Orange County Choppers Is Building a 14 Foot Long Custom Bike For Shaquille O’Neal. On the Orange County Choppers CMT reality show, the crew is building the biggest motorcycles yet for the retired basketball star. Shaq asked that the bike accommodates both his 7 foot tall size and as much as possible…his arthritic hips.
Erik Buell Racing Opens office in Europe. Erik Buell Racing (EBR), maker of racing motorcycles and street bikes, has opened an office in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Objective is to have a European base to expand distribution in Europe and support his racing team. His new street legal sport bike, the 1190RX, has 185 hp and weighs only 419 pounds. It will be available at dealerships this spring.
2014 Predicted To Be Breakout Year For Electric Motorcycles. Navigant Research recently released a report titled “Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2014″ in which it is estimated that in 2014 700,000 plug-in vehicles will be on the road around the world by the end of 2014. The given justifications? Rebounding economies, better products, battery prices that have come down providing competitive price points for e-motorcycles, a large potential clientele that has had already a positive electric experience via e-bicycles, e-scooters and e-moped.
York County Harley-Davidson Plant Considered One Of The Best. The 2013 “Industry Week” best plant winners include York Harley-Davidson for meeting the challenge of operational excellence. Winners are deselected after a professional review of management practices and plant performance in such areas as quality, customer and supplier relations, employee involvement, productivity, cost containment, manufacturing flexibility and responsiveness, inventory management, environmental and safety performance, and market results. The York Harley-Davidson was rebuilt from the ground up, installing not only new machinery but also changing the mindset of its workers. “We’re making more motorcycles in one building than we did in all of those old ones” says Ed Magee, new York plant general manager. Today, roughly 1,000 production workers now fabricate, paint and assemble motorcycles in three process areas with a system simplified by automated guided carts. Conveyor belts transporting parts through the painting process that once stretched nine miles are now three miles in length. Robots now rhythmically weld parts together, faster, more precisely. They churn out 20% more fenders per shift than in years past, with two fewer employees. In the flatter organization, workers now have one of five job classifications, a notable change from the 65 classifications used in the old framework. New Factory York also now relies on flexible workers to supplement its leaner workforce. During what it calls its surge period, the company ups its production by 50% and brings in a bevy of flexible workers to work side-by-side with full-time hourly employees.