Suzuki Burgman USA Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The annual International Motorcycle Show is in Long Beach this weekend (I can't make it). Hopefully a BUSA member will attend and can give us an opinion on the new 400.

Regarding the state of the industry, the title of today's article in the paper edition of LA Times should tell you all you need to know: "Thinking Smaller" (Here is a link to the online edition http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-long-beach-motorcycle-show-20161107-story.html

Here's an excerpt

"They are all struggling to remain relevant to the baby boomer consumers who have been their main constituents for the last four decades while making*new customers out of millennial buyers who have not yet matured as a market force.
Jason Chinnock, chief executive of Ducati North America, said the old ways of designing and marketing may not be effective with the new generation.
"The idea that if you build it they will come – it's not true," Chinnock said.

Industry experts say the business is at a transition point — possibly a dangerous one — at which manufacturers, dealers and suppliers remain focused on older riders aging out of the sport while ignoring younger riders who don't yet have comparable spending power.

“We’re at a tipping point,” industry analyst Dr. Paul Leinberger told his audience of industry professionals at a recent Motorcycle Industry Council gathering. “You cannot keep doing what you’re doing.”
Some manufacturers are already reversing a years-long trend of offering increasingly bigger, faster, more powerful and more expensive machines. Partly in response to criticism that they don’t build motorcycles that are appropriate for female riders, smaller-sized riders and beginning riders, they’re highlighting the small stuff."


BMW introduces G310 R & GS, scaled-down versions of existing bikes, in the $5k price range.
Honda will have a 300cc Rebel for $4399
Kawasaki brings out a 300cc version of the Versys (currently 650 & 1000cc). $5600 with ABS
Suzuki - look for a 250cc V-Strom
Ducati: a new Multistrada - scaled down from 1200 to 950. And a new 797cc Monster (down from 1200cc)


"The new bikes are all an iteration of a desperate need to bring new riders to a sport that saw its overall sales cut in half after the 2008 stock market crash and subsequent economic slowdown. Sales have climbed since then,*but have still not reached pre-2008 levels.

“We are looking as strongly as we can to expand the market,” Honda spokesperson Jon Seidel said. “We’ve got to. We and the other manufacturers have to reach out to new consumers.”
What they all have in common is the drive to attract new customers with smaller, less expensive machines, without abandoning the old customers who are still buying bigger, more expensive ones."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,796 Posts
The baby boomer phenomenon .

I was one of the first born in 1947 so I saw first hand what the boomers did as they passed through life . There is a good reason they called us boomers , and not only on birth rates , we created the biggest boom this country's has ever experienced . We created demand as we passed through certain stages , and then destroyed demand when we out grew what ever it was . The boomers were slightly over 50% of the entire motorcycle market , and now as we enter old age one by one we are hanging up our cleats . And even if we are not , most of us are riding less . On top of the above , there was an increase in motorcycle sales due to the increase in fuel prices , and cheap easy money during the housing boom . That created a boom in sales which in turn gave us the present glut of used bikes .

The next generation .

Our children as adults do not have the benefits we had from a ever growing economy . But on average they had more growing up than we had . We boomers came from families of 3.7 children , then we had 2.1 children per family , and left alive today there are only 1.85 . This phenomenon took place throughout the G7 countries , or if you prefer the developed world . On top of the changes in birth rates in these generations , our children as adults are competing in a global economy with slave wage labor and now robots . Years ago a car dealer told me when car sales were down , that there was demand but our children couldn't qualify for loans without a cosigner . A while back a motorcycle salesman told me on a Saturday he wrote 5 deals and all 5 couldn't pass credit .

Growing up we boomers paid 2 to 3 times our annual salaries for a home , our children are paying up to 10 times their annual salaries depending on where they live . It's the same with healthcare , and education .

Generational changes .

I read extensively about all these changes back in the early 90's , I saw changes taking place that I couldn't understand so I began reading every thing I could get my hands on trying to figure out what was happening , and then where we were going . Over the next 4 years I read hundreds of books on demographics and their spending patterns , trade and globalization , statistical information , the corporate take over of Washington DC etc. etc. . At that time I owned a company with over 300 employees , lots of commercial and industrial real-estate , a mega boat and homes all over the place etc. etc. . Once I figured it all out , I put the pedal to the metal and liquidated all of it and went to cash . What I learned business wise was frightening to put it mildly . What I saw coming , I knew would make the changes that took place during the industrial revolution look like child's play . It actually took 8 years to completely sell out , by June of 2004 I was totally out and in CASH .

If any one would like to learn more about these generational changes and their repercussions , read The Roaring 2000's by Harry S. Dent and Gray Dawn by Peter Peterson . Both books are easy reads and since they are out of print , can be had for a couple dollars on eBay or Half.com .

TheReaper!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
At the end of the 2nd world war the US had 6% of the world's population but controlled almost 50% of the world's wealth. that fueled great times that lasted for more than 35 years but it was atypical. The days of 1 male US blue collar worker supporting a family of 4 in middle class style are long gone and not even Mr. Trump can bring them back.


However I would not bet against the US. If you had put all your cash into the stock market (S&P 500) in Feb of 2009 you'd now be 3 times richer. Would have taken real guts but I guess that's why most folks aren't millionaires.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,876 Posts
Getting back to the article, I agree with what manufacturers are trying to do.

Back in the 70s, a 750 was considered a BIG bike and defined what most people really needed, the UJM, Universal Japanese Motorcycle. A liter class bike was HUGE. Now a 650 is considered small. I've have several MCers concerned that my bike can keep up with them. Okay, I can't go 140, but I can do triple digits just fine. It's all I need.

So what's a new buyer to do? All these massive 1300+cc bikes, friends and sales people pushing them to buy. Frankly it's like giving the keys to monster truck to someone with a learners permit, not smart.

So I applaud the manufacturers for scaling back and giving the newbies a chance we had to start off on something more appropriate to their skill level. It is much more responsible. And really it's all most riders need. I'd love to see a resurgence of the mid-size class bikes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,876 Posts
  • Like
Reactions: BurgyBill

·
Registered
Joined
·
887 Posts
Thanks for sharing. Great info! I was born in 1958 so I suppose I'm at the end of the Baby Boomer generation, but I never understood these large bikes and never thought they made any sense. A young man I ride with from time-to-time has a HD Sportster 850 and his father, who rides one of those noisy, massive HD's that handles like a 1978 Buick, gives him crap about having a "small" bike. Huh?

I've always been a believer in doing the most with the least, which might explain some of my previous obsession with kitted mopeds and my reluctance to get my endorsement so that I could move up to a "real" motorbike. Maybe the younger generation feels similarly?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,876 Posts
I've always been a believer in doing the most with the least, which might explain some of my previous obsession with kitted mopeds and my reluctance to get my endorsement so that I could move up to a "real" motorbike. Maybe the younger generation feels similarly?
Nah, they just can't pay for bigger bikes. In America, bigger is better... Always. So I rather doubt most kids have developed a philosophical penchant for smaller bikes, its just what they can afford.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dogboy

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,202 Posts
Just to clarify ... the end of the "boomers' is generally accepted as those people who were born in 1964.

I think one of the major challenges facing the MC manufacturers is the mindset of many of today's motorcyclists ... which they, the manufacturers, had a guiding hand in creating. You see, fewer of today's riders actually "ride" for the love, pleasure or necessity of riding. Far too many are into motorcycling for the image. :iroc: Part of that image is the type, brand and size of the MC you ride.

We are members of a local MC riding club and presently, we are the only maxi-scooterists. We have more than "proven" ourselves and are anywhere from tolerated to actively embraced by fellow members. Based on what I've observed from a riding skill perspective, our riding know-how is at least as proficient as the majority of our fellow members and better than most. That is because we have machines that are "right sized" for us and the type of riding we do and ... we constantly work on challenging and improving our riding skills.

One of the biggest problems I see is too many people who have entered this sport/hobby later in life, keep upping the ante on the size of bike they ride ... until they reach the point where riding is so much less fun because now they have to wrestle a behemoth around a parking lot and struggle with it if the road becomes the least bit challenging. Similar to the "Peter Principle" in management theory. Too many of our fellow members get sucked up into this bigger is better and badder mentality that it eventually takes their riding fun away.

I too remember the day when a 750-4 Honda was a "big bike" ... sadly no more. As long as there are manufacturers who feed the belief amongst consumers that anything under 1,000 or 1,200 cc's is small, and they have to satisfy the consumer's need to be just like and accepted by their wannabe pirate riding pals, then the industry will continue to shrink, attracting new and different kinds of riders won't happen and product offerings will suffer until the pain is too great for the manufacturers and they are forced to change and recreate the market.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jeff_MdR
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top