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Author Topic: 500 cc Harley  (Read 5097 times)

barenekd

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2013, 11:50:13 PM »
Quote
   I hope h-d's new small bike experiment is successful. Their past attempts haven't been. And it's what bankrupted Indian.

It wasn't the small size that bankrupted Indian. It was that the small bikes were rather a POS. Indian was dead with or without them anyway. The biggest killer of Indian was that the Police Departments switched to Hardley.
Bare
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tooseevee

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2013, 11:54:51 PM »
I hear you on what America wants.  What about Europe?  Would a smaller HD work there?  Or do Europeans who want HDs want them big?
Scott

       Scotty,

       Maybe I wasn't clear enough when I said "''it wasn't what America wanted".

       I was referring to Indian's small bikes in the '50s. Indian tried to compete with the small foreign bikes for too long when it wasn't what America wanted in a road bike, a bobber, a chopper. It bankrupted Indian & they were gone. That's how the market works. It's too bad because with Indian as competition harley would have been a better motorcycle; both would have become better.

       Harley learned early enough that it couldn't save itself with small bikes but still had a hell of a time not going out of business for a lot of different reasons. The money problems & R&D problems & quality problems all came to a head finally & h-d almost went under. Without the influx of money from AMF they would have shut down & we would have NO American motorcycle now.   

       I think there are a lot of Indian guys just dieing to have a harley, but the average Indian will never be able to afford one. The little harleys will be an elitist bike the same as the big harleys that are there are now.
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2013, 11:59:13 PM »
Ah, sorry, I thought you meant today.  And if you did, you'd still be right ;)  America wants big bikes. 

Yes, in India even the small HD would be a status symbol.  And probably far better suited to riders there.

Scott

Guaire

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2013, 12:17:30 AM »
The 'Street' pair of HDs will be manufactured in Kansas for the US market.
  The average age of Harleys customers is 50 years old. They need to get a younger customer base. That is the primary market for these two bikes.
 Notice the massive radiator. Since Streets will also be sold in India and parts of Asia heat is an issue. Summers in parts of India easily hit 120 degrees. A successful bike for India has to deal with the heat. Cool running is not a bad idea anywhere.

Joel-in-dallas

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2013, 08:39:55 AM »
This is all about Harley Needing to attract new riders.
I think the Street 500 & 750 will bring in new people to Harley Davidson.

Demographics alone is forcing Harley Davidson's hand. The article below is a great read.
http://investorplace.com/2013/11/harley-davidson_demographics-downfall-baby-boomers/#.Un3x1pFd1kF

I think the incredible response of the Project Rushmore motorcycles reduced any last hesitation Harley Davidson had to having the Street 500 & 750 in the United States. Also if you are a motorcycle manufacturer you *must* be in India. Its just too big a market to skip all together. The tariffs make building the motorcycle in India a requirement.

I did read on more than one source that Harley is planning on only selling the Street 750 and not the Street 500 in India. Royal Enfield leads the Indian market in 500 cc motorcycles.

I have nothing bad to say about Harley Davidson. They are bringing in new riders in the U.S. Their dealership network has lots of MSF classes and works hard planning lots of events to introduce new riders to motorcycling. Their "Jump Start" is really a fun thing for new riders. Their boot camp and women only boot camps are really smart.

Harley Davidson will survive the Baby Boomers aging out of motorcycle riding. But it will be a very difficult transition that they are ready for.

I have to say the more I read about Royal Enfield and their adaptations in the last 20 years the more impressed I am. The UCE engine and the Thunderbird were crucial. The Thunderbird was the motorcycle for the kids and grandkids of Bullet Riders. But they can get a Thunderbird, get the familiar thump but have a blacked out Royal Enfield that retains much of the bullet but is still different enough to be desirable.

Now with the Continental GT they have another motorcycle to grow the market.


GreenMachine

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2013, 03:50:49 PM »
Joel -  Per verbatim : Most are over 50. Nearly all of them are older than 45.

This isn't a coincidence. Harley-Davidson is a brand whose sales depend disproportionately almost exclusively, in fact on middle-aged Caucasian males. Riders younger than 40 generally lack the time, interest or the bankroll to buy a Harley. But by the time they get into their 60s or older, the noise and joint pain have whittled at riding's allure. You still might ride in your 60s, but you're doing it less frequently and you probably aren't buying a new bike.

Alot of us are in the demographic...Haaaaaa , the joint pain sucks and some of you guys ride and take the associated suffering because of the joy that it brings you. Harley's needs to keep on top of this game..A 500cc model bike is considered large in India....Enfield is considered one of their cottage Industries and now part of their  heritage. I could see it trump Harley which is why I'm not surprised if only the 750 is sold locally..Although I would expect the 500cc model to out-sell the 750 cc in India, we see strange decision making all the time like why a bike/car is sold in Europe and not here...Summer of 2014 should expose the truth....GM
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Roeland

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2013, 12:47:18 PM »
I heard bad vibes from the SA Harley community - they do not like the idea of a water cooled engine. The bikes are expensive - and yes the crowd is usually older than 45 but I don't think that is the mayor issue over here. My dream bike was an Harley in the late seventies and early eighties. At that time Harley was a legend in terms of the outsider culture. Nowadays, it is regarded as a bike for old people or accountants who cruise at no higher speed than 80 km per hour. The outsider culture got lost and the younger generation want something more individual not associated with the older generation - that's probably why superbikes do so well. I still would love to have a Harley but every time I mentioned I get criticised to either be an account or having a mid life crisis. Than again a Triumph got it's own stigma's - what shall I get as an second bike - one to work on while ride the other one?

ByTheLake

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2013, 02:44:21 PM »
There's no doubt that Harley Davidson needed to find a way to attract younger riders with more affordable machines.  These models were completely predictable - smaller V-twin cruisers.  It's all that Harley's customers will let it build.

As I look for a smaller urban bike to buy in early 2014, these Harleys won't be on the shipping list.  First, the all-black color and trim doesn't appeal to me.  The styling of these bikes will blend into the crowd and not stand-out one bit.  I've never owned a Harley, but enough of my friends have to convince me that I don't want to deal with Harley's dealerships.

I love vintage styling and simple engine architectures, so I'm still planning on buying that Royal Enfield C5 Chrome in March.

Alan LaRue

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2013, 03:17:18 PM »
I wish they would have built the new bikes as standards rather than cruisers. The original Sportster looked a lot like a Bonneville with a V-twin. How are they going to attract younger riders with another cruiser with a 25" seat height? But what do I know?

I'm too old to ride a bike that low. If my knees are above my hips, I start to hurt pretty fast. I'm only 5'9", but Harley's are too low for me. Maybe it wouldn't bother a younger person, but it's still hard for me to believe that their intended market for these new bikes will want to ride with their butt practically dragging the ground and their knees pointed at the sky.
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GreenMachine

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2013, 03:42:51 PM »
I only rode a Harley once a dyna and it was just for a mile or two...I don't remember if my knees were higher than my ass or not (5'11'') ...My Yamaha 1100 seating is pretty vanilla with just a big soft seat for my fat ass and my legs are slightly elevated on floorboards ( Sometimes I think of changing up from the California Bars) ...The older I get, I prefer a lighter bike for the ease of handling, which is one reason I like my Enfield so much...Harley Dealership - Not sure what that means outside the confines of having to deal with any of them..Do they presents their own special attachment? GM
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Craig McClure

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2013, 05:34:57 PM »
" what shall I get as an second bike - one to work on while ride the other one?"
NOW there is a loaded question. What do you dream of owning? Motorcycle preference is an individual thing, kind of surprised you'd ask.
If I was not income challenged, a bunch of exotic machines come to mind, Financial freedom sure could be fun.
  As a thrifty person, I have never hesitated to seek out useful old technology, so some older motorcycle options come to mind. the good news is that there are some excellent bikes languishing in garages of individuals who simply got bored with them or just don't ride much. This is how I got my G5 deluxe.
  I am always interested in learning of old BMW AIRHEADS, MOTO GUZZI's, DUCATI's standing idle. I even like URALS.  Some years ago I was GIVEN a BSA A65 LIGHTNING because it no longer ran, & the owner needed the space.
   BMW is a very practical way to go, they are excellent machines, & most airheads are still running. They can be set up to Tour, Cruise, or Race. Enclosing pix of 2 that I built.
*The big Black & White 1964/2 is a 900cc conversion with later wheels engine & drivetrain.
*The Florida Green 1972/5 750cc was sold by a vintage racer, it finished 7th in the battle of the twins at Daytona- not very competitive, but a pleaser on the street. 
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Gypsyjon

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2013, 06:41:33 PM »
I rode Harleys for 30 some years. I found them to be reliable and comfotable to ride. I once put over 900 miles on my Road King in one day and was none the worse for it. They are big old heavy cumbersome beasts though.

I love my RE, light nimble and loads of fun. Furthest I have gone in a day is a tad over 350 miles down to north Florda. Lots of fun, but I was glad to get off.

Totally different bikes, both have their good points and some not so good. It is loads of fun to go out and give my RE a kick or two then hear that single thump!
I've gone back to my roots. British 1 lunger, stump puller.

barenekd

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2013, 08:14:12 PM »
Quote
You still might ride in your 60s, but you're doing it less frequently and you probably aren't buying a new bike.

I guess I could refute that comment. I've bought three new bikes after 60, 2 in the last 2 years. None of then have been Hardleys, or even big bikes. And surprising, to me, all were air cooled. A water-cooled engine is an inherently better setup. The engines generally live longer because they are in a far more stable environment. However, the plumbing makes them a PITA to work on! Of course I guess it doesn't quite match the 7 or 8 that I bought between 50 and 60! The big difference in the numbers are the numbers flowing into the checkbook. I just don't have the excess money I had in those days! But I do know a lot of guys over 60 who still spend copious amounts on bikes. However, obviously the numbers are down from younger people, as the whole population of blue haired riders is declining compared to the younger ones. We can't last forever, but we try! Obviously the market isn't aiming at us! But they do still have some nice stuff out there for us. And the older crowd is certainly more likely to buy Enfields. They are the ones who understand where the bikes are coming from! As with me, I bought one because they are the type bike I was raised on. A different brand or two, but the similarities and feelings are there! It's old home week without having to remember what the good old days were really like. I sold the last Matchless in the '90s because I was tired of being reminded of what they were like! It's why I never acquired an iron barrel!
Bare
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Guzzohm

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2013, 04:43:37 PM »
I wish they would have built the new bikes as standards rather than cruisers. The original Sportster looked a lot like a Bonneville with a V-twin. How are they going to attract younger riders with another cruiser with a 25" seat height? But what do I know?
I think this new Harley straddles the line between cruiser and standard.  To me it looks more of a standard than their 883 Superlow or Iron. 

Water cooling makes sense, even for a dinosaur like me who used to say that air cooling was God's rule for motorcycles.   :o 

I do think it puts more pressure on RE to up their QC game.
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barenekd

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Re: 500 cc Harley
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2013, 07:05:53 PM »
You guys have to understand  that you can get a lot more power out of a water cooled engine because if a more stable environment allows for tighter clearances, and more compression in the engine. How many aircooled liter bike engines are out there that produced nearly 200 horsepower? They are all water cooled. The air cooled engines are lucky to break 100 HP.
Bare
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