter fuel tank, a customized seat with back support and two LED headlights added on the front for better visibility during his long night rides.

This won’t be Grizzly’s first big ride on a Victory Cross Country – in 2013, he completed a 9,000 mile trip in just 37 days – during the winter.

After leaving Daytona in March, Grizzly’s route can be seen in the attached imagery to this release.

Fans can follow his progress using the ‘Grizzly Tracker app’ which shows where Grizzly is at any time during the attempt. The web page for this is at http://www.grizzlyraceteam.ch/?page_id=1540

The 100-day mark puts the date as Friday 20th May 2016 and he’ll need to finish by then to achieve his goal.

With his boundless energy, ability to survive on very little sleep and the ultra-reliable Victory Cross Country, we can count on Grizzly to add this attempt to his growing list of world distance riding records.

Owners of Victory Motorcycles are invited to join Grizzly for one lap of the Daytona 200 road course prior to the start of Grizzly’s record breaking attempt on Friday 11th March 2016.

Read more at: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/2016/02/article/grizzly-to-start-world-record-attempt-from-daytona-bike-week/

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2015 Indian Scout – Road Test Review

A motorcycle is never just a motorcycle, and the all-new 2015 Indian Scout takes that truth to its extreme. The Sturgis Rally started 74 years ago, during the last moments of the original-lineage Indian Scout’s production. This year, after waiting nearly all of those seven decades, the rally was reunited with this sporty old friend. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? But it’s complicated.

Until last year, the mud and clay and gravel the Indian name has been dragged through for fully half of its history had been caked on thickly. Polaris, Indian’s newest owner, has done an excellent job of hosing the brand clean and giving it the fresh start it deserved. The Chief and its Chiefy siblings did that by being a new old that’s an updated reflection of the last Springfield design, using a flat-head look for its fully modern air-/oil-cooled, pushrod, OHV, 49-degree V-twin engine, with those big fenders and much chrome. But it’s not news that heritage American iron is a hot seller.

Taking a bolder route, the new Scout desires to be the potential future of a past that never happened, looking for an acceptable narrative to span back to the bike’s far-off beginnings. So does this Scout convincingly carry the Indian heritage forward, and is it functionally a motorcycle you’d want to ride?

The Scout is a modern interpretation of how the evolution of the American V-twin might have gone, without following the calculated semi-Luddite lead of the Chief. The Scout gives a modern answer to this historical question, trying to be what it would be if the model had evolved organically without interruption. There are a thousand answers to this proposition, and all of them are colored by romance, desire, and longing. So don’t insist that Indian’s answer is right or wrong; this Scout is a modern cruiser, its chassis a refraction through the lens of history, its engine a nod to modern times, its EFI for the EPA, all topped off with a damn nice old-school seat.

We’re here to tell you the bike feels good, and a primary part of this is the 69ci (1,133cc), liquid-cooled, 60-degree, V-twin engine that uses chain-driven DOHC and four valves per cylinder fed by a single 60mm throttle body. It’s a semi-dry sump design with a 9,000-rpm redline. High-ish 10.7:1 compression makes it hungry for high-test. The Scout produced 86 hp at 7,730 rpm and 64 pound-feet of torque at 3,320 rpm on the CW dyno. The bigger story on the torque curve is that there are more than 60 pound-feet from 2,400 to 7,400 rpm, and it is a gorgeous straight line of smooth delivery. The cylinders and heads have no fake cooling fins but do have structural ribbing and other aluminum-colored accents.

A six-speed transmission and a left-side final-drive belt transmit power to the rear wheel. The Scout is geared to comfortably roll along at 70 mph in sixth gear at 3,750 rpm, yet with that broad torque production it pulls away easily from a stop. Clutch feel is good, and engagement is smooth and easy.

The suspension is pretty conventional at each end: 41mm fork legs up front and dual, spring-preload-adjustable shocks out back. There’s a claimed 4.7 inches of front-wheel travel and 3.0 inches of travel at the rear. Notice the extreme rake of those shocks, to mimic the hardtail lines of the 1920s Scout. With preload in the delivered setting and without a rider in the saddle, the Scout’s rear suspension tops out with zero sag. With my 150 pounds on board, the rear end tops out on rebound when riding over large bumps. Heavier testers on staff did not experience this. A preload wrench is supplied, but there is no provision to store it on the bike.

The Scout has a single 298mm rotor at each end, with a two-piston caliper up front and a single piston out back. Other notables include a super-low 27.0-inch brown-leather-seat height (as measured in the CW shop with rear spring preload set as delivered; claimed height is 26.5 inches). The seat is so low that swinging a leg over it is no different than stepping over a crack in a root-heaved sidewalk. It’s also covered in more weather-resistant leather than that used in 2014.

The Scout has a multipiece aluminum chassis that saves weight through rational design. The front downtubes are a one-piece casting that incorporates the steering head and additionally serve as the radiator shrouds. Out back is a one-piece casting that includes the swingarm plates and tailsection. These front and rear castings bolt to the bottom front and rear of the engine, which is a stressed member without frame elements beneath it. Two side-by-side, multipiece backbones from the steering head to the rear casting tie the structure together above the engine.

Wheelbase is a rangy 61.0 inches, and the Scout is relaxed in rake and trail, having 29 degrees of the first and 4.7 inches of the latter. The wheels at both ends are of the same dimensions—16 x 3.5 inches—but carry different size Kenda tires: a 130/90-16 72H up front and a 150/80-16 71H rear. These fat tires on little wheels disguise the Scout’s smaller-than-normal size; it’s a 7/8-scale cruiser, à la Smokey Yunick.

Indian, of course, targeted the Sportster, and most of the rest of us will make that comparison too. This is valid in the market and in our minds, but the riding experience really is very different. Still: Compared to the last Sportster 1200 Custom we tested, the Scout is about 6 pounds lighter, made 18 more horsepower and 9 less pound-feet of torque, has a sixth gear, and costs $300 more than a 2014 model. Plus, there’s got to be an easy additional 40 hp hiding in this engine. Basically, it’s untenable that Indian could create the overriding competency of this bike yet have the converse incompetence for its modern, efficient powerplant of 1,133cc to not be capable of 140 hp. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to output on this engine in future models or when breathing on it, remapping it, etc.

The Scout is one of the best-balanced shapes of any cruiser-type motorcycle made, successfully carrying forward the lines and proportions of the 1928 Scout to work in the modern world, as the designers intended. The headlight is basically a copy of the one used on pre-war models, and the forward-slanting fuel tank maintains the original Scout’s go-fast look.

We were first given the chance to ride the Scout on the winding roads of South Dakota’s Black Hills then got one back at our Southern California HQ for full instrumented testing and more mileage. The seating position is right on for a 5-foot-10 rider, with a comfortable reach to the bars and foot controls, and Indian offers fitment options for riders at the far ends of adult sizes. The stock solo leather seat is grand, and after a long day on the road there was none of that burning-cheek feeling. (A passenger pad and pegs are available.) The non-adjustable hand levers are well placed, and the mirrors provide a good rear view, though adjustment tended to wander if the stalks weren’t set to allow the mirrors to be in the center of their swivel-ball adjustment range.

The Scout is smooth and swift from a dead stop. The EFI is crisp across the rev range, transitioning from on-off changes without the hesitation or glitch. The throttle has a linear, almost rheostatic relationship to engine output. At low rpm, engine vibration is close to nil. At high revs, particularly 5,000 rpm and up, the engine did produce quite a bit of a buzz. At 70 mph in sixth, the Scout engine is smooth, but a few testers sensed some buzz at 75-plus.

On the quiet end of the rev range, the Scout is tame and can be ridden as a comfortable, easy-to-handle cruiser for beginners, or it can be railed down a twisty highway as a low-slung performance bike, perfectly behaved at both ends of that scale. Third gear works great for bombing corners on a winding road, and 6,500 to 7,500 is the sweet rev range for instant-on power and prime engine braking. This is not air-cooled V-twin instant low-end response like from a 1200 Sportster.

The transmission on the Scout we rode around Sturgis was certain and smooth with short throws and no missed shifts. The 450-mile testbike we got in California was inconsistent on the 1-2 upshift and could be a bit vague on other shifts. We’d like to see more positive shift action front this gearbox.

It’s surprising that a bike so heaped with historical responsibility can also be such a hoot at bombing the twisties. The 16-inch tires work great with the well-damped suspension to make for sure handling and no skittishness in fast corners, with neutral chassis behavior even when trail braking hard down to the apex. Cornering clearance is decent for the class, but the handling character makes you wish for more lean angle.

Steering at low speeds is light and precise, and the low center of gravity rewards the use of both brakes. Although the single front disc has good feel and light effort, a second front disc would be welcome.

For comfortable, sporty cruising, and for carrying the Indian torch, the new Scout succeeds. It’s a modern interpretation of the name, a reflection of heritage, not an imitation of outdated technologies. Fit and finish is excellent, and colors include red and black plus matte finishes in smoked black and smoked silver.

Indian has made a big bet with the Scout and worked hard to make a statement at its Sturgis launch. It hired the American Motor Drome Company’s Wall of Death and Charlie Ransom (who looks as though he just stepped out of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes) to take a modded version of this bike to the boards. That was seriously impressive. It’s not common for a manufacturer to associate itself with a daredevil sideshow, yet Indian rolled out its Scout in old-school carnival style: scary, dangerous, fantastic, with no hands. And it was real. If this were the only true beginning of this Scout’s history, it’s a damn great start.

As read on: http://www.cycleworld.com/2014/10/30/2015-indian-scout-road-test-cruiser-motorcycle-review-photos-specifications/

10 motorcycle safety tips for new riders – Expert advice for first-time and returning riders

Motorcycles are fun and fuel efficient. That’s not news to anyone who’s ridden one. But neither is the fact that they’re also way more dangerous than a car. The cold reality is that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). And nearly half of all motorcycle deaths are the result of single-vehicle crashes.

The numbers are even scarier for older riders, who are increasingly taking up or returning to motorcycling after many years. Because of slower reflexes, weaker eyesight, more brittle bones, and other disadvantages, riders over 60 years old are three times more likely to be hospitalized after a crash than younger ones.

Still, many enthusiasts enjoy a lifetime of riding without injury. The key to optimizing your odds is to be prepared and avoid risks. Keep in mind that 48 percent of fatalities in 2010 involved speeding, according to the IIHS, and alcohol was a factor in 42 percent. Eliminate those factors and you’ve dramatically reduced your risk.

Below are some more tips to help you stay safe on two wheels. Learn more in our motorcycle hub, buying guide, and in our reliability and owner satisfaction report.

Don’t buy more bike than you can handle. If you’ve been off of motorcycles for awhile, you may be surprised by the performance of today’s bikes. Even models with small-displacement engines are notably faster and more powerful than they were 10 or 20 years ago.

When shopping for a bike, start with one that fits you. When seated, you should easily be able to rest both feet flat on the ground without having to be on tiptoes. Handlebars and controls should be within easy reach. Choose a model that’s easy for you to get on and off the center stand; if it feels too heavy, it probably is. A smaller model with a 250- to 300-cc engine can make a great starter or commuter bike. If you plan on doing a lot of highway riding, you might want one with an engine in the 500- to 750-cc range so you can easily keep up with traffic. (Before buying, see our report on motorcycle reliability and owner satisfaction.)

Invest in antilock brakes. Now available on a wide array of models, antilock brakes are a proven lifesaver. IIHS data shows that motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without it. “No matter what kind of rider you are, ABS can brake better than you,” says Bruce Biondo of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Motorcycle Safety Program.

The reason is simple: Locking up the brakes in a panic stop robs the rider of any steering control. That can easily lead to a skid and crash, which can result in serious injury. ABS helps you retain steering control during an emergency stop, and it can be especially valuable in slippery conditions.

This critical feature is now standard on many high-end models and adds only a few hundred dollars to the price of more basic bikes. You may be able to offset some of the cost with an insurance discount. Either way, we think it’s a worthwhile investment in your safety.

Hone your skills. As Honda’s Jon Seidel puts it, “There is nothing we could say or advise more than to go find a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) riding course in your area. That’s critical, absolutely critical.” An MSF course or similar class can teach you the basics, as well as advanced techniques, such as how to perform evasive emergency maneuvers. The cost ranges from free to about $350. An approved safety course may make you eligible for an insurance discount and, in some states, to skip the road-test and/or the written test part of the licensing process. Some motorcycle manufacturers offer a credit toward the cost of a new motorcycle or training if a rider signs up for an MSF course. The MSF website lists about 2,700 locations for such courses around the United States.

Use your head. Yes, helmets are an emotional topic for some riders. But the facts show the risk. Riders without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries, than those with helmets, according to government studies.

When Texas and Arkansas repealed their helmet laws, they saw a 31- and 21-percent increase in motorcycle fatalities, respectively. “It is absolute insanity to repeal helmet laws,” says Orly Avitzur, M.D., a neurologist and a Consumer Reports medical adviser. “Because helmets do save lives, it is insanity to expose the skull and the brain to potential trauma that could be prevented or at least mitigated.”

A full-face helmet that’s approved by the Department of Transportation is the best choice. (Look for a DOT certification sticker on the helmet.) Modern helmets are strong, light weight, and comfortable, and they cut down on wind noise and fatigue. Keep in mind that helmets deteriorate over time, and may not be safe even if they look fine. The Snell Memorial Foundation, an independent helmet testing and standards-setting organization, recommends replacing a helmet every five years, or sooner if it’s been damaged or has been in a crash. Beyond potential deterioration due to aging and exposure to hair oils and chemicals, Snell points out that there is often a notable improvement over that time in helmet design and materials.

Wear the right gear. Jeans, a T-shirt, and sandals are recipes for a painful disaster on a bike. Instead, you want gear that will protect you from wind chill, flying bugs and debris, and, yes, lots of road rash if you should slide out. For maximum protection, go for a leather or other reinforced jacket, gloves, full pants, and over-the-ankle footwear, even in summer. Specially designed jackets with rugged padding and breathable mesh material provide protection as well as ventilation for riding in warm weather. You’ll also want effective eye protection; don’t rely on eyeglasses or a bike’s windscreen. Use a helmet visor or goggles. And keep in mind that car drivers who have hit a motorcycle rider often say they just didn’t see them, so choose gear in bright colors.

Be defensive. A recent study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that in collisions involving a motorcycle and a car, car drivers were at fault 60 percent of the time. So, you need to be extra alert, especially in this age of epidemic phone use and texting behind the wheel. Keep an eye out for cars suddenly changing lanes or pulling out from side streets. And don’t tailgate; keeping a safe following distance is critical, both to ensure you have enough stopping distance and so you have time to react to obstacles in the road. An object that a car might easily straddle could be a serious hazard when on a bike.

Avoid bad weather. Slippery conditions reduce your margin for error. Rain not only cuts your visibility but reduces your tires’ grip on the road, which can make cornering tricky. If you need to ride in the rain, remember that the most dangerous time is right after precipitation begins, as the water can cause oil residue to rise to the top. And avoid making sudden maneuvers. Be especially gentle with the brakes, throttle, and steering to avoid sliding. When riding in strong side winds, be proactive in anticipating the potential push from the side by moving to the side of the lane the wind is coming from. This will give you some leeway in the lane, should a gust nudge you.

Watch for road hazards. A motorcycle has less contact with the pavement than a car. Sand, wet leaves, or pebbles can cause a bike to slide unexpectedly, easily resulting in a spill. Bumps and potholes that you might barely notice in a car can pose serious danger when on a bike. If you can’t avoid them, slow down as much as possible before encountering them, with minimal steering input. Railroad tracks and other hazards should be approached as close to a right angle as possible, to reduce the chances of a skid.

Be ready to roll. Before each ride, do a quick walk-around to make sure your lights, horn, and directional signals are working properly. Check the chain, belt, or shaft and the brakes. And inspect the tires for wear and make sure they’re set at the proper pressure. Motorcycle mechanics we’ve spoken with say they routinely see worn-out brakes and improperly inflated tires that greatly increase safety risks. When tires are under-inflated, “handling gets really hard, steering gets hard, and the bike doesn’t want to lean,” says Mike Franklin, owner of Mike’s Garage in Los Angles.

As read on: http://consumerreports.org/cro/2013/04/10-motorcycle-safety-tips-for-new-riders/index.htm

An Early American, Ready to Try Again

On Sept. 17, 2003, an all-new model from the Indian Motorcycle Company of America was delivered to me for a review.

Two days later, the Gilroy, Calif., company locked its doors and went out of business. Its disappearance was so sudden and so complete that I had no idea where to return the motorcycle.

The comings and goings of would-be makers of motorcycles carrying the Indian brand name have for years been a steady source of work for reporters. But this was the first time that I recall having to write a birth announcement and a death notice in the same week.

A list of the various entities that have claimed ownership of the Indian name, trademarks or motorcycle brand would be long indeed. The original Indian motorcycles came from Springfield, Mass., in 1901 — two years ahead of Harley-Davidson’s arrival — and lasted until 1953, along the way establishing a strong reputation on racetracks.

Since then, at least a dozen purveyors have used the brand name and logo, some legitimate, some clearly not. In fact, in 1998, the Gilroy-based company had to consolidate rights from nine claimants before it could begin the process of creating its own short-lived version.

So it was with a measure of wariness — even suspicion — that the news was received in 2011 that Polaris Industries, known for its snowmobiles and watercraft, would be the latest to acquire the rights to Indian.

But it’s worth noting that Polaris also is the parent company of the well-regarded Victory Motorcycles, which it established 15 years ago. So Indian’s newest owners at least were experienced and competent in the art of making motorcycles.

Polaris, a company with $3 billion in sales based in Medina, Minn., also offered the Indian name something it had lacked for decades — the deep pockets required to build no-compromises bikes.

In the two years since its purchase, Polaris has invested tens of millions of dollars, expanding the research and development department, production capabilities and other infrastructure it determined were needed to give Indian a fitting revival.

At the huge Sturgis, S.D., motorcycle rally in August, the company unveiled a new lineup of heavyweight cycles bearing the Indian logo: the Chief Classic ($19,399 including shipping), Chief Vintage ($21,399) and Chieftain ($23,399).

The 111-cubic-inch (1.8 liters, if you prefer) Thunder Stroke V-twin engine that powers all three is billed as Indian’s first all-new power plant in 70 years.

“People questioned whether we were just going to slap an Indian logo on a Victory motorcycle and call it ‘mission accomplished,’ ” Steve Menneto, vice president for motorcycles at Polaris, said in an interview before the introduction.

“Our new Indians are just that: new, all new,” he said. “They share less than 1 percent of content with Victory.”

Although the Indian models are built in shared facilities with Victory in Spirit Lake, Iowa, Mr. Menneto said the personnel, equipment and production lines were all separate.

The power source for the Indian line is a fuel-injected 49-degree V-Twin that produces 119 pound-feet of torque. It hews to tradition with air cooling, and considerable effort was devoted to preserving nostalgic styling cues like the angled cooling fins on the cylinder heads and the positioning of the exhaust pipes. Before its introduction, Mr. Menneto said, the engine had been subjected to the equivalent of more than two million development miles.

Engineers also lavished considerable attention on the sound it would make — a key consideration for a motorcycle that is aimed directly at the Harley constituency.

Indeed, the engine roars to life with a deep, satisfying-but-not-deafening report. Hammer on the throttle and the resulting bam-bam-bam is almost like that of an old fighter plane. Well played.

The Thunder Stroke 111 is meant to trump Harley-Davidson’s largest offerings in every way. Lacking a scientific side-by-side comparison, I can only say that from a subjective standpoint, it’s game over.

The engine feels particularly well-sorted, even when subjected to the harshest environments. I rode 400 miles from Southern California to Utah recently, with only two brief stops for fuel; the trip lasted six hours and averaged 70 m.p.h. up and down several mountain ranges, up to 10,420 feet in elevation in Utah, through 107-degree temperatures in Baker, Calif., and even in some stop-and-go traffic around Las Vegas.

Yes, the heat roiling off the engine then was duly noted. But there was nary a hesitation from the Thunder Stroke 111. The power at all speeds was instant and gratifying.

Gary Gray, Indian’s product director, had told me before the trip that I could expect to average “low to mid-40s” in my fuel economy.

That sounded optimistic, as I typically see mileage from the high 20s to mid-30s in long-distance tests of heavyweights from Harley, Honda and Moto Guzzi. But I averaged a commendable 42 m.p.g. for my Indian romp.

The bike was also all-day comfortable, in seating and riding position, implacably stable and easy to ride. It did not feel the least bit tippy or cumbersome at slow speeds, as some heavyweights do. The brakes provided good stopping power, and I liked that the antilock system did not link front and rear brakes.

The new Indians are easy on the eye, too. The Chief and the Vintage are such singular Indian classics that they almost designed themselves, Mr. Menneto said. “They each have five or six iconic styling cues, and we brought those forward and added modern-day tech.”

Along with the valanced fenders, teardrop fuel tank, leather saddle and lighted mascot on the front fender, the base bike, the Chief Classic, has a 6-speed transmission, air-adjustable single-shock rear suspension, cruise control, belt drive, antilock brakes and keyless starting with central remote locking.

A step up to the Vintage adds fringed tan leather quick-release saddlebags, a matching leather two-place seat, additional chrome trim and a quick-release windshield.

The most intriguing offering is the top-line Chieftain. It is the first bagger — a model with hard saddlebags and front fairing — that has ever worn the Indian badge.

“The Chief and the Vintage are quintessential Indians,” Mr. Gray said. “With the Chieftain, we weren’t as restricted in what we could do from a styling standpoint. The fork-mounted fairing is shaped with a streamlined 1930s locomotive in mind.”

The Chieftain also is equipped with an audio system (including fairing-mounted speakers), 12-volt power plug, Bluetooth capability, tire pressure sensors and motorized windshield adjustment.

“The bagger segment is one of the largest in the industry, and we knew that is one of the arenas we had to play in,” Mr. Menneto said.

Reminded that Victory has a similar offering in the Vision, Mr. Menneto said internal research indicated there was little chance of one brand cannibalizing sales of the other.

Still, during one of my brief stops on the test ride, a Vision owner pulled up to admire the Chieftain.

“I love my bike,” the rider told me. “I won’t trade it for anything. Except maybe that.”

As read on: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/automobiles/autoreviews/an-early-american-ready-to-try-again.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1381858096-RAgWve6HAWR7huSbUEhXGw

OUR 5TH ANNUAL CHILI COOK-OFF & CHARITY RIDE EVENT IS COMING UP SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6TH, 2013!

Join us for this years Ride to benefit the
Penrickton Center for Blind Children
Sunday, October 6th, 2013!

*Registration begins at 8:30am
*Ride will Depart from Dick Scott’s Classic Motorcycles
at 10am SHARP
*Arrive in Downtown Plymouth to enjoy the Great Lakes Regional Chili Cook-off and Bike Show around 11:15am!

We will have a Police Escort and
VIP Parking when we arrive at the event!

*$10.00 Per Rider
(Includes Police Escort and VIP Parking)

Meet at Dick Scott’s Classic Motorcycles
36534 Plymouth Rd, Livonia, MI 48150 before 10am
RSVP by calling 877-388-9508

chili cook-off flyer-DONE

The Redesigned 2014 Indian Motorcycle

In the decades following its bankruptcy in 1953, Indian Motorcycle was the target of several companies that tried unsuccessfully to revive the storied brand, the leading motorcycle manufacturer of its time.

But now Indian has the financial muscle to make it happen. Polaris (PII), the maker of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and Victory motorcycles, bought Indian in 2011 and is moving at full throttle to bring it back to prominence.

Standing in the way is industry giant Harley-Davidson (HOG), a longtime Indian rival back in the day that has amassed a 57% share of the heavyweight cruiser market.
Victory was built 15 years ago as a potential alternative to Harley-Davidson but has amassed only a 5% market share, largely taking a piece out of Japanese competitors Honda (HMC), Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki. Now Indian is taking aim at the market leader, even running a television ad featuring a Harley-Davidson bike sporting a for-sale sign outside the owner’s garage.

Perhaps Indian can pick up where Victory fell short, boasting a brand new motorcycle set to debut early next month and a rich heritage that rivals the lore of Harley-Davidson.
Mike Wolfe, who co-stars alongside Frank Fritz on History Channel’s “American Pickers,” likes Indian’s chances for success in the renewed rivalry.
“Will Indian take Harley-Davidson down to its knees? No, at least not right away,” said Wolfe, a pitchman for Indian who often comes across vintage bikes on his travels across the country. “But now there’s a choice.”

Blending Heritage With Modern Engineering

Founded in 1901, Indian traces its roots to the first American motorcycle. It quickly became the top motorcycle brand, having developed the first-ever V-twin motorcycle and first electric starter. The company built a reputation among everyday bikers, racers and with the military, supplying the U.S. Army with bikes such as the Chief.
When I get one of these, I’m going to be as proud as the guy who bought one in 1948.
– Mike Wolfe, “American Pickers”

The resurrected Indian seeks to combine the styling of yesteryear with modern engineering, exemplified by the 111 cubic-inch Thunder Stroke engine that will power the all-new Chief.

“It’s a phenomenal American story with an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Steve Menneto, Vice President of Motorcycles at Polaris. “We wanted to bring that forward and blend it into what we’re doing with the brand. We want to show riders what we learned from Indian’s history.”

While its heritage is a central part of what Indian is doing, the new Chief isn’t exactly your grandfather’s motorcycle. “We’re going to build bikes into the future,” Menneto added.

Wolfe, whose Antique Archaeology stores are located in LeClaire, Iowa, and Nashville, Tenn., called what Indian is doing “a sort of a double-edged sword,” as the bike builder looks to celebrate its history while “helping people understand there’s an old Indian and a new Indian.”

Menneto compared Indian’s strategy to that of General Motors’ (GM) Chevrolet, which drew on the styling of the late-1960s Camaro when it brought the model back to showrooms for 2010.

The Thunder Stroke—bigger than Harley’s 110 cubic-inch engine—was the first piece of the 2014 Chief that Indian unveiled to kick off its full re-launch. Indian’s 2013 lineup was built around a 105 cubic-inch PowerPlus engine.

Wolfe said the folks at Indian rode the original bikes as much as possible, getting a feel for how the bikes handled, the seat position and other design elements. “They took all of that knowledge with them,” he added.

“We have six or seven styling cues from the 1940s Chief and a new powertrain with the Thunder Stroke,” Menneto said. “We wanted to blend our rich history with a high quality bike and engineering ingenuity.”

Indian’s latest creation will be revealed on Aug. 3 at the 73rd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. And two days later, the 2014 Indian Chief will be presented to a nationwide audience on “American Pickers.” Indian is also sponsoring Bike Week on the History Channel.

“I get approached by lots of brands, but this makes a lot of sense for me. I feel like I’m knowledgeable, and I’m proud to talk about Indian,” Wolfe said, noting how viewers of his show are familiar with his affection for Indian bikes. “To the average guy, he knows I’m an Indian guy.”

Gunning for Harley-Davidson

The hardest part begins after the re-launch at Sturgis, as Indian hopes an innovative new engine can rev up sales and help the brand reclaim its position as a major player in the motorcycle world.

Victory currently accounts for most of Polaris’s on-road vehicles unit, which saw its sales jump 64% last year to $240 million. Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson has annual sales of $5.6 billion, outpacing the $3.2 billion in total sales recorded by Medina, Minnesota-based Polaris last year.

Regardless, Polaris is the type of company that Indian needed to regain its stature.
“For it to be owned by Polaris is incredible,” Wolfe said. “Other companies had the passion but not the money. They were just pushing the same product forward. Polaris had the wherewithal to launch a completely new bike.”

With a starting price of $18,999, Indian hopes riders will see the value in buying a bike powered by a 111 cubic-inch engine at that price point. Harley’s Road King is comparatively priced at $17,699 but features a 103 cubic-inch engine.

“Our first goal is to make our bikes affordable. It’s premium compared to competitors, but consumers will realize the value they’re getting. The value will come forward quickly,” Menneto said.

Indian’s 2013 Chief Classic, with the 105 cubic-inch PowerPlus engine, starts at a much higher price point at $26,499.

“They’ve made a better bike and dropped the price,” Wolfe said of the soon-to-be-unveiled Chief.

A Harley-Davidson spokesperson said the company takes all competitors seriously, especially its competitors in the U.S. Competition is good for the industry, the spokesperson added.

“No question, Harley-Davidson is an excellent company and tough competition. They’ve owned the market for heavyweight V-twin motorcycles,” Menneto commented. “Indian can be, and is, a viable choice for consumers. We’re strong competition for Harley-Davidson, hopefully for a long time, and they are also strong competition for us.”
At the heart of Indian’s sales effort are independent dealers sprinkled across the U.S. and in international regions like Asia and Europe.

The company is right on schedule with bringing in dealers, Menneto said, and Indian expects to see more dealers show interest after it launches the Chief. He also noted that dealers have confidence in Polaris and its commitment to making Indian a success again.
Indian said it’s on target to have between 120 and 140 U.S. dealers in place by the end of this year.

“Our plan is to have a full dealer network in the U.S. and around the world,” Menneto explained.

Indian had its eyes on a global presence right from the start, pursuing dealers in Europe, Japan, China, India and elsewhere.

The European market presents an interesting opportunity for Indian. Many of the 40,000 Indian bikes used for military service were left behind when U.S. troops left Europe after World War II, Polaris’s most recent annual report noted, so the company expects to see strong interest in the region.

“The market is still growing. It’s still not where it was before 2008, but it’s still growing,” Menneto said, speaking about the overall market for motorcycles. “People are really enthusiastic. They’re passionate. It’s a part of their life. There’s a need for choice in the marketplace, and a lot of enthusiasts are looking for a change.”
And for Wolfe, the history and ingenuity behind Indian makes it a compelling choice.
“People want to feel pride in what they own, I don’t care what it is,” said Wolfe, who has been collecting for the last 25 years. “When I get one of these, I’m going to be as proud as the guy who bought one in 1948.”

Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2013/07/19/indian-motorcycle-takes-aim-at-harley-davidson/#ixzz2a4IycG7W

POLARIS REPORTS RECORD FIRST QUARTER 2012 RESULTS; EPS INCREASED 27% TO $0.85 ON 25% SALES GROWTH

First Quarter Highlights:

  1. Net income increased 27% to $60.1 million, or $0.85 per diluted share, with sales climbing 25% to $673.8 million, representing a record for first quarter sales and earnings.
  2. Off-Road Vehicle sales increased 30% and On-Road Vehicle sales increased 44% during the 2012 first quarter.
  3. North American retail sales remained strong, increasing 17% in the first quarter compared to a year ago.
  4. Gross profit margins expanded 60 basis points to 28.9% due to manufacturing realignment savings and lower product and warranty costs.
  5. Raising guidance for full year 2012 earnings to a range of $3.85 to $4.00 per diluted share, an increase of 20% to 25% over 2011 based on expected full year 2012 sales growth of 10% to 13%.

 

MINNEAPOLIS (April 18, 2012) — Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) today reported record first quarter net income of $60.1 million, or $0.85 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2012.  By comparison, 2011 first quarter net income was $47.3 million, or $0.67 per diluted share. Net sales for the first quarter 2012 totaled $673.8 million, an increase of 25 percent from last year’s first quarter sales of $537.2 million.

 

“Our record first quarter results reflect not only the continued strength of our business and solid execution of our strategy, but also a healthy start to the year for our end markets,” commented Scott Wine, Polaris’ Chief Executive Officer.  “Retail sales in the North American off-road vehicle and motorcycle industries are off to their best start in years, and through our innovative products and motivated dealers, Polaris continued to gain market share.  We have significant work to do, but as momentum built throughout the first quarter, we gained confidence that 2012 will be another record year for Polaris, as indicated by our increased full year sales and earnings guidance.”

“Sales increased 25 percent during the first quarter 2012, driven by robust sales of our Off-Road Vehicles and motorcycles.  Customer demand for our broad array of RANGER® and RANGER RZR® side-by-side vehicles continues to exceed our expectations, both in North America and our international markets.  Our international sales, which include the recent acquisition of Goupil, grew 20 percent for the quarter in spite of the continuing EU economic uncertainty.  We are well positioned to meet this higher demand, as we have increased production at our Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin plants, while our Monterrey, Mexico plant continues to raise production levels.  In addition, North American dealer inventories remain in line with our previous projections, with decreased ATV inventory year over year and increased side-by-side vehicle dealer inventory to meet the higher demand.  Season-end snowmobile dealer inventory is higher than a year ago due to the poor snowfall, but remains at manageable levels.”

“Looking ahead, strong retail demand in the first quarter and our expectations for the remainder of the year underscores our confidence in raising our full year 2012 guidance for sales and earnings,” continued Wine.  “Cash flow is expected to remain strong and our balance sheet remains solid with $286 million of cash on hand and minimal debt.  Additionally, we are realizing the expected savings from our manufacturing realignment project, which provides support to our ongoing margin expansion efforts.  Given our excellent start, and despite continued caution about the economy in the second half of the year and particularly the fourth quarter, we believe 2012 is shaping up to be another record year for Polaris.”

 

2012 Business Outlook

Based on Polaris’ performance during the 2012 first quarter and projections for the remainder of the year, the Company is increasing its 2012 full year sales and earnings guidance.The Company now expects full year 2012 earnings to be in the range of $3.85 to $4.00 per diluted share, an increase of 20 to 25 percent over earnings of $3.20 per diluted share for the full year 2011.  Sales for the full year 2012 are now expected to grow in the range of 10 to 13 percent.

First Quarter Performance Summary  (in thousands except per share data)

Three Months ended March 31,

Product Line Sales

2012

2011

Change

 Off-Road Vehicles

$ 504,567

$ 388,019

30%

 Snowmobiles

4,647

8,935

-48%

 On-Road Vehicles

64,656

44,908

44%

 Parts, Garments & Accessories

99,880

95,336

5%

Total Sales

$  673,750

$  537,198

25%

Gross Profit

$ 194,963

$ 151,835

28%

Gross profit as a % of sales

28.9%

28.3%

+60 bps

Operating Expenses

$ 110,599

$ 87,538

26%

Operating expenses as a % of sales

16.4%

16.3%

-10 bps

Operating Income

$ 91,547

$ 69,583

32%

Operating Income as a % of sales

13.6%

13.0%

+60 bps

Net Income

$ 60,078

$ 47,310

27%

Net income as a % of sales

8.9%

8.8%

+10 bps

Diluted Net Income per share

$ 0.85

$ 0.67

27%

 

Off-Road Vehicle (“ORV”) sales increased 30 percent from the first quarter 2011 to $504.6 million.  This increase reflects strong market share gains for both ATV and side-by-side vehicles, primarily driven by new product offerings, including the recently introduced RANGER RZR XP4® 900, and increased sales in our military business.  North American consumer ORV retail sales increased mid-twenties percent for the 2012 first quarter from the first quarter last year, with side-by-side vehicle retail sales once again increasing significantly and ATV retail sales increasing double digits percent.  North American dealer ORV inventories for the 2012 first quarter were up slightly from the first quarter of 2011, as additional side-by-sides were shipped to meet increasing demand.  Sales of ORVs outside of North America increased 15 percent in the first quarter 2012 when compared to the first quarter 2011, due to market share gains and positive mix benefit from greater sales of higher priced side-by-side vehicles.

Snowmobile sales totaled $4.6 million for the 2012 first quarter compared to $8.9 million for the first quarter of 2011.  Historically, the first quarter is a slow quarter for snowmobile shipments to dealers.  The North American snowmobile industry finished the selling season in March 2012 with retail sales down less than five percent compared to the prior season, in spite of unusually warm weather and minimal snowfall in many parts of the U.S. Snowbelt regions, whereas Polaris’ retail snowmobile sales for the season were about even with the prior season’s results.  Polaris led the North American industry in market share gains, and recorded its highest season-ending market share since 2004.  Season-end North American dealer inventories for Polaris snowmobiles are higher than last year, but remain manageable given the previous season’s very low dealer inventory levels.  During the first quarter the Company introduced ten new or significantly updated model year 2013 snowmobiles with industry-leading innovation, technology and value, including updated PRO-RMK® models, now lightest in the industry at 417 pounds and an all new version of the legendary Indy model, the new Indy® 600.

On-Road Vehicle sales, comprised primarily of Victory motorcycles, but also including Indian motorcycles and our GEM and Goupil electric vehicles, increased 44 percent over Q1 2011 to $64.7 million.  Notably, the 2011 acquisitions of Indian, GEM and Goupil contributed about half of On-Road Vehicles first quarter revenue growth.  North American industry heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle retail sales increased mid-teens percent during the 2012 first quarter compared to the prior year’s first quarter.  Over the same period, Victory North American unit retail sales increased approximately 40 percent, while North American Victory dealer inventory increased slightly versus 2011 levels to support these sales and market share gains.  During the 2012 first quarter the Company began shipments of two new Victory models, the Victory Hard-Ball™ and the new Victory Judge™, an American muscle motorcycle.  Polaris sales of On-Road Vehicles to customers outside of North America, now including Goupil, increased over 100 percent during the 2012 first quarter compared to the prior year’s first quarter.

Parts, Garments and Accessories (“PG&A”) sales increased five percent during the first quarter 2012 compared to the same period last year.  The increase was primarily driven by higher RANGER™ side-by-side vehicle related sales, largely offset by weak snow related PG&A sales due to the unseasonably warm winter.

Gross profit was 28.9 percent of sales for the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 60 basis points from the first quarter of 2011; while over the same period gross profit dollars increased 28 percent to $195.0 million.  The first quarter 2012 increase in gross profit dollars and margin percentage was driven by volume, cost savings from the manufacturing realignment project, continued product cost reduction efforts, lower warranty costs, and higher selling prices, partially offset by commodity cost increases and negative product mix.

Operating expenses for first quarter 2012 grew 26 percent to $110.6 million or 16.4 percent of sales, compared to $87.5 million or 16.3 percent of sales for the first quarter of 2011.  Operating expenses in absolute dollars for the first quarter of 2012 rose primarily due to planned strategic investments and increased research and development activities related to new products under development.

Income from financial services was $7.2 million during first quarter 2012, an increase of 36 percent compared to $5.3 million in the first quarter of 2011, largely due to increased profitability generated from the retail credit portfolios with Sheffield, GE and HSBC.

Non-operating other income was $2.6 million in the first quarter of 2012, as compared to $3.2 million in the first quarter of 2011.  The change in income stems from foreign currency exchange rate movements and the resulting effects on foreign currency transactions and balance sheet positions related to the Company’s foreign subsidiaries from period to period.

The provision for income taxes for the first quarter 2012 was recorded at a rate of 35.1 percent of pretax income compared to 34.5 percent of pretax income for the first quarter 2011.  The higher income tax rate for the first quarter 2012 is primarily due to the United States Congress not yet extending the research and development income tax credit as of March 31, 2012.

Financial Position and Cash Flow

Net cash used for operating activities was $0.7 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012 compared to net cash provided by operating activities of $4.8 million for the first quarter of 2011.  The quarter over quarter change in net cash from operating activities is the result of higher net income for the quarter, offset by a higher investment in working capital in the 2012 period, primarily due to the payment of certain accrued compensation liabilities.  Total debt at the end of the first quarter 2012 was $108.1 million.  During the 2012 first quarter, the Company increased its quarterly dividend payment 64 percent to $0.37 per share and paid a total of $25.3 million in dividends to shareholders.  The Company’s debt-to-total capital ratio was 16 percent at March 31, 2012, compared to 34 percent a year ago.  Cash and cash equivalents were $285.9 million at March 31, 2012 compared to $345.9 million for the same period in 2011.

As read on: http://www.polarisindustries.com/en-us/Company/News/Pages/News-Item.aspx?articleID=57

Demo Ride and NEW Product Announcements!

We had a fantastic Event Last Friday & Saturday!!
A HUGE Thanks to the Wolverine State Victory Riders for all your help!
We met a lot of new people and had an all around great time. We can’t wait
until our next event! We look for just about any reason to throw a good party.
The even was completed by Ken Mack and the Blackjack Band on Saturday
everyone enjoyed some great food, fun and great Classic Rock LIVE!

We had 140 riders come out and take a new 2012 Victory for a test ride and we
were busy selling tons of bikes over the weekend!! Our Showroom is looking a little empty
but the good news is more 2012 Models are rolling in AND we are excited to announce that
Coming VERY SOON we will also be selling Polaris ATV’s and Side x Sides!!

Click Here to see all the great Pictures from our Demo Ride Event!
And watch here and on our Facebook Page for more announcements on
our new additions!!

THIS Friday and Saturday the Victory Demo Truck is HERE!

More tips for Riding in Extreme Heat

Don’t forget that once the temperature gets above your body temperature (~99°F / ~37°C), you don’t want to be wearing a mesh jacket. You want to zip up all of your vents and keep as much of your skin covered as possible. Hot air hitting your skin at a temperature higher than your body temperature will heat up your skin and dehydrate you faster than you’ll know it’s happening.

Cover your neck with a soaking wet bandana, wet down your T-shirt, and stop often to re-soak both. Drink way more water than you think you’ll need.

Heatstroke is a very real possibility on a motorcycle, and at high temperatures, mesh clothing will not help with this. If you do wear a mesh jacket in these temps, make sure you have a Camelbak or some sort of hydration system, and drink water constantly.
There are two big things at work here.

1.Evaporation and
2.Insulation.
Both deal with sweating. Let’s look at each one separately. But first, a quick primer on sweat.  Sweat happens when your body transfers heat from itself into the air. When sweat evaporates, it cools down the surface of your skin.

OK, on to evaporation. Evaporation can only happen when there’s less moisture in the air than on your skin. So if you are in a big hot stinky swamp pit, evaporation ain’t gonna do much for you. If there is no evaporation happening, your body will stop sweating. This is very bad, and you will soon be very unhappy as your body overheats.

So now you are thinking, “won’t closing your vents ensure that your suit becomes a big hot stinky swamp pit? Aren’t you ensuring that you’ll raise your core temperature too much because your sweat can’t evaporate?” If you are hard-core enough to ride in extremely hot weather when the humidity is high, let’s face it: nothing is going to be a perfect solution. At that point, you get yourself shade and water, and often. Also, assuming you’re touring, try riding at night or at higher elevations. However, in most of our daily lives, this isn’t going to be an issue. No one’s jacket is windproof (we all wish it was, especially in the wintertime!), so unless your idea of gear is Saran Wrap, your skin is going to be able to breathe and your sweat is not going to stop evaporating 100%.

So, on to our second idea: insulation. Earlier, we established that sweat is the body’s way of transferring heat from itself to the air. This can only happen if the air is cooler than the body. Otherwise, the skin will draw heat from the air. Why is this a problem? It’s called vasodilation. The idea here is that as the body heats up, blood vessels enlarge to circulate more blood to the skin. Normally, this is good because the evaporative cooling process cools down the skin, and therefore, the blood. However, if your sweat evaporates too quickly and dries out, the skin absorbs heat from the air, which then actually heats up your blood. Mmm, nice hot blood circulating all over your body—especially up into your brain.

By zipping up your vents, you provide a layer of insulation between your skin and that hot air. By keeping your clothing wet, you augment your sweat and keep your skin (and therefore blood) cool. One thing mentioned in particular is a bandana. You could actually use a Cool Tie, which is a bandana-like tube filled with paraffin crystals that hold water much longer than cotton. In desert conditions,  soak this Cool Tie and wrap it around your neck while riding. It keeps the blood flowing to your brain cool, and helps keep your head on straight. It’s very easy to become confused when in the early stages of heatstroke, and keeping your blood cool is one big way to combat this.

To reiterate that this is only really applicable when the ambient temperature is above your body temperature. Also,  nothing against mesh jackets, but in extreme, 99°F+ / 37°C+, conditions, you have to be prepared to go into desert survival mode, which, includes zipping up vents and keeping the hot air and sun off of your skin. No matter what your opinion on the vents, it should also include frequent stops, lots of water (and/or some sports drink that replaces electrolytes and sugars you loose as you sweat), and lots of shade. If you’re not willing or able to make those sorts of preparations when riding in 99°F+ / 37°C+ weather, take the car or stay home. That isn’t being a big pansy; it’s being smart and safe.

http://www.motorcycletraveling.com/?p=20