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Jul. 21, 2008 – Motorcycle Digest

July 21, 2008
Filed under Features

Scooters, Off-Road Bikes Among Honda’s 2009 Early Releases

The first of American Honda’s 2009 early release vehicles for the North American market includes youth dirt bikes and low-displacement scooters.
The latter includes the 49cc Metropolitan, which will have two new colors this year, Ghost and Graphite. MSRP starts at $2,049. The Graphite and Monza colors include Chrome Mirrors, a Chrome Muffler Cover, 3-D Chrome Emblems, Black Wheels, a Black Belt Cover and a Two-Tone Custom Seat.
Another 2009 49cc offering, the Ruckus, features more of a simplistic style with its tubular industrial steel frame. The Ruckus also features oversized twin headlights and beefy tires. (MSRP $2,149) The model has two new colors, Red and Matte Gray Metallic.
Honda also released updates to its youth off-road bikes, including the CRF50F (MSRP $1,349), the CRF70F (MSRP $1,699), the CRF80F (MSRP $2,099) and the CRF100F (MSRP $2,449).

Dealer Survey shows Harley Sales Flat or Slightly Up

Harley-Davidson new motorcycle sales are flat to slightly up compared to a year ago, a recent national dealer survey found.
Strongest sales were found in the West, according to the Wachovia Capital Markets survey of 40 dealerships.
Overall, dealers reported new unit sales were flat to up 3 percent. That’s much better than a year ago when a similar study found retail sales were down 5.5 percent.
Dealers also said used bike sales were strong with prices higher than a year ago.
The increase in new unit sales was attributed to increased gas prices, better weather, especially in the Midwest and Northeast, and an increase in traffic because of a higher number of dealer events.
While the survey found the West was up 2-5 percent, the South was up slightly at 1-4 percent while the Midwest was flat to up 3 percent and the East was flat to down 3 percent.
Dealers said the Touring line remained the best-selling Harley family followed by Sportsters. The Softail family was the weakest seller, the survey found.
Dealer inventory is in much better shape than in previous quarters. More than 80 percent of dealers described their inventory as either “light” or “comfortable.” That is significantly different from last quarter (when 50 percent described it as light or comfortable) and the fourth quarter of 2007 (60 percent). It’s also seven percentage points higher than a year ago.

Suzuki Recalls More Than 9,000 GSX Motorcycles

American Suzuki Motor Corp. recalled 9,109 model year 2008 GSX-1300R motorcycles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The recall is because of improper routing of the ignition switch wiring harness. Repeated side-to-side movement of the handlebar might cause the ignition switch lead wires to become cut or broken. As a result, an intermittent or compete loss of power could occur, increasing the risk of an accident.

Aprilia to Unveil Two Models in July

Aprilia’s United States arm will introduce two new models on the eve of the Grand Prix’s first of two U.S. stops.
The night before the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., Aprilia USA will host the U.S. debuts of the Mana 850 and the RS 125 Race Replica. Aprilia riders, racers and dealers will be at the events. More details on the bikes will follow the event.

BMW Worldwide Motorcycle Sales Fall in First Half

BMW Group reported its motorcycle segment was unable to maintain last year’s level of sales in the first half of 2008 in a press release July 7.
Worldwide sales decreased 5.6 percent to 55,932 units. In June, 10,904 motorcycles were delivered, which was 5.9 percent fewer compared with the same month last year. No information on North America was available.
Overall, including automobile sales, BMW reported a 4.7 percent sales increase from January-June 2008 compared with the first half of 2007, selling 764,874 units. This made the first half of 2008 the most successful in the history of the BMW Group in terms of sales.
Nevertheless, the company was not entirely able to avoid the difficult economic trends in individual markets, such as the United States and Japan. As such, global sales slipped 2.8 percent in June to 146,138 units.

Ridley Motorcycle Adds Three New Dealerships

Three new Ridley dealerships recently were announced by Jay Ridley, vice president of Ridley Motorcycle.
Treasure Coast Ridley in Stuart, Fla., Freedom Powersports in Cape Coral, Fla., and American Ironhorse of Hunstville, in Huntsville, Texas, are the newly appointed locations for Ridley’s automatic transmission motorcycles.

S&S Cycle Celebrates 50th Anniversary

S&S Cycle, a 50-year-old American V-twin performance company, enjoyed its 50th anniversary celebration from June 27-29 in La Crosse, Wis.
The city played host to approximately 30,000 visitors as riders came in from across the country and around the world to commemorate the occasion.
The anniversary was planned well more than a year ago.
S&S President Brett Smith asked world-class motorcycle builders to use 50 limited-production anniversary engines to build 50 unique custom bikes and compete for $50,000 in S&S product credit. A rigorous week was spent going over lists of potential builders to finally narrow the hundreds and hundreds down to just 50.
“The idea for this event was to do something very unique, bigger and more global than anything we’d ever done before,” Smith said. “Typically, we work with five builders each year, but during our 50th, it made sense to expand to 50 builders, which we did.
“What made the whole 50th anniversary celebration so sensational and successful was the support of the builders, the employee volunteers, family and friend volunteers and the entire community backing the project.
“Not only was it a success for S&S because of all that support, the entire community benefited, and several local charities were the beneficiaries of over $100,000 in combined charitable fund raising,” Smith said. psb

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