Jul 21, 2017

Bait and Switch

A while back an acquaintance who has worked in motorcycling’s retail and marketing deadzone for the last decade or more tried to tell me that the industry had spent huge bucks and tons of effort trying to find motorcycles that Millennials might buy. I admit that I don’t monitor the industry the way I once did, but I have not seen any sort of serious attempt to either figure out what the next generation of American motorcyclists might buy or to sell that generation on motorcycling. Likewise, there hasn’t been much to attract my attention, either.

r3Today was supposed to be that sort of opportunity with their 2017 Yamaha Street Motorcycle Dealer Demo Event at River Valley Power & Sport. It was raining when I left, but there had been one pass of the bike test rides down my street, so I knew it was going on. I was interested in the R3, which was supposed to be one of the test bikes. I got there right after the first group returned. No R3. I asked one of the Yamaha guys if I’d just missed it and was told that quite a few people had asked about the R3, but Yamaha and the dealer had decided to load up Yamaha’s “new” edition of the classic hippobike, the Venture. 2018-yamaha-star-venture-motorcycle-preview-1Supposedly, there was a waiting list of buyers for this blimp, but I doubt that. There were some geezerly folks there to test ride the Venture, but there were always a few unridden spares, leaving one Venture behind would have freed up space that could have held at least two R3 bikes. Unfortunately for me, there was nothing else in the lineup that I wanted to ride.

Once again, the draw of the Boomer big buck buyer displaced new riders and riders who aren’t just looking for something to take up space at the back of the garage.



Unknown said...

Same phenomenon as SUV's and Pickups I suppose. Why sell a Toyota Corolla and make a small margin when you can sell a Gigantor 9000 and make a big margin. This won't end until the boomers are all too old to drive.

Anonymous said...

For me it is a matter of sticker shock with top of the line hippos nearing $30K, ADVs at $20K+, and special edition sport bikes topping $30K++. I do not seek the biggest. I buy modest 4 cylinder autos. I once had humble access to the entire range of bikes. But it is not just the motorcycles.

I remember a time when an unassuming utility vehicle called the pick-up truck was intended to get the job done without belching fire and flashing chrome. A pick-up with a pimped-out interior like grandpa's Caddy would have been a embarrassment at the crossroad pub. A real pick-up truck has 2 doors. At the end of the day, you open them both and hose out the floor mat. $80K??...and you will need to push me up by the butt cheeks to get me in the cab.

Living in the northern lakes country of Wisconsin, I see similar inflation in sporting, fishing and leisure boats where they have found a consumer sweet spot with 300hp+++ ski/fishing/pontoon boats retailing for $100K. The professional class second home owner would not be seen on the water in anything less. And if you cannot afford to see me on the water, I will blow the horn as I tow my fishing rig past your house with my F-450 man-crusher. With all of the accessories plus interest, that's a quarter million bucks. Did I say humble?