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First off the link:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/com...rcycle/ar-BBSJqej?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=mailsignout

And now my thoughts...actually I bought my first "real" motorcycle (capable of maintaining at least the posted speed limit rather than a moped) in 1981 (the same year I graduated Hight School). I actually thought I was making a practical decision. I had a new vehicle for about $1K less than a cage of the era and if I needed a cage I could always borrow the parent's cage (1978 Ford LTD, there are battle tanks smaller than that). I was Southern California and there was 365 days a year that were rideable!

Things have certainly changed, or have they? Your thoughts?
 

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Meh, HD needs to adapt or die.
 
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The first thought I had going to the article link was - the author/editor of that article was NOT engaging millennials with the photo choice. Millennials are not drawn to that rough look - they want their craft beers not a Miller High Life or Bud.

I mean think of the FRIENDLY photos Honda presented in the 60's of riders on their bikes. "Clean" cut "kids" riding on S90's looking more like college coeds than even the "hippies" of the day which stood out having VW buses.
 

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It's the same message that has been around for years, just said in a different way, and more to the point. Harley has had very little going for it other than their ability to milk every last cent out of the nostalgia wave. If it wasn't for that, they would have been out of business years ago. The have virtually nothing to offer a buyer who is not into the intangible things like the image and mystique of a bygone era that today's younger riders can't relate to. Heck, I'm no spring chicken, and that era is even before my time.

The Vrod was seen as a possible sign of trying to adapt, but that has gradually fizzled. They do have an impractical electric bike that is out of reach of all budget minded commuters, designed by a company they bought. But we all know what happens every time Harley buys a company.

I have said it before. I really don't believe that Harley has the in house engineering capability to design something that addresses what millennials want. To be fair, all the manufacturers are struggling with this somewhat. But at least other manufacturers are bringing new, radical designs to market, even if they miss the mark. There has been nothing like that from Harley, other than disguised variations of the same old boring theme.

This is the painful downside of having all your eggs in one basket. Being in one niche segment of the market, no matter how big that niche is, will eventually fail, because all niches die out eventually. If you don't have something to fall back on, you are history.
 

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The first thought I had going to the article link was - the author/editor of that article was NOT engaging millennials with the photo choice. Millennials are not drawn to that rough look - they want their craft beers not a Miller High Life or Bud.

I mean think of the FRIENDLY photos Honda presented in the 60's of riders on their bikes. "Clean" cut "kids" riding on S90's looking more like college coeds than even the "hippies" of the day which stood out having VW buses.
I'm not sure he was attempting to engage anyone. He was just reporting on a theory. The pic did a pretty good job of summarizing the way Harley is seen to the general public, the badass outlaw biker drinking cheap beer by the case. (the gentleman in the pic is possibly none of that.) It doesn't matter if the stereotype reflects reality. It's the perception that matters, and perception is everything.

That perception is something that Harley has masterfully massaged for decades, and it made them successful. But it won't be easy to undo it. I'm not even sure they can. It might be ingrained in their image forever. It's just like Honda with their "You meet the nicest people on a Honda." That slogan probably prevented them from ever stealing any of Harley's thunder.
 

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I'm not sure he was attempting to engage anyone. He was just reporting on a theory. The pic did a pretty good job of summarizing the way Harley is seen to the general public, the badass outlaw biker drinking cheap beer by the case. (the gentleman in the pic is possibly none of that.) It doesn't matter if the stereotype reflects reality. It's the perception that matters, and perception is everything.

That perception is something that Harley has masterfully massaged for decades, and it made them successful. But it won't be easy to undo it. I'm not even sure they can. It might be ingrained in their image forever. It's just like Honda with their "You meet the nicest people on a Honda." That slogan probably prevented them from ever stealing any of Harley's thunder.

Sparky, there is another reason that Harley had so much success too. That reason is that Harley made the best darn looking bikes on the road. And they made a lot of different models too. No other manufacturer even came close. And if properly cleaned and maintained, they STILL looked like that several years after the sale. Again, no other bike company could make that claim..including Honda. The ENGINES on the foreign bikes were still top-notch, but the appearance of the bikes were cheap...because the parts were cheap.


And that Harley sound.... nothing like it. But.....none of that comes into consideration when Harley puts a $35,000 and up price-tag on the bike! THAT'S the reason Harley is in trouble! The millennials aren't stupid with their money.
 

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Sparky, there is another reason that Harley had so much success too. That reason is that Harley made the best darn looking bikes on the road. And they made a lot of different models too. No other manufacturer even came close. And if properly cleaned and maintained, they STILL looked like that several years after the sale. Again, no other bike company could make that claim..including Honda. The ENGINES on the foreign bikes were still top-notch, but the appearance of the bikes were cheap...because the parts were cheap.


And that Harley sound.... nothing like it. But.....none of that comes into consideration when Harley puts a $35,000 and up price-tag on the bike! THAT'S the reason Harley is in trouble! The millennials aren't stupid with their money.
Millennials aren't into chrome and loud exhausts.

A HD could be as cheap as a Honda and millenials wouldn't be interested.

Personally I think they are beautiful. But I'm a part of the generation that is aging out. HD still has a few more years selling to 40 to 60 year olds with money. But today's 20-30 year olds consider them noisy and antiquated and won't be buyers when they are 40 regardless of price.
 

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There have been lots of articles written about the millennials supposed penchant for "killing industries".

I would put it a different way. Since the Industrial Revolution, every generation remakes the world into how they wish it to be.

For example, my generation remade popular music. We replaced Vic Damone and Patti Page with Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis (much to our parent's dismay). The next generation replaced my music with Rap.

It'll be tough (if not impossible) for HD to rebrand itself. Perhaps they should build and sell a completely different brand without any HD badging on it. I think that HD could have been successful selling Buell, but they never put their heart into it.

Every generation remakes the world...and so it goes...
 

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Sparky, there is another reason that Harley had so much success too. That reason is that Harley made the best darn looking bikes on the road. And they made a lot of different models too. No other manufacturer even came close. And if properly cleaned and maintained, they STILL looked like that several years after the sale. Again, no other bike company could make that claim..including Honda. The ENGINES on the foreign bikes were still top-notch, but the appearance of the bikes were cheap...because the parts were cheap.


And that Harley sound.... nothing like it. But.....none of that comes into consideration when Harley puts a $35,000 and up price-tag on the bike! THAT'S the reason Harley is in trouble! The millennials aren't stupid with their money.
The local Honda dealer has 15 used Harleys setting on the floor, a couple 17's. 16's and on. Amongst all the other brands, the HD's do not stand out at all. Their just another used motorcycle other than the name.
 

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Interesting that the younger crowd doesn’t see motorcycles as a hobby. For the average schmo motorcycles are not a practical form of transportation.

If their hobby theory is correct, the decline will be industry wide. It will hurt Harley the most as it is highly focused on the US upper income market.

That group appears to be 180 out of phase with older generations on just about any topic.




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Millennials buying motorcycles?! Yeah, right, most of them don't even want a car to drive.

If they want to go somewhere, they call Uber. If they want something to eat, they call Uber Eats and have it delivered to their parent's basement where they still live. :grin2:

They're a mystery to me. :wink2:
 

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Sparky, there is another reason that Harley had so much success too. That reason is that Harley made the best darn looking bikes on the road. And they made a lot of different models too. No other manufacturer even came close. And if properly cleaned and maintained, they STILL looked like that several years after the sale. Again, no other bike company could make that claim..including Honda. The ENGINES on the foreign bikes were still top-notch, but the appearance of the bikes were cheap...because the parts were cheap.


And that Harley sound.... nothing like it. But.....none of that comes into consideration when Harley puts a $35,000 and up price-tag on the bike! THAT'S the reason Harley is in trouble! The millennials aren't stupid with their money.
And therein lies the problem. It's a matter of perspective. I suspect that Harley's thinking is the same as yours, that they are the most beautiful bikes on the road. They won't adapt. They think they already have the best and that they just need to convince young riders to hop on. But young people don't see them that way. They see old and outdated and obnoxious. Young riders don't want their friends to think they are riding their Dad's hand me down bike. They want their own identity.
 

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And therein lies the problem. It's a matter of perspective. I suspect that Harley's thinking is the same as yours, that they are the most beautiful bikes on the road. They won't adapt. They think they already have the best and that they just need to convince young riders to hop on. But young people don't see them that way. They see old and outdated and obnoxious. Young riders don't want their friends to think they are riding their Dad's hand me down bike. They want their own identity.
I agree completely. Also, I think HD had a chance to tap into the millennial market by offering them an affordable, electric motorcycle; but what they were offered from Harley was the Livewire at $30K. Lost opportunity for HD.
 

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Interesting that the younger crowd doesn’t see motorcycles as a hobby. For the average schmo motorcycles are not a practical form of transportation.

If their hobby theory is correct, the decline will be industry wide. It will hurt Harley the most as it is highly focused on the US upper income market.

That group appears to be 180 out of phase with older generations on just about any topic.




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Millennials buying motorcycles?! Yeah, right, most of them don't even want a car to drive.

If they want to go somewhere, they call Uber. If they want something to eat, they call Uber Eats and have it delivered to their parent's basement where they still live. :grin2:

They're a mystery to me. :wink2:
Agreed, the decline in interest in motorcycles in the U.S. Is industry wide. Harley is just the most notable because they are by far the largest supplier to the market. Some of the smaller manufacturers can have a double digit percentage sales increase by only selling a few more bikes because their sales are so insignificant. The truth is that no motorcycle manufacturer has produced a product that has captured the attention of millennials in sufficient numbers to jump start the motorcycle market. Many have tried, with things such as the introduction of the spyder and the slingshot.

Although I'm not a Harley fan, I believe they have also made the effort to solve the puzzle. Many of the things people on this board are now raving about on the new Goldwing, have been on Harley touring motorcycles for half a decade or longer. Harley Davidson motorcycles are now as modern a motorcycles as any you will find. A radical departure from what it is IMO it will cease being a motorcycle. We just have to face the realization that millennials are just not that in to it. On to the next chapter.
 

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Harley Davidson’s future is in their own hands. They will need to change and adapt like everything else. Blaming their customer base seems like a lousy strategy to me.

Maybe they should consult Sears’s management. They nailed it.
 

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Harley Davidson’s future is in their own hands. They will need to change and adapt like everything else. Blaming their customer base seems like a lousy strategy to me.

Maybe they should consult Sears’s management. They nailed it.


I don’t think Harley is blaming anyone. It appears they have a plan that “they” believe will be successful. It looks like a tall hill to climb and may not work.

It’s the bystanders throwing all the blame. A lot of keyboard time goes towards bitching about the style of Harley. Metric bikes aren’t significantly changing their look either. Just a fresher look on the same thing they’ve been building for 20 years.

If the bystanders had any real impact on the market, Harley would have died 25 years ago.

I was at a motorcyle show last year where old men who opened the first metric shops, held a round table about the industry today. All they could do was blame the next generation. That’s not going to attract them.


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Harley Davidson’s future is in their own hands. They will need to change and adapt like everything else. Blaming their customer base seems like a lousy strategy to me.

Maybe they should consult Sears’s management. They nailed it.
What would you propose they do? They are still by far the top selling style of motorcycle in the us. Nothing released by anyone else has threatened that. They have loss some market share to Indian who sells the same style motorcycle.
 

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Millennials aren't into chrome and loud exhausts.

A HD could be as cheap as a Honda and millenials wouldn't be interested.

Personally I think they are beautiful. But I'm a part of the generation that is aging out. HD still has a few more years selling to 40 to 60 year olds with money. But today's 20-30 year olds consider them noisy and antiquated and won't be buyers when they are 40 regardless of price.
Harley's are not loud from the factory, and you can get them blacked out just like many other bikes. Perception on the other hand will be harder to change. I put off buying a Goldwing for many years believing that it was an old mans bike. Millennials aren't just not buying Harley's, they're not buying any motorcycles in significant numbers. I do feel that price is a factor. For most people it's just plain silly to pay 30-40 thousand dollars for transportation that is seasonal. Most millennials now have more choices to decide with their disposable income and motorcycles are not at the top of that list.

Harley's have had standard ABS, TBW, infotainment system, Bluetooth, keyless start, L.E.D lights, 4-valve heads, etc for several years now. These things are of little interest to me, but it is a little funny that the perception is that it's Harley that's antiquated, when these things have only recently been added to the Goldwing.
 

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What would you propose they do? They are still by far the top selling style of motorcycle in the us. Nothing released by anyone else has threatened that. They have loss some market share to Indian who sells the same style motorcycle.
Harley's US market share has dropped from 52% to 42%. (as of May 2018.) This is despite US imports of motorcycles dropping by 14%. That means that even though US demand for imports has been dropping, Harley is still losing ground at an accelerated pace. They can continue the feel good reassurance of still being #1 in US sales, but how long do you think that will last at this rate? And the baby boomer exodus still hasn't peaked.
 
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