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Old 05-20-2010, 06:32 PM   #31
cloud9
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[i] Our culture is such that anybody with kids thinks they need a giant SUV to be safe...my kid's best friend's Mom thinks I'm absolutely nuts to drive a Mini-Cooper.
I think that's the biggest factor holding the industry back. Each year new crash results are put out for automobiles pointing out the best and the worst.

With motorcycles their is no such statistic.

The number one thing a parent looks for in shopping for a new or used vehicle for their child is safety. While safety is never guaranteed in a car, bus or plane; that extra steel, plastic and airbags do a helluva lot of convincing. Knowing that you can get away with a fender bender lets you drop your guard every now and again.

Americans believe it's better to have a vehicle that can absorb the impact than one that is best at avoiding it in the first place.

Me I'm dying (no pun intended) to get a motorcycle. Within the next year I'm definitely looking to join the 2 wheeled world. I've seen what the car world has to offer and heavier, bigger, soulless transportation is not on my wish list of ideal car.

I say folks who drive the smart car already have one foot into the motorcycling world.
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:54 PM   #32
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I say folks who drive the smart car already have one foot into the motorcycling world.
If not one foot in the grave. That thing is an overpriced, zero-protection POS, much like the Prius. And they get poor mileage, for what they return.

Might as well get a moto - spend less, go exponentially-faster, turnback about the same mileage, and have little or no loss in crash-safety (with the exception of a new rider).
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:06 PM   #33
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Default Mainstream offerings

Continuing thoughts from yesterday after going through everything here:

I can't really blame the motorcycle media or the advocacy organizations for this situation; although they act as critics and promoters, it is the manufacturers that really have to step in and provide for the potential of a much broader, less cult-like market.

The V7 that was mentioned (and hidden behind that eyebrow-raising link!) is in many ways just right: simple, low-maintenance with the shaft drive, easy to handle, looks good. It's also still a bit pricey, retro is a very subjective thing, and finding a Guzzi dealer can be an annoyance. Same with the Monster 696, same plus with the Shiver or maybe the Suzuki SV650F as a step up. The ideal still has to be somewhat smaller and a good bit less expensive. (Scooters are nice in town, but even with the bigger motors I'm loathe to consider them for highway work like the 250 miles to Mom's house.)

At least the Italians make an effort at this sort of mainstream market. Where's the basic machines from the Big Four? Why on Earth does Honda - the Honda of the 305 Super Hawk, perhaps the most important bike of the postwar era - not even have a good, modern-but-simple, sub-600cc, sub-$6000 entry-level machine? Who at Suzuki decided to wrap the antediluvian GS500 in poseur plastic? Why a much-needed redone Ninja 250, but not a 500 too? (I don't see the 650 as a real replacement; it's too much of a step up.)

Fixing this problem - and it is one, a terribly deep-rooted one - is going to take new attitudes at the big companies, new products, and lots of time, on the order of a decade or more of consistent, well-funded effort. To really build a foundation of motorcycling as a normal, rational means of transportation is going to take a lot more than the year or two of trying to sell a Zephyr 550 or SRX-6 or CB-1 and then saying "eh, typical Americans." It's taking the years to counter the "Oh, my next-door-neighbor's cousin's older brother was killed on one of those!" paranoia and the squid/badass prejudices and the unbridled dread of helmet hair. It's having quality machines that work normally, don't require constant mechanical attention, cost a fraction of the price of a new car, and can more than hold their own with fast traffic while getting 50-60 or more miles per gallon.

And it's going to be the selling of those machines - to college kids, women, Facebook junkies, people who balk at anything more complex than a cache clearing or Mark Bittman recipe, normal non-tattooed non-race-watching people. Mainstream bikes need to be sold through mainstream outlets - basketball games, the Food Network, whatever.

It won't be cheap to do this, it will take a lot of effort and the making of more than a few errors that will need fixed. It's better than watching everything wither and collapse.

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Old 05-20-2010, 08:32 PM   #34
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My two cents (coming from the East Coast, as I do):

Make a commuter (or first of a line of commuters) with heated grips and ABS for under $10k.

Price it competitively with intent to sell it in volume, to make up for slim profit margins.

Make sure it gets over 55 mpg, if not 70-plus.

Give it great weather protection (fairing) from wind and rain.

Use dual compound tires for high mileage, but good traction too.

Make sure it has low maintenance requirements all around.

Include a high amperage charging system with plugs located for electric heated pants, gloves, jacket to connect.

Include complete wind protection for hands.

Offer it with a nominally priced water-proof, but breathable suit like an Aerostitch.

Make available heated clothing reasonably priced as well, if the suit does not have heating elements in it.

Offer instructions to buyers on training, or open your own training course, or work with the MSF to emphasize training and safety.

If there are costs involved with training, give incentives for new buyers to get in for free or next to nothing.

Train your sales force to cater to this market.

Begin a concerted PR campaign featuring hard data about how safe small bikes are.

Timoni also pointed out, incidentally, that cars that crash are responsible for killing or injuring pedestrians and passers-by, whereas crashing moptorcycles do not cause so much collateral damage.

Any NHTSA stats that could reverse the safety image for two-wheelers should be sought (like ABS-equipped bikes are far safer, etc).

I could come up with more, but this is a start ...


Bottom line: you have to take away the objections Americans have to riding a powered 2-wheeler.


Reply -

What is your fee if I send this to Product Planning and R & D?????????????



Any guesses on who I sent this to?
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:53 PM   #35
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I am pretty much the person getting left out of new motorcycling. I am 35, going back to college, and need a simple good mileage commuter. A motorcycle would be perfect. Since I'm going back to school, I'm poor, but mechanically inclined. I'm also rather long legged so I don't fit well on most cruisers or crotch rockets. I want a simple standard. There are not many out there. I like the Triumph bonneville, and street triple, but both about $8000 to $9000 + gear. The wee strom feels a little awkward and the sv too tight for my legs. A bike will save me $1500 a year in parking at my school (Seattle parking is a bit difficult in places). So since not much fits my needs, I chose to rebuild my soon to be father in laws Interceptor 500 instead. There are bikes I would probably consider in other parts of the world, but here in the U.S. most are too heavy or too fast for a beginner and all are too expensive. Really, you can buy a new simple Hyundai for $7000 and 40 mpg with more reliablility and comfort and safety. This is the entry bikes real competition. I'm only getting in to motorcycling now because I can fix things and I got a free bike. Eventually I'll get a new one, but it will be a few years.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:07 AM   #36
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Welcome to the club, broy. But there are good bikes to be had. First, a non-S SV will have more legroom than the baby 'Ceptor (a bike I love). Tall folk could also consider a KLR650 or Versys. A DRZ400 or KLX250 could do the trick. A DL650's awkwardness fades after some seat time. A pre-owned Bonneville is affordable. Buell XB9S and Ulysses can be had cheap and don't need valve or chain adjustments.

And don't forget about 250-plus-cc scooters - pretty much all of then can comfortably reach highway speeds and have solid wind protection, plus onboard storage. In fact, for newbie commuters, a scooter makes the most sense, and there's already plenty of choices available.

While I think OEMs (hello, Honda, where's the VTR250???) could offer better commuter choices, I believe there's already a plethora of choices.

I think a concerted PR campaign by the MIC is key to making non-riders consider 2-wheel transportation. Feed all that good stuff to mainstream pubs like newspapers and men's/women's magazines, planting the bike seed in their minds.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:49 AM   #37
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JEFF COBB!!!!! You have just given the description of a Suzuki DL650 w ABS. Your bike awaits you, sir!!!

Actually, after 2 months with the ZRX I believe that I am ready to transition backwards to a simpler set-up and the Wee-Strom is perfect for that. Buy them used all day and night for under $5K. Will average 50mpg easy and you can take it to the fire roads with the right tires.
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:38 AM   #38
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JEFF COBB!!!!! You have just given the description of a Suzuki DL650 w ABS. Your bike awaits you, sir!!!

Actually, after 2 months with the ZRX I believe that I am ready to transition backwards to a simpler set-up and the Wee-Strom is perfect for that. Buy them used all day and night for under $5K. Will average 50mpg easy and you can take it to the fire roads with the right tires.


Hooo boy! My dream come true!

A good used bike is a way to save money, for sure.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:46 PM   #39
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JEFF COBB!!!!! You have just given the description of a Suzuki DL650 w ABS. Your bike awaits you, sir!!!

Actually, after 2 months with the ZRX I believe that I am ready to transition backwards to a simpler set-up and the Wee-Strom is perfect for that. Buy them used all day and night for under $5K. Will average 50mpg easy and you can take it to the fire roads with the right tires.
It's a nice theory, Kirk, but you'd have to put up with all the "Weenie" jokes. Man up. Buy a Vee.
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:30 PM   #40
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Piaggio’s products are world products, not targeted – or dependent on – any one geographic market.


Ummm BS!.... Sorry to be blunt but that is total BS. If it were a true statement, I would be riding a GP800 here in the US and have total support both in parts and service. ...not having to wait for parts or service like I owned a Chinese scooter.
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