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Old 01-07-2013, 10:30 AM   #1
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Motorcycle Industry is Doomed

I honestly believe the motorcycle industry is doomed, perhaps within the next few generations. If you look at the people who ride, you will notice there are fewer and fewer young people. Especially HD. They will probably be one of the first to go. Just google HD bankruptcy and see just how many there are. Young people today are just not interested in motorcycles. They just have other interest. In fact, I just found this...

In response to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Motorcycle Competitive Information Study, which reveals that the average rider age has increased from 40 in 2001 to 49 in 2010, and the percentage of first-time motorcycle buyers has declined for a second consecutive year, Jim Gianatsis of FastDates.com wrote the following piece:

This is a devastating statistic for the motorcycle industry. With the median age of motorcycle buyers (and hence riders) going up by one year of age, in each of the last nine years.

That essentially means no young new riders are coming into the sport, and sales are dropping at a devastating rate of 5-10% per year, no matter what the economy does to improve.

If this trend continues, in 10-20 years when the current median rider age of 49 years old reaches 60-70 years old, and riders die off/stopping buying motorcycles, there will be effectively no new motorcycles sold in America.

We better enjoy them while we have the chance!
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:36 AM   #2
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I disagree. While motorcycle sales may be on the decline at the moment, with rising fuel costs and increased congestion on the roadways they're bound to make a comeback. If you look at countries with extremely dense populations, which is where we are heading, they all have high numbers of motorized two-wheeled transportation. As to the HD debate... they have always had a cyclical following with the young crowd falling in and out of love with the brand. Several years ago when credit was easy you couldn't throw a rock in a four-way intersection w/o hitting one. I think the banks may have taken a few back lately. It's the older crowd that's buying because they're the ones with CASH. Not to mention the high price tag and impracticality of the HD platform. Not that I wouldn't love to have one. That's just a lot of money to throw down on a machine that doesn't seem to do any one thing well.

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Old 01-07-2013, 10:40 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by pcwirepro View Post
I disagree. While it may be on the decline at the moment with rising fuel costs and increasing congestion in the roadways it's bound to make a rebound. If you look at countries with dense populations, which is where we are heading, they all have high numbers of motorized two-wheeled transportation.
I can only hope you're right.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
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look at harley davidson's (HOG) latest quarter results?
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:22 PM   #5
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look at harley davidson's (HOG) latest quarter results?
Or BMW or Ducati or Triumph.

The doom is in the Asian motorcycle industry.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:56 AM   #6
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+1

30 years ago the european brands had lost market share to the Japanese to the point of being a footnote in the industry, even though British and Italian motorcycles (along with a few American brands) really established motorcycles before the Japanese invasion of the industry. BMW was a speck in the market compared to the big four, and Ducati and Triumph even less so (or basically gone altogether in the case of Triumph). Over the past decade there has been an incredible resurgence of the european brands, who have carved out brand identities in much the same way HD has, expanded their bike lines to cover virtually every base, and have done a much better job of establishing solid dealer networks than they had in the past.

When people think of a BMW rider or a Ducati rider they get a very clear mental picture of a lifestyle and brand identity, be it the GS rider with his expedition cases and adventure gear, or the Ducati guys with their superbikes and leathers or Sport Classics sitting in front of an italian cafe. The Japanese manufacturers have virtually no identitiy. What do you think of when you picture the typical Yamaha owner? Suzuki? People identify with the brand image, and branding is more important today than it ever was, because everyone's bikes are pretty good today, and do more-or-less the same thing, so branding is where you either succeed or fail.

If you look at notebook computers, a windows computer and an Apple more of less do the same thing. You can argue that one is better at some things than the other, and they both have their strengths, but ultimately they'll both surf the web, play your music, crunch numbers, do email, etc. If you remove the case, you'll be very hard-pressed to tell one from the other. They use many similar parts from the same suppliers, and they're all built more or less by the same people. Apple, however, can sell their notebook for approximately 50% more than the average windows notebook, and when they introduce a new one they have a press conference that makes front-page news worldwide, and typically has a waiting list for orders. The biggest difference between them is marketing and branding. The Apple has cool commercials with hip young people and edgy music, and they make you want to be part of that lifestyle.

I think the bottom line today is that there are just too many manufacturers fighting for a market that appears to be contracting, and a few of them aren't going to survive. I think in a decade two of the big four will probably be history, or at least resort to downscaling their 2-wheel business into something like scooters exclusively. I think the future for cheap electric scooters will be the boost that the industry needs, though I consider that nothing more than transportation vs. motorcycling as an actiivity, sport, lifestyle, or whatever you choose to describe it.

I don't know what the actual sales data indicates, but my seat-of-the-pants feel of the market is that the current young generation has less and less interest in motorcycling, and doesn't seem to be able to focus on much of anything besides their social media bullshit and smartphones. Given that a good percentage of today's young people are jacked on prescription speed it's probably just as well that they stay off of two wheels.




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Or BMW or Ducati or Triumph.

The doom is in the Asian motorcycle industry.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:45 AM   #7
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With plummeting fuel prices you might be right. Down to $3.35 a gallon. It really needs to be about $6.50 a gallon to get people to ride motorcycles, plus we could get a really good caste system going.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelmetHead Cycle View Post
I honestly believe the motorcycle industry is doomed, perhaps within the next few generations. If you look at the people who ride, you will notice there are fewer and fewer young people. Especially HD. They will probably be one of the first to go. Just google HD bankruptcy and see just how many there are. Young people today are just not interested in motorcycles.


The HD dealerships that have failed were do to bad management and piss poor business decisions. You say: " Just google HD bankruptcy and see just how many there are."

If you want a clear picture compare that to the number of dealerships of other makes that have gone under. HD dealers that have folded are a small percentage when looked at that way... Especially when compared to the market share they hold. Yet even with that, the industry is solid.

The main reason that fewer young people are riding is the eco-fascists that work diligently to close riding areas. Kids used to grow up on bikes. Closures have made that practice more difficult to impossible.

Even with that, the industry is strong and will continue to grow. It is in no way "DOOMED"

Find a good dealer near you and support them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HelmetHead Cycle View Post
That essentially means no young new riders are coming into the sport,
Only Poseurs and Racers look at it as a Sport. Which are you?



Quote:
Originally Posted by pcwirepro View Post
I disagree. While it may be on the decline at the moment with rising fuel costs and increasing congestion in the roadways it's bound to make a rebound. If you look at countries with dense populations, which is where we are heading, they all have high numbers of motorized two-wheeled transportation.
^^^ This ^^^
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:09 AM   #9
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find a good dealer near you and support them.
+1
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:09 AM   #10
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The United States is hardly the only country where motorcycles are sold.


Further, motorcycles last a lot longer than they used to, so there are many more good-quality used bikes to be had. Obviously, this will eat into new bike sales.


I'm not seeing a problem, other than the OP referring to motorcycling as a "sport".
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ph0rk View Post
The United States is hardly the only country where motorcycles are sold.


Further, motorcycles last a lot longer than they used to, so there are many more good-quality used bikes to be had. Obviously, this will eat into new bike sales.


I'm not seeing a problem, other than the OP referring to motorcycling as a "sport".
Quoted for truth.

There are already a number of bikes that are viable to be sold in Europe but don't make it to the American market. This reflects differing cultural tastes. These tastes could vary across time as well as they vary across geography, with the end result being the same: Everyone gets what they want.

Car sales will also decline as cars become more durable - this doesn't make the car industry "doomed". As cars last longer and are made with higher quality standards, their increase in price slightly outpaces inflation. Same thing with motorcycles. Put simply, manufacturers will get just as much money out of you, even if they sell you fewer vehicles (most of which will last longer than before).

More bright side: The ADV class of motorcycles has really blossomed over the last ten or twenty years. For as long as there is a demand for motorcycles, there will be a market. New models are introduced all the time and the only reason why a manufacturer would retire a model is if there is little demand.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:23 PM   #12
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I'm not seeing a problem, other than the OP referring to motorcycling as a "sport".
You like "hobby" better?

In the U.S. it is seldom "transportation". Dirt riding is definitely a "sport". There are "sportbikes" just as there are "sportscars", I don't have a problem with it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:11 PM   #13
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You like "hobby" better?

In the U.S. it is seldom "transportation". Dirt riding is definitely a "sport". There are "sportbikes" just as there are "sportscars", I don't have a problem with it.
It isn't really much of a hobby, either - I suppose home wrenching is, and I suppose planned group rides might be, but taking my bike to work sure as hell isn't. Dirt rides might be a hobby or pastime, but unless you're competing, I don't see how you can call it a sport.

I commute. I like "transportation". You could use "alternate transportation" I guess, but that presumes subordinate status.

If you're riding on the street it isn't a sport (unless you're roadracing illegally, in which case you're a fuckwad and I don't give a shit what you think) any more than driving a car is a sport.

And, to go completely over the line: Anyone who calls (street) motorcycling a sport must not take motorcycling very seriously.

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The industry is far from Doomed. Fucking HD may be, but that has been in process for a while and the sooner the better. Young people are not buying HDs, that is no indication of anything in the rest of the motorcycle industry.
HD isn't going anywhere - there are shit tons of people buying cruisers.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ph0rk View Post
The United States is hardly the only country where motorcycles are sold.


Further, motorcycles last a lot longer than they used to, so there are many more good-quality used bikes to be had. Obviously, this will eat into new bike sales.


I'm not seeing a problem, other than the OP referring to motorcycling as a "sport".
Hahah... agree. This article does not take into account the massive used bike market. I am 49 and see a ton of young punks riding.

And unless you are racing, motorcycle is not a sport, it's a hobby.

Barry
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ph0rk View Post

I'm not seeing a problem, other than the OP referring to motorcycling as a "sport".
Quote:
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And unless you are racing, motorcycle is not a sport, it's a hobby. Barry
Curious--why is motorcycling not a sport? Does that mean if you don't play competitive golf (as in, for money, on the PGA Tour), it's not a sport? Or is running not a sport unless you are in a formal race/competition? Or is Chess a sport IF it's in a formal tournament?

It's no big deal cuz I don't know you and am a big boy who sees things a little more broadly and respectfully. Having been or now being a racer is cool. Even so, unless you're Roger DeCoster, Barry Sheene, or you didn't get enough attention as a child and now need validation, these seem like narrow characterizations for a lot of people on here who share our motorcycling passion. (Oh, and I was a motocross racer at a younger age, which hopefully qualifies my comment and secures my status as a non-poseur.)

Oh, and to the point, I think the health or the motorcycle industry in the US is a bit threatened by post-babyboomer demographics, current economic doldrums, and the smaller discretionary income (than 10 years ago) in the hands of those under 40.

Hope to see you on the road sometime...
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