Harley Davidson want to attract more
younger buyers. And what does Harley Davidson do? Harley Davidson
closes up it's Buell line of bikes. Buell was making a profit and was
attracting younger buyers. When these younger buyers of Buell aged
and decided to enter the cruiser market then naturally many of these
buyers would have bought a Harley Davidson Cruiser from the same
Harley dealership where they had been buying there Buell motorcycles.
Now that Buell is gone these young guys will not enter a Harley Shop.
Harley screwed up bad on there decision to close Buell. A lot of the reason that Harley shuttered the Buell division was because of the Harley Davidson dealers themselves. Harley dealers treated the Buell line of bikes as a second class citizen. What these idiotic dealers did not understand is that for the youth market Buell and other brands of Sport bikes is what the young people wanted. Now these young people have no need to go to a Harley Davidson dealership to look around, much less buy. Instead these young guys will be buying Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda, and even Ducati.
Many times a first time spots bike
buyer would head into a Harley dealership to purchase a Buell Blast and the salesman would tell them "oh you don't want that bike" so
the first time buyer would turn and head out towards a Yamaha, Honda,
or Suzuki dealership to purchase there first motorcycle. When that
person then decided to upgrade to a larger and faster motorcycle they
would tend to head back to the same dealership that sold them there
The ironic thing is many motorcycle courses around the Country used the Buell Blast as the motorcycles they used to train new riders on how to ride motorcycles. The Buell Blast was good enough for the experts in the field but not for Harley Davidson dealers. Many people that trained on a Buell Blast eventually upgraded to A Harley Davidson but these Harley Dealers that did not want to sell a Buell Blast instead lost not only one customer but an entire generation of young riders.
There are countless reasons why Harley Davidson closing its Buell line is a huge mistake. If I walk into a Suzuki, Honda, or Yamaha dealer I can purchase sport bikes or cruisers. Hell, I can even purchase a scooter, dirt bike, ATV, or water craft at many of these dealers. At Harley I would have a choice of quality cruisers that are over priced compared to what I can get at a Yamaha or Suzuki shop or I could purchase An American made Sports Bike from the Buell line up. Buell did make great bikes. Now my only choice is to purchase a Big Twin motorcycle or a Sportster. Since Harley Davidson did away with Buell I have less incentive to visit and buy from a Harley Davidson dealer.
I am like many people in my generation in the fact I do not want to wear leathers and Harley Shirts and pretend to be a bad outlaw biker. I do like Harley Davidson motorcycles but the culture is nothing I want to deal with. I will happily go biker events such as Sturgis but I will NOT be dressed as everyone else with leather chaps, Harley Shirts, and leather vests with patches on. I will wear what I want to wear. Baggy pants, high top Nikes, White T-Shirts, and when I do wear a leather jacket it will be used for Safety if I lay my bike down and not as a place to place patches on all over pretending to be cool.
When people aged 40 and older who are Harley target market begin to die off will there be enough people to replace them? Many people in my generation ride what we like and do not fall for the Harley Davidson marketing Hype. In fact the Harley Davidson marketing hype turns us off from the brand. The younger generations do like many of the motorcycles such as the new Harley Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight but the Harley Davidson line up does not have near enough to attract younger buyers. The younger generation is happier going into a Kawasaki dealer where they can shop for sport bikes along side cruisers. If I ride a Kawasaki dirt bike then I am more apt to purchase a Kawasaki sport bike or Kawasaki cruiser.
I was recently told the famous saying of "I'd rather have a sister in a strip club then a brother on a Honda". Cute saying for the old farts but when these old farts are in wheel chairs us younger generation will be purchasing more Hondas, Kawasakis, and Suzukis then Harleys. There are a few things Harley Davidson can do too salvage it's image among younger buyers but if they do it will hurt the image that Harley Davidson has created for its self among the older generation. Eventually Harley Davidson might have to make a choice. Change it's image or be sold off such as it was in the AMF days.
The Harley Image may be cool with it's target crowd but the younger crowd is more enthralled by true freedom. The freedom to ride what we want, when we want, and wearing what we want. We do not feel pressured to fall into the hype of Harley Davidson. It's ironic that Harley Davidson and the culture of Harley Davidson riders feel peer pressure to fit in by riding a Harley Davidson and dressing the part. The younger generation for the most part could care less about what Harley Davidson and the Harley Davidson culture thinks of us. We are what Harley Davidson use to be.
Harley Davidson is a profitable and successful company because it has honed an awesome culture among its customers. Many non riders want to make sure there first motorcycle is a Harley Davidson. They will not look at any other brand of motorcycle. They think riding a Harley Davidson makes them cool. The younger generation thinks riding a Harley Davidson is cool ONLY if that is truly what bike you want to ride. It is just as cool to ride a cruiser from Victory, Honda, Kawasaki, or Suzuki if that is the bike you want. We as a whole do not like or want the Harley Davidson culture. We may choose to ride a Harley Davidson but we will not dress or look the part. The peer pressure from Harley Davidson riders does not impact us as a younger generation. We ride what we want when we want. We look at the Harley Davidson culture with all the leather and black shirts and laugh. It's just not cool anymore to be a Harley Davidson style biker.