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-   -   Piaggio's CEO Speaks Out on State of Motorcycling (http://www.motorcycle.com/forum/motorcycle-general-discussion/15315-piaggios-ceo-speaks-out-state-motorcycling.html)

Kevin_Duke 06-03-2010 02:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fumanchu (Post 243160)
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.

As the CEO of the U.S. arm of an Italian company, Timoni's interests aren't exactly the same as Piaggio corporate. As long as he's developing Piaggio products and marketing them to American customers, he's doing his proper job. And if he's selling more bikes thru a bigger and better developed dealer network, he's also supporting the MIC vision.

That said, I think his rah-rah speech about reaching a new audience for motorcycles would've been better served via a well-funded and -executed promotion from the MIC.

Voyager 07-01-2010 12:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin_Duke (Post 243156)
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.

Trouble is that the motorised bicycle is obsolete - they have been for decades. Look back at the comments on this thread and see how some are arguing/discussing about the minutiae of various types of bike. This does not begin to start to address the problem.

Bikes are just not interesting enough for people to use. They can think of any number of reasons not to have a bike, I'm sure you can too. But there might be an alternative - have a read through this - although it was published more than 30 years ago, the argument set out in the first few columns remains the same (some notes from the author about the articles here). If you are interested the physics of why this type of PTW are an improvement over motorised bicycle has been expanded here.

This sort of bike has not yet been mass produced although there are some of us riding about on what are, effectively, prototypes. Perhaps the slow but inevitable need to develop efficient electric powered vehicles will give manufacturers an opportunity to develop a 'better' (more aerodynamic, efficient, safer, comfortable and usable) PTW that a whole 'new' market might be developed for?

Kevin_Duke 07-01-2010 10:13 AM

Although the motorized "safety bicycle" design has its limitations and drawbacks, it also has given us feelings and experiences that we wouldn't trade for anything. Any new design that positions its rider in a recumbent arrangement will lack much of what we like motorcycles for, such as leaning over (far) in corners and for allowing us to absorb bumps in our legs.

That said, I'm open to new ideas. But they have to work and be exciting. Otherwise I'm probably stick with a small car with plenty of cargo space and the ability to talk to passengers. And not put on a helmet or boots or jackets, etc.

Voyager 07-01-2010 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin_Duke (Post 244748)
Any new design that positions its rider in a recumbent arrangement will lack much of what we like motorcycles for, such as leaning over (far) in corners and for allowing us to absorb bumps in our legs.

I'm impressed that you have experience of a recumbent motorcycles with a sub 20" seat height and fitted with a secure seat back to know that you don't like them. Which ones have you ridden?
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin_Duke (Post 244748)
That said, I'm open to new ideas. But they have to work and be exciting. Otherwise I'm probably stick with a small car with plenty of cargo space and the ability to talk to passengers. And not put on a helmet or boots or jackets, etc.

Well, the motorcycle industry needs to do something to attract new customers. Clearly what is being offered (largely designed to appeal to the inner child in middle-aged men) is not generating enough 'new' customers for Piaggio (and I suspect the other manu's).

I'd also suggest that the future does not involve burning so many hydrocarbons to move about (they really will run out at some point!) and a rethink of electric motorcycles could offer a vehicle that carries a couple of people and some luggage over distances and may not even require a helmet. Electric cars suffer a penalty of lugging about that large body - a properly designed electric motorcycle could be more efficient and as least as practical as a two seat sports car. Check out the E-tracers that are currently doing pretty well in the X-prize.

pplassm 07-04-2010 10:49 AM

I've ridden one of these:

Alligator Home Page

Interesting, but not for me.

The_AirHawk 07-04-2010 05:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pplassm (Post 244904)
I've ridden one of these:

Alligator Home Page

Interesting, but not for me.

Ah - Ya beat me to it!

I haven't ridden one - but have had the chance to sit and "try it on for size". Too alien for me.

Seems they're continuing the project, though: Alligator Press

If they're going to go with an S&S engine, why not the new X-wedge, one wonders?

sarnali2 07-05-2010 07:14 AM

Sorry, not interested.......feel free though if that's what flips your switch....

Voyager 07-05-2010 09:12 AM

I know a lot of motorised bicycle traditionalists are not likely to be interested in PTW's that actually work - but the thread is asking what manufacturers have to do to get more customers.

My point, that you seem to keep ignoring, is that the motorcycle market is mature - it is not selling things that a great deal more people want to buy. There can be any number of reasons for this but unless the large bike manu's actually start making products that an entirely new group of customers might be interested in they will be restricted to selling to a slowly reducing pool of consumers.

I've met Dan and Justin Gurney and, while I think what they doing is pretty cool and should be encouraged all they are making another version of a motorised bicycle and that is what we were doing in the UK back in the '70's. The Alligator seating position does not seem that comfortable, the bike cannot carry stuff and has no rider or weather protection. This is fine for what they are intending but would a new consumer be more interested in that than a scooter or a bike as an alternative vehicle? I think that unlikely.

Kevin_Duke 07-05-2010 11:00 AM

I've ridden the Honda-powered Alligator, which is a novel and fun ride. But it is built for enthusiasts, not car drivers looking for an alternative.

I'm not sure any two-wheeled device can gain broad acceptance among non-riders.

Voyager 07-05-2010 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin_Duke (Post 244936)
I'm not sure any two-wheeled device can gain broad acceptance among non-riders.

You might well be right, in which case life is going to be particularly hard for Paolo Timoni (and the other motorcycle manufacturers) to shift more product in order to create 'big changes to broaden customer base' - as tweaking the toys that they sell currently is not producing the results they need.


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