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Old 01-26-2011, 06:59 PM   #1
btcn OP
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What is Harley doing?

I just read an article in the newspaper today about Harley actually trying to solve their problem of most riders being of old age and getting older. I also read an article about their sales going down BIG TIME!

Its no wander this is happening. So what do they do? They go and make some "dark custom" line of motorcycles or something like that foolishly thinking it's going to draw in the younger crowd! The bikes are supposed to look MORE classic and bare bones or something, with uncomfortable tractor style seats. Its basically a whole new line of bikes just like the 48, but NO NEW MODELS!

I have no idea who is in charge of this, but they need to pull their head out from where ever it is! Seriously, this is not going to draw any new younger riders in!

While I am personally a very big fan of Harley and am one of the younger riders, I see their problem. Seriously, their BIG problem is price. Yes, hardcore Harley riders may pay the price, but do you think a 15 year old who just got his motorcycle license is going to go out and spend $10,000+ on a brand new 800 pound hog? I REALLY REALLY doubt that! Ain't happening. He will either buy an older Japanese four on Craigslist, or buy some sort of sports bike like a Ninja 250 or an R6.

See, Harley needs to wake up. While they ARE trying and like to say they are trying really hard, they aren't trying hard at all. Oh, so were going to paint some bikes black and make them look classic. Thats REALLY going to get the younger crowds into Harleys!

What they need to do is FIRST make more sporty bikes, not older classic badass bikes! I mean they tried with the XR 1200, but it still runs a Sportster motor, and is a bit pricey. Plus, it is under advertised, as I meet many who haven't even heard of such a bike. If they could drop the price and drop a V-Rod motor in, tune it, and show it smoking an R6 it JUST MIGHT draw some younger riders in!

But they probably won't. I don't think they will ever go out of business, but they might get to the point where they have no choice but do something.

To bad they don't do something like Yamaha either.

I just found out about this neat little bike today:

http://www.starmotorcycles.com/star/...89/0/home.aspx

I have never heard of this bike! Its a cool little 250 cc true V-Twin Yamaha V-Star! It runs from 0-60 MPH in just under 10 seconds, yet looks like a Harley and has that cool sound! It is a great price too! I think that one has not been advertised very well, or it would be far more popular! This is the engine that Lifan Clones for their 250 V-twin!

I just don't know what Harleys doing, but AT LEAST they realize this problem is starting to develop!
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:16 PM   #2
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"What they need to do is FIRST make more sporty bikes, not older classic badass bikes! I mean they tried with the XR 1200, but it still runs a Sportster motor, and is a bit pricey. Plus, it is under advertised, as I meet many who haven't even heard of such a bike. If they could drop the price and drop a V-Rod motor in, tune it, and show it smoking an R6 it JUST MIGHT draw some younger riders in! "

Great idea! Maybe start with a Sportster engine, then get a guy with real racing experience to build a trick chassis for it, set him up in a separate division to design and build them, and then sell it through Harley dealers...

Oh. Wait.
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JBSmith View Post
"What they need to do is FIRST make more sporty bikes, not older classic badass bikes! I mean they tried with the XR 1200, but it still runs a Sportster motor, and is a bit pricey. Plus, it is under advertised, as I meet many who haven't even heard of such a bike. If they could drop the price and drop a V-Rod motor in, tune it, and show it smoking an R6 it JUST MIGHT draw some younger riders in! "

Great idea! Maybe start with a Sportster engine, then get a guy with real racing experience to build a trick chassis for it, set him up in a separate division to design and build them, and then sell it through Harley dealers...

Oh. Wait.
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:57 PM   #4
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I like Harleys but never bought one because:

1. They are expensive
2. They rust (Yes - there, I've said it. It's a bike built for sunshine and not all weather riding)
3. They have shit brakes, all of them (except maybe the XR1200)
4. Poor attention to detail, Honda's Fury is better built than anything Harley's put out in the last 100 years
5. Poor handling, they're just heavy and slow

Don't get me wrong I'm not a Harley hater, the more variety on the roads the better and I do get that on a sunny day when you just want to cruise around a Harley can be the perfect motorcycle. it's just I use my bike for recreation and transport and want a motorcycle that's both fun and practical. The Harley to me isn't especially fun and definitely not practical.

For me this has always been one of Harley's fundamental problems, their bikes just aren't practical enough to live with day to day. Back in the days when Harley sales were booming Honda were building 750cc inline fours and the gold wing was a naked bike with 4 cylinders. A Harley was about as practical and comfortable as anything out there. But now you have BMWs with perfect aerodynamics for all day touring, you have bikes with ABS and ASC for added safety, you have heated grips for cold mornings. And everyone in the entire industry (even Suzuki and Kawa) has figured out how to make a bike that doesn't rust.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue&Yellow View Post
I like Harleys but never bought one because:

1. They are expensive
2. They rust (Yes - there, I've said it. It's a bike built for sunshine and not all weather riding)
3. They have shit brakes, all of them (except maybe the XR1200)
4. Poor attention to detail, Honda's Fury is better built than anything Harley's put out in the last 100 years
5. Poor handling, they're just heavy and slow

Don't get me wrong I'm not a Harley hater, the more variety on the roads the better and I do get that on a sunny day when you just want to cruise around a Harley can be the perfect motorcycle. it's just I use my bike for recreation and transport and want a motorcycle that's both fun and practical. The Harley to me isn't especially fun and definitely not practical.

For me this has always been one of Harley's fundamental problems, their bikes just aren't practical enough to live with day to day. Back in the days when Harley sales were booming Honda were building 750cc inline fours and the gold wing was a naked bike with 4 cylinders. A Harley was about as practical and comfortable as anything out there. But now you have BMWs with perfect aerodynamics for all day touring, you have bikes with ABS and ASC for added safety, you have heated grips for cold mornings. And everyone in the entire industry (even Suzuki and Kawa) has figured out how to make a bike that doesn't rust.
Thing is, whenever Harley makes a sensible bike, no one buys it. The Convertible, the FXDXT, the Street Rod ... they couldn't give those bikes away.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ikonoklass View Post
Thing is, whenever Harley makes a sensible bike, no one buys it. The Convertible, the FXDXT, the Street Rod ... they couldn't give those bikes away.
were they marketing these different bikes to the same people that bought their mainline bikes, or marketing them to non-harley-traditional riders?
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ikonoklass View Post
Thing is, whenever Harley makes a sensible bike, no one buys it. The Convertible, the FXDXT, the Street Rod ... they couldn't give those bikes away.
i like this post and fear it might be true of the upcoming 500 - 750, too. especially if the final product is somewhat "budget class" bike and it shows as it does on pre production models

harley it would seem has a certain image with older fans and newer alike. they are BIG, chromed out, and "nice." this is what non-riders think about the bike imo, and experienced riders....they really have no use for such a bike as the upcoming "street" models. i mean why not just get a Sportster if you want a smaller Harley? or a Yammy Bolt or ShadowRS, for that matter?

harley has "new" models coming but the bikes don't seem new at all. because they aren't. not for Harley, and not in the market place. its "cruiser, cruiser, cruiser....and thats it. and these new harleys will just seem bland and lacking character when put next to other bikes in the harley "boutiques"

harley has pigeonholed itself imo. and it will take more then a couple of new blacked out "girl bikes" to pull themselves up and out of it

at least in the U.S. marketplace
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue&Yellow View Post
I like Harleys but never bought one because:

1. They are expensive
2. They rust (Yes - there, I've said it. It's a bike built for sunshine and not all weather riding)
3. They have shit brakes, all of them (except maybe the XR1200)
4. Poor attention to detail, Honda's Fury is better built than anything Harley's put out in the last 100 years
5. Poor handling, they're just heavy and slow

Don't get me wrong I'm not a Harley hater, the more variety on the roads the better and I do get that on a sunny day when you just want to cruise around a Harley can be the perfect motorcycle. it's just I use my bike for recreation and transport and want a motorcycle that's both fun and practical. The Harley to me isn't especially fun and definitely not practical.

For me this has always been one of Harley's fundamental problems, their bikes just aren't practical enough to live with day to day. Back in the days when Harley sales were booming Honda were building 750cc inline fours and the gold wing was a naked bike with 4 cylinders. A Harley was about as practical and comfortable as anything out there. But now you have BMWs with perfect aerodynamics for all day touring, you have bikes with ABS and ASC for added safety, you have heated grips for cold mornings. And everyone in the entire industry (even Suzuki and Kawa) has figured out how to make a bike that doesn't rust.

Oh Geeze not this arguement again.

1.) What else are you going to spend your money on? Priorities. This is Advrider.com not payyourmortgageandfeedyourfamilyfirst.com

2.) Not sure if you are serious...must be the rare Flathead, Knucklehead, Panhead, Shovelhead I see out there on the road. My own FXRP was in Katrina...as a working police bike in Katrina even, and gets ridden year round and sits outside in the rain, snow and sunshine when I am at work. Not rusty.

3.) Yeah...whatever. My FXRP has better brakes then my SV650 did. bought better pads for my SV just like I do for my Harleys. I added a better brake line and pads on my AMF era Shovelhead and had GREAT brakes on it. I rode that bike in critical traffic all thru the 90's and never felt the urge to get Brembos. If you NEED ABS on your bike to feel safe riding, maybe you should be driving a car.

4.) Yeah but you're riding a Honda Fury while wearing your SOA t-shirt.

5.) Did I mention I own a FXR. Harley sold a lot of them, just because the owners don't go out scrapping their primary cover every sunday morning does not mean they can't.

I just read a 1986 review of the FXRD in Motorcyclist magazine, they hated it because they had nothing to really compare it to...and Harley built the bike that gave them everything they ever wanted in a Harley...a motorcycle...though Motorcyclist did compare it to the Gold Wing even though a 1986 Gold Wing was not even in the same ballpark as a FXRD. The motorcycle reader at the time who did not give the FXR based chassis based on this review lost out sorely. There literally was no competition for this chassis/motorcycle at the time. Go ahead drive your Delorean back to the early eighties, ride a FXR and then go to the competitions dealerships and ride what they offered and decide which one you will be riding thirty years later....hell it will take the competion twenty years atleast to build anything as good...even close...

BUT since the non-Harley crowd didn't buy the FXR, and even though alot of Harley riders did, the general concensus from the Harley crowd was it was too Jap looking, the FXR chassis was scrapped for the Dyna platform which looked more Harley like and performed like it...so instead of making more mototrcycles that the MOTORCYCLING community asked for in a motorcycle, they built Softails for old guys Harley because they knew their market.

So, you can blame Art Friedman for what Harley oiffers now. (he complained because the FXRD fouled a plug after leaving the choke on for two blocks...geeze ride a Harley much Art?)
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DAKEZ View Post
All they really need to do in build a bike that goes, stops and turns well.

Preferably one that weighs 20% less than whatever it is they first come up with.
Why would they go to all that trouble when they're not even in the business of selling bikes?
Culture... they're selling the culture, or the lifestyle if you will.
The main reason their demographic is so narrow is exactly due to that narrow view of what riding a Harley 'is about'.
They don't want to roll the dice on the lifestyle branding by reaching for new riders because they're afraid it will alienate their core customers... who will then all go out and promptly buy Moto Guzzi's and little China bikes.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:15 PM   #10
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http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/568/9042/Motorcycle-Article/Harley-Davidsons-4th-Quarter-Results-Promising.aspx
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CopaMundial View Post
Why would they go to all that trouble when they're not even in the business of selling bikes?
.
Maybe you should take a basic accounting class at a community college.
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CopaMundial View Post
they're afraid it will alienate their core customers... who will then all go out and promptly buy Moto Guzzi's and little China bikes.
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by CopaMundial View Post
Culture... they're selling the culture, or the lifestyle if you will.
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by CopaMundial View Post
Why would they go to all that trouble when they're not even in the business of selling bikes?
Culture... they're selling the culture, or the lifestyle if you will.
The main reason their demographic is so narrow is exactly due to that narrow view of what riding a Harley 'is about'.
They don't want to roll the dice on the lifestyle branding by reaching for new riders because they're afraid it will alienate their core customers... who will then all go out and promptly buy Moto Guzzi's and little China bikes.
Well said. In an interview w/Erik Buell in one of the 2010 issues of Cycle World. Buell states that many if not all of his proposed bikes were nixed by Harley. He even tried to come out w/a 650 sized DS or dirt machine (can't remember one or both) and that was nixed. He saw a need of a more reliable/robust moto-x machine and designed one for that market. Shocker - Harley said no to that. Rumor is Buell will be teaming up w/Can Am.
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:58 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by CopaMundial View Post
Why would they go to all that trouble when they're not even in the business of selling bikes?
Culture... they're selling the culture, or the lifestyle if you will.
The main reason their demographic is so narrow is exactly due to that narrow view of what riding a Harley 'is about'. ...
Coming late to the party but I doubt this is a 205.

I bought a new Road Glide in '03 and got a big, long "Survey" from Milwaukee shortly thereafter. It asked a few questions about bikes, like how many I'd owned (I had 4 others at the time), what other bikes I'd owned, etc., then got off into "lifestyle" questions. I scribbled all over that thing and sometime later got a nice letter from Jeff Blustein (I'm sure it was from one of his toadies but it had his siggy, or a facsimile thereof, on it, and it wasn't a rubber stamp) expressing his hope that I hadn't been offended by the questions, and yadda, yadda, yadda. In '07 I bought a new Street Rod. Didn't get a "Survey."
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