What is Harley doing?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by btcn, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. ganze

    ganze apocalyptic defender

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    Funny thread. Harley has sold more bikes in the last decade than anyone else. They are more profitable than anyone else too.... at least I think so, without hard numbers or data to back that up.... Anyway: what they do has worked for them.

    What are their sales woes compared to, say...Suzuki's?

    Since it came out, I get a real jones for an xr1200 every three months or so. It is the only "standard" or ujm-like bike left that one can buy new these days. So every three months or so I make myself go in to the local harley dealership. I ride an sv1000 daily, but also proudly drive the minivan when I need to drive....that thing is the most practical car ever made.... my point is, I am "out of their demographic" and they know it no matter how I arrive at their shop.

    This time I was really impressed with the xr1200x on the floor: something really cool about that bike. It's like a cross between an xr750, a cb1100f and a zrx1100... in appearances anyway. I know the bike is SLOW compared to even my docile japanese twin, but it's really cool and maybe almost fast enough, has almost good enough brakes, and handles almost good enough to warrant a look. With a little help and a lot of $$ it could really move, brake and handle well too.

    So I go in and start talking to the sales guys and am just accosted by their total lack of knowledge about non-harley motorcycles. "This thing is FAST... dude" etc... Also, I clearly knew way more about this bike than they did. And finally, it was clear to me that their idea of a good day in the saddle and mine are not the same: in fact not even in the same universe. The harley "culture" by nature is insulated from the rest of the biking world. "We don't care about your bike" are words I have heard a harley sales dude say to another rider. As one who would love to love a harley, these are huge barriers still. When I was looking at Buells before I bought the sv I was treated as a leper in 90% of dealerships I entered. And the guys didn't know ANYTHING about the Buell bikes at all.

    An XR1125 would be bad ass, as would a VR1200, so would an entirely oversquare pushrod motor that would rev to 85000. The Harley sound is something that Harley people love but the rest of the world thinks is obnoxious: adding some revs would help both the top end and the sound. The Harley guys I know, have no clue what I am even talking about when this subject comes up. They love their bikes for what they are: symbols of rebellion or some kind of biker lifestyle that are reliable, comfortable and great for cruising around town with a mate or all day on the highway.

    The kicker is, Harley doesn't care what non-harley people think. They have their brand to protect and the brand itself is the thing that turns off guys like me.

    I may buy an xr1200 still, just b/c. With True-Track's, Ohlins', Brembo's, Alpina's, S&S's, and a boatload of cash, a 110-120hp, fast as hell and great handling cafe racer could be a reality. Do I want to do all that? Not sure especially when I could just go get a monster, streetfighter, speed triple and really quite a few bikes that would do that for quite a bit less money, a hell of a lot less work and still get to be a part of a "culture" that is a step away from squid-land.
    #41
  2. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    You mean like the Lightning, or like the 1125CR? Maybe an upright non-cruiser touring bike too. You know, like the Ulysses. And maybe a sportbike, like the 1125R.

    See, they HAD all those, but the current CEO is back to "core market", because all those other bikes were confusing customers.

    HD appears to be content to boldly go where GM has gone before.
    #42
  3. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    I don't ride a Harley. I don't think I'm ready for another foot forward motorcycle anytime soon.

    Harley Davidson has been making motorcycle since, what? 1903?

    That's like....108 years?

    They're still in business and making yuppies into pirates. :D

    They turned a profit last year, after the losing money the previous.

    They must be doing something right....
    #43
  4. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    The Revolution weighs entirely too much and is physically to large to ever make a decent street fighter out of.

    Look at the Super Duke, Street Fighter, Speed Triple ect they are trying to get around 400lbs dry...that Revo by itself is over 300lbs if memory servers and it TALL on top of that, so trying to get enough airbox would be a challenge ..at best.
    #44
  5. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    It's HD worried about future sales, not us inmates. Part of the rationale behind dropping Buell was to stop confusing their customers. (Up to you if you read something into that about their customers...)
    #45
  6. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    Being physically too large was also pretty much my reaction when I sat on an XR1200 at the DC bike show. I have been toying with the idea of getting a big SM or street fighter type bike. So I thought I would see what's up with the XR because it looks good in pictures and some magazine tests have been OK. First, to me, the styling misses the mark when you see it up close and personal. It is trying too hard to be what it isn't.

    But when I sat on it I was amazed at the size and weight of the thing. My opinion is that the bike is simply too collosal and too heavy to ever be anything more than a Sportster trying hard to look like a dirt tracker. It is too big in every dimension to ever really be a bike that you would play on. Even throwing a boat load of cash at it would only result in a huge bike that handles better than other huge bikes.
    #46
  7. Disco Stu

    Disco Stu I'm Barry F'n Gibb!!

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    I wonder why they don't make dirtbikes. It wouldn't conflict with their current street bike lineup and therefore wouldn't 'confuse' anyone, probably many of their existing customers would buy ones for themselves or their kids, and those young'ns might turn into Harley buyers when they grow up, instead of having 20 years of experience with Japanese manufactures.
    #47
  8. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

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    So profitable they took bailout money?

    Sorry, no, that is not a marker of success.
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  9. Mollygrubber

    Mollygrubber Eschew obfuscation

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^
    That.
    R.I.P Buell Motorcycles. Damn shame.
    #49
  10. USMCG_Spyder

    USMCG_Spyder RPOC pilot

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    :nod
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  11. tcourdin

    tcourdin Resident Spooner

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    You HD haters kill me. Most of you have probably never ever ridden one. I was a HD hater and only rode sportbikes, mx and off road....until last year when I test rode a Fat Bob and bought one a week later! Mine stops well and goes pretty damn fast. It's comfortable and relaxing as hell to ride. I doubt I'll ever sell my HD, it's my favorite bike I've owned so far.

    I will agree some HD shops suck. When I was shopping I'd say 5 of the 7 shops had an attitude and pissed me off, but the one I bought from was awesome.
    #51
  12. Animo

    Animo Beastly n00b

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    Sounds like BMW, except for the last part...... Maybe all lifestyle motorcycle shops have attitudes and piss people off.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    #52
  13. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    I've owned two Harleys actually....having to argue about weather or not they had chains (which they did) EVERY damn time I tried to get one from a dealer got old ....fast.
    #53
  14. tcourdin

    tcourdin Resident Spooner

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    Yes I have talked to some uppity BMW dealers too that thought they were doing you a service just letting you in the door. Luckily our local BMW shop isnt like that, they are nice guys.

    Heck even the Jap bike shops have attitudes now and young salesmen that know nothing about the bikes.
    #54
  15. USMCG_Spyder

    USMCG_Spyder RPOC pilot

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    I'm not a h8r but I don't like them and wouldn't buy one. I've ridden three ('08 Road King, '07 Geezer Glide and a '10 Bob of some sort, can't remember) and none of them did anything for me at all.

    The RK was a gutless POS that didn't turn worth a shit, the GG was sorta OK for what it was made to do (although the touring options sucked) and the Bob was not horrible, just not for me - needs more ASS.

    The best Harleys I've seen have all been modified after the sale to be what they are, and IMO if you have to pay that kind of money to modify a bike to the point where it meets your needs, well... :huh
    #55
  16. tcourdin

    tcourdin Resident Spooner

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    Harleys never had chains.





























    :amazon:D
    #56
  17. tcourdin

    tcourdin Resident Spooner

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    What did you expect those big turd bikes you were riding to do..be sporty? "Pay that kind of money?" I paid 13k for my Fat Bob, thats less than a BMW...a KTM...and less than most Jap bikes. I dont get all the talk that Harleys are expensive.
    #57
  18. Disco Stu

    Disco Stu I'm Barry F'n Gibb!!

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    Some posters in here have no hate for H-D. Some of us would actually prefer to buy a US made motorbike and have the incredible dealer support that H-D offers. But the motor company doesn't make bikes for the way we want to ride. We can still comment on the motor company, can't we?
    #58
  19. tcourdin

    tcourdin Resident Spooner

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    Nope. I make the rules in here. :D I dont see Harley going into the sportbike or dualsport line IMO. They do what they do and have been doing so for years. I never really got into the Buell thing. They really pushed them at our local dealership but never sold too many I dont think.
    #59
  20. wmfleet2

    wmfleet2 Long timer

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    plant here in york maybe short livedmmmthe place looks like a glost town
    #60