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Thread: Is Harley-Davidson Dying?

  1. #16
    Around 1980, one could have done a thread, "Is BMW Dying?" I remember my dealer, old Ted, commenting, "BMW is just about done. They might as well close up that Spandau prison".

  2. #17
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Develop new products that "might" appeal to new customers or double down on the market for the no helmet, ape hanger, straight pipe (NHAHSP) market? From what I see, there's a lot more NHAHSP bikers on the road in my area than ATGATT riders. The NHAHSP market may not support HD sales at the near 300,000 level, but the mid-to-late 1990's levels of ~150,000 units might be sustainable.
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    Acronyms ....

    NHAHSP?
    ATGATT?

  4. #19
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flhfxd View Post
    Acronyms ....

    NHAHSP?
    ATGATT?
    I just made up No Helmet, Ape Hanger, Straight Pipe. ATGATT = "All the gear, all the time" is an old one.
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
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  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by swall View Post
    Around 1980, one could have done a thread, "Is BMW Dying?" I remember my dealer, old Ted, commenting, "BMW is just about done. They might as well close up that Spandau prison".
    Indeed, and then in '83 the K100 was introduced in Europe. And then they brought the K100 to the US in '85. Then the K75C and K75T in '86 and the K75S in '87 and off to the races they went with modern design motorcycles, up to and including the K1600. And the R1100 series and descendants up to and including the wethead 1250s. And the smaller F series and G series bikes. Never a dull moment after that huge "Ah ha" moment in the '80s.

    To add to that, the stagnant line of air cooled opposed twin motorcycles that were becoming their death now has as devoted a following as you will find anywhere, other than among the HD die hard biker type fan boys. But BMW evolved in a spectacular way to survive. HD hasn't done so yet, except their reliability has increased by a couple orders of magnitude.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Indeed, and then in '83 the K100 was introduced in Europe. And then they brought the K100 to the US in '85. Then the K75C and K75T in '86 and the K75S in '87 and off to the races they went with modern design motorcycles, up to and including the K1600. And the R1100 series and descendants up to and including the wethead 1250s. And the smaller F series and G series bikes. Never a dull moment after that huge "Ah ha" moment in the '80s.

    To add to that, the stagnant line of air cooled opposed twin motorcycles that were becoming their death now has as devoted a following as you will find anywhere, other than among the HD die hard biker type fan boys. But BMW evolved in a spectacular way to survive. HD hasn't done so yet, except their reliability has increased by a couple orders of magnitude.
    A significant factor in that 1980-1990's period was the strong dollar policy of the Federal Reserve to constrain inflation. That made European imports a lot cheaper than in the 1970's.
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    A significant factor in that 1980-1990's period was the strong dollar policy of the Federal Reserve to constrain inflation. That made European imports a lot cheaper than in the 1970's.
    Which didn't seem to do a single thing for the British bikes; ie, BSA, Norton, old Triumph, etc.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  8. #23
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Which didn't seem to do a single thing for the British bikes; ie, BSA, Norton, old Triumph, etc.
    And, what on Earth could have? They were, technically, deader than a door nail by the time the K-bikes were introduced.
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

  9. #24
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    Cool

    I don't claim to understand the retail motorcycle market. What I observe when I am out in my car or on my bike is this: the bikes that I see out on the road are - Harleys. For every BMW, I'll see 10 Harleys or 15 Harleys. About half are riding 2-up. I'll see 2 sport bikes and 1 GoldWing. Any group ride you see will be almost always - Harleys, a mix of bikes and trikes. The BMW's are almost always single bikes or 2 bikes. Very seldom riding 2-up.

    My current personal ride is a 1981 R100RS. The bike I liked the most was a 2004 R1150RT. Am looking for another without a gillion miles. We (my wife rides her own bike) have owned many new and used BMW bikes. R65, R80RT, R100RT's, R1100RT, K1200RS, R1150RT's and R1200RT's. The newer RT's simply sit too tall for me when trying to ride 2-up. I'm 5'11" with a 31" inseam so I'm not a short runt. The real issue for every manufacturer is price. Harley does not have any entry level bikes for the guy/gal just out of college working in their first job. I don't know about BMW with the F700 and F900 as entry level bikes. One can gush over the 310 single all one wants, but if I'm a 24 yr old guy in my first real job and you're wanting me to say I ride a 310cc single (if it's not a off road dirt bike) - it ain't happening. There is simply no "Cool" in that.

    I don't know that electric bikes are the "Future" of motorcycling anymore than they are the future of cars. The usage is simply not there. There is no way around the range of operation and the time required to recharge. Nor is there any foreseeable material breakthroughs to eliminate the rare earth material availability, cost, toxicity and disposability issues.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44260 View Post
    I don't claim to understand the retail motorcycle market. What I observe when I am out in my car or on my bike is this: the bikes that I see out on the road are - Harleys. For every BMW, I'll see 10 Harleys or 15 Harleys. About half are riding 2-up. I'll see 2 sport bikes and 1 GoldWing. Any group ride you see will be almost always - Harleys, a mix of bikes and trikes. The BMW's are almost always single bikes or 2 bikes. Very seldom riding 2-up.

    My current personal ride is a 1981 R100RS. The bike I liked the most was a 2004 R1150RT. Am looking for another without a gillion miles. We (my wife rides her own bike) have owned many new and used BMW bikes. R65, R80RT, R100RT's, R1100RT, K1200RS, R1150RT's and R1200RT's. The newer RT's simply sit too tall for me when trying to ride 2-up. I'm 5'11" with a 31" inseam so I'm not a short runt. The real issue for every manufacturer is price. Harley does not have any entry level bikes for the guy/gal just out of college working in their first job. I don't know about BMW with the F700 and F900 as entry level bikes. One can gush over the 310 single all one wants, but if I'm a 24 yr old guy in my first real job and you're wanting me to say I ride a 310cc single (if it's not a off road dirt bike) - it ain't happening. There is simply no "Cool" in that.

    I don't know that electric bikes are the "Future" of motorcycling anymore than they are the future of cars. The usage is simply not there. There is no way around the range of operation and the time required to recharge. Nor is there any foreseeable material breakthroughs to eliminate the rare earth material availability, cost, toxicity and disposability issues.
    It will be there when gasoline costs overcome riders/drivers resistance to change.
    MOA #46783

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    Quote Originally Posted by Motodan View Post
    It will be there when gasoline costs overcome riders/drivers resistance to change.
    I watched a video a while back and that is what he said. We will all go over to electric voluntarily. It will get to the point where between maintenance and gas prices we will gladly go electric. He wasn't claiming gas prices will go up, just that electric cars cost to buy and maintain will be much less than what we are paying for a gasser. Tesla has a goal of a million mile car with zero maintenance, other than tires, and it will cost less than most cars in today's market.
    From the only real Fargo, ND!

  12. #27
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    So, getting back to Harley for one short moment, if the company goes out of business what will all the bad-asses ride? Inquiring minds want to know!

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    So, getting back to Harley for one short moment, if the company goes out of business what will all the bad-asses ride? Inquiring minds want to know!
    Harley Davidson of course. They have had around 50% of the market for years with just about every part replaceable with aftermarket upgrades, they will be around forever.
    A friend of mine just came by with an AMF Super Glide he has had for 35 years- still goin’ and marking it’s territory.

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  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    So, getting back to Harley for one short moment, if the company goes out of business what will all the bad-asses ride? Inquiring minds want to know!
    Sonny Barger stated in his book that he would probably ride a BMW (or Honda) if not a Harley.
    -Live as fully as you can as long as you can-

  15. #30
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldCamper View Post
    Sonny Barger stated in his book that he would probably ride a BMW (or Honda) if not a Harley.
    No probably about it; he was photographed several times astride his boxer RT.

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