By James Macecari
We all know the ongoing battle in the biker world, What company makes the best bikes? Of course that debate is no longer influenced by the way the lifestyle use to be defined. As the old timers start to retire and the notion that Harley was king and everyone had to own one starts to fade, who actually is making a better motorcycle?
An old saying is starting to hold true today. If you want too hit the rode and enjoy a long ride in the wind- Get a foreign bike like a Honda, Yamaha or Suzuki. If you want too learn how to fix a bike- Get a Harley.
One company has slowly made a return over the years, one many old timers actually started on and respected. Triumphs!! My first ride was actually a 77 Triumph Bonneville. That machine gave me the love of motorcycles. It was a 750cc kickstart. Even at cold start it would never take more than two kicks to come too life.
Triumph has been focusing on the cafe style rider as of late. Most of it’s newer models have been geared to that line of cliental. Personally the cafe style design is something that never interested me. But one cannot argue that Triumph is a solid machine. It also can’t be argued that a Triumph engine on a hard tail chopper frame screams nostalgia. It is also a cool looking piece of power on a chopper.
I currently own a 01 Fatboy. I’m pleased with it so far, not any major problems with it. The one issue I do have with Harley Davidson is the fact that they have no creativity. Every year it’s the same model and design, except of course the paint jobs, that’s really the only thing that ever changes.
Most who own Harley’s are those who are middle aged. Harley has been having a huge problem drawing in the younger generation. Harley’s marketing campaign has seen a boomerang effect. Generation x and older have bought into the lifestyle that was sold too us. But for the younger generation not so much. Actually if you mention a Harley to say anyone younger than 32, they will say ” Why would I want to get on one of those? Too dress up in leather and have beards and look like my grandpa?”
The stereotype is now embedded into the motorcycle community, it doesn’t bold well for Harley. It also don’t bold well that Harley is putting out the same ol same ol year after year, it also hurts that it is becoming a far less Superior product against the competition.
The younger generation (which is a must for any company to go after) is opting for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki. Who after all can blame them? Not only does these companies make a mechanical sound machine, but they do it for far less then Harley would ever think of building one. The so called foreign companies (just like the car manufacturer) knows that the market share will go too the company with the best product at the lowest cost.
If Harley is too stay viable then it must start accepting the fact, the older generation is also starting too move away from their product just for those reasons. It’s 2017 and most people really don’t care a hoot about what others say about what they are riding. It’s all about being on two wheels now. If Harley is going to be competitive again than quality and price is going to have to get back in line. Not too mention the horrible dealerships around the country.
Personally I see Harley going through some very tough times in the next few years. Right now I do not see them as the best manufacturer out there . Honda and Suzuki have them beat in the quality and price department. After all, no one wants to mortgage their house to by the product. Many of people have complained over the years about it, the company hasn’t listened, until they do, they will continue too see market share lost.
So what do you think is the best bike out there right now? Do you think Harley will ever get the point?