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New Guy at Triumph

5607 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  gatling
If it helps Triumph in Georgia recognize that they are doing, at best, a mediocre job honoring their warranties, I say "Great." If their warranty practices stay the same, I say "so what?" Either way, I'll hold off on buying another Triumph until I see if their customer service gets any better.

Joe Berk
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Judging by the quality of their web site, I'd have to agree that they don't think much of the Internet. Love my Sprint ST, though!
Then again, you could say the same thing about Suzuki and Kawasaki as well.
I hope they succeed in the face of stiff competition from Japan or find a unique identity that creates their own customer base.

But, isn't it more likely that sales of new motorcycles will decline? The baby boomers that created Triumph's market are going to start disappearing. Who is going to care about the Bonneville 10 years from now? I rarely see anyone younger than 40 in my local Triumph shop. Triumph need to market to the under 30 population.
The daytona 600, speed four, speed triple and sprint rs seem to get some attention from the younger crowd at my local.

It's a multi-line dealer and the daytona seems to get as much attention as the r6 and cbr600rr, though I don't know any actual sales figures.
Us "under-30s" will someday be over 50, you know. There's a never-ending supply of future old-folk ;-) Besides, I know lots of people under the age of 30 that love classic-style bikes, although it does seem to be a more ubiquitous trend in Japan and Europe.

Perhaps Triumph will have to compete with H-D for those classic-minded punters in the USA? Perhaps that’s why Triumph built the Bonneville America? I’m not sure, but it seems plausible. Speaking of which….. Any chance of MO reviewing a Bonneville America against a Sportster?

In all seriousness though, I think the key to Triumph's success has been niche marketing. They may need to stay "alternative" to remain in the black. Wasn’t that one of the reasons that Indian Motorcycles sank? They were too similar to Harley Davidson?

I think their biggest problem is price. I'd buy a Bonneville in a heartbeat if they could drop a few $$$ of that tag.

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Might be true, except that Harley is facing the same problem and they seem to be doing okay. Harley developed the V-Rod partially in response to that issue and it is not selling well; time will tell if their basic air cooled v-twins will continue to have appeal after we baby boomers stop buying. At that point, though, most of us probably won't care (we'll either be dead or in nursing homes). In the meantime, Harley continues with record sales.

Your comment about only seeing guys over 40 in the Triumph dealer is also mostly true for Harleys, although I don't know if it is a nostalgia thing or a disposal income question. You see a few more younger guys on Japanese bikes, but for the most part, I think repli-racers tend to be middle-aged or older as well (at least based on what I see on the Angeles Crest, Ortega, Palomar, and other classic rides around southern California). It may be you see more older guys on the more expensive bikes just because it's mostly us older farts who can afford these things. That's especially true for BMWs, I think, and BMW is not trading off of any nostalgic image.

Joe Berk
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Never owned a Kawasaki, but I have a TL1000S, and I can tell you that I never had a problem with Suzuki honoring their warranty. Same situation with my Harley (they never argued about warranty work).

With Triumph, it was a real battle, so much so that even though I love the Daytona I would really have to struggle with buying another Triumph. After the dealer turned down the warranty claim because Triumph America wouldn't honor it, I tried using the number the number the dealer gave me to call Georgia, and all I kept getting were phone messages or no answer at all. I finally found a dealer willing to give me the number they use to get through to Triumph America, and then when I did get through to a real person, I got a real runaround. After six phone calls and my finally threatening to go to small claims court, Triumph America relented. No one should have to threaten litigation for a simple warranty claim. In my opinion, Triumph America handled the issue stupidly. We were arguing about what probably amounted to less than $30 in parts. My guess is that they would make a bit more than that in profit on a new bike, but they won't make it from me, and they probably won't make it from anyone who listens to me.

Joe Berk
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They get as much attention until the younger guys learn they get less for more money than the equivalent Japanese model.
The price issue is the main problem with the V-Rod- it's built for a 25 year old, but priced for a 50 year old. That's why it isn't doing well.
I think price is definitely an issue, but I also think the market target is confusing.

If it's supposed to be a performance machine, well, congratulations to Harley...they built a machine that finally accelerates on a par with late 1970s Japanese bikes.

If it's supposed to handle, well, they failed.

If it's supposed to appeal to Harley aficionados, well, they missed the mark there, too. We like heavy, low-rpm machines that look, sound, and feel like a 1936 EL. No kidding. That's what appeals to us.

I just don't think they defined who it is this machine should appeal to. They want it to be their answer to the Cadillac dilemma (a few years ago, the joke in that market was that the typical Cadillac buyer's next vehicle would be a pine box). The V-Rod is just not Harley-like, and the Harley riders I know just wouldn't ride one. It's too radical a change.

I think the Buell may represent a more intelligent market development effort than the V-Rod, but I don't see that many Buells out there, either.

My advice? What I would do? How about something like a 100-hp Sportster, that looks like a Sportster, with a stouter frame that handled well, for around $7K? That seems like something doable, and I think it would attract a younger market segment in droves. Another approach? How about a dual-sport Sportster? The R1150GS is BMW's best selling bike in North there's a market there.

Nah, maybe they should just go back to Porsche, design a 1970s engine that would appeal only to German mechanical engineers, put it in a frame that handles just slightly better than Peter Fonda's Captain America bike, and just forget to paint the thing and leave it in the raw metal color....

Joe Berk
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