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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While I definitely admire The Motor Company's business success (as does Wall Street), and would never want them to fail or disappear, I have to wonder. 227,000 projected production target for 2001? How can so many people desire a $8,000-$21,000 motorcycle? Who are these people and when will the bubble burst, so to speak? I just don't understand the continuing appeal and willingness to wait for their products and pay a premium for them. It's all about image I guess. Someone enlighten me- I'm open minded.
 

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Both of the harley dealers by me are under the same rules set by harley. every dealership must take a number of sportsters so that 40% of the year's bikes they recieve are sportsters. if they dont sell the sporsters, then that affects the dealers allotment of big twins for the next year.
 

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A bit of scale: US auto sales are roughly 17 million per year. The average car is about $25,000 and depreciates like a stone. Think about those numbers.



Although Harleys are expensive for bikes, they are cheaper than a nice two week cruise for two once per year. They also don't hardly depreciate.



They are also equal to only 1.3 percent of new car sales. The way I see the numbers, we could easily see a doubling of sales of all motorcycles in the next half decade (provided the economy gets back on track).



Now, if only the "Motor Company" would give MR. Buell a real motor to work with.
 

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Re: For one thing there is demand overseas...

I know a coworker who put $1,000 down in 97 or 98 for a 2003. I think he is under the illusion of getting one of the limited 100-year anniversary bike with the badges (I think he’ll end up with a regular one). This guy doesn’t even ride. Its people like this that are enabling the dealers who over charge so much.

Now what impressed me was the fact that clothing brought in 40 million. Maybe I can just open up a T-shirt stand at the mall and rake in the cash. Then I could afford to buy my own Harley, and a couple other bikes as well.

It's not paranoia if the cages ARE out to get you.
 

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Oh yeah, let's not forget customer satisfaction and repeat buyers. How many unhappy Harley owners do you know? They keep their customers happy and that's what counts.



I just wish they made something I could get excited about (although the Deuce is pretty cool).
 

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My turn to rant.



While I ride a "metric" cruiser, I understand perfectly well why Harley is so successful. Their bikes are beautiful, and offer more variety of looks in big twins than all of the Japanese models combined. While I prefer the performance, reliability and price of the Japanese branded bikes ('cause most are as American made as Harley), I get so ticked off at the ugly welds, tank seams and overall inferior finish, not to mention the poorly designed visual concept to begin with. Wake up esp. Kawasaki and Suzuki, where are your new cruisers?
 

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I have absolutely no problem with people who like riding Harleys because of the look of the bike or the feel of the engine.



However...



In the last HD discussion, a lot of people said that HDs are a good investment because they don't depreciate. And I was mulling that over, and this is what I came up with.



Buy a Nighthawk 750 or ZR7 or Bandit 600 for $5500. Pay low insurance because they don't have sportbike surcharges, they're low theft, and they have low MSRPs. Sell the bike ten years later for $2500 (about what they sell for around where I live). You've lost $3000 for the bike and maybe $1000 for insurance. Total loss: $4000.



Now take a Fatboy, buy for $18000, pay very high insurance rates because of high theft rates and high MSRP, dump $2000 of custom doo-dads in, and sell 10 years later for $18000. You lose 0 for the bike, $2000 for "necessary" customization (when's the last time you saw a stock HD?), maybe $6000 for insurance. Total loss: $8000.



And that's not even including the higher maintainence costs of a HD Fatboy over a Honda Nighthawk--though HDs are easy to work on, the higher vibration of their engines do tend to shake a few screws loose. The same happens with bikes like the BMW F650--I'm not bashing Harleys, just stating facts.



My conclusion? If you like the way Harleys look, feel, and sound, buy one and have a blast. But if you're looking to make "a good monetary investment," buy a Japanese standard. You'll get good handling, braking, and comfortable seating and you'll still spend less than a Harley--even when you factor in Japanese depreciation.



starvingstudent
 

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Please: let record quarter = better technology!

Hey.. Harley's doing great; that's wonderful! But please please please, take all that money and do some capital investment; better motors, suspension, more brakes all around , and more R&D money for those wonderful Buell nasties, and they can't lose!
 

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Good post debunking the whole resale value thing. One other factor that's never factored into depreciation discussions is the time value of money. If you had 15k-20k to spend on a bike but instead of a Harley or BMW, you only spent 8k on a Suzuki Bandit 1200, you've got 7k to 12k earning something. (Or that you're not paying interest on.)Over a few years, this adds up and goes a long way toward offsetting differences in depreciation.
 

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Re:Nice try

You realize that in order to prevent people "biting" on something, MO would have to stop posting ANY articles about Harley. Next, they will have to stop posting anything about Suzuki/Yamaha cuz of the R1/GSXR squabble. Next will be anything about tourers, cuz the hardcore sportbike crowd will bash on the "couches" and vice-versa. It always happens. ITS MOTORCYCLE ONLINE. MOTORCYCLE being the keyword, ALL motorcycles.
 

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FWIW, I wouldn't expect the bubble to burst anytime soon. Say the fervor cooled a little bit and the Dealers couldn't command the big mark-up over MSRP. Can you imagine how many buyers would crawl out of the woodwork if they could get their favorite Harley for MSRP???



After the Gulf War I wanted a Harley. I was going to have to put $1,000 down, and wait six months to get it. I said forget it, and bought a Honda. I've had all kinds of bikes, including a used Harley, but I swore I'd never buy a new Harley for more than MSRP. I'd still love to have one.... and I'm still waiting. It's been a long time since the Gulf War.



Oh well....



Opie.
 

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Give me a break!

I hope youre joking... thats the last thing the motorcycling community needs. Harley owners buy aftermarket exhaust kits just like every other motorcycle owner out there.

As you say... "stupidity begs for regulation." I couldnt agree with those words more, anyone asking a legislator to take away their freedom needs to learn to appreciate what they're losing.

Live and let live.
 

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Okay, so maybe I overshot on the insurance estimates. However, a couple posters above mentioned investing the other money, which alters things again.



So here's more math:



Let's say that the ZR7/Nighthawk/Bandit owner loses $3000 on the value of the bike for 10 years, the HD owner loses 0, and the HD owner only pays $1000 more over ten years (a somewhat generous underestimate) for insurance. Remember the HD owner spends, say, $2000 more on customization than the standard-bike owner does. However, remember that if all other factors are equal, the Japanese bike owner now has $12,000 of cash left over. Let's say this person is very conservative, and chooses a savings bank instead of the stock market. They earn only, say, 3% APR (investing in the stock market could make a much higher annual yield). However, after 10 years, that 3% APR means that they make over $4000 in interest on their cash.



That means that after 10 years, the Harley rider will have lost $4000 more than the Japanese standard rider.



Another factor is for people like myself, who don't have $18,000 in cash handy. Financing a bike is little better than high-seas piracy--in the end, you'll pay nearly twice the value of the bike if you sit down and add up all of your financing payments. Many people have the ability to buy a new $6000 motorcycle with cash, but would have to finance an $18,000 bike--and they'd lose out big-time even if the resale value held steady.



In closing, let me say that if you just plain prefer the sound, feel, and ride of a Harley-Davidson, GOOD. Buy one and never look back (except when changing lanes, of course). But if you aren't devoted to any one type of motorcycle and you're very concerned with money, you can get a new 65-75hp Japanese standard and it will be easier on you financially in the long run.



Starving Student
 

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No type of motorcycle is immune to a stupid owner buying loud pipes. Cruisers have them; sportbikes have them. Hell, there's a Nighthawk half a block up my street with a Vance and Hines pipe--loudest CB750 I've ever heard. I'm sure even some Goldwing riders put loud pipes on their bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: You said it, bro!

I posted the original comment today, and afterwards I thought to myself, "I just know some moron will throw out the old If I have to explain you wouldn't understand cliche". Well someone did, and the reply above is just hilarious and absolutely on the money. Maybe everyone will get the point!
 

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It's interesting you bring up Ducati, a company tied to the use of "desmo" engine. This is another company that has elected not to develop an inline 4 (which was once considered) or to abandon their trademark valve configuration largely for reasons of tradition (read just about any article about the new engine to confirm this). No doubt you will say they have had racing success, but that points more to the difference in types of motorcycle between Harley and Ducati. That Ducati is able to do what they have with their engine is incredible. If they were to use different technology it would probably be even better.



Harley has made major advances with the twin cam. That it works so well given the fundamental problems with the design is amazing.



I am really curious by all these people that say they woud buy a Harley if they made a world class engine. Do you now ride metric cruisers? Or are you expecting Harley/Buell to compete against things like the 996 or Mille or RC51? Harley's torque output is competitive or superior to most metric cruisers (the Valk being a clear exception). Yamaha even tried to program "pulse" into its massive V-Twin to mimic the feel of a Harley engine.



And that is the thing Harley riders can't explain. That loping rythm of the single-pin 45 degree V-Twin just does something to some of us. Others see that some thing as a failure. I don't like the feel of inline 4 motorcycles. I didn't like the amazing smoothness and quietness of the Goldwing. The boxer from BMW does nothing for me. I cannot fathom why anyone would want a Hayabusa for street use. A 'busa rider probably can't fathom what it is about the Harley engine that speaks to me. What is great is that there are so many different brands/models to choose from that each of us can probably find something we like.
 

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I ride Harleys and but I have to tell a "wave story". With all the newbies riding Harleys sometimes they get a little mixed up. I have a couple of Harley's in the garage but I also have a Buell. When I ride the Buell, I use a full face helmet, Vanson leathers etc. Well when I ride by these new Harley riders they give me the cold shoulder because they think I'm on a "japanese crotch rocket". I actually get a pretty big charge out of it. No wave, they won't even look at me.

I wish they could see me laugh (at them) under my helmet.
 
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