Most things I worry about, never happen anyway.
–Tom Petty

I’m a little worried about the valve deal that causes the dishwasher to flood under the sink whenever I use it, but Thanksgiving’s done so that can wait. The Ranger’s AC is out, but now it’s winter (and 72 degrees on my Kalifornia patio). There’s a clunk under the Jaguar that might be a ball joint or something, but no wheels are obviously falling off. My child is having GF problems, but he’s 23 and suddenly self-supporting. I think there are a few other items; luckily I’ve forgotten them.

Things are going swimmingly, in other words, but everybody around me seemed to be in a tizzy regarding the State of the Motorcycle Industry last week at the IMS Show in Long Beach. That show is always more of a schmooze-fest for me, since we’d already been to the big show in Italy the week before.

The giant distributor that is MAG (Motorcycle Aftermarket Group) filed for bankruptcy right before the show, dragging down a bunch of its brands along with it, including Renthal, Tucker Rocky, Performance Machines/ Roland Sands, Vance & Hines, J&P Cycles, Motorcycle Superstore, Motorcycle USA (say, aren’t they already defunct?), Mustang Motorcycle Products, etc. In a debt-for-equity swap, MAG says it’ll be taking on $300 million more debt to rescue itself, and not to worry because it’ll be business as usual and everything will be better. It’s only a flesh wound.

(CORRECTION from Jennifer at MAG, and I quote:  “The Company is exchanging its approximately $300 million debt with its prepetition first lien secured lenders and its asset-backed lenders for equity. In other words, these current debt holders will have equity in the reorganized MAG in exchange for the debt, so upon emergence the Company will have new owners. Monomoy Capital Partners, BlueMountain Capital and Contrarian Partners will lead the new owners group, and have deep experience in
consumer products and lifestyle companies including distribution, retail and manufacturing.”)

Yet another pesky chart…

Basically, bike sales are in the toilet again. A group of industry luminaries convened the night before the show opened to brainstorm what the problem might be in order to solve it. Wait a minute: Since we’re already luminaries and we’re already in the industry, how was this huge problem with declining motorcycle sales ever able to develop in the first place? Why wasn’t this downturn nipped in the bud? Everyone fall in for the circular firing squad. (One self-proclaimed luminary was miffed on Facebook the week after the meeting at not being included, claiming that he’s uniquely positioned as an accomplished influencer with his finger on the pulse of the industry. Weirdly, he was probably the only guy in the industry who hadn’t heard about the roundtable beforehand. Better in that case to campaign as an “Outsider” next time – and use the year off to figure out why your “brand” is tanking.)

Draining the motorcycle-industry swamp, probably any industry, would be a difficult thing to accomplish. I’ve read that Lake Okeechobee, the giant shallow one in Florida, doesn’t drain so much as it rotates in big circles much like the water in a huge, common plumbing fixture, carrying its contents along with it. That’s a lot like how my beloved industry treats its people. When somebody’s moto-empire sinks and you’re sad that all hands are lost, sure enough there you’ll be back at the Long Beach show the next November, and there your old pals will be, wearing the same shirts with different logos over slightly larger bellies. Ahoy, mateys!

Every year there’s Ken, who broke me in at Cycle magazine too many years ago and who’s been  Vreeke and Associates ever since. There’s Corey, who I’ve known since I “borrowed” a WP shock from him when he was the new kid at White Brothers and WP was still White Power (no white supremacy ever intended!). There’s Marty, who my Canadian owners just hired to sell ads, and who sold ads for Petersen Publishing when I worked at Motorcyclist in the ’90s. There’s Michael and the whole crew from Yamaha’s ad agency I worked with for five years in the ’Aughts. My apologies to the 300 people I’m leaving out, but you get the idea. Not many people ever really get, ahh, flushed; they just submerge, make another orbit, and bob to the surface in a different spot.

Hello, my old advertising agency peoples! Four of eight of us in this pic now work for different companies in the motorcycle industry. Why not call Adrianne now, and buy a lovely and highly effective VerticalScope ad?

I already made my case about what’s wrong with the industry, and it’s not the people – 90% of whom are serious motorcycle enthusiasts and generally good humans as far as you know. Many of them will give you the shirt off their back, and sometimes even a nice Dainese jacket, all for the Cause of Motorcycling.

And who are you going to get to replace the MAG execs who may have made an unhealthy business decision or two anyway? Bankers? Ohoho, I just cracked myself up! Google says the 2008 TARP banking bailout is costing us taxpayers $16.8 trillion, with a t. Compared to that, MAG’s $300 million is a grain of sand on a beach. Speaking of resurfacing, all those poor bankers also re-bobbed: After making billions foreclosing on people a decade ago, Steve Mnuchin’s now Secretary of the Treasury. Ahoy matey! (Not that he ever actually submerged.)

I stand by my theory that the problem of youngsters buying fewer motorcycles is simply a lack of leisure time and money, both of them lingering after-effects of the Great Recession and the extreme wealth inequality it exacerbated. But I could be wrong; it’s possible the downturn in the motorcycle industry and the shocking increase in the number of people living in tents down by the Santa Ana River is just a coincidence.

As for the manufacturers not making good little cheap motorcycles and millennials not wanting to ride them, you could’ve fooled me on the two days I spent last week dual-sporting around in the mountains on a CSC RXR ($3500), Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ($5400) and Honda CRF250L Rally ($5800) with MO’s new talent, Ryan and Brent. One’s 26 and one’s 28, and both have already somehow managed to accrue far better off-road skills than mine, in spite of the fact I had a 20-year head start. Fine, 30 years.

My own 23-year old spawn wants a new Ducati Supersport now that he’s employed. He can have one if he stays under my roof. If he moves into a 250-square foot studio with no kitchen close to his job for $1800, maybe not. Tough choice. I’ve become quite the little cook.

All systems are self-righting until they’re not. The motorcycle gene will always out; to think otherwise is to think there’s been a sudden change in human nature. (Letter writers to the Orange County Register are 99% convinced the recent “homeless crisis” is all down to a sudden unexplained spike in sloth and Bohemian-ness.) Young people will always crave adventure. Heck, old people too. Motorcycles are still one of the lowest, most accessible rungs on the adventure ladder.

Why worry?

  • Born to Ride

    Damn… I had no idea about MAG going bankrupt. I’m waiting for a callback for a job with V&H, the bankruptcy announcement happened right after my second interview. I wonder if that curbed their hiring… Fingers crossed.

    • John B.

      Not to worry. This is a Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy intended to eliminate roughly $300 million in debt. The company will continue to operate business as usual.

      • Born to Ride

        Oh cool, well my fingers are still crossed for the job lol.

        • John B.

          Good luck! I hope you get an offer soon.

        • Old MOron

          Put that poem on your resume. If that doesn’t kick open some doors for you, I don’t know what will 🙂

          • Born to Ride

            Haha I still go back and read it when I’m in desperate need of a laugh

  • Starmag

    The middle class is getting crushed and they’re the ones that buy most motorcycles. A clever new ad campaign isn’t going to fix it. The remedy would involve short term pain for long term gain, but good luck selling that to a ADD “I want it now” 0 % down credit card culture. That $300 million in stock looks like a bad bet. Shooting the messenger may feel good initially, but usually turns out bad when the Huns show up.

    Do I win a consultancy?

    • Mad4TheCrest

      Hmm … I’m old enough to remember there used to be a very helpful economic boosting tool that got killed off at the start of the Reagan Administration, but was wonderful until then: you were allowed to deduct the interest on consumer debt (i.e., credit cards) from your taxes. Bring that back and maybe people will take on more debt and get a nice motorcycle.

    • john burns

      No, but you should as I have no idea what your point is?

      • Starmag

        Most regrettably, we here at Starmag and Associates envision a heightened distress index will be a requirement among the majority affected with otological impairment preceding any synergistic embrace of actual bleeding-edge imperatives that can be implemented forthwith.

  • Sentinel

    I think you’re right on the money, or lack thereof situation. Love the comment about the OC snobs too! lol One thing I’ll say about the manufacturer side of things, is that I think they’ve gone way overboard with the hyper-micro-segmentation of the industry. There are just too many categories and sub-categories of bikes being made and pushed. To the point where, in order to actually use a bike for more than one specific purpose, you’d have to buy two or three of them. I know there are some exceptions out there, and hopefully more are on the way. Id’ say the ADV segment represents some good all-rounders, and the retro-bikes too. But this overspecialization and segmentation has not been a good trend, and is likely more than anything what killed off the sport-bike segment. It just became so overspecialized and pure race, that the bikes just weren’t really usable for anything else. And most people aren’t actually going to race them. Beyond that I think the insectoid-tranformer look has been about as good as it sounds for sales. I’d love to see a return to sanity when it comes to bikes. How about actually making them more all-round usable, functional, and reasonably customizable? I think a functional rear section, provision for securing helmets, and decent under-seat storage should be the rule rather than the exception across the board. So make them decent looking, give them decent all-round functionality and usability, and at least the manufacturing
    industry side of things would be in a better place. As for the psychos running (ruining) the country and the world at large into a bottomless pit of masters (themselves) and slaves (the rest of us), I’m afraid we’re all pretty much out of luck in that regard.

    • Gruf Rude

      I remember eons ago when I was working at a dealership and the Japanese manufacturers were cranking out multitudes of new models and the motorcycling press was ecstatic – and down at our level, we were drowning in little brown cardboard trays that held the parts inventory we needed to support those ‘new-and-improved-every year’ bikes . . .

      • Jon Jones

        This area has been improved. Parts acquisition is so fast these days that it doesn’t make sense to stock much. I’m amazed how quickly multiple parts arrive for big service jobs.

        • Chris Kallfelz

          I was having microfiche flashbacks for a moment there…

          • Jon Jones

            I don’t miss microfiche in the least. Remember how there would be a big scratch right on the part number you needed? Or how the bulb would burn out on the reader when you were slammed?

            I worked parts a few years which really helped in learning where the dingus rod was located on the fiche and if it included the hickling pin. It’s much better to list the parts for a complex job yourself than rely on others.

          • Chris Kallfelz

            And may God help the unfortunate creature that had messed with my fiche or my cardboard box library of doodads.

          • Jon Jones

            Funny, I still have a fiche reader and collection of fiche.

            It’ll come in handy when an EMP strikes.

          • Johnny Blue

            Not unless you use a candle to read the fiche. The power grid will be down from that day…

          • Jon Jones

            And that’s where my lovely Honda generator comes in.

          • Johnny Blue

            Does it have an electronic module to fire the spark plug? Then it won’t work. 🙂

          • Born to Ride

            I have no idea what that second paragraph meant, but I found it highly amusing.

          • Jon Jones

            Doing my best to be mirthful as we tumble screaming into the abyss.

          • Johnny Blue

            EMP – Electromagnetic Pulse.
            No worries… if that strikes the bikes won’t run… so no need for microfiches anyway. 🙂

          • Alaskan18724

            Except the bloody Enfields everyone is dissing….

          • Johnny Blue

            Nope… Digital electronic ignition, so no… 🙂
            I’m not dissing it. I like this one:
            https://royalenfield.com/motorcycles/himalayan/bike/

          • Gruf Rude

            Memories. I started out on the parts counter. I vividly remember the guy, “I need a part for my motorcycle.”
            “Which motorcycle do you own?”
            “It’s a red one.”
            Long series of questions later, I got him the speedometer drive for a Honda 150 Dream . . .

          • Jon Jones

            Ah, yes. I remember asking a customer what color his Z1 was to narrow down the correct year. He replied, “I dunno, there’s a naked lady painted on the tank”.

          • Johnny Blue

            And what colour was the lady painted on the tank? I can’t believe people can be so oblivious to their machines. But what do I know? I do most of the maintenance work myself.

          • Jon Jones

            The Game of Twenty Questions that if often played by customers is often ridiculous and seems to be intentional at times. Make, year, and model is the basic info a shop needs to help someone. There’s not even the issues of trim packages that you have with other vehicles.

            At least now a customer can just bring in the registration to aid us in unravelling the once-unfathomable.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Try answering in a foreign language. Shocking how few Trawna folks speak French.

            Hilarity ensues.

          • Jon Jones

            Knowing some basic spanish is almost mandatory in my neck of the woods.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Ay, caramba!

          • Alaskan18724

            It’s like those French have a different word for EVERYTHING.

          • Johnny Blue

            I spent over 15 years in Toronto and I had to look what Trawna means.. :))

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            LOL !!! I really am laughing out loud.

          • Johnny Blue

            I could hear you from overseas! 🙂

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Buffalo?

          • Johnny Blue

            No , by overseas I meant across the Atlantic, Amsterdam to be more precise. 🙂

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            I was just joshing (as our American friends say).

            What are you doing in Amsterdam? Hash or weed?

          • Johnny Blue

            Neither. Working. I live here now. Never tried drugs and I’m too old to start now. 🙂 But I just finished overhauling my brakes and I might be a bit high on brake cleaner! :)))

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Yeah … was a wee joke. I’ve never done weed, or any of that other dirty shit. I’m an old man in my mid-50’s, and I’m a Scot. I drink. But, sadly, not even much of that any more. Now I get ‘nappy.’

            I do a lot of drugs: Blood pressure “Because Torontonians can’t drive!” and stomach “Because Torontonians can’t drive!”

            Then, of course was all of the crap I made as a bio-chem maj. in Uni over thirty years back. But, I made those, and they were for study purposes.

          • Johnny Blue

            No more scotch for the Scot? What happened? You decided to befriend your liver? 🙂

          • Alaskan18724

            My favorite color.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    My guess is there will always be motorcycles as a means to adventure. The question is what form those bikes will take and will there be an option for every budget? My guess there is less optimistic; I think unless things change (i.e. sales rebound) new bikes will become high-end toys for the wealthy adventurer only and the rest of us will have to make do with old tackle (if the DMV and CARB will allow us to license it).

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Motorcycling needs a strong lobby so the safety czars do not legislate it out of existence.

  • Jon Jones

    Great read. In regards to the article, I’m writing this at 1 AM. I fall asleep OK, but the last year or so I wake up at some point and can’t get back to sleep. I’m a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, and I’ve been a dealership mechanic for 30+ years. Indeed, I’m worried for our industry and my own future.

    It’s as grim as John states here. That sales chart says it all.

    Keeps me up at night.

  • Chris Kallfelz

    John, humor me here. Your chart shows the years of the housing bubble culminating with the crash in ’08 to present day more or less. From that chart you conclude that, “bike sales are in the toilet again.”

    OK, just take a moment and look at another slightly expanded chart (1990-2016) on bike sales in the US. Before the decade of artificially low interest rates, fake wealth accumulation, and the housing bubble.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/183549/us-sales-of-motorcycles-since-1990/

    Now aside from the aberration of the aughts when we had a fake economic boom based on wealth that was pure fiction, no-doc loans, and people using their houses like ATMs, what do we have? Something that looks more like a return to the norm maybe? Rather than being “in the toilet” sales have returned to levels consistent with the pre-bubble years, slightly higher actually, before you could walk into your dealership and spend Monopoly money that was backed by fraudulent securities.

    So rather than look at 2000-2016, draw a red line to suggest 2005 was somehow normal when it was anything but, and then highlight 2015-16 to say everything is going to hell in a handbasket, why don’t we look at the big picture and call it what it is, a market correction when global Fantasyland imploded.

    • Gruf Rude

      We’ve been living on fiction for years. Resources on the planet are finite and world population is skyrocketing exponentially. Production of any and everything is no longer constrained by national boundaries. Thomas Friedman, acolyte of Chicago school economics, thought that minor technical adjustments would make everything peachy as “The World became Flat.” Much more likely that the high-rolling middle class will be flattened.

    • Jon Jones

      Interesting points, well done.

    • Vrooom

      While an excellent point that can’t be denied, I’m sure the motorcycle industry didn’t recognize the bubble, so they see it as lost sales.

    • john burns

      well, the chart backs up my thesis, which is really simply that the sky is NOT falling (probably) even if sales were down 3% in 2016 and maybe a bit more this year.

      • Chris Kallfelz

        Well then, bike sales aren’t back in the toilet again? Or is an improvement on the ’90s still the toilet omitting the false prosperity of the aughts?

        If the latter is the case when were bike sales up where they were supposed to be? The ’70s? The 80s?

        Now I’m lost.

        • john burns

          People in the industry seem to think the sky is falling when sales are down just a bit. What do i know? Maybe a 3% decline is a huge deal if you’re on commission or whatever? Especially if they’re down 7% more this year, not a good trend. My optimistic nature makes me believe that trend is not long term. Then again, if this tax bill passes, maybe it is. Let’s sing a song, you wanna?

          • Chris Kallfelz

            OK, alright, I’m up to speed now…Thanks for clearing that up. Drive on, Amigo, I was operating under a misconception there. I think there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic.

          • Alaskan18724

            Equal and opposite reasons to be pessimistic. What a muddle. Seems to me we have a remarkable crop of more-than-usually desirable new bikes for 2018. If the numbers continue to drop at a rate that manifestly does not represent growth as reflected in the overall market, I guess we can formulate any number of hypotheses, slather them with baseline, and endeavor to

          • Alaskan18724

            …force them to fit somewhere.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Some of the downturn in the rest of the world may also be due to countries like France, England, Indonesia and China outright banning or restricting motorcycles from larger cities due to pollution, noise and traffic congestion. Seems like scooters and mopeds are more practical than motorcycles in Europe and the Far East. Electric bicycles are the most popular form of transport in China where gas motorcycles are banned in major cities.

          • Andrew Capone

            One other way to look at this. US automobile sales have nearly doubled, to their highest levels ever, since the crash. So there is money, credit, and interest in mobility out there.

  • TC

    The population in the US, and most of the world, is getting fatter. That’s why you see so many side by side ATVs being sold now. Remember back in the day, when the only way to go ‘off roading’ was on a dirt bike? Nowadays, big people need big vehicles to ride in.

    • Jon Jones

      All too true.

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      Hey! I quit smoking! That’s why I’m fat.

      Now, I am on a diet. Haters gotta hate.

      And point at me, and laugh. (Buggers)

    • 12er

      We watched the documentary on the “Us Festival” the other night, skinny people were everywhere in ’82. Thats the biggest shock watching old footage either vid or pics. Local paper online runs classic stories now and then, fat folks were rare. Now anyone at a healthy weight is in the minority (definitely myself included in the Majority)

      • Sayyed Bashir

        Blame McDonalds, Burger King and KFC. But being lightweight is not a requirement for motorcycling. You just need a bigger bike.

        • 12er

          Fast food is just another factor in the equation. A diet high in carbs, sugar and salt isnt going to end well for anyone. Less and less have time or knowledge to cook from scratch.

          Weve been doing a delivery service lately, while spendy has helped out a lot. Cut down on our food loss due to waste and has me cooking fresh real food from home quickly and easily.

          Im losing weight and feeling better. < that last part is the big unnamed issue. While fat the will to move, gear up, ride etc is less.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Is that Blue Apron?

          • 12er

            sunbasket.com

        • Born to Ride

          An ass for every doubly wide seat, as it were.

      • Alaskan18724

        In 1982, I was 6’4” and weighed 185. 35 years on, my body weight has kept pace with economic growth….

  • Keith Spicer

    With so many models available, could it be that the market has become bloated? Has the “bigger is better” mantra become intimidating? Have moto’s today become so reliable there is little reason to trade in or up? it sounds like the industry likes it’s status quo.

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      I do not agree, but I like your point.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      You mean there are too many choices. But that should increase sales. Bigger bikes with too much technology have become too expensive, but they are more profitable than smaller simpler bikes which manufacturers don’t want to make. Those are mostly made in SE Asia and China. Mainly its a case of too many other things to do with your time. Motorcycling is mostly a solitary activity unless you ride with others. If you have family and friends, they take up most of your time, along with work.

  • Jennifer

    John, you’re statement in re: MAG is erroneous. Circulating
    such misinformation is very irresponsible. MAG is ELIMINATING $300 million in
    debt through this process. The Company WILL continue to operate and it is in
    fact business as usual. Please correct this as soon as possible. If you need
    further clarification, I work with MAG and you may reach out to me so that I can
    walk you through how this works. Thank you for your prompt action to rectify
    this.

    • john burns

      Thank you, Jennifer. Here’s your chance to set it straight. How should it read? MAG is eliminating $300 million in debt by selling $300 million worth of stock in itself to investors?

      • Jennifer

        Thanks John. The Company is exchanging its approximately $300 million debt with its prepetition first lien secured lenders and its asset-backed lenders for equity. In other words, these current debt holders will have equity in the reorganized MAG in exchange for the debt, so upon emergence the Company will have new owners. Monomoy Capital Partners, BlueMountain Capital and Contrarian Partners will lead the new owners group, and have deep experience in
        consumer products and lifestyle companies including distribution, retail and manufacturing. It would be appreciated if you could reflect these facts in your story so that it is correct.

        • Rocky Stonepebble
          • Alaskan18724

            Where is Mitt Romney when the world cries out for him? Or Ernest Henry Shackleton? Or Johnny Quest?

        • Mad4TheCrest

          You can wordsmith it anyway you want but the fact is MAG couldn’t pay its lenders and so their business has been traded in exchange for debt forgiveness. We can be hopeful the new controllers will be savvy enough to the needs of the market to effect a resurgence, but that future possibility doesn’t change the reality and magnitude of the present failure.

      • Joe Gresh

        It’s like when your car is towed from the airport but it’s not worth the impound fee to get it back. So you let them keep it.

        • john burns

          or like when the condo you paid 300 million for is now only worth 100,000, and you squat in it till the sheriff evicts you.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            And spread faeces across the walls. Don’t forget the faeces.

  • John B.

    In no particular order, here are my top-10 reasons the motorcycle industry has foundered:

    1. MONEY:
    – Wages have been stagnant Health care insurance and healthcare costs have skyrocketed
    – College tuition, room, and board, and related student loans are astronomical
    – Communications: Smartphones and related gadgetry devour disposable income
    – Adult offspring living in the basement, and geriatrics living in the spare bedroom
    – We eat out too often, which is much more expensive than home cooking

    2. COMPETITION FROM OTHER MOTOR SPORTS:
    – Side x Sides, 4-Wheelers and Waverunners are (like motorcycles) awesome, and sales of these vehicles cannibalize motorcycle sales

    3. MORE FAMILY FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVES: For people with children, motorcycling is not very family friendly. The vehicles identified in two (2) above are much better for young families. When I had a young family I avoided hobbies (e.g., golf) that kept me away from my family.

    4. INCREASED DANGER:
    – Urban areas have become overpopulated, which has made conditions more dangerous
    – Distracted driving has caused a significant increase in traffic-related fatalities and injuries

    5.ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND GADGETS GOBBLE UP DISPOSABLE INCOME

    6. HOME EQUITY LINES OF CREDIT MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN: Before the 2009 financial collapse and resultant crash in motorcycle sales, many people bought motorcycles and other consumer goods using a home equity line of credit. When the crash occurred, trillions in home equity disappeared and suddenly people did not have a ready source of funds to support their runaway materialism.

    7. MOTORCYCLE DEALERS GENERALLY SUCK:
    – It takes an act of God to get a test ride
    – Many dealership salesmen give horrible advice, and do a terrible job matching customers with the right motorcycle
    – Too many bikes stuffed into a small place:
    – Doesn’t let consumers observe a motorcycle’s aesthetics
    – Discourages consumers from throwing a leg over the bike
    – Premium Brand Dealers do not have adequate sophistication compared with their customers (e.g., I’m not buying a $30,000 motorcycle from a salesman who smells like dope)
    – Premium Motorcycles require premium presentation just like they get at major motorcycle events
    – Dust your inventory once in awhile

    8. MAINTENANCE COSTS TOO HIGH: My five and a half year old Concours is worth about $5,500. It recently needed an oil change, valve clearance adjustment, new tires, radiator flush, and new brake fluid…. $1,150.

    9. A FAT AND SEDENTARY CULTURE: You know… inertia.

    10. PROTECTIVE GEAR IS INCONVENIENT UNCOOL AND EXPENSIVE: Very often I need to go somewhere not far from home and think about riding my bike. Then I think about putting on all the gear, and I drive my car instead. Motorcycle gear has gotten much better in recent years, but it still has a ways to go in my opinion.

    • Old MOron

      For several years I didn’t bother to own a cage. I developed a good moto routine, and I could be ready to ride in a jiffy. I think the main thing was to have a one-piece riding suit. I could step in and out of it in a snap.

      Nowadays, I have to change out of my chinos and into armored riding pants, then don a riding jacket. Then I have to go collect my earplugs, gloves, extra set of glasses, make sure my face shield is clean, push the bike out of the garage…

      FFS, I could’ve jumped in the cage and been there by now!

    • 12er

      Its not like the $1400 my 15k service cost has any effect… (almost fainted)

    • Born to Ride

      #7 is the main reason the last 4 motorcycles I have purchased were European. Big four dealers are trash. Massive markups on the bikes, no test rides(no demo fleet), and predatory lending.

      #5 is so true as well. My friend who was my primary riding buddy during my teens and early 20s just bought him and his wife two iphone X. 2400$ after he paid the taxes. This same friend always pisses and moans that he has too many bills to afford another bike. BULLSHIT I say! Besides, what’s more important, a mortgage or a motorcycle?

    • Alaskan18724

      My vote for today’s best post of the year.

      • John B.

        Thank you!

    • Tim Blanch

      excellent article jb and excellent list. let me add one: declining testosterone in young men. they are not as aggressive and risk taking as previous generations. vaccinations, porn, sedentariness, app happy, pc culture where active normal male behavior is punished, ritalin, lack of masculine fathers involvement, etc. there is something beyond the economics here. tim

      • John B.

        “John Burns” wrote the article and “John B.”(different person) wrote the list above. PS – Your comment has merit.

      • Andrew Capone

        I can just see the whiteboard at the secret motorcycle industry round table discussion:
        Challenges to our industry:
        1) Economic stagnation
        2) Competition from other leisure activities
        3) Vaccinations
        4) Porn

        • Born to Ride

          #4 should be #1!

    • Old MOron

      “I’m not buying a $30,000 motorcycle from a salesman who smells like dope.”

      John, that’s the time to drive a hard bargain!

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        On the dope?

      • John B.

        You’re killing me! I am sure such a salesman would have limited negotiating authority, but one never knows.

        • Old MOron

          Actually, I’ve noticed that people prefer to toke with company. Makes sense that it should be a social activity, like drinking or smoking cigarettes. So maybe the salesman and manager just shared a bowl. Name your price 🙂

    • Jason

      #5. Not too long ago I went through the math and the average cell phone bill today is just about what my brother’s CBR600F2 cost him decades ago. (On a no – check balloon loan of course)

  • Old MOron

    Stop worrying and love everything? I know that’s a reference to Dr Strangelove, but I’m hearing echos of Monty Python?

    You know, one day, my– my E-i-C, he called me into his office and he said to me,”JB, my friend, the world is a beautiful place. You must go into it and… love everyone, try to make everyone happy, and bring peace and contentment everywhere you go.”

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      He was a gentleman, JB, and what’s more he knew how to treat a female impersonator

      • Old MOron

        Apparently (and unfortunately), he didn’t know how to treat Ms Rogers. Ain’t seen hide nor hair of her. She must’ve moved on to a more glamorous journo. Maybe a guy who works for Consumer Reports or something.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Motor Trend.

          • Old MOron

            The joke is that Consumer Reports is more glamorous the MO.
            I would’ve expected a Brit to have gotten it.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            The joke is that MotorTrend is even more dreary and tedious than Popular Mechanics. I would’ve expected an American to have gotten it.

          • Alaskan18724

            How long must this go on? This endless spitting in shoes and pissing in cokes?

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            The joke is “Bovrils™” in Scotland.

          • Old MOron

            Popular Mechanics?

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Is that not around any more?

  • Joe Gresh

    These T-shirts you keep going on about, are they quality cotton? Do they flatter the ageing figure?

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    I learned to stop worrying, and love the bomb.

  • John B.

    I am glad you wrote, “CORRECTION from Jennifer” and not “CLARIFICATION from Jennifer.”

    When a company has too much debt, monthly debt service (interest and fees) sometimes makes it impossible for the company to meet its monthly financial obligations. One way to fix that problem is to sell equity (stock) to raise money to payoff the debt. Since equity doesn’t require interest payments, this transaction lowers monthly cash requirements so the company can meet its monthly financial obligations and continue to operate.

    In MAG’s case, they chose to restructure through Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Consumers should not notice any difference in the company’s operations. That said, in general, prospering companies do not ordinarily need bankruptcy protection.

  • Rapier51

    When one reaches a certain age……….well, if then, if your fortunate, and don’t become embittered by the embitterment industry, which is our political and more and more so our social scene, then loving everything can fall into place, and it’s good, and you’ll know that no politician or preacher can teach us the meaning of love.

  • James Stewart

    Burns – how can you make a Dr StrangeLove reference and NOT include a pic of Slim Pickens riding the A-bomb out of the B-52’s bomb bay doors? C’mon man !

  • Jason

    I wonder if anyone in the motorcycle industry noticed that last year 93% of automobiles were sold with automatic transmissions?

    • Born to Ride

      That statistic is directly correlated with the proliferation of porn, reduction in male grip strength, and acceptance of non-binary gender identities.

  • major tom

    Everything has been in the toilet since the democrats forced banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford the payments thanks to Sen. Barney Frank in 2008. So now maybe something else needs to be done, like a tax reduction, I know it sounds crazy letting more people have more of their money, maybe some people will buy a motorcycle then.

  • ducatirdr

    What about the places on earth that the motorcycle industry is growing? Why is there no recent forbidden fruit? (Still lusting after a 30 year old 400?) What about HERO sponsoring Golf on US TV this past weekend? Do we all learn Hindi and Mandarin? Final Statement – I was the part of the greatest motorcycling generation. Now we watch as bikes being marketed become modern copies of what we used to ride… (I ride a 16 Tuono Factory love those “Superbike” bars)

  • Roger

    Too many words.