Oh this is great open a can of worms mid week like we don't have enough to do. But i think the key is sales if we (motorcyclist) would quit buying the junk that our american owned ( alot of bikes are made in america just without alot of american parts) motorcycle companies turn out year after year they would either A. Go the way of the doodo bird (indian norton) or B. build something we like (honda yamaha) and make great profits. It is really up to us as cosumers to make this decision for them. Alas just like with the government we take what they give us without question and like it.
I think it takes either a black hole's worth of money or lots of experience. I think anyone can build a bike with a good motor, or excellent handling, brakes, etc. or find a top rider among the half dozen available world-wide, or assemble the right team, but you have to have all of those put together to be a consistent winner.
Oh, and you want to sell street bikes based on the racing machine as well? I didn't read the second part of the question.
You know, the easier way to do this is to buy Honda.
That's a tall order. An American company would have to be satisfied to sell a niche bike, and do it at fairly competitive prices (a la Ducati) without the resources of the Japanese companies (or even Ducati). Triumph tried direct competition (TT600) and failed (now let's see how the new 600 triple does - I predict relative success, but nothing huge.)
Sportbikes are most popular with younger folks, and they tend not to let "made in America" influence their decisions. So a "patriot premium" in price would not fly, nor would the bike be cut any performance slack for being American.
A four-cylinder sportbike would fail. A V-twin might sell in small numbers, at higher prices than the Japanese competition. It's up to either Harley or Polaris to do it, and I don't see the incentive for them to do essentially from-scratch R&D.
All the more reason to be thankful for the Buell XB9R/XB12R. I think that's as good as it's gonna get. Heck, I'll take one.
we want hogs man. that's why they built so many of them. when We want sportbikes maybe then HD/buell will start making them. Anyway, you saw Polaris/KTM deal didn't you? HellooOOOOO, u don't think there's potential there?
besides y does it have to b american? i bet u r sitting in your lexus right now...
First, bring a LOT of money to the table. Say $ 5 million for starters. A new engine is $ 3 mil. and on the cheap, $ 2 mil. for rolling development. That is just to get it DESIGNED.
That does not cover the cost of tooling, factory lines, etc.
Then consider this. Are we going to compete in a structured racing class? Yes? Plan on a major update every year, and redesign every 2-3 years. And not just the bold new graphics stuff. I'm talking leading edge material pushing stuff.
How many units will we sell in the 2 year life cycle of the product? Figure a safe number of 10,000 units. (based on Triumph & Buell sales #'s)
That will make it an expensive unit. Limited production, so parts, both OEM and aftermarket will be scarce and expensive. Which has the effect of limiting the interest in racing it, because of, get this, limited availability of race parts... bottom line, profit margin goes in the dump, parts support is a nightmare, etc.
Now, if we go the other way, and just go for a high performance bike, say a 1200, that will have a longer product life, as it is not designed to specifically compete in a class, we can plan on building say, 50,000 of them, with major changes every 5 years instead of every 2 years, suddenly, things get a lot more interesting.
Now, pipes, pistons, heads, etc. become a lot more affordable, because we (aftermarket pipe co) know that if we spend 8 months developing an exhaust and tooling it up, we will have 4+ more years of sales, with a unit base of 50,000 bikes, instead of 12-14 months with a unit base of 10,000 bikes.
Buell, Harley, and Victory get a lot of grief over the way that they do new models, but when you look at the reality of it, for what they are, they are very successful.
Harley will sell more Vrods over it's life cycle than Honda will of ANY of it's models over it's life cycle. Harley sold its 50,000 th Vrod with nothing but paint changes last year, and it was the slowest seller they have.
Buell will sell as many Firebolts over it's life cycle as Honda will of CBR600F5's over its life cycle.
I think because Harley & Buell builds a bike and let the customer figure out what to do with it, rather than building to a set of rules and trying to beat the other buy by 2 HP or a tenth in the quarter.
There are no rules on the street, and if you need to go faster, get out your credit cards.
I ride with the local sportbike crowd on sunday morning on my 99 Thunderbolt with a Penske shock, gold valved forks, a Buell race kit exhaust & ignition module, and EBC brakes.
My Buell is not the fastest bike out there, as I doubt it would top 140, but I have never been over a 100 on the rides we go on. I don't get left by Hayabusas or GSXR1000's, nor does any one bike have a real edge in the backroads.
Why? It's not a race. Yes, an equal rider on a GSXR1000 would smoke me if they tried, but that would be in the seriously dangerous realm that no one wants to ride in.
I think that is where the real success on these bikes lie. After all, they still sell V-Max's.
I am rambling, but I hope you get the picture as to how/why some of the decisions are made when it comes to new bikes from the American companies.
By the way, I would love a water cooled 390 lb. 1200 cc Buell as much as the next guy.
And in case you are wondering about my statements, take a look at the Honda CBR1000 and the Kawasaki ZX10RR. Both are awsome bikes, ALMOST competitive in racing, and they MIGHT sell 1,500 of each in the USA this year, and MAYBE 3,000 worldwide.
The Firebolt will sell that many every 90 days. In the USA.
The GSXR1000? Try less than 3,000 units in the USA, and maybe 5,000 worldwide each year, and every 2 years, another complete redesign for each one of them.
Oh yea, a big bore kit for a GSXR1000 is
$ 2,500 from Superbike Mike. Cams $ 1,000, Exhaust $ 500 and up.
I have not been able to find the same for the Honda CBR1000 or the ZX10RR. I am sure they are out there, I just don't have a few days to find them. (Or the interest)
A big bore kit for a Firebolt is less than $ 1,000
Cams are about $ 400, exhaust $ 400 etc.
This is not a slam on the Japanese bikes just a reality of manufacturing. Look at the cost of the latest Ducati 999's that are somewhat competitive with the Jap bikes. There is a reason that they cost $ 20,000+ to be able to run heads up. LOW volume and constant changes that have to be paid for somehow.
Longride was right in his analysis that Triumph was stupid to go head to head with the big 4. They were brave but they lost millions. I don't see how Harley/Buell would do it unless they quit selling their current bikes... Italian companies have trouble staying a float if they build sportbikes... From a consumer point of view why do we need another sportbike when the big four fiercely compete?
The 600 SS is the ultimate price/performance king do we need another competitor?
The last time I went to the local m/c junkyard (for a part for a Magna) I didn't see a single HD or BMW or Guzzi or Ducati or KTM or Husky. Nope. Only row after row and pile after pile of Japanese "junk".
I never said I don't wear helmets. In fact, I wear them most of the time. When I commute, which is every day so far this summer, I have worn it every day. They are certainly safer than not wearing one. Never have I said otherwise. I AM 100% against a helmet law. The government should stay out of the "life saving" business. They have many more areas they could screw up successfully. I am for stiffer licensing and training. Too many people that ride bikes they can't handle out there. Less crashes = less dying. I count on what's inside my head to keep me alive, not what I wear on the outside of it.
" I am for stiffer licensing and training. Too many people that ride bikes they can't handle out there. Less crashes = less dying. I count on what's inside my head to keep me alive, not what I wear on the outside of it." Yep you have definitely won me over on that one.. Your were right and I was wrong (I say that to my wife all the time, I bet you aren't suprised are you?)