Posted: 4/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ]

BMW Motorcycles First to Offer Life-Saving Antilock Brakes (ABS) on all Models

Motorcycles with ABS 37 Percent Less Likely to Be in a Fatal Crash

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – April 19, 2011…  After pioneering the concept of antilock brakes (ABS) on motorcycles 23 years ago, BMW Motorrad USA announced today that it will be the first motorcycle manufacturer to offer ABS as standard equipment on its entire range of 2012 model year motorcycles.

“Plain and simple, being able to stop a motorcycle faster and more predictably helps prevent a rider from becoming a statistic,” said Pieter de Waal, Vice President, BMW Motorrad USA.  “It’s time for all of us in the motorcycle industry to embrace the benefits of ABS.  Extensive testing by safety experts, law enforcement authorities and journalists around the world consistently demonstrates that ABS reduces overall crashes and saves lives.”

“We commend BMW for taking the lead to improve motorcycle safety,” said David Strickland, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  “Motorcycle fatalities and injuries have been on an upward trend for the past ten years and ABS and other safety technologies can help reduce these tragedies.”

An analysis of 2010 motorcycle crashes released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reveals that although motorcyclist fatalities are down for the past two years, they began to slightly increase in the third quarter of 2010. GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha noted, "We are concerned that motorcycle deaths may be on the rise again. ABS and other safety technologies and programs can help continue the progress that has been made in motorcycle safety." 

A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that motorcycles equipped with antilock brakes are 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than models without ABS.  “I commend BMW for taking the lead in making ABS standard across the board,” said Adrian Lund, IIHS president.  “Our research results show ABS on motorcycles saves lives, and riders are taking note, too.  A recent survey found that a majority of riders said they would look for ABS on their next bikes.”

According to IIHS, many factors contribute to motorcycle crashes, but improper braking was identified as a major pre-impact factor in a study of motorcycle crashes.   When brakes are applied too gently, the rider risks colliding with the obstacle.  If brakes are applied too hard, the wheels can lock and cause an overturn.  ABS is crash avoidance technology, meaning it helps reduce brake pressure by detecting an impending lockup and then increasing the pressure again when wheel traction is restored.  Brake pressure is evaluated by a sensor multiple times per second, so riders may brake fully in a straight line without fear of locking up.

Many law enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, concluded after testing that ABS reduced the number and severity of accidents and now mandate them on their police motorcycles.  Internationally, BMW is the largest seller of motorcycles for law enforcement use.  More than 80,000 BMW police motorcycles are currently in official use in over 150 countries on five continents.  In the United States, more than 225 law enforcement agencies have BMW police motorcycles in their fleets of patrol vehicles.

BMW was the first motorcycle manufacturer to introduce ABS in 1988 and now offers a sixth generation and numerous ABS options across its product line, including a system that can be switched off for off-road or track use.

In addition to ABS, BMW has pioneered other technologies to improve the safety and      environmental impact of its motorcycles, including:

  • The world’s first “Adaptive Headlight” for increased safety at night (available on the 2012 BMW K 1600 GT and K 1600 GTL)
  • A multi-controller on the left-hand grip (available on the 2012 BMW K 1600 GT and K 1600 GTL), which allows riders to operate the motorcycle’s systems and adjust its settings without taking their hands off the bars
  • Electronic Suspension Adjustment -- ESA II – to allow rebound damping and spring rate to be adjusted at the touch of a button to suit load and road conditions
  • Dynamic Traction Control (to adjust engine torque to the level of grip and angle of lean, reducing risk of wheelspin and improving control on treacherous surfaces)
  • The world’s first motorcycle catalytic converter and closed loop fuel injection to radically reduce emissions

Rider skill training is a key element to motorcycle safety.  The latest Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) Owner Survey found that fewer than 50 percent of riders have taken formal rider education and training such as the Basic RiderCourse offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.  BMW offers on- and off-road motorcycle training at the BMW Performance Driving School in Greer, SC.

Posted: 4/23/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ]

Wisconsin has the iconic Harley-Davidson. Iowa will have the legendary Indian.

Polaris Industries plans to bring production of the Indian motorcycle to its Spirit Lake factory, where it already makes Victory cruiser and touring bikes.

Polaris bought Indian Motorcycle, America's first motorcycle company, earlier this week for an undisclosed amount. The Minneapolis company says it's too early to determine how many jobs will be added at its northwest Iowa plant, where it introduced the Victory motorcycle 13 years ago.

"This is a great move," said Justin Vandevort, general manager of an Indian dealership outside Omaha. "Polaris will add to the Indian lineup and take it to the next level."

Rick Canode, owner of RJ Performance, a Victory dealer in Ottumwa, said the Indian brand carries a lot of cachet, even though it's had a turbulent history. "Polaris will restore Indian's prominence," said Canode, who expects Polaris will improve the Indian "from start to finish."

Declining sales prompted production of the Indian, which opened in 1901, to end in 1953. Efforts to revive the brand floundered in the 1990s, with production again halting in 2003. An investment group resurrected the brand, starting production of the Indian Chief in Kings Mountain, N.C., in 2008.

Marlys Knutson, spokeswoman for Polaris, said it's too early to say when Indian production will begin in Iowa. The company will move machinery and equipment from North Carolina, where 25 employees worked, to Iowa over the next two to three months.

The Spirit Lake plant employs about 600 workers, said Kathy Evert, who leads the area's economic development efforts. "We're very excited about Indian being made in Iowa. We think it will be a great fit."

Scott Wine, Polaris' CEO, said in a conference call that the Indian will enable Polaris to capture a bigger piece of the $11 billion heavyweight cruiser market.

Vandevort of Indian Motorcycle Omaha said the Indian and Victory motorcycles appeal to different buyers, with different price points. Fewer than 700 Indian bikes are produced annually, and their price starts at $25,000. The Victory starts around $12,500.

Vandevort believes Polaris will keep each bike's distinctive styling separate.

Wine said the company "will accelerate growth of both brands" over time.


Posted: 4/19/2011 - 3 comment(s) [ Comment ]

Polaris brings world-class engineering, manufacturing and distribution to Indian’s rich American heritage and historic brand

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) today announced the acquisition of Indian Motorcycle. The business was acquired from Indian Motorcycle Limited (“IML”), a company advised by Stellican Limited and Novator Partners LLP, U.K. Private Equity firms. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“We are excited to be part of the revitalization of a quintessentially American brand,” said Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris Industries Inc. “Indian built America’s first motorcycle. With our technology and vision, we are confident we will deliver the classic Indian motorcycle, enhanced by the quality and performance for which Polaris and Victory are known.”

With this acquisition, Polaris adds one of motorcycling’s legendary brands to its strong stable of Victory cruiser and touring bikes. Indian will operate as an autonomous business unit, building upon the potent combination of Polaris’ engineering acumen and innovative technology with Indian’s premium brand, iconic design and rich American heritage.

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Polaris. Polaris will utilize its well-known strengths in engineering, manufacturing, and distribution to complete the mission we undertook upon re-launching the brand in 2006: harness the enormous potential of the Indian brand,” said Stephen Julius, chairman of Indian and managing director of Stellican. “Polaris is the most logical owner of Indian Motorcycle. Indian’s heritage brand will allow Polaris to aggressively compete across an expanded spectrum of the motorcycle market.”

Novator Partners LLP is a London based alternative investment firm founded and led by the investor Mr. Thor Bjorgolfsson. An avid motorcycle enthusiast, Mr. Bjorgolfsson said “After a troubled past, our goal was to bring the legendary Indian bikes back on the roads. The initial phase of that project is done and now our great partners at Polaris will carry on the work to realize the full potential of this classic American brand.”

About Polaris
With annual 2010 sales of $1.991 billion, Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER® Side X Side vehicles, snowmobiles and Victory motorcycles for recreational and utility use and has recently introduced a new on-road electric powered neighborhood vehicle.

Polaris is a recognized leader in the snowmobile industry; and one of the largest manufacturers of ORVs in the world. Victory motorcycles, established in 1998 and representing the first all-new American-made motorcycle from a major company in nearly 60 years, are making in-roads into the cruiser and touring motorcycle marketplace. Polaris also enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Pure Polaris apparel, accessories and parts, available at Polaris dealerships.

Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PII”, and the Company is included in the S&P MidCap 400 stock price index.

Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel and vehicle accessories are available from authorized Polaris dealers or anytime from the Polaris homepage at

About Indian Motorcycle
Founded in 1901, Indian was America’s first motorcycle company, producing some of the industry’s most iconic models and becoming the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. In recent years, Indian has continued to produce these legendary motorcycles on a smaller scale. The company’s instantly recognizable badge is still associated with premium products and strong American heritage by casual consumers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike. For more information on Indian, visit

About Stellican
Stellican is a U.K. Private Equity firm specializing in the purchase, turnaround and re-launch of iconic, heritage brands which have gone bankrupt. In the last ten years, Stellican has been particularly active in the power sport industry. It currently advises funds which own Chris-Craft Corporation, a premium boat and yacht builder based in Sarasota, Florida, which it acquired in 2001. See Previously, Stellican advised funds which owned Riva boats in Italy. Contact information: Stephen Julius at or or 941-3029585.

About Novator
Novator is an alternative investment firm founded and led by the international investor and entrepreneur Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson. Novator's investment portfolio is focused around following sectors: Telecommunications, Pharmaceuticals, IT and Renewable Energy. In addition, Novator operates a Private Equity Fund and a Credit Opportunities Fund.

Polaris Industries
Marlys Knutson, 763-542-0533

source: Business Wire

Posted: 4/15/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ]

CARSON CITY -- With Democrat John Lee breaking party ranks, a bill to repeal Nevada's 39-year-old helmet law won approval on a 4-3 vote Thursday in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Lee also sided with Republicans to kill a bill that would have allowed police to cite motorists for seat belt violations without first charging them with another violation. The committee supported two bills to repeal a state law forbidding toll roads.

The most surprising action undoubtedly was the committee's support of Senate Bill 177, which would allow riders 21 and older to ride without helmets, as long as they have completed a safety course and have at least one year of riding experience. Their passengers 21 and over also would not have to wear helmets.

Even if the measure by Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, passes the Senate, it faces a formidable hurdle in the Assembly, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 26-16.

As an assemblyman, Gustavson failed in five sessions to pass bills to repeal the helmet law. For years, he argued that wearing a helmet should be a matter of personal choice for the rider. This session, he also argued repealing the law would lead to more purchases of motorcycles and increased attendance at motorcycle rallies from which the state would benefit financially.

The Senate committee voted to back helmet law repeal, despite impassioned pleas by Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, who called SB177 "a jobs creation bill for the medical industry."

He made the comment after Sen. Elizabeth Halseth, R-Las Vegas, called the bill "a good jobs bill, a great pro-business bill, a great pro-liberty bill and a great safety bill."

Lee, D-North Las Vegas, said, "I see this as a personal right," and sided with Republicans Halseth, Mike McGinness of Fallon and Dean Rhoads of Tuscarora. Voting to maintain the helmet law were Schneider and fellow Democrats Shirley Breeden of Henderson and Mark Manendo of Las Vegas.

The committee voted along the same lines on Senate Bill 235, which would allow police to stop a motorist for not wearing a seat belt.

The committee also approved two measures to allow toll roads: Senate Bill 83, a Nevada Department of Transportation measure, and Senate Bill 214, by Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City.

source: Las Vegas Review Journal

Posted: 4/6/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ]

Big Dog Motorcycles in Wichita is ceasing production and converting into a parts manufacturer and distributor, according to sources in the custom motorcycle industry.

Rick Fairless, whose Texas-based dealership, Strokers Dallas, sells Big Dog motorcycles, on Tuesday confirmed with the WBJ comments he made to

Fairless says he has spoken with Big Dog owner Sheldon Coleman who told him the bank took over and production has been stopped for good. Coleman plans to create a new business that makes and sells parts to Big Dog owners and dealers, Fairless says.

Coleman did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Tuesday. Company president Mike Simmons was unavailable to speak.

Fairless says the news from Coleman wasn’t good, but it wasn’t completely unexpected either.

“It was something that you dreaded and hoped the day would never arrive,” he says. “Of all the manufacturers I’ve worked with, none came close to taking care of their dealers like Sheldon Coleman and Big Dog. It’s kind of the end of an era.”

Questions about Big Dog’s future began swirling Monday after the company confirmed it had furloughed 10 more employees and industry insider Cyril Huze reported that the company was closing its doors.

Big Dog’s president, Mike Simmons, told the WBJ on Monday that the business was still open, but he wouldn’t comment on the company’s future.

On Tuesday, Huze told the WBJ in an email that he stood by his blog but would not reveal his sources.

Fairless says he’s sold two Big Dogs within the last month, as he worked through his remaining inventory.


source: Wichita Business Journal

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