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...a very sad story...HD

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by MaxPete, May 17, 2020.

  1. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Who said anything about MADE in America? LOL It IS an iconic American Brand, like Chevrolet and Sara Lee
     
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  2. 650trader

    650trader XS650 Enthusiast

    A lot of bikes are made with parts sourced world wide. The " Good old days " were not always
    so good! A lot of later model parts are much better than the old originals but almost all are
    built to a price. Metallurgy, casting and machining techniques have changed a lot but the changes
    may not be apparent. The Brits had a lot of great ideas but not the materials to make parts last.
    Yamaha revolutionized things by figuring how to use dangerous silicone in casting pistons and cylinders
    so those parts could last longer and cool better. No one maker has dominated the market by making better
    widgets and even the criticized Chinese have made a lot of contributions.
     
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  3. JRay77

    JRay77 XS650 Addict

    Gary, you helped me re direct my frustrations. "Little Debbie" "Sara Lee" it's these snack cake American hoes that caused my type 2 diabetes....or was it my lack of self control? Haha!
     
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  4. 2XSive

    2XSive At least one screw loose behind the handle bars XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

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    This is so true. You look at the price of real estate and how it has increased over the years. Why? Because of easy financing. Same with any truck/car. That is why Harley makes more money from their financing operations than it does in profit from actually selling bikes or parts. They make it very easy to finance anything, even to high-risk borrowers.
     
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  5. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty & Demi - I suggest but THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    BTW All: since I started this thread and have contributed several times to it, let me reiterate that I am NOT relishing the decline of Harley Davidson.

    I think it is a shame that such an iconic brand is falling on hard times and really a signal to us all in the west that we are not entitled to anything in the marketplace, except the obligation to compete globally every single day.

    Pete
     
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  6. 2XSive

    2XSive At least one screw loose behind the handle bars XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

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    I agree Pete. Healthy competition between bike manufacturers is good for us all. If it wasn't for the initial competitive forces between Indian and Harley, then eventually Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, BMW, Triumph/BSA, Royal Enfield, and the list goes on, etc., who knows, we may have never had our beloved XS650 come into being.
     
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  7. grizld1

    grizld1 Grumpy old man Top Contributor

    OK, Harley brands itself as "American iron." In my book that's a rather pathetic example of untruth in advertizing. I recall the days fondly when the XLCH was an engine on a frame, ran off a magneto with no battery, and a real rider didn't think twice about flogging it around offroad or riding the beast to the Sportsman TT track, pulling off the lights and hanging on the number plates, and riding the race. Harley made motorcycles then. Now they make fashion statements. For those who want fashion over substance, a consumer tip: a Gucci purse would be cheaper. Peace.
     
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  8. franklin270h

    franklin270h XS650 Member

    I agree that the twin platform is where it's at for cruising. Just in Harley's case, say when they developed the Milwaukee 8, they interviewed owners asking what they wanted to see improved. Power, heat, vibration. So they did that, more power, reduced vibration 75%-ish. Similar when Harley reinvented itself with the Evolution platform in the 80s. Just in many ways it's a crawl more than a walk.

    Harley probably did pull the plug on Buell prematurely. It likely wouldn't hurt right now to have a sister company to act as your experimental wing. The liberating thing about every other manufacturer, even the Japanese clones trying to compete with Harley, is if it fails who cares? They have that luxury because most have sport bikes, adventure bikes, scramblers, dirt bikes and everything else. With Harley it's cruisers and bobbers or bust. There will always be some market for it, but it's a shrinking one. And they don't have the infrastructure to be price-competitive.
     
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  9. thuban

    thuban Horse Scratcher Top Contributor

    What grizld1 said.
    "… Obligation to compete globally every single day."
    I feel no such obligation. If Harley would build a bike that everybody liked, it would sell like hot cakes. Lipstick on a pig don't cut it, unless you like lipstick. Some do and fine by me. As the XS650 put a dent in the British market, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki; Price, performance, looks, reliability. I'd love to have a Model-T but I don't care about a PT Cruiser.
     
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  10. Ratranger

    Ratranger XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    Harley has made some bad choices. If they had let buell work with porsche and not added a bunch of requirements that made the engine unsuitable for its original purpose, it could have made a big difference. Buell had sporty bikes, and was going into the adv area as well. How much would refined and improved models in those 2 areas would have helped in the current market? Everyone I have met with a rotax era buell loved/loves it.

    Or if they made the smaller bikes more competitive with the big 4 offerings? The japanese really have the beginner bike market cornered. As light as realistically possible while keeping them as affordable as possible, with good power and reliability, ABS, decent suspension, etc. It's hard to jump into that market because it is so competitive between them.
     
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  11. JRay77

    JRay77 XS650 Addict

    This is one where I've read through. Liking this thread. Down to the root of it for me, no politics. economics, or bad decisions by manufacturers. Motorcycles are an art for me. No matter what make or model. Rolling art like cars, boats and such. For me, older the better. Old things have character. Like houses. Taking something, polishing it, going thru it mechanically, massaging it into something useful. I love it no matter what the make, model etc. In this hobby I have developed opinions on fellow motorcycle owners. Not all positive. When I meet people at shows, I want to hear what they've done. How their machine works and what they've done to make it better. Don't tell me a bunch of acronyms, initials, abbreviations and how expensive your ride is. Everything dies eventually.
     
  12. 2XSive

    2XSive At least one screw loose behind the handle bars XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

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  13. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty & Demi - I suggest but THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    The last time I was in Mexico (several years ago) I did see some of those but I hadn't realized how big they were.
     
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  14. thuban

    thuban Horse Scratcher Top Contributor

    ...Everyone I have met with a rotax era buell loved/loves it.
    I rode a Buell for two days. I really, really liked it! Didn't like the way it looked so much but by the second day it was growing on me. I have a Rotax in my Can-am. Good engine!
     
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  15. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Milwaukee 8 ninth generation of big twin with 4 valves and twin plugs per cylinder.

    Yamaha Roadstar 4 valve and twin plugs per cylinder and started manufacture in 1998 for the 99 year.
    I love my 2004 1700 Roadstar and has 96000 kms no issues.

    Time will tell for the big twin 8 if it will be a reliable engine. JC
     
  16. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    early versions of those roadstar motors were pretty famous for the tranny locking up.
    Yamaha fixed mine about 2015
     
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  17. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yes the 4th gear clip could of failed but few were noted but lots were recalled to fix. The early motors had a weak oil pump drive gear that and could break. There are some that failed. Lots were replaced at the same time as the 4th gear fix with only cost of only the gear. Plenty of guys have replaced when changing from a diaphragm clutch spring to a Barnett 6 spring setup. 03 on up until last production are reliable. Would purchase another in a heart beat.
     
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  18. 2XSive

    2XSive At least one screw loose behind the handle bars XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

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  19. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty & Demi - I suggest but THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    In terms of their latest announcement that new models are on-hold...it may very well be that the company is simply out of cash and cannot continue with their product development programs - and the new CEO finally developed the cajones to tell everyone that. If that is the case, the only thing they can do is build their present models with the tooling and parts they have available and hope that:
    1. the economy turns around and H-Ds demographic who like those bikes gets back to work soon;
    2. these folks have a hankering for a new scoot' and either have a wad-'o-cash burning a hole in their pocket, or are OK with making payments <again>;
    3. either way, these bikes sell and generate some profits to fund new product development to get H-D out of this hole that they have dug for themselves.
    I'm sure that the recent share buy-back and big pay-outs to failed executives have helped an awful lot with this whole situation. upload_2020-5-21_10-46-47.gif :yikes:

    Product development is a crucial activity - which Harley Davidson has muffed pretty badly in recent years. The problem is that no new products = dropping sales and dropping sales = reduced profits. Eventually, sales will drop to no sales = no money for new products. It is a vicious circle - but the key is sales of existing and new products. All companies go up and down in the market (that is why there are occasional promotions with incentives - to drive sales of lagging products). However, a company whose sales are dropping year-over-year (like Harley Davidson) is in trouble.

    Quite a number of car companies have found themselves in the same pickle and while some have recovered, others did not....DeSoto (dead in '61), Studebaker (dead in '63), DeLorean & Checker (both dead in '82), American Motors (dead in '87), Oldsmobile (dead in 2004), Pontiac (dead in 2010), General Motors & Chrysler (both bankrupt in 2008-09), Fiat (nearly dead in 2012-13), Victory Motorcycles (dead in 2017), Renault-Nissan (in trouble right now), etc. etc. etc.

    I am not a financial wizard but I do know a thing or two about product development. New product development is beastly expensive and the hundred of millions of dollars (if not billions of dollars, in the case of a new model car with sexy new technologies) that it costs can only be funded by:
    • taking on debt (mortgaging the company and its assets - but banks are pretty conservative, particularly with companies whose press is not positive) or,
    • raising equity (i.e. stock offerings which can dilute the value of existing shares - and who wants to invest in a company that pays-off failed executives or buys-back its own shares to drive up the stock price so that the Board of Directors can get a bigger bonus - this year) or,
    • the sales of existing models - which in Harley's case have been dropping for years.
    How many existing bikes are on the road now and how many stickers are on pickup truck tailgates today - simply doesn't matter at all in any of this. All that tells you is how many people drank the kool-aid in the past. The company (Harley) already has their money (and has likely already blown it on share buy-backs and executive pay-outs).

    Just remember the words in this thread about going to a BSA vintage bike rally. You'll see lots of nice shiny bikes and nice crisp made-in-China tee-shirts - but just try to ring up the Birmingham Small Arms company and ask about purchasing a new 2020 BSA bike.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020 at 9:59 AM
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  20. grizld1

    grizld1 Grumpy old man Top Contributor

    Good summary in that R&T article, thanks for the link. I'd take issue with the statement that Harley "created a movement with its macho, brawny bikes," however. Harley copied and marketed the bad boy image created by the outlaw clubs that Harley's minions in the AMA had labeled "one percenters," and sold that image to accountants, dentists, midlevel executives, and suchlike suburbanite wannabes with pockets deep enough to sink $30,000-plus in the accessories needed for weekend cosplay.

    Of course some poor boys got sucked in too. I recall one especially telling incident at my local indie shop. It was a Saturday with the usual Spring rush going on. A young kid rolled up on a recent looking 883 Sportster, wearing all the Harley drag and body art that probably cost more than the old Yamaha I was riding. He got the attention of one of the co-owners of the shop, and asked "Can you adjust my clutch?" The owner, being up to his ass in alligators, said "Do it yourself." The kid stood there looking kind of stricken, and I felt sorry for him, so I said "Let's have a look." Sure enough, clutch cable adjustment worked just the same way it had on the 1956 KH flathead that I'd owned many decades past. I showed him needed to be done. Then came the moment of truth: "Would you do it for me?" I told him I'd borrow the tools for him, but I wouldn't do the work. Then he had to whine: "Why not?" I just looked him up and down, from the Harley designer boots to the Harley designer open short-sleeve leather vest, to the Harley designer do-rag, and I couldn't resist: "If I had to explain, you wouldn't understand."

    Please note that I'm not claiming that every Harley owner is a phony cosplaying twit trying to buy a bad boy alter ego to compensate for the limpness of his wrist, only that Harley's marketing was targeted to that demographic. Peace.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020 at 10:41 AM
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