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Re: One Man

First post!

I don't think you sound like a crybaby, but this is one of the things that makes America a great country... If you build a product, and you price it too high (Like EH has done) and it doesn't sell, it's because it does not have value to the consumer that the producer believes it does. If they'd offer something that was reasonably priced when compared to other companies producing similiar machines, they'd do fine. Or they wouldn't, if their product got a bad reputation... look at what happened to HD during the AMF years.
 

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Die Hards Die Hard

I have many of the same feelings about Bimota. But it doesn't matter, they're about to go out of business too. I think they have/had a great product line-up. I think a SB8 could beat an RC51, Mille R, or 996 R in a direct test. But you know what? It doesn't matter. Bimota is run by fools. They never marketed them. They just think "We'll build a couple hundred and someone will buy them." But that's not true, and they're dead. They have no brand image, no advertising, no dealers, and they don't make their bikes available to the press. You need a good business to go with your good product.
 

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Re: One Man

the Excelsior is a fine motorcycle, having serviced & ridden a few myself. E-H has a few problems, one with selling the bike for less money than a comparable H-D, and management not suited to start up a manufacturing company selling high end motorcycles. But, Dodge was bailed out by uncle Sam, thus Dodge is on the pole in the biggest race in its sport(read mondo free advertisement), H-D was bailed out by the government and has prospered also(dimwitted management decisions & all) for if Sam doesnt bail them out, I, for one will be sad to see E-H go
 

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Re: One Man

So lets look at this:

They built an ugly, badly functioning bike and charged to much for it and I should support them out of pride in America?

Sorry big guy, in my America people who build products that don't sell go out of business. It is a system you may have heard of, it is called capitalism. The other system produces bikes as ugly as the EH, anybody out there ride a Jawa or an old style MZ?

I'm not a big Harley fan but I respect them for building what people want, if EH can't do that they should shut down and stop whining.

I work for an American company that makes products that dominate their market around the world. I don't think any company, especially an American company, should need pity sales. Compete or die.
 

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"Create jobs"

Create jobs? Now here is a common misconception. You call Japanese cruisers dogs--and I think your reasoning is weak on this stance, especially with innovative ones such as the Valkyrie and the Magna--but you seem to forget that all those Japanese cruisers are built in the US. Hell, most of the Big-4 cruisers you see in the US aren't even available in Japan--they're US domestic only. Shadows and V-Stars and such are built in the US by American workers.
 

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Re: One Man

I have a very bad opinion of Americans ( like most Europeans do ), because ( generally ) they're moronistic, brainwashed, egocentric mindless robots. But...

This man totally made sense. If Americans are so proud of their own culture ( if such thing exist at all ), their own product or heritage, they would save this company, just for a sake of it. Like Italians saved Bimota, MV Agusta or Benelli. Because they're enthusiasts as well. Not only businessmen. They're true petrolheads as well and they willing to sacrifice if their national valuables are in crisis. That's why Rossis, Biaggis, or Fogartys are national heros. Kenny Roberts had a 9 page interview in a Brit magazine and for comparison, Cycle World had some 4 lousy pages with him, which in details or style don't even comes close to the Euro-mags' interviews. Same happened with Edwards. I guess that's part of the reason why the american motorcycle culture is about 10 years behind of Europe.

Compete or die. Exactly. Good for you.

Harley does not build bikes people want. They have a group of brilliant marketing sharks and they make people believe that the greatest thing on Earth is to own a " piece of America, a true American homemade pie " a Harley ( made in elsewhere, with cheaper labor, which is OK, I guess...it's capitalism, gentlemen... but don't tell anyone...). And you know', it's really sad, how they're cheat on people. Lie or die. That's a name of the game here. There are a very few quality American products out there. Why? Because it's not worth it to make any. No. The money they save on low quality, underengineered, bootlegged products, they put it in marketing. Works like magic. You can sell the worse piece of crap, if you market it right. And that's what's happening. Think about Harley or the Corvette for instance.

I call it lie.

Finally, there's something which could be good. For a change. And you guys come up with this " compete or die " . Probably you still believe that America is the greatest...right?

Anyway, it's really refreshing to know that there are guys out there, who honestly believe that something is not kosher. Yeah, it would be great to save Exclesior-Henderson. But, there's no chance. $$$ speaking, dreamers are dying.

Oh, one more thing: don't flex on my grammar. I speak your language much better, than you'd speak mine.
 

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ITALY SAVED BIMOTA!?

Italy saved Bimota!? Do you mean in the last month, or are you talking about years ago? And if it isn't recent Bimota news that I missed, where are the Italians now?

And while we're on Bimota, let me say this about the government saving businesses: Why should the government spend the people's money to save a business that has been mismanaged, and/or run into the ground? As I said earlier, I think Bimota's great. But they've been ruined by a complete lack of business sense. No advertising? No bikes for magazines to test? No attempt to construct a brand image? I live in Las Vegas, a rapidly growing city of 2,000,000+. There's no dealer anywhere near here. All the government money in the world won't save Bimota or any other company if they won't fix the problems that killed the company in the first place. Then all you have is a complete waste of taxpayer money, your money, the citizen's money holding some idiot businessman's mistakes afloat.
 

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Re: ITALY SAVED BIMOTA!?

Well, I agree on the fact that they're weren't business oriented. But they've made excellent motorbikes. I can see the theory behind it, though...The Bimota has always been exclusive. They didn't advertise their bikes too much, because people find them regardless, and they sold their bikes. The problem was, the production costs were too high... Exclusivity trap...but still...brilliant bikes.
 

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Bimota

Bimota is not exclusive. At least in America, they're an off brand, like Laverda and Moto Guzzi. I've seen them sell for under MSRP. That's a good indicator that no one wants them. And if they were exclusive, they could charge more for them, and people would happily pay it. Look at the price on a Bentley if you don't believe me. That was part of Bimota's problem. They didn't have an brand image at all.
 

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A Victory Owner Responds...

Frank,

I'm frankly amazed that you don't know basic facts about Victory Motorcycles. You stated, "Victory, a Canadian machine trying on it's own to it's credit it is it's own proprietary design, but not inspiring."

Victory is an American machine (designed in Minnesota, which is geographically near Canada), with engines made in Osceloa, WI, and assembled in Spirit Lake, IA. According to our research, a greater percentage of Victory motorcycles are actually made (not just assembled) in the USA than any other motorcycle manufacturer.

Victory is very proud of its new design, and admittedly, not all riders share interest in the looks of the bike.

Victory will, however, continue to produce bikes for the next years as the mother company (Polaris) is committed to expanding into this market. Polaris already had the dealer network, parts sources, and engine design teams on hand when they began this project--that is why Victory is going to survive (sales were up 50% last year).

As a fellow owner of an American Motorcycle, I hope that E-H can pull out of its financial situation and also survive in the coming years. I wish you luck as you attempt to keep them in business.
 

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Re: One Man

Cheers to that!! Above is one of the reasons I'm looking for employment oversea's once I graduate... Thanks for solidifying my feelings that one more degree!!

On a side note, in regards to your grammer, you handle it far better then most americans I know;-)
 

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Zounds, You've found us out eh!

Ack!

You've discovered our plot for Canadian global domination, starting with a stealth annexation of Minnesota. It stands to reason, they say "eh" and play Euchre (card game). They're pretty much Canadians anyway. Oh well, if you don't tell, free Victorys for all!

Seriously. EH was terribly run. Yes, sometimes there is value in propping up an industry now and then (the prefferred US method is government contracts and military spending). But, EH is not a heritage company. It was a grand idea, by some real dreamers, using a name from the past.

Sadly, the dreamers didn't dot thier homework (nor did their investors) from a business perspective.

The best hope now is for someone to buy the whole thing at cents on the dollar. Given the current economic slowdown, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Mike
 

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Re: One Man

I take exception to your comments about Americans in general. Of issue, are several things you stated, that make you no better than what you claim we are. Since our countries succession from Euro anarchy we have become a melting pot of so many varied cultures, there can be no definitive culture. The common thread is people of all walks of life can come here to "live free and die free".
The notion that Americans are brainwashed, (I'll assume your diatribe about Harley's is an example of your claim) by "brilliant marketing sharks" couldn't be farther from the truth. I can't remember ever seeing a commercial on TV for Harley's. Actually, with little more advertising than an occasional ad in the motorcycle mags, Harley managed to sell more machines than they could deliver...for several years. The truth is (generally), Americans like Harleys. I personally never owned one, I prefer motorcycles that are smoother, have more power and handle a little better, but I respect others rights to "buy what they want" without harboring resentment toward them for their choice. I would consider those who call them "moronistic, brainwashed, egocentric mindless robots", arrogant, and boorish.
Admittedly, motorcycling sports are a bigger phenomenon in Europe than America. It's sad to note that the sport some of us have a true passion for is taking so long to catch on in the US. I would have liked to read a 9 page interview with KR or the interview with "Foggy", but I'm glad "to get what I get" here in the states because its still more than we HAD. European cities have narrower streets, and tighter traffic, hence to facilitate ease of passage through town, many ride motorcycles, scooters, and bicycle. Naturally, motorcycling has become a part of their culture. In the US, with exception to our cities, the roads can be very long, flat and straight. Americans drive big autos, and ride big bikes. Spend all day riding through the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas maybe you'd understand.
I believe you're right when you stated our "motorcycle culture is about 10 years behind Europe". But 20 years ago I would have said we were "generations" behind you. It sounds to me like we're catching up. In my eyes thats better for the sporting world.
 

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Re: One Man

I agree with many of your comments. I thought that the E-H motorcycles were a great effort. The design and technical details seemed well done. The factory sounded excellent - perhaps too much so, if anything. The bike appeared to be a serious potential rival to H-D, if the brand could get re-established.

Unfortunately, the Hanlons, for all of their enthusiasm and success in getting the product into production, failed in the very arena that H-D excels - promotion. They seemed to allow their arrogance to interfere with the need to develop the relationships with the motorcycle industry media, as just one example. There were too few articles in the mainstream magazines telling the story of the company and its products. When the bikes began to appear in dealerships, they did not have enough awareness developed, and there was insufficient demand to kick off the launch with a surge of sales. It was incredible to see these bikes sit in showrooms, when an agressive marketing campaign would have resulted in waiting lines and real excitement.

When the new Gold Wing was released, it was on the cover of every motorcycle magazine. The new Bonneville has had extensive coverage. E-H could have easily developed this kind of support. It needed it, and in the absense of it, the bikes floundered.

I would sincerely like to see the brand turn around, but there has been a disappointing lack of positive news since the bankruptcy. They may have missed their best window of opportunity. Honda is now entering the cruiser market with a significant new product, and the economy is cooling. It may be too late for E-H.
 

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"Bailed Out?"

The State of Minnesota gave the Hanlons over 7 million dollars as a loan to START the company. Did anyone give Harley-Davidson or Dodge equal gifts to begin operations? Or how many companies created state-of-the art facitilies for manufacturing from step 1? No, the Hanlons made errors in the process, and continued to do so. I know of one former E-H engineer (this is the joy of living in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota) who stated that the engineering team would have a completely finished part in their hands, and one of the Hanlon brothers would walk in, say, "Oh, I'd like to change this." Suddenly the engineering team would be thown into chaos, again going back to drawings. This happened again and again--just imagine the cost.

E-H's problems are due to the Hanlons themselves. If someone else can make the brand profitable, then I hope they make it. Nonetheless, there is a lot of overhead with the brand (debt, building, etc.) that forces those cruiser prices up.

Let's not forget how the company screwed the stock holders.

And the government should NOT bail E-H out of this one. Let the market decide if we need 4 American manufacturers (I include Indian that is supposed to have its own engine within 2 years).
 

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Re: One Man

Glad your "bad view" of Americans doesn't influence your comments any. It's good to know you people in Europe can still hold a grudge without managing to remember other significant bail-outs(World War I, World War II). If America weren't the greatest, we'd probably all be speaking German now. If the government doesn't help E-H, so what? Who are you as a non-citizen to determine what a symbol of this country is?

If Harley doesn't build bikes people want, then perhaps you have some other explanation for why they've posted record sales for something like 9 years in a row? To me, that seems like a whole lot of people parting with their hard-earned money for something they don't want in a market filled with options for a lot less cash.

Sure, Harley is not the greatest product. Isn't marketing part of the business end of things? Maybe E-H or Bimota should have tried marketing once in a while. You obviously have internet access so you should be aware that advertising in this day and age is easier than it has ever been. You no longer have to reach out to people in their homes, you simply place an ad and the world can stumble across it. Ever see an E-H, Bimota, or Benelli ad on a motorcycle site? Not me. I've never seen one in a magazine either. I have however seen quite a few for Aprilia, a relatively small company that is taking on the big boys and winning despite having a relatively high-priced product and limited exposure.
 

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Re: One Man

Here's my 2 cents:

As a business owner you've got to compete...At bike week '98 I was told by an E-H Factory engineer that only dealers who'd sell E-H's as their only product would be considered. As a salesman I was blown away. How many dealers do you know of that will set up an entirely new location based on an entirely new product with no advertising, floor plan support etc.

There are reasons companies go out of business, and lack of dealerships is a biggey.

They could have built the best bikes in the world, but no dealers signed up within 4 hours drive of my house (upstate NY) makes it tough to buy. Where will I go for parts?

I think it would be great if a bunch of enthusiastic businessman-riders bought the company and showed people how it should be done.

Next time make the product accessible and create a little excitement!
 

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Re: One Man

Spend enough time in the dealership and the curves of the E-H tend to grow on you. Indeed most owners I talk to seem pleased with the bike (or at least their employee discount since that’s how 50% of the bikes here in Minnesota where sold.)

However, one visit to that Taj Mahal of a factory in Belle Plaine, MN and one could plainly see that the organization's priorities were askew. Opening the mini-museum and posh gift shop before the production lines were rolling or the marketing plan was sorted out seemed the classic cart before the horse case study.
 

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Re: "Bailed Out?"

I agree fully, as a sidenote, I recently talked to an Indian rep, their story is changing, what they are saying now is "We are so happy with the S and S engine that we might never go to a proprietary engine".

Considering how long they've had to develope an engine so far, and now this. I don't think they ever did intend to use their own engine. It doesn't seem to matter much to Indians base buyers aparently.
 
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