What is Harley doing?

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

  1. Tuna Helper

    Tuna Helper Rawrr!

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    Yep, even the 250 Rebel is a mini-me cruiser, but Honda seems to have had a change in thought with the CB1100.
    http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2009/09/2010-honda-cb1100-the-ujm-returns/
  2. Meriden

    Meriden Yea whatever

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    Part 2 of the HD marketing equation is why spin-offs don't work. It was in the mid 70s that Honda came out with a small displacement model that was styled like a HD. I remember a bunch of us laughing about it and the salesman saying it was very popular with the 'low SES' crowd. Likewise, an old buddy who owned a Honda cruiser said he sold it because he just didn't feel right pulling up to a stoplight with a group of Harleys.

    For good or bad, HDs reputation rests on them being Harleys and a breed apart. Riding a 250cc Chinese V-Twin is like a kid with cap pistols and a red cowboy hat acting tough in a Marine barracks. Even the guys who don't like HD will have to wrestle with taking them seriously. I suspect that the biggest threat to the HD brand is how some HD based clubs are marketing themselves as "family oriented". The day people believe that "you meet the nicest people on a Harley" is the day they will have lost their mojo and their market.
  3. wanderboy

    wanderboy I just wanna ride,ride

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    I have a '98 R/K with an S&S carb and standard exhaust (read ,quite)
    and I get a steady 38-40mpg. The bike came with 29k on it and loud pipes (30-32mpg). As I tour in-town and out of town, it's still one of my favorite bikes. I now have over 50k on it and it 's never let me down. Heck, I've never adjusted the belt or the primary chain! Understand I still have 5 riceburners in the stable (not that there's anything wrong with that) and I enjoy them all :D. One more thing, my friend has a '09 Ultra and gets 50+ mpg, I've seen it !!!! Best thing in a free country, we can ride and own whatever we want, God Bless America !!
  4. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    Yes, true. Thats at THAT RPM. BUT you have to take into account the EXACT RPM where the engine has it's peak HP. A Harley engine tends to make power over a wide RPM range, which allows an overdrive or 1:1 Ratio for nice highway cruising, but it does tend to have max HP at a pretty low RPM. THIS is why they don't have a lot of power.

    But there is a good reason for this. Having a nice low RPM allows good fuel economy and eliminates that annoying buzz so cruising is more enjoyable.
  5. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    Especially since that was stolen from a Honda ad campaign in the '60s, promoting the best selling bike in the world- the Honda Super Cub.
  6. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    Or he does buy the exact same Porsche... one built 40 years ago.
  7. assquatch20

    assquatch20 Hoss Cat

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    Best selling vehicle, from what I've read. Over 60,000,000 units since 1958 I think.
  8. dartfrog

    dartfrog SFC USAR (R)

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    I don't know the history behind this commercial but their target group is obvious. I never saw it advertised here in the USA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmUyEf-UBWc


    [​IMG]
  9. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    Yep, 60 million! The Super cub sold so damn well back then, what an awesome little bike!

    But these days, people are in such a rush and all, few would buy them today. Do to increased traffic speed, and you all know why, we need bikes 600 cc+ to ride around here in America comfortably. Most of us could very well get buy with a 400, but we want that extra displacement, so that we can ride on the interstate at 80 MPH up a hill and into the wind with a passenger, which is where smaller bikes fall very short. Back when the limit was 55 MPH and everyone would drive 65-70 MPH, we could easily get away with a 250 cc motorcycle, and with cars going a little slower in town we could easily get by with a 100 or even a 50! But not anymore.

    I even personally wouldn't ride anything around my town under 125 cc. Seriously, on the main road right outside of my neighborhood, average traffic speed is 50 MPH while the limit is 40 MPH. And its not uncommon to have commuters in a rush late for work hitting 60 MPH, so you can see why that wouldn't sell any longer, although in many other countries Honda seems to be having great success with a 125 cc Fuel Injected 4 speed version. But to tell you the truth, my old 86 Elite 150 does just fine around town, and is great even on a 55 MPH two lane highway. I wouldn't ride interstate much, but anywhere else it runs great.

    Back to the point, yes you guys are right. I can see that Harley isn't going to have a problem. YES, maybe young guys around 20 won't typically be buying Harleys, BUT we will NEVER run out of old people, its not like when the baby boomers are gone were out of old people:lol3. So there will always be older people willing to tour on an Ultra Classic. And of corse some young who want to enjoy the feel and lifestyle of Harleys.

    It isn't at all a problem, BUT I was just wandering who thought that Dark Custom bikes are gonna attract the young in the Harley line?
  10. Downer

    Downer Downer

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    My Dad drove Oldsmobiles!!!!

  11. xymotic

    xymotic Long timer

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    But HD is publicly traded. NO public company can handle shrinking sales/growth for long. They will be bought/liquidated if they cannot maintain growth. The might not 'run out' of old people, but growth and profits will be impossible selling to a drastically shrinking market.
  12. Kamloopsrider

    Kamloopsrider Been here awhile

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    Harleys have never been cheap. If you are comparing a Twin cam to a Shovelhead there is no comparison mechanically or in reliability. Harleys have kept the same appearance because thats what Harley buyers want. When they veer away from the traditional designs sales go in the toilet.
    If I could find a 2011 Electraglide for 200% the cost of a 1971 I'd buy it.
  13. xymotic

    xymotic Long timer

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    But HD is publicly traded. NO public company can handle shrinking sales/growth for long. They will be bought/liquidated if they cannot maintain growth. The might not 'run out' of old people, but growth and profits will be impossible selling to a drastically shrinking market.
  14. allonsye

    allonsye ("lets go!")

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    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.:clap
  15. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Interesting thread.
    I'll start by saying I've never ridden a HD. Been on a couple jap cruisers and decided I don't like the ergonomics of a cruiser.

    Back to the OP's question, though...

    Bring back the XLCR-yeah the old AMF cafe racer.
    Put something like a 750 twin in it at a reasonable($8k-ish)price and there might be interest.
    I'm not even sure what most entry level bikers are looking for. Obviously a lot of them go with the big bike thing.
    Still, it's gonna be hard to compete with Honda et all, but at least a production cafe racer would be unique.
  16. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    HD arrogance will be the downfall of the company.

    good for EB! if true could be very interesting bike.
    http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/news/erik-buell-450cc-off-road-dirt-bike/
    Bomber Motorcycles?

  17. Meriden

    Meriden Yea whatever

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  18. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I can say that in New Jersey, Harley outsells other brands at least 20 to 1, and that includes dual sports, dirt bikes, sport bikes, cruisers.
    And it shows in the number of dealers, the size and niceness of the buildings, the crowds of people buying stuff, etc.
    On the roads, you see about 100 Harleys to 1 of anything else.
    I think its a lot of hype mostly. With the new bikes, they are not great bikes, its the hype, as shown by the doo rags, fringe, skull heads, etc.

    Its working for them, I doubt it will change until it stops working for them.
    The bikes are getting worse and worse, the new super low is so low its highly unsafe, and will likely be very popular.
    The xr is the only stock bike that can go around turns at a safe speed.
    Sometimes it is handy to be able to avoid something.
  19. lemieuxmc

    lemieuxmc Banned

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    About that 200% increase in price between your Dad's Harley and the one you might buy; I would have to do some research, but I wouldn't be surprised if a Harley costs a lot less now than it did then, after you adjust for the cost of everything else going up.
  20. Tuna Helper

    Tuna Helper Rawrr!

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    Another good thing is I don't want to feel like my engine is going to explode between my legs at 10,000+ rpm. Bad is I tend to bounce my Buell off the limiter now and then.