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More American-Made Motorcycles Hitting The Market

Buzz Kanter Columns

More American-Made Motorcycles Hitting The Market


SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

SHIFTING GEARS, by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

Halloween is right around the corner, but looking at the latest issue of American Iron Magazine, I don’t feel we have a trick or treat deal going on. I can’t think of any specific trick in the motorcycle world, but lots of treats.

Let’s start with the growing assortment of terrific American-made motorcycles hitting the market. Harley is still offering plenty of the traditional air-cooled, pushrod, V-twin motorcycles in all shapes and sizes, plus V-Rods, and the new Street 750 and 500. And who knows about the electric motorcycles The Motor Company has been teasing us with this year? Victory continues to expand its line of motorcycles to include three baggers, two all-out touring models, and four cruisers. Indian has added a top-of-the-line touring Roadmaster and an exciting new Scout to the three existing Chief models. And EBR (Erik Buell Racing) is also expanding its offerings to three models, including the new, lower-cost (under $17,000) 1190SX American street tearer.

So, what does all this mean to those of us who prefer to ride American motorcycle brands? Well, let’s start with the obvious: (1) competition is heating up here. And healthy competition benefits consumers with greater choices and improved products. (2) No matter what your style or tastes, there is something for everyone going into 2015. Entry-level Street 500 and 750, muscle cruisers like the Indian Scout, Victory Gunner, and Harley V-Rods, standards like the Harley Softail, Indian Chief, and Victory Hammer 8-Ball; racers include any of the EBR machines, or long-distance tourers like the Harley Ultra, Indian Roadmaster, or Victory Cross Country Tour (I still can’t get used to the Victory Vision’s adical look). Let’s not forget Harley Sportsters and Dynas, the other Indian Chiefs, and more.

So, even before you start pulling out the manufacturer and aftermarket parts catalogs to figure out how to personalize your new motorcycle, the choices are already a bit overwhelming. Even to the longtime rider/builder/customizer. My advice for people in the market for a new ride? Go to the dealer and look at the machines that catch your fancy. Sit on them in the showroom and see how they feel. Read all you can about the particular model and ask if you can take a test ride (some dealers encourage this).

I love a big sign I saw at one dealer that read “Your wife called and said it’s okay to buy it.”

I don’t know if the quality and quantity of new bike choices will ever get better. And if it does, you can always trade in or trade up. So what’s keeping you from pulling the trigger on a shiny new bike?

Florida Sunshine
October in New England can be dicey for us. It might be perfect riding weather or it might be terrible. It’s the same in most of the northern regions and Canada. So a great way to finish the traditional riding season is to aim your headlight south and roll your bike down to Florida. Why? Well, I can think of a couple excellent reasons (other than the terrific riding weather). They are Biketoberfest in sunny Daytona Beach, and the trade and consumer AIMExpo in nearby Orlando. Both run from October 16 to 19, and both are worth checking out.

Congrats To Mr. & Mrs. Walksler  
I’d like everyone to join me in congratulating my friend Matt Walksler (of Wheels Through Time and What’s In The Barn? fame) for convincing the lovely Hailey MacDonald, one of the greatest young ladies in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, to marry him.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.


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  1. Buzz November 30, 2014

    Thanks for the post. Yes, Polaris makes Victory and Indian motorcycles. We will share your observations with our staff here at the magazine.

  2. Gary Pontius November 29, 2014

    I love Harleys, that’s why I have a subscription with you. Over the last year you seem to be pushing Polaris bikes. I know that the Polaris corporation is bigger with a lot more money to put in to there products then the HD Mo Co. I hope you are not getting some of that to be putting up so much in-fo on Polaris bikes.
    I just got issue 318 and I’ve got to the point I dread to turn the pg to see another Polaris bike of some kind.
    I know you feel you must do what you feel is right.
    I all so Know that Polaris bike are built in the US and that is good. But my interest is in Harleys that are built by a real motorcycle co that builds bikes, not jet skis and snowmobiles or any thing to make a buck. Polaris is a lot like the AMF years at Harley. Do as you must and I will to.
    From a reader that used to love this mag.

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