● Luxembourg becomes the first country to complete the move to all digital television broadcasting. Still worked with an antenna, so who needs cable TV… right?
● Walt Disney International and Bob Iger announce it is buying computer animation film studio Pixar for $7.4 billion. Wait… need cable TV to watch that stuff… right?
● Liquid water is discovered on Enceladus (figure 1), the sixth largest moon of Saturn. Enceladus was one of the giants who got in a big pissing match with the Greek gods… any connection there?
● WikiLeaks is launched, created by internet activist Julian Assange. Been leaking ever since, but Assange has to take a leak in hiding.
● North Korea conducts its first nuclear test, with an estimated yield of between 0.4–2 kilotons. No idea what it means… except maybe code for “kiss your as goodbye?”
● Western Union discontinues its telegram service. Miss that?
● The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH—figure 2) is de-commissioned by the United States Army. What’s out there now… razor blades and Band-Aids?
● Construction begins on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Center in New York City. Cannot keep a good tower down!
● The F-14 Tomcat retires from the United States Navy. What’s out there now… Top Gun?
● The United States population reaches 300 million. Shatters, more like! Think we’ve already hit 400 million… 12 years later! (Feels like it in L.A., anyway.)
● Victory’s Freedom 1634cc 100/6 powerplant (figure 3), introduced in the 2005 Hammer, goes into all Victory models for 2006, with redesigned camshafts to improve low-end torque and acceleration
● Indian… still dormant… incubating in South Carolina
● H-D ships 349,200 motorcycles and Buell ships 12,500—worldwide
On the surface
Just another year at the beach for The Motor Company… record sales, increased market share, ecstatic stockholders, record profits, rock and roll! (Yawn!) But in truth, lots happened this year, maybe more than any year since the introduction of the Twinkie engine.
The inside story
A strike at the final assembly plant in York, Pennsylvania, in February, over health care benefits (I think) slowed things down enough to get resolved damn quick… and it was game on the rest of the year. And what a year! Here are the major highlights:
● 49mm forks for Dynas
● A much stiffer (in torsion) Dyna frame in 29-degree and 34-degree (Wide Glide) versions… with a hollow neck to hide wiring
● Dynas got the first six-speed Cruise Drive (figure 4), with its 1–1 sixth. Up till then six-speed trannys for H-D Big Twins were mostly (indirect) overdrive units… ’cept maybe Baker’s.
● Big Twins got updated hydraulic cam drives (yay!) and upgraded oil pumps to suit… 10 percent more flow 23 percent more scavenging
● Outboard primary chains and automatic tensioners came along on Big Twins for ’06
● Starter motors with no jackshaft… no primary removal… Yay! Again!
● Sportsters kinda stayed in a holding pattern for ’06 with a few upgrades—helical tranny gears, lighter clutch pull and such
● There was a new V-Rod with mid-controls… the VRSCD
● But the buzz was about Willy G’s Street Glide (figure 5)… the new thinking man’s bagger… and a major hit!