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Tuesday Edition


When you start feeling tired it's what you do to keep pushing forward.

By LaLa, Bob T., Rogue, Sidehack Jerry, Sam Burns, Doc, Art Hall, Barry Green, Uncle Monkey and the rest of the Bikernet Crew

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Bandit is still out of the country. Literally on the other side of the world soaking in their summer weather. I am not sure about you but I have been working my ass off, I always try to be that way. I try to squeeze every bit of work, love, freedom, joy and fun out of every single day. I am EXHAUSTED. Don't take this the wrong way, but... I hope you're exhausted too. Because that means you're licking the plate clean and getting every morsel. That's what I'm doing. Hang on for news on Bandit.

The Bikernet Weekly News is sponsored in part by companies who also dig Freedom including: 
Cycle Source Magazine, the MRFLas Vegas BikefestIron Trader NewsChopperTown and BorntoRide.comSturgis Museum and don’t miss the Smoke Out


Budget deal helps veterans, drug fight

Measure has goodies for millions of Americans

Eliza Collins and Maureen Groppe


WASHINGTON – Congress passed a $400 billion budget deal Friday that busted through spending caps and suspended the debt limit for a year. It included money for disaster relief, opioid treatment and veterans, as well as a six-week spending package to keep the lights on at government agencies while a year-long spending bill gets drafted.

NEWS FROM ABATE ARIZONA-- I have some very bad news.
HM2001 motorcycle awareness; profiling; prevention bill will not be heard in committee. With only 90 signatures on the petition and only 7 signed into the RTS system, I have very limited support to go to the Speaker of the House or the Committee Chairman to persuade them to make sure the bill is heard.

I did speak to Speaker of the House Mesnard and he did assign it to committee like I asked but it is the committee chairman Eddie Farnsworth who has allowed it to die.

I spoke to the bill sponsors and other Representatives, both Democrat and Republican, who are in support of this. I have met with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Phoenix PD to discuss this. This is the language that law enforcement can support. It is not a “You have to do this” type of bill. It’s a suggestion that law enforcement and motorcyclists work together to fix the problem. It’s obvious that Representative Farnsworth, who says he rides a motorcycle, does not see this as an issue.

I asked for all of ABATE and other mro’s to sign the petition. I’ve asked for all to get on the RTS system and record your position on this. Both take less than 2 minutes each.

I do appreciate those who sent emails, signed the petition and on the RTS system. And especially those who made phone calls to Representative Farnsworth’s office.

But, without the support of the motorcycle community, there is nothing else I can do.

I’m sorry for those who will continue to be profiled. I will continue to fight for our rights. Even if others don’t care.

Mike Infanzon
ABATE of Arizona, State Lobbyist

left to right:Bill Baker, Jill Parham, Myrick Robbins
left to right:Bill Baker, Jill Parham, Myrick Robbins

News from the Sturgis Museum--

New Donations and Great Additions to the Museum!

The Sturgis 50th Anniversary Harley-Davidson, has been on loan to the museum for many years and through the support and dedication of the Parhams and our close relation to the National Museum, it now has a permanent home in Sturgis.

This year at Mecum Auction, Jill Parham officially donated the motorcycle by presenting the Executive Director with the title of the special motorcycle.

This limited edition motorcycle is on display in the Museum, be sure to come and learn about it and the other special exhibits.

Beautiful Work Donated by Quilter

Last summer, Jennifer & Roger Baggett visited the SMM and made an offer to sew a quilt from the museum t-shirts from the past.

True to their word and charitable hearts, they gave Myrick this beautiful, detailed quilt at the Mecum Auction in January.

This quilt will be used as a fundraiser for the Museum and you details on how you could own it will be announced soon!
Here are the latest announcements about the Sturgis Museum & Hall of Fame, the Black Hills and news in motorcycling

Telling the Stories

The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame Facebook page is great to catch the current news for the Museum, Sturgis and motorcycling, but did you know that it is much more than that?

The Executive Director has been posting cool videos on the motorcycles on display in the museum. These stories give you insight on these bikes and a close-up view.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and check-out our website for expanded stories and news!

Our Facebook Page


Meet Emma Garvin, the new Assistant Executive Director

Emma Garvin, has experience in office management and fundraising for non-profit organizations. She is associated with the flat-track racing community, friends with many Hall of Fame members and is well-connected with the motorcycle industry.

Emma will arrive in Sturgis, March 1st and will manage onsite events, memberships, and bookkeeping.

Please help us welcome Emma to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum!

Museum On the Move: Update

Even through the minus temperatures, construction has progressed and is on schedule.

The demolition is complete and the new addition foundation has been set. Next flooring and framing.

Thanks to your support, the museum will have more space beginning this summer!

By Lee Klancher

Available on Amazon

Be sure to use Amazon Smile when purchasing and Amazon will donate to the Sturgis Museum!

E3 Spark Plugs Announces Two Year Sponsorship

of American Flat Track Racing - Named Official Spark Plug

Ponte Vedra, FL, (February 15, 2018)…E3 Spark Plugs announces a renewed partnership with American Flat Track Racing for 2018 and 2019. As the series’ official spark plug for a second year in a row, E3 is very proud to be a sponsor of the world’s most prestigious form of dirt track motorcycle racing.

E3 Vice President of Motorsports & Marketing, Rob Fisher, says, “American Flat Track racing is always exciting to watch whether it’s new talent competing in AFT Singles short track, TT or half mile courses, or American Flat Track Twins racing globally in the professional ranks at 90+ HP. For enthusiasts like myself, this partnership allows us to work directly with racers that can test throttle response and durability under the most intense race conditions.”

In addition to the company’s partnership of American Flat Track Racing, E3 recently renewed its sponsorship program with Richie Morris Racing (RMR) for 2018. RMR operates a two rider program with Shayna Texter, riding in Singles and fresh off a win at Rolling Wheels, and GNC1 Rookie of the Year, Jarod Vanderkooi, who recently moved to flat track from road racing and is riding twins.

E3 Spark Plugs feature advanced DiamondFIRE electrode technology recognized for its immediate throttle response and consistent spark to achieve maximum horsepower.

In 2018, American Flat Track will be broadcast on NBCSN and offers encore telecasts on FANSChoice.tv in addition to live stream coverage. All events of American Flat Track Racing are available for viewing on NBCSN in 2018 or as post coverage on FansChoice.tv. Currently, all 18 events from 2017 are available for viewing. The 20 event schedule begins with the Daytona TT on Thursday, March 15. Gates open at 1:00 p.m. and the fun begins with AFT Singles Practice at 2:00 p.m. and concludes on October 6 at Meadowlands Mile in East Rutherford, NJ.

For more information about E3 ignition products, visit e3sparkplugs.com, or follow E3 on Facebook.

About E3

E3 Spark Plugs with patented DiamondFIRE technology, developed and validated by researchers from leading engineering universities, improves combustion efficiency for maximum performance. As one of the leading spark plug companies in the United States, E3 manufactures a complete line of spark plugs for automotive, small engine,powersports and racing application. In 2016, E3 expanded the company’s product line to include distributors, spark plug wires, coils and 02 sensors under the company’s DiamondFIRE brand. The DiamondFIRE line of ignition products firmly entrenches E3’s commitment to the automotive high performance and racing industry. For more information about E3 ignition products, visit e3sparkplugs.com, or follow E3 on Facebook.


HARLEY-DAVIDSON ISN’T THE ONLY manufacturer with roots in Milwaukee. Briggs & Stratton—known for their lawnmower motors—were founded in the Midwestern city too, just five years after The Motor Company.

That makes them a century old. And what better way to celebrate, than with a hand-made board tracker sporting a hot-rodded Briggs & Stratton power plant?

This amazing machine is the work of Jeff Wolf, who’s been building custom bikes and hot rods as a hobby for the past forty years. Jeff operates as Wolf Creative Customs out of his home workshop in Culver City, California and his son—who has his own surfboard shaping business—is usually roped in to help with designs.

Jeff’s specialty is gas-powered bicycles and one-off parts; board trackers like this one are his favorite. “I’ve always been fond of the timeless board track racer style,” he tells us, “and wanted to do something different.”

“I told myself this will be my last small cc build before I venture in to the big cc builds. After building just about every power plant I could fit into a bicycle frame, this one would have to make a statement.”

Jeff started with a custom frame, whipped up from scratch by his friend Richard Helmutt in Arizona. Richard supplied the frame complete with a custom-made, built-in fuel tank.

The forks look retro, but they’re actually brand new and sourced from the bicycle manufacturer Felt. Jeff wasn’t totally happy with the functionality though, so he added brackets to accommodate a mountain bike shock from DNM. He now has rebound and compression adjustment, and a lockout feature.

The wheels are 26” units, also from Felt. Jeff radial-laced the front to an off-the-shelf billet hub, and the rear to a one-off hub. There’s only one brake; it’s out back, and features a cable-actuated hydraulic caliper on a hand-made bracket.

The brake’s hooked up to an inverted lever, mounted to a set of hand-made stainless steel bars. The other end’s sporting an internal throttle, with a pair of hand-wrapped leather grips (made from an old belt) rounding out the cockpit. For a seat, Jeff modded an existing chopper pan, mounting it on a small shock to take the edge off.

And then there’s the motor: a 208 cc Briggs & Stratton flathead ripped out of a Junior class dragster. “It’s a class of racing within the NHRA,” Jeff explains. “The Briggs & Stratton Flathead Raptor is the choice of motors, making anywhere between eight and 45 horsepower.”

Jeff rebuilt the motor using a billet head, flat top piston, billet connecting rod and a re-ground custom cam with heavy-duty springs.

The head’s been ported, and there’s super light billet flywheel with adjustable timing too. The reduction drive system is from Sportsman Flyer, and has been modded to run with a Bully centrifugal clutch—so there’s no need for a hand-operated clutch.

A hand-made stainless steel intake is hooked up to a 22 mm Mikuni carb, and the exhaust is a modified Hooker header with a stainless end piece. All in all, the little 208 cc motor’s good for an incredible 60 mph (100 kph) with the current gearing. And because the bike still has working pedals, separate from the motor, it’s registered as a moped in Cali.

Pore over Jeff’s handiwork a few times, and you’ll notice a number of discreet custom-made aluminum parts—all designed, built and polished in-house. Valley Customs handled the paint, shooting the tank in a classy black coat with a pair of silver Wolf logos.

Though it’s a small cycle, the detail is impressive (just take a look at that plumbing under the tank). We know Jeff’s itching to move onto bigger bikes, but we certainly hope he has a few more petite racers like this up his sleeve.

After all, he should have a lot more time on his hands soon. “I’m getting close to retirement from my day job,” he tells us, “and look forward to doing more of this work.”

Wolf Creative Customs

Up N. and down S. the river.
Only traffic light on river street and not totally effective
Undertaker shoo. Truck covered in traditional carvings carries coffin during procession
Typical mobile roadside motorbike tire repair
Here’s yesterday’s sugarcane being squeezed.
Dedicated tuk tuk Made by India
Pair of urbanized monkeys

These were the only hi rise until just a few years ago. Now dozens. China is building most. Haze is visible In background

--Art Hall
Supreme International Editor


Las Vegas, NV, February 15, 2018 - Las Vegas BikeFest, The "Premier West Coast Motorcycle Rally" announced today that the rally is moving to the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center effective this year. The move creates an opportunity to produce a bigger, better and Vegas Style experience for vendors, riders and attendees.

The Downtown Las Vegas Events Center is located next to the Fremont Street Experience at 3rd and Carson. Everyone will now be within walking distance to more than 10,000 hotel rooms in Downtown Las Vegas.

This move will allow for the rally to be much more cohesive. Rally Central will be inside the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center and surrounding streets, and Rally West will continue to be on the 3rd Street Promenade at Fremont Street and Ogden.

One main stage in the events center will be the focus of entertainment, Custom Bike Shows, activities, contests and more, making it easier for attendees to not miss out on any of the action. The move will also benefit rally vendors giving them access to the 60,000+ daily visitors at the Fremont Street Experience.

"This is a great move for the rally," said Mindi Cherry, Event Manager. "Bringing the rally so close to the heart of the Fremont Street Experience, means we are in the middle of all the action."

Along with the location move, Las Vegas BikeFest has changed its dates to one week later, October 11-14, to be a part of Powersports Industry Week in Las Vegas with AIMExpo at Mandalay Bay and the Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Las Vegas BikeFest is like no other rally - taking place in the heart of Las Vegas, it provides the action of the "Vegas Vibe", that no other rally has to offer. For more information about the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center visit www.dlvec.com.

Las Vegas BikeFest 2018 - October 11 - 14

Website: LasVegasBikeFest.com
Facebook: facebook.com/lasvegasbikefest
Twitter: @VegasBikeFest
Instagram: #LasVegasBikeFest

Sturgis Buffalo Chip®’s 2018 Motorcycles as Art® Exhibit

Michael Lichter Curates “Passion Built - Garage to Gallery”

For the 10th year, Custom bikes built from the pure passion and love of the machine will be exhibited at the Buffalo Chip free to the public this August.

Buffalo Chip, SD (Feb 13, 2018) The pure love of art and motorcycles will bring together a stunning collection of masterpieces for the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s 2018 Motorcycle As Art exhibit, titled “Passion Built – Garage to Gallery.” The exhibit, curated by Michael Lichter, will feature the work of over 40 builders and artists who demonstrate incredible passion and have built motorcycles especially for this show. All support themselves by other means, yet they all are building professional-quality custom motorcycles outside of a professional workplace. Each bike will be lit with theater lights and displayed atop an elevated pedestal to better give guests an open view from every angle. The Sturgis Buffalo Chip will host the exhibit in a 7,000 sq. ft. dedicated gallery in its Event Center. The exhibit is free to the public 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 4 through Friday, Aug. 10.

“Michael has once again brought together a group of incredible artists and builders who all have a real passion for motorcycles,” said Rod Woodruff, Sturgis Buffalo Chip President. “The fact that these people are creating these bikes, mostly in the evenings or weekends, after a full work-week, is amazing. We will clearly see their love for the work on display this year. Everyone attending the 2018 Rally really should see this free exhibit.”

It Isn’t Just a Small Handful

The Motorcycles As Art exhibit has become more than just a bike show in its 10-year residency at the Buffalo Chip. Industry professionals frequent these one-time collections to examine the new ideas and trends put on display by builders from all walks of life and geographic locations.

“We are looking for the best custom bikes these builders can produce, hopefully the best they have ever built, to show off how diverse the world of custom bike building is,” said exhibit curator Michael Lichter. “It isn’t just a small handful of professionals who are driving this world and deciding where it is headed, nor has it ever been. Now, through new means of communication, these non-pros have a bigger voice than ever before.”

Energy Drives the Passion for Diverse Group of Builders

As a follow up to the 2017 “Old Iron – Young Blood” exhibit, which focused on the work of builders under age 35, this exhibit broadens the diversity of the artists to include those passionate about custom building motorcycles even through retirement.

Most of those chosen for the 2018 exhibit must find the energy and passion to work on their projects after returning home from a full-time day job. Some, such as Harley-Davidson Motor Company Vice President of Styling & Design Brad Richards, work in the industry but must still find personal time to fuel their passion for building. Musicians Xavier Muriel of Buckcherry and Gilby Clarke formerly of Guns and Roses will both be displaying their new creations. >From attorney Dave Polgreen to lighting expert Randy Noldge, the list of exhibitors for the 2018 Motorcycles As Art show brings together a varied group of motorcycle builders with a deep-seated desire to create.

“The diverse list of builders and two-dimensional artists coming together to display this year are all doing this for the sheer joy of building a custom bike from scratch,” said Lichter. “It may not be about anything more than bragging rights. These people are really creating a type of folk art without thought of reward. The enormous amount of time and energy results in custom bikes on par with any made by professional builders. And, the display of energy and enthusiasm demonstrated make this show a great follow-up to last year’s exhibit by millennials.”

The Builders

The growing list of custom motorcycle builders and two-dimensional artists scheduled to present their masterpieces at the 2018 “Motorcycles As Art” exhibit include:

Ben Jordan – Waxhaw, NC

Brad Gregory – Glenwood, IA

Brad Richards & Ry Seidler – Milwaukee, WI

Chris Callen – Tarentum, PA

Chris Graves – Milwaukee, WI

Clinton Wallace – Cleveland, TX

Dan Rogensvoog – Franksville, WI

Dave Polgreen – Santa Ana, CA

Eric Stein – Monroe, NC

Gilby Clarke – CA

Jack Deagazio – NY

Jeff Holt – CA

Johnny Humphrey – Terre Hill, PA

John Barwood – Payson, AZ

Justin McNeely – Jackson, MO

Mark Shell - Idaho Falls, ID

Marty Davis - Pensacola, FL

Nick Pensabene – Edgewater, FL

Randy Noldge – Saint Louis, MO

Rick Pew – Fort Lupton, CO

Skeeter Todd – Maryland, NY

Stacy McCleary – Manteca, CA

Steven Bates – Saginaw, TX

Tim Dixon – Ten Mile, TN

Wayne Burgess – Fenwick, Ontario, CANADA

Will Thomas – Los Feliz, CA

Xavier Muriel - TX

In addition to the custom bikes and work of individual artists on the walls, the show will also include a display of ten hand-painted helmets, each from a different artist, provided by Biltwell Helmets, an exhibition sponsor.

For more information about the Buffalo Chip’s free-access Motorcycles As Art Exhibition visit BuffaloChip.com/EVENTS/Motorcycles-As-Art
About Michael Lichter

Michael Lichter began photographing custom bikes and the biker-lifestyle in the 1970s. Working with Easyriders Magazine since 1979, he has produced over 800 stories for them. Michael is also a regular contributor to 16 other publications around the world, has 11 coffee table books to his credit and exhibits his photographic art in galleries and museums in the USA and abroad. As a curator, Michael first started creating themed exhibitions with custom motorcycles and art in 2001 at the Journey Museum in Rapid City. In 2009, the annual exhibition was moved to the purpose-built 7,000 square foot gallery at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip where it was given the name “Motorcycles as Art” and continues to this day. Michael has operated out of the same commercial photography studio in beautiful Boulder, Colorado for more than 35-years. Visit www.facebook.com/lichterphoto, Instagram (whistlingmike) or the all new http://www.lichterphoto.com to see his images. Contact Michael at mike@lichterphoto.com.

About Motorcycles as Art

Every year the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s indoor Motorcycles as Art exhibition presents a changing conceptual theme that brings together the most innovative collection of groundbreaking custom bikes from today’s premier builders with artwork from the most famed moto-artists. The Sturgis Buffalo Chip and curator, famed photographer Michael Lichter, present an environment that must be seen to appreciate. Free to the public and open for just seven days each year, all are invited to take their time and walk through history in the making that is the Motorcycles as Art exhibit.

About the Sturgis Buffalo Chip

The Sturgis Buffalo Chip® is the Largest Music Festival in Motorcycling®. It is the world’s first and leading entertainment destination for the motorcycle enthusiast and South Dakota Excellence in Tourism Innovation award winner. Since 1981, the venue’s high-profile, nine-day festival, known as The Best Party Anywhere®, remains one of the world’s most televised and longest running independent music festivals. Located three miles east of Sturgis, SD on 600 creek-fed acres, it offers eight stages of entertainment, a swimming hole, bars, mouth-watering food, showers, cabins, RVs, camping and more to visitors traveling from all corners of the world. The Chip's concerts and races are free with camping. The 2018 Motorcycles as Art exhibit curated by Michael Lichter, numerous bike and stunt shows and all shopping, live music and events at the CrossRoads are free and open to the public. More details are available at www.BuffaloChip.com.

My sister-in-law collects tea cup sets. Those same dainty little fine china tea sets that sat in your grandmother's chiro cabinet that were only for special occasions that were never really used on those special occasions line the top of her cupboards. Most are single setting sets consisting of a single tea cup and matching saucer for underneath that she picked up at garage sales for a nickel or a dime. It is her hobby, her collection. For my son he has milk crates full of records covering everything from the Doors and the Beatles to Jack White and Pearl Jam. For myself, I've got motorcycles squirreled away in garages and sheds across the city.

We all have hobbies; some just cost more than others. It is a fact of life. Sooner or later you'll strike upon something that interests you and next thing you know you are left scratching your head as to where you're going to put it all and your significant other asking just how much money you're spending. For my banker it is soap stone carvings. He received one as an award. A friend noticed in his office and bought him another one. Then someone bought him another one. Boss gave him some; the company head office gave him some more because it must have been his thing because he had so many in his office. He never really meant too, never really wanted too but he started learning about the different artists, the different means. He knows them inside and out now personal adding to the collection here and there. Maybe you're the same. Someone spotted your grand fathers old pipe that you keep on the mantle and got you one. Then you spot one at a swap meet. Next thing you know your palms are sweating as you hope you win the one at the silent auction.

Our hobbies are as varied as we are. Whether you collect vintage race bikes, match books, motel keys or salt & pepper shakers you get to know each piece, get to know the manufactures, maker’s stamps. It brings happiness to your life, something out of the ordinary grind that is life, and that is the important part.

-bad Uncle Monkey

Veterans Court success hinges on mentors
You hear the cliches in just about every war movie ever made about this special band of brothers or no man left behind.

You may never hear “never stop serving” on the big screen but its sentiment is just as important to the health and well-being of those who have served our country as evidenced in Brevard County’s Veterans Treatment Court.

Just ask someone like Melbourne native and former Marine Theodore Doukas, who returned from a couple of tours in Iraq with a back injury that led to a painkiller addiction. Paired up with veteran mentor Harry “Skip” Taylor, Doukas is getting the help he needs and will soon graduate from the program.
“He’s shown me the path,” Doukas said about Taylor. “He’s really stayed on me about going to the V.A. Some things in this program have really changed my life.”

Brevard County Court Judge Judy Atkin honored Taylor and all the other volunteer veteran mentors who “never stop serving” at a brief ceremony recently at the Moore Justice Center in Viera.
“I take great pride in our volunteer mentors,” Judge Atkin said. “They not only lead veterans through the rigorous demands of the program, they help veterans connect with available resources, such as Veterans Affairs healthcare, and educational benefits. And all communications between the veteran and his or her mentor are confidential. They can talk freely about military life, and the difficulties that may arise from that experience.”

For Taylor, being a volunteer mentor is simply an extension of his military service.
“Combat is sheer boredom interspersed by moments of sheer panic. It’s a tough situation,” said Taylor, who spent 31 years in the Army and knows what being in combat situations can do to someone. “Being a career officer we have a saying never stop serving. I’m still taking care of the troops. We just keep right on doing what we did in the armed forces.”

Started locally by former Judge John Murphy, the court heard its first cases in Brevard County in January 2012 at a time when veterans courts were becoming a trend nationwide as a growing number of young troops were returning home from war.

It’s designed for veterans arrested on misdemeanors, certain third-degree felonies or criminal traffic offenses other than DUI and who may be eligible for evaluation, treatment or placement in a program for behavioral health issues. It’s an alternative to being processed through the regular court system. Some of the veterans must complete treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder, receive counseling, stay out of trouble and comply with other conditions imposed by the court for a certain period of time before their cases are cleared.

Taylor said they enjoy a 60 percent success rate and it looks like Doukas will be adding to that number.
“I’m super happy to be in this program,” Doukas said. “If it wasn’t for this program, I could have been in a way worse direction than I am now. My life is 10 times better today than it was three years ago.”
Contact Torres at 321-242-3684 or at jtorres@floridatoday. com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter @johnalbertorres or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FTjohntorres

Harley CEO asks investors for patience as sales, stock slide

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Reuters) - To Harley-Davidson Inc’s (HOG.N) investors, its chief executive has a simple message - be patient with his strategy to turn around the slump in demand for its iconic motorcycles.

In an interview with Reuters, Matt Levatich said the company is not exploring a merger with a rival or a private equity buyout, as some investors have speculated.

Instead, Harley is spending millions of dollars on product development and marketing efforts, including promoting its learn-to-ride academies at showrooms, where Harley-Davidson certified coaches provide riding and safety lessons.
Levatich said the ridership program would transform the motorcycle-maker into a “customer-creator.” But he does not have an answer when it will return Harley to sales growth in the United States, its biggest market.

“Mindset shifts are not something that happen overnight,” he said in the interview in his office at the company’s headquarter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “But that’s very much core to the 10-year strategy for the company.”

However, nearly three years into Levatich’s tenure as Harley CEO, investors are getting restless. Harley’s stock has fallen over 23 percent since mid-March last year.

Since Levatich came to the helm, the shares are down 14 percent, and Harley is losing share in a declining market for motorcycles in the United States.

Harley investors and executives have worried for years about what would happen in the future when the company’s devoted Baby Boomer got too old to ride.

Now, Harley has reached that demographic cliff. The company last month projected shipments to dealers could plunge to their lowest level in eight years in 2018 after sales fell in every region last year.

Falling sales have made Wall Street speculate whether the company, which symbolized the counterculture movement of the 1960s, would seek refuge in a buyout or turn private to rework its product lines and branding without the pressure from shareholders to shield its profit margins.
Levatich, however, sees no alternative to the current ownership structure.

“The moment, however, we feel that the ownership structure of the company...is starting to dictate our strategy, that’s the moment to consider whether that ownership model is the right model,” he said. “So, it is not the case. We are very clear in our strategy.”

In 2017, the ridership program added 32,000 new riders in the United States. Levatich sees it as a “positive” trend and wants to build on it.

More riders, however, do not necessarily mean higher sales.

Bill Koester, a general manager at a Harley dealership in Illinois, says only 35 percent to 40 percent of the riders trained at his dealership last year bought a new or pre-owned bike.
To woo the next generation of riders, last month Levatich unveiled his big bet on the small but growing market for electric bikes.

Yet, the new technology is still very expensive and not as profitable as automakers may have to sacrifice margins to succeed in selling battery vehicles.

“There are some practical problems with EV that still most auto companies are also struggling with,” said Levatich. “It is very expensive.”

Harley-Davidson Inc
Harley-Davidson Inc


Harley is still the dominant player in the heavyweight motorcycle market in the United States, but its market share has steadily fallen to 50.8 percent from 58 percent in 2013.

In the last quarter alone, its market share shrunk by 2.6 percentage points, forcing it to announce the closure of one of its four U.S. factories and 800 job cuts.

Harley’s challenges are in part related to demographic shifts bigger than its strategy or products. Overall, new motorcycles retail sales in the United States have more than halved since 2006 as younger people shun big motorcycles, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council.
Harley has also stuck to a strategy of protecting profit margins and limiting discount offers, even as rivals such as Polaris Industries Inc (PII.N) are undercutting Harley prices to move bikes out of their showrooms.

Polaris enjoyed a 30 percent on year jump in North American retail sales in the last quarter, whereas Harley’s sales dived 10 percent.

Levatich attributed the divergent performance to “math.”
“Growth percentages of a small base are easy to achieve. When you have a high base like ours, a little bit of decline shows up very quickly,” he said. “We are not going to discount to increase our market share.”

Analysts at RBC Capital Markets said Harley’s weak performances in the past have dented its credibility.
“We won’t sugar-coat it. HOG has a tough road ahead of them,” RBC Capital Markets said.
-Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Lisa Shumaker REUTERS

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Good Post
Photo of Bandit Not working

Palm Bay , FL
Friday, February 16, 2018
Editor Response He never did work...
Thought you guys would cover the IMS finals in Chicago, It was amazing.

Stevie B
Midlothian , IL
Friday, February 16, 2018
Editor Response I'll check on the coverage.

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