First, how does someone make a 2004 model at the beginning of 2003? Why would I put $500 on a bike I can't see, or sit on to "guarantee" I get one by December? Why not just wait until March 2004, since I can't ride in December anyway? Why can't they just make them and put them in the showroom like everyone else? Is this the new "artificial increase in demand" sales mojo of Yamaha? I'm sure the bike is nice, but I'll be damned if I buy anything without a test spin. If I can't ride it, it won't get sold to me. Maybe they are afraid you really won't like it, but since your money is down it's too late? Dropping 13 large on a picture and words is the goofiest thing I have ever heard of.
Could not agree more with T-Bird, et. al. I think Yamaha has done an awful job marketing this bike. In Bruce McCall's wildly funny book, "Zany Afternoons", (long out of print-sorry), there is an ad for the "VUME`", a car so exclusive that NONE will be built! Yamaha is offering a bike so exclusive that evidentally only motojournalists are allowed near them..and of course, bike show attendees.
Hint to the Yamaha marketing "brains". Hell will freeze over before I drop that much long green on a bike I can't even see, much less test ride. And having said that, this ST11 owner wants one still!
Will the industry EVER get over the memory of the 80's glut and resulting markdowns? Industry types; that was a different time. Us boomers are now in our peak earnings years. Now is the time to shower us with goodies! And while you marketing "brains" are at it, how 'bout decent accessories - think BMW.
BTW, JB...the FJ1200 was also offered with ABS in its last yr - 93 (or was it 92?). Saw one and talked to it's owner up at Deals Gap on my last ride of the 02 season in late fall. Very sano bike.
Sport tourers must be a very small part of the total market. Another posting noted that ST11's were rarely seen on dealer floors. Then again, the sport tourers are seen, at least by me, in numbers WAY above what their market share must be - at least in the cool riding areas with good twisties and great views.
Which brings me to a last point: I'd like to see an article that looks more at the business side of the bike business..what sells in what numbers (not just mfg sales rankings), who buys what and why (marketing insider stuff) and who puts what milage on what bikes. Written well by our beloved smarty pants lib (that'd be you, JB), such an article could be mighty interesting. In fact, I can't think of another motojournalist I'd rather see tackle this one.
Showrooms will tell you what sells. Lots of cruisers, less sportbikes, and sport-tourers are very few, if any. You are lucky to see one sport-tourer type in most showrooms. I believe they don't sell many, and I'm not talking about bikes like VFR800's, which is lots more "sport" than "tourer".
At about 2pm today, I talked to a customer who has just put his $500 deposit on an 04 non ABS FJR..and good for him! Since he is also a friend, I MAY get to take a ride on it, if I ask REAL nice and after the new has worn off....when it FINALLY comes in...July, August or whenever. My point stands...you can't go to a dealer here and try one on for size, much less test ride one. And riding to Sturgis just for a test ride...sound great, but is not very practical for those of us with careers, families and live in the east.
Maybe I was too harsh on the Yamaha marketing folks. My bud who has ordered the FJR has a long background in the retail end of the bike bidness and pointed out to me that the exclusivity is boosted, etc, and the overstock situation of the early 80's really, really burned 'em bad. I still feel that if you don't have the product on the floor, you just won't sell as many...and artificial mystique just annoys me.
All in all and griping aside, I'd rather have the FJR available as it currently is rather than not having it available at all.
Another post mentions that Sport tourers just are not on the floor of may dealers: good point, though my local Honda dealer DOES have an ST13 std on the floor now. Only the larger dealers around here routinely stocked ST's. I travel a LOT on business and stop in at bike shops to kill time aroung lunch. What does sell is what is stocked. But there is a supply side argument to be made..supply creates it's own demand. Naturally good marketing, etc counts for a lot. And the USA probably will never be a big sport tourer market.
As for non Sportster HD's..who cares? I sure don't.
And speaking of Sportsters, we all know the AMF years just bit and bit hard, but as for looks, the earlier Sportsters with big tanks, normal bars and 19"/18" wire wheels were just the best looking Harleys ever...even if you truly "rode a mile and walked the rest".
Does anyone out there remember the time when, if you were an H-D guy..the only question was: you ride an "H" or "CH"?.
Putting a $500 deposit on a bike without riding it is a very valid point. Have you talked to your dealer(s) about a refund after ride? I worked at two different dealerships that would consider the $500 deposit as simply a hold; to get your name on one if you like, and was certainly not a binding contract. If you didn't like the product, you could get your money back. Most dealerships, I would guess, are having enough demand that if one name drops from the list, it would be easy enough to replace the lost revenue.
Limited availability notwithstanding, I finally got to ride a friends' '03 model last week. (He is battling the Big C and needs to sell it, 1570 miles, asking $11,500.)
I was not that impressed. I ride a Y2K Triumph Sprint ST, and the FJR seemed, I dunno, BIG. So what if it has all that grunt; my Sprint feels quicker. And the driveline lash... at slow cruise, around 45mph, the bike surges against the driveline, especially if there is a breeze blowing.
The seat is quite nice, and the bags are large. I just came away a little disappointed, after getting all fired up looking at them and the articles written on them.
Hey now! Mr. Ride, wasn't it you that told me not to use knowledge and experiance in my posts awhile back? if Yamaha says it's the best thing since toast and jam, then you just go ahead and pony up,,,," test ride" ,,,,,,sheesh!! Musta thumped yer melon pickin' up parts off that ratty old shovel !
I wont say this PDP $500 deposit to order thing is a great idea. But, that doesnt mean you will get raked at the dealer. I am paying $1100 under MSRP with no fees. (freight/set-up) You need to shop around! Go to the FJR websites, ton of good info there. I know of 3 dealers that sell the non-abs for $9999 and no fees. A huge bargain! Too far from me though. I know lots of dealers are using the situation to screw, so reward them by not giving them the business. Last year a small dealer in Alabama sold 34 FJRs for $9999. All the big boys around me sold only a few for outrageous prices. Buyer beware! Do you research.
Besides, some advantages of the program - less of my cool bike around, and hopefully higher resale values. Not real important factors in my decision process, but its not all bad.
So quit complaining, get off your duff, and do some research! I didnt get one last year for the reasons you mention. Now, there is all kinds of info on them in the mags, on the FJR forums, and I even went and sat on one at a dealer a couple months back. Go to the FJR owners website and ask for a ride. They are a friendly bunch! Now I know I want one, and will not be making a mistake. I guess its easier to complain, than do something about it.!
Besides, you can get one for alot cheaper thatn 13 large! And, no H-D dealer ever let me test ride one of their beauties!
Two months ago, I sat on a 2003 that was on the floor for over 4 weeks. Someone backed out of the deal. The point - get off your duff! There were FJRs sitting on the floor at all kinds of dealers. Some were availabe from people backing out of the order. Heck, check the cycletrader and ebay. Today, there were a few unsold 2003s at dealers listed.