You guys think Harley Davidson will last?

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

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Even with the younger crowd, retro is still in. I think it would be stupid for Harley to drop the V twin and go in a whole new direction. OK, the Livewire is a whole new direction but I'm talking IC engined bikes.

    BMW learned this lesson long ago when they came out with the inline 3 and 4 cylinder engines and thought they would phase out the opposed twin. Ducati has stuck with the 90 degree V twin. Moto Guzzi the sideways V twin. Besides the fact that V twin are part of Harley's heritage, V twin motors just have a lot of character and that is part of the riding experience.

    Price disadvantage? That will always be an issue. I don't see Harley ever competing in the low price beginner bike category unless they manufacture their bikes in China. Doing that would hurt their image and sales of their premium bikes where they make most of their money.

    I think Harley's biggest challenge will be to get their dealers to open up to new ideas. Some have that old "everything that's not a traditional Harley sucks" attitude. But some don't.

    Remember that the current "lifestyle" method of selling bikes has been very successful. I think much of what they have done in the past can work in the future if they just modify it some. When you buy a Japanese bike you are pretty much on your own once you ride out of the dealership. Not so with Harley. Harley offers HOG, great accessories, T shirts, and events at the dealership. They offer a more complete experience. For some people that's a big draw. Maybe they need to lose the Outlaw, black leather Pirate image but most of what Harley does can still work.
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  2. old scoot

    old scoot Been here awhile

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    This outlaw black leather pirate image you guys speak of is a figment of your imagination. There are still some 1 percenters around but you never see them at a dealership. Harley riders on the whole prefer leather over man made fabric for there gear, so what. Don't you guys like to preach ATGATT. Go to a Hog event, you will probably find friendly people that are also serious riders. You may run into your doctor or lawyer there.
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  3. Eatmore Mudd

    Eatmore Mudd Mischief on wheels.

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    Al the makers are making out dated / obsolete designs. Google search the history of V twins, boxer twins, parallel twins, in line fours, liquid cooling and shaft drive. That stuff all came out between 1901 and 1938.

    :-)
  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    A very high percentage of the Harley riders I see are still dressed in the "pirate" mode. I'm not talking 1 percenters. they may be doctors, lawyers, professionals and very nice people but when on their Harley's they tend to dress that way.

    I was in Ohio for a while earlier this year and not only were most of the Harley riders dressed as "pirates", it was very rare to see one wearing a helmet.

    It has also been my experience that most Harley riders are friendly people and the majority will wave regardless of what kind of bike I am riding.

    I'm not a Harley basher but the fact that a high percentage of Harley riders still dress as "pirates" is not just a figment of my imagination. I don't have anything against people who choose to dress as pirates but I'm not sure that's where Harley's future is. Maybe Harley will be more successful with younger riders if they get away from that image?

    BTW, I have a number of friends who ride Harleys. Some dress as pirates, some don't.
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  5. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    That Pirate cosplay is part of the Retro package.

    Bottom line: You think their strategy is a winner.

    I do not.

    Time will tell. It is telling, I think.
  6. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Let me see. They want a narrower package, in a bike that can't corner worth a schitt?

    I don't see it.

    Again...you think the strategy is a winner. I think it's inconsistent and will result in greater losses.

    It's not the first time a stressed manufacturing company guessed the market wrong. Recall the Studebaker Avanti? A sports/personal-luxury car that Studebaker brought out as a last-ditch effort to avoid closing because of its losses. Introduced in 1962. People wanted cars like that - the Buick Riv and Monte Carlo and the larger four-seat Thunderbird all sold, same era; but people who wanted those cars didn't go to The Grandma Car Company, Studebaker.

    The Livewire. A winner, right? Zero has proved the concept, and if I had money and different circumstances, I'd own a Zero now.

    An electric motorcycle makes sense, but buyers for one won't go to H-D...I predict.

    Any more than they'd have gone to Lincoln for an electric CAR. No, they'd either go to Tesla, the startup, or to one of the established large economy-car makers. Nissan or now VW.
  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    You didn't understand what I posted. I think there is no doubt that their strategy was a big winner. I also said they will need to make some changes to be successful in the future. Making changes is not the same as completely reinventing themselves. All companies have to make changes as the times change.

    Some parts of their strategy will still work in the future. Offering customers more than selling them a bike and providing service will always be a winner.

    The Time is telling statement is premature. Most motorcycle manufacturers are struggling in the USA right now. There have always been ups and downs in this industry. Let's see how thing look in ten years or so.
  8. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    The dealers name was Lawless, now its Jet City. Changing with the times it seems.
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  9. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    That's astute. Remember, with a dealer type of sales model...the customers for the parent company are not the consumers. They are the dealers. You buy a Toyota, you are buying from the dealer. Toyota USA makes a pledge to the end-user that they will honor a warranty from the time the end-user purchases it, but you buy it from the dealer, the man or corporate organization that owns the store you went to to purchase.

    Likewise, H-D. Dealers buy from Milwaukee; their inventory arrives in bulk, in crates; dealers set them up and offer them ready to ride, for sale. Now, H-D has demands in its franchise agreement - style, display, condition of property; but the inventory and the store are all independently owned.

    If the dealers don't like the strategy, it's not going to work. And it won't be the first time that's happened - one of Chrysler's biggest issues around about 1980, was that, instead of building cars to dealer order, they built cars their own sales people said would sell, and had to arm-twist dealers to buy them. Did not work.

    Be interesting to see how H-D gets around THAT. Here's where having a heavily-invested dealer network will really hurt. If it were just sold as a franchise, like Suzuki or Kawasaki, they could easily take on new dealers to replace those who drop. But now, if they offer the Livewire to new multiline dealers, you better bet the ones who built those elaborate, expensive dealerships, will sue. And sue. And probably win, since they invested with the sense that H-D would honor their agreement.
  10. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Of course. This is all conversational. I don't have anything invested, and I'm not likely to convince anyone to change their minds or predictions.

    To me, this is just a WTF moment, looking at the insane way H-D is now addressing what should have been (my view) easily predictable ten, fifteen years ago.
  11. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    All this whining about "cosplay" sure comes across as someone who feels dejected for not being accepted to the club.

    Again who cares? Why is this such a point of contention what someone chooses to wear. Most of the look you talk about, minus the vests has been work wear for us blue collar folks for decades. I'd rather look like I just finished a shift then a power ranger.

    There's more to this axe to grind then to the specifics of whether or not harley can successfully navigate the changing times.
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  12. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Your opinion.

    I'm not arguing anything - I have nothing invested. I'm just observing and commenting.

    You believe what you want. As I believe H-D is directionless and making big mistakes.

    Why is it important to you that someone who doesn't join in worship of the Majik Shield, gets shouted down?
  13. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Who cares? The problem is, the negative response from the play-acting and deliberate noisemaking and antisocial behaviors, carry on to those of us who dislike it as much as non-riders do. I've had cagers cut me off, often with seeming intent to wreck me. I've been tailgated, brake-checked, stopped six times in five years in Montana (never in a car). The law and the public assumes I'm "One of THEM" even though I'm the opposite.
  14. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Yes, people do get far too worked up about anything to do with Harley. I personally don't care what other people wear when they ride. If someone wants to dress like a "pirate", traditional Harley rider or whatever you want to call it, it doesn't matter to me.

    The question is, will that image that goes along with that style of dress resonate with younger generations? If not then Harley needs to start getting away from that image while not alienating their current older customers. This won't be an easy thing to do. I don't have a crystal ball so I can't predict future fashion trends. I do know that fashion is constantly changing. The fact that fashion has changed so much yet the "pirate" fashion has lasted so long is pretty amazing. Again, I'm not judging, just making an observation.

    Personally, I have a number of friends who ride Harleys and they ride them well. I have ridden some Harleys and enjoyed riding all of them. I doubt I will ever buy a Harley but that's not because I don't like them. It's more an issue of limited funds and garage space and there are just other bikes I like more.

    I would like to see Harley succeed. IMO more choices is a good thing for all of us.
  15. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    You speak as if you understand finances intimately yet cannot afford a few grand for a Zero? Credibility goes a long ways.
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  16. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    When I go to any of the big multi line dealers in my area, there will be a handful of customers, and last time I was at the Honda dealer I was the only customer. When I go to the local HD dealer there's always a 10-20 people there.
    There used to be several new and used motorcycle dealers in Kent, now only HD is left.
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  17. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    Its unfortunate that is your reality. I'll count my blessings..... that it isn't mine.
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  18. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    I could buy a Zero tomorrow - no lie.

    But it would be a silly purchase. First, I have no place to keep it plugged in; and second, I have too many in my fleet already. Third, I had some experience with a used Zero that the company stopped supporting.

    I like the product but I need both a different garaging situation and more confidence in the company's commitment.

    Just because I can do something, does not make it smart for me to do it.
  19. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    I've mentioned, have I not, that I'm close to the local H-D dealer. So, in the warm months, we have a steady stream of...owners...pass by and through, both local and those on the Interstate.

    The more exposure, it seems, the more contempt and anger.

    Yes. Be thankful you don't get the full hate-on that some riders in some places sometimes get.
  20. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    'spain? :scratch

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