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Old 11-20-2004, 11:40 AM   #41
pdad13
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Default You're all wrong. Er, or maybe you're all right, sorta.

I'm going to disagree with all of you. And agree with all of you at the same time. Not that anyone should really care.



A Buell cruiser is a bad idea. If Buell has something to hang its hat on, it's the fact that they build a super-nimble sport chassis. To make a cruiser would not only be an infringment on Harley, but dilute the Buell brand. Now, if you're saying that maybe Buell should develop a chassis for a Harley tourer/bagger, that might be an idea as long as its badged a Harley. The problem with that is the R&D money H-D would have to pay to develop this new chassis when, by their estimation, they've got perfectly good touring bikes already. H-D is not known to do a lot of R&D and that philosophy of keeping those costs down and keeping their product line virtually the same for decades has made them a lot of money.



However, I do agree that Harley is reaching market saturation (and have stated it ad naseum--Jungkvist is too new to have suffered through my ramblings). Remember, everyone, H-D was almost dead in the early 80s. And they got themselves in that position as a result of decades of indifference to changing times, technology and attitudes. Don't think that this couldn't happen again. It certainly could, despite H-D's marketing might. The H-D tune is starting to sound a little old, now. And H-D's core constituency is getting older. They're going to have to replace all of those riders as they leave the sport. And it's a big number. And then they still have to try to grow. While I know some 30 and 40-somethings who would still like to own a Harley, I know more who would never own one.



Plus everyone and their dog seems to own a Harley now. The cool factor is kind of warmed over, don't you think?



With their success, H-D has also gotten themselves in a bit of bind. They've been so successful at branding the Harley experience, they're going to have a tough time changing the perception of what a Harley is when, and if, they ever need to. Not a bad problem to have right now, but in two, five or ten years, they may have to reconsider their strategy. One of the cardinal rules of marketing is to always keep evaluating your position in the market and to never rest on your laurels. Times change, and they better figure out a way to change with them. A great example is what Cadillac has done.

They've completely remade and upgraded their product and image while still keeping some of their traditional brand essence. But it took a lot of money, a few false starts and over 10 years to do it. That's why you've got to think ahead.



That is where Buell could come in. But I've got to disagree with my friends Sarnali and Buz. The worst thing H-D/Buell could do is to fold the Buell bikes into the H-D nameplate. Very few sportbike/naked/non-harley buyers would consider buying a Harley sportbike. In fact, Buell is already suffering from being percieved as H-D's red-headed stepchild. What H-D really has to do if it really wants Buell to succeed is to separate the Buell brand farther from the Harley brand. That means separate dealers, separate sales forces, separate R&D for all the bikes' components, etc. Then as the Buell brand grows into maturation as a technology/image leader on it's own (with H-D's largely unseen backing), they could use the new-found Buell cache to help H-D transition into the future--in essence bringing Buell back to the H-D fold. Or, to put it another way, the child helps the parent to be reborn.



I think that's a good strategy for both H-D and Buell. I just don't see H-D skimming from the current gravy train to finance the strategy. But what do I know?
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Old 11-20-2004, 12:08 PM   #43
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Default Re: You're all wrong. Er, or maybe you're all right, sorta.

I think H-D tried some separate Buell stores. Santa Cruz was one location. I still think it should say H-D on the side. Youngsters could start on the Buell style and move to the cruiser style as they age.



I don't know why you suggest H-D doesn't do much R&D. I know this sounds silly, but it takes quite a bit of R&D to make old stuff work like newer stuff. Pushrod engines need to meet EPA and CARB guidelines. Springer front ends need to work at modern speeds. Its' not cutting edge yet still needs engineering to work properly.



Harley suffered in the 70s and 80s due to crappy quality control. Look how many people still bought them even though they were known to be shyt.



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Old 11-20-2004, 12:35 PM   #44
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Default Re: In answer to, good,sarnali...

I didn't think you were slamming anyone, sorry if you got that idea.



I think Harley will do just fine. Maybe not as well as with the baby boomers, but lots of young people like them. It's still hard to beat a large displacement high torque engine for 2 up Interstate riding. Most riders don't go for sportbikes. Even amongst the 20-30 demographic cruisers still outsell sportbikes.



As far as "decades old technology" goes much engine technology was developed long before WWII. Mercedes fielded 4 valve DOHC racing engines for example. My dad rode an inline4 Indian when he was young.



What we have today is an ability to make features that once were insanely expensive now affordable in production vehicles. We even see titanium bits now... an unheard of thing prior to the huge amount of money the military spent perfecting production of aircraft with titanium parts.



So, I don't see any reason the V-Twin should disappear. Any more than singles will disappear. Unless someone can find a way to make a competitve MX bike with two cylinders.
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Old 11-20-2004, 12:41 PM   #45
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Default Re: You're all wrong. Er, or maybe you're all right, sorta.

What you say sounds reasonable. And I would agree fully, except that people have been making that prediction for decades now and HD is bigger than ever.



HD will survive for the same reason that Ford and Chevy do. Many people will buy crap if it's labelled "Made in USA". You only need to see how many Ford Focuses there are out there to know that what I'm saying is true.



And since I don't think Harleys are crap I think they'll do better than Ford.
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Old 11-20-2004, 12:49 PM   #46
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Default Re: I have heard...

Quite correct. I knew a guy a years ago who put the 74" stroker kit in an ironhead Sportster, along with a number of other goodies (two front cylinderheads w/two Mikunis, titanium rods, etc.) I don't know what it dynoed but I do know that it charged out of the hole like a bat out of hell easily stomping any inline4 it encountered.



Of course, he had to tear it down and rebuild it about every 5K. But, man, what a rush.



And that poor man's XR1000 style two front heads treatment was pretty trick.
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Old 11-20-2004, 12:50 PM   #47
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Default Re: A Buell Crusier? Hey! It could Happen, if I had my way.

Maybe you're an old Harley-riding fart with glaucoma
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Old 11-20-2004, 01:04 PM   #48
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Default Re: I have heard...

Well that's basic marketing... ya can't announce a new modern watercooled twin a year before you release it because you'll kill sales of your existing bikes.







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Old 11-20-2004, 01:31 PM   #49
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Default Re: If I may interject here....

Company's useing rock classics to flog their product's should be drawn and quartered

The only one that worked was Jaguar using "foolish Dreams"
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Old 11-20-2004, 01:53 PM   #50
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Default Well said, all of you...

As, has been stated, I haven't been around very long, so I don't know when I'm visiting the Dead. However, it has been nice to get a primer on the various opinions on this subject.



Alvin Toffler, I'm not; only the future will tell, when it gets here. My guess is that we'll all be right, and wrong, to some extent. Over the years, numerous good ideas have languished in motorcycle, and car, showrooms, while more established, less rational rides went out the doors. Hey, markets are screwy.



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