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-   -   Proton in talks to sell stake in MV Agusta SpA (http://www.motorcycle.com/forum/mv-agusta/3209-proton-talks-sell-stake-mv-agusta-spa.html)

longride 12-25-2005 04:36 PM

Re: Proton in talks to sell stake in MV Agusta SpA
 
Can anyone answer the question as to why Harley doesn't make sportbikes NOW??????? Do we finally get it YET?????

FloridaSteve 12-25-2005 05:36 PM

Re: Proton in talks to sell stake in MV Agusta SpA
 
because they suck at it?

Fenton 12-25-2005 06:01 PM

Re: Proton in talks to sell stake in MV Agusta SpA
 
I want Buz investigated. He sold just before the "crash".........Hhhhmmmm.

The_Aerodynamic_Head 12-25-2005 07:08 PM

Whoa!, there, Tex.
 
Here's the thing, though...someone needs to. Because even Harley riders like motorsports (even if it's only NASCAR), and if there are no sponsors, there is no racing. And even if not one single H-D owner gives one whit about MotoGP, they still benefit from the series.



Would the Sporty be rubber-mounted without Buell figuring it out first? Would Buell have even needed to figure it out (or refine it) without ProThunder or Formula XTreme? For that matter, would Buell even exist as we know it (or at all, for that matter) without racing, and the lessons it teaches? What about the new dog-ring tranny on the Sporty, that they borrowed from Buell, that Buell learned from racing (well, and from BMW)? And the new six-speed in the Dyna: could they have done it without the fruits of racing? Sure. WOuld they have?



Someone needs to make sportbikes, because even though I've owned two Harleys, and think they're great for what they are, and wouldn't mind having another, I just can't bring myself to ride something that is, performance-wise, engineered to the lowest common denominator, no matter how good they look.



At a minimum, racing drives development at those companies that compete against Harley. And while I like Harley (even used to own the stock, before i got poor) I do not think that "development cycle" is in their vocabulary. I do not think that they (or any company) would spend too much money on bettering the product without competition. Success in competition has historically been had from the ownership of superior product. Advance in product has come largely from racing.

--Historical digression...from distance racing Indian developed the closed-loop "recirculating" oil system. Harley did not choose to adapt to catch up. Instead, they started an ad campaign to the effect that "Why would anyone want to recirculate the oil? Then dirty oil gets into the engine. Harley's total-loss oiling system is better, for the reason that fresh oil is always suppied to the engine.-- Has their attitude changed substantively? If not, why not? If so, how much of that change is due to evolution of corporate culture, and how much is due merely to the application of outside force, namely competition? Lastly, contrast the entrenched attitude, or "corporate culture", at Harley versus that at Honda, by way of semi-random example, with specific reference to development and advance in product function. (Big Red because the corporate culture there, as built and directed by Soichiro, centered about racing and excellence in product development. Form, usually sadly lacking, if any, followed distantly behind function.)



And by the way, I am also convinced that the reason they made no money building sportbikes (VR1000) was due to lack of will, not lack of ability. Can they build a performance engine, when they apply themselves? Yes. Witness the V-Rod. Can they build a truly sport-quality chassis, with the application of focused intent? Yes. Witness the XB chassis.



So while I do not want to have to try to make money building sportbikes, I sure am glad someone does.

gforces 12-25-2005 10:00 PM

Re: Whoa!, there, Tex.
 
well put. Everybody benefits from racing.

longride 12-26-2005 02:47 AM

Re: Whoa!, there, Tex.
 
Troube with all your theorizing, is the 'development cycle' is now backwards. Indian raced motorcycles that were already in production. So did Harley. Modern sportbike makers make race bikes so they can get into production. Back in the day, everyone raced modified forms of standard motorcycles, and the factory would pick up on the improvement, and the standard motorcycle is improved, just like Buell does today. Remember Superbike back in the 70's and early 80's?? They already sell what they raced. Get it? Building a race bike FIRST and then trying to produce it LATER is a money loser. It loses money for the Japanese, and for anyone else stupid enough to go that route. I'm glad you are happy everyone races. I just pointed out why Harley doesn't build sportbikes in the back-asswards development method all the Chapter 11 candidates do. They don't feel like flushing billions down the toilet so they can be bailed out of bankruptcy every year just to say they have a racing team.

Buzglyd 12-26-2005 04:26 AM

Re: Proton in talks to sell stake in MV Agusta SpA
 
Martha told me to sell.

The_Aerodynamic_Head 12-26-2005 06:12 AM

Re: Proton in talks to sell stake in MV Agusta SpA
 
Sweet. Martha told me to "bake, bake, bake those cookies and sweat it out for parole."

acecycleins 12-26-2005 06:34 AM

Re: Proton in talks to sell stake in MV Agusta SpA
 
Husky races because they're good at it. They build top quality dirt/mx bikes and they have trophies to prove their worth. Cagiva hasn't built a bike for racing outside the 250cc class for longer than I can remember, so development of race machines is not their bread and butter. MV, on the otherhand, build bikes that can race in the superstock level and maybe even the superbike level but the cost of racing is too high to develop such a machine. Harley (as brought up earlier) quit supebike racing because the cost was too high. They pay Terry Vance to make sure HD bikes go reallllly fast in a straight line (and they do). Eric Buell likes going in a straight line, too, but is still enamored with road courses. Triumph (who has money and R&D) wanted to go racing but saw the out of control cost and said hey we think we'll stick with triples and twins and call it a day. So, in the end a great motorcycle comany will cease to exist because R&D doesn't work in Proton's bottom line. Maybe those Texans that owned part of Ducati could buy MV and work the motorcycle magic once again.....

The_Aerodynamic_Head 12-26-2005 07:00 AM

Re: Whoa!, there, Tex.
 
Even if you race a bike that is so advanced/oddball/useless-in--the-world as to be unsellable, it can still (and very frequently does) throw off tech that trickles down, thus improving the gene pool of the showroom models. The development cycle backwards? That doesn't seem logically possible. The parts and computer codes must be developed before they're put on the bike, even the one-off racing bike.



As to your well-put comment about chap-11 candidates...I think you'd concede they're a different case. The big factories race to a) produce trickle-down tech, b) to torture-test that tech for production readiness, and c) gain publicity. I contend that if the Big 4 were as bad at it (money-wise) as you seem to say (or as you say Harley evidently was) they'd be out of business. I therefore must conclude (not theorize) that there must be some quantifiable benefit to the Big 4 from racing that outweighs the cost. I further conclude that Harley's racing was unprofitable because it was the one arena in which their marketing department couldn't translaate the benefits to the customer base. Enter Buell, both the man and the company, to lend credibility to the ethos of product development for its own sake.



Now, as to the Chapter-11 candidates that you mention. There are two possible cases. First, that these men are unserious, that racing is such a passion for them, any smidgen of profitability is disregarded in favor of racing, in the big legues, at all costs, especially the costs of other people's money. These would deserve bankruptcy, and more, disgrace.



The second case is that these men are taking the ultimate gamble. If they, like ninety-nine per cent of their peers, lose, oh well, into the dust-bin of history they go. But if they win, even one race, suddenly they're Andrew Carnegie. For these men, usually ex-recers themselves, the idea of retiring to a life of mediocrity, maybe writing for a magazine or signing tee-shirts at the shows, is unthinkable. They are competitors. It's arguably the ultimate combination of American capitalism and American Perseverence and Ingenuity. I may not be such a man. But, as I said, I sure am glad they exist.



And you never answered my questions about comparative corporate culture. In sum, where would Harley be, development wise, without foreign competition? (Or, for that matter, would they *be* at all without protective tarriffs from The Gipper?) I contend that Harley's culture is "Why develop what can be advertised?" And I'd love to hear a cohesive, logical argument to otherwise explain H-D's progress and course.


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