Just the Facts: June 2020

It’s been a while since our last foray into motorcycle industry news, and the current news isn’t all that great, frankly. Having said that, the builders are returning to building and things are starting to happen, so it’s time for another edition of Just the Facts.

This episode kicks off with news about Comoto Holdings paying a $1.9 million settlement to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) due to their component companies – Revzilla and Cycle Gear (and now J&P Cycles, though they weren’t under the Comoto umbrella at the time the settlement process started) – selling aftermarket parts violating California emissions laws. You can read the CARB announcement or the Asphalt & Rubber story about it. (Bonus: Reuters story about the 2016 fine Harley paid to the EPA.)

Dunlop Motorcycle Tires sponsors Chasing the Horizon.
Former Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich.

Because Harley-Davidson is the 800-pound gorilla in the US motorcycle industry, it’s impossible not to talk about them when it comes time to talk about business and manufacturing. Harley has restarted production, but with some changes and restrictions in place for the rest of 2020.

People are starting to talk more about former CEO Matt Levatich actually being fired by Harley rather than leaving in a mutual decision – but you already knew that from listening to Chasing the Horizon, I suspect. Harley’s board made interim CEO Jochen Zeitz the permanent replacement for Levatich, and he’s already abandoned Levatich’s vision and crafted his own, dubbed “The Rewire.”

Photo of Norton’s assembly line in England.

Norton – just recently gone bankrupt in a wave of controversy – is set to get a new lease on life. India’s #3 motorbike manufacturer, TVS, has bought the Norton brand for about $20 million in cash. Check out this lengthy interview from Superbike with current Norton (UK) leader, John Russell.

Another iconic British brand, Triumph, announced they’re cutting 400 jobs – 240 of them in the UK – and moving all remaining motorcycle production to Thailand. Their research and development center will remain in England for the time being, as will their prototyping and custom-building operation.

Join the MOA at a celebration of motorcycling, 25-27 September 2020, in Lebanon, Tennessee. (you do not need to be an MOA member to attend!)

Ducati is back at work and producing electric … bicycles and foot scooters. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Iago Valiño’s electric BMW sidecar rig concept drawing.

One thing that won’t make you cry is this artist’s vision of an electric sidecar rig based on the BMW Vision DC Roadster. Wowee wow wow!!

That’s it for this go-round with the news. Hopefully things will keep happening and we can return to monthly news episodes, but we’ll see what happens. Stay tuned and we’ll see you out there somewhere on the road – or off it! Ride safe.