April Motorcycle News
Harley-Davidson Women's Day Ride benefiting Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) raises $67,000 Florida - Locke and hundreds of other female riders were joined by Karen Davidson, great-granddaughter of one of the Company's founders, as well as the six Get Down to Daytona contest winners as they cruised through the streets of Daytona to thunderous applause from spectators.

"The success of the Women's Day Ride reflects the growth of our female riders over the past two decades, from 4% in 1990 to 12% today. The event raised more than an incredible $67,000 in contributions," said Davidson.

Women participating in the ride raised money for their local MDA office to help send children to MDA Summer Camps. Three women received special recognition as the top fundraisers for the event: Joanne Mold of Forest Hill, Md., ($3,055 raised), Dee Roberts of Bernville, Pa., ($2,717) and Lynne Cone of Houston ($2,715). Each received a 105th Anniversary Harley-Davidson women's jacket, and had lunch with Karen Davidson, the six Get Down to Daytona contest winners and MDA ambassadors.

One week at MDA Summer Camp costs $800 per child, so women who raised that amount or more received a unique Harley-Davidson/MDA sterling silver and gold charm in recognition of their gold-level fundraising. Women who raised at least $400 received a sterling silver charm.

Economic pressures, weakening dollar and decreased discretionary spending have contributed to the first downturn in the motorcycle market in 14 years, and according to a recent LA Times article, especially hard-hit are small-displacement dirtbikes and Harley-Davidson.

On the up side, motorcycle sales in 2007 were over the 1-million mark for the fifth straight year, and battery and tire sales indicate that ridership and enthusiasm for the sport remain high.

According to the Times article, the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates a 2.2% sales drop in 2007, but some manufacturers are estimating a slide of up to 8-10%.

In a regulatory filing, Harley-Davidson Inc. said industry wide U.S. sales of large displacement motorcycles (over 650cc) fell 5 percent last year.
Harley's large-motorcycle domestic market share dipped to 49.4% from 50%, while their closest competitor Honda had a U.S. market share last year of 14.2%, down from 15.1%.


After nearly 30 years, Honda Motor Co. plans to stop producing motorcycles in the United States next year, ending production at its first U.S. plant and consolidating the Marysville Motorcycle Plant production at a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Kumamoto, Japan which will be capable of producing 600,000 motorcycles a year.

"This move allows us to improve the competitiveness and appeal of our products by applying the latest technologies and production systems at one efficient location," Akio Hamada, president & CEO of Honda of America, said in a statement. "Obviously, the motorcycle plant has a lot of historical significance," he said. "It was Honda's first plant in North America. It started producing motorcycles on Nov. 10, 1979. So obviously, there's a lot of emotion involved in this kind of decision.

The sprawling plant, in Marysville, Ohio, employs 450 workers. Honda said there will be no layoffs when production ends in spring 2009. "There were a lot of people who felt disappointment," said plant manager Jan Gansheimer, noting that many of the employees are motorcycle enthusiasts who have spent much of their careers at the plant.


While speed and power typically dominate two-wheeled trends, a safety movement may be afoot featuring such hot topics as airbags from Honda, inflatable vests from Dainese, and “uncrashable” bike concepts from BMW.

So it shouldn't seem surprising that “Motorcycle News” is reporting that Honda and Yamaha are working with twelve car manufacturers to test and develop technology intended to "...reduce rear-end shunts, head-on collisions and drivers who turn right across a road in the face of oncoming traffic, a common cause of motorcycle accidents."

The systems, which will begin testing in Japan this month, enable automobiles to communicate speed and road position to other vehicles, and warn of potential accidents via voice alerts and navigation system messages.

Fueled by government funded safety campaigns and worldwide legislative initiatives, these tests could signal a gradual revolution in motorcycle safety.

TOM CRUISE GETS NEW BIKE Tom Cruise was the first on the list to get Ducati's newest motorcycle. Get this: A $72,500 superbike with titanium, magnesium and carbon fiber technology that can scoot up to 200 mph. It must be nice to have the means to be able to order a machine like that. Enjoy it, Tom.

A judge has dismissed charges of obstructing legal process and running a stop sign against one of about 60 bikers stopped last summer near St.
Joseph, MN for blocking an intersection during a run. The ruling by Stearns County District Court Judge Frank Kundrat comes after one of the other bikers was found not guilty of a stop sign violation after a trial.

Scott Reichert recently took his case to court and was acquitted after the prosecution had presented its case and before Reichert had to put on a defense

Kyle Petty to Ride to Races on Motorcycle

Kyle Petty plans to ride 7,000 milesthis year to each and every race on the circuit and write about his experiences in a new book. "This is the deal," Petty said last week from Fontana, Calif. "What I want to do is -- and I've said this 10 million times -- but I want to ride [a motorcycle] to every racetrack. Just ride as much as I could."

The current odyssey began when Petty and fellow NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader rode from Daytona International Speedway, cross-country to Fontana. Despite the miserable weather NASCAR encountered at the Auto Club Speedway, less than one day of their four on the road west was blotted by rain.

"It's been good -- I enjoyed it," Petty said about 20 hours after arriving in California. "It's the first time I've ridden a Harley in a while, because I've been riding Victory motorcycles, but Kenny and I had a good trip."

"What I've really been thinking about doing is basically riding to the racetrack and just writing down stuff -- just halfway writing a book, you know what I mean?" Petty said. "To be honest with you, I'm halfway writing a book about just riding a motorcycle to the racetrack and meeting race fans and riding with guys like Kenny Schrader.

"I'm not writing about anything that goes on around the racetrack, because that's not my forte -- it's not what I do. I just want to do like a journal of what I experience."

Kyle Petty wasn't able to ride to the Daytona Speedweek festivities, as he was in the 14th year of leading the Victory Junction Gang Camp motorcycle ride.

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