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ABC News reports on motorcycles

15552 Views 81 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  KPaulCook
Great photo caption

I like the caption under the photo of the Goldwing riders: The average new Harley-Davidson motorcycle buyer is 45 years old and earns nearly $80,000.
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This article is acceptable as a 10,000 foot view of motorcycle industry trends. I think a plug for MSF safety courses would have been a nice inclusion. I also think a table showing the market share for the top 10 manufacturers would have been helpful. Where, for example, do BMW sales rank vis a vis Triumph sales? Is the market dominated by Honda and HD with the other manufacturers left to fight over the remainder of the market? I would love to know these statistics. Can someone direct me to a website that has these statistics?

Thanks for any assistance you may provide.

Here we go with the "9/11 thing" again. When I go to the motorcycle shop, the last thing on my mind is the Al-Quaeda.
So I wonder how many Harleys will be sold 10-20 years from now when the average boomer is what; 60+ years old? That will be interesting to watch.
Great Point Sparky: Re: ABC News reports on motorcycles

Excellent point. A point a tried to make when I criticized the Buell Firebolt (specifically Harley needs to spend money to give it a decent engine) The Gray Pony Tailed brotherhood cannot propel Harley's growth forever. H-D requires the support of Gen X and Echo (Baby Boomer children). The Gen X crowd are into modern stuff i.e. highly modified Honda Civics etc. It is highly unlikely that Harley's current product line (including to VRod) appeals to the next generation of motorcycle buyers. Harley better use some of that money selling antiques to modernize their product line. VRod is a start but they need to go farther faster. Don't think Harley is safe from market pressures.
Great Point Sparky: Re: ABC News reports on motorcycles

I'm a fairly young 27, and most of my current friends that ride are on high-tech sport bikes. (As a side note, I'm the only non-sportbiker on a 97 Magna). Alot of my friends that do not ride a motorcycle, though, all think Harleys are pretty damn cool, they just can't afford them at this point in their lives. Give or take 15 to 20 years, and all my friends will be in that 40-ish age range, making $75k or more a year, and will be buying HD products ...
The really telling statistic was the one that said the average age of the Harley buyer has risen from 34 in 1987 to 45 in 2002. One way to look at that is Harley's market position is shifting to a middle age status symbol which could be good for their market.

Another way of looking at that is that Harley cannot attract young bikers like it used to and only those people old enough to remember the release of Easy Rider are attracted to HD.

I would be curious to know why the age shift. I would also like to see some kind of market research that breaks down why riders purchase the bikes they do.

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Well sparky let me know what happens.

It's going to be a long wait .
Well the younger people will experience

the same thing that the currently older people

have experience making them more intelligent

and worldly, but most will likely end up at a Harley dealer. Come on dude do you really think you will have the same perspective then that you do now. I'll bet you won't.
Oh, I don't know...

You make a logical argument KPaul, but there are other ways of looking at it.

One alternate perspective is that Gen Xers are likely to opt for "poser" bikes as soon as they can afford them.

Consider that Gen X was raised on MTV, and MTV gave rise to a lot of inferior "hair bands" who weren't great musicians, but who looked good in music videos.

Now music and motorcycles share some common appeal to the human ache for freedom, and for a soul-moving experience. If Gen X is willing to spend millions on bands that look better than they sound, why woundn't they also spend lots of money on motorcycles that show better than they go?

I don't claim this perspective is right, but Harley has been hugely successful at selling the show instead of the go to Baby Boomers. Why whould they be any less successful with Gen X, given Gen X's MTV-shaped appetites and Harleys marketing savvy?

A few notes:

[*]I don't care to own a Harley, but I don't care to critisize the Motor Company either. I use the "show versus go" language because I think that's KPaul's perspective.

[*]I don't believe Harleys are necessarily "poser" bikes. (Any bike can be a "poser" bike.) I merely used the term to continue KPaul's "Gray Poly Tailed Brotherhood" metaphor.

[*]Don't flame me if you like MTV. You're entitled to your video-musical tastes.[/i]

[*]KPaul, if I'm wrong about your disdain for Harleys and the "Gray Pony Tailed Brotherhood," please explain the consistent caustic tone of your posts.
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Compared to the LA Times' column one of a few weeks ago it's Pulitzer material.

I'm just sad they left out the ZX-12R of the side bar :-(

The average Harley customer, as well as buyers of expensive euro makes, tend to be older because they have the discretionary income to afford more expensive products.
Great Point Sparky: Re: ABC News reports on motorcycles

Not all motorcycle companies want to be like Honda. Why on earth would someone want to buy a HD sportbike? Some thinigs just aren't meant to be, like the current Cadillac sports sedan, the CTS (no matter how good it is).
Its always amazing to me how posts can get so Harley oriented.Some folk are so preoccupied with Harley bashing or defending they cant see the big picture.Its interesting that this article was very well balanced(about 20 percent of the content concerned Harleys)but over 70 percent of the posts are about Harley.The big picture isnt Harley......the question is will the teenagers of today and the 20 somethings stay on motorcycles into their middle age to replace boomers(by the way all middle aged grey heads dont ride Harleys)as they inevitably leave the marketplace.Will the sportbike rider of today grow into the middle aged Gold Wing Rider of tomorrow?Are cruisers(of any make)a boomer phenomena or will younger folk go that route?Dont think we are smarter than the companies(including Harley)...which copanies thrive depends on how they read the future.Whether the motorcyckle industry as a whole continues to boom depends on economics and the general legal/social view of cyclists.
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Great Point Sparky: Re: ABC News reports on motorcycles

doubtful you look me up then OK
That's all great, but what do YOU think?

Let's just say, you were H-D (or AS smart), what would you do for H-D to thrive?
Great Point Sparky: Re: ABC News reports on motorcycles

I 50 now, and my last bike was a ZX-11. My current ride a BMW R1100S, and would never fall for a 'no tech' bike like the big Harleys; Buell, well maybe. But doing something just because your friends think it cool; what a waste of time.
Yea, I know. Hope I make it that long. But I'm 50 now and tell my friends to shoot me if they ever see me on a bike with streamers hanging from the bar ends.
I think that's rather the point they were making.
Great Point Sparky: Re: ABC News reports on motorcycles

I agree; and would like to see HD move away from model 'T' technology and the V-Rod is a good start. Give us a bike that will not fall apart trying to keep up with any number of good sport touring rigs available now from Japan or Europe. Key words being 'lighter weight' 'handling' 'power' 'reliability' 'affordability' Until then, I refuse to buy HD.
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