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Old 05-24-2010, 12:24 AM   #51
Duken4evr
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Good point by Kevin about dwindling off road opportunities. That may just be a (if not the) root of the problem. Without a safe environment to ease into riding and to learn in, lots of people stay away from becoming involved. This is an understandable and wise decision on their part. Bottom line is MC riding is not for everybody. I like that about it.

Despite the obstacles, Piaggo is well positioned to sell high MPG scooters in the US. All they need is $6.00 a gallon gas and watch sales go through the roof as all safety concerns are forgotten. There is currently an excess supply of oil, but given the volatility and speculative nature of oil pricing leveraged by decreased exploration (particularly offshore because of the Deepwater Horizon rig oil spill disaster), it is a certainty that expensive gas will return with a vengence eventually.

Last edited by Duken4evr : 05-24-2010 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 05-24-2010, 04:13 PM   #52
Jeff Cobb
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[quote=Duken4evr;242452]Good point by Kevin about dwindling off road opportunities. That may just be a (if not the) root of the problem. Without a safe environment to ease into riding and to learn in, lots of people stay away from becoming involved. This is an understandable and wise decision on their part. Bottom line is MC riding is not for everybody. I like that about it.




Agreed offroad is better, if possible. Agreed motorcycling is not for everybody.

However it is such a small fringe right now, I think more people could benefit from powered two wheelers of some form, and could learn successfully on the street, if they were sensible in how they approached them.

Smaller, lower horsepower bikes are best for beginners. Seeking all the training you can is recommended. Deciding whether you personally have the physical/mental skill set needed is wise. Learning to gauge your limits is critical.

Deciding whether you can accept the risk is crucial.

Also, assuming you get into riding, viewing a good helmet and gear as part of the expense up front is smart. If/when you do get off, think how you'd rather be dressed head to toe.

Used or downscale new bikes are cheaper to learn on, and make mistakes on, and decide if riding is right for you, if you don't already know what new bike you want.

If you are unsure, buying downscale will also let you get acquainted with riding, so when you do buy that first new dream bike, you'll have a much better idea what you are getting into.

I started on the street at age 15. Fortunately, I had an underpowered used bike for the first couple of years.

When you are new, anything on two wheels that goes faster than a bicycle is fun -- if you are the kind of person, that is, who will stay with motorcycles.

My attitude was nothing could keep me off a motorcycle. I think a lot of us who have stayed with it have felt this way.

Do it right, and you may find you are one of the "few" who rides a motorcycle.

If not, decide for yourself. It is a personal decision, where self-honesty is vital, if you feel on the fence.

Last edited by Jeff Cobb : 05-24-2010 at 04:16 PM. Reason: made clear I was saying street riding is okay for beginners
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:14 PM   #53
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Default How to capture new riders

step 1: Offer training. Proper training in safely and defensively riding a motorcycle is paramount. Make the offer free, whether or not your area has graduated MC licensing the has training as part of the requirement. If someone thinks he/she can't ride a bike then they won't consider owning one.

Step 2: Offer reasonable options for first bikes dependant on a riders needs. ie scooters for city commuters, on off road bikes such as the KTM's for those who reside in the country.

Step 3: Offer appropriate riding gear as a free incentive for first time riders so they are not turned off because they now have to purchase $1000.00 worth of riding equiptment on top of the price of the bike.

Step 4: Offer a resonable option for new riders to up grade to bigger bikes after they get their sea legs, as it were. This not only gives new riders the comfort zone of learning how to ride on a smaller bike, it gives the bike makers an opportunity to sell more than one bike to one rider.

Step 4: Promote MC riding as an enviournmentally clean option to the public. Lobby the insurance providers to offer incentives to good riders, and punish the consistently bad. By consistently bad, I mean those riders that are ticketed on a frequent basis because they find it's their privilege to ride their bikes like maniacs, or have been in frequent accidents due to the same reasons. It's people like that that give MC riders a bad name, and we can do without them.

Follow these steps and you'll see a spike in ridership and sales.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:49 PM   #54
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As someone new to cycling:

The image thing is an obstacle to new riders:
- Dealers act as if you should either be there to buy some superbike or are inconsequential (or more fun yet, invisible).
- Bikers *appear* as Patrick-of-the-Hills described, either sportbikers who snub mere new riders, Easy-Riders who also snub new riders, or dirtbikers who are not on the roads. It is difficult to get someone to acknowledge a true newbie; the impression is that everyone into motorcycles has been riding since they were 6 and that anyone starting now shouldn't bother. This isn't true inside the 'club' so to speak but that's the impression left on those not riding.

Personally I'm in this market and forum because my first desire, a Caterham 7, has become the plaything of rich track dweebs and priced right out of my range, and because despite the obstacles above I went ahead and did the MSF class because I'm a bullheaded bastage.

Basically the trick is to break the 'clique' myth. Sell it not as "we're the bada**es who pull crazy stunts and donate organs" but as "everyone can ride" and people will.
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:40 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RatBike View Post
As someone new to cycling:

The image thing is an obstacle to new riders:
- Dealers act as if you should either be there to buy some superbike or are inconsequential (or more fun yet, invisible).
- Bikers *appear* as Patrick-of-the-Hills described, either sportbikers who snub mere new riders, Easy-Riders who also snub new riders, or dirtbikers who are not on the roads. It is difficult to get someone to acknowledge a true newbie; the impression is that everyone into motorcycles has been riding since they were 6 and that anyone starting now shouldn't bother. This isn't true inside the 'club' so to speak but that's the impression left on those not riding.

Personally I'm in this market and forum because my first desire, a Caterham 7, has become the plaything of rich track dweebs and priced right out of my range, and because despite the obstacles above I went ahead and did the MSF class because I'm a bullheaded bastage.

Basically the trick is to break the 'clique' myth. Sell it not as "we're the bada**es who pull crazy stunts and donate organs" but as "everyone can ride" and people will.
You're learning to ride for your own reasons. There's no need to care about what anyone else thinks. I've been riding 46 years and still laugh at both cruiser snobs and sportbike snobs. I don't have time in my life for that juvenile shyt.

Motorcycle dealers have been spoiled by the last 2 decades of easy money. Eventually they will learn to court new riders and offer smaller ticket bikes or they will go under. The easy money bubble isn't coming back.
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:38 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RatBike View Post
As someone new to cycling:

The image thing is an obstacle to new riders:
- Dealers act as if you should either be there to buy some superbike or are inconsequential (or more fun yet, invisible).
- Bikers *appear* as Patrick-of-the-Hills described, either sportbikers who snub mere new riders, Easy-Riders who also snub new riders, or dirtbikers who are not on the roads. It is difficult to get someone to acknowledge a true newbie; the impression is that everyone into motorcycles has been riding since they were 6 and that anyone starting now shouldn't bother. This isn't true inside the 'club' so to speak but that's the impression left on those not riding.

Personally I'm in this market and forum because my first desire, a Caterham 7, has become the plaything of rich track dweebs and priced right out of my range, and because despite the obstacles above I went ahead and did the MSF class because I'm a bullheaded bastage.

Basically the trick is to break the 'clique' myth. Sell it not as "we're the bada**es who pull crazy stunts and donate organs" but as "everyone can ride" and people will.
Interesting post. Makes me think larger dealerships should have a new-rider specialist on staff so he/she can be the expert on newbie issues, including rider training.

Glad you're here to take responsibility for your own knowledge. No one will be a better advocate for yourself than you are! Keep learning, and best wishes for success in the moto world!
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:08 PM   #57
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Interesting post. Makes me think larger dealerships should have a new-rider specialist on staff so he/she can be the expert on newbie issues, including rider training.
I agree, but does someone really need to specialize in "here comes the slightly confused person in the door?" I think part of the problem is the old commission. The new person (me) shows up during a 'big sale' or other event trying to blend in, and on the other hand if I'm a salesguy do I want to earn my % on a $3k bike or a $10k bike? Oops, excuse me sir, I just have to help the gentleman over there and I'll be right back to answer your questions about that 250.

Quote:
Glad you're here to take responsibility for your own knowledge. No one will be a better advocate for yourself than you are! Keep learning, and best wishes for success in the moto world!
Thanks. I will just drop in a quote from the 250cc roundup posted here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.motorcycle.com/shoot-outs/2009-250cc-streetbike-shootout-88953.html
Performance-driven sportbikes, cruisers of various displacements and their flashy custom cruiser brethren dominate the current American street motorcycle culture.
Standard-style, sport-tourers, full-on touring sleds and a sprinkling of vintage machines round out the rest of what most of us ride. Lost in the shuffle of 160-hp near race-spec rockets and $40K ego boosters are the little ‘uns.
Walk into any large, multi-line dealership and see how many mighty-mites you can find. Ask the sales team if they have a few 250s to look at, and they’ll likely show you two, 50cc mini-motos or maybe a pastel-colored scooter.
I don't think I was offering any new ideas in my first post...
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:02 PM   #58
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But back to the CEO of Piaggio and his comments.

Odd that he talks about what would be basically investing in a rebranding of motorcycling's image, and waging what is essentially a campaign of hearts and minds to capture new rider's outside of the previously-targeted (and aging) Baby-Boomer market. This would mean an active financial and creative expenditure here in the American market. Investments of time and resources.

But in nearly the same breath, Mr. Timoni outlines Piaggio's strategy as basically, "We're cutting American jobs and resources in the States and relocating them to Asia, where our new emphasis is. We'll hold on to our niche until either someone else wages our campaign of hearts and minds for us, or cars become so prohibitively expensive for Americans that they'll begin to view two- and three-wheelers as practical transportation - in which case we'll be ready to capitalize on their misfortune. How 'bout that Asian market, by the way?"

I went to the Motorcycle Industry Council site (Piaggio's CEO sits on the MIC board), and this was the organization's self-description:

"The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) is... created to promote and preserve motorcycling and the U.S. motorcycle industry."

Mr. Timoni's "passionate" rhetoric and real-world actions seem to me to be in apposition, and I wonder if he can be loyal to both modern business administration practices and his MIC mandate at the same time.
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:36 PM   #59
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But back to the CEO of Piaggio and his comments.

Odd that he talks about what would be basically investing in a rebranding of motorcycling's image, and waging what is essentially a campaign of hearts and minds to capture new rider's outside of the previously-targeted (and aging) Baby-Boomer market. This would mean an active financial and creative expenditure here in the American market. Investments of time and resources.

But in nearly the same breath, Mr. Timoni outlines Piaggio's strategy as basically, "We're cutting American jobs and resources in the States and relocating them to Asia, where our new emphasis is. We'll hold on to our niche until either someone else wages our campaign of hearts and minds for us, or cars become so prohibitively expensive for Americans that they'll begin to view two- and three-wheelers as practical transportation - in which case we'll be ready to capitalize on their misfortune. How 'bout that Asian market, by the way?"

I went to the Motorcycle Industry Council site (Piaggio's CEO sits on the MIC board), and this was the organization's self-description:

"The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) is... created to promote and preserve motorcycling and the U.S. motorcycle industry."

Mr. Timoni's "passionate" rhetoric and real-world actions seem to me to be in apposition, and I wonder if he can be loyal to both modern business administration practices and his MIC mandate at the same time.
Yeah, Timoni was short on details as to what he'd invest in to promote this revised vision of motorcycling for the 21st century. He seemed to think the press was somehow responsible for not sharing his vision.

I don't see how the MIC's mission statement is at odds with Timoni. He's trying to promote motorcycling.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:22 PM   #60
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i agree that, as the CEO of a company that sells motorcycles, he definitely wants to promote motorcycling in any market that his company can take part in -- but if i may use some cliched phrases, to me this is a case of actions speaking louder than words and putting your money where your mouth is. That is, as he talks of revitalizing the US market (in part by redirecting it to a new demographic), his company has and is taking steps to loose their moorings in the US, and redirect their investments to Asian markets such as Vietnam. He sounds to be perfectly content with someone else's company taking the reigns/shouldering the financial burden in this brave new rebranding of American motorcycling, but it won't be his company wanting any brass-tacks responsibility for the execution of his broad 'vision'.

"I don't see how the MIC's mission statement is at odds with Timoni. He's trying to promote motorcycling."

And this isn't at all a rebuttal your post, more just a rephrasing and possible clarification of my problem with Mr. Timoni's comments and actions. To me, the concrete actions of a company he directs speak against the mandate of the MIC to specifically protect and promote the US motorcycling industry. I won't go so far as to call him a rhetorical charlatan, but he's preaching about promoting motorcycling in the US, while actively minimizing his company's footprint in the US and redirecting resources to promote motorcycling in Asia. That is, his MIC duties require him to develop our market and industry -- which in my mind implies loyalties to our nation's motorcycling industry -- and he is going against that directive by minimizing operations in the US and reinvesting elsewhere. He's betting on a different horse, to conclude with another cliched phrase.

YMMV, of course. Cheers to you all.
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