Friday, 31 March 2017

SC- Project

Counterfeiting sucks – it is theft … simple!

Marco De Rossi and Stefano Lavazza have achieved remarkable things since they started their SC- Project exhausts business in Italy a little more than 10 years ago.

A widespread problem throughout the motorcycle industry, especially where premium brand products are concerned, national governments and international trade organisations must do more to clamp down on design theft and product counterfeiting

Unfortunately, as all too many respectable and respected manufacturers have found to their cost, with success come the product counterfeiters who try and “pass-off” low grade, cheap knock-offs of their products. These products are produced with low-grade, potentially hazardous materials, by forgers with no design or production experience, with no thought given to the serious damage that could be inflicted to bikes and people.
As Stefano says of the SC-Project copies he has found: “Finishing is of the worst quality, the assemblage is extremely inaccurate and the SC-Project logo appears in terrible copies made with polished plate and laser branding of low quality. The assembly is imprecise and the inner soundproofing presents material with amianthus, which is carcinogenic and dangerous for health. Welding is of terrible quality and subject to breaking under even minimal stress, and it is impossible to replicate the precise CNC-engineering undertaken by our specialist equipment”.
The internet in Asia is pock-marked with sites from thieves offering imitation original product – product that is such a poor imitation of the real thing that it is extraordinary that anybody could be fooled by them – sadly though, enough hapless consumers are fooled to make it worth the thieves’ while, and although steps are being increasingly taken to stamp on the counterfeiters, it is likely to be a long time before the practice is completely eliminated, if ever.

This is what cheap gets you – no more words necessary

Unfortunately, Marco and Stefano aren’t the only people to have seen their Intellectual Property, hard work and massive investments stolen. We here at IDN know that Akrapovic have had similar issues, and it isn’t limited to exhaust manufacturers – as we found out a couple of years ago, when German bullet light specialist Guido Kellermann had to confront the same problem.

Original SC-Project quality of the kind that got HRC’s attention

If we wrote up every known case of counterfeiting, our news pages would be chock-full of such reports every edition, but please, anyone reading this who is facing similar issues, do please let us know.
Organisations such as Koelnmesse, organisers of INTERMOT, have taken radical steps to try to prevent fraudulent product from appearing at their shows, and offer exhibitors access to legal support at their show to get such items confiscated and the vendors concerned barred from the show when such instances do occur.
Their initiative is to be applauded, but we here at IDN call on our industry’s trade associations and our national government trade departments to do more to help their members and their domestic businesses deal with the issues that arise.
The sooner international organisations such as the EU and the World Trade Organisation can also do more to enforce Intellectual Property observance and recognition, especially (but sadly not only) in Asia, the better.

Vertex (VP Italy)

Vertex Pistons dominate Argentine MXGP

Italian piston and performance specialist Vertex (VP Italy) recorded a podium clean-sweep at the Argentine Grand Prix, the third round of the World Motocross championship, with their “GP-Racer’s Choice” pistons used by the Honda HRC, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory and Kawasaki KRT factory teams. 

Vertex “GP-Racer’s Choice” pistons are available for any off-road motorcycle and valued for their remarkable performances and reliability, and in Argentina they won the entire GP!
In the first race, they got to the finish line in the first five positions, and with the success of the second race they won the GP, ensuring that all three steps of the podium were taken by racers using “GP-Racer’s Choice” pistons - with the winner Tim Gajser (Slovenia, Honda), Jeremy Van Horebeek second (Belgium, Yamaha) and Russian Evgeny Bobryshev (Honda) third. 
“This exceptional result further underlines the technology and performance level achieved by Vertex Pistons products”, said Vertex’s Lina Saccani Vezzani.

UK motorcycle registrations

UK motorcycle registrations -18.48 percent for January/February

In common with the new model registration statistics for early 2017 from other European markets, the latest date released by the MCIA, the motorcycle trade association in the UK, show the same Euro 3 pre-registration impact as elsewhere, with sales for January and February put at 7,867 units, down by -18.48 percent!

However, as with elsewhere, by the time the pre-registered bikes are taken into account, in all probability the UK market was at worst level with early 2016, and in all likelihood could have been at least marginally up, given the heavy discounts and incentives now being offered by dealers to clear those Euro 3 bikes as zero mileage “pre-owned” models.
In the UK, for the full year 2016, new motorcycle registrations grew by + 13.52 percent at 118,990 units – a fifth straight year of growth for the UK market and the best annual market performance since before 2008; though some of the bikes registered in November and December are those now “not showing” as sales from January and February.
In total PTW terms the UK market was +11.86 percent for 2016 at 127,702 units – a third straight year of growth and also the highest annual market performance since before 2008.
For the record, the MCIA reports new Moped registrations for the first two months of the year in the UK at -18.79 percent (834 units only), and total PTW sales at -18.51 percent (8,701 units).


Yamaha – awards and new models for emerging markets

There has already been a steady flow of interesting news coming out of Yamaha so far this year.
Following the expected announcement in January that their unit sales in Europe for the nine months to December 31st 2016 were up, February saw the company scoop a global “iF Design Award” for the fourth consecutive year for its XSR900.

Yamaha says it developed the XSR900 “to satisfy customers in developed markets who prefer a more “traditional” style of machine. The simple and retro exterior combined with performance through cutting-edge technology provides pride of ownership along with riding enjoyment”.
This award marks the fourth design honour for the XSR900, after the ”Good Design BEST100,” the “Auto Color Award 2016 Special Prize,” and the “JIDA Design Museum Selection Vol.18.”

The iF award-winning XSR900

The iF design awards have been awarded since 1953 by the international design promotion organisation Industrie Forum Design Hanover (iF), Germany.
In other news, the company has moved to strengthen its position in less well developed markets with what it describes as the “stylish and sporty GDR155 scooter ASEAN strategic model aiming to build a new sporty scooter category” and the’ CRUX Rev’, its first “strategic model” for Africa, Central America and the Caribbean.
The GDR155 aims to “create in the ASEAN region a sporty scooter category, which will become a stepping stone to the big scooter class”. Launched in Vietnam as the NVX and in Thailand as the AEROX in December 2016, the GDR155 will subsequently be introduced in Indonesia and other ASEAN markets.


Manufactured in plants in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, development of the lightweight 116kg GDR155 targeted upwardly-mobile 25 to 30-year old males “with the intention of being crowned the "ASEAN Best Sporty Scooter." The 155cc ‘Blue Core’ engine incorporates a Smart Motor Generator – described as a Yamaha first - which combines start-up with power generation functionality to deliver quieter starting while also reducing power generation loss.


The ‘CRUX Rev’ features a 4-stroke, air cooled 110cc ‘Blue Core’ engine, and is described by Yamaha as a “next-generation basic street model based on thorough local surveys to incorporate design aspects geared to local conditions and needs. Two configurations will be available - a spoke wheel specification with kick start, and a cast wheel specification with electric start”.
Yamaha says the “African and Central America/Caribbean motorcycle markets total roughly 3.6 million units (2016 results/Yamaha Motor survey). Approximately half of this number are 100 to 150cc motorcycles, which are used as bike taxis. The current CRUX model (110cc) was originally developed for India, and was introduced in Africa and Central America/the Caribbean from the early 2000s.
“It earned popularity in Africa through its use as a bike taxi, and in Central America/the Caribbean for its entry-level commuter and delivery purposes. With the growth of various financial support systems such as microfinance in recent years, demand for bike taxis and delivery applications is forecast to grow even further, and customers expect the launch of models which fulfil criteria for fuel efficiency, cost and quality/reliability.
“The CRUX Rev has been developed in response to these needs, and is a model with superior cost-performance in addition to great practicality and comfort. Although IYM (India Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd.) will be the main production company, CKD production of the same model is scheduled for Yamaha Motor's Nigerian production company, CFAO Yamaha Motor Nigeria Ltd. (CYMNG) in 2017”.

Yamaha’s ‘Yard Built’ custom bike build programme is underway again already for 2017 – seen here is the all-new SCR950, reinterpreted by Californian customiser Jeff Palhegyi – a homage to the 1966 YDS3C Big Bear Scrambler that featured a custom exhaust system with heat shields which hark back to the days of do-it-all motorcycles, Renthal handlebars wrapped in Duane Ballard Custom Leather that matches the seat and front fork tool pouch, a shortened swingarm suspended by Fox RC1 Podium 14-inch performance rear shocks, custom sub-frame and side panels, custom vintage off-road style front and rear fenders, chunky Shinko Adventure Trail tires mounted on Californian made Ride Wright 40-spoke aluminium soft lip wheels, custom aluminium headlight bracket and skid plate, steel braided brake lines and a "Faster Sons" custom-logoed aluminium cover for the K&N air cleaner

Australian motorcycle sales

Australian sales in 2016 best for seven years

The latest data released by the FCAI, the trade association in Australia that includes representation of the motorcycle industry there, shows that a surge in consumer activity during the final quarter of 2016 (as Australia headed in to its summer) generated a strong finish to the sales year for Australia’s new motorcycle market, with the calendar year result up +6.6 per cent on 2015.
Australia’s motorcycle, ATV and scooter sales reached a total of 114,783 in 2016 — an increase of 7,073 units over 2015 - and posting the fifth highest sales result in the industry’s history. It was also the industry’s strongest sales result since 2009.
Honda was the largest selling brand again, holding 22.9 percent (26,276 units) of the total motorcycle, ATV and scooter market.
Close behind in second place was Yamaha with 21.7 percent of the total market (24,899). Kawasaki was third with 9.2 percent (10,592 sales), Harley-Davidson fourth with 9 percent (10,282 sales) and Suzuki fifth with 8.6 percent (9,924 sales).
Road bike sales were again healthy across the industry, increasing +5.3 percent over 2015 and accounting for 41.6 percent of the total market. Australians rode home with a total of 47,753 new road bikes in 2016.
Harley-Davidson took the top sales position in the road bike category. The Milwaukee (USA) based manufacturer sold 10,282 new road bikes across Australia in 2016 to claim a leading segment share of 21.5 percent.
Honda was the second highest selling brand in this category, with 20.2 percent of national road bike sales (9,651). Honda was followed by Yamaha with 16.3 percent (7,768 sales), Kawasaki with 10.1 percent (4,798) and BMW with 6.7 percent (3,178).
Off-road motorcycle purchases accounted for almost 35 percent of the total market with 39,710 sales. The popularity of this segment grew at a slightly higher rate than that of road bikes in 2016, with the 39,710 off-road sales for 2016 representing a +6.3 percent increase on 2015 figures.
Yamaha also led the market for off-road motorcycles, selling 30.5 percent (12,090) of the total number sold in this segment. Yamaha was followed by Honda with 24.8 percent (9,848 sales), KTM with 17.7 percent (7,023), Kawasaki with 11.0 percent (4,382) and Suzuki with 10.3 percent (4,081).
The ATV market grew by a solid +14.4 percent over 2015, with a total of 22,834 ATVs sold nationally in 2016. ATV sales represented 19.9 percent of the total motorcycle market.
Polaris was the leading ATV brand with a 26.4 percent share, or 6,037 sales. Honda was second with 25.5 percent (5,832 sales), Yamaha was third with 20.5 percent (4,692), BRP fourth with 11.1 percent (2,524) and Suzuki fifth with 10.2 percent (2,337).
Scooters continued their decline in popularity with total sales in this segment of 4,486, down -11.0 percent on 2015; Piaggio remained market leader with a 24.0 percent share (1,075 sales).


Piaggio reports global PTW unit
sales +6.7 percent

Piaggio has reported that it sold 344,000 two-wheelers worldwide in 2016, up by +6.7% from 2015 (322,500 units), generating net sales of 916.5 million euro, an improvement of +3.6% from 884.9 million euro in 2015. The figure includes spares and accessories, on which turnover totalled 124.5 million euro (a slight increase from 2015).

Piaggio says that it continued to strengthen its leadership of the European two-wheeler market in 2016, with an overall market share of 15.4% (15.2% in 2015), and 25.4% (24.1% in 2015) in the scooter sector alone, with a lead of more than 12 percentage points from the second competitor.
On the Indian two-wheeler market, the Group reported volume growth of almost 40%, thanks in part to the introduction of the well-received new Aprilia SR 150 scooter. The Group recently entered the motorcycle market in Thailand with the introduction of the Aprilia and Moto Guzzi brands, in addition to its existing Vespa and Piaggio branded scooter sales there.
The Group says it maintained a particularly strong presence on the North American scooter market, with a share of 20.1%; it also intends to strengthen its position in motorcycles in North America.
In the scooter segment, global revenues in the ‘high-wheel’ segment made strong progress, largely thanks to the Beverly and the new Piaggio Medley ABS, which have boosted market share for Group vehicles since their launch.
The Vespa brand strengthened its presence on the EMEA market, with revenues up by 5.6%.

Good performance was also reported for the Aprilia brand, which in August made its debut on the Indian scooter market (the world’s largest market with annual sales of more 5 million vehicles) with the Aprilia SR 150 sports scooter.
The Group motorcycle sector also reported healthy performance, thanks to a +13% increase in Moto Guzzi sales, assisted by the new V9 Roamer and Bobber and by the MGX-21, the large totally black cruiser, which had its world preview in August 2016 at the 76th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Aprilia’s good performance reflects the growth of the Supersport models in the Tuono V4 range, which reported a +24.8% increase in sales, and steady sales performance for the RSV4 1000 line.
In global corporate terms, Piaggio says it has seen positive 2016 performance in all the sectors it is active in, with improvements in all its main indicators and a reduction in debt compared with 2015.
The company says it sold 532,000 vehicles of all kinds worldwide in 2016, an increase of +2.4% from 519,700 in 2015.
Group consolidated net sales in 2016 totalled 1,313.1 million euro, an improvement of +17.8 million euro and +1.4% (+2.8% at constant exchange rates) from 1,295.3 million euro in 2015.
2016 closed with net profit of 14 million euro, an increase of +18.3% compared with 11.9 million euro in 2015.
At EICMA 2016 Piaggio unveiled its Vespa Elettrica project, confirming its commitment to development of alternative low-emission mobility solutions. Production and marketing of Vespa Elettrica are scheduled for the second half of 2017.
Additional new products at EICMA included the Moto Guzzi V7III, developed to mark the 50th anniversary of the debut of the first V7 model, the Moto Guzzi V9 MY 2017 and, for the Aprilia brand, the Shiver 900 and the Dorsoduro 900, two new motorcycles offering enhanced performance compared with the previous versions.
In January Piaggio announced the strengthening of its distribution network after opening its 200th Motoplex store in Europe, the Americas, Oceania, Asia and India – a concept that made its debut just two years ago. Motoplex stores are a network of Group multi-brand stores in addition to its traditional distribution network.


Suzuki sales up in Europe in Q3

Suzuki has announced that on a Group basis its motorcycle sales in Europe for the third quarter of its current financial year (the period to December 31st 2016) were up by +30.1 percent at 8,000 units (up by 2,000 units over the year-ago quarter).

For the nine months of its financial year so far motorcycle sales in Europe were down by -2.1 percent at 37,000 units, but at just 1,000 units down for the period, its trend is in the right direction and the company should see sales for the full financial year about flat with the year-ago period – meaning that Suzuki will have halted its decline in units sold here.
It has a similar picture in North America, where sales for the third quarter were down by -2 percent at 6,000 units, but it has further to go to get back on an even footing there with sales for the first nine months down by -24 percent, with 25,000 units sold so far (some 8,000 down on the year-ago period).
Globally unit sales (including ATVs) were -1.7 percent at 329,000 for the third quarter and are running at 11.9 percent (1,009,000 units) for the year-to-date.


Energica now in the Netherlands, Sweden, Israel and U.S.A.

Italian electric sportsbike manufacturer Energica has enlarged its retail presence in one of Europe’s strongest E-Bike markets, with Electric Motorcycles Nederland (EMN) as its importer and lead dealer there, having signed new agreements with four new business partners.

Having inaugurated its new 32,000 sq ft headquarters facility at Soliera near Modena last year, Energica has moved quickly to consolidate its international opportunities
The stores are situated in some the most strategic areas of the country from Groningen in the north to Sint Anthonis in the south in order to “guarantee the presence of the Italian brand throughout the Netherlands”.
Along with Energica motorcycles, EMN provides important services for customers, like customised financing plans and a mobile workshop for a professional and prompt after sales service.
In addition, EMN is offering all Energica owners ‘free charge’ for four years through the Fastned fast-charge infrastructure network.
Energica has also finalised a new commercial agreement in Sweden and other markets with Energica motorcycles available in Marieholm, near Malmoe, based at E-MC Sweden AB. Through November 2016 the Swedish market was +80 percent in EV unit terms, with 11,913 machines registered in 11 months.
In December last year Energica received its sales license for the State of California, having already achieved U.S. homologation of its ‘Ego’ and ‘Eva’ models, and opened “Galleria Energica”, a San Francisco flagship store and a Redwood, California, service centre.

Energica’s ‘Eva’ (left) is a ‘streetfighter’ styled street bike with a permanent magnet AC (PMAC) oil cooled motor that produces 70kW (95 hp of instantaneous power and a torque of 170 Nm. It is said to have a range up to 200km (ECO mode) and can reach a top speed of 200km/h in Sport mode. The ‘Ego’ is Energica’s sportbike model

In another sign of its growing international reach, Energica entered the Israeli market in November, with the government approving its bikes for registration and Auto Electric appointed as importer.
Meanwhile, in other news from Energica in the United States, the company has become the only electric motorcycle company to join the CharIN E.V. Association, whose mission is to come up with a standard for electric vehicle charging and devise solutions for future charging systems.
The primary aims of CharIN E.V. are to develop and establish the Combined Charging System (CCS) as the standard for charging battery-powered electric vehicles of all kind; to draw up requirements for the evolution of charging-related standards and develop a certification system for use by manufacturers implementing the CCS in their products and to promote the CCS standard worldwide.
Right from the start Energica believed and invested in the Combined Charging System (CCS) as standard - today Energica is the only electric motorcycle manufacturer to include in its products the DC Fast Charging technology based on CCS Combo.
“In the last years, the auto industry unveiled several new electric models, therefore it is necessary to affirm the CCS system as standard and to implement the infrastructure’s network in all countries”, says Giampiero Testoni, CTO Energica Motor Company S.p.A.
“It’s important to generate an influential critical mass to standardise the CCS system and affirm it worldwide“.


KV30 Enduro full-face
This new KV30 Kappa full-face, with removable spoiler and main visor for use with goggles, comes in two monochromatic versions (glossy white and matt black) and three graphic versions - ‘Aventure’, ‘Track’ and ‘Tour’ (seen here). It is aimed at the road maxi-enduro rider who uses the bike on the street as well as off-road, combining the angular design of enduro helmets with elements such as a visor and sun visor.
Made from technopolymers with air vents at the top and the chin guard and exhaust at the rear of the shell, the lining is removable and washable; closing is with a micro-ratchet strap and it weighs just 1,550 grams.

KAPPA S.r.l.


Revolutionary ‘Storm’ hand-guard for street bike applications

It is eight years since Australian hand-guard specialist Barkbusters turned its attention towards street bike hand-guards, with the launch of its popular ‘Storm’ as a design that added weather protection to the all-terrain impact resistance that hand-guards were principally noted for.

Launched in 2009, the easy install, model compatible new concept was immediately well received. Two mounting options give weather or dual weather with impact resistance options - a single point handlebar clamp or bar-end mounted design and a stronger two-point mount design with reinforced aluminium frame for impact protection.
Practical yet stylish, the aerodynamically shaped plastic guard is large enough to be fully functional while still being ergonomically compatible with a huge selection of naked, sports and adventure bike models as well as scooters and even cruisers.
Dealers can search Barkbusters’ online ‘What fits my bike’ tool for the right ‘Storm’ fitment for their customers’ bikes, with applications available for most makes, models and years.
Barkbusters CEO Matthew Phillpott explains that “the concept for the ‘Storm’ hand-guard was driven by demand from riders who frequently asked if our regular hand-guards could be adapted for their street motorcycle.
“In the majority of cases this just wasn't possible, so we set about designing a product specifically for street bike use – one that would be a simple and fully reversible install for as many models as possible, and one that delivered weather protection as well as reassurance and confidence in modern day urban and highway road traffic conditions.
“As the idea spread, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and our customers are genuinely surprised at the difference it has made to their comfort in cooler conditions. Everyone at the Barkbusters factory is extremely proud to have played a part in establishing street bike hand- guards as a widely acknowledged essential accessory for year-round riding”.