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Words from an Industry Insider

Your questions were directed to long time Hodaka distributor and industry insider, Pat McGroin. Here's what he had to say:

"Why don't more Americans ride bikes? A couple of reasons, really. First, you got your Squid Factor. Squids read all the magazines and get this idea in their heads that if they aren't riding the latest and greatest, the girls won't like them. Only they can't afford the insurance on the latest and greatest. You know how much insurance costs on a new Gixxer 1000? But you show 'em a bike they can handle, and they turn up their noses and start shopping the classifieds. Then of course a lot of them end up crashing or scaring themselves, so there's not a lot of repeat customers.

Another reason is what I call the Lard Factor. See, a disproportionate number of Americans who have steady paychecks are fat guys with big bellies, like me. Guys like that just can't ride a lot of the bikes on the market. Plus, a lot of them have wives, and there's no way the wife is going to let a guy blow eight grand on something he can only ride by himself. Anything under 750 cc's is pretty much out of the question. But you look at the bikes fat guys can take their wives for a ride on -- Gold Wings and Harleys -- and those things are just flying off the showroom floors.

Now if the factories would just start making more bikes comfortable for fat guys and start including insurance in the purchase price of the bikes to give people a better idea of what it's gonna cost them, and if the magazines would stop telling people their bike is a dog because a pro racer went one tenth faster on another bike, I think sales would pick up quite a bit."

McGroin also mentioned tentative plans for a Hodaka comeback. "The guys at the factory are looking at a 900 cc sport bike with a big, comfy seat the size of Rhode Island. Too bad it looks like crap."
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