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Old 07-09-2018, 07:32 PM   #1
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We are a dying species....

http://www.latimes.com/business/auto...214-story.html

No easy ride: Motorcycle industry is in deep trouble and needs help fast, panel agrees
Charles Fleming
By CHARLES FLEMING
DEC 14, 2017 | 6:00 AM

Motorcycle and scooter ownership is high in South and Southeast Asia. (Dec. 15, 2017) (Sign up for our free video newsletter here http://bit.ly/2n6VKPR)

A group of two dozen concerned motorcycle veterans has published a comprehensive research document that addresses the question, “Can this industry be saved?”

Maybe, it concluded, but it’s not going to be easy.


He began with a written survey, which included 300 participants, and proceeded to a two-hour roundtable discussion in Long Beach, on Nov. 16, with 25 of the most ardent influencers.

Their comments, made anonymously for fear of offending employers and business associates, paint a dire picture.

Sales are flat or falling in almost every area.
Baby boomer buyers, the most consistent motorcycle consumers, are aging out of the industry fast.
The industry has failed to increase sales by making new riders out of women, minorities and millennials.
The old dealership model is broken and needs a makeover.
The arrival of autonomous vehicles may push motorcycles off the road entirely.
“The message is, ‘We are in trouble, and there is no silver bullet,’ ” Pandya said.


Among the key findings in the report, which can be read in its entirety here:

The motorcycle industry does not need better product, but its marketing and advertising methods are failing to attract new riders in part because they are too focused on selling bigger, faster, more expensive machines to veteran riders.

“There has never been a more compelling and interesting time in motorcycling,” the report said. “It’s clear … that the bigger issue is lack of general interest in riding.”

The industry also has failed to appreciate the importance of the female rider, losing sight of the concept that mothers who ride tend to produce children who ride. Instead, manufacturers focus too tightly on the more typical male consumer and, when it comes to women, rely on the careworn “shrink it and pink it” approach to apparel and gear manufacturing.

“There is clearly a path to attract female ridership that does not come from traditional motorcycle marketing and must be explored,” the report said. “The increase in female ridership will have a huge influence on young riders’ access to motorcycling.”

The panel faulted motorcycle dealerships for being outmoded and unimaginative, and for employing sales personnel primarily interested in selling top-of-the-line products to well-heeled buyers while ignoring the entry-level beginner.

“Dealers still often do not know how to sell to women, couples, families and non-traditional customers,” the report concluded. “Being enchanted by motorcycling can quickly be dulled by a poor, confusing or dismissive dealership experience.

Even more worrying, Pandya’s report said, is the approaching widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles, whose prevalence on public roads may leave no safe space for motorcycling.

“There is a very real risk of motorcycling being completely cut out of the conversation for future vehicle infrastructure systems,” the panel concluded. “The single biggest threat to motorcycling overall … will be the incompatibility between autonomous vehicles and existing motorcycles.”

Though the panel’s conclusions were bleak, its members did have ideas for slowing the erosion in sales and enthusiasm.

The paper called on the power sports industry collectively and riders individually to self-correct, self-police and work together to improve motorcycling’s image.

Manufacturers must “promote motorcycling as an activity for everyone,” “tell a compelling story about the benefits and joys of motorcycling” and “affect acceptance of the positive aspects of motorcycling.”

Riders, in turn, must be better ambassadors for the sport they love and better at sharing the message.

“If just 20% of existing riders were able to bring a new rider into the mix every year, the shift would be dramatic not only in sales but in camaraderie,” the report said. “Motorcycling can no longer be our secret.”

Blaine Schuttler, managing director of Husqvarna Motorcycles North America, said a major challenge is in simply identifying consumers and connecting with them.

“Our marketing activity plans are geared toward people who are currently in the sport, and toward trying to attract returners to the sport,” Schuttler said. “At the same time, everybody in the industry is trying to attract people who haven’t been exposed to motorcycles or have never ridden motorcycles before.”

Some companies, the report charged, have failed to produce enough motorcycles that are appropriately sized and priced for new riders, or have failed to make them sufficiently attractive.

But even those who have built splendid lineups of starter motorcycles, like Honda, are having trouble capturing the attention of potential riders whose free time and disposable income already are occupied by online gaming, streaming video content and other popular outdoor activities such as cycling, mountain biking, hiking or RV camping.

“There are so many options for that audience in terms of transportation and recreation,” said Lee Edmunds, national motorcycle advertising manager for American Honda. “I don’t see anything approaching what we need to do with that audience.”

The problem is made particularly acute, the report said, because many millennial consumers were “bubble-wrapped for safety in their youth” or raised by overprotective parents who discouraged risk-taking.

“Adventure is not at the top of the list,” said MotoQuest tour company founder Phil Freeman. “It’s more about comfort and security.”

Industry consultant and former Honda executive Chris Jonnum, who was not part of the panel but endorses many of its conclusions, observed that the thrill of motorcycling alone should make it an easy sell.

“What we have is cool and fun and genuine and appealing,” he said. “Everyone who does it knows how great it is, and how fun it is. What we’re trying to do here shouldn’t be impossible.”
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:01 PM   #2
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Itís a conspiracy to get pity sales
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:58 PM   #3
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So eventually all bikers will be rebel outlaws... seems to have come full circle.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:05 AM   #4
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Motorbikes have become overly regulated. Canít do this canít do that. Need to follow the same rules like cars. Thereís no advantage to riding a bike. Cost keeps rising without any benefits.

Now in Europe they have to follow the same emissions rules as cars. So catalytic converters on their way.

New growth area is electric bicycles. KTM are wel positioned for this to capture this next generation market and bring them to the roads as they grow up. Just how motorized bicycles started where we got to now.

Plus just like cars they can take advantage of unwritten not yet regulated space to capture market share and offer users more freedom than possible now on motorcycles.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:31 AM   #5
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I'm probably not well placed to weigh in here, as I hardly ever ride on the streets anymore. But I do find it hard to complain about being able to walk into a dealership and get something as absolutely ridiculously fast as an R1, Zx10r or GSXR for example, for less than $15k. Or even $10k with limited miles?

Great time to be alive, when most in the median income bracket can throw a leg over a bike that can suck the eyes into the back of the head, and can get out on track fairly cheaply too.

But who knows. Might not last if the sportsbike world starts getting more pointed towards a specific group of die-hards that ride at least at a semi-professionally level.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by testiesalmon View Post
I'm probably not well placed to weigh in here, as I hardly ever ride on the streets anymore. But I do find it hard to complain about being able to walk into a dealership and get something as absolutely ridiculously fast as an R1, Zx10r or GSXR for example, for less than $15k. Or even $10k with limited miles?

Great time to be alive, when most in the median income bracket can throw a leg over a bike that can suck the eyes into the back of the head, and can get out on track fairly cheaply too.

But who knows. Might not last if the sportsbike world starts getting more pointed towards a specific group of die-hards that ride at least at a semi-professionally level.
I think that's what the article was saying, manufacturers and dealers have been focused on producing and selling the highest tech, baddest assed bikes to experienced riders.
They have neglected to bring new riders into the market with lower cost less intimidating bikes. Not that they don't make so called "entry level" bikes, but they aren't marketed very well. Millennials and women are pretty much left out of the program.

IMHO, motorcycles are not going anywhere, in spite of this groups "the sky is falling" mentality. The sport may not grow as fast as it could have or as fast as the industry wants it to, but it isn't going to go away. There are still people that pretty much will ride no matter what and they will still be buying bikes.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:03 AM   #7
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While overcrowded and congested streets are helping usher in demand for and creation of automated vehicles at the expense of driving enthusiasts. That may create higher demand for affordable and accessible motor sports and recreational vehicles. Perhaps commuter bike will be less in demand and people will look at bikes more like Wave Runners and Jet Skis, I love getting out of the city and running back roads but I do little commuting on my bike. Storage capacity, heat and rain, drive-thru breakfast, not wanting helmet hair are some of the reasons I usually drive to work. What I’m saying is that as automation combined with congestion continues to take the fun out of driving a sports car it leaves the door open for less expensive but still thrilling options.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:13 AM   #8
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I think part of it is our society.

We label everything TOO DANGEROUS and teach our kids to stay safe and protect them from everything.

Growing up as a kid, I couldn't wait to ride a motorcycle. I was infatuated with them.

Parents USED to get out and ride dirt bikes with their kids. Which, in turn gave them some experience and a "drive" to get their own motorcycles when they got older.

These days, the younger generations just don't have an interest or the physical skills needed to operate one. They feel "unsafe", and everything these days are supposed to be SAFE SAFE SAFE.


This is all just my opinion. I could be wrong.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:56 AM   #9
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Why go to a fine restaurant, when you can just stick something in the microwave? Why go to the park and fly a kite, when you can just pop a pill?
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solracer View Post
I think part of it is our society.

We label everything TOO DANGEROUS and teach our kids to stay safe and protect them from everything.

Growing up as a kid, I couldn't wait to ride a motorcycle. I was infatuated with them.

Parents USED to get out and ride dirt bikes with their kids. Which, in turn gave them some experience and a "drive" to get their own motorcycles when they got older.

These days, the younger generations just don't have an interest or the physical skills needed to operate one. They feel "unsafe", and everything these days are supposed to be SAFE SAFE SAFE.


This is all just my opinion. I could be wrong.
I agree.
Luckily I still ride with my kids a few times a week. Great quality time.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solracer View Post
I think part of it is our society.

We label everything TOO DANGEROUS and teach our kids to stay safe and protect them from everything.

Growing up as a kid, I couldn't wait to ride a motorcycle. I was infatuated with them.

Parents USED to get out and ride dirt bikes with their kids. Which, in turn gave them some experience and a "drive" to get their own motorcycles when they got older.

These days, the younger generations just don't have an interest or the physical skills needed to operate one. They feel "unsafe", and everything these days are supposed to be SAFE SAFE SAFE.


This is all just my opinion. I could be wrong.
Very true

Not only are they overprotective, but theyíre so glued to their screens the kids have no idea what it is to go outside and get dirty and get a couple scrapes and bruises. Physical activity is like a chore to them, exercise? Ughhh why canít I wear a weird little belt that makes abs while I binge watch 8 hours of Netflix?
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:54 AM   #12
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Very true

Not only are they overprotective, but theyíre so glued to their screens the kids have no idea what it is to go outside and get dirty and get a couple scrapes and bruises. Physical activity is like a chore to them, exercise? Ughhh why canít I wear a weird little belt that makes abs while I binge watch 8 hours of Netflix?


Yup, every day I tell my kids " Do you know what I did during summer? I went outside, ALL DAY! We played soldiers and climber trees and rode bikes and played sports with our friends."

Kids dont play outside anymore, its a tragedy.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:58 AM   #13
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Yup, every day I tell my kids " Do you know what I did during summer? I went outside, ALL DAY! We played soldiers and climber trees and rode bikes and played sports with our friends."

Kids dont play outside anymore, its a tragedy.

My wife and kid have a popsicle outside almost everyday in the evening and we never see anyone else out there, no bikes, no skateboards, no scooters, no basketball, no hide and seek, itís depressing
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:04 AM   #14
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I think it has to deal with a variety of factors.
1. Millennials tend to value experiences over tangible goods. This is also becoming a problem in other areas such as jewelry. Granted, riding a motorcycle is an experience within itself.

2. It cost money to maintain and buy a motorcycle. This money would rather be spent on the experiences mentioned before.

3. People cut you off in a car. 100x more dangerous in a bike. Not everyone wants to die just because they wanted to ride a motorcycle. Even worse if you are a parent.

These reasons along with companies not wanting or not adapting quickly enough.

Just my two cents

Last edited by gorillamonkey2; 07-10-2018 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:05 AM   #15
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Not only do kids stay in side and play games all day, but they aren't encouraged to go out in the neighborhood and play either.

Parents think its unsafe.

Parents think its too hot for their darling children to go out and play.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorillamonkey2 View Post
I think it has to deal with a variety of factors.
1. Millennials tend to value experiences over tangible goods. This is also becoming a problem in other areas such as jewelry. Granted, riding a motorcycle is an experience within itself.

2. It cost money to maintain and buy a motorcycle. This money would rather be spent on the experiences mentioned before.

3. People cut you off in a car. 100x more dangerous in a bike. Not everyone wants to die just because they wanted to ride a motorcycle. Even worse if you are a parent.

Just my two cents
I agree about the experiences. , our family places a lot of worth in "experiences", especially those with our kids.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:12 AM   #17
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I agree about the experiences. , our family places a lot of worth in "experiences", especially those with our kids.
I believe that once millenials get older, they are going to start valuing tangible goods again.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solracer View Post
I think part of it is our society.

We label everything TOO DANGEROUS and teach our kids to stay safe and protect them from everything.

Growing up as a kid, I couldn't wait to ride a motorcycle. I was infatuated with them.

Parents USED to get out and ride dirt bikes with their kids. Which, in turn gave them some experience and a "drive" to get their own motorcycles when they got older.

These days, the younger generations just don't have an interest or the physical skills needed to operate one. They feel "unsafe", and everything these days are supposed to be SAFE SAFE SAFE.


This is all just my opinion. I could be wrong.
I'll agree w/ the "society" part but I see it a little differently. Last Oct I was t-boned, lifeflight, coma for several days w/ brain injury, broken bones etc, ICU and even today still have vision/brain related problems related to my injuries. I have had to give up motorcycling as I can no longer trust society in general to be safe. Today's cars with all the great technology can be distracting to some drivers as well as everything with smartphones as well.

So yes, I can say we're a dying breed. I came super close myself and as much as I miss motorcycling, I can't do it any longer even if I do get to the point of all healed. I worry that people are too distracted/irresponsible for me to be able to ride again.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorillamonkey2 View Post
I think it has to deal with a variety of factors.
1. Millennials tend to value experiences over tangible goods. This is also becoming a problem in other areas such as jewelry. Granted, riding a motorcycle is an experience within itself.

2. It cost money to maintain and buy a motorcycle. This money would rather be spent on the experiences mentioned before.

3. People cut you off in a car. 100x more dangerous in a bike. Not everyone wants to die just because they wanted to ride a motorcycle. Even worse if you are a parent.

These reasons along with companies not wanting or not adapting quickly enough.

Just my two cents
This ties into my other response. I have kids and to put them thru again what I was told they went through, I just couldn't imagine. They are more important to me than I am to me. If you set aside the lingering injuries (that MAY go away someday), I have had to quit because my children exist.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:15 PM   #20
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This ties into my other response. I have kids and to put them thru again what I was told they went through, I just couldn't imagine. They are more important to me than I am to me. If you set aside the lingering injuries (that MAY go away someday), I have had to quit because my children exist.
This is why I gave up street riding (except my dual sport which is only used to get from trail to trail and on beer runs) Its not worth it to ride the street anymore and I would NEVER encourage my kids to ride the street. Now trail riding, dirtbiking and track I would encourage as the risk is alot less.
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