Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Comment by Editor, Robin Bradley

A robust foundation for the future

The mountain of market data that has been released since the last edition of IDN - data for the full year 2015 - makes good reading, at last! The good news is that with ACEM confirming EU motorcycle registrations growth of over 10 percent, and this being the second year of growth, we can now confidently say that the demand for PTWs is finally headed in the right direction.
That said, since the market's nadir in 2013 was a "tale of two halves" (the first six months of market decline was followed by the first indications that the bottom of the curve had been reached), Antonio Perlot of ACEM is right to suggest that the market still needs to wait until mid-year 2016 before getting too excited.
The significance of that will be that if the early results being seen already for this year continue, then by July this year we will have seen, or should have seen, some 36 months of stability and steadily accelerating growth, since registrations reached their low-point in the summer of 2013.
Although the pattern so far has been far from universally positive everywhere, with some markets still seeing monthly or quarterly fluctuations in 2015, and some (France and Austria for example) appearing to be lagging behind the rest of the EU, overall we are in a better place now than at any stage since the start of the downturn in 2008. Although markets such as France and Austria appear to be locked into their own cycle and trail, with the recovery being seen elsewhere by two or three years, at least the trends there are also now positive - by the end of 2015 both markets appeared to have reached or were close to reaching their own low-points.
Of course while good news of this kind is much needed, the context in which it needs to be analysed is of the utmost importance. The wider economic indicators, globally, aren't universally positive at this time - there is much talk of softening consumer demand worldwide and signals that more economic instability could be only a matter of months away.

Indeed, though we have seen aggregate growth in new motorcycle registrations in the EU of nearly 20 percent in the past two years, that means we have still lost more than 40 percent of a market that in 2007 was at peak-cycle only in the context of another decline that had set in at the end of the last century.
As BMW Motorrad supremo Stephan Schaller was careful to point out in his keynote speech at the ACEM conference in September last year, ours remains an industry that, in total PTW terms, has lost half of its sales in less than a decade, and that if anyone thinks it will only take four or five years to get that back, or that it will look, smell and taste the same as it used to when and if it does come back, then they are likely to be very disappointed.
Demographic changes, social upheaval and continuing economic uncertainty mean that the motorcycle industry, dealers, manufacturers and parts, accessory and apparel vendors are all going to have to continue to work very hard indeed to sustain the present return to growth if the industry is to substantially eat into that market loss any time soon.
The motorcycle industry has some wonderful assets - ones that would be the envy of many consumer markets - the long-term passion and commitment of its hard-core customer base, the marketability of its product offerings (their "sexiness"), and the resulting lifestyle options they give, the increasing recognition that two wheels are good for urban mobility and potentially better for the environment than most other motorised alternatives - all these are "good things", but almost above all the market's ability to innovate its way into a viable future and respond quickly to public taste and opinion makes our industry unique among specialty leisure and transport spending choice options.
Innovation was the theme of last year's ACEM conference, and that has always been a hallmark of the motorcycle industry throughout its history. It has never stood still - it has always responded to consumer needs and to technology.
In the course of the thirty years up to the recent downturn the industry changed completely - it saw what we now refer to as the "Japanese superbike revolution", it saw the advent of ever more stringent regulations, the development of technology such as fuel injection and the use of ever lighter materials - all of which resulted in the market of the 'naughties' being unrecognisable from the market of the fifties, sixties and seventies.
So too the "lost decade" of the downturn has seen radical changes in consumer attitudes towards transport in general and to the expectations they have of the motorcycle ownership and riding experience.
In just the same way that the protests of 'Detroit' over laminated windshields, seat belts and roll cages were eventually consigned to the dustbin of naivety, so too the riders entering the market now are concerned about safety, are concerned about environmental footprints and are concerned for their creature comforts and the ergonomics of the products they are being invited to buy - in a way that was unheard of thirty years ago.
There is no doubt that our industry can and will embrace these changes as opportunities, it is already doing so, but let nobody think that continuing to do so will be an easy ride, and let nobody think that we have any kind of divine right to success.
All success is hard earned. The turn-around we have seen so far has involved most businesses in considerable pain and much re-building of their product offerings, whether it be motorcycles or parts and accessories. It has seen dealerships - franchised and independent - having to endure a decline that was out of tune with the years of experience they had and hard work that had been put in, and there is more of that ahead for all concerned.
However, an aggregate growth of nearly 20 percent in two years is a robust foundation for the future.


Motorcycle industry now firmly on the inside
Designed to be a "space for co-operation between industry and policy-makers", GEAR 2030 is an EU initiative which will build on the work of the CARS 2020 programme and run for two years - discussing and formulating recommendations to ensure that the European automotive industry remains competitive on the international stage

On 26 January 2016, ACEM Secretary General Antonio Perlot presented the motorcycle industry’s views on the present and future of the sector at the first meeting of the EU's new "High Level Group" GEAR 2030.

"The economic downturn has put considerable pressure on the sector and that there is a clear need for policies that create favourable and predictable conditions to help motorcycle manufacturers to continue investing in Europe"

Designed to be a "space for co-operation between industry and policy-makers", GEAR 2030 is an EU initiative which will build on the work of the CARS 2020 programme and run for two years - discussing and formulating recommendations to ensure that the European automotive industry remains competitive on the international stage.
During his presentation Perlot explained that the economic downturn has put considerable pressure on the sector, and that there is a clear need for policies that create favourable and predictable conditions to help motorcycle manufacturers to continue investing in Europe.
Fair and balanced trade agreements, a clear and workable type-approval framework and market surveillance activities were mentioned as good examples of some of the policies needed by the motorcycle industry.
Perlot also emphasized that emerging technologies such as intelligent transport systems and, in the future, automated vehicles have a high safety potential for vulnerable road users.

"It is encouraging that the European Commission has decided to continue the increasingly good co-operation with ACEM members"

The first GEAR 2030 meeting brought together several European associations, including ACEM, ACEA and ETRMA, as well as representatives from Member States, trade unions, consumer organisations and NGOs.
Commenting on the first meeting of GEAR 2030, ACEM and BMW Motorrad President Stephan Schaller said: "We welcome this major initiative and we will remain closely involved in the work done in GEAR 2030. It is particularly encouraging that the European Commission has decided to continue the increasingly good co-operation with ACEM members, and to follow up on the work done by the CARS 2020 forum".
The European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), Elżbieta Bieńkowska, said: "I expect this group to develop a forward-looking agenda to fuel innovation, adapt to new trends and reinforce access to growth-driven markets.
"With this process I am also turning a new page in co-operation with the industry. I trust we can build a positive agenda".
Other European Commissioners to attend the inaugural meeting included Günther Oettinger (Digital Economy and Society); Marianne Thyssen (Employment and Social Affairs); and Violeta Bulc (Mobility and Transport).

EU officials attending the inaugural GEAR 2013 meeting included The European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) Elżbieta Bieńkowska; Günther Oettinger (Digital Economy and Society); Marianne Thyssen (Employment and Social Affairs); and Violeta Bulc (Mobility and Transport)

Austrian motorcycle registrations

Austrian motorcycle registrations recovering

The latest data released by the motorcycle trade association in Austria (arge2Rad) shows the decline in the motorcycle market there to be slowing. A strong final quarter of 2015 (in percentage terms) completed an improving quarterly trend that has left the number of new motorcycle registrations for the year marginally up at +0.24 percent (12,551 units).
In total PTW terms the market saw a -4.19 percent decline in 2015 (38,766 units), but the overall trend is headed in the right direction after a very bad start to 2015.
The ACEM data for 2015 puts the Austrian market in 9th place in overall EU terms, but confirms the continuing difficulties seen in most European markets when it comes to moped sales, with the Austrian market - 7.9 percent over 2014 (13,499 mopeds registered in 2015).
Motorcycle market share leader in Austria is BMW, followed by KTM in their home market, Yamaha, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Ducati, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Triumph.
In total PTW terms Vespa is top-brand, followed by KTM, Honda and Yamaha.

Swiss motorcycle market

Swiss motorcycle market +17.10 percent in 2015

The Europe-wide recovery in motorcycle registrations was reflected in Switzerland last year with MotoSuisse, the motorcycle industry trade association in Switzerland, reporting that the market there saw sales grow by +17.10 percent for the 12 months to December 2015 with a 20-year record of 27,306 new units registered.
Some 75% of those were large displacement motorcycles of 500cc+ (21,747 machines, an increase of +14.2% over the previous year).
In total PTW terms Yamaha was market leader, selling 10,310 units (+9.15 percent), with Honda second, followed by BMW, Vespa, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki and KTM; Suzuki dropped to 11th and were down by nearly 27 percent year-on-year.
In motorcycle terms Yamaha were leader, up by +44.79 percent over 2014 at 4,975 units, with BMW second (+14.46 percent), followed by Harley-Davidson (-2.31 percent),
Honda (-8.68 percent), Kawasaki (+31.09 percent), KTM (+13.07 percent), Ducati (+34.60 percent), Triumph and Suzuki, whose motorcycle sales were +15.14 percent in Switzerland in 2015.
The top selling motorcycle in Switzerland in 2015 was Yamaha's MT-07, followed by their MT-09, the BMW R 1200 GS, the Ducati Scrambler and Yamaha's MT-09 Tracer variant. Kawasaki's Z 800 was sixth best seller, followed by BMW's R nine T, and the H-D Breakout.
In total PTW terms the Swiss market was +9.15 percent at 48,813 units - a third consecutive year of growth.
Scooter sales increased slightly at +0.5 percent compared to 2014, 21,507 units with 61 percent of them 125cc. Yamaha was top brand, followed by Honda, Vespa and Sym. The Vespa Primavera 125 was the best selling scooter.
The 'Quad' market in Switzerland is one of Europe's largest, worth 1,600 units in 2015 (+22.06 percent), with Kymco the top selling brand, followed by Can-Am, Yamaha and Polaris fourth in the market where their European headquarters is based.

Andreani Group

Ducati Scrambler suspension options and T-Max R&T front fork kit

This is a big year for the Andreani Group, the Italian suspension specialist with an international reputation.
A new logo, new website and new slogan - "Race, Experience, Performance" - underlines the winning philosophy that allowed former racer Giuseppe Andreani to build his company into one of Europe's 'majors'.

New products this year include the addition of a Yamaha T-Max application to the range of Öhlins R&T front fork kits offered. Also available for Triumph and most popular naked and cafe racer bikes, the range of Öhlins 43 R&T conventional front forks is said to offer superior flowing and progression, sensibly improving city and highway handling.
Equipped with Titranium Nitride (TiN) hard ceramic treated inner tubes with a 43mm diameter, they feature adjustable compression, rebound and spring preload. Offered in gold colour at an attractive price-point (compared to the original fork), it is said to be easy to mount on the original clamps. Also available as a kit that includes the fork, brake caliper mount and front fender.

Also seen here, Andreani Group haven't been slow to spot the opportunity to offer improved suspension for Ducati's Scrambler with this special line of exclusive parts. The Öhlins FG 434 conventional front fork equipped with a 43mm diameter gold anodised inner tube is fully adjustable (compression, rebound and spring preload) and comes with high-strength, light-weight Ergal alloy CNC machined triple clamps.
Also offered for the Scrambler, Öhlins 46mm piston DR shock absorbers with 16mm diameter rods offer adjustable rebound and spring preload.
Andreani's own R&D department designed Misano cartridge is also available for the Scrambler - featuring 20mm enlarged oil chamber and adjustable compression, rebound and spring preload.



Metro-T luggage

The new Metro-T luggage line from Givi includes four semi-rigid bags that can be purchased and used separately or as a complete set, providing small and medium load volume.

The bags are made from laminated, durable, high strength "technical" material, are waterproof and UV ray resistant (in accordance with ISO 4892-2:3013 - 500 hours of exposure in a Q-Sun Xenon enclosed chamber).
Features include reflective inserts and anodised aluminium trims, a rain cover, contrasting lining and stitching and zippers that are compatible with a security lock (available separately).
The MT501 are a pair of expandable, thermoformed top loading saddlebags equipped with a brand new frame-specific mounting system. They can be ordered as single bags, suitable for bikes with a high exhaust pipe. Features include side mesh pockets and a carrying handle. Dimensions are 360 x 200 x 340 mm, internal capacity is 18 litres.
The MT 502 is a multi-functional, expandable bag designed to be positioned on the tail that can be converted into a comfortable backpack. It is set up for modular mounting with the MT503 roll-bag. They have a universal fitting system and come with removable backpack straps and double carry handle. Dimensions are 230 x 300 x 440 mm, internal capacity 30 litres.

The MT503 roll-bag can be attached to the front forks or the passenger seat. Set up for modular clips/adjustable straps, mounting with the MT502 backpack it has a double opening - the main compartment is accessed via a 'roll down' flap type system; the smaller compartment is accessed via a zipper. Dimensions are 120 x 170 x 420 mm, internal capacity 4 litres.
The MT504 is a 4-magnet multi-pocket tank bag for metal tanks. It features an internal pocket beneath the cover to accommodate a smartphone, side pockets with zipper designed for keys and other small objects; the front cable port is set up for installing Givi Power Hub accessories and a shoulder strap. Dimensions are 190 x 280 x 220 mm, internal capacity 5 litres, fitting system.

GIVI S.r.l.


SG.10 off-road boot

Key features of Gaerne's new SG.10 off-road boot with its "comfortable, innovative and ergonomic design" include a lightweight upper combined with microfiber inserts and PU protections, dual composite rubber sole and memory cell PU inner foam liner.

The "razor back" pivot system provides strong lateral support, preventing ankle twisting without compromising flexibility, and the lightweight and replaceable buckles and Velcro closure system means secure and precise fit; the first two buckles at the top are removable to accommodate a bigger leg or knee brace. A rubber grip guard on the inner side of the boots delivers exceptional grip and heat protection. 



X-Black for X-Max

This new version of the popular X-Black Oval silencer for Yamaha's X-Max 400 from Exan excels "for city or long distance riding", according to the Italian manufacturer.

Featuring a final trapezoidal carbon end shape that "accentuates the sporty look of Yamaha's scooter", it is available in four different materials - satin stainless steel, light satin stainless steel, black; carbon and titanium. Lighter than the original, the internal geometry is said to deliver a better exhaust gas routing and flow for improved performance at all speeds and in all riding circumstances.
The silencer is noise approved but has a removable db killer that can be easily removed in order to enjoy better performance to experience the thrill of the track.



Motorcycle registrations up by 10.3% in 2015

According to the most recent data released by ACEM, the Brussels based international motorcycle industry trade association (Association des Constructeurs Européens de Motocycles), total motorcycle and moped registrations combined increased by 5.6% in EU markets in 2015, to 1,210,534 units, with motorcycle registrations driving growth at +10.3 percent, 885,018 units.
The largest PTW market was France with 242,885 units registered, although that is one of the few European markets were sales are still in decline at -3.4% compared to 2014.
That said, the decline in motorcycle sales in France has stopped with the market there 'flat' for the year (actually -0.1 percent) at 153,239 units.
That makes France Europe's second largest motorcycle market, with Italy the largest at 171,952 units, which is a healthy +9.9 percent over 2014. Total new PTW registrations in Italy were +6.3 percent (196,571 units).

Italy is largest m/c market, up by +9.9 %

 Germany is Europe's third largest market with 151,661 motorcycles registered (+7.1 percent) out of a total of 181,510 units (+3.2 percent). Spain is Europe's fourth largest motorcycle market, and fastest growing of the major markets in percentage terms, at  +18.9 for the year (total PTWs sales there were +17.6 percent at 148,488 units), with the UK Europe's fifth largest market at 105,358 units, which is +15.5 percent growth over 2014 (total PTW registrations in the UK were +12.7 percent, 114,752 units).
The trend towards more expensive larger displacement machines is good news for the manufacturers and their dealers, but the continuing weakness in the moped market remains a concern with EU-wide registrations (-5.5 percent for the year at 325,516 units).
The largest market for mopeds was France (89,646 mopeds, -8.7%), followed by The Netherlands (65,932 mopeds, +4.9%), Poland (30,430 mopeds, -25.3%), Germany (29,849 mopeds, -12.7%), and Italy (24,619 mopeds, -13.2%).
Spain was the only large European market in which moped registrations actually increased in 2015 with +7.8 percent growth (15,956 units).
BMW, Yamaha, Peugeot Scooters and Honda were the most popular brands in Europe in 2015, with BMW's R1200 GS motorcycle the top-selling model (16,112 units), followed by Yamaha's MT07 motorcycle (12,905 units), with Peugeot's KISBEE 5 moped third (12,332 units).
The fourth and fifth most registered models in the European Union were Yamaha's XP500 T-MAX 530cc (10,067 units) and Honda's SH150AD (8,879 units).
Commenting on the trends in the European motorcycle and moped market, ACEM Secretary General Antonio Perlot said: "We will still need to wait until July 2016 to assess whether this is a real recovery, but the sector seems to have regained momentum in 2015.
"This was a very positive year for the industry, with registrations increasing in most European countries, particularly in the largest markets such as Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.
"However, the sector still faces a delicate situation in Europe. In 2015 about 1.21 million vehicles were registered. That is still less than half the registration levels we saw before the economic crisis (2.43 million units were registered in 2007).
"This industry needs supportive policies that promote job creation in the manufacturing sector as well as vehicle exports to markets outside Europe".
Europe's "Big Five" markets (Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the UK) accounted for 80.76 percent of new motorcycle registrations in EU markets in 2015 (714,742 units), compared to 81.96 percent in 2014 (654,330 units).
At the time of going to press data for some of Europe's other markets (those in the EFTA zone such as Switzerland and Norway) had not yet been compiled, but in 2014 those markets added a further 43,975 to the total European picture.

BMW Motorrad

BMW GS Trophy heads to Thailand

As a latest stage in Munich's seemingly inexorable rise to world domination, BMW is taking its GS Trophy to Asia for the first time at the end of February.
Some 57 riders in 19 teams (three riders per team), representing 25 nations from around the world – together with 21 embedded journalists – will compete in a week of adventure riding, special tests and teamwork challenges. Starting February 28, it's a week that will "also be about experiencing life in the rain forests of the hilly 'Golden Triangle' region in Thailand´s Chiang Mai province, connecting with the natural world and celebrating the international brotherhood of adventure motorcycling that's so closely associated to the BMW R 1200 GS". 

Past events have typically featured long trails through wilderness or mountainous regions. This time, says chief organiser and route designer Tomm Wolf, the competitors can expect a slower pace, but far more technical challenges.
"The tracks we will ride will be dry and probably quite dusty and much narrower than those we encountered in Canada and South America. There will be more single track, up-and-down, enduro-type trails, rather than the wide forest roads of the previous GS Trophy. The speeds will definitely be lower and the trails will be more challenging to ride, but extremely nice".
The GS Trophy competitors will as a consequence be travelling a shorter distance over the week, but as any off-road rider will know, when speeds are low and the riding technical, long days in the saddle are sure to follow. Along the way the competitors will take part in a series of challenges that are consistent with the GS lifestyle and designed to exercise their riding and navigation skills, their knowledge of, and ability to live in, the natural world – and their ability to come together as a team.
"With the technicality in the riding, the competitors will understand more than ever that this is not a race," explains Wolf. "But given the climate – we can expect heat and humidity – and the advanced riding and sporting level of the competitors, we can be sure it will remain a tough competition".

The Southeast Asia 2016 event follows previous editions that took place in Tunisia in 2008, Southern Africa in 2010, South America in 2012 and Canada in 2014.
"The GS Trophy is a truly international event for amateurs from around the world, very much following the principle of the Olympics", explains BMW Motorrad's organiser Mathias Horn. "The riders are everyday enthusiasts who through regional qualifiers have won their place in what will be an experience so rich and so exciting. With every GS Trophy the event evolves. This time we will find ourselves in the Asian continent, and so the experience and the riding will be all-new. And we have three new teams as well, from China, from Southeast Asia and an International Female Team.
"We are especially excited to have a female team along for this edition. Women have always been a part of the GS Trophy, holding leading positions within the organisation – and a few of these have in the past ridden along with the competitors – but this is the first time we'll have female competitors".
The competitors will ride a fleet of identical, specially-prepared 2016 BMW R 1200 GS motorcycles. The number of GS bikes will be a staggering 114 in total – 100 of which will be R 1200 GS versions for the competitors, journalists, organisers and special guests, with 14 R 1200 GS Adventures for the marshals.
BMW say that preparing the machines for a competition environment has required only a small number of modifications. All the GS bikes are equipped with an aluminium enduro engine guard, steel crash bars, valve cover guards, headlight guard, wider enduro footrests, adjustable footbrake lever and a safety screw for the oil filler neck. All bikes will run on Metzeler Karoo 2 tyres.
"We've concentrated on equipping the bikes with what's necessary to cope with the conditions in the GS Trophy," says Markus Meissner from BMW Motorrad Aftersales. "Our bikes are already very well prepared as standard, and within the product range of Original BMW Motorrad Accessories we offer everything which is necessary to ride and master the GS Trophy".

Japanese made motorcycle exports

Japanese made motorcycle exports to Europe -3.65 percent for 2015

The latest data release by JAMA, the automotive trade association that includes representation of Japanese motorcycle manufacturers among its membership, shows exports of Japanese made motorcycles of 250cc+ to Europe in December at +31.17 percent (22,397 units) but at -3.65 percent (151,715 units) for the whole of 2015.
Although down on 2014 (157,462 units), it remains an improvement on 2012 (147,377) and 2013 (130,455), but comparison with 2007 (420,601 units) and 2008 (326,176) shows just how badly the recession hit and changed the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer dynamic in Europe.

The increasing number of units being made by the Japanese brands elsewhere in Asia, the US and South/Central America goes some way to explaining the data, though the majority of higher value larger displacement machines are still made in Japan with their overseas factories 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.
In total PTW export terms (all capacities of powered two wheelers), Europe received 23,981 units in December, up by +28.85 percent over December 2014 and 170,746 units for the whole of 2015, which is down by -2.16 percent over 2014.
The US market continues to be even more problematic for the Japanese manufacturers than Europe has been, with 250cc+ exports of Japanese made units -38.23 percent in December (7.740 units) and -33.77 percent for 2015 (79.942 units). That represents a dramatic decline in the past 10 years; in 2006 America received 436,874 250cc+ units from the Japanese factories, 331,978 in 2007 and 265,198 in 2008 - with a massive drop to 126,602 in 2009.
Total PTW exports worldwide were 417,709 units in 2015, which is down by -10.28 percent compared to 2014.
Total worldwide Japanese manufacturer motorcycle production (domestic Japanese and 'international' production combined) is on the increase though, with this year's annual total expected to be higher than the 597,058 units produced by them in 2014 (563,309 units in 2013). However, in 2007 for example, prior to the global economic downturn, the Japanese manufacturers were producing more than double that figure at 1,676,097 units worldwide.

Energica Motor Company

Energica listing a success

Energica Motor Company S.p.A., the Italian electric sportsbike manufacturer, followed-up its successful part listing on the Milan Stock Exchange with news that the company is to move to new headquarters premises.

Part of the 45 year-old CRP Group of companies (whose origins were in high-tech manufacturing for F1), last year the Modena, Italy based manufacturer appointed UBS to help source funding solutions for volume production of its 'Ego' and 'Evo' models.
Energica also received final official accreditation from the NHTSA and EPA in the United States, meaning that the Energica Ego is a fully homologated electric sportsbike ready to be sold legally in the U.S. 
Before EICMA last year the company announced that it was working for a listing to raise capital on Italy's Alternative Investment Market, and that listing took place at the end of January this year.

Intended to fund an initial production run of 244 motorcycles in 2016 and double that the year after by selling around 35 percent of its equity for between 5 and 7 million Euro, the listing made Energica not just the only e-vehicle business to list on its chosen market, but only the second such business to launch a public offering on any market in the world after Tesla in the United States.
Having been pronounced as a "best performer" on AIM Italia in the first three days of its offer, the company confirmed plans to move to a new 32,000 sq ft factory in Modena, in Italy's famed "Motor Valley".


Apparel will need CE marking

Until now only protective (motorcycle) gloves, boots and impact protectors were categorised by the EU as being "protective gear" and as such needed to meet certain standards.
However, the European Parliament has now decided to include all motorcycle gear in new protective personal equipment (PPE) regulations.

Dolf Willigers, General Secretary of FEMA, said "as long as the European authorities will not use these standards to force riders to wear only approved motorcycle gear, standardisation of motorcycle gear is a good thing for riders"

This means that in a few years time, all motorcycle gear sold in Europe will have to meet the same safety standards as other items categorised as personal protective gear. They will have to provide a minimum amount of protection against abrasion and impact.
Just like with boots and gloves now, there must be a label inside the gear that confirms that it meets the European standards and what level of protection is provided. Also, information about maintenance, storage and use must be given to the buyer. The exact standards and date by when all motorcycle gear in shops in Europe must meet the standards are not known yet - and it might take some years yet.
However, this new regulation does not mean that riders are obliged to wear only approved clothing. This regulation is about selling approved protective clothing, but not about wearing it. As far as FEMA knows, the Commission has no plans to make the wear of approved motorcycle gear mandatory.
FEMA’s General Secretary Dolf Willigers commented: "When all motorcycle gear meets the standard you know what amount of protection you can expect. This is consumer protection we don’t have now. Of course the new standards will have to meet the needs of riders, but with the information available to us at this time, I have all confidence that this will be the case.
"As long as the European authorities will not use these standards to force riders to wear only approved motorcycle gear (and we intend to campaign that this will not happen), standardisation of motorcycle gear is a good thing for riders".
Helmets and visors are outside the scope of this regulation: they are covered by UN ECE Regulation no. 22.

Swedish motorcycle sales

Swedish motorcycle sales +14.4 percent for 2015

Per Johansson, CEO of McRF, the Swedish motorcycle trade association, says he is looking forward to "continued growth, building on the positive results seen in 2015 as we head towards a market in which we estimate that around 12,000 motorcycles is a natural level".

For the full year 2015 motorcycle sales were up by +14.4 percent at 9,424 units, with Mopeds +22.8 percent at 10,635 units and all categories of MotoCross models worth an additional 2,707 - putting the Swedish market at 22,766 total PTWs.
In related powersports vehicle terms the Swedish market was worth 7,198 ATVs in 2015 (+9.9 percent), 5,840 snowmobiles (+16.7 percent) and 2,911 'Quadricycles' (+13.4 percent) for a combined total motorcycle, PTW and powersports vehicle market of 38,715 units.
Low volume statistics released for January already shows the motorcycle sector at +92.2 percent for the first month of 2016, with mopeds +72.4 percent and ATVs +12.9 percent.
Johansson went on to say that pent-up demand is fuelling growth, with Sweden's low interest rates and high levels of employment adding to the positive outlook.
He also reports that this year's MCMassan motorcycle fair at Gothenburg at the end of January saw an increased attendance of 45,634 visitors - up by some 2,500 over 2014 - demonstrating that demand in Sweden is strong and increasing.
"Our focus on creating interest among young people had a great impact in Gothenburg, with 1,255 young people under 19 years taking advantage of the opportunity to come into the fair for free during the first two days. They were treated to test drives, excitement in the Action Hall, and they were able to get expert advice on how to get a license and training in Sweden.
"Over 900 people took test rides on new models, many of them more than once – and we think there were some 1,800 test rides taken in total during the four days of the expo, with those without a license able to try to run for the first time under the guidance of highly qualified instructors".
Next year's show will be in Stockholm from 26th to 29th January 2017.


Harley U.S. unit sales -3.4 percent in final quarter 2015 but 'International' sales +3.7 percent

Harley-Davidson has reported fourth quarter 2015 retail motorcycle sales down by -0.6 percent worldwide compared to the year-ago quarter at 46,857 units; for the full year sales were -1.3 percent worldwide at 264,627 units.

In the United States fourth quarter sales were -3.4 percent at 26,044 units and -1.7 percent for the full year at 168,240 units.
Sales in the 'European' region (EMEA - Europe, Middle East and Africa) were -1.7 percent for the fourth quarter at 7,689 units and -4.5 percent for the full year at 43,287 units.
Total international unit retail sales (Latin America, Canada, EMEA and  Asia Pacific regions) were +3.7 percent for the final quarter of 2015 at 20,813 units and broadly level
(-0.6 percent) for the full year 2015 at 96,387 units.
Harley says its U.S. market share was 51.4 percent in the 601cc-plus category, which is flat compared to the year ago period.
"Our U.S. market share stabilized as we began to ramp up marketing investment, and as we lapped the initial impact of heightened competitiveness and price discounting that began late in the fourth quarter of 2014," said Matt Levatich, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Retail Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales in Canada grew +12.3 percent in the quarter, following the company's move to direct distribution there. The Asia Pacific region had its best year ever for dealer sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles at +7.3 percent for 2015 (32,258 units; +8.2 percent for the fourth quarter at 8,787 units).
For the full year, Harley-Davidson says it was number one in market share in the 601cc-plus segment in the U.S., Canada, Australia, India and Japan.
"We are focused, with strength and resolve, on growing demand and building on our substantial market leadership position," continued Levatich.
"Although we expect the macro-economic environment to remain challenging, we are confident we'll continue to lead with our powerful brand – not simply because of our substantial strengths but through our increased demand-driving investments and our incredibly talented and passionate employees and dealers."
The company says that throughout 2015 its retail motorcycle sales were adversely affected by heightened competitive pressures, including those arising from shifts in world currencies.
In October last year, shortly before announcing the departure of Chief Marketing Officer Mark Hans Richer, the company unveiled plans to increase its "customer-facing" marketing investment, starting in 2016, by approximately +65 percent over 2015 levels, and to increase its investment in new product development by approximately +35 percent from 2015.
These changes [funded in part by lay-offs] represent an approximate $70 million increase in investments to drive demand compared to 2015. The increased investments are being focused in four key areas identified by Levatich - increasing product and brand awareness; growing new ridership in the U.S.; increasing and enhancing brand access; and accelerating the "cadence and impact" of new products.
Harley-Davidson says it expects to ship 269,000 to 274,000 motorcycles in 2016, an approximate 1 percent to 3 percent increase from 2015 shipments. In the first quarter of 2016, the company expects to ship 78,000 to 83,000 motorcycles compared to 79,589 motorcycles shipped in the year-ago period.

HP Corse

Evoxtreme for Z800

HP Corse has brought the unique technology and design of their Evoxtreme silencers to Kawasaki's Z800. 

Developed by Andrea Pivanti and the HP Corse Bologna based R&D team, and produced in collaboration with their partner Steelform in Udine (headed up by Marco Ordorico), the Evoxtreme programme combines unique design with cutting edge manufacturing technology to produce exhausts that are as noted for looks as for their performance.
The body of the silencer is available in steel (black or silver) with a slash-cut style carbon fibre end cap.

The sharp lines of the exhaust are said to "blend perfectly with those of the angular Z800, creating a unique set that immediately distinguishes the HP equipped bike from the original version". The street-legal Evoxtreme features a removable db killer for track use.



Storm full-face helmet

The new 'Storm' full-face from Airoh is designed for all-condition road use. The thermoplastic H.r.t. shell, which incorporates a special high-strength, shock-absorbing and resistant resin, has a "modern, sporty design and eye-catching graphics". 'Storm' features a retractable sun visor that helps prevent internal fogging, an excellent ventilation system, a comfortable inner lining and is ready for a Pinlock lens, with "stop wind" also included. The weight is 1,420gr and available in sizes from XS to XXL.



Magura expands "Hard Core Technology" master cylinder family

In the 12 months since its launch, Magura's race-derived HC3 radial master cylinders have become established as top-selling upgrades with "ambitious road riders and customisation aficionados who have the highest possible level of demands", according to the Bad Urach, Germany based specialist.

Described as the "cream of hydraulic fitment upgrades" for Supersports bikes, Supermotos, streetfighters and "classy" custom bikes, the clever space-saving  modular design of the range with a versatile top-mounted screw, which doubles as the lever transmission ratio adjustment feature, allows Magura to offer three models of brake master cylinders each in three-piston bore dimensions and two models of clutch master cylinder in three dimensions.
The brake masters are available in 11, 12 and 13 mm with short lever without ABE certification, and 14, 15 and 16 mm or 17, 18 and 19mm with ABE.
The clutch master is available for 11, 12 and 13 mm for mineral oil applications, and 14, 15 and 16 mm DOT applications.
Based on Magura's patented "Hard Core Technology", precision and feel are the hallmarks of the high grade aluminium construction, with optimised lever transmission and a direct pressure point. The kits include the folding lever, titanium clamp fixing screws, a smoked glass reservoir with retaining bracket, a banjo bolt with seals and a brake or clutch switch.

This sectional view shows the structure of the master cylinder, using the example of the HC3.
1 – Advanced Seal Technology prevents air from penetrating into the hydraulic system.
2 – The special piston technology of the HCT system.

On sale from February this year, and seen in IDN Magazine when it was announced just before last year's 'Milan' Show, the compact size non-ABS or ABS-compatible HC1 master brake and clutch cylinder version brings the same advanced ergonomics and patented technology but adds an "entry-level" model to the HCT family for less demanding street bikes and Supermoto models. That said, the phrase "entry-level" doesn't mean that the patented technology and precision are compromised.
The same Advanced Seal Technology prevents air from entering the hydraulic system and diminishes internal friction, significantly improving brake and clutch performance.
The HCT system uses a "slotted" piston with a stationary primary seal. Fully compatible with all brake systems, with or without ABS, the system prevents "ABS kickback" damage.