Honda Motorcycle Production Back March 28

Honda has announced it will resume production at its motorcycle-manufacturing Kumamoto Factory on March 28. The company will extend its suspension of production for finished units, however, at the automotive facilities in Sayama, Saitama and Suzuka through April 3. Honda also announced more extensive delays at its Tochigi facilities, which were the most affected by the March 11 earthquake. – MCUSA Ed

Following is the most current information regarding the impact of the major earthquake in Northeastern Japan on Honda’s operations.

About the suspension of production Honda-Tochigi-Parts-Factory
Honda had previously announced the suspension of production through Sunday, March 27. Today, Honda made the decision to extend the suspension of the production of finished units of automobiles at Sayama Plant at Saitama Factory (Sayama, Saitama) and Suzuka Factory (Suzuka, Mie) through Sunday, April 3, 2011. Concerning operations from April 4 on, Honda will make decisions based on the status of the recovery of Japanese society as a whole as well as the supply of parts. We deeply regret any inconvenience we may be causing our customers. Honda will resume motorcycle and power product production at Kumamoto Factory (Ozu-machi, Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto) on Monday, March 28.

Recovery of operations in the Tochigi area where the impact of the earthquake was more severe
At Tochigi Factory (Moka, Tochigi), the repair and inspection activities were completed for almost all facilities and equipment.

At other operations, including the Automobile R&D Center (Tochigi) of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. and Honda Engineering Co., Ltd., associates who will work on the restoration started returning to work. However, based on the expectation that it will take several months until the complete recovery of these facilities, Honda decided to temporally transfer some functions such as the automobile product development, development of manufacturing technologies and procurement to Honda operations in other locations such as Sayama, Suzuka, and Wako.

Recruiting activities for the next year – associates who would join the company in April 2012
On March 14, Honda announced that the testing/interviewing of applicants from the affected areas would be conducted in June or later even without their request so that people in the affected areas can focus on their daily life and recovery efforts. Today, considering the fact that the various issues are affecting people all over Japan, Honda decided to delay the entire recruiting process by about two months so that all of applicants can enter into the process without any concerns. Based on the changes in the situation, Honda will take additional measures as needed to reduce the burden on applicants as much as possible. More details will be posted on the recruiting section of the Honda website in April.

Honda is working toward the recovery with the utmost efforts, and appreciates the understanding shown by everyone during these challenging times.

Article Written by: Bart Madson Managing Editor


U.S.-Based Kawasaki Fundraiser for Japan

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI) motorcycle production facilities, located in Akashi, did not sustain any damage fromKawasaki-logo the recent, tragic earthquake centered in the northern part of the country.

However, the company obviously relies on a large number of outside component suppliers and vendors in order to complete and deliver finished products. While normally relying on “just in time” daily deliveries from these business partners, KHI is understandably sensitive to the issues that many of them could be facing as a result of the recent tragedy. KHI will, as circumstances dictate, make adjustments to fit the needs of all concerned.

At this time, no long-term production stoppages are planned for the Akashi plant and Kawasaki plants in Thailand and the U.S. are in full operation.

Obviously, the tremendous devastation that has occurred in Japan, and the subsequent humanitarian issues, must take precedence, but KHI will strive to maintain successful business operations during this difficult time.

To provide support to those affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the presidents of all of the U.S.-based Kawasaki entities are collecting donations from employees and forwarding them to the American Red Cross. The U.S. organization will then forward the funds to the Japanese Red Cross, assuring distribution where help is needed most. Individual contributions by Kawasaki employees will qualify for the Kawasaki matching gift program.

The Kawasaki Good Times Foundation is contributing $50,000 to initiate the charitable giving campaign.


Electric Motorcycles Cruise The Open Road

Cruising down the road, hair blowing in the wind, living wild and free. That’s the American dream of riding a motorcycle on the open roads as one sees the landscape while being part of it, not driving through it with windows up, AC blowing and video playing to entertain the kids. Most motorcycles tend to be gas guzzlers, however, so it isn’t always the best for the environment. What about going electric instead?emoto-1

As you can see from the photo gallery we’ve gathered below (each photo, if clicked on, enlarges the image and also offers a link to more information), there are a variety of electric motorcycle types to choose from. Some have classic motorcycle design, while others go for a sportier feel. All tend to go pretty fast, have a decent range and only require a short charging time before you are back on the highway.

For more information, along with more pictures of electric motorcycles, click here

Article Written by: Nino Marchetti,


10 reason why you should ride this year!

10 reason you should ride

Now that spring is officially here — ignore that snow — it’s time to start thinking about motorcycles again. Here’s why you should ride one, or learn to ride one, this year.

1. Your gas costs will be cheaper. The average motorcycle consumes fuel at about 5 L / 100 km (55 m.p.g.), which is on par with the real-world consumption of a Toyota Prius hybrid. That includes big Harley-Davidsons and peppy sportbikes. More important, that’s riding them as they’re supposed to be ridden, with little concern for saving fuel. Bikes are much lighter than cars and have smaller engines, so the saving is considerable. Scooters, the most miserly of all, will return consumption of better than 2 L / 100 km (140 m.p.g.).

2. Insurance is cheaper this year. The cost has dropped this season, but that’s because the level of insurance that a rider is required to carry has been reduced — shop carefully for the best policy, and not just the cheapest. Talk to a broker if you’re uncertain. As for all the other costs — maintenance, parts, gadgets, etc. — they’re pretty much the same as for cars, so don’t expect to pocket savings all season long, except at the pump.

3. They don’t congest. This is the best argument of all: In the city, the “footprint” of a motorcycle or a scooter is far smaller than any car; a hundred cars sitting on the Don Valley Parkway take up far more space than a hundred two-wheelers. This is why the City of Toronto changed the rules in 2008 to allow motorcycles to use the carpool lanes, just like every other municipality in North America — oh, except Ontario. The provincial government still refuses to admit it made a huge mistake in requiring motorcyclists to carry passengers to use the lanes. Dumb dumb dumb. So don’t feel guilty using your bike to get around town. Unfortunately, motorcycles and scooters do pollute far more than any car because their muffler systems and catalytic converters just aren’t big enough to trap nearly as many emissions, but let’s not think about that for now. . .

4. You can park for free. The City of Toronto realized a decade ago that parking meters that provide paper tickets just aren’t fair for motorcycles, because there’s nowhere to keep the tickets on the bike without them being open to theft. So the council committee agreed to just not charge motorcycles for parking, which also encourages their use in town and discourages the use of the riders’ cars. Smart thinking all round! However, bikes parked at a meter for more than the maximum time — usually three hours — can still have their tires chalked and be given a ticket, though apparently this is rare.

5. You can always get on the ferry. Outside of the city, any good road trip should always include a ferry crossing. In the summertime, if drivers don’t pre-book, their cars probably won’t be admitted. Motorcycles, though, are usually asked to board either first or last, and they’re parked in the wedge areas where cars won’t fit. There are only a limited number of spaces for them, with tie-downs and straps, but even so — in 30 years of riding and turning up at the last moment without a reservation, I have never failed to get on a ferry.

6. You can make friends. There are literally dozens of motorcycle and scooter clubs in the GTA for any level of rider and any make or style of motorcycle. If you’re new to riding, it’s probably a good idea to join a club to find out more about your bike or what it can offer you. Or just go it alone — I’ve never joined a club, and I’ve never had a lack of friends with whom to ride or hang out. With a motorcycle or a scooter, it’s always easy to strike up a conversation and if you want to, you can make friends wherever you go.

7. You get to wear cool clothes. Okay, this one’s a bit shallow, but motorcycle fashion is hot. Not just Mad Max boots and faded functional leather, but everything from trim Gore-Tex to punky scooter jackets and pink helmets — every bike has its uniform, if you want to adopt it. Just, whatever you do, wear protective clothing. Asphalt doesn’t forgive your skin if you end up sliding on it.

8. You get performance you couldn’t otherwise afford. If you want it, zero-to-100 km/h in 2.5 seconds; top speed of more than 240 km/h, and that’s from a machine that costs $10,000. Probably not cheap to insure, and it takes experience and ability to get good enough to ride safely at anywhere close to those limits, but a track day on a sportbike is way cheaper and way quicker than in any car that doesn’t cost six figures. Don’t expect similar superiority in braking, though: bikes have much smaller tire contact patches against the asphalt than cars, and very few (outside Honda and BMW) have ABS, so effective braking takes a much higher level of skill than on four wheels.

9. You’ll be a better driver. Riding a motorcycle makes you more aware of your surroundings and more concerned for your driving environment. You won’t be as distracted as in a car, and you’ll be more alert to all those lousy drivers around you. You’ll understand the feedback that your motorcycle provides directly from the tires and through the seat and handlebars. You’ll probably enjoy your riding education more, too, and treat your bike with the respect it deserves and not just as an appliance for transportation. And that greater ability rubs off when you get into a car and behind its wheel.

10. They’re the last form of affordable powered travel that’s still any fun. Actually, all those nine reasons above? They don’t really matter. They’re a justification to others. The only real reason that matters is that motorcycles can take you places that no car can hope to reach. As I once wrote in my book Zen and Now: “The only way to truly experience a road is to be out in the open — not shut up in a car but riding along on top of it on a motorcycle. It’s tough to explain to someone who’s only ever travelled behind a windshield, sealed in with the comforting thunk of a closing door. On a bike, there’s no comforting thunk. The road is right there below you, blurring past your feet, ready to scuff your sole should you pull your boot from the peg and let it touch the ground. The wind is all around you and through you while the sun warms your clothing and your face. Take your left hand from the handlebar and place it in the breeze, and it rises and falls with the slipstream as if it were a bird’s wing. Breathe in and smell the new-mown grass. Laugh out loud and your voice gets carried away on the wind.”

That’s a good day, of course, with a warm wind and a dry road. But on a motorcycle, with the right attitude, there really aren’t any bad days.

Article written by: Mark Richardson / editor of Wheels.


Another Carpi Creation!

For more information on Carpy and his work check out


Yamaha Closes Japanese Plants

Yamaha Motor Co. has decided to suspend production at several factories in Japan including its motorcycle facilities.

The Tuning Fork Company had been continuing operations at its facilities following the March 11 earthquake off the coast of Japan but has now decided to temporarily suspend production at several facilities.

Yamaha will close 8 factories in Japan on March 16-17 including its five motorcycle production plants, Iwata Main, Iwata South, Hamakita, Morimachi and Nakaze.  Yamaha is also suspending production of outboard motor, personal watercraft, automotive engines and power products.

Operations from March 18 onward will be decided in a meeting on March 17.

Yamaha also announced its contribution to the recovery efforts. The company will contribute 500 generators, 1,585 gallons of bottled drinking water, 5,000 meals and 300,000 surgical masks. Yamaha employees have also initiated a donation campaign.

Articles Written by: Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 16, 2011


Harley shut out of its own museum

Harley-Davidson Inc. has decided to hold its annual shareholders meeting in April at the Frontier Airlines Center after being unable to secure space at its own motorcycle museum in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley.

Harley-Davidson held its shareholders meeting at the museum, which opened in July 2008, the past two years and had planned on having this year’s meeting at the site on West Canal Street.

“We couldn’t get the space,” Harley-Davidson spokesman Bob Klein told me. “There is another group that booked the site.”

Instead, the Frontier Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee will become a haven for leather-clad motorcycle riders April 30.

The larger space doesn’t mean the company is expecting a bigger-than-usual crowd, Klein said.

“I have no reason to think it will be anything other than a normal size crowd,” he said.

The “normal” crowd at a Harley-Davidson shareholders meeting tends to number in the hundreds, as opposed to most other shareholders meetings for companies based in the Milwaukee area. I’ve even attended shareholders meetings where I’ve been the only attendee, outside of a company’s board of directors and a few management folks.

The Harley-Davidson shareholders meeting, on the other hand, tends to be more of a production, with motorcycles on display and high-powered videos interspersed with talk about the company’s financial performance.

It’s also a start, of sorts, to the motorcycle riding season, Klein said.

Klein, a rider himself, is hoping for better weather this year.

Last year’s shareholders meeting took place in the midst of a torrential downpour.

Article Written by Rich Rovito  /

Bike Week ends; results mixed

Economy, gas prices and competition from other areas citedbike10314-thumb-180xauto-15333

DAYTONA BEACH — Brook Judy looked out at the rumbling motorcycles as they headed out of Bike Week’s traditional epicenter Sunday.

An annual visitor to Main Street since Jimmy Carter’s presidency, Judy hitchhiked from Ohio in 1977 at age 15. Now 49, the Sarasota mechanic makes the annual pilgrimage aboard his Harley in good times and bad.

“It’s changed dramatically. But you never know what to expect. That’s why I keep coming back,” he said, sitting on his motorcycle. “It was great. Just the ambience of being around other bikers. But it did seem a little shy of people this year.”

The consensus Sunday among most bikers, as well as merchants, was the recession and possibly skyrocketing gas prices hurt attendance and business this year.

“It was slow, very slow. I’d say we were off 20 percent,” said Tommy Smiroldo of Edgerton, Mo., as he wrapped up his 10th Bike Week selling T-shirts on the busy corner of Main Street and Peninsula Drive. “Last year was bad, too. It just seems to get worse every year. I’ll probably take a hard look at coming back. ”

Bob Davis, CEO of the Volusia County Hotel and Lodging Association, said it was “way too early” Sunday to determine if Bike Week was successful in terms of visitors filling rooms.

“I have no impression yet, not until I sit down with people (hotel owners) and get numbers,” he said. “I have no figures.”

Manoj Bhoola, president of Elite Hospitality Inc., said Sunday occupancy at his company’s area hotels was mixed during Bike Week, depending on the city.

Around Daytona International Speedway, he said there was about a 20 percent drop compared to recent years, while Ormond Beach occupancy was up about 10 percent. He said the majority of those reservations were made about a month ago, before the recent spike in gas price, and right in the middle of several blizzards in the Northeast.

“There is a lot of competition for Daytona’s bikers by the surrounding cities, including Sanford and Orlando,” Bhoola said. “… Our St Augustine hotels also performed better by 15 percent, so the higher cost of fuel did not affect us there.”

The owners of Bike Week businesses specializing in food and alcohol said sales were down compared to the pre-recession years.

“I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse. But a lot of people haven’t seen better,” said Rick Johns, the owner of the Main Street Station Bar of his 20th Bike Week. “I’d say ’09 was the worst. We’re building steam.”

Gregory Firestone, 51, the owner of Golden Gate Food, a street concession tent, said there were more Europeans and fewer bikers this year from outside the state.

“I ask people where they are from, and a lot more were from Florida,” he said.

Firestone said he’s seen the “same drop-off” because of the economy, and now higher gas prices, at other popular motorcycle festivals including Sturgis, S.D.

Locally, bikers have more options. They can travel outside Daytona Beach’s traditional Bike Week strips to venues that didn’t exist a few years back — such as Destination Daytona on U.S. 1 north of Ormond Beach.

“The numbers seemed smaller this year,” said John Johnstone, a 51-year-old-realtor from Tampa, attending his 10th Bike Week and first in a few years. “But it could be because things are getting spread out more.”

In Flagler County, a handful of motorcycles passed through downtown Bunnell on Sunday afternoon. A few were parked at the Dog Pound Pub.

“I think there is still a good crowd,” said Zoren Popovich, as he filled his bike with gasoline in Palm Coast. “I’ve been to Main Street and as far south as New Smyrna Beach. I think things are just more spread out than in the past.”

The parking lot and deck at Finn’s in Flagler Beach was packed, but the downstairs section of the restaurant was nearly empty.

“I’ve worked here for five years,” said bartender Joell Collins. “I think things were slower than in years past.”

But Fred Ingalls, visiting from Potter County, Pa., didn’t mind the apparent lighter crowds.

“All I know is it’s been an enjoyable trip,” he said of the five days he spent in the area with several friends. “I like Main Street and I like it up here where it’s quiet. The whole thing has been nice.”

Back on Main Street, Phil McAllister, 27, an Atlanta chiropractor, said his 12th Bike Week and first in a few years, was much quieter than in the past. He said there were fewer women in bikinis on the streets and more restrictive dress codes in strip clubs.

But mostly, he blamed the economy.

“People just don’t have as much discretionary money to spend on a bike. And let’s face it, this is a frivolous vacation,” he said, pausing before adding, “But it’s still a lot of fun.”

By RAY WEISS, Staff Writer

Copyright, The by Bikers, for Bikers store