Motorcycling in America – 2003

Life In America
2003 – Median household is $45,016. The US and allies invade Iraq. Toyota overtakes Chrysler as number three in US auto sales. California elects Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor. The SST Concorde makes its last flight. Beyonce and Jay-Z have the number one hit, Crazy In Love. Myth Busters premieres on TV along with the loveable Teutul family on American Chopper. For the third year running the number one box office hit is a Lord of the Rings, sequel, The Return of the King. Gas is up to $1.82 a gallon. $2,699 will buy you a Yamaha TT-R125LE.

Number One Motorcycle Trend:
Naked bikes, basically sport bikes without fairings are becoming increasing popular. Both Japanese and European manufacturers are filling the segment with bikes of various displacements. Cycle World does a 9 bike comparison.

European Brands Road Tested/Reviewed
Aprilia: RSV-R Tuono, Tuono, Atlantic 500 (Scooter), Mille R “Factory”. BMW: K1200GT, R11150R. Dakota: Indian 4. Ducati: 999, 1000DS, 749S, Monster 1000S, Multistrada, Monster S4R. Gas Gas: 250 EC. KTM: 250SX, 125SX, 525SX, 200SX, 525 E/XC, 450 E/XC, Adventure 950, 990 Duke. Moto-Guzzi: VII Naked Sport, Breva 750. MV: Brutale S. TM: 125X. Triumph: Speedmaster, Speed Triple, Daytona 600, Rocket III.

Asian Brands Road Tested/Reviewed
Honda: CR250R, CR125R, CR450R, ST1300, CBR600F-4i, CBR600RR, 919, Rune, VTX1300, CBR1000RR, CRF250R.  Kawasaki: KX125, KX250, Ninja ZX-6R, Ninja ZX-6RR, Z1000, Ninja ZX-10R, Vulcan 2000, KX250F. Suzuki: RM125, RM250, GSX-R600, SV1000S, GSX-R1000, SV650, Burgman 650 (Scooter). Yamaha: WR450R, YZ250F, YZ450F, YZ250, YZF-R6, FZ-1, TTR-90R, WR450F, YZF-R1, FZ-6, TTR-124LE.

American Brands Tested/Reviewed
Buell: XB12 Lightning, XB12S Lightning, XBR12 Firebolt. Big Dog: Chopper. Harley-Davidson: XLR1200 Sportster, Heritage Softail Classic. Indian: Vintage. Victory: Vegas, 92TC.

Other Issues
After four years and $147 million, Indian is once again, out of business.

Cannondale is liquidated. ATK buys its $10 million parts inventory.

The MX des Nations, to be held at a San Jacinto Indian reservation, is abruptly cancelled when the track’s permits are pulled a week before the event.

Angelle Savoie and Karen Stuffec for the first time, make it an all woman Pro-Stock final at NHRA’s Nationals in Redding, PA.

Motorcycle shows start to blossom on cable TV.

Chrysler unveils the V-10 powered Tomahawk, raising the question, is it a bike or a narrow-track car.

Jeremy McGrath after 10-years and winning 72 Supercross mains announces his retirement at the end of the ’03 season.

Kenny Dreer succeeds in acquiring relevant rights to the Norton marque, and plans a build of 100 Commandos for 2004.

Kenny Roberts is working on a 5-cylinder MotoGP bike.

Karl Fogarty unveils his Petronas FP1 3-cylinder superbike, breathing some life into a moribund World Superbike series.

Two US Senators introduce legislation that would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for motorcyclists.

According to Cycle World editors, there are 408 motorcycle model choices available to the motorcycling public.

The Suzuki/Kawasaki alliance gives birth to the RM-Z250 and KX250F, identical in every respect except plastic, color and graphics.

2002 new bike sales top 937,000 for the 10th consecutive year of growth, and a 9.4% increase over 2001. Motorcycles are a $19-billion a year business.

Harley-Davidson celebrates its 100th anniversary, tens of thousands of HD fans show up for the party.

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