Fast Motorcycle Industry News

Imported Spanish Harleys Ordered Off The Road By Police. Up to 5,000 Harleys brought to a halt following detection of what police describes as a scam used by importers: Harleys bought in the US  by some importers to be shipped to Spain and sent to privately owned MOT centers (equivalent of DOT in the US) that have been willing to turn a blind eye to the legal road norms for vehicles to circulate in Spain. Owners of these imported Harleys claim that Harley-Davidson is trying to stop second hand imports so as to sell more motorbikes through its official dealers. Spain is one of the top markets in Europe for Harleys, “There is no problem with imported second hand bikes as a whole, only with illegal ones.” said a company representative. Some importers stress they carefully follow the guidelines. “We change everything that has to be changed and then take the bike to the MOT to make it legal to ride.” An association regrouping owners of privately imported Harleys claim that the second hand imported bikes are the same as those brought in by the company. Harley-Davidson denies any involvement with the Spanish police crack down. (Personal note: most europeans consider that a Harley kept at US norms is more valuable because “authentic”)

Indianapolis American V-Twin Dealer Show Versus Cincinnati Easyriders V-Twin Expo. The American Dealer Expo will take place February 17-19, 2012, at the Indiana Convention Center, 1000 South Capitol Ave, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The event is held at the same time than the Dealer Expo but the Dealer Expo is not associated at all with the Easyriders V-Twin Expo, held a couple of weeks earlier in Cincinnati. The inaugural V-Twin Dealer Show announced that it attracted 3 major vendors as anchors: Custom Chrome International, S&S Cycles and Rinehart Racing. “The changing face of the V-Twin Industry dictates that we have to get serious about finding solutions and ways to jump start the retail sector again,” said American V-Twin Dealer Show Brand Ambassador Grady Pfeiffer. The American V-Twin Dealer Show claims that it will be a truly distinct experience for all things V-Twin  (claiming to be more more efficient for vendors and dealers than competitor Cincinnati Easyriders V-Twin Expo.) The industry continues to wonder if both shows can co-exist in competing for the same vendors and v-twin dealers or if one would have to disappear. I may visit both shows in February and report from there my experience. 

Motorcycle Safety Foundation Graduates 6 Millionth Student. More than 6 million students have graduated from its safety course. “We have Rider Courses across the nation and around the globe, often during weekdays, and virtually every weekend of the year,” said Robert Gladden, vice president of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. “Plus, MSF offers 23 different courses to meet the needs of any level of rider. We congratulate all our safety professionals, as well as the students.” The MSF has a variety of  training programs to help beginners learn the basics of motorcycling, as well advanced classes to help experienced riders fine tune their skills.

18 Responses to “Fast Motorcycle Industry News”

  1. 1 Mike Sep 18th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    This stupid, have one in the fall and one in the spring,sheesh I think there is enough for both to suvive

    Oh lets downsize, it’s the New American Way.

  2. 2 Rearview Sep 18th, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Restricting the sale of repatriated American product by limiting distribution through HD dealerships is BS. That’s like not allowing second hand CDs to be sold by mom and pop shops…. C’mon HD, that’s shameless greed! It’s only a Harley if you buy it from HD even though it was manufactured by HD and sold by HD once upon a time? I guess its a sign of the times… anything goes in the name of maximizing profits… in a “FREE MARKUP” economy

  3. 3 Fredp Sep 18th, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I’m telling ya all, A convention in Kansas City, Ks new center, is mid-country and would probably be better represented across country vendors.
    There is no reason why we can’t have 2 major events.

  4. 4 Petter Sep 18th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    About the problems here in Spain… First I’d like to thank Cyril for bringing it up in his blog. However the story here does not go like he writes.

    What started as an investigation regarding bikes that never went trough the national road inspection when registering the bikes for the first time, has escalated to something else. Some people managed to get the inspection certificate just by sending the documents to local inspection stations, but they are just a few and rare. Furthermore some of the bikes imported were Harley models(sub-models) that were never homologated in Europe and therefore had no Certificate of Conformity. In some of these bikes the importers went ahead and falsely used a homologation number from another model. The investigation about that is of course something that we all understand.

    However it has escalated and now affects a lot of Harley owners here and it is very clear that Harley Davidson Spain is a major player behind the massive problem. They have always been against private import of used bikes and even refused to service them, just to mention one example. The whole attitude has been very much against such bikes and such activities. During the past few months when police started to investigate what some importers have done and needed expert advice from H-D Spain, they went ahead and started to claim that all private import bikes are illegal to ride in Spain.

    The CEO of H-D Spain, Mr. Josep Grañó, told the media that Harleys for American market(ones that are normally imported to Spain as second hand) are different than the ones meant for European market, that they have different engines and therefore they cannot service or work on them, as they would need different type of tools for them! He adds that the emission and noise requirements are also different, together with blinkers, headlights, exhaust and other parts. He then goes on and tells that the V.I.N for the European markets starts with 5HD and only those bikes are legal to bring and ride in Spain. The ones that has a V.I.N starting with 1HD are illegal to use on the spanish roads and therefore cannot be legally imported and registered to Spain.

    This clearly shows that they are behind this war against everyday bikers. When we should expect help from them, they go completely mad and say things that not only untrue, but idiotic as well. The engines are the same for all markets to start with. They do not require different tools as they are all the same. Yes, emission and noise requirements are different, but U.S. requirements meet or exceed EU requirements and therefore does not make them any different. Yes, the mufflers, all the lights and reflectors need to be E-approved and the speedo has to be in kilometres(excluding U.K), but all these parts are interchangeable. Yes, models sold to european market has a V.I.N starting with 5HD, but only after year 2003 and some models after 2005. Until 2003 all H-D models from the factory started with 1HD. The CEO of HD Spain has now claimed bikes they sold trough dealerships illegal and some of their customers already were unable to pass the road inspection,
    as the engineers told them the news from the MoCo.

    The vast majority of all Harley models are approved in Europe and were assigned a european homologation number. It does not matter if the VIN starts with 1 or 5, as long the model is approved. That is the reason for something called Certificate of Conformity. If you import a Harley to Europe, you’ll just have to make sure the model is approved and then get the Certificate of Conformity from the local main dealership. They of course charge a formal fee of 350 euros ($500) for that piece of paper, but that’s how it works. However H-D Spain has totally forgotten about the existance of this type of document, their responsibility as manufacturer and I’ve never heard of anyone getting it from them. People had to turn to European HQ in U.K in order to get what legally is their right and a responsibility of the manufacturer and their representatives.

    The sad part of all this is that it hurts guys like me and you. The police has taken the registration documents of the bike and ordered NOT to ride the bikes while they have finished their investigation and/or gotten a court order of some type.

    Like I said before, when people need some serious help from the dealer, they go all fuckin nuts!

    For the spanish speaking brothers: (or use the google translator)

  5. 5 Blackmax Sep 18th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I’ll be covering both shows this year. Usually we skip the Indy show as the weather usually does not permit it and the wide variety of powersports that it covered made it very difficult to find the
    V-Twin/Metric personalities and items that are of interest to our readers.
    I know what to expect from the V-Twin Expo & how good they’ve been to us over the years.
    We will reserve judgement to see how it all goes, as they will have a long way to go to convince us that this show can be better than the Expo in Cincinnati
    But with the major players Indy has on board already, it’s going to be very, very unsettling to see how it is all going to work out . Given the impression of these statement/press releases, are those 3 companies NOT going to show in Cincinnati????

  6. 6 Yale Sep 19th, 2011 at 6:58 am

    It is tough to do two shows. Isn’t this a repeat of what happened years ago? I can only see one surviving. It would be nice to see a show at a venue that was warmer in the middle of winter Like Vegas or Florida. Flights are usually cheaper to both those locations over Indy or Cincy

  7. 7 Jason Hallman Sep 19th, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Sorry…but as much as some companies want it to be so, you cannot expect to get the HD/V-twin set to attend a show including powersports instead of one that includes only V-Twin marketeers. What the promoters fail to take hold of is that most of us in the V-twin industry keep up on what is happening through blogs like this one and believe it or not…we still use things like e-mail and the telephone to keep in touch with each other. Most of everyone knows each other (if not personally, through one or two different friends) and there is a social scene attached to that Easyriders show. Sure, we all visit the booths and I would be lying if I said I never saw anything new at Cincy but truth be told…I am there mostly for the social aspect. I have made great friends there, we all have.

    My advice: Rent two big Expo centers (or one huge one) and have both shows in the same town (within walking distance) and centrally locate it in like Chicago or St.Louis or hell even Dallas. I am sure there is a town that would love the revenue if even only for a weekend. I love Cincy but it is a haul and a half from Tampa so I cannot imagine heading there from Texas or California.

  8. 8 Gary Semper Sep 19th, 2011 at 8:44 am

    One v-twin show is going to kill the other. Question is which one? Notice that the Indy v-twin show costs less to organize because floor space is part of the Powersports Dealer Show.

  9. 9 Robert Sep 19th, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I agree with the idea that both V-Twin Shows should reach an agreement to make it one. Or both may fail and a 3rd party will get the deal. It must be known that other trade shows in other sectors are switching to online trade events. Less costly for everybody, and videos let you see product demonstrations. I know that some are going to say that it can’t replace human contacts. Right! Like 15 years ago when you all thought you would never buy online clothing, jewelry, cars, etc… And have you thought about live chat for technical questions? People want results. Both shows are dinosaurs and will disappear, like print magazines. Warning, it’s coming…

  10. 10 Kansas Deal Sep 19th, 2011 at 9:06 am

    The V-Twin Expo is holding by a thin thread, the social aspect of meeting friends and of having a good time. Not the business aspect. The Indiana V-Twin Dealer Show promises to be different. But can they explain what is the difference? As a dealer I no more attend the Easyriders show in Cincy. Nothing I learn going there. New products are announced to me directly by email by vendors and via Cyril’s pre-announcements. If I want to meet in person with vendors, it’s easy in Daytona, Sturgis and many other shows. I agree with Robert, these shows belong to the past. Welcome to the new information age.

  11. 11 Raging Twin Sep 19th, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Wake up show organizers. Your concept of a trade show is obsolete.

  12. 12 Presley Sep 19th, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I don’t think that the motorcycle industry needs a trade show anymore. What I think would attract a lot of interest is a winter indoor show where vendors could show their brand new parts to the retail public with orders to be placed but no sales on location. Because it would attract so many visitors it would very profitable and dealers would also benefit. Dealers could be advised in advance of new products via email and pictures.

  13. 13 just my opinion Sep 19th, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Dealer shows are going to be around for a long time for a couple of reasons. First it gives the dealer a chance to actually meet the manufacture and see if they are ligit, Lets remember here the one bad thing about the internet is it allows crooks the opportunity to look like they are a real business when in fact they are nothing more than some flake working out of uncle willie’s basement. And the other thing the show provides is a chance to see and feel the new parts and talk to the vendors learning the advantages of these new products. And most vendors give the attending dealers special rates on their new products during these shows making it a great opportunity to find new parts during a time of year that your customers are doing projects. As for which show is better or will be better. I think history has shown us in the past how well the people at Cinnci treat us vendors and Indy has also shown us in the past that they just don’t understand the V-Twin market. If Indy really understood their V- Twin dealers they would never had place lawnmowers and fourwheelers in the V-Twin sections and moved V-Twin dealers out of the V-Twin sections to make room for those lawnmowers and fourwheelers to begin with. As for those large companies attending this show, that is easy to explain they get free space for helping the promotor try to get back the vendors they ran off years ago. I wish them well but as the saying goes screw me once shame on you let you screw me twice shame on me. I will stick with the cinci show that has always treaded me and my company like they value our business.

  14. 14 Boss Hawg Sep 20th, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Get with it….Bundle ’em together and move them south to a friendlier climate with lesser costs for vendors, accommodations, travel, etc…

    Cinci has become nothing more than the good ‘ol boys frat club….Please please please, don’t even try to make us think for one second that the V-Twin Expo promoters don’t comp “FAVORED” vendors at the V-Twin Expo!!!! The quote goes “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”

    Boss Hawg

  15. 15 Jeff Nicklus Sep 20th, 2011 at 1:47 pm


    Come on Dude ….. what could be better than flying into a northern city in the middle of winter with snow and ice butt hole deep to a large elephant and colder outside than a well diggers ass, paying inflated hotel and food prices and hanging in the hotel bar drinking too much (that part is OK!) and listening to your fellow motorcycle “insiders” lie to each other about how wonderful their lives are and how happy they are to be in Cincy. Man it doesn’t get any better than that! See you in Cincy in February!

    Over & Out,


  16. 16 NC Dealin' and Wheelin' Sep 20th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    About the show, a friendly reunion of people not doing any good business since 2006, but anxious to be seen by others to show that their businesses are still alive. The Easyriders awards ceremony is a joke. Everybody in the industry knows it. People go to take food and drinks and leave without paying attention to what’s going on on stage. Nobody cares one second who gets a trophy for being a faithful advertiser in the magazine. 2012 may be the end. EZ, time to reinvent yourself before it’s too late.

  17. 17 Mark Sep 20th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    An indoor retail show in Florida in Orlando, before Daytona Bike week, with vendors showing their new products, as mentioned above by a reader, sounds good to me.

  18. 18 R. Blair Sep 20th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Who needs a dealer show. I work for a dealer and don’t need one to know what’s new and what’s going on. Just a loss of time, money and energy in a shitty city like Cinci. My boss says it’s cheaper for him to spend a weekend in the Bahamas.

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Cyril Huze