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Thread: Is Harley-Davidson Dying?

  1. #31
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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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!
    I can't say for the bad guys, but the typical HD owner wants that low altitude, Barcalounger / LazyBoy reclined riding position. That's America for them and their knees.

    I took BRC instructor training with a group of HD riders and one of the range bikes was a G310. While I was unimpressed with the set-up of the G310, the fuel injection was too lean for low RPM operation and the rear brake peddle is in a strange location, the HD guys couldn't understand how anyone could "fold" themselves into that thing. However, by the end of the training, a couple of the HD guys developed a real fondness for the Suzuki TU250's. So, there is hope....
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  2. #32
    I wanted to love a Harley-Davidson bike and looked and looked but always came back with "do I want a 60's muscle car today ?". I think that is the problem for me with HD. They are stuck with an old engine and a heavy clumsy frame that doesn't handle well and is actually low on hp compared to the competition. I'm ok with them keeping that too but they need to be more modern and creative, especially with the engines. I mean look at BMW, we have 6 cylinders, inline 4's, boxer engines with shift cam and water cooled... They also have every category covered too like adventure, racing ,touring, dirt...All the Japanese and Italian bikes have diversity too. HD on the other hand is all about cruising, riding slow in parade-mode with limited lean angles (which in my opinion is the thrill of motorcycle riding).

    I wouldn't mind having an HD in my stable for diversity and noise pollution but here is their second major problem; the entrance fee is too high for an old clunker like that to just change bikes once in a while for diversity. I just can't see me having just one bike and it being an HD. I'd feel like I was missing out on the modern world.

    Granted HD is now introducing modern things like an all electric bike and so forth but the essence of the market is not yet that cutting edge but a great all around bike like BMW's GS bikes or cutting edge performance bikes like the S1000 bikes (I love my S1000XR for example) or great touring bikes like the RT's or K1600's. I'm a design engineer leading several R&D groups in my career and my direction was always to out do the competition in a leap-frog manner to try and stay ahead of the competition. Today you see this with BMW, Ducati, Yamaha, Kawasaki... but not HD or Indian who are all about "old school".

    Is it too late for them? My BMW dealer is actually an HD dealer too and I see who buys what when I hang out there. Both brands are very expensive and both brands suffer reliability problems so in this regard they are on an even playing fields but the BMW customers are a more diversified group from high end professionals to younger new riders while the HD crowd is just 'wannabees' middle aged beer drinking rougher snobbish crowd wanting to belong to a cult with an occasional professional. Here is the interesting thing about the clientele in my observation, BMW clientele look at all the bikes including the HD bikes while the HD clientele will only look at the HD bikes. Interesting.

  3. #33
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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.
    I ride all year in SW Ohio. What you say is true about 3 months out of the year. On the shoulder seasons above 60F, it's about even non-Harley vs Harleys, below that I see more European and Japanese bikes. In the dead of winter, a Harley sighting is a rare thing indeed.

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by robertov416 View Post
    I ride all year in SW Ohio. What you say is true about 3 months out of the year. On the shoulder seasons above 60F, it's about even non-Harley vs Harleys, below that I see more European and Japanese bikes. In the dead of winter, a Harley sighting is a rare thing indeed.
    Donít know what planet youíre riding on.
    I did a 250 mile ride on 17 May in central Pennsylvania.
    A very conservative estimate would be at least 50 Harley-Davidsons to every motorcycle of any other brand.
    Number of BMW sightings?
    Two.

    Additionally, wintertime Harley-Davidson riders far out number any other motorcycle brand. Anywhere.
    Even in Ohio.

  5. #35
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorUB View Post
    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.
    The video dude has it correctly, and from my study of trends, for several reasons. First, and most importantly, the Millennial generation and the ones following them are extremely concerned about climate change, and they blame the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). Burning fossil fuels when there are less or non-polluting alternatives is quickly becoming the transportation equivalent of smoking.

    Secondly, there will be breakthrough battery technologies which will dramatically increase the current capacity and reduce recharge time limitations. IBM has announced a new battery technology which can be produced with elements extracted from sea water - no more rare early minerals mostly located in China: https://thehill.com/changing-america...-from-seawater. No one really sees the enabling technology coming because it is not predictable. Transistors vs. tubes and integrated circuits vs. transistors, and so on.

    Thirdly, with increases in capacity, battery vehicles will be able to satisfy the vast majority of individual transportation needs, and the inherent maintenance and reliability advantages of battery powered vehicles will become an almost insurmountable justification. Compare your gas-powered lawn mower with the current generation of battery mowers. The battery mower now will cut on a par with gas in 95% of the cases, and but for blade sharpening, require no maintenance or fuel. They always start and are much quieter. Two years ago I bought a new gas mower, but now I need another for a second property and will be buying a battery model
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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by 48012 View Post
    Additionally, wintertime Harley-Davidson riders far out number any other motorcycle brand. Anywhere.
    Even in Ohio.
    Oh, really?

  7. #37
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    Oh, really?
    Based on what I see in the Idaho area, numerically there are far more Harley riders than any other brand. However, since there are about as many Harley's as all other brands combined, that is not surprising. We who ride one of the "other brands" tend to make too much of the cruiser posers, but I've met a large number of long distance Harley riders out in the middle of nowhere.
    Greg Feeler
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  8. #38
    Registered User cap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GREGFEELER View Post
    ...I've met a large number of long distance Harley riders out in the middle of nowhere.
    +1

    I have no interest in owning one. And I dread getting caught behind a rolling roadblock on a mountain road. But if you have ever seen the sheer quantity of Harley traffic near Sturgis in early August then you canít help but have respect for the high milers among them.

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by cap View Post
    +1

    I have no interest in owning one. And I dread getting caught behind a rolling roadblock on a mountain road. But if you have ever seen the sheer quantity of Harley traffic near Sturgis in early August then you can’t help but have respect for the high milers among them.
    Oh, I have seen them in Spearfish Canyon during the Great American Wobblefest. It was frightening. I've also have seen a few I didn't want to keep up with - floor board sparks and all.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 05-20-2020 at 03:49 AM.
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  10. #40
    Registered User cap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    ...the Great American Wobblefest...
    Think of it as ďThe Harley Hajj.Ē They wobble their way there from all over the world.

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by cap View Post
    Think of it as “The Harley Hajj.” They wobble their way there from all over the world.
    Do their trailers wobble too?

    The last time we went to Sturgis Voni made me promise not to stop for every bike beside the road or we never would get there. I agreed. We did pass a few breakdowns but since there were always other bikes and sag wagons there I didn't feel bad doing it.

    We parked in a grocery store parking lot a couple blocks off main street and started to walk downtown. We got to the sidewalk and there was an attractive bikini clad young lady standing on the sidewalk, in her high heels, crying, and a guy kicking the rear brake caliper on his bike which had been pulled up onto the sidewalk to get it out of traffic. I could smell the rear brake - it smelled like a semi coming down off Beartooth pass.

    I asked what was wrong and he said the brake was locked up. Duh. He said he had unloaded the bike (from his trailer) and the brake had locked up. It had done so on his six-block ride to main street. I asked if he had any tools and he said yes. He got his tool roll off the front fender. It contained - honest to God - a pair of slip joint pliers, a 10 or 12 inch Crescent wrench, a wooden handled screw driver and a claw hammer. A claw hammer! I told him and his bikini clad lady to stand back and used his Crescent wrench to open the bleed valve on the rear caliper. With a spptt it shot out a little very hot brake fluid and released the pressure on the brake. (Don't gloat yet. I learned this trick when a friend's /7 suffered the same fate going down the highway.)

    I asked him when the rear brake free play had been checked. He gave me a shrug and a blank stare. I used his Crescent wrench and my Leatherman Tool to adjust the brake pedal so there was actually some free play instead of none. I didn't know the spec, but did know some was better than none. He and his lady friend rode off, going the block and a half to cruise down Mainstreet. We wandered over to watch.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  12. #42
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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  13. #43
    Registered User cap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    ...The last time we went to Sturgis ...there was an attractive bikini clad young lady ... We wandered over to watch.
    I think you captured the essence of the Harley mystique, and why the brand has staying power. Scenes like that just don't happen at the annual gathering of the EVO Brake Lovers Club of America.

  14. #44
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    I get a kick out of these conversations. Think about the shear numbers of motorcycles Harley has sold over the years. Harley sold more bikes in the USA in 2007 than BMW sells in ten years. Twenty years ago BMW imported just a few thousand units into the USA, maybe 5,000 bikes.

    If I want to find a bunch of guys to run from Fargo to Duluth and back for lunch I know a bunch of Harley riders that will go any time. BMW riders in the area? Good luck finding one or two.

    Also, because of the huge numbers of Harleys sold I believe you can easily find idoits or doctors and lawyers, even easier at a hike rally such as Sturgis. Count the brands. How many Harleys versus BMW?

    I used to ride down to a party in Tennessee every year. There were every types from lower income to doctors that showed up. Most riding Harleys. Many rode long distances to get there. Some from either coast, Canada, you name it. One guy left Tennessee Sunday morning and headed to Duluth, up the north shore, into Canada and was heading to New York. He had meeting Wednesday noon in New York. 3,500 miles in a bit over three days, on a Harley.

    I still believe it is the rider, more so than the brand of bike.
    From the only real Fargo, ND!

  15. #45
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorUB View Post
    {SNIP}...I still believe it is the rider, more so than the brand of bike.{SNIP}
    Absolutely. IMHO true for all riders and all bikes. Still, in a way I admire the Harley escript de corps. I got a "Harley" button (non-logoed) many years ago which reads, "Better a sister in a whore house than a brother on a Honda."
    Greg Feeler
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    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

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