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Stupid Fast Baggers Rule and Mo'

By Bandit, Rogue, Wayfarer, Bob T., Sam Burns, A.J., the Redhead, Laura, Joe, AC, RFR, and the rest of the gang

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I had an epiphany this week.
Here’s the definition:

noun (plural epiphanies) (also Epiphany)
the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).
• the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6.
• a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.
• a moment of sudden revelation or insight.

The last one is the one I’m referring to in this case. I had a meeting with David Zemla from S&S and Bradley from the Indian PR group about the King of the Baggers Race later this year in Laguna Seca. S&S is modifying a new Indian Challenger for this bagger road race against 13 other bikes, all Harleys.

Just 30 minutes after the interview I jumped into the 5-Ball Racing van to blast from Deadwood into Boulder Canyon 6 miles away. Hooking up with Eric Herrmann, the mission was to collect a piece of vintage Henderson motorcycle art for the new Deadwood digs.

Eric and his son were staying on a cool, sorta vast estate owned by Joe, a contractor from Denver. Joe owns five Road Glides and Street Glides and they are all massively performance baggers. Eric just bought a cop Kawasaki capable of doing over 200. Joe also owns a Stupid Fast Ducati.

I jumped from a high dollar race discussion, to see who can build the fastest, best handling road race bagger, to a very serious performance bagger customer. One of Joe’s baggers can ride with Eric at over 140 mph and he has over $90,000 into an all-black and carbon fiber Street Glide.

So, I will attempt to cover the whole nine yards as I describe Joe’s collection of motorcycles in a Bikernet Feature. But the key is a new, stupid fast Harley or bagger performance market. This is not just about big-inch engines. It’s also about suspension and handling.

I started to imagine a wealthy guy thinking about buying a luxury sports car in a crowded city and how he can’t get around or through the traffic. He sells the Ferrari and goes after a performance touring bike with massive balls. “They are taking Baggers and building extremely fast FXRs,” Eric said to me. Hang on for what might happen next.

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Let’s hit the news.

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Click for all the info...

The Bikernet Weekly News is sponsored in part by companies who also dig Freedom including: Cycle Source Magazine, the MRF, Las Vegas Bikefest, Iron Trader News, ChopperTown, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Most recently Quick Throttle Magazine came on board.

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Harley-Davidson Investors Sour on CEO Zeitz’s Turnaround Plan--
(Bloomberg) -- Harley-Davidson Inc. investors who cheered the appointment of a turnaround artist don’t like the early rendition of his makeover for the ailing motorcycle maker.

Jochen Zeitz, a former Puma SE boss who became chief executive officer in February, has been working to shrink the company and narrow its focus amid a five-year sales slump in its core U.S. market. He has cut roughly 14% of the workforce, pruned its dealer network and delayed product launches.

“We’re not willing to sacrifice the strength of our legacy in a quest for pure volume growth going forward,” Zeitz said on a conference call. “We are an extraordinary and desirable brand but that doesn’t mean we want to become everything for everybody.”

That sobering message came after Harley on Tuesday posted its first quarterly red ink in more than a decade. The bikemaker reported a loss of 35 cents a share, missing the lowest analyst estimate and below a consensus for a profit of 18 cents a share.

Investors reacted by pushing down its shares as much as 11.3% to $25.98, the steepest decline in four months.

Zeitz, who joined Harley’s board in 2007, rose to prominence by reviving a nearly bankrupt Puma in the early 2000s. Since taking the handlebars at the motorcycle manufacturer earlier this year, he’s sketched out a turnaround plan dubbed “Rewire” and has promised a five-year strategic plan due by the fourth quarter, which he calls “Hardwire.”

His steps so far include starving dealers of new bikes to clear out excess inventory, a move the company says has helped it charge full price for 2020 model-year bikes. Zeitz told analysts Tuesday he aims to increase the brand’s desirability by putting quality ahead of quantity.

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based manufacturer said it would speed up restructuring by cutting about 30% of its model lineup and concentrating on 50 markets. Harley said in its latest annual report that it had dealers in about 100 countries worldwide.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:

New management may be embracing its history and core rider demographic, while remaining a niche player to attract a larger automotive or motorsports partner.

-- Kevin Tynan, senior automotive analyst

Zeitz’s belt-tightening wasn’t enough to offset a 59% plunge in Harley’s second quarter shipments after the coronavirus halted production in its factories in the U.S. and Thailand and temporarily closed dealerships around the world.

There may be more pain to come as Harley is pushing back the debut of its first adventure touring bike, the Pan America, to early 2021 instead of August.

The CEO said he will invest savings from the cost cuts into new marketing campaigns. He is reorganizing the company’s structure to reduce complexity and improving outreach between its field offices and headquarters in Milwaukee.

Harley declined to give financial guidance for 2020, saying the impact and the duration of the pandemic is still too uncertain.

--by Gabrielle Coppola

I made a couple of suggestions to the boss. One mentioned above. In a sense they embrace it with their Screamin’ Eagle CVO packages. But this market wants suspension and handling as a major portion of the Stupid Fast package.

I also suggested embracing a model that was built to modify, perhaps the Sportster. Design the platform so guy could customize readily. Done deal, and build the excitement around this ability.

Finally, remember when the Shay company built a reproduction Model A 20 years ago. I still see them on the road. I suggested that Harley create a similar model. Build on the legacy of the Past. All these suggestion are about building excitement around the brand inside and outside of the factory.—Bandit

Ps. One more, which has been an industry bone of contention since the ‘70s. The factory should embrace the aftermarket instead of fight or try to kill it. Imagine the excitement and the learning everyone could benefit from by sharing.

STURGIS MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM Hall of Fame Highlight--Class of 2020

The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame is featuring Hall of Fame Highlights of this year's outstanding new group of inductees. Here is a glimpse of what they had to say. For the full story join us at the 2020 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Congratulations and welcome to Dave Mackie.

*Please note: Hall of Fame Highlights will be published as we receive them from the Inductees. We look forward to sharing information about all of our Inductees in the weeks and months to come.

Dave Mackie
Between 1978 and 1984, Dave Mackie set over 60 National Records in several different classes, and was a five-time National Champion against some very tough competition.

Always working to get better and faster he analyzed products on the market. At the time, there were several carburetors and he chose to contact Rivera Engineering about running their Eliminator SU. This is where Dave’s longtime friendship with Mel Magnet began. Dave says “Mel was a great guy who helped a lot of racers including the great Jim McClure. He sent me a carburetor and all the needles and jets and manifolds I might need”.

When Dave was asked what was the first thing he ever raced he laughed and said “everything I ever drove”. His passion for racing became fully ignited when he purchased his first Harley, a 1974 Superglide FX.

Dave was innovative, persistent and always testing the limits. In his words, “if you don’t blow it up once in a while you aren’t trying hard enough”.

Learn More About the Hall of Fame


Wednesday, August 12

8:30 AM – 12:30 PM MDT

The Lodge at Deadwood
100 Pine Crest Drive

Deadwood, SD 57732

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Click for more info.

NEWS FROM THE TWISTED ROAD--A motorcycle at 50: midlife crisis
or best thing ever? (Part I)

I will be 50 years old in 2021, and I finally bought a Harley. Is this a midlife crisis or is it something else? It's been almost 20 years since I last rode a motorcycle, let alone owned one. So, the question is this: why did it take so long, and why now?

I think it’s a hard question to answer. I’ve wanted to ride a motorcycle since I was a kid. My parents always said “NO!” I remember once in high school, a friend had a motor scooter, and he let me ride it around; the minute my mother saw me riding it, I was grounded. Did I give up? Hell no. I waited until I was out of college, out of the house, and out on my own — an adult. Okay, I was 26 or 27 years old, I was old enough. My (twin) brother and I took a motorcycle safety course, and that was it — I was hooked.

Heath (left) and his twin brother
As soon as we passed the class and got the “M” on our license, I went shopping for my first motorcycle. Of course I wanted to be like Reno Raines from the show Renegade, I wanted a Harley.

But I couldn’t afford a Harley, so I ended up with a really old Suzuki 650 standard as my first motorcycle. It cost me about $600 and that was okay. I outgrew that thing in a week. Yet, as I rode and rode, I realized it was my therapy. See, back then I was single, still trying to find the right girl. I was in the gym at 5:00 a.m. then I’d head to work to put in my 8-hours and I’d hit the gym again, then go out with friends at night — rinse and repeat. The gym was where I got any aggression out; hopping on the bike and taking a drive along Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, through the city, up into the ‘burbs and sometimes even further, well, that cleared my head. To me, being on a bike was — and is — the greatest feeling in the world.

Then, I met my wife.

Chef Heath and his wife
I’m not a rich man. I wasn’t at 30 and I’m not at almost 50. So, when I realized she was “the one,” I needed money to buy a ring. Bye-bye motorcycle. It was like losing my best friend — I’m pretty sure I recited the Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for mourning). I figured, “Okay, I sell this bike, buy the ring, I can get another bike in a year.” What they don’t tell you is that you have to buy a house, and you’re going to want to go on vacations, and you’re starting a family — and pretty soon the dream of getting another bike is just that... a dream.

So, here we are, almost 20 years later. My kids are teenagers, my career is better (there’s life insurance), and I’ve worn my wife down enough (whining about wanting a motorcycle) to get the “Okay.” I’m a chef, and I’ve always had this dream to own my own restaurant; I’d pull up on my Harley like a bad ass, and when my customers would hear the roar of that engine, they'd know “the chef is here.” And I’d drive up and park it right in front of the restaurant — like a real asshole!

Except, now I’m almost 50 years old, I’m doughier than I want to be, and I don’t have my own restaurant. I work for a big corporation, I still do private events, I’m not famous. but I can afford to buy a bike. I think that’s where everything comes into focus: I can afford it. I had to work a 2nd job cooking private dinner parties to put enough cash away, but I was finally able to walk into a dealership and just purchase a used bike. It’s not a crisis, it’s a lifestyle — one that I’ve waited 20 years to continue. What's crazy is that my Harley FatBoy is 20 years old. I waited 20 years and was only able to afford (without having to finance anything) a bike that was 20 years old!

I've recently learned more about motorcycle rental—the idea of renting out my motorcycle for a little extra cash, or renting a motorcycle from another owner (especially when I didn't have one) is pretty interesting. Some of my friends use and love Twisted Road when they want to rent a motorcycle in Chicago. But they have owners with bikes available to rent everywhere. Definitely noting that for the next time I'm traveling and want to explore on two wheels!

Check back soon to find out how his new Harley fueled Heath Schecter’s imagination…

Click to get started.
Click to get started.

SMRO’s Hitting the Phones--

In the Senate, our focus the last few weeks has been on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. This is the committee with jurisdiction over most of the motorcycle priorities we won in the House bill.

Over the last two weeks, nearly 1,000 MRF members, who live in one of 25 states with a Senator on the committee, have answered our call to action. To reinforce our message with these critical Senators, SMRO leaders in specific states and your D.C. team have done conference calls with Senate offices. Over the last two weeks, nine states have participated in a call with Senate staff, pressing them to include our hard-fought motorcycle provisions in a Senate bill.

Special thanks to leaders in Alaska, Massachusetts, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin for taking the time to join these phone calls and make the connection between the riders back home and the lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

In the coming weeks, we plan on having other states join in this process. We are already working out the details for calls with leaders in Arizona, Colorado, and Michigan.

We are fortunate to not only have great leaders in these states, but great leaders throughout the country. Having the ability to tap into this talent is vital to our collective success in Washington D.C.

MRF President and Vice President Score Cosponsors

While the last few months turned our focus to the highway bill in the House of Representatives, we haven’t forgotten other priorities like H. Res 255 regarding motorcyclists profiling.

Strict rules regarding how the House has operated since the middle of March made it difficult to add cosponsors to legislation. However, recently the House has relaxed some of its internal protocols, making it easier to add cosponsors.

Late last week, we added our first new cosponsors since right before the pandemic struck. It’s fitting that the two new cosponsors were direct results of the work done by MRF President Kirk “Hardtail” Willard and Vice President Jay Jackson.

As you may remember, Hardtail drove Congressman Tom Tiffany (WI-R) home from the airport after the two ended up on the same flight back from D.C. last month. Obviously, 3.5 hours in the car with Hardtail did the trick, and the Congressman became the 7th member of the Wisconsin delegation to sign onto the resolution.

In January, Jay Jackson attended an event in Kentucky with the riders of the Bluegrass State. In attendance was Congressman Brett Guthrie. The riders in Kentucky and Jay worked their magic, and the Congressman just joined H. Res 255 as a cosponsor.

With these two additions, we now have 139 cosponsors of H. Res 255 the motorcyclists profiling resolution.


George Jones is one of the most legendary of country music singers. First hearing country music on the family’s new radio when he was seven, that and his father’s interest in music got George his first guitar at age nine.

By 16 he had left home and began playing at venues and on the radio. You will recall a few of his hits; White Lightning, He Stopped Loving Her Today and Tennessee Whiskey. Married four times, it was mostly country singers singers he chose to be with.

As early as 1982 Jones was riding Harley-Davidson sidecar rigs as he made headlines in his local newspaper. Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992.

This 1995 FLHTC with matching Harley sidecar was bought new by Jones from C&H Harley-Davidson in Nashville and the original title remains in Jones’ name. With only a little over 1000 miles on the odometer it was used little and cared for well.

He and his wife Nancy rode the rig in an MDA benefit in Nashville in 1995. Jones and subsequent owners have done a good job of keeping documents together.

The first ‘Glide’ came about in 1949 when Harley-Davidson added hydraulic telescopic fork front suspension to their big twin making the Hydra Glide.

The FL arrived in 1941 when Harley offered the Knucklehead motor in a 61 cubic inch configuration. Harley’s first sidecar was offered in 1914, and in 2011 they ended sidecar production moving toward the three-wheeler approach with the Tri-Glide.

Though challenged as the king of heavyweight touring machines by many motorcycle makers in the 1980s and beyond, the Electra-Glide maintains its classic lines though it has enjoyed updated engineering along the way. It remains the choice of hundreds of thousands of riders world-wide.

When you visit the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa you will walk among a great array of Harley-Davidsons including several sidecar rigs from 100 years ago through the 1940s and beyond. George Jones sidecar rig is on temporary display by its current owner so try and plan a visit soon to see it.


Engine: Four-Stroke V-Twin, OHV
Type: 45 Degree, Two Valves / Cylinder
Bore & Stroke: 88.8mm x 108.0mm
Displacement: 1337cc / 81.5 Cubic Inches
Compression ratio: 8.5 : 1
Induction: CV Carburetor
Ignition: Map Controlled Spark
Starting: Electric
Horsepower: 67HP
Primary: Chain Driven
Clutch: Dry, Multi-Plate
Transmission: 5-Speed
Final Drive: Belt
Suspension: Telescopic Fork / Dual Shocks
Brakes: Dual Disks / Single Disk
Tires: T80-16T / T80-16T
Weight, Dry: 760 Pounds

Click to check out the museum web site.
Click to check out the museum web site.

TEXAS DYNA WEATHER REPORT-- I’ll probably need a new Bikernet Bandana Cloaking device, it’s been hiding the plastic bag covering the wires the current idiot owner cut!

We interrupt this fork seal/lower leg/Dyna Boy Fork Boot Installation for some Janky Neck Bearings or My Dyna has that new “self-centering front end.

You can tell I’m a mechanic, by the tools I took to Willis to mess with the Bronco Sunday, 1/4-inch drive sockets and 3/8-inch ratchet, oops.

Wish I was in SD, got to thank Lucky Devil for allowing me to bust my Sturgis virgin back then. I’d really like to come up a few weeks before, get another crack at Spearfish Canyon with a bike that will top 70mph!

Took the jets out of my toolbox, didn’t make em in the trailer. Should have hit up S&S but still can’t believe I got to run it twice with no one on it!

Enjoy the festivities, saw they cancelled the drags.


BRAND New Bikernet Reader Comment!--
The Deadwood Diaries

That is what I call history. I thought Deadwood would be a creative environment for the infamous Bandit, and I was right. You research stuff at a micro level and that's way cool.

I did not know it was just two pairs, and I assume the last high card was either a red card ace or a red card eight. I know it’s off the biker story line but these guys were the original 1 percenters. Lived by their rules. Don't want to be messed with and don't poke their noses into somebody else's business, unless asked or paid for.

Thanks and real good story.

-- Gearhead
Torrance, CA

More research is underway. As it turns out Wild Bill’s original grave might have been on my land. It’s been confirmed, but I need to back it up with photos or documents.

The original cemetery was moved up the hill to allow for more housing to be built for the town of Deadwood. A neighbor recently found bones while moving land for a new garage. The truth was revealed. More to come. —Bandit

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