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Hey, I've rented a few Harleys for some long distance vacation touring and really enjoyed the experience, although a week's rental is pretty steep. I do actually like the looks of the V-Rod, Night Train, and Heritage. And as a BIG V-twin fan, I'd certainly like to get one eventually, but I refuse to pay the going admission. However, I have noticed over the last few months that all the Harley dealerships in my area are selling their bikes for MSRP. They used to gouge the hell out their bikes too! A few years ago, I talked to one guy that bragged about paying almost $30,000 (gasp!) for a Softail Heritage. Now however, the same bike is going for almost half that! When they get down to about 10g, I'll buy. The once unthinkable IS happening.
 

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I don't think renting out bikes is comparable to renting cars. I doubt we'll see the market flooded with ex-rental Harley like we do with Taurus's and Intrepids.



I think it's a good way to grow their business by allowing people to take one for a spin without paying $15k or more up front. Even if you ride sportbikes it's nice to see how the other half lives for a day or two, I think it's a pretty sound policy myself.



As to Harley's market taking a downturn, it's like any other recreational vehicle. In an unstable or uncertain economic climate sales go down. Looking at Harleys performance over the last 20 years they've shown a pretty impressive growth curve, even if sales leveled off from now on they still own a pretty hefty percent of the large bike market.
 

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"For every boom there is a bust."



Although, I'm not sure that H-D is really in any serious trouble. But if I think they even realize that the market conditions of the last decade or so would not last forever.



You can't ramp up production to the levels they have and expect resale value to stay at the same (outrageous) levels. It's just completely irrational to expect that people will buy a used bike for the same or nearly the same price as a new one--except when they can't get a new one.



Someone who works at an H-D dealer told me they've got a lot of bikes sitting around.



The vast majority of used bikes for sale around these parts are Harleys. That's not a good situation for resale value.



So when anyone says that resale value is a good reason for buying an H-D (or any depreciating asset like a car), I wonder. And now everyone and his brother has a Harley, so people are not going to pay retail for a used one. You'll still be able to sell a $15K (new) Harley for, say, $13K (for the time being). But you can probably also sell your $11K metric cruiser for somewhere above $8k (unless it's a VTX, oy!). So really, is the small net gain in resale value worth shelling out the significantly extra cash to buy an H-D in the first place? I don't think so.



H-D has smartly taken advantage of the market conditions that have existed. But I think they know that they've been approaching market saturation and that they have a demographics problem. That's why they've introduced the VRSC line. It may not be a big seller in this country yet, but those bikes will help to move H-D towards its future audience.



As far as the rental situation goes, I don't think it's a big problem except in the respect that H-D has been positioned as a premium brand for a while. Huge fleets of rental bikes does not communicate "exclusive," "upscale," or "luxury." I think H-D realizes that soon, they're not going to be able to rely on that positioning any longer. They're just going to have to compete a little harder and speak to their core audience while trying to atttract future buyers with new products. Just like every other manufacturer has to.

 

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I'm getting ready to buy one myself. I was looking at another Triumph but decided to get a Dyna instead, I'm waiting for my re-fi to go through so I should be ready to go in a week or two. They still have a couple here.
 

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Being OG in the GPTB, you needed to get that Harley badly. We were considering drumming you out of the corps. That would mean you would have to spend the rest of yor life riding with guys that have 600 supersports and live in Washington. Ouch!
 

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I'm in NY, too. Where are you shopping? Just curious. The guy I talked to, I think, works in one of the HD dealers in Nassau County on L.I. Or maybe the one in Huntington. I don't remember.



Let's also remember that we're pretty late into the '05 selling season. The '06s are going to be introduced soon. So I would hope that they don't have too many '05s laying around. And I wouldn't expect that they'd be likely to tell you if they did.
 

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H-D is a master at keeping demand over supply, thus keeping the prices at certain level. Kind of like the Fed tries to slow down or accelerate the economy with interests and other measures.

Well, it seems (like the economy) they can no longer control this since the situation is out of the parameters which can be influenced.
 

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Re: Kickin' me out huh? Bunch o' P.B.'s

I've been doing a whole lot of lookin' and ridin' and checkin' out and I'm pretty well set on an '05 silver pearl EFI Dyna Superglide with cast wheels for around $14.5 OTD, I'm just waiting on my re-fi to close in a week or two.

I looked at Triumph's and 1200 Roadsters and I just like the Dyna. They got a couple of the Dyna Customs, some Low Riders and a few standard Softail/WideGlide's and even a black and silver VRSCR for around the same money so I've got some options.

There supposed to be getting some ex- WSP's in as well, which is how I got my FLHP. I don't know if they're Dyna Defenders or the Road Kings, so I'll see what shows up. But most likely I'll get the silver Dyna.

I'll ride it out to Chicago and show yaz'
 

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Yep its the beginning of the end. All of the signs are there. GPTB is ever closer to retirement. Harley has all the signs of Chrysler in the 70s: Selling big boats. Older customer base. Selling lots of models at low cost to government/law enforcement fleets. Now the rental market thing. Some day they will ask for a government buyout...Eric Buell will be the Lee Iacoca of HD... Of course the largest government buyout will help..

OK the above is a joke... HD is smart. They know that renting HDs to their target group, upper middle income 40-50 year olds, is just great marketing. The V-Rod family will continue to expand with new models thus attracting more new customers and Sportster owners will upgrade.... It's all part of a great plan..
 

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Re: Kickin' me out huh? Bunch o' P.B.'s

Didn't know that WSP had any Harleys. All I see is BMWs. King County sheriff has new BMWs. Watch out they are hard to spot cause they are green..

Yep if you are going to be GPTB you got to get out of probationary status i.e. you have to own a Harley..... I am just jealous. I like the FXDX and Fat boy...
 

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Re:Whatta' Guy, Lee

Lee Iacoca's idea of luxury was a Chrysler New Yorker with landau roof, opra windows and red velour interior. They looked like rolling trombone cases.

No wonder they got their lunch handed to them.
 

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Re: Kickin' me out huh? Bunch o' P.B.'s

They're around. I think they're moving away from BMW because of high maintainance costs, and Harley gives them a good deal.

Besides, only Frenchman and other Communists would ride BMW's by choice.
 

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Re:Whatta' Guy, Lee

Actually, the K-car helped to get Chrysler out of trouble. Problem is, they stayed with them too long.

And, yes, they were pretty much sh*tboxes. But so were most American cars at the time.
 

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Why isn't the title of the story:



"Harley Charges For Test Rides"



I've wanted to rent a Harley but the rental places only seem to rent brand new bikes that would really cost you in a tip over incident. Maybe the dealers will rent out some trade-ins as well as new bikes.
 

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Re: Kickin' me out huh? Bunch o' P.B.'s

I rode one of the first ones with the forward controls. It was a nice bike and the Street Rod version eliminates any complaints I had but I just want a simple a/c twin. Nothin' fancy
 

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I don't think that renting more Harleys will give them any image problems. You can't rent a Harley for the same price as a Grand Prix. Rental cars are appliances that you rent because you need transportation. You rent a Harley for the experience of riding a Harley. Or of riding a Harley far from home without having to trailer or ride there. Different market entirely.
 
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