Yep I am sure Harley is worried about a niche bike like a Buell competitor .... Not like the big 4 have any bikes like that. Like someone said this has to do more with ATVs and snowmobiles than motorcycles
First one was their failure to buy the Indian name ... Could have spawned a whole new line of bikes based on the watercooled V-ROD engine ... this was the second big blunder.... Buells could have been competitive with any sportbike in the world. Oh, I'm sure they'll remain profitable for a good while yet, but their best days are behind them unless they remove their heads from their anal fundament.
I am torn. I own Ski-Doo and KTM. The good news is I will have a dealer 20 minutes from my house. The nearest decent KTM dealer is over an hour in the direction I never go. With a dealer that close the 9fiddy might get a spot in the garage as long as they don't go tribal with the paint.
You were on the highway, my daughters were in the woods on their xr70 and xr80. They rode for 5 hours (2 hours, lunch, 3 hours) on single track, and it was 95 degrees and humid. I would say that 1 mile in the woods is equal to 10 miles on the roads. (I am way more tired after riding 50 miles in the woods than 500 miles on my street bike.)
My 8 year old hit a stump hard enough to bend her shiftshaft back to the footpeg, and that is with a folding shifter. My guess is that you didn't ride quite that hard, yet you criticize how other people ride. I need some of whatever you're on.
The merger is a potential plus for american riders. Clearly, KTM's current marketing strategy leaves much to be desired. At least 3 local NY-metro dealers I've contacted over the last year regarding the 990 Duke haven't expressed much enthusiasm for the Company's apparent lack of support on bikes or parts availability for the models that were already "available" to the America market. Two told me they weren't planning on even carrying the line for 2005. There really isn't much of a margin on bikes for the dealer to begin with. So, why should they struggle with a non-supportive vendor. While the website displayed Duke graphics and stunning videos, not a single "courtesy" press release or website blip was published on the 990 Duke's American debut and my calls to the N. American HQ went unanswered, unreturned, or when successful were completely evasive in nature. Ditto for efforts to reach Austria Corporate. Possibly, the worst PR effort I've ever seen, compounded by KTM's refusal to exhibit at major American MC shows. I pretty much swore I wouldn't buy one even if it was imported. Anyway, clearly, the merger suggests that someone finally got the message that American riders (I can't be a minority of one) were not happy with the business-as-usual approach that was being pursued. Not that any Duke that made it over here would have languished in the showroom. And that's really quite unfortunate, because KTM really doesn't deserve our business. Ironically, by the time the Duke does get here, it's technical innovation will have been matched or upstaged by those companies who are generally responsive to their USA customer base and they will languish in the showrooms of America. An appropriate reward, I think, for their incompetent and contemptuous behavior!
--Do you think Harleys sell because they're excellent bikes, or because of branding? The Indian name is incredibly valuable from a branding perspective, and would be even more so in the hands of an American company. Do you think Stellican bought the Indian name because they were looking for a means to unburden themselves of extra cash? Harley should have bought the name just to keep it from biting them in the ass, which it surely will.
--Second big blunder, if you'd bothered to read my screed, was the failure to partner with KTM to develop an engine for Buell. Erik Buell is a technological genius hamstrung with an engine from 1957.
As for their future, the headlines are less than sanguine: "Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc. said Wednesday its second-quarter profit fell by 4 percent because of a planned production cut that has triggered lawsuits and a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation." Thus begins the great unraveling.
There are also an awful lot of people gunning for a piece of the pie. Yamaha's new Star line is going to do well. Triumph and Polaris are also experiencing robust cruiser sales that are only going to grow. BMW has new cruisers in the works. None of these amount to a hill of beans today, but even slow and steady growth, coupled with equally slow yet steady decline on Harley's part, will eventually create a new world of seven thousand dollar Wide Glides.