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& there's all the custom bike guys, OCC, West Coast Choppers etc, keeping S&S Motors profitable.
My favourite US customiser is Roland Sands. He's the only one trying to think outside the square. & he's always pushing the boundaries.
 

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:eek: WOW! Now if the Motor Co were in any doubt as to where their future lies, a quick look at that piece of rolling sculpture should put them on the right track! I do wonder how much Harley would charge though!
 

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what the hell is that thing? something out of the transformer movie?
It's a Ducati Streetfighter 1098. & the only thing it transforms into is a rampaging beast, when it's put on a racetrack.
 

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HOG faces considerable headwinds. Shipments were down 27% in 09 compared with 08, and the company reported a $55 million dollar loss for the year. They are swimming in debt, some of it lent to it by Mr. Buffet at 15%+ rates. Their dealer network is burdened with bikes it doesn't want, the finance arm is struggling to find available credit, and tightening standards have shut down the previous 'if you can sign your name and have $500 bucks you've got a bike' lending practices. The same story here as it was/is in the housing market.
Repos and used inventories have mushroomed, putting substantial pressure on re-sale pricing.
I think they will survive, but make their comeback at a slower pace than that of the general economy.
 

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I think that Honda could do well if they brought back a replicas of the original CB line.

Thx,
Lad
Not sure if this thing is still concept, or just headed for the Euro market, but it is a brand spanking new CB1100. Was talking to a local dealer and he thought they could be set for release in Oz.



First thing I would do is a set of clip on bars.
"You meet the nicest people riding a Honda." <-- see that, even Honda has had a dig at HD.
 

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And Norton will not be another Triumph. They plan to stay low-volume and hand built. When Triumph was resurrected, their bean counters found out the brand had the second-highest name recognition of any motorcycle other than H-D. Ergo, bring on the Triumph-branded shot glasses, underwear and boutiques.
 

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I kind of liked the XR1200 until I saw one in person. It looks disjointed. Slapped together. The blacked out Sportster with mid pegs is a much better looking bike. I'd still rather have a Bonnie, Thrux, Scrambler...
 

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I went to a HD dealership in NorCal having a sale - they said they need to raise cash to survive and they admitted its a common problem across a number of local dealers. The aging customer base is starting to really feel the high cost of bikes/parts/clothing etc that a HD loyalist rider must spend. Despite the fierce loyalty that the average HD customer displays, the company needs to reinvent itself and attract a new younger following. The current image/branding of HD is turning potential riders off. The press is full of recent initiatives by HD that have failed to gain traction
 

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Despite the fierce loyalty that the average HD customer displays, the company needs to reinvent itself and attract a new younger following.
Which was in the plans I believe when HD held Buell and had purchased MV Agusta. Now HD is left w/ old style albeit well made bikes. It's sad in a way. It looked like HD was poised on the brink of greatness as a conglomerate. Now it's fighting for its life as a marque. The same is happening to Moto Guzzi in Italy. Piaggio, the parent group, is barely breathing life into this fine old motorcycle brand. I would hate to see MG die almost as much as I would HD. The possibility is real. All I have to do is drive past the closed Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, and Saturn dealerships.
 

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I was reading Egan's "Leanings 2" in which he credits Harley for reigniting interest in the motorcycle world through the baby boomer generation. According to Egan, if you look at the motorcycle boom of the 1960's, those riders bought small entry level bikes like his Bridgestone 50 and then gradually traded up. And they are still selling to the same guys, now in their 50's and 60's. Egan was able to pay for that first motorcycle , brand new, with a kids summer job and he was hooked for life. And those motorcycles were considered cool. Celebrities had small bore bikes, and everyone wanted one. These weren't the equivalent of today's chinese scooter, which is just for transportation. These bikes, he writes were " a foothold on a lifestyle"

Egan ( writing in 1996) sees the future of big expensive motorcycles as limited . He writes that the boomers are " a lot closer to their last motorcycle than their first" and he says that without the new guys the industry can't grow. I couldn't agree more. The industry and HD in particular have built a buisness model of selling super expensive bikes to old guys. Thats bound to catch up with them sooner or later.

If the motorcycle industry is going to have a future, they have to start designing for the young guys who right now would rather have a playstation 3.Trust me on this, I have 3 teenage sons. They aren't selling anything to them, although I taught them all to ride and they do love it. My oldest rode to his first summer job in the village here but he was looked at as a real oddity. The very idea of a young guy riding, much less buying a motorcycle is viewed as nuts. What was once normal and cool is now considered absolutely insane. I had parents berate me , soccer moms shake their heads, people tell me I was an idiot for letting him ride.

This has to be addressed. Manufacturers will have to find a way to market and serve young people with inexpensive motorcycles. They will have to sell them and their parents on the "lifestyle" . Its not going to be easy. It can't be the Gixxer nut riding 100 mph in a bathing suit and flip flops with a little girl on the back. That is not good. Nor is the 50 year old fake HA biker with a huge gut and obscene stickers on his helmet. Again, thats not a good selling image. Same with drag pipes.

It has to be guys like my oldest boy, who despite the head shakes and comments, got his MC license before his car license. At 16 he was riding to work in a FF helmet and armor and on a fixed up antique 250, going to his job downtown and hoping everyone, including his friends would see him. The manufacturer's aren't going to make a fortune on him,not on his first bike anyway. But if they start marketing to his generation ( including girls) they might have a future..

Sal Paradise and the future of motorcycling
 

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Interesting points Sal. The boomer generation that have changed so much about our society over the past 40 years are still changing it, but they are approaching retirement/old age now. They've spent a lot of their windfall gains from property price appreciation over the last thirty years (what they haven't spent they've probably lost a large chunk of in the last few years). Scared by that, they're now looking to downsize, sell stuff, simplify. I think anything perceived as a luxury/discretionary brand is doomed generally.
 

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:( Couldn't agree more,Sal. Here in the UK, if a 17year old wants to ride a motorbike, he needs a number of things.
1. Lots of money to pay for the ludicrous insurance premium.
2. Patience and brains to get through the dificult ( and set to get hsrder ) riding test, to get a full license.
3. A thick skin to put up with the ridicule he'll receive from his peers, as motorbikes are seen as seriously uncool.
4. A very large slice of Lady Luck to get him through the first couple of years unscathed. Not likely considering the appalling state of our roads and our car drivers.
I'm afraid that the halcyon days of the 60's and 70's are gone, never to return. I fear for the future of our beloved pastime.
 

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Here is the other part of the problem - get ready to for your eyes to glaze over with boredom. I'm an architect so I think about this stuff. But the little old fashioned family owned pharmacy in the village where my son rode to his first job, is getting replaced by a Rite-Aide out on the highway. The new place is on a death trap of a highway near lots of commuter traffic. No way I'd let him take his bike into that nightmare.

So, safer roads and towns are needed for these small bikes. The same types of environments where bicyclists and pedestrians are safe. It gets into the super slab and Walmart type planning, versus real towns.... blah blah blah..no one cares....
 

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Sal is right.

Time for Triumph to build one of these.



Maybe go more Bobber look. I hear Cafe racers and Bobbers are popular amongst the young guys over there. Get your skateboard your punk record and your bobber here!

And Harley? Well what about?

 

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Yes but it looks good, like a mini Bobber, and it is the kind of cheaper smaller capacity bike Harley and Triumph should be making to attract younger riders. That and a 250 sport bike of some kind.
 
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