I've got to agree with Buz and KP. Jeez, how many times can you say that?
First of all, the TT is just butt ugly. Second, it fills no real need in the market. It's not really a supermoto, isn't significantly different than the current products and the other Lightning variants look much better. I think the Uly is closer to a supermoto than the TT.
It's pretty obvious Buell is following the H-D new product development philosophy, which works well for the cruisers but is less than exciting in the sportbike world.
How about H-D giving EB a little more capital to work with? They can afford it and it might just pay off.
Re: kpaul suggestions for Buell i.e to sell 200,000 bikes
Holy crap. I'm going to agree with KP again. H-D can certainly afford to develop a new engine. Plus they've already got the data from the Revolution project. Now, whether they think it's a good investment is another issue.
H-D makes plenty of money selling their stuff. Maybe it's not the initial investment in the new motor but the ongoing costs associated with entering the traditional sportbike market that makes them hesitant. Once they throw in the towel and build a new engine, they're sort of compelled to keep up with the competition. Then again, it is H-D. The theoretical new engine could be in production with few real changes for 40 years or more.
I have to agree that Harley makes plenty of money to develop a new sportbike. I'm sure I can't think of a better way to ***** that money away on a wasted effort than that. Everyone can see how fantastically successful the American sportbike market is. We all see the new American sportbike manufacturers are coming out of the woodwork. Tons of money being made here, right? How is Harley stupid enough to miss this? Here's how. People aren't going to buy it because it's American, and there is no way they can make it a fast, or as cheap as the Japanese. But you'll buy it because it's an American product, right? That's the biggest lie since 'The check is in the mail'. Just ask GM and Ford how the 'buy American' schtick is working out for them these days. Harley just asked for concessions from thier labor union. I doubt the glorious new American sportbike is coming soon, despite all the time and effort we all spend thnking of ways to lose Harley a boatload of money. All of you need to thank Harley. They saved you all from the effort inventing new excuses not to buy a sportbike from them.
Remember how Triumph's sportbikes were treated? The Daytona 955 was always lambasted because it was .001% slower around the track. Never mind it's the one the testers would buy with their own money. Oh no, the squidlies preferred to crash on ballbusting Gixxers rather than on the more comfortable 955. The 955 has no Burger Barn bragging rights for the "Sunday 50 miles to the cafe' and back" crowd.
The TT600 was another 99% wannabe that the people who couldn't even get 75% out of a GS500 also avoided like the plague. Think Harley noticed this? Ya think?
None of the sportbike mafia would ever ever buy a Harley sportbike (if Harley built one that was competitive) no matter how much they claim they would. Never happen. No instead arrogant monomaniacal shythead owners of obsolete sportbikes would still spend their waking hours picking on the bikes that they've never ridden.
Re: kpaul suggestions for Buell i.e to sell 200,000 bikes
OK so HD could for sure. But they won´t. Also those sport riders generally wouldn´t take a brand for a substitute of lack of performance. This is to assume HD couldn´t match the Japanese, which is fairly safe assumption.
I think if Buell stuck a more competitive motor in there they'd do ok. Like BMW did with the Rotax and Aprillia built motors. Still a Vtwin, they can manufacture them over here so you still get the "Made in U.S." schtick
All said and done though, my buds XB9R still gets through the twisties pretty gad-damn quick with the dinosaur Sporty motor in it.
Well, I think the automobile market is a bit different than the motorcycle market. I actually think there would be fair amount of people who would buy a competitive American sportbike (if priced somewhat competitively), simply because there hasn't really been one. Now, given the apparent bias towards H-D in the sportbike world, I'm not sure if they'd buy a Buell.
But, in general, I agree with you. I don't see the problem as sales so much but the cost of ongoing development. And it doesn't fit H-D's long held strategy. If Buell/H-D was to enter the sportbike wars in earnest, could they sell enough bikes and make enough profit to make the whole thing worthwhile by their standards? Would it be worth if from an image standpoint?
Buell is better off staying in their "alternative sportbike" niche. That doesn't exclude development of a new engine, but they should stay away from direct competition with the race rep crowd. I've no doubt that the initial development money for a new motor is chump change to them, but they are in a very successful business, so the question is cost/benefit (and I'm sure they would want any development to benefit H-D branded bikes in some way, which isn't too likely.) Only the product planners at H-D have a clue as to whether it's worth it. My guess is also that they think the answer is no, at least for now.
But it is clear that the XB line is being stretched a bit thin. Changing handlebars and seats, adding hand guards and calling it a new model isn't really going to cut it. From what I understand, Buell isn't exactly raking in profits.
Who would want to step into a market where you have to spend piles of cash on R&D and then throw out the product every two years for a redesign to make it .01% better or else the squidlys will abandon it in droves?
Oh and it has to be really cheap so you can make practically no margin on it as well.
I wonder if Buell could do a 60 degree air-cooled DOHC motor and still fit it into that chassis?
It could be less vibey and more revvy. Perhaps be a lot lighter than the Sporty mill as well.
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