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Old 01-23-2013, 07:32 AM   #1
bleedgrn OP
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Poor bike selection U.S.

Am I the only one that notices the U.S. has a poor adventure bike selection compared to the rest of the world. Examples of bike available outside U.S.
Transalp, Tenere 660, KLE 500 etc. What is peculiar is there is more dirt roads/trails in the U.S. than all of Western Europe but the ADV bikes that we are sold are more road oriented in general, with the exception to the most expensive:
GSA, Tiger, Multistrada. There are some thumpers available, but not the cream of the crop like above.
I purchased a Glee (2012 DL650) because it offered the most of what I was looking for. If one of the three bikes mentioned in the middle class would have been available, that would have been my play. Talking to dealerships, most of them are clueless in regards to the why these bikes are not imported. When I email the manufactures they just warn me against illegally importing one of these bikes. I know the Transalp used to be in the U.S. market, but not for years. Why can't the market ride the peak of the trend that the rest of the world enjoys. I'm done.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:57 AM   #2
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Sorry just out of interest, what does the Transalp offer, that a Wee/Glee doesnt?

Beyond me, though, why Honda quit the Africa Twin (or didn't bring it to the US).
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:10 AM   #3
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The marketing studies show that no one bought them or would buy them here. Sales of the Transalp here in '89 were bad enough not to import it again.

Sales of the 1200GS is the only reason you are able to buy any large ADV bikes here.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:14 AM   #4
It'sNotTheBike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleedgrn View Post
There are some thumpers available, but not the cream of the crop like above.

The KTM 690 is a FAR better bike than any of the singles you list above.

The rest of the bikes you list are heavy and ill suited to anything
more adventurous than a dirt or gravel road in the real world.


A KTM 990 is a better "heavy" adventure bike than any other "adventure" bike sold
anywhere in the world. This has been confirmed by many owners and by numerous
magazine tests when they are honest enough not to pander to their advertisers.


All of the above bikes are available in the United States and the rest of the world.


There is no shortage of great adventure bikes in the US.


The problem you perceive is due to your mindset of wanting something which is unavailable,
whether it is even good or not, which is a natural human tendency but one which leads to misery
and frustration. ( for example : why can't Angelina Jolie come over to MY house tonight ? What does she
see in Brad Pitt and why doesn't she want ME instead ? Hey, maybe it is because I am not as good looking
as Brad Pitt and a hell of a lot less wealthy ... )



.

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by It'sNotTheBike View Post
The KTM 690 is a FAR better bike than any of the singles you list above.

The rest of the bikes you list are heavy and ill suited to anything
more adventurous than a dirt or gravel road in the real world.


A KTM 990 is a better "heavy" adventure bike than any other "adventure" bike sold
anywhere in the world. This has been confirmed by many owners and by numerous
magazine tests when they are honest enough not to pander to their advertisers.


All of the above bikes are available in the United States and the rest of the world.
.
Then why are these bike selling in other markets. I think there is a market in the U.S., although I'm not sure what happened with the Transalp (bad timing perhaps). What I think they offer that the KTM doesn't is better price point. I'm not interested in spending $14K on a bike that needs to be serviced 150 miles from where I live. The three listed above are in a category that is not shared well by thumpers. They offer better power, smoother running (less vibration), spoked wheels, lighter than the 1 liter pigs. I won't dispute that the KTM 990 or 950 are both great bikes, but they are also expensive new. The used 950's I have found are all strung out and require constant maintenance. As if they were not powerful enough. I think they also require premium fuel. What is a wonder is Yamaha doesn't even offer a midsized dual sport in the U.S.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:19 AM   #6
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I wouldnt call our selection poor. It's true that we don't have every model of ADV bike available. But our choices certainly are not poor. Between the BMW G&F series, Triumph Tiger Series, Tenere S10, DL's, DR's, KLR's, Multi's, etc. what more do you want? There are only so many asses to fit seats. I will say that a greater percentage of europe's population rides motorcycles than here in the USA. Probably due to gas prices more than anything else. There may be a certain model a few people would like to have over here thats not available but you can't just import "a few" models of anything. JMO
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bleedgrn View Post
I know the Transalp used to be in the U.S. market, but not for years.

And this matters exactly HOW ?

A KTM 950 / 990 powered by an LC8 engine is the bike a Transalp wishes
it could be when it grows up.

A Transalp is heavy and under powered and has poor quality suspension
compared to the KTM 950 / 990. It is not even close to a KTM LC8 bike
in ANY performance parameter.


And you CAN buy a used KTM 950 right now, for not much more than
a used Transalp if you shop carefully. So there is not an adventure bike
shortage, unless you only want inferior bikes which are not sold
in the US in which case the "shortage" is actually just an illusion you have
decided to believe in. Me, I like to ride so I went out and bought a used
KTM 950, and it is easily the most fun bike I have ever ridden by a huge
margin. It is impossible to ride the bike and not have an ear-to-ear grin or
laugh out loud. Those who have not ridden one don't know what they
are missing.


.

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:29 AM   #8
burmbuster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by It'sNotTheBike View Post
And this matters exactly HOW ?

A KTM 950 / 990 powered by an LC8 engine is the bike a Transalp wishes
it could be when it grows up.

A Transalp is heavy and under powered and has poor quality suspension
compared to the KTM 950 / 990. It is not even close to a KTM LC8 bike
in ANY performance parameter.


And you CAN buy a used KTM 950 right now, for not much more than
a Transalp if you shop carefully. So there is not an adventure bike
shortage, unless you only want inferior bikes which are not sold
in the US.



.
Hmmmm. I don't know that I would go that far. Some people prefer reliability over performance. Not jabbing at KTM here, but its a simple truth. And we have owned quite a few in MX.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by burmbuster View Post
Hmmmm. I don't know that I would go that far. Some people prefer reliability over performance. Not jabbing at KTM here, but its a simple truth. And we have owned quite a few in MX.

You do have a valid point. Some of us are willing to deal with the extra
maintenance and the sorting that some KTMs require because for us it is
worth the trouble when we ride the bike. Of course we all have different
priorities and other folks may feel it's not worth the hassle and I understand
and respect their preferences.


But you can take a DR650 or XR650L and make it into a nice "lightweight" adventure
bike, and in the heavy end of things the Super Tenere is a very sweet bike. So
it's not like there are no super reliable Japanese bikes available in the adventure
bike market in the US. I believe it is wiser to work with what is actually attainable
rather than deny yourself fun because you are fixated on something which
is unavailable.




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Old 01-23-2013, 08:55 AM   #10
burmbuster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by It'sNotTheBike View Post
You do have a valid point. Some of us are willing to deal with the extra
maintenance and the sorting that some KTMs require because for us it is
worth the trouble when we ride the bike. Of course we all have different
priorities and other folks may feel it's not worth the hassle and I understand
and respect their preferences.


But you can take a DR650 or XR650L and make it into a nice "lightweight" adventure
bike, and in the heavy end of things the Super Tenere is a very sweet bike. So
it's not like there are no super reliable Japanese bikes available in the adventure
bike market in the US. I believe it is wiser to work with what is actually attainable
rather than deny yourself fun because you are fixated on something which
is unavailable.




.
Very well said. There are quite a few amazing bikes out there and there are quite a few that can be made into an amazing bike. I like our selection. There is something for everyone.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:45 AM   #11
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Regarding comparing the Transalp to the Glee. More suspension travel, spoked rims. Comparing the Glee to the Tenere 660, same thing and the 660 has several Dakar championships under its belt. Not that I ride to that level of course, but there is some limiting factors with the Wee/Glee that, if some other bike options were available, would have swayed me.

On the KTM front, two friends that own the KTM (Duke and 950), I have rode them and they are uncomfortable, tall, strung out and suck down fuel. I agree, they are fun to ride, but its like having a high maintenance girlfriend, they are pretty but you empty your wallet to keep them around.

My real point here is many dealerships are hurting for sales (other than BMW) and if they offered what the public was looking for (the adv market is the biggest market right now next to the Harley obnoxious bike crowd) sales would theoretically improve. I tested the Versys and the NC700X, both nice bikes but are pure road bikes. I don't have their sales numbers but I do know that the number one selling bike in the U.S. is the KLR 650. I would have bought this bike if it was a twin.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:56 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bleedgrn View Post

I tested the Versys and the NC700X, both nice bikes but are pure road bikes. I don't have their sales numbers but I do know that the number one selling bike in the U.S. is the KLR 650. I would have bought this bike if it was a twin.

People have built "adventure" bikes using vertical twin engines from a Kawasaki. It
can be done, if you have the time, skills, patience, money, etc. And you could end
up with a pretty cool bike. In the extreme the Weber Rally Twin shows what is
possible, and that is a cool bike for sure though it is extremely expensive.


http://www.rallytwin.com/


I think the Japanese avoid entering markets which are unlikely to involve sales in
large numbers. This makes it possible for smaller companies like KTM to exist,
because if the Japanese wanted to they could crush KTM like a cockroach.


The bike markets in the US which sell lots of units are the cruiser
and sport bike markets. Like it or not, adventure bikes are still a small segment
of the market in the US. And that is what will keep the Japanese from offering
bikes to the US market. Go to a mainstream motorcycle dealership and watch
which bikes people look at when they come through the door. Mostly they
look at cruisers and sport bikes, unless the dealership happens to be focused
on off-road stuff. So the core reason why the adventure bike market in the US
is not more diverse is that the buying public tends to buy other types of bikes.

Yes the KLR sells in large numbers but compared to aggregate sales of cruiser
bikes it is not selling in significant numbers. The Japanese look at the big picture
and they plan over decades instead of months, and they are interested in making
money, not in making a group of niche buyers happy. It's just how things are.




.

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:58 AM   #13
burmbuster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleedgrn View Post
Regarding comparing the Transalp to the Glee. More suspension travel, spoked rims. Comparing the Glee to the Tenere 660, same thing and the 660 has several Dakar championships under its belt. Not that I ride to that level of course, but there is some limiting factors with the Wee/Glee that, if some other bike options were available, would have swayed me.

On the KTM front, two friends that own the KTM (Duke and 950), I have rode them and they are uncomfortable, tall, strung out and suck down fuel. I agree, they are fun to ride, but its like having a high maintenance girlfriend, they are pretty but you empty your wallet to keep them around.

My real point here is many dealerships are hurting for sales (other than BMW) and if they offered what the public was looking for (the adv market is the biggest market right now next to the Harley obnoxious bike crowd) sales would theoretically improve. I tested the Versys and the NC700X, both nice bikes but are pure road bikes. I don't have their sales numbers but I do know that the number one selling bike in the U.S. is the KLR 650. I would have bought this bike if it was a twin.
Ever thought of the middle weight bikes? Sounds like thats what you want. Ride a T800 XC or a F800GS. Both are great bikes.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:24 AM   #14
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Ever thought of the middle weight bikes? Sounds like thats what you want. Ride a T800 XC or a F800GS. Both are great bikes.
Yes actually. I was leaning towards the T 800XC but the cost of ownership and the initial price ($14K) was inhibiting. I love motorbikes. I want one in my life, but I also have other many expensive hobbies that I enjoy. I found trying to find something to fit my budget challenging in that there were compromises with what was available. If you had a standard recipe for what made a adventure motorcycle great what would that include:

Twin cylinders, suspension travel, Available farkles, spoked wheels, durability. All these criteria should be available across the price spectrum. I get that the "adventure models" are not the largest segment of the Japanese market share, but wouldn't it make sense to offer exactly what most people are looking for. I believe this is the fastest growing bike market. I used to like cruisers but was tired of annoying everyone around me with obnoxious pipes as well as being stuck to asphalt surfaces. Sport bikes, specifically crotch rockets are rapidly shrinking. Some of our local shops don't even carry them any more because the only segment that wants them is 19-25 year olds who can't afford to buy and insure them.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:17 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by bleedgrn View Post
I don't have their sales numbers but I do know that the number one selling bike in the U.S. is the KLR 650. I would have bought this bike if it was a twin.
Wow! Kawasaki will be surprised to hear that!! They've consistently reported that their #1 selling bike is the Ninja 250R. Some poor inventory analyst is going to have to commit seppuku over this snafu...
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