14_Harley-CVO-Ultra-ClassicWell, we managed to find another hot button topic when we asked about your opinions of the new “Wet-heads”. We received 274 responses to that blog. This is a follow up to that and a few other things we have discussed lately.

I’m an HD bulletin board junkie, and while I haven’t seen a lot of feedback about the “wet-heads”, I have seen a couple of posts describing coolant overflow issues. As with any new (did I really say that?) technology, there may be some initial issues to work out. Doing an internet search for 2014 Harley water-cooling issues does not bring back much by way of results, so until I can see more data regarding these initial glitches, I’m not going to “Harley-bash.” I’m sure every detail of any problems will become well documented as they occur.

The unveiling of the 2014 Indian-line was also well received. Nice to see that there is an alternative to Mother Harley’s monopoly on American-made motorcycles. Kind of makes me smile as I personally ride a Power-Plus 100 Bottlecap Gilroy Indian engine stuffed in a late 70’s 4-speed FL frame. I never have been one to follow the crowd.

Generally, comments I have seen throughout the industry have been positive about the Polaris-Indian debut, and the current test ride programs. This is encouraging, but in my opinion, it’s too early to say that Indian is going to be a serious thorn in Harley’s side. More dealers to get these on the market, and conquering production issues should be first and foremost at Victory’s headquarters.

Speaking of production issues, Harley has voluntarily recalled 29,000 2014 models due to a hydraulic clutch issue. Recalled models include 25,185 touring motorcycles and 3,861 custom vehicle operations and trikes built between May 3 and Oct. 14, 2013.

The recall includes a “Do Not Ride” notice to owners and a “Do Not Deliver” notice to Harley-Davidson dealers until the motorcycle is fixed.

“Some of these motorcycles may exhibit a condition in which the hydraulic clutch system may lose the ability to generate enough lift to disengage the clutch,” the Milwaukee-based company said in a statement.

Sounds to me like the clutch issue is far more serious than any coolant loss issues. If you have a model produced during this time, see your dealer right away.

You know, for all the negativity expressed about Mother Harley, their latest earning reports say they are doing something right.

Oct. 22, 2013, before Wall Street opening, Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) announced its 3rd quarter earnings and dealer new motorcycle sales. Sales rose sharply in the third quarter of 2013 compared to one year ago. Worldwide retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 15.5 percent in the quarter, including a 20.1 percent increase in the U.S., compared to last year’s third quarter. Diluted earnings per share increased 23.7 percent to 73 cents, primarily on strong operating results in the motorcycles segment, including higher motorcycle shipments and gains in plant operating efficiencies, compared to one year ago.

In a related side note, Polaris Industries Inc. said Tuesday that its third-quarter net income rose 20 percent, buoyed by higher selling prices and lower product costs.

The snowmobile and ATV maker also increased its full year earnings from continuing operations and revenue forecasts.

Chairman and CEO Scott Wine said in a statement that there’s continued demand for the Minneapolis company’s existing products. He added that new model year 2014 vehicles and accessories are arriving at dealers and receiving positive customer feedback.

Polaris earned $113.1 million, or $1.59 per share, for the three months that ended Sept. 30. That’s up from $94.3 million, or $1.33 per share, during the same time-frame last year. Earnings from continuing operations were $1.64 per share and revenue rose to $1.1 billion from $879.9 million. The company said that this was the first time in its history that quarterly revenue topped $1 billion.

Snowmobile sales gained 25 percent, while off-road vehicle sales climbed 23 percent. Parts, garments and accessories sales rose 37 percent. In the small vehicles division, sales more than doubled thanks to the Aixam Mega acquisition. Sales for the motorcycles unit fell 6 percent.

The stock rose $1.47, or 1.1 percent, to $137.50 in pre-market trading. It’s up 58 percent for the year to date.

It’s good to be an American motorcycle maker these days. Hopefully this trend will continue into next year and beyond.

Anyway, Scott out here, till next time, be alert, they can’t always see you….