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  1. #1
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    Default HD dumps its mistake.

    https://jalopnik.com/harley-davidson...les-1846114955

    They likely cost more than a Sporty to produce and nothing of value or innovation was lost.

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    I looked at one of those at a dealership some years ago. Looked decent from above, but if you got down and really looked at it, it looked like it was built by a blacksmith (no offense to smiths). It was embarrassing. I saved the salesman 's feelings by not pointing that out. "Good riddance to bad rubbage" as Mr. Twain wrote.

    Jim

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    I think they were taking a shot at a certain market segment and it just didn't pan out.

    In somewhat related news, I've read that if H-D drops out of American Flat Track racing, which they almost certainly will do now, that Indian may also drop out. Despite Indian dominating the series the last several years, the word is that if they don't have H-D to compete against and demonstrate their superiority on the track over, that it won't be worth the money for them to stay in.

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    I'm torn on this..

    I really didn't care for the "Street" series and thought it was useless. But THEN, I saw a GenZ girl on youtube who loved it! She could handle the bike and the weight, and she just thought it was awesome.

    The Mrs. wants a Harley project, but wisely (in my view) doesn't want a big twin for the same reason. She doesn't want a bike she can't pick up by herself.

    Then I started hearing the same thing from more women.

    The Sportster's 10K price tag is not what many riders consider "entry level" either.

    Maybe they're being too hasty and a bike like "Street" is the gateway drug women need to get them to jump into the Harley market? The Sportster could become more robust and the Street could become the "Girls Bike" of the Harley world? It could be specifically marketed as such?

    I even hard a bunch of lesbians comment that they love Harley's and it would be their bike of choice.. But they intimidate women because of their weight and expense.

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    PS: Ever shop for a Honda Rebel? (Which is a thoroughly sound motorcycle in every way.)

    The market is filled with really, really nice examples of older bikes with absolutely no mileage on them at all. Many were female owned.

    I think they're the bike that got women into bikes in the first place. They quickly outgrew them, and moved up the motorcycle food chain..

    I wonder if the "Street" could do for Harley what the Rebel did for Honda? Make the bike and the brand attractive to women.

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    Ahhhh, the venerable Rebel! I rode to Sturgis back in '93 from southern Illinois with a group of riders, one which included a lady on a 250cc Rebel. We rolled at a steady 70mph as a group and her little bike kept up with no problems. She even saved the bike during a front tube blow out at about 35mph.
    My wife and I rode all over the country with her on her 600 Hondoo Shadow. I agree 100% about the need for smaller bikes for the vertically challenged. Harley screwed the pooch decades ago when demographics started to change and its "base" started to age out. Its failure to be forward-looking came too little/too late. I wouldn't be surprised if it went tits up in this decade. Respects

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    No doubt the decision was taken by the money people, but then , H-D is a business. Years ago they tried to market cheap bikes but that marketing couldn't hide the fact the bikes were sub-standard designs. I don't get the entry level idea, you should aspire to better things. Do other prestige brands bother/succeed with entry level bikes, except for the Japanese brands?
    The other thing was the size issue . I was a scrawny kid with 29" inside leg when I bought my first H-D. How small were the Streets potential owners?

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    Quote Originally Posted by squirts View Post
    Ahhhh, the venerable Rebel! I rode to Sturgis back in '93 from southern Illinois with a group of riders, one which included a lady on a 250cc Rebel. We rolled at a steady 70mph as a group and her little bike kept up with no problems. She even saved the bike during a front tube blow out at about 35mph.
    My wife and I rode all over the country with her on her 600 Hondoo Shadow. I agree 100% about the need for smaller bikes for the vertically challenged. Harley screwed the pooch decades ago when demographics started to change and its "base" started to age out. Its failure to be forward-looking came too little/too late. I wouldn't be surprised if it went tits up in this decade. Respects
    LOL! Exactly! That's exactly what happened with the Mrs.

    Took the ABATE course on a Rebel.. Shopped for one. Bought a Shadow instead. The VLX 600. Again, good machines that aren't intimidating for female riders.

    And those Rebels are truly awesome machines. At that ABATE course, they idle all day in July, for their entire lives.

    Not one smoked. Not one overheated. Nothing. They're SOLID.

    And I agree about the Demo Trap HD finds itself in now.

    I think they made it on the "cool" factor for most of my life, but Gen M and Z aren't necessarily sold on that aspect or willing to pay a premium for it.

    I do see a lot of them interested in the older stuff, however. So, maybe it'll rebound when they get situated and have some disposable income to throw around?

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    If harley wanted more than an aging market they should NOT have killed BUELL.It was, I believe their last chance to make a good decision.Its been a waiting game ever since.There are very few riders younger than me that I cross in michigan and Im 41. But who knows Im crazy

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    Women are the "minority" that make up 52% of the population.. So, the market is potentially vast.

    They love bikes, dearly.. They know and respect the Harley brand. But it is going to be tough to crack because they're just so fucking weird.

    I mean.. What do you say about a group of people who will gladly jump on the back of any Harley ever made and blast down the interstate at 80mph in a thong (leather for safety!) with some drunk at the controls.. But they are scared to ride to the post office by themselves?

    They love 1500 LB horses that can roll over and crush them to death and they'll ride them all day and all night.. But they're intimidated by any motorcycle that weighs over 400 lbs and is under their complete control?

    It's going to be challenging, to say the least.

    I would guess that more has probably been written about the subject of female strangeness than anything else in the history of the world..

    But I know they're a potentially vast market, and Gen M and Z women may be more open to motorcycles than previous generations. It is worth some effort.

    I know marketing that appeals to the "Graybeard" crowd that keeps HD afloat probably won't work with them.

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    My 17 year old daughter keeps asking me if she can buy a motorcycle, so they’re interested. Harley just sucks at marketing to them.

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    Kinda like the death of Indian with the verticals?

  13. #13

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    Honda make seriously reliable motorcycles, and sell them in huge numbers to people who just want transport. It’s a pretty good model, for them. I looked st the Street, and it just wasn’t good enough to compete in that very crowded marketplace. It needed to be a Yamaha MT, and wasn’t.so it goes..

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by BadMonkeyMW View Post
    I think they were taking a shot at a certain market segment and it just didn't pan out.

    In somewhat related news, I've read that if H-D drops out of American Flat Track racing, which they almost certainly will do now, that Indian may also drop out. Despite Indian dominating the series the last several years, the word is that if they don't have H-D to compete against and demonstrate their superiority on the track over, that it won't be worth the money for them to stay in.
    Well, yeah. It’s all advertising - win on Sunday, sell on Monday. They are off and running now with the FTR1200, which puts them right into Ducati Monster/Scrambler territory. They could probably do Superbikes, if they felt the need. Harley needed to come back with an actual racer, and haven’t. The Street clearly can’t do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flatman View Post
    Kinda like the death of Indian with the verticals?
    Those were infamous pieces of shit while the HDs were answers to questions the market wasn't asking. Had Indian made GOOD vertical twins it could have done wonders over the next several decades but making worse machines than contemporary Britbikes wasn't a winning strategy.

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    These bikes existed to attract younger riders and to build some brand presence in international markets. Alas, the ride has come to an end.
    Royal Enfield ate them for lunch

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fetch View Post
    Royal Enfield ate them for lunch
    There's a thing. I know people who've bought the new Enfield twin and love it.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    Those were infamous pieces of shit while the HDs were answers to questions the market wasn't asking. Had Indian made GOOD vertical twins it could have done wonders over the next several decades but making worse machines than contemporary Britbikes wasn't a winning strategy.
    I’d say that Indian’s missed motorcycle opportunity was the 841, the shaft-drive, transverse v-twin. Moto Guzzi still have Bikes like that in their range, after all.

    The vertical twins had the fundamental problem of being, in essence, failed copies of the British design style. The Japanese were rewriting the book on that, in the 1950s. Indian had a blank sheet of paper and needed to be state-of-the-art, a lesson Polaris are clearly aware of.

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    Kind of a perfect storm, aging base, aging bikes, inflation (not yet), a saturated domestic used market, a saturated overseas market, QAQC woes (delayed launch of the sportster replacement), alienation of the rider base. But I really don't think they give the customers what they want, ridable bikes made in the USA. That's what the EU market wants, they skirted the tarriff by made in Thailand. Indian in '51 had the same problems when they went belly up, lost their export market due to shitty heavy old bikes. Inflation. Couldn't bill uncle sam due to modernization program (IBM punch card inventory/billing). Shitty new bikes. Investment in new facilities and abruptly closing them.
    HD definitely is having serious problems with E-bikes and the sportster replacement (QAQC) since they delayed the launch and pulled India production.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fetch View Post
    Royal Enfield ate them for lunch
    Indian sold Enfields for quite some time. Triumph and BSA and of course HD ate them all for lunch (in the US) but Enfield was a great fit for the Indian subcontinent and survived all the other British brands by remaining in continuous production.

    http://www.re-indian.com/history.html

    The only reason to buy an HD is to get the only thing HD are good at, making classic HD styled motorcycles. They certainly sell enough of them to maintain production but Wall Street wants growth. The Panamerica may sell decently since it doesn't try to be older bikes and actually makes some HP but will have to beat some very good ADV market competitors to make the engine popular enough to use on other models, and it needs to be better than Indian. At ~145HP and with reaonable rear suspension by modern standards it could be the core of a future Sportster. The weight remains heavy so it won't be for new short or light riders (and they're better off with something smaller and lighter anyway).

    Motorcycling (not just Harleys) is mostly for the old and at around 20K (estimated) Panamerica will mostly sell as a mall crawler like other large ADV machines.
    Last edited by farmall; 01-29-2021 at 9:45 AM.

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