Future of Motorcyling

Discussion in 'Indian Motorcycle General Discussion' started by NickJ, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. NickJ

    NickJ Administrator
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    This is something that I have been thinking about a lot in the last few months and year. It seems like the enthusiast markets are slimming down and getting sort of boring in both the motorcycle and automotive worlds. I can't think of much to be really excited about in the auto world and the stuff that I am excited about in the moto world is all of the small displacement stuff that is and has been coming out. All of this got me thinking... And we all know that it is dangerous.

    So, the exciting stuff in the automotive world are things like the Focus RS, and the forthcoming Hyundai i30N.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There is going to be a redesign of the Golf as well. Other than that, anything that is really cool is all coming from the spendy Lux brands. To me it seems like most of the industry is sort of just holding on and seeing what the electric technology is going to do. To this end, there is not much for "kids" to get excited about. Which is what, I think, is driving the malaise in younger buyers.

    This translates over to the motorcycle world as well. While motorcycle sales have marginally grown over the last few years, there was a slight recession in sales in 2016.
    Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 3.23.17 PM.png

    Manufacturers are doing everything that they can to attract new customers and from what I can see, this means smaller, lighter, less intimidating machines. Based on the opinion of a Motley Fool article talking about the demise of the Dyna being an effort to attract new customers, it stands to reason that HD would phase out the Dyna. That engine is long in the tooth and was likely facing being wound down to make room for the new M8. HD is softening up their image to make way for new riders who likely want more refinement in their motorcycle. CEO Matt Levatich has stated that he wants to bring 2 million new riders to Harley-Davidson by 2027, and that means attracting the younger rider.

    As I have said before, the relatively small-displacement Scrambler line completely saved Ducati a few years ago, and now that sales have cooled, and other issues for parent company, VW, the sale of the Ducati brand has been brought up again. If you look around the industry, a new, or throughly-refreshed "entry-level bike" is offered by almost every major manufacturer. The industry wants that young, first-time, and/or female rider real bad.

    In the way of large displacement bikes, I think that bikes have sort of hit a ceiling as far as HP numbers. 199HP in a 449lb machine is just about as bonkers as it should get. Rider aids are doing a lot to keep us out of the ditch at that point. To me, the HP can go down and the weight of the machines can get lighter. After all we are in love with that feeling of acceleration. That comes by way of power-to-weight ratios.

    In the cruiser market, what do you REALLY want out of your next machine? Why do you want an Indian 4? Is it just so you can say that you have a 4 cylinder Indian, or do you want performance? Other than that, what do you want from that truly NEW cruiser?

    Along with many of you, I remember pasting posters of cars up on my walls, and looking at moto magazines dreaming of getting that new machine. I would watch super pixelated rally videos and episodes of Top Gear on my computer. All of this was to get hold of that dream of riding or driving my idyllic machine. What does the current generation do that is the equivalent??? I know that they aren't posting up photos of a Prius on their walls. They aren't scouring the internet for video of a Lyft car in action. What is the next thing? What is the electric revolution going to do to motorcycling? What will bridge that gap?

    What do you think?
     
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  2. thumper

    thumper Gold Member
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    Being an old fart I have a hard time understanding as far as motorcycles go, why so many want a constant supply of new and improved.

    I have to look at it from my perspective. That being, I ride simply for the joy I get from riding and nothing else.

    Granted I now ride a late model Springfield and smile every time I do. I also fot a couple years prior to buying my Springfield, rode a Ural and smiled just as much on it.

    I think if one gets bored with the lack of progress, they are riding not for the ride, but for the rush, or the look at me factor and that's fine.

    I just think with the rapid fire Technology advances we have today in phones, games and computers, that people have become programmed if you will to expect it and somehow feel incomplete or let down if they don't have it.

    Not sure if I make any sense or not but that's one of the great things about being an old fart, I really don't care if it does or not.
     
  3. SouthernProducer

    SouthernProducer Well-Known Member

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    Interesting post, Nick...I've been watching the trend for motorcycle sales and even auto sales as it relates to manufacturers' targeted customers. I use my son (in his mid-30's and nephew who is also in his mid-30's) to bounce ideas and thoughts on the subject. Agree that even the desire to own a bike or auto is waning with the younger set, but there is still interest in "hot" hatches and reasonably priced and performing bikes. Focusing on the motorcycle topic, I offer the following examples/thoughts:

    My Indian dealer is a multi-line dealer that still seems to have decent sales in most brands they handle, but they are also close to a university which helps with sales of small displacement bikes and scooters. I've had similar conversations about the trends with the owner and he sees most interest by younger shoppers in smaller displacement bikes and especially those that are priced in the sub-$10K range. The dealer also sells a LOT of UTV's which tends to even out his revenue stream for what can be defined as the off-season for motorcycles. One big change in his business practice involves reducing the number of various models he floors (except for Indians which still sell well so far). He sells the Big-4 Japanese brands, KTM, Vespa, Moto Guzzi and Aprilia. Interestingly, he stopped stocking Aprilia, but still sells them to customers that want one ordered (1 or 2 a month), V7 and V9 Moto Guzzi's are on the floor, but none of the M-G cruisers. The floors many of the Japanese, and KTM bikes, along with a complete selection of Vespa's. If it is a good seller...he stocks it. For example, the 50th Anniversary V7 is HOT right now and he orders all he can get. Off road bikes are still selling and he stocks a nice selection. I've been there often enough to see the "type" of customer that shops there and here is what I deduce from my un-scientific research at that dealer: Millennial's and younger shop the smaller, light and moderately priced bikes and scooters. It's what they can afford. When I scan the shoppers in the Indian section...those shppers seem to be more like me..."older"...even the middle aged ladies seem to beeline to the Scout Sixty, and the younger ladies gravitate to the V7's and Japanese offerings. Of all the brands, Yamaha seems to have a lock on what the younger set wants as sales in the Yamaha FZ's tend to sell well. Notice a confirming trend here?

    As for Harley...In my pre-retirement experience, H-D was a client and I've had a notable amount of time chatting with the management teams (covering the team that took it Public through the current CEO). I have to say, I don't think the Motor Company has the right product yet. Getting rid of the Dyna was overdue, but not sure the H-D faithful agee. The Motor Company just hasn't figured out how to attract millennial's and younger to their products, and I believe the typical dealership experience will keep them away. Also, the "image" is off-putting to many that might otherwise want to consider a H-D. About a year ago, I talked to CEO Matt Levatich about much of this and I don't believe he had a good "handle" on what to do about it or even if the company had the capital to remake the product line needed to get those new customers they really want. He acknowledged that the dealer network is "challenging" and that many dealers invested heavily in the mandated Designer Stores which is NOT paying dividends for those owners...many are not making enough sales to keep the doors open. My local dealer (who also owns an Indian store), is constantly buying inventory from failed H-D dealerships.

    I don't want to write a book here, but I can say that many of the younger set want a bike, but just cannot afford a new one. Used bikes are on the "table" for many of them, or they just forget about it and move on. Those that can afford one, are not spending (or can afford) the amount necessary to buy a Harley or even an Indian. As for the trend relative to diminishing interest in cars...I'll save that for later.

    Anyway...let's see what kind of discussion follows....
     
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  4. Ghost

    Ghost Silver Member
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    Now that I can agree with, PCOO! :D
     
  5. Alpal

    Alpal Gold Member
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    Seems to me that motorcycling and motorcyclists have traveled down the highway and reached a multi-fork in the road, sitting down to decide which will they go, depending on what happens in the future.

    I feel they are thinking, where is the industry going?, where and what each fork is leading to, electric? Fuel costs and exhausting petrol altogether, the climate?

    All of these forks and others not mentioned are perhaps making people take a heavily used road, the one to the parking bay, where they will sit and watch and learn before making that final decision to electric? Petrol? Cage? Public transport? Shank's pony?

    For me? Its a no brainer. Two wheels, whatever form it takes.
    Alpal
     
  6. Bobby Jesus

    Bobby Jesus Chainsaw God
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    The new generation is quite unpredictable. This makes it hard to tell which way to go when it comes to trends. My son just started college. 18 year old that listens to music from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Loves going to antique shops. Collects ww2 memorabilia. Loves old stuff. He got my 1974 shovel for graduation. After all he got a full ride so I made out. Anyways, his friends love the bike. They like the "oldness" of it. What to take from this I can't say. But the market will work itself out. I do know one thing, my boy and I will be going on an epic ride next spring ( God willing) just the two of us. Thats the future of motorcycling. At least it is in my world.
     
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  7. Baldhead_J

    Baldhead_J Gold Member
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    I want more Mad Max and less Concourse de Elegance. I want fewer motorcycle enthusiasts and more bikers. I want more SUBSTANCE and less bullshit.

    Also, "Get Off My Lawn!".
     
  8. Alpal

    Alpal Gold Member
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    Ditto,.......
     
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  9. Ghost

    Ghost Silver Member
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    I got my new 1/2 ton truck which was an upgrade from my 17 yr old truck. I joined a forum and there's a bunch of young dudes and dudettes on there. I finally found a place to get me all fired up and now I'll have to work on some truck performance mods. I used all my Indian Fund money to get my truck. This will probably be my last truck too. ;)

    My last 3 HD's I had were kept for 7 years, 8 yrs and 15 years. At my age and 2 Indians that are 16's, that could be all for me. ;)

    Heck, I'm even selling our Pontoon boat. :(
     
  10. JayFL459

    JayFL459 Silver Member
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    Sums my Thoughts Up Quite Nicely .. :)


    Winner.jpg
     
  11. Alpal

    Alpal Gold Member
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    Jay, we gotta get Nickj to slip in a winner trophy like that! Awesome!:):);) Down the bottom right next to the "like" button would be fine!
    Alpal
     
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  12. JayFL459

    JayFL459 Silver Member
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    I concur with that Statement ..
     
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  13. Rocko

    Rocko Well-Known Member
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    Still driving my '90 Miata my wife bought when she went through her second childhood in '93. It's a little worn and not as shinny, but with 230,000 miles on it , it's still the most reliable car I've ever owned. Never had any engine problems. Regular stuff for maintenance (timing belts, water pumps, tires etc.) are cheap. Not worth trading or sell, so I'll keep it til it dies. I hope the RM last as long. Like Ghost said , too old to keep up with all the new stuff. Riding it out from here.
     
  14. JayFL459

    JayFL459 Silver Member
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    My Daughter has a Mazda .. Forget the Model but has 180,000 trouble free miles, and told her Run it until it becomes a troublemaking coster or it quits ..
     
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  15. Rocko

    Rocko Well-Known Member
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    Jay, some call it a chick car. I call my four wheel motorcycle when the the weather isn't biker friendly. And at 33 MPG, it's a no brainer for a work car.
     
  16. Ghost

    Ghost Silver Member
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    I replaced a 17 yr old 2500 Heavy Duty V10 long box quad cab. I get 2.5 times the mileage & a heel of a lot more comfortable. And at my age that is important. Same reason I went to Indian. :D
     
  17. Graham UK

    Graham UK Well-Known Member

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    Could it be that many parents are more protective and reluctant to let their kids cycle on the roads these days, and as a result they never discover the joy of being on two wheels, or wonder how adding a motor might increase the fun? That said, our daughter rides pillion on her (Indian) husband's Royal Enfield, where they live in Mizoram, while our son is in the air force, but does rock climbing, because motorcycling and parachuting don't give him the same adrenaline rush. Kids today, huh!
     
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  18. IROQUOIS

    IROQUOIS Gold Member

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    Ford is bringing back the Ranger next year and the Bronco the following year.
    The Bronco is suppose to be a retro version of the 1966 style. They did a good job with the retro Mustang so let's hope they do a good job with that.
    If they have a diesel as a option I'm in!
     
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  19. Baldhead_J

    Baldhead_J Gold Member
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    I'm worried about this one and the Ranger. They both look like European SUV derivatives at this point. I hope the styling is neo-retro on the Bronco and tough (not smoothly curved) on the Ranger.
     
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  20. Alpal

    Alpal Gold Member
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    If you two only rode motorbikes you would not be in this quandary,:cool::p:D
    Alpal
     

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