Would HD ever make a scooter?

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by LarryRickenbacker, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    Ha, you sure did!

    But yes, Harleys are great bikes, and they do what they were meant to do very well!

    I have a good laugh at the guys comparing them to sports bikes. Its like wow, your R1 is real fast! It can beat a HIGHWAY cruiser off the line! Big deal! I want to see them take a cross country trip and tour all over with me! Now THAT would be FUNNY! Imagine the complaints these kids would have! I bet they haven't ridden more than 25 minutes at a time!

    Harleys aren't THAT slow! The V-Rod can keep up with some older sportsbikes off the line, but it's still much more comfortable for touring.

    Yes they don't handle that great on twisties, but find me a cruiser that was built to cruise that does! Those Twin cam motors just rock! Vibration is also not so bad on the newer models either. It is great, just enough at idle to feel like a real twin, yet very smooth on the interstate which is nice after hours of riding.


    And as for the scooters. You have a good point Crossthread. But you know if they wanted to, they could change the whole approach to scooters. Instead of little inclosed tiny wheeled vespas, they could build nice chrome scooters.

    They could advertise: Want 80 MPG without looking like a wimp or geek? Want an easy automatic? Check out, etc. Get some good advertising, make it look real cool with an open engine and CVT, yet keep some of the main scooter features like some kind of storage, great around town maneuverability, etc. And try to price it correctly!

    I know it is not very likely, but who knows, IF they do get in trouble by the average rider age and all that, it has potential. But then again, the maxi scooter crowd is not typically young, although I am and I also like Maxis:lol3! But thats not typical.

    BUT smaller displacements are, and beginners are looking for something that they aren't afraid to get on. A Sportster isn't THAT big, but its still a pretty heavy machine to pick up when you dump it in a parking lot! MAYBE a Sportster 250 would be AWESOME!

    You know they are trying to appeal to more young riders. For example when they bought MV Agusta. Although they sold that company as far as I know, their trying. For example the new XR 1200. Its not gonna sell that great though, because its still not a real quick bike with a standard sportster engine.

    Heres what they need to do. The XR 1200 WITH A V-ROD MOTOR! Now THAT would be a bike!
    #21
  2. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    Actually, a standard Sportster--that is--one without the lowered suspension--doesn't handle too bad. My 2006 XL883 has the longer standard suspension and mid controls. The forward controls can scrape in the corners. Suposedly the first thing to scrape on a standard XL is the forward exhaust heat shield. I haven't scraped anything on mine yet-but I'm 57 years old and want to live to be 58.

    An unwise choice by HD is to drop all the Sportsters with the standard suspension (exception is the newer XR1200s) in faivor of the lowered models. Read any road test of the new "Super Low" and you will hear that cornering clearance is a major drawback. It's probably ok if you just putt around like an old gray bearded grandpa, but I mostly live for the corners, but like a torquey tractable V-Twin that handles pretty well. Can't afford an XR1200 right now.If I was rich I'd buy a Waken.
    #22
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Harley recently shut down Buell and sold (or are selling) MV Augusta so they can concentrate on their "core" customers, ie air cooled V-twin cruisers. Even the V-rod hasn't gone over very well in the US. Don't hold your breath on Harley making a scooter in the near future. Of course, if gas prices skyrocket and cruiser sales drop way down, they might change their position.
    #23
  4. Crossthread

    Crossthread Maker of Sharp Stuff

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    While I'm sure they have the engineering and expertise to make a killer scoot, fuel prices would have to get sky high, and STAY there for H-D to consider anything smaller than the XL 883. It would take extreme financial circumstances for them to step so far outside the cruiser box they have built for themselves. Heck, they invented the cruiser style, and they will never willingly change that.
    You will notice that ALL successful scooter designs have come from places where fuel prices are astronomical and the income of the local population is relatively low. When the demand for cheap, fuel efficient transportation gets loud enough, and goes on long enough, even the most hidebound manufacturer has to listen if they want to stay in business.
    But, by the time H-D heeds the call, the market will have already been taken over by Japan, Taiwan, Italy and China. They will then claim they are being unfairly competed against by cheap foreign competitors and demand the government institute a massive trade tariff on the import of any motorcycle over 50CC. (Does this pattern sound familiar? Think early eighties Japanese motorcycles over 700CC.)


    There. I think I've stirred the pot enough for this morning. My work here is done. :pot
    #24
  5. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    Yea I do think the chance is very very slim. BUT I could see them making a 250 cc cruiser or something along those lines.
    #25
  6. kirb

    kirb should be out riding

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    Harley was on the right track with Buell and MV, but screwed that up. They dumped more $$ in to Buell to close it down than they did the whole time they owned it...and turned down offers from BRP to continue the 1125 line (Can-am could use a sport bike and Rotax already made the engines).

    They paid nearly $100 mil to buy MV and upgrade the plant...then sold it back for $4 a year later...

    They can't market anything that isn't typical HD. The dealers don't want to sell anything that isn't typical HD. That business model will fail for anthing outside the box.

    I think HD will go down in a pile of flames before they figure out how to do anything beyond a crusier. They do have the talent, but are held back by management and WillyG.
    #26
  7. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    I bought one of those Harelys during that time period-a 1984 XLX1000 Sportster. That's the one that got 66 mpg!! By the way, as I understand it, HD went to the government early before the three years were up and had them end it early. That was a three year tarrif on Japanese motorcycles over 700cc I believe. What was amazjing was how quick the Japanese big four changed designs on many of their 750 models to squeeze them in under the 700cc limit.
    #27
  8. SPOFF

    SPOFF Been here awhile

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    The biggest problem for Harley Davidson is the new management are a bunch of Wall Street men who have never ridden a motorcycle. :baldy

    I predict a disaster like the 1970s when they were owned by that... bowling alley company. :kboom
    #28
  9. techguy

    techguy Scooter Trash

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    SPOFF,

    Welcome to the scooter forum. This is great place to find what type of scooter will be fit you. You are not alone in moving down the displacement ladder. There are many here that have found that riding a scoot near its upper limit can be tons of fun.

    You were looking at 125-150cc scoots.. how do you intend to use it?

    Scoots are very convenient commuters, too.
    #29
  10. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    I know, its a damn shame. I actually liked Buell, they had that cool beefy motor sound with a supped up Sportster motor, yet had really fine performance and handled great.
    #30
  11. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    [​IMG]

    Am I to take it that none of you are familiar with the HD-Nova project?

    http://www.bikerenews.com/AntiqueBikes/CodeNameNova.htm
    (Nova The V-4 Harley you never saw!)

    This project continued up into the late AMF era, and according to the web-site, it was the funds (allocated towards the Nova) and freed when the project was cancelled; that made possible the buy-out from AMF and the following re-surgence that led to improvements in HD build quality and the mushrooming sales after that change.

    The worry now is that HD models don't appeal greatly to under-50s riders.

    I don't see HD management being able to see past the existing air-cooled V-twin cruiser model range to anything other. If they dropped Nova in the past and let Japan grab the sub-litre 1960, 1970, 1980 marketplace -- I doubt they even realize that maxi, small-displacement scooter, and non-cruiser, market segments even exist ---- and are what entry-level riders usually ease into.
    #31
  12. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    I heard that Harley was going to make a new scooter, but they abandoned the project when even Willie G couldn't find the right chaps to go with it. :rofl
    #32
  13. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    :lol3
    #33
  14. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    #34
  15. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    #35
  16. Chupa

    Chupa Guest

    HD is evolving from a motorcycle manufacturer to a merchandise marketer capitalizing on apparel and other low quality yet high priced merchandise will HD logos, flaming sculls, etc, leveraging its perceived association with biker gangs, one-percenters, and other criminal aspects. This merchandise is sold through mass merchandisers such as Wal-Mart. This activity requires much less capital equipment and fixed costs, and results in a much higher return to stockholders than the production of motorcycles ever did.
    #36
  17. techguy

    techguy Scooter Trash

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    Since Buell was an attempt for HD to develop a street and racing bike market that didn't require chaps and it has failed, I don't think the MoCo wants to do anything outside the core HD cruiser market. This is based on readings of what Eric Buell had to say this month in Rider magazine.
    #37
  18. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    I thought they learned that 30+ years ago when the '77 and '78 Willie G designed XLCR Cafe Sportsters were a total marketing failure (for the record, I loved mine until it vibrated itself apart :rofl).

    If you're not familiar with that model, if you saw "Black Rain" with Michael Douglas, the bike he rode was modeled after the XLCR.

    XLCR photo here: http://raresportbikesforsale.com/brilliant-or-blasphemy-1977-harley-davidson-sportster-xlcr/
    #38
  19. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    An ex dirt riding buddy of mine rides a Harley now and has been riding and and hanging with Harley guys for a few years. He says that most of them have almost Zero motorcycle knowledge. They have never heard of flattrack racing, don't know what a Goldwing is, They will point to any sport bike, --Ducati, Aprilla, Triumph etc-- and call it a damn Jap bike.

    I don't see this crowd buying scooters.
    #39