Complete Motorcycle Kits – From Box to Blacktop

There are more than a few people who love motorcycles, and indeed, these people tend to form clubs, celebrating their admiration for the machines and love for the thrill of the ride. So why do they package these motorcycles into complete motorcycle kits like some geek or nerd’s toy? Well, you have to admit that there is a visceral appeal, a deep-down feeling of wanting to build something from the ground up. “From box to blacktop” probably makes more sense since it is a vehicle to be constructed. Of course, building from total scratch is not achievable for most of us, since motorcycles are precision products. Imagine having to melt metals, make casts, and build a motorcycle engine on your own. No, these kits take the hardest parts out of the deal, and leave you with something that is challenging but not too hard, but will still give you a sense of satisfaction when you finish. This may not appeal to everyone, but there are those that feel best using something they built with their own hands. Perhaps a little background on the whole thing would help to explain why packing the motorcycle in pieces makes a certain sense.

Complete Motorcycle Kits – Fade In

Complete motorcycle kits are a result of several technological advances and innovations, as well as a few historical milestones. The need for cheap, personal transportation led to the invention of the bicycle. It was quiet, required no power other than what the rider would provide, and cost far less than a car. They just did not go very fast, and people got weary of having to push their own pedals. Next, someone thought of attaching an engine to the drive train. Eventually, these motorized bicycles developed into motorcycles. At that point though, the vehicles were still constructed in factories and sold as-is. The great revolution of mass production led to the creation of parts on parallel lines. Soon, someone thought that transporting these parts in boxes with the right number of parts for whole vehicles made sense. Disassembled motorcycles packed into kits consumed less space than the whole vehicles, so that meant the companies could save on transport and storage. They then shipped the kits to dealers who would construct the vehicles on-site. The next step probably came when someone asked if they could buy a motorcycle, but build it on their own, in the spirit of do it yourself. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and so motorcycles in disassembled kit form became available. So now you know more or less what led up to these great rides in packages.

Complete Motorcycle Kits – Nuts and Bolts

Not everyone has the capacity to construct motorcycles on their own, so in addition to all the big and small pieces, manuals and instruction booklets come with these complete motorcycle kits. Even if you are the type who would rather not have to wade through a lengthy set of instructions, you must painstakingly follow these ones. These ensure you build your ride as the kit makers wanted it, so you will not miss any vital or even minor parts. Imagine missing a nut here or a bolt there, and you can then imagine the motorcycle falling apart like in one of those cartoons. Worse, imagine a breakdown at high speed. You could damage the parts of your vehicle, or yourself for that matter. The kits may be easier than building from zero, but they are still far from being easy. Of course, this challenge is what attracts people in the first place. There is just something about making something with your own hands, a feeling of being able to trust it more. There is also that feeling of being tired but happy upon completing your project, and making something that you love makes it even better. It will also feel more like a companion rather than a tool when you go on runs around town or even across the country on riding tours. The feel of the wind in your face and hair, and facial hair if you have it, will justify the time and energy you put into it. It will also justify any nerdy feelings that may have cropped up from building something from a kit.

Complete Motorcycle Kits – Choices and More

Complete motorcycle kits are rarely, if ever, offered by large manufacturing companies. These big timers are not as concerned with the talk on the street as small companies. The smaller companies on the other hand, have their ears on the ground, and know what people want. Thus, they are the ones who cater to the kit vehicle crowd. Another great thing about these is that they carry aesthetic details that reflect the wants of the community on the whole. Kit motorcycles may not go as fast as some mass-produced models, but they look cool in their measured pace. Plus, the lower speed gives people around more time to appreciate the beauty of these vehicles.

Speaking of beauty, there is no reason why cannot take the custom nature even further. The great thing about building a ride from the kit is that you will want to customize it, to give it that look that you feel is perfect. Maybe some spinners or a few decals, or maybe some performance upgrades with better brakes or electrical system for example. The do it yourself nature of these rides means you can choose parts to switch in and out.

The same companies that offer these boxed kits also offer separate parts for custom looks, and some may even offer fabrication services, for those unique pieces that you always dreamed of. These customization potential make the ride even more personal, and reflect your design sense. An interesting side effect to all this customization is that the owner becomes more inclined to take care of their vehicle rather than with a mass-produced model. It is probably because they do not want something they made with their own hands to break, as a matter of pride and passion. Remember, ride prudently and safely.

Skills You Need to Restore a Classic Car

Restoring a classic car can be a scary topic for some people. There are a lot of different types of work that goes into a classic car restoration and most people are not skilled at all of them. When you break the process down into the types of repairs that go into your classic car restoration, it’s easier to come to grips with what you really can or can’t do yourself.

An accounting of your skills can help you decide how much work you can do yourself, and how much of the restoration work you should get done by a professional.

Your classic car restoration can be broken down into a few repair categories.

  • Knowing your car,
  • Mechanical repairs
  • Electrical repairs
  • Interior or upholstery work
  • Sheet metal or rust repair
  • Surface preparation and refinishing
  • Auto body and painting
  • Trim or molding repair and refinishing

Some of these categories are self explanatory. Allow me to clarify the ones that aren’t so obvious.

Knowing your car

Cars have always been available with options like sport trim packages, air conditioning, V8, 6 cylinder, or 4 cylinder engines, and the list goes on. As the car gets on in years, some of these options get removed from the vehicle, replaced with something substandard, or never replaced at all. Option codes and shop manuals are generally available for most American classic cars that detail this information.

Mechanical repairs

This covers a lot of what makes up a car and would be most of the moving parts. You’ll find the engine and transmission will need rebuilding, as well as all the regular maintenance repairs like brakes and suspension, and rebuilding components parts like starters, water pumps, and generators. Other components that rarely get considered are the under dash parts like heater or vent controls, window parts inside the doors, hinges, and latches. I’m only touching on the subject, but you get the idea.

Electrical repairs

Electrical can be the scariest of them all. On an old vehicle the sheathing on the wiring can be dry rotted, and cracked and brittle creating the risk of an electrical short. Switches wear out and even fall apart. On some vehicle where these parts are impossible to find, you’ll need to be creative and improvise by using parts from another vehicle make.

Interior or upholstery work

Cloth, vinyl, leather, threading, and stuffing or padding materials all dry rot over time and need to be replaced. Colors fade really bad as well.

Sheet metal or rust repair

Any metal made with iron will rust, even aluminum will oxidize and even disintegrate under the right conditions. The body sheet metal will need to be replaced or patched. This means knowing how to work with sheet metal, how to weld, and even how to shape metal.

Surface preparation and refinishing

Other than the exterior of the car body, there is a lot of sheet metal surface that will need to be stripped of old paint and surface rust, then prepared so it won’t rust anymore, then painted again. This includes the car frame, suspension parts, differential, fasteners and more.

Auto body and painting

Aside from the sheet metal work the exterior of the car body will need to be smoothed and painted. This is an enormous amount of work which is why it can be so expensive.

Trim or molding repair and refinishing

Classic car trim and molding was made mostly from metals. There are steel chrome plated parts, chrome plated pot metal parts, aluminum, stainless steel and even brass or copper. until recently, some parts can’t be fixed and re-plated, pot metal is on of those. In extreme cases, you’ll need to weld new metal into your trim or moldings, grind and sand them down, polish them and get them ready for re-plating.

That’s a lot to know how to do.

Luckily there are some really good how-to DVD’s available that cover all these topics. Even still you might want to specialize in only 2 or 3 of these skills, and get a professional to do the others.

Learning how to do something like this can be entertaining. Even you if you don’t plan on doing some of this work yourself, you’ll want to know how the work is done so you can recognize a job well done.

Love Motorcycles? Career Ideas for Motorcycle Enthusiasts

While many people think of motorcyclists as those who love to ride as a hobby or only in their spare-time, there are some individuals who are lucky enough to be able to use their motorcycle as part of their job. Just like a moving company has a truck, some people have motorcycles that are essential to their jobs. If you’ve ever considered using your bike as part of your career, here are a few job ideas to get you started!

Racing and Stunt Driving

Obviously, you can use your motorcycle to start a career as a stunt driver or motorcycle racer. This may require a top-of-the-line bike and some hefty health insurance coverage, but can definitely be worthwhile if you’ve got the skills to prove your worth! And if you’re feeling really risky, it may be time to hit road and pull your stunt skills full-time with a daredevil carnival act!

Police Office or Security Guard

If you have a security background or training and enjoy spending time on your bike, certain careers in the security industry may allow you to combine both work and play. As a security guard or police officer, you can help others and patrol grounds while doing it in style! Security guards and police officers oftentimes take advantage of a motorcycle’s mobility to work carnivals, parades, and other large events.

Test Driver

Motorcycle companies will lend out their bikes to test drivers to try out and write reviews for national magazines and online motorcyclist websites. If you’re knowledgeable about motorcycles and enjoy trying out bikes that haven’t even hit the market yet, this may be a great way to combine what you know and love into a fulfilling career!

Motorcycle Courier

While delivering pizzas on a bike may be difficult unless you have really wide saddlebags, there are things that you can deliver and transport on a motorcycle. Motorcycle couriers are individuals who deliver or transport things to and from locations. Time sensitive court documents and paperwork are some items delivered by motorcycle couriers who can navigate through busy cities and traffic better than larger vehicles.

Travel Writer and Photographer

What better way to hit the road than with a quality camera and some portable technology. For those with a traveling spirit and an eye for great landscape shots, motorcyclists who have the time and energy to travel the world may enjoy doing so from the seat of their bike! Travel to exotic and unknown places on your bike, snap some photos and write about the area. Sell your work as freelance or start up your own online blog or website to share your adventures with the world!

Mechanic

If you’re more the hands-on, “behind the scenes” type and enjoy the mechanics of a motorcycle, you could always consider a mechanic job focusing on improving and fixing motorcycles for others. Knowledge of how a bike works is required for this technical kind of position, but can be extremely rewarding and fun for those who like a challenge and don’t mind getting their hands dirty!

Motorcycle Sales

For those of you that love motorcycles and have a knack for selling, a motorcycle salesman may be the ultimate job. An added bonus about this career path is that you’re more likely to be successful if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about the items you are selling. Helping other motorcycle enthusiasts gear up with the right equipment is also another great job for those that can’t get motorcycling off the brain. Biker clothing and apparel is becoming a booming business with the growing number of men and women getting into motorcycling for the first time.

A Story for the Australian Automotive Industry

Introduction to the Topic

Australia is one of only a few countries with the capabilities to design cars from scratch and manufacture in significant volumes. Car sales in Australia are also an important factor of the Australian Automotive Industry and the Australian Economy in total.

The Australian Auto Industry (A.A.I. in short) can be divided into two interrelated sectors, the Production ( Manufacturing) sector and the Car Sales (or Import-Sales) sector, both equally important for the total performance of the A.A.I. On one hand, the Manufacturing sector refers to the market conditions under which Australian Manufacturing businesses compete, by producing vehicles and related products, with the main aim of maximizing profits. On the other hand, the Sales sector refers to the market conditions under which car representative sale businesses compete, by the sale of cars and related products, having the same aim with businesses within sector one.

It is very important to state the distinction between these two sectors within the A.A.I., as we will be talking about two different market structures, business strategies, competition conditions, e.t.c. In order to analyse these market structures it would be appropriate to develop two economic models, one for each A.A.I. sector.

1.1-Analyzing the Manufacturing Sector

There is only one market structure that can best describe the market conditions in the Manufacturing sector if A.A.I., this is Oligopoly. As there are only two organizations that produce cars in Australia, and these are Ford and Holden, the competition methods and pricing strategies are based between these two organizations. The following economic model shall help define the competition and economic conditions for the Australian Automotive Manufacturing market.

The first important characteristic of Oligopoly that needs to be stated is that prices between competitors tend to be “sticky”, which means that they change less frequently than any other market structure. This statement will be explained in more detail later on, when we will be developing the Game-Theory model, as it is a very important concept of competition. The second most important characteristic is that when prices do change, firms are likely to change their pricing policies together. These two characteristics can boost up competition within the market. Firms will either try to match rivals’ price changes or ignore them. This is depended on the Game-Theory that is explained bellow.

However, the recent market conditions for the Australian Automotive Industry and the actions of the Australian Government have worsen the competition conditions and possible pricing options available for firms in the market. The production and maintenance costs for a manufacturing business in Australia are already high and rising, mostly due to lack of economic resources and advance of technology. That is, as Holden and Ford try to compete each other, given that prices tend to be “sticky”, they are forced to focus on technological advantage and marketing. Both of these business sectors produce high costs. Furthermore, the Australian government has made it clear that is unwilling to further subsidize automotive organizations in the market. All these factors stated above produce a negative effect on the competitiveness of both firms. In other words, rising costs alongside with decreased revenue push firms in experiencing lower and decreasing levels of profitability.

Profitability and the level of competitiveness are highly interrelated in an oligopolistic market structure, being the two most important factors, alongside with product differentiation, in the competition policies that the firms follow. When we say that the level of competitiveness of a firm is very low, we mean that the firm cannot react effectively to any price changes or competition changes or even changes in production costs. This may leave the firm depended on its’ competitor’s pricing and competition actions, not being able to affect the market competitiveness at all. The firm is then exposed to external danger and can be pushed out of the market, or even worse to shut production and declare bankrupt.

1.2- The Game-Theory Model for Oligopoly

The Game Theory model is used to explain the pricing and competition policies of firms in an oligopolistic market structure. Furthermore, it can show the few different competition policies based on pricing that the two firms can follow, that is High and Low as stated above. All firms in this market structure follow a Game-Theory model, although it is surely more detailed than our example, in the process of trying to forecast competitors’ pricing and competition movements and also keep track of the competition levels in the market and market share. But how does this happen?

For example, let’s say that there are four different fields, each divided in half. These fields represent the pricing strategies that Holden and Ford may use in the process of competing each other. Field A and C represent a High-Pricing policy for Holden, while fields A and B represent a High-Pricing policy for Ford. Lastly, fields B and D represent a Low-Pricing policy for Holden, while fields C and D represent a Low-Pricing policy for Ford. When both firms decide to follow a High-Pricing policy they share a profit of, let’s say, $12 million. If Holden decided to move to a Low-Pricing policy it will experience a maximum of $15 million profit, while Ford’s profitability will fall to $6 million. The exact opposite may also occur, while if both firms decided to follow a Low-Pricing policy they would realize a maximum of $8 million of profit.

What we can identify from the above example is that firms in an oligopolistic competitive market rarely change their pricing policies because this may produce a negative effect on their profitability levels. However, Holden and Ford, being the only two firms in the Australian Automotive Industry, they will focus on competing through product differentiation and marketing. That is, they will try to compete by differentiating their products, for example by producing vehicles with different features, or even base their production on technological advantage. Marketing plays an important role here, as it is the main tool that delivers and connects the customer with product. For example, if Holden introduces a new driving technology that improves driving experience and safety and produces this technology alongside with a newly designed vehicle, it is quite likely that Holden will effectively differentiate its newly designed vehicle from a relative vehicle of Ford and lure more customers in the store. Holden may also use marketing techniques to deliver this technology to the public, in the form of knowledge; hence try to boost sales without changing its pricing policy. However, it is important to state that this new technology may produce higher production costs, if not evaluated properly; hence Holden can only rely in increasing its market share to gain greater profitability. The sales part, however, will be analyzed in more extend within the next chapter of this report.

The Game-Theory is not just a theory for the Automotive Industry in Australia, it’s a fact. It shows us that auto manufacturers in Australia have based their competition strategies on all the factors stated above and as much as they possibly can on pricing strategies. They may advertise that they have low prices, but in fact their prices are very stable. If we have a close look at Holden’s or Ford’s websites, we will identify that there is a huge variety of products and each firm competes in that. However, the new market conditions stated before have greatly changed the way auto manufacturers think of the future and this in turn may change their pricing and competition policies, or even determine their existence in the market.

2.1- Analyzing the Import/Sales Sector

While the auto manufacturers are considered to be operating in an oligopolistic market structure, importing and selling vehicles or relative products is a different story. The import and sale of vehicles is the second and equally important business sector of the Australian Automotive Industry. There are many different car selling businesses and we shall only consider first-hand sales, as second-hand sales in general are not included in economics and more specifically in GDP measurements. To enter the industry hard at all as there are not many barriers to entry, however someone who is interested needs to consider of the high costs in setting up an automotive dealership. All businesses in this market are mostly based on product differentiation to compete and while prices are not “sticky”, pricing competition is set up by the market mechanism and tends not to be considered a regular phenomenon. Lastly, cost analysis and cost management play a very important role. All of the above characteristics refer to the Monopolistic Competition Market Structure. In this market structure we will focus on two phases, the short-run phase and the long-run phase, each with different competition characteristics and outcomes.

An important factor that we need to state here is that when the costs of developing a vehicle in the manufacturing sector rise, then the cost for selling the vehicle for a dealership may rise as well. This is always depended of course on if the vehicle was produced in Australia and if it was produced overseas, under what economic conditions was it produced. Price might be “sticky” for manufacturers, however prices will change much easier in this sector if needs be. Here firms will change their pricing policies if costs either rise or fall and this is always depended on the market mechanism. The amount of competitiveness along with the amount of price elasticity of demand will depend on how many rivals the monopolistic competitive firm will have to face.

In such market the following situation is very common, a situation that helps us distinct between short-run and long-run:

Stage One

In this stage the firm experiences economic profits. However, this fact will draw new firms in the market causing the profits to be competed away.

Stage Two

The economic losses indicated in this stage will cause many firms to exit the market, as they cannot keep selling under these market conditions.

Stage Three

In the final stage, the market clears-up, or reaches equilibrium point. As all firms that needed to exit the market have done so, the market mechanism comes to the point where no economic profits/losses are realized by the firms. This is the point where the market is most stable.

Studying the situation above we can identify one very important fact for any monopolistic competitive firm in the Australian Automotive Industry/ Sales sector. That is that in this market structure, in the long run, firms will realize only normal profits and the market mechanism will eventually reach an equilibrium point. Hence, in the long-run firms will compete mostly through product differentiation. However, in the short run firms may experience economic profits or losses and this is what causes firms to enter or exit the market and “shows” firms how to compete and when to apply pricing competition policies.

Conclusion

The Australian Automotive Industry may be experiencing rough market conditions, mostly because there is no more government support; however competition and profit maximization is still possible. Thinking of moving overseas is not always a good option for the manufacturing businesses, as the Australian Economy needs the manufacturing sector, as it represents a reasonably big part of GDP.

Market competition conditions are well defined for every manufacturer or car dealership, hence any business in the market ought to use the available to them competition strategies and achieve higher market share and profitability level or stabilize its profitability levels. Either way, these are the main goals for almost every profit-motivated business in any market type under any market structure. However, every business ought to define the market structure that is operating in, so that it can then clearly define its goals, strategies and policies. The market mechanism is in all cases responsible for all the above strategies and most of the cases responsible for setting up pricing policies or indicating pricing and marketing strategies.