Does a Company’s Heritage Matter to You? – Question of the Day

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Earlier this week, Indian Motorcycle started teasing an all-new Scout model to be revealed on April 2. Like most of Indian’s marketing materials, the teaser drew from the brand’s long history. Indian does, of course, tout itself as “America’s First Motorcycle Company”, which is factually true, even if the line from the origins of Indian (née Hendee) in 1901 to today, as part of Polaris Industries, isn’t exactly linear.

This made me think of a presentation I sat through recently from Royal Enfield, the other kind of Indian motorcycle that also claims a 1901 date on its birth certificate. The presentation was for the Canadian debut of the Bullet 350, the latest iteration of what Royal Enfield claims to be the oldest motorcycle to be in continuous production, tracing back to 1932.

And then you have brands like Harley-Davidson and, to a lesser extent, Triumph, which have also made their long histories a core part of their identities. Meanwhile, BMW just finished celebrating its 100th birthday and marked the occasion with a new retro-flavored R 12 nineT, but beyond that, is more focused on the present and the future than the past (of course, there are … other reasons that BMW doesn’t like to dwell too much on its history.)

All of this leads me to the Question of the Day: do you care that much about a company’s heritage? Honoring your past is important, but at what point does it just become PR and marketing?

Become a insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

More by Dennis Chung

Join the conversation
3 of 17 comments
  • Allie Allie on Mar 19, 2024

    Why do we hang onto or choose to buy certain motorcycles ? Sometimes the company's reputation matters as far as it's longevity or serviceability and sometimes the company's history adds to its collect ability or resale value. Why would anyone own and occasionally drive a model T Ford or and old Rolls Royce ? Some of us like to be noticed and some of us like nostalgia. Why not ask J Lenno why he owns so many Vincents. There's a certain novelty factor to certain unique or historically significant motorcycles. Human beings are sentimental creatures crazy things matter to us like a diamond ring which serves no practical purpose only a sentimental one. For some companies a legacy is mainly just feather in their marketing cap. For us owner's it might be something to brag about.

    Whatever your reason for owning a particular bike you have every right to own it for whatever reason tickles your fancy.

    • Hacksaw Hacksaw on Apr 13, 2024

      That true. As to myself , I have owned so many motorcycles it doesn’t matter much to me Whst new bikes are being marketed. I don’t care for many of them no matter the manufacturer. I think RE has been true to its roots. Harley of course even though the abandon their customers every 20 years or so. Indian iffy , triumph a little better . the best is BMW. BMW , even if most of their new models are nothing I like , they have continued to sell and repair their vintage models . They have stayed true to their heritage and customers. Of course one pays for that . Lol. While Harley sells classic models that look like 50 year old bikes, bring them an actual 50 year old model . Most dealers won’t work on them .

  • Rob Mitchell Rob Mitchell 5 days ago

    It sort of does to me. It all depends. Moto Guzzi, Ducati etc while At times may have had problems they where best booked with great heritage but brands like HD may be old brands there bikes are and have always been rubbish and not ridin by true motor cyclists.