This episode kicks off with the surprise retirement of Jorge Lorenzo, who announced after the last MotoGP race of 2019 he won’t be coming back to finish out his contract with Repsol Honda. Check out that link for a full transcript of his retirement speech.
BMW Motorrad showed off yet another concept bike – this one called the R 18/2 (“Slash Two” for those unfamiliar with BMW’s ancient notation from the 1950s and ’60s) and once again featuring the monster 1800 CC boxer twin everybody is hoping will find its way into a production bike sooner rather than later. The specs are, if I may say, underwhelming and reminiscent of another BMW cruiser that unfortunately did not sell as well as hoped.
Even though Honda is excited about the prospect of selling more “premium” motorcycles in India, they had some trouble recently with the labor force in one of their manufacturing facilities, complete with disgruntled employees, a sit in, a march and a general strike. Exciting times!
I’ve mentioned The Motley Fool a few times in previous episodes, mostly for their unrelenting bashing of Harley-Davidson. They’re back – and they’ve drawn Polaris (dba Indian Motorcycles) into the bike-company-bashing practice. Are they blaming Indian or Slingshot for Polaris’ Q3 woes? Find out when you listen! (PS – I also talk about the brand new Challenger and the parts-bin FTR 1200 Rally that are coming down as 2020 models.)
Lest you think I’ve left out Harley-Davidson and joined the Fool’s ranks of orange-and-black bashing, let’s put that right to rest. Harley finally released some info (specs) about the Pan America adventure bike and the Bronx streetfighter – all respectable, but nothing exceptional. The proof will, as always, remain in the pudding and we’ll have to wait until we can all get on these bikes to judge them on anything other than how they look. No word on weight or cost yet!
Harley is also making strides towards more support for American Flat Track (AFT) by making their purpose-built race bike, the XG750R, available through dealerships. They’re following in Indian’s footsteps here, but it’s something the should have done a long time ago.
If you’ve never heard of Wolfman Luggage, you might possibly be living under a rock. They’ve been around since the early 1990s and announced at the Long Beach (CA) IMS they’ve revamped their entire line of soft luggage for motorcycles. Exciting stuff and Eric Hougen has agreed to come on the show and talk shop – look for that episode at the end of December 2019. The last person we had on to talk about luggage was Harold Cecil from Giant Loop way back in Episode 10!
We hit BMW for the second time in this episode with news about some patent application they made that indicates they could be working quickly towards an electric motorcycle without a frame – weird – but they’re not the only ones we could be seeing an electric bike from in the near future. At EICMA, Royal Enfield’s CEO said they are a minimum two to three years away from a production electric motorcycle. Oddly, as he said this, he was apparently standing next to the KX Concept, a gas-powered V-twin RE. Go figure.
Bonus link: A number of major manufactures have bailed out of the IMS circuit, refusing to even appear in New York.