Thursday, 28 May 2015


Andreani tools

ITALIAN suspension specialist Andreani is producing a selection of tools for workshop use for servicing and tuning street and off-road motorcycle suspension set-ups.

The Vacuum pump SP4 has been designed to allow mechanics to automatically vacuum and fill all shocks with easy-to-use software. Features on the SP4 include two identical tanks to allow different weights of oil to be selected and with enough capacity to work with automotive shocks if needed. 

The smaller SP2 vacuum pump from Andreani has two manometers: the first one to verify the oil pressure and the second one to verify the vacuum inside the shock absorber (Vacuometer). The SP2 also has two identical tanks to use two different kinds of oil or to keep one for the used oil, without opening the shock absorber. 

Andreani’s electronic spring tester has been manufactured to allow accurate calculation of spring rates for precision tuning of shock absorbers. 

Completing the new range is Andreani tool box - a speciality 'must-have' for every suspension tuner. It includes a spring press, PDS recharge device and complete specific tool set. The tool box is being made available in three versions: off-road, street and universal.

Pesaro (PU), ITALY
Tel: +39 0721 209020

Comment by Editor, Robin Bradley

Don't get fooled again!

IN terms of business activity, two of the first signs that better times are ahead are recoveries in the spend on advertising and marketing, and increased mergers and acquisitions activity (M&A).

The recent news about Bahrain based Investcorp's purchase of Dainese, Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway takeover of Detlev Louis and ChinaChem's audacious grab for Pirelli would suggest that the investment community is fulfilling its end of the bargain - the mergers and acquisitions, strategic investment, partnerships and alliances industry is active and playing its part in the dynamic of a recovering capitalist economy.

Kudos to Dainese and Detlev Louis for being such a well run businesses that organisations such as Investcorp and Berkshire Hathaway should be impressed enough to want to buy them - but don't get fooled again.

Don't get fooled into thinking that the pictures seen of Warren Buffet sat astride a Geico Insurance promo custom bike (yes, he owns Geico among many, many other businesses), and his bailing-out of Harley-Davidson's ailing finance arm in 2009 are symptoms of a desire to be in the motorcycle industry as such. They are not.

Equally, although Pirelli Metzeler are big players in our small pond, ChinaChem isn't spending €7 bn so owner Ren Jianxix can get a better deal next time he needs a new set of radials for his Panigale!

Don't expect to start seeing a bunch of 'suits' in Bahrain swapping their corporate uniform for race leathers any time soon.

The lingua franca of the investment community isn't two wheels, it is profit - and where that profit comes from, how it is made, is way less important than how much there is and how long it can be relied on for.

'mentioning no names, others are vulnerable'
In fact, what is noticeable is that there is a distinct lack of M&A activity taking place on a European motorcycle industry business to European motorcycle industry business basis. The investments, equity deals and "strategic alliances" that have been seen have involved Asian (mostly Chinese and Indian) businesses taking positions in or buying out European or North American motorcycle makers or parts and accessories manufacturers and brand owners.

There has been very little intra-market activity as such and this points to the low levels of capital available to and being generated by motorcycle businesses, and the still uncertain degree of macro economic confidence being seen in Europe.

With the spectre of deflation and a Japanese style "lost decade" of economic activity still haunting Europe, it is no surprise that the fragility of the "recovery" was seen in the motorcycle registration data seen in January and February.

ACEM's data for the first two months of the year point to Europe as a whole being down by around 3 percent. While March and April do appear to have seen some recovery in Germany and other markets where growth stalled (see our StatZone reports on pages 6 and 7 of this edition), there is no question that market progress could still stall.

In that context it is not surprising that the motorcycle market itself is not yet generating sufficient capital for rivals or fellow-travellers to buy each other or merge, nor that the list of businesses that are attracting outside interest is thin.

It is instructive that where there has been intra-Europe activity, it has been automotive led - VAG taking over Ducati, Mercedes taking a stake in MV Agusta and so forth. Mentioning no names, some other of our well known manufacturers are vulnerable at this time, exactly because while their earnings are sound, their ability to defend themselves against take-overs, or secure their positions by themselves being acquisitive, is non existent.

The last intra-market deals were KTM's purchase of Husqvarna from BMW, and Harley-Davidson's MV Agusta fire-sale to its prior owners for $1. As is well known, outside Europe the Indian PTW and automotive corporates have been active, and the Chinese motorcycle makers continue to eye Europe for fast-track branding short-cuts.

The most active and arguably most successful powersports industry business at this time is Polaris. They have been spending heavily on new businesses, and extensions and new facilities worldwide and have been able to do because they have been generating capital and have seen their share price climb from below $10 in 2009 to over $160 recently.

While all (well, most) motorcycle manufacturers have been diversifying their brand offer, none have done it as well as Polaris. It is to be hoped that if there are to be further acquisitions of European manufacturers, it might be from an intra-market player such as Polaris.

UFO Plast

UFO Plast partners MXGP

Italian off-road parts, accessory and apparel specialist UFO Plast has announced  major sponsorship support for the 18 round 2015 MXGP series and for this year's Motocross of Nations being organised by Moto Clun Ernee on September 26 - 27, 10 years after it was last held in France.

UFO Plast has reached an agreement with Youthstream promoters to support MXGP until the end of 2016.
The Tuscany based company already has a big investment in racing, with sponsored riders this year including Jeremy Van Horebeek, Clement Desalle, David Philippaerts and three times and reigning 2014 Women's World Champion Kiara Fontanesi.


Rides flip-up helmet

CELEBRATING 59 World Titles in the 18 years since Antonio Locatelli introduced his first own brand helmet designs, the emergence of the 'modular'/flip-up helmet style in that time has been one of the principal developments in the market.

Rides is the new flip-up helmet from Airoh, made in specially formulated, high resistance thermoplastic resin (H.R.T.) and designed by the company for road and touring use.
Its double homologation (P/J) ensures premium levels of safety in both full-face and open-face modes. It features an extra wide visor to provide a "huge visual field", with an adjustable sun screen visor and Pinlock ready anti-fog visor.

Ventilation is by three glove-friendly wide air vents, with the lower chinguard vents driving air directly to the inner surface of the visor, while upper vents guarantee fresh air inside the helmet.
The lining is made from rider-friendly high performance materials that have been subjected to "numerous stress tests to ensure maximum comfort and breathability in all conditions. The micrometric closure system, the excellent fit and the attention to detail make this a helmet that lives up to the standards and brand values that  Airoh has come to be recognised for", according to the company. 

Almenno San Bartolomeo (BG), ITALY
Tel. +39 035 553101

Rainers Sports

VRC-3 racing glove

THE VRC-3A racing glove offers "comprehensive protection, comfort and good feel", according to Rainers Sports.

Made from high quality leather, with the palm in high abrasion resistance kangaroo leather, the mixed material knuckle protector features TPU and carbon.
The inner side of the glove is covered with a high density sponge, with added "Super Fabric" high resistance protection covered TPU protectors to reduce impact on the scaphoid bone area.
Riders like Jordi Torres, Carmelo Morales and Efren Vazquez are using these gloves in their 2015 training sessions and competitions.

Elche/Alicante, SPAIN
Tel +34 96 542 5763

Puig Hi-Tech Parts

CB650F design and safety upgrades

PUIG has created a range of parts for the ‘14-‘15 Honda CB650F, including a model-specific windscreen made of high impact acrylic. Available in dark smoke, light smoke, clear and black tints, it ships with all necessary hardware.

'Engine Spoiler' is the name given by Puig for an ABS plastic carbon look or matt black belly pan that is designed to protect the lower section of the bike.

Puig offers foldable/extendable levers and footpegs with clutch and brake levers that are CNC machined from billet aluminium, ergonomically designed to improve feel and control. They feature six-point adjustment and are available in a range of anodised finishes. The footpegs feature a rotational system for adjustment; the pegs can be used for rider or pillion and come in the choice of black, silver, red, blue or gold.

Puig’s frame sliders are made of high-impact nylon and are said to have a wider surface than similar products. An interchangeable rubber-end helps riders avoid knee injuries. 

Granollers, Barcelona, SPAIN
Tel: +34 938 490 633


Custom bars and CB500 accessories

FEHLING continues to expand its product range and has now added accessory options for 2013 and later Honda CB 500s and a selection of custom handlebars.

Fehling’s steel engine protection bars help prevent damage to the crank cases in the event of a fall. 

Designed to mount behind the seat there is a choice of tubular ‘Luggage Top Case Carrier’ which can be used with various aftermarket hard luggage options, with ‘Side Case Carriers’ available for aftermarket hard panniers.

As part of its growing handlebar range, Fehling has created its MSP line to fit a wide variety of motorcycles without the need to change wiring or brake and clutch lines.

The 850mm wide 'Crack' bar is offered in both 1in and 1-1/4in diameters and with 110mm of backward sweep. It can be ordered in either chrome or black finishes. 

MSP 850mm wide Custom bars, in black or chrome, are 1in diameter and have a choice of 60mm or 90mm rise with 100mm of rearward sweep. One-inch tubing is used for MSP Race bars that combine an 850mm width with 100mm of sweep and a rise of 50mm. 

MSP Z-Bars are offered in both 1in and 1-1/4in diameters and the choice of 70mm or 110mm rise with 90mm of pullback, finished in black or chrome.

Wickede (Ruhr), GERMANY
Tel: +49 (0)2377 2033


RST Tractech Evo-2

TRACING its origins back to 1988, and firmly established as the largest British (and one of the major international) motorcycle clothing brands, this is a big year for the British RST apparel brand.

News that owner Moto-Direct has signed a two year deal for RST to be the Official Safety Partner of the legendary Isle of Man TT races was followed-up by the launch of a major new apparel programme - RST's Tractech Evo-2 line.

The range features a new one-piece race-suit, leather jacket and jeans, textile jacket, the new Tractech Evo-2 race glove, and RSTs contour plus aktiv level 1 back protector and improved cpx shoulder sliders.

The Tractech Evo was already a highly rated suit, but brand owner Moto-Direct say they have "hundreds of hours of road and track riding invested in the Tractech Evo-2.
"Trying to find ways of improving an already well received and popular product is tough. But nobody can afford to stand still in this industry and no matter how hard it is, there always are ways to improve any product, especially in an industry like ours", RST Marketing Manager Chris Day told IDN.
"The feedback we get from our dealers and their customers is invaluable. We have been able to take the Tractech Evo range to another level with this new line. As a range that includes textile as well as leather options, it gives dealers a one-stock brand that fills all their street and sportsbike rider apparel requirements".


The textile jacket that Chris mentions has been completely re-built. "It might not be obvious from the front" Chris says, "but check out the back and you'll see we've really cranked up the sports credentials of the Tractech Evo-2 by fitting a race hump. It not only looks factory, but really helps with the aerodynamics when your in the tuck position, keeping the jacket from flapping at high speed and helping with the stability of your helmet.

"We’ve also used the same cpx shoulder sliders developed for the Tractech Evo-2 one piece suit".

RST has also updated the specification of its Tractech Evo-2 glove, adding a kangaroo palm, and a memory elastane impact knuckle protector. This is the same material that is used in their new aktiv back protector, and in combination with the hard carbon knuckle it makes for what must be one of the best glove specifications yet seen.

RST has also unveiled the designs for an all-new Isle of Man licensed TT-Partner apparel range that will be unveiled in the RST TT Concept Store located behind the main grandstand, and will launch on Saturday 30th May.

We present a 'teaser' here, and a full report will appear in the June/July edition of IDN.

South Normanton/Derbyshire, UK
Tel. +44 (0)1773 864435