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The Harley Davidson vs Indian battle heats up with $500k Flat Track war chest!

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It’s a tale as old as time, and it’s not stopping any time soon.

The Harley and Indian rivalry dates back 100 years, with each trying to beat out the other in not only the sales floor, but on the race track too.

No race more embodies this tradition than American Flat Track, which has been going on since the 1920’s. These two American V-Twin giants battled it out head-to-head (or should we say bar-to-bar) for decades. However in 1953, Indian went bankrupt and closed its doors. For the last 60 years, Harley Davidson has practically dominated the sport, taking home 50 championships since 1954. But in 2017, that changed. Indian was resurrected by Polaris and made a return to flat track in 2016.

Armed with their Scout FTR750 along with the famed “Wrecking Crew”, Indian swept flat track with a 1-2-3 championship with a total of 14 wins, 37 podium appearances, and six podium sweeps. In fact, one of their riders, Jared Mees, set a single-season record of 17 podium appearances.

Now it appears, Harley Davidson is keen to win it’s title back.

The Motor Company announced it was putting up a handsome $562,500 for the 2018 American Flat Track contingency program. This is the largest contingency ever put up in the history of flat-track racing.

To help you get an idea of how important this is to H-D, their entire program from just 2 years ago was only $96,000.

Now, to be fair, Polaris is putting up a healthy sum of $350,000 in incentives as well. It looks like both companies are taking this rather seriously.

For each of the 18 races in the 2018 season, Polaris/Indian is offering $18,500 per race, with a $5,000 award for a first-place finish. Harley-Davidson is almost doubling that by offering a total of $31,250 to privateers riding either its XG750R or XR750. A first-place finish will get a $10,000 prize. Both companies will offer incrementally lower amounts to lower placed finishers. However, Indian is also offering a $25,000 award if a privateer wins the championship aboard the Scout FTR750.

The 2018 flat track season is should to be an interesting to say the least.

Tell us what you think about this rivalry in the comments below. Do you think Harley Davidson is scared? Do you think Indian is in for another sweep in 2018?

The 2018 American Flat Track series begins March 15th in Daytona, FL

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Custom of the Week: BMW R100RS by Bolt Motor Company

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MOST CUSTOM BUILDERS are juggling careers, building bikes as a side gig. Adrián Campos falls into that category: he’s the sporting director for Campos Racing, the team founded by his father Adrián Campos Sr, the former Minardi F1 driver.

Adrián Jr. is surrounded by high-tech missiles capable of 208 mph (335 kph), but he’s also nuts about motorcycles. So he started customizing classic bikes, as an antídoto to the ultra-modern race machinery that absorbs his working day.

His first build garnered enough interest to turn his side gig into a fully-fledged second business. Bolt Motor Company is now on its seventeenth build, and employs seven team members.

Bolt shares a workshop in Valencia with Campos Racing. But while the race team preps cars for the Formula 2, Formula 3 and GP3 race series, Adrián is swinging spanners on bikes like this stunning 1982 BMW R100RS.

We’ll admit it’s not the wildest custom boxer we’ve seen. But even though the style is well established, the perfect proportions and level of finish are something else. And the client wasn’t even looking for anything fancy; “He wanted a comfortable cafe racer for two people,” says Adrián, “so that’s what we did.”

The donor arrived in a pretty good condition, but it left in an even better state. There’s fresh paint and powder everywhere, from the motor right through to the forks, frame and tank.

Bolt tweaked the airhead’s stance by lowering the front forks internally just over two inches, then installing a pair of Hagon shocks at the rear. The fuel tank is stock, but the subframe and seat are custom made. The subframe’s a bolt-on affair, and the main frame’s been detabbed and cleaned up.

The taillight’s a particularly nice touch. Bolt built it into the seat rather than the rear loop, along with integrated rear turn signals. The whole setup’s barely visible—until it lights up.

They’ve also added some room for the customer to ‘customize’ his BMW at home. There’s a second tank and seat in a different paint scheme, which can be swapped out via four fasteners for the seat, and one for the tank. The second seat has it’s own plug-and-play taillight too.

Bolt have kept things practical too. The BMW’s airbox is still in play, and it’s also equipped with a BMW oil cooler and crash bars. Plus there’s a discreet inner fender at the rear. The exhaust headers have been shortened and run into a pair of generic cone mufflers, with the side stand relocated to work around them.

The cockpit’s sporting new handlebars, grips, bar-end mirrors and Motogadget bar-end turn signals. There’s a new master brake cylinder too, with some really neat plumbing. Up front is an LED headlight, tucked into a custom-made bucket.

Bolt rewired the bike from top to bottom and tucked away as much as they could. A set of Motone switches have their wires running inside the bars, while a Motogadget speedo has its cable routed through the BMW’s hollow steering stem nut.

This sort of consideration is rife, with every last nook and cranny cleaned up. We’ve spotted stainless steel fasteners throughout the build, nifty choke pulls on the carbs and a OEM-looking Bolt Motor Co. plaque on the side of the motor.

The classic white BMW motorsports livery is on point too. And Bolt have shunned the ubiquitous Firestone Deluxe Champion tires, going for the saw tooth tread of Shinko Classics instead.

We doubt that Bolt #17 could lap a track anywhere near as fast as a Campos race car.

But it’s just the sort of simple, classic ride we’d pick for getting to the track in the first place—via some leisurely Spanish back roads.


This article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here by permission.

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Video: Watch Sarah Lezito show you how to drift a motorcycle

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Yes, drifting on two wheels is possible. Especially if you’re an insanely talented stunt rider from France.

There are a few stunt riders worth following across social media and YouTube but few get the numbers of French stunter Sarah Lezito.

Shot in a cold, wet and snowy location, it’s hardly the easiest of environments for riding a motorcycle – although possibly better for skids! – but the control from Lezito, and her instruction, is captivating.

Why learn how to drift? Well, Lezito says that it might help in learning how to save from slipping, keeping the balance on your bike or just improving your stunting skills.

And her top tips?

  • First find a small bike – a 50cc or 125cc machine that’s easy to handle.
  • Find a slippery spot, like a wet floor after some light rain.
  • Put hard tyres on the rear and more air in the front tyre.
  • Protect everything… On you and your bike.
  • Prepare to crash. A lot.

We’re hoping she’ll be adding to her channel over the coming months and that this is the start of a series of ‘How To…’ videos from the young stunt rider.

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