“If You Had Asked Me…” Deals With COVID-19, Dealers And New Models

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 put the regular “If You Had Asked Me, I Would Have Told You” column of news tidbits into an extended hibernation that has lasted 18 months. It returns now with some local, national and international items and a bit of opinion. Here goes:

“If You Had Asked Me, I Would Have Told You…”

COVID-19 Cases Are Exploding in Sturgis

This could have been easily predicted. Put hundreds of thousands of maskless motorcyclists together in one location and the number of COVID-19 cases will inevitably skyrocket.

It’s now almost two weeks since the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota ended. It brought together riders from across the country. As of today, the number of COVID-19 cases in the state recorded over the past 14 days has climbed 456 percent.

The number of cases in Meade County, where Sturgis is located, has exploded 1,540 percent. The number of hospitalizations during that time are up 126 percent in the state and 229 percent in the county.

Given this data from the “New York Times” tracker, if I were a non-vaccinated rider who went to Sturgis for the fun and excitement, I wouldn’t be breathing a sigh of relief just yet.

That History May Be About To Repeat Itself

What started as a welcoming environment at the Terryville Fairgrounds in Connecticut for the National Meet of the Yankee Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America has become contentious.

The show moved to Terryville in 2018 after 24 years at the Hebron Fairgrounds, also in CT. The chapter cited a lack of communications and a jacking of the rental price by the Hebron Lions Club for seeking a new pasture. Now, it seems, the Terryville Lions Club is doing likewise.

Whether the meets stays or goes may not be determined until the end of September.

Attendees riding at the Yankee Chapter of the A.M.C.A.’s 2021 National Meet

“If You Had Asked Me, I Would Have Told You…

That Enough Is Enough With The “New” Claim

It’s beyond time for Hartford Harley-Davidson in East Hartford, CT to quit proclaiming that it’s operating “under new ownership.” Nearly 16 months have passed since the Gengras Harley-Davidson sold the store to Chad Clark and Bryan Castor.

Technically, Hartford Harley-Davidson didn’t get new ownership when the deal was consummated as it was a new entity entirely. Had the Gengras name been retained then, and only then, could the store declare itself to be “under new ownership.”

That Discontinuing Motorcycles At Pikes Peak Was Wise

Following a fatal crash in 2019 and two years of study, the board of directors of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado recently and wisely decided to scrap motorcycle categories going forward in the Race to the Clouds, despite the fact motorcycle participation dates back to 1916.

The board called the end of motorcycle racing up the 12.42-mile road “a difficult decision,” noting the motorcycle competition has been “thrilling and tragic for competitors and fans alike” over the decades.

“If You Had Asked Me, I Would Have Told You…”

That A Further Price Clarification Is Needed

I’m thoroughly confused about the actual price of Harley-Davidson new limited-edition Arctic Blast Street Glide Special. In the unveiling the model earlier this month, H-D listed the MRSP as being $38,899. But the website now suggests that the 500-copies model may start at $27,099 plus an additional $6,895 premium for a total of $33,994. At least that’s how I read it.

The website advriider.com, meanwhile, reports that Harley-Davidson later put out a press release revising the price tag to $32,999, but damned if I can locate the release.

So what’s the price? Who knows. Math has never been my strong suit.

2021 Harley-Davidson Arctic Blast Street Glide Special – Courtesy of H-D

“If You Had Asked Me, I Would Have Told You…”

That Connecticut Is Getting A Second Indian Dealer

It’s not what you’d call a well-kept secret. Word has been circulating for a year or more that Connecticut is getting a second Indian dealer. In fact, I’m now told the chosen dealership already has a new model in house, but until Indian gives the go-ahead, the name of the dealer and its location cannot revealed. Word should come soon.

Keeping such secrets is part of the news biz. I can also tip that a Ducati dealer in the Northeast is being actively shopped and that a multi-line dealer may be teetering on closure, which would be an amazing feat considering the strength of motorcycle sales since the start of the pandemic.

That Royal Enfield Is Preparing A Scrambler

Also no secret is Royal Enfield’s plan to launch a different model based on its Himalayan adventure bike. Numerous reports say the newcomer will be a scrambler; will have the name Scram 411, a reference to its engine size; and that will be fractionally cheaper than the Himalayan, which costs $4,999. An announcement should come in fall.

Among the differences expected on the Scram 411 are a 19-inch front wheel (as opposed the 21-inch wheel found on the Himalayan), a lowered front mud guard, a repositioned headlight, a one-piece saddle, new tank shrouds and no rear rack. Tank size, engine and suspension will remain the same.

The website bikewale.com in Royal Enfield’s home base of India had early details on the model. It also reports that Royal Enfield has a cruiser variant of its INT 650 and Continental GT 650 in development for 2022.

Scram 411 / Courtesy of bikewale.com

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About Bud Wilkinson

Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" classic car feature in the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. A graduate of Vermont Academy, he received a B.A. degree journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1975. He is the recipient of a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award in 1992 and a 1991-92 regional Emmy Award for commentary. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville and drives a 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.