Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How Harley Is Attempting to Grow New Riders



Harley is celebrating their 115 anniversary this year and from what we’ve seen so far - it looks like they are on a mission in 2018. It’s no secret that the motorcycle industry as a whole is continually trying to gain new riders, but Harley has caught our interest with their recent plans. Back in July, Harley announced their accelerated strategy to build the next generation of riders globally - they’re calling it, “More Roads to Harley-Davidson”. The plan has three main points - introduce new products, give customers broader access, and create stronger dealers. Let’s unpack this new strategy and see what Harley is up to.

New Products
With a new plan in place, Harley has revealed that they are rolling out new bikes to customers and are extending their leadership in heavyweight motorcycles. The company plans on developing more technology that will interest new riders and keep existing Harley riders engaged and riding longer. They also plan to break into Asia’s emerging motorcycle market by creating an easily-accessible, smaller displacement bike. Last but not least on the new product front, Harley plans on rolling out their first electric motorcycle, LiveWire, which has been recently unveiled - coming in 2019. But Harley isn’t stopping there, they also plan to add lighter, smaller, and more accessible electric models through 2022. We are eager to see how Harley’s dedicated fan-base reacts to the new electric models, and we are also interested to see if all of the additional new models attract more riders. 

Broader Access 
As a part of this new plan, Harley also announced that they will advance their market delivery approach to meet today’s customer needs. How will they do that? Glad you asked. The company plans to give consumers broader access in three ways: creating high-engagement customer experiences across all retail channels, establishing strategic alliances with global leading e-commerce providers, and forming new retail formats including smaller, more urban storefronts. We can definitely see how this would successfully target a younger generation of riders and we hope it works. 

Stronger Dealers
Last, but not least - Harley plans to implement a performance framework that will significantly enhance the strength of their dealer network and the customer service they provide. Harley’s dealer network is crucial to the company’s overall success and we think it’s a wise choice to invest in them. 

Harley’s plans sound strong - and we’re all for growing the motorcycle industry as well as new riders, so we hope this new strategy is a huge success for the company. We’re curious to see if other manufacturers will unveil new game plans - only time will tell. Do you think Harley’s revamped strategy will work? Drop us a line in the comments below.
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53 comments:

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Unknown said...

Until Harley produces bikes that with better performance they will continue sell less and less. Slow and loud with poor handling characteristics is not the recipe for attracting young customers. Things are about to get a lot worse for them as BMW's new bagger is picking up steam and converting HD customers at an alarming (for HD) rate.

GPAltaBob said...

I'm sorry, but after being a super satisfied, proud GL1800 Honda Goldwing owner/rider for over 10 years I'm afraid I would never consider a H-D! Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, you'll never beat the Goldwing!

Anonymous said...

Ive been riding for 49 years and have been on Harleys for the past 20 years. HD has spent so much money, time and dedication into "branding", they are finding it very hard to impossible to "unbrand" and appeal to the new generations. Basically, they have been so successful in creating their image, they will fail in trying to get enough of today and tomorrow's market share to stay in business. They have enjoyed a very long run, longer than any other motorcycle product company, but I would advise them all to take their bonuses, retirements and pensions now and just be glad they had a good run.

Mike Gould said...

Yes- I’m happy the company has a strong marketing plan and strategy to expand their line and continue to grow. However, Harley Davison is such an iconic brand, I’m concerned the product will have blurred lines moving forward. I do understand the need to continue to grow and sell products but at what expense to the original bloodline. I am eager to see how well received the Harley Davidson brand will be with the younger population, especially with products like electric bikes. Lastly, I don’t think a strategy to sell in condensed urban smaller markets is such a bad idea. I would also add that putting a Harley Davidson on the sidewalk outside of a Costco would be brilliant! Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha already do it with great success-I’m just saying! Thanks for this article.

Beloved Harley owner.

Anonymous said...

Well, I hammer the super slab on a 2009 Vic Ham 106 CI and challenge ANY Hog to keep up wwith me! I gots it ALL for Mucho LESS hard earned $$$ too.
As a Vet 82nd Airborne trooper I say if youse ex Blasters wanna git close to feel the Hawk again at 1200 feet jump'n C123s/C130s climb aboard a buck'n Victory MC...I dare ya... don't be a LEG... Mike Gross Newburgh, In.

Unknown said...

Hats off to Harley for mining the daylights out of thier current base.

Every Harley Harley event I attend features a crowd where 95% is over 45 years old. The few under 45 guys are riding super old Harleys that they've customized on a shoestring budget.

Harley failed to capture the younger Market 15 years ago and lose new bikes not going to bring it back, way too expensive for these kids.


Unknown said...

Toyota has Lexus and Scion. GM has Chevy, Cadillac, etc. Harley needs an entirely new subsidiary.

MikeM said...

Harley Davidson is going through lots of changes, and so have their bikes. The new 2018 lines are lighter, better handling, and have more power.
After riding Asian bikes for many years and buying my first Harley 6 years ago, I will say that riding a Harley is not like any other. and the old saying is true, if you don't like Harleys, you've never been on one ! The only thing I would complain about is the pricing. I did buy a new one , but I can't see how the younger generation could juggle the price of the bike with mortgages, school loans, and just everyday life !

Unknown said...

I agree. I keep getting turned down. My credit isn't good enough to get a newer bike so I go to the bank for a $4000 loan to buy a 91 Heritage Soft Tail. Old Evo, I love it but with the news of HD moving out of America my next bike will be an Indian or maybe a Triumph.

Tim Olson said...

Harley Davidson didn't spend enough time and money to produce smaller displacement bikes to keep new riders buying them. A lot of today's riders can't afford HD. They relied on the baby boomers and now a lot of the boomers are not riding any longer. Just take a look at the line up of the metric bikes, a lot of different size bikes with price tags to match. There a lot of great bikes to buy with a price tag under $5000.00. Tim Olson

will overton said...

The only way sales will go up is for them to lower the price of bikes and ease up on the credit score and try a lower monthly payment it's that simple most people dont want to pay 300 to 400 dollars and insurance to ride a bike for 6 or 7 months out the year plus I know hundreds of people that want a bike but can't get passed the credit score thing it's to hard to get one so why try..if they can find a way around all that they will nail it and kill the competition ...

john RJ said...

I have enjoyed several brands of bike, my first being a 1956 Harley back in 1964. When I layed it down going 55 mph, I picked it up, kicked it over once and drove off...no damage. I tried Honda but all the plastic breaks with everything from too much pressure when wiping it down to sliding under trucks...everything breaks. So, I went back to Harley...FXSTI 2005...great bike...except, every time I went into the shop it was $500.-1500. for whatever was needed....hitting a dog cost $500.
I loved riding and enjoyed the awesome pleasure of open roads. When I tried to socialize with bikers, I was ostracized because, I didn't meet at the local gathering on Tuesday morning. Or, because I paid cash for my bikes...I didn't drink beer, have a tattoo or swear. I thought bikers were free spirits but discovered they were just as vain and trivial as Cosmopolitan magazine and the celebrity gossipers....
If I get another bike, I'll go alone and perhaps get one from the 40's or '50's that doesn't take a computer science degree to tune it up. I don't like parts from china and really don't want to have a new tool set so I can adjust the chain/belt or seat. Harley has always been my favorite eventhough I wouldn't hesitate to get a triumph. If I find a 1970ish Supercharged Norton, I'll go that one as a second bike. Whatever Harley does, though, we know it'll cost the consumer plenty to enjoy it.

Bobby G said...

Its a sound move for Harley, Its apparent that they are not going to attract "NEW" buyers, with the types of motorcycles that they now produce. They will keep their core riders and owners. HD's owner loyalty is every manufacturers dream, but the reality is that HD must diversify and expand globally if it is to survive.
Asian and European markets are very different than North America. They have different riding styles and needs. HD needs to develop viable smaller motorcycles for the masses, not just for those markets but for this one also.
Name recognition alone is not going to make it. Neither are cruisers. HD has to appeal to more types of riders.
I see that they are about to produce an ADV bike. Its about time, long overdue. They need to get it right. It needs to be good the first time out. It needs to be a viable choice amongst the other bikes in the segment. It needs to evolve as the market progresses. It can't just be ok . It needs to be solid body blow to the rest of the market and continue to evolve into better and better machines.
HD must do better on their research and development. Go outside the box and listen to other brands riders as to why they chose the bikes they are riding. Take the best from them and adapt it.
HD riders are true blue. I don't see them running away from their bikes just because they pass a sport bike with HD badges on it. Personally I'd like to see something along the lines of a Motus with a v-rod engine in it, at an attractive price.
Most of all HD needs to upgrade their QC. Do it right out of the box. Spend the money on QC not recall after recall.

Unknown said...

The US credit system doesn't work in other countries like it does here. Credit and debt rules king in the US allowing people to afford items like motorcycles that they can't afford otherwise. In Asia, South America and many places in Europe and other parts of the world affordability comes down to how much you have in your bank or wallet in liquid assets.

Sergio Martin said...

Is the younger generation even interested in riding anymore? A part of me thinks the new generations don't care about motorcycles. I feel like what Harley is attempting is a futile attempt to attract an uninterested generation.

Anonymous said...

I am with UNKNOWN Harley should start another brand. The Harley riders didn't except the buyers of the water cooled HD's (What's with that?) That's sad! They also don't except the sissy bikes (aka sportsters) so what's a guy without tattoos, black leather chaps and vests to do? Be critiqued for being a weekend warrior? A dentist on a Harley,..but the bikes are great! Any bike is great! Have rode since I was 8. And now 48 I am just not "cool" enough for HD. Or worse yet, one I might like, wouldn't let me in the cool crowd. And I certainly can't afford a custom bike that would set me apart. Aka like a "Russel Mitchell" design. Good luck HD. And I am not buying a bike from China!

Andrew said...

People have responded with how great their bikes are and how they love them and would never buy a Harley etc etc. I get that. People have pride in what they have chosen. I rode Yamaha’s and a goldwing for years and have had many bikes over the last 25 years. I took pride in the value of my bikes not being too expensive but still lots of fun.
But this Article is about Harley’s marketing approach. Motorcycle sales are down for every manufacturer or they are flat. Only Indian has an increase over the rest because they are newly reintroduced and their numbers were zero a few years ago.
The real question is what do any of the manufacturers do to attract the younger generations. This is especially true for Harley as their customers are a more mature group.
The millennials are known for not having much money and often are coupled with lots of debt. They’re interested in new technology and not their dad or grandpas chromed out Harley. You might sell them on a BMW or Ducati but back to our article, that doesn’t help Harley. And the most of them just aren’t interested in bikes at all. They would rather spend their money on a meal or craft beer and a new iPhone. So how do you sell them? How do you get them more interested ? Sales opportunities aren’t just with the millennials either. Women have money and can buy into a bike. And an increasing number of African Americans have become motorcycle riders and fans of bikes. There is a great market share there as well.
Harley can stop spending money marketing to my age group - 50ish. We’re alresdy there. We grew up with Evil Kneivel and always wanted a bike. We may not buy a Harley right away but eventually many of us come around and realize the quality has improved, the value is there, and that Honda doesn’t have to stand for “Harley Owners Need Dependable Assistance” anymore. They make great bikes and owning one of their tour bikes is awesome.
But that’s my generation.
And nobody has mentioned it but if you look at the statistics of where bike sales have been, where they are now, and where they’re going - combined with the median age of Harley owners with so many of them being Boomers - The future of Harley is that in 10 years there will be an overwhelming supply of used Harley’s for sale or being passed down and / or left in the will. This could be true of lots of bikes manufacturers, not just Harley.
As the boomers get older and retire, it will change all of our business and make many thing valuable and many things devalued. Much for Harley to consider.
We do marketing and produce videos for clients to assist them in their strategies to increase sales and ROI. This would have been a fun a challenging client to tackle.

Gary Jennings said...

There will always be the GTU (Generic Transport Unit) buyers who brag about dependability and how fast they can go but they don't care at all about style or class or something that is just cool. Harley will always be the leader when it comes to that. Do you want a Scion or a Corvette? If you just want something that gets you from point A to point B, then buy a Honda. If you want to have some style and be an individual, get a Harley.

Gwen said...

Ive had them all and as a single mom, I purchased a 2009 exspensive street glide, paid it off in 3 yrs. No I didnt get alot of child support, I worked alot and manage well. I just sold it, but have no regrets, it was awesome and got it at 42 yrs old. I ride Honda now, just as happy �� peace to all! Just have fun!!

Unknown said...

"The new 2018 lines are lighter, better handling, and have more power"

No, the new lines are de-chromed, blacked out, plasticized and over priced.

Base 2018 Slim is $17,300 and totally devoid of chrome...the kick is pathetically small and cheap looking...you've got ecposed bolts eith bkue threadlocker showing...horribly uncomfirtable seat...it would cost $1000's in upgrades to make the bike look impressive...low $20,000's for a single seat bike?

Mr Nobody said...

I agree with this statement. All the millennials want are phones, tablets and texting devices. They could care less about motorcycles or even cars. The huge growth of Uber and other rideshare brands says it all. They would rather someone else drive so they can text and send bathroom photos. I see where BMW is, in addition to their self driving cars, is developing o a self driving MC. That may be the only way you can get the millennials on one. Harley tried this once with Buell and failed. Their core of baby boomers is drying up from natural causes and there isn't going to be anyone knocking down the door to look at the new offerings unless you can text with it. Perhaps they should think about diversifying with a H-D tablet in orange and white.

Johnnie said...

Johnnie said, Harley Davidson won't have any problems attracting new and young riders at all. Most of them want a Harley, just simply can't afford one yet. The riders buying Harleys are the one that can finally afford to buy it, and it will always be like this. Beautiful motorcycles to be customized any way you like with lots of noise and quiet ones as well. I had metric bikes up till last month and now I got two Harley motorcycles and I love them. The future of motorcycles will be what people is proud to own and what they like and want only. I will maybe like something else later in my life and that's my direction.
Harley gives you expensive options that can save you expensive upgrades so buy what you truly want the first time and save some money. If it isn't what you want don't buy it. Nothing is
cheap anymore so help the other manufacturers and buy their products until you can afford the Harley or Honda of your dreams.

Ken said...

I have been riding for 41 years. I have ridden Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, a Czech bike and yes even Harley Davidson. I have been on 2007 Kawasaki 1600 nomad since it came out of the case in 2008. I love this bike and don't think I will ever part with it. It has never failed me. I have ridden with the Harley's. I have even been told by Harley riders that that would be the bike they would ride if they didn't ride Harley. I have it dressed out with fairing, trunk, stereo, etc. I won't ride a Harley because #1, they are too expensive. #2, they are unreliable and break down more than the Kawasaki. #3, My bike is more comfortable. My wife likes comfort when riding. Harley, you had a good run for many years. You have had to go to China, Japan, Taiwan, etc., to have your parts made so your bikes are not really American made anymore. the only thing American about a Harley Davidson is the name. I am thinking about looking at old Triumphs and Indians to restore. That will be my around town scoot and show scoot. Good luck Harley whichever way you go.

Unknown said...

Harley's marketing success is also their demise. Pretty much the entire lineup is bikes of different sizes made for riding straight ahead rather slowly. The problem is that most motorcyclist don't ride like that. From sport touring, Adventure bike riding, sport bikes, naked bikes, etc that are offered by other brands, engineering driven brands, all perform well. They are well powered for their purpose and are all much more athletic than anything HD has ever built. AT HD, PERFORMANCE IS NON-EXISTENT. They make bikes for GLIDING. Most people buy bikes for RIDING. THE GLIDERS ARE DYING OFF AND HD HAS NOTHING TO OFFER THE RIDERS.

Anonymous said...

Completely agree. They had a second brand in Buell but screwed it up amd then dropped it. Buell bikes were excellent machines great handling performance and modern. They even had an Adventure bike the Ullyses. Eric Buell was way ahead of his time and HD really didn"t get it. Had they invested and stuck with that program, they wouldn't be in this situation today. Then again, they were always greedy pigs, and that's unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

Harley needs to buy Ducati (or Triumph?). HD's marketing is fantastic, as is their customer service operation and dealer network. Their bikes however, even the new lines are pretty heavy and expensive. Ducati has good engineering, but doesn't have the marketing or dealer network HD has. They've got very little product overlap, so it would be a good merger.

I've ridden bikes for 40 years. Currently have an HD Sporster, have rented a few other HD's, and ridden dozens of Japanese bikes. HD's are still too heavy, slow, quirky, and expensive. Also they lack product lines in entire market segments. Rather than reinvent what Honda, et al, have already done, but another make and provide a full product line.

Honest Rick said...

HD is failing. Name any company in any industry who continues to produce outdated , poorly designed , yet expensive products yet thinks their “ Brand “ will carry them forward ! It’s a ridiculous concept and the fore mentioned article is embarrassingly limited. Go to any Metric Based Powersports Dealership in the US and ask any employee “ What is HD doing correctly or incorrectly and would you own one ? These questions and answers will negate the entire article above . So long HD . See ya in the Smithsonian !

Anonymous said...

Over the summer I took my 23 year old grandson out to buy his first bike. Since I am an old rider from back in the 70's, my first Harley was a '69 Electraglide, I took him to the nearest dealer. Worst mistake ever. The shenanigans and BS these folks put him through was in y opinion disgusting. Without going into too may details we gave it another try at another dealer. Same load of crap and BS as the first dealer. We decided then and there that Harley was out. We went to an Indian dealer we discovered that was fairly close. The sales staff was polite, genuine and eager to help him find what he wanted. They worked with him over a couple of months till he was ready and when the one he wanted wasn't available they ordered him one direct from the factory and held it for him till he could get in to seal the deal. Event eh financing was much easier on him and his wallet. Harley has a lot to learn about how their dealerships are treating the customers, a lot to learn.

Unknown said...

I keep reading how HD has "great marketing" and Ducati and others do not. HD is a marketing driven company. BMW, Ducati and others are driven by their engineering department. BMW and Ducati make fantastic motorcycles and they are growing. HD does not make fantastic motorcycles and the future is bleak. So, tell me, why would these other companies that make great bike want marketing like HD?

Anonymous said...

That is the best way to kill HD, assuming that young people are attracted to the brand

Unknown said...

Had a long day ride planned with a close friend a few weekends back. He has a 2014 Harley Touring bike with 9k miles on it. I ride a 1999 K1200lt with 44k miles on it. Half hour into the ride the Harley died. Alternator failed. How is it even possible with just 9k miles? Great service from the Harley dealer but we lost the day and he spent $600 bucks +/- to get it fixed. Its his second Harley and he had starter problems on his first bike at low miles. Add the fact that my 1999 BMW has more technology than the Harley (BMW had anti-lock brakes and adjustable windscreen standard that year on the K bikes) and you have to ask the question, when will Harley get its act together? I have been a shareholder twice over the last two years in hopes of a turnaround, have been disappointed both times. I love the company, and the brand, but that is not enough these days. This is a highly competitive world we live in. Lets hope the new strategy delivers for this great American brand.

john paul Garzaniti said...

They definitely have to sell new bikes in new ways. I think they realize this and are attempting to do so by changing their bikes and distribution outlets (for example new electric, adventure and off road bikes marketed to different riders in different ways such as through urban store fronts). Time will tell if they are going to be successful. GM sells Cadillac's and chevy's and they don't sell them the same way through the same dealers.

john paul Garzaniti said...

Agree whole heartedly

waneely said...

Sorry to say this, but all motorcycle sales are down, you are going to have to get the younger generation out of the house from playing video games and then maybe the motorcycle sales will go up everywhere. I also ride a goldwing, we took a trip to Yellowstone and my friends Harley broke down 3 different times and he spent $1,600.00 on repairs, he now has a f6b Honda. We rode both Honda’s to Nova Scotia this year, had a great trip.

Unknown said...

I don't usually work on Harley's but recently a neighbor needed brakes and rotors. He's been outta work lately and the local HD dealer quoted him over $700. I did some checking on various web sites and found him rotors, pads and rebuild kits for his calipers because the pistons wore thru a couple pads. Cost under $200. It took a couple hours including adding fluid and bleeding the system. I bartered him some paint work on my house for the job and we're both happy. I currently have an 05 BMW 1200rt, an 08 Kaw. 650 Versys and an 03 KDX 220, I'm restoring. I believe I ride and maintain these cheaper than I could one Harley. The dealers overcharge, wean out the frugal, young and modest income customers. Its a little late to attract any buyers from other genre's, after being the high dollar, low tech king for so long. The used Harley market is their biggest competitor.

Brian Fistler said...

In regards to bikes being handed down and coming into the market, Harley's problem is they haven't changed much at all over the years. Who go buta new one when a 20 year old model is 95% of what a new model is?
Other manufacturers have constantly upgraded, with SIGNIFICANT changes, power improvements, handling improvements, technological improvements etc over the years. IfOf course bikes that are constantly improved with real and meaningful changes drop in value faster than a bike that remains largely unchanged over the decades. When Harley does try making changes the changes are either minor increases in power (M8 engine) or completely rejected by their target audience (v-rod).. even the m8 engine is rejected by many as not having the same vibration and feel of the older engines

Anonymous said...

Go for a BMW and feel what’s to be on a magnificent machine, HD needs to kick off their designers and make something different but not like that horrible Adventure version that was on the media.

GreenMtnHunter said...

I'll never forget that first visit to my local HD, and the beautiful Heritage Softail Classic....but after rides, reads, and talking to owners, I bought a new Vulcan 88...that was 1980/81? . Since that time, I've done the process three more times, all Yamaha's, and have begun a fourth...Yamaha or Honda? My brother just traded his R1100 for a Tour Glide; nice upgrade for him...but he won't even try my "pejorative" Yamondaski....

Anonymous said...

I love Harley. American steed, and staid. They are in their 115th year, so they didn't build their business on the "current" baby boomers. Many riders today are Viet Nam vet era or younger. So, the correct nomenclature age of owners would be those “old enough to afford them” and enjoy them. When those riders were younger many were riding sport bikes, but "graduated" to the softer ride, bigger bike. So those riders will continually replenish, not just die off as “boomers” die off. I believe future generations will continued to migrate or graduate to the Harley. Decades ago GM had a strategy that young car owners would buy a Chevy, then graduate to a Buick, then an Olds and finally a Cadillac when they reached retirement. Harley shouldn’t worry about Indian stealing customers. “Converts” are not of significance. I suspect many attracted to Indian, would NOT have bought a Harley anyway. Like a Lincoln owner versus a Cadillac owner. If Harley wants to "EXPAND" sales and NEW markets, then they need to have "crotch rockets" and "Sport Tourers" or ADV's to target those NEW markets. That would draw them away from the Metric bikes, (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki) into the Harley show rooms. Those riders watch Moto GP and want to ride like Valentino Rossi, or Marcus Marquez. What wins on Sunday, sells on Monday. I own a BMW and a Ducati, but have owned Harley's BSA's Triumphs, Hondas, all sorts of types and brands. I currently don't ride a Harley because I ride very long distances, for extended periods of time and a Harley won't enable me to do that. Nor, since they got rid of Buell, and MV Augusta, do they offer an ADV bike, or any bike than can lean more than 15 Degrees left or right. Engineer a model, or purchase one, that can attract younger riders, sport riders, into the showroom. Give it a generation, twenty years, to develop. Don't get scared and dump the brand, or worse try to "harleyize" it (like they did to Eric Buell). A good bike will bring brand loyalty and when those youngsters get to their 50's they will buy the Milwaukee Glide because they will, at that time in their life, respect the tradition that Harley holds near and dear. As to comments about the social Zionism of Harley riders. I have seen some of that, but also have met and ridden with many Harley riders who are NOT like that. It is not fair to stereotype all Harley owners that way. 1%r’s ride Harleys. But so do the 99%r’s. For riding two up, and nice trips a Harley is hard to beat, and remember I ride a BMW. So, I get it. I have rented Harleys when I have a free day or two in a business location and enjoy the ride, comfort and relaxation. But if I want to lean on twisties I just wait until I get back on the Beemer or Duc. Harley needs to fill that void in their showroom offerings.

Anonymous said...

Electric? That will be a very small market, way more limited than the Buell would have done for them. As to European market? Harley will need something reliable in the sub 300cc category. Most European nations issue licenses in two distinct cc categories and often there is a waiting period before the operator can graduate to the higher cc category. Entering the "scooter" market is a radical departure for Harley and one that I don't think they (or their investors) have a stomach for. China (and India) is worse. Most bikes are in the 50 cc to 500 cc market and are of completely different designs than Harley is capable of effectively and competitively building. There is no "brand" loyalty or reliance on dealership networks in Asia like here in the US. Harley Corporate only makes money on financing, not on the price tag. Dealers make money on aftermarket and service calls and apparel. Not the price tag. Neither of those will work outside the US. European and Asian cultures do not work that way. The best potential for Harley to extend the top of their bell curve is to attract future American generations into their showrooms now, with brands and models to draw them in, and keep them so they will buy the "Cadillac" when they get into their 50's and 60's. Otherwise they are headed quickly along the steep downhill side of their bell curve.

Anonymous said...

I just finished a 6 week trip from Tennessee out to California and back through Colorado, Utah, Glacier and Yellowstone, Black Hills. I met and sometimes rode with many harley riders. I found them very nice, gracious, enjoying their time and their ride. Many many towns and areas "WELCOMES" "bikers". So motorcycle riding isn't as dead as some might make you think. American pride prevails. Keep it American and you will do fine.

Unknown said...

I would buy one tomorrow if i could get pass the high down-payment

Anonymous said...

I believe that a BIG factor to more riders would be to much more strongly link AMERICA'S HERITAGE AND FREEDOM THAT IS LINKED TO MOTORCYCLES. It is truly a unique story only America can well say: With a broad, over 3000 mile country of great diversity how - starting at the turn of the last century (i.e. very early 1900s) and beyond, there have been men (and later, women) of great thurst for adventure. A "pioneer spirit" all it's own.

One such historic venture (on cow trails and railroad right of ways many times) was the adventure of four enterprising cousins who embarked upon a cross country, motorcycle adventure from Indianapolis, Indiana to Denver, Colorado!!! (See http://www.granddadsbikerpics.com). One of the four even met their future bride in Kansas!


It was a promotional tour not only for Wagner Motorcycles; but, for the G & J "Double Clincher Motorcycle Tire" of Indianapolis, IN.


THESE are the stories of me not afraid to venture forth...even at some risk...across the country. And these are the stories, and history, which Harley Davidson should weave into a mantra that you're buying a piece of adventure...a piece of AMERICAN HISTORY with every motorcycle!


I hope the Harley marketing department reads this comment...and maybe considers underwriting (as the Producer) this tale - or any other similar one one can find of American courage, adventure, and exploration - into perhaps a full Hollywood movie. (I know that this one even comes with fascinating, day by day diaries of two of the four riders back in 1907...).


Anyway, I wish Harley well -- even though I'm a Goldwing Trike rider! :) Harley...and even the new Indian...I pray never parish! Otherwise, such pieces of Americana shall be lost...forever!

Anonymous said...

You have some valid points. We ride expensive out dated bikes that truly are not worth the money or brand. Let's face it the "hipsters" think riding a Sporty is cool. Time's a changing and hope H-D can keep up...but seriously 114" motors were being done 10 years ago!

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Juan said...

Yes! I do believe that Harley is on the right path; albeit; a bit late, but never the less the right thing to do. The Harley Owners Club (HOG) could follow up by making these new riders welcome into the fold and perhaps ride a little faster or at least on two groups like "fast" and Not-so fast". I am looking forward to the new models and a test ride on one or two.

Unknown said...

Harleys have such bad suspension softail rear is a joke with these broken up roads L4 and L5 get beat up bad with the combination of forward pegs WTF are they thinking. They are to heavy and over heat in all the stop and go in city traffic which is always. There is no excuse for any of this they just don't want to change in a changing environment. They must have cashed in big over the past years making many of the same parts over and over. People are not stupid and as we get older we need better riding bikes not heavy hard riding bikes to end our riding days. hope they can get there act together and build a simple REAL water cooled old style v-twin with a small turbo to boost the compression when needed and a design that you don't have to pull half the bike apart to replace a drive belt.

Unknown said...

Harley prices are out of control, I can afford one but I would never waste that much money on a bike.. there's just no value for moeny.

Unknown said...

I feel Harely Davidson as a motorcycle is at least from todays standpoint way overrated. Used to ride a Harely 1200 back in the 70´s and 80's. Today there are bikes out there for example BMW with more advanced safety features as well as technically more advanced even Japanese Models have more to offer than Harely. HD is going the way of the dino if they don't watch out.

Best Wishes

j.d. miller

Mork said...

I ride a Ducati sport bike long distances, but approaching 60, am thinking of buying a cruiser. I love the look and sound of a Harley but am having trouble getting past the lack of performance. For this reason I will end up buying another Duc or BMW.

Unknown said...

For the longest time up to about 2000 riders had to put down deposits to get on a Harley wait list at some dealers. Those days apparently are gone. During that time I sensed an air of arrogance at a couple of the HD dealers I visited.

The younger generation just isn’t into motorcycles as those of us in our 50s or 60s. Look online at most dealer websites and you will see brand new leftover motorcycles two, three or sometimes four years old. I’m 65 and have been riding 48+ years, everything from a Honda 90 to an FLH, a Gold Wing and a ZZR 1200. ( a bike I found religion on). At the Laconia Bike Week it looks like an AARP convention. Even the members at the Hell’s Angels booth are of Social Security age!

Many older riders like myself have some money to splurge on a new toy but with a bad knee (like myself) or some other ailment the super heavyweight bikes aren’t practical like, say a V Star 950 Tourer- my present ride.