This blog is in the archives.

I’m moving my blogging home over to Google’s Blogger. I know, I know…that’s often considered a step backwards. However, features on WordPress (free edition) are no longer doing it for me. So now find me here.

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Does The Victory Brand Have Future?

Victory Motorcycles was founded in the late 90s. Their parent company is Polaris Industries. While they’ve been profitable, to use baseball analogy, they’ve never been a homerun. Given the quality of the bikes, it feels like they should have been.

Polaris Industries recently rebooted the defunct and passed around Indian Motorcycle brand. Apparently it was originally Indian Motocycle. For 2014 they now have 5 Indian models. They’re all getting good reviews. The Indian brand has also been showered with the attention the Victory has struggled to achieve.

For 2014 Victory’s model selection has almost been slashed in half. That’s probably been done to accommodate the production of the Indian models. Key Victory staffers are now almost always in public with Indian branding on their cloths.

I would not be surprised to see the Victory brand and some Victory models absorbed into the Indian brand. For the long term, Polaris has had Harley-Davidson in their sights. While Indian appears to be hitting closer to the target, I believe its still a bit of a miss. Here’s why — the expense of the bikes.

You currently can have a cruiser bike put together in England (Triumph Motorcycles), boxed up, shipped to the USA and a base cruiser model is still cheaper than Indian Chief Classic. I won’t even bother going into how Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki doing it for less. Even a comparable Italian made bike, boxed up and shipped over with import fees ends up being a smigit cheaper on home USA turf.

While I believe you’re getting one of the best built bikes with Polaris, the price point is still a huge barrier. With the recent reintroduction of the Indian Scout, they’ve brought the price down, but with a 3.3 gallon fuel tank, that won’t cut it for some.

If I’m wrong with the Victory assimilation, that’s fine. They have marketing people that are much smarter than me to decide if managing two brands under the same roof is feasible. The MSRP on home USA turf with all brands, Victory, Indian, Harley-Davidson continues to be a barrier for me. It’s even cheaper to buy English and Italian made sportbikes than buy a home turf built EBR (Erik Buell Racing).

Nuts! I’m totally confused.

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Winter Motorcycle Agenda

I’m usually an all season rider. This winter is being extremely harsh. We just had one of the coldest days we’ve had in three years.

Without being able to even occasionally ride, I’ve decided to catch up on maintenance. I’ve also decided to treat myself to some new accessories. This way my bike will be ready to go for spring.

My to-do list has been (some of it is already done):

  • Oil Change
  • Scheduled Service Check
  • Battery Health (just had to replace)
  • New Accessories
  • Setting up with a quality smart charger
  • Check tire health

You don’t have to forget about your bike during the cold. I don’t. If you give your bike attention during the winter months, your bikes heath and your personal safety for spring riding will be exponentially increased.

If you do need to let it set for awhile, here’s what I would do.

  • Setup your battery with a smart charger.
  • Store your bike in a somewhat heated garage. (At least out of the weather)
  • Drain the gas tank. (or at least use no ethanol fuel for storage, and/or pour in a QUALITY fuel treatment like Startron)
  • Every 2-3 weeks move your bike. (So the tires don’t develop bad spots)
  • I also might occasionally start it and let it idle for awhile (fyi, some bike won’t charge the battery with this kind of idling)
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Triumph 250s Coming?

Entry-level street bike

Spy, leaked and testing photos indicate that today’s Triumph Motorcycles may enter the 250 market. The direct selling targets appear to be entry level riders and the lower cost Southeast Asia and South America markets. While many on forums are wishing for the nostalgia of the 1950s “Tiger Cub,” it looks like they will be disappointed.

Concept bike


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New Triumph Cruisers for 2014


Thunderbird Commander

Remember those articles about test Triumphs with Harley Davidson parts? Whether or not they’ve influenced Triumph’s new 2014 cruiser models, some new offerings are coming. And unlike BMW’s few try’s at this style of bike, they don’t look embarrassing.

In the North America, cruiser bikes are more than half the market. They’re also good for selling additional accessories. I think it’s also fair to say Europe and other parts of the globe have rediscovered the cruiser. It looks like Triumph Motorcycles is going to be taking this segment somewhat serious.

New for 2014.

  • Thunderbird Commander
  • Thunderbird LT
  • America LT

Quick take on what I’m seeing…

The Thunderbird Commander is like a chromed version of the blacked out Storm. The Storm is a great looking bike. I suspect like the Commander, both will continue to be hamstrung by limited accessories. They’re great bikes to look cool on, but not for extensive touring.


Thunderbird LT

The Thunderbird LT and America LT (light touring) models look like they come ready for day trips. The Thunderbird LT will come with traditional spoke wheels. If you’re unfamiliar with the America, it’s essentially the budget model.

If you want locking luggage options for Triumph’s cruisers, you need to start shopping third party. In my view, without being able to lock something up, they barely qualify as anything “touring” when using OEM accessories. Maybe a day trip, but nothing extensive.

The America is good new riders bike or riders that don’t want something heavy. The Thunderbird will required more than a novice skill level to ride safely. The “Commander” would be my choice out of these new bikes.

Here’s a few of my reference articles.

EICMA Live – New Triumph Thunderbird LT, Thunderbird Commander showcased

First look: Triumph’s 2014 Thunderbird Commander and Thunderbird LT

2014 Triumph Thunderbird Commander & LT

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Study Finds Riding without a Helmet Leads to Costlier Injury’s

From an article a few months ago, Michigan’s Weakened Helmet Law Leads To Costlier Injury Claims, Study Finds, this should have been an obvious. It shouldn’t have taken a study to prove that crashing on your bike without head protection leads to greater injury! The study stated,

“Weakening the helmet law seems to have made it somewhat more likely that riders will sustain injuries, but the big impact has been on the seriousness of the injuries…”

It was thoughtful in the law change to require medical insurance for an un-helmeted rider, but silly that the minimum is $20,000 in coverage! A serious head injury could require long-term to lifelong care. I’ve seen it and it’s scary to see. Those images in my mind are the one thing that give me pause on riding a motorcycle.

While my intention here is not to skewer the American thought process, I’m baffled by it. I am baffled by American motorcycle riders who sneer at the thought of owning a Keith Code book, much less reading it. I’m baffled by riders who’ve ridden for 20 years, sneer when corrected over their unsafe group riding habits. I’m baffled by experienced riders who don’t care about protecting the delicate brain inside their head. I guess the title of “brain” for some is in name only.  ;-)

Rant over…sheesh.

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A new front in the clone wars…

I believe it’s fair to say Harley-Davidson is the standard setter for cruiser bikes. Asian companies copy them. They’ve made clones for years. Victory tries to outdo them. European companies that take a try at cruisers, like BMW, usually end up producing something that’s just weird.

I’m seeing reports of a new Triumph. I don’t think this is fully confirmed. Let the speculation begin…

A new Triumph?


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