Archive for December, 2010

Requiescant in pace – December 2010

Posted in Harley-Davidson, R.I.P. with tags , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2010 by bleiglass

The list in December is much shorter now that winter is in full force, and much fewer miles are driven. In this wet and sometimes icy season, be specially careful on 2 wheels.

I subscribed to Google news with certain key words, like “Harley-Davidson” and “Road King”, and first I was quite shocked to get on a daily basis email notifications of a fellow Harley driver who died in a accident. I think that in some cases one can learn from these tragic events, and here the latest reports mentioning the fellow divers and passengers killed while doing what they most enjoyed.

Please drive safely and wear a helmet!



5.12. A motorcyclist was killed in a head-on collision Saturday evening in Comal County. Anthony Cortez, 57, was pronounced dead at the scene on FM 2673 at 6:40 p.m., according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Cortez, of Canyon Lake, was driving a Harley Davidson when he was hit by a 2008 Honda Accord driven by Diana Handby, 47. Handby, also from Canyon Lake, swerved into the northbound lane and struck Cortez, who was wearing a helmet, according to DPS.

7.12. A female passenger on a motorcycle was killed this afternoon on Highway 4 and Pool Station Road just east of Copperopolis. According to Rebecca Myers of the San Andreas CHP, the accident happened shortly after 2 pm. The accident involved a husband and wife, both 69, who were riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Initial reports indicated that the motorcycle collided with a van, but Myers says it is possible that the accident was a solo incident. The cause of the accident is still under investigation. The husband and driver of the motorcycle, suffered serious injuries and was flown to a Modesto hospital.

8.12. Police are investigating the death of a pedestrian who was fatally run over by a motorcyclist in southeast Houston. Paul Anthony Soto, 31, was trying to cross the intersection of Winkler and Surrey around 6:30pm Tuesday when he was hit by a man riding a black and red Harley Davidson. Soto died at the scene, and the motorcyclist was transported to Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital to treat a broken arm. Investigators say the motorcyclist showed no signs of impairment, but an investigation is ongoing.

12.12. A Rio Grande Valley man was killed and two young people, one of them a 3-year-old, were injured when a motorcycle and truck collided on a winding road outside Boerne. Department of Public Safety investigators said Adam Daniec of McAllen was riding a 2005 Harley-Davidson motorcycle west on Texas 46 about four miles west of Boerne shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday when he drifted into the eastbound lane on a sharp right turn. Adam Daniec, 62, collided with a 2003 Chevy Silverado driven by Robert Desrosiers of San Antonio and was pronounced dead at the scene. Julia Daniec, 3, who was in the motorcycle’s side car, and Alec Desrosiers, 17, a passenger in the Silverado, were hospitalized. The little girl was rushed to University Hospital, DPS said, and the teen was taken to Boerne Methodist Hospital. The extent of their injuries wasn’t known. No charges were filed, though an investigation was continuing.

16.12. John A. Maziarz, 71, died Tuesday night at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he had been treated since the crash on December 4. According to a Winter Haven police report, Maziarz was traveling east through a curve on Cypress Gardens Boulevard, S.E., on his 2005 Harley Davidson motorcycle when, for unknown reasons, he struck the curb of the median, resulting in the crash.

18.12. Friends and family are reflecting on the life of Troy Bozarth, 40, who was killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after midnight Friday. They say he was an overall good guy and someone who was always putting smiles on the faces of those around him. Bozarth was heading west near the intersection of 51st Street West and Manatee Avenue when he crashed into the rear of a pickup at a high rate of speed, according to Bradenton Traffic Sgt. Brian Thiers. Thiers said Bozarth was not wearing a helmet and died on the scene. He was about 10 blocks from home. Friend and neighbor Paul Connors heard the news from his daughter, who drove by the crash and recognized Bozarth’s Harley-Davidson Road King Classic motorcycle.

20.12. A Sikeston, Mo. man was pronounced dead Saturday after he struck a tree and was thrown off his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Mark Childers, 49, was traveling Scott County Road 241 just south of New Hamburg when he missed a curve and ran off the right side of the road, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The accident occurred around 3 p.m.

20.12. Police are investigating a crash in the Upper Valley in which one man was killed. Police said 50 year old Alfonso Ortegon was riding his 2010 Harley Davidson motorcycle north in the 5100 block of Doniphan Drive when a woman driving a green Ford Explorer pulled out of Graphite Drive and into the path of the motorcycle. The crash occurred about 12:15 p.m. The man was taken to University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. He was not wearing a helmet, police said. Police did not release the man’s name or age. They are still investigating if speed or alcohol were involved.

I hope this list of fatal accidents for December 2010 is complete, but I fear it may not be. In the US alone, a average of 14 motorcycle drivers die every day. If you know of other tragedies involving drivers of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, please feel free to add them in their memories in the comment fields.

In the meantime, keep your distance, maintain a safe speed, and ride defensively.

Have a safe journey in 2011.

A sad review of 2010


Aileron Brake Pedal Pad does not fit

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , on December 27, 2010 by bleiglass

Guess what the small piece on the picture is:

Yes, its has Harley-Davidson written all over it, its a tiny corner piece from the original foot brake lever, removed carefully with a Dremel.

You may recall I bought the Aileron Brake Pedal Pad, Part number 42678-05A, and recently wanted to fit it. “Easy-to-install” my ass, it did not fit over the brake lever after removing the rubber cover.

To analyse the problem, I took 2 pictures, of the lever and the pad, and superimposed them in Photoshop to see how bad the problem was.

There wasn’t a trick, it was impossible without drastic action of cutting away 2 small corner pieces from the lever. This could be done carefully with a small Dremel metal cutter and without jeopardizing the structural integrity and functioning of the lever. After some more filing the pad finally fitted like a glove and could now be fixed – as advertised – “very easily” with one screw.

But what is going on here, the part catalogue clearly states “Fits ’80-later Touring models”, and my Empress, a 2010 Road King Classic, is a “’80-later Touring model”.

I can only guess, as Part number 42678-05A was previously known as 42678-05 (without the A)

  • Did Harley-Davidson realise that the first batch of this pad did not fit properly and silently made the “bad” one disappear?
  • Or did I end up buying a cheap fake? Does not look and feel like a pirate copy…

Adding to the mystery, and possible HD conspiracy, is that this Aileron Brake Pedal Pad suddenly disappeared from the official Harley-Davidson 2011 accessories catalogue and is marked in the HD-online ordering systems as “obsolete”. Honi soit qui mal y pense…

Anyway, it now fits and looks great. But if you have any insights or similar experiences, please comment below.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year !

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , on December 25, 2010 by bleiglass

Ride Hard & Stay Safe

Your Harley on Facebook’s profile photostream

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , , , on December 16, 2010 by bleiglass

Many of us who actively write a blog are active on Facebook, most of us who just read a blog like this one may be on Facebook. But we all know Facebook. There must be a reason Mark Zuckerberg wins TIME Person of Year 2010. I may not have voted for him, but miles better then this really overrated Julian Assange.

Recently a new profile page layout was introduced, with 5 pictures on top called “the photostream”, and at first I was not impressed. Mine looked like that:

We are all vain, but that was a boring repetitive usage of my picture. But I quickly learned that you can control which picture appears here, you simply need to tag yourself in the pictures, and the most recent 5 ones appear. Whatexactly appears may be slightly out of your control, as soon as somebody tags you, this most recent tagged image will be included. Remember, its a photoSTREAM.

Quickly done, I tagged myself to 5 detail shots of Harley hardware, but still was not happy with the results. See here what happened:

Call me pedantic, but the automatic crop Facebook is presently using on my original pictures in its photostream is not convincing.

See here how they killed the original composition:

I am not sure if this is random, it changes a bit with the size and aspect ratio of the original picture, but not in a way I would consider myself in control of my profile page.

You can remove the photostream completely, but I like the idea and visualisation, and to get in control, there is only one way around it: crop the image yourself and reduce it to the minimal required size of 98×68 pixels. You do not need Photoshop, any good photo-software will do.

Now the logo appears nicely centred, and I can show in these 5 pictures exactly the crop I want to show.

There is one drawback: if you click on this thumbnail, all you get is the tiny thumbnail, not the original sized picture. I therefore recommend you put the pictures into a special photo folder called: “Thumbnails for profile”, following the old rule that to avoid disappointment, write on the tin what the actual content is.

Harley-Davidson Buys Back Old Debt – is it a fair deal?

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , on December 15, 2010 by bleiglass

A interesting piece of news caught my eye recently, about the announced repurchase of debt by Harley-Davidson:

What made me worry is the third paragraph, the claim that “… would have incurred total principal and interest payments of approximately $438 million…”. We all know Harley-Davidson is good in generating positive marketing hype, but here the spin doctors even took over the finance department.

Harley-Davidson did not save 438 million, such assumption would be ridiculous, and as we know how easy complex financial structures can be sold to the ignorant public, I went on to dig a bit deeper in the announcement to better understand what exactly went on here, and if its good or bad news for Harley-Davidson, its customers and shareholders.

Let us start in the past, when Harley issued these notes that ended up with Davis Advisors:

A simple transaction, Harley issues notes, and receive the cash price. During the next years, Harley pays the agreed interest. Interesting here – although not clearly mentioned – is the interest rate Harley-Davidson agreed to pay, it must have been about 15% (45mio / 297mio = 15%). This sounds like quiet a lot and the funding rate for a desperate company. But that was the agreement, and Davis Advisors is holding on to the note promising exactly this.

All went fine for some time, when now in December 2010, Harley-Davidson agrees a deal with Davis Advisors to buy back the notes for $381 million.

The real question is: “Was this a good deal?” and “Why has it been agreed?” For Davis to give up 15% interest per year, there must be very some good reasons, so lets analyse them in more detail:

Ok, here I must call for your understanding of the difference between present value and future value. The basics are pretty simple to get your head around: if you have 100 bucks today, and put them into some kind of saving account, you will receive interest, and after 1 year, in the future, you have i.e. 105 bucks, after 2 years 111, and so on, the future value. The rule is quite simple: the future value is higher then present value, and the higher the interest rate is you receive, the higher the future value will be.

Understood? Ok, now lets turn this around, as in our Harley-Davidson case study above, we know the future values, totalling the contractual $436 million (interest + nominal), but not their present value. But using what we just understood, the present value must be lower. The critical question is, by how much?

Well, Harley-Davidson is telling Davis that they think the contractual future cash flows they agreed to pay in the note is worth 381 million, and Davis agreed and sold the notes back to Harley at this price. But is this their real value, who made a good deal, Harley or Davis?

Note: I rounded the calculation at some places, this can result in a few  of millions left or right, but will not change the big picture.

Each future cash flow can be discounted to its present value, and – see what we learned above – the underlying interest rate is critically important. Now using in the calculations a internal interest rate of ~ 5.25%, well below the initial interest of 15%, the present value is suddenly identical with the amount Harley paid, $381 million!

So it looks like a really fair deal for Harley-Davidson and Davis, but is it? What motivated them to agree to such a deal?

None of them is a charity, and there is no free lunch in this business, and to understand one reason is to look at the underlying interest rate which makes this deal break even, the 5.25%. The point is on of outlook. Harley must think interest rates will go further down, and Davis must think they will go up. Because if rates go up, Davis will invest the received $381 million at a higher rate of 5.25%, and make a profit. And Harley must think they can get funding cheaper. Like with the asset backed securities they just launched? See my post on these here: “Harley-Davidson plans to sell $600 million of what?

Who is right only the future will show, meanwhile some clever banker organising these deals will make some nice fees…

Original Harley-Davidson mini-skirt

Posted in DIY, Harley-Davidson with tags , , , on December 12, 2010 by bleiglass

As some of you may know, I “changed” my front fender, and had to replace some chrome. But what does a mini-skirt have to do with a flimsy tin-can?

Well, the Harley Davidson original front fender skirt is a extremly flimsy piece of sheet metal, with some black lines printed on it.

I like the brightly shining skirts I sometimes see on other bikes, and wondered how much polish they needed to achieve that look. Immersing yourself into the accessories bible of Harley, you find a whole collection of different styles, and, as I like to stay true to style, I ordered the Road King Classic one.

First I thought the price for this small piece of simple metal to be excessively high, as I had already removed the old one and while holding it in my hand, was not impressed at all.

But after collecting the new one, what a surprise! This new skirt is a serious piece of metal, with raised accent ribs and a die-cast medallion. and its heavy, it is actually 4.5 times as heavy as the original skirt.

I wonder what other “original” components on my Road King  are as low quality as the original front fender skirt. This upgrade clearly added value… and weight!

After Xmas I go on a diet again, to compensate…

A big Thank You to the small talking chicken…

Posted in DIY, Harley-Davidson with tags , , , , on December 11, 2010 by bleiglass

One of the best accessories I ever bought for my Road King Classic in 2010 were the Highway footpegs.

50305-02 Aileron Footpegs

To be able to stretch out on long rides is sooo comfortable, these footpegs are a must on any bike.

But with the choice of footpegs came a threat from Toby, a salesperson at Harley Davidson: DO NOT DARE TO MIX STYLES.

What he meant was that having bought AILERON styled footpegs, nothing else then a AILERON styled brake pedal and shifter peg should be considered. How right he is!

With Xmas a “window of opportunity” opened, and I decided to refine the look of my Empress with this brake pedal and shifter peg – AILERON style of course:

42678-05A & 34601-02 Aileron Large Break Pedal & Shifter Peg

And the problems started… Harley decided – at least in Europe – to declare the brake pedal as OBSOLETE, and it was removed from the 2011 catalogue. No more AILERON brake pedal…

That’s when the small talking chicken helped out. A friend of mine could source a pedal and peg in the US, and send it over to me. The pieces reached me these days, after 3 weeks in transit.

“C” – thank you very much