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Discussion Starter #1
Read here:
The Industry is hurting, for many reasons.. and looking for ways to improve.

and Corey Beth posed a very good question relative to some of the problems:

"Serious Question:

If you could have a production street bike that is not currently available, what would you want to be able to buy?

**Let me edit this a little.

If you could tell the industry to build any bike, that you would actually buy, what would it be?"

What would you say, in regards to what the industry could do, and to answer the "what bike" question?
 

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Bon Vivant
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In general the problem is not us - we the motorcycling veterans are the ones keeping motorcycling alive so I doubt that a new bike aimed at experienced riders is the silver bullet here.
The problem, in the US, is that very few new people are joining the fold and frankly I dont think a new bike is going to change that. The only thing that will increase sales is to increase the need or the desire to ride. In some way there needs to be a paradigm change in the US. To me it looks like the general populace looks at us like a bunch of crazy folk. The solution is change that perception from crazy to smart...
 

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A naked bike styled like the old muscle bikes from the early 2000's. Zrx bandit.... But with a modern engine. Maybe a zrx14r. Comfy naked bike with retro styling and 200 hp and 100 ft lbs of torque....

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 
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For me, I would have BMW build a naked bike version of their Big Six, a K1600R. I would buy that bike. I do recognize that I'm an oddball, and that this would not be a mass market winner, or likely to make BMW any money at all.

I think this is the wrong question, really. There is no shortage of highly desirable motorcycles; that's not the problem. For many years, I thought we really needed more midsize and smaller and starter bikes, but the manufacturers have largely responded to that need, and there are several good options for those now. The question really is how to get young people interested in motorcycling. They've got things to buy for just about any taste or need; what is lacking is the desire to ride motorcycles at all.

PhilB
 

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I'd like to see the demographic data for the age that a motorcycle license is obtained. I feel that flynbulldog is correct...there are fewer young folk joining our ranks. Given my experience raising two children over the past 20+ years, the parents in my neck of the woods are keeping their apron strings wrapped far too tightly for far too long on their kids. Added to that is a general overcrowding in Massachusetts that reduces the accessibility of places to ride a minibike or a dirt bike so kids don't get exposed to bikes.

We have to get the little kids interested. They have the excitement, they have fearless nature, they have the free time. [kind of sounds like a drug dealer] By the time they are late teens it's too late. Helicoptering parents are too busy making sure little Johnny plays 5 varsity sports and takes 9 AP classes and visits the elderly in nursing homes and invents some kind of charity all to make him stand out for the college admissions. Frankly, I think the college admissions office can see through all that bullshit. Have Johnny write a kick-ass essay about how motorcycling has changed his life. Society will be better off.

I remember being 10, riding a minibike up my dirt road and my older friend giving me rides on the back of his 250 Elsinor. Some of the best memories of my childhood. Those memories were the sparks that ignited my life as a motorcyclist.
 

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I like simple naked bikes. I love the Monster (original design not the half trellis thing!) and consider it the greatest bike ever built. I love full super sport bikes but they are getting waaaaay to exspensive. A 1000 cc Japanese bike should have never went over 10k!!!!!

If this was asked a few years ago the answer was simple! A modern 748/916/996/998 however the 1098 and 848 are what I consider to be a perfect modern 916 style!

Asked today I’d say a new monster but based on the original. Updated engine tech but still air cooled, full trellis frame, modern suspension, LIGHT weight, and a real headlight. Keep it more classic than modern classic...and keep it halfway affordable!
 

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Mike, you are right about this area, tough to get the kids on mini bikes for lack of land. I grew up at the foot of prospect hill in Waltham. Up the street, through the woods and fire roads galore. Riding everyday after school was the equivalent of four sports teams and kept my nose clean. Now even when in that area you do not hear one dirt bike up there.
 

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I do believe the key is to get young riders into the sport. Years ago Honda had an add campaign "you meet the nicest people on a Honda" IIRC. At that time most bikes were small displacement there was not the -starter bikes are 100hp 600's, heck the liter bikes did not make that much. Bikes were definitely cruder , less reliable ,less safe but somehow less intimidating?

I do think there is a great new crop of small bikes and I do see some of them being sold.... to old...er riders, I have a number of customers lets say above 50 that are buying groms,rc390's,duke 390's yamaha r3's etc. This is more a symptom of them looking for simpler bikes that bring back the pleasure of a simple machine and 40hp is plenty to have a great time with. I think the shorter of inseam crowd that have wanted a non-cruiser now have something to look at, for years I have had many of the female persuasion who did not want a cruiser or a scooter but all the bikes had too tall a set height.

My last apprentice was a millennial as were most of his friends, they all rode motorcycles as well but they were also riding 20-30 year old bikes because cafes were cool and fun...... and cheap. These people were not going to go out and spend $10,000.00 plus for a bike most would not spend $5000.00 there was almost more street cred in building something. I personally think this is good for the sport as there will be a next generation motor heads to pick up where some of us leave off. Today's small bikes and bikes in general are tomorrows used bikes to feed that beginning rider or customizer, Panigale chopper anyone? Give it a few years and today's younger set will be doing what we do but they will be playing with the computerized bikes like we do with motors.

To get there I suspect the manufacturers need to stay in business first and just as Ducati refocused back in the 2000's away from entry level bikes there will need to be a new segment to drive sales. High technology will always sell but as the limits get higher the skills and finances must follow suit this leads to an older demographic buyer. High end models have larger profit margins and are easy sales to those with the money the trick is to sell lower cost units that are not made cheaply or assembled with garbage components so they just need to make and sell customize-able systems.

If you look at video games one of the common themes is you start off with a base vehicle and then you make it better. Sell a basic package that can then be improved by the end user into a better or just different vehicle as the owner wishes. How many Ducati owners leave the bikes stock ? Give them more options not less and make it part of ownership to build it as you go, yes they would lose some new bike sales but the factory could make plenty by selling upgrades that are factory approved and tested. Some of us do not buy new because we cannot afford to but we simply do not want a expensive starting point that we then are going to take all apart to build with other parts.

Yes there are fantastic bikes out there that are great to ride, motorcycle ownership for me is much less about what I can buy than what I can build. Just sell me some parts and a bike with a good foundation to build off of.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Awesome responses so far... keep 'em coming!
 

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If you could tell the industry to build any bike, that you would actually buy, what would it be?
Build this! In this exact color scheme. With no stupid electronic gizmos,gadgets,or rider aids. Make it absolutely dead nuts reliable and affordable.
 

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A mid-sized rally/ADV bike might get me to buy new. The Moto Guzzi V85 shown and EICMA is promising. Then there's the potential of the T7 Yamaha (a tiny Tenere). But the Husqvarna 701 Enduro might just fit the bill already.

I agree with the previous comments about the market in general depending on people wanting to ride at all.
 

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I like simple naked bikes. I love the Monster (original design not the half trellis thing!) and consider it the greatest bike ever built. I love full super sport bikes but they are getting waaaaay to exspensive. A 1000 cc Japanese bike should have never went over 10k!!!!!

If this was asked a few years ago the answer was simple! A modern 748/916/996/998 however the 1098 and 848 are what I consider to be a perfect modern 916 style!

Asked today I’d say a new monster but based on the original. Updated engine tech but still air cooled, full trellis frame, modern suspension, LIGHT weight, and a real headlight. Keep it more classic than modern classic...and keep it halfway affordable!
You might note though, that the original Monster of which you speak was right about $10K. I bought mine new in 1993, first year, and it was $10,200 out the door. That's over $17K in today's dollars. So it never was a "halfway affordable" bike.

PhilB
 

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I really can't comment on the industry. I haven't seen a Ducati or most any other brand that interests me. The bike that comes closest to interesting me is the Triumph Street Triple. But, not enough to shell out $12K. My ideal bike was my SS1000DS until an injury made it difficult to ride in that position. A transition to an '01 Monster S4 has gone really well. I'm good. And, I have no doubt that I don't represent the typical buyer at this point.
 

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Hammer Down
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High end models have larger profit margins and are easy sales to those with the money the trick is to sell lower cost units that are not made cheaply or assembled with garbage components so they just need to make and sell customize-able systems.

If you look at video games one of the common themes is you start off with a base vehicle and then you make it better. Sell a basic package that can then be improved by the end user into a better or just different vehicle as the owner wishes. How many Ducati owners leave the bikes stock ? Give them more options not less and make it part of ownership to build it as you go, yes they would lose some new bike sales but the factory could make plenty by selling upgrades that are factory approved and tested. Some of us do not buy new because we cannot afford to but we simply do not want a expensive starting point that we then are going to take all apart to build with other parts.

Yes there are fantastic bikes out there that are great to ride, motorcycle ownership for me is much less about what I can buy than what I can build. Just sell me some parts and a bike with a good foundation to build off of.
Wasn't this supposed to be the Scrambler?

For me, I didn't get raised on motorcycles and my Mom was an ER nurse so there was ZERO chance of me getting on two wheels and I never gave it much thought but that didn't stop me from visiting motorcycle shops when I was old enough to drive.

Once I had a job that paid well enough I bought my first bike and the rest is history. The Multistrada is pretty close to the perfect bike for me but I'd love a Ducati touring bike with a belt drive b/c I hate chain maintenance.
 

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Perhaps we might unpack the issues a bit: First there seems to be the question of new riders and then there is the issue of motorcycles that would entice them. Probably not the same, since the former involves other factors (driving ability, economics, insurance, safety, culture of consideration for bikes, etc.) whereas the latter is a question of attraction, volition, disposable income, and so forth.

I just spent two months in Nepal, India and Taiwan, and have been impressed by the motorcycle culture in South Asia and the scooter culture in East Asia. These are not the same. In Taiwan, the volume of scooters exceeds motorcycles by a factor of ten at least, probably more. In a line-up of a hundred scooters, you would see maybe one motorcycle. Check out this video and you will see nary a motorcycle in this waterfall of scooters.


And in Taiwan, it is all about practicality—small displacement vehicles (50-150 cc), for which there are specific allowances in terms of lanes and traffic laws, and repair shops everywhere. People take their scooters to work and park them in scooter-designated zones on the sidewalk or in front of commercial buildings. They wear minimal gear (frightening, actually) and dress for the office. For them, it is cheap transportation, end of the discussion. I could detect no "love my scooter" movement but rather an acquiescence that scooters are the best decision for the circumstances.

In South Asia (Nepal and India), there is a motorcycle culture, and I saw a gathering of almost a thousand Royal Enfield riders along the road between Delhi and Jaipur. And no one could imagine a less safe environment than in India, which by some measures has the highest traffic mortality in the world. Yet, Ducati and KTM are both thriving (relatively speaking) in South Asia whereas they are invisible in Taiwan; I saw Ducati dealerships in both India and Nepal, but only one Ducati in Taiwan. It was lonely.

When I returned, I began to see that part of the problem is the way we want to see the world, reflected in our news media. Whether Fox News' predisposition to portray the apocalypse as immanent or the other media as constantly obsessed with threats to safety (child with a hangnail in Poughkeepsie, pictures at eleven!) the primary ideology of the US is to eliminate any threat, and Americans are incessantly conflicted about threats: do I eat X or drink Y, what are my chances of cancer and what are the trade-offs. But then we Americans actually have terrible habits in that we pay no attention to the issues, and we drive with our faces in the phone, texting on the way to work, oblivious to the problem. I was almost killed taking a ride today, simply because a guy needed to text someone while driving his Escalade.

Bottom line: I don't think an industry emphasis will work until the society around changes. We do not see motorcycles as viable transportation because they are understood as a threat so long as our fellow citizens pay no attention to other drivers, let alone motorcycles. The millennial avant-garde culture (you all say 'hipsters') is relatively small, and the majority of 20-somethings are not interested in "authenticity" in the way of lumberjacks in Brooklin seeking Honda 350 cafe racers, but rather they want to pay off their loans and find a girlfriend. Not only is there a decline in motorcycles on the college campuses, the same issue applies to bicycles for many of the same reasons: sales dollar volume is flat, which because of inflation means a slight actual decrease in the number of bicycles sold. I have seen no figures for the youth market, but do not believe it to be different.

Given that a smaller percentage of millennials drive than in previous generations, it is difficult to see how the industry will tap potential riders. The prospective rider would first have to learn to drive and only then learn how to ride a motorcycle.

Harley may have a chance to make a difference, but Harley has not been in the small-displacement entry-level game for a very long time, although rumors are that they are embracing the obvious. We shall see.

Ron
 

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The industry must market to the younger generation.
In the early 70's, when I got the bug, you constantly heard..." Get yourself a Honda"..."Kawasaki let's the good times roll"...or how about the movie I think got more people into motorcycling than anything, "On any Sunday", it captured the essence of the sport, in all forms, from splashing your buddy in a mud puddle to all kinds of racing.
I live in a ski town in Vermont and have watched skier visits drop from a high in the late 80's of 1.2 million skier visits per year to a low in the late 00's of 3-400,000.
The most progressive program I have seen in the last 35 yrs. started about 3 yrs. ago.
It is a learn to ski program that cost about $3-400 for 4 days of lessons and at the end of the last day you get a brand new pair of skis to take home.
It sets the hook and gives folks a reason to continue this great sport.
I'm not suggesting the manufacturers give away bikes but they need to come up with a new way to "set the hook". Maybe some type of learn to ride program with an incentive to buy.
Anyway... The bike I would like to see built would be a modern ST with a well mapped ECU (not 6 computers), quality suspension, detachable hard bags, 100-125 hp, non-race ergos, that starts when you want to ride and has a Ducati badge.
 

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I think building a "starter" bike is a waste of money for the manufacturers. New riders buy used bikes, plenty out there for $3-4,000.

I think they (the mfgrs) should have a traveling road show to train new riders for a small charge or free. Give them a coupon for 20% off service or gear when they get a license.

For me, there is no bike that I would buy new. A replacement for my ST would be nice, but I'd wait to buy a used one. New bikes are too expensive, for the amount I ride.
 

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Perhaps we might unpack the issues a bit: First there seems to be the question of new riders and then there is the issue of motorcycles that would entice them. Probably not the same, since the former involves other factors (driving ability, economics, insurance, safety, culture of consideration for bikes, etc.) whereas the latter is a question of attraction, volition, disposable income, and so forth.

I just spent two months in Nepal, India and Taiwan, and have been impressed by the motorcycle culture in South Asia and the scooter culture in East Asia. These are not the same. In Taiwan, the volume of scooters exceeds motorcycles by a factor of ten at least, probably more. In a line-up of a hundred scooters, you would see maybe one motorcycle. Check out this video and you will see nary a motorcycle in this waterfall of scooters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTMnwGK8LyE

And in Taiwan, it is all about practicality—small displacement vehicles (50-150 cc), for which there are specific allowances in terms of lanes and traffic laws, and repair shops everywhere. People take their scooters to work and park them in scooter-designated zones on the sidewalk or in front of commercial buildings. They wear minimal gear (frightening, actually) and dress for the office. For them, it is cheap transportation, end of the discussion. I could detect no "love my scooter" movement but rather an acquiescence that scooters are the best decision for the circumstances.

In South Asia (Nepal and India), there is a motorcycle culture, and I saw a gathering of almost a thousand Royal Enfield riders along the road between Delhi and Jaipur. And no one could imagine a less safe environment than in India, which by some measures has the highest traffic mortality in the world. Yet, Ducati and KTM are both thriving (relatively speaking) in South Asia whereas they are invisible in Taiwan; I saw Ducati dealerships in both India and Nepal, but only one Ducati in Taiwan. It was lonely.

When I returned, I began to see that part of the problem is the way we want to see the world, reflected in our news media. Whether Fox News' predisposition to portray the apocalypse as immanent or the other media as constantly obsessed with threats to safety (child with a hangnail in Poughkeepsie, pictures at eleven!) the primary ideology of the US is to eliminate any threat, and Americans are incessantly conflicted about threats: do I eat X or drink Y, what are my chances of cancer and what are the trade-offs. But then we Americans actually have terrible habits in that we pay no attention to the issues, and we drive with our faces in the phone, texting on the way to work, oblivious to the problem. I was almost killed taking a ride today, simply because a guy needed to text someone while driving his Escalade.

Bottom line: I don't think an industry emphasis will work until the society around changes. We do not see motorcycles as viable transportation because they are understood as a threat so long as our fellow citizens pay no attention to other drivers, let alone motorcycles. The millennial avant-garde culture (you all say 'hipsters') is relatively small, and the majority of 20-somethings are not interested in "authenticity" in the way of lumberjacks in Brooklin seeking Honda 350 cafe racers, but rather they want to pay off their loans and find a girlfriend. Not only is there a decline in motorcycles on the college campuses, the same issue applies to bicycles for many of the same reasons: sales dollar volume is flat, which because of inflation means a slight actual decrease in the number of bicycles sold. I have seen no figures for the youth market, but do not believe it to be different.

Given that a smaller percentage of millennials drive than in previous generations, it is difficult to see how the industry will tap potential riders. The prospective rider would first have to learn to drive and only then learn how to ride a motorcycle.

Harley may have a chance to make a difference, but Harley has not been in the small-displacement entry-level game for a very long time, although rumors are that they are embracing the obvious. We shall see.

Ron
hit the nail on the head with so many points. i might even throw a wrench in the whole conversation with the popularity of hybrid/electric car. A majority of young people view the world through "green glasses". maybe there needs to be a larger focus on electric motorcycles
 

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Just Visiting Your Planet
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Part of the solution to getting more people interested in motorcycling could be by incorporating motorcycle awareness in automobile licensing requirements and training. Just by exposing more people to the world of motorcycling and the fact that we're out there could spur interest. It would also help the rest of us by getting all those oblivious idiots to "see" us.

It should be a mandatory part of training everywhere.
 
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