You guys think Harley Davidson will last?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by tessalino, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. phughes

    phughes Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    Oddometer:
    2,300
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Though I don't doubt over 1,000 have been sold, the recall number doesn't indicate sold bikes, just bikes manufactured that need recalled. They can still be sitting on the dealer's floor.
    Richarde1605, Traxx and Ginger Beard like this.
  2. phughes

    phughes Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2015
    Oddometer:
    2,300
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Why? that isn't a lot of miles. They are looking for used bikes.
    Traxx likes this.
  3. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    14,365
    Location:
    FLAT Lander

    Possibly but I believe they manufactured 3000. I have little doubt that at least 1000 have found homes.
    phughes and Traxx like this.
  4. HuntWhenever

    HuntWhenever Motorcicle Commuter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2017
    Oddometer:
    1,884
    Location:
    SW Ohio
    Its probably not the low-miles used bikes they are hoping to acquire and sell. 28k would be consider high mileage for a 2019 model year bike IMO.
    phughes and Traxx like this.
  5. tlub

    tlub Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,134
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Interesting that there is not a plot at all for BMW. Many, many years ago (like maybe before 2000) I saw a similar study, except it wasn't those remaining, but rather what was the lifetime of a brand bike (sort of the reciprocal of that chart, but with a different statistical analysis (survival chart, as in drug treatment of serious diseases)). I think it was from Europe, not the US. There wasn't a plot for BMW either. The '*' note said there were too many old BMWs still running to determine a statistical lifetime. That was when airheads were the predominant BMW. Given the number of airheads on the road now, and how few were made relative to the other brands, it may be true as well now that the statistics don't have a large enough sample size.
    That being said, BMW had to do some real soul searching several times in its motorcycling history as to how to change to survive. I think Harley has not done that. BMW's involved striking out in new directions without losing touch with its past. The /5 was a baby step, but still significant. The R90S and the R80G/S, and the oilhead R1100 series come to mind as bigger steps. And so do the K-75 and K100. These K-bikes did not keep the link with its past, though they did give breathing room and were financially successful. BMW were planning on dropping the airheads (remember the premature 1984 "Last Edition"?) but had to reverse course due to customer reaction. K bikes were modern designs that attracted new customers. Ditto for the F series. They all have a place, and the boxers are still a defining part of BMW.
    Therein may lie a lesson for HD.
  6. tlub

    tlub Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,134
    Location:
    Madison, WI
  7. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,725
    Location:
    New York

    Very smart comment and really - you have hit the nail on the head. This is the whole point. Harley has not done the soul searching. They have not found the new directions. And their link with the past is a ball and chain they drag with them everywhere.
  8. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Nice, until you're not.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Oddometer:
    3,050
    Location:
    Somewhere in Canada
    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it's not an irrelevant detail that Harley's business is being guided by a hedge fund. Generally speaking, hedge funds are more interested in margins than in growth. Growth costs money, has risk, and defers payback, not things a hedge fund likes. So consider a couple of things, here. Harley announced its intentions to 'focus on the core business' last winter, generally understood to mean fewer new products and a focus on cruisers. When they made their disclosures earlier this week, they were crowing about selling bikes at full MSRP, and pointed out the strong resale values of used units. Interesting things to be talking about during a recession, right? Meanwhile, Harley dealers are folding right left and center, at least some of them due to running out of inventory, yet, Harley put off releasing its new models, and doesn't seem to have offered any help to the failing shops. How do you square all this? And for bonus points, why would they hire a new CFO from the packaged goods world, a world of mature product categories where growth is rare and money is made by bullying distribution and optimizing the cost of goods? I think the answer is that they don't think there's any real ROI for growth in the near term, so what they're going to do is engineer scarcity. Reduce the number of dealers so they can control pricing. Focus on the ones that are also writing lots of financing business. Optimize the hell out of the supply chain. Instead of trying to sell more bikes, they're going to try to sell whatever the market will take, for more money.

    And under the heading of "sinister", I think they've caught two incredibly lucky tailwinds here: One is a pandemic to provide cover for rationalizing the dealer network and delaying product shipments. And the other is interest rates so low that they'll be able to make a killing selling bikes at full price to people who can't really afford them.

    This isn't about motorcycles anymore. It's bareknuckle business, the kind that tech folks - who live in a world obsessed with growth at any cost - simply can't understand. And I'd place this bet: when this all starts to gel, the people who hate Harley now are going to hate them even more.
    banya, Scoozi, AZbiker and 3 others like this.
  9. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black? Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,889
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    https://www.revzilla.com/common-tre...AenZDX_WUuc0jAMg0LTKJ6kCCxH8bf8BMkSiu89r7tJxs

    "Total revenue was $1.17 billion for the quarter, a drop of 8.4 percent from the third quarter of last year, but net income was $120 million, a 38.9 percent increase. Lower revenues were driven by unit sales that were down 8.1 percent worldwide and 10.3 percent in the United States, plus the fact that fewer expensive touring bikes were sold and more Sportster and Street models went out the door."
    Traxx likes this.
  10. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Nice, until you're not.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Oddometer:
    3,050
    Location:
    Somewhere in Canada
    Boom.
    Rollin' and Traxx like this.
  11. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7,386
    Location:
    Seattle
    Breeder reactors can use uranium cycle waste as fuel. The main problem with uranium is weapons proliferation.
  12. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7,386
    Location:
    Seattle
    Funny enough, I totally agree. I also think that that strategy is likely to fail because expensive motorcycles are not the same business model as canned peas.
  13. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,421
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    True. But BMW never really had to get past the "it doesn't look or sound like a Harley" that Harley has struggled to deal with whenever trying to sell something that doesn't exactly fit the Harley mold. BMW was able to develop and sell new/different products while maintaining the traditional products. BMW riders were initially focused on "it's not an Airhead!" relative to the alternate products, but those products eventually proved themselves as BMWs, unique in their own way.
    Traxx likes this.
  14. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7,386
    Location:
    Seattle
    Errr... How 'BMW riders were initially focused on "it's not an Airhead!"' is different from '"it doesn't look or sound like a Harley" that Harley has struggled to deal with'?
    AZbiker likes this.
  15. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,421
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Right. Initially BMW riders were all up in arms about a traditional BMW only being an Airhead. At many BMW rallies there were groups of "us" and "them", of Airhead riders and Brick riders. But over time that mellowed out as the K-bikes and other BMWs were accepted into the fold. But for decades that has not happened in the Harley world. For HD, its still "not a real Harley" for any non-traditional Harley products. Too bad really, because it has restrained Harley from expanding its product offerings. Closest was the V-Rod; around for many years, but never developed beyond an inner city cruiser (at least that was how it was perceived in the market).
    Traxx and Richarde1605 like this.
  16. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7,386
    Location:
    Seattle
    To add- it's Uranium->Plutonium breeder wave reactor:
    https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/TerraPower,-GEH-introduce-Natrium

    The core design of the original TWR concept envisages a moving region, or 'wave', in which the uranium is bred progressively into plutonium, which is the actual fuel that undergoes fission. However, in mid-2011 TerraPower announced a change of design to a standing wave reactor in order to address the problem of cooling a moving region. The current design would start the fission reaction at the centre of the reactor core, where the breeding stays, while fresh fuel from the outer edge of the core is progressively moved to the central region, as used fuel is moved out of the centre to the periphery.​

    Sorry for straying that far from Harley's failing business model.
    tlub likes this.
  17. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7,386
    Location:
    Seattle
    Is it due to some mystical Harley mystique, or was it because the new BMWs were objectively good designs, and new Harleys were as gawdawful as the Street 750 I tried to like?
  18. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,725
    Location:
    New York
    Also a really good post. I think you nailed it.
    BetterLateThanNever and Traxx like this.
  19. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,421
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Yes and yes. Those BMW Bricks were good bikes, very capable, and in some respects better bikes than the airheads. Not the same as an airhead, but good bikes none the less. Again the V-Rod is a classic example. It had a great engine, durable, powerful, it could actually outperform some bikes with larger displacement engines of older designs. But Harley only applied it in a useless chassis/format that really never let the V-Rod develop into a unique Harley worthy of its own place in long term HD history. Just became another non-Harley blip in HD history.
    AZbiker, liberpolly and Traxx like this.
  20. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7,386
    Location:
    Seattle
    So "No and Yes" then? :) 100% Harley engineering/marketing fuckup? Zero blame goes to Harley riders or other motorcycling enthusiasts?