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It has been a long time since I last owned a bike and I bought a V-Star 650 late last fall. Today, I went and visited a few bike distributors in my area to look at what the new bikes looked like and to look for any accessories for my bike. The three places I visited (Yamaha and Suzuki), (Honda), (Kawasaki and Aprilla)....all surprised me. I don't know if this is a regional thing but the only "cruisers" I saw for sale was one Honda Fury and one Vulcan 650. Sport touring bikes were everywhere. The 3 distributors also told me that the most popular type of bike was the sport/touring bikes. Well that's no surprise since there were no cruisers on display. I did not visit the Harley dealer....it's not nearby and Harleys don't interest me. However, during the summer, most of the bikes seem to be cruisers. How many of them are Harleys....difficult for a newbie to recognize a brand. On the largest regional forum, most of the bikes seem to be Harleys. Bikes are expensive in my region. The people seem to be brainwashed by Harley. The Vulcan 650 had a sale price around 9,000 dollars. Sport touring bikes are of no interest to me. They are too high off the ground for my 28 inch legs and there is only one riding position....sitting on my nuts and no place to haul stuff except on my back. In my opinion, sport/touring bikes are only disguised racers and they are not made for cruising, travelling and admiring the scenes with baggage. How can you do any sightseeing if you are crouched over a gas tank? It's a position for those with no testicles who want the trip to be over as soon as possible. During the 70's, cruisers were rare so most people added ape hangers so they could ride in a more upright position.
 

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I had to google your location to see where you are, about 300 miles further north than me (I'm in upstate NY).

Motorcycles in the north are a tough business. People ride so little in the summer that a reliable cruiser bike like our VS 650s can easily last 20 years or more. Imagine trying to earn a living where a perfectly happy customer comes back every 20 years for a new bike!

Your perspective on sport touring bikes might be a little skewed for some reason. I love riding my VS 650 on secondary roads, taking my time and riding through towns and villages all over NY state, into Pennsylvania, and up around Niagara Falls. But for longer road trips I'm thinking of getting a Yamaha FJR1300.

You can get it with nice hard bags on the sides, an adjustable windshield, pretty good fairing setup, and if you check the Yamaha website its an upright riding position with the ability to lower the seat while riding for the best comfort. I think I would like to put a drivers backrest on it, if I get one. When you get on the interstate going 80mph the wind blast is a big issue, and its hard to deal with using a classic tombstone shaped windshield and fork deflectors.

You can put a fairing on a cruiser bike, but it does not look right to me - like someone tried to cross breed a 1950s Harley with a 2000 Goldwing.

On craigslist in my area there are usually 20 to 30 Yamaha cruiser bikes for sale, and only a few sport touring bikes - the FJR1300 is something I don't see up for sale very often.

Having said all that, when I'm out riding I would say I see 20 Harleys for every Vstar, Victory, or Honda cruiser bike. I don't worry about it, I love my vstar, it has never let me down- always starts and runs perfectly everytime I want to ride it, 36,000 miles on the odo and I expect to have it for another 10 years at least.

If I do get the FJR that wont take anything away from me riding my cruiser bike the way I like, on all the two lane roads all around my area, it will just open up the options for longer trips, where you really need to get on the interstate for a day or two, to get where you want to go.
 

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...I don't know if this is a regional thing but the only "cruisers" I saw for sale was one Honda Fury and one Vulcan 650. Sport touring bikes were everywhere ... Sport touring bikes are of no interest to me. They are too high off the ground for my 28 inch legs and there is only one riding position....sitting on my nuts and no place to haul stuff except on my back. In my opinion, sport/touring bikes are only disguised racers and they are not made for cruising, travelling and admiring the scenes with baggage. How can you do any sightseeing if you are crouched over a gas tank? It's a position for those with no testicles who want the trip to be over as soon as possible. During the 70's, cruisers were rare so most people added ape hangers so they could ride in a more upright position.

Sport touring bikes have been popular around the world for decades for good reason, they work and their ergos are not as extreme as you think... by comparison cruisers as touring bikes is a relatively new concept. The Sport Touring class of bikes was born as a result of what riders did in the 60s-80s with the relatively light standard motorcycle (often classified as UJM), the "sit up and beg" riding position was typical. The cruiser class was a result of foot forward customs and choppers people were building and usually were not purchased or used for interstate long-haul travel. One could argue that Willie G's 1971 FX Super Glide ushered in the cruiser genre but that 'class' of bike didn't really garner recognition or see any popularity until the late 80s and even those weren't really used for 'light' touring in most cases... that type of riding was generally reserved for bikes like the BMW K series or Kawasaki Concours.

As for what dealers have in their showrooms definitely varies by location and what is popular in a particular area... not what would be the most practical given the geographic characteristics but what the recent fad/trend is.
 

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-Motorcycle industry is depressed.
-Victory is gone because of it
-The Indian rat & Rave will fizzle
-HD's gold mine has aged and are giving up riding due to health.
-Youngsters would rather text than ride
-Industry is trying to figure it out.
-The electric motorcycle is in play...millenial play
-Tough to compete in an industry in decline
-The -ST's (sport touring) are all the rage with cash flush 30 and 40-somethings.
-ST's have a damn near cult following.
-From a value vantage point, ST's offer the most bang for buck. Very good all-around motorcycle.
-The $$ is in ST at moment
-Some $$ in crotch-rockets too but its youngsters so the bank owns those bikes.
-Cruisers look cool, but buyers quickly off-load them as they offer too little utility for riders that take to riding


I dunno man, I've been riding for some decades now. Just not seeing the passion that I used to see amongst real riders. (as opposed to weekend warriors) But I am still totally into it and hope to score a Transcontinental Yammy in the not-too distant future. Concerned for Yamaha's Transcontinental Tourer intro as the timing is not good in a depressed industry. In fact they are already offering discounts on it up here.
I will buy one God willing. Its the right ride for me.

Keep it safe everybody.
 

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To get the appeal of riding a motorcycle, you have to ride one.

Many people do not even understand that MC's are self balancing, they think if you ride one you have to constantly balance it, or you will fall off or it will fall over,

Maybe that is part of the reason why younger people are not getting into it - all they know is what they SEE - and motorcycles look dangerous and scary.

I rode an off road bike for most of my life, it was not until I was 55 and got my license, and got a Vstar that I really appreciated the surreal experience of floating down a country road on two wheels, where all you can see in front of you is your hands on the grips, and the back of the headlight bucket.

Another thing: when was the last time you saw a commercial on TV for a motorcycle? I would guess maybe 1968?
 

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...I dunno man, I've been riding for some decades now. Just not seeing the passion that I used to see amongst real riders. (as opposed to weekend warriors)...
The 'real' riders I've met over the decades were motorcycle/riding enthusiasts who appreciated all makes and models because they had first hand experience and knew that every manufacturer made crap as well as gold. They appreciated motorcycling for the riding experience and felt a kinship with their machines as though it were a living thing like a (forgive the obvious metaphor) horse, a friend you can rely on. You can still find them but in this day and age of polarized brand loyalty/hatred and drive of presenting a favorable image via social media and getting 'likes' or 'subscriptions' there are a lot more poseurs or fair-weather bikers. There are more people who try to validate their motorcycling 'expertise' according to what they ride (larger or more powerful bikes) rather than their experience and true knowledge of motorcycling and wrenching. There are also a lot of keyboard warriors who perpetuate rhetoric and popular opinion (not fact) because of what they've read... not because of first-hand experience. To them their bike is an affectation, a possession, a material acquisition obtained to impress others and garner admiration. They're the ones who will be patronizing and arrogant for your choice in a friend.


IMO this 'in-house' conflict can make motorcycling a negative thing for a newbie to even try and get into. How many times have you read where people post crap like "a sub-liter bike is OK to learn on but you'll eventually outgrow it and want something bigger" or "a 650 is OK around town but you'll want something bigger for the highway". That crap easily turns away people who show an interest in motorcycling but then are overwhelmed by the BS they hear and feel they need to adhere to.
 
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