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Discussion Starter #21
As the thread starter, I was just stating how I see the show after going for probably 15 years. Yes, I can see that it likely can't be cheap for any vendor to do a show in Chicago. But if there aren't any vendors there with things that interest me, I can't see spending my hard earned $$ to go. I suppose it becomes a little like the Chicken and Egg. Maybe someone who had gone this year for the first time would have a different opinion than someone who has been going for a long time. But as a long time attendee, I see the size shrinking year after year and the value no longer there for me.

On the plus side I got to sit on a Honda Monkey. I seriously want one, but have a hard time with the value proposition given the engine size and size of the bike. Even though one can obviously ride the Baja 1000 on one <grin>

As I said, unless I hear of a change I won't be going again after being a regular attendee for many years. And I'm not happy about that, but I can't see the value in it for me anymore... unless I'm in the market for a new bike perhaps (but given I just got the wing, that may be a while)
 

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I've been going for years and years. Just to get in the frame of riding season coming. Gives a little break after seeing your bike covered in the corner of the dark garage....

It's been getting thinner and thinner the last few years, but this year finally did it for me. I won't be going again. We mostly went because my buddy wanted to see the new 2020 wing colors, but they only had two there (one DCT tour and one DCT non tour) so he didn't even get to see that. None of the bigger European makes (welll Ural was there, but I have zero interest in a Ural and I wouldn't consider them to be bigger brand...) No BMW, No Ducati, No Aprilla, no KTM. Zero was there at least...

And the vendor area was so thin. We walked the entire show in an hour and 20 minutes, which included spending 20-30 of those looking at the two wings. Used to take me 3 hours ish do to the whole show. Large amounts of the vendor area taken up by a big swath of custom bikes on display, vintage bikes and the Zero test track.

Plus the prices on a couple of things I checked on were not deals at all. In the past I was able to get decent deals on gear and accessories...

I'm pretty much done making the trek to Chicago for this and paying overpriced parking and admission. Not sure if it was better in other cities, but... Chicago was a sad reflection of previous years...
 

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Totally hate this show.... used to go every year, but stopped about 5 years ago because MC manufacturers were not active there anymore.... just ended up being aisles of vendors peddling shiny things
 

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This was the first time in over 25 years that I missed the Chicago show. I was just sick as a dog with the flu PLUS a raging tooth infection so I told my two friends to go without me. In the last several years the shows have been getting weaker and weaker, but it has always been my mid-winter dose of motorcycling to hold me over until riding season begins. I had hoped to pick up a pair of leather chaps. I will admit that in recent years, when I have always had some item on my shopping list that I hoped to get at the show, I have come home empty handed. Each year the vendor turnout drops lower and lower, and I end up ordering from Revzilla or another online vendor after I get home from the show (not so much for the lower prices, but just to be able to get something that I want. Last year I wanted to get a really functional hot weather mesh jacket and found nothing at the show. I ended up ordering a Klim (fabulous jacket) from Revzilla and I could not be happier with it). So after missing this year's show I ordered some leather chaps from LeatherUp and should have them shortly.

I first started going to this show in the early 1990's and it had become a fixture in my annual calendar. Family knew to not plan a family event the weekend of the motorcycle show. Maybe that will have to just become a memory. Reading how disappointing this year's show was I don't feel as bad as I might have felt for missing it.
 

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Since you've been on 'the other side of the velvet ropes', what in your opinion will begin to change things?
My opinion is 1) we need to change how we view motorcycles and motorcycles as a form of transportation. In Europe and Asian countries motorcycles are seen as a form of every day transport. Here in the states, the motorcycles as a luxury item/ alternate weekend fun toy(for lack of a better word). 2) we need to get more people interested in motorcycles and motorcycle riding. A big focus is to get younger people(kids,teens) involved and exposed to motorcycles. Going and almost gone are the days of growing up on the back of Dad's motorcycle or young people having a motorcycle instead of a car to get themselves to school.

Now the biggest question is, how do we do this? I don't have an answer. I simply don't know. The MIC (motorcycle industry council) has a group of motorcycle industry professionals trying to figure this out. As consumers we can do our part by supporting the sport, supporting our local dealers, supporting local shows/rallys, and just be out there riding and enjoying the sport.
 

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I've been saying for a while that an immediate, short-term solution to this would be for all the stakeholders in the motorcycle industry to sponsor a Netflix (or Hulu or Amazon etc) program that prominently features gorgeous millennials and motorcycles. Within three weeks of its premiere, half the millenials in the US would own bikes.
 

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My opinion is 1) we need to change how we view motorcycles and motorcycles as a form of transportation. In Europe and Asian countries motorcycles are seen as a form of every day transport. Here in the states, the motorcycles as a luxury item/ alternate weekend fun toy(for lack of a better word)
Sadly, the history of this key event happened...oh, slightly more than a hundred years ago here in North America. When an automobile was only a couple hundred dollars more than a motorcycle, what do you suppose happened? At that point the fight to maintain some semblance of relevancy began to slip - and that slippage has happened for these last 100+ years.

Due to what happened in Europe - and Asia - over the first 50 years of the last century, as a society, they were better able to build and afford cheap transportation. See the history of the major Asian motorcycle manufacturers and why they did what they did - when they did it. We did the opposite here - and gloated about it. ?


2) we need to get more people interested in motorcycles and motorcycle riding. A big focus is to get younger people(kids,teens) involved and exposed to motorcycles. Going and almost gone are the days of growing up on the back of Dad's motorcycle or young people having a motorcycle instead of a car to get themselves to school.

That group of motorcycle industry professionals you mentioned that are trying to figure this out has been an on-again, off-again deal for...quite some time.

Certain manufacturers have just kept building the 'same-ol, same-ol' machines for generations. They finally have a path, but it sure seems murky to me having to alienate just about your entire history for what may well be the future of your business. Yes, I write about the Bar-and-Shield brand.

The ubiquitous UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) brought probably a large percentage of this readership to riding - why doesn't that work again? Oh, yeah - no longer made or no longer affordable.

When those of the younger generation take those same UJM's and modify the snot out of them, do we show them praise for their creativity, or disdain for hacking up a perfectly good 30 or 40 year old motorcycle?

It'll be virtually gone in 100 more years, unless we really do what we can to maintain the history, the creativity, and the legacy of motorcycling - as both recreation and transportation.

Thanks for your response.
 

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Sadly, the history of this key event happened...oh, slightly more than a hundred years ago here in North America. When an automobile was only a couple hundred dollars more than a motorcycle, what do you suppose happened? At that point the fight to maintain some semblance of relevancy began to slip - and that slippage has happened for these last 100+ years.

Due to what happened in Europe - and Asia - over the first 50 years of the last century, as a society, they were better able to build and afford cheap transportation. See the history of the major Asian motorcycle manufacturers and why they did what they did - when they did it. We did the opposite here - and gloated about it. ?





That group of motorcycle industry professionals you mentioned that are trying to figure this out has been an on-again, off-again deal for...quite some time.

Certain manufacturers have just kept building the 'same-ol, same-ol' machines for generations. They finally have a path, but it sure seems murky to me having to alienate just about your entire history for what may well be the future of your business. Yes, I write about the Bar-and-Shield brand.

The ubiquitous UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) brought probably a large percentage of this readership to riding - why doesn't that work again? Oh, yeah - no longer made or no longer affordable.

When those of the younger generation take those same UJM's and modify the snot out of them, do we show them praise for their creativity, or disdain for hacking up a perfectly good 30 or 40 year old motorcycle?

It'll be virtually gone in 100 more years, unless we really do what we can to maintain the history, the creativity, and the legacy of motorcycling - as both recreation and transportation.

Thanks for your response.
Too right. Plus one additional important factor: Artificially cheap gasoline here, with our petroleum industry subsidized by our government. For more than a hundred years the cost of gasoline was far higher everywhere else, which necessitated smaller cars and gave higher-mileage motorcycles a great advantage. Less important, but also significant, was the nearly ubiquitous "outlaw" biker image. Honda for a while successfully countered this with preppy-looking college kids in their "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" campaign, but the current industry seems clueless about marketing.
 

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Certain manufacturers have just kept building the 'same-ol, same-ol' machines for generations. They finally have a path, but it sure seems murky to me having to alienate just about your entire history for what may well be the future of your business. Yes, I write about the Bar-and-Shield brand.
Thanks for your response.
I have to disagree with you on HD, or I don't understand what you are saying. Today's Harley is far different than the Harleys that made them successful in the past. Yes, two wheels, a seat, and engine....with front forks, and a rear spring. Pretty much the definition of a motorcycle. Secondly the appearance of the bike is important to people who like Harleys.....they intentionally want that connection to the past because its a thing of beauty. I actually am disappointed in the new bikes because I think they have strayed too far away from that connection, and have become nothing more than Japanese imitation clones. Otherwise, they are fuel injected engines with excessive amounts of power, they have advanced brakes, the fairings and audio systems are modern and more than adequate. I have never understood the engrained hatred and spite that motorcycle owners who prefer NON Harley motorcycles spew out.....its almost cult like. And its common to hear the worn out, ignorant and naive canned remarks about "oil leaks and breakdowns". With the advent of the Evolution engine in the early 80's, all of that came to an end. I have 129,500 miles on my 2004 Road King and it has NEVER dripped a drop of oil, nor has it ever broke on me on the road. Frankly, on this forum, I have heard more mechanical problems advertised on the GL1800!!!! I love all motorcycles, and my recent addition of Goldwing serves a different purpose.....as they all do.
 

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Hey, Flyboy, where is Harley hiding all these state-of-the-art, well-engineered motorcycles you're touting? My buddy just paid $10,000.00 each to have reverse added to his two big, two-year-old touring Harleys (one he keeps here in Southern California, one in Park City). He's still grumbling about the cost. Everytime we ride, he asks, "How come they don't come with reverse like your Goldwing?" He's also constantly complaining about their transmissions, how noisy and clunky they are, how often he misses shifts, how hard it is to find neutral. He also complains about their electrics--he gets stuck a lot when the electrics get discombobulated and he can't start it. And he gets apoplectic about the infotainment system, which he can't get to do what he wants. I'm sure he'd love to have one of the historically-styled-but-otherwise-state-of-the-art Harleys you describe that his dealer doesn't seem to have in stock.

As far as Harley cloning Japanese motorcycles, it would be good if they imitated more of the Japanese motorcycles' competence and less about the looks. (I don't see that in their styling, but it's all in the eye of the beholder.). Yamaha did the reverse and imitated HD in their Transcontinental tourer/cruiser. Unfortunately they did way too good a job.
 

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Hey, Flyboy, where is Harley hiding all these state-of-the-art, well-engineered motorcycles you're touting? My buddy just paid $10,000.00 each to have reverse added to his two big, two-year-old touring Harleys (one he keeps here in Southern California, one in Park City). He's still grumbling about the cost. Everytime we ride, he asks, "How come they don't come with reverse like your Goldwing?" He's also constantly complaining about their transmissions, how noisy and clunky they are, how often he misses shifts, how hard it is to find neutral. He also complains about their electrics--he gets stuck a lot when the electrics get discombobulated and he can't start it. And he gets apoplectic about the infotainment system, which he can't get to do what he wants. I'm sure he'd love to have one of the historically-styled-but-otherwise-state-of-the-art Harleys you describe that his dealer doesn't seem to have in stock.

As far as Harley cloning Japanese motorcycles, it would be good if they imitated more of the Japanese motorcycles' competence and less about the looks. (I don't see that in their styling, but it's all in the eye of the beholder.). Yamaha did the reverse and imitated HD in their Transcontinental tourer/cruiser. Unfortunately they did way too good a job.
See......here we go. Anti Harley statement. Why should I be surprised on a GL1800 forum. What other motorycles have reverse? The 900 lb monster a GL1800 requires it. Harley chose not to. Most Harley guys I know never bring up the idea its needed or desired. The transmissions are clunky? I say the GL1800 transmissions are clunky, and noisy. Either way, its irrelevant, and exxagerating issues, or being overly sensitive to issues, comes down to individuals who like to complain, or expect things that most don't care about. The entire aftermarket industry is based on "fixing" problems that mostly do no exist, all for the benefit of the aftermarket industry. But maybe I am just not that sensitive.

Anyways, I am not getting into a back and forth about this, and will not comment further. Talking Harleys on a GL1800 forum is just going to end up wasting more of my time than its worth......kind of like beating my head againsta the wall. Wasted words. Bye.
 

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See......here we go. Anti Harley statement. Why should I be surprised on a GL1800 forum. What other motorycles have reverse? The 900 lb monster a GL1800 requires it. Harley chose not to. Most Harley guys I know never bring up the idea its needed or desired. The transmissions are clunky? I say the GL1800 transmissions are clunky, and noisy. Either way, its irrelevant, and exxagerating issues, or being overly sensitive to issues, comes down to individuals who like to complain, or expect things that most don't care about. The entire aftermarket industry is based on "fixing" problems that mostly do no exist, all for the benefit of the aftermarket industry. But maybe I am just not that sensitive.

Anyways, I am not getting into a back and forth about this, and will not comment further. Talking Harleys on a GL1800 forum is just going to end up wasting more of my time than its worth......kind of like beating my head againsta the wall. Wasted words. Bye.
Actually, it wasn't my Harley bashing, it was a committed Harley owner's Harley bashing. And if you didn't want a back and forth, you wouldn't have posted your Harley love letter in the first place.
 

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Well, we enjoyed the Chicago Motorcycle show last weekend. Drove from Minneapolis (about 6 hours) had a fantastic steak at Longhorn Steakhouse before the show. Four of use went. Parking $15 and tickets bought on discount around $15. We had a great time there because I am comparing it to the Minneapolis Motorcycle show. I live about 20 miles from that show and will never go again. It too, used to be very good and something to look forward to. Not anymore. I would say the Chicago show was twice the size and entertainment. Since I went last year and this year I probably won't go next year, but who knows? It was refreshing to break away from winter for awhile and get excited again about the upcoming riding season.
 

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Actually, it wasn't my Harley bashing, it was a committed Harley owner's Harley bashing. And if you didn't want a back and forth, you wouldn't have posted your Harley love letter in the first place.
Ok, how about this. Harleys are junk. Feel better now?
 

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It seems there is a lot of competition for my entertainment expenditures. Paying someone for the privilege of standing in lines just ain’t my bag.

At least the military paid me to stand in their lines.




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It seems there is a lot of competition for my entertainment expenditures. Paying someone for the privilege of standing in lines just ain’t my bag.

At least the military paid me to stand in their lines.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I guess that's sort of an upside--it's so sparsely attended that the lines are short.
 

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The Minneapolis show has fewer and fewer factory displays every year, and no Euro factory teams this year. (There were a couple local dealers working the BMW display, but no factory guys). These days there are more “flea market” -type booths with people selling bandanas and doo-dads.

I once looked forward to seeing what new bikes are coming out and the cool displays (remember the Ducati girls?). The only reason I attend now is because it’s more of a social event for me, and we typically go out for burgers and beer afterwards. I spent four hours at the event, but only 15 min, at most, looking at bikes. The rest of the time I was visiting with riding buddies, fellow RiderCoaches, and cops working the event.
 
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