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Jul 28th 2018, 03:43 PM   #1
 Sentinel's Avatar
 
  Jun 2016
  Poor Tortured

  2015 Kawasaki Concours 14 - The Origame Sea-Dragon
Just for Fun: How would YOU save Harley?

I would do this - I would make a Netflix TV series and call it "Why We Ride."

I'd go around meeting all the different kinds of riders I could find, ride with them, eat with them, go camping, whatever, hang out, and make episodes of real riders telling us why they ride.

It would be like an overview of riding, all the different kinds of riding, why everyone rides the way they do. You could show how motorcycling is not one thing, how it's like a thousand different things because every single one of us rides differently, we see different things.

THAT's how you get new riders, IMO.

Kids hear you talking about bikes and they see you smiling and telling garage racing stories and they want that. Then someone takes them for a ride and the motion, the lateral G-forces, just digs into the mind like a tic and that's it - you're a rider.

Of course, that would "save" everyone else, too.
Jul 28th 2018, 04:55 PM   #2
 VeritasImageryNW's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Allyn, WA

  '06 HD Street Bob, '85 Yamaha FJ600, '99 Honda CBR600f4
I agree. I think it's less about saving Harley as it is about saving the sport as an entirety. As was just said, it's about sharing the passion of motorcycles, no matter the brand or style. It's about restoring the attitude of brotherhood/sisterhood/family. No one wants to join a dysfunctional family, so the division between brands and genres has to stop. We can do that ourselves by checking our own prejudices, and by shutting down prejudices when they pop up on this forum.

It shouldn't matter if you ride a Harley or a Honda, a sport bike or a scooter. The fact is that if you are on two (or 3) wheels, you are a member of a fairly small community and we should make them all welcome.

That, in my opinion, is how we start bringing in the next generation of riders.

As far as Harley goes, that's up to them.

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Jul 28th 2018, 05:30 PM   #3
 
  Mar 2018
  Gig Harbor

  2008 BMW R1200GS Adventure
That movie already exists. It’s on Amazon Prime I think.
Jul 28th 2018, 05:56 PM   #4
 MikeMikeMike's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Seattle

I like the movie idea and appealing to the young generation is certainly a key. Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and a number of the Japanese brands are launching great inexpensive starter bikes that are sporty and fun to ride. Harleys needs some options that don’t look like they were based on drawings from the 50’s.

Bring back the Buell brand and let them use the VRod and Rotax engines. Harley needs modern frames and modern bike layouts to compete. I’m not expecting sport bikes, but how about some sport touring, and adventure touring options. I think they have a solid offering in the cruiser or slow-touring market, but only offering what are generally boring, slow bikes isn’t much of a way to convert people from other brands. They have a loyal following but those folks are getting older, and a lot of them are on their last bikes (had a Harley sales guy tell me he heard that frequently).

Also the whole hobby is dying. We need to bring back HSBC and $99 per month R-6’s and GSX-R 600’s etc. Poor financial planning and loose lending rules brought in a whole generation...
Jul 28th 2018, 05:56 PM   #5
 
  Mar 2016
  Seattle

  '08 BMW K12GT, '06 Honda CBR1000RR (Track), '14 KTM Duke 690
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeritasImageryNW
I agree. I think it's less about saving Harley as it is about saving the sport as an entirety. As was just said, it's about sharing the passion of motorcycles, no matter the brand or style. It's about restoring the attitude of brotherhood/sisterhood/family. No one wants to join a dysfunctional family, so the division between brands and genres has to stop. We can do that ourselves by checking our own prejudices, and by shutting down prejudices when they pop up on this forum.

It shouldn't matter if you ride a Harley or a Honda, a sport bike or a scooter. The fact is that if you are on two (or 3) wheels, you are a member of a fairly small community and we should make them all welcome.

That, in my opinion, is how we start bringing in the next generation of riders.

As far as Harley goes, that's up to them.

Sent via SM-G950U
This is true.

Harley, however, did all they could to create the division. Lifestyle marketing, working very hard at niche-ing themselves as the 'real deal' and 'old school', implying all along the way that other brands are newbs or posers.

What would save HD? It's been said before, it'll be said again:

Whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes, they need to end their reliance on life-style bikers and 800 lb v-twins. Look hard at what Motus achieved. Stop their ads that sell heavy bikes to bucket-listers and aging people yearning to be young again.
Sell to urban needs, cheap transportation, easy parking, ease of getting through dense traffic, as they do in most of Europe. Does this mean scooters? Only if you lack creativity, something I fear HD lost a lost time ago.

Think of 1963 again. You see the nicest people on a . . . what? That was mostly for advertising 125 cc bikes.

Use their presence in the national market and minds to get young people on bikes.

Most life-long bikers I know, including me, started riding long before we were driving, often the same time we learned how to balance a bicycle. This is a near-dead thing. Lots of reasons. HD and the rest of the industry MUST find a way to get back to this.

They should also look hard at what the Nature Conservancy does. Among other things, they buy all the land they can . . . so that it can sit and do nothing, just be.

The open lands we rode as kids . . . gone, developed or gated, gated to avoid the 'liability' of letting people enjoy it. What can be done to bring it back? Buy it. Or rent access. As an individual it's nearly impossible.

My fear is this:
The nature of our economy has shifted. The middle class that created Harley and Honda is shrunk too far. Too many working poor, too many in RTW states, far too much doubt of how to survive after retirement. The discretionary income of the previous 40 years is a fading memory for too many today. That income bought boats, bikes, RVs (for traveling, not full time residence) snow skis and SCUBA gear.
Now it's spent on housing. 45 years ago the average household spent about 25% of it's income on housing. We're now approaching 40%
It's spent on debt, it's spent on medical premiums and spent on education (the price of which has quintupled in my lifetime).

What's left over?
Jul 29th 2018, 06:14 AM   #6
 VeritasImageryNW's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Allyn, WA

  '06 HD Street Bob, '85 Yamaha FJ600, '99 Honda CBR600f4
I wonder if you could actually provide any real examples of Harley Davidson advertising that deemed other brands as "posers", taking into account that the primary purpose of advertising is to convince the consumer that your product is better than another. Even Honda's "You meet the nicest people" was a way of saying that their bikes were better than the competitions'. What Harley had that no other brand did, was it's history and the fact that it was the only American brand on the market. So that's what it played. And facts prove that for decades Harley dominated the American street bike market with that strategy. Heck, they still outsell every other brand.

Their problem has been that the strategy could not foresee a future where neither of the things that made them unique would no longer matter. We live in a society where younger people don't care about history, or tradition, or even American Made. Hopefully they will adapt.

But, like I said, what we can do is squelch divisive talk whenever we see or hear it. We can work so rebuild the idea that motorcycling is a united community.

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Jul 29th 2018, 07:45 AM   #7
 
  Mar 2016
  Seattle

  '08 BMW K12GT, '06 Honda CBR1000RR (Track), '14 KTM Duke 690
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeritasImageryNW
I wonder if you could actually provide any real examples of Harley Davidson advertising that deemed other brands as "posers", taking into account that the primary purpose of advertising is to convince the consumer that your product is better than another. Even Honda's "You meet the nicest people" was a way of saying that their bikes were better than the competitions'. What Harley had that no other brand did, was it's history and the fact that it was the only American brand on the market. So that's what it played. And facts prove that for decades Harley dominated the American street bike market with that strategy. Heck, they still outsell every other brand.

Their problem has been that the strategy could not foresee a future where neither of the things that made them unique would no longer matter. We live in a society where younger people don't care about history, or tradition, or even American Made. Hopefully they will adapt.

But, like I said, what we can do is squelch divisive talk whenever we see or hear it. We can work so rebuild the idea that motorcycling is a united community.

Sent via SM-G950U
Are you kidding about HD's ads?

Here's one example, I remember an HD ad for a sportster: "Don't let the special low price confuse you, this is no foreign imitation." That's from CycleWorld.

Another, a softail ad, celebrating it's authenticity, "not affected by the fad of the moment."

And another: "Other companies may be content to imitate . . ."

If you look, you can find many more.

Obvious to me, HD was/is working hard to cast other bikes as imitation, as in 'not real.' Who rides 'imitation' bikes? Imitation bikers, of course. HD's ad may have never used the word 'poser' but it's clear to me what their ads were attempting to achieve: Distance, exclusion, "you can enter our club if you have the cred."

In reality this is all HD has to work with. They can't advertise their technical superiority, the latest and greatest GP-to-street tech, acceleration/braking/suspension/power achievements. "We're cool and you're not unless you buy one." That sums it up.

AdAge seems to agree with me:

Harley-Davidson is moving, but the ads won't change | Agency News - Ad Age

Their strategy could not foresee? Every time HD has ebbed and flowed through years, the subsequent ebb foretold the future, riders like me have been saying it for decades, the nature of bike sales over the last 10 years specifically foretold exactly the reality now. HD didn't see this coming? Sure they did. They ignored it, or offered half-assed attempts to try to address it. Their never fully accepted what was exactly in front of them.
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Edited by FireDave on Jul 29th 2018 at 10:42 AM
Jul 29th 2018, 09:12 AM   #8
 Sentinel's Avatar
 
  Jun 2016
  Poor Tortured

  2015 Kawasaki Concours 14 - The Origame Sea-Dragon
Quote:
Originally Posted by FireDave
Are you kidding about HD

AdAge seems to agree with me:

Harley-Davidson is moving, but the ads won't change | Agency News - Ad Age
This: "The "Made in the U.S.A." crowd has merged with the "Make America Great Again" masses, and neither really seem to care that red baseball caps are sewn in China."

LOL yeah.

Jul 29th 2018, 09:20 AM   #9
 Sentinel's Avatar
 
  Jun 2016
  Poor Tortured

  2015 Kawasaki Concours 14 - The Origame Sea-Dragon
Oh man I am loving this AdAge article about Harley. Thanks FireDave.

This video - http://f1.media.brightcove.com/4/694...=5109711164001

The thing is, the whole "cafe racer" thing from the "1960's" is total bullshit. The video says "The connection between motorcycles and coffee goes back to 1960's cafe racer culture. They would race stripped-down motorcycles from one cafe to another."

Well, actually, um, no.

I was riding in LA in the 60's and 70's. I rode a 'cafe racer' and it was a piece of shit. We hacked at bikes to remove the excess weight and we installed our own parts because what came on the bikes was crap.

There were NO espresso stands in LA in the 70's. There were NO espresso stands in Seattle in the 70's. "Cafe's" were burger places with disgusting drip coffee rom those big-ass "Bunn" machines and it was vile crap.

Retro is a lie.

Harley is trading on full-on fraud.

That whole video even tells it like it is - an ad campaign.

"The posters were printed with ink made from actual coffee, giving the posters the texture, and scent of real coffee." (shows a guys nose sniffing the poster).

Harley thinks they are gonna go forward with better-smelling ads and fake espresso shops that sell $30.00 tee-shirts ( to millenials with minimum wage jobs???)

I've had Harleys and liked them (except for the bigass Ultra touring bike. What a POS). And I think the Sportster, in some form, is what's gonna do it for them. I think the "big bikes" are gonna be a minor slice of the pie going forward.

I don't think the MoCo is gonna make it because they are so stuck in retro land that they cannot see a way forward. They have to actually BE something new and I don't think they can.

I don't think electric bikes is gonna be a thing either. Batteries - nope.

But maybe something like this, only a little bigger, might be attractive. Make it uber cool, light weight, and don't try and make it like a motorcycle. Let it be a new class of vehicle. It's like vegan food. The straight vegan stuf can be good. It's only when they try and make a faux meat that it gets disgusting.



Aside: Amazon.com's fastest-growing business segment: Ads! Not products. Not books. Not shoes. Not electronics. But ADS!

http://adage.com/article/digital/ama...egment/314402/

LOL: Hail Eris!

Edited by Sentinel on Jul 29th 2018 at 09:34 AM
Jul 29th 2018, 09:24 AM   #10
 Greg's Avatar
 
  Apr 2016
  PDX

  2014 Triumph Daytona 675R
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeritasImageryNW

Their problem has been that the strategy could not foresee a future where neither of the things that made them unique would no longer matter. We live in a society where younger people don't care about history, or tradition, or even American Made. Hopefully they will adapt.


Sent via SM-G950U
I appreciate harley's tradition of making slow heavy bikes. I'm 32 and I know younger people than me riding Ducati Supersports, Scramblers, RSV4's, etc. etc. Quality and performance will get you a lot further than tradition and young people will pay for it. Harley doesn't have anything that can compete in that space. Also, the image thing I think comes back to bite them. Old People. Cartoon Eagles. Leather Fringe. hard pass

Triumph doesn't have any issue selling their retro line alongside performance oriented machines.
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Jul 29th 2018, 09:36 AM   #11
 
  May 2017
  Salem OR

That idea of going around is what i was thinking as well, plus be more inclusive. Not to sound like a d!ck but most people I know think or Harley's as old white guy and biker machines. Sad part is I know its not like that but overall most do not. They should do more to address that like asap!
Jul 29th 2018, 12:20 PM   #12
 WarpShatner7's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg
Triumph doesn't have any issue selling their retro line alongside performance oriented machines.
I see new Bonnies and Scramblers (both makes) and similar all over close-in Portland. By far the most common type of new bike I see in town; and I've seen a lot of them in San Francisco too. H-D's new Street lineup seems aimed at this market but so far I don't recall spotting many and I've just read that their sales fell 30% in this segment. A few years ago I was seeing the occasional Sportster Forty-Eight ridden by this type of rider.

There's a lot of competition at this end: if you like it rough and retro, easy on the wallet and build quality doesn't keep you awake at night there's the Royal Enfield. If you want the same thing but with real performance, reliability and resale value you pay a bit more for the Triumph or the Duc.

Now with the big four Japanese makes all entering this game -- mostly with glossier takes on the classic look rather than recreations, but that Kawi Z900 RS with optional grab bar really takes me back -- there isn't really much room for H-D in this space either.
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Edited by WarpShatner7 on Jul 29th 2018 at 01:07 PM
Jul 29th 2018, 12:31 PM   #13
 chadams66's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Garden Home

  2012 Versys...'83 BMW R80 RT...Suzuki GS 450t
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentinel
The thing is, the whole "cafe racer" thing from the "1960's" is total bullshit. The video says "The connection between motorcycles and coffee goes back to 1960's cafe racer culture. They would race stripped-down motorcycles from one cafe to another."
so the term cafe racer comes from england...

The term developed among British motorcycle enthusiasts of the early 1960s from Watford and London, specifically the Rocker or "Ton-Up Boys" subculture, where the bikes were used for short, quick rides between cafés, in Watford at the Busy Bee café and the Ace Café in London.[3][4][2][5][6] In post-war Britain, car ownership was still uncommon, but by the late 1950s the average Briton could afford a car,[7] so by the early 1960s the café racer's significance was that a bike had come to represent speed, status and rebellion, rather than mere inability to afford a car.[8]

okay so you copied their bikes but not going from coffee shop to coffee shop...that doesn't mean it didn't happen...

at the same time here in the states..guys and gals were riding Harleys and doing T2T riding...tavern to tavern..that still lives..unfortunately...sometimes called a poker run...

Edited by chadams66 on Jul 29th 2018 at 12:39 PM
Jul 29th 2018, 02:55 PM   #14
 Mudslinger's Avatar
 
  Sep 2016
  Seabeck

  Africa Twin
How would I save Harley?
I'd make a good, affordable bike.
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Jul 29th 2018, 04:49 PM   #15
 Sentinel's Avatar
 
  Jun 2016
  Poor Tortured

  2015 Kawasaki Concours 14 - The Origame Sea-Dragon
I'd roll a 1200 Sporty in a second.

If they updated the frame somehow, and the suspension even just a little...and dropped 40 pounds off it (which is doable - see the new Kawasaki Z650) it could work for another generation, IMO.

I rode a Nightster for a little while. It was fun as heck, and that 1200 motor pulls really nicely.

I liked the 1200X, but they went too....i don't know...it was like they let the guys who designed the "Brazil" set make a motorcycle.

Everyone knows we want a 1200 flat-tracker, or an 880 flat-tracker that weighed less.

(although to be honest, i'd wait three years and buy a used on on CL, so maybe they're fucked)
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