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Thread: Harley-Davidson's aging biker problem

  1. #61
    Dale Rudolph
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    Just got my new issue of Motorcylist magazine today. There is a short story about
    Harley-Davidson and why they are in trouble. H-D paid $108 million back in 2008
    to buy MV Agusta. MV Agusta is now back in the hands of the same people who
    sold it to H-D. Seems that H-D was so interested in getting out from ownership that
    they not only gave back the company, but also put $25 million into an escrow
    account to help MV restart operations again.

  2. #62
    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
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    I've seen our future!
    No, what you've seen is a bunch of Europeans doing what they have always done. I was stationed in Switzerland in the late fifties and toured on my free time. In Italy, Germany and France there was no such thing as a family outing in a cage. People didn't even eat in restaurants, they brought lunch from home and sat in the plaza and ate. Typical parsimonious bunch of Euro-Peons.
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

  3. #63
    Registered User dadayama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPMARTY View Post
    No, what you've seen is a bunch of Europeans doing what they have always done. I was stationed in Switzerland in the late fifties and toured on my free time. In Italy, Germany and France there was no such thing as a family outing in a cage. People didn't even eat in restaurants, they brought lunch from home and sat in the plaza and ate. Typical parsimonious bunch of Euro-Peons.
    I am genuinely confused... i think you are talking bad about Europeans... but not sure...

    So are you saying they are peons for not being an absolute participant in consumer culture and trying to be conservative and save money and support themselves by not spending on something they can provide from home?

    or are they not being liberal enough to go out in public to spend needlessly?

    I ask, because I'm not sure if "parsimonious" is a affirmation of conservative ideals or a condemnation of liberal sensibilities...???


    Really, not trying to get political but what are you really trying to say...???

  4. #64
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by savategreg View Post
    I just returned from Paris France where approximately 25% of the vehicles I saw were scooters or motorcycles. Parking cars is difficult (narrow streets) and congestion is great. Beemers abound, all sizes, all varieties. There is M/C specific parking and it is allowed to park a bike on the sidewalk. Why? Gas is 1.79 euros A LITER!!!! That's around 9.80 a gallon!!!! So don't think a bike can't or won't be used to commute. I've seen our future!

    While our prices are not that bad (yet), I commute to my courthouses on a mostly daily basis and park under some nice big oak trees right outside the front door of most of them, the the chagrin of my fellow attorneys who have to fight for parking several blocks away from the courthouse !

    When we had over $5 per gallon diesel, I stopped driving my old truck (17mpg) and switched exclusively to the R1200R and its 50 mpg, and continued to do business without $500 per month gas bills. That is real saving and not fictitious accounting. An added benefit was the simple pleasure of riding my bike ! When the weather is bad, or I have need to haul stuff, my X5 diesel gets around 30mpg in luxury !

    Last edited by ka5ysy; 10-02-2010 at 12:12 PM.
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
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  5. #65
    dhgeyer
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    When the price of gas went over $4.00/gallon in 2008 there was a huge bump in sales of small motorcycles and scooters here in New Hampshire. I talked to several dealers that were selling scooters, and they were flying out the doors. You couldn't get a 250cc motorcycle of any brand new at any dealership in this area. That time it was transient, as the price of gas went back down.

    I do firmly believe that the price of fuel in the USA is bound to rise again, and go to heights well beyond what it ever has before. We aren't producing or refining enough of our own to be be even close to independent, and former third world countries are beginning to compete with us for what is, ultimately, a limited resource. I think the party's going to be over sooner than later. When that happens, any motorcycle will be an attractive alternative, and especially the smaller ones.

    As I see it unfolding, the "biker" culture will continue to exist, but there will be a huge influx of new riders who will be primarily concerned with the economics, not the image. As we continue our downward slide economically, young people and couples buying small bikes will overwhelm the "bikers" in sheer numbers. Legislators will finally be forced to accommodate us with respect to road design, lane splitting, parking, and etc. I see all this as a good thing.

    Chrystal ball off.

  6. #66
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    The age issue

    Hello,

    When I dropped-off and picked-up my 1999 R11RS from its last service, I was a bit saddened by the demographics of the customers in the shop. As background, I'm 50 and bought my first Beemer when I was 25. During my recent visit to the dealership, I was a definite youngster amongst the customers and decidedly less farkle endowed. For the most part, the typical customer appeared to a be a white-collar or military/police retiree accessorizing their toy or trading up to a bigger/better toy. There was minimal diversity in the customers and the main topic of discussion was knee pain.

    All in all, it was pretty boring and I spent most of my time looking at the retro Triumph models that the dealership also sells. The Thruxton model is pretty cute and affordable.

    Have fun
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  7. #67
    Registered User easy's Avatar
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    I'm not so sure anyone knows what the future holds. Ageing bikers on all types of bikes, etc. are a common site nowadays. We even see young bikers on aging brands.

    I'm not even so sure the "Mainstreamers" have an idea. I read the November '10 issue of Consumer Reports today and on page 63 found, what I believe to be a first, a section on "Scooters." The Honda SH150i was tested and rated against an Aprilia Scarabeo 200. Albeit I'm a sucker for two wheels, after reading the article, I'd park either one in my garage.

    I'm very pleased to say that Consumer Reports recommended all those interested should go to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation web site, which they gave, and take a course from a qualified professional instructor.

    Everything seems to be drifting on the wind. What's next?

    Whatever it is, I can't wait to find out.

    Easy

  8. #68
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    ...There was minimal diversity in the customers and the main topic of discussion was knee pain.
    ...
    You should see the average HOG meeting at a Harley dealership. Kinda makes all of us look really young.
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
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  9. #69
    Nickname: Droid
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    So,....maybe the older Harley riders,......and the cruiser bikes with very low seats ands minimal suspensions (to get those low seats),......are really to suit a larger portion of the riding populace with bad hips, shot knees, and big bellies, who simply can't lift a leg high enough to get it over a BMW saddle?

    You ever seen someone with limited hip articulation, and a beer gut, try to get a leg over the seat of any current BMW? Its kinda of a stretch to put it mildly.

    A lot of those HDs have the lowest seat heights in motorcycling, and not much anything at the back of the bike higher than the seat (except for tail trunks).

  10. #70
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANDYVH View Post
    So,....maybe the older Harley riders,......and the cruiser bikes with very low seats ands minimal suspensions (to get those low seats),......are really to suit a larger portion of the riding populace with bad hips, shot knees, and big bellies, who simply can't lift a leg high enough to get it over a BMW saddle?

    You ever seen someone with limited hip articulation, and a beer gut, try to get a leg over the seat of any current BMW? Its kinda of a stretch to put it mildly.

    A lot of those HDs have the lowest seat heights in motorcycling, and not much anything at the back of the bike higher than the seat (except for tail trunks).
    I think that your statement is just too much of a generalization. I've seen both HD and Beemer riders that seem both fit as well as a good number on both brands that could benefit from a change of dietary habits and physical regimes.
    Paul
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  11. #71
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ka5ysy View Post
    While our taxes are not that bad (yet), I commute to my courthouses on a mostly daily basis and park under some nice big oak trees right outside the front door of most of them, the the chagrin of my fellow attorneys who have to fight for parking several blocks away from the courthouse !
    fixed.

  12. #72
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ka5ysy View Post
    You should see the average HOG meeting at a Harley dealership. Kinda makes all of us look really young.
    No doubt. Harleys cost an incredible amount. In fact, when people asked "what does a bike like that cost?", I used to answer the question in relative terms...."3/4 the price of a Harley". However, that doesn't seem to be case anymore.

    In my opinion, that's why the younger folks aren't in the dealerships.........they can't afford $20,000 for a motorcycle and $6~800 for an 8K service. When I was 26, I bought a new K75c (second most powerful BMW model that year) for 11.6% of my young engineer's salary. That was living "large" at that time. However, I had a job, a pension and relatively free health insurance. Today, a 26 year old, might have a job, won't have a pension and will pay a significant amount towards his health care (if he/she has it). In short, today's 26 year old would be "a few bricks shy", if he/she spent the type of money that BMW is asking for their bikes.

    The soap box is now available for the next pontificating loon
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  13. #73
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    No doubt. Harleys cost an incredible amount. In fact, when people asked "what does a bike like that cost?", I used to answer the question in relative terms...."3/4 the price of a Harley". However, that doesn't seem to be case anymore.

    In my opinion, that's why the younger folks aren't in the dealerships.........they can't afford $20,000 for a motorcycle and $6~800 for an 8K service. When I was 26, I bought a new K75c (second most powerful BMW model that year) for 11.6% of my young engineer's salary. That was living "large" at that time. However, I had a job, a pension and relatively free health insurance. Today, a 26 year old, might have a job, won't have a pension and will pay a significant amount towards his health care (if he/she has it). In short, today's 26 year old would be "a few bricks shy", if he/she spent the type of money that BMW is asking for their bikes.

    The soap box is now available for the next pontificating loon
    You may be off the soap box now, but your post was spot on and a tough act to follow.

    As much as we like to sugarcoat our BMW loyalty with words like "extreme value," and "highly engineered," and "state of the art," and "legendary longevity," they are expensive machines to buy, very expensive machines to maintain, and ultra-expensive machines to repair.

    No wonder someone these days in their mid-twenties doesn't set foot inside a BMW dealership. Unless Munich calms down the 'over-engineering' mantra and holds the line on pricing, they will always be bikes for people with significant discretionary income - and beware - that's a shrinking demographic.
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  14. #74
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    As much as we like to sugarcoat our BMW loyalty with words like "extreme value," and "highly engineered," and "state of the art," and "legendary longevity," they are expensive machines to buy, very expensive machines to maintain, and ultra-expensive machines to repair.
    not all BMWs are expensive, especially used ones, mostly airheads and F/G bikes although there are some excellent deals on low mileage oilheads. it does help if one is interested in doing their own maintenance.

    you are right, though, about all the ??ber techno-wonders. the cost of ownership on those things make me wince.

    i don't think BMW will ever offer something ultra-cheap, or that they'll ever do a certified used bike program. it really isn't part of their brand. but we (the MOA) have a major opportunity to bring younger riders into the fold by working with local dealers on a used bike program.

    i'm doing my part, here's my boy on my HP2e.... (he currently rides orange)



    ian
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  15. #75
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    You may be off the soap box now, but your post was spot on and a tough act to follow.

    As much as we like to sugarcoat our BMW loyalty with words like "extreme value," and "highly engineered," and "state of the art," and "legendary longevity," they are expensive machines to buy, very expensive machines to maintain, and ultra-expensive machines to repair.

    No wonder someone these days in their mid-twenties doesn't set foot inside a BMW dealership. Unless Munich calms down the 'over-engineering' mantra and holds the line on pricing, they will always be bikes for people with significant discretionary income - and beware - that's a shrinking demographic.
    I have to laugh at the "expense" of riding motorcycles of any brand. I come from flying Beechcraft planes of all kinds, and sailboating. My friends, motorcycles are CHEAP in comparison !!!

    Although I do take pause at HD asking 35K for an Ultraclassic CVO something or other
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
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