Thursday, 16 August 2018


Hoco Parts owner buys DC AFAM

Powersports Distribution Group (PDG), owner of Dutch distribution businesses Hoco Parts and Motoria, has acquired Nazareth, Belgium based sprockets, chains and batteries specialist DC AFAM from German owner KettenWulf.

With the acquisition of DC AFAM, PDG further positions itself as a leading European wholesaler of premium motorcycle parts and accessories, and as a preferred partner for its customers, suppliers and employees. PDG has the ambition to pursue DC AFAM’s successful growth strategy and to further develop the long-term partnerships that DC AFAM has established with its suppliers and customers.

SHIDO Connect LiFePO4, described as the “first smart battery ever”, a Bluetooth enabled battery that connects to an Android or Apple smartphone via Bluetooth so that the rider can stay informed on the health of the lithium battery in real time

Well known sprocket manufacturer AFAM was established in France in 1978 and Dynachains a year later in Belgium as two entirely separate, independent businesses. German manufacturer KettenWulf acquired Dynachains in 1992 and AFAM in 2002, combining the two businesses as DC AFAM in 2003.

DC AFAM also sells oil filters under the ISON brand and entered the highly competitive lithium ion battery market with SHIDO in 2011. Earlier this year they launched the SHIDO Connect LiFePO4 – describing it as the “first smart battery ever”, a Bluetooth enabled battery that can be monitored in real time via an Android or Apple smartphone.
Details of the sale to PDG have not been released, but it marks a third addition to a recently set up ‘Buy and Build’ strategy business division established by Dutch equity investor Torqx Capital Partners.
Headquartered near Amsterdam, the Torqx fund is a mid-market equity fund, €150 million in size. It has backing from Torqx management and international institutional investors. Torqx, headed up by Managing Partner Peter Kroeze, says that it “invests in medium-sized companies that have the potential to become leaders in their field - using our experience, our network and our resources to help them get there.”


SBS supports ”Girl Power”

As is well known, female riders are one of the fastest growing segments of the motorcycle industry as we head towards the middle of the 21st century, and the number of women taking part in motorcycle racing is also growing rapidly.
Danish disc brake pad manufacturer SBS Friction is “ahead of the curve” when it comes to championing the female champions and role models of today and tomorrow.
“We have been in racing for more than 25 years”, says SBS Friction CSO, Christel Munk Pedersen.  “When we started supporting motorcycle racing, this sport was purely for men, but this has changed. 

SBS Friction CSO, Christel Munk Pedersen: “We will see more girls in motorsport in the years to come. At SBS we are happy with this, and we will support the development as much as possible.”

“Today we see a growing number of women who have discovered the fun and excitement that racing brings, and who have also found out that it is one of the sports where there are no biological barriers. Women can compete on their own merits just as effectively as men and therefore are just as demanding of and knowledgeable about the machines that carry their hopes to the finish line”.
SBS has been aware of this development in motorcycle racing for some years and has supported and helped promote it by targeting sponsoring of female riders, who have shown the talent and ambition needed for racing and winning trophies.
“We are Scandinavians, and in our part of the world we do not accept that being a woman should restrain your dreams and ambitions. Biking and racing is about freedom for women as well as for men, and this we are pleased to be a part of”.

Ana Carrasco is a rising star in road racing - her 2018 season has already seen her establish a lead in the World SSP300 championship with two wins in 5 races. (Photo: Kawasaki Motors Europe)

From a sales point of view, Christel sees obvious advantages in the growing female interest for riding motorcycles. “Women are 50% of the world population. Imagine what it would mean to this industry, including us at SBS, if the share of women riding motorcycles was as high as it is for men. Now that’s a significant potential”.
This year, SBS’ female sponsorships include some very significant icons: Spanish Ana Carrasco, Americans Anna Rigby, Melissa Paris, and at just 10 years old, Kayla Yaakov, generally recognised as a star of the future.
Ana Carrasco, 21, rides for the DS Junior Team in the World SSP 300 series. At the time of writing she had achieved two wins out of 5 races already this season and was (still is?) leading the World Championship. 

At just 10 years old, Kayla Yaakov has already won more trophies than most people could dream of in an entire racing career. Widely tipped for top honours in years to come, “SBS is very proud to support such a great talent in her efforts to achieve ever more wins.”

She uses one of SBS’ most successful racing compounds, the SBS Dual Carbon - a high-tech carbon race compound that has been contributing to many race and title wins in the past decade. Offering smooth initial bite and progressive in-stop performance, the SBS Dual Carbon is recognised for its excellent brake lever feel and modulation.
Anna Rigby has more than 200,000 Instagram followers, and apart from participating in track days and races, she is CEO and co-founder of the “Red Spade Racing” team. She also works as an SBS brand ambassador, supporting the promotion of the brake brand on American race tracks.

Melissa Paris is the experienced SBS female race partner with many years at the top in Superstock and Endurance. (Photo: Brian. J. Nelson)

With around a decade as a motorcycle racer, Melissa Paris is the experienced rider among SBS’ female partners in racing line-up. Her list of top results is long, including Endurance and Superstock 600 and 1000. This season she is racing the MotoAmerica Superstock 1000. For her this sport is genderless - what is important is winning.
Then there is the extraordinarily talented Kayla Yaakov. At just 10 years old, she is something quite special and is hotly tipped to mature into one of the stars of the next decade. She is extremely fast and determined, and her road racing win list is already astonishing - often competing with male riders 2 or 3 times her age. SBS supports her with Dual Carbon brake pads, which help her winning the extra hundredth of seconds.

Anna Rigby has more than 200,000 Instagram followers, and apart from participating in track days and races, she is CEO and co-founder of the “Red Spade Racing” team.

Christel Munk Pedersen is convinced “that so far, we have only seen the beginning of a huge new wave. We will see more girls in motorsport in the years to come. At SBS we are happy with this, and we will support the development as much as possible.”

Japanese made motorcycle exports

Japanese made motorcycle exports to Europe -11.8 percent for first five months of 2018

The latest data released by JAMA (the automotive trade association in Japan) shows exports of Japanese made motorcycles to Europe down by -12.33 percent in May (11.307 units) and running at -11.81 percent for the five months of 2018 (101,164 units).

Exports of Japanese made motorcycles to USA for May were -21.40 percent (4,312 units) and tracking at -7.66 percent (30,049 units) for the first five months, with worldwide exports -8.11 percent (166,870 units).
Total Japanese manufactured PTW exports to Europe were -5.01 percent for May (13,305 units) and are -9.28 percent for the first five months of 2018 (107,117 units); -8.10 percent YTD for USA (42,691 units); and were -6.38 percent worldwide (203,995 units).
For the full year 2017, Japanese motorcycle exports to Europe were +15.83 percent at 208,823 units - the strongest since 2008; worldwide they were +12.39 percent at 362,558 units - their strongest since 2009.
The increasing number of units being made by the Japanese manufacturers elsewhere in Asia, the US and South/Central America goes some way to providing historical context for the data, though the majority of higher value larger displacement Japanese brand machines, especially those being sold in Europe, are still made in Japan.
Their overseas factories are primarily engaged in making and selling scooters and smaller capacity units in 'emerging' markets (where import tariffs are high) and in making ATV/UTV units - especially in the United States, where demand for such machines is strongest.

Moto Future

Modena, Italy based high-performance electric motorcycle manufacturer Energica reported record first half 2018 sales with turnover 500% increased over the first 6 months of 2017 and is already double their last full year income. Driven by the profile brought by it being selected as the ‘Spec’ bike for the 2019 FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, the Ego is their best seller. Sales have been growing “all over the world with particular success in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Sales of electric motorcycles and scooters in France more than doubled in 2017 to 5,451 units, thanks in large part to the introduction of a € 1,000 government incentive scheme. The sector is dominated by moped scooters, with BMW’s C-evolution E-scooter topping the “big boys” chart and Zero leading the electric motorcycle sector.

Autotalks, an Israel based developer of V2X (Vehicle to Everything) communication chipsets, has joined founding members BMW, Honda, Yamaha and other motorcycle manufacturers such as KTM, Ducati, Kawasaki and Suzuki in the Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC) – the consortium is working towards establishing a viable common platform to enhance Cooperative-Intelligent Transportation Systems (C-ITS) for motorcycles that integrate with other vehicles.

BMW is investing € 200m in what it describes as a “battery cell competence centre” with the intention of exploring new battery architectures. The company is on record as saying that it plans to be using game-changing solid-state battery technology in at least some vehicles by 2026.


Newfren’s 60-year brake shoe pedigree

Based near Turin, Italy, in addition to being one of the market’s leading brake pad manufacturers, Newfren started as a brake shoe manufacturer and still offers “the most complete catalogue of motorcycle and scooter brake shoes in Europe”.

Founded in the 1950s by Alessandro Barbero, Newfren was an innovator and early adopter of a number of new brake technologies such as bonded friction material, gravity and high pressure die casting, and brake shoes without rivets.
The revolutionary glues that Alessandro developed “changed the production of the brake shoes forever”. Replacing the rivets for fixing the friction material on the jaws (“bells”) with glue established the first motorcycle and scooter brake shoe-bonding manufacturing process in Europe.
The process has since evolved, of course, with production processes such as the introduction of grinding with the open tumbling shaft perfecting the stopping power, durability and reliability of brake shoes thanks to the parallel evolution of industrial machinery for specific purposes.
Today Newfren remains the largest manufacturer of brake shoes in Europe and has continued to innovate, with developments such as the new, patented, water-grooved friction material for brake shoes.
Using a German made friction material that has been tested and developed specifically for the demands of each application, Newfren’s “archive” of hundreds of aluminium die-casting moulds means that tooling costs on existing models have already been absorbed with the production processes, making it quick and inexpensive to tool for new, late-model applications as they come to market, backed by an ongoing R&D investment that keeps the company on the cutting edge of new generation material opportunities.
The result is a comprehensive brake shoe programme with products at an exceptional value for money price point to quality ratio.
The company is still in family ownership with Valter Barbero at the helm, and in recent years has invested heavily in new manufacturing technology at its 65,000 sq ft facility/100,000 sq ft site.
Ahead of industry requirements where environmental manufacturing and compound formula requirements are concerned, Newfren has been granted UNI EN ISO 9001-2000 certification for its quality control systems and ABE certification from the German KBA for many of its products. As part of a continuing process, it is also on the way to obtaining environmental certification ISO 14000.


Harley to absorb tariffs

Harley-Davidson’s Q2 financial results (released July 24) showed reduced profit for the period to June 30 with domestic U.S. unit sales down by -6.4 percent for the quarter (46,490 units) in a domestic U.S. heavyweight motorcycle market that was down by -6.3 percent for the quarter.
The decline in profits reflect the decline in sales, the strength of the U.S. Dollar and the first effects of tariffs on imported aluminium and steel and on European import tariffs that are expected to cost Harley around $50m this year, and anywhere between $90m and $120m in the full year (tariffs on Harleys will increase from a WTO standard of 6 percent per bike to an average of 31 percent or $2,200 a bike).

In response to the EU retaliation against President Trump’s decision, Harley had earlier moved to defend its dealers and customers from the price increase by saying it would absorb the increased tariffs and move production of EU destined models overseas to an as yet unconfirmed facility.
The speculation is that Harley will make its European inventory at a factory in Thailand that is already expected to come on line later this year, however, that would likely only be a short-term fix. The company is targeting for 50 percent of sales by unit volume to be outside the U.S. by 2017 (as are Indian Motorcycle) with the largest slice of that being in Europe. Further announcements of growth initiatives are planned for July 30.
Asked about the reaction in Europe to Harley’s decision to “eat” the tariff damage, CEO Matt Levatich said the reaction among dealers had been universally positive and that the fact that the company would back their commitment to Harley in this way “made them very proud” to be associated with Harley. Conversely, he said that the general reaction among U.S dealers to seeing some production transitioning overseas had been phlegmatic – he said that for the most part domestic dealers appeared to understand that the company “had to do what’s best” to keep itself healthy.

Matt Levatich, President and Chief Executive Officer, told investors that Harley needed “new types of products and channels”

Despite the profit drop, Harley’s Q2 Fiscals were not as bad as analysts had feared and their lacklustre share price actually bounced on the news by around 10 percent. Although domestic U.S. unit sales were down, again, the decline is broadly tracking wider market atrophy rather than being ahead of it, as had been the case most of last year. Sales are -8.7 percent (75,800 units) YTD for a 49.2 percent share so far this year (-0.4 percent). Motorcycle shipments for Q2 were 72,593 units and 136,537 for the calendar YTD.
While domestic demand meant that overall global retail sales were down by -3.6 percent for the quarter, their international results were much better. Asia Pacific and Canada remain challenged (Japan and Australia have been notably soft for Harley in the second quarter), but the welcome news is that Latin American sales are up (thanks largely to growth in Brazil and Mexico), and that in Europe (EMEA) sales were +3.6 percent for the quarter and are tracking at +4.8 percent YTD, giving Harley an improved in-class market share of 10.4 percent.
Harley says its European performance is being driven by “strong Softail sales,” and the addition of another 12 international dealers can’t have hurt as the company continues its plan to have added some 150 – 200 new dealers internationally in the four years to 2020.
The effects of inventory management can be seen in the fact that total revenue (at $1,525.1 billion) was “only” down by -3.3 percent despite -11.3 percent lower shipments. YTD revenue was $2,889.1 billion; the average motorcycle revenue has increased.
The 2018 motorcycles segment gross margin is down somewhat on 2017 at $532.1 million (34.9 percent of revenue) for the second quarter and $1,005.9 billion (34.8 percent of revenue) YTD due to the higher steel and aluminium costs, among other factors.
For the latest on the new model plans contained in Harley’s recent “More Roads” strategic announcement, see our coverage from AMD Magazine at

Barnett Clutches & Cables

‘Dirt Digger’ clutch kits

Leading Californian clutch specialist Barnett Clutches & Cables’ has these ‘Dirt Digger’ high performance clutch kits, featuring clutch plates made with their exclusive carbon fibre or Kevlar friction material, tempered steel drive plates, and a set of 10-15% stiffer heavy-duty springs.

The “CF” and Kevlar materials are said to “provide a stronger, more positive engagement and the ‘segmented’ friction material design increases oil flow to the clutch, providing a smoother, more consistent performance and increased clutch life,” says company President Mike Taylor.
“The heavy-duty springs are shot-peened and heat-treated for extreme durability - all our clutch kits are pre-measured for proper stack height, prior to packaging, to ensure reliable fit and performance.”