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(AP News)   Harley Davidson finally admits the obvious: Boomers too old for motorcycles. Millennials too poor for motorcycles, or pretty much anything else   ( apnews.com) divider line
    More: Obvious, Motorcycle Industry Council, Motorcycle, new motorcycles, Harley-Davidson, Riding Academy, Baby Boomers, Samantha Kay rode, all-women motorcycle club  
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2732 clicks; posted to Business » on 27 Dec 2017 at 2:21 AM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



108 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2017-12-26 10:17:17 PM  
Where's Generation X? Who knows? It's not like anyone cares when they make these stupid generational proclamations.
 
2017-12-27 12:36:22 AM  
Millennial are too smart to pay that much money for an obnoxious piece of low quality mechanical junk along with the silly dress-up clothes that go along with said junk.
 
2017-12-27 12:42:13 AM  
I've been saying as much for a while. Once a thing becomes known for being something older folks do, it's going to be hard to find new recruits. Ask Oldsmobile.
 
2017-12-27 12:43:58 AM  

bronyaur1: Millennial are too smart to pay that much money for an obnoxious piece of low quality mechanical junk along with the silly dress-up clothes that go along with said junk.


I know plenty of younger riders, and there's plenty of dress-up happening - they don't buy Harleys.
 
2017-12-27 12:50:37 AM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-12-27 01:09:33 AM  
If only they could productize jackassery.
 
2017-12-27 02:33:55 AM  
When you go all in on branding and a specific style, you can ride that wave for quite a while. But just like bellbottoms or parachute pants, eventually that ends.
 
2017-12-27 02:40:52 AM  

FormlessOne: Where's Generation X? Who knows? It's not like anyone cares when they make these stupid generational proclamations.


I'm technically Generation X, and if I ever buy another motorcycle, it probably won't be a Harley. Have owned a Kawasaki and a Suzuki.

I just googled the XR1200, and it looks like that is currently Europe only? Also ridiculously expensive and heavy.
 
2017-12-27 02:43:28 AM  
They type of people who ride Harley's have always been few in number, but there's plenty of young people riding them. The life cycle of a Harley is nearly infinite. People take better care of motorcycles than they do cars, especially Harley's. Even when they're wrecked, it's more likely they'll be rebuilt than scrapped. They're also not something owners feel the need to trade in every few years. There's also more competition from smaller companies, and custom made bikes. To say millennials aren't buying motorcycles is ignorant, they're buying them as much as previous generations have, they're just buying more used or brands other than Harley Davidson.
 
2017-12-27 02:48:26 AM  
gee, its almost as if under paying your workers has far ranging ripple effects thru the entire economy....when people only have enough to buy the essentials, then essentials is all they are going to purchase.  they won't have money for cars, yachts, vacations to expensive theme parks and resorts, toys, computer games and all the rest.  they'll put food on the table, feed their families and make sure they have a roof over their heads.  they WON'T be spending thousands of bucks on frivolous toys and flashy motorcycles.

of course, we COULD give everyone a pay raise.....but that would make the elite super rich slightly less rich and we just can't have that sort of thing.
 
2017-12-27 03:17:08 AM  
If you really want to get into the spirit of the Harley hate, check out this guy.

http://www.goingfaster.com/angst/noha​r​ley2.html

Honestly, I don't think he is actually anti-HD. He is just against the stupid stagnation that is HD's R&D. And the phoney image that many Harley riders promulgate.
 
2017-12-27 03:32:26 AM  
I'm 46 and I've always kinda had it in the back of my head that I wanted to learn how to ride someday.  But motorcycles are an expensive hobby and frankly, the douche factor of most riders (and not just the Harley riders either; the young kids of Japanese bikes are at least as bad) puts me off.

So this will likely end up being something on my bucket list that never gets crossed off.
 
2017-12-27 03:36:27 AM  
I don't know which video of a horrifying motorcycle accident to post. There's just so damn many of them.
 
2017-12-27 04:10:38 AM  

FormlessOne: Where's Generation X? Who knows? It's not like anyone cares when they make these stupid generational proclamations.


I'm not particularly interested in spending extra money on a method of getting to work that's for good weather only.
 
2017-12-27 04:42:27 AM  
2.bp.blogspot.comView Full Size
 
2017-12-27 05:25:41 AM  
Harley Davidson's declining sales are not a motorcycle problem, they're a Harley Davidson problem.
 
2017-12-27 05:31:04 AM  

Weaver95: gee, its almost as if under paying your workers has far ranging ripple effects thru the entire economy....when people only have enough to buy the essentials, then essentials is all they are going to purchase.  they won't have money for cars, yachts, vacations to expensive theme parks and resorts, toys, computer games and all the rest.  they'll put food on the table, feed their families and make sure they have a roof over their heads.  they WON'T be spending thousands of bucks on frivolous toys and flashy motorcycles.

of course, we COULD give everyone a pay raise.....but that would make the elite super rich slightly less rich and we just can't have that sort of thing.


Also, considering most younger people don't own homes, where the hell would they keep a motorcycle? If I or my husband wanted one, we'd have to park it in a lot with one assigned space that is about 10 feet from the street (and thus, highly visible) (we have to grab a guest space for our second car, and they are high in demand since each apartment only has one spot assigned and you pretty much can't get to work without a car here). Not exactly where one would want to keep something that is much easier to steal than a car, and there's nothing out there to chain it to or anything. 

But that just ties to your point since people aren't able to even buy houses and have to live in apartments they would never choose if they were able to put in more than "not a dilapidated basement, but affordable, just having to deal with a lot of inconvenient bullshiat and the annoyances of shared walls and inconsiderate neighbors who don't give a shiat."  (We seriously saw places with falling in ceilings that smelled like mold and had uneven floors and they wanted $1200+ for them, so glorified housing project, there we went. From another glorified housing project.)

All of these companies are going to keep feeling pain and confusion as to why people are not buying their products, and the hallowed job creators will continue to not create jobs and not give people raises and let wages stagnate until they only places that can make any money are rental offices, grocery stores, laundromats, doctors, pharmacies, and health insurance companies, and cheaper clothing stores.
 
2017-12-27 06:07:04 AM  
I had my motorcycle learner's permit one year, and took a weekend motorcycle class. If I passed the final test, then I would get my license. As it happened, I failed the test. That's when I decided I would be better off not riding a motorcycle and gave up trying to get my license. Another person who also failed cried over it.

I just thought between my lack of skill and worrying about other drivers, it made me feel unsafe to want to ride. It's bad enough when I drive a car and I have to worry about other drivers.
 
2017-12-27 06:10:34 AM  

FormlessOne: Where's Generation X? Who knows? It's not like anyone cares when they make these stupid generational proclamations.


Gen x doesn't seem to care for Harleys, but they'll buy the knockoffs

I'd rather get a BMW crosstour
 
2017-12-27 06:11:55 AM  

ReapTheChaos: They type of people who ride Harley's have always been few in number, but there's plenty of young people riding them. The life cycle of a Harley is nearly infinite. People take better care of motorcycles than they do cars, especially Harley's. Even when they're wrecked, it's more likely they'll be rebuilt than scrapped. They're also not something owners feel the need to trade in every few years. There's also more competition from smaller companies, and custom made bikes. To say millennials aren't buying motorcycles is ignorant, they're buying them as much as previous generations have, they're just buying more used or brands other than Harley Davidson.


Maybe they'll inherit them when their parents can't ride
 
2017-12-27 06:27:24 AM  

Ishkur: Harley Davidson's declining sales are not a motorcycle problem, they're a Harley Davidson problem.


Yep. Motorcycle types go in and out of fashion and currently cruisers are very much out of fashion and have been for years. The best selling motorcycle over 250cc (because Asia and South America are where the most motorcycles are sold but these are under 250cc) is this

images.mcn.bauercdn.comView Full Size


What does HD have to compete? Nothing.

Every other major manufacturer has a diverse portfolio of models so you can appeal to the widest possible number of motorcycle buyers. What does HD have? More remixes of cruisers.
 
2017-12-27 07:13:11 AM  
I like the look of the Harley Fat Boy - which is why I spent 1/5th a new Fat Boy's sticker price to buy a used Yamaha V-Star with 500 miles  on it that starts every time I need it, uses only 20 year old technology instead of 50 year old, and goes to the shop for nothing more than an oil change and inspection every year.
 
2017-12-27 07:27:36 AM  

bronyaur1: Millennial are too smart to pay that much money for an obnoxious piece of low quality mechanical junk along with the silly dress-up clothes that go along with said junk.


Yeah, dumbest statement of 2017.
People waste their money on toys and gear aplenty, ya know?

Think buggy whips, brother.
 
2017-12-27 07:40:08 AM  
 
2017-12-27 07:52:26 AM  
Never thought of buying a Harley, too big, too loud, too expensive, too unreliable. Back in the '80s I knew one of the HD dealers in Orange County CA, he rode his Honda 750 for any long trip that wasn't with the Harley club.

I don't miss riding.
 
2017-12-27 07:55:31 AM  
I've reached an age where a lot of my friends and co-workers are slamming full speed into middle age, and Harley Davidson is EVERYWHERE. HD clothes, HD bakcpacks instead replacing briefcases, HD coffee mugs, HD tattoos, HD vehicles (not the motorcycles, but "HD Edition" cars, trucks, and trailers). I can't speak to the quality of their motorcycles, but HD sure as shiat knows their demographic and how to market to them. And that's why I would never, ever-ever-consider a Harley Davidson; it's become the new Members Only, or Aqua Velva, or two-tone wrist watch.

"Harley Davidson: Official sponsor of mid-life crises."
 
2017-12-27 08:06:07 AM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-12-27 08:11:21 AM  
Good. The noise pollution these things create has always urinated me off.
 
2017-12-27 08:35:09 AM  
It used to be I feared getting my ass kicked by someone who rode a Harley.  Nowadays, I worry about being sued or audited by someone who rides a Harley.
 
2017-12-27 08:42:04 AM  

skinink: I had my motorcycle learner's permit one year, and took a weekend motorcycle class. If I passed the final test, then I would get my license. As it happened, I failed the test. That's when I decided I would be better off not riding a motorcycle and gave up trying to get my license. Another person who also failed cried over it.

I just thought between my lack of skill and worrying about other drivers, it made me feel unsafe to want to ride. It's bad enough when I drive a car and I have to worry about other drivers.


I got my license through an MSF course and rode for a few years, but I sold my motorcycle due to not having a garage. Then recently I had an accident in my car with an SUV driver that failed to yield, and although it was minor in my car, it made me think I how vulnerable I would have been on a bike. So I am not feeling like getting another one right now.

I love the feeling of maneuvering a motorcycle. A lot of people I see riding don't appear to quite get the concept of counter-steering, that to quickly aim the thing where you want to go, you lean it over, you don't turn the handlebars in the direction you want to turn initially. So they are really sloppy and go wide in turns and lane changes.

Probably a large factor in how easily you learn is how much experience you have on a bicycle. When I took the MSF course, I hadn't ridden a bicycle for many years, but before I was an adult, I had a lot of experience balancing (and crashing) on two wheels. The big hurdle to get over is how heavy a motorcycle is, and that's why you should not start on a large and shiny new one with lots of expensive bodywork.
 
2017-12-27 08:57:45 AM  

ReapTheChaos: To say millennials aren't buying motorcycles is ignorant, they're buying them as much as previous generations have, they're just buying more used or brands other than Harley Davidson.


statista.comView Full Size


No, the MC industry is most likely not going to recover to baby boomer levels which were the cause of the peak for the most part.  They are perceived as unsafe by most people and the interest isn't there like it was for the boomers who used MCs to relive the riding fun they had in their youth and to spend their midlife crisis money on bikes they had no business being on.
 
2017-12-27 09:00:04 AM  

itcamefromschenectady: skinink: I had my motorcycle learner's permit one year, and took a weekend motorcycle class. If I passed the final test, then I would get my license. As it happened, I failed the test. That's when I decided I would be better off not riding a motorcycle and gave up trying to get my license. Another person who also failed cried over it.

I just thought between my lack of skill and worrying about other drivers, it made me feel unsafe to want to ride. It's bad enough when I drive a car and I have to worry about other drivers.

I got my license through an MSF course and rode for a few years, but I sold my motorcycle due to not having a garage. Then recently I had an accident in my car with an SUV driver that failed to yield, and although it was minor in my car, it made me think I how vulnerable I would have been on a bike. So I am not feeling like getting another one right now.

I love the feeling of maneuvering a motorcycle. A lot of people I see riding don't appear to quite get the concept of counter-steering, that to quickly aim the thing where you want to go, you lean it over, you don't turn the handlebars in the direction you want to turn initially. So they are really sloppy and go wide in turns and lane changes.

Probably a large factor in how easily you learn is how much experience you have on a bicycle. When I took the MSF course, I hadn't ridden a bicycle for many years, but before I was an adult, I had a lot of experience balancing (and crashing) on two wheels. The big hurdle to get over is how heavy a motorcycle is, and that's why you should not start on a large and shiny new one with lots of expensive bodywork.

 
2017-12-27 09:02:43 AM  
I meant to say go hit the dirt, or take up trials riding if you want something low speed.  Motoventures out here in SoCal will supply everything for either and train you for a day.  You can see if you like it without investing in a bike.

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
kab
2017-12-27 09:09:41 AM  

skinink: I had my motorcycle learner's permit one year, and took a weekend motorcycle class. If I passed the final test, then I would get my license. As it happened, I failed the test. That's when I decided I would be better off not riding a motorcycle and gave up trying to get my license. Another person who also failed cried over it.

I just thought between my lack of skill and worrying about other drivers, it made me feel unsafe to want to ride. It's bad enough when I drive a car and I have to worry about other drivers.


Bikes are weird.   Despite being objectively more susceptible to just about everything while you're on one, it also makes you feel sort of invincible due to the straight line speed, and your own heightened sense of visibility to everything around you.

I logged probably close to about 40k on road bikes during my life, and walked away unscathed.  Sold the last one decades back for reasons I can't even recall now, and simply felt that I had my fun and pushed my luck enough whenever I got the urge to get back on one.

Drivers at this point are more distracted than ever, and my reaction time and sense of 'hold my beer' probably isn't what it used to be.

As for Harleys... one of the company's problems is that old ones tend to be more sought after than newer ones.  Combine that with an already limited fan base, and a ginormous aftermarket, and yeah... you aren't going to be setting record sales year after year, despite the irrational wishes of your shareholders.
 
2017-12-27 09:11:31 AM  
When 60% of the people on the road around you are looking at their phone while driving, there's no farking way I'm riding a motorcycle.
 
2017-12-27 09:23:09 AM  
Does H-D even know how to make anything that's not a straight-piped, loping V-twin billet-barge cruiser anymore?  Seems like anytime they try to break out of that pattern with a new motorcycle they end up smothering it in the cradle within a few years.
 
2017-12-27 09:52:25 AM  

edmo: I've been saying as much for a while. Once a thing becomes known for being something older folks do, it's going to be hard to find new recruits. Ask Oldsmobile.


You mean their "This isn't your Grandpa's Harley"  ad campaign isn't working?
 
2017-12-27 09:58:39 AM  

capn' fun: I've reached an age where a lot of my friends and co-workers are slamming full speed into middle age, and Harley Davidson is EVERYWHERE. HD clothes, HD bakcpacks instead replacing briefcases, HD coffee mugs, HD tattoos, HD vehicles (not the motorcycles, but "HD Edition" cars, trucks, and trailers). I can't speak to the quality of their motorcycles, but HD sure as shiat knows their demographic and how to market to them. And that's why I would never, ever-ever-consider a Harley Davidson; it's become the new Members Only, or Aqua Velva, or two-tone wrist watch.

"Harley Davidson: Official sponsor of mid-life crises."


It's like that where I live

I'd give my dad crap about getting a Harley, except he's ridden a motorcycle as long as I can remember and the Harley was his dream bike, not his I'm old time to relive my youth bike.

Wish I had photos of the barn find chopped Harley some goofball have him, dad reassembled it and it kick started right up
 
2017-12-27 10:10:50 AM  

Corydon: I'm 46 and I've always kinda had it in the back of my head that I wanted to learn how to ride someday.  But motorcycles are an expensive hobby and frankly, the douche factor of most riders (and not just the Harley riders either; the young kids of Japanese bikes are at least as bad) puts me off.

So this will likely end up being something on my bucket list that never gets crossed off.


Expensive is one thing, but you're 46, man.  Don't let the douche factor of other people stop you from doing anything.  Just...don't be a douche.
 
2017-12-27 10:16:02 AM  
Seeing as I wish death on the motorcycle riders that cruise the area with tons of outdoor dining and make it miserable to eat outside, don't want to come off as someone in their 60's that wishes to be cool, and I don't want someone in their 70's or on their phone wiping me out, I'll pass on buying a motorcycle.
 
2017-12-27 10:18:17 AM  

loonatic112358: capn' fun: I've reached an age where a lot of my friends and co-workers are slamming full speed into middle age, and Harley Davidson is EVERYWHERE. HD clothes, HD bakcpacks instead replacing briefcases, HD coffee mugs, HD tattoos, HD vehicles (not the motorcycles, but "HD Edition" cars, trucks, and trailers). I can't speak to the quality of their motorcycles, but HD sure as shiat knows their demographic and how to market to them. And that's why I would never, ever-ever-consider a Harley Davidson; it's become the new Members Only, or Aqua Velva, or two-tone wrist watch.

"Harley Davidson: Official sponsor of mid-life crises."

It's like that where I live

I'd give my dad crap about getting a Harley, except he's ridden a motorcycle as long as I can remember and the Harley was his dream bike, not his I'm old time to relive my youth bike.

Wish I had photos of the barn find chopped Harley some goofball have him, dad reassembled it and it kick started right up


I mean, I get it; it's perfectly normal to struggle with watching your youth slip completely away and acknowledging that you're at least halfway to dead. But there's just something sad and unsettling about watching Gary from marketing putter out of the parking lot on Friday in his '04 Toyota Celica and rumble back in on Monday on a fat boy or a soft tail with a new sleeve tattoo and breathless testimonials about cross fit and paleo.

Your dad sounds like my uncles. Cool guys, especially the one who had a side car for his bike and would take us kids on rides. They started building and riding Harleys back in the late 60's and early 70's, kept at it for most of their lives.
 
2017-12-27 10:20:27 AM  

Cyclonic Cooking Action: ReapTheChaos: To say millennials aren't buying motorcycles is ignorant, they're buying them as much as previous generations have, they're just buying more used or brands other than Harley Davidson.

[statista.com image 850x608][View Full Size image _x_]

No, the MC industry is most likely not going to recover to baby boomer levels which were the cause of the peak for the most part.  They are perceived as unsafe by most people and the interest isn't there like it was for the boomers who used MCs to relive the riding fun they had in their youth and to spend their midlife crisis money on bikes they had no business being on.


After having to scrape up motorcycle riders (at least the juicy lumps of them) from stunt bike assholes to cruisers that got pasted by an SUV not paying attention off the roads and calling parents to deliver the news, my kids are never touching them.
 
2017-12-27 10:39:56 AM  
Also, Harleys are shiatty, obsolete motorcycles.
 
2017-12-27 10:40:53 AM  

Troy McClure: When 60% of the people on the road around you are looking at their phone while driving, there's no farking way I'm riding a motorcycle.


You think it's only 60%?   Here is a scenario that I find all too common lately:  I pull up behind a driver stopped at a red light.   The light turns green but the car in front doesn't move.  I can usually see that the driver's head is tilted down, it's obvious they are looking at something......I wonder what?  I tap the horn....just a tap, not a long obnoxious blast.  The driver in front straightens up their head, looks in the rear-view mirror, flips me the bird, and floors it.  Get to the next red light, 'wash, rinse, repeat.'   I'm astonished that the death rates for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders has not skyrocketed.
 
2017-12-27 11:12:34 AM  
When a bike costs as much as a car, without any of the advantages of a car, you're not going to sell as many bikes.

When the bike market is flooded with decent used machines, and the new ones don't offer anything really unique or advanced over the used ones, you are not going to sell as many new ones.

Thanks for attending the marketing seminar.
 
2017-12-27 11:23:23 AM  

Norfolking Chance: Ishkur: Harley Davidson's declining sales are not a motorcycle problem, they're a Harley Davidson problem.

Yep. Motorcycle types go in and out of fashion and currently cruisers are very much out of fashion and have been for years. The best selling motorcycle over 250cc (because Asia and South America are where the most motorcycles are sold but these are under 250cc) is this

[images.mcn.bauercdn.com image 800x600][View Full Size image _x_]

What does HD have to compete? Nothing.

Every other major manufacturer has a diverse portfolio of models so you can appeal to the widest possible number of motorcycle buyers. What does HD have? More remixes of cruisers.


As a non-rider, I've wanted one of the Honda DCT bikes, preferably the Africa Twin, but any would do.  "Automatic" transmission so there's no clutch bs, check;  plenty of room for a small grocery run, check; not a moped, check; decent reviews, check; not a loud Harley, check; reasonably priced, check.

And Honda has a DCT in every style from cruisers, sportsters, crotch-rockets, semi-off-road....Yeah, Harley needs to diversify their portfolio and create bike models for people like me that just don't like clutches but like manual shifting abilities or automatic modes....
 
2017-12-27 11:31:11 AM  

Cyclonic Cooking Action: I meant to say go hit the dirt, or take up trials riding if you want something low speed.  Motoventures out here in SoCal will supply everything for either and train you for a day.  You can see if you like it without investing in a bike.

[img.fark.net image 550x366][View Full Size image _x_]


This, I rode several types of highway motorcycles over the years, From Harleys to a couple different British bikes.
After not riding for quite a few years I picked up used Yamaha trail bike and I am having a gas riding around on the bush trails.
 
2017-12-27 11:37:50 AM  

Cyclonic Cooking Action: ReapTheChaos: To say millennials aren't buying motorcycles is ignorant, they're buying them as much as previous generations have, they're just buying more used or brands other than Harley Davidson.

[statista.com image 850x608][View Full Size image _x_]

No, the MC industry is most likely not going to recover to baby boomer levels which were the cause of the peak for the most part.  They are perceived as unsafe by most people and the interest isn't there like it was for the boomers who used MCs to relive the riding fun they had in their youth and to spend their midlife crisis money on bikes they had no business being on.

the motorhome and travel trailer market died at just about the same time because the economy was swirling around the toilet bowl. many companies that had been around for years went bankrupt or were absorbed, often absorbed just because the buyer wanted the brand name. today about 80% of the recreational vehicle market for motorhomes and travel trailers is owned by the largest 2 companies.

 
2017-12-27 11:48:51 AM  

Fissile: edmo: I've been saying as much for a while. Once a thing becomes known for being something older folks do, it's going to be hard to find new recruits. Ask Oldsmobile.

You mean their "This isn't your Grandpa's Harley"  ad campaign isn't working?


But, they had Lee Ioacoca  and Snoop Doggy Dog Golfing
 
2017-12-27 11:57:58 AM  

Alphax: FormlessOne: Where's Generation X? Who knows? It's not like anyone cares when they make these stupid generational proclamations.

I'm not particularly interested in spending extra money on a method of getting to work that's for good weather only.


I make it a point to never ever EVAR use my motorcycle for work related anything. 

And good weather is anything that isn't ice and snow.  At least for men...i dunno what you are.  :P
 
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