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Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by MHaz01, Sep 7, 2018.
As a non-Harley guy, how is the Heritage Softtail so different?
Because the 2017/18 Chieftain Limited was the good looking Indian - small front fender, larger front wheel, no chrome on the fairing - and that's the model they screwed up to make the 2019 Chieftain.
What he said!
Yes, consumers are fickle and people will complain about anything related to Harley be it Harley OEM or their competition. Often without really understanding anything about them.
I wanted to like Vic's, I really did, but some where hideous. Indians are generally better aesthetically to me, but still many are overdone.
BTW Harley has 4 Motorcycle lines:
Street - largely designed for export markets, but also serves as intro. Water-cooled Revolution X power plants. The Street Rod will give a baby monster (696, 797, or Scrambler a run for it's money). 450-500# range
Sportster - a very long lived and versatile lower dollar bike that can be made to do most things. A unitized, rubbermounted, EVO engine chassis, air-cooled, pushrod, 2V/cylinder. 550-600# range
Softails - their big-bike custom line. Dual-counterbalanced air-cooled, pushrod, 4V/cylinder M8 big twins in a monoshock chassis. 650-700# range
Touring (FLH) models - their big touring models, single counterbalancer and rubbermounted, M8 big twins in a large dual shock touring chassis with bags and shields or fairings. 800-900+# range
All 4 model lines offer both some similarities and unique character traits.
But let's be honest if Harley's customer base is shrinking as boomers age out of it the same customer base will shrink for others selling similar products (cruisers and classic tourers from Indian, Triumph, and JAPanInc.).
You speculation on the future products is just that, mere speculation with little to reliably go on so I'll dismiss that
As for Indian, they are slowly making a small dent. I wouldn't say run for the money yet, but certainly they are lighting a well needed fire under their butts so that's a good thing.
If you're asking new Heritage vs Street Glide yes they are somewhat different. See my last post for much of it. There is going to be over a 100# difference (Heritage lighter) with similar power but out of a smoother dual-counterbalanced motor in a smaller/stiffer chassis.
Not night and day, but certainly a different flavor.
I’m not a cruiser rider but can see the appeal as a second or third bike. I like Indian enough that I spent a fair bit of time checking out their booth as the last MC show and even went to a local dealer during their demo rides.
I like that their design language is distinctly American but NOT MoCo. I think they got the vintage vibe just right on the Springfield. I like the Chieftain Classic far more than the HD Road Glide or whatever the competing model is, too, but the new Chieftain comes across as derivative and, well, boring.
Just like the MoCo is experimenting with new designs, Polaris is doing the same with Indian. The problem faced by both is that the market segment is getting old and stale without new models to attract new riders, yet they can’t veer too far from what we expect from a traditional big cruiser, hence the demise of Victory. Its akin to Gibson and Fender being locked into their brand identities - their diehard customers want Les Pauls or Stratocaster while other companies flourish building less traditional designs.
It’s a catch 22 and I’d hate to be in their position.
I know people keep talking about "needing" to attract new riders, an it's certainly a good thing to do if you can.
But Harley (like BMW) is a premium brand. Most of their customers have probably never really been in their 20's and not a lion's share in their 30's even.
The same is true of BMW cars, Mercedes, Lexus, Acura, Infiniti etc.
But people grow and tastes or desires change as do incomes etc.
Arguably Harleys biggest "need" for more/younger customers comes from wanting to grow business for their stock holders.
These are the new products slated for 2020. They're a day late and a dollar short. In my opinion, of course.
What you have above is HD jumping into markets that are already well established and overpopulated. The adventure bike looks awful. The "streetfighter" in the middle is a clone of a Ducati Diavel or a Kawi Z900. Who knows if this style will still be current 2 years from now? But I can absolutely guarantee one thing - the performance of that HD will not come near that of the Ducati or the Kawasaki. The last bike seems to be an answer to the Indian Scout. But by the time it's released, the Scout will already be a generation in design ahead of that HD.
I suppose I sound like an HD basher, but I'm not. I'm just constantly disappointed by HD's engineering and marketing. Or lack thereof.
I keep getting sucked into the promise of a new HD model then disappointed with the rake, the size of the rear wheel, feet forward controls. Please just give me a Softail with more clearance or a old standard Sporty.
So, why do I get the vibe that most folks with strong opinions on this thread do not own a Harley nor an Indian? That’s not a knock, but it might be telling about some of the judgment vs tolerance happening here for Indian. I have an Indian (actually a current one and a classic one), and a Harley. I owned a Vic from 2009 to earlier in 2018. All are good fun, and all have a very different design aesthetic.
The reason that I bought my current Indian, (Chief Vintage) model was that the 1st gen chieftain fairing was just too over powering for me. I didn’t hate it, but it was just to much visual real estate. Do I see some HD in the 2019 design, well, yeah. But I also see that every sport bike made in the past 10 years looks very similar. Same for ADV bikes that almost always have a beak, or naked bikes that now have sport the “I am angry robot insect” look. And there were some HD cruisers that had some visual clues that looked like my Victory Hammer ( Think Breakout and some Dana models). Not clones, but my point is that if you build two bikes the same class and market segment, it is likely that you will see some overlap.
Indian is giving people a choice. The 1st gen chieftain style was polarizing. I know people who liked the idea of buying an Indian, and the power train, and the features- but hated the styling and front end/fender. How is it bad if Indian listened and know offers a choice?
They will sell bikes to people that would not have jumped on board with just one option.
I applaud them for listening and trying.
I'm well aware of what is and maybe more importantly WHAT IS NOT known about those models.
You are assuming a lot. I prefer to wait and see.
As for overcrowded market? What was more overcrowded than the Cruiser/Classic Tourer markets? Yes JAPanInc. has a always managed to sell some, Triumph came back from the brink largely on that, and Indian has been created out of it.
So why shouldn't Harley try to expand into them, even if overcrowded.
In any particular style/category of bike there will always be one that out performs the others in certain performance measures, but still the others sell, why?
There's more to most bikes than straight preformance figures.
Let's be real, Indian isn't producing any top dogs nor does it look like they will be anytime soon either.
Or how about RE, quietly growing into a giant without a single arguable performance product.
There's more to all this....
Indian's biggest challenge is they are absolutely going to have to put a dent in the market now dominated by HD. Or they will not make it. The first offerings were not going to get it done. Everybody that wanted one has bought one. Until now, for the same dollars, no way I am leaving HD.
They needed this, and I am sure the performance is there as well.
True, I'm assuming a lot. But now without some basis. They mismanaged Buell and fell asleep on the VRod. They have a terrible track record with new designs.
I'm all for HD jumping into other markets. It's just the markets they're jumping into are trendy and waaay outside their normal zone of operation. Cruisers are retro styled by nature, and HD arguably invented that field. There HD leads the way. But HD is far behind in performance and innovation when stacked up against the competition. And the adventure market is completely foreign to them.
I disagree when you say Indian isn't producing any top dogs. The Scout is an awesome mid-size cruiser that is attractive and competitively priced. It's also a much better bike than a Sportster. And the FTR 750 flat tracker, along with the new FTR 1200 model coming out next year are superb bikes that lead the way in that market (albeit a small one at the moment).
Harley is more motivated than they have been in decades. Part of their Buell problems were hubris combined with sloth.
The Scout is wonderful, but top dog? I dunno. Better than a Sportster in performance doesn't equal top dog.
As an Indian Scout and HD Shovel owner, I keep waiting for either of these companies to come out with a real riders motorcycle. Both companies seem to think that anyone who rides farther than 200 miles in a day wants an 800lb behemoth festooned with acres of plastic and infotainment systems. I see 100's of these things out on the highway for every naked or ADV bike. But I like to ride a motorcycle. If I need all that shyte, I just take my truck and then I don't need a rainsuit. Ok so the only other choice is an "entry or mid-level" cruiser that is lighter with no passenger accomodations, minimal gas capacity that you need to throw $1-$2 grand at it to increase comfort to make the thing useable for anything more than Sunday afternoon rides.
Come on! Any of us who started riding in the '70's or '80's remember when most large displacement (750-1200cc) bikes were a blank canvas that you outfitted based on your needs. But they did come with decent ergos, shaft drives, dual front discs, fuel guages and 4-5 gal gas tanks. Remember the first GL1000's, the Superglide, the GS1000's, the BMW's?
I love the Scout, it's fast, fun and great looking with an awesome motor. But even with updated ergos and seat, it is a limited mileage bike. Stopping every 125 miles for gas gets annoying. Having to stop every 125 miles to give your body a break even moreso. I was at the dealer the other day and we were looking at a picture of the new Cheiftain. It looked good but if they went to the effort to re-style it, why not shave 150lbs and 8" inches off the wheelbase, add an inch of ground clearance and ditch the geegaws?
HD same thing. Where's the new Superglide or FXRS?
I hope with the new FTR, Indian takes the platform into a new direction maybe even toward an ADV bike. This new FTR will be great looking but will be even more of a limited use bike. Give it some wind protection, some luggage, 29-30" seat height and 5 gals of gas with a guage. Just don't make it so tall you need a stepladder to get on it and a crane to pick it up if it falls over.
The Pan America has some potential but I'll reserve judgement until I actually see one.
I, for one, have nothing against new, or "fresh". But, to me, the Vision looks like a grade 9 kid's drawing of a sci-fi bike, just way too much going on in that bodywork. But, different strokes. The Victory bikes just all look "wrong" to me. Something just "off" about them.
The ADV bike looks like any other ADV bike on the market.
The Streetfighter. You're worried that a style of bike that has existed for decades is now going to vanish because H-D is making one? You can't "guarantee" anything, BTW... you can speculate, you can pontificate, but you cannot "guarantee" anything about it.
Also "generations" don't mean shit to riders. They like what they like. Tat's why there's so many 70s and 80s bikes still piling on the miles. Why there's so many "modern retros" being sold. Why people still love bikes that take styling cues from old Knuckleheads.
I loved the Vision's design and liked it's looks. I just though it was a little too much pointy and swoopy. If they just toned down that fairing (mirrors) and rounded the saddlebags I mighta been a buyer. I was waiting for Gen. 2 but never got one. Then the model was gone and then Victory was gone.
I have no proof of this beyond "gut", but I'm going to posit that the styling of the Vision was it's single greatest enemy, in terms of popularity.
Ducati Diavel - 160hp/96ft-lbs torque, 10 second 1/4 mile. 516lbs weight.
Now it certainly is speculation on my part that HD won't come near these numbers. But that speculation is based on decades of observing HD's operations. I'll be willing to put significant odds on a bet that HD's new streetfighter won't come anywhere near to measuring up to those numbers. But that is a suckers bet. No one will take me up on it.
(And the Diavel weighs less than a Sportster. A lot less.)
The styling of the Vision was it's greatest appeal. A distinct and unique American cruiser that could never be called a HD clone. Victory offered several models that had less aggressive styling. The Cross Country, specifically, was the traditional alternative to the Vision.