gentlemen,you are getting way off track here.riding has NOTHING to do with money and i dont ever remember trying to rationalize the purchase of a motorcycle.please turn off your calculators and RIDE!!!!!!!
I have a 92 Softail and I love it. I also have a 97 TL1000S and an 82 CBX. I'm not into the "lifestyle" BS that seems to go with the Harley crowd, or the Harley clothes, etc., etc. But, it is a lot of fun to ride.
Highlighting the flaw in a flaw finding analysis...
1) You did not account for inflation in your analysis. While this has not been the case lately, inflation will go up. The HD actually is appreciating since $1 today will not buy what $1 will buy 10 years from now. The HD will keep it's price.
2) You also assume that the rider stops riding after 10 years. While the HD rider has to add a few $K to purchase another HD, the japanese rider is using more than half of his savings to buy another Japanese bike. When purchasing such assets (motor vehicles), the purchasing does not usually end until death / incapacitation. Your point may work if the buyer is about to retire, however, not for the person that keeps upgrading / swapping out.
Good try, you almost had me going, but looking at any situation narrowly cannot fit in all situations. As in all other purchases, it's a matter of taste, then money. Not that I think you're coming from this point of view (although your screen name could infer it), the Harley haters usually are ticked because they cost as much as they do and decide it's not for them and hang the argument on technological competition. If that were the case, Toyota and Honda would have taken their place in the top three in USA. Hasn't happened yet (although Toyota is close to #3). People in the US buy what they want, not what fits the norm.
While fit and finish off the floor is good, part of what makes Harleys look like Harleys is some of their aftermarket stuff. I've got a pair of gen-you-whine chrome HD risers for both my wife's Softail and mine, and after 4 months, the chrome started flaking off. On both bikes. Since it was passed the 90 day warranty period for those items, the dealer wouldn't even consider replacing them.
Still, I like the bike. Comfortable for relatively long days (500-800 mile days) after changing the seat, they just run and run and run. Other than standard maintenance, we've done nothing to the bikes in 25,000 miles put on both in 19 months or so. Ridden hot, cold, raining, hailing. From sea level where we live to 12,000 feet in the Sierras. Never a complaint. Not even a single loose bolt. (I also had a Dyna Glide before and my wife still has her Sportster, which just passed the 30,000 mile mark)
Sure, someday I'll have some extra money lying around and I'll get a second bike, probably a sport touring machine of some sort. But use of something like that would be a toy to me, something to play around with in the immediate mountainous vicinity, rather than something to ride 800 miles a day on, day after day. Ironbutts (and ironbacks) not withstanding.
But there really is something about riding a Harley I haven't gotten from any of my previous bikes. Maybe it's all the people who just have some story to tell, even if it wasn't them that owned one, and they feel like sharing with you. Puts you sort of in the same continuum, I guess.
Oh, and to the guy who said 5 Harleys = 1 house. . First, each of our two bikes cost $12,600 in April 2000. Second, where we live cheap houses cost $250,000, and a modest house in a decent neighborhood goes for nearly $500,000.
Now compare any motorcycle to *any* car, and you can see that motorcycles in general aren't all that great of a value.
"Second, the "resale value" math that HD owners often cite is flawed. I've posted this a ton of times, but I'll do it again. Compare a $20,000 out-the-door HD and an $8000 Japanese bike (600cc supersport; ZRX; Concours; Shadow 1100). "
The problem with your "Harley math" is your base line assumption is flawed. Harleys range in price from just under $6,000 for a Sportster to just under $20,000 for a Heritage Classic or Electraglide Ultra. There are around 26 models inbetween that price range. I think some BMWs and Goldwings are about in the same upper range. Whether dealers are getting more or ripping people off is irrelevant: that's a local issue that isn't true in all localities.
So, using your comparison, someone who bought a Sportster comes out far ahead of someone who bought an $8,000 Japanese bike. Even Buells are better at holding their value, and those are in around $10,000 or so.
You may have been trying to logic your way out of the abysmal resale value of Japanese bikes, but I sure hope you don't make a living as an accountant. Your math and hypothesis suck.
hey man now no kidding where do you get affordable parts for late '70s hondas? or any Asian bike? like whole engines ya know everything I need to put say a 76 back on the road. Thing is I am trying to get a guy to sell me his old Superglide and if he wants to sell it (give it to me really cause I'm not going to pay what it's book price is) I can put it back on the road, but no matter I can ride mine it's just his was the first Harley I really noticed, don't know what ever happened to my 550 it leaked oil then to, but nobody cared
In regards to Harley Math, the reason why Japanese sportbikes do not retain value has alot to with technology turnover. The Japanese motorcycle companies revolutionize sportbike technology every few years. Who would pay big money for a 1998 GSX-R when a brand new one is infinetly better? This doesn't mean it's not fun, I owned a 1987 GSX-R "the original" and it is one of the best bikes to ride ever. But it has no value on the market because the technology has been out dated for at least ten years now.
Which leads me back to HD, the company. The bikes, whatever your opinion of them are, is not the problem. If you like riding them, fine, by all means. This is America and you are allowed to blow your money on anything you so desire. Hey I've even heard of people paying woman to beat them?!?! The problem is HD the company. It is unfortunate that they are the only surviving (large capacity) American motorcycle company because their corporate behavior shames American motorcycling. Their lack of reliablity, tech improvement, pricing strategy, etc. is surely a disservice to the American riding public.
And somebody mentioned that Suzuki might go out of business soon. This is true, but this is also a sign, to me at least, that they have striven to improve motorcycling. Their continous technological improvements, realibility, keeping prices down, and investment in racing, although it might have made bad business sense, it makes for perfect motorcycling sense. Yes congrats to HD for being good capitalists, but shame on them for being bad stewards of the American motorcycling community.
Hey, I agree. But the award was for company of the year, and they are a great company. Companies make money. HD makes alot of money.
I don't care much for the american flag as a marketing tool, but HD isn't the only company doing it (which doesn't make is okay, just makes it hard for me to get mad at HD for doing that). As far as comparing what you get for the $, that's pointless, people will pay what they think it's worth. Some people need to be part of the crowd, some don't.
Therefore, the price of HDs will fall (I think it already is falling - anyone else notice that? bikes that used to be listed at 18-19 are now at 16-17), since the supply has risen. And as long as HD relies on the rebel image, eventually there will be SO many on the road that people will want something else. How can you be a rebel when you look like everyone else and ride the same bike as everyone else? That's always been my biggest question about HD.
The one good thing they have done is made cruisers popular, which allowed Honda (and everyone else sans Ducati) to make loads of money selling bikes like the shadow, money that was spent on developing great sportbikes.
Ride what you like, and like what you ride. Brand loyalties aside, we all ride motorcycles.
I own 4 bikes (Harley Fat Boy, Aprilia Mille R, Yamaha R1, and Yamaha R6 track bike). I enjoy riding them all, but will end up trading/selling the sportbikes for Harleys in the next year. I'm in my early 30s, but am starting to shift my riding focus due to changes in tastes and the riding community.
From my experiences as a rider (15+ years), it is easy for me to understand why Harley will be #1 in the foreseeable future from a business and rider standpoint.
1. Plenty of dealerships, with tons of bike & rider accessories available. Most other brands don't keep a full line of items on hand. If I wanted to buy from a catalog, I can do so online.
2. Harley Owners Group (HOG) and so many rider events scheduled throughout the year. I'm married, and my wife enjoys to ride. We like to plan for scheduled events.
3. Consistency of dealerships/service: Sure, there are good/bad anywhere you go. However, like the "burger franchises" the Harley shops are pretty much set up alike. That makes them easy to navigate. I've lived in 4 different cities over the past decade due to business moves, and it is easy to find a Harley shop and get quickly acquainted.
4. Aftermarket support for Harley is unequalled. Engine, wheels, frames, chrome, pipes, etc., can't be matched by any other brand.
5. Marketing of labeled accessories. I admire the fact that many Harley t-shirts and items are bought by people who don't even ride. Harley-Davidson is well established in the American psyche as "The Motor Company." When someone thinks motorcycle, Harley comes to mind.
AS A RIDER:
1. I've owned 19 bikes over the past decade; all types. If I could only keep one bike it would be a Harley. Why?
2. Harley's don't become obsolete. Sportbikes become dated within 2 years of launch. One upsmanship is the name of the game with sportbikes. My favorite sportbikes are Ducatis and Aprilias. I don't care that they aren't the lightest or fastest. They are unique and fun (compared to some).
3. I like my Yamahas, and have enjoyed my HondaKawaZukis over the years. I can't say that anything distinguished one from the other. They were all reliable and nice bikes. From an intangible standpoint, they were all pretty much the same.
4. I love sportbikes, and always will have a soft spot in my heart for them. That said, unless I hit the track; there aren't a lot of places in metropolitan (and even rural) areas where you can really push them to the limit without risking attracting attention of the law.
5. Cost isn't an issue for me; however, insurance is not cheap. Depreciation on resale isn't fun. Difficulty finding parts for older bikes isn't either. Harley does a better job than most here.
6. Harley's are like golf. If the Lord is willing, and I can live until I'm 80; I'll be able to keep on trucking on my Harley. There is no way that I'll be an 80 year old riding an R1/GSXR/ZX/CBR. I'm happy that I've found a brand of bike that I enjoy.
The above are my reasons. I bet that I am not alone. My dad rode a Harley when I was a young boy, so that probably put the idea in my mind. That said, I'm betting that many readers of this page will someday own/wan't a Harley. If not, that is fine.
Hey, don't ask me. I don't really give a crap about the rebel image. I don't see many of the stripped down Softails like my wife and I have, and the ones we see don't have saddlebags. Most seem to be Fatboys, Heritages and Road Kings. But...there are 26 different Harley models.
Besides, what kind of rebel rides the touring bikes, of which there are 4 models besides the Road Kings?
As for selling prices, the ones I've seen fall are the ones where people are asking for more money than a brand new bike. I mean, why the hell would anyone pay more for a used bike than for a brand new bike?
Also, the fact that the prices haven't fallen through the floor considering we're in an official recession is astonishing to me.
Last. There may be a lot of them on the road, but like most motorcycles, they're not being ridden a lot. Another one of those things I don't really understand. My bike is my main transportation, something understandable since I live in traffic hostile but lane splitting friendly Los Angeles.
It does make one wonder though. If they're now making 250,000 Harleys a year, where are they all going? I don't think they're actually taking sales away from other companies. Though I do know people with multiple bikes (hell we have 3 and only 2 people riding them).
And *I* want something else. Though as an addition to the stable instead of. Maybe a Buell, V-Rod based sport tourer or a Sprint ST. You can't have too many motorcycles (until you run out of space in the garage).
I believe what he is saying is that a house for him would cost about $100,000. So if you line up 5 Harleys worth 20k (I am including accessories and T shirts here, and I am being generous with the $$$...let's pretend they are all Fat Boy's, hmm?), and put a house on the other side, I would take the house too.
I would never own a bike, or a car, or anything excepting buisness related materiel worth more that 1/5 my house...to me that just isn't sound financial planning.
Obviously, if your house is worth 500K you aren't going to have trouble finding the scratch for a new hog.
BTW, not to be a jag here, but bragging about what you're worth just pisses a lot of people off. We only care what you ride and why, not about the value of your home. Modest house my foot. One day I would hope to own such a fine piece of real estate, but I would never be so crass as to refer to 500k as 'modest'.
"So if you line up 5 Harleys worth 20k (I am including accessories and T shirts here, and I am being generous with the $$$...let's pretend they are all Fat Boy's, hmm?), and put a house on the other side, I would take the house too. "
Well, if you offered me EITHER a $100,000 house OR 7000 audio CDs, I'd choose the house too. But that doesn't mean that CDs aren't worth owning. The same goes for the Harley analogy--nobody lives homeless on their bike, and as far as I know, nobody owns FIVE $20,000 bikes. But that doesn't mean that no one ever buys a $20k bike.
First off, I didn't assume that they _stopped riding_ after ten years, I was assuming that they would be _looking for a new bike_ after ten years. In that case, repeat this scenario every ten years until death/incapacitation, and you'll see that buying Suzuki vs HD does not make a huge fiscal difference in your life--so the decision should be based entirely on what motorcycle you prefer, and not what is superficially "better for the pocketbook" because of lack of depreciation.
As for inflation: it has been my experience while looking at Blue Books that HDs keep their _original_ MSRP, not the _current_ MSRP. Maybe with some models this is different. As it is, inflation is much much lower than 4%-8% per year, so the general concept of my example still works. The economic difference is not so great that it should overpower your subjective taste in motorcycles.
"Not that I think you're coming from this point of view (although your screen name could infer it), the Harley haters usually are ticked because they cost as much as they do and decide it's not for them and hang the argument on technological competition."
I don't like Harleys for myself, but I really don't care if other people ride Harleys. If someone likes their motorcycle, wether it be an R1 or FXDX or KLR, more power to them. I really hate certain HD owners who feel it is their responsibility to tell me that I am "unpatriotic" for riding a Japanese bike, or that my bike isn't a "real" motorcycle, but I'm not going to condemn all HD owners because of a few bad seeds.
I also realize that all HDs are not $20k--a Sportster 883 is as inexpensive as an SV650--but some models, like my uncle's Fat Boy, are (especially if they have to buy above MSRP). Of course not all examples work for all situations, but I think that my counter-example works just fine for those who say that "buying Japanese motorcycles is an economically bad decision."
I don't hate people for riding 996SPS's or MV Augustas or BMW K1200LT's, even though I couldn't afford those bikes either. It always baffled me why some people hate Harley riders for riding expensive bikes. It's their money, it's their business how they spend it.
Suzuki and Kawasaki ARE really hurting right now, but it's not primarily because of any North American business practice, like revising sportbike lines or participating in racing. It's because the recent boom in Chinese and Korean bikes has KILLED the Japanese Big Four in the East Asian, cheap, small displacement, commuter bike/scooter market.
No, actually, I don't make a living at all at the moment--I live in an 8x10 foot dorm room and eat dining hall food. And you are correct that I major in history, not economics. Perhaps you would like to share your degree and business experience in the field of economics if you're such a master? If my math sucks, please point out the point where it is wrong. This is the formula I used:
(starting investment) * (1+[APR expressed as a decimal])^(# of years invested) = (ending value)
Doesn't seem wrong to me.
And I never said that all Harleys cost $20k. But some do. My uncle paid $20k for his Fat Boy, and I can assure you he's not the only one in the USA who did. Sportsters and some other models are significantly cheaper--an 883 is the same price as my SV650--but I've never met an 883 rider who tried to his purchase solely because of resale value.
My post was aimed SPECIFICALLY at those who buy $20k HDs, telling themselves not "I like this motorcycle" but instead "this motorcycle is a good investment." That's bad logic and a horrible reason to buy a motorcycle. I've got no bones with someone who rides a Fat Boy because they like riding it (like my uncle).