A Trio of OEMs Help Put Military Butts on Bikes

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There's a strong connection between the military and motorcycles. For active-duty military personnel or recent veterans interested in riding, a handful of OEMs will help them saddle up. Through discounts and rebates BMW, Harley-Davidson and Kawasaki are assisting members of the armed forces in buying motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson has participated in the Overseas Military Sales program for nearly 40 years. Through this program, designed as a quality-of-life benefit for military personnel stationed overseas, the Motor Co. has sold about 140,000 Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycles to soldiers.

The program is open to any members of the U.S. military on active duty outside of the 50 states. It offers the opportunity to purchase the company's motorcycles at a discount over traditional dealer sales. The program operates in 30 countries with more than 100 offices throughout North America, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

"The Overseas Military Sales program is another strong example of how Harley-Davidson supports our military," says Steve St. Thomas, director of Harley-Davidson's Fleet and Police Motorcycle Sales Division. "This program recognizes the sacrifices of active-duty soldiers serving overseas and allows them to purchase our motorcycles with certain privileges and protections available only to the military."

BMW Motorrad USA's Military Purchase Program, launched Dec. 2007, offers BMW dealers a tool to entice active military personnel and recent veterans into buying a BMW motorcycle for personal use here in the U.S.

The program offers the following cash-back allowances on all models within every BMW model series: K-Series, $500; R-Series, $400; G-Series, $250; and F-Series, $250.

To be eligible, buyers must be active members of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard or Coast Guard, or be within six months of active service, with a current military ID card. A copy of Department of Defense Form 214 may be necessary for retired service members and those who have recently been discharged from active service.

Finally, Kawasaki offers all active and reserve U.S. military personnel a Good Times Customer Rebate Incentive for purchases of select, new Kawasaki motorcycles. For each eligible new model bought at an authorized Kawasaki dealership, the service member gets a $250 Kawasaki Gift Card, which may be redeemed at any Kawasaki dealership or anywhere MasterCard is accepted.

HEAVY METAL File these under machines you won't likely see coming in on trade. Hayes Diversified Technologies builds and supplies the M2 motorcycle and the U1 military UTV to the U.S. Department of Defense. The company's chief engineer, president and CEO, Fred Hayes, is an experienced motorcyclist with more than 30 years of experience in government contracting.

The M2 is based on the Kawasaki KLR650, but is designed to run on heavy fuels such as JP8, AVTUR and conventional diesel. The bike was built to comply with the long-sought "single battlefield fuel" concept meant to lighten the burden of transporting and supplying a variety of fuels.

A UTV built for rough play, the U1 is powered by a liquid-cooled V-twin 750cc engine with an automatic two- or four-wheel drive transmission. It comes with four machine gun mounts, winch roll cage, skid plates and variable lighting.