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Harley Davidson at one time held 50% of the over 1000cc market, but those days are over and Harley Davidson now only has 36% of the market. That is a 14% drop in market share.

I keep getting fliers from Harley Davidson in the mail saying: Hurry bring this in by (in this case) June 30th and get $1500 towards your purchase.

This deal states: In our 115th year, we're making it easier for you to get on our best motorcycles ever and join us for our celebration, get $1500 toward any new 2017 or 2018 softball, touring or trike model.

So they are still trying to move 2017 models as well as their current 2018 models and the 2019 models are just around the corner. I personally think it would be great to see move evening out of the market, Harley Davidson's days of selling their pirate image are over.
 

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Harley Davidson's days of selling their pirate image...
I saw this change in the mid-80s and early 90 because of the stock market boom of the 80s with the creation of the Rich Urban Bikers (RUBs). Yuppies had way too much money and wanted a status symbol. And HDs were the only AMERICAN MADE bike at the time. So they bought them hand over fist and made the price skyrocket. THEN only rode them once or twice a year and never in the rain.
 

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there is a paradox on used MC prices.

The price floor for a running bike in my area is about $2000, going back to around 2003 (15 year old bikes). Older than that the price drops.

I could get just about any Vstar bike (650, 1100, royal star, road star...) in pretty good condition for $3000 to $3500. The Strats and Warriors maybe $1k more.

But harleys - you cant find a used sportster in that year-range for less than $3500, and all the higher end HDs are $5k and up. Some of the used HD baggers sell for $10k or more.

HD bikes have a reputation of having mechanical issues, needing frequent repairs, leaking oil, but for some reason they hold their price better than "change the oil and ride ride ride" Vstar bikes.

Maybe it is a money issue? Maybe people with disposable income dont care if they have to take their Harley in to the shop and have a couple thousand dollars in repairs done repeatedly over the years. If I had to take my daily rider VS650 to the shop and have any work done on it, before the odo hit 80,000 miles, I would be pretty pissed!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
there is a paradox on used MC prices.

The price floor for a running bike in my area is about $2000, going back to around 2003 (15 year old bikes). Older than that the price drops.

I could get just about any Vstar bike (650, 1100, royal star, road star...) in pretty good condition for $3000 to $3500. The Strats and Warriors maybe $1k more.

But harleys - you cant find a used sportster in that year-range for less than $3500, and all the higher end HDs are $5k and up. Some of the used HD baggers sell for $10k or more.

HD bikes have a reputation of having mechanical issues, needing frequent repairs, leaking oil, but for some reason they hold their price better than "change the oil and ride ride ride" Vstar bikes.

Maybe it is a money issue? Maybe people with disposable income dont care if they have to take their Harley in to the shop and have a couple thousand dollars in repairs done repeatedly over the years. If I had to take my daily rider VS650 to the shop and have any work done on it, before the odo hit 80,000 miles, I would be pretty pissed!
Just because Harley owners put big price tags on their used Harleys does not mean that is what they end up selling them for.

I have seen many a Harley sit for sale for many months and sometimes years with big price tags on them, so what they ask for a Harley and what they actually get for that same Harley are two different figures. In the end I bet the vast majority of used Harleys go for a whole lot less than their asking price.
 

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Lately I’ve seen the same thing. The dealership in Cookeville, Tn that I did my demo ride and bought my Sena 30K headsets from have had several used HD’s on their floor for several months now, some of them were clean looking bikes. The prices haven’t dropped much at all though.


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they still hold over 50% of the market share of all bikes over 600cc sold in the U.S. What is surprising is how Indian seems to keep growing while Harley is shrinking; Indian now commands 10% of the market as of last fall. Harley has decreased in sales nearly every quarter for the past 4 years, but Indian has been making huge strides in the same time, even tripling their market share just last year. could it be that the baby boomer Harley die-hards have been retiring from riding while Millennials aren't buying into the image? Is Indian picking up all the customers Harley is losing?

https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2017/10/24/indian-motorcycles-market-share-hit-double-digits.html



 

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All of the above is true and many Harley owners are switching to Indian.

The all new great Milwaukee 8 engine has issues, they have had a rash of catastrophic failures due to oil sumping (oil being suspended by the crank shaft and not returning back to the oil scavenging pumps) Harley has already issued TSB's for several oil pump updates and replacements. The Harley forums are full of issues with the new engine.

One Harley owner said, he was tired of his metric friends bashing him about is Harley issues, and he came to the realization they were right. Harley really sold the American made concept and Patriotism. They are now struggling with the world economy and must outsource like everyone else, but that goes against their entire heritage.
 

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I saw this change in the mid-80s and early 90 because of the stock market boom of the 80s with the creation of the Rich Urban Bikers (RUBs). Yuppies had way too much money and wanted a status symbol. And HDs were the only AMERICAN MADE bike at the time. So they bought them hand over fist and made the price skyrocket. THEN only rode them once or twice a year and never in the rain.
Thats why I quit going on going on poker and toy runs. I still donate but to many weekend warriors.
 

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This is off topic but thought it was interesting. I knew motorcycle sales were down but had not looked stats up. No wonder every manufacturer is clawing for every sale.
 

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I don't think it"s off topic. Same as Scrumdown said the boom of the 80's are the same as before the crash of 2008 but HD has always held there value. I'm not sure why.
 

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There was a population bubble which has caused similar curves in many areas as they aged out of certain activities.
Active Pilots and aircraft sales, boaters and boat sales, Freemasons, Eagles lodges, Rotary Clubs, Red Cross, and so on. The curves didn't all happen at the same time for various activities, but they all experienced it.

I'd be curious to see some of those graphs laid out over time and over average age of participants, and the percentage of the population in various age groups, and see the movement of the curves. I would wager that the percent of the population in the target age group is not changing that much, just that the target age group is smaller than it was.

The plain fact is that EVERY activity has declining participation (in pure numbers), as a huge chunk of the population gets older and older.
This is off topic but thought it was interesting. I knew motorcycle sales were down but had not looked stats up. No wonder every manufacturer is clawing for every sale.
 

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IMO HD makes a solid bike. The M8 is a good engine so far. I know they had the oiling issues. Every first year of something new has issues no matter what it is. I am NOT a HD fan by any means. The thing about HD is they did not change. They look the same from the 50s to now. The big part of HD getting a bad rep for failing mechanically is from the old days when men would work on the bikes themselves and jerry rig stuff all the time because they honestly did not know how to fix it properly. The HD leaking oil gag is from the old days when they were designed to leak. That is how they oiled the chassis and the chain when they had chains. I ride with people who have HDs that have 30 to 130k trouble free miles on them. I like the power of my wifes new bike. I hate how it rides and how it sits. It is not comfortable and it rides like a 2x4 going down the road. It is smooth, the transmission has a solid shif feel, the clutch is kinda hard to pull so in traffic my hand gets sore very quick. HD service is second to none in every HD shop I have been in. I have never been in a HD dealership where ALL the staff, not just the sales people, were super friendly and willing to help even with a metric if they could. I had more snubbing from aftermarket HD people.. that is another story... AGAIN I am NOT a HD fan. This is just my opinion and my experiences with HD. If I were picking a bike and knew absolutely NOTHING about bikes TBH HD would win. Now I know that got your attn. Now as to why. It is the small things. Look at the lids on the saddle bags of the new Eluder and Venture. They are pretty flimsy.. NOT A DEAL BREAKER FOR ME. Just stating a fact. The trunk on the touring models of both bikes. HD was thinking when they made it open sideways. If you have a passenger on they do not have to get off, or if you put your helmet on the seat you do not have to move it to get into the trunk. Accessories. You can get way more accessories for any HD than you can for 99% of other bikes. I go back to customer service. I have become friends with the local Metric/Indian dealership, but TBH before that I could barely get the time of day out of them. A friend of mine was on a roadtrip when the front tire went bad on his GW. He went to the local Honda dealer, explained he was on the road traveling and had a bad tire. They actually told him it would be 3-4 days to get to his bike. FOR A TIRE. He went to the HD dealer right up the road and got a tire on his HONDA. They did not know him from Adam, but he was on 2 wheels and had an issue and they helped him out. They did not rag on him for owning a Honda or try to sell him a new bike. They put a tire on for him and down the road he went. I wish HD were doing better. I think a huge problem with their sales is the price of the bike for what you get. You get a lot more bike with an Indian or a Yamaha or a Honda for less than a HD. I will quit my ranting and raving now.. LOL I am sure I will get ripped apart for this on here but it is how I feel.
 

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IMO HD makes a solid bike. The M8 is a good engine so far. I know they had the oiling issues. Every first year of something new has issues no matter what it is. I am NOT a HD fan by any means. The thing about HD is they did not change. They look the same from the 50s to now. The big part of HD getting a bad rep for failing mechanically is from the old days when men would work on the bikes themselves and jerry rig stuff all the time because they honestly did not know how to fix it properly. The HD leaking oil gag is from the old days when they were designed to leak. That is how they oiled the chassis and the chain when they had chains. I ride with people who have HDs that have 30 to 130k trouble free miles on them. I like the power of my wifes new bike. I hate how it rides and how it sits. It is not comfortable and it rides like a 2x4 going down the road. It is smooth, the transmission has a solid shif feel, the clutch is kinda hard to pull so in traffic my hand gets sore very quick. HD service is second to none in every HD shop I have been in. I have never been in a HD dealership where ALL the staff, not just the sales people, were super friendly and willing to help even with a metric if they could. I had more snubbing from aftermarket HD people.. that is another story... AGAIN I am NOT a HD fan. This is just my opinion and my experiences with HD. If I were picking a bike and knew absolutely NOTHING about bikes TBH HD would win. Now I know that got your attn. Now as to why. It is the small things. Look at the lids on the saddle bags of the new Eluder and Venture. They are pretty flimsy.. NOT A DEAL BREAKER FOR ME. Just stating a fact. The trunk on the touring models of both bikes. HD was thinking when they made it open sideways. If you have a passenger on they do not have to get off, or if you put your helmet on the seat you do not have to move it to get into the trunk. Accessories. You can get way more accessories for any HD than you can for 99% of other bikes. I go back to customer service. I have become friends with the local Metric/Indian dealership, but TBH before that I could barely get the time of day out of them. A friend of mine was on a roadtrip when the front tire went bad on his GW. He went to the local Honda dealer, explained he was on the road traveling and had a bad tire. They actually told him it would be 3-4 days to get to his bike. FOR A TIRE. He went to the HD dealer right up the road and got a tire on his HONDA. They did not know him from Adam, but he was on 2 wheels and had an issue and they helped him out. They did not rag on him for owning a Honda or try to sell him a new bike. They put a tire on for him and down the road he went. I wish HD were doing better. I think a huge problem with their sales is the price of the bike for what you get. You get a lot more bike with an Indian or a Yamaha or a Honda for less than a HD. I will quit my ranting and raving now.. LOL I am sure I will get ripped apart for this on here but it is how I feel.
No reason to “rip you apart” NGM. I’ve always liked the look & sound of HD. I think that HD really set a high bar in regards to the quintessential motorcycle. The problem is that as technology has progressed, HD has been way too slow in the uptake running years behind what other bikes offered. Then when they did finally offer it, everything is at a PREMIUM $$$.
IMHO, this is why bikes like the Shadow, Vulcan, even the Star have done so well. They’ve captured much of that iconic look but unlike HD, they pulled it together into a highly reliable better performing & more affordable bike.
I’ll use my SVTC as an example here. The myriad of features that are STOCK on the bike are astounding, yet you get all that for $26,999. IF you wanted to equip a comparable HD (many features they can’t even offer) you’d be looking at a $50,000 price tag! Add to that fact that the SVTC comes with a 5 year UNLIMITED MILEAGE Warrantee and HD quickly fades in the Rearview mirror.
The bottom line is that HD came up with a beautiful design but just didn’t have the engineering know how or adaptability to bring it all together into a reliable & affordable piece of machinery.
 

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The one constant in the universe is that everything is in a constant state of change. The only things that are not changing at atoms near absolute zero: stone cold dead.

A great deal of human suffering and pain comes from the tendency to attempt to hold onto something that is changing and flowing. This is true for our personal emotions, and it is true for business.

The demographics for HD's core market are changing, but the population of the USA is increasing. If motorcycle manufacturers want to stay in business they must appeal to the youngest riders (or their parents) to get them to hand over their money.

When was the last time you saw a TV commercial for a motorcycle? When was the last time you saw any advertising for a 75cc dirt bike, a campus/commuter scooter like the Honda Cub or a CB125? If you bought your son or grandson an XL100 motorcross bike, where would he be able ride it?

Way back in the early 1970s Honda re-defined itself from a motorcycle company to a motor-vehicle company. They are doing fine.
 

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I just watched "Harley and the Davidson" documentary made by Discovery and I really liked. I like how people were truly enthusiastic and had a passion for what they did back in days. Now it's all about the profit/marketing/sale sale sale and greedy managers. That's a problem for many big companies. I try not to be a brand snob, but I like my Road King a lot. I liked my old Stryker, but riding an HD is something that is hard to explain, it's something on emotional level (and I'm very cold-minded person!) that makes me happy. Some say riding makes you happy no matter what you ride and that's true, but for some reason I'm more satisfied and happier riding my RK than when I was on Stryker even though Stryker is a very nice, solid and fun bike.

Sorry for off-topic.
 

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Way back in the early 1970s Honda re-defined itself from a motorcycle company to a motor-vehicle company. They are doing fine.
Honda is a engine manufacturer, in fact the largest one in the world (Automotive, Motorcycle, Marine, powersports, powered equipment and Aviation) They make the other stuff stuff hey can put their engine in it:)
 

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I agree no one should rip you apart NGM, however your experiences with HD differs considerably from mine. There’s tons of stories like yours about a non HD owner being helped by an HD dealer and vice versa, ones that I’ve seen personally. When I took my MSF course at a HD dealership, they showed the class that they’ll store a bike for any military person overseas for free, but only if it was an HD and then continued to berate metric bike owners. The HD’s we used for class were uncomfortable and the rear brake lever was near impossible to reach.
Before I moved from north Ms to east Tn, I rode with 17 other guys. 15 of them rode HD’s. They were all nice bikes and great guys. However every other month one of them were in the shop for a repair or recall. I don’t see an HD anymore solid than what’s out there now, just my opinion though. I see the bikes out there now getting better all the time, and more Indians on the road. I love the new Scout, and am planning to take a test ride on one soon. HD has done an excellent job at marketing and aftermarket availability, Yamaha and the others should take notice. However why should I pay $300 for a pair of boots with the HD logo when I can buy the same pair from the same company for $100? Again it’s all about choices and how fat your wallet is. In 26 years of being an LEO, I’ve had hundreds of assist motorists calls. When it involved a motorcyclist, 95% were HD’s along with a few Honda’s and Kawasaki’s. Again this has been my experience and it’s not what everyone else has seen. I won’t bash an HD owner for his choice of ride because it’s still a Motorcycle and I support all bikes and responsible riders, yet when I get bashed for riding a metric, and have been many times, I stand tall and remind them that I ride one of the most reliable brands out there, and a tuneup and oil change won’t cost me $800.


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No reason to “rip you apart” NGM. I’ve always liked the look & sound of HD. I think that HD really set a high bar in regards to the quintessential motorcycle. The problem is that as technology has progressed, HD has been way too slow in the uptake running years behind what other bikes offered. Then when they did finally offer it, everything is at a PREMIUM $$$.
IMHO, this is why bikes like the Shadow, Vulcan, even the Star have done so well. They’ve captured much of that iconic look but unlike HD, they pulled it together into a highly reliable better performing & more affordable bike.
I’ll use my SVTC as an example here. The myriad of features that are STOCK on the bike are astounding, yet you get all that for $26,999. IF you wanted to equip a comparable HD (many features they can’t even offer) you’d be looking at a $50,000 price tag! Add to that fact that the SVTC comes with a 5 year UNLIMITED MILEAGE Warrantee and HD quickly fades in the Rearview mirror.
The bottom line is that HD came up with a beautiful design but just didn’t have the engineering know how or adaptability to bring it all together into a reliable & affordable piece of machinery.
The reason Harley couldn't engineer or make something affordable is thee words "Made in America" Labor costs alone in the US eat up a lot of money. Also Harley is a Publicly held company and the stock holders want profits. And for years Harley has made a average quality bike with absolute loyal customers, they don't seem to care about all the issue they have, cause it's merican!

Also Harley uses "real chrome", and their bikes are very classy and polished. The Metric bikes cut a lot of corners on fit, finish, plastic. Yea they are cheaper for a reason.

But really the bottom line is companies will not update their products or improve them unless there is a sales need to do so, for years Harley's sales have been good, so why cut into Corporate profits to fix what is not broken (or broken.....:)

The Metrics had to update and do things differently, and in the end the lost the cruiser market. Yamaha shut down the Star Motorcycle Cruiser Line, they don't make cruisers anymore. The Bolt is marketed as more of a Sport/Urban bike. And the Eluder/Venture are nothing but Goldwings with a V Twin.

Indian is doing well for now, and has hinted they may get into the Street bike no cruiser segment to help diversify their offerings.


My next bike will most likely be an Indian Chieftain Limited, looked closely at the Electra glide, but the M8 problems tell me Harley didn't engineer these right. and I am not talking about the early oiling issues, but the catastrophic engine failures that are occurring to to oil sumping, yes even on the 2018 models. 3 oil pump designs later they still have this issue.
 

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... Also Harley uses "real chrome", and their bikes are very classy and polished. The Metric bikes cut a lot of corners on fit, finish, plastic. Yea they are cheaper for a reason...
HDs can be a contradiction in ways... yes I like that the side and airbox covers are pressed steel like on the old classic/vintage bikes yet the derby torx bolts are made of cheese and other hardware seemingly develops rust overnight, the opposite of most metrics I've owned. And what's the logic behind sometimes using torx head bolts and other times allen heads?
 
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