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It might not be relevent for the street right now, but I'm still holding out for the Erik Buell Racing project being and R&D and PR exercise for the time being, and Harley's reluctance to drop the Buell tag from so much of their corporate stuff suggests they haven't finished with the brand. In any event, we wish Erik Buell every success in continuing to demonstrate to the world that there's more to life than following the herd.

Based on the 1125R and 1125RR, the 1190RR brings engine displacement close to the AMA American Superbike (ASB) class limit for twins and the WSB limit overall. Although it is not currently approved for AMA ASB class racing, this bike can be raced in many classes around the world and should add new excitement racing against other premium street-based twin roadracers. The 1190RR models are constructed at Erik Buell Racing's shop from new 1125Rs with a complete kit of Superbike-level components. Engines are completely disassembled and blueprinted, with top-shelf internal parts added to deliver reliable performance at the extreme rev ranges required for a twin-cylinder bike to compete at these power levels.

The chassis is completely updated with the finest components, as well as all the details for adjustability and comfort requested by the top test riders who have been involved over its development.

Test riding of the 1125RR by Alex Barros, Jeremy McWilliams, Chris Ulrich, Taylor Knapp, Cory West, and more – plus the 1190 motor and a winter of further engine and CFD development – means EBR can finally deliver an exotic American racing motorcycle that will deliver world-class track performance and excitement for sponsors and fans.

Erik Buell Racing
Could this be the show that the UK has been waiting for, for so long?

After years of many people trying to stage a proper national custom bike show with varying degrees of success, for as long as most of us can remember, it looks like the Ace Cafe Motorcycle and Custom Show, currently on at the Alexandra Palace in North London, might have finally got the balance right.

With an accessible location, free parking, good public transport access as well as shuttle buses from the Ace Cafe, full halls, excellent support from the trade and the UK round of the AMD World Championship of Bike Building, it's as good an inaugural event as I can remember, and the numbers of visitors on Friday was promising.

Only complaint we picked up on was the price of the food concessions, which is out of the hands of the organisers and a common gripe, and we wish them well with the party this evening at the Ace Cafe itself, and hope the show provides the shot in the arm required by the industry right now.
I was going to post this before AmV39 came out,
but somehow didn't.

Still, it's hardly current, and having waited 57 years to see it – it's said to have come from 1953, which seems a little late to me – a couple of extra weeks won't hurt.
Don't quite know how this slipped under the radar – although arriving on deadline might have something to do with it – but Harley have announced their 2010 CVO Electra Glide Ultra in Black, with a capital B.

Fully trimmed with their new Gloss Black Rumble collection from P&A forming part of the 185 specifically chosen unique black parts as well as a handlebar-mounted Garmin Zumo SatNav, it comes with the black and chrome 110-inch Screamin' Eagle motor, 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission and ABS braking, and is dripping with the usual CVO touches from a spectacularly sinister Crimson Mist Black / Dark Slate and Flame graphics to 'Contrast Chrome' wheels and a dual control heated leather seat.

Reading through the specs, this is taking Dark Custom to new heights, and don't let the lack of chrome leave you with the impression that it's not going to stand out – and as as one of just 999 numbered editions it's unlikely to be fighting with another one for attention.

If you've got £29,690 burning a hole in your pocket, and want to enjoy the twin benefits of high status and low profile, Harley have just created your bike.

Harley-Davidson's Website
A comment from a reader, Lofty, in our longtermers blog has rekindled the thought-process running through the editorial in AmV38, referring to the idea of a range of Harley big singles based round the Blast motor.

Lofty reminded me of Mac Motorcycles' concept, that they were going to base around the semi-Sportster lump, and revisiting their website has filled me an evangelical zeal demanding that I include it within the main blog.

Top right is what would have been Mac's "Spud" – a simple streetfighter cum bar-hopper – one of four models that would have ticked a few boxes for many, I'm sure.

It remains to be seen whether they'll continue with an alternative powerplant: Yamaha's XT660 has been suggested, but Mac seem pretty committed to an air-cooled thumper single.

Sadly they have been turned down by Harley in terms of the Motor Company supplying Blast motors, which is a great shame: I would have thought it would have presented an ideal opportunity for Harley to test the water without committing to producing a new range of their own ... but then that might work out better for Mac in the long run, because if Harley saw a future opportunity, they could provide serious competition for the small team from Upton-on-Severn, who are continuing to work with the like of Harris and Parker Tanks, and working with a second-hand Blast motor.
Click to book your test ride.

From Harley-Davidson UK Press Release:


To mark the roll out of its market-leading online test ride booking system, Harley-Davidson UK and Ireland are offering motorcyclists the opportunity to win a motorcycle worth more than £15,000.

All riders who take a free demo ride at an authorised dealership between Friday 9th April and Monday 3rd May will be entered into a free prize draw for a new-for-2010 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Special motorcycle.

Customers can book demo rides online using the booking system which was successfully trialled last year as part of the Judgement Days campaign to encourage riders to challenge their preconceptions of Harley-Davidson and its motorcycles. More than 3,000 test rides were booked online during the campaign in 2009 and this will increase dramatically in 2010 now that the booking facility is available for all 365 days of the year.

As a permanent fixture on the www.harley-davidson.co.uk website, online booking enables motorcyclists to view available bikes at each dealership and complete a test ride booking right the way through to confirming a date and time slot. The booking details are then confirmed to the customer on email. It’s designed to put the customer first and allows riders to book the test ride they want, when they want it from the comfort of their home or work.

The system presents information on the current Harley-Davidson range in a simple and uncomplicated way, while operating 24/7 to cater for motorcyclists who are unable to visit a dealership to make a booking or find it inconvenient to take a call from a dealer during work hours.

All motorcyclists – even those who have never previously contemplated riding a Harley – can enjoy a free, no-obligation test ride of a variety of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, including models from the new 2010 range. Highlights include the Electra Glide® Ultra Limited touring machine, factory custom, chopper-style Dyna Wide Glide, the race-inspired XR1200X and of course the Fat Boy Special - the latest incarnation of the legendary Fat Boy.

“There are many preconceptions about Harley-Davidson motorcycles, particularly among riders who have never tried them,” says Stuart Farrell, Harley-Davidson Managing Director for the UK and Ireland. “Some riders may still hold those preconceptions after completing a test ride, but they’ll never know until they try it.

“The huge response to last year’s four-week demo ride campaign proved that UK and Irish motorcyclists do want to take advantage of free, no obligation test rides on our bikes and they do want the option of a fast and uncomplicated booking system that’s available whenever they want it. So, we listened to our customers and provided the facility all year round.”

For further information or to book a test ride please visit www.harley-davidson.co.uk/testride
Motorcyclists booking a test ride must have held a full motorcycle licence for a minimum of 12 months. Details of which models are available at each dealership will be available to view at www.harley-davidson.co.uk
In the interests of objective journalism, I've just contacted Honda's press office with a request to swing a leg across the Fury: I've got to know if its road manners will save it from consigned to history as a heroic failure. I don't hold out much hope of getting one, unless they are utterly convinced that it will win me over.

Despite my obvious preferences, I will endeavour to be wholly objective - as indeed were the earlier comments that might preclude my invitation to their next Christmas buffet: I want it to be good, because it will broaden the market, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be if they've done their homework right. Sadly the evidence of the bike at standstill isn't encouraging. Watch this space ...
To be fair, it wasn't really hiding - in fact it got its dealer launch over the weekend, but it's not the sort of thing we're big on attending. But then we found ourselves at Fowlers in Bristol today and there were four of them!

First impressions ... errrr ... brave move by Honda but frankly I'm unimpressed. Didn't think the build quality was up to much - very much below expectations for Honda - cosmetically it seemed like a parody of a proper chopper and there were more things to point at and wince than to congratulate them on.

To be honest, if someone had told me it was made by a Chinese manufacturer rather than at an American plant of a Japanese maker, I wouldn't have been surprised. Welding looked scruffy in places, the yokes seemed weedy for a 250cc cruiser and there were too many angles working against each other for my tastes.

Didn't like the quality of the castings - wheels or kickstand - didn't like the plastic mudguards, didn't like the dash, didn't like the height of the back end, which I sincerely hope was kicked so high to accommodate a rider and pillion, at which point it would have settled down to something a lot more sensible.

But I especially didn't like the price tag: £12k plus for a 1300cc factory chopper? MCN, in their infinite wisdom, have suggested it's a rival for the Rocker C and as such is relatively cheap, but having now seen one, they're so wide of the mark that they should hang their heads in shame. It's got too much of the finish of the now defunct plain Rocker – rough finished where it should be smooth or polished – and it doesn't hold a candle to the Rocker's finish - metal or paint. It doesn't stand close comparison to the new Wide Glide which is cheaper, bigger, better looking, will have a higher residual value and is the real deal.

Its nearest rival, I'd suggest, is the plain finish 1737cc 8-Ball Vegas, which is a better bike in every respect on face value, and is three quarters of the price.

It's reckoned that Honda will only be bringing 300 of them into the country initially, and it might find a market on a degree of exclusivity, but only among the clinically insane unless it gives a good account of itself on the road. Sitting on it, the steering is certainly very neutral for such a radical headstock, and there's a chance it's going to deliver on the road, but we're not aware of any dealer demonstrators being made available. We'll have to see if Honda will let us play with a press fleet demonstrator after that critique, if they've got one: we're more than willing to put one through its paces, and I'm still prepared to be wooed by its sophistication and style, but it had better be brilliant to make up for its apparent shortcomings.

To be honest, I'd far rather play with their DN-01 production concept bike with its auto gearbox and radical styling, but while that's a V-twin, it's from one of Honda's Japanese plants and so doesn't qualify for the magazine.
We're back on-line again! Full electronic editions will cost just £3.95 to reflect the lack of postage and if I can find all of the information from all 39 issues to date, all will be posted.

In the meantime, here's the last ten including the brand new edition that hit the streets last week!


New issue, new style of preview: let us know what you think?

It's probably worth mentioning that if you click on the turning pages, the mag goes full screen.