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HARLEY ADDRESSES DUNLOP STRIKE

New Harleys ride on Dunlop tires (until an owner might opt to replace them with another brand), and those tires come from the Goodyear-Dunlop plant in Tonawanda, NY, where 1,100 United Steelworker union employees have been on strike since October and remained so as of press time, according to news sources. The Niagara Gazette cites United Steelworker union sources in reporting the plant was staffed by replacement workers. Paul James, product communications manager for Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee, says, “We're monitoring the situation closely and we expect to continue to meet our needs with Dunlops. There's no way of knowing the length of the strike. We're definitely looking at our options. But at the moment Dunlop out of Buffalo continues to meet our OE needs.” James also addressed the replacement tire situation. “We've fallen behind on replacements for some models,” he stated. “We're working hard to address this situation, as well. If dealers are concerned, they should know Dunlop is meeting our needs.”

THROTTLING THE COMMIES

The Bush administration took strides recently to deny North Korean strongman Kim Jong Il his Harleys. Multiple news agencies reported Washington recently pulled the plug on the shipment of many high-end goods to the isolated Asian country. The list of now-banned items includes Harley-Davidson motorcycles, iPods, cognac and Rolex watches. The targeted items are said to have had little chance of finding the homes of common North Koreans. Harleys were the only bikes named in the widely circulated reports, inferring, perhaps, Kim is a Hog man. Harleys, cognac and Rolexes - sounds like an interesting People's Party Congress. It's a shame the Great Dictator can't vent his anger at the gym - shipments of exercise equipment also are now banned.

AMA PONIES UP FOR CRASH STUDY

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has committed $100,000 in matching funds to help fund a comprehensive nationwide study of motorcycle crashes, the organization reports. The AMA states there is $2.8 million in federal money waiting for motorcyclists and organizations to match and the total will fuel a new safety study. But until the private sector matches the government's $2.8 million, the study funds will not be released, according to the AMA. The $100,000 contribution is the AMA's first payment into the matching program, according to the group. Contributions to “Fuel the Fund” can be made at www.fuelthefund.com.

TAX CREDITS FOR HARLEY

Wisconsin has given Harley-Davidson $4.5 million in tax credits to support the motorcycle maker's Wisconsin expansion, which includes the planned addition of 200 jobs, news sources report. Milwaukee-based Harley received the credits in exchange for its pledge to invest $300 million over the next 3 years on plant expansion and workforce training, according to Wisconsin Governor Jim Dale. The new hires will, however, come aboard at a new, lower pay rate as part of a deal the firm struck with its Milwaukee United Steelworkers of America union, according to sources.

HELMET USE UP

The federal Department of Transportation reported 51 percent of U.S. motorcyclists now wear helmets, up from 48 percent in 2005. The statistics were broken down by region, with helmet use in the West rising from 50 to 72 percent and in the Northeast from 42 to 47 percent. The Midwest's helmet use fell from 53 to 50 percent, as did the South's, from 49 to 45 percent. The DOT only counted helmets that comply with agency standards.

CALIFORNIA DEALERS TAKE ON REGULATORS

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has begun meeting with members of the California motorcycle industry in an effort to reduce emissions from motorcycles, according to the California Motorcycle Dealers Association (CMDA). The CARB goal is to reduce motorcycle emissions by half by 2013, CMDA reports. The CMDA notes the emission efforts cover every industry or enterprise that emits detectible emission levels: “For motor vehicles, that means tightening up on the existing engine emission standards, reducing or eliminating permeation leaks from gas tanks and engine connections that carry gas, oil and other liquids and eliminating emissions control tampering that leads to exceedances of the manufacturers' certifications that are approved by CARB before new model introductions.” The CMDA asserts tampering with emissions gear has been illegal “for over two decades.” Don't look for the industry to sit on the sidelines throughout the regulatory efforts to clean California's air. “The CMDA has served notice that we are going to be part of the process, not just an idle observer,” the group asserts, stating further, “There is no guarantee we will prevail, but we have been moderately successful in the past in mitigating CARB overregulation.” Among the factors the CMDA cites as contributing to California's air woes - notably in the Los Angeles area - is the region's explosive growth, which carries with it the side-effect of smog “in a number of ways, and not just motor vehicle use.”

AMA RULE CHANGES

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Board recently embraced 50 new recommendations from the AMA Congress regarding rules for the more than 4,500 organized road and competition events on the group's annual calendar, according to the AMA. Many of the new rules are small, involving name changes and what the group calls “minor changes” to its National Championship Poker Run Series. The new rules will also make it easier for clubs to hold National Championship Enduro competitions, the AMA says. The Congress recommended immediate elimination of separate displacement limits for 2- and 4-stroke engines, but the Board did not endorse this move, calling instead for a go-slower approach that might see these “sweeping changes” enacted over a 3- to 5-year period. The Board and the Congress also disagreed on some 2-stroke competition rules, minimum purses and allowing more displacement in the 90cc ATV racing class. Before ruling, the Board listened to input from its Riding and Racing Committees.

HAVE BIKES, SEEK DOCTORS

Enduro Africa has bought 104 Yamaha motorcycles for use by “biking charity riders for health,” according to Internet sources. The riders have taken to the roads of Zimbabwe in an effort to raise money for health workers there, reports say. Enduro has also fronted nearly $100,000 to help eventually find doctors to ride the 104 bikes on their rounds, according to sources. Visit www.enduroafrica.com for more information.

STOPPIE RECORD SET

One of the coolest stunts in the Mission: Impossible franchise was the stoppie in number 2. The trailer was practically a stoppie highlight reel - Tom Cruise, of course, leaning hard on the front brake. Now, without the blue smoke and mirrors of Hollywood, Craig Jones has broken the stoppie world record. Jones, along with co-rider Wing Chui, reportedly traveled over 330 yards (305 meters) on the front wheel of a Buell Firebolt XB12R in England. Web reports say Jones took the bike to over 120 m.p.h. before he slammed on the front brake and lifted the rear wheel into the air.

DUCATI'S MODEL HAS MUSCLE

The Ducati 1098 was named “Most Beautiful Motorcycle of the Show” at the Milan EICMA motorcycle show, according to Internet sources. The MV Augusta Brutale 910R and the Yamaha YZF-R1 followed the Ducati in the voting, said Web sources. Ducati says the 1098 is equipped with the most powerful twin-cylinder production engine in the world, its new 160hp Testastretta Evoluzione.

 

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