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Discussion Starter #1
I just got back from a focus group on Scooters. 13 people were invited to attend. Of the 13, 4 were Burgman owners (two 650's, two 400's). There were two Silverwing owners, one or two Vespa owners, and some other scooters but they weren't mainstream. The survey paid well for participation.

While they wouldn't disclose who funded the survey or its purpose, I came out of it with the feeling that the bottom line was: is there a market for a motorcycle with an automatic transmission. Most (if not all) the participants would be willing to drive a motorcycle that was twist'n'go. If this is correct, then I think we'll be seeing manufacturers start offering motorcycles with automatic transmissions. There's already one such manufacturer that I know of, which is Ridley. They're pricey, but their Auto-Glide cruiser style bikes look very impressive: http://www.ridleymotorcycles.com
 

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Compared to a super scooter, what is totally missing in the Ridley is practicality. They don't interest me at all. For me, the appeal of the super scooter goes beyond the automatic transmission. The spacious and convenient built in storage, step through ease of mounting/dismounting, the ability to change your foot position on the long floorboards, having your legs mostly protected from the wind in cold weather, ease of cleaning - are all features that a motorcycle (particularly a "cruiser" style motorcycle) cannot match.
 

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chuck807 said:
4 were Burgman owners (two 650's, two 400's).
Chuck,

I hope the other 3 Burgman riders were members of the BurgmanUSA forums. If not, did you ask them to come join us?
 

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Honda made two different automatics in the 70's. They were just like the standard motorcycle but with a fully automatic transmission. The CB400A and the four cylinder CB750A. Both sold well but not as well as the other bikes in the booming 70's.

Thanx
Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #6
billmeek said:
chuck807 said:
4 were Burgman owners (two 650's, two 400's).
Chuck,

I hope the other 3 Burgman riders were members of the BurgmanUSA forums. If not, did you ask them to come join us?
One of them is already a member here who actually joined in on the Los Angeles Burgman group ride we had last month. The other two were made aware of the forum!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
pauljo said:
Compared to a super scooter, what is totally missing in the Ridley is practicality. They don't interest me at all. For me, the appeal of the super scooter goes beyond the automatic transmission. The spacious and convenient built in storage, step through ease of mounting/dismounting, the ability to change your foot position on the long floorboards, having your legs mostly protected from the wind in cold weather, ease of cleaning - are all features that a motorcycle (particularly a "cruiser" style motorcycle) cannot match.
I agree completely about the super scooter, which is exactly why I purchased my 650. However, I wouldn't mind an automatic transmission cruiser-style motorcycle either. I don't always need the storage, and I wouldn't always ride one over the other. They're two different beasts alltogether, serving two different purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Russ Schaeffer said:
Honda made two different automatics in the 70's. They were just like the standard motorcycle but with a fully automatic transmission. The CB400A and the four cylinder CB750A. Both sold well but not as well as the other bikes in the booming 70's.

Thanx
Russ
Didn't know that... I'd like to check those out! I think times are different now, with the majority of the US population falling into the "Baby Boomer" category. Therefore, marketing strategies need to be reevaluated. I would think a market does indeed exist for automatic tranmission cruiser-style motorcycles.
 

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Suzuki also made a water cooled, auto transmission 450cc motorcycle during the same era. Those transmissions were nowhere close to the efficiency of the Burgman's ECVT though. I believe thay were all 2-speed automatics. Are you old enough to remember the Chevy Powerglide? If so, I think that was very similar to what these bikes were equipped with.
 

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Honda also made a 250cc automatic - a friend of mine still rides his. It's the only CM250A I've ever seen... I saw several ofthe 750's (I worked as a motorcycle mechanic for many years) - but I've never seen a CM400A...
 
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