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Interesting. How things work out. Funny the guy in last place. Really doesn't need to look back.
 

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Designer jeans mentality CEO/Board.
 
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This is not looking good for the future of HD.
If the focus is to be on large expensive motorcycles, a tarnished image isn’t going to help.
 

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Reposting from the main NHRA thread:
Thanks for posting this, I follow Pro Stock Motorcycle every year and have wondered about Indian Motorcycle supporting Matt & Angie Smith for some time now. This definitely leaves the door open for an aggressive sponsor to enhance visibility !! I’m keeping my eye on this one and my fingers crossed !!
I think it's unlikely and a hard business case to make during a pandemic economy but it would be hell of a power play, I'd love to see it happen. While they were only scratching the surface of Pro Stock Motorcycle with Victory they do have real world experience in the sport and trophies to prove it.

When Victory was winding down there was speculation that Polaris would begin transitioning sponsorship of the Victory powered teams (Smith/Reed) to Indian but it never happened and the race teams moved on in the absence of funding. Matt Smith actually claims that he tried to partner with Indian post Victory, Polaris agreed to develop a bike with him, but NHRA soiled the deal by prohibiting Indian from advertising on the track (15:30 in linked video). With the announcement that Harley is backing away from their factory partnership with V&H there is a massive void to be filled, what better opportunity could possibly arise to pick up where they left off?


Unfortunately Cory Reed has since abandoned v-twin platforms entirely and is going full Suzuki for 2021. Matt Smith is currently racing Buells and has been notoriously vocal about his frustration with Harley/V&H's factory funded monopoly in Pro Stock Motorcycle.


He is an incredibly accomplished and competitive racer and has worked with Polaris in the past, it would be massively historical for Smith to successfully partner with Indian Motorcycle and topple the 20 year Vance & Hines/Harley-Davidson drag racing racing empire. It's almost too good of an underdog story to be true, but we know it's possible, we've already seen this movie, it's exactly what we've watched Polaris do with American Flat Track over the last 5 years.

Smith is the 2020 Pro Stock Motorcycle Champion and is famous for holding the current national pro stock motorcycle speed record at 201.76 mph, what better rider than Smith to resurrect the "World's Fastest Indian"?

Please Polaris, make this happen. The net is right in front of you and the goalie has left the building.
 

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I've been a new fan of FTR for the past 4-5 years. I'm genuinely sorry to see HD go away. I thought they'd get through their 'whipping boy' phase and come back and compete but it looks like they don't have the investment dollars to try that road right now.
 

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I've been a new fan of FTR for the past 4-5 years. I'm genuinely sorry to see HD go away. I thought they'd get through their 'whipping boy' phase and come back and compete but it looks like they don't have the investment dollars to try that road right now.
Their entire fan base dying out.

They haven't been competitive in Flat Track since they stopped racing their XR750 (which was well at the end of further development), and having V&H was a smart choice for HD to use as a sales tool (maybe).

But they don't have new and interesting, as well affordable models to entice younger buyers/riders. Their current model line up (maybe the sportsters are somewhat of an exception) is aimed squarely at the aging boomers, the ones that may have enough money and leisure time to utilize these bikes.

The Livewire is interesting but at 30K, very few are going to gamble on a bike with limited mileage range. The early Street 500 and 750s had questionable build quality and although they were affordable, there are better alturnatives from the competition.

The new Revolution V-twin variants are unproven and again they must build interest in the markets. Why would a prospective ADV buyers even consider the Pan America when the BMW and KTM are some of the most desirable (yet priced competitively) as are the Honda Africa Twin and the revised Suzuki V-Strom 1000.

HD is also trying to get into the bicycle/electro-bike market, I think it would be hard to get human powered riders into dealer showrooms.
(Maybe offer Screaming Eagle or CVO pedals?)

HD is facing an uphill battle just to survive in a shrinking market.

But that's just my take
 

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Their entire fan base dying out.

They haven't been competitive in Flat Track since they stopped racing their XR750 (which was well at the end of further development), and having V&H was a smart choice for HD to use as a sales tool (maybe).

But they don't have new and interesting, as well affordable models to entice younger buyers/riders. Their current model line up (maybe the sportsters are somewhat of an exception) is aimed squarely at the aging boomers, the ones that may have enough money and leisure time to utilize these bikes.

The Livewire is interesting but at 30K, very few are going to gamble on a bike with limited mileage range. The early Street 500 and 750s had questionable build quality and although they were affordable, there are better alturnatives from the competition.

The new Revolution V-twin variants are unproven and again they must build interest in the markets. Why would a prospective ADV buyers even consider the Pan America when the BMW and KTM are some of the most desirable (yet priced competitively) as are the Honda Africa Twin and the revised Suzuki V-Strom 1000.

HD is also trying to get into the bicycle/electro-bike market, I think it would be hard to get human powered riders into dealer showrooms.
(Maybe offer Screaming Eagle or CVO pedals?)

HD is facing an uphill battle just to survive in a shrinking market.

But that's just my take
I think your take is a good one, and I will add only one thing to it: After dominating AFT for more than 50 years, being kicked in the ass for the last four, and trying to improve on the XG750R - including building an entirely new powerplant, they just weren't getting any results. Hell, they even got a rule change restricting the intake throttle body bore on the Indians and that didn't help. Rather than suffer anymore losses and humiliation, and start over again with another new engine ($$$) they decided to pull the plug. I really feel for the riders of the team - they are the ones that'll be scrambling for support right now.

It looks like AFT will become the Indian/Yamaha show unless Royal Enfield can get a team together for this upcoming season. Johnny Lewis looked good in the last race of the year, but he won't be doing it for an entire season.
 

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It looks like AFT will become the Indian/Yamaha show unless Royal Enfield can get a team together for this upcoming season. Johnny Lewis looked good in the last race of the year, but he won't be doing it for an entire season.
Keep in mind that Harley-Davidson have only dropped out of the SuperTwins class, which is indeed a massive bummer, but they will continue to compete successfully in Production Twins where Indian aren't fielding machines. To a sizeable portion of flat track fans Production Twins is the bread and butter of AFT, the grassroots "run what ya brung" class where competition is tilted more toward rider skill than simply hopping on the most capable purpose built race bike available. Some people find it more relatable, it's a class where "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" actually means something. I've come across plenty flat track fans that scoff at SuperTwins, which in my opinion is pretty ridiculous but to each their own.

In a weird way H-D dropping out of SuperTwins might have a negative effect on Indian's reputation in racing. In 2021 we can fully expect Indian to completely flood the SuperTwins standings, it's going to be a year of Indians racing Indians. and it's going to annoy a lot of older SuperTwins fans. Races will still be exciting but it's always more exciting when there's an obvious variety of machines on the track.

In my opinion it would really help preserve Indian's reputation in AFT if they doubled down on developing a street legal production model FTR750, allowing them to compete in the Production Twins class and once again wipe the floor with Harley-Davidson.
 
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considering the "production" class (and believe me those are not really production bikes) is only two years old and runs a limited schedule I find it ironic that fans would even scoff at Super Twins... which is by the way the backbone of the sport... regardless of what anyone wants to think the FTR is one helluva designed bike.. in fact probably under designed as in that motor can do a whole lot more.. now that anyone can go to my dealer and pick up a FTR-S for 12K I'm starting to see a lot of them around... they are catching on with the public finally.. between just plain looks and flat track racing it's getting noticed..
 

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Just announced today that Johnny Lewis will race the Royal Enfield in the Production Twins class for the 2021 season. the press release said that when they announced the idea of a team that it would be for Production class. I must have missed that and assumed it was for Super Twins.

Also, KTM originally had planned on having a Super Twins class for 2021, but I haven't heard anything about that lately. I imagine the developments of the last year might have had something to do with that.
 
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considering the "production" class (and believe me those are not really production bikes) is only two years old and runs a limited schedule I find it ironic that fans would even scoff at Super Twins... which is by the way the backbone of the sport... regardless of what anyone wants to think the FTR is one helluva designed bike.. in fact probably under designed as in that motor can do a whole lot more.. now that anyone can go to my dealer and pick up a FTR-S for 12K I'm starting to see a lot of them around... they are catching on with the public finally.. between just plain looks and flat track racing it's getting noticed..
AFT flat track is a production based class with a 1000cc limit. The FTR is a larger engine, so it does nor qualify, the Scout 60 is the only Polaris ptoduct to qualify.
 

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I know... I'm commenting on the sales vs. racing on Sunday... AFT production class is 750cc
 

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The production and Super Twins class rules aren't as simple as saying it is 750CC. It's based on a combination of # of valves, throttle body size and displacement. It just so happened that the FTR, Yamaha and the XG were 750CC. When people were running Kawis, KTM's and Duc's in the Twins class, you had 650, 960, and 1000CC bikes competing alongside the 750.
 
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