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Author Topic: Harley-Davidson Has a Big Problem and It's Not Trump. It's That Its Motorcycles  (Read 3877 times)

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iski

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Was in the local dealership this morning.  Some 2017s & lots of 2018 bikes on the floor.  Dismal looking, was talking to a friend I have ridden with for years about their floor inventory. We both agreed the target market for these bikes was not us.  No CVOs on the floor, must have been sold.  The new Heritage is just.....weird. 
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Ironhorse

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We are a dying breed, literally. They have to find new riders, aka "the younger crowd". The problem is the younger crowd is not as interested in motorcycles like we are, so they have to give them appealing options like "Live Wire", and the new look. Then there is the problem of cost. Most folks in their 20s and 30 aren't willing to drop that kind of money into a Harley. And if they want a bike bad enough, the market is flooded with used bikes, foreign and domestic.
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2002FXDWG3

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Young people don't think Harleys are a good value, meaning cost: performance is poor vs. competition.
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scottt

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Young people don't think Harleys are a good value, meaning cost: performance is poor vs. competition.
Not just younger riders; I'm 67, have been riding Harleys since 1989, 12 new HD's.

Now I own a 18 BMW K1600B or Bagger. Following a test ride I couldn't go back. Finally a bike with great performance ( 160hp  ) great handling, comfort and features right off the showroom floor.

Not saying the BMW is perfect, it's not. Just a great bike that's a blast to ride. The price was inline with a HD Roadglide.

My simple point is that Harley has competition like never before. Some of us are becoming less brand loyal, especially those of us that have experienced the shift at the dealer level. No longer about relationships, love of motorcycles, respect. It's all about one thing...money. selling a perceived life style.

I still like Harleys, just see them in a different light. If I ever buy another one it will be used.


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Robmay

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Apples and Oranges. I had a BMW 1600 GTL. Great bike, but not the same.
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Mark

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Apples and Oranges. I had a BMW 1600 GTL. Great bike, but not the same.

Great bike, but not the same.  Yes I agree, no sumping engine on the BMW, LOL.
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Wunderkind

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Here my opinion from BMW Country.... about HD and motorcycling at all

Over here: Mostly no speed limit on the Autobahn, ridin´ totally different from the US or Canada.

I had my fast Bikes in the ´80s. Speeding was great! 4.5h to Paris for a cup of coffee!! About 400 mls.

We didn´t even pay for the Autobahn in France. Just running through those gates & TollStations. The Roads were empty cause for most people to expensive.

Thinking changed (see my introduction) with my first Harley. Wrenching & Ridin´from that day. Slow, some kinda hard & uncomfortable. Not the fastest anymore, not the most up to date gadgets on my bikes

BUT my kinda style in ridin´and livin´!

And Gentlemen... today as all the years before.... the BMW´s and all the other bikes overtake me!!!

Yeaah! But there are two things that still make me smile..... on the long run, I see them sooner or later at the gas station beside the Autobahn. They need whatever ´cept fuel. Taking Selfies, checking social media, eating, peexxx and finally fueling up. After 50 miles they overtake me the next time....

And when we stop anywhere together..... they did not look at me or wave. I get in for a coffee or the restrooms.....

Then....they get away from there brandnew BMW´s.... gettin´closer to that slow bike...... and look at it.... aaah Harley...

Harley is special! And if I learned somethimg in my life...... The most expensive, the most beautiful, the fastest or the most perfect - is mostly not the best choice. Even not over here in BMW Country!!! Where you can ride as fast as you like with your perfect machine.

mike


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iski

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Here my opinion from BMW Country.... about HD and motorcycling at all

Over here: Mostly no speed limit on the Autobahn, ridin´ totally different from the US or Canada.

I had my fast Bikes in the ´80s. Speeding was great! 4.5h to Paris for a cup of coffee!! About 400 mls.

We didn´t even pay for the Autobahn in France. Just running through those gates & TollStations. The Roads were empty cause for most people to expensive.

Thinking changed (see my introduction) with my first Harley. Wrenching & Ridin´from that day. Slow, some kinda hard & uncomfortable. Not the fastest anymore, not the most up to date gadgets on my bikes

BUT my kinda style in ridin´and livin´!

And Gentlemen... today as all the years before.... the BMW´s and all the other bikes overtake me!!!

Yeaah! But there are two things that still make me smile..... on the long run, I see them sooner or later at the gas station beside the Autobahn. They need whatever ´cept fuel. Taking Selfies, checking social media, eating, peexxx and finally fueling up. After 50 miles they overtake me the next time....

And when we stop anywhere together..... they did not look at me or wave. I get in for a coffee or the restrooms.....

Then....they get away from there brandnew BMW´s.... gettin´closer to that slow bike...... and look at it.... aaah Harley...

Harley is special! And if I learned somethimg in my life...... The most expensive, the most beautiful, the fastest or the most perfect - is mostly not the best choice. Even not over here in BMW Country!!! Where you can ride as fast as you like with your perfect machine.

mike

Very well said!   :2vrolijk_21:

US has speed limits, but when I was a young man I tended to ignore them whenever the mood hit me.   Getting there the quickest was more important.  Now it is just as important or more so to get where I am going how I want to get there, and that is not necessarily the fastest bike.  HD has a style unlike any other, for me it took some age before I appreciated that style.  Sounds like you appreciate that style as well.  Enjoy your ride!
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Robmay

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Here my opinion from BMW Country.... about HD and motorcycling at all

.... aaah Harley...

Harley is special! And if I learned somethimg in my life...... The most expensive, the most beautiful, the fastest or the most perfect - is mostly not the best choice. Even not over here in BMW Country!!! Where you can ride as fast as you like with your perfect machine.

mike

That's my take as well Mike. Well said!  :drink:

Rob
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Robmay

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Great bike, but not the same.  Yes I agree, no sumping engine on the BMW, LOL.

LOL....I hear ya...however, the guy I sold my BMW to ended up having to replace stuck valves on it after he'd had it for about a year or so. Took them 9 weeks just to get the parts...so there's that...  :drink:
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Threephase

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I did not buy a Harley believing they are  the fastest bike. I did not buy a Harley believing they are the most reliable trouble free bike. I did not buy a Harley believing they are the least expensive bike to own or maintain.

I bought a Harley because I believe they are the coolest bikes on the road. I love the unmistakeable sound of the engine. I accept the fact that they are not the most reliable. I find pleasure in working on things. I love the fact that when someone sees you pull up on one, they knw what it is, and they are appreciated for what they are, a Harley.

Most of the reasons I love Harleys are the very same rwasons I love 60's Camaros, Challengers,  Mustangs and other classic.

Maybe like beer and fine wine, they are an acquired taste.

If I wanted a bike to ride back and forth to work and never work on it or worry about its reliability, I would buy a Honda.

I am willing to continue down the road of life sitting on a Harley


Chevys and Ford and Dodges aint what the used to be either, but I do love my Hemi pickup, but it still fun to cruise in the 1970 Challenger.

Does Harley today understand this lifelong love? No. They have gone the way of corporate America. Indian Motorcycle as well. They aint what Indians used to either.

We all have our preferences. Thats why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

One of these days I will get around to restoring my dads 1958 FL. Right now it sits in my garage, just like it was when he finally wore it out. It will crank and run and blow oil out of the tailpipes and smoke like crazy, but it IS a Harley and I have memories of riding on it with him all those years ago. So right now, it is exactly the way I want it.

Sorry for the melancholy moment. But it was either write this, or have a bowl of chocolate ice cream...
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 10:19:34 PM by Threephase »
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Ironhorse

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I love the fact that are not the most reliable.


,.....so when your bike breaks down on Beartooth Pass on a Saturday afternoon over a holiday weekend,....you love that?? I sure as Hell didn't. Fricken' Stator #2 out of an eventual 4. I for one am tired of HDs breaking down on the road.
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Robmay

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,.....so when your bike breaks down on Beartooth Pass on a Saturday afternoon over a holiday weekend,....you love that?? I sure as Hell didn't. Fricken' Stator #2 out of an eventual 4. I for one am tired of HDs breaking down on the road.

There's always BMW...
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Ironhorse

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There's always BMW...

And Honda. I like that new GoldWing!
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scottt

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When I posted that I switched to the K1600B from BMW it was not because I no longer like Harleys. I've owned 12 new ones since 1989, I certainly like them.

Didn't buy the BMW bagger because I wanted to ride triple digits either. Simply wanted a new bike that was comfortable, handled, performed and road up to my expectations without spending thousands after riding home. I also like the looks and features of this new BMW model.

Being able to pass when desired without a concern. Believe it or not it's nice having Reverse at this stage of life. Comfort and handing, features like tire pressure monitoring, state of the art linked ABS brakes, traction control, adjustable suspension depending on 1 or 2 up, XM included with radio with 1 year trial, on and on. Again, it's not just about speed.

I'd still love to own a Harley but I would buy a used bike with a carburetor. As mechanical as possible. That's what Harley does best in my opinion.

Biggest change over the years, no longer married to one brand. Everyone should buy what they really like, what they enjoy. I'll wave to anyone riding anything.

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