News Round-Up – New H-D CEO announced, Dainese Release 2015 Jeans Range, RedShiftMX in Action

Matt Levatich To Take Over as New CEO of Harley-Davidson

Current CEO of Harley-Davidson, Keith Wandell will retire from the role on 1 May 2015 and will be replaced by Matt Levatich who currently sits in the role of President and Chief Operating Officer. The retirement of Wandell will bring to an end a six year tenure and one which saw him steer the company through a major global recession – one that hit the motorcycle industry hard.

As it stands, Harley-Davidson has probably never been in better health for many decades, with every increasing profits and huge cash reserves. “We have accomplished a lot to reposition Harley-Davidson for a bright future,” said Wandell, “and the most important achievement has been the development of great leaders at all levels of the organization. Our executive team has been integral to the creation and execution of our strategy and assuring a strong company going forward.”

Matt Levatich, 50, joined Harley-Davidson in 1994. In addition to an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Levatich holds a graduate degree in engineering management and an MBA from Northwestern University. He also served as the President and Managing Director of the MV Agusta before H-D sold the Italian marque in 2010.

Matt Levatich New Harley-Davidson CEO


Dainese 2015 Motorcycle Jeans Collection

Kevlar jeans are pretty important to wear as the abrasion resistant qualities of denim jeans is basically the same as tissue paper. But they’re often incredibly ugly, heavy and hot. But thankfully if there’s anyone that can make kevlar jeans stylish, it’s Dainese. In 2010 Dainese was the first company to make jeans a “technical” garment, and now the company has created an entire collection dedicated to denim—100% made in Italy.

The range features ten models, four types of cut and special colors, thanks to the choice of washed, used or rinsed finishes that make the Dainese jeans range a must-have for all riders who want to feel comfortable and stylish without having to forego safety—a trademark of the Vicenza, Italy-based brand. Each garment has technical features including an inner lining that is reinforced with DuPont Kevlar fibers and reflective inserts that not only make the items comfortable to wear, but also increase safety.

For more info, visit

Dainese D1 Evo 2015


Development of Alta Motors RedShift MX Continues

The idea behind the Alta Motors RedShift MX is fantastic – an electric supermoto or dirtbike (both versions are being worked on) that would promise huge decreases in maintenance costs and even downtime for racers with the ability to quickly swap batteries.

The RedShift promises to produce 40hp from it’s 11lb engine and the total weight of the bike itself is only 265lb. The trade off for this low weight is the fact that the maximum range will be about 50 miles – useless for the road but somewhat practical for competition. It’s been a few months since we last heard anything about the RedShift, but as the video below shows it’s gonna be a lot of fun.

[vimeo 118624089 w=500 h=281] 

2015 Alta RedShift SM – An Electric Supermoto

You could call the 2015 Alta RedShift SM the ultimate hooligan bike – if only the price was lower and the range longer. Unfortunately, these two factors make the Alta RedShift SM a rich man’s toy which is such a shame as it looks like it would be stupidly good fun to ride.

Here’s why. Firstly, the Redshift SM has the most powerful engine in a motorcycle today, based on a hp/lb ratio. It puts out 40hp from it’s 11lb engine. A typical 600cc engine weighs around 150lb and puts out around 125 hp – so the RedShift pumps out a hell of a lot of juice from a small package.

40hp might not sound like much, but the entire bike weighs only 265lb. Additonally, it comes with WP suspension (both front and rear fully adjustable) and Brembo brakes. So far it all sounds fantastic. Until you see the price.

For the Alto RedShift SM, you’ll need to part with $15,495. Granted, electric bikes are still in their infancy and attract a premium. But then there’s the battery range – 50 miles. No, I’m not missing a 1 at the front there – 50 miles is the calculated range for mixed riding, and you can guarantee that’s a conservative figure. To put that in perspective, if you ride on a freeway at 65mph, you’ll run out of power in about 45 minutes.

It’s like a remote control car you played with as a kid. You get a small amount of joy out of it, but most of the time you’re charging the battery. In fairness, the main point of this bike is to be raced and a 50 mile range is sufficient for this task. Alto has also designed it so that the battery can be swapped out in around 15 minutes. But this bike is being sold as a street legal motorcycle and for that purpose, it’s grossly inadequate.

Perhaps we should look at the Alto RedShift SM as a preview of things to come. In five years time when battery technology has matured sufficiently, a bike like this will probably cost half the price and have quadruple the range. And that’s something very exciting to look forward to. For now though, it’s hard to justify it’s expense. Especially when you compare it with the Zero FX. Granted, that’s not a true supermoto, but it has virtually the same performance figures, yet costs $9,845.

Alto is also releasing a dirt bike version (the Alto RedShift MX) with virtually the same specifications. So if you’re really serious about competition where range isn’t an issue and you want more reliability, no oil changes and no rebuilds, then perhaps the price is worthwhile. Otherwise, sit tight for a few more years.