Better Trials Bike Marketing Model?

Discussion in 'Trials' started by motobene, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 46 years

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    A repeat theme in forums is how this or that bike is subjectively ugly due to the choice of color/graphics by the manufacturer.

    Color can be so visceral that a large percentage of buyers will pass up an otherwise excellent design because they don't like one particular color.

    So a proposal to motorcycle manufacturers. Make your models more like the computer industry:

    - De couple, somewhat, from hard model years

    Given we all know trials bike core designs are long running and often change little between model years:

    - Sell a bike core like "Core i7 250" which may span more than one model year (or account for revisions as "Core i7X, Y, Z....).

    - One can still offer the equivalent of base or factory cores, like "Core i7 Base" and displacement or Core i7 Factory"

    - Importer stocks two or even three plastic sets and graphics

    Core and bling go to the dealer for assembly, somewhat similar to today.

    This approach requires frames in more neutral colors like silver or white. Example, the latest Betas with silver, unpainted aluminum frames.

    These days it's tough to distinguish brands at a moderate distance except by color, but with proper industrial design, such as the brand as a cutout in plastic or on stickers, and other features, one can distinguish brands, even farther away.

    We riders could then buy a preferred core in the color with higher probability of jiggling the gonads.

    This approach could stimulate all sorts of additional sales and interest.

    Now please debate why this is a great idea or why it won't work. Bear in mind the above examples of names were just quick ideas. HOW to make this approach work obviously needs refinement.
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  2. North ride

    North ride Been here awhile

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    That's been done with Evinrude E-TEC outboard motors they offer a wide selection of different colour cowling panels seems too work for them. Trails and dirt bikes are pretty easy too put different colour plastics or a wrap on if a rider wants. I have a Repsol 4rt I would have preferred the red bike but the Repsol was available semi local and a good price. I'm not too hung up on appearance but if I still have the bike when it's cosmeticty worn I could see changing its look.
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  3. Norman Foley

    Norman Foley Devotee of the Husqvarna

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    Good concept, especially the color part. Decoupling from model year thing, may be more complicated though.... Even a trials bike is still a motor vehicle and in much of the world is subject to being titled and registered. There are lots of arcane little rules. When KTM bought Husqvarna in 2013, they wanted to finish out production of the Italian built 2013 model bikes and then move production to Austria. The Austrian built bikes would be KTM based 2014's, with different model nomenclature. Due to some EU reg, it was too late to build the the Italian Huskys as 2013's and they had to be 2014's. Very confusing, as an Italian 2014 Husky TE250 was a 4T bike and an Austrian 2014 Husky TE250 was a 2T bike!

    When the new Triumph Motorcycles started importing to the USA 20 years ago, they would swap all the plastics on a bike and reissue an amended MSO free of charge, if it was not the right color for the customer. Trials bike would be a snap, compared to a fully faired sport or touring bike.
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  4. Kiharaikido

    Kiharaikido Been here awhile

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    Sounds like a good idea to me. As silly as it is, color makes a difference. And the simpler the better in my opinion. I dont care for the blingy paint schemes. To each their own as they say so it would be nice if the plastics would cater to that.


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  5. lamotovita

    lamotovita DAMN SNOWBIRD!

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    The model year is probably a requirement for importation and lack of same could cause all kinds of problems for licensing, titling and financing. Bultaco did what I think you are suggesting, a given model would be sold as two or maybe three model years depending on when it was manufactured or sold.
    I'm not the normal consumer when it comes to colors and graphics. The best looking dirt bike I've ever seen was the 76 Maico AW, only the frame and pipe were painted , the fenders were white and all the other metal parts were natural (shock springs I believe were chromed). Most any marketing study will tell you the loud colors sell best.
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  6. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    Beta USA has 4 other graphic sets the bike could come with and two color rim tape sets.
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  7. slicktop

    slicktop Been here awhile

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    I've never been intrested in wild graphics or bright neon color schemes.
    Nothing but cop magnets when you're just bunny hopping through town.
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  8. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 46 years

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    Yeah I figured there'd be a bunch of regs to wade through.

    I suppose on the one hand the bikes could be de coupled from model years, and on the other had still be linked to a model year to satisfy regs and tradition.

    The main thing is being able to build a bike custom on line. Beta is already doing that to some extent, which is one of the many reasons Beta is doing as well as it is.

    Color does matter. A dream bike for me is the street legal Beta 390 RR-S. In 2018 they went back to white plastic, tempting me greatly. The previous few years of red plastic turned me off. I know it's irrational, but all of us have these built-in preferences that are hard to overcome. But we evolve.

    When I switched back to Sherco, I at first was thinking I would not like the glowing blue and dayglo yellow. Now I think them gorgeous.
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  9. Champe

    Champe Been here awhile

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    Color as a marketing tool

    There is a win/win combo opportunity here. A lot of us have strong color preferences - to the point of excluding from consideration what we personally think are ugly colors. Really too bad. I am guilty of it myself as I still think blue/yellow is terrible.

    My experience with my Montesa 300RR was that I thought the black was too much. When I actually saw it, it was not so bad. Now I think it is ok. You grow to like your ride.

    But why not have the color you like, on the brand you like ? Plastic moulding is not that tough after you have the first ones made. Color changes are fairly easy. The factory could offer "custom color" options for the few plastic pieces.
    They could charge a good amount for this, while increasing market share .

    Honda is leading the way here, but not many folks know about it. You can buy the front fender in 3 colors - red, white and black. You can buy the back fender/seat in red and white. A set of both front and rear, without stickers, costs only $45 from any Honda dealer.

    Personally, I wanted to dial out some black on my 300RR so the front fender is now red. Got an unstickered red rear fender/seat, getting rid of more black. Looking pretty good now.
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  10. MT 007

    MT 007 Been here awhile

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    It seems to me that companies pick the colours they do as a big part of their marketing strategy... Kawasaki green really comes to mind n0t to mention Ferrari red. Of course there will always be people who would like a different colour and you do see some yellow Ferraris out there and those that like them like them a lot. I'm guessing the marketing guys who spend their year coming up with the colour scheme they feel is going to sell the most bikes probably feel it is what makes or breaks the bike and would rather people don't mess with their masterpiece... I'm not saying they are right in their thinking just saying that is the way it seems - especially for such a small volume of bikes.
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  11. Champe

    Champe Been here awhile

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    Good point. Brand identification by color is a definite marketing tool.

    As a consumer, I don't like it much, unless their marketing genius's taste matches mine. I like Kawasakis, but not their bright green color. A red Ferrari would please me just fine though.

    So my suggestion is to offer a base color - in whatever they pick as representing the brand. Most riders will leave it as is until it's broken. Some will want to put their own favorite color on it. Those riders will have to pay extra, say $100, unless it's a Montesa (in which case it's $45). Should be cheap, but I think the market would bear $200.

    To me, Sherco, Scorpa and Vertigo are a bit extreme in color choice. I guess it's the trend, especially for the younger generations. But what about us old traditionalists ? We buy bikes too. Maybe most of them. Give us the option of toning it down.

    Here's another marketing idea concerning color. Make camo panels. Would be practical for low profile woods travel.
    I would buy a set of those.
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  12. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 46 years

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    Didn't know that about Honda, Champe. Very smart of them!

    A more fundamental color issue is in the core components. There is a, generally speaking, for cast components, a black-silver pendulum for engines, swing arms, sometimes hubs. The period of the tic-toc tends to be about a decade.

    I am a bare or silver guy. Being a tech guy I like to have light reflecting off castings. Painted black, especially in low light, the detail 'fades to black.'

    Sherco swung in 2018 back to black and will likely stay there a good number of model years. Boo from me, but most customers express a liking.

    A get-used-to sort of thing, and we do. Remember the red engine, right side final drive '80s Honda CRs? That was quite the shocker....
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  13. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 46 years

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    The model year marketing statement is powerful, MT 007. I buy a sticker kit for my Factory Shercos so when I sell the bike I can replace damaged stickers. The kit is in two parts. TWO packages with A WHOLE BUNCH of stickers each!

    I really like the Factory model bling. I'm attracted to lots of color in high contrast. Sherco and Beta do a really good job on the graphics of their Factory model stickers, and the stickers are very high quality.

    TRS seems a bit more sedate to me, but adds some nice red. Vertigo is perhaps the best at eyeball art, but it seems to center more on trellis frame and anodizing contrasts. Montesa is very artful too, but apricot/orange scheme just isn't my thing (thus the prettiest Scorpas for me back off on percentage of orange). Montesa has several model color schemes, however, adding choices. And with affordable plastic choices too they are right there with this thread.

    One risk for factories in kitting out their choices of bling is the ham fisted customer who can't apply a sticker well, much less 35 of them.

    But look at cars these days! They all have the same cockroach industrial design, and have all gone to swoopy labels instead of brand names. The labels too all have generally the same look too, so it's like, who makes that? Over and over.

    Motorcycles are getting more like this too, but at least with cars you get your limited pick of colors. The suburbanite can then choose his black vehicle that shows every spec of dust, and the rancher like me can buy white.
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  14. Champe

    Champe Been here awhile

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    The bare metal look is my favorite too. Show off that aluminum ! A clearcoat to prevent oxidation. Makes it easy to see dirt and get clean. Any cracks or problems are easily seen. Color goes with anything. Then you add the color of plastic panels you like.

    Older 4rts have the aluminum color frame, like the 2006 I sold. Aesthetically better than the black on my 300RR. Scratches show more prominently on black though - thanks. Honda does not get everything right.
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  15. lamotovita

    lamotovita DAMN SNOWBIRD!

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    I've lost my bright red Gas Gas in the woods while scouting out trails or sections on foot. I'd probably still be out there if I had a camo bike.
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  16. MT 007

    MT 007 Been here awhile

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  17. heffergm

    heffergm Long timer

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    Why would you want a Range Rover in BRG? Anyway, I ultimately blame Land Rover, as they should only be sold in silver.
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  18. MT 007

    MT 007 Been here awhile

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    Yes BRG is much better suited for old convertibles like the old E-type Jags.

    This reminds me of what Ford said about his model T ... you can have it any colour you like as long as it is black. - Interesting thing was they had other colours first but then went all black from 1913 to 1925 as black dried fastest and therefor less expensive in the process. This is relevant to this discussion because the more options you give people the more expense. if you have to stock parts in multiple colours it just drives up prices - fine if there are people willing to pay for custom options but we all know trials riders are some of the cheapest people alive :-)
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  19. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 46 years

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    So guys, how's this for a pendulum swinging back to early '90s!

    Pretty stuff for sure at Lewisport.

    Hey look, another 250!
    Screenshot_20180116-080351.png
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  20. 2whlrcr

    2whlrcr gooligan

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    Yes, very pretty.
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